Archives

Hybrids: Alternative Photographic Methods (PHO4215.01)

Students in this interdisciplinary course will focus on combining photographic media with other materials and artistic disciplines.  They will explore the techniques that directly manipulate the image before, during and after recording photograph. Experimentation and creative risk taking throughout the various assignments will be stressed. Through this process of experimentation students will produce projects in two dimensional and three dimensional formats using these various techniques.

Dalcroze Eurhythmics: Groove, Gesture, and Embodied Knowing (MFN2114.01)

Emile Jaques-Dalcroze (1865-1950) saw all music as a metaphor for the body experiencing itself. We don’t just hear music: we feel it, and the Swiss-born composer and teacher invented a whole coursework to musically explore our sixth sense, proprioception. In Eurhythmics, (greek for ‘good flow’) we’ll play with embodiment as the origin of dynamic, felt experience, designing games of movement and music to challenge the depth, breadth, and quality of our awareness. Students’ weekly homework–reading and labelling scores and leadsheets to understand the grammar of music: notes, rhythms, and harmonies–will help build fundamentals of musicianship, alongside exercises in rhythm, singing, and reading.

Development and Evolution of Language (PSY4116.01)

Relying heavily on evolutionary developmental biology, we will investigate transdisciplinary questions about origins of language. On the surface, we will look at the evolution of language, including the physical and cognitive aspects of language, and the individual developmental trajectories each of us takes in our learning of a language (or two or three). More deeply, we necessarily draw on computational modelling, archaeology, physical anthropology, psychology, comparative cognition, and cultural anthropology to try to understand the parameters of this topic, and the evidence within. As students in the class, you will be asked to think deeply, critically, and broadly in areas where we have little evidence or, more frequently, contradictory evidence. This is not a class where there is a “right” answer. Rather we come at these questions with little bits of evidence and most importantly, our big brains.

Cognitive Development: Where do our Brains Come From? (PSY2235.01)

Students are introduced to the major theories, methods, and research findings of cognitive development, particularly as they apply to infancy and childhood. In order to best understand the findings of the field, students will read journal articles in cognitive development. These will include research on topics as varied as the development of problem solving and reasoning behaviours in young children, naive theories of biology, number, and physics and their role in cognition, and the effect of social cognition on children’s behaviour. Our work will investigate the research methods we use to study beings without speech (infants) and those with brains very different from our own (preschoolers), and how we use this evidence to develop theories. We will conclude by learning about some of the common cognitive disabilities and how each predicts a different constellation of behaviour deficits.

Women and Human Mobility (APA2213.03)

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.

(April 9, 13, 16, 20, 23, 27)

International Human Rights Law (APA2221.03)

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.

(April 9, 13, 16, 20, 23, 27)

Theater Games and Improvisation (DRA2123.01)

Whose class is this anyway? Improvisation is for everyone. Life is made up as it happens and improv is no different. This course will explore the basic elements of improvisation. Through short and long form theater games, pattern and rhythm exercises, we aim to heighten observation, listening skills, and ensemble building. Character, object, and environment work will be explored as well. Our goal is remaining truthful and honest in an improvised scene or monologue. This course will draw from improv gurus such as Del Close and Mick Napier, and the practices of National Comedy Theatre and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. Of course, the course will culminate in a public performance of improvised madness.

Social Practices: House Music vs Neoliberalism (APA2184.02)

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: Incorporating Social Theory into Artistic Practice (APA2183.01)

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.

The Five Obstructions (MCO4125.01)

A song feedback collective, focused on how musical restrictions can spur us to growth. Over the course of the term, students will write 5 songs (or revise a single song in radical ways) based on the critique and decisions of the group. We’ll discuss how to form supportive but insightful critique while challenging each other to go new places. What does it take to create a song based on someone else’s text, completely a capella, or without a single chord? How do you welcome in new materials and collaborators, from across genre and style?

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

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

Corequisites: Drama Lab

Advanced Projects in Video II (FV4242.01)

Students will work towards completing one significant/thesis work or body of work of their own devising during the course of the semester. Emphasis will be on depth of content, refining aesthetic, conceptual, and technical approach, and in-depth peer critiques of works in progress.  This is the “second half” of Advanced Projects.  The first half (fall 2019) emphasized research, storyline development, and other aspects of pre-production.  In this second half (spring 2020), students should have a solid idea of concept, and production/shooting should already be underway and/or complete.  Together, we will look at different aspects of post-production, from different models of editing, correcting color and sound, and methods of final presentation, from cinematic screening to multimedia installation and online platforms. We will also address production issues (shooting, lighting, sound, etc) on a per-student basis, based on the needs of their own specific projects – and address practicalities such as the Senior Show and building a moving image portfolio.

Advanced Ceramics Projects – Self & Clay (CER4315.01)

Sculpture and vessels are realized through an exchange between the medium and the self. The class will begin with the question: What is Sculpture? What is a Vessel? Projects will push forward conceptual topics specific to sculpture and vessels including form and presence, the body, light and illusion upon form, the transformation of materials through techniques and the generation of ideas through drawing, writing and making. This is an advanced level course for students who have developed technical sufficiency and have a desire to explore further in ceramic processes. This class will provide a framework for explorations into making and thinking that will eventually become the foundation for a self-directed practice. The philosophy and vocabulary of 3D work and the techniques for self-generating projects will be the primary focus of this class.

Food and Politics: A Food Citizens Methodology Workshop (APA4160.02)

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.

Action Research Lab for Food Sovereignty (APA4239.01)

Action research is a methodology for learning while doing and food sovereignty is the practice of self-determination in food systems. Food sovereignty projects solve food insecurity by empowering communities and individuals to produce their own culturally appropriate food and medicine. The class will split into 4 groups, each working on a different food sovereignty related project in Bennington County. The class as a whole will meet to discuss literature on action research methodologies and food sovereignty. Community engagement projects include: 1) building a permaculture garden at a domestic violence safe house; 2) organizing and hosting a local food conference for individuals and organizations in Bennington County; 3) working with a local school on food and garden education; and 4) working with the Purple Carrot Farm on campus.

Financing Social Value Oriented Enterprise (cancelled)

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.

Price Theory (PEC2218.01)

A central element of the “economic problem” is scarcity. In a market economy, prices play a crucial role in addressing this problem. This course examines how the system of prices work. This is an introductory course in microeconomic theory and applications. We will explore the basic ideas in the course verbally and through written expositions, and we will use graphs and mathematical formulations to express the key concepts in formal terms. For this, a grasp of high-school algebra and geometry is required, and some knowledge of calculus may be advantageous. No prior knowledge of economics is necessary to take this course.

Identities and Affinities (PHI4109.01)

Each of us has multiple social identities. We belong to different social groups and are categorized along various social dimensions. What is involved in being a member of a race, gender, class, nation, sexual affinity, ethnic, or religious group? Are these groups somehow “natural” or objectively real? Are these groups “social constructs”? What, ultimately, is the social world made of? Furthermore, do we have specific obligations based on our social identities? In this course, we will undertake a philosophical investigation of these and other questions regarding social identities. The course will have two main parts: (1) ontological – an inquiry into social reality and social kinds (2) ethical/political – an inquiry into the obligations that attach to social identities. We will use the methods of philosophical analysis, argument, and close reading. Likely course readings include works by: Linda Alcoff, Anthony Appiah, Gloria Anzaldúa, W.E.B du Bois, Jorge Gracia, Cressida Heyes, Ian Hacking, Sally Haslanger, Charles Mills, Ron Mallon, and Naomi Zack. 

Improvisation Ensemble for Musicians and Dancers (DAN4357.01)

This advanced course focuses on work in the performance of improvisation. For dancers, special attention is given to the development of individual movement vocabularies, physical contact and interaction, and the exploration of forms and structures.

For musicians, special attention is given to creating rhythms and sonorities which can then be manipulated and developed while interacting with dancers in the moment.

Dancers are expected to have experience with improvisation in performance and are asked to develop a structure for the group. Musicians should have basic skills on their instrument and be able create and convey a sense of form to other musicians in an efficient way.

**Both dancers and musicians will meet together on Mondays 3:40-5:30. Musicians will meet Wednesday 4:10-6:00. Dancers will meet Thursday 3:40-5:30.**

Early-Modern French Libertine Literature (FRE2107.02)

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.

Stephen Shapiro
M/Th 1:40-3:30 (second seven weeks)
This course is categorized as All courses, French.

Technical Topics: Video and Animation Post-Production (FV2143.01)

This 2 credit course will be focused on developing post-production editing skills within Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects. The topics covered are applicable to any video based project within any discipline and include color correction, text and graphics, masking, compositing, key framing, and the visual language of editing. Students will be working independently at their own pace and are encouraged to use their own pre-recorded content and/or found footage. No previous editing experience is required – advanced students will be given the opportunity to research and apply specific post-production workflows of their choice.

NGOs, Peacebuilding, and Development (SCT4109.01)

In the last thirty years, non-governmental organizations have played an outsized role in global affairs, perhaps most notably in development and peacebuilding processes. How did the NGO form develop, and why? How do NGOs interact with states, global institutions, and grassroots populations in the Global South? What effects – positive, negative, and complicated – have NGOs had on global affairs, and how are their roles changing in the 21st century? This course will critically examine the work of NGOs in peace and development around the world, with a concentration on Latin America. Students will use the lenses of political economy, social movement studies, and gender studies to examine various NGOs in order to better understand their complex dynamics, and apply their understanding to a critical analysis of a particular NGO. Students who have worked with NGOs in Field Work Term can expect to incorporate their experiences into the classroom.

Fashion and Modernism (VA4129.01)

“Let There Be Fashion, Down With Art” –Max Ernst

The rise of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution led to radical shifts in politics and art in the late 19th century. Fashion acts as a powerful analogue to and forecaster of Modernism. Artists such as Henri Matisse, Leon Bakst, Sonia Delaunay and Salvador Dali took note of fashion’s nascent agency and created clothing as a means of engaging the new political, social and cultural landscapes of the 20th Century. Influenced by Charles Baudelaire’s radical questioning of beauty and fashion, artists attempted to define fashion’s role in culture, manipulating it to reflect their own proclivities. This course will introduce and reconsider various movements such as Cubism, Fauvism, Futurism, Constructivism, Dada, and Surrealism through the lens of fashion, investigating the various agendas and ideologies deployed. Students will create artworks that engage the political spectrum as it intersects with Modernism’s aesthetic partisanship, including the creation of original garments. While this is a studio course, there will be weekly reading assignments and discussion as well as critiques. Students may work in a variety of media, including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, video, or costume design. A high degree of motivation is expected. 

Intermediate Violin/Viola (MIN4232.01)

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. 6:30pm ~8pm)

Beginning Violin/Viola (MIN2241.01)

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 arrange for the use of a college instrument if needed (contact Music Coordinator, ext. #4519).

Corequisites: Participation Music Workshop T 6:30-8:00

Senior Projects (MPF4226.01)

This course will serve as a forum for technical planning and feedback for seniors scheduling a musical show or installation in Spring 2020. The majority of work for any senior show will be expected to be composed and/or collected by the beginning of the term. Students will be required to pick an advisor from appropriate music faculty to advise their particular projects as they develop. The course will introduce students to the challenges of sound design, drama, and visuals within a multi-disciplinary college community, and in creating successful collaborations, rehearsals, and techs.

Movement Practice: Partnering (DAN2179.01)

In this class we will move in and out of physical contact with other dancers and objects. As a foundation for the partnering, we will work on proprioception, an awareness of one’s own body, and how this is communicated to a partner.

In turn, each person needs to develop skills in receiving information from the partner, without necessarily seeing them.

With others, we will explore weight sharing, center sharing, and counter balancing, to give ourselves a broad understanding of different pathways, ideas, and how to use them. Standing up, sitting down, or upside down we will learn to process and direct the information our bodies are sending and receiving. We will work with technical exercises, choreographies, and improvisational scores.

Co-requisite: Dance or Drama lab assignment if students sign up for 4 or more credits in dance.

Theory of Impressionism (MTH4112.01)

This seminar will look at works by Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, as well as by Erik Satie, Les Six, Fauré, and diverse U.S. composers at the turn of the 20th century. We will start by looking at Debussy’s Preludes as a microcosm of his harmonic style, and then analyze major orchestral works. Ravel’s Tombeau de Couperin, String Quartet, and select songs will also be analyzed. Students will be expected to write analyses of short works, and to contextualize the innovations of Debussy and Ravel within the complex literary and visual styles of fin-de-siècle France. This course will have special assignments for those who wish to explore advanced harmonic analyses of these works. Students must be able to read notation fluently.

Piano Lab II (MIN4236.01)

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.

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

In this basic intermediate dance course, students are introduced to some fundamental 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.

Co-requisite: Dance or Drama lab assignment if students sign up for 4 or more credits in dance.

The Musical “Other”: Exoticism, Appropriation, and Multiculturalism (MHI4131.01)

How has the cultural “Other” been represented in Western music? How can composers and performers create with a clear conscience and use source material ethically? We will examine a large repertory of works from the early Baroque period through the Twenty-first century, investigating the uses and abuses of non-Western musical sources. Beyond the classics, we’ll talk about mid-century exotica music, gaming, World’s Fairs, the Eurovision song contest, Hollywood soundtracks, Broadway musicals, pop music, and jazz. We will discuss the World Music industry, crate diggers and sampling, reissues of “lost” world music on vinyl, and contemporary ways of consuming and listening to music. We’ll dig into concepts like Orientalism, exoticism, a la Turca, Chinoiserie, appropriation, and many more. Exploring each composition within its own cultural, political, and musical context, we will attempt to answer certain key questions: why was it written and for whom? Does the composition foster understanding between different cultures or reinforce racial and ethnic stereotypes? What sorts of power relations are inherent in the composition, production, and reception of these musical works? This course is open to students from all areas of study.

Balkan Ensemble (MPF4204.01)

Balkan music is fierce brass, complex harmonies, and mind-bending asymmetrical dances. It is spirited Serbian wedding music, dissonant village songs, devastating Bosnian love ballads, saucy songs of the Greek underworld, and heart-pounding Turkish rhythms. In the Bennington Balkan Ensemble, we will learn to perform a variety of traditional, urban, village, and popular music from Southeast Europe. Singing and playing indigenous, orchestral, and electronic instruments, we’ll explore repertoire from Albania, Greece, Bosnia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosova, Turkey, Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia. Student, faculty and staff singers and instrumentalists of all types (strings, percussion, woodwinds, brass, etc.) are welcome in this ensemble.  Be prepared to sing, play, improvise, and dance.  Audition and instructor approval required.

Corequisites: Participation and performance at Music Workshop T 6:30-8:00

Bennington Plays: Playwrights (DRA4163.01)

This project-based class is for playwrights engaged in the process and techniques of rewriting and staging their plays. The majority of rewrites may happen prior to the semester, but substantial rewrites could emerge as essential during the production period. Collaborating with the director, actors, and designers will be the heart of this class.

Playwrights are expected to also serve as collective support for the other playwrights whose plays are being produced. In addition to the 4 plays receiving production, up to 6 other plays will receive staged readings as part of the festival.

We will meet as a group at least once a week, on Monday night, with the other nights designated for individual rehearsals. Playwrights will attend Production Meetings and outside Design meetings. Rehearsals culminate in public performances of multiple works staged in workshop productions supported by minimal design. Playwrights will also write a post-performance reflective essay.

Sherry Kramer
M/T/W/Th/F 7:00-10:00 (with some weekend rehearsals)
This course is categorized as All courses, Drama.

Avant Garde Art in China (CHI4507.01)

Art is always somehow a reflection of the culture and society in which it is produced. In this class we will explore the ways in which contemporary (post-Mao) Chinese art reflects on modern Chinese culture and society. Each class or every other class, students will be given a packet with visual and written information on a particular work of art with a vocabulary list and grammar points for that material. Documentaries will also be used as a source of authentic input. Students will be expected to prepare to discuss the material in Chinese with the teacher and classmates during the next class meeting.

Corequisites: Language Series

Creation of Statistics (MAT2247.01)

The amount of data in the world is vast and is increasing exponentially. It is easy to become overwhelmed and lose sight of the goal of data: to answer questions we have about the world in a specific, concise manner. The goal of this course is to help craft answerable questions—and then answer them. In order to do this, we will be using a programming language (“R”) to help us organize data, make clean, clear graphs, and help with appropriate analysis of the data.

This course will serve two main goals. The first is an introductory statistics course: gain knowledge of the basic statistical tests, how to interpret their results in a reasonable manner, and understand what those tests are doing at a conceptual level. The second is to learn the computational language of R: how to sort, shape, and handle data, create simulations and interpret the results, and build clean, clear graphical representations of the data presented.

This course is taught at the introductory level and has no prerequisites, but does require a significant amount of time and energy outside of the classroom as we are working towards the two aforementioned goals at once. This course is appropriate for students who plan to seriously create and analyze their own statistics for their work. It may be taken alone, or as a sequel to Presentation of Statistics. 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.

Improvisation Ensemble for Musicians and Dancers (MPF4233.01)

This advanced course focuses on work in the performance of improvisation. For dancers, special attention is given to the development of individual movement vocabularies, physical contact and interaction, and the exploration of forms and structures.

For musicians, special attention is given to creating rhythms and sonorities which can then be manipulated and developed while interacting with dancers in the moment.

Dancers are expected to have experience with improvisation in performance and are asked to develop a structure for the group. Musicians should have basic skills on their instrument and be able create and convey a sense of form to other musicians in an efficient way.

**Both dancers and musicians will meet together on Mondays 3:40-5:30. Musicians will meet Wednesday 4:10-6:00. Dancers will meet Thursday 3:40-5:30.**

The Courtly World: Lady Shonagon and Lady Murasaki (LIT2379.01)

Written in eleventh century, The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu is considered the world’s first full novel and a masterwork of classical literature. Sei Shonagon’s The Pillow Book is a memoir recounting life in the Japanese court of the same time, also regarded as a masterpiece of observation and wit in evoking natural and human worlds. Both authors were ladies in waiting at the royal court during the Heian period (794­–1185), an era in which aristocrats competed for supremacy in political and artistic endeavors including poetry, music, and romance. In fiction and nonfiction, Lady Murasaki and Lady Shonagon chronicle the pursuits and rivalries of this courtly world in mesmerizing detail, rendering a society that may seem strikingly contemporary. We will read The Tale of Genji, which relates the adventures and many loves of Genji, the Shining Prince, The Pillow Book, and time allowing, Lady Murasaki’s diaries and contemporary responses to Genji and The Pillow Book. You will write two critical essays, present a group oral report on an aspect of Heian history or art, and write a fictionalized diary of daily life in the 21st century.

The Magical Object – Visual Metaphor (DRA2116.01)

There is a great difference between a prop and an object on stage that is built or filled with the dramatic forces of a play. Such objects become metaphors, they become fresh comprehensions of the world. In the theater, we believe in magic. Our gaze is focused on ordinary objects…a glass figurine, a pair of shoes, a wedding dress…and then our attention is shaped, and charged, and we watch the everyday grow in meaning and power. Most of our greatest plays, written by our most poetic playwrights, contain a visual metaphor, an object with metaphorical weight that we can see on stage, not just in our mind’s eye.

How do we make the ordinary into the extraordinary? How do we create something that can carry meaning across the stage, into the audience and then out of the theater, all the way home, and into the lives of these strangers who come to sit together in the dark? How do we generate a magical object on stage?

Students will read five plays, watch films, complete several small writing exercises, write a play of 30-90 pages long that contains a magical object, and, as their final project, build/create that magical object.

Bennington Review: A Practicum in Literary Editing and Publishing-Poetry (LIT4330.02, section 2)

This two-credit course involves working on selecting and editing the content of Bennington’s recently relaunched national print literary magazine, Bennington Review. Students will serve as Editorial Assistants for the magazine, studying and practicing all aspects of magazine editing. The course will also engage students in discussions of contemporary print and digital literary culture, and of the history of literary magazines. Students will be selected in part based on their familiarity with contemporary literature, as well as for prior experience in editing or publishing. Students should anticipate plenty of work for two credits, as well as an immersive, hands-on, professional experience.

Corequisite: Students will be required to attend all Wednesday Literature Evenings and Poetry at Bennington events.

Reading & Writing Fiction: Plot and Suspense (LIT4144.01)

What is plot? What are stakes and how are they raised and can a story or a novel still compel a reader with small or smaller stakes? What is dramatic tension and what are the other ways a writer can build tension into a short story or a chapter? What, in other words, keeps a reader turning pages through a story or a novel and what happens when these same tools are applied to literary fiction? We’ll explore these questions and other questions of plot and plotting while reading fiction from ZZ Packer, Sally Rooney, Maggie Shipstead, Patricia Highsmith, Donna Tart, Andrea Lawlor, George Saunders, Patrick DeWitt, Jim Shepard, among others. The course will consist of close readings of published work alongside workshop of student submitted work.

Corequisites: Enrolled students are required to attend Wednesday night Bennington literary events.

The Self, the Soul, and St. Augustine (LIT2339.01)

We live in an age of rampant confession, so it can be difficult to conceive of a world without it. Augustine’s Confessions—which the Bishop of Hippo dictated to a team of scribes between 397 and 400 C.E.—is one of those rare literary works that marks a very clear before and after. In this two-credit course we’ll spend the term reading the whole of the Confessions slowly and with care, examining it within the historical context of Late Antiquity and the Christianization of the Roman Empire. We’ll trace Plato’s ideas about the Soul and Neoplatonic notions of good and evil as Augustine syncretizes them into religious doctrine. We’ll treat the text as a form of ongoing prayer that divides the “I” and the “me” and invents a self that we can only call Modern. “Grant me chastity and continence,” Augustine prays while he is living in sin, “but not yet.” This ambivalence is the real engine of the conversion narrative and memoir as we have come to know it. We will periodically sample literary confession from different periods to get a sense of how literary forms have adapted to the confessional impulse. Students will keep a reading journal, write frequent critical response papers, and devise a final project that is a creative confession of their own.

Performance Art (DAN2129.01)

This class explores the concepts, questions and ideas of performance and performance practice. The class will cover a range of modalities in creating and developing performance, using text, scores and improvisation to generate material and expand the palette and practice of art making. This work will focus on the corporeal and experiential aspect of developing performance work. Through viewing recorded performances, interviews and reading materials, we will study a range of perspectives in the field of performance. Students are required to create individual and collaborative work reflecting the concepts and practices studied during the semester.

Co-requisite: Dance or Drama lab assignment if students sign up for 4 or more credits in dance.

Advanced Projects in Dance (DAN4795.01)

This is an essential course for students involved in making work for performance this term. Attention is given to all of the elements involved in composition and production, including collaborative aspects. Students are expected to show their work throughout stages of development, complete their projects, and perform them to the public by the end of the term. Dance Workshop is required.

Co-requisite: Dance or Drama lab assignment if students sign up for 4 or more credits in dance.

The Politics of Student Movements in the ’60s (SCT2141.01)

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.

Janet Foley and John Hultgren
M/Th 1:40-3:30 (first seven weeks)
This course is categorized as All courses, SCT.

Bennington Plays: Design (DRA4129.01)

This project-based class is for designers developing and implementing scenic, lighting, or costume designs for productions of new student written plays. Teams of directors and designers will work with other students in corresponding courses for playwrights, directors and actors, who are participating in the Bennington Plays Festival.

In a laboratory atmosphere, we will collaboratively develop an overall design approach for the festival, as well as specific designs for each play (either individually or collectively). Richard MacPike (Technical Instructor in Costume Production) will provide guidance and mentoring to costume designers. Particular attention will be placed on collaboration and communication between designers and directors, but also among and between all participants. Designers will meet once a week on Monday evenings and also attend drama production meetings on Mondays from 5:45-6:45 pm, through the performances in early to mid May. Students will also write a post-performance reflective essay.

Spatial Audio Practices (MSR4051.01)

This course will offer an introduction to the principles of spatial audio and its function in creative sound practices. The topics will include multichannel audio, Ambisonics and binaural sound, 360 spatial audio recording and mixing, sound design for VR, and immersive electroacoustic music. Along with readings and discussions, we will look at various current sound practices that explore the possibilities of spatial audio. There will be an emphasis on production and experiential learning through exercises and workshops. This course is for students who have previous experience in sound recording practices and/or e-music.

Unique Prints: 3-D Prints and Modular Works (PRI4272.01)

This course is an introduction to unique prints, or prints that are not necessarily printed as an edition. We will emphasize the making of mixed media prints using a broad range of methods from monotypes to digital prints. The class is structured around a series of projects where rigorous experimentation is encouraged.

Students will learn various non-typical printmaking methods through a straightforward format of demonstrations of techniques, hands-on experience, and critiques. Techniques will include monotype, polyester laser plates, and various transfer techniques. Additionally, we will explore the possibilities of 3-dimentional applications for prints. This can include anything from books, paper cups, matchbooks, modular installations, appropriated prints and wallpapers. We may also be collaborating on projects with other classes or universities.

Jazz Ensemble (MPF4250.01)

This ensemble will perform a wide range of Jazz music (a genre that is constantly evolving), with an emphasis on both ensemble playing and improvisation skills. By playing together, students will learn how blues, swing, Latin, and rock elements have all fueled this music called jazz. Students will also learn how major Jazz artists such as Ellington, Monk, Mingus, Wayne Shorter, Ornette Coleman and others have approached composition. As a group we will explore different techniques for playing over chord changes and ways to make improvised solos more interesting, both harmonically and rhythmically. Whether playing a jazz standard, a student composition, or free music, the emphasis will be on listening and on interacting with each other, finding ways to create blend, groove, dynamic contrast, and tension/release. Students will also be encouraged to bring in arrangements, transcriptions, and compositions, which will be read and developed by the ensemble. Students need to have adequate technique on a musical instrument, be able to read music and have a basic understanding of harmony (chord structures, chord-scales, etc.)

Entry to Mathematics (MAT2100.01)

This is a basic course, covering most of high school mathematics, and will be accessible to all interested and willing students. It is appropriate for students who do not feel confident in their high school mathematics background. Students may proceed from this course to other 2000 level mathematics courses. Mathematics is inherent across all disciplines and undertakings. It is necessary for building structures, assessing risk in everyday life, mixing paint for specific shades, creating business models of growth and decay, setting traffic lights, and can even help assess the correct time to propose. This course will show how math has evolved from counting to the combination of abstract symbols and numbers it appears as today. Covering algebra, geometry, ratios, patterns, series, graphing, probability, and more, we will focus on the foundations of mathematics and the basic skills and reasoning needed for mathematical success. Our goal will be to become conversant in the language of mathematics and understand how it affects our specific disciplines and work as well as strengthen our mathematical skills.

The Art of Literary Translation (LIT4319.01)

It may well be that the closest, most interpretative, and creative reading of a text involves translating it from one language to another. Questions of place, culture, epoch, voice, gender, and rhythm take on new urgency, helping us to deepen our writerly skills and sensibilities. As Joseph Brodsky put it: “You must memorize poems, do translation, study foreign languages. And the best way to study a foreign language…is by translating a poem…The music of the poem carries you, you float upon waves of sound, but, at the same time, you peer below the surface of the ocean, and there, in the depths, you notice the teeming life of sea creatures…”

Writers in all genres are welcome to explore this “teeming life” that is the fruit of literary translation. Our workshop has a triple focus: comparing and contrasting existing translations of the same work; reading translators on the art and theory of translation; and critiquing students’ translations-in-progress. We will also consider translation as an act of bearing witness to cultural and political crisis, and as a means of encoding messages that would otherwise be censored.

For a final project, you will have two options: an extended critical study or an original translation (poetry, prose, drama) accompanied by an introduction. There will also be weekly reading assignments and research presentations.

Psychology of Creativity: Making and Using Metaphors (PSY4226.01)

This course will address two large areas in the psychology of creativity: (1) special creativity, that is, the study of creative persons and the specific characteristics of high-level creative thinkers. We will look at how creativity is measured, what personal characteristics or life circumstances seem to foster creative achievement, and the contributions of history in making decisions about who is creative and who is not. (2) general creativity, or the ordinary experience of creativity in everyday life. We will look at metaphoric and figurative language, how it is used and understood, and other experiences of normal creative leaps made by all human thinkers.

Bebop, Rock & Beyond (Fundamentals) (MIN4226.01)

Bebop, Rock & Beyond (Fundamentals) is a drum set course that looks at the drumming architects of Bebop and Rock while discovering the innovative drummers of today who are mapping traditional rhythms from various cultures and adapting them for drumset. We’ll learn about Ed Blackwell, Art Blakey, Alex Acuna, Ignacio Berroa, John Bonham, Daphnis Prieto, Steve Jordan, and many others who have contributed to the innovation and music composition for drumset. Students will be tasked with working out rhythmic patterns through frequent practice (Lab), work on reading music notation, and advance their analyzing skills while responding to viewing and listening list. Maintenance and tuning are key components to understanding the sonic qualities of a drumset. Students will be tasked with maintenance and maintaining a controlled rehearsal and storage environment as well. A written statement outlining your strengths and areas that need development, in addition to what you’d like to accomplish from this class is required for consideration.

How to Build a Habitable Planet (PHY2118.01)

This course will investigate the physical conditions and processes necessary for creating a habitable planet. We will study the formation of stars and planets, and the evolution of planets after formation into safe harbors for life. This will include investigation of how both stellar and geological processes affect the habitability of planets, and consideration of the possible conditions that make a planet a suitable life-host. We will use the Earth and our solar system as a case study for the successful formation of a life-host, and will use this knowledge to look outward for other Earths among the thousands of planets being discovered elsewhere in our Galaxy.

An Introduction to Dance Phrasemaking and Performing (DAN2136.01)

This is designed for those who are interested in making movement phrase material and “taking it for a ride.” We will be creating new phrases constantly and paying full attention to detail, nuance and finesse when performing them. We will be thoroughly investigating, modifying, rearranging, exploding, and ultimately reconsidering our understanding of the phrases made. By focusing on the use of time, we will find out more about its intricate relationship to space and motion. While paying keen attention to phrasing, we will notice the impact of shifting attention itself.

Students are expected to create and develop new phrase material of their own, teach this work to others, learn material from others, and rehearse outside of class. Phrases may be combined into larger dance scores that will then be performed in dance workshops or studio showings.

Participation in Dance Workshop (Th 6:30 pm-8:00 pm) is highly recommended.

Co-requisites: Dance or Drama lab assignment if students sign up for more 4 or more credits in dance.

Devising: Moving through Time and Space (DRA2177.01)

“The beauty here is a beauty you feel in your flesh. You feel it physically….Other beauty takes only the heart, or the mind.” (Barry Lopez, “Arctic Dreams.”)

Devising is a form of collaborative creation in which the performers themselves author every moment of a performance from movement to text (if any), to spatial relationships, clothing, entrances and exits, etc. The “stage” may be viewed as a natural landscape through which performers journey. Unlike story-driven theater or dance, elements such as space, time, movement, and sound all share an equal footing.

In this course, we will immerse ourselves in various approaches to making physical theater and Devising. We will read and watch the work of such innovators as Mary Overlie, the Tectonic Theater Project, Ping Chong, and Frantic Assembly. Students will bring in stories, costume pieces, found objects, sound and music and begin to create their collectively devised piece. This course is recommended to anyone interested in collaborative creation, dance/theater, experimental theater, devising, and making one’s own work. The course culminates in a public presentation of the work.

100 Experiments (PHO4131.01)

This course is a hands-on exploration of the many photographic materials spanning the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Over the term, students will study ten specific processes and be asked to create ten 8×10 inch experiments utilizing each one. Processes include camera lucida drawings, pinhole images, cyanotypes, analog color negatives, Polaroid images, scanograms, digital infrared capture, among others. Historical and contemporary practitioners will be introduced as well as relevant readings.

Interested students must have completed the Photo Foundations and preferably one additional studio photography class.

Distributed Systems (with Lab) (CS4280.01)

In this class, we will, as a group, build a working distributed system from scratch, such as a web search engine, distributed file system, blockchain/distributed ledger, or peer-to-peer network. By building such a system, students will learn about key theoretical and practical fundamentals related to distributed systems and software engineering, such as concurrency, replication, commit models, fault-expectancy, self-organization and management, load-balancing, capacity planning, network programming, containerization and microservices, and physical and environmental considerations. These key principles are what lie at the core of the designs of well-known systems such as those built by Google, Bing, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter and others. The class will evolve from reading and discussing research and working on foundational programming projects, to working through the design of the system, developing it, planning its deployment, and releasing it into the wild. Includes lab.

Painterly Painters & Portraiture (AH4122.01)

According to art historical tradition, “painterly painters” are those whose work exhibits a gestural, often loose, facture that makes the viewer conscious of its painted quality through visible brushwork, inchoate, haptic, blotches and sometimes, heavy impasto. Portraits, like painterly painting, are thought to be largely concerned with fixing or situating individuality, particularity, figuration v. abstraction, and even identity construction, subjectivity, and self-awareness. Together this range of concerns will structure a selective study of the portrait painters (who should be) best known for their virtuosic coloring and painterliness including, but not limited to: Titian, Rubens, Van Dyck, Velázquez, Ribera, Reynolds, Carriera, Boucher, Goya, Manet, Sargent, Bacon, Guston, Rauschenberg, Whitten, Lewis, Basquiat, Saville, Richter, Simpson, Odutola, etc. Race, gender, nationalism, and close looking anchor our exploration.

The Human Condition: Hannah Arendt (PHI4101.01)

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) was a major political theorist whose work has become increasingly influential in recent years. A student of Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers, her extensive writings cover such topics as the nature of power, the meaning of the political, and the problem of totalitariansim. This course is a critical exploration of some of her major works, including The Origins of Totalitariansim, The Human Condition, and Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, as well as a assessment of the critical response to her work.

Traces, Mistakes, and Leftovers (DRW4237.01)

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.

Mary Lum
M 1:40-5:20 (first seven weeks)
This course is categorized as All courses, Drawing.

Stage Management (DRA2241.01)

The key role of the stage manager as both collaborative artist and manager in the production process is explored by students in this class. Readings, discussions, and projects on topics including scheduling, play breakdowns, prompt book preparation, blocking notation, ground plan and theatre layout, and the running of rehearsals and performances are included. The relationship of the stage manager to others involved in the process is also addressed. Many assignments are designed to develop broader event, production, and arts management artistry and skills. A significant and required part of the coursework is work as stage manager or assistant stage manager on a College production to gain first-hand knowledge and experience. This production component lasts from two to ten weeks, and includes attendance at all rehearsals held for the particular production. Most rehearsals are held on evenings and weekends; availability for rehearsals most weeknights is normally essential for successful project completion.

In the spring 2020 iteration of this course, students should expect to work as a stage manager or assistant stage manager on one of the student-written Bennington Plays and attend weekly drama production meetings on Mondays from 5:45-6:45 pm.

This course is recommended for those interested in directing, performing, and/or arts management, as well as anyone interested in knowing and experiencing what is involved in putting on a production.

Life and Death: Buddhism in Modern Japanese Films (JPN4401.01)

In this course, students will examine how Buddhism influenced Japanese thought on the after-life and analyze how Japanese views on the relationship between life and death are depicted in recent Japanese films. In the first seven weeks of the course, students will examine and discuss the history, beliefs, and deities of Buddhism and their influences on society. In the second half of the term, students will analyze how death and a common theme, reincarnation, are depicted in different genres of Japanese films such as love stories and fantasy. Throughout the course, students will develop both their linguistic skills and cognitive skills by discussing their understanding of Buddhist beliefs and analyzing Japanese perspectives on death and reincarnation. Individual projects are required. Conducted in Japanese. Intermediate Level.

Corequisites: Language Series

Keats and Stevens (LIT2299.02)

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.

A Voice from a Wound: Trauma and Memory in Hispanophone Literature (SPA4802.01)

This advanced Spanish course is a study of the paradox of trauma literature. Stories that compel their telling, yet are unassimilated and unspeakable, trauma narratives grow out of disaster and crisis on an individual and/or collective scale. To better understand Anne Whitehead’s assertion that “Novelists have frequently found that the impact of trauma can only adequately be represented by mimicking its forms and symptoms, so that temporality and chronology collapse, and narratives are characterized by repetition and indirection,” we first consider representative fictional narratives by contemporary Spanish authors including Juan Goytisolo, Juan Marsé, and Isaac Rosa Camacho. In order to develop an appropriate theoretical background, students also tackle major contributions by theorists such as Freud, Herman, Caruth, LaCapra, and Whitehead, whose ideas resonate deeply with our primary literary texts. Thereafter, students’ individual research questions will drive content choices, such that, depending on student interests, there will be ample opportunity to consider examples from any time and place in the Hispanophone world. Co-requisite: attendance at 2 language events. In Spanish. Advanced level.

Corequisites: Language Series

Regardez (FRE4496.01)

In this course, students will examine specific visual representations within the context of French culture. Through the reading of a wide variety of French images, including among other works Chartres cathedral’s stained glass, La Tour’s chiaroscuro paintings, Haitian art, as well as virtual reality experiments, students will hone their linguistic skills and enrich their understanding of French, economical, sociological, historical and artistic realities and values. Written assignments and oral presentations will develop students’ level of comprehension, mastery of grammar, in French, as well as their critical skills. Intermediate-high level. Conducted in French.