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Fall 2013 Sophomore Inquiry Class Themes

2 Aug

Fall 2013 Interpreting the Past SINQs

 We currently have three Sophomore Inquiry classes scheduled for the fall:

Our Fully Online Offering (pending funding)

Instructor: Alaric Trousdale, PhD

Medieval Heroes

What makes a hero?  Are heroes all the same, or are they unique to the culture and time that produces them?  Take Superman, for example; what is it that makes him uniquely American?  The traits and behaviors that a culture idolizes and reveres in its heroes are especially relevant to the historian.  In this course we will study the history and culture of Europe during the Middle Ages (c.400-1500 A.D), focusing specifically on the concept of the ‘hero’  as seen through saints lives, epic poetry and contemporary historical evidence. The course will also provide students with insights into using literature as a source of historical evidence, and how literature is studied by historians. The course encourages students to reflect upon the importance of the ideal, perfect ‘hero’ (and heroine) for understanding the values that cultures hold and to engage directly with selected key primary texts. Students will gain a basic grounding in the history of the European Middle Ages, a survey of medieval heroic literature, and expertise in what it meant to be a ‘hero’ to medieval Europeans.

 

Non Online Fall SINQs:

220px-The_Parthenon_in_Athens

Instructor: George Armantrout, PhD
Ancient Greece
Our main theme will be to examine the ideas of Justice and Law in ancient Greece from the time of Homer down to the time of Plato (ca. 750-380 BCE). To this end we will be reading and discussing a variety of ancient texts. We will also consider the role of the divine and the role of the state in these matters. Since context is important, we will also be looking at other issues such as status and gender. A central concern will be how perceptions of these matters change through time.

 

Instructor: Leslie W. Batchelder, PhD
Seeing is Believing: Visual Culture in the Nineteenth Century
In this class we will examine visual culture of the Nineteenth century from photography, to advertising, to the experience of the built environment and urban cityscapes. We will discuss how artifacts of 19th century visual culture in turn helped to form and solidify modern European Identities.

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Spring 2013 Sophomore Inquiry Topics for Interpreting the Past

21 Feb

Here is the latest roundup:

George Armantrout
Ancient Greece
Our main theme will be to examine the ideas of Justice and Law in ancient Greece from the time of Homer down to the time of Plato (ca. 750-380 BCE). To this end we will be reading and discussing a variety of ancient texts. We will also consider the role of the divine and the role of the state in these matters. Since context is important, we will also be looking at other issues such as status and gender. A central concern will be how perceptions of these matters change through time.

Jesse Locker
The Baroque
Suspended between medieval and modern, the Baroque age (c. 1600-c. 1750) was a time of paradox. While it was characterized by war, upheaval, corruption, and persecution, it was also period of tremendous social, political, scientific, and artistic innovation and renewal, giving rise to such figures as Galileo, Descartes, Rembrandt, and Cervantes, and laying the foundation for modern ideas about science, religion, individuality, feminism, political theory, and artistic self-determination.

This course will be serve as an introduction to some of the major themes and protagonists of this vibrant era, as well as serving as an introduction to interdisciplinary historical method. The focus of the course will be upon the investigation of primary sources—original texts, images, and rare books—and the secondary scholarly literature, as well as developing research, writing, and presentation skills.

Lea Millay
Darkness and Light: Tales from Medieval France and Premodern Japan
Throughout the ages writers have sought to give form and shape to that which troubles our spirits and haunts our dreams. What is this dark thing, this shadow? Carl Jung used the word “shadow” to describe the part of a human psyche that a person does not want to think about or cannot acknowledge—a mythological name for the dark, unlit side of the ego. But Jung’s is a modern view. How were premodern writers influenced by the dark side of human nature? What did they call it and how was it seen? What methods were used to harness it’s force and tap the potential therein? These are some of the questions we will ask as we compare and contrast literary works from Medieval France (lais of Marie de France and ballades of François Villon) with those from premodern Japan (a tale by Murasaki Shikibu and haiku of Matsuo Bashō). Our purpose is not only to explore the theme of darkness and light within unique historical and cultural contexts, but also to discover what connects us as human beings across distance and time.

Winter 2013 Sophomore Inquiry Themes

4 Nov

Winter 2013 Interpreting the Past Sophomore Inquiry Classes

Instructor: George Armantrout, PhD
Ancient Greece
Our main theme will be to examine the ideas of Justice and Law in ancient Greece from the time of Homer down to the time of Plato (ca. 750-380 BCE). To this end we will be reading and discussing a variety of ancient texts. We will also consider the role of the divine and the role of the state in these matters. Since context is important, we will also be looking at other issues such as status and gender. A central concern will be how perceptions of these matters change through time.

Instructor: Leslie W. Batchelder, PhD
Seeing is Believing: Visual Culture in the Nineteenth Century
In this class we will examine visual culture of the Nineteenth century from photography, to advertising, to the experience of the built environment and urban cityscapes. We will discuss how artifacts of 19th century visual culture in turn helped to form and solidify modern European Identities.

Instructor: Bill Fischer, PhD
Origins of Sustainable Environmentalism: In the Footsteps of Alexander von Humboldt
The explorations, scientific research, sociological studies, and ethical thought of Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) established the principle of interconnectedness – of our planet, its life forms, its natural resources, and its societies. Humboldt was probably the most famous cultural figure of Nineteenth-Century Europe, and was widely known in the United States. After a century of obscurity, he is being rediscovered and recognized as both a heroic explorer and a giant in many fields of endeavor: climate research, plant and animal geography, environmental studies, anthropology, linguistics, and social justice. Humboldt’s work was a major factor in not only modern sustainable environmentalism, but also how the United States developed as an ecology and a society. Counties, towns, schools, universities, geographical features, biological species and, of course the Humboldt Current, commemorate his name.

Instructor: Laurel Pavic, PhD
Sixteenth-century Venice
This fully online SINQ will examine art, culture, and history of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Venice. The Republic of Venice, or “la Serenissima,” was celebrated throughout Europe as a model society worthy of emulation. Using a variety of primary sources and art works, we will examine and evaluate why Venice had this reputation, how the city maintained this status, and the extent to which the claim of Venice as the “perfect society” holds up under historical scrutiny.

Instructor: Sarah Sentilles, DTh
Practices of Looking
You are what you see. This course will examine practices of looking, beginning with ancient Fayum portraits through the invention of photography in the 19th century. We will explore how contemporary forms of image-making depend on, transform, and reanimate ancient ways of thinking about language, communication, and meaning-making. We will examine the history of changing conceptions of image, truth, and viewer, paying particular attention to how these ideas inform and (mis)shape contemporary understandings of what images are, how they work, and what might be required of viewers. We will investigate how human beings engage language and images to make worlds.

Fall 2012 Sophomore Inquiry Topics

21 Jul

Hi all,
Here’s the current listing of our Fall 2012 Sophomore Inquiry (SINQ) classes:
Instructor: George Armantrout, PhD
Our main theme will be to examine the ideas of Justice and Law in ancient Greece from the time of Homer down to the time of Plato (ca. 750-380 BCE). To this end we will be reading and discussing a variety of ancient texts. We will also consider the role of the divine and the role of the state in these matters. Since context is important, we will also be looking at other issues such as status and gender. A central concern will be how perceptions of these matters change through time?

Instructor: Leslie W. Batchelder, Phd.
Seeing is Believing: Visual Culture in the Nineteenth Century
In this class we will examine visual culture of the Nineteenth century from photography, to advertising, to the experience of the built environment and urban cityscapes. We will discuss how artifacts of 19th century visual culture in turn helped to form and solidify modern European Identities.

Instructor: Tiffany Perala, PhD
This course focuses on the intersection of literature and culture at the Victorian fin de siecle. The aesthetic and decadent movements provided a philosophy for social reform, decorative and fine art, the proper aim of literature, sexual discourse, and experimental work that marked a decisive break from high-Victorian realism and moral instruction.

Summer 2012 Sophomore Inquiry Theme

1 May

Interpreting the Past will off a summer Sophomore Inquiry class on Saturday mornings that will explore the power and complexity of the Byzantine Empire. Poised between the East and the West, this culture made major contributions to the art, religion and military history and we will explore together many different fascinating aspects of the society.

This class will incorporate multimedia resources from across the world to bring this culture from the past alive.
Reading: Herrin, Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Byzantine Empire
as well as sources from the Byzantine era

Instructor: McClanan

Spring 2012 Sophomore Inquiry Topics for Interpreting the Past

5 Mar

In case you’re trying decide still which section of Sophomore Inquiry to take, here’s a little more information about the different SINQs being offered this spring (April-June 2012).

Prof Armantrout’s Class:
Our main theme will be to examine the ideas of Justice and Law in ancient Greece from the time of Homer down to the time of Plato (ca. 750-380 BCE). To this end we will be reading and discussing a variety of ancient texts. We will also consider the role of the divine and the role of the state in these matters. Since context is important, we will also be looking at other issues such as status and gender. A central concern will be, how do perceptions of these matters change through time?

Prof Locker’s Class:
This SINQ serves an interdisciplinary introduction historical method, focusing on the seventeenth century–an era of war, intolerance and social upheaval, but also of great literary, artistic and cultural ferment. Using the structure of Rosario Villari’s Baroque Personae, this course will examine the rise of new cultural archetypes in the seventeenth century such as the scientist, the witch, the nun, the bourgeois, and the artist through a variety of primary and secondary sources.

Prof Pavic’s Class:
This fully online SINQ will examine art, culture, and history of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Venice. The Republic of Venice, or “la Serenissima,” was celebrated throughout Europe as a model society worthy of emulation. Using a variety of primary sources and art works, we will examine and evaluate why Venice had this reputation, how the city maintained this status, and the extent to which the claim of Venice as the “perfect society” holds up under historical scrutiny.

Prof Perala’s Class:
This fully online course explores selected works of Victorian literature and introduces students to historical themes, genres, history, and culture of the Victorian Fin de Siècle. We will examine our complex and interwoven histories using the tools of the humanities and sciences to investigate the diversity of our shared human past, giving students a necessary context for understanding the present. In particular, we will focus on the period’s new theories and new styles of writing, ranging from aestheticism to decadence, from psychoanalysis to degeneration, from imperialism to the New Women movement. The Victorians’ longstanding anxiety about the pace of modernity was exacerbated by the strong presumption that an era was ending. Tragic generation or renaissance? Dusk of the nations or modernist birth? The Fin de Siècle meant all these stories.

Winter 2012 SINQ Themes

1 Nov

Winter 2012 Interpreting the Past SINQ Themes

Here’s an overview of what’s ahead in the winter term, please contact the instructor if you have questions about their Sophomore Inquiry (SINQ) class. The PSU Registration System has all of the details about course meeting times, etc. If you have questions about the Interpreting the Past cluster, as always, feel free to contact Prof McClanan, anne [at]pdx.edu

Armantrout:
We will be looking at a number of texts to examine the ideas of Justice and Law in ancient Greece. To this end we will consider other concepts such as the role of the divine and of the state in these matters. How do perceptions of of these things change through time?

Beyler:
Our theme is revolution and evolution in the long nineteenth century. We will critically examine examples from literature, science, art, and philosophy to understand how people during the period from the American and French Revolutions to the Russian Revolution brought about, experienced, and interpreted the tremendous cultural, technological, political, and social changes that brought the world into the modern age.

Fischer:
Title: Origins of Sustainable Environmentalism: In the Footsteps of Alexander von Humboldt. The explorations and investigations of Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) are the basis of modern sustainable environmentalism. He originated the expression that “all things are connected” in nature, developed modern plant geography and climatology, and was an early ethnologist and advocate of human rights. We will follow his travels, replicate some of his research, and strengthen our own learning by creating hands-on learning modules for children in schools named for Humboldt (US, Canada, Latin America, and Germany). Be ready to SINQ a Humboldt canoe, learn about map-making, make and use a sextant, and find out more about the Humboldt Current, the Humboldt Penguin, the Humboldt Squid, and cyanea humboldtiana, which is on the US list of endangered plants.

Greenstadt:
Renaissance Selves: The European Renaissance, dating from approximately 1300 to 1700, saw the transition from the late medieval to the early modern world. It was the age of exploration and discovery, of the Reformation, of new celebrations of the ancient past and the arts. In this course, we will look at some aspects of this complex time, including developments in literature, visual art, science and navigation, concepts of cultural and gender difference, and the meaning of the sacred. We will be especially interested in questions of boundaries – between cultures, individuals, and parts of the self.
partially online

Pavic:
This SINQ will examine art, culture, and history of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Venice. The Republic of Venice, or “la Serenissima,” was celebrated throughout Europe as a model society worthy of emulation. Using a variety of primary sources and art works, we will examine and evaluate why Venice had this reputation, how the city maintained this status, and the extent to which the claim of Venice as the “perfect society” holds up under historical scrutiny.
fully online

Sentilles: This course will examine practices of looking, beginning with ancient Fayum portraits through the invention of photography. We will explore changing conceptions of image, art, and viewer, paying particular attention to how these ideas inform and (mis)shape contemporary understandings of what images are, how they work, and what might be required of viewers.
fully online