BXA Required Courses
The courses listed below are designed specifically for BXA students as part of the BHA General Education, BSA General Education, and BCSA General Education requirements.
52-190 BXA Seminar I: Building the Wunderkammer, Fall: 9 units
BXA Seminar I introduces first-year students to the field of interdisciplinary work through the concept of the Wunderkammer, the cabinet of wonders. How do we identify and categorize objects? How do we define their position in the world and in a collection? What kind of knowledge is conveyed through context, representation, and juxtaposition? This class considers how interdisciplinary work can be produced, analyzed, justified, and—most importantly—contextualized. Students engage with theoretical and practical readings from across disciplines, with particular emphasis on interpretive theory. Weekly readings in aesthetic and critical theory introduce students to a particular vocabulary of analysis, practiced in class discussion and written responses. Students will conceive, research, produce, and present a creative final project at the end of the semester.
52-291 BXA Seminar II: Building BXA, Spring: 9 units
The goals of BXA Seminar II are twofold: 1) to produce original artwork, research, and event programming that will build visibility and represent the BXA Intercollege Degree Programs to the greater CFA, campus, and regional communities; and 2) to build and strengthen the ties within the BXA community of artist-scholars and foster a greater sense of BXA cohesion. Over the course of the semester, the class will organize the annual BXA Kaleidoscope showing of student creative work; undertake a series of interdisciplinary investigations into the history of BXA; and produce a series of events that will draw in visitors and expose outwards the innovative thinking and making that happen within the three BXA programs. Students will gain experience in interdisciplinary research methods, collaboration, curation, project management, fundraising, and public relations, among other activities. Newly transferred students who are ineligible to take BXA Seminar I should take BXA Seminar II to fulfill this portion of their BXA Seminar requirements.
52-292 Colloquium, Spring: Pass/No Pass, 1 unit
The BXA Colloquium is a series of small seminars in which students learn about campus resources and program requirements, hear guest lectures on interdisciplinary topics, and engage in thoughtful discussion of the challenges of interdisciplinary work. Students will also present their own work and give critical feedback to their cohort.
This course is for BHA, BSA, and BCSA students only. It should be taken in a student's sophomore year, preferably in the fall. Transfer students should consult with their BXA advisor about how to fulfill this requirement after the sophomore year.
52-391 BXA Junior Portfolio, Spring: Pass/No Pass, 0 units
To better assess the goals and needs of BXA students as they enter their final year and prepare for senior-level projects (e.g. BXA Capstone Project), all students will review their own work and assemble a portfolio during the spring semester of their junior year. Students should work with their BXA advisors and their concentration faculty advisors to assemble a portfolio that represents their academic and creative milestones over the course of their college career. This portfolio also includes reflexive written components to allow students to present a narrative of their history with BXA, and identify their goals, visions, ideas, and concerns for their future work—both for senior year, and beyond. Students should provide an assessment of the areas of intersection between their academic and artistic interests, offer their own specific goals for their academic career, and give a self-evaluation of their performance and opportunities to-date, in light of the programs' broader pedagogical goals.
52-392 BXA Seminar III: Deconstructing Disciplines, Spring: 9 units
The BXA Seminar III will engage BXA juniors in examination of critical theory, the structure of disciplines, and interdisciplinary approaches and methods through analysis of rotating special topics (aesthetic innovation, cultural consumption and production, youth and gender studies, remix, and retrospection). The course will meet weekly, and requirements will include readings, participation in online and seminar discussions, and the production of creative works and formal written analysis in preparation for the BXA Capstone project.
52-401 BXA Seminar IV: Capstone Fall, 9 units &
52-402 BXA Seminar V: Capstone Spring, 9 units
The BXA Capstone gives BXA students the opportunity to demonstrate the extent of their interdisciplinary work over the course of their academic career. The Capstone should include elements that span the student's CFA and DC concentrations (for BHA students), CFA and MCS concentrations (for BSA students), or CFA and SCS concentrations (for BCSA students). The project can be either a scholarly or creative endeavor, and may take one of many possible forms (e.g., a written thesis, a compilation of creative work or works, an experiment and report, a computer program or animation, etc.).
The BXA Capstone sequence covers both semesters of a student's senior year. In the fall, students are enrolled in 52-401 BXA Seminar IV: Capstone Fall (9 units), which meets weekly to discuss strategies for managing research, planning the project, and larger theoretical issues related to interdisciplinary work. At the end of the fall course, students will have produced a Capstone Project proposal, an annotated bibliography, and multiple versions of their project pitch. In the spring, students enroll in 52-402 BXA Seminar: Capstone Spring (9 units), which has no required classroom time. Instead, students spend the semester doing the research and foundational work necessary for the project, as well as meeting with their faculty and BXA advisors as they create their Capstone Project and prepare to present it at the annual Meeting of the Minds Undergraduate Research Symposium held each May.
BXA Elective Courses
The BXA courses listed below and may be taken as free electives.
52-202 The Visual Culture of Totalitarianism: Fascism, Art and Ideology, Spring: 9 units
The goals of BXA Seminar II are twofold: 1) to produce original artwork, research, and event programming that will build visibility and represent the BXA IntercoWhat makes art "totalitarian"? Is there a set of specific styles or subjects that characterize art produced under dictatorships? How does political power influence artistic creation? Can totalitarian architecture be "beautiful"? What should a democratic society do with its fascist relics?
This course is devoted to the study of the visual culture created during the Fascist regime, seen in relation to not only the aesthetic trends that developed in Western democratic and dictatorial societies during the 1930s, but also to the more recent examples offered, for instance, by Revolutionary China and Saddam Hussein's Iraq. It is conceived to introduce students to the different theoretical tools and debates that have characterized the study of totalitarian aesthetics in the last decades.
In the course of the semester, we will investigate the ways in which a regime can push not only artists and architects but also common people to reflect on and engage with aesthetic values and we will chart the functioning of patronage, mass psychology, and intellectual dissent during times of dictatorship.
52-290 Literacy Across Disciplines, Spring: 9 units
This course is intended for CFA students who want to improve their writing and communication skills, with a focus on targeting non-specialist audiences. Assignments and readings will cover formats including artists' statements, grant and other funding applications, and other project proposals. Students will also acquire the critical vocabulary to contextualize their creative work in contemporary conversations about the arts. This course will give you the opportunity to develop skills in identifying and targeting audiences in a variety of rhetorical modes and genres. This course is especially well-suited to sophomores and juniors, but is open to all years.
52-390 BXA Undergraduate Research Project, Fall, Spring, or Summer: 3,6,9,12 units
The BXA Undergraduate Research Project is for students who want to work on a self-designed project with the one-to-one guidance of a faculty advisor. The project should be interdisciplinary in nature, and can be a scholarly and/or creative endeavor. The project may take the form of a written thesis, a compilation of creative works, an outreach project, etc. The project topic must be pre-approved by the faculty member who agrees to supervise the project and assign a letter grade for the course. Projects are to be completed in one semester, may be worth 3, 6, 9, or 12 units of academic credit, and cannot be taken concurrently with the BXA Capstone Project during the senior year. To register, students must submit an Undergraduate Research Project Proposal Form [PDF] signed by both the student and the faculty advisor, along with a proposal, to their BXA academic advisor.
52-430 Music of Iran, Fall: 9 units
The Iranian civilization is one of the oldest continuing civilizations in the world. Music has played an important role in the continuation and preservation of this ancient culture. In this course, the traditional, folk, and contemporary music of Iran will be studied and discussed. The focal point of the course will be the Persian modal system, the Dástgâh. Starting with a historical survey of the ancient and medieval Persian music. different aspects of the Dástgâh system will be demonstrated and discussed. In addition, religious music and folk music of Iran as well as Iranian contemporary music will be discussed during the course.
52-590 BXA Internship, Fall, Spring, or Summer: 3,6,9,12 units
An internship is a supervised professional work experience with clear links to a student's academic goals. BXA students may choose to complete a BXA Internship for elective credit with appropriate individuals or organizations within or outside of Carnegie Mellon University. Junior and senior BXA students in good academic standing are eligible to receive academic credit for one internship. Grading is pass/no pass only. Prior to enrolling in an internship, the student must have a BXA Internship Agreement Form [PDF] signed by their site supervisor and approved by their BXA academic advisor.