LAISS (Liberal Arts Initiative Summer Seminars) is a non-profit program run by Amherst College students, officially recognized and sponsored by Amherst College, and taught by professors from Amherst College. LAISS offers a variety of liberal arts classes on multiple disciplines to Chinese students who are interested in liberal arts education in the U.S.
- Provide first-hand experience of liberal arts education to students in China.
- Promote a better understanding of liberal arts education among future Chinese intellectuals and current Chinese educational institutions.
- Incite intellectual exchanges, which in turn might lead to researches in various disciplines among students and professors.
- Serve as an affordable and rigorous platform for intellectual exchanges among professors and outstanding students.
About Amherst College
Founded in 1821 as a nonsectarian institution for “the education of indigent young men of piety and talents,” Amherst College is now widely regarded as one of the premier liberal arts colleges in the nation, enrolling a diverse group of approximately 1,800 young men and women.
Renowned for its talented students, committed faculty and rigorous academic life, Amherst offers the B.A. degree in 41 majors. With a faculty-student ratio of 1 to 7, Amherst’s classes are characterized by spirited interchange among students and acclaimed faculty skilled at asking challenging questions. Students participate in sophisticated research, making use of state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. And Amherst’s open curriculum allows each student—with the help of faculty advisers—to chart an individual course through the more than 800 courses offered at the college; there are no distribution requirements. Honors work is encouraged and in recent years has been undertaken by nearly half of the graduating class.
Amherst is a member of the Five Colleges, a consortium with nearby Smith, Mount Holyoke and Hampshire Colleges and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Students may take courses at any of the colleges, and the schools’ proximity adds to Amherst’s rich social and extracurricular life.
Diversity, defined in its broadest sense, is fundamental to Amherst's mission. The college enrolls students from nearly every state and from more than 40 countries, and for the past several years more than 40 percent of Amherst's students have been students of color. Amherst is one of the few truly need-blind colleges in the nation; students are admitted without regard to financial aid, and each admitted student is guaranteed financial aid equal to financial need. The College’s financial aid packages are consistently among the most generous in the nation, and among its peer universities and colleges Amherst has the most economic diversity. By any measure of accessibility and quality, Amherst is consistently ranked among the top schools in the country. Its outstanding resources, dedicated faculty and rigorous academic life allow the College to enroll students with an extraordinary range of talents, interests and commitments.
As of today, Amherst has an endowment of $2.25 billion, as well as extensive physical resources. The college's scenic 1,000-acre campus is near the center of the Town of Amherst.
Amherst has a distinguished group of alumni. The college has more than 20,000 graduates, who are represented in almost every walk of life. Many are or have been prominent on the world scene (including four Nobel laureates, numerous Pulitzer Prize winners, the president of the National Urban League, a chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, several National Book Award winners and a U.S. president), and countless others contribute to society in important but less public ways. More than 60 percent of Amherst’s alumni make a gift to Amherst each year—among the highest alumni participation rates in the country.
LAISS in the past
The year 2021 marks the eighth year of the, now extremely sought-after, Liberal Arts Initiative. In the past three years, the dialogues that had taken place between American professors and Chinese students have initiated and promoted a reciprocal learning process beyond the classrooms. Among the 300 global LAISS alumni, most are continuing their pursuit of the liberal arts tradition at top US colleges with an inquisitive and resilient habit of mind gained through the LAISS program. The 2021 Curriculum consists of three academic courses. The students will participate in two courses according to their indicated preference and the writing workshop. All of the courses include lectures and liberal arts style small group discussions. The students will work closely with the professors on better understanding the provided academic topics and improving their writing.
PhD, University of Chicago. Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at Amherst College, where he is an affiliate of Film and Media Studies, European Studies, and the Five College Certificate in Ethnomusicology
Professor Engelhardt teaches courses in ethnomusicology focusing on community-based ethnography, music and religion, voice, and analytical approaches to music and sound. His research deals broadly with music, religion, European identity, and media. His books include Singing the Right Way: Orthodox Christians and Secular Enchantment in Estonia (Oxford, 2015) and the co-edited volume Resounding Transcendence: Transitions in Music, Religion, and Ritual (Oxford, 2016). His current book project is Music and Religion (under contract with Oxford University Press), and he is Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Journal of Music and Religion and incoming (2020) Digital and Multimedia Editor of the Journal of the American Musicological Society.
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? From the perspective of this course, the answer is no. The falling tree produces vibration in the air, but there is no sound without a listener. This course takes a listener-centered approach to studying music and sound. We will develop active, critical listening skills to explore how the senses and technologies shape our understanding of music and the world of sound. We will also work with case studies (texts, films, and recordings) to understand how ways of listening are situated in different historical, cultural, and musical contexts. Finally, we will study the work of musicians and sound artists who put listening at the center of their creative practices.
Ph.D., Columbia University. Associate Professor of History and Chair of European Studies, Amherst College.
Trained as a social and cultural historian of modern Europe, Professor Boucher teaches and researches on a variety of topics related to the history of empire, childhood, and warfare in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her first book, Empire’s Children: Child Emigration, Welfare, and the Decline of the British World 1869-1967 (Cambridge University Press, 2014), explored the intersection between imperial politics and child welfare policy through the story of Britain’s child migrants: the roughly 90,000 poor or orphaned children who were sent by charities and government officials to start new lives in the “white dominions” of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Southern Rhodesia. She is currently writing a new book, Be Prepared: Empire, War, and the Risk Imagination in Modern Britain, which examines how people’s understandings of risk – and their ability to prepare for it – changed in the modern era, as civilians experienced new and sometimes apocalyptic forms of warfare, such as aerial bombing, gas attacks, and the nuclear threat.
The French Revolution
Often viewed as one of the defining events in modern history, the French Revolution has been debated and discussed, criticized and celebrated by generations of politicians, activists, and historians. This course examines the nature of the revolutionary process as it unfolded in late eighteenth-century France and its empire. Beginning in the “old regime” of kings and commoners, it untangles the social, political, and intellectual roots of the Revolution and investigates the extent to which these factors contributed to the overthrow of the French monarchy in 1789. It then follows the expansion of the Revolution throughout French society and across the ocean to the Caribbean, analyzing how popular and colonial upheavals influenced the revolutionary new order of “liberty, equality, and brotherhood” that was taking shape in France. Finally, the course explores the aftermath of the Revolution by tracing its varied legacies for Europe and the world. Through open discussion and the critical reading of primary documents from the period and secondary sources written by scholars, students will also practice the skills of argumentative writing and debate.
Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University. Brian E. Boyle ’69 Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Computer Science, Amherst College
Professor McGeoch is a theoretical computer scientist who works in the area of data structures and algorithms. His interests include heuristics for NP-hard problems and dynamic graph algorithms, and he is best known for his research on competitive on-line algorithms. He teaches a wide range of courses at Amherst, from introductory courses on programming and algorithmic thinking to advanced electives on topics such as theory and combinatorial optimization.
"What problems can be solved by computers? How long would it take to solve a given problem?" This course will consider some of the fascinating questions and results that arise when thinking about these issues. Students will learn about different models of computation, including finite automata, Turing machines, and quantum computers. We will together explore ways of proving that particular problems can or cannot be solved by particular kinds of computers, and we will discuss ways of reasoning about algorithm efficiency. Students do not need to have programming experience, and no particular math background is required. The most valuable prerequisites are curiosity and analytical aptitude, the ability to apply reasoning to solve problems.
Ph.D., Yale University, Howard M. and Martha P. Mitchell Professor of Russian, Russian Department and Creative Writing Program, Amherst College
Professor Ciepiela studies and translates Russian literature, especially Russian poetry. She is an acknowledged expert on the poet Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941), whose epistolary romance with Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) was the subject of her award-winning book The Same Solitude (Cornell, 2006); the book follows the poets’ conversation across the widening divide between the Soviet Union and émigré Russia in the 20s and 30s. With Honor Moore, she co-edited The Stray Dog Cabaret, a poetry anthology which frames a group portrait of the Russian modernists. The volume appeared in the Classics series published by New York Review of Books and was a finalist for the PEN Poetry in Translation Award. She also edited the anthology Relocations: Three Contemporary Russian Women Poets (Zephyr, 2013). At Amherst she teaches courses on Dostoevsky’s novel, Russian life-writing, Soviet culture, the artistic avant-garde, and literary translation. Professor Ciepiela currently directs the Amherst Center for Russian Culture.
After the Revolution: Soviet Society in Literature and Film
The Russian empire was launched on a unique path by the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917: it was intended to become the first Communist society in history. The new Soviet state sought to remake institutions and even persons in the name of realizing a classless society. We will study the social history of the Soviet Union as it was represented and imagined by its poets, fiction writers and filmmakers. Moving from the 1920s to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, we will consider pivotal events – the Revolution itself, the “internationalizing” of non-Russian peoples, collectivization and famine, Stalin's purges, World War II and the Chernobyl disaster – for what they reveal about the experience of large-scale social transformation.
Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, Associate Professor of Music, Affiliated Faculty in Black Studies and Film and Media Studies, Department of Music, Amherst College
Music and Culture
Regardless of national or cultural context, musical expression is central to the human experience. Why is this? And what does music reveal about the experiences, hopes, and fears of those who coalesce around specific musical styles, repertoires, and sounds? Using these and similar questions, this course encourages students to examine how music helps establish and maintain identities in myriad cultural and social contexts. We will develop “active listening” skills that enable students to hear music as sound coded with profound meanings that reflect broader aspects of the modern world. Using a series of case studies, we will bring specific musical examples from around the world into dialogue with ideas from reading assignments that position music within cultural, national, and transnational contexts. From this, we will discover the deep connection between sound and humanity.
PhD, Stanford University, Associate Professor of English, Department of English, Amherst College
Born in South Africa and trained in Comparative Literature, Professor Bosman teaches a variety of courses including the history of drama, the literature of Renaissance Europe, and literary and critical theory. His special interest is the globalization of Shakespeare from the sixteenth century to the present day. He has worked as a dramaturg for the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company in Boston and is currently writing a book on the element of fire in texts, performances, and films of Shakespeare's play Macbeth.
Writing About Illness
How do writers imagine illness? This course will follow poets, novelists, and autobiographers as they try to make meaning out of diseases, disorders, or disabilities. We will explore what words and forms writers use to give voice to the experience of bodily and mental suffering, and we will ask how the literature of illness can help to illuminate a wide range of human experiences. In addition to analyzing readings, students will experiment with writing essays and memoirs, testing the power of stories to shape distress, to ease reflection, and to guide healing.
Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ward H. Patton Professor of Economics, Department of Economics and of European Studies, Amherst College
Professor Barbezat's early work was on international cooperation and rivalry in inter-war Europe. That work led him to a study of the development and economics of the European Union, resulting in a book published by Oxford University Press and co-written with Larry Neal on The Economics of the European Union and the Economies of Europe. Recently, Professor Barbezat has been interested in the many ways in which contemplative approaches can be used throughout higher education. He is also interested in the relationship between awareness and decision-making.
In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson riffed on John Locke's famous statement on fundamental rights and placed the “pursuit of happiness” at the core of what Jefferson thought of as god-given rights (“inalienable rights”). He replaced Locke's “property” with “happiness,” creating an interesting connection between ourselves as citizens, consumers, and as agents of well-being. In this seminar, we will examine happiness through several lenses – through art, psychology, philosophy, economics and our own experience. I have organized the course around the book Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. We will read each of the chapters of that book, as well as supporting material.
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Professor of English, and of Film and Media Studies, Department of English and of Film and Media Studies, Amherst College
The author of Cupboards of Curiosity: Women, Recollection and Film History (Duke UP) and The Bigamist (a BFI "FIlm Classic"), Amelie Hastie is founding Chair of the Film and Media Studies Program and Professor of English at Amherst College. Her research and teaching focus on film and television theory and historiography, feminism, and material cultures. Currently she is both the author of "The Vulnerable Spectator” column in Film Quarterly and is finishing a book on the 1970s television series Columbo for Duke University Press. She has edited special issues of Film History, Journal of Visual Culture, and Vectors, and she was a proud member of the Camera Obscura editorial collective for over a decade. Of late, she has published essays on Ida Lupino's television work, Tomboy (Céline Sciamma, 2011), and film criticism in the first decade of Ms. magazine.
America on Screen: Cinematic representations of the US
Focusing on a range of depictions of US life, this course will introduce students to the history and language of film. We will consider a range of cinematic explorations of regions in the United States: from Washington DC to the rural South, from the Great Northwest to New York City, from California to Florida. Through this focus, we will investigate how film imagines the geography, culture, and even the very concept of "America.”
Ph.D., Yale University, Professor of History, and of Environmental Studies; Dean of New Students, Department of Environmental Studies, of History, and of European Studies, Amherst College
Rick López is Professor at Amherst College in the departments of history and environmental studies. He teaches courses on environmental history and Latin American culture and politics, US Latino studies, and global/comparative history. López completed his PhD at Yale University in 2002, is author of Crafting Mexico: Intellectuals, Artisans, and the State after the Revolution (Duke UP, 2010), and co-edited a collection on political violence in Southern Mexico. López has published numerous articles and essays on race, aesthetics, and nation formation in Mexican history. He is working on two new books. Science, Nationalism, and Aesthetics in the Shaping of Mexico's Environmental Imagination analyzes the role science and aesthetics in the development of Mexico's nationalist ecological imagination. A Territory Cleaved: Nation, Nature, and Ethnicity on the Frontier asks how people living on the US-Mexican border changed their relationship to nature during the nineteenth century, and what these changes can teach us about the dual processes of nation formation and environmental transformation. Since 2014 has served as Dean of New Students, with a focus on integrating the College's diverse student body into a unified community in which members of all backgrounds thrive academically and personally.
The Mexican Revolution
Shortly before his death in the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1921, the indigenous peasant general Emiliano Zapata declared "I would rather die standing than live on my knees.” What inspired peasants such as Zapata to take up arms and what goals did they die for? This course will consider what popular social revolution looks like, how it unfolds, and to what degree it was attained in Mexico. In the process, we will consider fundamental questions such as: Is genuine social revolution possible? How did isolated acts of resistance transform into a massive popular revolution? It is easy to identify the year when a revolution began, but how do we know when a revolution is over? Given the chaos created by grassroots revolution, how did post-revolutionary intellectuals and political leaders define what exactly "The Revolution” had fought for? The ruling party that dominated Mexico from the 1920s until 2000 referred to itself as the "institutionalized revolution.” Can a revolution be institutionalized and still be popular and revolutionary? As we seek answers to these questions, student will learn the Liberal Arts skills of critical reading of primary documents and secondary studies, argumentative writing, and interpretation through open discussion.
PhD., University of Wisconsin –Madison George Daniel Olds Professor in Economic and Social Institutions (Political Science) Department of Political Science, Amherst College
Professor Bumiller has taught at Johns Hopkins University and Amherst College in the Political Science Departments. Professor Bumiller is the author of the award-winning book, In an Abusive State (Victoria Schuck Book Prize, American Political Science Association, 2009) which examines the relationship between the feminist movement against sexual violence and criminal justice policy. She is also the author of a seminal book on employment discrimination, The Civil Rights Society (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988). Her numerous articles, which span a broad range of interests in anti-discrimination policy, feminist theory, gender and punishment, and disability rights, have been published in major journals in her field.
American Civil Rights Movements: Race, Gender, and Disabilities Issues
This course explores the role of civil rights in addressing inequality, discrimination, and violence in democratic societies. This course will trace the evolution of rights focused legal strategies used in the United States aimed at addressing injustice coupled with race, gender, disability, and citizenship status. We will evaluate when and how rights are most efficacious in producing social change and the possibility of unintended consequences.
PhD., St. Andrews University, U.K. Emily C. Jordan Folger Professor of Black Studies and English Department of Black Studies, and English, Amherst College
Professor Cobham-Sander teaches Caribbean and African literature at Amherst College. She came to Amherst in 1986, after working as a research associate in African Literature at the University of Bayreuth in Germany for four years. Professor Cobham-Sander is coeditor of Watchers and Seekers: Creative Writing by Black Women in Britain (The Women's Press, 1987) and her critical essays on Caribbean and African literature have appeared in such journals as Callaloo, Transition, Small Axe, and Research in African Literatures. Her new book, I and I: Epitaphs for the Self in the Work of V.S. Naipaul, Kamau Brathwaite and Derek Walcott (The University of the West Indies Press), is due out the summer of 2016.
Childhood in Caribbean and African Literature
This course introduces students to the work of some of the best known writers in Caribbean and Africa through their stories about childhood. We will read and discuss stories by such writers as V.S.Naipaul, Jamaica Kincaid, Edwidge Danticat, Ben Okri and Chimamanda Adichie. Students will work in groups to research the communities from which the writers come. There will also be opportunities to write short reflections on the stories we have read and imitate these writers' styles.
PhD., Cornell University Associate Professor of Japanese History Department of History and Asian Languages & Civilizations
Professor Maxey teaches a broad range of courses related to intellectual and cultural history, including the urban history of Tokyo, the historical invention of religion, a global history of the Second World War, and surveys of Japanese history. His research explores the relationship between religion and state-formation in nineteenth-century Japan; and his most current is on the social history of ‘driving automobiles' in twentieth century Japan. Professor Maxey has published several articles focusing on Japanese cultural history, and has translated academic articles written by prominent Japanese scholars.
Samurai as Myth and History
The most iconic and mythic figure of pre-modern Japan are the samurai. Were they solitary and honor-bound? Or were they more complex? Beginning with idealized depictions of the samurai in recent Hollywood film and 18th-century text of bushidō, we will use the figure of the samurai to ask how we sift myth from history. We will investigate and debate the historical realities behind the mythic image of the samurai from primary sources (through translation) including chronicles of war, illustrated scrolls, bureaucratic documents, and even an autobiography. The aim of the course will be to introduce the discipline of history and the key liberal arts skills of critical reading, discussion, and argumentative writing.
Ph.D., Columbia University, Domenic J. Paino 1955 Professor of Political Science and Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies, Department of Political Science, Amherst College
Amrita Basu is the Paino Professor of Political Science and Women's and Gender Studies at Amherst College. Her main areas of research are South Asian politics, with a focus on women's activism, social movements and religious nationalism in South Asia. She teaches such courses as Rethinking Post-Colonial Nationalism, Social Movements and Democracy in India, Research Methods in Gender Studies, and the Home and the World: Women and Gender in South Asia at Amherst College.
J.D., Yale Law School, James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought, Department of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought
Lawrence Douglas is the James J.Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence & Social Thought, at Amherst College. With degrees from Brown University, Columbia University and the Yale Law School, Douglas is the prize-winning author of several books, including The Memory of Judgment: Making Law and History in the Trials of the Holocaust (Yale, 2001), a widely acclaimed study of war crimes trials, and two novels, The Catastrophist (Harcourt 2007) and The Vices (Other/Random House 2011). He has lectured in many countries, and has served as a visiting professor of law at University of London and at Humboldt Universititat, Berlin. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including, The New Yorker, The Times Literary Supplement, and Harper's and has been translated into numerous languages. His most recent book, The Right Wrong Man: John Demjanjuk and the Last Great Nazi War Crimes Trial, is published by Princeton University Press in 2016.
Ph.D., Harvard University, G. Armour Craig Professor in Language and Literature In the Department of German
Christian Rogowski is G. Armour Craig Professor in Language and Literature in the Department of German at Amherst College, where he teaches courses on a variety of issues within and beyond the German-speaking world: cultural and intellectual history (the Medea myth; Romanticism and the Enlightenment; Nietzsche and Freud; fin-desiècle Vienna; the Nazi Olympics); literature (modern German drama; Brecht; Rilke; post-World War II literature; comedy and humor); opera and music (the German operatic tradition; Richard Wagner; Nietzsche as a composer); and film (popular German cinema; Weimar Cinema; Nazi Cinema; New German Cinema). His publications comprise two books on Austrian author Robert Musil, a CD-ROM on teaching German Studies, and numerous essays on Germanophone literature, opera, film, drama, and intellectual history. His current research focuses on the cinema and popular culture of the Weimar Republic, especially in terms of the politics of "race” (the legacy of German colonialism, the impact of African American culture, the German-Jewish dynamic etc.). He is the editor of The Many Faces of Weimar Cinema: Rediscovering Germany's Filmic Legacy.
Ph.D., Harvard University, Dwight W. Morrow 1895 Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science, Amherst College
Professor Corrales taught the course Latin America's Role in the Global Economy and the Rise of BRICs, which discusses the debates on how the rise of BRICs is impacting Latin America's economic relation to foreign markets, internal development models, and political relations with the United States.
Ph.D., Cornell University, William H. Hastie'25 Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science, Amherst College
Professor Dumm taught the course Political Ideas and Practices in the United States, which studies some of the most important political thinkers and political documents that have shaped the American understanding and practices of politics.
Ph.D., Cornell University, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Philosophy and Co-director of the Writing Center, Department of Philosophy, Department of Black Studies, and Writing Center, Amherst College
Professor Gentzler taught the course Money, Meaning, and Morality, which reflects on what has value through an extended reading of Michael Sandel's book What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets. Instructor of the Writing Workshop.
Ph.D., Yale University, Richard S. Volpert'56 Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Amherst College
Ph.D., Univerity of California at Berkeley, Associate Professor of Chinese Literature (Now teaching at Northwestern University)
Ph.D., London School of Economics Assistant Professor of Economics Department of Economics, Amherst College
PhD, Princeton University. Poler Family Professor and Chair of Psychology at Amherst College.
Professor Sanderson teaches a range of different courses in psychology, including the introduction class, intermediate classes in social psychology, health psychology, and sports psychology, and a seminar in close relationships. Her research is based in social psychology, and specifically on issues within close relationships and health-related behavior. Professor Sanderson has published over 25 journal articles and book chapters in addition to four college textbooks, middle school and high school health textbooks, and a book on how mindset influences happiness, health, and even how long we live (The Positive Shift). Her latest book, published in North America as Why We Act: Turning Bystanders Into Moral Rebels (Harvard University Press) and internationally as The Bystander Effect: The Psychology of Courage and Inaction (HarperCollins), examines why good people so often stay silent or do nothing in the face of wrongdoing and provides strategies we all can use to help people act, even when those around them are not.
PhD, Harvard University. George Lyman Crosby 1896 & Stanley Warfield Crosby Professor in Religion; Chair of Religion.
Professor Heim, a Guggenheim Fellow, teaches about the intellectual, philosophical, religious, and literary history of ancient India and South and Southeast Asian Buddhism, and has authored four books and numerous articles in this area. Her current projects are focused on emotions in classical Indian thought across many genres, and she is currently translating the Questions of Milinda for the Murty Classical Library of India. She works in two classical Indian languages, Sanskrit and Pali.
PhD, Columbia University. Lisa and Amanda Cross Professor of Chemistry at Amherst College; Chair of the Program in Biochemistry and Biophysics
After a post- doctoral appointment at Stanford University, Professor O’Hara came to Amherst College in 1983 where she is approaching her 40th year. Her research interest is in biophysics; her lab uses fluorescence spectroscopy and single molecule microscopy to study protein homeostasis. Her more than two dozen scientific publications appear in journals such as Biochemistry, Molecular Immunology, and the Journal of Physical Chemistry. Her research students have presented and published more than thirty Conference Proceedings (over 30) in the Biophysical Journal. She has also contributed to the literature on curriculum development in chemistry and biochemistry. She is most proud of the 70 Honors Theses students she has had the privilege of supervising and hundreds of students who have learned how to do research in her lab. Most recently, she has expanded her interest in food science, developing a course in Molecular Gastronomy and writing and teaching about Olive Oil Chemistry. Her belief that food science can be used to motivate the teaching of science is the basis of an upcoming chapter in the Handbook of Molecular Chemistry (in press) and the foundation of her book “The Chemical Story of Olive Oil: from Grove to Table” published in 2017 by the Royal Society of Chemistry and translated into Turkish in 2019.
LAISS 2021 Curriculum consists of three academic courses. Students will participate in two courses according to their indicated preferences. All of the courses include interactive lectures and liberal arts style small group discussions. Students are expected to actively participate in class discussions and work on course assignments, which will be graded and commented by the professors.
For many years, the field of psychology focused on understanding and resolving people’s problems. Ground-breaking new scientific research in the relatively new field of positive psychology now examines ways in which people can live happier and healthier lives. This course will start by reviewing the concept of mindset, meaning how we think about ourselves and the world, and how our mindset influences health, memory, and aging. Next, we’ll turn to examining factors that influence our mindset, such as personality, our environment, and the experience of adversity. Finally, the course will describe strategies we can use to shift our mindset and experience between psychological and physical well-being, including spending time in nature, giving to other people, and building close relationships. Students will read a book (The Positive Shift), written by Professor Sanderson, complete brief practical exercises and writing assignments, and conduct their own research project.
Religion in Ancient India
This course explores central ideas and practices in the religious and intellectual traditions of India up until the medieval period. We consider the range of available archeological, art historical, and textual evidence for religion in this period, though the course focuses mostly on texts. We will read the classic religious and philosophical literature of the traditions we now call Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.
Liquid Gold: The Science and History of Olive Oil
For millennia, the olive and its precious oil have been fundamental to the Mediterranean region. This course will begin with the history of olive trees and their symbolic importance in ancient art, culture, and religion. We will explore methods of production, the chemical composition, and the biologically active nutraceuticals contained in the oil. Is extra virgin olive oil really the healthiest oil one can consume? We will critically read the studies that have led to these claims, particularly focusing on the Mediterranean diet. How does the chemistry of the oil affect its use in the preparation and tasting of foods? We will also consider uses of olive oil outside the kitchen and explore its ritual incorporation in the ancient world and its usefulness in the making of soap. Olive oil fraud is a major concern for modern consumers in the U.S. What are the parameters by which oils are graded and evaluated? Can we imagine ways in which the industry might be better regulated and consumers be better educated?
Religion in Ancient India
Liquid Gold: The Science and History of Olive Oil
Program Information & Application
Location, Time, and Program Cost
2021 LAISS will be hosted online from August 2nd to August 13th. Please find information regarding program fee and scholarship award in our WeChat Official Account: Amherst_Laiss
Applicants need to provide TOEFL iBT or IELTS language proficiency exam results or one competition result that would demonstrate the applicant’s English speaking skills. We also encourage our applicants to submit at least one SAT, AP, or IB scores along with their applications. Applicants should upload screenshots of their test scores in the application portal. Standardized test scores are not a must, but we strongly encourage applicants to submit scores if possible.
Applying to LAISS is free! After you submit your application, you will receive an email confirming your submission. If you are selected for the next round, you will receive an interview request in two weeks of the decision. First-round application deadline is June 20th, 2021 and the second-round application deadline is July 4th. Admissions decisions are made on a rolling, first-come, first-served basis, and the selection process is very competitive and we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible.
UWC Changshu China '17
LAISS '15 '16
Amherst College '21
Frantic cats and fruits lover; Found passion in Psych and Computer Science. Glad to meet you during summer!
Chun Tak Suen
Amherst College '21
文理教育作为liberal arts education是一个非常不淮确的翻译，听起来是文科理科教育，没有说出liberal arts的本质。我想在这裡给一个我的解读：如果liberal arts中的liberal 取自由义，arts取艺术义那麽liberal arts字面意思指追求自由的艺术。但是这个翻译又太绕口，同时我也不想彻底捨弃大家已经用习惯的文理教育这个词，于是我觉得liberal arts可以翻译成纹理教育，更淮确地说是追求自由纹理的教育。
Amherst College '21
Amherst College '21
I'm Lexi, a rising sophomore at Amherst College, prospective cs and (probably) history majors. In love with indie rock and the Hamilton sound track. I've heard so much about LAISS since high school and I'm excited to join the team this coming summer!
Constantly inspired by the people around me. Currently tortured by math. Still struggling to find the true passion of my life - glad I found the starting point in LAISS.
UWC Atlantic College
LAISS '17, '18
Amherst College '21
Amherst College 24’
Amherst College ‘23
文理教育信仰者。喜欢政治哲学、天文、文学，但同时也在不停尝试探索不同的领域，打破自己的局限性。self-love & positivity传播者，也正在努力成为一名更好的聆听者。平时爱好发呆，写文章，看电影，最喜欢在夏天的街头骑单车。
New York University ’24
Fantast of fantasy. Dream levitating enthusiast.
Life patterns and people's thoughts can be intricate. I found the world so marvelous when unsolved coincidences happen, and I am so eager to know why. I thought that many life cases were random and displayed with no traces before attending Laiss. Later, everything about myself and the world becomes meriting pondering after enlightened by liberal arts studies.
I am Xinyi Zhao from the big, chaotic city of Beijing. But I have always had a soft spot for the “middle-of-nowheres” on this planet. From the quiet little town in Germany to the “run-down” castle of UWCAC, I spent the past 4 years studying and living in Europe. I spent another 7 months in Belgium on my gap year before it was cut short by COVID-19. Now I am a rising sophomore student at Amherst College! I have a weird sense of humor and I change a lot so my interests and passions are TBA. But I like ice skating, learning languages and going on outdoor adventures. Can't wait to get to know you all!
The University of Chicago ’24
喜欢雨后的散步和无人的小巷，间歇性热衷于尝试新食物，热衷于weird fiction和experimental rock，读诗困难但喜欢庞德，不擅长与猫相处的infp。