BORNEO: Indigenous Land Use In Borneo: Food, Farming, and Forest
Credits: 4 (ENS 3XX)-- Spring semester course with three weeks travel in May
Course Instructors: Mary Bulan and John Odell
This course introduces students to tropical ethnobiology and indigenous farming and land use in the rainforests of Borneo. Readings, field work, class discussions and student research projects will be used to explore issues of indigenous land rights and traditional natural resource management. During the travel component, students will travel to a highland village area in the state of Sarawak and experience the food, forests, farming and culture of the modern Kelabit tribe. Students will discuss environmental threats and social change with tribe members in the context of ecological and cultural survival. The class will complete a service project in collaboration with in-country hosts.
ITALY: In the Nature Studio: Ceramics & Art History in Italy
Credits: 4 (ART 3770)-- Spring Semester course with travel in May
Instructors: Leah Leitson and Julie Caro
This course offers students a unique opportunity to connect directly with Italy's landscape, art, culture and people/artists through site visits, shared conversations and meals, and time to create in an Italian ceramics studio. Using Tuscany, Italy and Western North Carolina as our focus, this course considers what distinguishes one unique geography from another. How does cultural and artistic expression arise from a specific geography? What are the unique aspects of a place that artists respond to and translate into material objects-its colors, textures, light, weather effects, tastes, sounds, cultural attitudes, the cadence of language, customs, jokes, folklore, etc.? We will consider our experience in relation to the experiences of artists who have travelled to Italy and make connections between the local American learning communities of Warren Wilson College, Black Mountain College, and the Penland School of Craft, all located in the rural setting of western North Carolina to the Italian learning community at La Meridiana School of Ceramics located in the countryside of Tuscany and our home base for our two-week stay in Italy.
While in Italy, we will immerse ourselves at La Meridiana School of Ceramics founded in 1982 by renowned Italian ceramic artist Pietro Elia Maddalena. Set in the characteristic landscape of Tuscany between the picturesque hill towns of Certaldo and San Gimignano, La Meridiana has multiple studios and hosts artists from around Italy and abroad. We will work in La Meridiana's newest and most innovative studio, the outdoor Nature Studio, which will allow us full access to the natural light, colors, and atmospheric effects of the local Tuscan landscape. On studio days in Italy, we will eat lunch at La Meridiana and experience traditional Tuscan cuisine prepared by local chef and potter Lucia and plated on pottery created by Pietro and other artists in the La Merdiana community. Days spent at La Meridiana will also allow us to connect with the other artists and members of this community through informal conversations and interviews related to your larger portfolio project (described below). We also make connections to people and art on our site visits to cities and towns in the region to look at examples of ceramics, painting, sculpture, and architecture and visits to studios of contemporary artisans and artists. We will bring those experiences to bear on our studio work and independent research. In the clay studios at Warren Wilson College and at La Meridiana, students will learn or continue their study of ceramics through hand building and wheel throwing, glazing, and firing. Through studio work, readings from primary and secondary sources, visits to museum collections artist studios, students will learn to ask and answer the types of questions posed by artists and art historians as they endeavor to connect their sense of place to a new place and culture and to draw inspiration from it to develop their creative, intellectual, and intercultural awareness.
THAILAND & INDONESIA: Tackling Taboo Topics: Gender & Religion in Thailand & Indonesia
Credits: 4 (ANTH 3XX)-- Spring semester course with three weeks travel in May-June
Instructors: Siti Kusujiarti and Matt Hoffman
This exploratory course at the intersection of two taboo topics: religious practice and gender dynamics. Join Siti Kusujiarti and Matt Hoffman as we explore religion, society, and culture in Thailand and Indonesia. Our time in Thailand will center around Chiang Mai and focus on the role of gender in Buddhist religious practices, environmental concerns, and monastic movements. In Indonesia, we will explore the unique religious and social environment of Yogyakarta, a city known for education, religious pluralism, and varied approaches to understanding gender. In addition to touring various sites in both countries, students will have the opportunity to build deep connections with locals through homestays, a stay at a Buddhist monastery, and service-learning opportunities.
IRELAND: Hand Held: Photography and the Visual Book
Credits: 4 (ART 3XX)-- Spring semester course with two weeks of travel in May
Instructor: Eric Baden
This course is open to students from any discipline, and focuses on photography and visual books as forms of artistic expression. The class presents an opportunity for students to engage perspectives from outside the United States while attentively traversing a landscape that has long been a singular inspiration to artists, musicians, storytellers, and writers; and by sharing in the cross-cultural and global dialog in art and diverse international histories of book structures and contemporary photobooks. Students will engage in individual artistic practice characterized by careful observation, creative exploration, reflection and expression supported by the development of conceptual, material and editorial skills. Formal instruction will be provided in the techniques, materials, and processes used in crafting meaningful visual statements and organizing photographic images as artist's books and photobooks. We will explore a variety of contemporary forms based on historical and contemporary visual books from different cultural contexts.