What is ITALIC?
ITALIC is an arts-minded, residence-based academic program for first year students. It’s built around a series of big questions about the historical, critical and practical purposes of art. It also builds community. This yearlong experience fosters close exchanges among faculty, students, guest artists and scholars in class, over meals and during excursions to arts events. We’ll trace the challenges that works of art have presented to history, politics, culture, science, medicine, and law, particularly since the 19th century. We’ll look at ways arts can inform creative problem-solving, confront uncertainty and ambiguity, and experiment with different sets of rules. Through rigorous inquiry, ITALIC seeks to create new frameworks for exploring our (and others’) experience.
ITALIC welcomes frosh of all academic interests and talents—no previous art experience necessary. We have a mix of students who plan to work in the sciences, or engineering, or the humanities, as well as studio art, music, or art history. But if you already enjoy working with visual media, sound and music, film and theater, digital art or comics, ITALIC provides an environment where you can continue this practice and meet like-minded makers dedicated to art production in many media. Through ITALIC you’ll discover ways that art already exists in your life, and you’ll learn how to approach your chosen field with a greater sense of exploration, experimentation, and creativity.
View our year-end reports, which include detailed information on ITALIC’s yearly activities here:
Residence Based Learning
You’ll live and learn together in Burbank House. Lectures, sections, arts workshops, guest talks, student creative work and performances will take place in a cluster of on-site seminar, studio, and practice rooms dedicated to Burbank Residents.
You and your classmates will closely read and analyze canonical works of theatre, film, dance, music and visual arts as well as wide-ranging examples of popular culture. Intellectually stimulating conversations often carry on from class to the dining room and back to the dorm late at night, where it morphs into a jam session or collaborative projects in the art studio. Events with visiting arts critics, scholars and artists develop these dialogues even further.
Intellectually stimulating conversations often carry on from class to the dining room and back to the dorm late at night, where it morphs into a jam session or collaborative projects in the art studio. Events with visiting arts critics, scholars and artists develop these dialogues even further.
A World of Art, and the Arts on Campus
As an ITALIC student, you will have regular opportunities to experience the arts in the Bay Area and on campus. You’ll attend plays, ballets, operas, and concerts and visit museums and galleries, among many other sites of artistic production. Collaborations with the Cantor Arts Center and the Bing Concert Hall are a vital part of the experience. You’ll meet distinguished guest artists who participate in lecture and/or discussions sections, give performances, and lead special workshops in Burbank House. In the past, ITALIC has hosted the stand up comics Tig Notaro, Maria Bamford, and Cameron Esposito, New York Times and Artforum contributor Claudia LaRocca, as well as Wilco keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen, among dozens of other internationally-recognized artists.
ITALIC has attended performances and exhibitions at Bay Area performing arts institutions including Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Ballet, The Magic Theater, San Francisco Symphony, Stanford Theatre, and SFMOMA.
ITALIC also takes an all-expenses-paid yearly field trip to Los Angeles, where we explore how the arts work outside the classroom, in a real-world cultural context.
MAKING, EXPERIENCING, AND WRITING ABOUT ART
ITALIC combines hands-on creative expression with analytic and historical engagement with works of art. Outside of lectures and discussions, you’ll meet in the specific spaces on campus where the arts are practiced and received. Each quarter you’ll complete a hands-on “making” project that will draw on issues from course readings and lectures in an experiential way.
ITALIC fulfills the PWR 1 requirement (15-30 students each quarter will take the additional 4 units to complete the course) and accordingly assignments will be focused on teaching you how to gather, evaluate, respond to and contextualize a range of sources as you incorporate class experiences and information into your own writing. Each quarter you’ll complete a minimum of 25-30 pages of polished final-draft writing, as well as critical responses and research-based papers, and more informal modes of writing.
Preparation for the undergraduate career
ITALIC develops critical reading, writing, and speaking skills that prepare students for excellence in their subsequent studies. Students receive individualized writing instruction all year long from ITALIC instructors. In seminars, students learn effective ways of contributing to discussions and of disagreeing with fellow discussants in a respectful and productive way.
Boothe Prize Winners for 2017-18
- Julia Gordon (Spring 2017): “Sensuality and Dissociation: The Virgin" Instructor: Ryan Tacata