Archives

Animal Social Behavior (BIO4307.01)

E. O. Wilson has said that “the organism is simply DNA’s way of making more DNA”. Are the elaborate, bizarre, (at times flamboyant), energy requiring social systems of animals simply adaptations which permit those animals to reproduce? Why is there so much diversity among animal social systems? Why are most mammals polygynous and most birds monogamous? Can we make predictions about successful social strategies and test them in the field? Can we gain insight into human evolution by studying the social systems of non-human primates?

In this course we will consider the evolution and adaptedness of different social systems with particular attention to current models of the evolution of altruistic behavior. We will read and discuss current research from a variety of journals (topics include: cooperative breeding, parent-offspring conflict, siblicide, mate choice and sexual selection, sex ratios, hymenoptera social organization, evolution of primate mating systems, the significance of infanticide and maternal rank). Students will undertake their own research projects.

The Ocean, The Creek, The Lake: Writing Water (LIT2405.02)

As water—through floods and droughts alike—continues to reshape the geography of the world around us, this course will look at waterscapes as written by women: Rachel Carson’s The Edge of the Sea, Annie Dillard’s A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and Terry Tempest Williams’s Refuge. Science, poetry, and ideas of conservation converge here. As a marine biologist, Carson wrote with exactitude and lyricism of the liminal environment, while Dillard’s evocative personal essays offer a glimpse into how the natural world can inform the human spirit. Williams offers a more elegiac account of landscape and family. The sensibilities and convictions of these women offer views to environmental literature that bring a different dimension to a genre of expression often associated with male adventure and audacity.

Music Since 1968 (MHI2228.01)

In this course we focus our attention on a few of the most exciting and influential composers of the late twentieth-century, and discuss how their music has influenced the music of the current period. Works by such composers as Elliott Carter, Toru Takemitsu, Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez, Alfred Schnittke, Luciano Berio, Charles Wuorinen, Frederick Rzewski, John Adams, John Harbison, Galina Ustvolskaya, Gyorgi Kurtag, Gyorgi Ligeti, Sofia Gubaidulina, Louis Andriessen, and Kaija Saariaho are listened to and discussed in class. The course is more student run than a standard lecture course. It is open to students from all disciplines and without prerequisites, but a high level of work is required. There are assigned readings and listening assignments. Music students are expected to write a substantial paper on one composer and to make a presentation on that composer in class. They are responsible for helping to explain the musical approaches and techniques we discuss to the non-music students. Students without a music background are also expected to write a substantial paper on a composer and to give a presentation in class, but are encouraged to draw analogies between the music we study and work in the other arts, and to place the music studied in a historical, philosophical, or scientific context.

Cup Lending Library (CER4108.01)

All art is a form of communication. The ceramic cup is unusual in that it communicates, perhaps best, through touch. The Cup Lending Library is designed to facilitate this kind of communication on our campus. In this course, students will curate and make cups for a Cup Lending Library to be permanently installed in Crossett Library. The Cup Lending Library will act as an introduction to ceramic artists, handmade cups, and will provide cups for use on campus for community events or personal use. The cups in this library collection will include cups curated from national artists and the best examples of Bennington student work. Over the course of the term, students will refine and remake their cups while researching historical and contemporary examples. Early in the class, we will investigate non-traditional collections and lending in libraries. Students will work together to formulate a plan for curating cups including selection criteria, quantity, and budget. Students will conduct research into the artists represented in the collection and this will be compiled into a written document that will accompany each piece. At the end of the term, students will determine the best way to introduce the campus community to this collection. The course will consist of 2, 2-hour sessions with the first being a lecture/ seminar class in the library followed by a hands-on class in the ceramics studio.

Intermediate Voice (MVO4301.04, section 4)

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

Corequisites: Attendance and participation in Music Workshop Tuesday 6:30-8PM

Intermediate Voice (MVO4301.01, section 1)

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

Corequisites: Attendance and participation in Music Workshop Tuesday 6:30-8PM

 

Thomas Bogdan
Tu 10:30-12:20
This course is categorized as All courses, Voice.

Discrimination and Audit Studies (SOC4105.01)

In the first half of term, we will examine various definitions of discrimination, and methods of measuring discrimination, identifying advantages and pitfalls of each. We will read studies examining discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, social class, gender, sexual orientation, and criminal record. Students will research the ways in which Supreme Court cases have contributed to legal and sociological conceptualizations of discrimination. In the second half of the course, students will work in pairs or small groups to design and implement an email-based experimental audit study measuring a form of discrimination of their choice. Each pair or group will produce a final research paper, modeled after an academic journal article, in which they will detail the findings of their audit study and contextualize these within the relevant literature. Students will deliver their papers in the form of professional conference-style presentations at the end of term. Prior coursework in research methods and/or social statistics is highly recommended for this class.

Topics In Video: Experimental Documentary (FV4236.01)

This course explores documentary possibilities through screenings and video projects. The class will look at and consider non-fiction techniques from early cinema verite films to recent attempts to address point of view and outsider status in documentary and experimental video work. In collaborative and individual projects, the class will take a hands-on approach to documentary production: addressing interview techniques, cinematography, story structures, metaphor, archival film use and a range of editing and presentation techniques – including installations. We will also work on our ability to develop relationships and to gain access to subjects outside our usual circles.

I am a Material (SCU4112.02)

What is a more valuable piece of matter? Could it be something that will degrade in this art world and be okay? String, cotton-balls and rubber bands may be what should be affixed to your unique prosthetic to complete a task given.

This course will cover information and techniques related to body casting, wire rope rigging, fabricating, building processes and encourage personal material resourcing. This is a project based performance course in which you will have problems set to define and complete. Your found solution will be evaluated on how thoroughly you analyzed the task, by way of experimentation of intent represented in prototyping and drawings, as well as showing a final function.

A Material World (SCU2113.01)

This course is directed at the student who is interested in furthering a visual vocabulary and conceptual enhancement through material introductions and demonstrations. The class will be based primarily on mastering methods of working with both thermo forming and thermo setting plastics. Often I have students come to me and ask how they can find some solution to the way a project may be leading them…the answer is never simple, on the contrary, this class will introduce you to learning around a problem. Observing close to what you were looking for however understanding that these decisions on material selection and their safe manipulation will create and develop new rich conceptual directions. Questions about questions like: Is this the most interesting solution? What is interesting? The foundation of this course is designed around the encouragement to experiment fearlessly towards finding a richer material language.

The Scriptorium: Borders and Boundaries (WRI2152.01)

This scriptorium, a “place for writing,” functions as a class for writers interested in improving their academic essay-writing skills. We will read to write and write to read. Much of our time will be occupied with writing and revising—essai means “trial” or “attempt”—as we work to create new habits and strategies for our analytical writing. As we practice various essay structures with the aim of developing a persuasive, well-supported thesis, we will also revise collaboratively, improve our research skills, and study grammar and style. Our aim is to learn to write with complexity, imagination, and clarity, as we read model examples of form and content on the theme of borders and boundaries. As we interrogate real and figurative perimeters, we will ask many questions: what occurs in those liminal spaces? How do power structures maintain borders? Who and what gets put into the margins? What occurs if those boundaries are transgressed? What happens to the body and to identity when one is “in between”? How do you conceive of yourself if you experience your identity as “here nor there” or “nowhere and everywhere”? Readings may include texts by Anzaldúa, Berger, Larsen, Luiselli, Rushdie, Rankine, Hurston, Said, Turner, Douglas, Hall, Chang, Lorde, Ovid, Haraway, Sinclair, Butler, Halberstam.

Digital Materiality (MS4101.01)

“The cloud” is not in the sky, but is comprised of thousands of securitized data centers and fiber optic networks that span continents. Undersea cables still carry nearly all internet traffic that travels across oceans. How can we critically analyze these massive systems that are often either invisible or too large to see all at once? This course will explore the materiality of digital media and their infrastructures. We will read key works in media history, media archaeology, and related fields to trace the life cycle of digital devices, from mineral extraction and industrial production to the carbon footprint of consumer usage and digital technology’s afterlife as e-waste. As we delve into the prehistories and possible futures of digital technology, we will also consider the work of designers, engineers, and artists who help us think creatively about digital media, whether from the perspective of deep-time, or in speculations on post-digital media and data.

Chemistry 2 (CHE4212.01)

Building on structural and reactivity insights developed in Chemistry 1, this course delves into molecular structure and modern theories of bonding, especially as they relate to the reaction patterns of functional groups. We will focus on the mechanisms of reaction pathways and develop an understanding for how those mechanisms are experimentally explored. There will be numerous readings from the primary literature, including some classic papers that describe seminal experiments. Particular attention will be paid to addition, elimination, and substitution reactions of organic compounds.

Corequisites: Lab

Advanced Mixing Techniques (MSR4365.01)

This course will offer an advanced study in studio practices. We will explore various mixing objectives and techniques through critical listening sessions, analysis, and hands-on projects. We will focus on the fundamentals as well as advanced practices of mixing, shaping the sounds through dynamic range processors and modulation tools, and various other techniques. Students will have an opportunity to practice their mixing skills through multitracks, make their own creative remixes, and share their work in-class with their peers for feedback. This course is for students who have previous experience in recording studio practices and/or with preexisting projects.

Abstract Algebra (MAT4144.01)

This course will be organized around two main themes. One will be the analysis of symmetries, in particular the symmetries of tiling patterns and crystals. The other will be classical polynomial algebra, in particular the analysis of the extent to which polynomial equations may be solved explicitly (and what that means). The relevant mathematical topics are what are known as group theory and Galois theory. Our treatment of group theory will be fairly abstract, while the treatment of polynomial algebra and Galois theory will be very concrete, classical, and historically motivated.

Song for Ireland and Celtic Connections (MHI2251.01)

Celtic history and music from Ireland, Scotland, Bretagne, Galatia, and Cape Breton will be experienced, studied, and performed using instruments and voices. We’ll find and cross the musical bridges between regions–from the ballads of Ireland, Scotland and Wales to the Alalas of Spain and dance tunes of Brittany. An end-of-term presentation will be prepared drawing on inspiration from traditional forms. Students must bring a guitar, banjo, mandolin, or fiddle (or other social instrument) to class for purposes of furthering personal music making through traditional forms. We will practice and perform as a group, improving our reading and aural skills.

Traditional Music Ensemble (MPF4221.01)

We will study and perform from the string band traditions of rural America. Nova Scotia, Quebecois, Irish, New England, Scandinavian, African American dance and ballad traditions will also be experienced with listening, practice (weekly group rehearsals outside of class), and performing components. Emphasis on ensemble intuition, playing by ear, and lifetime personal music making skills (transposition, harmonizing, etc.). Previous playing experience required on one or more of the following instruments: violin, guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass accordion, concertina, penny whistle, flute, bodhran, harp, ukulele, or piano. Students must have three to five years of instrument playing experience, and must have their own instrument or arrange for instrument use per term.

Ethnographic Playwriting (APA2181.01)

This course takes an ethnographic approach to making new theater works within community collaborations. This course is about engaging your most adventurous artist self in the context of delicate, politically loaded, dialogic processes. We will read, watch and discuss the work of subculture theorists, architects, theater-makers and other artists, all of whom use staged conversations as an element of their work, either in finished form or in process. We will talk about step-by- step processes for building trust among colleagues and community members, balancing an artistically unified voice with real co-authorship, and leading a process through partnership. Another focus of the course will be on how to successfully reach desired publics with works. Ultimately, students will take what we do in class and create original in-progress works of live performance using ethnographic methods, and socially-engaged aesthetic and ethical considerations.

Creative Economies (APA2167.02)

This course is designed for students of all disciplines who are interested in connecting their discrete creations (a poem, a drawing, an artwork, a product, an event) to larger systems, organizations, and possible art worlds. In this course, we will examine the ways in which every aspect of your production and distribution process — from sourcing materials to organizing your studio to licensing and acquisition — can deepen your work and remind people of your intentions as an artist. Through in-person meetings, guest presentations, group activities, and readings, you will be introduced to contemporary artists and designers who consider the entire life of their projects, and who develop ways for their projects to circulate in multiple art and design worlds. You will be exposed to a range of creations and systems, from networks of conceptual artists to solidarity co-ops, from alternative currency groups to online start-ups. Throughout the course, you will be challenged to identify art worlds that are appropriate to your work and to your concerns, drawing connections to a series of organizations, collectives and interconnected art and design worlds.

Introduction to Computer Science (CS2124.01)

In this class, students will be exposed to the main problems and questions related to computer science, while beginning their journey towards becoming skilled coders. Students will learn how to write their own small computer programs. A large part of this process will include learning basic programming skills, computational thinking and algorithm design. In addition, students will also formulate and explore questions of their own related to computer science.

The History of Directing (DRA2169.01)

How did the director emerge as a driving, creative force in the theater? We will work semi-chronologically from the late 19th to the early 21st century, examining how culture and theater interact and change each other. We will consider traditional theater, the rise of the modern director, theatricality, epic theater, auteur directors, ensemble theater, theater for social change, and devising. We will read historic manifestos, critical responses, and examine visual research. At the same time we may read contemporary case studies to explore how current directors work collaboratively to overturn theatrical conventions. We will consider the relationship of the director to the “text,” (written, physical, visual, aural), to actor training, to the ensemble and collaboration, and to design and technology. How do directors address the community they seek to engage? Students will deliver oral presentations and lead discussions examining a theater/performance artist’s theory and practice. In addition, we will conduct in-class experiential exercises invoked in various directorial approaches.

Visible Language: Word And/As Image (DRW4401.01)

The observed world is covered with words, both visible and invisible. This advanced drawing course aims to underline the tensions and comforts of the relationship between words and images in visual art. Through assigned drawing problems that call upon students to complete and present visual work regularly, topics will include, sign and structure, letter formation and typography, concrete poetry, found language, illustration, and sequential imagery. An historical context of visible language will be presented, with special attention to the use of words in contemporary art. Students are expected to be able to think abstractly, and to consider reading and drawing important parts of their daily life. Class structure includes in class work, out of class assignments, independent work, readings, discussions and critiques. A high level of self-motivation is expected.

The Jewish Annotated New Testament (APA2180.01)

Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, Jesus’ mother Mary and Mary Magdalene were all Jews even though they appear prominently in the Christian Bible, also known as the New Testament. Their lives were imbued with Jewish history, beliefs, and practices. Often those nuances and meanings are lost when those texts are read without that understanding. In this class we will read some of the Gospels through the lens of the Jewish world of which these texts came out of. Our text book will be, The Jewish Annotated New Testament, edited by Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Z. Brettler, who assembled the best Jewish scholars of our generation to write commentaries on the text. This class will explore the messages of the Gospels as well as unpack the Jewish culture from where they emerged from.

Eastern European Literature and Cinema: From the Cold War to the Present (LIT2171.01)

In this course, we will examine contemporary literature and cinema in the “other” Europe, exposing the intricacies of daily life in a region where the past is always present. The cinematic and literary texts will be drawn from the former Yugoslavia and the successor states of East Bloc nations in post-Communist Europe. We will consider the work of iconoclastic writers and film directors such as Dubravka Ugrešić, Semezdin Mehmedinović, Paweł Pawlikowski, Dorota Masłowska, Aleksandr Sokurov, Vladimir Sorokin, Olga Tokarczuk, and the 2009 Nobel Prize recipient Herta Müller. We will also discuss the more detached yet no less poignant perspective on political events by expatriate artists such as the Bosnian Aleksandar Hemon and the Czech Milan Kundera. We will conclude the course with an examination of ascendant feminist and independent socialist movements in the arts, devoting particular attention to literary and cinematic push-backs against the recent rise of ethno-nationalism in Eastern Europe.