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The Humanities and Fine Arts1: IAI GECC Definition

Study in the humanities and fine arts develops an understanding of what it means to be human--the struggles and aspirations, comedies and tragedies, and achievements and failures of human beings; wrestles with the basic questions that confront all human beings in the course of their lives--identity, beauty, courage, love, truth, justice, and morality; and examines the dreams, traditions, and cultural expressions of peoples throughout time who have wrestled with these same questions. To understand what it means to be human, one must understand oneself in relation to the natural world and in relation to others, reflect on ideas and confront presuppositions from one's own and other cultures, and respond creatively.

Thus, study in the humanities and fine arts focuses on intellectual and cultural expression approached through historical, hermeneutic, cultural, and aesthetic investigations. Courses designed to fulfill the Illinois Transferable General Education Core Curriculum (IAI GECC) humanities and fine arts requirement involve students in the basic questions and substance of the humanities and fine arts, as well as in the methods used to approach these questions. Courses in philosophy, religious studies, literature, history, and the history and appreciation of the visual and performing arts, as well as interdisciplinary courses, are typically included among those considered part of a general education. Because critical thinking, investigation, and reflection are necessary to the study of the humanities and fine arts, these processes--as embodied in writing (essays and essay examinations) and speaking (oral presentations and discussion)--are a significant component of humanities and fine arts courses. Where appropriate, course readings and activities also reflect an awareness of the United States' multicultural inheritance: race, ethnicity, gender and class.

By contrast, courses that primarily focus on developing a skill, such as performance or production courses in the arts, technique or professional courses in communications, and those foreign language courses that focus on learning to speak and write a different language at an elementary level, generally are not considered part of a general education in the humanities and fine arts.

To fulfill the IAI GECC humanities and fine arts requirement, students should select a minimum of three courses (9 semester credit hours) from the approved course list, selecting at least one from the humanities and one from the fine arts. Interdisciplinary courses encompassing both the humanities and the fine arts may be used for both categories.

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Specific course descriptions:
IAI GECC Humanities
IAI GECC Fine Arts

1 The Humanities and Fine Arts Panel acknowledges its debt to the previous Committee of Scholars on the Humanities for its work in defining the Humanities.

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