Nonlinearity in INTD 288 and Beyond

How we think determines how we perceive and understand the world around us. The integration of disciplines was not something I was expecting throughout the semester in INTD 288: The Art of Steve Prince taught by Dr. Beth McCoy. The integration of disciplines encouraged my peers and me to challenge ourselves when it came to our ways of thinking—something proven integral to our success in our course epigraphs. The intellectual progress participants gained through this course ultimately cannot be measured in a straight line; but rather through a course of nonlinear steps. In other words, the product of this course and the knowledge gained proves itself unique for every participant. At first glance, ‘nonlinear’ according to the Merriam Webster dictionary is vaguely defined as, “not linear.” Diving deeper, one can interpret the word ‘nonlinearity’ as: random behavior, or, unpredictable. Something that cannot be static or proportional. Since this course has come to a close, I can recognize not only my nonlinear growth, but the nonlinearity of SUNY Geneseo, and our nation as a whole through the teachings in this course.

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Fulfilling the Absence of Art at SUNY Geneseo


When I transferred to Geneseo the fall of my sophomore year, I did not realize that there was no art department at the college. In the beginning of the 2013-2014 academic year, Geneseo not only cut out the studio art department— but the computer science and speech pathology department as well. So when I saw the opening for an interdepartmental class with the title, The Art of Steve Prince I was immediately interested and knew that at some point of the course, the absence of the department would have been recognized.

According to the Lamron article titled, Geneseo should restore studio art major, offer more resources to creative students by Malachy Dempsey, “the greatest reason to restore studio art is to demonstrate a commitment to the arts that many students feel Geneseo lacks.” It article continues to persuade the college by stating, “If the college does want to support the arts and, by extension, fulfill its commitment to a liberal arts education, it should consider restoring the studio arts program.” The deletion of the program also sets off the tone that the administration may not listen to the desires of the students.

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Triangular Trade?

In my last post, I left off briefly discussing the European powers that developed the transatlantic slave trade— a presumably three-point cycle between Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Dr. Catherine Adams, professor of history department and co-coordinator of the black studies department led a discussion in our class about the black experience during Western colonization. We looked at poetry and books to further dive into the relationship between how people talk about slavery.

This semester I am also taking a course specialized in the geography of sub-Saharan Africa taught by Dr. Rogalsky of the geography department. In this class we read the book, Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone by Martin Dugard. This book— as the titles alludes to— tells the stories of the two explorers: Dr. David Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley during their explorations of Africa to ultimately fine the true source of the Nile river in the late 1800s (which, if you were interested, is still a highly debated topic).

I would first like to point out the fact that without the native Africans, these two explorers would have little to no success or would have died pretty quickly. Stanley especially, had three to five caravans of Africans those of who carried supplies, provide knowledge about ethnic tribes and boundaries, helped with local illness, and more. Unfortunately, Stanley was ruthless and mistreated the porters to a point where in the novel the porters at one point wanted to kill him. If one porter escaped, he would send other porters to go retrieve them. One thing that I found mind boggling was that a lot of the early European porters would rename already named locations amongst the locals. After Stanley’s exploration ended his fame for the exploration aided the creation of the transatlantic slave trade.

In our class with Dr. Adams, we discussed the appearance of the transatlantic slave trade. In the photo, it appears to be a linear system: with goods leaving both the Americas and Europe into Africa and with materials leaving Africa as well. However, one separate line holds the arrow that labels slaves going from Africa to the Americas. The more we looked at in class, we realized that the ‘triangle’ was nothing short of nonlinear. We discussed how it can be insulting to refer to things as ‘bodies.’ You call many things bodies: as in bodies of water and other types of space. That is why it is so important to reserve the dignity of those humans.

Meaning of Movement

Dance has always been a huge part of my life. Growing up I threw myself into ballet, jazz, and tap lessons. Three to four times a week I would sit at my desk at school and glue my eyes to the clock as the last hour of school progressed. I would fly like a rocket out of my seat and make my way to my dance school were I would spend hours doing the thing I loved most. My favorite type of dance was and still is ballet. The grace, poise, and strength needed is something I have always appreciated about the art. However, dance can become a competitive and very pressuring mind game, so my career of dance eventually came to a close.

When I transferred to Geneseo my sophomore year, I knew I had to get involved in the community somehow. My mind immediately went to my first love— dance. In that time I joined two dance groups/teams/troupes. By the time registering for classes came for this semester (spring ‘19), I not only wanted to take my required courses, but I also wanted to take at least one or two courses that would challenge me academically and/or would capture an interest of mine that wasn’t strictly academic. That class for me was DANC 104: Cultural Dance— Latin Cultures taught by Deborah Scodese-French of the dance department.

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Understanding the Horseman… and Then Some

To further elaborate on my understanding of the horsemen from my last post, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss how I have applied them in my daily thinking and life. Over spring break, I visited my older brother who lives in Nashville, Tennessee. While I was there I visited the Parthenon Museum, an exact replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece that was built for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in 1897. To my surprise, I was greeted by many pieces of art that have symbolism similar to themes that we have studied in our class—primarily the horsemen.

The Parthenon Museum, Nashville TN. 2019.

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What’s Next?

I have always been infatuated by the world of art.

My love for art developed when I was younger, always thinking in my head and analyzing what was before me.

However my appreciation for art came later much later. The fall semester of my junior year I found myself in an entry level art class. This class taught me how to feel art; how to look at it. I didn’t just love the way it looked; I understood it. I was taught how to feel it, to know what the artist was trying to portray. Perhaps my favorite part of art is how the artist proclaims awareness for social issues.

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