Houston Baptist University Catalog

Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) Course Descriptions


MLA 5301 The Trivium in the Western Tradition
This course explores the historical and practical importance of the Trivium as a fundamental part of teaching and learning. It incorporates the basic elements of the Western tradition and the liberal arts, focusing them around the disciplines of grammar, logic, and rhetoric.

MLA 5302, Logic and the Great Texts
This course introduces students to the study of logic in the Western tradition, with particular emphasis on Aristotelian and classical forms of logic from the ancient Greeks to the modern world. Particular emphasis will be placed on logic as it is applied to classical education and the Great Books of the Western tradition.

MLA 5303, Classics and Christianity
This course is a broad survey of the history, literature, philosophy, religion, art, archaeology and politics of the Ancient Graeco-Roman World with the purpose of focusing on specific elements that shed light on our understanding of the Bible and the development of Christianity.

MLA 5311 Islam: Resurrection of Empire
This course will address the question of whether Islamic fundamentalism is becoming a more potent force on the current world stage.

MLA 5314 THE NATURE OF BIOGRAPHY
For course description and prerequisite(s) for this course, please contact the Dean of the Smith College of Liberal Arts.

MLA 5315 The Vietnam Experience
This course will focus on the collective American experience during the Vietnam War era from 1954-1976. Through various media and first hand experience, the class will examine the impact of the war on the United States and the generation of men and women who fought for American ideals at home and abroad.

MLA 5318 Texas Culture
The purpose of this course is to view the ¿Texas experience¿ from a variety of angles, including the history of the Lone Star State, and how Texas fits in the national, social and political mosaic.

MLA 5319 Structures of Poetry
Structures of Poetry teaches students to read poetry thoughtfully, accuratley, and wisely. Students who are experienced with reading poetry will emerge from this course as capable readers. Students who have read much poetry will emerge from this course with a much fuller understanding fo the way a poem functions.

MLA 5321 Victorian Fiction
This course will serve as an introductory course on Victorian Fiction that will bridge MLA 6338, Great Detectives; MLA 6355, Gothic Novels; and MLA 6369, Charles Dickens. Victorian Fiction will be a survey of the major Victorian novelists from Dickens to Hardy.

MLA 5322 Fictional History
This course will be a survey of historical fiction from Sir Walter Scott to the present day with an emphasis on those works that have shaped popular concepts of history.

MLA 5323 Tolkien and the World of Fantasy
Critical interest in the study of fantasy has grown because of the vast popularity of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. This course will include the relationship of fantasy to medieval literature, fairy tales, fables and folklore, but emphasis will be on works since 1800.

MLA 5326 The Conquest of the Americas
In The Conquest of the Americas students will examine the three major pre-Columbian cultures in Latin America (Maya, Aztec, and Inca). Documents recording the encounter of the Old and New Worlds will be read (in English): diaries, letters, and histories plus hieroglyph/pictograph histories.

MLA 5328 HOLOCAUST:AFTER 50 YEARS
For course description and prerequisite(s) for this course, please contact the Dean of the Smith College of Liberal Arts.

MLA 5329 Hildegard von Bingen and Her Music
The purpose of this course is to study and become familiar with the musical works of Hildegard von Bingen, placing them within the history, environment and thought of the time. Students will become familiar with earlier forms of worship music and the contemporary Christian music of her day.

MLA 5335 Egypt: Pharaohs and Pyramids
This course will provide a survey of Egyptian history from the earliest pharaohs through the Roman occupation; it will also examine the literature, mythology, art, architecture, and science of Egypt as well as the West¿s rediscovery of the Egyptian culture.

MLA 5336 Romanticism and Revolution: Art and Literature
This course will study the impact of the French and American revolutions with emphasis on the visual arts. This survey of the Romantic Era will include a brief review of the major English poets, composers who based their major works on Romantic literary works, and artists of the Romantic Era.

MLA 5338 World Religions: Hinduism and Buddhism in India and Southeast Asia
This course will examine Hinduism and Buddhism through readings in works such as the Vedic Hymns, the Bhagavad-Gita, and the Ramayana which link classical and popular Asian religion. Numerous examples of religious architecture, geography, and myth will further illustrate subject matter.

MLA 5341 Three Cities of the Revolution
This class will enhance the student¿s critical understanding of the American republic through studies and readings in Revolutionary War perspectives presented by Williamsburg, Boston, and Philadelphia.

MLA 5343 African-American Literature
Students will study slave narratives, spirituals and gospel music, folk tales, sermons, speeches, poetry, drama and fiction and analyze the literature as it relates to and reflects the periods in which it was written.

MLA 5345 Faulkner
Students read novels and short stories by William Faulkner and relate his themes and style to American Modernism.

MLA 5349 THE EPIC:HOMER AND VIRGIL
For course description and prerequisite(s) for this course, please contact the Dean of the Smith College of Liberal Arts.

MLA 5351 Great Books in Ancient and Medieval Political Theory
This course is an examination of the classic dilemmas and recurring problems in political theory and how they are dealt with by ancient Greek, Roman, and Medieval thinkers. Central to the course is a discussion of the nature of man, the meaning of life, and how best to achieve it.

MLA 5352 Dangers and Dilemmas in Democracy
By examining classic texts in democratic theory, students will develop greater insight into the dangers and dilemmas of democracy, how they might be resolved, and how our own nation might overcome some of these same obstacles.

MLA 5353 Southern Women Writers
Students will examine the literature of writers of the American South that reflect issues peculiar to that region as it comes to terms with slavery and its legacy. The reading list will include selected works of Kate Chopin, Harper Lee, Ellen Gilchrist and Eudora Welty.

MLA 5354 Law and Lawyers in Literature, Film and Video
A study of the ways in which lawyers have been viewed in literature, cinema, and television.

MLA 5355, THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL EXPERIENCE
This course examines the American constitution from a historical and philosophical perspective, approaching the American constitutional experience as a battle of ideas and words. The course relies on historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence, Federalist Papers, and the US Constitution.

MLA 5357 Voices of the Civil War
The American Civil War as it is related by the participants themselves, through the interpretation of the most influential historians of the 20th century, and on to the visions of today¿s filmmakers and novelists. Each class session gives us an opportunity to read, view, and discuss memoirs, novels, histories, movies, and TV programs that illuminate the Civil War experience. Students will be asked to read and view these materials in the context of the times in which they were created. This will allow us to see the development of Civil War themes across the years since the conflict. Finally, students will be able to better articulate the meaning of the war in today¿s society.

MLA 5358 Women of Tudor England
This course will study women during the Tudor Era (1485-1603). Even though women during this era were exhorted to be silent and obedient, ironically, for the first time in English history several women ruled as queens in their own right and numerous other women had a significant impact on history. Some famous women of the era were the six wives of Henry VIII, Bloody Mary, Mary Queen of Scots, Lady Jane Grey, and Bess of Hardwick. Special emphasis will be on the exceptional reign of Elizabeth I, who survived both to rule as an unmarried woman and become, by many standards, the most successful monarch in English history. This course will also explore the lives of the common women of Tudor England and trace cultural, social, and economic changes impacting their lives.

MLA 5359 Utopia, Dystopia and the Literature of Technology
This course will cover literature that portrays societies that are utopian and/or dystopian in nature, and feature the use or misuse of technology. The course will begin with Sir Thomas More¿s Utopia (1516), then proceed chronologically through the 19th and 20th centuries. We will end by exploring a new literary genre, hypertext fiction, which is not only produced but also consumed using technology, since it can only be read on a computer screen. Students will analyze the works using selected 20th century critical theories.

MLA 5360, Mythology in Literature and the Arts
This course provides an overview of the major myths, the archetypes based on those myths, and their use in literature and the arts. It emphasizes the Greco-Roman, Norse, and Celtic myths, but also covers other mythologies. Coverage will include major stories from the Old and New Testaments.

MLA 5361, Understanding the Greeks: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle
This course investigates the lasting impact of Greek thought on Western Civilization. The course provides a look at ancient Greek civilization including origins, religion, gender roles, daily life, theater, war, mythology, and politics. The primary focus of the course is tracing the intellectual contributions of the Greeks to Western Civilization and the way we view the world today.

MLA 5364 Chaucer and the Fourteenth Centery
Examines the fourteenth century as a turning point in English and European culture: the end of the High Middle Ages and the beginnings of the pre-Renaissance. The course emphasizes the rise of vernacular languages as literary languages, particularly in Italy and England, and the role of Geoffrey Chaucer as the father of English poetry.

MLA 5365 Milton
This course considers the thought and works of John Milton, with special attention devoted to Paradise Lost. Through examination of Milton's poetry and his major prose writings as well as their historical context and influence, students will explore the artistic, religious, political, and philosophical contributions of this key intellectual figure.

MLA 5382, The Greek World
This course introduces students to the world of Ancient Greece. The goals of the courase are to read the foundational texts of the Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods, to place them in their historical, philosophical, and archaeological contexts, and to consider their impact on western civilization. Authors read in this class may include Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Europides, Aristophanes, Plato, Aristotle, and Thucydides.

MLA 5383, The Roman World
This course introduces students to the world of Ancient Rome. The goals of the course are to read the foundational texts of the Republican and Imperial periods, to place them in their historical, philosophical, and archaeological contexts, to understand the interrelationship between the Greek and Roman worlds, to discuss the emergence of Christianity in its classical context, and to consider the impact of Ancient Rome on western civilization. Authors read in this class may include Vergil, Cicero, Lucretius, Horace, Plautus, Terrence, Suetonius, Tacitus, and Pliny.

MLA 5384, THE MEDIEVAL WORLD
This course introduces students to the Medieval World. The goals of the course are to read the foundational texts of the Medieval period, to place them in their historical, philosophical, and architectural contexts, to understand the relationship between the Classical Antiquity and the emergence of Christian Europe, and to consider the impact of the Medieval period on western civilization. Authors read in this class may include Boethius, Augustine, Aquinas, Dante, Bede and Chaucer.

MLA 5385, The Renaissance and Reformation
This course introduces students to the period of the Renaissance and Reformation. The goals of the course are to read the foundational texts of the Reformation period, to place them in their historical, philosophical, and religious contexts, to understand the relationship between the Classical Antiquity, the middle ages, and the emergence of early modern Europe, and to consider the impact of the Renaissance and Reformation on western civilization. Authors read in this class may include Luther, Calvin, Machiavelli, Erasmus, Petrarch, Skakespeare, Milton, and Donne.

MLA 5386, The Enlightenment
This course introduces students to the period of the Enlightenment. The goals of the course are to read the foundational texts of the Enlightenment period, to place them in their historical, philosophical, scientific and religious contexts, to understand the relationship between the Classical Antiquity, the scientific revolution, and the emergence of representative democracy, and to consider the impact of the Enlightenment on western civilization. Authors read in this class may include Locke, Hobbes, Pope, Swift, Austen, Voltaire, Rousseau and Kant.

MLA 5387, The Modern World
This course introduces students to the period of Romanticism and Modernity. The goals of the course are: to read the foundational texts of Romanticism and Modernism, to place them in their historical, philosophical, scientific, and religious contexts, to understand the relationship between the Romanticism and Modernism, and to consider the impact of these movements on the post-modern world. Authors read in this class may include: Goethe, Wordsworth, Nietzsche, Eliot, Einstein and Beckett.

MLA 5388, The Last Fifty Years
This course introduces students to recent developments in western civilization. Special attention will be given to postmodernism and how has it influenced American culture. The goals of the course are: to examine the critical moral, political, economic, and social questions of the 20th century, and to understand the connection between this period and those that have preceded it. Special attention will be given to primary source readings.

MLA 5390 Western Culture and Human Experience
These courses are a core component of the MLA program and offer a broad overview of history, politics, art, and philosophy. MLA 5390 will cover the years from the time of classical Greece through the medieval period; MLA 5391 will cover the Renaissance, Reformation, and Early Modern period; MLA 5392 will cover from the French revolution through Modern times.

MLA 5391 Western Culture and Human Experience
These courses are a core component of the MLA program and offer a broad overview of history, politics, art, and philosophy. MLA 5390 will cover the years from the time of classical Greece through the medieval period; MLA 5391 will cover the Renaissance, Reformation, and Early Modern period; MLA 5392 will cover from the French revolution through Modern times.

MLA 5392 Western Culture and Human Experience
These courses are a core component of the MLA program and offer a broad overview of history, politics, art, and philosophy. MLA 5390 will cover the years from the time of classical Greece through the medieval period; MLA 5391 will cover the Renaissance, Reformation, and Early Modern period; MLA 5392 will cover from the French revolution through Modern times.

MLA 5399, Thesis
This course is for the research, writing, and defense of a faculty-approved Master of Liberal Arts thesis. Course may be taken twice for credit.

MLA 6301 Science and the Common Understanding
This course will include readings and discussions concerning the great scientific discoveries of the past, the historical context from which they arose, and the conflicts that resulted during their eventual resolution.

MLA 6304 Scientists: Their Philosophy, Their Essays
This course studies scientific essays, some of historical significance - most from the modern world in which we live, most in written form but some in the form of video - all composed by scientists/essayists. No scientific or mathematical background is assumed or expected; instead, the approach is that of the seeker of knowledge and understanding, the aesthetic looking for beauty in content and style, and the critic viewing all with a skeptical eye.

MLA 6310, Unborn Life in the Western Tradition and American History
Through a close study of great texts as well as individual scholarly research, this graduate-level course explores the history of ideas, attitudes, and practices regarding unborn life in the Western Tradition. The course pays special attention to American history as an expression of that tradition and to Christian reflection on the unborn from antiquity to the present.

MLA 6312 The French Enlightenment
This course focuses on the cosmopolitan popularization of ideas and rhetorical strategies for their dissemination that became not only characteristics of the major philosophies of the French Enlightenment but also compelling and normative models for nearly all subsequent philosophical, critical, and scientific thought in the Modern Age.

MLA 6315 Critical Approaches to Literature: Don Quixote
This course uses the Cervantes masterpiece Don Quixote de la Mancha as a springboard for the study of literary theory that may, in turn, be applied to other literary texts. Contemporary theories such as psychological, mythological-archetypal, formalist, structuralist, and poststructuralist methodologies will be examined and applied to Quixote.

MLA 6317 The Graying of America
This course is designed to provide the student with sociological approaches to the study of aging. An examination of the emergence of aging as a problem in industrial nations will be undertaken. Consideration of specific problems and programs related to aging will also be addressed.

MLA 6318 Church and State in Early Modern England
This course examines the relationship between the church and the state as a fundamental aspect of early modern English history (c.1500-170). Events of the period such as the Reformation, the Wars of Religion, the Enlightenment, and the Scientific Revolution deeply impacted church-state relations and the development of the modern nation-state. Particular attention will be paid to the opinion-shaping influence of early printed books, including: Bibles, devotional manuals, sermons, plays, printed images, and other literature. The course also will provide an introduction to early modern paleography and historiography.

MLA 6324 The Art of Being Human
This course is an introduction to the humanities. It reaffirms the liberal arts tradition that maintains that the humanities constitute the best and brightest expressions of all people. The emphasis is on the interaction between the arts, religion, and philosophy, and on the humanities, believing that this approach helps us to see artists and philosophers at work, trying to solve real problems that we all know about.

MLA 6331 Jane Austen and the Brontes
The Jane Austen and the Brontes course is significant in its juxtaposition of both canonical and non-canonical early female novelists who represent both enlightenment and romantic literary and social values. The aim of this course is for the student to develop an appreciation of the authors¿ contributions to the development of the novel, and to fully understand the cultural periods that influence these novels.

MLA 6344 American Popular Culture
A study of the development and impact of the mass media and society with an emphasis on the 20th century. Materials to be studied include dime novels, pulp magazines, comic books, and paperback books as well as their relationships to other mass media, particularly radio, television, and motion pictures. Other aspects include the production, marketing and distribution of popular culture as well as the sociological and psychological implications.

MLA 6345 SHAKESPEARE:GOODLY FRAME EARTH
For course description and prerequisite(s) for this course, please contact the Dean of the Smith College of Liberal Arts.

MLA 6346 King Arthur in History and the Arts
This course examines the major literary, musical, and artistic works inspired by the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The course will cover the historical roots of the legends, their use by major historians, and their influence on European and English literature.

MLA 6354 MYTH OF THE WEST IN FILM
For course description and prerequisite(s) for this course, please contact the Dean of the Smith College of Liberal Arts.

MLA 6358 OUR TIMES/ OUR LITERATURE
For course description and prerequisite(s) for this course, please contact the Dean of the Smith College of Liberal Arts.

MLA 6359 The Rhetoric of Social Change
This course will explore the evolution of social movements from a rhetorical perspective. Special attention will be given to how public opinion is manipulated by both agents of change and agents of control. Topics to be studied will include civil rights, women¿s liberation, Vietnam, and the ¿new right.¿

MLA 6363 Men's Visions in Literature and Art
This course will examine a variety of 20th century male perceptions, values, visions, and art forms. Western world literature celebrates the courage, competitions, and conquests of men in conflict with one another, nature, God, and themselves. Men who lose such conflicts consider themselves failures, and the literature about them is tragic. But when a man wins those conflicts, he often destroys, damages, or diminishes his antagonists, the natural world, his God and his own humanity, dignity, satisfaction and joy.

MLA 6366 Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Period
This course will focus on the life of Alexander, his impact on the Greek and Eastern Mediterranean world, and the forces which he unleashed in the Hellenistic Period.

MLA 6368 Power in the Middle Ages
The question of what power is and who should wield it became particularly acute in the disorder of the Middle Ages. After the collapse of the Roman Empire kings, nobles, and the church all attempted to maintain or expand their authority, and women and intellectuals carved their own niche in the life of the time. This course examines how thier battles for power and the solutions they worked out in the heat of the moment not only bulit their institutions of government but also laid the foundations for our own government and some of the ideas of liberty we hold most dear today.

MLA 6369 The World of Charles Dickens
This course will provide an overview of the life, world, and work of Charles Dickens, the ¿Shakespeare of the English novel.¿ His development as a writer will be traced through his major novels: Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Dombey and Son, Little Dorrit.

MLA 6371 Music in the Theatre
The major emphasis of this course will be a presentation of the characteristics and differences between the Operetta and the Broadway show. Discussion of the components of the operetta will use as illustrations Lehar, Strauss, and Victor Herbert; the section on Broadway shows will feature standard composers such as Rodgers and Hammerstein and Lerner and Loewe; and including, finally, the contemporaries such as Bernstein, Bacharach, Herman, and Sondheim.

MLA 6374, Travel: The Italian Renaissance
A tour of the three cities most associated with the Renaissance: Rome, Florence, and Venice. It will also include other significant sites such as Pisa, Ravenna, Verona, and Milan.

MLA 6375 Van Gogh and the Post Impressionist Movement
The course deals with the major formative phase of the modern movement in art. Both Impressionist and Post Impressionist styles and artists will be examined. The focus of the course is concerned with the expressive and lively paintings of this modern master. His style will be traced from his early days in his native Holland, through his contact with the Impressionists in Paris, to his final days in Southern France.

MLA 6376 Michelangelo and Leonardo
This course is concerned with a study of the art of two of the great masters of the High Renaissance in Italy - Michelangelo Buonarroti and Leonardo da Vinci. These two great individuals, who have had a tremendous impact on western culture from their own times through our own era, will be studied through a variety of their works.

MLA 6377 Contemporary Art Movements
This course is designed to provide an overview of the major visual art movements of the 20th century and to extend an investigation into the current art scene. An introduction will begin with study of the influence of late 19th century movements such as Impressionism, PostImpressionism, and Art Noveau.

MLA 6378 The Gothic Cathedral
This course examines the architectural development of the Christian Basilica from the middle of the twelfth through the sixteen centuries. The Gothic Cathedral is an enduring symbol of the Middle Ages and provides one of the most important links between ancient and modern times.

MLA 6381 A World in Transition
The transition from the classical world to a world is divided into three successor states¿ the Byzantine Empire, the Germanic kingdoms of the Latin West, and the Islamic Caliphates. This course examines a number of different sources ¿ historical, literary, and artistic ¿ to trace the evolution of these various forces.

MLA 6386 Art Impressionism
This course is designed to cover the movement of Impressionism in art during the latter part of the 19th century; it is recognized as the beginning point of the modern era in art. Works by the major artists of the group to be examined include Degas, Monet, Manet, Renoir, and Pissaro.

MLA 6387 Music of Paris, 1870-1930
This course is a survey of music composed, performed, and experienced in Paris at the turn of the century and through World War I. The survey will include a study of influences shared by the arts ¿ visual, literary, ballet, opera, and other musical genre.

MLA 6391 Three Auteurs of the Cinema: Bergman, Fellini, Truffaut
Student will examine three films each of these universally recognized masters of the post-World War II cinema. Their vision of movies as art will be emphasized.

MLA 6392 Modern Masters: Picasso
This course consists of a thorough study of the life and art of the twentieth-century master artist, Pablo Picasso. His long and productive career is studied in the context of the complex arena of twentieth century art.

MLA 6397 Shakespeare: History and Film
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to William Shakespeare¿s plays about the Wars of the Roses; to examine those plays in the contexts of Shakespeare¿s era and our own; to analyze his use and misuse of his sources for dramatic and political purposes; and to study the major modern cinematic and televised adaptations of the plays.