Term paper prompts
HUM 110 final essay options: 5 pages (min. 1500 word count), 1” margins, double-spaced, 10/12 pt. type. Use at least two outside sources (cited).
Choose one and submit to the Final Essay portal to the left (same column as Discussions), once it becomes available in the last weekend of term.
In this paper you‘ll respond to the notion of utopia. First, write a good paragraph that summarizes Plato’s Republic, the original utopia. Then research two other utopias, to provide a paragraph apiece on their main aspects. Choose from any of these:
Thomas More, Utopia; William Morris, News From Nowhere; Samuel Butler, Erewhon; Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward; H.G. Wells, A Modern Utopia; B.F. Skinner, Walden II; Ernest Callenbach, Ecotopia.
Finally, describe what you would consider a perfect society. What problems would need to be solved, and how? You need to consider social, economic, educational, environmental, and any other areas that would be important and necessary. Obviously everyone has different ideas about what’s important and/or problematic, so there’s no absolute right or wrong. Nonetheless , take the categories seriously and develop your own ideal society!
2) Cultural comparison:
Choose two of the civilizations we’ve studied throughout the term and compare their aesthetics, using at least two examples from each culture. You may compare examples of architecture, sculpture, literature, philosophy, and so on. Using the 3-step Cunningham-Reich rubric from the start of term (see below for Humanities-A Primer), analyze the works for their unique qualities — again choosing two from each civilization. Start with a solid paragraph describing the historical context: e.g., what life in ancient Egypt was like, or the Minoan World, or Imperial Rome, etc. Then consider the specifics of the artwork (what it is, how it was made, what style or genre it represents). Then interpret it to explain both what it was intended to be (purpose/message) and how you perceive it as a modern viewer.
aesthetics – art and taste, the appreciation of beauty
SOCIAL ELEMENT: Work in historical context
FORMAL ELEMENT: Design (how made materials, etc.) & composition (style, technique)
SYMBOLIC ELEMENT: Purpose (why made?) & message (intended or not)
See Module 1 for the complete Cunningham-Reich text.
3) The Epic of Gilgamesh: Choose from one of these three topics.
a) The Epic overview:
Gilgamesh meets his match in, but makes a best friend of, who? How are they finally separated, and where does his friend end up? After that event, Gilgamesh sets out in search of what? In your explanation of this, you’ll need to mention at least two clear plot details, such as what specific goal Gilgamesh and his friend have when they fight the giant goblin Humbaba, or how Utnapishtim’s wife proves that Gilgamesh has dozed off and has therefore forfeited his prize. Also, are any such details etiological in nature? You should be able to isolate at least one mythologem.
b) Myths and traditions:
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” is an adage that resonates in the episode of Gilgamesh and the goddess Ishtar. Explain the source of the phrase, briefly, and then describe the means in the poem that she uses to show her displeasure at him. Again, cite at least 3 plot details/characterizations/events. As part of your paper, you may connect this with other mythologies, provided you cite any outside sources (see syllabus) and that the consequent discussion constitutes no more than paragraph. You should be able to isolate at least one mythologem.
c) Synopsis and Invention:
Pick a specific episode and provide your own summary of the plot, in your best narrative style. Then state the key problems that the hero(s) face? And that of their adversaries? Be creative with this, while getting the facts straight, as it were. Imagine yourself telling the story in that fabulous ancient capital built, according to the Enuma Elish, as a residence for the god Marduk. Equally, imagine the life of Shin-Eqi-Unnini, transcribing, editing, and reimagining the total story at the great library of his master, King Ashurbanipal. As part of your paper, you should be able to utilize at least one mythologem.
Here are the links to the various versions of the poem (the same ones I posted earlier in the term):
(Rebecca Kovacs’ complete translation)
(Richard Hooker’s summar