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.
*Note: This class is delivered when lunch is served.
Field ClassCountry: Malaysia
Date: February 19, 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 Kuala Lumpur. Students will visit Jamek Mosque where we can compare the architecture of the mosque to examples discussed in class and experience Islamic religious practice. We will also see several Hindu sites including the Batu Caves, a unique example outside of the city, and the Sri Mahamariammam Temple in Kuala Lumpur where students can contrast their experience with that of the mosques we visit. The class will include at least one additional stop at a Taoist/Buddhist temple, Thean Hou Temple, or a Christian Church, such as St. Mary’s Cathedral, so that students have a better understanding of the different religions and connected artistic styles in Malaysia.
Objectives: By the end of the day, students will have experienced different religious practices and traditions in Malaysia 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 Kuala Lumpur
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