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Simpson Center for the Humanities

Excitations: Energy Studies in the Arts and Humanities

The Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities allows selected undergraduates to earn full-time, academic credit through immersion in scholarly research with accomplished scholars and peers. Bringing together four faculty and twenty students in plenary, seminar and tutorial-style sessions, the institute encourages mutual learning as well as independent thought.

Excitations: Energy Studies in the Arts and Humanities

The 2016 institute provides students an opportunity to undertake original research on the role of energy in the arts and humanities. Energy touches all aspects of our lives. Because of this, the concept of energy has been important in fields as diverse as science, philosophy, art, music, history, politics, and cultural theory. Students consider how energy is sensed or visualized. They investigate how energy helps form natural rhythms and what these rhythms mean. They explore how the use of technology has changed how researchers think about or manipulate energy. And they consider how thinking in terms of energy can change how they choose to live in the world.

Students attend lectures, seminars, small group critique, workshops, and tutorial sessions. Students read and discuss theoretical readings and engage in digital and physical forms of making, such as 3D printing, photograms, sound editing, video editing, physical computing, and PhotoShop. Students then complete a significant project that reflects their unique insights into the role of energy in the arts and humanities. The forms for these projects may include scholarly research, performances in music / sound / drama, visual artworks / installations, and creative writing. The institute culminates in a “works in progress exhibition” as well as a daylong seminar where students present or perform their research.

2016 Teaching Team

For more information, see the Summer Institute in Arts & Humanities at the Undergraduate Research Program or contact the Undergraduate Research Program (, 171 Mary Gates Hall). 

The Summer Institute in the Arts & Humanities is sponsored by Undergraduate Academic Affairs, the Simpson Center for the Humanities, the Office of Research, Summer Quarter, the Undergraduate Research Program, and the Mary Gates Endowment for Students.