This course explores the relationship between human societies and the natural environment. The course will review the history of natural resource use, pollution resulting from human activity, the limits that environments have placed on societies, the impact of human production and consumption on the environment, and social movements motivated by concern for the environment. Prerequisite:SOCI 101.
The Ancient Near East
The history of the ancient Near East features many firsts of civilization, some of which include the Neolithic Revolution, metallurgy, writing, literature, empire, urban life, public monuments, legal codes, monotheism, and international trade networks. This course will focus on the core of the ancient Near Eastern territory, Mesopotamia and West Asia (what is today Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and Turkey). In addition to an examination of the historical, political, and cultural developments of the region, this course will confront the difficulty inherent in studying the ancient Near East. While important first-hand records are extant, historians must also consult sources written hundreds of years after the events they record or must interpret mythic texts or no texts at all, but iconographic or archaeological materials. Researching the ancient Near East is further complicated by military conflict and cultural destruction that have accompanied this region, from the advent of civilization through to today. Thus this course also examines fundamental issues of epistemology and methodology in the process of studying this influential past.
This course will examine ancient Egyptian history and culture, beginning in prehistoric and predynastic Egypt and concluding with the decline of ancient Egypt under the dominance of foreign rulers. The primary focus will be on the periods of Egypt’s greatest stability and independence, from the pyramid builders of the Old Kingdom through the rise and fall of the imperialistic New Kingdom. Themes under examination include: ancient Egyptian art, architecture, literature, and religion; ideologies of kingship; gender roles; changing notions of Egyptian (and non-Egyptian) identity; Egypt’s position between Africa, Asia, and the Mediterranean; trade and diplomacy in the Mediterranean, ancient Near East, and Africa; and the growth and decline of political and cultural systems.
Directed Research in Economics
Under the direct supervision of a faculty member, a student participates in economic research. A learning contract that specifies the student’s role in the research process, including specific responsibilities and learning outcomes, must be filed with the Office of the Registrar. To qualify for upper-level credit student responsibilities must include consequential analysis. A maximum of four credit hours of directed research in economics (397 or 497 only) may be applied to major requirements in economics. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisites: Learning contract filed in the Office of the Registrar, ECON 253.
Classroom Assistantship in Art History
Supervised experience in the understanding and explanation of art history disciplinary concepts and reasoning. Meeting regularly with the instructor, classroom assistants help an instructor in duties that may include convening meetings with students outside of regular class time, reading drafts of students’ papers, correcting (but not grading) short homework assignments and drafting examination questions. This course will follow the general college guidelines. Students eligible for classroom assistantships must have a minimum GPA of 2.5, be of junior or senior standing or must have completed two courses of 300-level or above work in art history. May be repeated for a total of eight credits but a maximum of four credit hours of such work may be applied toward fulfillment of the student’s major requirements.
Music and Myth
Since before the dawn of recorded history, when humanity recounted its most time-honored tales in song, music and myth have gone hand in hand. This course will explore a relatively recent instance of this – the Germanic and Scandinavian myths revolving around the concept of a ring of power, as interpreted by the nineteenth-century composer Richard Wagner in his monumental four-opera cycle The Ring of the Nibelung, one of the most ambitious artistic projects of all time. Also to be studied are two striking examples of its influence: J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and George Lucas’ Star Wars. No prerequisites: the ability to read music is not necessary. This course fulfills the CORE Arts requirement.
Music and Art
This course will examine the relationship between music and the visual arts from three fundamental perspectives. Firstly, it will study the ways in which music has been influenced by art or has invoked a visual quality. Secondly, it will investigate the manner in which art has responded to music or has deliberately aimed for a “musical” quality. Finally, it will consider some of the means by which music and art have worked together. No prerequisites: the ability to read music is not necessary. This course fulfills the CORE Arts requirement.
Music in films is not just an accompaniment, but an essential part of the experience. The music can heighten our emotions, create atmosphere, explain actions, and do an endless amount of other work on behalf of the narrative. Designed for the general student, this course will examine film music to understand some of the many ways that it is used, beginning with basic information about films and their music. The works we will study cover a century of film making, beginning in the early 20th-century and ending with current cinema. No prerequisites: the ability to read music is not necessary. This course fulfills the CORE Arts requirement.
Literature and Opera
This course, designed for the general student, examines how the same story can be told in many different ways: just as when a movie is made from a book, when a composer creates an opera from a literary work he must make decisions about what to keep, to discard, and to change. We will first consider several different literary works, and then discover what happens when they are retold as operas, considering what is gained, lost, and changed in these musical retellings. No prerequisites: the ability to read music is not necessary. This course fulfills the CORE Arts requirement.
Gender and Music
Designed for the general student, this course considers how gender influences music. From how we speak and write about music, to how we perform it and support it, issues of gender invade and inform our knowledge and enjoyment of music. We will explore such things as how gender influences discussions of music, affects both performer and audience, renders or removes power, and confuses expectations of voice. We will consider both classical and popular music, past and present. No prerequisites: the ability to read music is not necessary. This course fulfills the CORE Cultural Perspectives requirement.
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