Houston Baptist University Catalog

Master of Liberal Arts ( MLA ) Course Descriptions

  • MLA 5301 TRIVIUM – WESTERN TRADITION

    MLA 5301 The Trivium in the Western Tradition
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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

    MLA 5302 Logic and the Great Texts
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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

    MLA 5303 Classics and Christianity
    Prerequisite(s): None
    This course is a broad survey of the history, literature, philosophy, religion, art, archaeology and politics of the Ancient Greco-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 5319 STRUCTURES OF POETRY

    MLA 5319 Structures of Poetry
    Prerequisite(s): None
    Structures of Poetry teaches students to read poetry thoughtfully, accurately, 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 of the way a poem functions.

  • MLA 5321 VICTORIAN FICTION

    MLA 5321 Victorian Fiction
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 5323 TOLKIEN/THE WORLD OF FANTASY

    MLA 5323 Tolkien and the World of Fantasy
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 5336 ROMANTICISM AND REVOLUTION:

    MLA 5336 Romanticism and Revolution: Art and Literature
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 5341 THREE CITIES OF THE REVOLUTION

    MLA 5341 Three Cities of the Revolution
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 5345 THE NOVELS OF WILLIAM FAULKNER

    MLA 5345 Faulkner
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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

    MLA 5349 The Epic: Homer and Virgil
    Prerequisite(s): None
    This course introduces students to the Great Epics of the Classical World: The Iliad and Odyssey of Homer and the Aeneid of Virgil.

  • MLA 5351 GREAT BOOKS: POLITICAL THEORY

    MLA 5351 Great Books in Ancient and Medieval Political Theory
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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/DILEMMAS:DEMOCRACY

    MLA 5352 Dangers and Dilemmas in Democracy
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 5354 LAW/LAWYERS IN LIT/FILM/VIDEO

    MLA 5354 Law and Lawyers in Literature, Film and Video
    Prerequisite(s): None
    A study of the ways in which lawyers have been viewed in literature, cinema, and television.

  • MLA 5355 AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL EXP

    MLA 5355 The American Constitutional Experience
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 5358 WOMEN OF TUDOR ENGLAND

    MLA 5358 Women of Tudor England
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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, LIT OF TECH

    MLA 5359 Utopia, Dystopia and the Literature of Technology
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 LIT&ARTS

    MLA 5360 Mythology in Literature and the Arts
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 UNDERSTAND:GREEK:SOC/PLATO/ARS

    MLA 5361 Understanding the Greeks: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 14TH CENTURY

    MLA 5364 Chaucer and the Fourteenth Century
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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

    MLA 5365 Milton
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 5381 SPECIAL TOP/INDEPENDENT STUDY

    MLA 5381 Special Topics/Independent Study
    Prerequisite(s): None
    Topics are selected on basis of student need and academic qualifications of staff. If regular lectures are not given, a minimum of 30 hours of work for each hour credit must be included.

  • MLA 5382 THE GREEK WORLD

    MLA 5382 The Greek World
    Prerequisite(s): None
    This course introduces students to the world of Ancient Greece. The goals of the course 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

    MLA 5383 The Roman World
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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

    MLA 5384 The Medieval World
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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/REFORMATION

    MLA 5385 The Renaissance and Reformation
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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, Shakespeare, Milton, and Donne.

  • MLA 5386 THE ENLIGHTENMENT

    MLA 5386 The Enlightenment
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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

    MLA 5387 The Modern World
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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

    MLA 5388 The Last Fifty Years
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 I

    MLA 5390 Western Culture and Human Experience
    Prerequisite(s): None
    This course is a core component of the MLA program and offers 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 II

    MLA 5391 Western Culture and Human Experience
    Prerequisite(s): None
    This course is a core component of the MLA program and offers 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 III

    MLA 5392 Western Culture and Human Experience
    Prerequisite(s): None
    This course is a core component of the MLA program and offers 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

    MLA 5399 Thesis
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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/COMMON UNDERSTANDING

    MLA 6301 Science and the Common Understanding
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 PHILOSOPHIES

    MLA 6304 Scientists: Their Philosophy, Their Essays
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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-WEST TRAD-AMER HIS

    MLA 6310 Unborn Life in the Western Tradition and American History
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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

    MLA 6312 The French Enlightenment
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 6318 CHURCH/STATE:EARLY MOD ENGLAND

    MLA 6318 Church and State in Early Modern England
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 6319 REVOLUTIONARY AMERICA

    MLA 6319 Revolutionary America in the Age of Enlightenment
    Prerequisite(s): None
    This course explores the ideas and events of the American revolutionary era, 1763-1789, against the backdrop of the Enlightenment.

  • MLA 6328 EARLY AMERICAN LIT TRADITIONS

    MLA 6328 Early American Literary Traditions
    Prerequisite(s): None
    This course provides a survey of American literary traditions from 1620 to 1920, focusing on the historical and philosophical foundations and major figures in American literature. Writers included are: Bradford, Bradstreet, Edwards, Franklin, Irving, Cooper, Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Poe, Melville, Whitman, Dickinson, Twain, Howells, Crane, Adams, and James.

  • MLA 6331 NOVELS OF JANE AUSTEN/BRONTES

    MLA 6331 Jane Austen and the Brontes
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 6343 SATIRE:FROM AESOP TO AUDEN

    MLA 6343 Satire: From Aesop to Auden
    Prerequisite(s): None
    This course will study the form and content of satire from antiquity to the modern period as represented in selected poetry and prose. Works studied will be grouped in thematic units to allow comparison of techniques employed by individual writers in addressing common issues.

  • MLA 6344 AMERICAN POPULAR CULTURE

    MLA 6344 American Popular Culture
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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

    MLA 6345 Shakespeare and This Goodly Frame The Earth
    Prerequisite(s): None
    This course will be a study of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, and tragedies. Special attention will be given to Shakespeare’s concept of order in the social and political bodies, his concept of the individual in an existential world, and his concept of cosmic order. A premise of the course is that Shakespeare had a profound sense that there is order and meaning in a world that often seems meaningless and disorderly, and that through his dramatic skills he presents profound moral, philosophical, and social insights.

  • MLA 6346 ARTHUR HISTORY AND ART

    MLA 6346 King Arthur in History and the Arts
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 6368 POWER IN THE MIDDLE AGES

    MLA 6368 Power in the Middle Ages
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 WORLD OF DICKENS

    MLA 6369 The World of Charles Dickens
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 6374 STUDY ABROAD

    MLA 6374 Travel: The Italian Renaissance
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 6377 CONTEMPORARY ART MOVEMENTS

    MLA 6377 Contemporary Art Movements
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 GOTHIC CATHEDRALS

    MLA 6378 The Gothic Cathedral
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 SPECIAL TOP/INDEPENDENT STUDY

    MLA 6381 Special Topics/Independent Study
    Prerequisite(s): None
    Topics are selected on basis of student need and academic qualifications of staff. If regular lectures are not given, a minimum of 30 hours of work for each hour credit must be included.

  • MLA 6386 IMPRESSIONISM

    MLA 6386 Art Impressionism
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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 6397 SHAKESPEARE: HISTORY AND FILM

    MLA 6397 Shakespeare: History and Film
    Prerequisite(s): None
    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.