Skip to main content Skip to footer content

Modern Humanities: Arts & Ideas

Kingsborough Community College

HUM 1: Modern Humanities: Arts & Ideas
3 credits, 3 hours

Course Coordinators: Professor Turnbull & Professor Ricciardi

College Now Program Description: This program provides high school students the opportunity to learn what will be expected of them in college-level courses. In addition to such benefits as earning college credit in specific college courses, students in College Now will experience what it means to be college students being held to college-level standards such as coming to class having read the required texts, understanding multiple interpretations of texts, using their own experiences to interpret texts, discovering inter-textual connections between and among texts, exploring complicated ideas through writing, and discussing complex and sometimes controversial topics in a respectful way.

Humanities Course Description: Through the exploration of modern literature, drama, art, film, poetry, and music, this course places developments in the Humanities into historical and philosophical contexts and illustrates the continuity of culture. This course introduces students to literature, philosophy, art, film, and music from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. The Humanities give students a chance to find a cultural identity. The study of art, music, literature, theater, dance, film and other creative cultural endeavors in an interrelated historical context can lead to the discovery of meaning in life beyond the day-to-day reality of breadwinning needs-fulfillment.

Humanities Course Objectives: At the completion of this course, students will be able to

  1. become acquainted with the human tradition as expressed in its literature, philosophy, and the arts;
  1. become familiar with seminal modern ideas and theories as expressed through literature, philosophy, and the arts;
  1. examine underlying assumptions about and ways of seeing literature, philosophy, and the arts;
  1. think critically about the humanities by looking outward at the world and formulating  thoughtful and informed ideas about it; and
  1. understand themselves as persons whose identities are shaped through participation in a wider community and longer history.


Required Texts: 1. HUM 1: Modern Humanities: Arts & Ideas 1900-present day
By Michelle Turnbull & Paul Ricciardi

  1. Supplemental Readings

Reading: Students are expected to have read and annotated all texts prior to arriving to class.

Informal Writing:  In addition to writing traditional college essays, you will frequently be given informal writing assignments that will help you practice skills such as summarizing, paraphrasing and isolating the main idea of a text.

Writing:  Writing assignments (draft and final versions) should be written using MLA documentation.  All formal assignments should be typed in Times New Roman 12 pt. font with 1” margins. Writing is a process, not a one-time activity; therefore, expect to revise each paper more than once. Some work will be submitted electronically using You will receive requirements for individual assignments as necessary.

Formal Papers:  You will be required to write two formal papers during the course of the semester and each paper will go through multiple revisions.  Be prepared to hand in all drafts to show evidence of significant revision.  Both papers should be about 2-6 pages in length.  Late papers will be penalized 10% of the overall grade for each day they are late.

Midterm/Final:  Both exams will be comprised of short answer and short essay questions.  The final grade is cumulative; so expect it to reflect the work you did during the course of the semester.

Topical Suggested Course Outline:

  1. Introduction
    1. The nature of the Humanities.
    2. Why study the Humanities?
    1.1 Modernism
    1.2 War & Revolution
    1.3 The Freudian Revolution
    1.4 Modern Art
    1.5 Modernist Poetry
    1.6 The Birth of Film
    1.7 Modern Architecture
    1.8 Music & Dance
    2.1 The Jazz Age
    2.2 The Great Migration
    2.3 The Harlem Renaissance
    2.4 Modern Art
    2.5 The Lost Generation
    2.6 The Great Depression
    2.7 The Mexican Muralist Movement
    2.8 World War II
    3.1 The Cold War
    3.2 Existentialism
    3.3 Origins of Theater & Theater of the Absurd
    3.4 Abstract Expressionism
    4.1 Quest for Equality
    4.2 The Civil Rights Movement
    4.3 The Women’s Rights Movement
    4.4 LGBTQIA+ History
    4.5 The Vietnam War
    4.6 Hippies and Counter Culture
    4.7 Birth of Rock n’ Roll, Pop Culture & Mass Media
    4.8 New Modern Art Movements
    4.9 Metamodernism
    4.10 Punk Rock Revolution
  6. Humanities in the 21st Century
    1. To illustrate the images of the 20th and 21st century, each instructor will select materials from literature, music, film and visual arts, using an approved listing which will be updated as needed.