It’s bookbagging season again! Before you blindly try to navigate through the class search tab on DukeHub, don’t fear – Recess is here.
Exploring the wide spectrum of arts disciplines at Duke is an essential part of academic and personal growth. Whether you want to fulfill ALP requirements or learn new skills, it’s important to consider how new perspectives in the arts contribute to your overall course of study, especially in the context of your previous involvements in the arts on campus. If you’ve met with Dr. Jules Odendahl-James, the Director of Academic Engagement for the Arts & Humanities, she usually asks students interested in the arts if they fall into one of these three roles:
The Critic: Often the most opinionated but open-minded person in the room, The Critic attempts to evaluate the value of artistic works, attempting to find the deeper meaning behind cultural products and phenomena. They often enjoy the intimate setting of seminars and intellectually-stimulating debates. Consider classes with significant writing or research components in a variety of arts disciplines. Think, also, about the scope of the class – whether you want a broad survey or a specific inquiry within a field.
The Producer: The Producer is interested in bringing people from various artistic backgrounds to create a unifying work. They have a wide skill set and an excellent handle of group dynamics. They are arts organization leaders, label managers and event planners. Consider classes in performing arts management, arts entrepreneurship and art history to understand the societal institutions and constructs that allow the arts to flourish as a community effort.
The Creator: This is someone who has their own creative vision and wants to bring it into fruition. The Creator gains a sense of direction from the guided instruction within the classroom, but still has the freedom that being a genuine artist requires. Whether you’re a composer, a visual artist, a filmmaker or an actor, consider classes that allow you to develop your unique arts practice, like music lessons in an instrument you’ve always wanted to try or a visual art course on sculpting.
If you find yourself gravitating toward one of these roles in your extracurriculars, the next step is to apply that engagement in the arts to your individual academic progress by taking related classes. If you still find yourself stuck, here are some classes related to the arts this semester that you might be unaware of:
MUSIC 146/AAAS 146: Motown and American Soul Music
Fulfills ALP, CZ and CCI credits
During the 1960s in Detroit, a landmark in music was established: the Motown Sound. This aural kaleidoscope of high-quality, dynamic song creation was established through a confluence of talent and hard work by people whose names now line the halls of fame for popular music: Berry Gordy, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Smokey Robinson. “Motown and American Soul Music” explores this phenomena and studies its influence on a range of commercial music styles, including Philly soul, Southern soul, R&B, hip-hop and pop. This class is co-taught by Dr. Anthony Kelley, associate professor of music, and Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, James B. Duke professor of African and African American studies.
ETHICS/WRITING/ARTS&SCI 205S: Composing Oneself — Stress, Identity, Wellness
Fulfills ALP, EI, SS and W credits
“Composing Oneself” is an interdisciplinary exploration of the structural causes of stress and their physiological effects, as well as how stressors impact our identities and community ethics. Through text analysis and experience, students explore how arts of wellness, including yoga, mindfulness and art therapies, impact stress, identity and ethics. Texts include literary and discourse theory, social science, neuroscience and primary texts related to stress, identity and wellness — including nonfiction, fiction, poetry, art, music and performance. This course is taught by Denise Comer, associate professor of the practice at the Thompson Writing Program, and Christian Ferney, program director at the Kenan Institute for Ethics.
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AMI 266S/ICS/AMES 311S/VMS 354S: Poetic Cinema
Fulfills ALP, CZ and CCI credits
“Poetic Cinema” is an inquiry into the sources of “resonance” in international cinema with emphasis on films from Asia and the Middle East. The object of the course is to attempt a description of the aspects of film construction that produce intense experiences for viewers. In addition to watching and analyzing films, the course includes readings in indigenous aesthetics. This course is taught by Dr. Satendra Khanna, associate professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.
PHIL/LIT/ENGLISH 285: Existentialism
Fulfills ALP, CCI and EI credits
This Duke class was last offered in the fall of 2017, which makes its resurrection this spring semester all the more significant. “Existentialism” explores key themes of existence, ethics, the meaning of life, freedom, death and writing. Students will read texts by Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Heidegger, Sartre, Camus, Beauvoir, Fanon, Murdoch and others. This class is taught by Dr. Toril Moi, James B. Duke Professor of literature.
POLISH/ICS/SES 288S/AMI 268S/LIT 216S: 21st Century East European Film
Fulfills ALP, CCI, CZ, and EI credits
This course examines the major thematic focus of East European filmmakers in the 21st century — specifically, their efforts to reconstruct and reassess the experience of the Cold War and the Yugoslav Wars. These films from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Croatia and Serbia include ironic and sentimental tales of Cold War childhood, thrillers about sleeping with the enemy (political informers) and psychological dramas centering on political trauma, resistance and compromise. This course is taught by Paulina Duda, visiting professor in Slavic and Eurasian studies.
AMES 240S/VMS 255S/LIT/POLSCI/ICS/CULANTH 440S: Games and Culture — Politics, Pleasure and Pedagogy
Fulfills SS and CCI credits
“Games and Culture” examines analog and computer games from a cultural perspective, exploring how prevailing culture and values affect game design, popularity and experience. In particular, students will inquire how games affect those areas of culture, such as imagining disaster, utopia and dystopia. Answering this involves role-playing and identity, ethics, group behavior, competition, politics, gender, race and aesthetics. This course is co-taught by Dr. Leo Ching and Dr. Shai Ginsburg, both associate professors in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.