Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cultural Heritage for the Undergrad Continued

In my internet ramblings over the last few days, I’ve discovered that I left out a few crucial programs from my first post on cultural heritage studies for undergraduates. How utterly negligent of me. Here are some more opportunities for you to get your heritage on while getting a BA, not after:

UMass Amherst Center for Heritage and Society

Big fat duh. I totally forgot to include this amazing program the first time I covered this topic. The Center for Heritage and Society caters to both undergraduate and graduate programs at the school, as well as providing research opportunities for scholars in heritage related fields. This past May, they hosted the conference, “Why Does The Past Matter?”, which honored scholars Henry Cleere (former Director of the Council for British Archaeology and currently Senior Advisor to the US-based Global Heritage Fund), Barbara Little (an author who takes an activist approach to historical archaeology), and David Lowenthal (emeritus professor of geography and honorary research fellow at University College London, and Fulbright, Guggenheim, Leverhulme, and Landes Fellow. Whew.) Most excitingly, they offer courses for both undergraduates and graduates. This upcoming fall, the only course listed is a graduate level seminar called Heritage as Politics. But hey. It only says “graduate LEVEL”, which means if you’re an undergrad at UMass Amherst and you’re pushy, passionate, and accomplished enough, you might be able to get in. I say “might” because I don’t go to UMass Amherst so I don’t know if that kind of thing is allowed like it is at Bennington. We’re pretty incorrigible at Bennington.

The Penn Cultural Heritage Center at the University of Pennsylvania

I just discovered this center today and man oh man am I excited about it. Penn CHC is a research, outreach, and educational center that studies the threats to cultural heritage from looting, the illicit antiquities trade, and commercial development, and promotes heritage policies, and, my favorite, connects cultural heritage and human rights by asking, “Is there a basic human right to have your Cultural Heritage protected?” Their events page have an impressive number of past lectures, and projects are ongoing in eight countries. The best part: the center offers courses for both undergraduate and graduate students, AND they have trained law enforcement agents in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and in Customs and Border Patrol. (They got swagger, man.) Two undergraduate courses are listed: “Public Policy, Museums, and Cultural Heritage” and “Ethic, Archaeology, and Cultural”. Both are listed for fall semester and are taught by Dr. Richard M. Leventhal, the founder of the center. There’s even a fancy little section where two undergraduate students working in close collaboration with Penn CHC are profiled. I could spend a really long time talking about all the opportunities I keep finding on this site, but I won’t. Just please. Check it OUT.

Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative (CHI) at Michigan State University

This is one of the strangest and coolest programs I’ve found so far. The Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative isn’t just into cultural heritage; it’s into the creative application of informing, communicating, and computing cultural heritage. They define “informatics” as a term used to “describe the creative application of information, communication, and computing technologies (broadly defined) to address the needs, challenges, and content of a specific domain.” CHI believes collaboration is necessary for cultural heritage informatics, and stress the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration. To accomplish this, CHI has a fieldschool that takes place from late May to early July on the Michigan Statue University campus. The CHI Fieldschool employs the model of an archaeological fieldschool but instead of working on a dig, students work collaboratively on several cultural heritage informatics projects. The site says, “The CHI Fieldschool is built firmly on the principle that students develop a far better understanding of cultural heritage informatics by actually building tools, applications, and digital user experiences than they do with passive analysis and commentary. The added benefit is that by building tools, applications, and digital user experiences, students also have the opportunity to make a tangible and potentially significant contribution to the cultural heritage community.” They go on to note the importance of learning digital media, information technology, and computing technology, which is vital to cultural heritage fields, yet many professionals only acquire these skills after their graduate degree. So they’re helping both graduate and undergraduate students to make digital know-how a major part of their education now rather than later.

I am now seriously considering applying to the fieldschool for next summer.

THIS STUFF IS SO COOL, EVERYBODY. Sometimes I just can’t keep my excitement at an inside-voice level.

No comments:

Post a Comment