This is the first of a two-module series that discusses the importance of approaching a different culture from its own perspective. The series, which includes Cultural Studies: Amanda Knox in Translation (MOD2138), will help students experience the process of cross-cultural understanding.
The capacity to sense, let alone experience, another’s point of view seems critical in understanding today’s world. Because ways of viewing and organizing information can be tied to culture, it is often difficult to grasp art/ architecture/ events from a cultural perspective not from our own.
Students will use Ikebana, one of the prominent art forms of Japan, as a vehicle or an entry point to notice and reflect on codes/symbols that are entirely foreign and unfamiliar. This leads into a rich discussion of cultural perceptions and perspectives.
Using flowers as its material, each element in Ikebana has a symbolic meaning and each symbol represents cultural perspectives and aesthetics. There is deep consideration of principals found in nature and of relationships between humans and nature.
In this three-week course, students will study how culture affects one’s thought and perception by analyzing the philosophical principles of Ikebana and the Japanese sense of beauty. They will also practice Ikebana, applying their understanding, and challenging their own assumptions about culture and symbols, proportion, line, the inter-relationship between elements, and ultimately, meaning.
This course will be offered Thursday, September 4 – Monday, September 22.