The Global Arts Studies Program (GASP) at UC Merced educates students in the history, theory, and practice of the arts in a global context. The program brings together disciplines traditionally housed in different departments, including art history, visual studies, musicology and ethnomusicology, music performance, and studio art. The GASP curriculum integrates creative practice and hands-on training (ARTS 40%) with the theoretical analysis of visual, sonic, and material culture (GASP 60%). Our aim is to build an arts research program that fosters a new generation of critical thinkers with global and interdisciplinary perspectives grounded in rigorous acquisition of historical and theoretical knowledge.
The program is global in many senses of the word. We study all fields of creative expression in multiple global contexts with equal rigor, from film screen to dance club, from ritual and touristic practices to museums and concert halls. Our faculty of ethnomusicologists and art historians helps students refine the skills they need to critically engage culturally diverse media. Lecture courses, seminars, studio classes, and ensembles are designed to explore creative processes and material connections. Through working closely with faculty, our students conduct original research and acquire nuanced insights in both sonic and visual realms. Students further deepen their understanding of global arts through hands-on training in drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, music, and dance in a variety of media and cultures. GASP offers students ample opportunities to develop their professional skills through participating in community-based events, including curating exhibitions, managing the UCM Art Gallery, organizing and performing in recitals, concerts, and multimedia presentations.
The planning of a GASP Major is underway, and we aim to establish the major in 2015. In the meantime, we encourage students to pursue an Arts Minor .