While fall registration has passed, there is still a need for an honored Recess tradition: the Arts, Literature and Performance (ALP) Class List. Because if you’re like most Duke students, you're either a Trinity student trying to meet those T-Reqs or a Pratt kid looking for a fun way to fill one of the few free spots in your schedule. Or maybe you’re panicked about your current workload and looking for a way to mellow your schedule. Add-Drop period is open now through Sept. 8. Regardless of why you’re reading, here are six carefully curated ALP classes that will provide an enjoyable and interesting learning experience.
ARTHIST 139/CLST 139: Seven Wonders: Monuments and Cultures of the Ancient Mediterranean (CCI, ALP, CZ)
At this point in history, humans have constructed enough buildings, bridges and monuments that we've developed a series of rankings for them in terms of categories like aesthetics or size. This class goes back to the beginning of that obsession with categorization and ranking to focus on the original seven wonders of the ancient world: The Great Pyramid of Giza, The Colossus of Rhodes, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, The Statue of Zeus at Olympia, The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and The Lighthouse of Alexandria. Through focusing on the creators of these monuments, what they mean to the societies that created them and what set them apart from other human creations of the time, students will better understand the monuments and the societies that created them. Along the way, they'll cover topics like archeological approaches to ancient monuments, what life was like in these eras and how the Seven Wonders relate to modern times.
LIT 214/AMES 129/CINE 250/VMS 235: Master Filmmakers of Chinese Cinemas (CCI, ALP, CZ)
Practically everyone loves movies and television. However, what movies we watch are often limited to those produced by whatever movie industry dominates where we live. If you love film and also want to expand your understanding of cinema through exposure to movies you’ve never seen, this class is perfect for you. You'll study masterworks from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, focusing on the Post-Mao, Modern and Contemporary eras. By examining film, documentaries, soap operas and television, students will learn about new-wave cinema and the roles of media in our society as well as relationships between different time periods and genres of film.
ENGLISH 286/GERMAN 275/MEDREN 315: The Legend of King Arthur in Literature and Film (CCI, ALP)
Nearly all of us know at least something about King Arthur: be it through reading history books, watching “Merlin” or consuming some of the wonderful media inspired by the legendary tales of Camelot. This class is made for anyone who loves the Arthurian Canon or who is interested in learning more about the story of Arthur and its significance. Students will study different versions of the classic tale — ranging from the earliest accounts to the modern-day adaptations — allowing them to see how different eras have viewed the story and understand how each work interprets Arthur as well as what that interpretation says about their culture.
AMES 335/AADS 335/HISTORY 228/ICS 336: Chinatowns: A Cultural History (CCI, R, ALP, CZ)
Chinatowns have become ubiquitous in American culture, serving as landmarks, cultural sites and inspirations for many movies and books. For those fascinated by Chinatowns, their significance and what they mean, this class is perfect, as it promises to help people to better understand Chinatown and, by extension, the Chinese diaspora and its experience. This understanding will come from a multidisciplinary approach that uses such lenses as urban history, architecture, ethnography and economics to explore how Chinatown exists as a memory, fantasy, narrative, myth, part of the dominant cultural imagination and in the lived realities of overseas communities.
ENGLISH 386/ARTHIST 238: Science Fiction Film (CCI, EI, STS, ALP)
Another class for the film buffs among us, this course takes a genre-based approach rather than a cultural one, exclusively focusing on sci-fi films from the 1950s to today. However, this doesn’t mean students will be presented with a series of homogenous films, as they’ll instead view a diverse set of movies covering everything from genetic dystopias to time travel to forbidden planets. By studying the literary and visual storytelling of this genre as well as its themes, students will learn about topics like the role these films have played in shaping our conversations around scientific discoveries and our understanding of how scientific discoveries interact. They'll also learn about the genre itself, including such things as technological innovations in filmmaking and social criticism of and through the genre.
AMES 146S/MUSIC 148: Korean Popular Music (R, ALP, CZ)
Everyone reading this has heard about K-Pop and has probably listened to songs by popular groups such as BTS and Blackpink. Yet most have yet to think about the history of this genre or how Korean Music has come to dominate the global music stage. This class aims to examines K-Pop's past and present through scholarly articles, popular sources, music videos and albums. To do this, the class will be broken down into three parts: a study of K-Pop's history from 1900 to today, a look at K-Pop's political economy and an investigation of the various social issues that concern K-Pop, which include everything from gender politics and cultural appropriation to fandom culture and technology. And don't worry, while Korean language skills are said to be helpful, none are required.
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Zev van Zanten is a Trinity sophomore and campus arts editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.