The University is joining the Motor City”s 300th birthday celebration with an entire themed semester sponsored by the College of Literature, Science and Arts.
The Detroit 300 Theme Semester begins this fall. LSA added more than 40 classes to the course guide in honor of the city”s anniversary.
The classes focus on everything from race and poverty issues to fine art in the inner city and are listed under the History, English, Sociology, American Culture, and Psychology deparments. The Residential College also offers Detroit-themed courses.
Professors are hoping the classes will be popular among students, especially since Detroit is so close to Ann Arbor and is home to many University students.
“People should be interested in Detroit because it is a vibrant city with a rich and complex culture, because it has a fascinating histor, and because it is one important site where key American problems related to race, class and urban living are being worked out,” said Prof. David Sheridan, who is teaching a senior seminar called “Art, Community and Change in Detroit.”
Although the classes are made to initiate students to the city, some professors took the teaching opportunity as one to learn.
“I chose to teach the class because even though I”ve lived in Ann Arbor since 1992, and even though my research is concerned with twentieth century American art and urban culture, I”ve never really gotten to know the fascinating city next door that figures so prominently in modern art and in twentieth-century culture,” said Prof. Rebecca Zurier.
Zurier”s class, titled “Detroit: A History of Art and Culture in the Motor City” is designed to show how the city has been depicted in art and the affect of art on the city. Students had to apply for the class in order to get in.
Zurier said she chose to have students apply in the hopes that the class would be more diverse, allowing them to learn from each other”s experiences with the city.
“It will be an unusual mix of students,” she said. “Some of them are taking the class because they grew up in Detroit and know the place intimately … but haven”t thought about the place in a very critical way. We”ll also have a cohort of students who have studied modern art, history, or music, and have studied abroad, but have hardly even visited Detroit. There should be a lot we can learn from each other.”
Although both Sheridan”s and Zurier”s classes are currently full, there are several classes, including the “umbrella” course titled “Detroit: Past, Present and future, still open for students who want to learn about the city.