LST 470 Descriptions

Summer 2020

Renaissance Florence

Instructor: Melanie Pitts

In this section of LST 470 we will study the art, literature, philosophy, and politics of Florence, Italy from 1265 to 1513. Particular emphasis will be placed on the rise of Humanism, the evolution of art and development of linear perspective, the power of the Medici, and the literary works of Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio. We will also take part in “virtual” study abroad experiences, including field trips to museums, tours through architectural landmarks, and visits to the best gelato spots and restaurants in Florence. Students will complete a variety of writing assignments, including analytical essays, a “travel” journal, and a final project.

The Three Cultures

Instructor: Brian McCormack

The Two Cultures, a lecture given by C.P. Snow in 1959, was an influential critique of the Humanities – the most notable recent example in a long tradition of conflict between the centers of Western knowledge. In our course, “The Three Cultures,” named after Charles Kagan’s recent book of the same name (which adds the Social Sciences to the Sciences and the Humanities), we take Snow’s critique to task, and determine ways in which the three cultures can be mutually supportive. Through innovative experiments (notably, looking at clouds as a source of metaphor for the best chance for unity between the sciences and the humanities; creating neologisms in the service of our own research and revision; and group screenplay writing on current issues), we challenge ourselves to think well past the limits ascribed to us in these debates over knowledge. The benefits of the course include the development of an acute awareness of the high stakes of our university education, an opening of the mind to the possibilities of thinking in more than one academic register, and a chance to express ourselves both with rigor and imagination.

Fall 2020 

Creating Meaning Through Design

Instructor: Matt Rodgers

This course will explore how everyday design – including graphic, interactive, architectural, interior, industrial and urban – creates meaning in a globalized world. We will investigate cross-cultural design elements, as well as how meaning is interpreted between cultures and if design has the ability to transcend geographical, political, religious and other boundaries.

Social Activism Through the Arts

Instructor: Isabelle Petersen

This course explores major social movements through the lens of artistic expression, offering insights into the interrelationship between culture and social change within the United States and globally. By examining cultural texts (music, film, poetry, painting, etc.) engendered by resistance movements since the 1950s, students will analyze how these expressions have influenced contemporary views of social justice and contributed to social change.

Tokens, Taverns & Tactics: Tabletop Game Analysis

Instructor: Nick Maddox

Want to learn the history of games through the ages, and how games evolved? This course will take an in-depth look at why we as people play games and how people in different cultures experience play. Students will also explore topics in modern boardgame design focusing on mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics. By the end of this course, students will design and implement a tabletop game prototype.

Touring Renaissance Florence

Instructor: Melanie Pitts

Students will study the art, literature, philosophy, and politics surrounding Florence, Italy from 1265 to 1513. Numerous virtual field trips to museums, architectural landmarks, and other points of historical interest will supplement class readings.