Traditional Tribal Art
Course No. SNS 357 Credits: 3.0
Specific cultures of sub-Saharan Africa are reviewed through their visual arts and ritual. The goal is to understand how each group's history and cultural context influence the creative process (use of symbols, style, media, and technique) and shape the aesthetic response. Some comparative materials from Oceania, India, and Some comparative materials from Oceania, India, and North America are also examined.
Tribe vs. Nation
Course No. SNS 479 Credits: 3.0
The course is an anthropological examination of the impact of technology and "western" industrial development on indigenous populations worldwide. Assumptions posed in the concepts "progress" and "development" are examined by in-depth review of traditional society and culture change among, for instance, the Balinese, ethnic groups in Mali, West Africa and Native American in the United States. Bali's traditional arts, rituals and water temple system of irrigation, Bambara society in Mali and Native American traditional cultures are juxtaposed against the culture change these groups experience with increased global, commercial interdependence. In the 21st century, humankind continues to experience problems of world hunger, population growth, resource depletion, pollution and war. Films, slides and reading review these issues, and peoples, worldwide, to try to consider potential solutions which acknowledge human cultural diversity within the modernization process. An emphasis in the course is a consideration of technological determinism and social choices.
Course No. SNS 321 Credits: 3.0
Visual anthropology is an important growing subfield of cultural anthropology. The course focuses on how anthropologists have used visual media of various kinds, especially ethnographic film, to record, document and study human cultural and social diversity worldwide. A series of ethnographic films, readings and class discussion will explore this method of anthropological data collecting and analysis. As a counterpoint to earlier, popular, western cultural biases in visually "representing" non-western, non-industrial peoples as "romantic," "noble," "savage," "enigmatic," "curiosity," anthropology's film studies sought a stronger objectivity. Did they succeed? Worldwide, indigenous peoples now make extensive use of visual media/communication to reflect on their "contested identities." How has visual anthropology helped in that effort? From the 19th century's still photographs to today's cyberspace, visible culture and visual media interface. The course reviews ethnographic film as part of that communication process. $15 course fee required.
Visual Culture and the Manufacture of Meaning
This course will introduce students to critical theories and methods of analysis for interpreting contemporary visual art and culture. Topics include: formalism and stylistic analysis; semiotics and structuralism; Marxist theory; biography; psychoanalytic theory; feminist analysis and gender studies; postcolonial theory; post structuralism and postmodernity; and media arts studies (electronic/digital technologies). Select interpretive frameworks employed in the "manufacture of meaning" will be situated historically and discussed fully and critically, using seminal writings. Required for Visual Culture Emphasis.
Ways of Thought: Confucianism, Taoism, and Zen
Course No. HCS 367 Credits: 3.0
This course is an introduction to systems of belief and action in China and Japan. It begins with a critical cross-cultural comparison of Confucianism, Taoism and Ch'an Buddhism in China and Zen Buddhism in Japan, concluding with a comparison between two representative systems, one Eastern and one Western. The aim of this course is twofold: to explore traditional philosophical, religious and psychological perceptions that have influenced life (ideal and otherwise) in China and Japan, and to provide a basis for understanding selected Asian cultures and, through perspectives gained, to reflect upon our own.
Ways of Thought: Hinduism and Buddhism
Course No. HCS 366 Credits: 3.0
This two-semester course begins with an introduction to similarities and differences between Eastern and Western systems of belief and action. It proceeds with a critical cross-cultural comparison of Hinduism, Indian and Chinese schools of Buddhism, Taoism in China, and Zen Buddhism in Japan. It concludes with a comparison between two representative systems, one Eastern and one Western. The aim of this course is twofold: to explore traditional philosophical, religious, and psychological perceptions that have influenced life (ideal and otherwise) in India, China and Japan, and to provide a basis for understanding selected Asian cultures and, through perspectives gained, to reflect upon our own.
Course No. LLC 424 Credits: 3.0
Faculty Joyce Kessler
This course is designed to outline the contributions of women to the origins and development of the novel genre in English and American literature from 1688 to the present time. It will focus on discovery of the relationships between the earliest women's literary production and the literature written by the women of this moment. It will inquire into the areas of race and social class as they are directly relevant to (or feature as tropes within) the literature comprising our reading list. It also introduces some of the basic theoretical questions that feminist scholarship has raised in connection with women's writing during these periods. Through selected readings, research, and critical discussion, members of this class will become familiar with modern women's literature, its social/historical contexts, and some of the feminist critical approaches through which it has been considered. Fulfills Humanities/Cultural Studies distribution requirement. Creative Writing Concentration course.
Course No. ACD 374X Credits: 3.0
Writing on film aesthetics in 1930, a year marked by global financial crisis and mounting political conflict, Béla Balázs did not feel it was possible to speak of the “people of the world.” But if that day were ever to arrive, he predicted, film would be there “ready and waiting to provide the universal spirit with its corresponding technique of expression.” Today we talk about how technology has altered the world, making it feel smaller and infinitely expanded at the same time. But can we still say film holds the promise of universal expression? If not, what does it promise now? What, in other words, do film’s techniques of expression correspond to in our contemporary world? In this course, we will spend time looking carefully at cinematic technique in films produced all over the world during the course of the medium’s history. At the same time we will also look carefully at the ideas and fantasies that animate “world cinema” as a label for certain kind of films without taking for granted that this phrase always means or has meant the same thing. Why do some critics and theorists embrace this term while others find it inadequate, a bad fit, something in need of qualification or replacement? What corrections and critiques have these writers offered? How do their observations change the way we see film technique and our own unexamined assumptions about how film makes the world available to each of us as viewers? May be applied to fulfill the non-Western art history requirement. $25 course fee required.
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Gary D. Sampson
Professor of Art + Design History/Chair of Liberal Arts
Gary Sampson teaches art and design history and theory at the Institute. He is also adjunct in art history and...more
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