Archives

Unhomely Thoughts from Abroad (SPA4605.01)

From Simón Bolívar’s recruitment of the exiled Francisco de Miranda in early nineteenth-century London, to the counter-revolutionary Guillermo Cabrera Infante’s Tres tristes tigres, written in a Hampstead flat, much of Latin America’s postcolonial identity has been forged outside its borders. Beyond defining home, exiles have defined their alternate environments. De Miranda’s statue still stands in Fitzroy Square, and Cabrera Infante lived in London for the rest of his life. Exile, whether a political necessity or voluntary, is more than a discursive conceit in this context, and language an act of memory.

The proposal is to study Latin America’s exilic thought, one of its most formative traditions, from Independence to the present. Students will debate their own perspectives, both in conversation and in writing, thus developing analytical and linguistic skills, and will undertake a short research project. The usual array of media will be included. Conducted in Spanish. High-intermediate level.

Corequisites: Language Series

Kiln Firing: the Art and the Science (CER4272.01)

In Kiln Firing students will be exploring the science and art of firing a kiln by first operating and understanding electric kilns, then gas kilns (both oxidation and reduction, manual and automatic), and lastly exploring atmospheric firing and alternative firing processes. Bisque firing, cone 04, 6, and 10, basic maintenance and repair, loading and unloading bisque and glaze firings, and crystobalite formation and quartz inversion will all be investigated. This course will be largely self-directed building upon a basic foundation of knowledge with topics from each student’s specific interests. Some possible subjects for exploration are once, soda and/or salt, saggar, raku, pit, and wood firing, reduction for shinos and copper reds, developing microcrystals, firing for crystalline glazes, and reduction cooling among other possibilities. These objectives will be facilitated through demonstration and hands-on practice. The overarching goal of this class is to empower students with the technical knowledge to express themselves through ceramics coherently using a comprehensive understanding of the firing process. Firing is often an intimidating procedure for even the most advanced ceramic student, this class is designed to build each student’s confidence and comfort through full involvement in the firing process.

Some basic tools will be required.

Introduction to Counterpoint (MTH2118.01)

Composers throughout the ages have cut their teeth on the study of counterpoint – the intricate practice of writing melodies for several voices sounding at once. In this course, we’ll look mainly at 16th-century composers of counterpoint, and sing through pieces from Palestrina to Weelkes, while learning to compose in a variety of practices such as canons, the motet, and familiar style. We’ll gradually work our way from two-voice to four-voice counterpoint, and set texts in a variety of harmonic styles. Emphasis will be placed on creative work, and student pieces will be performed in class throughout the term. Students must be able to read music though no previous knowledge of theory is required. Separately scheduled labs will help sight-singing and ear training in counterpoint.

Advanced Digital Modeling and Animation (MA2107.01)

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.

Movement Practice: Advanced Dance Technique (DAN4344.01)

This advanced level movement practice is designed for students with prior experience in dance technique. In this class, we will hone in on the importance of balancing controlled and spontaneous action as well as internal and external movement through using a series of improvisational and compositional practices. We will be learning longer and complex movement phrases that are structured with principles from Water Body Movement (“Body is a container filled with water. Movements are a flow of the water.”) Bringing conscious thought and heightened awareness to both interior and exterior spaces, we deepen our understanding about the unity of our body/mind and how it functions as a whole. We aim to maximize each student’s performance skills and cultivate personal ways to understand how to use one’s own body.

Sounding Home: Music of Migration, Memory, and Exile (MHI2109.01)

We live in an era when millions of people across the globe—victims of forced migration, asylum seekers, refugees, and mobile workers—are on the move. Music often can tell more about the migration experience than statistical analysis and surveys. How might songs transcribe and preserve the identities, memories, traumas, joys, and hopes of individuals and whole communities? We will examine a wide variety of global case studies in ethnomusicology and related fields, connecting musical practices to prominent issues in migration. Our course will also be oriented toward activism and work beyond the classroom, particularly among refugee populations in Vermont. We will look at examples of arts intervention, learning techniques of peacebuilding through music and the performing arts. This course is open to all students.

The Devil (LIT2404.01)

The Devil has taken many shapes and sizes throughout history and around the world. His story of origin has inspired canonical works that delve into Judeo-Christian theological examinations of daily life, political life, and the metaphysical. Who we are as people on earth seems to depend heavily on how we view our relationship with “good” and “evil.” This class will focus on Western interpretations of the Devil as trickster figure, diabolical ender of worlds, and scapegoat for humanity’s incapability of building and maintaining harmony in the midst of evil, which, like virtue, also demands contextualization. Readings may include The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the Book of Job, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, excerpts from Paradise Lost by Milton, African American folktales, and more. What seems to be the Devil’s purpose in literature and how can we trace all of his possibilities across space and time in order to realize our own complexity as people? Let’s find out together.

Paris on Screen: Tradition and Modernity (FRE4498.01)

In this intermediate-low level course, we will study the representation of the city of Paris on film in order to examine modernityʹs challenges to tradition. In particular, we will focus on the question of how urban communities and city dwellers react to increasing disconnectedness, anonymity, and solitude. Films may include Tanguy, La Haine, Chacun cherche son chat, Paris, Playtime, Monsieur Ibrahim, and Paris, je tʹaime. Class discussions, activities, written assignments, and oral presentations will allow students to improve their linguistic proficiency and analytical skills. Conducted in French. Intermediate‐low level.

Corequisites: Language Series

Stephen Shapiro
M/Th 10:00-11:50
This course is categorized as All courses, French.

Insider Perspectives on the Francophone World II (FRE4224.01)

Viewed from the outside, the French‐speaking world offers enticing images of beauty, pleasure, and freedom. From the inside, however, it is a complicated, often contradictory world where implicit codes and values shape the most basic aspects of daily life. This course will give you an insiderʹs perspective on a cultural and communicative system whose ideas, customs, and belief systems are surprisingly different from your own. Together, we will examine how daily life and activities (friendship and family relationships, housing, leisure, work, and food culture) reflect culturally specific ideologies and values. Emphasis will be placed on developing ease, fluency, and sophistication in oral and written expression. Class will be conducted in French and revolve around authentic materials from the Francophone world (video, music, advertisements, literary texts). Conducted in French.

Corequisites: Language Series

Contemporary Chinese Poetry (CHI4216.01)

While the language of classical Chinese poetry is practically inaccessible to even today’s native speakers of Chinese, the poetry of the five contemporary poets studied in this course is written in the vernacular and serves as a rich source of authentic texts for this course, which integrates language learning with poetry study. The five poets, all born after 1980, each offers a unique perspective into the changing society and culture of modern China. Each lesson or two, students will receive a packet with poems and information on the poet along with a vocabulary list, and grammar worksheets. Through reading and discussing these poets as well as writing their own poems in Chinese, students will gain insights into the changing culture of modern China, while building on their competencies in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Mandarin Chinese.

Corequisites: Language Series

Comics/Culture (SPA4401.01)

What are comics? Why study them? What do they have to do with Spanish culture? Students in this course will consider the theoretical and artistic concerns for graphic narratives, especially in the interaction between text and image. We will examine the gradual evolution of the so-called historieta from its historical relegation to the realm of the juvenile and lowbrow, to the more recent boom in the academic and critical legitimacy of graphic novels. Our exploration will encompass comic strips, cartoons, and graphic novels from Spain, critical analyses, articles about the art form, as well as films and works of literature inspired by comics. Throughout, we will investigate what these media expose about, and how they simultaneously influence, the cultures from which they emerge. The focus of the course will be on student-generated discussion and critical thinking about these media, but continual practice in all four major areas of language (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) will be essential. Students will learn to defend their own ideas in spoken and written language. We will explore grammatical and linguistic questions as they arise naturally in the classroom. Conducted in Spanish. Co-requisite: attendance at 2 language events. Intermediate-low level.

Corequisites: Language Series

Language Through Film (SPA4223.01)

Students in this course will continue to learn the Spanish language through an examination of films. While there will be some necessary discussion about cinematographic components, the focus of discussion will be on historical and political moments present in the films. A consideration, for instance, of national and regional identity, political violence, border crossing, intolerance, and gender identity, will drive the student-generated conversation. The course will also provide specific and explicit support for the linguistic development necessary to communicate in increasingly complex ways, in both written and oral Spanish. Co-requisite: attendance at 2 language events. Conducted in Spanish. Introductory level.

Corequisites: Language Series

Analyzing the Social Issues in Japan Through Online News (JPN4601.01)

The course is designed for students to deepen their understanding of Japanese language and culture through analysis of Japanese online newspapers and examination of Japanese news articles from various contexts. Students will practice various reading strategies, which will help them become independent learners. Mass media is the reflection of a society and the mirror of a culture. Therefore, reading Japanese newspaper helps students to become more aware of the Japanese culture, which is reflected in newspaper articles. Students are required not only to conduct research in their fields of interest, such as politics, economics, and films, but also to create newspaper articles for local Japanese people. High-Intermediate Level. Conducted in Japanese.

Corequisites: Language Series

Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism (with lab) (PHY4327.01)

How does influence travel from one thing to another? In Newton’s mechanics of particles and forces, influences travel instantaneously across arbitrarily far distances. Newton himself felt this to be incorrect, but he did not suggest a solution to this problem of “action at a distance.” To solve this problem, we need a richer ontology: The world is made not only of particles, but also of fields. As examples of the field concept, we study the theory and applications of the electric field and the magnetic field. Students will learn how fields are generated, how fields interact with matter and with each other, and how these interactions inform our understanding the world.

Hugh Crowl
M/Th 10:00-11:50 & W 8:30-12:10 (Lab)
This course is categorized as All courses, Physics.

Beginning Potter’s Wheel (CER2107.01)

This class is an introduction to using the potter’s wheel as a tool for generating clay forms with an emphasis on pottery making. While focusing on the development of throwing skills, students will explore various possibilities for assembling wheel-thrown elements and will experiment with both functional and non-functional formats. Students will be introduced to the whole ceramic process from wet working to glazing and finally firing. Slide lectures and discussions will contribute to the projects. This is a physical class; students will be expected to regularly lift 25 lbs. of clay. Please note that this course will require additional materials to be purchased by the student.

Lexicon of Forced Migration (APA 2170.01)

The course is intended to provide students an introduction to foundational concepts of migration studies. The course will navigate this complex topic through four thematic anchors: (1) Time and Space, which will explore the history of migration from a global perspective, emphasizing the uneven development, colonial encounters, and environmental pressures that give rise to particular forms of migration; (2) Home and Belonging, which will consider the loss of home, the treacherous journey to “safety,” and the ensuing and often impossible struggle to “be at home” in a foreign land; (3) Discourse and Representation, which will analyze who speaks of and for the forced migrant, and how the displaced speak back; and (4) Law and Policy, which will examine the legal and political underpinnings of the contemporary global refugee regime and its development in specific areas. By the end of the term, students will have a working understanding of the causal forces producing displacement, the institutional structures that attempt to govern forced migration and displacement, and the myriad challenges faced by migrant and refugee populations seeking to navigate a new terrain and build a new home.

Delights of Ephemera (VA4128.01)

This course invites students to consider the pleasure and significance of ephemera—cards, posters, invitations, and other written or printed materials—in the context of art exhibitions and events. Readings, lectures and field trips cover topics including traditional and experimental forms of ephemera; the collection of ephemera; and the function of ephemera as historical document and work of art. With an eye on conceptual and formal relationships between the ephemeral product and the event it represents, students during the term will design three pieces of ephemera responding to an exhibition from history; an exhibition in Usdan Gallery; and a proposed exhibition of works from their own practice.

It’s Alive!: 19th Century Genre Fiction (LIT2338.01)

Although frequently ignored or ridiculed by critics and academics, contemporary genre fiction can trace its roots back to some of the most well-known and studied writers from the 19th century. This course will focus its attention on these heady genre roots, working through the rom-coms of Jane Austen, the post-apocalyptic thrillers of Mary Shelley, tackling the rise of the vampyre novel and gothic novels, with specific attention paid to Stoker and the Brontës, exploring the earliest detective stories and novels of Edgar Allen Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle and Wilkie Collins, the thrilling science-fiction novels of Verne and Wells, with a quick detour into the sea-faring adventure tales of Robert Louis Stevenson. We’ll discuss the notion of genre as an art form, the narrative and structural innovations employed by these 19th-century authors as they began to toy with and undo the modern novel (barely in its own infancy), as well as their influence on the modernists who followed them in the early 20th century. Then we will argue about contemporary genre fiction, the separation between literary fiction and the genres, and see if we can bridge this divide, or maybe make the divide even wider. Students will be responsible for class presentations and critical essays.

Bennington Review: A Practicum in Literary Editing and Publishing-Prose (LIT4330.01, section 1)

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.

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.

Linear Algebra (MAT4115.01)

Together with calculus, linear algebra is one of the foundations of higher level mathematics and its applications. This course is necessary for students concentrating in mathematics, is strongly recommended for students intending to study computer science, physics, or geology, and may be useful for students in economics or biology. This course is a prerequisite for Multivariable Calculus and Electromagnetism. There are several perspectives one can take on linear algebra: it is a method for handling large systems of equations, it is a theory of higher dimensional geometry, and it is a theoretical construct that appears throughout mathematics and physics, among other things. Applications of linear algebra, (some of which will be covered in the class), include correlation coefficients and linear regression in statistics, finite element methods in physics and engineering, interaction networks and clade analysis in biology, and google page rank, error-correcting, and data compression in computing. The course will also set students up for more advanced applications in quantum mechanics, fourier analysis, and number theory.

Introduction to the Biology of Cancer (BIO2104.01)

The cells in our bodies need to grow and divide in order to make new tissue, and to repair or replace damaged tissue. The processes that govern cell growth and division are tightly regulated. When the cells that comprise the tissues of our bodies lose the ability to properly regulate their growth and proliferation, cancer is the result. This introductory level course will provide an overview of the basic mechanisms and genetics underlying human cancers, as well as explore current diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.

English Restoration and 18th Century Drama (LIT4240.01)

This class will explore English drama of the Restoration and 18th century, with a focus on the structure and conventions of the comedy of manners. During the Restoration, the cavaliers of Charles II’s court promoted an ethos of sophisticated debauchery, fueled by the Hobbesian social currency of wit and power. Within this world of masks, mirrors, and modes, playwrights—including “female wits” such as Aphra Behn—both celebrated and skewered the artifices of their society, while creating daring roles for the women newly permitted to appear on the English stage. We will explore how playwrights, in works ranging from The Country Wife to She Stoops to Conquer, utilized an array of narrative and linguistic devices to reflect themes of deception and disguise. This bawdy arsenal of wit included repartee, epigrams and double entendres; direct address and audience asides; stock characters such as the rake and the fop; and the plot ‘stratagems’ of beaux and belles alike. Encompassing plays by Wycherley, Etherege, Vanbrugh, Congreve, Behn, Pix, Farquhar, Centlivre, Goldsmith, Cowley, and Sheridan, the class will also place the comedy of manners in comparative context with other Restoration and 18th century forms, including the comedy of intrigues, heroic drama, and cross currents in opera seria and ballad opera.

Language and Society in Vermont and its Neighbors (LIN4102.01)

The purpose of this course is twofold: first, to immerse students in the (perhaps surprisingly) rich linguistic setting of Vermont and its immediate neighbors, and, second, to introduce them to the basic methodologies of field research in sociolinguistics and related disciplines.  Thematically, the course will consider language diversity at three different scales.  We will begin by examining the numerous languages used both presently and historically in Vermont, New York, Quebec and the New England states, and will progress to study aspects of linguistic variation between members the region’s wide community of English users.  Third, we will also become familiar with patterns of variability within the speech of individual Vermonters as they adapt to new situations, topics, and interlocutors.  Throughout this process, we will especially highlight questions of language access and language equity, and students will continually work to better understand their own positionality and agentivity regarding such issues at individual and societal levels.

In addition to the above, students will also be introduced to essential principles of experimental design in language research, the specific practice of the sociolinguistic interview, and modes of qualitative and quantitative analysis in the study of naturalistic language data.  These skills will be applied in the form of a collaborative class field project addressing questions of sociolinguistic behavior in the Bennington community.

Developmental Psychology After the Grand Theories (PSY2207.01)

Comprehensive theories in developmental psychology posited relatively abrupt structural changes in children’s thinking in the course of childhood. These theories have been supplanted, in large part, by basic research (largely from brain imaging techniques), documenting gradual changes in children’s development. In this course the grand theories (Piaget, Freud, and Vygotsky, as well as attachment theory and evolutionary psychology) will be reviewed along with current findings which challenge their scope and reach. Topics will include cognitive, emotional and social development from infancy through adolescence.

Food Across Borders (SCT2131.01)

Food is in constant flux. In this course, we will study food through the geographic lenses of migration and mobility. We will consider how immigration and diasporas shape food cultures, practices, and identity, paying careful attention to the role of immigrant workers in food-related industries, whether on dairy farms, in poultry plants, or in restaurant kitchens. We will also map out the historical and contemporary mobilities of food commodities and ingredients, from the chili pepper to the coffee bean. Most importantly, we will think about how food shapes power and politics at multiples scales: How have food companies like United Fruit, Tyson Poultry, and Dole expanded U.S. imperial power and markets into Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific? How has militarism and war affected food availability, edibility, and rations, leading to the creation of foods like Spam and Korean budae jjigae (army stew)? How has the expansion of the meat-packing industry across the U.S. Midwest and South prompted immigration to these regions, transforming their demographic landscapes? How are the borders of nations, neighborhoods, and ‘cultures’ produced, policed, and contested through food? In asking these questions, we will consider how food—cooking food, eating food, growing food, and transporting food—is profoundly political as well as geographical.

How to Think Like a Data Scientist (CS4115.01)

This class will cover the methods used to gather, clean, normalize, visualize, and analyze quantitative data to inform decision making in multiple fields of study. We will use spreadsheets, SQL and Python to work on real-world datasets using a combination of procedural and basic machine-learning algorithms. Students will also learn to ask good, exploratory questions and develop metrics to come up with a well thought-out analysis through work on collaborative, practical projects.

Differential Equations and Non-linear Dynamical Systems (MAT4108.01)

Differential equations are a powerful and pervasive mathematical tool in the sciences and are fundamental in pure mathematics as well. Almost every system whose components interact continuously over time can be modeled by a differential equation, and differential equation models and analyses of these systems are common in the literature in many fields including physics, ecology, biology, astronomy, and economics. For example, the following can all be modeled as a system of differential equations: planets, stars, electric circuits, predator and prey populations, epidemics, and economics. We will start by studying the classical theory of ordinary differential equations then will develop dynamical systems approaches to understanding more complex non-linear systems. The goal throughout the course will be to better understand the behavior of the system being studied.

Topics in Applied Philosophy: Privacy (PHI2126.01)

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.

Meisner Technique (DRA4268.01)

“If you are really doing it, you don’t have time to watch yourself doing it.” Sanford Meisner was an actor and founding member of the Group Theater. He went on to become a master teacher of acting who sought to give students an organized approach to the creation of truthful behavior on stage within the imaginary circumstances of a play. This class focuses on developing an actor’s ability to listen, follow their impulses, trust their instincts, and work from moment to moment off of an acting partner. We will explore repetition, independent activities, emotional preparation and text work. The class will require extensive out-of-class preparation, with a minimum of six hours a week for rehearsals and the crafting of exercises. In addition we will be reading Eleonora Duse’s biography, A Mystic in the Theater.

Corequisites: Dance and Drama Lab assignment

Film Adaptations of French Literature (FRE2105.01)

Since the very beginnings of cinema, French literature and film have reciprocally inspired one another. From the Surrealists to the New French Extremity movement, many directors have brought French literary works onto the screen. This course will offer students the opportunity to analyze literature and their film adaptations in terms of intermediality and intertextuality. Adaptations will include: La Princesse de Clèves (La Fayette/Delannoy, Oliveira, Sauder), The Nun (Diderot/Rivette), Madame Bovary (Flaubert/Chabrol), Les Misérables (Hugo/Lumière, Bernard,), La Noire de… (Sembène, Sembène), La Prisonnière (Proust/Akerman). Students will examine a variety of adaptations, focusing on the strategies used to turn a book into a film. Issues of adaptation theory will also be explored, as well as the underlying ideology behind the rediscovery of literary authors through cinema. Students will discuss notions such as “faithfulness” to a source text, the translation of thought, literary and film metaphors, and the different “language” of print text and film. Advanced. Conducted in French.

Corequisites: Language Series

Special Projects in Advanced Japanese (JPN4801.01)

This course is designed for students to research/ complete a project in their field of study/interest. In order to take this course, students are required to write a proposal of their project and be accepted by the instructor.

Corequisites: Language Series

Social Expectations for Japanese Children (JPN4224.01)

This course is designed for students to learn Japanese through Japanese children’s books and animation. In this course, students will read Japanese children’s books and watch Japanese animation that is based on children’s books to examine how Japanese children are expected to behave and communicate with others. Students will also analyze cultural values in Japan, how those cultural values are taught, and how gender differences are depicted in children’s books and animation. Students will continue to develop their skills by interacting in Japanese through stating and supporting their opinions during discussions that focus on narrative texts. Approximately 60 new Kanji will be introduced. As a part of the course, students are required to read/perform Japanese children’s books to children at the Albany Japanese Language School, Schenectady, New York. As the final project of the course, students will write their own children’s book in Japanese. Conducted in Japanese.

Corequisites: Language Series