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Special Topics Courses

UISA: Artistic and Creative Expression

UISA 190 Special Topics: Activist Arts [3]

Art has a transformative power to engage people through their emotions and senses to educate, incite action and reaction. In this course, students will examine the ways creative individuals use film, literature, music, dance and visual art to inform, engage, symbolize and mobilize in social movements, and the ways in which their audiences/ viewers have been activated by their work. Our methodology will be the careful critique and analysis of works of art and their cultural contexts, the interrogation of art practices, and the examination of audience reactions to reveal embedded messages, tropes, and emotional sensory triggers that cause works and their creators to become symbolic and inspirational in social change movements. We will focus on the artist’s historical context, documented aim for the work, and then evaluate the historical, cultural and social context for the work as an “activist” artifact.

UISA 190 Special Topics: Architecture in Film [3]

This interdisciplinary course bridges the arts of architecture and cinema by exploring the connections between them. Architecture—the built environment—expresses cultural values. Film often uses architecture to create a setting for action and narrative expression. Through film critiques, viewing films, and collaboratively creating a short film of their own, students learn how architecture becomes a “character” in film, employing the experiential elements of architecture. Laboratory fee.

UISA 190 Special Topics: The Art of Jazz- The Artists and Socioeconomic Influences [3]

The American art form known as jazz has a rich history, well chronicled in audio and video performances. This course explores the art and history of jazz through the issues related to the lives and music of jazz luminaries such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and more. Students will reflect on how American society and culture influenced the development of jazz styles and subgenres with a focus on the confluence of ethnic backgrounds in New Orleans, the Great Migration, the Harlem Renaissance, the contribution of Jewish American composers, and the significant influence of musical ideas rooted in African and Middle Eastern traditions. Class lectures will include audio, video and live jazz performances. Expect inspiring coursework and spirited discussion on the legacy of this unique American art form. Laboratory fee.

UISA190 Special Topics: Gender, Power and Representation in the Arts [3]

This course will integrate gender studies with the current instructor’s chosen field in the visual, literary or performing arts. The course will analyze how the social construction of gender has affected this art form, as well as that of the audience/reader/viewer. Students will use their critical and creative thinking skills as they critique the given artistic discipline, by observing such aspects as form, content and aesthetic judgment.

Assigned reading, group discussion, presentations and research projects will allow students repeated opportunities to consider, analyze, discuss, and write critically. Focus will be on artists who have both functioned within and challenged normalized gender stereotypes and hegemonies. Laboratory Fee.

UISA190 Special Topics: Poets and Painters [3]

This course encourages students to explore the cross-feed between the literary and visual arts. In each of three units poetry, the novel, and the short story – students will first act as literary critics, identifying and writing about literary ideas, before taking on the role of artists, translating these literary ideas into artistic compositions. The course moves students through the creative process: from generating ideas, to refining and arranging them, to creating coherent works of literary analysis and art. Hands-on workshops include sketching, collage, photography, and bookmaking, as well as writing workshops on revision. Laboratory Fee.

UIST: Natural, Scientific, and Technological Exploration

UIST 190 Special Topics: Climate Change Science [3]

This course explores the scientific evidence that supports our understanding of global anthropogenic climate change. The course is grounded in scientific exploration of the issue of climate change, including topics such as increasing levels of atmospheric CO2, the greenhouse effect, and the sources of emissions. Topics for discussion include the vostock ice core and Loa observatory data, and the ways climate change impacts sea level rise, melting glaciers, seasonal temperatures, weather events, ecological relationships, and biodiversity. It provides a wide range of scientific evidence for global climate change and challenges students to think critically about the science of climate change and what it might mean for life on earth. The class will use the lenses of policy and culture to examine potential solutions to climate change and the barriers that exist for those changes. Students will be challenged to communicate complex science through visual forms such as presentations, photography, infographics, and/or narrative audio.

UIST 190 Special Topics: Geoscience, Archaeology & History [3]

This course is an introduction to geoscience, archaeological and historical methodologies, including topics about how human and geological forces such as migration, war, famine, drought, earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis have affected what we know about historical events at specific archaeological sites around the world. This course also includes a fieldwork component with ground penetrating radar (GPR) equipment to introduce a noninvasive technology used in the study of archaeological sites with a workshop on our campus. All students will complete a ten page write up and photo essay on their experience and an oral presentation in class on what they learned. Co-taught with geoscientist Dr. Harry Jol of the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire.