111. Topics in Interdisciplinary Studies. (4).
Section 001 – Numbers, Reasons, and Data. While the reading list for the seminar is improvised, the principal themes for discussion are quite predictable from one end of the term to the other. The most general of these is the proper role of quantification in the versions of reality constructed by the various disciplines we shall consider. Specific concerns under this heading include the justifications for claiming that numbers or their relationships somehow represent enduring aspects of the real world, the ways in which numbers provide evidence for "theories" or other sorts of assertions of pattern, and the role of computations and arguments about stability, change, and error in the verification of these schemes. Our approach to our subject will be by various methods, including intellectual history (the study of opinions once thought reasonable). Other themes are more specifically statistical: the logic of least-squares techniques (such as averaging), the reality of the Normal distribution, the nature of numerical evidence for causation. This material will be covered mainly by the chapters of Stigler's History of Statistics: The Measurement of Uncertainty to 1900, augmented by notes from me. We are reading Stigler as history and philosophy of science, not as mathematics: you may skip over his formulas (though not over mine) the way you skip names in Russian novels. A final theme cannot be expressed any better than by quoting the titles of a book by Duncan from which you will receive additional extracts: Notes on Social Measurements, Historical and Critical. (Bookstein)
411. Topics in Interdisciplinary Studies. Advanced
undergraduate standing. (1-3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit.
Section 001 – The Artist as Visionary. (3 credits.) For Winter Term, 1993, this course is jointly offered with Art 425. This seminar will employ a series of readings in contemporary art and a series of written reflections on our own work as artists to address the role of the artist as a utopian thinker. It will give students in studio art an opportunity to experience the generative potential in writing about one's own studio work while examining the ways in which we define ourselves as inventors of alternate realities. The course addresses practical questions of how we as artists present ourselves to the public and to the professional art world. It will emphasize effective writing and discussion of our own work as artists. Some information will be provided relevant to installing work, compiling resumes and slide portfolios, entering competitions, applying for grants, and approaching galleries. There will be a workshop on slide documentation and one on effectively using the periodical collection in the Art and Architecture Library. Course requirements will include: (1) an ongoing body of studio work; (2) a series of written artist's statements examining your own vision and production as as artist from various suggested vantage points; (3) a short critical essay addressing a work of contemporary art; (4) an extensive reading of statements by artists on their own work, readings in contemporary criticism and theory, and interdisciplinary readings which stimulate our understanding of art making as an imagining of alternative realities; (5) two oral presentations, one addressing the work of another contemporary artist and a final slide presentation on your own work. Your final project will be a simple brochure which features a summarized artist's statement and a visual representation of your own artwork. Course is designed for undergraduate seniors and graduate students. Admittance by instructor approval only, based on advanced studio experience. (Cogswell)
Section 002 – Parody and Utopia. (1 credit) For Winter Term, 1993, this course is jointly offered with Classical Civilization 411. (Humphreys, Most)
Section 003 – Nature/Technology: Donna Haraway at the Dangerous Boundary. (1 credit). Professor Delany, a science fiction writer, describes this course as a lecture/discussion on the works of Donna Haraway which will entail readings of her two most recent books, Primate Visions and Simians, Cyborgs, and Women. (Delany)
Section 004 – The Garden and Utopianism in Traditional China. (3 credits). For Winter Term, 1993, this course is jointly offered with Chinese 480. An introduction to the search for happiness in an ideal, perfect world as expressed in premodern Chinese civilization. We will examine a wide variety of materials ranging from philosophical texts and literary writings of all kinds to works of art and surviving traditional gardens that can still be found in China and Taiwan today. Special consideration will be given to the development of the aesthetic garden but our discussion will also include Chinese utopian thought, the life style of the scholar-recluse, and artistic and literary utopias other than this "paradise in one's backyard." The principal aim is to enable students to appreciate the distinctive elements in the long utopian traditions within traditional Chinese culture. The course combines lectures and in-class discussions. Open to upper-division undergraduate students and graduate students, this course assumes no prior knowledge of Chinese language and culture. All of the written materials are in English translation. Three short papers and one examination are required. (Lin, Li)
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