Fall 2020 Interdisciplinary Courses

These courses are interdisciplinary in nature and are often team-taught.

Please use the UF Schedule of Courses to find times, places, and other course information.

CourseSectionClass Number Title Day/Period CrdInstructor Syllabus 
IDH3931  009G 20906 Music and Health M/4-5 3 Carytsas, Ferol Music and Health 
IDH3931 0015 26531 The Secrets of Alchemy-Making Gold for Fun and Profit W/8 -T11-E1 3 Angerhofer, Alexander Secrets of Alchemy
IDH3931 0016 26534 The Secrets of Alchemy-Making Gold for Fun and Profit W/8-W11-E1 3 Angerhofer, Alexander Secrets of Alchemy
IDH3931 RUT3 27063 Reading Dante in Stalin's Russia MWF/7 3 Rylkova, Galina Reading Dante 
IDH3931 1430 27011 Chemistry of Harry Potter     Brewer, Christopher/Bunnell, Amelia Harry Potter Camp 

009G Music and Health

In addition to reviewing music in health and music therapy research, students will explore the intersection between music, psychology, cognition, human behavior, maintenance of musicians’ health, and medical challenges of performing artists and composers. This course will engage the student by exploring how music can support health and wellbeing while examining its use with various health conditions and in clinical and community healthcare environments. Students will acquire fundamental research and communication skills for scholarly discussion of music in health.

0015/0016 Secrets of Alchemy

Dr. Lawrence Principe is an internationally renowned scholar on the history of alchemy and a well respected organic chemist. His book explores the development of alchemy over the last 1,700 years. It discusses the fundamental ideas that alchemists developed about nature, their world views, and what they actually did in their workshops.  Dr. Principe’s goals in writing this book are to try and answer such questions as: What is alchemy? Who were the alchemists, and what did they believe and do? What were their goals, and what did they accomplish? How did they envision their world and their work, and how were they seen by contemporaries? In reading this book we will follow his search for answers as well as raise our own questions. We will look at alchemy from a variety of vantage points, the most obvious ones being history and modern chemistry, but also include other fields of study such as art history, religion, literature, cultural world views, etc. In the end we hope to come to a better understanding and appreciation of the history and the practice of alchemy as well as the cultural settings in which it was practiced.

During the first half of the semester we will read and discuss the book in student-led discussions. The second half of the semester will be dedicated to students’ own research on an alchemy-related topic of their interest, and each student will have the opportunity to share their insights with the rest of the class in a ~20-minute presentation.

In addition to reading and discussing the book we will explore alchemical recipes in the associated lab on a biweekly basis. Labs may include: (A) Exploration of different recipes alchemists used to ‘make gold’ out of base metals, some taken from ancient scrolls. (B) We will learn how to make dyes from various sources, i.e., minerals, plants, and animals (insects) for fabric dyeing. At the end of the semester we will make a tie-dye T-shirt using the dyes we synthesized or extracted. (C) We will explore how to extract copper metal from its ores similar to how it was done for millennia. (D) We will extract ethereal oils from plant materials using alchemical techniques.

Despite the title of the class and the associated lab no prior knowledge of chemistry is required to enjoy the course.



27063 Reading Dante in Stalin's Russia

This course invites students to explore how Dante Alighieri’s (1265-1321) legacy was appropriated by Russian writers and the public at large in the course of the turbulent 20th century. Italy has always been one of the major sources of spiritual and cultural developments in Imperial Russia. With the advent of the Bolsheviks in 1917, followed by wars, Stalin’s purges, and major restructuring of familiar institutions, responsible for social stability, people once again turned to art and literature to guide them through bewildering upheavals. Reading and interpreting Dante’s Divine Comedy became one of the sources of sustainability for many Soviet people. It is interesting to find why. The course will be divided into two interconnected parts. Part I (weeks 1-4) will be devoted to Dante, his life and works, and his status as the world’s most famous refugee and many artists’ eternal companion.  Part II (weeks 5-16) will be devoted to the reception of Dante in Russia/Russian emigration and to the ways his legacy has been adopted to meet its readers’ different needs and agendas. We will discuss such diverse writers (and their texts) as Anna Akhmatova (poems), Osip Mandelstam (essays, poems), Andrei Platonov (The Foundation Pit), Mikhail Bulgakov (The Master and Margarita), and Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita). Format: Classes will combine student-centered activities with brief lecture style introductions to the day’s reading. No knowledge of any language required.

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