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Culture Art and Technology Program - UC San Diego

Page history last edited by Jakey Toor 11 years, 8 months ago



The Sixth College Core Writing Sequence

Culture Art and Technology Program


Mission statement:


The Sixth College core sequence in Culture, Art, and Technology offers an opportunity for students to explore the ways in which human beings have come to express and shape themselves and their world through their own creations. The core sequence takes an interdisciplinary, integrated approach to the college theme, with students examining a series of problems and issues from multiple perspectives. These issues center on how culture, art, and technology have developed over time in different societies, how they interact with each other, how human beings have used them to address challenges and how their uses have generated fresh challenges by reshaping peoples’ relationships to each other and to their environment. The sequence spans the whole range of human experience, from the prehistoric through the present, ending with a consideration of future possibilities.


The college writing program is imbedded in the core sequence, with writing-intensive quarters in CAT 2 and CAT 3. Students learn to use writing to probe and experiment with new ideas as well as to express themselves clearly and effectively to others in their own voices. The core sequence provides students with instruction and multiple opportunities for practice so they may develop a repertoire of strategies and tools for communication.


Students in CAT learn through a combination of lectures, discussions, questions, readings, guest speakers, hands-on activities, writing assignments, and multimedia projects. Sixth College offers a learning environment that extends beyond the classroom and emphasizes teamwork, critical thinking, close reading, pattern recognition, and creative approaches to problems, drawing on models and methods from a variety of fields.


The core sequence prepares Sixth College students to become self-motivated, lifelong learners. They will have broadened and deepened their visions of themselves and the world and will have developed an appreciation of the diversity and powers both of ideas and of the social body. Through inquiry into problems and issues of Culture, Art, and Technology, our students will know how to ask and how to go about answering good questions, recognizing that good questions lead not just to answers but to more penetrating, more fruitful questions and approaches to problems, which can then lead in many cases to more effective solutions.


Spring 2007


Noise, Signal, Blot, Diagram (CAT 3B).

Professor Peter John & Professor Dick Moore.

Lecture: Tu/Th 11:00-12:20 in Pepper Canyon Hall 106

Section B09 WF 3:00-3:50 in CENTR 208

Section B12 WF 5:00-5:50 in CENTR 208

Section Wiki: http://cat3b.pbwiki.com/ 


Course Description:


Noise, Signal, Blot, Diagram: In 1905, just when physicists thought they’d pretty well got everything in Newton’s theories all worked out, Einstein published papers showing that matter, energy, time, and space actually worked on an entirely different set of principles. At the same moment, the worlds of painting, music, and literature were being revolutionized by artists such as Henri Matisse, Charles Ives, and Ezra Pound. In these and other artistic, scientific, and technical disciplines, people were seeking ways to understand, represent and control a world which only a few decades before many authorities believed to have been completely understood and under control. Reality had revealed itself to be much more complicated than previously imagined; it was hard to tell which bits of information were more significant than others. In a word, our conception of reality had become “noisier”. Since then, we have sought new artistic and technological means of separating useful information (signal) from useless (noise). In attempting this, however, we discovered that noise itself might be a valuable source of signals, and that signals themselves are unavoidably ambiguous, because the human mind perceives patterns and signals whether or not they actually exist.


In this CAT 3 course we will look at case studies from science, music, and other related areas of knowledge to examine questions such as the following: In a world where randomness, contingency and chaos seem to play such a large part, how do we distinguish signal from noise? What tools do we even possess for connecting what’s going on outside our minds with what’s going on inside them? For that matter, what is going on inside our minds – and what is a “mind”, anyway? What are the technological, social, and artistic consequences of the changes in the tools we use over the last hundred years? And the big question: If the world is complex and our answers to questions are always imperfect, how do we decide what to do?


Winter 2007


A History of Time (CAT 2D).

Professor Stefan Tanaka

Tue/Thurs 12:30pm-1:50pm, York Hall 2622

Section B04 WF 8:00-8:50 in the SMART CLASSROOM

Section B15 WF 9:00-9:50 in the SMART CLASSROOM


Course Description:

The purpose of this course will be to use time as a mediating idea that opens inquiry into the ways that humans have apprehended their environment.   We will focus on work time and railway time to examine how different understandings of time alter human perception, representation, and social organization.

This course considers:


   1. Historical and contemporary interconnections of knowledge and power

   2. The history of our modern scientific understanding of nature and of human beings

   3. How such scientific understanding plays a part in the legal system

   4. The problem of what counts as evidence in scientific and legal arguments

   5. The development of the notion of "expert knowledge"

   6. The roles and impact of science and expert knowledge in the modern legal system

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