Beginning Guitar (MIN2247.02, section 2)

Introduces the fundamentals of acoustic guitar playing, including hand positions, tuning, reading music, major and pentatonic scales, major, minor, and seventh chords, chord progressions, blues progressions, and simple arrangements of songs.

Corequisites: Must participate in Music Workshop (Tuesday, 6:30 – 8pm).

Beginning Guitar (MIN2247.01, section 1)

Introduces the fundamentals of acoustic guitar playing, including hand positions, tuning, reading music, major and pentatonic scales, major, minor, and seventh chords, chord progressions, blues progressions, and simple arrangements of songs.

Corequisites: Must participate in Music Workshop (Tuesday, 6:30 – 8pm).

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).

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.

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.

Intermediate Voice (MVO4301.01, section 1)

For students of varying levels of singing ability. Vocal production and physiology will be discussed. Group warm-ups and vocalizations will incorporate exercises to develop breath control, resonance, projection, range, color, and agility. The fundamental concepts of singing will be explored in the preparation of specific song assignments. Personalization of text and emotional expression will be addressed. Students will study and perform traditional classical song literature (including early Italian songs, 17-18th century arias and repertoire in several languages) to strengthen and to facilitate technical growth before moving on to other contemporary styles. Students will have half-hour repertory sessions every other week with an accompanist. Students must have previous voice experience and/or study, and some music literacy.

Corequisites: Attendance and participation in Music Workshop (T 6:30pm – 8:00pm)

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.

Movement Practice: Beginning-Intermediate Dance Technique (DAN2119.01)

In this basic intermediate course, we will work with imagery to help explore potential in the body. We will practice kinesthetic exercises that will help expand movement range, strength, and specificity. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the feeling of movement, deeply, and trusting it. From this we can understand how this feeling moves the body, and eventually how this body moves the space and bodies around it.

There are different kinds of effort involved in moving. We will look at these specifics in order to understand our affinities for particular movement. Once understood, it may open up a wide vocabulary. We will work on duration and endurance, so that they are not a hindrance. From there we can redetermine our capacities.

Movement Practice: Advanced Dance Technique (DAN4344.01)

In this advanced level course, we will focus on tapping into the subtle connections in the body. We will be using improvisational scores and somatic exercises to hone these connections and increase self-awareness. Gentle focus can be used to achieve high intensity movement. Tracking what we are doing as we do it–we will acknowledge the nervous system’s role in our movement efforts. It is important that we are able to do this with a non-judgmental mindset. We will learn to watch openly, gathering information from others, to increase possibilities in performance.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

Photography Remade (PHO2155.01)

This 2-credit course invites students to remake existing images, and explores digital techniques for adding, removing, combining, rearranging, and distorting content. Students are welcome to shoot their own photographs, however this is not required, and it is not necessary to have a camera. Instead, the emphasis will be on how to work creatively with image selection, manipulation, and display. The primary technical goal of the course will be to develop students’ skills in Photoshop, focusing on advanced, non-destructive techniques including a range of tools for selections and masking, multiple adjustment layers, and blending modes. Students will learn to make bold modifications, clean-edged collages, and seamless composites, while deepening their understanding of related historical and contemporary work. Readings, discussions, and slideshows will examine themes of redaction, negation, and erasure, as well as collecting, copying, collaging, and the complex relationship between photography and truth. We will also look at image manipulation in mobile apps and discuss how our relationship with photography is influenced by new technologies like augmented reality. Class time will include technical demonstrations and supervised practice in the digital photo lab, as well as group critiques and discussions. Students will be responsible for completing creative and technical assignments, readings, and a self-directed final project.

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.

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

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.”