According to Larry Diamond in his lecture on “What is Democracy?” Democracy consists of four basic elements:
1. A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections.
2. The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life.
3. Protection of the human rights of all citizens.
4. A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.
In this moment of history, where the U.S. democracy feels threatened and democracies around the world are under stress, this seven week class will invite a conversation about how we as citizens can and have the obligation to participate in a democracy to make it work. A democracy is only as strong as its citizen participation. We will have guests visiting with us each week for our conversations to address these tenets of a democracy and to understand what we can do to keep this system of governance working. We will serve coffee, tea and cookies for these breakfast conversations.
Students reflect upon psychological, and anthropological issues in human populations, asking, “What does it mean to be human?” We consider a range of topics investigated in the social sciences, beginning with definitions of self, culture, and society along with issues of power, rights, and responsibilities. We also look beyond traditional definitions of “human” to intersections where individuals have been labelled human or not human. Please note that this class is based in Social Emotional Learning methods and Adaptive Leadership Theory. This means that we’re going to be engaging in workshops that are personal, will make you feel vulnerable, and will make the class a very uncomfortable place. The intention is experiential learning in the classroom to transform your thinking about yourself and others.
Poly=many, chrome or chroma=colors. Can refer to artwork made with bright, multi-colored paint. Having many colors; multicolored. This term is usually used to describe sculptural or decorative objects finished or decorated with paint or glazes.
How do we merge color and 3 D form? How do we make objects in dimensional space that expand or compress our visual perceptions through the addition of a multitude of colors? How do we or can we establish rule sets in this regard?? Are there color theories we need to study to help with our exploration?? This course invites students to investigate the fundamental principals of painted form and found object sculpture while encouraging exploration of classical and contemporary approaches. Sessions are intensive explorations into a variety of techniques and materials including plaster, wood, cardboard, Styrofoam, plexiglass and metal. There will be a strong emphasis on experimentation and how this plays a key role in the making of sculpture. Students will need to complete 8 hours per week out of class time to complete projects. Regular slide presentations compliment individual and group critiques.
This course is an open forum for research and development of live performance methodologies through collaborations involving electronic, electroacoustic, and acoustic sources. In this workshop, we will explore text scores, improvisation techniques using both acoustic and electronic sources. The research and practice areas include but are not limited to electroacoustic and audiovisual performance, non-Western and/or non-notated music performance, and creation of new music. We will incorporate transducers, audio processing, and control surfaces in our performative events. This course is for students who have previous experience in performing musical ideas with “tools” such as everyday objects, traditional acoustic instruments, and electronics.
In Italy, regional cuisine is an essential component of local identities and a crucial element to understand diversity in the national context. This course focuses on the food practices and typical dishes of Italian regional cultures as the students advance in the study of the language. This course is offered at the elementary level and conducted in Italian. The class will engage in discourse that moves beyond the sentence level and steps into the linguistic production of abstract thought, with an emphasis on oral communication and paragraph-level writing.
Various stories of women philosophers in antiquity have come down to us. In Plato’s Symposium, for example, Socrates quotes a long speech on love by Diotima of Mantinea, who Socrates describes as a “wise woman” and his teacher. We also have accounts of Aesara, Arete, Aspasia, Hipparchia, Hypatia, and Theano. However, these accounts are all filtered through male-authored texts. We lack reliable primary sources from women philosophers in antiquity. There are current efforts to recover the voices of women and non-gender-conforming thinkers and thus to broaden the philosophical canon. For this course, we will (1) examine such recovery projects in ancient Greek and Hellenistic philosophy, and (2) investigate the intersection of gender and philosophical concerns in antiquity. Likely course readings will include: Sophocles’ Antigone, Euripides’ Medea, Aristophanes’ Assemblywomen and Lysistrata, Plato’s Symposium and Menexenus, selections from Plato’s Republic, selections from Aristotle’s Politics and biology, and Pythagorean, Cynic, Epicurean, and Stoic works.
This course will introduce students to the broad array of theoretical and empirical perspectives on conflict transformation and peacebuilding. Drawing on contributions from various disciplines, it will give students tools to measure historical and contemporary conflicts and to analyze peace efforts and processes around the world. Key questions include: What are the foundations of armed conflict and violence? What roles do race, religion, gender, sexuality, and colonialism play in warmaking and peacebuilding? What does peace mean to different parties? How is peace achieved, and what role does the international community play? Students will become familiar with key concepts and theories in the field and prepare for future coursework in peacebuilding and related fields.
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.
This course introduces students to the basic language of 3D animation and modeling. Students will be expected to become familiar with the basic principles of the MAYA program. A series of modeled objects placed in locations will be created. The emphasis will be on becoming proficient with modeling forms, texturing using Arnold Renderer, adding lights and cameras.
This 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.
Co-requisite: Dance or Drama lab assignment if students sign up for 4 or more credits in dance.
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 and New York. 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 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.
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.
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.
The Twenty-four Stories of Filial Piety are well known Chinese stories that exemplify the devotion of children to their parents that is the chief virtue in Confucianism. The Daoist Tales of Zhuangzi, on the other hand, offer a much different set of values. These tales “translated” from classical Chinese into modern Mandarin at the student’s language level will serve as a starting point for an exploration into two complementary and competing schools of thought that have shaped the character and culture of the Chinese. Students will learn basic vocabulary and grammar through a four-skills approach while comparing and contrasting the basic concepts of these two important Chinese philosophies.
All students will meet in small groups once a week with the teacher outside of the regular classes.
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.
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.
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.
In this course for beginners, we will work with imagery to help explore potential in the body.We will practice kinesthetic exercises that will help expand movement range, strength, and specificity.Emphasis will be placed on understanding the feeling of movement, deeply, and trusting it.From this we can understand how this feeling moves the body, and eventually how this body moves the space and bodies around it.
There are different kinds of effort involved in moving. We will look at these specifics in order to understand our affinities for particular movement. Once understood, it may open up a wide vocabulary. We will work on duration and endurance, so that they are not a hindrance. From there we can redetermine our capacities.
Co-requisite: Dance or Drama lab assignment if students sign up for 4 or more credits in dance.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In this intermediate-advanced level course, we will focus on tapping into the subtle connections in the body. We will be using improvisational scores and somatic exercises to hone these connections and increase self-awareness. Gentle focus can be used to achieve high intensity movement. Tracking what we are doing as we do it–we will acknowledge the nervous system’s role in our movement efforts. It is important that we are able to do this with a non-judgmental mindset. We will learn to watch openly, gathering information from others, to increase possibilities in performance.
We will consider balancing in relation to physics, timing, and stillness. We will use incremental amounts of force in order to gain support from the surfaces around us. We will slow down shifts of weight in order to feel them entirely, so that we can choose when to harness momentum and when to release it. We will differentiate tension from stillness and use each attribute as an individual treatment for various movements. We will work to achieve ease and comfort from open space, enabling ourselves to settle in ungrounded positions.
Co-requisite: Dance or Drama lab assignment if students sign up for 4 or more credits in dance.
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.
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.
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.
In this course we will engage anti-racist feminist theory, crip theory, and human geography to think critically about dis/ability. We will draw on critical geographies of disability to think about the built environment and institutional design; geographic scales of the body and the body-mind; spaces of the home and institutions; and im/mobility and spatial access. We will also consider how dis/ability is shaped by (and also shapes) practices of care, experiences of embodiment, and emotion. Furthermore, we will grapple with the legacies of trauma produced by slavery, colonization, surveillance, and incarceration, as well as by movements like eugenics and white liberal feminism, while considering trauma’s complicated relationships to medicalized notions of wellness, disease, and recovery. Throughout the course, we will consider disability as intersecting with race, queerness, fatness, class, and trans* and gender-nonconforming/non-binary experiences; and difference, pathology, and deviance. Most centrally, we will ask: What is the spatiality of dis/ability, and how can space be occupied and reappropriated for radically inclusive uses? How can we understand both normality and deviance as socially constructed concepts that nonetheless have real, and uneven, implications for people’s lives?
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. This course is offered as part of a collaborative project with Google to expand access to computer science curriculum at small colleges and universities.
Looking at forms found in nature, architecture, music, drama, literature, etc., we search for examples to help formulate ideas and structures for movement-based creation. When making new artwork, we are constantly balancing and integrating the need for exploratory freedom and the desire for structural integrity. How do we use spontaneous impulse to help find form, and how do we use form to help find yet more unexpected solutions? How might we find an essential core that supports an investigation? How might we challenge and rigorously expand our ideas regarding form, and find ways to re-form?
Students are expected to make new movement material, develop work outside of class, teach some of the work to others, and, in return, learn material from others. They will show their compositional studies regularly, write about many aspects involved in their working processes, and draw (while observing others and while working in their own studio practices). Projects will be performed/presented in studio showings or dance workshops. Students of intermediate/advanced level in the performing and/or visual arts are welcome.
Participation in Dance Workshop (Th 6:30-7:50 pm) is highly recommended.
Co-requisite: Dance or Drama lab assignment if students sign up for 4 or more credits in dance.
This class will investigate architectural projects that posit simultaneous programs contained within a single envelope. We will look at various conditions under which varying, and even divergent interests are pursued by the building and its occupants, including the haunted house, the safe house, the “front”, and similar conditions where one use conceals or overlies another.
Studio projects will focus on the exploration and development of other conditions where this topology may be employed to create new opportunities for simultaneous occupancy. Spaces will be created to contain these programs in a way that explores how their parallel existences are imprinted on one another.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.