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Anth204: Art in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Online Experiential Distance Education
College of Southern Nevada

Anth 204 examines diverse views of art and art making across cultures and time. The close relationships between art,  religion, magic, politics, and even economics, will help focus and illuminate our studies. As we explore art, we will also be reflecting on our own individual experiences. In this sense, the class is also about each of us as creators -artists- who's medium is life. Art is a direct line to the conceptual and aesthetic riches of culture,  and we will be diving in deep. If you are interested in either art or culture/society, this course will offer a treasure trove of insights and new perspectives.

If you already know yourself to be an artist, this course will provide ample new ways to think about and inspire your work, as well as some fun opportunities to apply what we're learning.

The class is based on an experiential approach to education. It is designed to create holistic learning opportunities through student engagement in challenging and rewarding hands on activities that explore the course materials. 

Students will engage in a series of fascinating participatory projects that deal with major ideas in understanding art across-cultures. Class projects are due every other week in order to provide sufficient time to complete the work and attend to the course material. Students in the DE course must have access to a digital video and still camera in order to turn in their projects (cell phone quality is sufficient).

Our studies will involve lecture, discussion, sharing projects, viewing art and videos, listening to audio, as well as reading and writing. 

Your Professor:

I earned my Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. My current interests focus on art and music as cultural vehicles for personal growth, education, and community building. 

As a musician, performer, and visual artist, the topics addressed in this course, as well as Anth 217: Drums Cultural and New World Rhythmatism, combine my studies in anthropology with a lifetime of creative activity.

I continue to regularly play music in various live professional contexts, and my visual artwork has been featured in a range of settings from private collections to galleries in LA, New York, and Las Vegas.

 College of Southern Nevada

What Students Say about the Course:

"I feel like I gained superpowers by taking this course, truly."

"People, all over the world, travel far and wide to meditate with monks, pray with priests and speak with shamans. There is a void we yearn to fill with deep meaning and understanding of this mysterious world we live in. This course takes you on a journey through the heART of humanity. Where we began to where we are today and how we got here; what we have done before and what we are doing now. It brings awareness to the tools and technologies that humans use to construct that reality. It takes a deep look at our existence as human beings and examines how we humans, cross-culturally construct complex relationships with the world around us through art. The journey may be closer than you think. Find out how art drives the power of existence in this riveting adventure that takes you on a journey through the heART of mankind." 

"This course, without a doubt, will be the most fulfilling class you will take over your entire career as a college student. There was so much information to digest, and I have never once experienced that in a class before, ever. None of it was frivolous… every single darn video and article was assigned to us with great thought put into it. The only problem was, it was so much stuff! Some of the resources needed a lot of extra time to process and wrap your mind around, and as I work and go to school full-time, I regrettably didn’t allocate enough time to soak up every single source. I recommend seriously taking the extra time needed for this class, it is honestly worth your time and will open your mind to a wealth of creative, worldly thought that I have never been exposed to before. This class inspired me so much, and will follow me for the rest of my life."

"...You will probably never be the same again, as it raises questions you probably never thought of before. Sure, the class teaches you about art in a cross-cultural perspective, but it goes far and beyond that. It also helps you internalize the concepts taught through bi-weekly projects and it helps you see your own reality, your own life through the analytical lens that this class equips you with..." 

“Often classes are short lived. They become only a semester of knowledge, a four month lesson in our life that dissipates shortly after. Only days after individuals find their selves almost completely have forgotten the entire course. Thus, the underlining problem of making a class memorable comes along with the difficulty of making a class relatable. However, I can say this class was different for me. In this anthropology class I have found five, impactful lessons that will travel with me, through my lifespan.” 

“Regardless of what I end up doing in my life, I know when I look back at my first year of college, and even just college in general, this class will absolutely stand out as one that helped me find a path to lay some foundation on, and helped me discover more about myself than any other class I have taken so far has even come close to.” 

"A lot of work, but the end result is much personal growth. It challenges your ways of thinking and opens your mind to new possiblities of art in your life and the way you make meaning of your life through art. Highly recommended!"

“When we become participants in the expression of art, we have the opportunity to learn and expand our consciousness from the experiences that add to our webs of significance. This is how nature is intended to be experienced, with us as participants.” 

"Anthropology 204, as instructed by Dr. Joshua Levin, guides you on a journey through time, across cultures. The course provides tools which enable you to see how art helped to transform our human existence from very simple, tribal groups to complex, global societies. It broadens your perspective, with lectures and multi-media lessons that demonstrate how art continues to transform our relationships and influence our thinking and being. On this journey, you will understand that art is about the process and, while in the process of creating art, you will begin to open your mind, get in touch with your spirit, and gain a deeper knowledge of your conscious self."

"I really didn’t know what to expect when I signed up for this class, so I was really impressed with it to say the least. Professor Levin is a kind man who wants so badly for his students not only to learn but to grow exponentially thru ought the semester, both in matters of the heart and mind. I have always loved art my entire life, but now I know what it truly means to experience art on brand new levels. Thanks to this class I have rediscovered my creative spirit, and plan on continuing to nourish it. This class taught me that art is an energy, capable of moving mountains if it’s given the proper time and respect. It has shaped civilizations and changed history as an integral part of culture and flows through each one of us sentient beings. I recommend everyone take this class!"

"This class was a very exiting and fun class to take. When I first read the description of the course, I expected something totally different then what I got but I am glad I did. This class makes you experience art in a way that you have never thought of before. It makes you appreciate all art form, the creation of it, its meaning and its message. The class itself was full of such interesting material, interesting information that drew you in and helped you see and appreciate art in a different way. I did not notice before this class how much art we are surrounded with and all the history that it is embedded in it. It is great to learn from art the meaning of life that we did not know. Art can tell us so much more than we expect it to."

"I would describe this Anthropology course to others as very fascinating. As I registered for this course, I had no idea what Anthropology meant and very little about art and culture. After the first assignment I asked myself, “what have I gotten myself into?” I am horrible at art and the least creative, a person could possibly be. By the end of week 5, the course became intriguing to me. The instructor forces you to think creatively and express yourself through your project. I struggled however, I realized art is more than a picture and anthropology is more than the study of humankind. I would just like to thank you professor, for allowing me to learn so much about myself; while increasing my creative thinking skills." 

"Antropology 204 is a class that will make you think and work hard. You will be challenged by the course materials and the projects, but that is a good thing. I'll admit, I wanted to give up when I learned that we had to create things and then present them on camera. I don't draw, I crochet, and I wondered how I was going to crochet things that related to the material in each unit. Perserverance is key if you want to be successful in this class. Believe in yourself and learn the key concepts and how they relate to yourself, art and life. I loved the class, and Dr. J is a very helpful and kind instructor. His critiques challenge you and he provides so much material to be studied that you are bound to have an "ah ha" moment when you least expect it. I highly recommend enrolling in this course." 

"Dear Future Students, prepare yourselves for a really great experience with Dr. J’s course on Art in a cross cultural perspective, he’s a funny and talented one. This is not a boring class. He picks fascinating subjects and mediums to teach with. Be sure to pace yourself with the two week span you have between each assignment. The contents are so good you don’t want to miss out on even the additional materials that aren’t required by absolutely worth the effort. Gaining all that he offers with only enlighten you do better on the really fun projects you get to do with the notes." 

"I would tell them that if they are willing to think outside the box and don't be shy for a semester, it is the best class offered at CSN :)"