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HUM 101 - Introduction to Humanities - Rose


Things to Keep in Mind

  • Pagoda in Taiwan When you study the humanities you are exploring various art forms representative of different cultures across time periods in world history.
  • In your critical reviews, you will investigate three out of six categories of visual and performing arts: architecture; music; film; painting; sculpture, and Theatre.
  • You will also be completing a comparison/contrast essay on Western / Non-Western Arts.
  • This guide contains recommended resources for finding sources, tips on keyword searching, and examples of comparisons between Western and Non-Western arts.

What are the Visual Arts?

When using the term "art", the visual arts are usually the first kind of the arts that come to mind for most people. However, this visual arts can further be broken down into the categories of painting, printmaking, sculpture, decorative arts, architecture, and photography.

Comparing/Contrasting Western & Non-western Visual Arts

Western Non-western
Mary Cassatt, The Coiffure, 1890-1891, drypoint and aquatint on laid paper, sheet: 43.2 x 30.7 cm  (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) Kitagawa Utamaro - Takashima Ohisa Using Two Mirrors to Observe Her Coiffure Night of the Asakusa Marketing Festival - MFA Boston 21.6410
Mary Cassatt, The Coiffure, 1890-1891, drypoint and aquatint on laid paper, sheet: 43.2 x 30.7 cm  (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), Public Domain, Link Kitagawa Utamaro, Takashima Ohisa Using Two Mirrors to Observe Her Coiffure, c. 1795, woodblock print, ink and color on paper, 36.3 x 25 cm  (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), Public Domain, Link

Mary Cassatt visited an exhibition in Paris on Japanese woodblock prints. This experience served as her inspiration for a series of art in which she attempted to emulate aspects of the Japanese style.

What are the Performing Arts?

When thinking about the "performing arts" as a category or particular type of "the arts," music, dance, and theatre are probably the types of performance most people think of first. These are also sometimes called the "traditional" forms of performing arts. It should also be noted that other, sometimes less frequently studied forms of performing arts include: mime/pantomime, oral histories, magic, festive rites and rituals, and more.

Comparing/Contrasting Western & Non-western Performing Arts

Western Performing Arts Example

Scene from Act V of William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet from a film version produced in 1948 by CTE Carlton in which Laurence Olivier plays the title role. Accessible to HACC students and staff through the Films on Demand database. 

Non-western Performing Arts Example

Segment from the video Performing Arts: Part One, a program that examines the revival of indigenous art forms. This clip shows Australian Aboriginal music and dance. Accessible to HACC students and staff through the Films on Demand database