What are the humanities and how are they relevant to our lives?  

Final Paper

Write a five to six-page essay on the following topic: What are the humanities and how are they relevant to our lives?  Illustrate your discussion with reference to one specific ancient/medieval text assigned in this class and explain its relevance to modern society. Explain the text using one of the frameworks we explored in this class (i.e., myth, philosophy, religion, or literature). You should refer to at least two secondary sources, but note that this is not a research paper. You should be able to complete the paper drawing only from the required and recommended resources included in this course. (See the Week 1 Resources tab for information on how to cite sources in this class.)

Your paper should be outlined as follows:

  • In your introduction include a clear definition of the humanities and a concise summary of their relevance for our lives. (No more than one page)
  • In your next paragraph, explain the methodology you will use to illustrate your claim about the humanities. State which text you will use and which humanities framework you will use to analyze your chosen text. Give a very brief summary of that framework, making sure to explain why it is considered part of the humanities, what distinguishes it from other humanities disciplines, and why it is a good framework for interpreting your chosen text. (No more than one page)
  • Give an interpretation of your chosen text using the specific framework you selected, focusing primarily on the aspects of the text that are relevant to life in modern society. You may need to summarize some aspects of your chosen text before trying to explain its relevance, but your discussion should be primarily analysis rather than mere summary. In other words, explain the meaning of the text from your framework’s point of view, not just what the text says or what happens in the plot. (No more than three pages)
  • In conclusion, summarize how your chosen text fits into the definition of the humanities you stated in your introduction and also how it serves as an example of the humanities’ relevance to our lives as you summarized it in your introduction. (No more than one page)

The Final Paper

  • Must be five to six double-spaced pages in length (not including title and references pages) and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center (Links to an external site.).
  • Must include a separate title page with the following:
    • Title of paper
    • Student’s name
    • Course name and number
    • Instructor’s name
    • Date submitted
  • Must use at least two scholarly sources in addition to the primary text you are analyzing.
  • Must document all sources in APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
  • Must include a separate references page that is formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.



Aeschylus. (n.d.). Agamemnon (Links to an external site.) (I. Johnston, Trans.). Retrieved from http://johnstoniatexts.x10host.com/aeschylus/agamemnonhtml.html

Augustine. (n.d.). Confessions (Links to an external site.) (E.B. Pusey, Trans.). Retrieved from http://www.cormacburke.or.ke/node/1419

Capellanus, A. (1184-1186). De amore (Links to an external site.) (L.D. Benson, Trans.). Retrieved from http://sites.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/special/authors/andreas/de_amore.html

Euripides. (2006). Medea. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.proxy-library.ashford.edu

Gill, N. (n.d.). The House of Atreus (Links to an external site.) Retrieved from http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/houseofatreus/a/houseofatreus.htm

Heloise. (n.d.). Letter to Abelard.  In P. Halsall (Ed.) The InternetMedieval Sourcebook. Retrieved from https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/heloise1.asp

Homer. (n.d.). The Odyssey abridged (Links to an external site.) (I. Johnston, Trans.). Retrieved from http://records.viu.ca/~johnstoi/homer/abridgedodysseyweb.htm.

Malory, T. (n.d.). Le morte d’Arthur (Links to an external site.). http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/46853

May, S. (2011). Love: A History. New Haven: Yale University Press. Retrieved from the ebrary database

Plato (n.d.). Apology (Links to an external site.) (B. Jowett, Trans.). Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20171219202911/http://socrates.clarke.edu/aplg0100.htm

Plato. (n.d.). Selections from the Phaedo (Links to an external site.) (H. Tredennick, Trans.). Retrieved from http://www2.hawaii.edu/~freeman/courses/phil100/06.%20Phaedo.pdf

Sappho. (1893). Hymn to Aphrodite (Links to an external site.) [William Hyde Appleton, Trans.]. Retrieved from https://www.poetry-archive.com/s/hymn_to_aphrodite.html

Sweeney, J. M. (2010, July 5). Arranged by measure: The worldview of the Gothic cathedral (Links to an external site.)America: The Jesuit Review. https://www.americamagazine.org/issue/742/art/arranged-measure


Armstrong, K. (n.d.). Can science and faith just get along? (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. Retrieved from http://bigthink.com/videos/can-science-and-faith-just-get-along

Brenzel, J. (n.d.). The value of forgotten ideas (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. Retrieved from http://bigthink.com/videos/the-value-of-forgotten-ideas-2

Cracknell, C. (2014). Women in Greek theatre (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/file/1351/view

Horowitz, Damon. (2011). Philosophy in prison (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/damon_horowitz_philosophy_in_prison

Moyers, B. (1988). Martha Nussbaum (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. A World of Ideas. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/archives/nussbaumwoi_flash.html

Puschak, E. [Nerdwriter1]. (2015). Understanding art: The death of Socrates (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKhfFBbVtFg

White, C. [Director]. (n.d.). An introduction to Greek theatre (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/file/1981/view

White, C. [Director]. (n.d.). An introduction to Greek tragedy (Links to an external site.) [Video file].  Retrieved from https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/file/2006/view

Žižek, Slavoj. (n.d.). The purpose of philosophy is to ask the right questions (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. Retrieved from http://bigthink.com/videos/the-purpose-of-philosophy-is-to-ask-the-right-questions


The Book of Life. (n.d.). What comes after religion?  (Links to an external site.)Retrieved from http://www.thebookoflife.org/what-comes-after-religion/

The Book of Life. (n.d.). What is the point of the humanities? (Links to an external site.) Retrieved from http://www.thebookoflife.org/what-is-the-point-of-the-humanities/


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