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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jolynn Edwards
BIS 319
Bothell Campus

Interdisciplinary Arts

Investigates relationships between the study and making of art. Explores connections among written, visual, and performance arts and engages their intellectual, social, and aesthetic dimensions.

Class description

This class serves as a core course to the new concentration in IAS, Interdisciplinary Arts, as well as a VLPA area of knowledge course for students in all majors wishing to meet baccalaureate distribution requirements. In drawing together diverse art forms in a single class, it enables students to experience and understand relationships among the arts--as artists, writers, and performers themselves have cultivated and experienced throughout time. While some artists concentrate on one artistic form, almost all artists are influenced by multiple arts in creating their own work. Disciplinary study of single art forms makes this rich panoply of relations invisible, or at the very least, difficult to study.

So the guiding theoretical framework for this class is the term Gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art. We will be visiting three time period, ancient Greece with Aeschylus' Oresteia, 17th century Italy with Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, and 20th century Europe with Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex. At each juncture we will examine the principal texts and representations of each and draw in other works--textual, visual, and performed--that play off of the themes of the tragic House of Atreus, the Orphic legend, and Oedipus.

Student learning goals

to explore the relationship between past artistic accomplishment and innovation, or between artistic traditions and creativity

to read deeply, write about, analyze, and interpret works of art in disciplinary and interdisciplinary ways

to explore relationships among creative writing, visual arts, and performance arts

to explore ways of talking and writing about works of art

to explore the making of art

to explore relationships among diverse social worlds, art worlds, and their artistic products/productions

General method of instruction

We will be reading the central texts, watching visual presentations, including attending a live performance off campus, and creating works of art in and out of class. Lecture/discussions, short in-class writing assignments, group projects, and synthetic take-home exams constitute the main ways of teaching and learning.

Recommended preparation

Humanities classes, classes in performance, visual arts, creative writing would be appropriate. We are offering arts techniques classes in Interdisciplinary Arts at the 200 level winter quarter that would be an adjunct to this class.

Class assignments and grading

Short papers, take-home exams, and at least one creative project.

As this class takes shape, there will be opportunities for explorations that will be ungraded in anticipation of graded work through creative projects(s), shorter writing assignments, and exams.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Jolynn Edwards
Date: 10/16/2008