This course introduces students to the art, architecture, and history of Asia and Africa, following the course of the voyage. We will explore the relationship between religious beliefs and artistic production in the different countries and cities we visit. The focus will be on the primary religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam along with Christianity and traditional religious beliefs in Southern and West Africa. We will study and analyze major works, monuments, and sites from each country. Throughout the semester, we will examine the function of art in the different cultures we encounter and discover the connection to politics and economics as well as religion to fully understand the context of art in each region. Students learn together in both lecture and discussion, reading and interpreting art historical texts and primary documents, and engaging in participatory and experiential exercises. By the end of the voyage, students will develop their skills in visual literacy, gain an understanding of the arts of the cultures they encounter, and learn about the history of different religions.
Field ClassCountry: Vietnam
Date: February 11, 2020
The focus of this course is on the intersections between art and religion in Asia and Africa. For the field class, we will explore different religious sites and sacred spaces in and around Ho Chi Minh City. Students will visit a Buddhist temple (Giac Lam Pagoda) where we can compare the architecture of the temple to examples discussed in class and experience Buddhist religious practice, and then the Ngoc Hoang Pagoda (or Jade Emperor Pagoda), which is a Taoist temple with elements of Buddhist practice. We will also see the Mariamman Hindu temple where we can contrast the architecture and art with the other temples. The class will include at least one additional stop at a Christian church (Tan Dihn Church) or a mosque (Jamiul Muslimin Mosque) so that students have a better understanding of the different religions and connected artistic styles in Vietnam.
Objectives: By the end of the day, students will have experienced different religious practices and traditions in Vietnam and have a much fuller understanding how art functions within the sacred spaces beyond just viewing pictures or films. Students will be able to interpret and compare architectural elements of the different religious structures, making connections to works covered in class. Students will write a 4-5 page paper (12 pt Times New Roman font, double-spaced, 1 in margins) discussing their response to the sites we visit and compare and contrast with sites discussed in class and in readings.
1. Gain firsthand experience of different religious practices in Ho Chi Minh City
2. Be able to compare and contrast different religious spaces and sites to examples discussed in class
3. Analyze the different architectural spaces and decoration and produce a short paper comparing and contrasting the sites we visit with material covered in classes and readings