Humanities study the human condition. Methods are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative
What are the characteristics of humanities texts?
Lots of general academic vocabulary
Text can be abstract and philosophical rather than concrete and practical
Less reliance on overt features of text structure than science or mathematics text
Immanuel Kant: Of the Distinct objects of the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime
The various feelings of enjoyment or displeasure rest not so much upon the external things that arouse them as upon each person’s own disposition to be moved by these to pleasure or pain. This accounts for the joy of some people over things that cause aversion in others, or the amorous passion so often a puzzle to everybody, or the lively antipathy one person feels toward something that to another is quite indifferent. The field of observation of these peculiarities of human nature extends very wide and still conceals a rich source for discoveries that are just as pleasurable as they instructive. For the present I shall cast my gaze upon only a few places that seem particularly exceptional in this area, and even upon these more with the eye of an observer than of a philosopher.
Purposes for reading humanities texts
To understand human endeavors, attitudes, interactions, etc. (e.g. to understand cultural mores in middle eastern societies)
To understand and appreciate human creativity. (e.g. to recognize and enjoy beauty or conlfict in a piece of art).
To contemplate one’s own humanity (e.g. to see oneself in a novel)
To critically analyze perspectives about humankind and human endeavors (e.g. to analyze a piece of art; to analyze a philosophical argument
To evaluate the quality of human endeavor (e.g. to judge the quality of a piece of art)
Why is it important to read the humanities?
Can add to one’s understanding of him or herself and others
Can increase the habits of reflective thought and critical thinking
Part of lifelong reading enjoyment
Why is it important to read the humanities?
25% of the questions on the ACT are in the humanities
The time is overdue to admit that there is some- thing of a vacuum in women’s poetry, and that we abhor it. For a woman to concede this is not disloyal to her sex; it’s the first step in the creation of an environment in which women artists will flourish. But what can be done about the fact that the list of beloved women poets is not as long as the list of beloved poets who were born male?
The most liberating response to the problem was the one Elizabeth Bishop chose. As James Merrill writes, “Lowell called her one of the four best women poets ever—which can hardly have pleased Miss Bishop, who kept her work from appearing in ‘women’s anthologies.’ Better, from her point of view, to be one 15 of the forty, or forty thousand, best poets, and have done with it.”
Example of ACT Question
Which of the following sentences best summarizes the first paragraph?
A. It is disloyal to encourage women to write, and to ask: Why do male poets flourish more readily than female poets?
Landi, Ann. ARTnews, November, 2007. Top Ten ARTnews Stories: Capturing the Artist in Action, Pollock Paints a Picture, ARTnews, May 1951. http://artnews.com/issues/article.asp?art_id=2401
Quickwrites: What is Art?
Image Rankings: I1 = not at all what I consider art; 5 = This is definitely what I consider art
What will teachers need to do to teach the unit?
Decide how to introduce and frame/reframe the essential questions as they relate to each of the readings
Help students to write a culminating essay that answers the questions
Decide before teaching how the strategies can be used to help students understand the humanities texts, especially in relation to the essential questions
Choose strategies that make sense for the humanities and your students
The teacher provides the glue!
Text: How to Judge Art: Five Qualities you Can Critique Whether You’re an Artist or Not
Knowing the difference between good and bad art can be difficult. You can’t always trust the art experts; many times it’s hard to even understand them. Since I believe that it’s important to make up your mind about art I decided to write this article to let each and every one of you judge art for yourself. (It’s a little longer than the other articles so far, so feed the dog or put the kids to bed, and don’t say I didn’t warn you!), I’ve come up with five characteristics that you can use to determine the quality of art, ranging from the paintings in your local gallery to the strange contemporary sculpture your boss added right outside your office. The characteristics I found were beauty, skill, inherent meaning, uniqueness, and fulfilled intent. I’ll explain each of these throughout the article. I’m convinced that anyone can use their own fundamental knowledge to compare artwork based on these five inherent properties. Even if other people have a different opinion than you do about a particular work of art, this article should help you explain how you came to your conclusion. All right, so on the basis that all art is not created equal, let’s get to the nitty-gritty and break down these five characteristics of art.
Beauty in Art. Beauty is, and always will be, in the “eye of the beholder.” Your decision about the beauty or lack of beauty in a particular work of art is instinctive and natural. In fact, you probably won’t even have to make that decision, you’ll just either be captivated by a piece of art or you won’t. People within the same social context often agree on what is beautiful, so you’ll probably find others close by who will like the same things as you do. Some aspects of art that are generally appealing to people are:
1. Repeating shapes, patterns, and symmetry. 2. Colors, especially colors that complement or enhance each other. 3. Textures, both visual and physical (like thick, impasto paint). 4. Crops and compositions that focus the eye and keep the viewers’ attention. 5. Movement or flow to guide viewers through the art. 6. Correct or appealing proportions of figures and objects. 7. Presentation and framing.
Before Reading: Title Analysis
Based upon the title, what can you expect from this essay?
An introduction and five sections
Ways to judge art
What should a teacher consider?
What does this piece say in regards to the essential questions?
What stylistic features are in this text that your students should know?
How is this text structured?
Which before, during, and after activities make most sense for your students?
What does this piece say about the author? Why did he/she write it? What does he/she want you to think about visual art? How will you get your students to pay attention to these issues?
How do we attribute meaning and value to art?
What processes do artists use to create their work?
How does an artist’s past experience influence their work?
During Reading: Annotation
Note questions in the margin
Does art have to be beautiful?
Is everything that is beautiful art?
What is “inherent meaning?”
What if an artist doesn’t use correct or appealing proportions in order to make a statement? Isn’t it still art?
Summarize as you read
Everyone has an idea of what is beautiful or not, and people who have a lot in common often have the same ideas.
During Reading: Writing Breaks
Before assigning a reading decide on some good stopping points for reflection