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Liberal Arts Courses

Narrative Art + Mythic Patterns in African + African-American Literature

Course No. LLC 471  Credits: 3.0

This course will focus on the various artistic ways African and African-American imaginative writers create a narrative interlock of mythic and contemporary materials to formulate in postcolonial and postmodernist terms an essentialist condition of their people's experience, while a number of them explore the interface of classical and African myths for an informed global vision. Their works are largely structured with images and symbols endowed with dynamic moral and spiritual significance. They problematize the African thinking underlain by the inseparableness of the natural world and the supernatural realm, the human and the divine, the animate and the inanimate, just as this inseparableness also aesthetically underlies the relationship between the naturalistic and the abstract in both African visual art and Harlem Renaissance. There is in postcolonial African literature, and in many 'Third World' countries, a new narrative art-form which can be called 'animist realism.' It is critically regarded as contesting the dominant protocol of conventional (Western) realist narrative which is predicated on knowability and linearity. We will also look at how the interface between oral art (free text) and written art (fixed text) mediates between fiction and history in this new form of narrative realism. And there will be an ample number of videos for visual elucidation. Fulfills Humanities/Cultural Studies distribution requirement. Creative Writing Concentration course.

Nature Poetry Before + After Darwin

Course No. LLC 301X  Credits: 3.0

In a notebook entry dated in the 1940s, Robert Frost wrote, “You have to be careful with the word natural—with all words in fact. You have to play the words close to the realities.” So what are the “realities” of the natural world? Given that human beings are, after Darwin, connected to all living things, can we ever get far enough outside of ourselves to understand the “real,” concrete world of nature? Or are we human beings simply creating, through language, a symbolic world and calling it nature? Is the act of constructing a world using language in order to understand ourselves and other things what makes us natural—is at the root of what we call “human nature”? In exploring those questions, this seminar will look at poetry before and after Darwin in an attempt to understand what effects natural science has had on poetic depictions of the natural world from the 1830s to the 1930s. The focus of the course will tilt toward poetic renderings of the natural world after Darwin, and in particular the most well-known American “nature poet” of the 20th century, Robert Frost. Frost grappled with many scientific ideas, both in and out of his poetry, and turned around the question of how science has affected poetry to ask, how does poetry help us understand science? May be applied as a Humanities/Cultural Studies elective or as a writing-intensive elective.


Course No. ACD 442  Credits: 3.0

This course will explore neo-expressionism, neo-geo and postmodern art (painting, sculpture, performance, photography) of Germany, Italy, England, and the United States from 1971 to the present. We will survey two major developments in art making and cultural theory taking place in Europe and America. The first is art as anti-modern (neo-expressionism) - a return to history, to representation, to narrative, to the figure, and of the artist/self. The second is art after "the death of the author" (postmodernism) - or the end of the individual "author"/artist (as the unique source of meaning of art) and the birth of the reader/viewer. In analyzing these developments, the course will survey the work of a number of artists. Visual Culture Emphasis course.

On the Same Page

Course No. LLC 351X  Credits: 3.0

This course will allow students to develop the skills and understanding necessary for literacy in our information-saturated times. Facilitated by growth in electronic technologies, more and more types of written texts, in both print and online media, have fused with images and other graphics. Literature producers and consumers of these emerging hybrid texts will need awareness of and competence in the complex communicative strategies that they engage. While this course offers valuable knowledge to any developing artist, it is particularly suitable for students studying in the visual communications majors; i.e., Graphic Design, Illustration, Biomedical Art, Photography + Video. Fulfills Humanities/Cultural Studies distribution requirement. Creative Writing Concentration course.

Poetry Writing Workshop

Course No. LLC 211W  Credits: 3.0

This class will focus on the creation, revision, oral and visual presentation of poems. Because good writing requires deep reading, we’ll also be reading and responding to poems from an anthology throughout the semester. Students will be required to keep a journal that responds to anthology poems in the form of imitation poems, commentary, letters to the poets, or illustrations. Class time will be spent doing writing and revision exercises, small-group work, discussing poems from the anthology, playing with various aspects of poetry, and workshopping poems written in class. The final project will entail creating a chapbook of poems written during the semester. Fulfills Humanities/Cultural Studies distribution requirement. Creative Writing Concentration course. Writing-intensive course.

Prehispanic Civilizations: The Aztec, the Maya + the Inca

Course No. SNS 360X  Credits: 3.0
Faculty Elizabeth Hoag

This will be a lecture based, Anthropology course that focuses on the three major civilizations of Prehispanic Latin America; the Aztec, Maya, and Inca. We will study the three civilizations to understand the complexity of New World cultures, and to understand what their legacy to the Americas is today.

Putting Artists in the Classroom: Intro to Teaching Art

Course No. GEN 400-400A  Credits: 3.0
Faculty Kristin Thompson-Smith

Students will have the opportunity to receive a general introduction to the world of art education. Students will have the opportunity to give back to their community by providing art education to a school that does not have an existing art program. Students will be working with a cooperating classroom teacher in order to have first-hand teaching experience through the creation of the studio arts. Through this process students will be provided with the principles and practices of art education for grades K-8. Students will also be provided with curriculum construction and lesson planning to be used during their teaching of art education. Offered fall and spring.

Race and Representation in Contemporary Art + Culture

Course No. ACD 420  Credits: 3.0
Faculty David Hart

This seminar-style course considers the relationship between race and representation in visual art and culture during the last three decades using contemporary methods including multi-culturism and postcolonial theory. We will discuss and analyze examples of contemporary art as well as popular culture drawn from advertisements, animation, film, the internet, installation and performance art, sculpture, photography, television and video. The focus will be on American culture, but discussions will also include the cultural contexts of Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and Latin America. In addition to the primary focus on the representation of race, questions of class, sexuality, and gender will also be considered. Questions to be addressed include: Is race largely a biological or cultural phenomenon? How are "white" and "mixed-race" understood as racial categories? How have artists of different races dealt with racial identity and representation? Do popular media such as commercial advertisements and music videos convey prevailing notions of racial stereotypes? Visual Culture Emphasis course.

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Thomas Mira y Lopez


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