Course Overview

Instructor Information
Dr. Leeann Hunter
Email: leeann.hunter [at]
Office loc and tel: 475 Avery, 509-335-2627
Fall 2012 office hours: MWF, 11:10-12, or by appointment
Class meetings: MWF, 10:10-11, 411 Todd

This course surveys major cultural issues in the arts and humanities of the nineteenth century and investigates their relationship to contemporary issues. At the heart of this course will be the study of ruin, as it appears in the literature, art, and philosophy of the nineteenth century. We will draw upon eighteenth-century ideas about the sublime and picturesque to begin forming our theoretical study of ruin. As we survey representations of fallen women, prostitutes, bankrupts, and gamblers, we will produce creative artifacts, research contemporary cultural issues, and examine the rhetoric surrounding tragedy, suffering, and ruin.

Ruin permeates many areas of society beyond the material covered in this class. Over the course of the semester, you and a group of 6-8 students will form discussion groups centered on a single topic, such as politics, marriage, religion, or race. As a group member, you will blog, lead class discussions, and curate an exhibit on the rhetoric of ruin.

Objectives and Outcomes
This course meets the following Learning Goals of the Baccalaureate: Creative and Critical Thinking, Information Literacy, and Communication. Below are the specific learning goals that will be emphasized.

  • Understand how one thinks, reasons, and makes value judgments
  • Understand diverse viewpoints, including different philosophical and cultural perspectives
  • Understand and apply the research principles and methods of the arts and humanities
  • Access information effectively and efficiently from multiple sources
  • Recognize how circumstances, background, values, interests and needs shape communication sent and received
  • Choose appropriate communication medium and technology

In addition, the course encourages students to achieve the following outcomes.

  • Students will develop individual perspectives on the creative process, through the study of major thinkers, artists, and writers of the nineteenth century and through the production of their own creative artifacts
  • Students will develop individual research agendas that respond to course materials through interdisciplinary models
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge about how the arts and humanities of the past relate to our lives in the present and future

Required Materials
You must have regular internet access to retrieve the materials for this course. All of the course materials are available in online format. You must bring a copy of these materials to every class period, whether it be on your laptop or on a printout.

In lieu of purchasing books for this course, you will purchase materials connected to the production of multimodal artifacts, which may include poster printing, poster mounting, full-color prints of your artwork, and other print materials for public distribution.

All students must have access to a digital camera, whether it be your own or one borrowed from the institution. The camera on your iPhone, or comparable device, is an acceptable alternative.