Course Information

 

for Liberal Arts Department


History of the Tattoo (AH221)

Credits:3

The art of the tattoo is one of the oldest yet most enduring in all of human history. This course will examine the history, design, practice and cultural significance of the tattoo in all its various incarnations. Through readings, videos, guest speakers, field trips, and the creation of original 2D tattoo designs students will learn to approach the tattoo from both an aesthetic/art critical and a contemporary/practical standpoint. Early and indigenous peoples, countercultures, symbolism, trends, safety, and stigmas surrounding tattooing and tattoo art will be addressed as we examine the human fascination with marking the skin and the compulsion to decorate ourselves with these indelible artworks. Note: No actual tattooing will be done in this class. Prerequisites: AH105, AH110, HU101

Designed and Illustrated: A Curious History of Graphic Arts (AH225)

Credits:3

This course studies the history of the graphic arts with a focus on design and illustration. Issues, movements, and individuals are presented in the context of issues, ideas and processes and the relationship between the two disciplines. The content includes the historic relevance of Illustration and design from their roots in the ancient world up to the present, with a focus on modern and contemporary practices. Prerequisites AH105, AH110, HU101.

Die Die Die, My Darling: Female Corpse (AH319)

Credits:3

This course explores depictions of the female corpse in visual art including medieval tomb effigies, Romantic paintings of dead women of literature like Shakespeare’s Ophelia, ancient Greek vase paintings of fallen Amazon warriors, and Gustave Courbet’s women sleeping so deeply they might be dead. Attention will be paid to photography, design, and illustration history, including “heroin chic” fashion ad campaigns, comics, and the appropriated album cover and 1965 film from which the name of the course is drawn. We will ask certain key questions. Why have artists persistently attended to the dead and dying female body in their work and for whom? What have been the consistent modes for the depiction of dead women? How do these objects reflect historical attitudes towards death, funerary practices, and the female body? It seeks to sort out the strange relationships between youth, beauty, death, desire, and representation suggested by these works of art. To explore these problems, we will rely on close looking, reading, class discussions, film screenings, independent research, and excursions to local museums and galleries. Prerequisites: AH105, AH110, HU101

Video Games: History, Culture & Practice (CR201)

Credits:3

The act of playing video games, previously diagnosed as an act of anti-social behavior, has become a part of everyday culture. With ever increasing developments in online connectivity, playing video games has become a form of sociality that we have yet to fully articulate beyond it's place in recreation. In this course we will observe and participate in video game culture through historical research, contemporary writing including reviews and critique, psychoanalysis and social theory, and studio practice. Students will be asked to participate in group readings, present research to class, create and publish a text-based video game, write a video game review, and create studio work based on our discoveries throughout the duration of the class. Be prepared to challenge the preconceptions of this culture as we journey to redefine the pleasure spectrum.

Sound Art (CR301)

Credits:3

Students will explore the medium of sound through eight topics including: listening, soundscape, voice, instrument, music, score, soundtrack and DJ-ing (sound collage). The class will cover the history of sound art as well as relevant academic readings and contemporary sound works. Students will be prompted with in-class experimentations as well as individual explorations (sketches) on each topic. Towards the end of the semester students will be asked to create self-directed sound works. Other noted projects include Score, where students create graphic scores to be performed by professional musicians and Band, where students are required to form “bands” (traditional or conceptual) with peers from the class, creating an end of the semester concert. Both performances, Score and Band will be open to the school and the public to attend.

Art, Design and Social Practice (CR314)

Credits:3

In Art, Design, and Social Practice students explore creative solutions that promote and affect social engagement, social interaction, and community building within a range of social challenges. The course blends instructor presentations, class discussions, and creative practice while guiding students, or teams of students, through projects that address community needs. An overview of post-studio strategies for contemporary artists and designers will be exchanged. Meeting sessions focus on strategic planning, seminar topics, discussions and reporting.

Artist as Writer (HU101)

Credits:3

Artist as Writer Workshop is designed to assist the developing visual artist through four major areas of writing pertinent to the field: 1) thinking and writing about art; 2) journaling; 3) argument and persuasion; and 4) self-analysis and promotion. The rules of grammar and style are reviewed. (Required for freshmen)

Artist as Reader (HU102)

Credits:3

In Artist as Reader Workshop students read a variety of literary forms (short stories, poetry, plays, or a novel) as well as critical essays that reflect widely diverse cultures and time periods. During the process of this study, students will present an oral report, write reading response papers, and review the MLA form of documentation in preparation for writing a research paper. (Required for freshmen)

Aesthetics (HU201)

Credits:3

Aesthetics examines the fundamental concepts, theories, and puzzles in the philosophy of art, from Plato to the present. Some of the ideas to be covered may include the nature of art, beauty and ugliness, imagination and creativity, and conflicts between art and other values. Although this course is derived primarily from the Western analytical tradition of aesthetics, some Continental and Non-Western aesthetic perspectives are also discussed. The course provides art students with an opportunity to consider their own aesthetic as a visual manifestation of their values in the world.

Introduction to Philosophy (HU210)

Credits:3

Introduction to Philosophy surveys the Western philosophical tradition, providing a foundation for critical thinking and personal engagement with important philosophical issues on a variety of topics.

Creative Writing: Poetry (HU211)

Credits:3

Creative Writing: Poetry is an introduction to the launch pad, electric grid, and weird beauty of poetry. The fundamentals of poetry are presented, but more importantly poetic possibilities are explored. Through writing and revising their own poems, discussing the works of their peers, collaborating, and reading, students are provided with opportunities to think about language as an artistic material and activate its associative, figurative, and expressive depths.

Creative Writing: Short Stories (HU212)

Credits:3

In Creative Writing: Short Stories, the fundamentals of the short story are presented. By writing their own stories and discussing others’ work, students develop the ability to express aesthetic ideas through written and spoken exercises.

Creative Writing: Multi-Genre (Fiction, Poetry & Creative non-fiction (HU213)

Credits:3

Students learn the fundamentals of writing in several genres in a workshop format. By reading and discussing established writers’ work, as well as writing by their peers, students will form their own aesthetic for creating in a variety of literary genres. It is suggested that three genres be chosen from the following: poetry, short stories, drama, screenplays, and creative non-fiction. Genres covered may vary based on the expertise of the instructor. A portfolio of writing created throughout the semester and the performance of a public reading are requirements for completion of Creative Writing: Multi-Genre.

Mythology (HU214)

Credits:3

By considering the structure and function of myths from a range of cultures, this course explores the relevance of myth in life, society, and the arts, and the role of myth in telling us where and how to find meaning in the world. Pre-requisite: HU101, HU102.

Fundamentals of Dance (HU218)

Credits:3

In Fundamentals of Dance Students are introduced to the many facets of the art of modern dance. Technique, composition, improvisation, and dance history are explored, culminating in a final performance by the students.

The Personal is Political (HU301)

Credits:3

The phrase “The Personal Is Political” originated in Notes from the Second Year: Women’s Liberation in 1970. In this course, we'll look at texts by a variety of contemporary authors who explore the intersection between one's personal, everyday life and larger social and political issues of race, class, gender, the environment, and other issues. Some questions we'll consider include: how do larger social and political issues impact our personal lives? How does/can writing about the self create political change or empowerment? We'll look at texts from the Women's Movement, the Black Arts Movement, and think about what it means to write about the larger world as we write about ourselves.

The Universe in One Thing (HU302)

Credits:3

With direction and support of the instructor, each of the students enrolled in the course will select one “thing” and research it from multiple perspectives such as: history, symbolism, cultural meaning, scientific context, function and any other relevant approaches. The course will basically function as a liberal arts studio course, with students doing independent research and work. With regular intermediate critiques, the course will culminate with each student choosing an individual format to document and present his/her realization of his/her “thing” as the center of a web of connected relationships.

Advanced Creative Writing Seminar: Poetics/Aesthetics (HU313)

Credits:3

The Advanced Creative Writing Seminar: Poetics/Aesthetics is an upper-level Creative Writing course for students working in any genre who want to further develop their engagement with language through the exploration of poetics, aesthetics and philosophical inquiry. The course is part seminar and part workshop, and students are given opportunities to collide with language as a set of poetic limitations and possibilities simultaneously. Emphasis is placed on both language as an artistic material of charged possibility and as the fundamental conceptual framework we have for describing experience, imagining wildly and re/making the world in our ever-changing image. Seminar topics may include radical revision, translation, language as a social construct, deconstruction and other methods of interpretation, linguistic materiality, the political nature of language, collage, etc. (Prerequisites AH105, AH110, HU101, HU102, HU213 or by permission of the instructor)

Creative Writing: Experimental Approaches to the Book-Length Project (HU314)

Credits:3

In Creative Writing: Experimental Approaches to the Book-Length Project, students will work to conceptualize, propose, and craft a book-length work of fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, or cross/hybrid-genre work. Early in the semester, we'll look at a variety of experimental texts as we consider the possibilities of what a book is in both formal and conceptual terms. The emphasis in this course will be largely on generation, experimentation, and formal innovation as students work through a series of student and instructor created prompts and procedures designed to push their projects forward and take new risks. We will also share our work in small groups and workshop student works-in-progress to help one another better conceptualize, craft, and deepen our work. (Prerequisites: AH105, AH110, HU101, HU102, HU213 or by permission of the instructor)

Dueling Literary Avant-Gardes (HU315)

Credits:3

Dueling Literary Avant-Gardes traces the roots and reverberations of two avant-garde movements in terms of their literary output. Emphasis is placed on comparing the two movements against the backdrop of their historical and cultural moment(s). The avant-garde movements to be covered will vary with the expertise of the instructor.

GIANT Books (HU317)

Credits:3

GIANT Books is a literature course where students read and discuss, as well as write and make art about, GIANT BOOKS. Emphasis is placed on exploring the Western tradition of the epic as an artistic form of genesis, inclusion, and accumulation – one that makes and remakes the world, not only in our own image, but also in terms of transformation, exploration, and adventure. The course also seeks to compare and contrast the GIANT works discussed, while distilling common themes and modalities, images, strategies and parameters, pointing the way toward further creative and speculative writing/art-making.

Love (HU321)

Credits:3

This Love seminar explores the concept of love from a variety of perspectives – mythological, emotional, psychological, physical, cultural, and spiritual. A range of voices in literature, visual art, film, psychology, human development, music, dance, philosophy, and spirituality are considered. The instructor selects some of these, but many are selected by the students.

Zen and the Creative Process (HU324)

Credits:3

Zen and the Creative Process offers students the opportunity to discover and anchor a personal meditation or contemplative practice in support of and integrated with their emergent creative process. The course is part study of Zen history, part experiential learning of Zen meditation, and part continuation of the refinement of the creative process that underlies the arc of education at the AAC. Students will come to understand the genesis of Zen and its roots as a contemplative practice arising from Buddhism, will have the experience of practicing Zen, and will read about, discuss, and discover for themselves ways in which artists have used contemplative practices to support and broaden their personal creative process.

Creative Running (HU325)

Credits:3

In this team-taught/team-coached literature, art and running course, we’ll explore not only the highs, the glories and the agonies of running, but the ways they intersect with the creative process in terms of imaginative flight, commitment, endurance and performance. We’ll read, we’ll run, we’ll make art, we’ll run. In addition to reading, writing, discussion, and field trips, students will train as a class to run a 10K race (6.2 miles). Good running shoes and warm winter running clothes are required (It’ll be cold in January and February, and we'll be out in it). Start stretching your mind. Get ready to run! Prerequisites: HU101.

Terra Incognita: Mapping the Self (HU326)

Credits:3

For whom or for what do we speak when we say “I?” What does that first person singular pronoun actually stand for? Does it signify something contingent and fleeting or something independent and eternal? Some combo of both? Neither? In this course, we’ll take up these questions and more to consider a multitude of ways in which “the self” has been postured, theorized, performed, represented, claimed, manipulated, and understood across different times, places, and traditions.

Senior Seminar 1 (LA481)

Credits:3

Required of all seniors, Senior Seminar 1 is a team-taught, multi-purpose course that connects a student’s undergraduate experience to his or her life beyond the Art Academy as a graduate student and/or as a practicing professional. The course is designed to initiate students in both conceptual and practical aspects of articulating a life as a practicing professional. The course is not only a guided tour through the process of developing and writing the senior thesis, but also an investigation, discussion, and evaluation of what it means to live and work as an artist/designer in the 21st century. In the process, students explore the concepts, theories, influences, and experiences that inform and support the work they present for review in their senior thesis exhibition. Additionally, the course may cover such topics as: goal setting, the business of art, professional presentations, building a resume, and portfolio development, etc.

Creative Writing: Advanced Tutorial I (LA491)

Credits:6

Creative Writing Advanced Tutorial is the advanced-level course work for Creative Writing Majors. This course is taught collaboratively by a team of faculty. Students will complete their Creative Writing Thesis, which will typically consist of a book of poems, a collection of short stories, or a substantial portion of a longer work (such as a novel or essay collection), along with an introductory statement of poetics. However, students doing more conceptual or hybrid text-based work will consult with CW AT faculty to define and develop the shape and scope of the final CW thesis. Students will also prepare and rehearse their final performance or reading. This course will combine individual one-on-one faculty/student meetings with group discussions of literature and theory, along with advanced level workshop participation. In the process, this course will address issues related to publishing, collaboration, artistic responsibility and poetics. Ultimately CW AT will explore and contextualize in as deep and broad a way as possible contemporary creative writing, emphasizing both craft and content development, while considering what it means to be a radical, rebellious and responsible literary citizen. (Prerequisite: Required for all Senior Creative Writing Majors and Double-Majors)

Creative Writing: Advanced Tutorial II (LA492)

Credits:6

Creative Writing Advanced Tutorial is the advanced-level course work for Creative Writing Majors. This course is taught collaboratively by a team of faculty. Students will complete their Creative Writing Thesis, which will typically consist of a book of poems, a collection of short stories, or a substantial portion of a longer work (such as a novel or essay collection), along with an introductory statement of poetics. However, students doing more conceptual or hybrid text-based work will consult with CW AT faculty to define and develop the shape and scope of the final CW thesis. Students will also prepare and rehearse their final performance or reading. This course will combine individual one-on-one faculty/student meetings with group discussions of literature and theory, along with advanced level workshop participation. In the process, this course will address issues related to publishing, collaboration, artistic responsibility and poetics. Ultimately CW AT will explore and contextualize in as deep and broad a way as possible contemporary creative writing, emphasizing both craft and content development, while considering what it means to be a radical, rebellious and responsible literary citizen. (Prerequisite: Required for all Senior Creative Writing Majors and Double-Majors)

Topics in Geometry (NS211)

Credits:3

Students learn to see mathematics as a creative activity, a language, and a mode of thought, while gaining additional skills in mathematical reasoning and problem-solving. The course investigates geometry through the study of selected concepts from Euclidean, non-Euclidean and projective geometries, topology, and fractals.

Topics in Biology (NS213)

Credits:3

This is an introduction to current topics in biology. This course covers topics in cell physiology, anatomy and physiology, genetics, DNA, evolution, behavior, populations and ecology.

Astronomy (NS216)

Credits:3

In Astronomy, students investigate how fundamental principles of physics allow us to deduce what we know about the universe and our solar system’s place within it. Topics include solar system formation, the nature of planets, stars, galaxies, and black holes, as well as various cosmological theories and their predictions concerning the creation and the fate of the universe.

Zoology (NS222)

Credits:3

Zoology explores the form, function, and roles of the great diversity of animal life on earth from the lowliest sponges to modern man.

Organism Earth (NS223)

Credits:3

The Earth is a dynamic and complex organism, driven by the flow of energy, shaped by the forces of nature, and covered in the scars of its past. We will explore the raw materials of its surface and learn to interpret its scars to understand the forces that have shaped it. This course is an introduction to earthen materials and the principles that shape landscapes. THIS COURSE Includes A $25 Lab fee, for which students will be billed.

Time, Light, Gravity & Motion (NS226)

Credits:3

Time, Light, Gravity and Motion introduces students to current scientific accounts of the fundamental laws that govern everything in our universe. Students will study the forces of nature, the structure of matter, the properties of light and color, the origins of our universe and its ultimate fate.

Lives in Science (NS312)

Credits:3

Lives in Science is a seminar-style course that uses the biographies of scientists, as well as primary scientific sources to present a realistic picture of scientists as creative, whole people. A look at the personalities and accomplishments of selected scientists sheds light on how science informs thinking and problem solving to become an agent of change in society.

Naturalist Arts (Taxidermy) (NS313)

Credits:3

Naturalist Arts: Taxidermy explores natural and biological materials in both an academic and studio setting. Over the course of the semester students will be introduced to both standard and experimental techniques typically found in the displays of Natural History museums. Topics include taxidermy preparation, tissue preservation (desiccation, and plastination), insect mounting, skeletal cleaning and articulation, and plant preservation and replication. Students will also become familiar with the historical context and relevance of the subject matter to the creative process—including the controversy and ethics of using biological materials in art. This will be achieved both by a discussion of popular artists and scientists.

Sociology (SS211)

Credits:3

How do public issues relate to the personal problems we encounter in everyday life? Drawing from the sociological tradition, students examine this question from the theoretical perspectives of conflict theory, functionalism, and interactionism. Pre-requisite:HU101, HU102

Topics in Anthropology (SS212)

Credits:3

In Topics in Anthropology, issues of social structure, cultural change, status, life cycles, kinship, economic organization, social control, and religion, among others, are examined from a multi-cultural perspective.

Introduction to Psychology (SS213)

Credits:3

This Introduction to Psychology course acquaints students with the principles of psychology and human interaction. Topics include behavior, perception, learning and cognition, abnormal psychology, and therapy.

Signs/Symbols/Semiotics (SS214)

Credits:3

Semioticians practice the art of interpreting signs and symbols with reference to mythology, history, philosophy and current usage in human communications. In this context, students consider the signs and symbols of various cultures. Pre-requisite: HU101, HU102, AH101, AH102, AH201. (Previously LS2360)

Economics (SS217)

Credits:3

This course provides a one semester introduction to micro- and macroeconomic analysis and its applications. The microeconomic section of the course covers economic decision-making by individuals and firms, the determination of prices in markets, the functioning of labor markets, and the distribution of national income. The macroeconomic section focuses on the level of aggregate economic activity, analysis of the effects of government macroeconomic policies, short-run economic stability (the rates of unemployment and inflation) and long-run economic growth. Heavy emphasis is placed on discussion of topical current events.

Anthropology of Art (SS219)

Credits:3

Art is a cultural universal, meaning art in whatever form it might take is present in all cultures around the world. This course will lead students through an examination of visual art, expressive art, and art objects of both non-western and western cultures throughout time. It will introduce students to the anthropological lens for interpreting artistic cultural phenomena. Students will be exposed to anthropological approaches including functional, structural, symbolic, aesthetic, political, and historical frameworks for understanding and interpreting art. Focused on the production and meaning of art in cross-cultural contexts, this course will emphasize art within nonwestern cultural groups from Oceania, Africa, Asia, Middle East, and the Americas in prehistoric through present-day cultural contexts. Students will develop their ability to think about art and material culture by addressing concepts of worldview, cosmology, holism, ethnocentrism, cultural relativism, embodiment, agency, symbolism, politics, and ritual.

Totalitarianism (SS311)

Credits:3

A uniquely 20th Century creation, totalitarianism is represented by only a handful of examples; yet these few cases have accounted for upwards of 50 million deaths in the past century. Using Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia as case studies, this course will explore the history and pathology of totalitarianism, paying special attention to its root causes--social, economic and political. We will also examine the current and future prospects for the development of totalitarian movements around the world in the 21st Century.

War in the 20th and 21st Centuries (SS313)

Credits:3

Our goal is to examine the modern institution of war as it has evolved since the industrial revolution in the late 19th century. We'll be exploring the origins of "total war" in the first half of the 20th century, as well as the proliferation of smaller scale insurgencies and civil wars (such as the Vietnam War) in the decades after the Second World War. Our focus will be the impact that these wars have had on the men and women who fought them, and on the societies that experienced them. Using a combination of lecture/discussion, readings, and slide/film/audio presentations, we look at how each war has left its own indelible stamp on the art, music, literature and social/political institutions of its day. We will conclude with a discussion of the post-9/11 "Global War on Terror," the prospects for cyber war, and the increasing weaponization of information/news as an instrument of war.

Cultural Studies: Identity & Diversity (SS314)

Credits:3

Cultural Studies: Identity and Diversity looks at identity and diversity as contemporary phenomena. In the process it examines the function of identity, as well as the manifestation of diversity, as a socio-political mechanism for both the subversion and perpetuation of dominant ideologies and structures. Finally, the course explores intersectionality as a mode of reading identity, symbolic, and literal depictions of bodies, and the relationship between representation and power.

Signs/Symbols/Semiotics (SS316)

Credits:3

Semioticians practice the art of interpreting signs and symbols with reference to mythology, history, philosophy, and current usage in human communications. In this context, Signs/Symbols/Semiotics, provides students with the opportunity to consider the signs and symbols of various cultures.

Apocalyptic Imagination (SS317)

Credits:3

From the Persian Zoroastrianism of the 5th Century to the Heaven’s Gate cult of yesterday’s headlines, apocalyptic visions and prophecies have been a powerful and constant presence in world civilizations for the past 2500 years. This course explores the nature and history of apocalyptic belief, both in its religious (primarily Jewish-Christian) and secular expressions, paying special attention to the way it has shaped societies, institutions, and events over the centuries.

Forensic Anthropology (SS320)

Credits:3

Forensic anthropologists play an essential role in diverse contexts where human skeletal remains are involved. TV shows in popular media such as “Bones” and “CSI” depict the contributions forensic anthropologists make in criminal investigations. In addition, forensic anthropologists are often called to the scene of mass disasters such as plane crashes or train derailments and are increasingly involved in international human rights investigations. This course will explore the role of the forensic anthropologist in these scenarios through the use of case studies and discuss the responsibilities and ethical considerations of working with human skeletal remains. In addition, the methodologies used to extract information on the life history of an individual (age, sex, stature, ancestry, pathology, trauma etc.) from skeletal remains will be presented.

The Art of Activism (SS321)

Credits:3

Students will engage in anthropological ethnographic and analytical explorations of historical and contemporary social movements around the world. Emergent forms of resistance within culturally specific contexts will be critically examined through the lens of anthropological inquiry into the artistic expression and the meanings behind collective action motivated by social change in non-western and western systems. Literature, music, dance, other visual arts, and aesthetics will be explored as they relate to inequality, indigenous lives, urban communities, age, race, religion, gender, and the desire for social change.

Future Imperfect: Dystopias Real & Imagined (SS322)

Credits:3

If ancient and medieval philosophers speculated about how human beings might construct a “utopia”—a perfect society—in this life, their modern and postmodern counterparts have been more fixated on the idea of dystopia: that is, a society which is by definition inefficient, dysfunctional, unequal, and unjust. In this course, we’ll examine the concept of dystopia within the context of societies—both eastern and western—that have been created over the past century and a half in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. We will explore and debate the proposition that “dystopia” is a highly fluid and subjective concept, and one for which the definition is in perpetual tension between institutions of power and the disenfranchised in any given society. We will also examine the works of some writers, musicians, and visual artists who have imagined the human capacity for dystopia; and how artistic imaginings of dystopia reflect fears and realities specific to the artist’s own time, place and circumstances.