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Course Description, Objectives, and Learning Outcomes
Drawing on the disciplines that make up the Humanities and the considerable resources at UF in support of the Humanities, this course investigates the very nature of the human condition. Applying multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural approaches to explore what is a good life, students consider the cost of the good life, examine how people have chosen to live as members of local and global communities, and analyze conceptions and expressions of beauty, power, love, and health.
For Part 1 (Individual) and Part 2 (Society) of the course, students explore questions related to the good life first from the perspective of the individual and then from the perspective of the community and society. The class will consider to what extant the pursuit of the good life is individually driven and determined and how society impacts and shapes the efforts of the individual to achieve the good life. For For Part 3 (Special Topic), students use Sophocles' Antigone as a lens to study in depth questions about the individual and society that have been the focus of the course in Parts 1 and 2. For Part 4 (This I Believe), students reflect on what they value in a short audio essay.
IDS 1161 fulfills the UF Quest requirement and 3 credits of the Humanities (H) General Education Requirement.
Humanities courses provide instruction in the history, key themes, principles, terminology, and theory or methodologies used within a humanities discipline or the humanities in general. Students will learn to identify and to analyze the key elements, biases and influences that shape thought. These courses emphasize clear and effective analysis and approach issues and problems from multiple perspectives.
These general education objectives will be accomplished through:
- Examination of the ways different people from different societies across time conceptualize the good life, the meaning and value individuals ascribe to the lives that they live or want to live, and the choices, costs, and benefits of the good life.
- Evaluation of conflicts and tensions that arise between the individual and the community, the normative and the exceptional, culture and nature, needs and wants, pleasure and happiness, short-term benefits and long-term consequences of the pursuit of the good life.
- Communication of concepts, expressions, and representations of the good life clearly and effectively in written and oral form as stated in the rubrics of the course.
At the end of the course, students will be expected to have achieved the following learning outcomes in content, critical thinking, communication, and connection:
- Content: Students identify, describe, and explain the history, underlying theory, and methodologies used. Students will acquire a knowledge of the different conceptions and representations of the good life, how such conceptions and representations vary in time and place, and the impact that they have on the way people live their lives. Achievement of this learning outcome will be assessed through the Discussion Board Posts, Essay 1, and Essay 2.
- Critical Thinking: Students identify and analyze key elements, biases and influences that shape thought within the subject area. They approach issues and problems within the discipline from multiple perspectives. Students will analyze the costs and benefits of the good life and the tensions that arise as individuals and groups of individuals pursue the good life. Achievement of this learning outcome will be assessed through the Discussion Board posts, Essay 1, and Essay 2.
- Communication: Students communicate knowledge, thoughts and reasoning clearly and effectively. Achievement of this learning outcome will be assessed through Essay 1 and Essay 2.
- Connection: Students connect course content with critical reflection on their intellectual, personal, and professional development at UF and beyond. Achievement of this learning outcome will be assessed through the online discussions, the Sacred Space Postcard, and the TIB Audio Essay.
Course Format and Class Meetings
Each week students watch web lectures and online context videos, complete the required readings, and submit posts to an online discussion in Canvas, before attending a section meeting, led by an instructor or graduate teaching assistant. Please consult One.UF for the location and time of your weekly section meeting.
To find out what you need to do each week, please consult the weekly module.
A positive learning environment relies upon creating an atmosphere where diverse perspectives can be expressed, especially in a course that focuses on pressing and controversial social and political issues. Each student is encouraged to take an active part in class discussions and activities. Honest and respectful dialogue is expected. Disagreement and challenging of ideas in a supportive and sensitive manner is encouraged. Hostility and disrespectful behavior is not acceptable.
Just as we expect others to listen attentively to our own views, we must reciprocate and listen to others when they speak, especially when we disagree with them. However, in this class, our emphasis will be on engaging in the mutual exploration of issues as presented in the course readings as scholars rather than in defending points of view we have formed outside the classroom.
Students with disabilities who experience learning barriers and would like to request academic accommodations should connect with the Disability Resource Center by visiting https://disability.ufl.edu/students/get-started/. It is important for students to share their accommodation letter with their instructor and discuss their access needs, as early as possible in the semester.
Readings and Works
Readings and works are available in the weekly modules, except for the following texts, which you can purchase through local bookstores and online retailers either as eBooks or paperbacks.
- Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha, trans. by Joachim Neugroschel (New York: Penguin Books, 2002). ISBN: 978-0142437186.
- Sophocles, Antigone, trans. by Ruby Blondell (Newburyport, MA: Focus Publishing, 1998). ISBN: 978-0941051255.
Course Readings and Works
You can find the assigned readings by going to the weekly modules. For your convenience, a complete list of course readings and works is also provided below.
Weeks 1-2: Thinking about the Good Life
- Joel K. Kupperman, “Myth One: Pursuing Comfort and Pleasure Will Lead to the Best Possible Life,” in Six Myths about the Good Life: Thinking about What Has Value (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2006), 1–21.
- Wislawa Szymborska, “The Onion,” in View with a Grain of Sand: Selected Poems, translated from the Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh (New York: Harcourt Brace and Co, 1995), 120-121.
- Pablo Neruda, “Parthenogenesis,” in Five Decades: A Selection (Poems: 1925-1970), edited and translated by Ben Belitt (New York: Grove, 1974), 192-195.
Weeks 3-4: Seeking the Good Life
- Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha, trans. by Joachim Neugroschel (New York: Penguin Books, 2002).
Week 5: Embodying the Good Life
- Kevin Michael Connolly, Double Take: A Memoir (New York: Harper, 2009), 123–30.
- Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (New York: Random House, 2010), 1–7.
- Julian, Savulescu, “The Moral Argument for Human Cloning: Genetic Enhancement,” To the Best of Our Knowledge, 23 July 2017.
Week 6: Fighting for the Good Life
- Martin Luther King, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” (16 April 1963), The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, n. d., web.
- “Wo-Haw between Two Worlds,” a drawing by Kiowa Artist, c. 1875, Missouri Historical Society, Colombia, MO.
Week 7: Essay 1
Week 8: Owning the Good Life
- Geraldine Brooks, “The Painted Desert,” Griffith Review 2 (2005): 146–57.
- “Ngurrara: The Great Sandy Desert Canvas,” National Museum Australia, n. d., web.
- Michael Sandel, “Markets and Morals,” in What Money Can’t Buy: The Limits of Markets (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2010), 3-15.
Week 9: Sustaining the Good Life
- Aldo Leopold, “The Land Ethic,” from A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There (New York: Oxford University Press, 1949), 201–226.
- Wangari Maathai, “Foresters without Diplomas,” in Unbowed: A Memoir (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006), 119-138.
Week 10: Constructing the Good Life
- Randy Hester, “Subconscious Landscapes of the Heart,” Places 2 (1985): 10–22.
- Kirk Savage, “The Politics of Memory: Black Emancipation and the Civil War Monument,” in Commemorations: The Politics of National Identity, edited by John Gillis (Princeton: Princeton University, 1994), 127–49.
Weeks 11-12: Special Topic
- Sophocles, Antigone, trans. by Ruby Blondell (Newburyport, MA: Focus Publishing, 1998).
Week 13: Essay 2
Weeks 14-15: This I Believe
Course Assignments and Requirements*
- Essay 1 (600-800 words, 200 points)
- Essay 2 (1,000-1,250 words, 250 points)
- This I Believe (TIB) Audio Essay (75 points)
- Discussion Activities (305 points)
- Miscellaneous (70 points)
- Attendance in the discussion section meetings (100 points)
*Dates and Deadlines for all assignments can be found in Course Summary at the bottom of the Syllabus Page and in Assignments.
Grade Scale and Grading Policies
|Grade Range||Grade Points||Grade Range||Grade Points|
|A = 93–100%||A = 4.00||C = 72–74%||C = 2.00|
|A- = 90–92%||A- = 3.67||C- = 69–71%||C- = 1.67|
|B+ = 87–89%||B+ = 3.33||D+ = 66–68%||D+ = 1.33|
|B = 83-86%||B = 3.00||D = 62–65%||D = 1.00|
|B- = 79-82%||B- = 2.67||D- = 60–61%||D- = 0.67|
|C+ = 75–78%||C+ = 2.33||E <60%||E = 0.00|
*Grades are rounded to the nearest whole number (e.g., 89.4% = 89% and 89.5% = 90%).
UF Grading Policies: A minimum grade of C is required for general education credit. Courses intended to satisfy the general education requirement cannot be taken S-U. More information on UF grades and grading policies is available in the Undergraduate Catalog.
Course Grading Policies: If you have questions about your grade on an assignment, please make an appointment to meet with your TA within a week after the assignment has been returned so your TA can explain how you were graded. If after meeting with your TA, you wish to dispute your grade, you may email your instructor to request that the instructor re-grade the assignment. The instructor will then re-grade the assignment and the second grade will stand, regardless of whether it is higher or lower than the original grade. You may request re-grading or dispute a grade up to one week after the assignment has been returned to you or the grade released.
Additional Course Policies
UF students are bound by The Honor Pledge which states, "We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honor and integrity by abiding by the Honor Code. On all work submitted for credit by students at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: 'On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment'.” The Honor Code specifies a number of behaviors that are in violation of this code and the possible sanctions. Furthermore, you are obligated to report any condition that facilitates academic misconduct to appropriate personnel. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with the instructor of this class.
Requirements for class attendance and make-up exams, assignments, and other work in this course are consistent with university policies: https://catalog.ufl.edu/UGRD/academic-regulations/attendance-policies/
- In the case of an absence due to participation in an official university activity, observance of a religious holiday, performance of a military duty, or any other university-approved absence (e.g., jury duty) which the student knows about in advance, the student is expected to notify the instructor of the conflict before the assignment is due, and if possible at the start of the semester.
- In the case of the essays, there is a deduction for missing the deadline and a deduction for every day that passes before the assignment is submitted unless an extension has been granted (see rubrics in Canvas).
- For all other assignments, students will not be granted an extension (beyond the grace period specified in the rubric) without an acceptable reason, such as an illness or serious family emergencies, in accordance with university policies on absences.
Students are expected to provide professional and respectful feedback on the quality of instruction in this course by completing course evaluations online via GatorEvals. Guidance on how to give feedback in a professional and respectful manner is available at https://gatorevals.aa.ufl.edu/students/. Students will be notified when the evaluation period opens, and can complete evaluations through the email they receive from GatorEvals, in their Canvas course menu under GatorEvals, or via https://ufl.bluera.com/ufl/. Summaries of course evaluation results are available to students at https://gatorevals.aa.ufl.edu/public-results/.
Students are allowed to record video or audio of class lectures. However, the purposes for which these recordings may be used are strictly controlled. The only allowable purposes are (1) for personal educational use, (2) in connection with a complaint to the university, or (3) as evidence in, or in preparation for, a criminal or civil proceeding. All other purposes are prohibited. Specifically, students may not publish recorded lectures without the written consent of the instructor.
A “class lecture” is an educational presentation intended to inform or teach enrolled students about a particular subject, including any instructor-led discussions that form part of the presentation, and delivered by any instructor hired or appointed by the University, or by a guest instructor, as part of a University of Florida course. A class lecture does not include lab sessions, student presentations, clinical presentations such as patient history, academic exercises involving solely student participation, assessments (quizzes, tests, exams), field trips, private conversations between students in the class or between a student and the faculty or lecturer during a class session.
Publication without permission of the instructor is prohibited. To “publish” means to share, transmit, circulate, distribute, or provide access to a recording, regardless of format or medium, to another person (or persons), including but not limited to another student within the same class section. Additionally, a recording, or transcript of a recording, is considered published if it is posted on or uploaded to, in whole or in part, any media platform, including but not limited to social media, book, magazine, newspaper, leaflet, or third party note/tutoring services. A student who publishes a recording without written consent may be subject to a civil cause of action instituted by a person injured by the publication and/or discipline under UF Regulation 4.040 Student Honor Code and Student Conduct Code.
In response to COVID-19, the following recommendations are in place to maintain your learning environment, to enhance the safety of our in-classroom interactions, and to further the health and safety of ourselves, our neighbors, and our loved ones:
- If you are not vaccinated, get vaccinated. Vaccines are readily available and have been demonstrated to be safe and effective against the COVID-19 virus. Visit one.uf for screening / testing and vaccination opportunities.
- If you are sick, stay home. Please call your primary care provider if you are ill and need immediate care or the UF Student Health Care Center at 352-392-1161 to be evaluated.
- As with any excused absence, you will be given a reasonable amount of time to make up missed work.
Counseling, Tutoring, and Other Services
Students experiencing either health or personal problems that interfere with their general well-being are encouraged to seek assistance through the university’s health care and counseling centers. Resources are also available on campus for students who wish to explore their career options.
- Student Health Care Center, 392-1161, shcc.ufl.edu
- University Counseling and Wellness Center, 3190 Radio Road, 392-1575, counseling.ufl.edu
- U Matter We Care, 294-care, umatter.ufl.edu
- The Teaching Center, https://teachingcenter.ufl.edu/
- The UF Writing Studio, https://writing.ufl.edu/writing-studio/
- Career Connections Center, Suite 1300 J. Wayne Reitz Union, 392-1601, career.ufl.edu
You can also check out the UF Resources page for the many other university resources, services, and support that are available to you.
- Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, "The School of Athens," fresco, Apostolic Palace, Vatican City, Wikipedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%22The_School_of_Athens%22_by_Raffaello_Sanzio_da_Urbino.jpg
Zoom Help Page
- "Clouds 24," photographed by Guy Wann, 29 July 2010, licensed under CC By 2.0, https://www.flickr.com/photos/11585392@N04/7021916981
The syllabus page shows a table-oriented view of the course schedule, and the basics of course grading. You can add any other comments, notes, or thoughts you have about the course structure, course policies or anything else.
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