Summer 2016 Courses

Summer 2016

SUMMER 2016 CORE-UA 204, Natural Science I: Einstein's Universe
Prof. Budick (Physics)    
Session I: May 23 – July 5, 2016
Addresses the science and life of Einstein in the context of 20th-century physics, beginning with 19th-century ideas about light, space, and time in order to understand why Einstein's work was so innovative. Einstein's most influential ideas are contained in his theories of special relativity, which reformulated conceptions of space and time, and general relativity, which extended these ideas to gravitation. Both these theories are explored quantitatively, together with wide-ranging applications of these ideas, from the nuclear energy which powers the sun to black holes and the big bang theory of the birth of the universe.

SUMMER 2016 CORE-UA 510, Cultures and Contexts: Russia
Prof. Kotsonis (History)   
Session I: May 23 – July 5, 2016
Focuses on distinctive historical and geographical dichotomies and issues in Russian culture. Emphasis is on primary documents, including literary works, travel notes, works of art, and political statements from all periods, chosen to establish the particular matrix of competing positions that make up the Russian national and cultural identity. 

SUMMER 2016 CORE-UA 549, Cultures & Contexts: Multinational Britain
Prof. Ortolano (History)    
Session I: May 23 – July 5, 2016
Introduces students to the peoples, cultures, and histories of the British Isles. Today home to a pair of European states, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, this grouping of islands off the northwestern coast of Europe has historically been home to an astonishing variety of peoples, kingdoms, religions, nations, and states. Rather than collapsing this diversity into a study of the English people or the British state, we think about the United Kingdom as a multinational formation, produced through the experience of repeated invasions, encounters, and migrations. Our ultimate goals are twofold: to learn about the peoples of the British Isles, and to use this knowledge to think critically about claims regarding national characteristics, ethnic stability, or cultural homogeneity--in Britain, and beyond.

SUMMER 2016 CORE-UA 555, Cultures & Contexts: Brazil
Prof. Robbins (Spanish & Portuguese)   
Session I: May 23 – July 5, 2016
Brazilian culture in a global context:  For five centuries, Brazil has found itself at the crossroads of international commerce. Numerous indigenous groups, Portuguese, Africans of various ethnicities, Spaniards, French, Dutch, and British have all played central roles in the fashioning of Brazil—the only modern nation whose name derives from the commodity (Brazilwood) it would first export in great quantity. And while commerce provided the initial impetus to bring these groups—often violently—together, their prolonged contact shaped an exceptionally rich cultural history in Brazil. Through popular music, cinema, soccer, visual art, and literature, we revisit some of these encounters, in order to examine how they have shaped Brazilian culture, as well as how this culture has, in turn, engaged with the world around it.

SUMMER 2016 CORE-UA 740, Expressive Culture: Performance
Prof. Shimakawa (Performance Studies)    
Session II: July 6 – August 16, 2016
What “counts” as performance?  Does it have to be on a stage? (And what counts as a stage?) Why do performers perform? (And what difference does that performance make?)  We consider a wide range of performances—on the stage, page, screen, and street—in order to explore these questions, focusing on performance as a form of cultural expression, as a site of cultural change, and as a building block for “culture” itself.