Our Guide to Summer Session Arts Courses

There are more Summer Session arts courses this year than ever before! Here are several arts offerings, and browse the complete catalog here. The program is also available for graduating Duke seniors, Duke alumni, and Duke employees who want to continue their education.

Summer Session 2

Six week courses of session 2 start on June 29, four week courses on July 7.

AMI357S_Editing for Film and Video_SS2 flyer

Art of the Moving Image

AMI 357S: Editing for Film and Video

Instructor: Lauren Henschel
TH: 12:00-1:30
Interested in making and editing films from your own home without a camera? In this class, we will be reimagining and repurposing material that already exists in the world (both film and sound) into unique, original works using editing techniques learned in class. With one-on-one instruction, films, editing labs and distinguished guest speakers, this course is a great way to solidify editing skills while making short films using found footage from archives, the internet or even your own home movies or cell phone footage.

Theater Studies

THEATRST 145S: Acting Realism

MON+WED+THU 10:30am-12:30pm
Using the writings of Stanislavsky, Strindberg, and Chekhov, students will explore the fundamentals of acting realism through exercises, scene study, and text analysis. A balance between weekly reading assignments, writing, and performance comprise the work required in this course. Introductions to warm-ups, voice, and movement training for the actor will be included. Theory and text analysis will be studied in their historical context as well as to their contemporary relevance.  This course will focus on the seminal book, “An Actor Prepares” by Constantin Stanislavski. Topics covered: dramatic action, given circumstances, the actor’s imagination, focus (centers of attention and targets), the actor’s warm-up, scoring a script: beat/unit/action breakdown, intentions, memory keys, believability, and truth in performance. Additional readings will be from August Strindberg and Anton Chekhov.


GSF 290S-01, Dance 290S-02: Body Image and Gender

Tu/Thu 3:05-5:05pm
Instructor: Courtney Liu
This online seminar focuses on ideologies of body image, eating, and exercise in dance, fashion, advertising, and athletics. Course documentaries and readings also include related topics of perfectionism, disordered eating, eating disorders, weight stigma, masculinity, intersectionality, and more. Students will have the opportunity to analyze images of a dancer/athlete/ model/public figure of their choice as well as the social media images of their own lives. In an increasingly image-based and digitized world, this course presents a space to reflect upon the current and future impact of COVID-19 on our body image and embodied presence. Note: If the instructor on Hub does not match do not worry.  It is in the process of being updated. Feel free to reach out to courtney.liu@duke.edu for more information!

Dance 290S-03: Creativity Amidst Crisis

Mon/Wed 3:05-5:05pm
Instructors: Ayah Baker and Courtney Crumpler
This course examines the power of creative thinking in times of crisis. It proposes artistic methodologies and embodied experimentation (somatic practices, improvisation, and play) as strategies for collective and individual transformation.  Students will consider the role of ethics in art and social movements and develop a final project that explores their role as change agents. Various modes of creative inquiry are encouraged. Everyone is welcome. No prior experience is necessary.

Theater Studies

THEATRST 290S-5: Creating Arts Access for Persons with Disabilities

Cross-listed: PUBPOL 290S-04; MUSIC 290S-01; DOCST 290S-01;DANCE 290S-01. (ALP, EI)
Instructor: Dan Ellison, J.D.
This course will focus attention on the opportunities for the arts (theaters, museums, galleries, concert venues, school programs, etc) to increase the participation of persons with disabilities and to include persons with disabilities as part of the discussions for increasing diversity.  The course will explore the changing societal values with regards to including access for persons with disabilities, and examine arts access as both an ethical/societal obligation as well as an opportunity.  The course will study the various ways in which arts presenters have improved arts access since the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, and similar to the concept of “universal design,” the course will explore concepts and means of providing universal arts access.  Students will research a specific performing arts company or an art museum that is doing “cutting edge” work in accessibility.  Throughout the semester, “leaders” in the field of arts accessibility will be “zoomed” into the class to have a conversation about their work. The service learning component of the course will include working remotely with local arts organizations or venues (or arts components of broader organizations) to assess their accessibility and assist with developing programs to improve their accessibility.  Students will write a 10-15 page paper summarizing their research and recommendations.  Students will also work with the TADA project – The Audio Described Art – a project designed to provide some arts accessibility for people who are blind and very low vision.


Music 140: Introduction to Jazz

Instructor: Cole Swanson
Asynchronous: online video lectures in lieu of class meetings
Cross-listed: AAAS 140 (ALP & CCI)

This course engages students with the history and culture of jazz, introducing them to the performers, composers, and bands that embody this uniquely American art form. Through the study of figures and works central to the jazz canon, students will gain an appreciation for the stylistic hallmarks of jazz and the artists associated with them. We will then expand our lens to explore the diverse styles and cultural experiences within the world of jazz, allowing us to consider how issues of politics, race, gender and class impact how we perceive and hear jazz. No music experience required!


Instructor: Maximiliano Amici
This introductory course covers the fundamentals of music theory and music literacy through exploration of standard classical repertoire and various musical styles, written theory exercises, and the development of basic aural skills. Topics include clefs, key signatures, major and minor scales, time signatures, meter, intervals, triads, seventh chords, inversions, basic Roman numeral analysis, and form. Students also write short compositions that explore dynamics, phrasing, texture, dissonance treatment, harmonic function, formal function, and cadential syntax. In this period of physical distancing, the course content will be presented through online video modules to which students are asked to respond, in conjunction with optional recorded on-line meetings, and music writing assignments. Class members will learn music literacy, gaining fluency in fundamental musicianship. At the end of the course they will be able to identify intervals, scales, harmonies, rhythms, instrumental patterns, and much more. They will also use their knowledge actively through the creation of small pieces, including, but not limited to, short sets of variations and blues songs.

Intro to Music Theory


Instructor: Dayton Kinney
Mon Tues Thu 3:30pm – 5:35pm (asynchronous options available)

How does music come together and sound good? How do people write music and know how it sounds? Where can I learn how to read and talk about music?

If you have ever wanted to learn about the basics of putting music together, how it works, or want a refresher on music literacy, this course is if for you! I have previously taught this course with resounding success with students who had limited knowledge of music, but by the end of successfully completing the course, students were able to compose and analyze music. This introductory course covers the fundamentals of music theory and music literacy through exploration of standard classical repertoire and various musical styles, written theory exercises, and the development of basic aural skills. Topics include clefs, key signatures, major and minor scales, time signatures, meter, intervals, triads, seventh chords, inversions, basic Roman numeral analysis, and form. Students will also have fun composing, analyzing, and discussing music through semester long activities. The course requires no prerequisites and all are welcome. This section also allows students the flexibility of asynchronous lectures for students with busy schedules and different time zones.

MUSIC 190S-01: Musical Shakespeare

Instructor: Nicholas Smolenski
M Tu Th 3:30–4:45pm
Shakespeare often refers to music in both subject and rhetoric in his writings. Sonorous bodies and mad voices pervade scenes in “Hamlet,” while songs in “Twelfth Night” are charged with languish and foreshadowing. In turn, Shakespeare’s plays have continually been depicted in musical works for string ensembles, operas, and films (ca. 1600–2010). Perhaps most fascinating is the translation of his spoken dramas into textless music, interpreting themes and characters without incorporating a single line of prose. In “Musical Shakespeare” students will cover major Shakespearean works and topics: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”; “Hamlet”; “Twelfth Night”’ the character Falstaff; and his collection of sonnets. The course will not only focus on music-philosophical discourse, it will also highlight multi-disciplinary creativity inherent in both music and literature. Open to all students with or without a background in music.

Building Bridges summer session course

MUSIC 190S-02: Building Bridges Through Music

Instructors: James Budinich
Optional synchronous meetings Mu Tu Th 1-3pm
Cross-listed: ICS 190S-01 (ALP,CZ)

What are the influences that shaped your favorite artists? How do composers, songwriters, and producers use those influences in new ways? Nothing exists in a vacuum – surrounding every musical work is a diverse history of influences that reveals information about the artist in question. From Mozart and Haydn’s use of Turkish music to sampling in hip hop, artists borrow across time and culture to supplement their musical languages. This class will investigate these ideas, and will focus largely on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, bringing in examples from folk, pop, and concert music traditions.

I hope to create a conversation where we can discuss ideas of collaboration, appropriation, and influence in relation to the works we look at, continually revisiting these ideas throughout the course of the semester. Through studying musical works, and finding a creative outlet in our performances, we will gain both an academic and artistic understanding of these issues.


Instructors: Brooks Fredrickson and Cade Bourne
Tue, Thu 10am–12:30pm
Cross-listed: HISTORY 190S-03

Electronic Dance Music Culture (EDMC) is a convergence of multiple histories and imagined futures, technology and transcendence, liberation and globalization. EDMC’s contemporary moment of global influence has only been made possible by histories of experimentation, innovation, and determination. This course will chart the historical development of EDMC from its origins in the pioneering work of early avant-garde electronic music composers beginning in Paris in the 1920’s and proceeding through to the 7.3 Billion dollar global industry that it is today. Each thematic section will foreground the socio-historical dimensions in the development of sound and technology. Additionally, each section will include a practicum where students will be exposed to the form and function of industry standard softwares (Ableton, Logic, Max MSP, Sonic Pi, Serato). Students will leave the course with a multi-dimensional understanding of the histories, cultural implications and technical developments of major themes of electronic and electronic dance music. This course is co-taught by composer and artist Brooks Fredrickson and Cade Bourne, an ethnomusicologist specializing in global EDMC with over twenty years of experience as a professional DJ, Producer, and Event Promoter.

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Summer Session 1

Session 1 runs from May 13 thru June 25.

Art, Art History & Visual Studies

ARTHIST 205-01: The Aegean Bronze Age

Instructor: K. Jazwa
TU+TH 11:00 AM-12:00 PM
CCI, ALP, CZ; Crosslist: CLST 352-01
Survey of Greek prehistory, from the final Neolithic to the end of the era in ca. 1200 BCE. Issues to be considered include the historicity of the Trojan War, the relationship of this period to later Greek history and cultural identity.

ARTSVIS 198-01M: Experimental Interface Design

Instructor: W. Seaman
M TU W TH F 4:00 PM-5:15 PM; Online course
STS, ALP; Crosslist: VMS 198-01M, AMI 190-01M, ISS 198-01M
Class explores issues surrounding embodied approaches to interface design. Articulates methodology for generating new forms of human/computer interface; includes workshops, discussions, student presentations, critiques and group brainstorming sessions. Content related to biomimetics; haptic body knowledge; multi-modal sensing; physical computing; physical | digital relationships; networked relations; the potentials of virtual space and different qualities of space, both visual and sonic. Database potentials discussed and explored in service of developing new approaches to interface. Instructor consent required.

AMI 306S-01: Writing the Movie

Instructor: C. Russing
M TU TH 12:30 PM-2:35 PM; Online course
ALP; Crosslist: ENGLISH 225S-01
Theory and practice of the process of writing for the screen. Exploration of visual storytelling; analysis of screenplays and movies; developing original stories into screenplay format. Projects: writing and presenting treatments, outlines and scenes.

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Music 190S-01: Film, Concerts, Gaming: Gender

Mon Tue Thu 12:30–2:30
Instructor: Dayton Kinney
W, CCI, ALP, & CZ. Cross-listed: GSF 190S / SOCIOL 190S
Over the past century, there has been a dramatic increase in female composers with substantial careers. Within the U.S., several women have come to the forefront with distinct voices, including Amy Beach, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Joan Tower, Meredith Monk, Jennifer Higdon, Missy Mazzoli, and Caroline Shaw. Within the film and game industries, a handful of American women have begun rising through the ranks, establishing their own sound with films (Captain Marvel, The Shining, Dear John, A Clockwork Orange), and video games (God of War, Little Big Planet, Assassin’s Creed, Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands). This course will focus on some of the major American female composers of the twentieth and twenty-first century. Students will explore the lives and works of several composers through selected readings, movies, and audio clips. Weekly discussions will include consideration of historical context and an in-depth look at topics such as harmony and form, style/genre, and orchestration. Students will also have the opportunity to discuss and debate additional topics, including accessibility, advocacy, feminism, gender, and performance practice. The course requires no prerequisites, no required textbooks, and all are welcome.

Browse All Music Summer Session I Courses