2012-13 Catalog

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Offering Description

Picturing Domestic Space: Sociocultural Perspectives


Fall 2012, Winter 2013 and Spring 2013 quarters

Stephanie Kozick human development , Amjad Faur (F) photography , Susan Aurand (W) ceramics, visual arts
Fields of Study
anthropology, architecture, art history, cultural studies, history, literature, psychology, sociology and visual arts
Preparatory for studies or careers in
human development, photography, art, history, literature, and design.

How do the places where we live form the essence of our conception of space? Do human actions shape rooms, or do rooms shape human actions?

Domestic space is another way of saying “the rooms in a house;” those rooms, where we spend so much of our daily lives, offer occasions for thinking about a number of intriguing questions. One philosopher (Gaston Bachelard) argues that our perceptions of houses and other shelters shape our thoughts, memories, and dreams. Others have proposed that, “Domestic space is one of the most difficult terms to define.” What an invitation to inquiry!

And what are the psychological implications of domestic space? Some sociologists have stated that “The history of the house is the history of the dialectic that emerges between these two impulses: shelter and identity.” What are the relationships between one's "shelter" and one's "identity"?

The kitchen is a particularly fascinating room for sociocultural considerations; food preparation is common to homes in all cultures. We will consider the ethnographic work of Roderick Lawrence on kitchens, conduct ethnographic work of our own, and read delicious memoirs inspired by kitchens.

Overall, this program’s curriculum will include perspectives of history, fiction and non-fiction literature, social science studies, and cinematic representations of rooms in homes, which in turn will inspire “picturing” domestic space through photography, story writing, and fine art expression. A variety of readings will provide “food” for discussions and other learning activities that concern the design, meaning, organization, and use of all the rooms in a home.

In fall quarter students can expect to study the overall concept of space as it applies to domestic dwellings, and to engage photography as a form of visual anthropology. Readings, such as, Bill Bryson’s "At Home" provides a “comfy” examination of spaces as Bryson sets out “to wander from room to room and consider how each has featured in the evolution of private life.” In the same way, students will wander through rooms with a camera to act on the dynamics of space and objects. Bryson’s wanderings will join books, such as, "At Home: An Anthropology of Domestic Space," Bachelard’s "The Poetics of Space," and Busch’s "Geography of Home."

Winter quarter examines a specific room in the house: the kitchen.  Its purpose, history, design, tools, and tastes support interdisciplinary study.  As both a solitary and social space, the kitchen offers a wide platform of sociocultural concerns.  Readings, drawing workshops, a film series, photography, and project work consider the variety of meanings associated with the kitchen.  Writing workshops will facilitate students’ own meaning making in memoir writing or “meditations” on the kitchen.  The kitchen is inevitably connected to food with all its physical, aesthetic, and social aspects; the Organic Farm Sustainable Agriculture Lab (SAL) affords a kitchen workspace for program food tastings and other discoveries.   Photography work will involve shooting, developing, and peer critiquing color photography concerned with kitchen culture. Instruction on lighting and creating color prints in the darkroom presented by Hugh Lentz.

During spring quarter, the study of domestic space continues with students identifying and pursuing individual research plans or projects.  Students might prepare a formal research project that deals with ethnography, theater, writing, health and sustainability, poetry,or other literary approaches.  Students might also choose to engage the practices of design, drawing, painting, collage, and various forms of media to create visual representation works concerning domestic space. Each room of the structures we call “house” has special meaning, entertains special activities, and implies that there is human intent or deliberateness, a human tendency that Ellen Dissanayake ("What is Art For") connects to the very nature of what we refer to as “art.” Spring quarter will also include modes of sharing the development of individual projects through individual WordPress sites and weekly progress meetings that take up concepts of domesticity.

Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Required Fees
Fall $100/Winter $100/Spring $50 for photo/art supplies.
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
November 28th, 2012 Susan Aurand is teaching in this program winter quarter rather than spring; the description has been updated.
November 27th, 2012 Amjad Faur is offering SOS: Projects in Photography and Two Dimensional Art during winter quarter.
August 22nd, 2012 Fall and Winter fees updated.
May 24th, 2012 Fee added.
April 26th, 2012 New program added