Liberal Arts Courses
This course examines Palestinian and Israeli history to better understand how culture, identity, and conflict impact their relationships. Students will deepen ability to detect bias, learn consequences of opposing narratives, and cultivate knowledge of and respect for both peoples. We study religious, social, ethnic, and nationalistic aspects of Palestinian, Arab, Israeli, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian identities. What role does religion play in a conflict between two predominantly secular peoples? What power imbalances and inequalities exist not only between these peoples but also within each side? What are the obstacles to and possibilities for peace? Through reading, research, writing, video, and music, students cultivate an appreciation of the struggles, strengths, and legitimate needs of both peoples.
This course examines the development of human rights theories and practices, early efforts at an international response and the creation of a modern human rights agenda after 1945. Students explore race, ethnicity, and gender as human rights issues and examine the issue of humanitarian intervention in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur. In addition, students examine globalization, terrorism, and the role of the United States in the current human rights debate.
The 20th century, often referred to as The American Century, was a time of turbulent transformation in which Americans were forced to rethink their political ideals, their commitment to social justice, and their definitions of art and culture. In this course, students focus on the big ideas in American culture that shaped the nation's history from the roaring '20s to the radical '60s. Students examine American music within the context of US history, studying folk music and the labor movement, modernism and jazz, and student activism and rock.
Students will read and discuss articles by respected scholars and commentators on critical issues facing the world today. Discussions will focus on topics of historic significance in the last quarter of the 20th century. Note: This course may be used to fulfill the social science requirement.
The meaning of one's sexual identity has changed dramatically from one period of history to another, and from one culture to another. This course examines the changing roles of men and women and their power relationships throughout history. By studying gender in religion, politics, family, and the arts, students gain perspectives on their own roles and relations. Note: This course may be used to fulfill the social science requirement.
This course focuses on defining different types of cultural or mythical models for society and individuals; how they are formed; how they help shape beliefs, worldviews, and historical events; and how they still inform our lives today. The thematic approach of mythology and folklore will draw on documents from the fields of history (especially the timeframe from Ancient Greece to the late Middle Ages), linguistics, law, music, theatre, literature, art, and film.
The Artistry, Creativity, and Inquiry Seminar provides an introduction to the life of the creative and curious mind. In this course, students explore their own creative process, reflect on their life choice as a musician, and examine the role of the artist in society. Students learn how to ask questions and find answers about topics and issues that affect the choices they make personally, professionally, and creatively at Berklee and beyond college. Students also evaluate their abilities and interests in order to develop college and career goals, and to begin the process of selecting a major. In addition, students begin maintaining their Berklee College of Music electronic portfolio. Taught by faculty who also serve as students' first semester advisors, this course provides a creative and reflective atmosphere that encourages students to participate actively in their own learning. Students engage in discussion, getting to know the faculty member and each other.
This course provides film scoring majors with an introduction to how film makes visual and narrative meaning through the language of film, which includes camera, frame composition, lighting, production design, acting styles, editing, dialogue, plot, genre, themes, sound, and point of view. Students will learn to read and analyze film from a film studies perspective. Written assignments and in-class activities will reinforce writing, reading, and oral communication skills, with the goal of strengthening students' abilities to communicate with directors.
The Professional Development Seminar provides an opportunity for students in their sixth semester to reflect upon their academic and professional experience at Berklee, prepare to complete their Berklee programs, and transition from college into the professional world and/or graduate school. Students evaluate their knowledge, skills, abilities, and interests as they develop and/or refine college and career goals. Students also explore their own identities and their professional and personal relationships as they reflect on the role of the artist in society generally and their role as a musician in their community specifically. Students learn business, entrepreneurship, legal, and communication skills, and address issues of business ethics. Additionally, students refine and redirect their Berklee College of Music electronic portfolio towards a professional model and explore issues of presentation and critique. The Professional Development Seminar provides a creative and reflective atmosphere that encourages students to participate in their own learning while preparing for their future.
This course explores artistic expression through musical responses to poetry, dance, painting, film, photography, and other art forms. Through guided listening, viewing films and discussion, students learn to integrate the arts by preparing a performance. The class experiments and creates pieces to realize a synthesis of the arts. Artists to be examined include Paul Klee, Gunther Schuller, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Mark Morris, Yo Yo Ma, and more. Collaborations among music students, dancers, writers, and visual artists are encouraged.
In this course, students explore the artistic and creative processes involved in jazz and examine the connections among jazz and different modes of artistic expression, including the connections among jazz performance and visual art forms. Students analyze the ways that different art forms influence their music performances and compositions. Students evaluate the expressive qualities found in music and other art forms, including dance, visual arts, literature, film and more. Students refine their own personal aesthetic through reflection, research, inventive performance, improvisation, composition and analysis. This course is team taught by a faculty member from Liberal Arts and a faculty member from the Berklee Global Jazz Institute.
The motto of Berklee College of Music is Esse quam videri, a phrase from Cicero's essay On Friendship" which translates as "to be rather than to seem." This course gives students the opportunity to focus and reflect upon the differences between seeming and being and think deeply about existence self and image. Organized around three interrelated themes: seeming vs. being; performance on stage and in everyday life; and the power of images and illusion in contemporary culture the seminar requires students to consider real world issues by exploring in depth the great works of philosophy literature and psychology. The course includes the reading and discussion of Plato's Republic Machiavelli's The Prince Shakespeare's Hamlet and Cervantes' Don Quixote. Funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities Enduring Questions grant LHUM-P410 is a unique opportunity for serious seminar-style exploration of a foundational issue in human thought.