Final Reflection: Interdisciplinarity and Other Thoughts

As I considered how to go about completing this assignment I realized that I had already reflected on much of the course content in some of my blog posts. So when faced with this assignment I tried to think about parts of this course that I had considered before but not made into a blog post. From this contemplation I generated the guiding questions which frame the subsequent reflection on interdisciplinarity.

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The Vocabulary of Learning

I’ve always been fascinated by language, perhaps in part due to my own difficulty with the spoken aspect of it. I like to write but I hate to talk. I am a fast talker, a remnant of a childhood speech impediment, and I constantly feel like I’m struggling to slow down and make myself understood. This is part of my daily life and conversations so you can imagine how difficult it is for me to engage in public speaking where nerves speed up an already too-fast mode of speech. Because of this, I prefer to put things in writing. I am more articulate on paper and I don’t have to worry about the connection between my brain and my mouth shorting out as it often does when I talk out loud. I believe from there my love of language has evolved simply because I prefer to read and write, especially when it comes to academics. Because of this, I have thought a lot about how language affects the way that we communicate; as I am in the process of studying both the English language and a foreign language, the importance of thinkING about this has become abundantly clear. Continue reading “The Vocabulary of Learning”

Connecting Through Art

While considering what art means to me I realized that in the past I viewed it as, above all, a method of self-expression. But throughout this course I have realized that there is so much more to it than that. Art can still be a form of self-expression, but that is not all it is. Not everyone likes making or performing art, but the fact is that it brings people together. They can be brought together by their shared passion for it or by their shared hatred, but they are still connecting as they produce or experience art in any of its forms. I think these connections are the most important thing that art can offer. The definition of art varies depending on the discipline of the person defining it, because one’s discipline often has an influence over what something means to them. In terms of art, the etymology of the word is a “skill as a result of learning or practice,” and I think this definition would resonate the most with STEM-minded people, whereas if someone is a painter then they’ll think of painting as the form of art that they are most familiar with. This same idea applies to dancers, musicians, architects, etc. Art has many meanings, and it is woven throughout every aspect of our lives because of how many different types of it there are. This is why it is so often that art brings people together, because there’s so many opportunities for it. When I was considering examples of this, I found that our class’ blog was abundant with scenarios in which art encourages connecting with others.

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Interdisciplinary classes are something I have found rather amazing during my time at Geneseo thus far.  The idea that a class is made up of students from both humanities majors and majors in STEM is an opportunity for rapid growth. Because a class that is not a general education requirement, that students chose to take, that mixes disciplines gives students the opportunities to learn something they would’ve never learned from their own majors.

In the beginning of the semester, I was very hesitant to decide if I would enjoy an INTD class, seeing as it was not just a class for my major, it was a class any major could enroll in. This made me nervous because I was very comfortable in my English classes. I knew most of my peers in the English department very well and overall was just overly comfortable with the course load I was receiving from most of my classes prior. This class was different. The class make up included English, mathematics, natural sciences, psychology, sociology, and many other majors. Once the class actually was held, I was not so nervous anymore. Everyone in the class seemed eager to learn and actively participate in conversations. The atmosphere of the class was different than a class that students specifically have to take to fill a general education credit or just a class for a student’s major filled with all students from that same major. It was an environment I really enjoyed being in. No one walked in the class on the first day thinking they were more prepared than others and that alone contributed to what made the class such an incredible place to be in.

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Final Reflection Post

Interdepartmental, or the involvement of many departments or classes, is the main focus of INTD 288: the exploration of the art of Steve Prince. From the beginning I found it difficult to see the connections between art and other subjects of study, especially within my major in STEM. However, as this semester evolved and more professors presented how their departments correlated to art, I began to alter my outlook. Continue reading “Final Reflection Post”

Practicing Interdisciplinary Practice: Embracing Multiplicity and the “Both/And” Through The Art of Steve Prince

When one considers the meaning of interdisciplinarity as the bringing together of two or more academic disciplines into one coherent project or activity, it might seem obvious that this kind of learning and thinking would demand that a person engage with multiplicity on several levels. That is, interdisciplinary work always requires the involvement of multiple disciplines, and often involves the collaboration of multiple people across those disciplines. As it rejects the long-standing and systemically-encouraged notion that disciplines and their respective scholars ought to remain separated, interdisciplinarity calls up the term practice as both noun and verb: as a noun, interdisciplinary practice involves “the actual application or use” of this method of inquiry and study, “as opposed to theories relating to it.” This kind of interdisciplinary work relates directly to another definition of practice, too, meaning as a verb “to exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency.”

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Final Reflection: A P.R.O.C.E.S.S

A process meets no end. I feel like throughout the INTD 288 course this is an idea that has been contested, stressed, exemplified, and challenged repeatedly. If there is anything I have taken away from this course, it would be the importance and significance of processes. Process is interdisciplinary in that it can be found in almost any subject as well as applied in almost any field. In class, we applied process in many different disciplines including art, philosophy, literature, and mathematics. In each discipline we were able to both analyze and debate the ways in which process applied in Steve Prince’s work. Steve Prince himself often stressed the importance of process when creating his works. He once said, “It is not so much about what is being made— it’s about the process. It’s the community working together.” But what constitutes a process? Process, as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary is a “continuous action, operation, or series of changes taking place in a definite manner”. The reason I chose this definition above others is because it says nothing about the end of a process. Many believe that a process leads to an endpoint, but as we discussed in a class with David Levy, this doesn’t always hold true. Almost anything one does involves a process, and the process of getting to a point, literally or figuratively is almost always more significant then actually getting there. Continue reading “Final Reflection: A P.R.O.C.E.S.S”

Reading Pictures

On February 22nd Professor Cope gave a lecture about the spread of information in early modern Europe. This connected to class in many ways, one of which being that modern viewers have to learn to read the the information-packed woodcuts, similar to how we have worked to “read” Steve Prince’s woodcuts. Often in the woodcuts there is a circular flow of the eye. My favorite woodcut of all time is John Derrick’s “Image of Ireland.”

It is meant to show how the Irish people are savages with no understanding of proper manners, but it is so funny to a modern reader. These woodcuts were useful in the 1500’s because people had “different” literacy skills, ie analyzing pictures. I think in today’s world, since print is dead, the equivalent is video content, so I guess you could say that the need for different formats to spread information is a recursive trend.

From an ecological perspective, many of the concerns that Cope mentioned the English dealing with will increasingly come to affect us too. Displaced people will have to migrate to new places not destroyed by climate change, and so far we have made their existence without a home illegal, like under the Elizabethan laws. Personally what I found most interesting from this lecture was learning about morality before capitalism, where violating the sense of community would be punished in the moral economy. Communities like the ones Prince’s work nurtures used to play larger parts in everyone’s life, and I wonder if that will be part of the ecological solution.

Perspective of Nostalgia

February 15th’s class with Professor Nicodemi blasted me back into ninth grade geometry class. We used algebra to calculate where one should stand when looking at a painting to get the intended view of it. I had never heard this concept of proper distance to a painting before, so the combination of mathematics and art will prove useful during future museum visits. This technique mainly applies to Renaissance artists who were interested in lines and geometry. Prince borrows the checkerboard seen in many of his works from the Renaissance era, and often draws using an extremely skewed perspective. Continue reading “Perspective of Nostalgia”

Introspectiveness Through Community

On the very first day of INTD 288, I was highly considering dropping it. When my classmates passed around artwork and we were forced to work with one another to try and interpret an artist that I was unfamiliar with, I was scared. I did not truly think I could contribute to anything in the course without having extensive background knowledge about art. However, once I convinced myself to step out of my comfort zone and embrace this unknown territory, I was met with new tools and a new grasp of what a community is. To me, community is created in our class through the process of integrative learning with various professors from different disciplines coming in for lectures and our group discussions of the lectures which occurred with students with various academic backgrounds. Our class is a microcosm of a community that supports integrative learning and helps students to help each other gain new tools to express ourselves both personally and academically. On our syllabus, we have epigraphs to show what this course will cover. Part of an epigraph fits the community-based learning that I experienced since day one. The epigraph is from Mary Rutigliano and she states her goal that as students,we be rooted in a pursuit of growing our understanding, a sense of wonder, and the agreement that we can’t learn anything without one another’s help.” My experience perfectly fits with this epigraph; if it had not been for the sense of community fostered by interdisciplinary lectures and conversations, I would not have succeeded as I did with gaining new tools throughout the semester.

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