Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Potential curriculum program at Evergreen State College

Potential curriculum program at Evergreen State College

From: W. Randolph Stilson <stilsonr>
Date: Sunday, May 29, 1994
I am seeking interested parties that may be interested in helping to
plan an academic program that will incorporate preservation concepts
within a wider exploration of the preservation "movement's" roots.  I am
including the description that has been developed so far which has been
sent to a variety of faculty members on our campus already.  I forsee
the possibility that this program could evolve into a regular occurrence
and that it might include a summer institute activity if funding can be
assembled.  I welcome any comments.

    Fall, Winter, Spring/Coordinated Study
    Coordinator:  ?  Contact: Randy Stilson L3301, ext. 6126
    Special Expenses:?
    Part Time Options:?
    Internship Possibilities:?
    Additional Course Allowed:?

    A suggested definition of Grace in the context of this program
    refers to "one of three sister goddesses in Greek mythology
    represented as beautiful and graceful ...regarded as the givers of
    charm and beauty" and referencing the saving of the charming and
    beautiful (or at least the interesting) aspects of world
    civilizations and cultures.  Other definitions of the word hold
    meanings that can be obliquely applied to the concept of cultural
    preservation and destruction as well, such as the religious concept
    of God extending his "beneficence or generosity to man" enabling
    humans to rise to the level that culture and civilization are
    possible. Studies of the concepts of culture and cultural materials
    preservation and destruction will help shed light on humankind's
    relationship to its members and the built and natural environments.

    "Saving Graces: Preservation of Culture and Cultures" will depend
    upon insights from many disciplines in the attempt to explore 20th
    Century humankind's fascination with preservation of its past, the
    dichotomy between saving and destroying elements and material
    manifestations of the past, and the concept of progress.  Students
    will study the maturation and dissipation of civilizations, whether
    a culture can be known or represented by artifacts (or how knowledge
    of a culture is invented via interpretation of artifacts), the
    disintegration of cultural materials and the attempts to preserve
    and restore both artifacts and intangibles (such as folkways,
    mythology, arts and crafts, etc.).

    Program participants will explore the causes of these phenomena by
    seeking answers to questions such as: How are cultural artifacts
    interpreted? When did the first evidences of the preservation urge
    in humanity become a historical reality?  Is this behavior innate to
    humankind's psyche?  What is the relationship between destruction of
    material artifacts representing the past and the concept of
    progress?, among others.

    Our study will be far ranging from prehistoric times to the present.
    Those interested in the "psychology of cultures" will be able to
    explore the rise and fall of civilizations through the lens of how
    specific civilizations cultivated, inculcated or destroyed their own
    or neighboring cultures. Topics might include: the U.S. Government's
    attempts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to deprive Native
    American nations of their cultural identity or the concept of the
    "melting pot" as an attempt by the predominate Anglo-European
    culture to eliminate or at least subvert cultural elements brought
    to this country from other locations on the globe; exploration of
    the concept of "new is better", its history and consequences for
    traditions and cultural materials.

    Psychological, historical and archaeological topics might include:
    Studies of the destruction of significant cultural materials and
    artifacts, (i.e., the library at Alexandria, Egypt; the attempted
    defacement of the Mona Lisa; the recent bombing of the Gallery and
    Archives in Italy), or the preservation of the same, (such as the
    removal of tombs from the valley of the Nile prior to the building
    of the Aswan Dam, the major international effort to counter the
    effects on cultural materials of the 1967 floods in Florence and
    Venice, Italy, and the more recent restoration of the Sistine Chapel
    murals in Italy).

    There will be a strong component of hands on preservation skills
    development and the ethics of conservation/preservation/restoration
    of cultural materials. This aspect of the program will be of
    interest to students interested in materials science.  The program
    will also include instruction on how to procure (for preservation)
    the intangibles of past cultures both through the study of
    artifactual remains and individual and corporate memories of peoples
    and institutions (oral history, archival and library science, etc.).

    Some disciplines and subject areas that may be represented by this
    program are: Anthropology, archeaology, architecture and the
    historic preservation movement, art conservation, chemistry and
    organic chemistry, computer science, culture studies, ethnic
    studies, history, information and library science (specifically
    research in primary documentation), materials science, Native
    American studies, paper conservation, philosophy, physics, social
    psychology, and sociology.

    The potential for partial program support through grants is high
    from government and non-governmental sources.  Faculty salaries are
    potential matching funds for proposals seeking funding for guest
    lecturers, field trips, conferences and conservator consultants for
    workshops in hands on preservation.

Randolph Stilson
The Evergreen State College
Olympia, Wa. 98505

                  Conservation DistList Instance 7:87
                   Distributed: Friday, June 3, 1994
                        Message Id: cdl-7-87-009
Received on Sunday, 29 May, 1994

[Search all CoOL documents]