Humanities

Sounding China

This was a semester long project. Throughout the semester, graduate students (many of whom had little previous exposure to the course material) studied the history of Chinese music theory, the Jesuit missionaries who transmitted it back to western Europe, and the reception of Chinese culture there in the 18th century. The website commemorating the exhibit and giving more information can be found at hcs.harvard.edu/soundingchina

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Theme and Variations: Understanding Musical Style

This activity took place as part of an ongoing study of the various conventional forms in Classical music (sonata, concerto, etc.), and also contributed to a larger, semester-long conversation about the ways in which we deal with the nebulous concept of "style" in music. Coming into the class itself, students possessed a basic knowledge of musical rudiments such as melody and harmony. For this particular activity, students had already been introduced to the idea of a "Theme and Variations" form, and had listened to several examples.

First, students are given a simple melody,...

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Bring a Goddess to a Party

Students were expected to have researched one goddess from the ancient Near East as described in several primary and secondary sources. The description of the activity on the syllabus is as follows: Choose a female deity or demon from the ancient Near East that you find captivating. Now imagine you have just invited her to a party at Smith College. Describe what she looks like and what she will wear to the party. How will you introduce her to your friends? Tell them where she is from, what her interest are, and explain her special talents, as well as any personality traits that might make for awkward social interactions.

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Floor Plan

This is an activity for Lioudmila Zaitseva's Elementary Russian class. She goes through a floor plan illustration on the board and calls on volunteers to label the parts, then place a corresponding image in the specific zone of the plan. This is a fun way for students to remember their vocabulary, basic verbs, and basically conduct a general review.

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East Asian Text Diagrams

Overview: This activity helps students read texts, analyze them, and present the information into a diagram.

Goals:  Enable students to closely and quickly analyze texts.

Introduction/Background: Students were given texts to read in class. Each of the texts was of a kind that can be represented straightforwardly as a diagram: geography (map), a series of events (cyclical calendar), or a description of the body in relation to the cosmos (a star...

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World Music YouTube Culture Show

Dr. Michael Heller created this project for a World Music Class for International Students taught at University of Massachusetts, Boston.  Students were encouraged to develop traditional academic skills and new media skills in this World Music YouTube Culture Show Project, by incorporating written word, public speaking, and storytelling tools like Zeega, Powerpoint, or Meograph in this project.

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Visual Essays and Makeover Parodies

Students in Caroline Light's general education course, Sex and the Citizen, create five-minute visual essays in response to Brenda Weber's, Makeover Nation. In order to do this assignment, students must complete the assigned reading and gain familiarity with iMovie, Prezi, or PowerPoint. These visual essays or makeover parodies are meant to address issues of identity and citizenship central to the course.... Read more about Visual Essays and Makeover Parodies

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