Western Culture and the Arts: Beginnings Through the Middle Ages
I. Course Prefix/Number: HUM 120
Course Name: Western Culture and the Arts: Beginnings Through the Middle Ages
Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)
III. Course (Catalog) Description
IV. Learning Objectives
A. Demonstrate basic knowledge of the major cultural eras covered
B. Define the basic vocabulary needed to discuss cultural achievements.
C. Recognize major works of art and identify the stylistic period within which representative works of art were produced.
D. Discuss, compare, and evaluate representative works of literature and philosophy produced within this period.
E. Restate and critique the values expressed in the religious, philosophical and literary texts of this period, and discuss the current relevance of these values.
F. Explain the rich cultural and religious diversity within Western civilization -including Classical, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions – and explain the interactions among these traditions.
G. Present and debate conflicting cultural interpretations of the Western tradition.
H. Exhibit values related to teamwork and collaboration, fostered by the pedagogy of shared-inquiry and critical dialogue appropriate to the humanities and philosophy.
V. Academic Integrity and Student Conduct
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.
There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.
Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
VI. Sequence of Topics
Week 1 Defining Western Culture……Ancient Mesopotamia and Ancient Phoencia . . . Selections from The Epic of Gilgamesh and from Enheduanna
Week 2 Ancient Egypt
Week 3 Aegean Civilizations . . . Selections from Homer and Sappho
Week 4 Classical Greek Civilization: Hellenic Age
Week 5 Selections from Greek Tragedy and from Thucydides
Week 6 Selections from Plato and Aristotle
Week 7 Classical Greek Civilization: The Hellenistic Age . . . Selections from Epicurus
Week 8 Classical Roman Civilization. . . Selections from Cicero, Vergil, and Apuleius
Week 9 Judaism and the Rise of Christianity . . . Selections from the Torah and the Gospels
Week 10 Late Rome, Byzantium, and the Early Medieval West Civilization . . . Selections from Augustine, Anna Comnena, and Boethius
Week 11 The Rise of Islam . . . Selections from the Koran
Week 12 Selections from Ibn Kaldun, Ibn Rushd, and Rumi
Week 13 The High Middle Ages
Week 14 Selections from Arthurian Romances, Aquinas, and Dante
Week 15 The Late Middle Ages . . . Selections from Petrarch, Chaucer, De Pizan
Week 16 Final Discussion of what is Western culture
VII. Methods of Instruction
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.
VIII. Course Practices Required
Examples of Requirements:
Attendance and participation
Standards for written work
Special policies about make-up exams, late papers, or other matters of concern
IX. Instructional Materials
VARIES BY INSTRUCTOR
The Western Humanities Volume I: Beginnings through the Renaissance. Matthews and Platt. Current edition.
Readings in the Western Humanities Volume I. Matthews and Platt. Current edition.
Supplementary readings from other primary sources as well as selections presenting debates on cultural interpretation.
X. Methods of Evaluating Student Progress
Final Project………10 points
Attendance and Participation…..10 points
Grading Scale. 90% - 100% = A // 80% - 89% = B // 70% - 79% = C // 60% - 69% = D // below 60 = F
XI. Other Course Information
Office and office hours:
Email and website:
If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.
Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.
Resources and support for
- pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
- victims of sexual misconduct
Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.