Archives

Landscaping Leftovers: Painting and the Expanded Field (PAI4403.01)

This course explores landscape painting as an extension of site and salvage as an expanded portrait of self. While reinforcing formal painting knowledge and skills, students will investigate new strategies around the application and integration of non-traditional materials as a critical response to traditional painting histories. Some questions we will ask ourselves over the course of this session include: What constitutes a landscape? How are landscapes internalized in the body? How do humans impose their subjective fantasies upon the natural world? What political and metaphorical meanings are embedded within the construction of imagined spaces? In class and off-site painting sessions are complemented by independent, outside of class work, group discussions, and assigned readings.

Making Arrangements (MCO4112.01)

In this course we will discover the basic principles of arranging for various ensembles playing in multiple genres (using horns, strings, background vocals, etc. along with a rhythm section)We will look at a wide range of notable artists working in many jazz subgenres and related styles. Students will be encouraged to creatively question existing forms and traditions in pursuit of a personal voice. Arranging students’ original compositions will also be encouraged. Emphasis will be on elements of instrumentation, orchestration, harmony, melody and rhythm. A background in chord/scale theory and familiarity in music notation software is encouraged but not required. 

Feminist Philosophy (PHI2102.01)

Contemporary feminism is a multi-faceted social justice movement to end gender-based oppression. Feminist movements have deep and interesting intellectual roots. In this course, we will excavate and investigate these roots. Throughout the course we will explore various contested conceptual terrains, such as: agency, affinity, body, equality, difference, desire, freedom, power, sexuality, and work. We will use philosophical tools and methods to come to grips with some of feminism’s perennially critical questions: What is gender difference? How is agency exercised under oppression? What is feminist freedom? What change does feminism imagine in the world? We will use feminist texts from the 18th-20th c. as the basis for our inquiry, with attention to how these texts are situated in historical, social, and political contexts.

Thinking Like A Greek (PHI2122.01)

The Mediterranean Greeks of the 4th-6th c. BCE powerfully shaped the political, cultural, and intellectual worlds we inhabit today. The Greeks are credited with inventing democracy, drama, spectator sports, and astronomy, physics, biology, musical theory, history, and philosophy as areas of study. Various Greek thinkers championed free inquiry, global citizenship, radical equality, and vegetarianism. At the same time, the Greek world included male supremacy, slavery, and imperialism. In this course, we will immerse ourselves in the intellectual ferment of Classical Greece. We will engage with Greek thinkers on a range of topics related to nature, culture, reality, and the divine. Readings will include primary texts (in English translation) by Plato, Aristotle, and representatives of the atomist, Stoic, Epicurean, Pythagorean, and Eleatic intellectual movements.

Gender and Security in the 21st Century (SCT2130.01)

This course is designed to critically examine twenty-first century security discourse and the ways it interacts with the gendered constructions of people’s lives. Combining the interdisciplinary approaches of feminist studies, cultural political economy, and critical security studies, we will examine the meanings of “security,” its manifestations around the world, and the ways in which gender scripts are constitutive of the global discourse of security. Subtopics covered by the course include case studies of gender in conflict situations in the United States, Europe, Africa, Latin America, and East Asia; gender and the global war on terror; masculinities and global security; security and neoliberal reforms; visions of alternative security frameworks; and proposed normative changes.

The Anti-Imperialist Century in Latin America: From Sandino to Chávez and Beyond (SCT2129.01)

With the shift away from expansionism at the end of the 19th century, U.S. foreign policy assumed new forms. Marine occupations, dollar diplomacy, covert action, and economic interventions took the place of territorial annexations. How were these policies experienced on the ground? In what ways did they shape debates about Latin American identity, sovereignty, and the role of resistance movements? We will examine the genealogy of anti-imperialism from the armed to the unarmed, from the statist to the grassroots, and set the stage for where these resistant currents might flow in Latin America’s current turn to the right.

Markmaking and Representation (DRW2149.02, section 2)

The fundamentals of drawing are the basic tools for this investigation into seeing and translation. Using simple methods and means, the practice of drawing is approached from both traditional and experimental directions. The focus of this inquiry is on drawing from observation, broadly defined. In class drawing sessions are complemented by independent, outside of class work and occasional assigned readings. The goals of the course include the development of individual confidence in observational drawing skills, a working knowledge of the rich histories and contemporary concerns of drawing, and a practical basis for further inquiry into all the visual arts. Previous drawing experience may be helpful, but is not required of students enrolling in this course.

Note: A portion of this class will be spent drawing the nude human figure.

Advanced Sculpture: Is that Sculpture: What’s up with that? (SCU4115.01)

What do you like, what have you experienced? Remember there is beauty in the everyday, the banal – remember there is beauty in the extreme and the unique. No matter where you fall inline on this spectrum harness the “you.” What do you think you are made of regardless of your connections to race, class, and gender? Story telling is everything and you are building a self-mythology here. This class is taught like a graduate critique course, with less of an emphasis on technique and more emphasis on building a healthy consistent art practice with abilities to discuss art theory. The class is designed for students who have already completed basic sculpture course work and are able and eager to work independently. It is expected that each of you will bring a high degree of self-motivation, significant amount of work outside of class time, while welcoming rigorous discussion in class. Students are expected to lead at least one conversation in teams and expected to complete 3 major projects that culminate into group critiques at the end of each month. We will deal heavily in the concepts of how sculpture can expand past the notion of an object form hence the title of the class: Is that Sculpture: What’s up with That!

Introduction to Sculpture: Getting to know Sculpture and its Performance (SCU2120.01)

What is sculpture and how does performance have anything to do with that? How do we talk about a thing that takes up 3-D space and time? What does it mean to make an object anyway? How does one develop an idea to make an object? And what materials are the best to realize this idea? This course invites students to investigate the fundamental principles of sculpture while encouraging exploration of classical and alternative contemporary approaches. The coursework will ask to dig into one’s personal histories while investigating materials that can articulate one’s lived experience. Our sessions are intensive explorations into a variety of techniques and materials including resin mold making, wood joinery, digital fabrications, and metal. There will be a strong emphasis on drawing and sketching your ideas before implementing them, along side finding ways to perform with the objects. Slide lectures and presentations compliment individual and group critiques.

Advanced Printmaking: Refinement and New Methods (PRI4209.01)

In this advanced level printmaking course, we will explore the use of the laser cutter as a tool for developing our artistic content and technique in the print studio. Through a series of required assignments using the laser cutter, we will refine general print techniques such as registration, color, consistency, and paper handling. We will also learn about advanced methods of intaglio and relief and possibly lithography. The first part of the term will focus on materials research and refinement of methods, as well as the content, and then students will create a final project of their own design. As is always the case, the pursuit of excellent work and participation in the community environment will also be a focus.

At the end of term, students should have a series of experiments using the laser cutter for their portfolio, a deeper understanding of advanced technical problems, and new perspectives on how this relates to communicating ideas and their own work.

This course requires a desire to experiment and work in a group, experience using Adobe Illustrator, and minimum of two printmaking courses taken and passed in good standing at Bennington College.

Tablescape: Slip Casting Project for Communal Kitchen (CER4265.01)

Tablescape project considers ceramic tableware through the lens of architecture (space) and table design (place). For the occasion of the implementation of a communal kitchen, in the new Students Center, that aims to foster community building, students will design and produce a series of functional ware by utilizing slip casting method. We will focus on creating a work that can be perceived not only as a practical tool in which food or liquid is contained for delivery to the mouth but also as a “vessel” that influences our communal experience. How might the design of a dinnerware shift our perception of food and facilitate our dialog about commensality at the table? The basis of this course is “Twelve Cups and Saucers Designed by Twelve Architects,” the project carried out by a group of contemporary Japanese architects to explore the traditional design principles of the Azuchi-Momoyama period (16 c. AD) of Japan. These principles include unrestrained freedom, challenge, innovation, creative destruction and multifariousness in the making of forms. This course also aims to teach how craftspeople and designers/architects can collaborate for the creation of innovative product. Ceramics students will be encouraged to work with Architecture students. Work in dialogue with students from the Advance Architecture project: Place: Setting – the Dining Room will be facilitated.

The Family Album: Reading and Writing the Short Story (LIT4188.01)

The poet Czesław Miłosz said once that “when a writer is born into a family, the family is finished.” This idea of the writer’s position amid the family has always mirrored the writer’s position in society, existing both within it and outside of it at the same time. In this class, we will interrogate the family narrative as a particular idea and obsession of the American short story. From this, we will write our own versions of the family story. Writers will include Edward P. Jones, Saul Bellow, Jhumpa Lahiri, Deborah Eisenberg, Rebecca Lee, Cynthia Ozick, Jenny Zhang, A.M. Homes, Nam Le and many, many more.

Corequisite: Students are required to be in attendance at all Literature evenings and Poetry at Bennington events (most Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm).

European Literature Between the Wars (LIT4170.01)

In the immediate aftermath of WWI, Europe found itself dramatically reshaped. In the place of the now-dead Dual Monarchy were six new nation states set between borders haphazardly drawn by victors of the war in order to smite the losers. An economic crisis swept the continent, leaving millions starving and rendering the German Mark nearly worthless. In the east, the Soviet Union emerged from the Revolution of 1917 to become the largest nation on earth. Amid all of this a set of striking new artistic idioms began to emerge. In nearly every medium, the tradition of 19th Century romanticism gave way to new expressions of grief and anomie and a brief but thrilling optimism. Within twenty years, all of this would be gone. Many of the debates around art and culture in this inter-war period mirror the conversations artists are having now about the purpose and future of the novel, the veracity and utility of literary realism, and whether or not the social worth of art can ever faithfully represent the horror of war. Students in this class will emerge with a portrait of Europe before before the cataclysm of the second World War and will trace how the aesthetic conversations then affect our own ideas of beauty and art. We will read Joseph Roth’s dispatches from Eastern Europe, short pieces by Fernando Pessoa, Stefan Zweig, Bruno Schultz, and Isaac Babel, Walter Benjamin’s Theses on the Philosophy of History, diary entries from Franz Kafka, philosophical critique by Hannah Arendt, and poetry by Anna Akhmatova and Nelly Sachs. Readings will be paired with music of the time, by Richard Strauss, Paul Hindemith, Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, Anton Webern, Kurt Weil, and more.

Corequisites: Students are required to be in attendance at all Literature evenings and Poetry at Bennington events (most Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm).

Reading into Refuge: Stories of Migration (LIT2340.01)

The repercussions of the refugee crisis in Syria and at our southern border have once again thrust the politics of migration and refuge into the public discussion. In this course we will investigate the literature of forced exile and resettlement in order to understand how our collective narratives about emigration are formed, and to ask what it means for a writer to superimpose the personal onto the political. We will read Viet Than Nguyen, Edward Said, Uwem Akpan, Mohsin Hamid, Sara Novic, Jenny Erpenbeck. Students in this class will write weekly responses to the readings, a midterm paper, and a final essay.

Songlines: One Thousand Years of Music and Poetry (MHI2229.01)

Uniting text and music has been a continuous and vital expression of musical creativity for millennia. In this course we will investigate how composers and songwriters have set poetry to music for nearly one thousand years. What can we as contemporary songwriters, poets, and music listeners learn from these histories? How does a musical setting function as a composer’s reading of a text? How do compositional choices express cultural bias as well as philosophical and political concerns? What about the poet’s perspective? We will listen to, watch, and sometimes sing famous and lesser known Western vocal works from the Middle Ages to the 21st century, reading the texts that inspired them. We will also explore many examples from around the world, such as epic storytelling, ballads, rap, folk, pop, spirituals and ring shouts of the American South, along with other material of interest to class members. Students will have the option to develop a final creative project or write a research paper based on the work of the class.

Music and Culture: An Introduction to Ethnomusicology (MHI2206.01)

This course will be a hands-on introduction to ethnomusicology, the study of music in its social and cultural contexts. Ethnomusicologists think about the role music plays in everyday life. How do music and musicians build community, ignite protest and revolution, articulate racial identity, express and complicate gender and sexuality, or affirm faith? Some ethnomusicologists do research halfway across the world, while others study music in their own cities and towns. One of our classes each week will focus on developing applied techniques in research and fieldwork, including preparing questions, giving and transcribing interviews, field recording, listening exercises, writing an ethnography of a live performance, and many other activities. In our second session, we’ll learn about the study of music and culture itself, reading from a range of texts that explore ethnomusicology’s intersections with fields like anthropology, African American studies, environmental studies, religion, and gender studies. What we do in class will also be guided by the interests and backgrounds of our members. This course is open to all students.

Restoring Juvenile Justice: Improved Outcomes for Emerging Adult Offenders in Vermont (APA4121.01)

The school-to-prison pipeline, is the result of the national trend towards increasingly harsh school and municipal policies, sometimes called Zero Tolerance. This problem has become a significant topic of debate in discussions surrounding educational discipline, juvenile justice and child welfare practices. In 2018, the State of Vermont took a bold step to address this problem, deciding that youth under the age of 19 (the age will be increased over time to 21), who commit offenses should be adjudicated in Family as opposed to Criminal Court. This important reform was the result of a number of critical factors, including: decades of advocacy highlighting the negative impact of the “school to prison pipeline”; a general change in popular attitudes regarding mass incarceration; a deeper understanding of structural racism; a strong movement towards restorative justice; and a more accurate understanding of the impact of trauma on the development of the adolescent brain. As the leader in this effort, Vermont has an enormous opportunity to advance a new approach to juvenile justice; one that will become a model for the rest of the country.

In this class we will have the opportunity to contribute to these changes in policy and practice. Specifically, we will examine:

  • The history of the juvenile justice, educational and child welfare system’s approach to juvenile offenders.
  • The emergence of the term “school to prison pipeline” and its impact on social awareness, policies and programs
  • The reasons that Vermont decided to make these reforms and what the implications of these changes will be.
  • The emerging science of trauma and brain development that has contributed to this change in public policy

This class is a prerequisite for a class in the spring semester in which we will have the opportunity to pilot new programs that will be used as models in the implementation of this new law.

Markmaking and Representation (DRW2149.01, section 1)

The fundamentals of drawing are the basic tools for this investigation into seeing and translation. Using simple methods and means, the practice of drawing is approached from both traditional and experimental directions. The focus of this inquiry is on drawing from observation, broadly defined. In class drawing sessions are complemented by independent, outside of class work and occasional assigned readings. The goals of the course include the development of individual confidence in observational drawing skills, a working knowledge of the rich histories and contemporary concerns of drawing, and a practical basis for further inquiry into all the visual arts. Previous drawing experience may be helpful, but is not required of students enrolling in this course.

Note: A portion of this class will be spent drawing the nude human figure.

Calculus A (MAT4133.01)

This course covers the breadth of university calculus: differentiation, integration, infinite series, and ordinary differential equations. It focuses on concepts and interconnections. In order to cover this much material, computational techniques are de-emphasized. Following mathematics courses will focus on techniques and applications, putting the concepts from Calculus A into practice. This is an advanced course; Calculus AP or IB cannot be used as substitutes for it. On the other hand, the course does treat the concepts in a logically independent way, so if the other prerequisites are met, no prior experience with calculus is required.

Analysis (MAT4214.01)

For the first one hundred and fifty years after its introduction, calculus saw an explosive development in its applications to mathematical and physical problems, defeating old problems thought of as insoluble, and solving new problems no-one had even thought to consider before. At the same time, it was under a cloud of suspicion: it rested on vague arguments about quantities becoming “infinitely” small or “infinitely” numerous, and though it usually gave correct answers in the end, it was far from the model of logical clarity provided by Euclid’s Elements. In this class, you will prove everything that was taken for granted in introductory calculus, starting from first principles. Aside from providing logical certainty, these techniques of proof provide insight as to the real meaning of “infinitely” small, “infinitely” many, and “limiting” value. These techniques are used almost universally in higher mathematics, and a course in Analysis is the central building block of an undergraduate mathematics degree. In addition, the techniques are also essential to theoretical computer science, so students interested in that field should take this course as well.

Nature in the Americas (APA4148.01)

What is Nature? Is Nature the biological substratum of human society or the converging practices of local ecology? Is Nature a potent historical agent in its own right or a philosophical blunder of epic proportions? Such questions have a lively history in the Americas. Indeed, while Nature has near mythic form in scholarly and public debates, its content is culled again and again from salient American examples. This course uses such thorny questions as provocations to reflect more precisely on the historical cases and empirical problems that both animate the presences of Nature in the contemporary and account for some of what makes life in the Americas particular.

This course is divided into two sections. Part I provides an overview of how the natural world in the Americas gave shape and momentum to the modern world. We will learn more about the colonial context within which the image of nature first became cogent, about how the embedded agency of germs, cattle, and sugar inflated European conceit, and how some of the earliest capitalistic orderings of the world were built atop the cultivated abundance of (decimated) indigenous communities. Part II of this course outlines the presences of Nature in the analytical practices of ethnographic research, reflecting on the ways Nature has shaped not only what anthropology thought about the world about but also how it has thought that world. In the history of anthropology, we will see how ideas of Nature were put to work explaining human difference from outside of the thicket of (colonial) history. More recently, we will see how ideas of nature’s demise are bringing about a potent convergence of science, ethics, and governance that is rethinking responsibility from within (industrial) history. Following ethnographers into this fraught field, we will learn how local entanglements often dispute any overarching distinction of Nature and Culture as well as how the state and companies invest heavily in maintaining such distinctions at the lively frontiers of power and profit. Studying the social life of pollution, disease, and other manufactured forms of environmental suffering, we will reflect on the contrast between natural difference and the naturalization of inequality.

The overarching premise of this course is quite simple: the unfolding history of life itself across the Americas has indelibly shaped much of what counts as Nature today and much of what makes the Americas a distinct and enduring region.

Literature as Resistance: The works of Rosario Castellanos (SPA4304.01)

Although Rosario Castellanos (1925-1974) is recognized as one of Mexico’s most important
writers, she did not live to see the impact of her contributions to the feminist revolution of the
latter half of the twentieth century, participate in the first Conferencia Mundial de la Mujer that
took place in 1975 in Mexico City, or in the recent Encuentro Internacional de Mujeres que
Luchan organized by the Zapatista women in Chiapas, Mexico, where she spent her early years,
and where her Indigenista works take place.

Castellanos died in Tel Aviv in 1974 while serving as Mexican ambassador to Israel. She died at
the height of her career shortly after being recognized as one of the most important writers of
her generation. Her poems, plays, novels, essays, and editorials follow the twin threads of
oppression of indigenous people, particularly women, and of Mexican women.

In this course we will study the works of Rosario Castellanos for their poignancy and exquisite
lyricism, and as an avenue for interrogating gender, race, class, aesthetics, power, and myths of
the nation. Explicit support for student’s linguistic development will be integrated and will
depend on the needs of the class. Low-intermediate level. In Spanish.

Corequisites: attendance at two Language Series events.

Projects in Ceramics (CER4229.01)

The process of making artwork will be the major focus of the class. This studio class is designed to support the development of the creative process in ceramics with an understanding lending itself to all forms of art making.  Projects will be conceptually based requiring investigation on an individual level. Issues to be raised in this class will include functional and sculptural forms relating to the history of ceramic objects. There will be emphasis on the artist as one participating in a larger cultural context.

Each student will be required to give a presentation on issues of interest to them in the arts and its relationship to their own work in development during this class.

Each student will also complete a slide portfolio of finished pieces.

The Room Where it Happens: Introduction to Costume Design (DRA2150.01)

This class will serve to introduce and build skills as a costume designer. We will read, analyze and chart scripts, develop research skills and build a fluency in rendering design ideas by working on graphic skills. We will also work on some non-scripted projects, and in various genres of performance possibly including ballet, opera, television and film. We will have in class work sessions, so the class will have a studio element. Work will be discussed and developed in class critiques.

Charles Schoonmaker
M/Th 3:40-5:30
This course is categorized as All courses, Drama.

Advanced Class in Reducing Plastic Pollution Through Community Action (APA4159.01)

This is an advanced plastic pollution course, housed in the Center for the Advancement of Public Action and built on the foundation of public action.  Plastic pollution is a growing problem which affects oceans, fish and wildlife, human health and contributes to climate change.  The students should have a comprehensive understanding of the issue and an interest in working with the Beyond Plastics project, a national project based at Bennington College.  This is an environmental policy and community organizing class.  Students will learn how to do outreach and organizing, utilize social media, build coalitions and gain a deeper understanding of government and corporate decision making.  Potential projects including:  developing speeches and power points on plastics issues and presenting that information at least 5 times to student and community audiences; producing the Beyond Plastics pod cast; developing and launching on-line petition campaigns; helping to adopt local laws to reduce plastic pollution and sharing the latest research on plastic pollution with other student leaders.

Place: Setting – the Dining Room (ARC4146.01)

The place of the shared meal is a locus of multiple design problems, from the place setting to the chair, and from the table to the room itself. It is a site of routine and ritual where, along with sustenance, we enjoy sensory and aesthetic pleasures, and social interaction.

The routines and rituals of eating have changed significantly over the past several generations. This studio will begin with an overview of historical precedents of spaces designed for communal meals, and then proceed to create new solutions.

Students will work in measured drawings and scaled models in the development of their projects. Final projects may include full-scale construction of individual components, including elements for use in the new Student Center.

Work in dialogue with students from the Slip-Casting project: Tablescapes will be facilitated.

Drawing Intensive: Conditions for Visual Inquiry (DRW4238.01)

What strategies do artists use to efficiently develop an initial idea? How does one sustain a meaningful, vital, creative inquiry? How can a direct connection be made between daily life and making images, and between the personal, and public or political worlds?

This intermediate level course will address these questions through an intensive immersion in drawing and investigation into the design of strategies for generating imagery. Students will be asked engage with a series of structures, arrangements, and approaches to visual thinking. These frameworks, or conditions, will be found in the world, and also designed by students themselves, both through individual activity and through collaboration. Examinations of the ideas, artworks, and approaches used by artists from history and contemporary art will provide a platform on which investigations will be based.

A high level of commitment is expected; students will engage with assignments which will require them to draw daily, to focus fully on the development of an ambitious drawing practice, and to dedicate themselves to strengthening their skills and awareness of their own narrative priorities as artists. Students should expect regular reading, writing, and assigned research.

Although students will be asked to respond to questions presented in class, and specific assignments will be given throughout this course, it is the objective of this class to provide the skills necessary for the student to confidently pursue self-designed projects.

Letterpress Printing from Metal, Wood, and Photopolymer (PRI4697.01)

In this intermediate level course, we will focus on learning letterpress printing within a framework of making visual art. This can be a precision process and it affords a huge range of possibilities for artists who wish to work with multiples and/or use text in their work. It is a rigorous course and each student will develop and design print projects that develop both their technical and conceptual skills. Reading will be assigned each week to expand on knowledge and give context for projects. By the end of term, participants should have the skills needed to make work in the Word and Image Lab, and a broader understanding of the history of printing and its relation to contemporary art practice.

Processes that will be covered include, press work on letterpress proofing machines, setting and printing metal type, printing type high wood blocks, and photopolymer letterpress.

Related topics that will be covered include the history of printing and letterforms, Typography, Book Design.

Presentation of Statistics (MAT2246.01)

Data can come to us in many forms: tables, charts, graphs, observations, experimental results, and other less formal avenues. To best understand the world around us, we must be able to take that data, answer questions, and then convey those answers to others in a clear, concise manner. This course will show different methods for presenting statistical data to others as well as interpreting the information and results accordingly.

This course will serve as an introduction to statistical reasoning and understanding as well as bolster the ability to think critically about data, its sources, and how to convey a clear message from data. It will focus on bringing clarity to data presented, choosing the correct presentation for a given data set, and avoidance of deception. There are no prerequisites and will be accessible to all interested and willing students.

This course is appropriate for any students wanting to understand, interpret, and present statistics. Students who plan to seriously create and analyze their own statistics for their work should take Creation of Statistics, which may either be taken as a sequel to this course, or on its own. There is some overlap between the two courses, but their focus and goals are different. Students who take Presentation of Statistics first will get a broader skill set and a more gentle introduction.

Introduction to Relief Printing (PRI2105.01)

This course is an introductory level print class. Students will learn about relief printmaking through demonstrations of techniques, hands-on experience, and critiques. Techniques include but are not limited to wood cut and linoleum cut. With this simple process, we will be able to explore color printing in depth.

Light and Lighting (PHO4238.01)

This photography course will explore the way light conveys emotional, narrative, and psychological meaning. The goal is to increase students’ experience in recognizing and shaping these effects. Each week books by noted photographers will be assigned for study and discussion. Workshops and demos will involve small collaborative teams in a variety of studio and on-location situations using natural light, hot lights, and strobe lights.

While no specific equipment or materials are required for this course, students are expected to have a secure way of transporting and storing their digital files outside of the VAPA server, likely a Mac-compatible external hard drive. Additional supplies will need to be purchased to realize individual projects due at the end of term.

The Scriptorium: Visual Culture (WRI2151.01)

This scriptorium, a “place for writing,” serves as a class for writers interested in improving their academic essay-writing skills. We will read to write and write to read. Much of our time will be occupied with writing and revising—essai means “trial” or “attempt”—as we work to create new habits and strategies for our analytical writing. As we practice various essay structures with the aim of developing a persuasive, well-supported thesis, we will also revise collaboratively, improve our research skills, and study grammar and style. Our aim is to learn to write with complexity, imagination, and clarity, as we read model examples of form and content in the field of Visual Culture. How do we organize and understand our perceptions of the world? How do we look at objects? At paintings and photographs, advertisements and films? What do we see, and not see, when we visit a new place, or when we encounter an animal or a monster? And, importantly, how do we perceive ourselves and others? Readings may include texts by Berger, Barthes, Rankine, Mulvey, Hall, Lorde, Keats, Douglas, Said, Butler, hooks, Chang, Halberstam, Gilman, Scarry, Plato, Sontag.

The Actor’s Instrument (DRA2170.02, section 2)

The craft of acting will be the main focus of this class. Through physical and vocal warm-up exercises, sensory exploration, improvisation, scene work, and extensive reading students will be asked to develop an awareness of their own unique instrument as actors and learn to trust their inner impulses where this is concerned. Extensive out of class preparation of specific exercises as well as rehearsal with scene partners will constitute the bulk of expected work. Students can expect this to amount to six hours of required rehearsal time per week. In addition students will read several plays throughout the term, as well as weekly theory handouts. The writings, exercises, and work of such theater artists as Anne Bogart, Constantin Stanislavski, Sanford Meisner, Uta Hagen, Jerzy Grotowski among others will be researched and discussed in class.

Corequisites: Dance or Drama lab assignment

Musical Explorations (MTH2278.01)

This Course is open to any and all students hoping to learn more about music who have limited [or no] experience reading music and limited or no experience studying music theory. The class will explore music notation through small composing assignments. We will also explore the basics of music theory, will study some of the high points of music history, with an emphasis on 20th and 21rst century music, and will do some open-ended creative assignments involving improvisation and the creation of music without notation. The course has no prerequisites. Those with previous experience performing as singer or instrumentalist are welcome, but previous experience is not required.

Corequisites: attendance at 6 music workshops

Beginning Composing (MCO4120.01)

This class explores and reviews notation and the rudiments of music through the act of composing small pieces for a variety of instruments. It is intended for students who have taken instrumental lessons for a few years or more and who can read music in at least one clef. It is meant for those who have never imagined composing music as well as for those who have already begun writing music. We will take a hands-on approach to learning about such matters as intervals, modes, key signatures, and the fundamentals of tonal harmony through using these musical elements creatively. The students are also encouraged to produce original creative work that is not tied to learning any particular materials, but simply reflect the student’s imagination and instincts. Students are requested to show work during the term at Music Workshop.

Corequisites: attendance at 6 music workshops

Embracing Difference (ANT2107.01)

Why are cultures and societies so different, and simultaneously, so similar? This introductory course examines some of the theoretical and methodological approaches of anthropology in exploring human culture and society. We explore various ethnographic examples to develop an anthropological perspective on economy and politics, social organization, kinship and family life, ideology and ritual, ecology and adaptation, as well as a focus on the sources and dynamics of inequality. Further, we focus on the dynamics of change in contemporary life-globalization, migration, political collapse, environmental calamity and social reorganization-and how these processes challenge social scientists to construct appropriate paradigms to describe and understand the production of cultural meanings in the increasingly globalized world, and to identify cultural differences and human universals.

Form and Process: Investigations in Painting (PAI2107.02, section 2)

This course introduces a variety of materials, techniques and approaches to painting with oils. Emphasis is placed on developing and understanding of color, form and space as well as individual research and conceptual concerns. The daily experience of seeing, along with the history of art, provides a base from which investigations are made. Formal, poetic, and social implications within paintings both from class and from art history are examined and discussed. Students complete work weekly. There are regular group critiques, and individual reviews, reading assignments and lectures by visiting artists. A high degree of motivation is expected.

Interdisciplinary Seminar: Time (VA2120.01)

A semester-length exploration of time – first as a phenomenological experience; second as a scientific, social and fictional construct, e.g. clock time, atomic time, machine time, entropic time, queer time, and time travel; third as broken into the fundamental elements of time-based practices – duration and repetition, simultaneity and succession, break and flow, narrative arcs and logics – and differentiated between time elapsed within the work and time experienced by the audience. Readings will range from psychology to philosophy, social and scientific history, to film and literary theory and performance studies, as well as writing by artists and authors directly engaged with fundamental questions about the parameters of time-based practice. We will examine both the historical implications of the standardization of timekeeping, and the economic consequences of the invention of timetables, especially in relationship to the 19th-century imperial expansion that some have called the ‘conquering of space by time.’ Particular attention will also be paid to film and performance practices from the 1960s and early 70s, including Fluxus and Structuralism, and more recent projects that re-frame similar questions about duration for the theoretically infinite loops of new technologies. We will also look at contrasting approaches in art and philosophy informed by slowness and accelerationism. Students will produce one short (3-5 minute) project in the time-based medium of their choice at mid-term, which may be a collaboration, and may either write a paper or produce a longer (10-15 minute) project for their final.

Intermediate Video: The Question of The Document (FV4117.01)

Intermediate Video will build on technical skills introduced in Intro to Video. Students will be expected to produce several in-class technical exercises and short projects assigned by the instructor, and one final project of their own design. This semester of Intermediate Video will look at the question and current status of the document. What are the truth claims made by different genres and forms of film and video? How have artists sought to produce alternative forms of knowledge through work with embodied, indigenous, oral and fictionalized modes of transmission? How has this work been complicated by the current politicization of terms like “alternative facts” and “fake news”? And how has it been placed into question even within the art context by debates around who has the authority to address particular issues and histories?

Advanced Projects in Film and Video (FV4304.01)

This course, intended for students who will continue to the Advanced Projects in Film/Video II course in spring 2020, will support advanced students in planning, pre-production, and early production for more complex, larger-scale, longer-duration, self-directed video projects. In general, this course is intended and used by seventh-term students with a Plan concentration in Film/Video, but exceptions may be made with the permission of the instructor. Students will learn how to use treatments, shooting scripts, storyboards, shot lists, budgets and diagrams to plan narrative, documentary, experimental and installation projects. They will present and workshop ideas for projects, critique planning documents and test footage or rushes, and have individual meetings with the instructor. Guests will come in to walk us through their planning processes for projects in various disciplines. We will also look at well-known films and videos alongside their scripts and storyboards and discuss the notion of the film maudit, while screening some films about famously difficult, embattled and unfinished productions. Pre-requisite: Intermediate Video or permission of the instructor. Can also be taken with Intermediate Video as a co-requisite by permission.

Corequisites: Intermediate Video if not already taken

Forests: An Introduction to Ecology and Evolution (with lab) (BIO2109.01)

New England is one of the most heavily forested regions in the United States. 14,000 years ago it was covered by ice. When humans arrived about 11,000 years ago, they found extensive, well-established forests — and began reshaping the landscape through hunting and fire and, beginning about 2000 years ago, farming. European colonists caused further ecological change by expanding agriculture and bringing livestock, and by 1850 most of the region was cleared for agriculture. Most of that farmland has now become forested again. How do we understand and predict the workings of such a dynamic landscape? This course in ecology and evolution addresses the function and history of ecological systems, the adaptations and life-histories of organisms in habitat, and the evolutionary processes by which those adaptations emerged. We will use the mostly-forested ecosystems that dominate the local landscape to explore general concepts of ecology and evolution, and to develop research tools that will be applicable in the study of any ecosystem. This course is for anyone interested in how ecosystems work and why they are as they are; it will also prepare students for more advanced work in ecology and evolution. Ecology is a foundational science for Environmental Studies. There will be extensive field-work. There will be some quantitative analyses; students should be comfortable with basic mathematical problem-solving.

Global Environmental Systems in the Anthropocene (ENV4123.01)

It’s about anthropogenic climate change, but also the history of global systems over millennia and longer, effects of human civilization and agriculture on global nutrient and hydrological cycles, etc. — with focus on planetary scale. This course views global processes through the lens of ecosystem science (sometimes called ‘biogeochemistry’, which tells you something about the discipline’s scope). The biosphere functions at the interface of geological/geochemical, atmospheric, hydrological, and biological processes, and we will need to integrate understanding from all of these areas. We will focus particularly, but not exclusively, on the role of human activity in altering systems function at the global scale (thus ‘Anthropocene’ in the title). The core questions of the class will be science-based, but many will have direct implications for the viability of human ‘support systems’. Understanding of earth systems function is essential for deep understanding of human history and for effective address of environmental concerns in social, economic, and political arenas. Topics may include: how global systems can be/are studied and modeled; feedbacks between global climate processes (historical and future) and global ecosystem function; the interaction between historical development of agriculture, global nutrient dynamics, and likely future constraints on human nutrition/population; whether the ‘anthropocene’ concept makes sense and, if so, how to define it; how biosphere(s?) develop; etc. The work will include extensive reading in primary research literatures, which will call for basic competency in some branch(es) of the sciences — earth science, chemistry, ecology, will all be important but, most importantly, students should be comfortable wading into technical materials that are not entirely familiar — and comfort with quantitative thinking.

Understanding Food Insecurity in Bennington County 1 (APA2173.01)

The issue of food insecurity has long been on the minds of those who live in Southern Vermont. In fact, Bennington County has been identified by the USDA as a “food desert”, meaning significant portions of its residents have limited access to healthy or locally-produced food. This course, the first in a sequence of three, will explore and review past initiatives, best practices in rural areas, and new research on the state of food insecurity in Bennington County and its reach as a systemic problem. The second course (Fall 2020) will develop coordinated engagement mechanisms and develop new strategies in response to the research and outreach; the third (Fall 2021) will focus on the implementation and assessment of new initiatives. Students enrolling in this course are not committed to enrolling in the subsequent courses.

As part of a grant from the Mellon Foundation on the topic of Food Insecurity, this centerpiece course will be designed by Bennington faculty as well as participants from Southwestern Vermont Health Care, Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union, and Greater Bennington Interfaith Community Services, to ensure both a shared vision for the larger curriculum and bi-directional knowledge creation. It will serve as a generative structure, helping to determine not only the shape and scope of at the larger food studies/systems curriculum, but also a range and number of co-curricular and community-based learning opportunities for students as well as opportunities to bring local partners into the classroom. The course will be advertised and open (free of charge) to members of the larger community who wish to enroll, enriching discussions on food insecurity and promoting the practice of the socially-engaged humanities.

Language in the Mediterranean: Integration, Fragmentation and Movement (LIN4103.01)

The Mediterranean represents a critical site of interaction between speakers of three of the world’s largest language families; nevertheless, linguists typically treat this contact and cross-pollination as an incidental, even distorting product of the families’ southern/northern/western peripheries, rather than as constituting a dynamic center of gravity for linguistic and sociolinguistic innovation.  In this course, we will explore the linguistic dimension of historical and ongoing Mediterranean encounters, and how language-based developments reflect or contribute to broader socio-historical cycles of integration, fragmentation and movement observed to operate in the region.  We will consider topics including literacy, linguistic imperialism/nationalism, multilingualism, transnational migration, and identity (de)construction as we work to identify forces and trends which shape the Mediterranean, past and present, as an ontologically valid community of linguistic practice with global reach.

Digital Life (MS2104.01)

Digital technology is changing our understanding of what it means to be human, and rewriting our definitions of life, the body, love, death, and other concepts and embodied experiences. Through engaging contemporary narratives like The Circle and Black Mirror, we will explore the theory of technogenesis—the idea that humans have always coevolved with their tools. We will read key works in media studies to historically contextualize contemporary changes within a longer range of technological shifts, from the emergence of written alphabets to the invention of moveable type, from cave paintings to moving images. What effect have these media technologies had on human consciousness, cognition, sensation, and experience? How does digitization preserve or change the meaning of analog archives and objects? Now that scientists have managed to store digital images in strands of synthetic DNA, what is happening to the boundary between digital technology and what we might have previously called “life itself”?

Race and Mediation (MS4102.01)

Media technologies, such as photography, were instrumental in establishing modern conceptions of race. But the reverse is also true—racial ideas deeply shaped our belief that media technologies have the ability to faithfully represent reality. In this advanced course, we will engage an exciting area of scholarship and artistic practice, located at the intersection of media archaeology, race theory, material culture, and visuality. We will pay particular attention to the co-emergence of modern conceptions of race and contemporary media technology. We will expand the category of “media” to include not only print, photography, and sound recording, but also taxidermy, arterial embalming, refrigeration, and digitization. How did race shape popular understandings of media technologies, and even substances, such as coal, gold, and cotton, in the 19th century? How does race continue to influence our conceptions of time-based media in the era of live-streamed violence and political protest? What role do racialized bodies now play in establishing the truth-value of digital media?

Faculty Performance Production (DRA4152.01)

A faculty directed production is to be determined. Most likely it will be a contemporary playwright, with a target performance date of early November.

This course is for students cast or otherwise assigned production responsibilities and represents the work both in and out of rehearsal necessary to build a successful performance and/or collaboration in production. Rehearsals, tech, and performance constitute students’ commitment.

Kirk Jackson
M/T/W/Th 7:00-10:00 (plus 1 weekend day TBA)
This course is categorized as All courses, Drama.

Our Curated World: Seeing a Trend Through the Lens of Tradition (VA2243.01)

From bookstore shelves to restaurant menus, a widening swath of contemporary life seems to involve, even require, the hand of a curator. So what exactly does it mean to BE a curator? Where did the profession of curator originate and how has it evolved? This introductory class considers historical examples of acquisition and display from the sixteenth century to today; curatorial models such as the encyclopedic collector, the cultural provocateur, and the globetrotting celebrity; and a range of installation contexts, from Wunderkammer to museum to art fair. Within this historical context, we consider the role digital technology plays in our desire for “curated” experience and the potential for curators as cultural producers.

“First World Problems” in Chinese Microcinema (CHI4520.01)

“First world problems” has become a prolific meme generating phrase. However, it can have deeper meaning. How is Chinese society dealing with its own “First world problems” , while simultaneously dealing with those of its own unique history? These are some of the questions we will explore through the lenses of Chinese Microcinema makers. Students will naturally advance their Mandarin linguistic competencies as they view, analyze and discuss Microcinema from China and Taiwan.

Corequisites: Language Series

Economic development (PEC4105.01)

Much of economics is concerned with problems of development, as the essential object of the entire economic exercise is improvement in people’s material conditions of living and their quality of life. In this seminar we will examine the evolution in economic thinking about development—its nature, its causes, and the choice of strategies for facilitating the process of economic development through surplus generation, resource allocation, and economic distribution. And, we will explore some of the unsettled questions and key issues in development economics that remain to be resolved.

The seminar is designed for advanced students. The prerequisites for this course include at least two 2000-level courses in SCT. Preference will be given to students with prior knowledge in economics.

Prioritization of registration: Students should email the course instructor with an expression of interest, and explain in few sentences: a) why they are interested in this course; b) if the course fits with their academic plan, and, if so, how; c) if they fulfill the prerequisites for the course and what courses (that would satisfy the prerequisite criteria) have they taken before, stating the course name and level of prior courses in economics/political economy, SCT, mathematics, etc. The emails should be received by April 30th.

Philosophical Reasoning (PHI2109.01)

What is the difference between belief and knowledge? What makes me the same person now and in the future? Is there a purpose in life? These are some of the questions this first course in philosophy asks. It has two aims: To introduce you to the methods and procedures of philosophical argument and, second, to engage you in a critical dialogue with three central problems in philosophy – knowledge, personal identity, and meaning in life.

Sociology of Home (SOC2206.01)

What is home? What does it mean to have a home? What does it mean to leave home or to lose one’s home? To return home? To make a new home? How can we begin to explore these questions sociologically? In this class, we will move towards a sociology of home, as we read and grapple with many different meditations on and conceptualizations of home. Some topics we will explore include the forms homes might take, homelessness, experiences of social mobility, prisoner reentry, refugee and immigration crises, the 30th anniversary of the dissolution of the German Democratic Republic, and the removal of Native Americans from their homes. Throughout the term, we will use sociological frameworks to further illuminate what each of these examples has to teach us about home as sociological concept. Possible texts include Matthew Desmond’s Evicted, bell hooks’ Belonging, and Bruce Western’s Homeward, among others.

Experiential Anatomy/Somatic Practices (DAN2149.01)

This is a studio class for any discipline intended to deepen the understanding of your own moving body. We will be studying kinesthetic anatomy by approaching the material through visual, cognitive, kinesthetic, and sensory modes. Class time will be divided between discussion of anatomy and kinesthetic concepts, and engagement with the material experientially through movement visualization and touch. Movement exercises will be designed to integrate the anatomical information by increasing somatic awareness (strengthening body-mind connection). Various body systems will be examined: skeleton, organs, muscles, nerves, and fluids. We will study the parts of each, then how each system relates to the whole, providing support for an integrated, healthy, as well as artistically interesting movement practice. Class will be rooted in somatic movement approaches to movement education. We will read and discuss writings from key developers of the field, many of whom have had a major influence on contemporary thinking.

Tools such as drawing and writing will become the building blocks for making clear and concise anatomical awareness as well as serving to create a vehicle for the full and rich expression of the corporeal.

First-Year Dance Intensive (DAN2107.01)

Primarily for first-years, but for any student who has a serious interest in dance, whether or not they have previous dance experience. We will consider many aspects of dance making, embodiment, and performance. We will work towards constantly evolving ways to be one’s own teacher, by recognizing the patterns, heightening awareness of observation and selecting easier, more efficient, and more effective movement options. Improvisational structures will test and inform our making and moving; via screening/reading/composing, we will look in to the tools needed for developing and performing once own work. Collaborative and solo projects will be developed throughout the term, and will include a showing in Dance Workshop or in the end-of-term Studio Concert.

Corequisites: Dance Workshop, Thursdays 7 – 8:30 pm. Dance or Drama lab assignment

Camera and the Body: Peculiar Ways of Knowing (DAN4142.01)

This hands-on course co-taught by dance faculty Elena Demyanenko and guest video-artist Ray Sun will utilize moving camera exercises, selected film screenings and improvisational games to give students an opportunity to expand and refine their own visual sensibilities, with the goal of creating collaborative multi-media projects. We will explore and analyze the creative choices available and practical tools needed when we instigate an interactive relationship between camera and movement, filmmaker and performer. Together we will attempt to develop a common language that encompasses new systems of communicating, problem solving, and making.

Coursework will incorporate Isadora, a software for real time manipulation of the audio/video feeds, to deliver more complex, integrated multi-media scenarios.

Throughout the term, student work will be designed collaboratively, screened and critiqued. All students will be involved in working with video equipment and moving as performers. Video students should have taken Introduction to Video or should be taking it concurrently. Each dance student will be working closely in collaboration with a video partner. Previous experience with Isadora is not required.

 

Form and Process: Investigations in Painting (PAI2107.01, section 1)

This course introduces a variety of materials, techniques and approaches to painting with oils. Emphasis is placed on developing and understanding of color, form and space as well as individual research and conceptual concerns. The daily experience of seeing, along with the history of art, provides a base from which investigations are made. Formal, poetic, and social implications within paintings both from class and from art history are examined and discussed. Students complete work weekly. There are regular group critiques, and individual reviews, reading assignments and lectures by visiting artists. A high degree of motivation is expected.

Introduction to Video (FV2303.02, section 2)

This production course introduces students to the fundamentals of working in video and the language of film form. Drawing on the energy, intensity and criticality of avant-garde film and contemporary video art practices, students will complete a series of projects exploring dimensions of cinematography, mise-en-scène, editing and sound design before producing a final self-determined project. Concepts crucial to time-based media such as apparatus, montage and identification will be introduced through screenings, discussions and texts by a diverse range of artists, filmmakers, and theorists. Emphasis on technical instruction, formal experimentation, and critical vocabulary is balanced in order to give students a footing from which to find their own stakes in the medium.

Introduction to Video (FV2303.01, section 1)

This production course introduces students to the fundamentals of working in video and the language of film form. Drawing on the energy, intensity and criticality of avant-garde film and contemporary video art practices, students will complete a series of projects exploring dimensions of cinematography, mise-en-scène, editing and sound design before producing a final self-determined project. Concepts crucial to time-based media such as apparatus, montage and identification will be introduced through screenings, discussions and texts by a diverse range of artists, filmmakers, and theorists. Emphasis on technical instruction, formal experimentation, and critical vocabulary is balanced in order to give students a footing from which to find their own stakes in the medium.

Senior Seminar in Society, Culture, and Thought (SCT4750.01, section 1)

This advanced research seminar offers students the opportunity to conduct culminating work in Society, Culture and Thought (SCT) in the form of an independent research project. For most students, this will be a one-semester project. For other students, this will be the first half of a year-long project that involves fieldwork, archival research, and/or the collection of data. For all students, however, the process in these fourteen weeks is very similar, if not exactly the same: all students must conduct a detailed review of the scholarly literature that informs their inquiry, and must begin to situate themselves within that scholarly conversation as an independent voice. We will begin the course by reflecting on the nature of SCT-related disciplines (Anthropology, Environmental Studies, History, Philosophy, Political Economy, Politics, Psychology, Social Psychology), and what it means to conduct individual research in these various disciplines. Aside from shared readings, students will be largely focused on research and readings directly related to their individual projects. Writing will take place throughout the term, and students will receive feedback from the instructor, from classmates, and from a second-reader on the SCT faculty. Individual work in progress will be discussed and workshopped in class.

Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology (PHY4103.01)

Galaxies are massive collections of stars, gas, dust, and dark matter. They are both the birthplace of stars and planets and the signposts of the universe. By studying what happens inside galaxies, we are able to understand the conditions under which stars form. By studying the galaxies themselves, we can understand how the environment shapes their structure and makeup. By studying the distribution of galaxies, we gain insight into the structure and evolution of the universe as a whole. In this class, we will undertake a detailed, quantitative study of galaxies, with particular attention to the environment in which galaxies form and evolve and their place in the universe as a whole.

Reading and Writing Poetry: Lyric & Persona (LIT4130.01)

Lyric poems express the thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of a single, first-person speaker, often aligned with the poet themselves. Persona poems or dramatic monologues invoke the mask of another figure—fictional character, animal, plant, object, or person—to convey idea, emotion, and voice. Reading a diverse array of poems by poets from different eras, nations, and biographies, we will investigate the advantages and limitations of each mode of poetry, asking questions including: How can assuming a persona liberate the poet to speak about difficult personal subjects? How can lyric voice be expanded to encompass political concerns? When does invoking the persona of another become ethically dubious? Students will draft poems each week and engage in reading and discussion meant to stimulate thinking about how poets conceptualize, make, and shape their poems. You will give and receive critique in a workshop environment, expand approaches to drafting, and revise poems for a substantial final portfolio.

Co-requisite: Students are required to attend the Literature Evenings and Poetry at Bennington readings, typically held on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m.

Feminist Fabulist Fiction (LIT2298.01)

Reading works by Ursula LeGuin, Octavia Butler, Angela Carter, Clarice Lispector, A. S. Byatt, Natsuo Kirino, James Tiptree, Jr., John Keene, Lindsey Drager, Han Kang, and others, we will investigate the realm of fabulist fiction or literary works invoking the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. We will read short stories, novels, and novellas that emphasize feminist, queer, and racially corrective meanings, analyzing the strategies that the authors enact to shape and re-shape meaning, while expanding the boundaries of non-realistic fiction. You will write weekly writing responses to assigned readings, present a group oral report, and write longer critical essays. For the final long assignment, you will have the option of writing a work of feminist fabulist fiction.

Queer American Poetry: Stonewall to Present (LIT2297.01)

Often, same-sex desire exists as the sole portrayal and determining factor of whether or not a text dwells in queerness. But the idea of queer has never been solely about same-sex desire or even sexual desire at all. Contrary to expectation, poets for years have written about revolutionary ways to exist in a society that has made the self-proclaimed orthodoxy of gender presentation and sexuality the rule. In this class, we will study poets who wrote not only about their desire outside of typical gender norms and social expectations thrown onto LGBTQ people, but also their desire for emotional freedom, political freedom, and artistic freedom. We will see how queer poets have always been on the forefront of tearing down barriers, including those that existed in the craft and study of poetry. Writers may include Essex Hemphill, Adrienne Rich, francine j harris, Cam Awkward Rich, Jos Charles, Mark Doty, Jericho Brown, Olga Broumas, Mark Wunderlich, DA Powell, Ely Shipley, Ari Banias, Melvin Dixon, Eloise Klein Healey, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Thom Gunn and others. Assignments may include weekly response papers, a midterm assignment, and final paper/project.

Experimental Black Women Poetry (LIT4129.01)

Defining experimental poetry can be mystifying inasmuch as all writing can be considered experimenting with language. The notion of experimentation, however, has often been denied writers of African descent across the globe.  Often relegated to the margins in discussions of innovative and avant garde poetics, Black women have throughout time lead the charge of excavating from language once-unknown possibilities that lean into care and transgression as needed for survival and expression. In this class, students will explore how the ideas of experimental, innovative, and radical have been applied by Black women poets who, in their work, subvert notions of womanhood as domestic and tame, and disrupt notions of Blackness as commonplace and unimaginative. We will poetry and critical works by essential Black women poets such as M. Nourbese Philip, Harryette Mullen, Gwendolyn Brooks, Evie Shockley, Robin Coste Lewis, Duriel Harris, Ruth Ellen Kocher, Lillian Yvonne Bertram and others. Assignments may include weekly response papers, a midterm paper, and a final paper.

Co-requisites: Students are additionally required to attend all literature evenings and Poetry at Bennington events, held most Wednesdays at 7pm

Russian Jewish Literature and Film (LIT2203.01)

The roots of Russian Jewish literature reach back into the Pale of Settlement of the pre-revolutionary era. The vibrant cosmopolitan city of Odessa on the Black Sea provided an important cultural model for the style and political stance of Jewish literature written in Russian. Although Stalin’s purges and the second World War affected all social levels and ethnic groups within the Soviet Union, the Russian Jewish historical experience provided a highly distinctive perspective onto these tragic events, as reflected in the uncompromising poetry of Osip Mandelstam, and the path-breaking fiction and memoirs of Vasily Grossman and Yevgenia Ginzburg. The work of contemporary Russian Jewish authors and filmmakers reflects the complexity of the immigrant experience in Europe, North America, and the Middle East. We will also examine the diverse responses of writers to the present-day redrawing of the political map of Russia and Ukraine.

Madame Bovary & Middlemarch: Small Worlds, Big Novels (LIT4128.01)

Virginia Woolf once famously said of Middlemarch that it was “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people” and George Eliot’s novel is widely considered one of the best novels, written in English, of the 19th Century. Gustav Flaubert’s Madame Bovary is considered by many as one of the best novels ever written and is perhaps the first ‘modern’ novel ever published. In this course, we will tackle them both, exploring the provincial worlds of England and France, looking closely at these two different heroines and the authors behind each of them. We will dive deep into the language and structure of these novels, how they compare to each other as well as to their contemporaries, and what influences these works have had on the novels that came after them, paying close attention to historical and social contexts in which both writers created their works. Students will be responsible for class presentations and critical essays. Students are additionally required to attend all literature evenings and Poetry at Bennington events, held most Wednesdays at 7pm. Students interested in enrolling in this course will be required to submit a four to six-page writing sample, either creative or scholarly.

Corequisites: Enrolled students are required to attend all literature evenings and Poetry at Bennington events, held most Wednesdays at 7pm

Contemporary Native American Literature (LIT4126.01)

As Stephen Graham Jones writes in his essay, “Letter to a Just-Starting-Out-Indian-Writer and Maybe to Myself”: So many readers and critics and students and professors, they don’t engage [Native] writing as art, they engage it as an ethnographic lens they can use to focus attention on peoples and cultures and issues and crimes and travesties and all the ‘other’ that’ll fit in a discussion. This course will engage contemporary Native American Literature as it’s meant to be engaged: as art. The course will begin its exploration of Native American writers with James Welch and Leslie Marmon Silko, sliding then into the worlds of Louise Erdrich and Debra Magpie Earling and Linda Hogan, the shifting narrative points of view of Tommy Orange, the short stories Toni Jensen, the genre-bending novels of Stephen Graham Jones and Rebecca Roanhorse, the electrifying poetry of Tommy Pico, Natalie Diaz, Joy Harjo, and Layli Long Soldier, and the boundary and form-breaking non-fction of Elissa Washuta and David Treuer. Students will be responsible for class presentations and critical essays. Students are additionally required to attend all literature evenings and Poetry at Bennington events, held most Wednesdays at 7pm. All students applying for this course must submit a writing sample — scholarly or creative — between four and six pages long.

Corequisites: Students enrolled in this course are required to attend Wednesday night literature events.

Screenwriting: Scene and Structure (LIT2354.01)

Reading contemporary screenplays and story treatments, we will discuss the structure and scene work that goes into writing a successful screenplay. Almost without fail, all screenplays utilize a familiar and easy to learn three-act structure, but the very best screenwriters manipulate this structure nimbly via character development, excellent dialogue, and strong storytelling techniques. Students will learn how to write coverage and script analysis, how to spot the three-act structure and how it can be subtly tweaked and broken to best serve the story’s interests. Students will write treatments and scenes for their own original feature film ideas, and in the process will learn the formal constraints of a screenplay, formatting, scene development, and how to write effective and compelling dialogue. Most of the semester will focus on reading and discussing screenplays but the class will screen a select number of films over the course of the semester in order to see how moments on the page translate to the screen.

Chinese Zen (CHI4323.01)

Although it was born in India, Buddhism has had a deep and profound influence on Chinese and East Asian culture, but this philosophy remains relevant to modern life in both the East and West. Students will be introduced to the spirit of Buddhism through modern Mandarin interpretations of classic Chinese Buddhist poems and stories. Students will explore Chinese Buddhist concepts while building on their competencies in listening, speaking, reading and writing Mandarin Chinese. Each class or every other class, students will be given a different Buddhist text translated into modern Chinese along with a vocabulary list and grammar points for that reading. Students will be expected to read the text and prepare to discuss it in Chinese with the teacher and classmates during the next class meeting.

All students will meet in small groups once a week with the teacher outside of the regular classes.

Corequisites: Language Series

Introduction to Harmony (MTH2128.01)

A nuts-and-bolts overview of tonal harmony, from scales and chords to voice leading. At first we’ll focus on the harmonic practices of Classical and Baroque music, later broadening our focus to a variety of pop, jazz, and contemporary music. Emphasis will be placed on creative work, and students will be asked to compose (and perform) pieces in a variety of harmonic styles. Separately scheduled ear-training and sight-reading labs will help internalize these harmonic concepts. Students should be able to read music.

Music Theory I – Applied Fundamentals (MTH2274.01)

An introduction to music theory course. Music theory fundamentals will be taught utilizing voice (singing) and an instrument in hand. Knowledge of the piano keyboard will be learned and utilized. Curriculum will span the harmonic series, circle of 5ths, scales and chords to ear training, harmonic and rhythmic dictation, and beginning composition. Course will include singing, aural, and listening components as well as written work. Instrument choices include: voice, guitar, banjo, mandolin, mountain (lap) dulcimer, hammer dulcimer, violin family, woodwind instruments, and piano. Student must bring their own instrument to class.

Logic, Proofs, Algebra, and Set Theory (MAT2410.01)

This introductory course should be of interest to students planning additional study in mathematics as well as those wanting looking for a mathematics course of more general interest. The topics and skills covered in this class will be fundamental in all advanced mathematics classes and may therefore be used as a prerequisite for Calculus A and Linear Algebra. The class should also be of interest to students of philosophy, and to anyone seeking to improve their ability to reason and form clear arguments. No background in mathematics is assumed. Topics will include symbolic logic and rules of inference; how to write mathematical proofs; the beginnings of abstract algebra, including Boolean algebras; extensions of high school polynomial algebra; and set theory, including the theory of infinite sets. There will be a brief introduction to the successes of Hilbert’s formalism program, and its limitations in Gödel’s theorems.

Discrete Mathematics (MAT4139.01)

Discrete mathematics studies problems that can be broken up into distinct pieces. Some examples of these sorts of systems are letters or numbers in a password, pixels on a computer screen, the connections between friends on Facebook, and driving directions (along established roads) between two cities. In this course we will develop the tools needed to solve relevant, real-world problems. Topics will include: combinatorics (clever ways of counting things), number theory and graph theory. Possible applications include probability, social networks, optimization, and cryptography.

La famiglia: Literary Portrayals of the Modern Italian Family (ITA4610.01)

In Italy, no other institution has been credited as much as the family for keeping the country afloat during periods of financial decay, and cursed, at the same time, for hindering the country’s social progress. Three short novels will guide us in the exploration of the modern Italian family: Melania Mazzucco’s Sei come sei, Elena Ferrante’s I giorni dell’abbandono, and Domenico Starnone’s Lacci. Students will expand their knowledge of Italian literature, culture, and history while improving their critical analysis, writing, and research skills. They will tackle Italian advanced grammar and syntax, and write longer essays thus progressing towards proficiency. Conducted in Italian. Intermediate-high and advanced levels combined.

Corequisites: Language Series

Life Stories (FRE4604.01)

This course will focus on perfecting your written French through creative autobiographical writing. Literary readings will offer both a critical perspective on a wide variety of autobiographical genres as well as models for inspiration and imitation in your own writing. We will also examine style and register while striving to master some of the stylistic and grammatical difficulties which confound even native speakers. Workshop sessions will allow students to present each others’ work in a workshop setting. Conducted in French. Intermediate-high level.

Corequisites: Language Series

French Comedy (FRE4122.01)

This course will examine the comic in French theatre, literature, politics, and film in order to answer a deceptively simple question: What makes us laugh? In theoretical readings we will consider whether laughter is a universal, cross-cultural function. Additionally, we will look at special, sub-genres of the comic, such as satire and parody, in order to question the relationship between comic genres and the real world. Does comedy seek to change the world or does it merely want to point to its foibles? Is it a progressive or conservative mode? What is its role in bringing about political, social, or even literary change and innovation? We will conclude by considering whether comedy is dead today. Authors studied will include Rabelais, Corneille, Molière, Voltaire, Beaumarchais, Beckett, Bakhtin, Bergson, and Freud. Advanced level. Conducted in French.

Corequisites: Language Series

Dining Culture in China (CHI2117.01)

“Have you eaten yet?” This common Chinese greeting is just one of many common phrases that shows the centrality of food to Chinese culture. In this course we will focus on the theme of Chinese food and dining culture as an entrée into the study of Chinese language and culture. As Chinese grammar is very simple with no verb conjugation, no plural, no gender, no articles or subject and object forms, it is very easy to speak Chinese. Students will be able to begin speaking Chinese from the very first class and be able to engage in a lot of daily conversation after one term.

Also by studying the form of the most basic Chinese characters students will simultaneously gain insights into traditional Chinese cultural values while learning to read and write Mandarin. “Let’s do Chinese!” Chinese food? Yes, but also language and culture.

Corequisites: Language Series

Diversity of Coral Reef Animals (BIO2339.01)

Coral reefs are among the most diverse, unique and beautiful of ecosystems on the planet. Alas, they are also quite vulnerable to various environmental assaults and most of the reefs on earth are in real jeopardy. Students will learn the taxonomy, identification and characteristics of the animals which live in coral reefs. We will discuss the major biological innovations that have permitted the evolution of these extraordinary ecosystems. This course can serve as a prerequisite for the winter Field Course in Coral Reef Biology in Grand Cayman.

Adaptation or Extinction: Animals & Climate Change (BIO4222.01)

Global climate change has been implicated in the extinction of some animal species, changes in the geographic ranges of others, and many species appear to be increasingly vulnerable to both biotic (e.g. disease, competitors) and abiotic (e.g. temperature, acidification, pollutants, drought) stressors. Will different animal species adapt to global climate change or disappear? What influences their survival? Is variation among individuals in a population a substrate for adapting to changes in the environment or are these changes occurring too rapidly? We will examine these questions in discussions of papers from the primary literature. Students will design and conduct research projects informed by the questions we discuss.

Exploring the World Through Research (ANT4238.01)

How do social scientists gather primary data for the study of social life? This workshop course provides an opportunity for students to learn and practice the fundamental non-positivist research techniques necessary to study of social phenomena, namely interviewing, participant observation, and focus group discussions. Workshops and field projects will provide the opportunity for students to use these techniques on topics of their own interest. Methodological and theoretical perspectives will be examined, as will methods for recording, analyzing, interpreting and writing up qualitative data.

Anthropology of Art (ANT4212.01)

This course is an exploration of art as defined and practiced in different cultures. We will look at how peoples of diverse world cultures create, use, manipulate, conceptualize, exchange, and evaluate objects of material culture. We will look at how material items are considered to be artistic or aesthetic in some fashion, and think of how and if we can translate those values across cultural boundaries.

Programming Languages (CS4116.01)

This class will look at a variety of different programming languages, both common and obscure. In this class, we’ll look at functional programming languages, object oriented programming languages, and languages that combine these paradigms. We will look at interpreted vs compiled languages, and look at the differences in memory management systems between languages. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of different programming languages by looking at them side by side. Students will think critically about how the architecture of a language influences the applications of that language. Experience programming in at least one programming language is required for this class.

Conflict Resolution: Theory & Practice (MED2116.01)

This course will present an interdisciplinary approach to the theory of conflict resolution. Theories of conflict resolution, not mediation skills, will be introduced and then explored through a number of different prisms. These will include the macro issues of the nature of peace, the environment, the media, NGOs, as well as the role of religion and the Bible. There will also be a focus for part of the course on the Arab-Israeli conflict. The relationship of Rock n Roll and the arts to conflict resolution will also be examined. The course will culminate with students sharing and discussing their own personal conflict resolution philosophy and statements. Reflections, presentations, and final paper are also part of the syllabus.

Language as System and Social Behavior (LIN2101.01)

In this course, students will examine the building blocks which make up the interlocking systems of language and observe how those systems are enacted and granted layers of meaning through social practice. Beyond developing an understanding of the basic mechanics of sound systems, word-meaning relations, and the expression of grammatical values in languages of the world, we will also explore how these complexes become “real” through contextualized use, and how speakers utilize them to project identity, influence social structures, pursue creative innovation, and interact with those around them on multiple simultaneous levels. Throughout the course, we will further maintain a critical eye on questions of language as they arise through daily life (from interpersonal interactions to broader causes of social justice and equity), and on how we as individuals may address such issues in a manner that is both productive and globally aware.

The Film Trailer Project (FRE4603.01)

In this course, French films are used as linguistic and cultural textbooks. While honing their language skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing), students will focus their critical skills on selected cultural topics (food, clothes, history, gestures, etc.). Students will create film trailers that reflect their understanding of the French linguistic and cultural realities. Films include L’argent de poche (Truffaut, 1976), Rue Cases-Nègres (Palcy, 1983), Au revoir les enfants (Malle, 1987), Chocolat (Denis, 1988), Comme une image (Jaoui 2004), Vers la tendresse (Diop, 2016). A common website and in-class presentations will allow students to share and discuss their findings. Conversation exchanges with native speakers will enrich the exploration of these representations of the French-speaking world. Intermediate Low. Conducted in French.

Corequisites: Language Series

Chemistry 3 (CHE4213.01)

Chemistry 3 focuses on why chemical reactions happen, what the steps are, how we discover them, and how we use this to look at practical problems such as the synthesis of drugs, or the kinetics of atmospheric reactions. Emphasis will be on mastering general principles of chemistry such as nucleophiles and electrophiles, molecular orbital concepts, thermodynamics and kinetics in order to guide an understanding of specific reactions. The latest research will be used to relate the chemical concepts to current applications. Students will read, present and discuss research articles to demonstrate the ability to apply the chemical ideas to new situations.

Corequisites: Chem 3 lab

Applied Computing: Foundations of Python Programming (CS2119.01)

In this introduction to computer science, you will learn to design, implement, test, and analyze algorithms and programs using Python, currently one of the most widely used programming languages in the world. Within the context of programming, you will learn to formulate problems, think creatively about solutions, and express those solutions clearly and accurately. Problems will be chosen from practical examples such as graphics, image processing, cryptography, data analysis, astronomy, video games, and environmental simulation. The course will include remote video instruction, interactive media, as well as collaborative team projects. As part of the course, you will also hear from engineers from Google about their careers in the tech industry and how you can prepare yourself for a similar career. Prior programming experience is not a requirement for this course.

Students planning to continue studying in computer science can take either this course or CS 2124 , but they cannot enroll in both.

Italy Yesterday and Today (ITA2118.01)

This course introduces students to Italian language and culture. It focuses on the social changes that Italy has undergone during the past thirty years in many spheres of its social life, such as the family, education, the environment, and politics, and with regard to several issues, for instance gender equality, diversity, and immigration. By the end of the semester, students will be able to produce simple sentence-level discourse, orally and in writing. Emphasis is on oral communication and performance. This is a language introductory course, taught entirely in Italian. No previous knowledge of the language is either necessary, or desirable.

Corequisites: Language Series

Bebop, Rock & Beyond I (MIN4216.01)

Bebop, Rock & Beyond is a drum set course exploring the musical techniques associated with cutting edge drummers while expanding your musicianship. We will look at the drumming architects of Bebop and Rock, such as Max Roach, Elvin Jones, John Bonham, and Bill Buford, in addition to innovative musicians who are taking drum set playing Beyond the traditions of rock and jazz. This course is for drummers who have taken drum set lessons, practice regularly, and are looking to learn and fine-tune their fundamentals in these musical genres on this instrument. Reading music notation is not required, but will help when analyzing specific work, and learning specific pieces. We will use audio, video, and technology to broaden our learning experience. Bebop, Rock & Beyond II will be offered in the spring term of 2020.

Advanced Computer Graphics (CS4103.01)

In this class, we’ll be going under the hood to understand how 3D graphics work by implementing our own 3D renderer.  We’ll talk about how to represent and manipulate shapes mathematically, simulating the ways light interacts with these virtual objects to generate realistic images.  We will start with the basics and add on each week, taking care that the code not only works, but can be easily built upon week to week.  Students will come away from this class with experience building a large scale graphics project.

Advanced Scene Study (DRA4150.01)

The goal of this course is to develop an in-depth understanding and practice of the actor’s craft. Specific emphasis will be placed on text analysis, choice making, character development–vocal and physical–and full emotional preparation. We will use cold readings, contemporary and classical scene work and monologues. Students will address any weaknesses in preparation and performance; and learn to strengthen them using a variety of approaches including Meisner Technique, Viewpoints and the Stanislavski System.

Students will be expected to present in class every week. There will be a strong emphasis on extensive outside-of-class rehearsals and preparation (6-8 hours per week) to ensure that work progresses. There will be a final presentation of scenes at the end of the term.

Corequisites: Dance and Drama Lab Assignment

Insider Perspectives on the Francophone World (FRE2103.01)

Viewed from the outside, the French-speaking world offers enticing images of beauty, pleasure, and freedom. From the inside, however, it is a complicated, often contradictory world where implicit codes and values shape the most basic aspects of daily life. This course will give you an insider’s perspective on a cultural and communicative system whose ideas, customs, and belief systems are surprisingly different from your own. Together, we will examine how daily life and activities (friendship and family relationships, housing, leisure, work, and food culture) reflect culturally specific ideologies and values. Emphasis will be placed on developing ease, fluency, and sophistication in oral and written expression. Designed for students with no previous study of French, this class will revolve around authentic materials from the Francophone world (video, music, advertisements, literary texts). Introductory level. Conducted in French.

Corequisites: Language Series

Graduate Seminar on Pedagogy and Public Action (APA5103.01)

This course is centered on conducting research and mapping the field of socially and civically engaged pedagogy within a global context. What capacities and skills do students who create artworks in collaboration with the public need to acquire and what is the history of teaching these practices?

The Web as Artistic Platform (DA2110.01)

This course is an introduction to creative practices with digital technologies specifically focused on creating online fine art projects. A broad survey of web-based digital arts is examined in tandem with an overview of tools necessary to create your own work. These include HTML, CSS, Photoshop (for prepping images for the web), content management systems, and a basic introduction to JavaScript. Students apply knowledge and skills to web-based creative projects throughout the term. There are lectures, reading assignments, studio projects, and critiques during the course designed to aid the student in developing visual literacy and critical thinking skills in relation to the digital arts.

Foundations of Photography: Digital Practice (PHO2153.01)

This course offers an overview of foundational tools and techniques in digital photographic practice. Students will learn to shoot with digital SLR cameras, process raw files in Lightroom, properly scan negatives, and produce digital portfolios and high quality inkjet prints. In addition to technical instruction, a selection of images from historical and contemporary photography will be shown and short readings and videos will provide additional context and encourage reflection on the impact of recent technical and social changes. Class time will include demonstrations and supervised practice, group critiques, and discussions. Assignments will be given on a weekly basis throughout most of the term, and self-directed final projects will allow students to creatively express their technical skills as they explore their own questions and concerns. Please note that a Mac-compatible external hard drive and inkjet photo paper are required for this course.

Image Objects (PHO4103.01)

As recent exhibitions and publications such as What is a Photograph? (The International Center of Photography, 2014), A Matter of Memory: The Photograph as Object in the Digital Age (George Eastman Museum, 2016), and Photography is Magic (Charlotte Cotton, Aperture, 2015) attest, there are many contemporary artists whose work with photography draws increased focus to material and spatial concerns, and whose creative expression extends beyond traditional fine art prints to encompass experiments with alteration and intervention, scale, texture, form, and installation. Through group critiques, assignments, slideshows, and readings, this course explores the broad range of physical forms that photographic works can take. While learning about past and present artists who have pushed the boundaries of the medium, students will expand their own creative practices, research new materials and processes, and work to advance self-directed projects through feedback and revision. Designed for those who have taken Photography Foundations, and ideally at least one other four-credit photography course, Image Objects aims to challenge, complicate, clarify and deepen students’ understanding of their work in progress as they resolve its production both formally and conceptually.

Introduction to Sound Recording and Mixing (MSR2141.01)

This course will offer an introduction to studio recording techniques through recording sessions, hands-on exercises, lectures, and critical listening sessions. We will cover basic sound acoustics, spot and stereo microphone techniques, signal flow, audio processing, and creative and unconventional music recording techniques. We will record various genres of music in a collaborative setting. This course will also introduce the fundamentals of mixing techniques.

Students who have previously taken “Introduction to Recording” will not be permitted to take this class.

Graduate Assistantship in Dance (DAN5301.01)

Graduate students in Dance are integrated into the dance program as teaching assistants, production assistants or dance archival assistants. In consultation with their academic advisor and the dance faculty, MFA candidates develop an assistantship schedule of approximately ten hours weekly.

Theories of Psychotherapy (PSY4108.01)

This course addresses the history of the “talking cure” with a systematic look at the links between psychological theory and therapeutic technique. The practice of psychoanalysis and analytic therapy is investigated through a reading of some of Freud’s papers on technique. The historical development of psychotherapy, including later developments in analysis, behavior therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy and hypnosis, is also investigated. The course concludes with a look at other forms of behavior change, including 12-step programs and meditation, with an emphasis on the theories of behavior change invoked by practitioners of therapeutic arts and explanations invoked by practitioners of the social sciences. Students will complete a short mid-term paper and an oral presentation of a psychotherapy case from the published literature and an extensive final paper on course topics.

Normality and Abnormality: Defining the Limits (PSY2206.01)

This course is an examination of the idea of normality as a central organizing principle in psychology. We begin with an effort to define normality and/or psychological health, and then move on to examine the limits or borders of normality. The course examines the value-laden, historically determined, and political nature of psychological normality. Topics discussed include: psychoanalytic contributions to the study of psychopathology (Freud and Erikson); normality and creativity; contemporary psychiatry; and the politics of mental illness.

Students write two short and one longer final paper on issues raised in the course.

Analog/Digital Process in Ceramics (CER4107.01)

This course investigates the material nature of clay as a medium to create three-dimensional forms. Students will explore the material aspects of clay using a variety of mechanical/digital processes and the intersection of traditional hand building methods, including extrusions, slab rolling, slip casting and digital fabrication. Drawing will be used throughout the term to inform all conceptual and applied applications. Collaboration will be central in some of the assignments. The research collected though these assignments will be used to convey ideas of form, process, repetition, originality and appropriation. Students are expected to participate in all aspects of the ceramic process which include mixing their own clay, slip and glaze preparation, and loading and firing of kilns.

The Hollow Form: Introduction to Ceramics (CER2145.01)

The objective of this class is to help students learn the breadth of hand building techniques in the ceramic arts that have given rise to a vast history of ideas using hollow forms. Unlike traditional sculptural techniques used in wood, stone and metal, ceramic forms have depended on the interior space, the void, to define both symbolic meaning and formal structure. This class will help students gain confidence in their capacity to build what they see in their mind’s eye. Projects will be conceptually geared around issues surrounding vessels and abstract sculpture and will require personal investigation and resolution. Students will be involved in the study of various historical and contemporary perspectives. Durning the term students will be expected to participate in all aspects of the ceramic process that include, but are not limited to mixing their own clay, slip and glaze preparation, and the loading and firing of kilns. Some books and tools will be required to be purchased in this course

Transnational Feminist Geography (SCT2138.01)

What is the global? What is the transnational? Are these spaces of connection, of division, of possibility, or dislocation? What does solidarity mean, how is it practiced (or critiqued), and whom does it benefit? This course aims to grapple with the complexities and contradictions of such questions in the context of transnational feminist theory and praxis. In particular, we will examine the relationships and divisions between “the West” and “the Rest,” the “Global South” and the “Global North,” and “developed” and “developing” countries, considering how such concepts have been constituted and understood, and how they shape people’s everyday lives. We will do this by studying the historical and ongoing processes of colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, militarism, globalization, and others that shape power and resistance globally and locally. We will also look at feminist movements and theories from the U.S., situating them within a broader global context. Special attention will be paid to Women of Color feminisms in the U.S., including Black, Latinx, Chicana, Asian American, Pacific Islander, and indigenous feminist thought, and to their often-fraught relationship to White feminism. Through the course readings, films, lectures, and discussions, we will address how various issues affect women’s lives around the world and will explore the ways in which the United States is connected with many of these global issues. This course is designed around the principle of collective knowledge production, a key tenet of feminist thought and politics. Our aim is to create a space in which all members of the class are actively teaching and learning together, and to which we each bring our own intersectional positionality—our particular social location within broader matrices of power—as valuable feminist knowledge.

Dying in Diaspora (SCT4108.01)

This class examines geographies of death, dying, and mourning as experienced by migrants living in diaspora or exile. In it, we will map out the multiple mobilities of grief and death—the circulation of emotions, cadavers, toxins and cancers, and mourning relatives gathering to grieve—and the political, and imperial, factors that co-produce death and mobility—such as the U.S. nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands, U.S.-Mexico border policing that pushes migrants into death-producing deserts, or the woefully inadequate U.S. recovery efforts in Puerto Rico following Hurricane María. We will also consider the transnational political economy of dying ‘at a distance’—including the exorbitant costs of transporting bodily remains and the resulting shifts in migrants’ shifting burial and cremation practices—as well as affective circulations of grief and trauma across time and space. In particular, we will pay attention to how experiences of large-scale intergenerational trauma are compounded by and linked with experiences of ‘individual’ grief and loss by migrants living in diaspora. Throughout the course, we will engage feminist geopolitical scholarship on the interplay between the global and the intimate, as well as indigenous feminist theories on research methods, emotion, trauma, and power relations.

Making and Breaking International Law (HIS4218.01)

International law is no longer merely “out there” somewhere, relevant only to travelers, merchants and diplomats. International law is being globalized, and glocalized, so that it now covers complex contested areas such as civil unions, health insurance, sexual orientation, migration. We will focus on the fundamentals of twenty-first century international law, delving into areas including: Human Rights, Peace Building, Conflict Resolution, Migration, and Restorative Justice. Engagement avenues include attendance at relevant campus talks and events, working through readings and notable cases, discussion posts, small-group activities, projects and papers.

Gothic Vision: Specters of Subversion, Medieval to Tomorrow (AH4108.01)

The Gothic is a worldview equally at home in nostalgia and strangeness. It thirsts for arcane, even perverse, knowledge and is frequently motivated by a fearful fascination with the foreign. In Gothic novels (the first of which appeared in London in 1764) psychic ‘interiority’ is revealed in dark spaces tainted by unthinkable crimes or haunted by spirits. But if seeing is believing in Gothic literature, how can art history begin to reclaim the Gothic image on its own terms? How, for example, do Gothic fiction’s ‘special effects’ rely on paintings and prints to evoke the exotic and unimaginable? To answer these questions, this visual culture course will range widely from the original Gothic style in medieval Christian art and architecture to proto-Romantic and modern revivals of the Neo/Gothic in text, film, television, and music video. (NB: this is not Vampires 101, but there will be blood.) We will draw on traditional art history and cultural theory, as well as feminist, gender, critical race, and queer studies. Working collaboratively, our transdisciplinary approach will produce a useful chronology of Gothic visual culture in all its—at times, ridiculous—sublimity.

Toward a Rigorous Art History (AH2109.01)

A “rigorous study of art” became the goal of Philosopher and Cultural Critic Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) when his growing distaste for the outlook and methods of his art history professor—the famous and foundational Heinrich Wölfflin—caused him to consider publishing an account of “the most disastrous activity I have ever encountered at a German university.”

Striking a balance between Benjamin’s histories of the marginal and Wölfflin’s big picture formalism, this wide-ranging introductory course requires the serious, if necessarily fast-paced, analysis (and memorization) of a broad constellation of paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, architecture, monuments, and examples of material and visual culture across both time and place. Along the journey students will acquaint themselves with various art historical methodologies, critical terms, and disciplinary controversies. Mid-term/Final/Short papers.

Introduction to Cell Biology (with lab) (BIO4114.01)

Cells are the fundamental units that organize life. In this class we will investigate cell structure and function, learn about DNA replication and transcription, find out how proteins are synthesized and transported, and come to understand how interfering with cell biological processes can result in disease. In the lab, students will gain experience with both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and learn methods of cell biological research.

Genome Jumpstart: An Introduction to Bioinformatic Analysis (BIO2117.01)

This course offers an immersive experience into the world of DNA, genes, and genomes in eukaryotic organisms. In addition to getting a grasp of the foundational biology, we will become familiar with the computational algorithms and methodologies used to analyze and mine the ever-increasing data generated from whole-genome sequencing, high-throughput proteomic analyses, and our improved understanding of evolutionary relationships between organisms based on their molecular fingerprints. For the project portion of the course, all students will utilize public genomic databases and software to contribute to an ongoing multi-institute analysis and annotation of understudied regions of Drosophila genomes. This project work makes students eligible for future co-author status on emerging publications by the Genomics Education Partnership consortium.

Latin American Critical Theory (o, más allá de la alteridad) (SPA4716.01)

Oddly, perhaps, theory itself, despite its own premises, its ethical veneer and visceral critical posture, has never quite overcome the traditional, global division of intellectual labor. It is applied, and alterity is nominally, similarly, embraced, thus paradoxically resulting in a cultural neo-imperialism that all the while overtly denies its own imperialist practices. The title of this course, to quote Neil Larsen’s lengthier plea for an escape from such an awkward impasse, “simply means exiting, however momentarily, the hegemonic, secular-poststructuralist terms of a language-game in which ‘Latin-America’ has come to signify, always already, only one thing – a thing, that, by constantly evoking the periphery as omni-presently ‘other,’ makes its intellectual experience into something, ironically, always the same.” The content will simply be comprised of readings by critical theorists working within Latin America, an apparently atypical process. Conducted in Spanish. Advanced.

Corequisites: Language Series

Latin American Art since Independence (SPA2111.01)

This course ranges from the republican art of nation-building in the 19th century to modernism, magical realism, and the postmodern. While there will be some discussion of standard tactics such as stylistic nuances and artists’ biographies, it is expected that we will rapidly develop sufficient ability to focus on movements, theory, and politics, thus treating the works as ideologemes, representations of social import touching on several fields. The usual tactics associated with mastering a foreign language – explicit grammar sessions, vocabulary, oral and aural practice, text – will be on offer, but they will generally be student-driven, servicing the content, corroborating the hope that in confronting our own preconceived notions of the Spanish-speaking world we will simultaneously debunk those regarding how a language is taught. Students will therefore learn to speak, listen, read and write in increasingly meaningful scenarios. Conducted in Spanish.

Corequisites: Language Series

GANAS (APA4154.01)

In terms of public action, GANAS remains a community-driven, cross-cultural association that provides students with volunteer opportunities to engage with the predominantly undocumented Latino migrant worker population. These opportunities are facilitated by the group itself, in addition to partnerships with organizations such as Head Start, and the Bennington Free Clinic.

Current members are implementing an ESL program, women’s workshops, high-school counseling, and conferences, hosting a biweekly radio show, gathering oral histories, researching workshops on financial literacy and driver’s privilege cards, maintaining a web presence, advertising, and continuing with social events.

Fall: 4-credit course for new participants, 2- or 4-credit group tutorial for those continuing, whose presence will be required during the first hour of class time each week.

Spring: Group tutorial for those continuing.

After Utopia (SPA4504.01)

This is a course on the postcolonial philosophical projects of Latin America, though that may be a misnomer. Even the most cursory glance at studies on the continent’s appropriation of the Western philosophical tradition would show that the appropriation is so distinctive that apparently it is still possible to question its existence as philosophy. The course will include some historiography of thought, analysis of failed ontological theories and politico-economic models, some hare-brained, some practical, but will emphasize current trends in cultural studies.

Students will debate their own perspectives, both in conversation and in writing, thus developing analytical and linguistic skills, and will undertake a short research project. The usual array of media will be included. Conducted in Spanish. High-intermediate level.

Corequisites: Language Series

Introduction to Computer Science (CS2124.01)

In this class, students will be exposed to the main areas and questions related to computer science, while beginning their journey towards becoming skilled practitioners in the field. A large part of this process will include learning basic programming skills in Python, computational thinking and algorithm design. In addition, students will also formulate and explore questions of their own related to computer science.

Students planning to continue studying in computer science can take either this course or CS 2119 , but they cannot enroll in both.

Collaboration in Light, Movement, and Clothes (DAN4286.01)

Visual elements are a significant component of performance, whether it be theater, performance art, music or dance. With many performance projects, there is little time to contemplate, rethink or adjust designs in the actual performance space; there is rarely an opportunity to watch a collaborative art develop.

In this class, equipped space is available to give the time to seriously look at and question the integration of performance elements. Furthermore, this situation is an opportunity to explore equal partnership among the collaborators, whose roles will shift. Students are actively involved in all aspects — making movement, designing lighting and designing costumes.

Explorations are structured for both formal theatrical contexts and informal studio situations as well as found environments. Time for group project development must be invested outside of class in the Martha Hill Theater. While some projects are done on an individual basis, most coursework requires close collaboration with other students in the class and close observation of the work of others. All work done for the course is viewed and discussed by the class and instructors as a group.

Corequisites: Dance or Drama lab assignment.

Women’s Voices (DRA2144.01)

In this class, students will read a large canon of plays by current female playwrights working in the American Theatre today. These will include writers featured on the Kilroy List, Susan Blackburn Award Winners, Lily Award recipients, among others from my own personal list. We will also look at current initiatives within the theatre today to level the playing field and will attempt to explore the systemic reasons for this gender inequity where women playwrights are concerned.

Work will include: play discussion, staging of selected scenes read, creative and critical written responses to plays covered, and research

An Actors Technique: Nuts and Bolts (DRA4127.01)

How do actors bridge the gap between themselves and the role they are playing? How do actors rehearse with other actors in order to explore the world of the play? This non-performance based class is designed to help individual actors discover their own organic, thorough rehearsal process. Step by step we will clarify the actor’s process: character research, character exploration, text analysis, identifying actions, working with scene partners, emotional preparation, and scene presentation. Each student will be required to research and present the biography of one renowned actor during the term, and these presentations will serve as a springboard for an on-going group conversation about the craft of acting. Students will work to create a warm-up specifically designed to meet their individual needs, and work on one scene throughout the term, allowing them to explore deeply, revise, and edit their choices. Various rehearsal techniques will be explored, so that students can begin creating their own rehearsal technique for future performance work.

Corequisites: Drama Lab

Sensory Technique (DRA4161.01)

How do you create imaginary rain or cold or heat? Where are you coming from when you enter a stage from the wings? How do you personalize and endow the set and props your character thinks of as real? What is substitution and how can it help bring the relationships of a play to life? In this class, we will work with the basic canon of sensory exercises designed to give the performer these skills of the imagination and body. We will utilize the improvisational techniques of actress and teacher Kim Stanley to explore place: how one creates place, and how this allows one to achieve the much sought-after privacy in public that allows for greater freedom of expression. This is an intermediate/advanced technique class.

Corequisites: Drama Lab

Rakugo: Art of Storytelling (JPN4505.01)

Rakugo is one of the traditional Japanese art and storytelling entertainment which became extremely popular during the Edo period (1603-1868). Rakugo is a rather unique storytelling performance because a storyteller sits on a seat on the stage called “kooza” and tells humorous stories without standing up from the seat. Moreover, the storyteller narrates and plays various characters by changing his voice, pitch, tone, facial expressions, physical movements, etc.

In this course students will 1) research the history and the essential elements of rakugo, 2) examine several rakugo scripts to learn new grammar points and kanji characters, and 3) analyze how speech patterns change based on age, social status, gender, occasions, and situations. They will also examine cultural elements that are reflected in the rakugo scripts. As a part of the course, students will practice rakugo performances and write their own rakugo scripts to perform. Intermediate Level.

Corequisites: Language Series

Reinventing and Branding Japan (JPN4710.01)

After the World War II, Japan tried rigorously to improve their national reputation in the World. As Japan’s economy improved, Japan’s image shifted from a brutal and heartless military nation to a powerful economic nation, and then to a nation of “soft power.” In the last 10 years, the Japanese government came up with a PR strategy called “Cool Japan” and has been promoting the Japan’s soft power – nation’s creative industries such as fashion, manga, animation, tourism, and music. Has the “Cool Japan” strategy been successful? Is it the best way to promote Japan? In this course, students will examine the “Cool Japan” strategy and evaluate the success of the strategy. Then, students will learn and research new trends in Japan such as sustainability and renewable energy, earthquake-resistant architecture, and traditional crafts in the modern society. Throughout the course, students will practice and improve their linguistic knowledge as well as their cultural knowledge by reading and discussing various texts about the “Cool Japan” strategy and new trends in Japan. As the final project of the course, students will create a new strategy to promote Japan and present It to the Japanese people. Conducted in Japanese. Advanced level.

Corequisites: Language Series

Samurai and Art (JPN4301.01)

What is the relationship between samurai warriors and art? It is hard to imagine the two words – warriors and art – in one sentence. However, many of samurai warriors practiced and enjoyed various types of arts. For example, the powerful feudal samurai warriors, Nobunaga Oda and Hideyoshi Toyotomi, practiced closely with a tea master, Sen No Rikyu, and enjoyed tea ceremony. In addition, during the Edo period when Japan was ruled by the Tokugawa Shogunate, various art forms such as Kabuki and Ukiyoe were developed and created a unique culture.

In this course, students will examine how the samurai culture fostered Japanese art. Students will specifically read the history of tea ceremony, Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement), Noh, Kabuki, Bunraku, Ukiyoe, and Rinpa, and discuss the connections between the social events and art forms. This course is designed for students to obtain a deeper understanding of the Japanese society, history, and art as well as to practice linguistic skills. Conducted in Japanese Low-Intermediate level.

Corequisites: Language Series

100 Places Where You Must Visit in Japan (JPN2112.01)

Where do you want to go when you visit Japan: Mount Fuji in Shizuoka, Imperial Palace in Kyoto, or Ghibli Museum in Tokyo? What would you like to eat there? Do you want to eat sushi, tonkatsu, ramen, or pizza that is topped with corn, tuna, and mayonnaise? Do you want to see traditional performing arts like Noh and Kabuki? Or would you like to see current pop groups like Arashi and AKB48? Japan is an interesting place where tradition and modernity beneficially influence. For example, the styles and techniques of woodblock prints from the Edo period (1603-1868) were passed down to manga in the 21st century.

In this introductory level course, students will learn and examine uniqueness of Japanese regions and how traditional and modern culture coexist in the regions while they practice and build their linguistic skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) in Japanese. Students will also perform various situations to demonstrate their understanding of Japanese language and culture. Japanese writing systems – Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji – will be introduced. Introductory level.

Corequisites: Language Series

Shakespeare: The Tragedies (LIT2217.01)

We will read the major tragedies–Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Antony & Cleopatra; view important film productions; and read a range of historical and contemporary criticism. There will be exams, papers, and in-class conferences.

Physics I: Forces and Motion (with lab) (PHY2235.01)

Physics is the study of what Newton called “the System of the World.” To know the System of the World is to know what forces are out there and how those forces operate on things. These forces explain the dynamics of the world around us: from the path of a falling apple to the motion of a car down the highway to the flight of a rocket from the Earth. Careful analysis of the forces that govern these motions reveal countless insights about the world around you and enable you to look at that world with new eyes. While there are no explicit prerequisites for this course, a proficiency with algebra is assumed.

Corequisites: Physics I Lab

Monitoring the Paran Creek Watershed (ES2113.01)

Much discussion of environmental protection is based on the unit of a local watershed. Fully considering a watershed requires relating landscapes, land cover, and human land use to the waterways that we rely upon to live. This field-based class will work with community groups and environmental professionals to begin a long-term watershed monitoring system for Paran Creek. This will include discussion of which measureable parameters can be used to define the “health” of a natural water system, and practical field work, collecting data and installing equipment. Much of the coursework will be quantitative in nature, and fieldwork will require moderate physical activity.

Senior Seminar in Society, Culture, and Thought (SCT4750.02, section 2)

This advanced research seminar offers students the opportunity to conduct culminating work in Society, Culture and Thought (SCT) in the form of an independent research project. For most students, this will be a one-semester project. For other students, this will be the first half of a year-long project that involves fieldwork, archival research, and/or the collection of data. For all students, however, the process in these fourteen weeks is very similar, if not exactly the same: all students must conduct a detailed review of the scholarly literature that informs their inquiry, and must begin to situate themselves within that scholarly conversation as an independent voice. We will begin the course by reflecting on the nature of SCT-related disciplines (Anthropology, Environmental Studies, History, Philosophy, Political Economy, Politics, Psychology, Social Psychology), and what it means to conduct individual research in these various disciplines. Aside from shared readings, students will be largely focused on research and readings directly related to their individual projects. Writing will take place throughout the term, and students will receive feedback from the instructor, from classmates, and from a second-reader on the SCT faculty. Individual work in progress will be discussed and workshopped in class.

David Anderegg
M/Th 3:40-5:30
This course is categorized as All courses, SCT.

Photography Foundations (Analog) (PHO2136.01)

What does it mean to study photography at Bennington? This course explores a wide range of approaches to the medium and introduces students to the various photographic genres with an emphasis on contemporary practice. The class will be devoted to both black and white and color analog materials and processes, including cameras, light kits, and light meters available at the College. Introduction to scanning and the digital work flow will also be included. Readings, personal research, along with engaged work share discussions, will provide the basis for taking further course work in photography. Please note that this course will require additional materials to be purchased by the student.

Genesis (HIS2220.01)

Genesis is the first book in a compilation known collectively as the Bible. It is a text of enormous literary value, and one of our earliest historical chronicles, providing foundational material for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Yet how many of us know what it actually says? How did it come together, what is the narrative, and how does it relate to the ideas and events of the ancient world? We will not be considering Genesis in terms of its status as scripture. Instead, we consider it as a literary work, a case study in the History of the Book, and a primary source for the history of the ancient world.

History of the Book (HIS4109.01)

The aim of this course is to think about books. Not just books as objects, but books as the signifiers of a wealth of relationships – between reading and writing, between people and ideas, between people and people, between technologies and desires. For centuries, our ideas have been shaped by the rhythms and hierarchies inherent in the nature of print. But the nature of the book itself has changed enormously over time – from the painstaking creation of ancient papyri and codices to Gutenberg and the fifteenth-century printing revolution. Moreover, as these technologies have changed, so have their associated phenomena of authorship, authority, and reading itself. And now, as blogs, wikis, and Google shift the discourse from page to screen, old definitions and relations are undergoing yet another series of unimagined changes. The roles of author and reader are morphing and blurring. But is this revolution truly new? We look at books and book culture from ancient Mesopotamia to the present day, investigating the nature and significance of these objects, their content, and the relationships they embody.

Gender in Early Modern Europe (HIS2102.01)

The aim of this course is to interrogate historical perceptions of women and gender in the early modern era, and to develop a critical approach to primary source documents. We attempt to complicate constructions of ideal feminine behavior by examining the evidence that shows what women actually were up to. In addition to the ways in which major writers and thinkers saw women, we want to know – how did women see themselves in Europe and the British Isles from 1500 to 1800? If asked “what is important to you?” or “what do you do?” how might they have answered? And how do these answers about women and womanliness affect our understanding of early modern men and masculinity? Using letters, court records, journals, art, and published treatises, we explore beyond the veil of the Victorian era’s celebration of “separate spheres”.

The Philosophy of Democracy (PHI2132.01)

This course examines the philosophical grounds of democracy as well as the critique of democracy. We ask what values and practices ought to anchor our understanding of democracy and engage with debates about the value of democracy. This class requires close reading of primary philosophical texts and a number of written papers.

Philosophy & Biography: Wittgenstein (PHI4105.01)

Ludwig Wittgenstein is one of the most influential and important of twentieth century philosophers and one of its most enigmatic characters. In this course you will read two of Wittgenstein’s central works, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and Philosophical Investigations. We will arrive at a detailed understanding of Wittgenstein’s philosophy, its themes, arguments and development. Alongside this philosophical journey you will read various biographies, memoirs, and fictionalized biographies of Wittgenstein’s life as well as viewing Derek Jarman’s film on the life of Wittgenstein. We will examine the connection between Wittgenstein’s life and his philosophy.

2D-3D-2D – Animation in a Created World (MA4203.01)

The class will be concerned with manipulating two dimensional imagery, creating three dimensional forms and models by utilizing the laser cutter, and finally animating forms, drawings, objects combined with the three dimensional world using tracking cameras and a green screen.

We will be moving backwards and forwards between creating worlds and manipulating these worlds, creating images to animate and animating them.

Original narratives, adapted stories, historical references will be used for source materials. Various animators will be looked at.

Farhad Mirza will be embedded in a portion of the classes.

Animation 1 (MA2105.01)

The class will be concerned with animating inanimate objects by stop motion, drawings, and cut out collages. A variety of filmmakers and techniques will be looked at during the course of the semester. Students will be expected to produce a variety of short projects followed by a longer more sustained project based on current events and environmental issues. Students will be instructed in using ‘Dragonframe’ Software, the Multiplane process, and video editing software. Experimentation with ways animation are presented will be undertaken; projection, web, etc.

Students are required to take History of Animation in conjunction with this class.

Corequisites: History of Animation

Chemistry 1: Chemical Principles (with Lab) (CHE2211.01)

This course is the first of a four-course chemistry sequence covering general, organic and biochemistry. Students do not need to take the entire sequence. We will focus on introductory chemical principles, including atomic theory, classical and quantum bonding concepts, molecular structure, organic functional groups, and the relationship between structure and properties. The class will have lecture/discussion meetings at which we will critically examine the major concepts of reading assignments, discuss articles, and review some of the current developments of the field. The aim of the laboratory will be to develop your experimental skills, especially your ability to design meaningful experiments, analyze data, and interpret observations. Some background in math (pre-calculus) would be helpful.

Corequisites: Lab

The Chemistry of Drugs and Natural Remedies (CHE2201.01)

We hear about new drugs all the time: on TV, in the news, the opioid crises, etc. There is also lots of advertising for alternative treatments for illness or well-being. People have many questions about how drugs, plants, or supplements work and how do you tell if they are effective. These and other questions are considered in this introductory course, open to all students. No science background is needed. We will learn the chemistry and biochemistry necessary to understand the relationship between drug shape and function. Students will investigate what is known about active ingredients in natural remedies and evaluate data on their effectiveness. Social, political, and economic issues and the connection between pharmaceutical companies, profit, and the health industry related to drugs will also be addressed. Students are expected to do research, write papers, present discussions in class, as well as show competence in the chemical background.

Adaptation (DRA2249.01)

Adaptation: A writer is a reader moved to imitation.

Appropriation, repurpose, pastiche, hybrid, sampling, remix, in conversation, mash up. Everyone knows that when you steal, steal from the best. When we write we may borrow the structure of a sonata, the plot from a story, the tang and tone of a novel, and characters from our own lives. Is everything we write adaptation? We will read 5-7 plays and novels, watch movie and musical adaptations, and adapt a myth, a poem, a news item, 3 inanimate objects, and a song. The final project will be an adaptation of a short story into a play that is 30-90 pages long.

Choice and Consequence: Alternative History (DRA2277.01)

The theater is the place where we learn how to be. At its best, it is a rehearsal for the great moments of our life, including our happinesses. Love, death, we see it on stage and it prepares us for our life.” —John Guare

A play is a metaphoric and empathic art form that seduces us into imaginatively making choices and suffering consequences along with the characters on stage. Every day in the real world, we watch as people make choices whose consequences are truly ours to share—some global, some local, some only in our dreams. What if we could rewrite those choices and change what happens to our lives, our world? We will read 5-7 works of literature and watch several films to explore how the narrative art form navigates and exploits the gravitational pull of history and how the cascade of choice and consequence organizes dramatic event.

Students will choose a public figure born after 1935 (politician, author, rock star, astronaut, etc.), research their life, and identify a series of their choices and resulting consequences. Students will then write a 30 to 90 minute play where their central character makes a different choice, and the world, as defined by the world of the play, changes.

Critical Conversations in Society, Culture & Thought: The Great Transformation at 75 (SCT2132.01)

This course will introduce students to Society, Culture & Thought by engaging with the work of one of Bennington College’s most remarkable former professors, Karl Polanyi. Seventy-five years ago, fleeing the rise of Naziism in Europe, Polanyi arrived at Bennington, and gave a series of public lectures that offered a bold new interpretation of what had gone wrong as the world fell into unprecedented turmoil. Soon, he was hard at work transforming these early thoughts into what became his magnum opus, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time. As the war and the manuscript both neared completion in 1944, Polanyi left the final revisions in the hands of colleagues at Bennington as he rushed back to Europe to put his stunning synthesis to work rebuilding the world.

This class will be structured into two parts. Over the first half of the term, we will read and dissect The Great Transformation through a range of disciplinary lenses, including political economy, anthropology, and politics. This half of the course will culminate with students attending The Great Transformation at 75, a convening of renowned public intellectuals, writers, and activists that aims to consider the relevance of The Great Transformation to our current political moment. The second half of the term will focus on using concepts and tools from the social sciences and humanities to consider the applicability of Polanyi’s ideas to today’s most pressing issues: globalization and market fundamentalism; the rise of hypernationalism and xenophobia; climate change and the commodification of nature; and the potential for reinvigorating democracy.

Foundations of Global Politics (POL2103.01)

In this wide-ranging introduction to the study of international politics, we will be exploring how states and non-state actors negotiate their interactions in an increasingly interconnected, interdependent and globalized world. Core themes will include: contending theoretical approaches to international relations (realism, liberalism/idealism, constructivism, structuralism, Marxism, feminism and post-colonialism); historical evolution of the international system; foreign policies of major global and regional powers; the growing roles of non-state transnational actors such as terrorist networks and humanitarian non-governmental organizations; multilateral organizations and other institutional architectures of global governance; alternative global futures; and case studies of policy responses and solutions to major global issues, including economic inequality, environmental challenges, armed conflicts and other forms of humanitarian crises.

History of Theater II (DRA2282.01)

This course offers a continuing introduction to the history and development of world theater and drama. We will experience the vibrant pageant of theater history through an exploration of its conventions and aesthetics, as well as its social and cultural functions. Starting in the nineteenth century, we will read representative plays ranging from the advent of stage Realism and Naturalism with Ibsen and Strindberg, through modern and contemporary drama. As we study theatrical movements including Symbolism, Expressionism, Epic Theater, and Theater of the Absurd, we will also read key critical and theoretical texts illuminating the plays. Looking at theater history as “living theater,” the course encompasses not only the study of plays as dramatic texts, but also their contexts of theater architecture and stagecraft, performance conventions, debates of art and commerce, and shifting relationships to the audience.

Introduction to Dramaturgy (DRA4281.01)

The dramaturg serves as a powerful medium in the theatre. She bridges the past and the present, the creative team and the audience, while providing critical generosity and historical and literary insight. In this course, we will learn about the history and practice of dramaturgy, while learning how the critical and research skills of the dramaturg can apply to a wide array of theatrical and artistic disciplines. Through weekly readings and assignments, students will engage with various tools and methods of dramaturgy, including text analysis, research skills, exploring the archive, theatrical translation, and Shakespearean dramaturgy. “Introduction to Dramaturgy” is recommended for theater practitioners—actors, directors, designers, and playwrights—as well as for students with an interest in literature, history, and criticism.

The Camp Aesthetic (DRA2167.01)

Sometimes seen as gaudy, perverse or excessive, camp is a sophisticated and consummately theatrical style, doubly viewing life as theater and gender as performance. Camp’s essence “is its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration,” as Susan Sontag argued in her epochal and controversial 1964 essay “Notes on Camp.” Developing historically as a language of the closet, the camp aesthetic has long since migrated from homosexual communities to the mainstream, even as it remains rooted in gay sensibilities (and is channeled by modern pop queens like Lady Gaga and Janelle Monáe). Starting in the late nineteenth century and traversing into our current “extreme camp moment” (as described by Andrew Bolton), this course will explore a varied canon of theater and film stemming from the camp imagination: florid, baroque, irreverent, and absurd, and often intersecting with drag performance. We will study theatrical work by playwrights such as Oscar Wilde, Jean Genet, Tennessee Williams, and Charles Busch; influential theaters like the Caffe Cino, the Ridiculous Theatrical Company, and Split Britches; and creator-performers of feminist camp such as Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, and Eartha Kitt. We also examine films by Jean Cocteau, Douglas Sirk, John Waters, Ken Russell, Pedro Almodóvar, and Anna Biller, among others. As students explore these theatrical and cinematic works, they will learn about camp’s shifting dualities of meaning: as a sensibility of both irony and affection; as object and gaze; as both art-for-art’s-sake style and subversive political tool that—in the words of Charles Ludlam—“turns values upside down.”

Directing II (DRA4376.01)

We will address the process of discerning a text’s dramatic potential and realizing that potential in performance by developing and implementing a directorial approach through analysis and rehearsal techniques. The term is divided between exercises and rehearsal of individual projects. The work of the course will culminate in a director’s approach essay, a rehearsal log, and a public performance of student-directed scenes.

The Actor’s Instrument (DRA2170.01, section 1)

An actor honors and bears witness to humanity by embodying and giving voice to the human element in the landscape of theatrical collaboration. Investigating the impulses and intuitions that make us unique as individuals can also identify that which constitutes our shared humanity. Through exploration of the fundamentals of performance, students address the actor’s body, voice, and imagination as instruments for creating drama, conflict, action and story. Course work includes: relaxation techniques, improvisation, basic sensory and imagination exercises, character analysis, and beginning text work. We will read and discuss several plays throughout the term, as well as theory.

Corequisites: Dance or Drama Lab Required

Kirk Jackson
T/F 10:30-12:20
This course is categorized as All courses, Drama.

Architecture I – Elements (ARC2101.01)

Introduction to the discipline of architectural exploration. Architecture I focuses on the formation of architectural concepts through the development of spatial investigations using scale models and drawings.

We begin with a series of abstract exercises which explore ways in which meaning is embedded in form, space and movement. These exercises gradually build into more complex architectural programs organized around particular problems.

In the second half of the term, small architectural projects will be developed on a campus site, culminating in a final presentation of measured drawings and a scale model.

Corequisites: Architectural Graphics

*When you register for this course online, the Registrar’s Office will register you in the corequisite course ARC 2104 Architectural Graphics on Wednesday, May 15*

Senior Projects (LIT4795.01)

For seniors working on critical or creative senior theses in Literature.Each student will devote the term to completing the draft of a unified manuscript in a single genre –- 75 pages of fiction or creative nonfiction, 50 pages of criticism, 30 pages of poetry, or a lengthy translation project. Every week, the class will critique individual manuscripts-in-progress. These peer critiques will be supplemented with multiple individual meetings with the instructor over the course of the term. Additionally, students will occasionally read and discuss outside work in order to consider the various strategies poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers employ in putting together a full-length manuscript. Students are asked to begin work on their projects during the summer. Full-length first drafts of projects will be completed by the end of the term.

Corequisite: Students are required to be in attendance at all Literature evenings and Poetry at Bennington events (most Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm).

The New York School of Poetry (LIT2198.01)

This course will serve as an immersion in the work of several major American poets of the 1950s and 1960s, noted for their humor, irreverence, disjunctive experimentation, charm, and wildness, and collectively known as the New York School. We will begin by focusing on the original generation of New York School poets: John Ashbery, Frank OHara, Kenneth Koch, James Schuyler, and Barbara Guest. We will also study the Abstract Expressionist painters who were these poets’ contemporaries and close friends, discuss connections between New York School poets and the French surrealists of the early 20th century, and examine the New York School against the cultural, political, and social landscape of 1960s New York. We will then trace the influence of the New York School on subsequent generations of writers, reading the work of Ted Berrigan, Joe Brainard, Dorothea Lasky, Bernadette Mayer, Eileen Myles, Alice Notley, Morgan Parker, Anne Waldman, and Dean Young. Students are responsible for weekly response papers, occasional creative imitations, and two longer critical projects.

Corequisites: Students are required to be in attendance at all Literature evenings and Poetry at Bennington events (most Wednesday evenings at 7:00p

Advanced Workshop for Painting and Drawing: The Contemporary Idiom (PAI4216.01)

This course is for experienced student artists with a firm commitment to serious work in the studio. Students will work primarily on self-directed projects in an effort to refine individual concerns and subject matter. Students will present work regularly for critique in class as well as for individual studio meetings with the instructor. Development of a strong work ethic will be crucial. There will be an emphasis on the growth of each student’s critical abilities, the skills to think clearly and speak articulately about one’s own work and the work of others. There will be supplemental readings, student research and presentations about the work of 20th and 21st century artists. Please note that this course may require additional materials to be purchased by the student.

Conspiracies: Past, Present, Always (HIS2112.01)

Conspiracy theories have a long and interesting history in American politics and culture. Indeed, some of today’s most interesting and diabolical conspiracy theories actually took hold in the era of the American Revolution. They have persisted across generations and centuries, periodically exploding into epidemic-level mass paranoia. Through select case studies, primary documents, cultural artifacts, films, and declassified dossiers, we will explore conspiracy theories as an enduring but not entirely benign phenomenon of everyday life in America. We will also explore the emerging use of social media, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence to create and disseminate conspiracy theories. Weekly readings, discussion posts, small-group activities, and projects.