Humanities I: Renaissances (1S)


Why do humans often look to the past as they try to envision a better future, and what role can the arts play in driving social change? The French word “Renaissance,” or rebirth, has been used to describe this revival of art forms from older times in order to move society in a better direction. Our course begins with the Italian Renaissance of the 16thC, when artists (like Michelangelo) and thinkers (such as Machiavelli) reached back to the legacy of the Ancient Greco-Roman Classical World to develop a worldview that accommodated the growing powers of people outside the traditional power centers of the Catholic Church or traditional nobility. We then turn to the concept of Renaissance in 17thC Mughal India and Ming China (field trips to the Taj Mahal and Forbidden City, anyone?), where leaders of a different ethnicity than their citizens used the arts to consolidate their empires. The course concludes with a look at how the concept of renaissance nourished African-American artists and thinkers in the 20thC Harlem Renaissance (Langston Hughes is one example) and 21stC Afro-Futurism (think Black Panther) movements. Our interdisciplinary, Humanities-focused approach relies on the analysis of artistic primary sources (literature, art, music, and philosophical texts), informed by a study of their historical context. You will also produce works of art, literature or music to demonstrate your understanding of the course content.

Who is eligible to take this course for history credit? Students in Grades 10-12. Students taking this course for History credit may elect the Honors designation.

Who is eligible to take this course for English credit? Students in Grades 11-12. This course does not carry an Honors option for English credit.