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The current movement toward more and better research experiences for undergraduates has spread across disciplines in the arts, humanities, science, mathematics, and engineering beyond the "research university" to the full range of post-secondary institutions of higher education. Along with this spread of practice is the need to take stock of the programs and make use of evaluation to inform program improvement and to communicate an understanding of the worth of the program to funders, institutional administrators, faculty/mentors, and students.
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The remains of Tai Fu's lost collection Kuang-i chi ('The Great Book of Marvels') preserve three hundred short tales of encounters with the other world. This study develops a style of close reading through which those tales give access to the lives of individuals in eighth-century China. Through the eyes of a mid-century county official the picture emerges of a complex lay society, served by a mixed priesthood of ritual practitioners, whose members' lives at all levels were profoundly shaped by their perceived experience of contact with the other world. It was a society embarking on fundamental change, and this book uses the sharp historical focus of Tai Fu's collection to study the dynamics of that change. The work gracefully reveals the transition from the beliefs and institutions of early mediaeval China towards those we now recognize as modern.
There was once an old Chinese man working on a hill with a boy. On the plain, near the sea, rested the village, the inhabitants eagerly engaged in their daily activities. Suddenly, the old man noticed that a huge wave, far distant in the sea, was approaching the shore endangering all. The only safe place was the hill. So, he began waving his hands and screaming aloud, to no avail. The villagers were too busy with their own work and paid little heed to the old man, who was considered a bit eccentric. But soon flames were on the hill, the wheat fields ablaze. The old man had resorted to this ultimate step to alert his fellow citizens. Now, they all went running towards him, angry about their burning crop, and in the process, avoided the imminent danger. For some mysterious reason, my mind focused on this story prior to the Symposium on the Role of DNA, which took place in Ravello, Italy at the end of May 1985. Having made a call for people to meet and reflect for a few days, the analogy began to take shape. Ravello was indeed a hill, magically overlooking the sea from medieval quarters. True, its countryside is filled with vineyards, not wheat fields, but that is an improvement on the story. However, what was the wave? Perhaps, the growing amount of data on cloned brain genes that threatens to engulf neurobiologists.
This is the first book to gather together R. K. Elliott's important essays on aesthetics. These essays put forward a number of common themes that together constitute a unified approach to aesthetics. A theory of imagination is developed and ideas concerning the practice of art criticism are explored before the relevance of aesthetics for ethics is discussed. Throughout his writing Elliott combines analytic rigour with sympathy for ideas in continental philosophy. He values subjectivity but his analytic stance prevents this from falling into mere personal opinion; he is also able to show how art and aesthetic theory is of complex relevance to broader areas of experience such as education, freedom, and moral action. In the course of his discussion Elliott offers an in-depth analysis of Kant's Critique of Judgement, Clive Bell's aesthetic theory, and the relevance of Wittgenstein for aesthetics. Study of Elliott's essays presented in this book powerfully illuminates the unifying role of imagination and the aesthetic in human experience.
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