Here is the first posting of course syllabi for enjoyment, comments, discussion. This is from Bill Everdell, to whom many thanks for being first out of the starting gate. Bill is currently finishing a book for the University of Chicago Press entitled: The First Moderns: Profiles in the Origins of Twentieth-Century Thought, 1872-1913, and it should be out by March, 1997. It would be great if a member of the list would undertake a review of what looks to be an important book, both for trade and text. Any volunteers?
Here is Bill's syllabus:
# Week Subject and Assignment
I am posting a syllabus that combines the areas and interests of H-Nexa.
Please feel free to post your feedback to the list or send it to me
Instructor: Amy Ione
Using an in-depth and cross-disciplinary approach this course probes into why the great divides among art, science, and the humanities came to be accepted more or less without question in the twentieth century. They were why the great divides among art, science, and the humanities came to be accepted more or less without question in the twentieth century. They were not accepted in the 16th and perhaps not even the 17th or 18th centuries. Thus they are thus not an intrinsically 'necessary' separation. Yet many people assume that there is an old and an unsolveable quarrel between science and the arts. The overriding question is why?
Turning to the historical story we will consider this question. We will explore why there appears to be a higher level of communication in periods of intense cross-disciplinary exchange and ask how emergent creativity fosters the human learning process. Special attention will be given to (1) clarifying how art-making, symbol-making and model-making compare, (2) using historical case studies to develop a broader understanding of creativity, and (3) critically analyzing how the various educational alternatives being proposed today actually impact individual and cultural growth.
No previous background in science, mathematics, or art history will be assumed.
Weekly Discussion Topics:
I. Introduction: Discussion of various ways of defining art, science, literature, mathematics, language, models, myths, metaphors, symbols. Discussion of what correlative thinking, perception, and information are.
II. Stereotypes about the East, the West, modern, premodern, and indigenous cultures: How the sacred and profane take form in various cultures. Religious and secular views of science, mathematics, and art: where do purpose and theology fit in human inquiry? What do we mean by 'Western'? Discussion of nature, appearance, illusion, creativity, law, dialogue, and learning in non-Western and Western cultures. Discussion of what nature represents in religious cultures and in modern science.
III.Greek views of nature and the roots of Western ideas about creativity: Greeks views of artmaking, techne, humanitas, paideia (culture), and physis (nature). Greek views on illusion and reality. The early Greek scientists: Thales, Anaximander, and the Presocratics. The Pythagorean "music of the spheres" and its impact on forming the mystical and mathematical traditions in the West. "Free" art and science in classical Greece: what does it mean to practice artmaking and model-making when it attempts to have no religious or political bias? Plato's view of the artist and the scientist. How does the Greek view influence art and science in the Middle Ages?
IV. Communication, cultural context and critical thinking: Approaches which define eternal and unchanging truths as compared to views which attempt to continually re-evaluate truth claims. Discussion of paradigms, falsification, verification, clarification. An overview of construction, deconstruction, re-construction, and social construction. Comparing assumptions about space, time, light, pattern, depth, harmony, deconstruction, re-construction, and social construction. Comparing assumptions about space, time, light, pattern, depth, harmony, aesthetics, perspective, perception, and reality in art and science. The role of emotion in art, mathematics, and science. Are our eyes instruments of habit?
V. Symbols and map-making: What are symbols? Do we create symbols or are symbols pre-existent and archetypal? What are mathematical symbols? What are symbols in art? How do symbols compare with metaphors? Discussion of how people measure the unmeasureable. What are maps? Mercator projections, al-Biruni maps, mapping Euclidean space and non-Euclidean space. How do symbols and metaphors compare with maps? Is the map the territory? Physical maps and cultural maps. Illustrating ideas about linear time, cyclic time, and nonlinear time. Is drawing map-making? Is drawing deceptive? Is life deceptive?
VI. Laws of nature? Discussion of how technique, tradition, innovation, and inspiration formed the Renaissance vision in art and science: was science born of art? Discussion of what a quantitative innovation, and inspiration formed the Renaissance vision in art and science: was science born of art? Discussion of what a quantitative approach to nature is: The Newtonian view of nature. Are there laws of nature? Different views of law: Chinese cosmography as compared to Western cosmology. Discussion of what the observable universe is and historical innovations in art, mathematics, and science. Discussion of how art, mathematics, and science balance visible, invisible, and unknown possibilities.
VII. Systems and life: Historical views of the world as a living system. How "physics envy" informed the life sciences. The emergence of the social sciences and statistics. What are static and dynamic models of reality? Can we apply science to society? Nineteenth century Romanticism and the artist as an outsider.
VIII. Visions of reality in twentieth century art and science: Nineteenth century views as compared to those of the twentieth century. Comparing and contrasting emerging ideas in regard to spirit and matter in the arts and sciences. Does twentieth century art depict the invisible
Comparing and contrasting emerging ideas in regard to spirit and matter in the arts and sciences. Does twentieth century art depict the invisible ity twentieth century physicists and mathematicians are defining? How quantum theory differs from non-mathematical views of probability, indeterminacy and unpredictability.
Worlds we imagine as compared to the world we see and touch. What are chaos and order? Historical and contemporary views of chaos and order in science, mathematics, and art. Graphing nonlinear patterns mathematically to show change over time. Graphing chaotic dynamics mathematically to show that what appears random often has an underlying pattern. Using fractals and attractors to illustrate new views of space, geography, time, and evolution. Comparing images: fractals, attractors, curved space, Feynman diagrams, particle tracks and bubble-chamber photographs, abstract art, conceptual art, futurism, surrealism, cubism etc.
IX. The public and private process: Discussion of what creativity is and implies. Discussion of consciousness as an emergent phenomena. Individuals who work as artists and scientists. Piero della Francesca implies. Discussion of consciousness as an emergent phenomena. Individuals who work as artists and scientists. Piero della Francesca (1416?-98) painter and mathematician. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), Renaissance astronomer, mathematician, writer, and painter. Paul Cezanne (1839-1906), the Father of Modern art. Robert R. Wilson (b. 1914), a twentieth century physicist and sculptor.
X. Imaginative and Applied technologies: More discussion on what creativity is and implies. How artistic innovations have been instrumental in the historical development of mathematics, biology, physics, and other branches of science. How scientific innovations have changed artmaking (e.g., chemical innovations that enhance the quality and flexibility of materials, better equipment, etc.). Using conservation techniques to preserve historical art.
XI. Conclusion: art, science, and mathematics in a multicultural world: What is discovery in art, science, and mathematics? Why do some suggest that the motivations behind art and science represent conflicting impulses, while others see the two approaches as integrally related? How suggest that the motivations behind art and science represent conflicting impulses, while others see the two approaches as integrally related? How have artistic, scientific, and mathematical innovations been instrumental in building and redefining individual and cultural assumptions?
Assignments and Grading
Each student will be required to submit two short essays and a final paper. The essays (3-5 pages) are to be based on the readings and class discussion. Essay questions will be handed out in class.
Each essay is worth 20% of your overall grade. The first essay is due the fourth week of class. The second essay is due the eighth week. The intention of these minipapers is to demonstrate your understanding of the readings and the topics discussed in class.
The final paper (10-12 pages) accounts for 50% of the overall grade. This The final paper (10-12 pages) accounts for 50% of the overall grade. This is to be a research paper, complete with references, on a topic of your choice. It is due the last day of class. Please draft a one page outline of the paper by the ninth week so that I can approve your topic and project design. This will also allow me to give you feedback and help you organize your research. It is acceptable for your final paper to be an expansion of one of your earlier essays.
General classroom participation, attendance/attitude will make up the remaining 10%.
A = Comprehensive and insightful papers. B = Well-written and critically probing papers. C = An adequate presentation of basic concepts and evidence of an C = An adequate presentation of basic concepts and evidence of an effort to grasp the course material.
Note: Class attendance is important. Students are advised that more than one absence will adversely effect the course grade.
Books of Special Interest:
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