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1. Examine and critique information and argument related to substantive problems that have a global dimension.
Instead of an introductory or survey course that presents the major genres of dance and history of primarily Western Dance traditions, the proposed Dance in Culture course positions dance as a means of cultural or individual expression and physicalized societal values. Lecture, discussion, the course textbook (Dancing, the Pleasure, Power, and Art of Movement) as well as the companion video series used in the class (Dancing) present types of dances (social, religious, classical, etc.) by comparing and contrasting a variety of different cultural approaches. This approach, one which problematizes, critiques, and challenges representations of dance history as lodged in Western traditions, additionally highlights the diversity of dance traditions from around the world and demonstrates the cross-fertilizations of genres from region to region, continent to continent.
2. Learn how to evaluate sources from a variety of perspectives and use those sources to inform their critique of problems in the global community.
This course will grapple with the manner in which subjective dispositions yield myriad interpretations of performance and cultural presentation and how dance in particular is at once a powerful tool for both audiences and performers to express social, political, and individual identity across and within borders. This course may explore, for example, how West African nation states such as Mali and Ghana created national dance ballets that appropriated Western performance contexts and infused them with staged “ethnic tradition” to encourage amongst the citizenry a shared sense of national identity. As these “ballets” toured the world, Western audiences in turn imbibed the symbolic milieu as authentic African tradition. In doing so, they thereby unknowingly appropriated prior appropriations of their own performance genres and from them generated imagined and generalized notions of “Africanness.” These exchanges of interpretation and representation demonstrate that dance indeed performs the consequences of globalization and its associated political and economic ironies and injustices.
4. Synthesize and balance information in developing appropriate evidencebased conclusions about global issues.
The last unit of the proposed Dance in Culture course focuses on “modernizing dance” and the conceptual and technological innovations in the dance world beginning around the start of the 20th century and continuing into today. More specifically, the last week of classes considers the influence of dance in terms of globalization. Examples of dance in the international sphere include country supported touring ensembles such as American Ailey American Dance Theater and the Batsheva Dance Company from Israel. Another example of dance in relationship to global issues is the expanding genre of Dance on Film. To avoid ongoing expenses related to paying dancers, production, promotion, and travel costs, many choreographers are choosing to create their works on film and submitting the films to international festivals. A final example of dance in the global arena is its increasing popularity in digital and social media. Examples include last fall’s Harlem Shake fad, numerous dance memes, twerking, the flash mob phenomenon, and the “Gangnam Style” dance that spread rapidly and internationally over youtube. Student assessment of this curriculum is done through traditional testing methods, but also might be included as part of a student’s research paper.
5. Examine theoretical and methodological approaches to cultural differences specific to a disciplinary tradition.
In the first week of class, students read Deirdra Sklar’s “Five Premises for a Culturally Sensitive Approach to Dance.” This article and the related in-class discussions describe how dances are intrinsically related to the culture they are born out of and that one must understand the cultural context in order to grasp the meaning of the movement, but also how one gains a greater understanding of a culture through observing how it’s people move and interact physically. Another lecture early in the semester examines personal aesthetic versus objective analysis, allowing students to realize their own biases as well as the means to view art/dance with greater objectivity. For both of these lectures students are assessed and receive credit based on written individual or group responses. Another assignment that assesses student ability to view and report on dance with reduced bias and prejudice is the Dance Concert Analysis Paper. For this paper, students are assessed in part of their ability to objectively analyze 2 dances from different genres in the DSU Dance Company Concert. Additionally assessment of this criterion will be evaluated in the 4-5 resource materials selected for the research paper assignment. As part of the preparation for this assignment, published articles displaying a clear tone of bias and/or prejudice will be presented and discussed in class.
7. Examine the role of social factors, e.g., race, gender, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, religion, etc., in shaping social interaction, cultural worldviews, and individual identity.
A great portion of the course speaks to this criterion in the broad sense through comparison and examination of numerous different world and folk dances. Many of these dances allow for only certain members of a community, class system, or gender to participate in certain dances. Examining how and why the movement is accomplished reveals insight into that culture’s values and social structures. Additionally, the course unit on “Modernizing Dance” provides examples of how racial minorities and homosexuals have used dance as a medium to shed light on inequality. In addition to curriculum, the course research paper asks students to “select a topic related to a historically under represented sector of the global community and then research and write on the group’s use of dance as a means of unique individual and cultural expression. Topics may include but are not limited to minority issues regarding race, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, or examinations into gender and economic inequality. The paper should be written in MLA format, be 5 pages in length, and include an additional page that lists 4-5 accredited references. Topics require instructor approval and guidelines and grading criteria will be provided in class.” Students will be assessed on the depth of their research, ability to connect dance to the chosen population, and the ability to back up claims through fact based writing.
GE Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs)
Please demonstrate how your course meets the criteria for one to three of the following ELOs. For each ELO that is relevant to the learning that occurs in your course, please provide a rationale for each ELO's criteria. Type the requested information in place of the “include rationale here” statements.
7. Responsibilities of Citizenship: Students will critically explore, evaluate, and reflect upon their own lives, careers, and interests in relation to the political process and the general welfare of the society as a whole.
a. Describe and analyze democratic political ideals and the various understanding of rights and obligations that citizens may be said to have in their communities.
Over the course of the semester, Dance in Culture will examine the rights and obligations of citizens of the many cultures throughout the world, including the United States and compare and contrast them to one another. The course also draws attention to inequalities in citizen rights and obligations and how dance and movement highlight these inconsistencies. For example, Ballet dance training in the U.S. has become increasingly expensive. Legally every citizen has the right to pursue Ballet but, with the scarce exception of scholarships for a select few who possess natural talent and certain physical qualifications, many middle and low income citizens cannot afford it. Thus, U.S. citizens may have the right to pursue dance, but not the means, and certainly not an obligation to society. Conversely, citizens of an Aboriginal tribe have both the right and obligation to learn and perform the dances of their community as dance is more integral to upholding and preserving their culture. These topics are covered in lecture, video and group discussion throughout the course and students are assessed through their submissions of either individual or written responses.
b. Describe and analyze one’s own and other’s perceptions regarding responsibility for society’s moral/ethical well-being.
Throughout the course, when examining the moral/ethical state of other cultures and societies, students are also asked to consider and analyze his or her own perceptions regarding responsibility for the moral/ethical well-being of American society. This concept also lends itself to diversity in the sense that members of the same community may have contrasting ideas about what moral well-being means and how it applies across demographics. A controversial dance, such as two members of the same sex performing an intimate or sexually suggestive duet, highlights this social dilemma. One perspective would find the dance morally offensive while another might see it as morally reaffirming. Class discussions of this nature cause students to consider their own moral/ethical belief systems and their own responsibilities to local, national, and global society.
INSTRUCTIONS: For each course and student learning outcome, indicate the extent to which the course addresses the outcome. DO NOT INDICATE LEARNING IN ELOS FOR WHICH YOU DID NOT PROVIDE RATIONALES ABOVE.
I = Introduce Learning outcome is introduced at the basic level.
D = Develop Students are given opportunities to practice, learn more about and receive feedback to develop more sophistication in the outcome.
M = Mastery Students demonstrate mastery at a level appropriate for graduation.
A course may only introduce an outcome during the course or it may both introduce and develop an outcome. On the other hand a course may not introduce but instead develops a student’s knowledge/ability in a given outcome. It is possible that a course would introduce, develop, and demonstrate mastery of the outcome. See an example here:
GE LO1 - Broad Knowledge of the Liberal Arts and Sciences I, D, M
GE LO2 - Critical Thinking
GE LO3 - Effective Communication M
GE LO4 - Information Literacy Skills I
GE LO5 - Quantitative Reasoning
GE LO6 - Diversity and globalization D
GE LO7 - Responsibilities of citizenship I
PLEASE FILL IN I, D, AND/OR M IN THE APPROPRIATE SPACES BELOW: