MOndavi Center Performance

SHAPE Courses

Through SHAPE, students will encounter the humanities, arts, and sciences and examine the power each holds as a means of responding to our world...

SHAPE - Science, Humanities and Arts: Process and Engagement

In partnership with the Mondavi Center, University Honors Program, First-Year Seminars Program, and the UC Davis Humanities Institute, SHAPE was developed in response to Mellon’s invitation to “create new curricular and research models…demonstrating the significance of the performing arts to the teaching and research mission of your university.” 

Piloting a new approach within the undergraduate curriculum, SHAPE is built around team-taught seminars in which students will encounter the humanities, arts, humanistic social sciences, and science and engineering, integrated to express and examine the power that each of these holds as means of responding to our world and addressing critical issues. With the SHAPE project, we are moving away from the too-narrow specializations and knowledge sets that our disciplinary-driven undergraduate education system can produce. We believe that participating students' exposure to cross-disciplinary analysis and problem-solving will better prepare them to enter our complex world.

Upcoming SHAPE seminars for UHP

  • Fall 2021 
  • Radical Storywork: Performing Relational Approaches to Inuit Food Fermentation and Food Security (Prof. Jessica Perea and Prof. Maria Marco)
    This course centers around Inuit knowledges and performing arts processes as a means to unsettle and expand dominant modes of knowledge production in food science research in ways that advances food sovereignty, an issue of urgent global significance.

    Learn more about this course and meet the co-instruction team

    Creative Process in the Arts and Sciences: Parallels and Intersection (Prof. Mindy Cooper and Prof. Petr Janata)
    This course examines the parallels between Performance Arts and Sciences during the creative process that transforms vague ideas into precisely structured productions and experiments. Using themes of music, dance and memory, through readings, lectures and experimental activities, students will come to see artistic and scientific inquiry as complementary endeavors for understanding the human condition and as a means for addressing challenges in their future creativity. 

    Learn more about this course and meet the co-instruction team

  • Winter 2022 
  • Searching for Sustainability through Entropic Forces and Collective Actions (Prof. Susette Min and Prof. Rucha Joshi)
    In this course, we look beyond the mathematical definition of entropy and explore various open systems that are not at thermodynamic equilibrium such as the Earth, and processes on it that impact life and ecology. The interdisciplinary course is broadly organized around four elements: earth, water, air, and fire. For example, we will explore how changes in our engagement with land and water resources can lower the impact of the carbon cycle and greenhouse gases, and protect biodiversity on earth. We will study the spread of COVID-19 by looking at socio-economic conditions and biological mechanisms of a society and how it consumes free energy and look at the human body as an open system and how at the end of a person's life, the body decomposes.

    Learn more about this course and meet the co-instruction team

About SHAPE seminars

  • Two types of SHAPE courses: First-Year Seminars or University Honors Program courses. For more information about the University Honors Program SHAPE courses visit the “SHAPE Courses” tab on the SHAPE website:
  • Foundation funds make co-teaching possible: Each course is fully co‐taught by one faculty member from science/engineering and one faculty member from arts/humanities/humanistic social sciences; SHAPE funding complements University resources, to enable both faculty members to participate fully in the course for the entire quarter.
  • SHAPE puts the resources of a major performing arts center at the disposal of cross‐disciplinary teaching teams: With the guidance of the Mondavi Center, each teaching team is able to choose a performing artist or ensemble whose work is integrated into the course curriculum during a custom-designed residency and will perform for the public at the Mondavi Center.  Teaching faculty participate with the artists in public enrichment activities—lectures, symposia, Q&A’s—helping to communicate the learnings of the SHAPE courses to a wider audience.
  • Courses are built around major societal issues: With UC Davis’ emphasis on an education that prepares students to address “the needs and challenges of a diverse and changing world,” faculty built seminars around issues of importance in today’s world.

Visit the SHAPE website