Course Syllabus

HUMI 07 – Arts & the Human Spirit – 12 wk Online – 4 units


De Anza College

Instructor: Lori Bhumi Clinchard Ph.D.

De Anza Disability Support Services 

De Anza Plagiarism Policy: 


  • Imagination is more important than knowledge. --Albert Einstein


  • It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. --Antoine de St. Exupery


  • The world speaks to me in colours, my soul answers in music. --Rabindranath Tagore


  • I do not seek. I find. (Je ne cherche pas; je trouve) --Pablo Picasso


  • The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude. --Friedrich Nietzsche


  • Beauty will save the world. --Dosteovsky


  • What would it be like if you lived each day, each breath, as a work of art in progress? Imagine that you are a Masterpiece unfolding every second of every day, a work of art taking form with every breath. --Thomas Crum


  • Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art. --Leonardo da Vinci


  • The goal of life is rapture. Art is the way we experience it. Art is the transforming experience. --Joseph Campbell


  • Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures. --Henry Ward Beecher


  • When I am finishing a picture, I hold some God-made object up to it – a rock, a flower, the branch of a tree or my hand – as a final test. If the painting stands up beside a thing man cannot make, the painting is authentic. If there’s a clash between the two, it’s bad art. --Marc Chagall


  • Nothing sublimely artistic has ever arisen out of mere art … There must always be a rich moral soil for any artistic growth. --G.K. Chesterton


Course Description:

In this course, we will study the ways people have expressed their spiritual and/or religious ideas and feelings through art – over time, and across cultures.  Our examination of artistic expression will be critical, comparative, and experiential.  This means that we will use various learning methods–including rational thought, emotional and intuitive engagement, and personal experience –to approach our understanding.  This variety will give us the opportunity to consider why the arts have been such a consistently used form of spiritual expression throughout human history. 

Course Objectives:

The student will demonstrate:

  • An historical and aesthetic understanding of major religious art in various media (visual art, architecture, language, music, drama) as an expression of the worldviews, experience, and values of both Western and non-Western cultures;
  • Enhanced ability to assess, interpret, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate religious artistic expression (visual, verbal, aural, kinesthetic) and make connections among the religious art of various cultures;
  • Increased awareness of the role of women and minorities in religious artistic disciplines;
  • Increased critical thinking and creative skills, and increased ability to think independently.

Required Reading:

1) Dunham, Bandhu.  (2005). Creative Life: Spirit, Power and Human Contact in the Practice of Art.  Prescott, AZ: Hohm Press.

2) Plate, S. Brent (Ed.). (2002). Religion, Art, & Visual Culture: A cross-cultural reader. New York: Palgrave



Weekly Discussion Participation (500 pts): You will need to participate frequently and substantially in all of the weekly online discussions. You will be graded on the quantity, quality, and timeliness of your responses. Expect to post ~175 words per post. For full discussion participation credit, you need to respond substantively and thoughtfully to at least 1 other student per discussion question (~75 words per post). You must post your initial response to each question by Thursday (midnight) each week, leaving Fri/Sat/Sun for follow-up responses to other students, due Sunday night (midnight). This is a lot of reading and writing, but remember: this is a 100% online course, with no class time, so these posts are very important.


Midterm essay exam (50 pts): There will be a midterm essay exam due, for which you will write an in-depth analysis of what you have learned from the Dunham book. This midterm paper will be a synthesis of your learning from the Dunham book. This analysis should include the main ideas from the reading, but should also describe how these ideas relate to your previous learning, your own life experience, and your personal thoughts and feelings. The paper should be at least 5 full pages, double-spaced (12 font).


Final essay exam (50 pts): There will be a final essay exam due, for which you will write an in-depth analysis of what you have learned from the Plate book. This analysis should include the main ideas from the reading, but should also describe how these ideas relate to your previous learning, your own life experience, and your personal thoughts and feelings. The paper should be at least 5 full pages, double-spaced (12 font).



Course Requirements

Weekly Discussion Responses: 50 points per week x 10 wks = 500 pts
Midterm essay = 50 pts

Final essay exam = 50 pts
Total points = 600


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C=70%; C+=78%




Course Outline:

Week 1: Introduction to course;

Read & Discuss Dunham Intro

Ch. 1 –Lascaux

Ch. 2 – Loneliness of the Artist


Week 2: Read & Discuss Dunham -

Ch. 3 –Relevance & Polarization

Ch. 4 – Self-Indulgence

Ch. 5 – Dogmatic Mind

Ch. 6 – Subconscious Sabotage


Week 3: Read & Discuss Dunham

Ch. 7 – On Being & Becoming

Ch. 8 – Community

Ch. 9 – Objective Art

Ch. 10 – Journey Between the Worlds


Week 4: Read & Discuss Dunham –

Ch. 11 – Resistance

Ch. 12 - Hunger

Ch. 13 – Labels

Ch. 14 – Power and Politics

Ch. 15 - Vision


Week 5: Midterm weekEssay due Thursday, Feb. 8th - by 11:59 pm


Week 6: R & D Plate, sec 1 – Aistheses: Perceiving Between Eye & Mind


Week 7: R & D Plate, sec 2–Icon: Image Jesus Christ Christian Theology


Week 8: R & D Plate, sec 3 -Qalam: Word & Image Islamic Calligraphy


Week 9: R & D Plate, sec 4–Shinjin:Seeing Body-Mind Zen Garden


Week 10: R & D Plate, sec 5-Darshan: Seeing Hindu Divine Image….


Week 11: R & D Zakhor: Modern Jewish Memory


Finals week – Essay due Wednesday, March 28th - by 11:59 pm


  1. Purchase required texts and begin reading.  Discussion will begin immediately during the first week. 
  2. Login to Canvas and become familiar with site & features.
  3. Surf your class web site: Check out all the links, notice how information is organized, where to find it.
  4. Briefly introduce yourself in the student introduction forum. All students can access this discussion forum and get to know a little more about their classmates.


  1. Be prepared to spend approximately 12-15 hours a week studying the materials during the quarter.  This course is worth 4 quarter units, and it requires the same effort as a 4 unit campus-based class. Some students are under the mistaken impression that distance learning requires less work because students do not have to attend class. In fact, most students need to plan additional time for online courses, as compared to classroom courses. Consider your other college classes, employment obligations, family obligations, and time to sleep, eat, and have some relaxation and fun to refresh your mind.
  1. Read the assigned chapters.
  1. Participate weekly in online discussions.

Be considerate of other students. If you intend to drop the class, please email instructor as early as possible so that waitlisted students can be added. It is the responsibility of the student (not the instructor), to officially drop a class via phone, Internet or registrar's office up until the last day to drop a class. After that date, student will be graded on points accumulated, even if grade is D or F. However, Instructor reserves the right to drop a student who does not appear to be participating or is not keeping up with scheduled tests and assignments. See Syllabus for details.

DAC College drops students from classes if they do not pay fees by deadline. To make arrangements for deferred payments (described in Schedule of Classes or on college website), contact registrar. If you think you might qualify for assistance, contact Financial Aid Office:

The instructor reserves the right to drop any enrolled student who does not login to Catalyst by Friday of the first week of classes, in order to add a student from the waitlist. (This is equivalent to 'No Show' for the first week of class for an on-campus class.) If you encounter a problem with login, refer to Distance Learning Tech Support.

Add codes will be distributed starting on first day of classes as space becomes available. Students on official waitlist must email instructor to obtain add code. Read the following carefully. Students on official waitlist have first priority for vacant seats for the first 4 days of the quarter: those students must email the instructor to request an ADD code. (No phone calls.) Instructor does not email students to ask if they want add codes. If there are more requests than seats, add codes are distributed in order according to waitlist.

Students who are not on the official waitlist can email add request to the instructor, who will add their name at end of official waitlist in order, according to time/date of request. If there is any space remaining, add codes will be distributed by email until seats are filled. Very often, the instructor will not know if seats are filled until the second week. (Voice mail requests are not accepted. This is an online class.)

Instructor will email add codes to students in response to their email request (explained above). Students must register by phone, Internet or at registrar's office within 24 hours of receiving add code, or instructor may reassign add code to the next student on the list. Students must complete the Distance Learning Online Orientation or they will be dropped from the class.

Students must pay all fees according to college policy or other agreements, or the registrar will drop them from all classes and/or block student add codes.

Course Summary:

Date Details