Culture, Art & Technology at UCSD

(Update Dec. 25, 2008: This course is now available for the winter 2009 quarter.  See

Students at the Sixth College at UC San Diego take a year-long course called Culture, Art & Technology (CAT). The idea is to look at the functions of art and technology in different cultures and different time periods. For the winter 2008 quarter, Professor Tal Golan is taking his students on a quick tour through European cultural history in CAT II (feed), exploring the connections between a culture’s scientific worldview and of the culture’s other ideas and institutions. So far, he has worked his way through the ancient Greeks and up to the scientific revolution of the 17th century, when the new ideas about heliocentric astronomy calledJohn Donne into question old doctrines about humanity’s place in the cosmos, and even affected poets like John Donne. Golan quoted the famous lines from Donne’s An Anatomy of the World…

And new philosophy calls all in doubt,
The element of fire is quite put out,
The sun is lost, and th’earth, and no man’s wit
Can well direct him where to look for it.
And freely men confess that this world’s spent,
When in the planets and the firmament
They seek so many new; they see that this
Is crumbled out again to his atomies.
‘Tis all in pieces, all coherence gone,
All just supply, and all relation;
Prince, subject, father, son, are things forgot,
For every man alone thinks he hath got
To be a phoenix, and that then can be
None of that kind, of which he is, but he.
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