Archives

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.

Fundamentals of Creative Writing (LIT2394.01)

This class will serve as a comprehensive introduction both to the craft of creative writing and also to the workshop method. Throughout the term, we will explore poetry, literary fiction, and creative non-fiction in order to build a working knowledge of the craft and to help students begin to find their way into their own narratives and poems. Every week class will feature exercises and assignments designed to introduce and sharpen certain techniques. Over the course of the semester, students will be expected to write and workshop one short story, one lyric or narrative essay, and a small group of poems. We will also read widely across the three genres. This course is intended for students who have not yet taken a Reading and Writing course at Bennington. 

Note: Students may not take this class if they have already taken Fundamentals of Creative Writing or Animal Tales: Fundamentals of Creative Writing

Corequisites: Students are required to be in attendance at all Literature evenings and Poetry at Bennington events (most Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm).

Drawing As A Verb: Exploring Uncertainty (DRW2120.01)

1. Conceptual artists are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach.
2. Rational judgements repeat rational judgements.
3. Irrational judgements lead to new experience.
4. Formal art is essentially rational.
5. Irrational thoughts should be followed absolutely and logically.

-Sol LeWitt, “Sentences on Conceptual Art” 1969

Shying away from the static, resolved, or finished image, this course will explore drawing as a process of ongoing inquiry. It is intended to foster an experimental and experiential approach to making art, generally eschewing personal expression in favor of developing an open-minded approach. Students will engage with various techniques and processes to make drawings that document experience as well as create an image. Topics to be considered include: artistic intent, ambition, happenings, failure, and chance. Class time is used for drawing, technical demonstrations, discussion and critique. Relevant artists include: Marcel Duchamp, Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage, Jean Tinguely, Allan Kaprow, Yvonne Rainer, Yoko Ono,and Yayoi Kusama.

Visual Arts Lecture Series (VA2999.01)

Each term, Bennington offers a program of five-six lectures by visiting arts professionals: artists, curators, historians and critics, selected to showcase the diversity of contemporary art practices. Designed to enhance a broader and deeper knowledge of various disciplines in the Visual Arts and to stimulate campus dialogue around topical issues of contemporary art and culture, these thematically connected presentations offer students the opportunity to explore ideas from multiple perspectives over the course of the term. Students registered for this series must attend all lectures on Tuesday evenings at 7:00pm as well as gallery exhibitions, and are responsible for taking notes and completing a one-page essay-questionnaire for each event to be submitted via Populi. Optional readings and additional opportunities for engagement with visiting speakers may be announced throughout the term.

Sing (MUS2148.01)

We will gather once a week to sing rounds, chant, chorales, work songs, protest songs, sea chanteys, Sacred Harp, and folk songs from around the world. The words are less important than the joy of singing as a community. No performances- evaluation is by attendance only. We will use our ears and simple notation to learn the music- no previous singing experience is necessary.

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

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.

Infinity (MAT2109.03)

A large part of modern mathematics has to do with how we conceptualize and manage the idea of infinity. This occurs in different places: the infinity of the horizon line that appeared with the development of perspective drawing, the infinitely small and infinitely many quantities of calculus, the infinite depth of fractals. This class will survey some of these concepts and briefly talk about how they are formalized in mathematics. There will be a particular emphasis on Cantor’s set theory, which was developed in the late nineteenth century, and which provided new logical tools and a new language to talk about infinite quantities. No mathematical background or knowledge will be assumed.

(April 10, 14, 17, 21, 24, 28)

Puzzles (MAT2108.01)

Much of higher mathematics has more in common with solving puzzles than it does with performing algebra drills. In this class, I will be proposing puzzles, and providing coaching and strategies for getting better at doing puzzles. Many of the reasoning skills will be valuable broadly in life, not only in mathematics. No special math knowledge will be needed.

Certainty (MAT2119.04)

Advanced mathematics is largely about logical argument, as much as it is computation or calculation. Over time, as each generation extended their ideas into new realms, they looked at the logical arguments of their predecessors and found that there were gaps, elisions, things that were not fully understood. One could imagine that this process might continue forever, but it does not: in the early twentieth century, a number of mathematicians (most notably Hilbert) completed the project of “hitting bedrock”, finding a clear demarcation line between certainty and uncertainty. This required a clarification about what mathematics and reasoning are about (“formalism”). These profound ideas deserve to be better known outside of professional mathematics. (Later, some mathematicians (notably Gödel) used this framework to show the limitations of the framework, in a different and more precise sense than before.) In this class we will go through the development of these ideas. No mathematical knowledge will be assumed.

(May 8, 12, 15, 19, 22, 26)

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.

Introduction to Video (FV2303.01)

This production course introduces students to the fundamentals of working in video and the language of film form. Drawing on the energy, intensity and criticality of avant-garde film and contemporary video art practices, students will complete a series of projects exploring dimensions of cinematography, mise-en-scène, editing and sound design before producing a final self-determined project. Concepts crucial to time-based media such as apparatus, montage and identification will be introduced through screenings, discussions and texts by a diverse range of artists, filmmakers, and theorists. Emphasis on technical instruction, formal experimentation, and critical vocabulary is balanced in order to give students a footing from which to find their own stakes in the medium.

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.

Piano Lab I (MIN2232.01)

Introductory course in basic keyboard skills. Topics include reading notation, improvisation, rhythm, technique, and general musicianship

Dance Making: The Ephemeral Artifact (DAN2137.01)

This course is an introduction to the creative process of dance making. We will look at choreography as a format for arranging bodies and movement; considering time, space, and emotion in performance based work. We will explore, improvise, watch, and discuss our work and the work of others.  We will develop personal movement material from multiple sources and investigate our personal process as it relates to contemporary performance.

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: 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.

Bennington County Choral Society – Mahler Symphony No. 8 (MPF2164.01)

The Bennington County Choral Society, a community chorus conducted by Cailin Marcel Manson, promotes choral singing by presenting several concerts per year, and eagerly invites student participation. Auditions are not required, and singers of all levels and abilities are welcomed. To receive credit, students must attend all rehearsals and performances. Performances may be held at various locations in Bennington, and transportation may need to be arranged. Contact Kerry Ryer-Parke for more information.

The Musical “Other”: Exoticism, Appropriation, and Multiculturalism (MHI2116.01)

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.

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.

The Scriptorium: Ekphrasis (LIT2225.01)

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 explore the genre of Ekphrasis, which can be simply defined an artistic description of a work of art, a rhetorical device in which one medium of art responds to another. We will study classical and modern examples of ekphrasis and read critical theory about representation, influence, copies, modernity, verisimilitude, beauty, and truth. We will ask ourselves these pressing questions: how can we accurately and imaginatively describe a work of art? How can we capture a work’s meaning, form, and effect on the audience? What are the tensions and possibilities between literature and the visual arts? Readings may include texts by Plato, Berger, Wilde, Homer, Scarry, Benjamin, Ovid, Keats, Browning, Young, Loy, Auden, Coste Lewis, hooks, Dijkstra, Hall, Sontag, Mitchell.

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.

Life Drawing Lab (DRW2118.01)

Drawing Lab provides an opportunity for student artists of all experience levels to further develop their skills with observational-based drawing. Working primarily with the human figure, students build increased understanding of the poetic, dynamic, and inherently abstract nature of drawing, while paying close attention to the potential of formal elements such as shape, line, form, and the creation of pictorial space. Although each class period provides structures and activities within which students work, the ultimate aim of this class to allow students the time and space necessary to further develop their drawing skills so as to best support individual projects and concerns. Class time is divided between drawing from life, discussing student work, and examining the use of the figure in visual art, using both contemporary and historical examples. Please note that this course may require additional materials to be purchased by the student.

Note: Much of this class will be spent drawing the nude human form.

Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson (LIT2199.01)

In this course we will examine the work and worlds of these two canonical American poets. We will read the poems and letters of Dickinson and the poems and prose of Whitman, paying special attention to his lifelong masterwork, Leaves of Grass. We will also dip into the biographies of these authors and attempt to place them within the context of 19th century literature and culture. Students will also read, discuss and write critical prose, present research in class and complete creative assignments.

Logarithms (MAT2107.02)

Logarithms are one of the parts of mathematics that often remain a bit mysterious to people, even if they had no difficulty solving problems with them in school. In fact, logarithms are of far broader importance and interest than the narrow applications one usually sees; and seeing this broader picture helps in dispelling some of the mystery and in understanding what they are. In this class we will see new ways of counting, new ways of understanding number and estimating mentally, and new ways of comprehending data, all based in logarithms. I will not be assuming that you know or remember anything about logarithms; part of the point will be to explain them, from the beginning, in a variety of ways.

(March 17, 20, 24, 27, 31, April 3)

Geometry (MAT2106.01)

In the nineteenth and twentieth (and twenty-first!) centuries, mathematicians have been stretching the idea of “geometry” far beyond the geometry of Euclid most people are familiar with: into the fourth (or higher) dimension, curved spaces, and more. This new geometry (the part I am referring to is called “differential geometry and topology”) is philosophically and aesthetically interesting, plays a definite role in the construction of our universe, and has wide-ranging applications; but it is not well-known outside of mathematics departments. Usually, the prerequisites for this study are at least linear algebra, multivariable calculus, and analysis, so math majors get to it in their final undergraduate year, if at all. In this class, we will study these ideas in spaces made out of flat pieces (for a simple example, the surface of a cube). This will allow us to study sophisticated ideas, without assuming any background knowledge. In particular, I will not be assuming that students know any calculus; as for Euclidean geometry, we will be revisiting it from this larger perspective, so you do not need to know or remember that subject either. The class is open to everyone, but culminates in serious, high-level mathematics.

Seminar on Monolingualism (LIN2103.01)

Scholarly estimates consistently place the percentage of the world’s population able to communicate proficiently in more than one language over 50%.  Yet multilingual competence is regularly treated as a secondary or even aberrant state requiring explanation and interpretation, while monolingualism is assumed as default despite its numerically inferior status.  In this course, we will reverse this paradigm, and work to view monolingualism as a contingent output of an essentially multilingual human milieu. Perspectives will range from the sociolinguistic to the psycholinguistic to the realm of language ideology/policy, and our examination of individual and societal-level practices will address topics relating to language acquisition, language contact/isolation, code-switching, mono-/polylectalism and mono-/diglossia.  Participation of multilingual and monolingual students in the seminar is welcomed.

Hip Hop Archaeology (MS2105.01)

Hip hop music producers have long practiced “diggin’ in the crates”—a phrase that denotes searching through record collections to find material to sample. In this course, we will examine the material and technological history of hip hop culture, with particular attention to hip hop’s tendency to sample, remix, mash-up, and repurpose existing media artifacts to create new works of art. We will use a media archaeological approach to examine the precise material conditions that first gave rise to graffiti art, deejaying, rapping, and breakdancing, and to analyze hip hop songs, videos, and films. Hip hop archaeology is a critical and artistic practice that seeks to interpret the layers of significance embedded in the artifacts of hip hop culture. How does hip hop archaeology remix the past, the present, and the future? How do the historical, political, and cultural coding of hip hop artifacts change as they increasingly become part of institutional collections, from newly established hip hop archives at Cornell and Harvard to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture?

Introduction to Butoh Practice-Impulsive Body (DAN2180.01)

No previous experience in dance or movement practice is required. This course is open to any students who are interested in investigating a relationship between their impulse and movements, and where those impulses come from. By studying some principles and practices of butoh, which originated in Japan as a contemporary avant-garde dance form, we aim to liberate ourselves from pre-fixed images of our bodies and search for alternate and original ways of approaching them.

Movement Practice: Beginning Dance Technique (DAN2121.01)

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.

Woodcut Printmaking on the Vandercook Proofing Press (PRI2123.02)

Vandercook Proofing Presses were once a vital aspect of the printing industry and have been adopted widely by artists for letterpress printing and book arts. Bennington College is fortunate to possess three Vandercooks, housed in the Word and Image Lab.

Using type-high plywood blocks, oil-based and non-toxic, water-soluble inks, we will examine different approaches to mark-making: from graphic and angular to painterly and gestural. We will cover color mixing, printing in multiple-colors and producing multiples/editions.

Students will learn image preparation and transfer methods, sharpening and care of tools, wood carving methods, ink and paper preparation, hand-inking and rolling techniques, printing on the Vandercook proofing press and by hand. Additional areas of experimentation may include using stencils, layering color and a variety of monotype techniques and embossment.

Experienced and beginning woodcutters/relief printmakers are welcome to join us.

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.

Introduction to 3D Modeling: Point, Curve, Surface, Solid (VA2117.01)

This course explores methods of translating found or imagined shapes into digital three-dimensional objects. Students will study how sub-division, approximation, and discretization can be used to separate forms into their component parts. Coursework will focus on how systematic breaking-down of form reveals qualities that can be intentionally altered, thus changing their properties. Through exercises that explore part-to-whole relationships students will be introduced to Rhinoceros—an industry standard 3D modeling program—and learn how to create inputs for 3D printers and laser-cutters. By the end of the course, each student will have completed a digital model, a set of orthographic drawings, and a physical model.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

St. Augustine and Literary Confession (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.

Form and Process: Investigations in Painting (PAI2107.01)

This course introduces a variety of materials, techniques and approaches to painting with oils. Emphasis is placed on developing and understanding of color, form and space as well as individual research and conceptual concerns. The daily experience of seeing, along with the history of art, provides a base from which investigations are made. Formal, poetic, and social implications within paintings both from class and from art history are examined and discussed. Students complete work weekly. There are regular group critiques, and individual reviews, reading assignments and lectures by visiting artists. A high degree of motivation is expected.

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

Isadora: Real-Time Media Manipulation for Performance (DA2136.02)

This class will introduce Isadora, a software designed for artists, designers and performers to add interactive media and video to their projects. Through a drag and drop node based interface you can control your media in real time, editing your video and audio on the fly or incorporating live video and audio feeds. Together we will learn the logic of the software and best practices for media management and equipment set up in pursuit of our creative ideas.

Social Dynamics of Inclusion (SCT2134.01)

This course will examine social psychological approaches to promoting inclusivity. Content will focus on contextual factors that contribute to, and maintain bias in contemporary society, and on methods that can promote collaboration across difference. Topics will include: power, intersectionality, micro-aggression, intergroup dynamics, social justice, intergroup dialogue, and related concepts. Students will be expected to participate actively; examine, understand, and articulate different perspectives; and engage fully with the assigned readings and materials. Weekly reflection papers are required; students will also submit and present a final project.

Delia Saenz
Th 3:40-5:30
This course is categorized as All courses, SCT.

Introduction to Intaglio: The Alchemist’s Print (PRI2111.01)

This course is an introduction to copper plate Intaglio. We will explore various techniques to prepare our plates including hand working and acid etching with materials such as rosin resists and sugar lifts. By the end of term, we will be printing in color. Ultimately, the overall goal of our endeavors will be to begin a dialog about artistic production in a contemporary context while also exploring the unique history of the intaglio process.

Queer French (in English) (FRE2109.01)

In this advanced course, we will examine French culture’s engagement with questions of sexuality and gender, with a focus on authors, artists, theorists, and others who have questioned ideas of normative sexuality from the Middle Ages through the 21st century. Authors and texts to be studied will include Marguerite de Navarre, l’Abbé de Choisy, Diderot, Monique Wittig, Virginie Despentes, Guillaume Dustan, Abdellah Taïa, Edouard Louis, Bambi (Sebastian Lifshitz), and Parole de King (Chriss Lag). Advanced level. Conducted in English.

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.

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.

Mandolin (MIN2229.01)

Beginning, intermediate and advanced group or individual lessons on the mandolin will be offered. Student will learn classical technique on the mandolin and start to develop a repertoire of classical and traditional folk pieces. Simple song sheets with chords, tablature, and standard notation, chord theory, and scale work will all be used to further skills. Students will be expected to perform at Music Workshop, or as part of a concert, in ensemble and/or solo. Depending on scheduling, these will be individual or group lessons.

Ukulele Comprehensive (MIN2230.01)

A comprehensive course on learning skills on the ukulele. We will learn the history of the uke and both traditional and contemporary styles. Music theory and playing techniques will be covered and students will be expected to perform as a group or individually at Music Workshop. Students must have their own soprano or tenor ukulele.

Banjo (MIN2215.01)

Beginning, intermediate, or advanced group lessons on the 5-string banjo in the claw-hammer/frailing style. Student will learn to play using simple song sheets with chords, tablature, and standard notation. Using chord theory and scale work, personal music-making skills will be enhanced. Awareness of traditional styles of playing the instrument will be furthered through a listening component and ensemble playing with other instrumentalists.

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.

Introduction to Video (FV2303.01, section 1)

This production course introduces students to the fundamentals of working in video and the language of film form. Drawing on the energy, intensity and criticality of avant-garde film and contemporary video art practices, students will complete a series of projects exploring dimensions of cinematography, mise-en-scène, editing and sound design before producing a final self-determined project. Concepts crucial to time-based media such as apparatus, montage and identification will be introduced through screenings, discussions and texts by a diverse range of artists, filmmakers, and theorists. Emphasis on technical instruction, formal experimentation, and critical vocabulary is balanced in order to give students a footing from which to find their own stakes in the medium.

Bertolt Brecht (LIT2341.01)

This course will explore Brecht’s development of epic theater dramaturgy, at the intersection of his synthetic genius and collective inspirations. Students will learn about Brecht’s development of such techniques as Verfremdungseffekt (distancing effect), historification, gestus, and separation of the elements, while exploring his radical adaptations of classical texts. As Brecht, who adapted his early theories from Erwin Piscator, once commented: “Anyone can be creative. It’s rewriting other people that’s a challenge.” The course will also explore Brecht’s practices of collective writing and dramaturgy: in his epic music theater with Kurt Weill, and in his collaborations with multiple women artists, including Elisabeth Hauptmann, Margarete Steffin, and Ruth Berlau, whose sizable contributions to Brecht’s plays were eclipsed by Brecht’s macho-Marxist mythos. Additionally, the course will encompass Brecht’s early Weimar Republic-era works (e.g. Baal); his WWII-era plays and parables (e.g. Mother Courage and Her Children); and his plays set in a mythic “Chicago” of robber barons, racketeers, and fascists (e.g. Saint Joan of the Stockyards; The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui).

Exodus (LIT2320.01)

In this two-credit class, we focus on the second book of the Bible. Full of earthly incident (oppression, banishment, plagues, exile) and numinous drama (God’s revealing himself to Moses, the Covenant, the giving of the Ten Commandments), Exodus is, of course, a foundational text for Jews; for millenia, it has also been a magnet for poets, novelists, philosophers, composers, theologians, historians, and political thinkers, activists, and revolutionaries. Exodus is the text in which the Hebrew God injects Himself into history; much of our thinking will be about this momentous event, and the accompanying commandment to remember, perhaps best expressed by the Hebrew Zakhor. We will also consider the character of “the man Moses,” who was a conflicted, uneasy leader, who tried to dissuade God from naming him his messenger, and who fought bitterly not only with those he was charged to protect, but with God himself. We read this text as a (collective) work of literature, and so you will need to be attentive to modes of narration, framing, pacing, voice, and patterns of imagery.

Art of Auditioning (DRA2178.01)

Auditions are an opportunity to develop your artistic voice and your confidence in that voice through self-critique. In this class we will work to demystify the process of auditioning and understand how to prepare and present work under challenging circumstances. We will cover cold readings, monologue and prepared scenes, with an in depth look at each step of the process, from the artist’s point of view. We will address physical movement, text analysis, making choices, taking direction, interviewing, prep and post audition activity in order to experience the entire audition as a work of artistic expression. We will work towards developing a sense of self-evaluation that allows us to be independent of the need for feedback as well as the skills to participate in constructive feedback sessions. Students present work weekly.

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.

Feminist Geographies of Dis/ability (SCT2133.01)

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?

Emily Mitchell-Eaton
M/Th 1:40-3:30
This course is categorized as All courses, SCT.

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.

Drumming: An Extension of Language (MIN2120.01)

This course serves as an introduction to rhythms, chants, and musical practices from Africa, Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, and the African Diaspora. Using indigenous percussion instruments from these territories, students will use their hands, mallets, and sticks to play traditional folkloric rhythms and melodies. Additional topics will cover history, culture, language, and dance. This class serves the greater Bennington community in the spring by partnering with the South Western Vermont Medical Center, Bennington Project Independence, and the Village School of North Bennington. Near the end of term students will share their work in celebration with these organizations . A weekly practice lab is expected.

Speaking of Earth: Environmental Speeches that Moved the World (MOD2163.01)

In this course, based on the book Speaking of Earth, edited by Alon Tal, we will read twenty inspiring speeches by leading environmentalists around the world that examine a broad range of environmental issues. Included in the course is Rachel Carson’s defense of her ground breaking book Silent Spring, Prince Charles’s passionate call for sustainable agriculture, and the Dalai Lama’s explanation of a path to ecological harmony. The module will include participants in the class writing their own speech.

A Dual Narrative Approach to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (APA2246.01)

Sari Nusseibeh, a Palestinian philosopher and past President of Al-Quds University, and Yossi Klein Halevi, an Israeli journalist, have each authored books from their perspectives, analysis, and insights into the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Nusseibeh’s book is called, “Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life,” while Halevi’s book is called, “Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor.” In this class we will read both books, as an example of a dual narrative approach, and as vehicle to try to better understand this conflict which is often called intractable.

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.

Understanding PFOA: Science and Policy (ENV2173.01)

The water supply of Hoosick Falls, NY, Bennington’s western neighbor, has been contaminated with Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) by past industrial activity. PFOA is an “emerging contaminant” that is correlated with a range of health problems. This course will investigate the social and physical aspects of this ongoing disaster, from how the regulation of chemicals in the US shaped this disaster to how the specific chemistry of PFOA guides its environmental and biological pathways to how the geological structure of an aquifer influences the distribution and direction of a groundwater contaminant plume. Students will gain formal training in environmental organic chemistry and toxicology, contaminant hydrogeology, and environmental policy. This class will also conduct field research on the water contamination in Hoosick Falls and Bennington. Students will learn how to collect water samples, interpret laboratory data, and use geospatial analysis techniques and technology to characterize a groundwater plume. Students are also expected to help faculty prepare presentations of the early findings of our research to citizen’s groups in Hoosick Falls. Students in this class will be expected to help develop curricular materials that can be used in area public schools.

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.

Hugh Crowl & Tim Schroeder
M/Th 1:40-3:30
This course is categorized as All courses, Physics.

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-7:50 pm) is highly recommended.

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

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.

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 Devising. We will read and watch the work of such innovators as Mary Overlie, the Tectonic Theater Project, Ping Chong, and Frantic Assembly. Throughout the term we will perform exercises and studies as the class begins to create its own 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.

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.

Photo Now (PHO2141.01)

This course explores the evolution of contemporary photography from the late 20th century to the present day. We will be looking at a wide range of influences from identity politics, TV and film, social media, and the move from analog to digital technologies. The class format will be weekly faculty lectures accompanied by student research and presentations. Students will keep a journal and complete a midterm and final assignment.

Scene Painting (DRA2168.01)

This class will introduce students to the fundamentals of scenic art, including terminology, commonly used tools and techniques. Students will learn to create processes that will guide them from a rendering or scenic finish to a completed project. Skills we will develop include color mixing, surface preparation for soft goods and hard scenery, translating small renderings to fully realized pieces, analyzing and reproducing organic textures and architectural details.

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.

Reinventing Radio (APA2159.01)

With the development of the podcast and online radio, audio documentary has made a major resurgence in popular culture. This course will explore the basic skills and techniques required to tell stories through sound. Along with the technical tools required, the focus will be on learning how audio production can enhance communication with an audience. Topics covered will include: journalistic story construction, vocal delivery, microphone technique both in the studio and in the field, and Pro Tools-based digital audio mixing. Students will produce weekly recorded segments to be presented to the class, and written discussions of readings. The course will culminate with final projects that will be played on B-Rad Bennington Radio.

Markmaking and Representation (DRW2149.01)

The fundamentals of drawing are the basic tools for this investigation into seeing and translation. Using simple methods and means, the practice of drawing is approached from both traditional and experimental directions. The focus of this inquiry is on drawing from observation, broadly defined. In class drawing sessions are complemented by independent, outside of class work and occasional assigned readings. The goals of the course include the development of individual confidence in observational drawing skills, a working knowledge of the rich histories and contemporary concerns of drawing, and a practical basis for further inquiry into all the visual arts. Previous drawing experience may be helpful, but is not required of students enrolling in this course.

Note: A portion of this class will be spent drawing the nude human figure.

The Actor’s Instrument (DRA2170.01)

The craft of acting will be the main focus of this class. Through physical and vocal warm-up exercises, sensory exploration, improvisation, scene work, and extensive reading students will be asked to develop an awareness of their own unique instrument as actors and learn to trust their inner impulses where this is concerned. Extensive out of class preparation of specific exercises as well as rehearsal with scene partners will constitute the bulk of expected work. Students can expect this to amount to six hours of required rehearsal time per week. In addition students will read several plays throughout the term, as well as weekly theory handouts. The writings, exercises, and work of such theater artists as Anne Bogart, Constantin Stanislavski, Sanford Meisner, Uta Hagen, Jerzy Grotowski among others will be researched and discussed in class.

Corequisites: Drama Lab

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.