An Interdisciplinary Exploration (INT 133A)
Exploring Migration, Human Cognition and Cultural Memory.

Instructors: Kenneth S. Kosik, Cristina Pato, and Kim Yasuda
Summer Session B: August 5-September 13, 2019
Sponsored by John and Jody Arnhold

Office Hours: Scheduled by appointment
Number of Credits: 8
MTR: 2:00-4:50pm // ARTS 1344 & 0641
Grading Procedures: 50% Class Participation and Team Work, 25% Take-home Midterm Essay, 25% Final Project and Presentation

Core Faculty

  • Kenneth S. Kosik
    Molecular and Cellular Biology and the Neuroscience Research Institute.
  • Cristina Pato
    Music, Education. Learning Advisor: Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad. King Juan Carlos I of Spain Chair in Spanish Culture and Civilization at NYU.
  • Kim Yasuda
    Artist and Professor of Public Practice in the Department of Art.

Teaching Assistants:

  • Tejas Aralere
    UCSB Classics Department
  • Maiza Hixson
    UCSB Art Department

Special Collaborators:

  • Paksy Plackis-Cheng. Senior Fellow of Research and Media, Art, Design & Architecture Museum, UCSB
  • Diego Hiroshi Auchstetter. Lab Technical Supervisor, UCSB Art Department
  • Bonnie Huang. mstudio Assistant
  • Michael Matheson. Sculpture/Spatial Arts Atrium Lab Technician. UCSB Art Department
  • Elisa Ortega Montilla. Woodshop Lab Technician, UCSB Art Department
  • Joel Sherman. Print/Multiples Research Associate, mstudio, UCSB Art Department


  • Austin Bernales. Videography

Guest Faculty

  • Liz Chastril. UCSB and UC Irvine (Geography & VR)
  • James D. Fernández. NYU Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese
  • Michael Gurven. UCSB Dept. of Anthropology
  • Sameer Pandya. UCSB Dept. of Asian American Studies
  • Bridget Queenan. UCSB Brain Initiative
  • Brooke Smiley. UCSB Dept. of Theater and Dance
  • Sharon Tettegah. UCSB Center for Black Studies Research

Guests Artist

  • Tiffany Chung

This class is possible thanks to the generosity of John and Jody Arnhold

Course Description

More than a billion refugees and migrants are on the move today, both within countries and across borders, fleeing mass violence and poverty. This is the largest tide of rootlessness in human history. This course intends to connect a great many academic domains including neuroscience to one of the most critical problems facing the world today.


Professors Kenneth S. Kosik (Neuroscience) and Kim Yasuda (Arts) join visiting artist Cristina Pato (Music, Education) to introduce students to the trans-disciplinary studies and to demonstrate how we draw upon different disciplines to understand the most compelling questions of our time.


This Summer Session B class will explore the connections across Migration and Human Cognition including the influence of Cultural Memory. We address questions as: How do we connect human migration and the idea of “the other” in cognitive neuroscience and in literature? How do migration, immigration and displacement affect the developing brain? How do we build and recreate our cultural identity when we feel displaced? How do artists represent, render and re-imagine human movement?

We will investigate and work along with students to explore these and other questions surrounding the topic of human migration and memory. This class is an opportunity to learn and discover different perspectives on cultural memory through the exploration of brain sciences and human migration.

This class is based on collaboration and participation. Active listening is expected by all members of this class. Course responsibilities include engaged and regular class participation, open discussions and debates, deep collaborative work (interdisciplinary), a midterm essay and a final multidisciplinary team project.  Project topics and methods will be determined in consultation with the faculty, TA’s and guest discussants and will draw upon the connections between neurosciences, arts and interdisciplinary studies of human migration explored throughout the class.

I - Overview

“Memory: An Interdisciplinary Exploration” is conceived as a transformative course exploring the scientific, social, literary, and artistic dimensions of memory and human migration.

With this class, we intend to provide a unique environment for immersive learning through faculty and student presentations in an investigative and exploratory studio lab experience that, together, work through the multitude of individual and collective paths through memory and human migrations. Students will activate their own agency to create imaginative stories and projects, using skills and tools from across the arts and humanities, technology, social and natural sciences. This interdisciplinary course, especially as one incorporating the arts, will draw upon the unique identities and resources of its membership to address the complexity of topics and the range of important issues and questions that emerge from the class.

II - Aims and Outcomes:

Guest faculty members and visitors from multiple disciplines have been invited to introduce and integrate a broad spectrum of course material to students. While students will be exposed to a vast swath of material from across the academic spectrum, they will be encouraged to delve deeply into a topic of personal interest. Through this process, we introduce a distinct model for both teaching and learning, and will have the opportunity to reflect upon how different disciplines approach shared questions relevant to memory and migration. The course is designed to offer a closely mentored student team experience, geared toward the completion of both independent and collaborative projects that draw upon a broad canvas of disciplines.

III - Format, Procedures and Course Requirements:

This course is experimental taking the form of a STUDIO LAB designed to explore the human-centered concepts of memory and migration. The setting affords the opportunity to learn, discover and enact/activate different perspectives on these topics. Classes will combine group conversations, open discussions and projects. The Core Faculty and a group of Guest Faculty will support creative ways of exploring individual and collective thinking and experimentation. We will hold weekly discussions, projects and protocols, and in class working time for the teams. Students will work as individuals, as well as in teams and attendance, participation and teamwork is crucial for the final grade.

Students will be required to actively engage in the class. This class content is based on and developed through collaboration and participation.

Core faculty will advise/mentor and approve final student projects, with the support of TA’s and studio/lab technicians. A central goal of these projects is for students to be able to activate and represent an interdisciplinary approach to key topics, borrowing tools from across the visual and performing arts (for example: a short film, screenplay/theater piece, spoken word/poetry piece, musical score/performance or visual/public art exhibition/installation), from the sciences (investigative research, technology, social/scientific experiments) and the humanities (written or oral histories/fictions text-based or video project, exhibition, or web project that catalogues or activates individual or cultural memory practices.). Ultimately, the materials and student work generated from this course will be part of a final installation and public presentation in the UCSB Art Department Glass Box Gallery Project Space between September 9 - 13, 2019