Students in this course will gain both enrichment in the history of an understudied culture and experience in the challenging task of composing rigorous yet engaging intellectual texts within an interactive environment aimed at a broad audience.
- From the historical standpoint, after completion of this course students will be versed in the complexities of the artistic, social, cultural, and political networks of the Silk Road from the perspective of the Sogdian culture. They will be familiar with the historiography of this quickly growing field of study and along with a broad understanding of Sogdiana will have a deeper understanding of the three themes and ten objects their research will focus on during the semester.
- From the perspective of developing of the Smithsonian exhibition, students will become familiar with the history of interactivity in museum experiences both online and in gallery spaces and be able to apply that history to their work on this project. Students will also become familiar with the tenets of the successful use of visualization, such as maps, timelines, charts, and visual confections, in conveying intellectual arguments.
- To reinforce these historical and design lessons, students will be guided through practical assignments directly connected to the progression of the Smithsonian project. Through these assignments students will gain an understanding of how the historical, conceptual, and theoretical work of academic scholarship must be structured differently if it is to be successfully conveyed to general audiences through the affordances of digital media. An important part of this learning objective will be working alongside professional curators and developers who will critique student work, provide feedback on texts and digital prototypes, and convey the challenges of innovating with digital tools in the field of cultural heritage.
- Attendance at and attentiveness in all class meetings is vital to this complex, process-oriented course. As your work through your projects you will both benefit from and be able to assist your classmates by taking part in conversations and discussions of work in progress. As such this contribution to class discussion is mandatory.
- Excused absences are only allowed for special circumstances such as emergencies or illness. Please notify both Profs. Balbale and Keramidas in the event an excused absence is necessary. Unexcused absences and repeated lateness will affect your final grade
- The shape of projects may shift in a way that you will be working collaboratively with other students. That is the nature of this kind of work. In cases of collaborative work you are expected to work well with your collaborators, contribute what is expected of you, and not allow other members to carry the workload.
- Plagiarism–the use of words, ideas, or arguments from another person or source without citation–is unacceptable in all circumstances and will be punished severely.