HUM 3255 (Modern Humanities) Final Exam Possible Questions

All questions from the midterm question sheet that were not used are fair game for the final. As well, I am assuming that you have access to all the resources of the course - texts, lectures, movies, guest lecturers, web resources. Your answer can be drawn from any of these (or more, if that would help to construct a better answer). You will have two hours and fifty minutes to write the exam, and it is worth 30% of the final grade. There will most likely be 4 questions on the final, but that could change (assume between 3-5). You should assume that you have about 40 minutes per question. I have not decided whether there will be choice within those questions. Since you have most of the questions in advance, I expect well organized answers in paragraph form. You will not be allowed access to books or notes while writing the exam. NOTE: I reserve the right to have a question on the final exam that you have not seen before. So, it is worth knowing the material of the course thoroughly.

1. One theme of this course (discussed in class, mainly) has been that modernity comes with inherent contradictions or tensions. Identify and describe at least two of these.

2. Concept identification: I may include a subset of the following terms on the exam. Please identify the term, connect it with a figure or text for whom it is important, and give an example of its application or use.

3. Visual identification: I may include some of the visual images linked below. If I do, I will project them in class, and ask you to do the following:

Identify the image shown, the artist, and the style of painting. As well, make a brief statement on if and how this image contributes to or typifies modernism, broadly understood (that is, not just modernism in art, but modernism in general). If the image does not contribute to modernism, what does it do?








5a, 5b

8a, 8b, 8c








4. Is the movie Bladerunner modern in content (that is, subject matter & themes) and/or in form (that is, in the technical or narrative aspects of the movie itself)? Justify your answer.

5. Julius Nyerere, the founding president of Tanzania, wrote a brief essay called "Ujamaa: The Basis of African Socialism." ( Given our discussions about utopias, would his vision of Tanzanian society be considered utopian? Would it be considered modern? If so, whose version of utopia or modernism is it closest to, and whose is it furthest away from? If his vision of society is neither utopian nor modernist, what would you call it (other than "socialist", which is his term), and why?

6. In Brave New World, why did Ford call himself "Freud" (e.g., p. 28)? What would the real Sigmund Freud have thought of the society that Huxley describes, and "Our Ford's" claim to be "Our Freud"?

7. Why might Miles Davis be considered a contributor to modernism in music?

8. Describe, using examples, the ways in which the development of photography and film contributed to the construction of the modern. Would Oscar Wilde agree that these technological forms contribute to modernism, and if so, why?

9. The World Trade Center Memorial competition attracted over 5000 entries. Look at the winning entry (animations, drawings, description, jury statement, etc.), by Michael Arad and Peter Walker. Using any material from the course (e.g., the texts, web resources, class discussions), analyze the memorial. How does the memorial "fix" the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and how does it represent them? How do the resources of this course enable a reading of the memorial?

10. Given the depiction of modernism we have given this term, how might someone argue that modernism is over, or that it is exhausted?

11. Identify and explain the following quotations (not all will be used if this question is chosen). How do these relate to the overall theme of the course, which has been to investigate the nature and limits of the idea of the modern?

a. A public is everything and nothing, the most dangerous of all powers and the most insignificant: one can speak to a whole nation in the name of the public, and still the public will be less than a single real man, however unimportant.

b. ...a 'modern' society is one in which 'project' - an orientation to rational purposive control of the environment (both natural and social), thereby both understanding and transforming it - becomes the central dynamic of the society, one in which humans are reconstructed as appropriate subjects that can 'carry' this process through becoming 'civilized' and 'Enlightened'.

c. ...human beings fall ill when, as a result of external obstacles or of an internal lack of adaptation, the satisfaction of their erotic needs in reality is frustrated. We see that they then take flight into illness in order that by its help they may find a satisfaction to take the place of what has been frustrated.

d. ...civilization has absolutely no need of nobility or heroism. These things are symptoms of political inefficiency. In a properly organized society...nobody has any opportunties for being noble or heroic.

e. I am sorry to hear the prince often speaking of things he has merely heard tell of, or read about; when he does so, he adopts the point of view of the one who presented the matter to him. I am also disturbed to find he values my mind and abilities more highly than my heart, which is my only source of pride, and indeed of everthing, all my strength and happiness and misery. The things I know, anyone can know - but my heart is mine and mne alone.