About the Program

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 two-week sections, in which we highlight a particular lens through which to view our work. For example, we will examine the concept of “The Tropics” and the colonial concept of “the primitive.” We will also work with sound, playing and creating musical instruments, singing, and listening to music. In understanding the relationship between humans and the world around them, we will develop our understanding of animal behaviors and the equatorial bioregion. 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 in both fall and winter quarters, 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.