Humanities is the study of English language arts, philosophy, history, and social studies.
Our academic classes emphasize interdisciplinary thinking, project-based learning, and student constructions of understanding. In the Humanities courses, BAA students explore the role of the artist in society, the power structure in the United States, and the nature of art and beauty throughout history.
BAA requires graduating seniors to have taken four Humanities courses.
In Humanities I: The Artist and Humanity, students use project-based learning to examine the question: How do artists connect and contribute to Humanity? As they explore critical connections and contributions, students deepen their understanding of human experiences in the world through five fundamental humanities disciplines: geography, economy, history, and literature, and arts. Each of these disciplines comprises a united foundation in case studies from the birthplace of humanity and art, Afrika.
As the culmination of each unit’s project, students apply what they have learned to addressing the needs and interests of an authentic, live audience. Previous projects have included a poetry slam to address issues of racism, an exhibition to enhance knowledge of ancient Afrikan civilizations, and a fair fashion market to promote fair working conditions and environmental sustainability.
Humanities II: The Art of Power and Politics asks, who has the power in the United States and why? Using an interdisciplinary approach that includes sociology, history, and civics, students investigate this question by learning about the cultures, contributions, struggles, and successes of various social groups in the U.S. Past readings have included A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and Flight by Sherman Alexie.
The Humanities II exhibition asks students to think about how to generate power within their community or broader society. Students research an issue of their choice and create a community forum or civic engagement project to educate and mobilize their peers, families, local leaders, and organizations around that particular issue.
Humanities III is an examination of modern history and movements from World War II to the present. Students engage historical, philosophical, and literary texts representing American and global perspectives. There is a heavy emphasis on research, analytical writing, and thesis development. This course focuses on key issues in modern societies: What threatens society(ies)? What strengthens society(ies)? What is our responsibility as an individual, as a society? Primary readings include excerpts of literature from the middle of the twentieth century to modern authors.
Assessments include a midterm exam, an 8-10 pages paper benchmark (a graduation requirement that students must earn a “3” on), and a triad exhibition.
Humanities IV: Art, Aesthetics, and the Human Condition provides students with a critical frame for evaluating Western art and for understanding how art in the Western World has been deconstructed from Western and non-Western lenses. Students examine the following questions: What is art? What is valuable? Who decides what is art in a society? Along with these questions, students explore the construction of the Classical, Romantic, Modern, and Post-Modern aesthetics through music, visual art, dance, and theatre. Readings include various Western canonical texts from The Book of Job, The Republic, Death of a Salesman, and The Stranger.
Assessments include either online learning final projects or a mid-term blue-book exam and a collaborative capstone exhibition process with a 12-15 page paper and a 45-minute presentation developed from a unique theoretical lens.
In our academic courses, students have the opportunity to earn an “Open Honors” distinction. Students may self-select to apply to receive honors. Students applying for honors must complete additional assignments, projects, and/or other major assessments, and fulfill additional requirements for exhibitions. Students’ transcripts will reflect the honors credit.