2011-12 Catalog

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Offering Description

Equatorial Studies: Sound, Science and the Western Imagination


Fall 2011 and Winter 2012 quarters

Sean Williams ethnomusicology , Heather Heying biology, anthropology , Eric Stein cultural anthropology
Fields of Study
anthropology, cultural studies, environmental studies, geography, international studies, music and natural history
Preparatory for studies or careers in
anthropology, science and ethnomusicology.

In addition to the landscape of the map, there are also landscapes of the mind. How humans conceptualize where and how they (and others) live is an elemental process that has started wars, led to new forms of cross-cultural communication, and given rise to hybridization of both populations and ideas. Our focus in this two-quarter program is to take a particular area of the world -- the equator -- and explore how various groups of people (local and foreign) have come to understand it over time. Through our work in science, the performing arts and anthropology, we will collectively engage the ways in which people connect to the natural world, the arts, and each other.

Each quarter divides into sections in which we highlight a particular lens through which to view our work, or focus on ways in which our lenses overlap. For example, we will examine how anthropology and medicine have grappled with "The Tropics" as a space believed to be essentially different from "The West," raising questions about the construction of race, the body, and the category of the "primitive." We will also work with sound: playing and creating musical instruments, singing and listening to music. In an attempt to understand the relationship between humans and the world around them, we will investigate evolutionary processes that apply to plants and animals near the equator. While our studies are contextualized in regions such as Brazil and Indonesia and other equatorial locations, we will also work briefly with a few regions outside the equator by way of comparison.

Weekly activities feature lectures, films and seminars. Other planned activities include field trips, workshops, collaborative presentations and guest lectures. Students are expected to focus on enhancing their college-level writing skills throughout the program; each quarter's major writing assignments will require students to revise their work and understand the process of revision. In fall quarter students will be introduced to important concepts about how to approach this material: issues of race, class and gender in a colonial context are important factors in deepening our understanding. As we move into winter quarter, students will have more chances to develop individual projects focusing on a particular area of interest.

Academic Website
Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Required Fees
$125 for fall Sun Lakes field trip and zoo admission.
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
November 30th, 2011 This program is not accepting new enrollment winter quarter.
June 15th, 2011 This program is now open to students of all class levels.
May 13th, 2011 This program is now open to Sophomores in addition to Freshmen.