Eurasia in Flux: Trans-Siberian Perspectives on Russia and China
This cluster focuses on the unique ties between Russia and its largest neighbor to the East, China. Reflected in the culture of the two countries but also in the manner in which contemporary Russia has recently pivoted away from Western Europe toward the East, the relationship between Russia and China has long had profound geopolitical as well as cultural and social significance. In studying both Russia’s east-west cultural dynamic and the environment on China’s western frontier, we hope to gain special insight into the always-evolving interrelationship between Russia and China. Students will study both Russian and Chinese language in preparation for their train trip through Siberia, Mongolia, and China in March.
Migrations and Borderlands
This 360 will use the lenses of cultural studies and sociology to critically and comparatively examine migration in different national contexts and historical moments. We will focus in particular on the complex factors shaping migrations between Latin America and the United States, Latin American and Spain, and Asia and Latin America, as well as how migration is represented in literature and culture. We will probe questions of imperialism, economic and political policies, xenophobic discourse, transnational belonging, cultural citizenship, and how individuals and families are transformed through the process of migration. Our trip to the US-Mexican border will allow students to critically examine first-hand the interplay between U.S. migration policy, globalization, social justice movements, and individual agency.
Mirroring the Self, Exhibiting the Self is a two-semester cluster, building toward a student-curated exhibition of art and artifacts from the College’s collections. In the fall, participants will study the history and theories of self-portraiture, self-representation, and self-fashioning in cultures around the globe from antiquity to the present. They will research and write catalogue entries on the objects they have selected for exhibition. In the spring, students will explore museums and discuss theories of exhibition-making, learning to identify different curatorial approaches. They will determine a curatorial agenda, produce didactic materials, develop public programming, and install an exhibition.
This year-long cluster will explore the intersections of scientific, philosophic and humanistic ways of thinking about, writing about, and visually representing ways we look at origin stories. From a scientific perspective, we will focus on the core scientific principals related to Cosmology, Physics, Biology and Geology that address fundamental questions regarding the origins of the universe, time, stars, the Earth, and its inhabitants. The scientific perspective will be balanced by the humanist view, though which we will examine cultural and historical expressions of the problem of "beginning”, paying close attention to Dine (Navajo) and Greco-Roman/Christian cultural narratives, and contemporary Science Fiction fantasies about origin.
Temperate and Tropical Coasts in Transition
Coastlines, by definition transitional environments, are naturally dynamic and resilient. But climate change, sea level rise and shifting species distributions are now causing rapid physical and ecological changes to the world’s coasts. Anticipating and addressing these changes requires understanding the physical, chemical and biological processes that interact at the land-sea boundary. Two trips over the course of the semester will investigate the temperate and tropical coastal environments, including barrier islands, saltmarshes, coral reefs, and mangroves.