Craig White's Literature Courses


Terms / Themes



Humanity, Humanism, etc.


What makes us more or less human?



What makes us more human?


speech (>literature!); free exchange / trade of information, ideas, feelings, goods, services.(dialogue & dialectic)


rights; legal status and protection by law


curiosity <  humility, generosity


receptivity: compassion / sympathy / empathy


giving benefit of doubt / humility


tolerance of ambiguity, conflicting ideas


hybridity; evolving, or intersectional identities (contrast "absolute or essential identities" below)


belonging / identity / security / stability ("home"; "tribe")


work, labor (esp. toward shared goals?)


desire, yearning for more (progress?) + restraint?


family (though family takes many forms)


childhood, adolescence as time of wonder, possibility, insecurity, etc.


Humans are shaped and conditioned but not totally imprisoned by environment and history. (Talent may be universally distributed, but opportunity isn't.)




individuals freely choose who or what they will be, overcoming all limitations through willpower, talent, and luck--but can become a rationale for dominance and dehumanization of others or social context.


In religious terms, "fate vs. free will" (another dialectic)

What makes us less human? (Really these traits are "all too human" but can frustrate or obstruct optimal human development?) (synonym: dehumanization)


Dividing to us and them, victims & oppressors, good guys and bad guys, self and other, subject and object.

(Such classifications appear hard-wired in human brain but can be overcome by education and mixed environments.)


Treating someone else as less human makes me less human. (dehumanization)

objectification: OED 2. The demotion or degrading of a person or class of people (esp. women) to the status of a mere object; reification . . .


"Absolute purity" or "essential identities" exclude communication and exchange with others.


Hardness, coldness, unresponsiveness, lack of receptivity, sympathy or empathy


Pride, vanity, arrogance (v. humility)


Despair, decline over progress (though, like us & them, common enough) 
























dialogue or dialectic

genetic spectrum of humanity
(millions of years of mixing)