MLAS Course Roster

Summer 2010 Courses

* See individual course descriptions for first class meeting date and place.


MLAS 260 86

The Theatre of Tennessee Williams:
A Playwright in American Culture

Instructor: David Muller
Location: Buttrick 206
Days and Time: Wednesdays, 6:00- 9:00
First class: June 9

This course is an option for those students following the MLAS Certificate in Creative Arts


This seminar will explore the dramatic art of one of the most important playwrights in the history of American theatre. After examining some strategies for thinking about drama as literature and theatre as cultural practice, we will begin with a close analysis of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) before exploring the play’s transformation by Elia Kazan into an iconic American film. We will then read and discuss many of Williams’ major plays (and some of the lesser known works, including selections of his poetry) before looking to his biography as a contested site for their interpretation. We will compare the plays as drama to their manifestations on stage and on film, screening a handful of the Hollywood versions. We will also discuss several recent critical approaches to Williams, including a (re)evaluation of his place as a homosexual writer in mid-twentieth century America and his varied influences on later American theatre and drama. In addition to weekly preparation and thoughtful discussion of the readings, students will each prepare and perform a brief, ten-minute “oral interpretation” program or research presentation as well as develop a project that will culminate in a 12-15 page seminar paper.


  • Woodruff, The Necessity of Theatre (Oxford)
  • Tennessee Williams: Plays 1937-1955 (Library of America)
  • Tennessee Williams: Plays 1957-1980 (Library of America)
  • Leverich, Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams (Norton);
    or Williams/Thornton, Notebooks (Yale)
  • Paller, Gentlemen Callers (Palgrave)


Course Instructor:

David G. Muller is Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre where he teaches introductory courses in theatre as well as theatre history and dramatic literature. He earned his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Richmond (1989) and his Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama from Indiana University (2006). His research interests include modern and contemporary French theatre (particularly the reinvention of the classical repertoire), scenography and visual culture, and the reception of American drama in France. He is currently working on a text investigating the modern and contemporary scenography of the tragedies of Jean Racine.





MLAS 260 61

Drawing & Composition from Concept
to Artifact

Instructor: Michael Aurbach
Location: Ingram Studio Art Center, 304
Days and Time: Tuesdays, 6:00- 9:00
First class: June 8

This course is an option for those students following the MLAS Certificate in Creative Arts


MLAS 260 is an introductory drawing course designed to elevate one’s awareness of what is involved with creating images. Drawing exercises,
slide lectures, and other events will highlight the conceptual and historical
issues associated with making pictures. Traditional studio assignments
will be presented to help improve observation skills. Other exercises
address problems associated with spatial development, the figure,
value, and non-representational imagery.

No background in studio art or art history is required.

Course Instructor:

Professor Michael Aurbach has taught courses in sculpture and drawing at Vanderbilt since 1986. He has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards. The National Endowment for the Arts, the Southern Arts Federation, the Tennessee Arts Commission, Art Matters Inc., the Puffin Foundation Ltd., and Vanderbilt University are among the institutions that have provided support for his socially inspired work. In 1995, Aurbach was honored with the Southeastern College Art Conference Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement.

There have been more than 70 solo exhibitions of his work and he has been a visiting artist at more than two-hundred universities, museums, and cultural institutions throughout the United States. In 2001 Aurbach was honored with the inaugural exhibition of contemporary art at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville.

Aurbach is a past president of the College Art Association, the world’s largest non-profit organization of visual arts professionals. He has also served on the boards of the Southeastern College Art Conference, the Mid-America College Art Association, and the Tennessee Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.



MLAS 260 85

Art in Nashville Museums and Collections

Instructor: Vivien Fryd
Location: Cohen Hall 324
Days and Time: Thursdays, 6:00- 9:00
First class: June 10

This course is an option for those students following the MLAS Certificate in Creative Arts


This course will explore American painting, sculpture, and architecture in Nashville museums, collections, and sites. Because of the broad chronological span of American art in Nashville, we will examine American art history from the colonial period to the present, focusing upon specific artists, movements, and works of art based on what we can see. Lectures will provide a survey of American art history in preparation to see works of art and architecture at specific sites. A priority is placed upon the visual analysis of specific art objects and buildings. Various issues will be addressed, although the general thrust of the lectures will be the examination of the art within a cultural and historical context. How did American art and identity develop? What subjects prevailed and why? What is the relationship between American and European art? How does the art reflect, embody, and relate to contemporary events, especially history and politics? What patrons contributed to the creation of Nashville museums and collections?


Course Instructor:

Vivien Green Fryd, Professor and Chair of History of Art, is the author of Art and Empire: The Politics of Ethnicity in the U.S. Capitol, 1815-1860 and Art and the Crisis of Marriage: Georgia O’Keeffe and Edward Hopper. She has published numerous articles on nineteenth-century American sculpture and on specific artists such as Benjamin West, Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Thomas Hart Benton, and Kara Walker. She was the Spence and Rebecca Webb Wilson Fellow at the Robert Penn Warren Center of the Humanities 2008-2009.



MLAS 280 05

Frontiers of Bioscience

Instructor: Dr. Anthony Forster
Location: Buttrick 205
Days and Time: Wednesdays, 6:00- 9:00
First class: June 16

Course Description:
Headlines ring out: “Ban All Human Cloning,” “Stem Cells: Dangerous Territory,” “Be Gone Evil Genes!” “Cancer Cured…” Come discover the science and controversy that swirls around the cutting edge discoveries in bioscience such as: human cloning, stem cells, creating life, cancer vaccines and gene therapy. We will examine whether or not these inventions are either sensational science or science fiction, and discuss the ramifications on our society. In addition, you will be introduced to the basics of molecular biology that will enable you to better understand science of the 21st century.

Course Topics to be covered:

  1. The DNA Revolution
  2. The Human Genome
  3. Human Cloning
  4. Stem Cells
  5. Cancer Vaccines
  6. Genetically Modified Food
  7. Creating Life in the Test Tube

Reading from the Stevenson Science and Engineering Library and the web:

The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA
James D. Watson (available in most libraries)

Scientific papers taken from scientific literature.

Molecular Biology textbooks as needed for basics on DNA, RNA, proteins and cells:

Molecular Biology of the Gene 5th ed. (2004) on permanent reserve
J.D. Watson et al.

Genes VIII 7th ed. (2004) on permanent reserve
B. Lewin

Biochemistry 4th ed. (1995) on permanent reserve
L. Stryer

5th ed. (2001) available free on line from the National Library of Medicine (PubMed) at

Molecular Biology of the Cell 3rd ed. (1994) on permanent reserve

Course Instructor:
Dr. Forster works on protein synthesis and synthetic biology. He received from the University of Adelaide, Australia, a B.Sc. majoring in Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1983, a B.Sc. Hons. in Biochemistry in 1984, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1988. He received an M.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School in 1996. He then completed a residency in Anatomical Pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 1999, followed by research as an Instructor at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He moved to his current position, Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN, in 2005. Dr. Forster discovered the hammerhead catalytic RNA structure, invented photobiotin for the preparation of nucleic acid diagnostics and external guide sequences for ribonuclease P, and has created unnatural genetic codes de novo. He has published in journals including Cell, J.A.C.S., Nature, P.N.A.S. and Science, edited a volume of Methods, and has authored patents.