Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592: The Human Condition

Instructor: Patricia Turrisi

An exploration of what makes us human, from a variety of perspectives including the evolutionary history of the characteristics of our species and the history of our interpretations of these characteristics, the consequences of the evolution of the hand, upright posture and helpless infants, pair-bonding, sexuality and sexual ethics, migrations, trade, agriculture, neoteny (retention of youthful characteristics throughout life, including extended infancy, childhood, adolescence and senescence), attachments to objects and artifacts, artistic and scientific creativity, self-adornment, language, tool use and technology, religion, ritual, eogism and altruism, competition and cooperation, disease/illness/epidemics and medicine, mental illness, hygiene, parenting, families and tribes, extended social networks, sports and play, food and diet, domestication of other species, slavery, aggression and war, gender roles, and the qualities of mind, conciousness and self-conciousness that are unique to humans.

Students will construct artifacts, visit relevant sites, cook food, write autobiographical accounts and read and reflect on sources in philosophy, religion, anthropology, biology, sociobiology, psychology, gastronomy, medicine, and other disciplines.

Last Update: December 2, 2011