Eurasia in the Anthropocene
This cluster focuses on the ecology of Russia and its largest neighbor to the East, China, through various cultural, scientific, and social lenses. We will probe ecological concerns in Russia and China from a scientific, cultural, and even linguistic perspective. The focal point of this cluster, which includes language instruction in Russian, will be two weeks of travel between Moscow and Taipei along the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian train lines, exploring both ecological issues at play in Russian culture and plant diversity on China’s western frontier, we hope to gain special insight into the fragile ecologies of the Russian Far East and China.
Textiles in Context: Analysis, Interpretation, and Exhibition
This cluster provides a multidisciplinary approach to the technical analysis, historical interpretation, and museum display of early Byzantine textiles. Students will undertake technical analysis of materials and production techniques, and how to relate technical evidence to questions of early Byzantine textiles' function, social meaning, and public display in both the early medieval and contemporary periods. Students will be introduced to the shifting uses of these objects in life and death as well as the changing ways in which scholars have interpreted and displayed these objects over time. Equipped with this background, students will organize an original exhibition of early Byzantine textiles from the Jefferson University Collection and present their knowledge and interpretations at the College and to wider communities through the exhibition and through their contributions to the Jefferson University publicly accessible online collection catalog.