The Harvest by Joel-Peter Witkin

Humanities 220-02: Values and Culture


Tuesday 2-3.15

Sean Connelly, Ph.D.


Office location/ hours: Thurs 12-1 and by appt. 

Course Blog:

The Project:

HUM220 examines the relationships between expressive forms and social values by studying works of fiction set in various times and places including the medieval Emmental valley, colonial Congo, and contemporary Japan. Taking Dark Modernity as our theme, we’ll peruse novels, short stories, films and other forms of visual culture, and popular music in search of the aberrant and irrational. Our project is to judge how gothic tropes of haunting, confinement, delusion, and transformation (among others) are used to support and trouble dominant ideologies. How do different artists use gothic materials to explore the contradictions of the modern world? How does the gothic mode relate to deep-rooted beliefs concerning order and rationality such as the “naturalness” of capitalism and democracy or the inevitability of Progress?

Learning Outcomes

Students can complete this course with a foundation in cultural theory, modern history, and the analysis and interpretation of literature and film.

Required Resources

To take this course you will need the following:

3 books (see below)

computer and internet access

a notebook


Required Texts:

You are required to have hard copies of these specific texts. Use the ISBNs to be sure you have the right edition.

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness 9780199536016

Jeremias Gotthelf, The Black Spider 9781590176689

Thierry Jonquet, Mygale 9780872864092

Basic Expectations:

Do the reading. Don’t cheat. Be polite. 


If you have particular needs that you think I should know about, please discuss them with me asap and I’ll do my best to reasonably accommodate you. See also: Disability Program and Resource Center (338-2472 or

Work and Grading Rubric:

Effort and Engagement 30% 

Image 20%

Film Analysis 20%

Essay 30%


= the assignment was MET and submitted by the FIRST deadline.

2 = the assignment was NOT MET and submitted by the FIRST deadline OR

the assignment was MET and submitted by the FINAL deadline a week after the FIRST deadline.

1 = the assignment was NOT MET and submitted by the FINAL deadline a week after the FIRST deadline. 

0 = the assignment was NOT submitted by the FINAL deadline a week after the FIRST deadline.  

Important Dates

1/25 Instruction begins

2/12 Last day of drop/add and CR/NC

3/22-3/27 Spring Break 

3/31 Cesar Chavez Day

5/14 Last day of instruction

5/20 Writing project due by 12 pm.