This course examines human aesthetic responses and our capacities to interpret diverse forms of cultural expression. Students will study some of the following: literary and / or religious texts, paintings, sculpture, architecture, music, film, dance, opera, the decorative arts, as well as other forms of aesthetic expression.
This is a multi-section course, taught differently by each of its instructors, who focus on different ideas and use different texts, assessments, and pedagogical methods to achieve the course objectives. Such variety serves as the best means to enhance learning outcomes of a diverse student population and to allow for innovations in teaching.
Cities are a vital part of the modern economy, with over half the population of the earth now living in urban centers. Cities have been the essential mover of culture progress throughout history. This course will focus on two paradigmatic cities of cultural invention: Athens of the 5th century BCE and Florence of the 13‐16th century CE. We will also more briefly touch on two other cities: Uruk, the first city in human history, and classical Rome. For each city we will examine not only its key texts and cultural artefacts, but also the unique features of those cities and the relationship between those features and its cultural output.