Monthly Archives: May 2012

Course Feedback

If you’d like to offer any suggestions for World Humanities for next year, I’d love to hear them. Comment below.

Question #4

Are people of the world more alike than different, or more different than alike?

Final Question #3

Please post your answer on a new page on your blog.

What social institutions oppress or limit oppression, and how are they perpetuated?

This question has given people trouble all year long. Here are some definitions that might be helpful:

INSTITUTION
1. important organization: a large organization that is influential in the community, e.g. a college, hospital, or bank
2. established practice: an established law, custom, or practice
(e.g., the institution of marriage)

OPPRESSION
dominate harshly: to subject a person or a people to a harsh or cruel form of domination

PERPETUATE
to make something continue, usually for a very long time

So, for example, it would be very easy to give an example of how some established practices (institutions) in the United States helped make a certain kind of domination continue for a long time. The institution of slavery, for example, made it possible for whites to dominate African-Americans, Native Americans, and others. But other institutions helped perpetuate that domination: courts (who made it illegal to help escaped slaves), schools (who refused to educate African-Americans), some churches (those who preached that it was immoral to steal others’ property, but silent on the fact that some of that property was other human beings), and so on.

Here are some other examples of institutions:
* schools
* churches
* militaries
* local governments
* international organizations (like the U.N., or the G20)
* family structure
* community structure

So my question is, in this class, how have we seen institutions either limit oppression, or perpetuate oppression?

Final Question #2

PLEASE ANSWER THIS QUESTION ON A NEW PAGE ON YOUR BLOG.

USE EXAMPLES FROM WHAT YOU’VE READ AND SEEN IN THIS CLASS.

Why should we care about what happens in the rest of the world?

Some other related questions right now might be, How do our actions directly or indirectly affect people elsewhere? How do their actions affect us, either in large or small ways? Even if we do know that our actions affect those on another side of the globe, what is our ethical responsibility to change our actions accordingly? How do we balance between our best interests and others’ well being?

Final Question #1

PLEASE ANSWER THIS QUESTION ON A NEW PAGE ON YOUR BLOG.

USE EXAMPLES FROM WHAT YOU’VE READ AND SEEN IN THIS CLASS.

What purposes and functions does artistic expression fulfill for individuals and cultures?

Another way of asking this would be, What is the purpose of art? What does it do for us? Why try to convey something about love, or war, or poverty, or family through art (or music, or literature) instead of some other means?

A Hand to Our Seniors

Here’s the senior video that we Kennedy teachers collaborated on, under the direction of Documentary Specialist Deb Baber:

By the way, the quote on my hand is from Conan O’Brien: “If you work very, very hard, and be nice, amazing things will happen.” Here’s the terrific speech O’Brien gave at Dartmouth’s commencement in 2011: