Spring 2016 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
This seminar will focus on the historical development of the conception of the universe from the middle ages to the present. The concepts of space and time will serve as fundamental organizing principles for the study of philosophy, painting, architecture, music and literature during four periods of Western Civilization. The following topics will be discussed:
I. Gothic Space and Culture:
The Universe of Aristotle and Ptolemy;
Space in Gothic Art and Architecture;
II. Renaissance Space and Culture:
The Universe of Copernicus and Newton;
Space, Perspective and Painting;
Acoustical Space, the Key Signature and Music;
III. Romanticism -- The Discovery of Time:
The Universe of Darwin;
Time, Organicism and Literature;
Time in Romantic Art and Music;
IV. Four Dimensional Space-Time:
The Universe of Einstein;
Space-Time and Cubism;
Space-Time and Atonal Music;
Cyberspace and Virtual Realities;
Texts may include:
Thomas Kuhn, The Copernican Revolution.
Alexandre Koyre, From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe
Peter Bowler, Evolution: The History of an Idea 3rd ed.
Martin Gardner, Relativity Simply Explained.
Stephen Kern, The Culture of Time and Space.
William Fleming's and M. Merien's Arts and Ideas is recommended but not required. Any edition will be suitable for the course. In addition, copies of Arts and Ideas will be available on reserve in the Library.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Students will be required to attend class and participate in class discussions. Students will have the option of writing three short papers, or one long paper. Students may also do a creative project.