Visual Arts & Culture

Courses in this cluster examine the relationship between media and culture, investigating diverse ways of understanding the production, form, reception, and influence of film and other visual media.

Course Descriptions

CC100: Japanese Culture: Classical to Contemporary

Instructor: Joan Ericson
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Analysis & Interpretation of Meaning
CRN# 13921
Block: 1

We will explore the concepts that inform Japanese culture, both traditional and modern. This includes acquiring an understanding of the underlying aesthetics of literature (from classical poetry and drama to manga) and art forms (from calligraphy and gardens to anime). By the end of the block students will be able to appreciate anime such as “Princess Mononoke” or “Spirited Away” through a better understanding of the cultural and historical referents. Equal time will be spent on discussing readings and videos about the history, literature, and other aspects of Japanese culture. Readings, discussions, and writing assignments will be in English. Here are some of the overall concepts we will be addressing in Block 1: What is the Humanities academic discipline? What are stereotypes? Who writes the history of a culture? What is high culture?

Note: One field trip to Denver to the Anime Convention. Several afternoon films.

CC120: Contemporary Asian Cultures

Instructor: Joan Ericson
CRN# 13922
Block: 2

This course focuses on the intersection of classical and popular cultural forms with global dynamics that has recast what it means to be Asian. Strategies for interpreting culture that emerged in the American academy (e.g., Geertz, Benedict), as well as other critiques will be put to the test in examining everyday cultural phenomenon, such as McDonalds in China and Disneyland in Japan. Students will also study intra-Asian cultural influences (the spread of manga and forms of pop music), in addition to the political ramifications of the claims for Asian values and Asian identities.

Note: If we are allowed to take students to Denver on a field trip, we will go one day to the Denver Art Museum.


CC100: Directing and Acting for the Cinema

Instructor: Arom Choi
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Creative Process
CRN# 13923
Block: 1

“Working with actors is, for many directors, the last frontier – the scariest part… Actors do not come with interchangeable parts you can replace, dials you can adjust… It is where connection happens.” - Judith Weston

In this course, students will learn how to break down scripts, prepare for rehearsals, and bring abstract context and ideas into reality using their unique interpretation of the world. The goal is to provide students with tools to create authentic and relatable characters, and ultimately become independent and engaging storytellers. Students will be constantly challenged to listen carefully, communicate honestly, and collaborate effectively during the process. In groups, students will examine various directing and acting methods through references, in-class scene study workshops, casting sessions, and short rehearsal projects; it is designed to be a collaborative and hands-on experience. The course will culminate in a public presentation of the final projects.

CC120: Writing About Music

Instructor: Ryan Bañagale
CRN# 13924
Block: 4

A well-known and variably ascribed witticism claims, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture – it is a stupid thing to do.” Despite what this famous quotation may say, there are indeed many ways to interpret our sonic experience both in writing and other forms of expression. However, not all music demands the same style of prose. This course explores the various ways that we interpret and write about music, both from the past and the present. In the process, students will come to understand how a variety of textual genres contribute to our collective understandings about music both as a discipline and diversion.

Note: Evening concert attendance 4-6 times during the block, possible day-long or overnight field trip to music venue in Denver or Santa Fe.


CC100: Film and Discourse in Society

Instructor: Taylor Nygaard
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Societies & Human Behavior
CRN# 13925
Block: 1

Films have often been described as “windows to the world,” windows that expand our views, our perspectives, and our understanding of the world. This course endeavors to examine films as cultural artifacts and industrial products that reflect but also refract issues of ideology and power and thus shape cultural understandings and norms about people and identity. As an introduction to social and cultural theory in the humanities, this class will encounter diverse perspectives across several academic disciplines that approach film critically. Our inquiry will be both historical and contemporary with a focus on present-day issues relating to equity, inclusion, and social justice—and the role film plays in representing or speaking to those issues.

Note: Out-of-class screenings will need to be complete. Most will be available via streaming platforms.

CC120: Inside Out: The Philosophy and Psychology of Emotion

Instructor: Tomi-Ann Roberts
CRN# 13926
Block: 3

Our feelings matter to us in various ways. Emotions such as anger, fear, love, disgust, and embarrassment are complex phenomena that hold a place of great importance in human life – influencing our decisions, coloring our experience, and affecting our mental and bodily health. We have emotions every day, but what exactly are they? Physiological disturbances? Cultural constructions? Expressions or reactions? Judgments, perceptions, appraisals, or evaluations? And why are they such a significant part of human life? Do they serve a personal, social, or biological function? Do they cloud our thinking, or offer us a kind of insight? Can we control them, and should we wish to do so? In this course, we will explore these and other questions, drawing upon evidence and arguments presented by psychologists and philosophers in this exciting area of interdisciplinary scholarship. Students will be introduced to a diverse body of work attempting to explain the matter and meaning of emotion and feeling. Through a critical investigation of the emotions, we will examine what it means to lead a fulfilling life as a human being.


Report an issue - Last updated: 05/25/2022