Jun 15, 2024  
Course Catalog 2018-2019 
Course Catalog 2018-2019 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

StudiOC: Oberlin Center for Convergence

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Laura Baudot, Director of StudiOC. Associate Professor of English

StudiOC intentionally brings together the college and conservatory to meet the challenges of our unscripted world. StudiOC has theme-based learning communities that are multidisciplinary, which allows students to make connections across disciplines and develop rich interactions with their peers and with faculty.

Learning communities are comprised of two or three individually instructed courses from different academic departments clustered around a common theme.    

Faculty and students within a learning community work together at key points throughout the semester for multidisciplinary discussion, shared assignments, and programming.

StudiOC learning communities are available to first-year and current students.

For more information in joining a StudiOC Community, students may contact Liz Clerkin, Associate Dean for Academic Advising

Fall 2018 StudiOC Learning Communities

Arts of Conflict Resolution

The Arts of Conflict Resolution brings together a community of artists and scholars (dancers, musicians, writers, painters, film-makers, etc.) to investigate the ways in which arts collaboration and conflict resolution can work symbiotically to form a positive feedback loop.

No one person is an island. We need each other for countless reasons, among them comfort, safety, inspiration, and learning. Yet, we often have such difficulty communicating, listening, and integrating diverse viewpoints. Peter Senge, senior lecturer at MIT, writes, “In great teams, conflict becomes productive. The free flow of conflicting ideas is critical for creative thinking, for discovering new solutions no one individual would have come to on their own.”

The StudiOC Learning Community, The Arts of Conflict Resolution, will investigate the ways in which arts collaboration and conflict resolution can work symbiotically to form a positive feedback loop.  Conflict resolution practices will inform a sustainable collaborative artistic process, and the act of collaboration will develop the conflict resolution skillset needed to find synergy in difference.

During the semester, students will connect with on- and off-campus organizations involved in conflict resolution to learn best practices outside of the classroom.  The learning community will also attend professional performances of exceptional multi-disciplinary work at venues in nearby cities.

Students will study the art of collaboration across disciplines in the course Mixed Media Collaboration, and conflict resolution, through a somatic approach, in What Moves Us: Somatic Approaches to Conflict Resolution. These courses will reinforce each other and culminate in a public performance of collaborative projects.

Both TECH 360 and Dance 347 required for enrollment in this learning community.

Sanctuary Practices: Race, Refuge, and ImSanctuary Practices: Race, Refuge, and Immigration in Americamigration in America

What are the connections between past and present practices of refuge and sanctuary both in Oberlin and nationally? By exploring this question from different disciplinary vantage points, this learning community introduces students to sanctuary as an issue at the center of debates around citizenship, immigration, public policy, diversity and inclusion that resonates as much today as it did in the 19th century. This learning community draws on literary and cultural analysis, history, and anthropological approaches to explore the meaning and practices of sanctuary in the United States. 

  • “‘In This Here Place, We Flesh:’ Underground Railroad and Sanctuary Space,” begins with the question of why the Underground Railroad is a persistent symbol of sanctuary in African American literature, art, and culture and provides students with the critical historical context of 19th-century sanctuary practices for fugitive slaves, the Underground Railroad and Oberlin’s distinct role in this history.
  • “Immigration in U.S. History” surveys the history of immigration and migration in the United States, with particular consideration of the idea of America as a sanctuary, and how this idea intersects with constructions of race and citizenship.
  • “Sanctuary, Solidarity, and Latina/o/x Practices of Accompaniment” locates contemporary sanctuary movements in a longer history of Central American sanctuary practices of the 1980s and Latina/o/x solidarity struggles in the 1960s to provide critical insight into the enduring practices and challenges of sanctuary, refuge and resistance in America.

    Students enrolled in the learning community are required to attend additional events/sessions dedicated to visiting speakers, film screenings, local site visits, as well as a field trip to the Underground Railroad Museum in Cincinnati. 

Plaques, Pandemics, and Society

In this learning community, students will explore infectious diseases from both a scientific and a humanistic perspective, addressing questions like: How do pathogenic microbes cause disease in humans? How do certain infections spread within human populations to become epidemics? How have artists used various media to understand and respond to infectious diseases? How have scientists studied infectious diseases? How have cultural stigma, prejudice, and ignorance factored into the response to infectious diseases? 

This learning community, comprised of two courses, will appeal to students who are interested in the intersections of science, society, and language. A First-Year Seminar will focus on how representations of HIV/AIDS in films and works at the Allen Memorial Museum of Art have formed ways of talking about infectious disease. It explores, in other words, rhetorics - that have shaped social, political, and historical understandings of the infection.

A non-majors biology class will take an inquiry-based approach to understanding the basic biology of a variety of host/pathogen interactions and investigate how infectious diseases intersect with society in global health. Across both courses, students will have the opportunity to compare and contrast how disciplines such as biology, history, cinema studies, and contemporary rhetoric can contribute to understanding infectious disease epidemics. The cluster will include an assignment shared with students at American University of Nigeria.

Spring 2019 StudiOC Courses

Arts of Desire

Music and literature, in particular, have long been key sites for exploring the human experience of passionate longing. But the relationships between art and desire are complex. How, for example, does desire affect modes of seeing, thinking, and experiencing? How might it affect the listener’s interpretation of a piece of music? Conversely, how does a particular artistic form affect the kinds of desires that it produces? Are the voices of desire we find in literature and music comparable, or completely different? Can we describe them in the same language, or do they require separate paradigms?

This is an ideal learning community for students who enjoy music and literature but rarely get the chance to think about them in concert. Students in the cluster will gain analytic tools for approaching both, and for thinking more creatively about the arts in general. They will have the opportunity to explore a broad array of genres and forms, including poems, novels, plays, operas, films, and popular music. And they will take a variety of approaches to the material, considering art as produced, performed, experienced, and interpreted.

Both ENGL 213 and MHST 260 required for enrollment in this learning community.

Forms of Justice

Through the lenses of history, international politics, and cultural analysis, students will explore how legacies of violence shape the construction of historical memory, compelling democracies both old and new to seek justice in response to their past.

  • “Repairing the Past: Readings in Historical Justice” explores historical, philosophical and political questions that communities around the world have raised in response to historic injustice. We consider justice mechanisms that countries including Germany, South Africa, and the United States have adopted, weighing their accomplishments and limitations.
  • “The Politics of Transitional Justice” looks at the international and domestic politics of accountability for mass human rights violations in countries that have undergone political transitions to democracy. Focus on the impact of international tribunals, truth commissions and the construction of collective memory in Latin America.
  • “Memory Battles of the Spanish Civil War: History, Fiction, Photography” explores how historiography, fiction, and photography have shaped historical memory in Spain. We consider how these processes have unleashed a spirited series of battles in the Spanish public sphere, including “the memory movement,” a grassroots phenomenon that has helped to reshape the country’s political landscape.

    Students enrolled in the learning community are required to attend an additional weekly evening session dedicated to either visiting speakers or film screenings, as well as a field trip, May 4th, to the Visitor’s Center at Kent State University.

    HIST 493 and either POLT 244 or HISP 357 required for enrollment in this learning community.

The Science of Aesthetic Experience

The aesthetic dimension of human life is part of what makes us the creatures we are. While interest in the arts is commonplace and familiar, it is theoretically rather puzzling. Human universals are typically shared because they have adaptive significance for the species, but there is no obvious adaptive value to our preoccupation with the arts. It is also far from obvious what, exactly, differentiates our capacity for aesthetic appreciation from abilities to perceive and feel shared by animals more generally.

For these and other reasons, researchers from a variety of disciplines have sought to shed light on aesthetic experience. In this course cluster we examine aesthetic experience from an interdisciplinary perspective, drawing on work from psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, linguistics, and musicology. It is an ideal fit for students passionate about both art and science.

PHIL 211 and either MUTH 317 or NSCI 157  required for this learning community.

The Art of Teaching and Learning

The aim of this learning community is to provide students with a rich and empowering understanding of the possibilities for their own and others’ learning. 

Oberlin College has a long history of preparing people, who, directly (or indirectly) facilitate, guide, nurture-teach-others to do something for their personal or communal advancement. Whether studying in the arts, sciences, or humanities, Oberlin students are eager to engage in community service by leading and learning from others, regardless of age and background.

This learning community is dedicated to students seeking to reflect on and expand their roles as teacher, learner, and community leader. In the required course, Principles of Education, students will explore the historical, philosophical, and pedagogical roots of the American educational system. Students will then apply this foundational knowledge either in teaching philosophy to young children or in leading community-based historical research focused on various experiences of learning.

The aim of the learning community is to provide students with a rich and empowering understanding of the possibilities for their own and others’ learning. 

EDUC 300 and either PHIL 214 or HIST 214 required for participation in the learning community.

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