Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Study Abroad -- Astronomy/ Art History Rome: Science, Religion, and Art in Rome over Two Millenia

Looking for a unique, new Study Abroad experience in Spring 2015?

Held at the UW's Rome Center, the two instructors from Astronomy/History of Science, and Art History are combining to produce an interdisciplinary experience that will provide insight into Western culture over a two-millennium span. AND the Program's courses have no prereqs and qualify for each of the following graduation requirements: Writing (5 to 12 credit-hrs), Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (7), and Natural World (8). Maximum Program size is 15 students.

Program Description

This Program has no prerequisites and is designed for students with a wide range of backgrounds: humanities, social sciences, or the sciences. The Program's courses qualify for each of the following graduation requirements: Writing (5 to 12 credit-hrs), Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (7), and Natural World (8). Ad hoc Honors credit may be arranged with the Honors program. Students who wish to enroll in more than 15 credits may also arrange for independent study (499) credits through their home departments.

For millennia, peoples occupying the Italian peninsula have looked to the sky and to religious belief to gain a better understanding of the world around them. This Program, with the exciting possibilities afforded by two instructors from the worlds of science and art, treats the intertwined histories of religion and science (with an emphasis on astronomy and cosmology), using art and architecture to demonstrate developments from ancient Rome through Medieval and Renaissance Italy to the 18th century. Special attention will be paid to the relationship of astrology and astronomy, as well as to the case of Galileo and the Church in the early 17th century. Another theme will be that of light, both as it is used in the context of art, and as used in understanding the heavens. Finally, we will examine many aspects of time: as used in historical analysis, as depicted in art, as used in astrology, as measured by sundials, and as measured in modern science.
Students will visit locations several times weekly throughout Rome, including many not open to the general public. The Program ends with a week-long field trip to Bologna and Florence to visit other architectural and artistic masterpieces, sites important for the history of science, and major museums. Historical, religious, and astronomical concepts will come alive via monuments, churches, paintings, and sculptures. Astronomical observations and analyses of the night sky (especially Jupiter's moons), the Sun's and Moon's motions over the quarter, and a visit to the Vatican Observatory outside of Rome will also be included. A focus of the course will be the Pantheon of ancient Rome and Michelangelo's Santa Maria degli Angeli church, both of which are aesthetic masterpieces and have strong astronomical connections.

Guided by UW's Rome Center, students can look forward to their independence while spending a quarter in Rome, one of the most beautiful, exciting, and important cities in the world. They should anticipate that the many field trips in Rome and elsewhere will open their eyes to many new worlds. Students can look forward to observing the heavenly bodies and how they move across the sky, and how our changing understanding of those motions has been one of the great themes of Western history. They should relish taking advantage of the interplay between their two instructors, who have backgrounds in science (astronomy, physics, astrobiology), history of science, history of art, and history of religion. The maximum number of students will be fifteen, allowing for a fruitful, seminar-like atmosphere.

For further information: