ARTS-2540 The Multimedia Century.  Normally taught each Fall semester

The purpose of this class is to lay a foundation for understanding modern art and culture, with an emphasis on the twentieth century.  This course should hone your skills in the interpretation, analysis and knowledge of cultural creations, which specifically includes works of art presented in class and texts assigned for homework. You will examine key critical dialogues related to these works, engaging ideas with an aim toward broader cultural understanding, and developing independent responses to contemporary art works and those of the last century.  The course covers multiple media, ranging from the visual arts to music, theater and film, and particular emphasis on recent electronic and digital media.

ARTS 6110: Electronic Arts Overview.  Normally taught each Fall Semester

This seminar aims to provide an historical context for understanding and analyzing practices and theories of contemporary electronic art.  The curriculum is a mix of field surveys, readings of primary sources in aesthetic, media and critical theory, and examination of contemporary topics and controversies. The seminar is also intended to support the development and articulation of the student’s creative practice, thereby providing conceptual foundations for the written component of the MFA thesis.


ARTS-2500 History of Western Music.  Normally taught each Spring semester

Everyone listens to music, and increasingly we live much of our lives immersed in it.  Paradoxically, for a time when access to music is higher than ever before, basic music knowledge is lower than earlier times when music was treated as a core subject in education. This course focuses primarily on the Western tradition of classical music, though we will take many opportunities to consider music from other cultures as well. The emphasis is on active focused listening, a practice and form of study that combines perceptual sensitivity with musical knowledge to add new dimensions to the way we can experience the power of music.  Music is also a social force, so we will keep a constant awareness that music is always embedded in a social fabric.  As we move through the grand sweep of Western classical music, we will be conscious of parallels and similarities with some non-Western music genres.

ARTS 4130/6130, New Media Theory, Normally taught each Spring semester

“New media” is a much-contested term.  For some it still conveys a utopian sense of wonder at the unlimited creative possibilities of computational media.  For others, it conjures up a dystopian world of unprecedented manipulation and control.   Similar debates have attended previous media revolutions, and so we will begin by establishing an historical and comparative framework for analyzing the present one.  The 2015 semester’s syllabus was organized around the following four modules:

Š      core media theory authors:  Benjamin, McLuhan, Manovich, Hayles, Stiegler, Huhtamo, Zielinsky;

Š      Critical internet studies, with intensive seminars between March 31 and April 2 with visiting lecturer Geert Lovink;

Š      Module on interaction and interactivity in digital art and music

Š      Module on “post-media” debates, including biomedia and post-humanism