Making Courses

Student creating sculpture

Students interested in making will find many opportunities for such activity in courses across the Division. Here are some programs that feature making as a main part of their practice. You will also find a list of AY 2021-2022 courses that have received special funding from the Elson Family Arts Initiative, which use tools and methods of the arts to explore course material in memorable and innovative ways.

Elson Family Arts Initiative

Thanks to the generous contributions of the Elson family, the Elson Family Arts Initiative has supported many exciting arts-related course projects, final performances, and student exhibitions. Courses supported by the Initiative use tools and methods of the arts to explore course material in memorable and innovative ways. Below is a list of the courses supported by the initiative for 2022-23. 

Freshman Seminar 35N: The Art and Craft of Acting

GENED 1049: East Asian Cinema

Jie Li (General Education), SPRING 2023

 

This course introduces major works, genres, and waves of East Asian cinema from the silent era to the present, including films from Mainland China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. We will discuss issues ranging from formal aesthetics to historical representation, from local film industries to transnational audience reception.This course does not assume prior knowledge of East Asian culture or of film studies, but rather seeks to provide students with a basic understanding of modern East Asian cultural history through cinema, and with an essential toolkit for analyzing film and media, including narrative, cinematography, editing and sound.

 

Arts Integration Component: Students will creatively respond to course materials by collaborating on their own short films in the style of the films they watch. For their final projects, they will collaborate on short narrative films from 7-10 minutes, and the class will end with the “Golden Monkey Awards”—a class screening of final projects with Oscar-like awards in various categories.

 

HIST-LIT 90FR: Latinx, 1492 to 2022

"Remember that I was more:" Alan Palaez López and the Counter Histories of Latinidad
Thomas Conners (History and Literature) SPRING 2023

The 530 years since Columbus’s arrival in Hispaniola have paid witness to the fall and rise of empires, the perseverance of colonial structures of power, and the construction and (re)creation of racial, sexual, and gendered identities. In the midst of such change and continuity, this course sets out to ask: what place does Latinx occupy in this long history? What does Latinidad look like when we trace it back 530 years, when we take 1492 to be its starting point instead of the 20th century? How might this look backwards help us understand the current Latinx politics of gender (Latino vs. Latina vs. Latinx), sexuality (the place of queerness and transness in Latinx Studies), and race (Latinidad’s penchant for disavowing blackness and erasing indigeneity)? We will answer these questions as we move through different historical and literary periods

Arts Integration Component: Students will engage with multimedia poet, installation, and adornment artist Alan Pelaez López , who will lead a workshop where students use plastic, visual, and poetic art to counteract dominant historical-cultural narratives, resulting in the course’s final project.

Music 188: Music Makers of Asian America

Music Makers of Asian America
Vijay Iyer (Music) FALL 2022

In this course we will study the lives and work of a series of guest artists, spanning a broad range of aesthetics, practices, methods, ethnicities, and musical backgrounds. The featured artists will include the celebrated classical violinist and cultural instigator Jennifer Koh; Grammy-winning composer and steel pan performer Andy Akiho; composer, trumpeter and Iraqi maqam practitioner Amir ElSaffar; Grammy-nominated vocalist-composer Arooj Aftab; polyglot composer and multi-instrumentalist Jen Shyu; and hip-hop artist and activist Anik Khan. The syllabus is rounded out with readings in Asian American Studies. 

Arts Integration Component: Students will be given the option of writing analytical essays or offering creative responses, with the permission and guidance of the instructor.

GENED 1114: Painting's Doubt: A Studio Course

Painting's Doubt: A Studio Course
Matt Saunders (Art, Film, and Visual Studies), FALL 2022

How does a hands-on practice of image making (painting) lead us to perceive, represent and inhabit our world differently? Painting is an engagement between the self and the world. It is a practice of embodied making, and, as a language outside of words, can think around conditioned understanding. This introductory studio art course proposes learning to paint as a new experience of relating to the world, and through painting we will investigate not only what we have to say, but what we have to see.

Arts Integration Component:  This introductory studio course proposes “painting” not as a set of skills towards an end, but as an experience of relating to the world, and through painting students will investigate not only what they have to say, but what they have to see. 

French 20: Intermediate French: Francophone Culture in Local Communities

French 20: Intermediate French: Francophone Culture in Local Communities
Karen Turman (Romance Languages & Literatures) FALL 2022, SPRING 2023

In this intermediate-level language course we will explore cultural topics such as music, dance, and cuisine in French-speaking countries around the world. We will in turn expand our discovery of Francophone cultures through conversations with online language partners, interactive discussions with French-speaking guests, and exploration of local Francophone communities. Themes such as family life in West Africa, sustainability in the French-speaking Pacific, and First Nation dancers in Quebec will be broached through communicative activities in order to build on oral, written, and intercultural competences. Using various texts, films, and multimedia resources as a basis for discussion, we will also build vocabulary and review and refine various grammatical structures. This course will also include online partner conversations through the Boomalang platform.

Arts Integration Component: Students engage with visitors from local French-speaking immigrant communities and, in turn, participate in an activity off campus with one of these Francophone groups.

HAA 73: Money Matters. Lost World: Pontos Euxeinos

Money Matters. Lost World: Pontos Euxeinos.
Eurydice Georganteli (History of Art & Architecture), SPRING 2023

Money is everywhere. As both an abstract construct and a material entity, money makes the world go around. Since before the invention of writing, money has been a common facet of everyday life, informing how we think and act. The course explores how societies across human history have made, used, and valued money in divergent ways. We will consider money as an object of aesthetic appreciation, an ethical problem, an architect of social relations, an environmental disruptor, a tool of political resistance, and much more. How has coinage design functioned as a political, religious, and cultural symbol?  Is money a measure of value, and how does it align with other potential values, such as religious, moral, and aesthetic ones? Is it ethically neutral or an instrument of moral vice or virtue? What were the debates surrounding the rise of paper money? How has money been used as a tool of revolutionary movements and political resistance? Does money get recycled, and what is the environmental cost of different money forms today? What are the links between art, literature, theater, cinema, and money? 

Arts Integration Component:  Sudents will engage with a visual artist, whose work challenges their perception of the physical manifestation of money, inspires wonder and appreciation, and prompts them to see beyond the classroom, at geographical regions and cultural communities currently at risk.

Arabic 241 AR: Integrating Arabic calligraphy into the Arabic language classroom

Integrating Arabic calligraphy into the Arabic language classroom
Muhammad Habib (Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations) FALL 2022, SPRING 2023

 

In learning Arabic calligraphy, students will learn why it is the most esteemed art form in the Islamic world. As well as improving their handwriting, they will learn to identify the function and visual characteristics of some of the key scripts represented in the featured artworks, and recognize ways calligraphers use the shapes of letters to decorate objects and convey a wide range of messages. At the end of the course, students will be encouraged to put together an exhibit to demonstrate their work.

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Arts Integration Component: Students learn, explore and experience Arabic calligraphy through artmaking.

 

HIST 15K: Race & US Empire

Quilts and Quiltmaking
Felicity Lufkin (Folklore & Mythology), SPRING 2023 

Are quilts the great American (folk) art? From intricately stitched whole-cloth quilts, to the improvisational patchworks of Gee's Bend; from the graphic simplicity of Amish quilts to the cozy pastels of depression-era quilts; from the Aids Quilt to art quilts; quilts have taken on extraordinary significance in American culture. This class surveys the evolution of quilt-making as a social practice, considering the role of quilts in articulations of gender, ethnic, class and religious identities, and their positions within discourses of domesticity, technology, consumerism, and cultural hierarchy.

Arts Integration Component: Students will participate in QuiltLab sessions, with weekly projects introducing them to different hand-sewing techniques and then adding the use of sewing machines. By the end of the semester, the students' mini-quilts are assumbled into a unified class quilt. Many also undertake individual quiltmaking projects as their final project.

GENED 1049: East Asian Cinema

GENED 1049: East Asian Cinema

Jie Li (General Education), SPRING 2023

 

This course introduces major works, genres, and waves of East Asian cinema from the silent era to the present, including films from Mainland China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. We will discuss issues ranging from formal aesthetics to historical representation, from local film industries to transnational audience reception.This course does not assume prior knowledge of East Asian culture or of film studies, but rather seeks to provide students with a basic understanding of modern East Asian cultural history through cinema, and with an essential toolkit for analyzing film and media, including narrative, cinematography, editing and sound.

 

Arts Integration Component: Students will creatively respond to course materials by collaborating on their own short films in the style of the films they watch. For their final projects, they will collaborate on short narrative films from 7-10 minutes, and the class will end with the “Golden Monkey Awards”—a class screening of final projects with Oscar-like awards in various categories.

 

FOLKMYTH 172: Quilts and Quiltmaking

Quilts and Quiltmaking
Felicity Lufkin (Folklore & Mythology), SPRING 2023 

Are quilts the great American (folk) art? From intricately stitched whole-cloth quilts, to the improvisational patchworks of Gee's Bend; from the graphic simplicity of Amish quilts to the cozy pastels of depression-era quilts; from the Aids Quilt to art quilts; quilts have taken on extraordinary significance in American culture. This class surveys the evolution of quilt-making as a social practice, considering the role of quilts in articulations of gender, ethnic, class and religious identities, and their positions within discourses of domesticity, technology, consumerism, and cultural hierarchy.

Arts Integration Component: Students will participate in QuiltLab sessions, with weekly projects introducing them to different hand-sewing techniques and then adding the use of sewing machines. By the end of the semester, the students' mini-quilts are assumbled into a unified class quilt. Many also undertake individual quiltmaking projects as their final project.

Freshman Seminar 34V: Broadway Musicals: History and Performance

Broadway Musicals: History and Performance
Carol Oja (Music) SPRING 2023

This seminar will explore a core group of Broadway musicals. Historical and musical discussions will be paired with student performances and staging of individual scenes (done under the guidance of Allegra Libonati of the A.R.T. Institute). The seminar will touch on signal moments over the course of the “Golden Age” of the musical, stretching up to the present day: Oklahoma! (1943), South Pacific (1949), West Side Story (1957), A Chorus Line (1975), In the Heights (2008), and Hamilton (2016).

Arts Integration Component: Students' performances will be central to the course, with three class sessions devoted to staging segments of the shows being studied in class. These sessions will be led by Allegra Libonati - an accomplished professional director of musicals and Resident Director at A.R.T. - who will guide the students through staged realizations of dramatic conceptualizations that have been discussed in class.

metaLAB Creative Course Workshops & “Experience Design” Workshop

StudioLab on Creativity and Entrepreneurship (CE 10)

Alain Viel

 

Note: Formerly offered in Fall 2021 as “LPCE 101”

Will our new normal be a diminished or unimproved version of reality that simply happens to us, or can we enact change to create a “better normal”?

CE 10 pursues the creation of a “better normal.” Using an interdisciplinary exploration of the liberal arts, you will develop and apply transformative ideas to tackle today’s societal challenges, such as racial injustice, climate change, and strained health and wellbeing. You will work to develop actionable solutions to pressing issues, using the starting framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. You will learn to identify and properly analyze a problem, work collaboratively to ideate and create an actionable approach, build an organizational strategy and business plan, network with experts to pressure-test your ideas, and persuasively communicate your ideas to build the requisite human capital and funding relationships to launch a venture.

 

Creativity (GENED 1067)

David Atherton

 

Geniuses are said to possess it. Self-help books offer to teach it. Both the arts and the sciences celebrate it. It sits at the heart of some of our oldest myths and is the subject of up-to-the-minute neuroscientific research. Some say it comes in momentary flashes; others call it a way of life. Some identify it as the key to deep fulfillment; others claim that it entails intense suffering. Many agree that it sets us apart as a species—but does it? What is creativity? How have humans made sense of it across centuries and cultures, and what role might it play in our lives today? Exploring creativity takes us into the very question of what makes us human, and the answers we discover can help equip us for the lives we will lead beyond the classroom. This course casts a wide net, crossing disciplines as it takes us from ancient treatises on the art of poetic composition to modern brain scans, and from centuries-old debates over intellectual property to present-day questions of artificial intelligence. Is creativity the same as originality? Can plagiarism be creative? Should one own the fruits of one’s creative labor? What happens in the brain at moments of creative insight? Can creativity be “hacked”? We will hear directly from practicing artists and experts as we explore these questions through regular, small-stakes creative experiments and a creative final project. By course’s end, you will have a deeper sense of where creativity belongs in your own life—and of how you might share what you have discovered with others.

 

Arts Integration Component:  Students will take part in two creative workshops, where they will utilize design-thinking strategies to contend with conceptual and philosophical questions through a series of exercises and artistic production. Students will take part in an "experience design" workshop and learn aspects of metaLAB's creative methodology to utiize in their future teaching or leadership.