Pavilion Seminars

The Program

The College of Arts and Sciences is delighted to announce the new classes for the Pavilion Seminars Program. Aimed at 3rd- and 4th-year students, these seminars focus on big topics with enduring relevance across disciplines. All will be taught by distinguished faculty from across the University but primarily from the College. All will feature innovative pedagogical practices as well as a substantial writing component. (Note: all Pavilion Seminars will satisfy the Second Writing Requirement; but, by design, none can be used to satisfy requirements for any major). All are intended to bring together, in the context of the Lawn’s Pavilions, a limited number of students from varied majors and intellectual backgrounds for stimulating discussion of vital questions of ethics, human nature, politics, aesthetics, nature, law, space, and survival – very much in keeping with Jefferson’s original plans for the University and the Lawn.

Enrollment will, in every case, be by instructor permission through SIS, so that the 15 students in each seminar can be drawn from multiple majors. You can find the classes in SIS under PAVS 4500; sign up for the permission list for the class in which you are interested, and answer the question posed. Note that you can add your name to a permission list before your enrollment appointment!

We hope that the Pavilion Seminars will henceforth provide an intellectual capstone to the undergraduate experience for a select group of advanced College students each semester, and we urge interested, adventurous 3rd and 4th year students to apply to participate in this program.

Course Descriptions for Fall 2017

Section 001 – Looking At, Talking About, and Writing About Art (John J. Dobbins)
This seminar is all about Looking, Talking, and Writing, and these critical activities are focused on art, architecture, and to a lesser extent, literature.  The goal is to enhance your skills in these three important areas because the ability to look carefully, speak coherently, and write effectively will serve you for a lifetime.  Moreover, these are transferable skills.  This course focuses on art and architecture, but the skills in the title can be applied to forensic evidence, the law, diagnostic evidence in medicine, etc.  Note that the goal of the seminar is the enhancement of certain skills.  The goal is not the material per se, but in the process you will learn about certain aspects of art and architecture, and that is not a bad thing.  Put differently, this seminar teaches you how to “read” art and architecture (or enhances your skills in those areas).  We range widely geographically and chronologically, for example, the Acropolis in Athens; San Vitale and its rich mosaic program in Ravenna (Italy); the Matisse chapel in Vence (France).  We also use local resources: sculpture in the Fralin, Corinthian capitals on Grounds and the Lawn itself.  Lawn exercises are especially hands-on in which you work in teams of three to measure and draw scaled plans of pavilion porticoes and compare your results with the writings of Vitruvius.

Section 003 – Science and Politics (Seung-Hun Lee)
More often than not, Science is intertwined with Religion and Politics. This course will provide students with an opportunity to study the entanglement of Science, Religion, and Politics, and how they have driven national and international policies. Examples will include the Galileo’s affair, Evolution, the Imperial Japanese Army's Unit 731, Nazi Germany's eugenics, and the Syphilis experiments in Guatemala, the Manhattan project and nuclear weapons, and drone and cyber warfare. Truth, reality, ethics and the anthropology of those involved will be examined in several exemplary cases. Books, movies, videos, memoirs, and case studies will be used as course materials. The class is open to scientists and non-scientists alike.

Section 004 – Noise (Bonnie Gordon)
What did pundits mean when they described the recent presidential election as noise, sound, and fury?  What does that mean?  What was the loudest sound imaginable in 1607 when settlers came to Jamestown? Sounds like car alarms, earthquakes, thunder, and jackhammers assault our senses. Music, including punk, noise music, hip-hop, reaches decibels unimaginable even a hundred years ago. This seminar explores noise from a variety of disciplinary, historical, cultural, and theoretical perspectives. We will read writings noise and silence from Plato through the contemporary world and we will discuss the long history of regulating noise and marking it off from music, speech, and sound. We will listen to Noise as it relates to power, economics, the environment, love, the body, race, gender and class. Readings will range from primary sources in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library to acoustics, environmental science, and journalistic accounts of public debates around noise pollution in our own city. Coursework will also involve listening to a variety of music and sounds through recorded technologies and live experiences. Experiential learning will take place through soundscaping, concert attendance, and making live performances. You may take this class with no musical experience.

Section 005 – Migration (David Leblang)
This is a course about the theory and practice of migration. We will focus on the act of migration: movement of people from their place of place of origin/birth to a new, heretofore unknown, destination. Throughout the semester, we will examine: (a) the factors that lead individuals and families to migrate, the conditions under which they chose to stay or leave their homeland; (b) the consequences of migration for the community and people left behind; (c) the effect of migration and migrants on their destination; and (d) the linkages that continue to bind migrants to their homelands even after they have left.  Geographically, the course will focus on migration around the world though we will spend some time understanding immigration within the United States.  While the course derives its primary material from the social sciences, we will examine the effect of migration as understood through art, literature, music, and food.

Section 006 – Ideal Cities (Ekaterina Makarova)
The tradition of the ideal city is fascinating for its attempt to imagine and to define – through the vision of the city – an ideal form of society for any given time, and to conceive alternative social arrangements. In this way urban utopias and anti-utopias can be seen both as a critique of an existing social order and as a blueprint for social change and political action. The course explores some of the most formative moments of this tradition as expressed in literature, film, art and architecture, with a particular focus on the rise and development of specifically modern society (from the turn of the 19th century to contemporary times). We will consider both the visions themselves and the attempts to realize them in practice; who produces the vision and for whom; and the broader implications of these visions for the society as a whole. The course will draw not only on the scholarly sources that explore the specific historical, political and social contexts of particular visions of the ideal city but also on a wide range of visual and literary material.

Section 007 - The Vietnam War: A Film (Stephen Cushman)
In September 2017, fifty years after the escalation of U. S. involvement in Southeast Asia, PBS stations across the United States will air The Vietnam War, a ten-part documentary and the latest project of award-winning filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.  The showing of this film will be a significant event throughout the United States. This seminar, which will focus on the airing of this film, will speak to the interests of students already working in many departments or programs at UVA, including African-American Studies and African Studies; American Studies; Anthropology; Art (Film); East Asian Languages and Cultures; East Asian Studies; Economics; English; Environmental Thought and Practice; Global Studies; History; Media Studies; Military Science (Army and Navy ROTC); Philosophy; Political and Social Thought; Politics; Psychology; Public Policy (Batten School); Religious Studies; Sociology; Women, Gender, and Sexuality.  Whatever a student’s curricular affiliations, this film will stimulate intense thought and discussion about both our national past and our national present.  The seminar will emphasize connecting the events of forty to fifty years ago, both international and national, to the shared textures of our lives now.  Because the film will be unfolding before us in real time, spontaneity, improvisation, and flexibility will be hallmarks of the seminar. Students will be asked to buy and read three books: Michael Herr, Dispatches (1977); Bao Ninh, The Sorrow of War: A Novel of North Vietnam (1990) or Duong Thu Huong, Novel with No Name (1995) ; and Michael Hunt, ed., A Vietnam War Reader: A Documentary History from American and Vietnamese Perspectives (2010). Beginning with the airing of the film in mid-September, we will focus one class on each episode, our discussions informed by background readings in primary documents from A Vietnam Reader.  Among many questions to ask is this one: What happens when social and political histories come to us in aesthetically engaging forms?

Section 008 – The Doctor (Diane Pappas)
The Doctor is a seminar designed to explore in-depth the evolution of the role of the doctor in our society from different perspectives utilizing a variety of works, including medical literature, historical perspectives, poetry, television, film, art, etc.  Students will develop an understanding of the profession of medicine; of how doctors think; the perspectives of the patient; medical education and the maturation and development of the doctor during medical school, training and practice; the physician as advocate; the physician as fallible.  They will also be able to critically assess art, poetry, fiction and other works to derive understanding of and connections with the doctor.