Higher Education in the United States: Exploring Purpose and Practice (APA2209.01)

Lydia Brassard

This course invites students to consider university and college life in the contemporary United States, focusing on where and how theory and practice align, overlap, and diverge. In an effort to actively confront and map the so-called “Bennington Bubble,” Bennington College will serve as an anchoring case study through which to consider the course’s themes. The course will frame institutions of higher education as sites of social reproduction and transformation, authority and resistance, and will utilize these material spaces as a means to interrogate larger societal debates concerning knowledge, community, difference and power. The course’s questions will range from the philosophical: What is the relationship between curricula, disciplines, and the politics of knowledge? to the specific: How have the implications of Title IX evolved since its passage in 1972? Why are “click campuses” (for-profit colleges and massive online open courses) gaining in influence and popularity at this particular socio-historical moment? Class engagement with members of the Bennington College community at large, as well as local organizations, and professionals with experience in higher education will complement the interdisciplinary reading materials. Over the course of the semester students will transition from identifying current debates in higher education to drafting proposals for solutions, with the possibility of partnering with external organizations.This consciously collaborative seminar relies heavily on student participation, in the forms of engaged reading, class discussion, and intensive written work.

Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 4
Th 2:10pm - 6:00pm
Maximum Enrollment: 18
Course Frequency:
This course is categorized as All courses, Four Credit, Updates, 2000, Advancement of Public Action, Lydia Brassard.