This Module will be a chance for students to reflect on their identities, inner issues they are aware or not aware and the desire to be social change agents. Together we will explore key topics of non-violent communication, personal potentials for peacebuilding, community building skills and different methods to deal with our individual daily struggles to be more effective human beings.
This Module will serve as an introduction to the work of Peacebuilding around the world, both in theory and practice. Vahidin Omanovic, Director of Center for Peacebuilding in Bosnia, will be joining us to reflect on his work and introduce us to key topics in peacebuilding, including: peacebuilding in a local community, obstacles for peace, identity, discrimination, methods of sustainable peacebuilding.
Human mobility has been an inherent human condition throughout history. From earliest human history, women and men have migrated in search of a better life, to populate other places on the planet, or to escape and survive human-made or natural dangers. Today migration is a fact of life for an increasing number of people around the world: there are more than 244 million migrants in the world, and almost half are women. The overwhelming majority of people who move do so inside their own country. However, migration can often involve cross-border movements, from a developing to a developed country, or more commonly within the same region.
Today, human mobility as a multi-causal phenomenon implies that people are migrating for a variety of reasons, which may be economic, social, political or environmental. Individuals migrate from the places where they were living because of the violence generated by State and non-State actors, armed conflicts, inequality, poverty, a lack of protection of economic, social and cultural rights, political instability, corruption, insecurity, various forms of discrimination, natural disasters, and the impact of climate change. Also, it may imply situations where men and women are physically transported across border without their consent, as in the case of trafficking. The factors that draw the migrant population are predominantly the prospect of better security, improved employment or educational opportunities, better access to services, more favorable climatic conditions, and others.
Many States have regulated migration through policies, laws, judgments and practices that directly violate the human rights of migrants and their families. At the same time, States have developed standards and mechanisms at the international, regional, bilateral and unilateral levels to regulate the flow of persons between States. The many laws, rules and regulations, fora and institutions through which States control international migration, either unilaterally or bilaterally for the most part, have resulted in a lack of consistency in global, regional and national governance of international migration that poses a challenge for the universal and regional codes developed for the protection of human rights.
Mobility is different for men and women, both in terms of the reasons why they migrate as well as the impact wile in transit and upon arrival to the destination and beyond. In this course we will explore the international rules that apply in different mobility scenarios focusing particularly in the effect that it has on women.
Through the course the students will explore:
– What is human mobility?
– How does human mobility particularly affects women?
– What are the main human rights challenges that create?
– What are the main international instruments that safeguard women in a mobility context?
– What is the role of the international and regional organizations?
The course will provide a comprehensive understanding of the effect on human mobility on women; how women’s human rights are affected by States’ policies and practices; and what is their protection under international human rights law.
Human rights are universal legal guarantees that protect individuals and groups against actions that interfere with fundamental freedoms and human dignity. Under international human rights law, States have the responsibility to respect, protect and fulfill human rights for all. If these obligations are not met, international legal action can be taken. Based on the international legal standards adopted by the international community through the time, this course aims to provide the students with the basic concepts of international human rights law, its sources, and the general protection institutions that exist to protect these guarantees. Through the course the students will explore:
– What are human rights?
– What are the main international instruments that safeguard human rights?
– Where do human rights rules come from?
– Who makes these rules? And who monitors those?
– What is the role of the international and regional organizations?
The course will provide a comprehensive understanding of the International Human Rights Law and its importance.
Neoliberal culture asks us to see ourselves exclusively through our capacity to buy, sell, accumulate “likes” and “followers” and to do it as individuals. And the neoliberal cultural project tends to render invisible or illegitimate any alternatives to it as an orientation to social life. However there exists examples of cultural projects that remained on the outside of neoliberalism’s program, that weren’t conducive to assimilation. House music culture is one such example. This class will study house music culture in contrast to neoliberal forms popular culture. It will posit that the house scene spanning forty years contains glimpses of what Stephen Duncombe, calls “micro utopia” – temporary manifestations of an ideal civic culture.
We will surface the tacit, deep logics and practices of house music culture from its nascent days from David Mancuso’s Loft and Nicky Siano’s Gallery, Frankie Knuckles Warehouse and Ron Hardy’s Music Box to its present manifestations globally. We will compare these logics to those within neoliberal popular cultural projects that we are currently enmeshed within. This course will borrow from cultural studies, affect theory, performance studies, dance and dance studies. Students will be asked to develop prototypes of socially engaged art that intervene into neoliberal culture based on house music’s cultural logics.
Spatial Justice is concerned with how space produces and is a product of power. All social movements deal with some aspect of spatial injustice which makes it a useful way for movements to find possibilities for solidarity. There is also a growing constituency of artists—from socially engaged artists, to sculptors, scenographers, musicians, etc.—who are incorporating ideas from the concerns of spatial justice into their artistic practices. How do artists and makers work ideas like these? In this course we will both learn about the origins and thinkers behind spatial justice and learn how artists are influenced by and work with these ideas as well. Students will be expected to produce writings, performances or works of art that are somehow in response to the concerns surfaced within spatial justice as a body of thought.
Students enrolled in this course will meet weekly with the instructor to design and deliver programming for a spring term diversity conference. Enrolled students will be expected to familiarize themselves with readings provided by the instructor and will submit weekly updates of proposed conference activities. The final product will involve independent or collaborative programming activities for the conference and the submission of a written summary for compilation in a conference proceedings.
This course will examine social psychological approaches to promoting inclusivity. Content will include review of basic psychological processes that contribute to, and maintain bias in contemporary society; and on methods that can promote collaboration across difference. Topics will include: confirmation bias, tokenism, intergroup dynamics, social justice, and related concepts. Students will be expected to participate actively; examine, understand, and articulate different perspectives; and engage fully with the assigned readings and materials. Weekly assignments include 1-2 readings and short reflection papers. Students will also submit a final project that addresses a current area of exclusion at Bennington College.
This is a trans-disciplinary course that investigates local food sovereignty. Incorporating activities such as collective soup making to intersect with academic research and theoretical reading, this course aims to enhance our overall understandings about the modern day food chain (i.e. industrial food production and systems of distribution). The Soup-er Club will create participatory soup dinners, focusing on thematic discussions, to explore possibilities for making an inclusive space where direct dialog and face-to-face interaction with local residents, practitioners, and activists can be facilitated. Topics include: recapturing place-based food ways, repairing relations between individuals in communities, labor, and the regional stability of food systems.
This class will put focus on investigating various approaches to food studies while examining academic institutions’ curriculums and non-institutional models developed by civic and creative practitioners. This intensive Methodology Workshop provides opportunities to explore food as a pedagogical tool to “do food justice” and to practice trans-disciplinary research methods, including socially engaged art. We will examine the complexity of food issues in colonial and postcolonial constructions and in the context of globalism. Bearing in mind that cooking is both knowledge and practice, this class will engage in critical food studies beyond the confines of academic textbooks and encourage students to practice in-situ learning outside of the classroom. This course incorporates research oriented syllabus-building activities which shall contribute to establishing an inclusive food studies curriculum.
This one credit module is designed for students preparing to do advanced work in SCT during Fall 2020. In a series of workshops, students will work on formulating clear lines of inquiry and developing a research plan for their advanced work in SCT. Students will look at various examples of advanced work as presented by current seniors. Various SCT faculty members will present techniques for designing a research project. Students will meet with their section leaders to begin preparing for their senior work. Assessment will be based on the development of an individual research proposal with an initial bibliography.
The aim of this 7-week course is to provide students with the knowledge and skillsets necessary for acquiring financing for start-ups and existing entrepreneurial firms. Beginning with Title III of the JOBS Act (2012), the environment for financing organizations, including arts and culture and socially-responsible initiatives, was broadly liberalized. In the context of that new financing environment, you will learn how to adequately capitalize social, value-oriented enterprise. Importantly, we will eschew conventional models of financing and focus on building new and existing enterprise with this important, contemporary, value-oriented twist: utilizing only minimal debt and no venture capital. In this course you will acquire a depth of understanding regarding pertinent securities law, learn how to prepare the documentation for both selling intrastate stock (and why that is a good idea) and raising capital through existing crowdfunding portals with specific reference to Form C of Regulation CF, determine how much capital you need to raise, as well as how to match organizational legal form choices to your financing requirements.
Futures studies—also known as futurology—has been used by businesses and the military as part of a strategic planning toolkit. This framework of speculating about the future in systemic ways has been adopted by many contemporary artist collectives, in order to challenge assumptions of the present about outcomes in the future. These futuristic models are based on constraints—design limitations— that can spark wild imaginaries liberated from business-as- usual predictions. In this 7-week workshop we will create possible future scenarios in the forms of invented artifacts, writing, and framing devices. The features of these futures will draw from Investing in Futures, the artist-created constraint-design card deck (Mattu/Rothberg/Zurkow) which explores topics such as governance, living conditions, food, climate, technology, and range from possible to absurd.
In weeks 1-5, students in group collaborations will design and prototype pieces of specific future scenarios. In weeks 6-7 students will focus on collectively designing a futuristic EPCOT- like exhibit, which will be open to the community.
References and readings about future scenario design thinking, speculative design, and design fiction will also be explored in class. Learning outcomes: Introduction to futurology, speculative design, and systems thinking. Students will participate across media in constraint-based design, writing, and prototyping in a variety of media in rotating groups.
Daily practices connect makers over a duration of time to concepts, issues, and forms we care about. These practices are constrained by a set of guiding principles or frameworks, and are iterative by design. Because of the consistency of work (every day), a daily practice can change us and open us up to new ideas, techniques, and feelings. Daily practice as a concept is used in art-making, and also in theories of behavior change. This class brings both together, to create sustained experimental interventions (in public.)
In Daily Climate Change, students design daily practices related to climate change communication, behavior change, and participatory design. For example, a practice can focus on inter/personal or multi-species relations, a social justice campaign, or persuasive design for behavior change around a particular “wicked problem.” We proceed to create a complete, contained iteration of work every day in under 45 minutes. Work is shared and self-evaluated each week.
As we iterate in this 40-day daily practice, ideas and techniques evolve, and we learn to endure boredom and “failure;” we produce less preciously, and “think with our hands.” We also develop documentation techniques that leave a vivid trace of our efforts.
In this class we will also look at the work of people for whom daily practice has been integral to their work, including scientists, artists, spiritual practitioners, journalists, and hobbyists. Workshop time each week will be devoted to participation in short iterative design exercises in small groups.
No prior art-making experience is necessary for this course. All students are required to keep a daily record on a digital platform (i.e. Tumblr), linked to the class blog. Come prepared to make a daily commitment to this practice, regardless of weather, travel or other exigencies! There is no final for this class but the work will conclude with a required written self-reflection on process and outcomes.
All students will keep a blog or doc, linked to the class google drive.
Learning outcomes: iterative and constraint-based design, a deeper understanding of self-defined climate change challenges, exposure to persuasive design and climate change psychology, durational work, documentation.
In this project-based course, we will collectively engage creative documentation, written, discursive and embodied practices in the production of an online zine and podcast in order to explore the challenges of documenting dance processes, live performance, and the creative communities that gather around these practices.
Attuning ourselves to the ephemera that surround and imbue live, embodied forms, we will consider the multi-sensory, affective, and collective modes through which dance is activated and activates in order to re-configure our understanding of the archive not as a static record of the past, but a protean, contestable, multivalent, and embodied process.
Throughout the course we will reflect on historical and contemporary materials and texts as we critically engage questions around what and who comes to have significance and value through the archive and how an artist’s participation in the archive can be employed as a method for reflecting on and deepening engagement with one’s own work and the work of others. How might these processes be used as critical tools for deepening and expanding one’s own creative process while contributing to discourse in the field and reflection on contemporary issues? Students will be expected to write regularly. Time in class will be spent workshopping each other’s work, responding to readings, and working collaboratively to interview visiting artists and guests and share content.
Co-requisite: Dance or Drama lab assignment if students sign up for 4 or more credits in dance.
This course examines the movement of early‐modern freethinkers who championed individual autonomy and questioned the authority of religious, moral, social, and political thought. We will focus particular attention on questions of pleasure and morality, sexuality and power, authority and subversion. Writers studied will include Prévost (Manon Lescaut), Laclos (Liaisons Dangereuses), and Sade. Readings, critical written assignments, and oral presentations. Conducted in English.
As water—through floods and droughts alike—continues to reshape the geography of the world around us, this course will look at waterscapes as written by women: Rachel Carson’s The Edge of the Sea, Annie Dillard’s A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and Terry Tempest Williams’s Refuge. Science, poetry, and ideas of conservation converge here. As a marine biologist, Carson wrote with exactitude and lyricism of the liminal environment, while Dillard’s evocative personal essays offer a glimpse into how the natural world can inform the human spirit. Williams offers a more elegiac account of landscape and family. The sensibilities and convictions of these women offer views to environmental literature that bring a different dimension to a genre of expression often associated with male adventure and audacity.
A large part of modern mathematics has to do with how we conceptualize and manage the idea of infinity. This occurs in different places: the infinity of the horizon line that appeared with the development of perspective drawing, the infinitely small and infinitely many quantities of calculus, the infinite depth of fractals. This class will survey some of these concepts and briefly talk about how they are formalized in mathematics. There will be a particular emphasis on Cantor’s set theory, which was developed in the late nineteenth century, and which provided new logical tools and a new language to talk about infinite quantities. No mathematical background or knowledge will be assumed.
Much of higher mathematics has more in common with solving puzzles than it does with performing algebra drills. In this class, I will be proposing puzzles, and providing coaching and strategies for getting better at doing puzzles. Many of the reasoning skills will be valuable broadly in life, not only in mathematics. No special math knowledge will be needed.
Advanced mathematics is largely about logical argument, as much as it is computation or calculation. Over time, as each generation extended their ideas into new realms, they looked at the logical arguments of their predecessors and found that there were gaps, elisions, things that were not fully understood. One could imagine that this process might continue forever, but it does not: in the early twentieth century, a number of mathematicians (most notably Hilbert) completed the project of “hitting bedrock”, finding a clear demarcation line between certainty and uncertainty. This required a clarification about what mathematics and reasoning are about (“formalism”). These profound ideas deserve to be better known outside of professional mathematics. (Later, some mathematicians (notably Gödel) used this framework to show the limitations of the framework, in a different and more precise sense than before.) In this class we will go through the development of these ideas. No mathematical knowledge will be assumed.
This course introduces students to the basic language of 3D animation and modeling. Students will be expected to become familiar with the basic principles of the MAYA program. A series of modeled objects placed in locations will be created. The emphasis will be on becoming proficient with modeling forms, texturing using Arnold Renderer, adding lights and cameras.
This scriptorium, a “place for writing,” functions 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 explore the genre of Ekphrasis, which can be simply defined as a literary description of a work of art or as a rhetorical device in which one medium of art responds to another. We will study classical and modern examples of ekphrasis and read critical theory about representation, influence, copies, modernity, verisimilitude, beauty, and truth. We will ask ourselves these pressing questions: How can we accurately and imaginatively describe a work of art? How can we capture a work’s meaning, form, and effect on the audience? What are the tensions and possibilities between literature and the visual arts? Readings may include texts by Plato, Berger, Wilde, Homer, Scarry, Benjamin, Ovid, Keats, Browning, Young, Loy, Auden, Coste Lewis, hooks, Dijkstra, Hall, Sontag, Mitchell.
Logarithms are one of the parts of mathematics that often remain a bit mysterious to people, even if they had no difficulty solving problems with them in school. In fact, logarithms are of far broader importance and interest than the narrow applications one usually sees; and seeing this broader picture helps in dispelling some of the mystery and in understanding what they are. In this class we will see new ways of counting, new ways of understanding number and estimating mentally, and new ways of comprehending data, all based in logarithms. I will not be assuming that you know or remember anything about logarithms; part of the point will be to explain them, from the beginning, in a variety of ways.
The class will be concerned with investigating the interaction of projected imagery with an actor/performer/viewer.
Investigation will center on how projections can be integrated into, and bring further information to a location, a set and or a text. Various examples will be looked at and researched.
Two plays or texts will be used as a basis for two projects and for each, projections will be designed, and tested including different locations and on different surfaces.
The images can be created in a number of programs, with the content and how this works with the locations will be the main focus. Instruction on Qab and Madmapper will be included and used for the tests along with other software.
Vandercook Proofing Presses were once a vital aspect of the printing industry and have been adopted widely by artists for letterpress printing and book arts. Bennington College is fortunate to possess three Vandercooks, housed in the Word and Image Lab.
Using type-high plywood blocks, oil-based and non-toxic, water-soluble inks, we will examine different approaches to mark-making: from graphic and angular to painterly and gestural. We will cover color mixing, printing in multiple-colors and producing multiples/editions.
Students will learn image preparation and transfer methods, sharpening and care of tools, wood carving methods, ink and paper preparation, hand-inking and rolling techniques, printing on the Vandercook proofing press and by hand. Additional areas of experimentation may include using stencils, layering color and a variety of monotype techniques and embossment.
Experienced and beginning woodcutters/relief printmakers are welcome to join us.
What is a more valuable piece of matter? Could it be something that will degrade in this art world and be okay? String, cotton-balls and rubber bands may be what should be affixed to your unique prosthetic to complete a task given.
This course will cover information and techniques related to body casting, wire rope rigging, fabricating, building processes and encourage personal material resourcing. This is a project based performance course in which you will have problems set to define and complete. Your found solution will be evaluated on how thoroughly you analyzed the task, by way of experimentation of intent represented in prototyping and drawings, as well as showing a final function.
This course is directed at the student who is interested in furthering a visual vocabulary and conceptual enhancement through material introductions and demonstrations. The class will be based primarily on mastering methods of working with both thermo forming and thermo setting plastics. Often I have students come to me and ask how they can find some solution to the way a project may be leading them…the answer is never simple, on the contrary, this class will introduce you to learning around a problem. Observing close to what you were looking for however understanding that these decisions on material selection and their safe manipulation will create and develop new rich conceptual directions. Questions about questions like: Is this the most interesting solution? What is interesting? The foundation of this course is designed around the encouragement to experiment fearlessly towards finding a richer material language.
To most of you, the 1960’s might seem like ancient history. There wasn’t even social media! You might be surprised to find out that many of the problems confronted by the student movement during that time are the same as problems we see today. Although the student uprisings seemed focused on the Vietnam War, many other issues were part of the struggle: workers strikes, antiracist actions, the changing role of women in society, the question of violence/pacifism, and the ecological crisis. This seven-week class will use readings, discussions, guest speakers, and individual projects to examine the role of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) in mobilizing a national movement based on grassroots organizing, its part in generating antiwar sentiment, and its location within the broader terrain of ’60s struggles.
This class will introduce Isadora, a software designed for artists, designers and performers to add interactive media and video to their projects. Through a drag and drop node based interface you can control your media in real time, editing your video and audio on the fly or incorporating live video and audio feeds. Together we will learn the logic of the software and best practices for media management and equipment set up in pursuit of our creative ideas.
Auditions are an opportunity to develop your artistic voice and your confidence in that voice through self-critique. In this class we will work to demystify the process of auditioning and understand how to prepare and present work under challenging circumstances. We will cover cold readings, monologues and prepared scenes, with an in-depth look at each step of the process, from the artist’s point of view. We will address physical movement, text analysis, making choices, taking direction, interviewing, prep and post audition activity in order to experience the entire audition as a work of artistic expression. We will work towards developing a sense of self-evaluation that allows us to be independent of the need for feedback as well as the skills to participate in constructive feedback sessions. Students present work weekly.
In this course, based on the book Speaking of Earth, edited by Alon Tal, we will read twenty inspiring speeches by leading environmentalists around the world that examine a broad range of environmental issues. Included in the course is Rachel Carson’s defense of her ground breaking book Silent Spring, Prince Charles’s passionate call for sustainable agriculture, and the Dalai Lama’s explanation of a path to ecological harmony. The module will include participants in the class writing their own speech.
This course is designed for students of all disciplines who are interested in connecting their discrete creations (a poem, a drawing, an artwork, a product, an event) to larger systems, organizations, and possible art worlds. In this course, we will examine the ways in which every aspect of your production and distribution process — from sourcing materials to organizing your studio to licensing and acquisition — can deepen your work and remind people of your intentions as an artist. Through in-person meetings, guest presentations, group activities, and readings, you will be introduced to contemporary artists and designers who consider the entire life of their projects, and who develop ways for their projects to circulate in multiple art and design worlds. You will be exposed to a range of creations and systems, from networks of conceptual artists to solidarity co-ops, from alternative currency groups to online start-ups. Throughout the course, you will be challenged to identify art worlds that are appropriate to your work and to your concerns, drawing connections to a series of organizations, collectives and interconnected art and design worlds.
Marx’s ideas remain an important source of political and social science thought. This class requires students to engage in a close and critical reading of a number of Marx’s essays and to assess his work in the light of critical philosophical responses.
Privacy has long been regarded as important and yet claims to privacy have been frequently challenged and often overridden by political, economic, and technological considerations. Do we have a right to privacy? If so, what is its philosophical justification and what essential human goods and capacities does it protect? In what circumstances and for what reasons can we be asked to forfeit our privacy? This course examines these questions via a close reading of the philosophical literature.
The role of drawing has changed over the history of art, from primitive recording to preliminary sketch, from documentation to works that function independently. How can we expand these notions to include the remnants of the making process. Can the research done before a project, the many mistakes made in process, or the discards left after completion of an artwork be considered acts of drawing? What happens in the moments when we think we aren’t working? Can we analyze our interactions with the world that lead to a certain way of making things? What is the necessity or value of ruins?
In this course students collect, analyze, and employ the physical and conceptual detritus surrounding their making process. Topics include: idea generation and development, the use of memory, teaching and learning, and drawing as a way of thinking. In-class activities and discussions are complemented by readings, writings, and the production of an individual body of work, including an elaborate commonplace book. Students are expected to be engaged in a concurrent 4000 level studio/making course.
This introductory seminar will consider and juxtapose the 19th century British Romantic poet John Keats and the 20th century American modernist poet Wallace Stevens, both of whom were rigorous craftsmen, provocative thinkers, and aesthetic theorists who argued fervently for the supremacy of the imagination, the interconnectedness of truth and beauty, and the importance of mystery and uncertainty in poetry. Alternating between Keats and Stevens, we will consider the poetry and critical prose of both writers and look for common threads, both in their writing and artistic sensibility. We will write two short critical essays and together engage in intensive close readings of each poet’s work.