Methods Seminars are in-depth, interdisciplinary investigations of a particular problem or theme. These seminars focus on ways of knowing the world characteristic of the disciplines represented in the seminar, such that the forms or methods of investigation are as important as the subject matter itself.
In this seminar the class will look at some of the ways geometry is used symbolically in art and architecture to convey a specific view of the world. As part of this process, the class will compare works from different cultures as well as comparing contemporary, secular works with earlier, religious-based ones. The course also will make use of interpretative texts, not only to expand the understanding of specific geometric images, but also to provide insights into the belief-systems that produced them. Geometric images of special importance in the class discussions will include the point, circle, triangle, square, pentagon and/or related two- and three-dimensional forms such as the cross, spiral, golden mean, Platonic solids and mandalas, used either abstractly or in conjunction with representation. In the class assignments and discussions students will be expected not only to explore the explicit meanings intended by the images and texts, but also to address some of the more implicit assumptions imbedded within the methods of interpretation presented by the texts. Students also will be asked to contribute to the class by selecting traditional and contemporary works of art (and/or architecture) and texts that fit the theme of the seminar to use as topics for papers and class presentations.