Fall 2012 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Rodriguez, Robert
Discipline and Number
HUMA 6300 Section 501
T Time 7:00 PM - 9:45 PM
Course Title
Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Arts and Humanities

Description of Course:

A concentrated exploration of arts criticism. Taught by an active composer-conductor, this course will examine the working sketches of master creators in all media (music, literature, drama, cinema and the visual arts), comparing rejected drafts with the final versions. We will thus attempt to view each work “from the inside out,” reconstructing the artist’s train of thought and exploring both the rational and irrational aspects of turning a blank canvas or page into a work of art. In so doing, we will develop insights, criteria and procedures for analyzing, evaluating and verbalizing the artistic experience.
The course will begin with an introduction to the basic terminology of aesthetics and arts criticism, including points of attack for verbalization in the arts: reporter, theorist, analyst, historian, judge, companion, independent creator. Each class thereafter will feature a different topic (i.e., The Elements of Drama, The Psychology of Climax, Form vs. Content, Form as Content, Art about Art, The Artist revealed through his/her art, Collaborations, Art and Society, Art and Mythology, etc.) which will serve as a focal point for a short lecture by the instructor followed by student presentations and class discussion. The film Les Enfants du Paradis will be included as a final analysis project incorporating an integration of the arts. There will also be a special presentation regarding the nature of historical inquiry.

Specific Learning Objectives:
1. Analyze and explain the creator’s process in creating a work of art.
2. Analyze and explain the artistic experience through a demonstrated understanding of the terminology and techniques of arts criticism.
3. Develop skills and techniques for formal academic writing, with particular emphasis upon verbalizing non-verbal phenomena, such as music and visual art.

Required Texts:

Ghiselin (ed.), The Creative Process
Egri, The Art of Dramatic Writing
Stravinsky, The Poetics of Music
Danto, The Transfiguration of the Commonplace
Arnold, History: A Very Short Introduction
plus class handouts and additional assigned readings

Wingell, Writing About Music
Barnet, A Short Guide to Writing About Art
Strunk & White, The Elements of Style

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

There will be no tests or term papers. Instead, each student will be asked to prepare a short weekly class presentation on a specific work of art which illustrates the assigned topic. Students will also be asked to write a weekly one or two-page formal analytical essay to accompany their presentations. A final notebook of these essays will be required at the end of the semester. Students will be graded equally on their written work (50%) and on their class participation (50%).

© The University of Texas at Dallas School of Arts and Humanities.
No part of this website can be copied or reproduced without permisssion.