Humanities at UNC Asheville

If you're familiar with the core curriculum (integrative liberal studies) which students must follow here at UNC Asheville, then you have doubtless heard of our interdisciplinary Humanities program.    I am currently taking the senior capstone course that will bring my time with Humanities to a close, so I thought it would be a great topic to introduce on the blog.  Essentially, over one's period of study at UNC Asheville, he or she will be required to complete four Humanities courses.  The first three, which everyone must take are "Humanities 124: The Ancient World," "Humanities 214: The Medieval and Renaissance World," and "Humanities 324: The Modern World (Mid 17-20th Century)".  

Each of these courses are four credit hours, as opposed to the "standard" three hours by which most classes here are defined.  The reason for this is that every week, students must attend a lecture given to all Humanities students. The Common Lectures offered for each level of Humanities occur on Fridays throughout the day.  Most teachers require attendance, and may either call roll or administer short quizzes on lecture material at the beginning of the following week.  The Humanities program utilizes sources from an array of academic fields in order to help students develop critical thinking skills and synthesize information.  The great thing about the Humanities program is that it asks members of the UNC Asheville faculty (regardless of whether they are actually teaching a section of Humanities that semester) to give a particular Friday lecture.  This keeps things interesting and allows students to learn from experts across disciplines.   

Following a standard, four-year college experience, students can map their Humanities courses over the course of freshman, sophomore, and junior years, or can take one humanities course each semester if he or she so desires.  The final, or capstone course, also four hours, is to be taken only by students who have completed over 75 hours of study, and who have taken all three preceding courses.  Here, students have some flexibility: they can choose to take either "Humanities 414: Individual in the Contemporary World" or "Liberal Studies 479: Cultivating Global Citizenship."  There is a slight difference between the two courses in terms of required texts and focus points, which the image at the end of this post outlines in more depth.  Although I chose to take LS 479 because it fit well with my schedule, and I like the professor teaching the particular section I chose (Wednesday nights 6:00-9:30), so far I've been very satisfied with the course.  I find its connection to real-life issues and dilemmas to be very useful and thought-provoking, and have been able to draw connections to both previous Humanities courses and classes I am currently taking.   

A final word on Humanities at UNC Asheville--although the course itself may seem difficult or time-consuming, don't be scared!  It's a great resource that will connect you not only with your fellow students and teachers, but your past, present, and future as well!  Check out the link to the Humanities website above for more information, or leave comments if you have questions.  

Bonus: Hum 414 vs. LS 479

 HUM 414 "The Individual in the Contemporary World""LS 479: Cultivating Global Citizenship"
Credit Hours
  • 4 (3+1 Recitation section)*
  • 4
ILS Requirement
  • Satisfies ILS senior capstone requirement
  • Satisfies ILS senior capston requirement
Course Format
  • Sections meet twice weekly with instructors AND attend Friday Common Lecture 11:25-12:35
  • Core syllabus
  • Combination of lecture, class discussion, group work, major project/paper
  • Sections meet with instructor unless otherwise noted
  • Common experiences vary by term
  • Ccore syllabus
  • Combination of lecture, class discussion, group work, major project/paper
  • *Students must register for BOTH section (recitation) and Common Lecture
  • Students register for 4-credit section only
Course pre-requisites
  • 75 hours + HUM 124, 214, 324
  • 75 hours + HUM 124, 214, 324
Key Differences
  • Serves as a 4th Humanities course in a series including HUM 124, 214, 324
  • Focus on arts, culture, identity, social justice movements, future studies
  • Integrates earlier HUM Program curriculum with social and natural science disciplines
  • Focus on ethics, governance, economics, environmental sustainability
Service Learning
  • Varies by instructor
  • Varies by instructor* (required for all HONORS students)
Required Texts
  • The Individual in the Contemporary World, eds. Campbell and Chapman
  • (Additional 1 or 2 supplemental texts per instructor)
  • Ethics, Peter Singer
  • The Bhagavad-Gita: Krisna's Counsel in Time of War, Barbara Stoler Miller (trans.)
  • Buddhist EthicsL A Very Short Introduction, Damien Keown
  • Cradle to Cradle, William McDionough and Michael Braungart



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