Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

hist 106 modern western civilization: humanities

Spring 2012

H106 – Modern Western Civilization: Humanities

This course is an analysis of the Western civilization from the 17th century to the present day, with an emphasis on the major literary, artistic, and cultural developments. Using literary, philosophical and political texts, as well as visual arts and music, we will study the major intellectual trends of the Western tradition and attempt to determine their influence on society. Social and political themes will be addressed in this course, but our main focus will be on how these both influence and are influenced by cultural and intellectual movements.

Required Text:

Perry et al. The Humanities in the Western Tradition. Idea and Aesthetics, Volume II: Renaissance to Present

(Additional readings and images on BlackBoard.)

Expected Learning Outcomes:


You will learn to identify intellectual and cultural movements by distinguishing characteristics. Through engagement with the major currents of thought and creative expression in the western tradition, you will further develop your abilities to read and write critically.


By the end of the course you will have obtained a broad overview of the major intellectual, cultural an artistic trends of the last 4 centuries and be able to place related ideas, individuals and institutions in their proper context. 

Academic Integrity

Work turned in in this class is to be your own. Plagiarism is, as is stated in Loyola’s rules, grounds for failure of the assignment and possibly the class. If you have doubts about the proper use/citation of sources, there are several manuals of style available in the library. If doubts persist, consult me before turning in the assignment in question.

Note: You are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the vast “primary source” where you currently live. Although limited class time makes organized field trips difficult, Rome is a living record of the artistic and intellectual trends covered in the course.



1. Class Participation - 10%

You are responsible for each week's readings and should come to class with specific questions and comments in mind. Students will be asked at the beginning of the semester to volunteer to lead class discussion for each week, but our conversation will depend on the participation of all of the members of the class. 

2. Weekly document/image analysis – 10%

By Wednesday of each week, you must compose and post to the discussion board a question or comment based on the BlackBoard readings for the week. I reserve the right to require written summaries of the readings should it become apparent that students are not keeping up with them. Lectures in this class deal with specific events, institutions and individuals and the historical debates surrounding them, the readings provide the context for these debates and the general narrative of Italian history.

3. Mid-Term Exam – 20%

The mid-term will include an essay and a choice of identification questions drawn from the first part of the course.

4. IDENTIFICATION QUIZZES – 10% each (30% total)

In three Identification Quizzes you will be asked to identify the creator's name, title, and context name - i.e. Romanticism, Cubism, Surrealism of primary examples (including written, visual, and musical works).

5. Final Exam – 30%    

The final will include an essay and a choice of identification questions and will be drawn from the material covered since the mid-term.



Schedule of Classes*

Tuesday Jan 17 Introduction to Course 

Thursday Jan 19 Background and Reformation

Readings: Perry, Chapter 13 and documents on Blackboard


Tuesday Jan 24 Counter-Reformation Baroque

Thursday Jan 26 Absolutism

Readings: Perry, Chapters 14-15 and documents on Blackboard


Tuesday Jan 31 Absolutist Baroque

 Thursday Feb 2 Rococo

Readings: Perry, Chapter 16 and documents on Blackboard


Tuesday Feb 7 Enlightenment

Thursday Feb 9  Enlightenment

 Readings: Perry, Chapters 17-18 and documents on Blackboard


Tuesday Feb 14 Neo-Classicism (ID quiz #1)

Thursday Feb 16 Revolution and Romanticism

Friday Feb 17 Romanticism continued

Readings: Perry, Chapter 19-20 and documents on Blackboard


Tuesday Feb 21 Industrial Revolution and Realism

 Thursday Feb 23 Realism   

Readings: Perry, Chapter 21-22 and documents on Blackboard


Tuesday Feb 28 Impressionism

 Thursday Mar 1 MID TERM EXAM

 Readings: Documents on Blackboard


Mar 2-11 Spring Break - No Class


Tuesday Mar 13 Post-Impressionism

 Thursday Mar 15 Expressionism

Readings: Perry, Chapter 23 and documents on Blackboard


Tuesday Mar 20 Cubism

 Thursday Mar 22 Cubism

 Readings: Perry, Chapter 23 and documents on Blackboard


Tuesday Mar 27 War Fever

 Thursday Mar 29 Futurism/Dada (ID quiz #2)

 Readings: Perry, Documents on Blackboard


Tuesday Apr 3 WWI and its aftermath

Thursday Apr 5 Abstraction

Readings: Perry, Chapter 24 and documents on Blackboard


Tuesday Apr 10 Surrealism

 Thursday Apr 12 Totalitarianism

Readings: Perry, Chapter 25 and documents on Blackboard


Tuesday Apr 17  Totalitarianism

 Thursday Apr 19 Existentialism (ID quiz #3)

Readings: Perry, Chapter 26 and documents on Blackboard


Final Exam:

*We will follow this schedule as closely as possible, but some deviation may be necessary in order to cover the material thoroughly and accommodate on site classes.