FA 362 Music, Ecology & the Environment, 3 credits
The theory of evolution as adaptation can't explain why nature is so beautiful. It took the concept of sexual selection for Darwin to explain that a process has more to do with aesthetics than with the practical. Through an interdisciplinary lens, we will examine the “survival of the beautiful” as the interplay of beauty, art, and culture in evolution. Taking inspiration from Darwin's observation that animals have a natural aesthetic sense, this course will investigate why animals (humans included) have innate appreciation for beauty-and why nature is, indeed, beautiful. Moreover, we will study the ecology of humans, their response to the environment, and the way in which art mediates our experiences in society.