This course examines the intersections of gender and agriculture, focusing on feminist and queer theories of agriculture. Students will examine international and local examples, queer agricultural movements, women farmers, capitalism, agrarianism, and the spectrum from subsistence to market-based to commodity agriculture. We will observe trends toward urbanization and consider the question of whether peasant farmers can feed the world. Students will explore the integration of subsistence through “DIY” and homesteading practices as they connect to food sovereignty. As a service learning component, students will develop a workshop that teaches a subsistence skill that relates to food or farming in the community.
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.
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.
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!
This class is a pre-production for a future project whether for a projection, an animation or installation. Research will be undertaken, with this research presented.
A catalogue of images, materials objects, and storyboarding along with creating a short tests for a longer project will be completed by the end of the term. Various situations, and presentation formats and locations will be discussed.
A project already started can be included in the class with permission of instructor.
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.
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.
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.
Whether it’s in your community, your state, your country or in the world, understanding the impacts of global warming and how to participate in future policy decisions has become an essential role of the citizen. This Fall 2019’s Public Policy Forum @ CAPA presents an opportunity to learn from policy makers, academics, and leading thinkers and activists on many aspects of the climate crisis from energy and food to water, and soils.
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.
How do we come to understand what we are doing when attempting to change or interfere with a messy complex social problem? How can we know if the thing we want to do to improve a social problem will work or backfire? There are many lessons from psychiatrists like RD Laing to cultural heroes like Hermès on this topic. Ideas Arrangements Effects will overview several lessons from a variety of schools of practice of solving human centered social problems. The course will help socially engaged artists find where their own thought habits and beliefs can get in the way of their attempts to improve social problems. The class will also offer students a genealogy of the schools of thought that informed the Design Studio for Social Intervention’s take on addressing social problems. As part of the course, students will set a problem they are intending to address and use the class as a design intensive to devise their own social intervention.
DS4SI’s book, Ideas Arrangements Effects would be the primary text, supplemented with readings that were critical in shaping our take on design and social change.
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.
How do you discern if your desired social practice art project is ethically sound as well as aesthetically relevant? This class will survey a series of social practice art projects, from high profile “art world” ones to small community-generated gestures, with the goal of evaluating if the project was properly thought through ethically and aesthetically. The class will also include diverse perspectives from the field of social practice art, social activism and art / literary criticism. The goal is not to supply students with a simple framework as much as it is to surface debates about the ways intended or unintended social practice art could exploit the populations or communities it intends to benefit.
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.
The common startup mythologies tend to promote the glamor of entrepreneurship. You will work hard in a basement or a garage with no money, but the brilliance of your idea will make you into a heroic (wind-swept) figure to whom investors, customers, and clients (and the popular press) will all be irresistibly attracted. These stories don’t map to reality for most.
In contrast, you need to get out of the garage, think more creatively so that you are adequately capitalized and can attract the talent you need for your enterprise development team. Competition and sustainable growth in the 21st century are enormous challenges which require your creativity and passion. They also require innovation, an equitable organizational structure, and a functional understanding of the regulations and law which either empower your enterprise to acquire (a) the capital in amounts and forms you can best utilize, (b) promote equity in compensation and ownership within your organization, and (c) maintain sufficiently control over the goals and direction of your venture.
During this 7-week course, we will quickly review and interrogate all common legal organizational form choices. We will then examine better choices in organizational legal form, their character and details, and learn how to create and utilize them and how they optimize and facilitate your ability to raise capital (which you will likely have to do over and over again). We will examine organizational designs which meet compensation equity and employee ownership goals, build the competitive and re-invention capacities of an enterprise, enable collaborative management and control, and sustainability. You will create your own innovative design and apply it to the preceding set of outcome metrics as part of the course. Further, we will examine pertinent enterprise law and regulation, like Reg. CF (Crowdfunding) and OPO (Online Public Offering) requirements and adapt our choices in organizational design and structure to make those options available.
The practice of underscoring movies is as old as film itself, from early improvised accompaniments to silent films, to the orchestrations of Ennio Morricone and Louis and Bebe Barron. In this course, we will look and listen to a variety of films and sound scores throughout the ages, analyzing the way in which they act as counterpoint to content and the visual score. Written analysis of diverse film sound design, foley, and musical accompaniments will serve as background to the studentsʹ own projects. Students will be expected to provide musical content to a variety of films by the end of the term (which may include collaborations with other student projects in video and animation) as well as orchestration of previously existing films. Students will be expected to record and sync their music within a digital environment. This course is a co-requisite with Sound Design for Moving Images.
Corequisites: Students must also register for Sound Design for Moving Images (MSR4120.01)
This class is an introduction to the creative approaches and applications of sound design and audio production for moving images. In this course, we will explore the techniques used in the audio post-production for moving images and focus on the role of the sound designer. We will focus on designing sounds using Foley, sound effects editing, and post-processing. Students will learn how to edit dialogue, sound effects, and music. Seminar style lectures will also be included where concepts and artistic approaches are discussed. This course is a co-requisite with Film Scoring.
Corequisites: Students must also register for Film Scoring (MCO4101.01)
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.
Screen printing is an extremely versatile means of reproducing a 2-D image onto a variety of objects. Hand-drawn, painted, photographic and digital images can be used singularly and in combination with each other. Preparation and processing is relatively simple and multiples can be produced quickly. In this class, we will print with non-toxic, water based inks.
We will begin by covering the basics: how to stretch a screen, coat it with photo-sensitive emulsion, expose and re-expose a variety of artwork. From there, we will delve into ink modification and color mixing, printing a single color, blending colors in split-fountain printing and clean-up.
After mastering these fundamental methods, students will learn registration techniques for printing multiple colors/layers and best practices for overprinting on paper. Additional areas of exploration may include printing on fabric and the use of repeated patterns, printing on other substrates and monotype printing (producing unique images).
This seven-week course is an opportunity to gain hands-on experience with the entire video and animation equipment inventory. In class we will use a wide variety of cameras, set up audio and lighting equipment, learn about camera stabilization, capture drone footage, and experiment with projectors. Throughout the course students will be asked to give live demonstrations and apply what they have learned to their discipline.
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.
The goals of this course are to gain ease and dexterity at the keyboard, developing a confident piano technique and the skill of reading musical notation. Students will expand upon the skills learned in Piano lab I, adding to a basic repertoire of scales and chords, use them in improvisation and harmonization of melodies. In addition they will explore a repertoire that utilizes the musical components covered and learn to perform selected compositions.
A readings course centered on the Usdan Gallery survey of fictional twentieth-century Czech architect Petra Andrejova-Molnár, created by artist Katarina Burin as a feminist meditation on the absence and erasure of women designers within the modernist canon. Exhibition components such as biographical texts, staged photographs, drawings, furniture, décor, and models provide the setting for texts on themes including gender, authorship, the fictive archive, and the mythos of “the architect.”
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
Basic techniques will include the reading music in treble and /or alto cleft in basic keys. Hand position including left-hand sifting and fingering will be shown, and a rudimentary facility with the bow will be developed in order for students to participate in simple ensemble performances by the end of the term.
Corequisites: must participate and perform at least twice in Music Workshop (Tu. 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm)
Basic techniques will include the reading of music in either treble/or alto clefs in the easy keys. Basic hand positions and appropriate fingerings will be shown, and a rudimentary facility with the bow will be developed in order that all students may participate in simple ensemble performance by the end of the term. The student must have a basic knowledge of reading music. Students will participate in a showcase at the end of the term.
The student must arrange for the use of a college instrument if needed (contact Music Coordinator)
Corequisites: Participation Music Workshop T 6:30-8:00
The Bennington County Choral Society, a community chorus conducted by Cailin Marcel Manson, promotes choral singing by presenting several concerts per year, and eagerly invites student participation. Auditions are not required, and singers of all levels and abilities are welcomed. To receive credit, students must attend all rehearsals and performances. Performances may be held at various locations in Bennington, and transportation may need to be arranged. Contact Kerry Ryer-Parke for more information.
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?
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.
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.
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.
“Economics is what economists do” says Jacob Viner. But what do economists do? And, how do they do it? This seminar will be concerned with these two questions. Our main objective will be develop an understanding of economics as a field of study and to explore how economics is applied to understand everyday issues that affect our material wellbeing. We will look at big issues, such as recession, unemployment, poverty and environmental degradations, as well as smaller issues, such as how to avoid paying too much money in a retail store, how rents of your apartment are determined, why online commercial websites can survive competition, and how automobile manufacturing companies can function profitably. In examining these large and small issue, we will explore how economists view the world and how economics has evolved as an intellectual discipline.
This is an introductory course and it has no prerequisites.
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.
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.
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
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.
A brief history of animated images from the 1500s to the present day. The class will be split into watching documentaries and animations along with discussions. A quiz and short responses will be required.
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
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
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 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.
This course, while rooted in Literature, is part of the Lexicons of Migration cluster. Taking as a point of departure Isabelle de Courtivron’s touchstone Bilingual Lives: Writers and Identity, students will update, complicate, and enrich the binary orientation of this collection, originally published in 2003. We will delve into the personal, familial, communal, and political dynamics of living diasporic, multi-lingual and multi-cultural lives. Our readings will include Madhu Kaza’s Kitchen Table Translation, Mireille Gansel’s Translation as Transhumance, and ark Polizzotti’s Sympathy for the Traitor: A Translation Manifesto; and a wide array of poems, stories, and hybrid texts from around the world.
Students will conceive, commission, edit, and design this online publication, which may culminate in a one-off print volume. There is the potential for editorial cooperation with students from Bard, Sarah Lawrence and Vassar; editorial calls for student submissions may be national and international.
We will host distinguished guest writer-translators; attendance at these events is mandatory.
Students from all disciplines are welcome.
What does it mean to be “rooted,” “uprooted,” “living in translation”? Can a language, literary tradition, or far-flung literary republic be one’s homeland? Does “cultural authority” derive from being considered “native”? How is it that immigrant literary translators have been met with apprehension on the part of publishers? Might this stem from definitions of “fluency” and “expertise” that are themselves full of anxiety, confusion, political vexation, and even bias? What about the age-old debate between “domesticating” texts from elsewhere and making the reader aware of the palpable signs of “foreign-ness” in the original? Should a language have a legitimized “standard” usage? These, and other questions, will fuel our discussions.
Course-Connected Visiting Translator Series: “Immigration and Diaspora” Attendance at Guest Readings is mandatory.
This class is part of the Lexicons of Migration Consortium with Bard, Sarah Lawrence and Vassar. There will be opportunities for exchange with the students and faculty from these partner institutions
How are groups identified, formed, reformed, sustained, absorbed, or disbanded? What is an individual’s responsibility towards the group? How is individuality acknowledged within the group? How do individuals handle becoming inseparable from the group?
In this project, we will investigate these questions though movement and discussion. We will work in groups, shifting participants, and place those groups in relationship to other groups, objects, costumes, spaces, lighting conditions, etc. Something that looks like one group from the outside may actually be a collection of three groups internally. We are looking for unpredictable dynamics, patterns, and ultimately surprise.
This class will culminate in some form of performance at the end of the term. As such, this class will periodically require additional meetings outside of scheduled class time.
Mallet Percussion Ensemble explores a variety of musical techniques while creating compositions for the mallet keyboard instrument. Works for mallet percussion are learned or arranged from composers such as Bach, Fernando Sor, Gordon Stout, Franz Schubert, Jobim, Miles, and popular songs. No prior experience for playing mallet keyboards is required, but reading music and pattern recognition is a plus. Rehearsing individually and attending lab as a group is highly recommended. Presenting solo and ensemble works-in-progress for music workshop and campus events are encouraged.
Corequisites: Piano, Composition.
“No one else in the world, to my knowledge, no one since Stanislavski, has investigated the nature of acting, its phenomenon, its meaning, the nature and science of its mental, physical, emotional process as deeply and completely as Grotowski”-Peter Brook
Jerzy Grotowski is considered one of the most influential theater practitioners of the 20th century. In this course we will explore the many phases of his research over forty years of unique and rigorous theatrical investigation. We will begin with the Theater of Performance and continue on through his Paratheatrical phase, Theater of Sources, Objective Drama and Art as a Vehicle. We will also investigate the work of several of the countless theater artists whose work he inspired. We will read Towards a Poor Theatre. Assignments will include a mid-term paper and a final paper/project.
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.
This beginning dance course requires no previous dance training.
Students are introduced to some basic principles of dancing by learning various movement patterns. The class also introduces the use of breath and somatic practices, which reflect some principles of Zen and Japanese somatic practices such as butoh and Water Body Movement (or Noguchi Taiso). Attention will be given to cultivating and sharpening each student’s awareness of time, space and energy, in order to understand and maximize the individual’s unique physical impulses and expressions. At the same time, we will be disciplining the body to move rhythmically and precisely with clear intentions and awareness.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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: 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.
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
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.
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.