Fall 2020

IMG_5696
ARCH 111: Architecture as Media

Professor: Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco

This studio-based course introduces students to architectural tools of communication while presenting architecture as a field that communicates not only technical knowledge, but public imaginaries, spatial aesthetics of popular culture and contested ideas. In this way, the course will teach students basic architectural tools of representation as a situated practice of aesthetic production. Students will learn and practice techniques of contemporary digital drafting, diagramming, mapping and image-making, all of which will be carefully positioned against a survey of paradigmatic moments in the history of architecturally-related visual cultures. Thus, it will span a series of design technique workshops across a range of lectures ranging from the historical emergence of the floorplan, to contextualizing the collages of El Lissitzky to the sci-fi animations of Archigram to the films of Ray and Charles Eames to the Marxist photocollages of Superstudio to the CGI-rendered culture of late capitalist architecture to the activism of Architecture Lobby, Forensic Architecture and WBYA? to the planetary imaginaries of Urban Theory Lab, Nemestudio, Design Earth, among other crucial episodes in the history of architectural media. Studio work involves weekly assignments. When possible, a field trip will be organized. Estimated costs for studio related assignments and activities is $200. Financial assistance may be available. Please contact instructor. No prior experience required.

ART 200: Digital II: Hyperbleed

Professor: Maggie Hazen

The Hyperbleed—a metaphor or framework for describing the way images in the digital age have begun to “bleed” or slip off the screen into an embodied reality. This blur or slippage point marks a process of transition where images begin to invade reality. Throughout this course we will examine both still and moving images as they relate to the shaping of our global identity over the past 60 years. Students will learn the basic technical aspects of Adobe Premiere with an introduction to the video game design software Unity. We will examine the subject through an unconventional combination of practice, play and discussion. Students will be given project prompts that relate to The Hyperbleed in prevalent popular media including (but not limited too), identity, gender, violence, entertainment and fiction. Be prepared for these projects to move beyond the grid.

ARTH/ EUS/ HR 307: Contested Spaces

Professor: Olga Touloumi

During the 19th and 20th century, streets, kitchens, schools, and ghettos were the spaces of political conflict and social transformation. Often these spaces are studied as sites of contestation, where old pedagogical, medical, institutional paradigms witness the emergence of new. This course will focus on these spaces of contestation and discus show objects and buildings in dialogue construct new ideas about class, gender, and race. Readings by Chantal Mouffee, Hannah Arendt, Antony Vidler, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Michel Foucault will provide us with analytical tools and theoretical frameworks to address those actors excluded from history, problematizing agency and authorship in art and architecture. The class assignments include weekly responses, collaborative projects on the course website, and a final paper. The class is taught in collaboration with the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. AHVC distribution: 1800-Present/America.

FILM 225: 3D Video

Professor: Ben Coonley

In this course, students are introduced to processes for creating moving image artworks using 3D animation software and its ancillary technologies. Topics include: the basics of 3D modeling and animation, 3D scanning, and creative use of other technologies that allow artists to combine real and virtual spaces. Weekly readings reflect on the psychological, cultural, and aesthetic impacts of the increasingly prevalent use of computer-generated imagery in contemporary media. Students are not assumed to have any previous experience with 3D animation. This production class fulfills a moderation/major requirement.

MUS/ ANTH 247: Ethnography: Music & Sound

Professor: Whitney Slaten

How have recent ethnomusicologists and anthropologists written about traditional and popular musics around the world? How does this writing respond to representing culture, locally and globally? How does this writing about musics’ social contexts respond to changing academic attitudes within the humanities and social sciences, as well as the interdisciplinary development of sound studies? Students will read, present, and discuss chapters from recent book length examples of musical ethnography. Lectures and discussions will focus on the writing strategies of ethnographers, continually assessing how writing represents and analyzes local and global practices of production, circulation, and consumption, as well as how such works participate in emergent scholarly traditions. The course will culminate in a written comparative ethnography analysis paper in which students will compare two ethnographic monographs.

THTR 259: Going Viral

Professor: Miriam Felton-Dansky

In our current era of pandemic, “the virus” not only occupies our headlines and news feeds; it also takes shape as a profound and frightening force in the cultural imagination. For theater and performance artists, this is nothing new: contagion, virus, and the viral have long functioned as subject matter, metaphor, and methods of disseminating work to audiences. This course investigates contagion and the viral as they have mattered to modern and contemporary artists, from the French modernist Artaud, who compared the “ideal theater” to the plague; to the 1970s collective General Idea, who called themselves viral artists nearly two decades before making some of the most iconic visual art responding to the HIV/AIDS crisis. We will examine the viral as a phenomenon of changing media landscapes–beginning with Orson Welles’s infamous 1938 “War of the Worlds” broadcast, long before the phrase “going viral” took on its current meaning–and ask questions about the nature of performance in a moment where all theatrical life is lived online. Though the focus of the courses will be viral theater and performance, we will find intersections with the viral in literature, new media, and installation art; students will explore the viral through critical essays and by making a viral work of art.

WRIT/ HR 313: Imagination Under Siege

Professor: Valeria Luiselli

This course focuses on re-imagining processes of documenting violence and writing about it: political, environmental, racial, and gender-based violence, among others. We will be reading an array of authors –such as Ursula K Le Guin, Anne Carson, Dolores Dorantes, Ernesto Cardenal, Maria Zambrano, and Aimé Césaire– and will be looking at work emerging from other disciplines, such as soundscapes, architecture, land art, alternative mappings, as well as forms of protest and collective organizing. Students will work on fragmentary and hybrid forms of prose, in search for new ways of exploring imagination as both a tool for political resistance and as an end in itself. During the semester, students in “Imagination Under Siege” will also meet with Ann Lauterbach’s course “The Entangled Imagination,” to converse/discuss/collaborate on the ways in which imaginative thinking is a necessary tool in resisting and finding alternatives to authoritarian governments, surveillance capitalism, and climate emergency, among the realities we are facing today.

LIT 243: Literature in the Digital Age

Professor: Patricia Lopez- Gay

The proliferation of digital information and communications technologies over the past half-century has transformed and continues to transform how literary works are composed, produced, circulated, read, and interpreted. What new forms and practices of reading and writing have emerged in this late age of typography? What is the nature, extent, and significance of these changes? This course re-assesses questions and themes long central to the study of literature including: archiving, authorship, canon formation, circulation, materiality, narrative, poetics, and readership, among others. The course aims to understand our present moment in historical context by pairing contemporary works with texts from and about other shifts in media from the ancient world to the modern era. Readings include Augustine, Borges, Eisenstein, Flusser, Hayles, Jenkins, and Plato, as well as works of HTML/hypertext fiction, Twitter literature, online poetry, fan fiction, and so on. Coursework will include online and off-line activities in addition to traditional papers. Recommended for current and potential Experimental Humanities concentrators.

BIO/ EUS 157: Food Microbiology

Professor: Gabriel Peron

In this course, appropriate for potential biology majors and interested non-majors, we will study the microorganisms that inhabit, create, or contaminate food. The first half of the course will introduce students to topics in food safety such as food spoilage, foodborne infections, and antibiotic resistance. In the second half of the course, students will learn how to harness the capabilities of the many microbes present in our environment to turn rotting vegetables or spoiling milk into delicious food. Students will also learn how next-generation technologies are revealing the important ecological dynamics shaping microbial communities in transforming food with possible beneficial effects on human health. Throughout the course, students will learn how to design, conduct, and analyze simple experiments while working with microbiology techniques, including DNA sequencing. No prerequisite.

HIST/ GIS/ HR 2237: Radio Africa: Broadcasting History

Professor: Drew Thompson

The radio is a type of technological innovation that was party to Africa’s colonization and decolonization. While colonial authorities used the radio to broadcast news reports and to internally transmit governing strategies, local African communities sometimes appropriated the radio for both political and entertainment purposes. This course uses the technological history of the radio in Africa to explore histories of political activism, leisure, cultural production and entertainment across Sub-Saharan Africa from colonial to present times. From a topical perspective, the course will cover the development of radio stations and distribution markets, the politics of programming and censorship, international development agencies’ push for community radio, and radio dramas. Using theoretical texts on sound, affect and oral tradition, students will identify different cultures of listening with the aim of unpacking what it means to use words and music in order to “broadcast” history. As a final project and in conjunction with the Human Rights Program’s Radio Initiative, students will design a podcast on a topic of historical relevance to the course.

EUS/ AS/ HR 309: EUS Colloquium/Practicum

Professors: Elias Dueker & Krista Caballero

We generally assume maps are objective, accurate representations of data and the world around us when, in fact, they depict the knowledge, experience, and values of the humans who draft them. As a hybrid EUS practicum + colloquium, this course will explore ways in which ecological issues are entangled with colonial histories of racism and supremacy, resource extraction and expansion through mapping. Native American scholarship will ground our exploration as we consider the impact and consequences of mapping as a tool used historically to claim ownership and invite exploitation. We will also investigate the evolution of radical cartography to counter these practices and imagine alternative mapping for more just ecological futures. A series of Indigenous scholars and activists will provide an opportunity for students to learn from experts working at the forefront of their fields to address environmental injustices locally, nationally, and internationally. These guest lectures will be paired with hands-on projects that explore mapping as a tool for environmental advocacy alongside artistic and counter-mapping approaches that experiment with ways we might communicate scientific and humanistic knowledge to a wider audience. In both theory and practice this team-taught course aims to reconsider and transform ways of engaging community science and community action through collaborative inquiry, interdisciplinary experimentation, and meaningful cross-cultural dialogue.

HIST/ AFR/ GIS/ HR 363: The Making of Modern Ethiopia

Professors: Christian Crouch & Nuruddin Farah

Ethiopia looms large in the global tradition, from antiquity to the present. Despite this, many people the world over have limited familiarity with the historical and contemporary narratives of this region and the numerous and varied ethnic populations and traditions that form this nation. This class introduces students to the creation of the modern state of Ethiopia, from the nineteenth century consolidation of the state and the defeat of European expansion, through the Italian war and era of Haile Selassie, to the 1974 revolution through to the present. In addition to a survey of the politics and actors of these periods, there will be particular consideration of the topics of imperialism, indigenous resistance, political prisoners, punishment, torture, and disappearance. Students will learn how to do research on the use of prison and interrogation as a political instrument and on the experiences of those who have been detained and survived to testify about it. The class will also draw on diverse methodologies to consider history, inviting guest scholars and artists during the semester to showcase new perspectives on accessing the past.

IMG_4481-crop
ARCH/ EUS 121: Design Studio-Seminar 1: Planetary

Professor: Ross Adams

This design studio-seminar introduces architecture as a trans-scalar practice that directly ties buildings, bodies, and ecosystems together. The course will involve not only the understanding and application of architectural representational techniques but also the cultivation of critical discourses that position design as a means to intervene across different scales. As a studio-seminar, students will acquire techniques through design exercises (architectural drawing and modeling) that are framed around an intellectual review of various critical spatial practices. Since at least the twentieth century, architecture’s scope of practice has widened to include landscapes, cities, regions, territories—even the entire planet itself—while also narrowing its focus to include the design of micro environments for and modulations of the human body. Working transversally across conceptual scales from the body to the planet, this course will develop critical approaches to design aimed at intervening in the spaces and processes of planetary urbanization. Each ‘scale’ we investigate will be accompanied by a corresponding design project. Please note studio work involves weekly assignments and, when possible, extracurricular events, such as field trips and studio-related talks. Computers with required software will be provided by the College, yet costs for model making and printing are not, the estimated costs is $200. Financial assistance may be available. Please contact instructor. No prior experience with architecture or drawing are required.

ARTH/ AS/ EUS 225: Art and the Environment

Professor: Julia Rosenbaum

This course explores art and the environment, specifically considering the visual expression of that relationship in the United States: How have Americans imagined “nature” and visually represented it? How has the concept of landscape shaped perceptions about social order, health, identity, and sustainability? The course provides a framework for thinking about these questions, particularly in the context of a potential new era, the “Anthropocene,” a term used now by both scientists and humanities scholars to describea world of human-dominated ecosystems. Over the semester, we will focus on specific objects and sites to examine engagements with the physical environment, addressing, for example, visual re-presentations such as landscape painting; physical shaping through landscape design, and contemporary activist art related to ecology and conservation. Field trips to local sites and work with local resources will be a component of the course.  AHVC distribution: 1800-present, Americas.

FILM 203: Performance and Video

Professor: Ben Coonley

This course explores intersections of video and performance art. Course participants develop strategies for exploiting video’s most fundamental property: its ability to reproduce a stream of real-time synchronized images and sounds. How does video technology mediate between on-screen performer and audience? How can artists interested in creating critical and self-reflexive media respond to video’s immediacy and “liveness”? How can performance artists use video playback devices, displays, projectors, interactive elements, and live video mixing software to shape and enhance live art? The first half of the course concentrates on the creation of performance “tapes” (or tape-less video recordings) and the history of experimental video focused on performance for the camera. The second half of the course concentrates on the use of video as a central component within live performance art. We will read about and carry on a sustained conversation about the cultural and psychological impact of video technology on subjectivity and conceptions of the artist as “medium.” Readings on and viewings of work by Marina Abramović, Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, Trisha Baga, John Baldessari, Paul Chan, Patty Chang, Chris Burden, Coco Fusco,  Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Wynne Greenwood, Nancy Holt, Joan Jonas, Miranda July, Mike Kelley, George Kuchar, Kalup Linzy, Tata Mateik, Shana Moulton, Jayson Musson, Bruce Nauman, Nam Jun Paik, Sondra Perry, Walid Raad, Martha Rosler, Jacolby Satterwhite, Michael Smith, Ryan Trecartin, Andy Warhol, William Wegman, among others.

MUS/ CMSC 375: Topics in Music Software

Professor: Matthew Sargent

This course is an advanced seminar on the Max programming language and the digital signal processing of audio. Students will learn advanced concepts of digital audio and computer programming, while engaging in creative projects and in-class performances. The class will include study of the Fourier theorem, physical modeling, granular synthesis, multi-channel audio dispersion, binaural and ambisonic panning, and digital reverb design. The class will include critical discussion of electroacoustic and sound art repertoire of the 20/21st century. The course will conclude with a final project. Introduction to Max/Msp (or significant 300-level work in Computer Science) is required as a prerequisite.

LIT 235: Introduction to Media

Professor: Nathan Shockey

This course offers an introduction to media history and theory, tracking a series of events, technologies, and concepts with the aim of understanding media not simply as a scholarly object but as a force constitutive of our selves, our social lives, and our world. We will  consider old and new media alike, from writing to printing to photography to comics to the contemporary digital landscape, as we explore how media have reconstructed our perceptions of time, space, knowledge, and identity. The premise of the course is that the new-ness of new media can only be approached against the background of humanistic experimentation and imagination, even as it transforms our lives and experiences. We will read key media theorists such as Walter Benjamin, Donna Haraway, Katherine Hayles, Friedrich Kittler, Marshall McLuhan, John Durham Peters, and Byung-Chul Han, as well as critical, literary, and artistic reflections on our mediated universe, including new topics such as media archaeology, media geology, and energy humanities. We will also spend some hands-on time working with — and not just on — media, in order to assess our own positions as producers as well as users and consumers of media via the ethos of practice and making. Intro to Media is one of the two core courses for the Experimental Humanities concentration (http://eh.bard.edu).

LIT/ AS/ EUS 3028: Soundscapes of American Lit

Professor: Alexandre Benson

(Junior Seminar) We often use sonic terms—voice, tone, echo, resonance—to describe poetry and fiction, even as we set writing in opposition to the noisy, melodious stuff of speech and song. If this paradox poses a knotty problem for our study of literature as a medium, it also raises questions of social relation that have been central to the history of American writing: What does it mean to read and to listen in situations of radical cultural difference? How have the concepts of textuality and orality intersected with the histories of racism and other instruments of inequality? What happens to the traditional dichotomy of sound and sight when approached from the perspectives of disability studies and of environmental humanities? We will explore these questions in literary texts, musical recordings, and theoretical work in the field of sound studies and beyond. Authors and artists considered may include James Baldwin, John Cage, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Emily Dickinson, Zora Neale Hurston, Helen Keller, Abbey Lincoln, and Pauline Oliveros. Coursework will focus on practices of research, writing, revision, and collaboration that will prepare students to write senior projects in Literature and related humanities fields.

WRIT 317: The Entangled Imagination

Professor: Ann Lauterbach

“Me miserable! which way shall I fly/ Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?/ Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell” cries Milton’s Satan in Book Four of Paradise Lost (1667). How do contemporary poems negotiate the terrain between fact and fiction; the real and the true? What is the status of the empirical, what we see and hear, when what we perceive is not necessarily what we can or should believe? This course will interrogate the role of the imagination in poetic thinking, and whether such ancient linguistic figures as metaphor, simile, myth and persona are sufficient to grasp the entangled realms and new vocabularies arising from contemporary biology, physics, and ecology in a time of accelerated change and personal anxiety. Readings culled from disparate resources and disciplines, and may include the work of Fred Moten, Will Alexander, Donna Haraway, Jaron Lanier, Harryette Mullen, Olga Tokarczuk, William Kentridge, Roberto Tejada, Inger Christensen, Ernesto Cardinal, Ursula K. Le Guin, Anna Tsing, Gayatri Spivak. A letter of inquiry is required; please be in touch with Ann Lauterbach at lauterba@bard.edu, stating reasons for wanting to be in the class; students outside of Written Arts welcome.          During the semester, we will also meet with students in Valeria Luiselli’s course, “Imagination Under Siege,” to converse/discuss/collaborate on the ways in which imaginative thinking is a necessary tool in resisting and finding alternatives to authoritarian governments, surveillance capitalism, and climate emergency, among the realities we are facing today.

CMSC 141 I: OBJECT ORIENTED PROGRAMMING

Professors: Keith O’Hara 1 & Sven Anderson 2

This course introduces students to the methodologies of object-oriented design and programming, which are used throughout the Computer Science curriculum. Students will learn how to move from informal problem statement, through increasingly precise problem specifications, to design and implementation of a solution for problems drawn from areas such as graphics, animation, and simulation. Good programming and documentation habits are emphasized.

HIST/ AS/ AFR/ FREN/ HR 2631: Capitalism and Slavery

Professor: Christian Crouch

Scholars have argued that there is an intimate relationship between the contemporary wealth of the developed world and the money generated through four hundred years of chattel slavery in the Americas and the transatlantic slave trade. Is there something essential that links capitalism, even liberal democratic capitalism, to slavery? How have struggles against slavery and for freedom and rights, dealt with this connection? This course will investigate the development of this linkage, studying areas like the gender dynamics of early modern Atlantic slavery, the correlation between coercive political and economic authority, and the financial implications of abolition and emancipation.  We will focus on North America and the Caribbean from the early 17th century articulation of slavery through the staggered emancipations of the 19th century. The campaign against the slave trade has been called the first international human rights movement – today does human rights discourse simply provide a human face for globalized capitalism, or offer an alternative vision to it?  Questions of contemporary reparations, rising colonialism and markets of the nineteenth century, and the ‘duty’ of the Americas to Africa will also be considered.  Readings will include foundational texts on capitalism and a variety of historical approaches to the problem of capitalism within slavery, from economic, cultural, and intellectual perspectives.  There are no prerequisites, although HIST 130, 2133, or 263 all serve as introductory backgrounds.

PSY 334: Science of Goal Pursuit

Professor: Richard Lopez

As human beings, we have to choose from myriad behaviors to engage in and/or refrain from—whether it is eating, drinking, exercising, socializing, playing, working, sleeping, or binge watching, just to name a few. How do we know exactly which behaviors are most congruent with our goals, and which are at odds with those goals? When certain patterns of behavior undermine health and wellbeing, are there any evidence-based cognitive or motivational strategies that can meaningfully change human behavior? How much truth is there in the saying “old habits die hard?” In this seminar, we will take a deep dive into the science of goal pursuit and behavior change, discussing both the promise and challenges of this area of study. Foundational readings from the psychological and brain sciences will cover important theoretical models of self-regulation and goal pursuit as well as the empirical evidence of these respective models to date. Students are expected to give in-class presentations of course material (individually and in groups), critically evaluate and propose alternatives to popular apps and devices advertised to promote behavior change, and write a final research-oriented paper (e.g., a study proposal or a review paper). The course is open to all moderated psychology and MBB students, or with permission of the instructor.

HIST/ FREN 381: Contagion

Professor: Tabetha Ewing

This course explores some of the oldest objects and modes of communication, but it focuses on the period between the Great Famine of Northern Europe and the Great Fear during the French Revolution, by way of the Wars of Religion and several financial bubbles burst. It looks at the social groups most associated with spreading hearsay, women, “the common people,” and the enslaved, and at those groups, identified usually by religious difference, who were made scapegoats to the majority populations in crisis periods. As a study of what passed for information and its changing media, students sample different methods of socio-cultural analysis to chart its transmission and reception. The entangled histories of rumor, heresy, disease, and financial panic suggest themselves as precursors of mass media propaganda, agitprop, and fake-news. But they also indicate a world in which the body, bodiliness, and body metaphors were central to truth claims, whether folk wisdom, common sense, or princely decree. These phenomena are intimately tied to state-building, the rise of the police, and administrative centralization. The course looks squarely at cyclical histories of hatred, of strangers, religious minorities, and racial others, with the understanding that contemporaries did not view their beliefs as such, but rather as simple or prophetic truth. Time, information, knowledge, and communication, at play together, are the critical ingredients to historiographical understanding. Students will answer the questions:  how do we write the history of fleeting events, of passing emotions, of patent untruths or impossibilities? As such, the course serves as a Major Conference for students in Historical Studies. They will complete creative final projects using old media and new and, in doing so, reshape how history is told (read, heard, viewed, or otherwise experienced). 1-hour weekly lab for digital research. Open to Sophomores and Juniors.

Spring 2020

EUS/ HR/ ARTH 314: Public Writing and the Built Environment

Professor: Olga Touloumi

This course introduces students to issues concerning architecture, the built environment, and spatial justice through forms of public writing. In collaboration with the instructor, each student will focus on one area or issue such as the prison- industrial complex (as found, for example, at Rikers Island), gentrification in Newburgh, housing inequality in Chicago, the water crisis in Flint, management of nuclear waste in the Hudson, shrinking cities in the Rust Belt, and oil pipeline infrastructure on tribal lands. To mobilize interested publics and address officials, students will use Twitter; design petitions; write blog entries; interview stakeholders; write protest letters; and prepare for a public hearing. The goal will be to inform the public, raise awareness, and reclaim agency over the design and planning of our environments through writing. Combining texts from the various assignments, students will produce a final thirty-minute podcast that will live online. (Fulfills two program requirements: Modern / Europe + US)

EUS/ HR/ ARTS 220: Architectural Entanglements with Labor

Professor: Ivonne Santoyo Orozco

Architecture is both the product of labor and the organizer of its relations, yet often these issues remain overshadowed by aesthetic considerations and the broader discourse of design. In shifting the question of labor in architecture to the foreground, this course invites students to reflect on the spatio-political role architecture has played in mediating bodies, work and capital. To do this, we will analyze contemporary transformations to paradigmatic sites of work (offices, factories, tech campuses), as well as the many spaces that have been produced to feed architectural production and its endless cycles of extraction (camps, slums, mines), and the architecture that reproduces forms of maintenance (houses, squares, resorts). We will analyze a diverse set of contemporary and historical architectural precedents against a heterogenous landscape of voices from Maurizio Lazzarato, Silvia Federici, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, David Harvey, Peggy Deamer, Mabel O. Wilson, among others. The course will unfold in a combination of lectures and seminars. There are no exams but students are expected to complete weekly assignments and a final project.

EUS/ AS 310: Art, Animals & Anthropocene

Professor: Krista Caballero

From species extinction to radioactive soil and climate change, we are now in the age of the Anthropocene. This recently proposed geologic period refers to the ways in which human activities have dramatically impacted and altered every ecosystem on Earth. Now in an age of mass extinction, what does it mean to visually interpret our more-than-human world and explore the often messy and complicated encounters between human and nonhuman animals? Indigenous and traditional ecological knowledges will ground our exploration as we consider the cultural, artistic, and technological implications of species decline. Our focus will include examining animal representations from caves to cages and from the living to the virtual, as well as themes of the wild and the tame, zoos, animal rights, laboratory research, and companion species. Each of these topics will be paired with an exploration of the ever-increasing presence of animals in contemporary art with particular emphasis on multimedia and inter-species installations, bio art, as well as experimental video, film, performance, and robotics. Students will work intensively to develop experimental humanities approaches that blur boundaries between physical and digital media, integrate field-based research, and experiment with interdisciplinary practices of art making in order to grapple with ways in which our understanding of other species directly relates to human self-understanding. This course is open to unmoderated and moderated students. It can be used to fulfill the American Studies Junior Seminar requirement for students moderated into that program. This course is part of the Thinking Animals Initiative, an interdivisional collaboration among students and faculty to further the understanding of animals and human-animal relationships.

CMSC 226: Principles: Computing Systems

Professor: Keith O’Hara

This course takes a systems perspective to the study of computers.  As our programs scale up from a single author, user, and computer to programs designed, written, maintained, and used by multiple people that run on many computers (sometimes at the same time), considerations beyond algorithms alone are magnified. Design principles and engineering practices help us cope with this complexity: version control for multiple authors, input validation for multiple (adversarial) users, build automation tools for multiple platforms, process and thread models for parallelism.  From how numbers are represented in hardware to how instruction-level parallelism and speculation can lead to bugs: the design, implementation, evaluation, safety and security of computing systems will be stressed. Students will explore computers from the ground up, using a variety of programming languages (including assembly) and tools like the command line, debuggers, and version control. Pre-requisites: Object-Oriented Programming or permission of instructor. 

HIST 109: Scientific Literature

Professor: Cecelia Watson

Scandalous suppositions about God, invisible murderers, bad puns, cliffhangers, deadpan comedy, breathtaking lyricism– these are perhaps not the first elements that come to mind when we think about scientific writing. Yet the history of science is filled with examples of spectacular rhetoric. In this course, we will consider scientific texts that have particular literary merit. As we read and discuss each text closely, proceeding chronologically, we will also begin to develop a sketch of the history of concepts like truth and evidence. By the end of the course, students will be well-positioned to ask what it means to be intelligent consumers and producers of science. Readings include work from Aristotle, Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, Charles Darwin, W.E.B. Du Bois, Joan Riviere, Watson and Crick, and more.

AS/ EUS/ HR/ HIST 180: Technology, Labor, Capitalism

Professor: Jeanette Estruth

Artificial intelligence and the knowledge economy. Computation and Credit. Satellites and social media. Philanthropy and factory flight. “Doing what you love” and digital activism. Climate change and corporate consolidation. This class will explore changes in capitalism, technology, and labor in the twentieth- and twenty-first century United States. We will learn how ideas about work and technology have evolved over time, and how these dynamic ideas and evolving tools have shaped the present day.

AS/ EUS/ HR 219: Mapping Police Violence

Professor: Kwame Holmes

This class emerges from my preoccupation with the recent increase in media and political attention to extra- judicial killings by police officers in the United States. Predominant questions will include: What can we know about police violence, and what are the barriers to data transparency and distribution? What are the means–political, legal, economic, cultural– through which Western societies authorize the police to use deadly force?  Can we measure the impact of police violence on a range of exogenous factors like public health indices, adjacent property values, educational opportunities and the distribution of social services? In pursuit of answers, we will engage political theory, history, sociology, economics, and cultural studies to produce an interdisciplinary study of police violence. I use the word “produce” with great intention. Students will be tasked with producing new knowledge about police violence.  As a collective, we will use demographic analytical tools, alongside datasets from the Police Data Initiative, to spatially apprehend police violence incidents in a given city. Students will then bring their own research questions to our collectively generated maps. In that sense, we will also think critically about how to ask a research question, and how to pursue a variety of research projects.

HR 366: Propaganda: Dark Arts

Professor: Emma Briant

This course examines changing policies and practices of propaganda in democracies. It will examine propaganda as a political tool and in information warfare. Students will explore important historical and technological transitions and learn core theoretical approaches and ethical questions. The course will follow the history of propaganda in democracies from the wars of the 20th Century to the development of surveillance capitalism, bots, and emergence of AI propaganda. Topics include: public opinion and democracy; censorship; power, emotion, and language; selling war; hacking, leaking, and big data; data rights and ethics; Cambridge Analytica and election manipulation.

MUS 253: The Social Life of Loudspeakers

Professor: Whitney Slaten

 How do loudspeakers construct musical culture? How does listening to loudspeakers reorganize social behavior? Critical organology, intersections of local and global influences, manufacturing and nationalism, cultural imperialism, strategies of resistance, generational change, race and bass, gender and power, digital technology, fidelity and loss as technological and cultural ideas, and ethnographic inquiry will be themes that organize the course. Students will understand the importance of loudspeakers from the perspectives of ethnomusicology, sound studies, and audio science. Class sessions will include experiments with audio transducers, as well as critical listening for the contributions of audio transducers in recorded and amplified music. Through weekly reading and writing assignments, short papers, and an ethnographic research paper, students will complete the course with a nuanced understanding of the relationship between music, technology, and culture.

CMSC/ MUSIC 262: Introduction to Max/Msp

Professor: Matthew Sargent

This course will introduce students to Max/Msp, an object-oriented programming environment for real-time audio processing, digital synthesis, algorithmic composition, data sonification, and more. Students will learn fundamental concepts of digital audio and computer programming while engaging in creative projects and in-class performances. The class will include examples of Max patches found in major works of 20/21st century electroacoustic music and sound art repertoire. The course will also explore connectivity between Max and other software applications, including Max4Live. The course will conclude with a final project. Introduction to Electronic Music, or a 100-level course in Computer Science, is recommended as a prerequisite.

LIT/ SPAN 301: Intro to Spanish Literature

Professor: Patricia Lopez-Gay

This course explores some of the major literary works produced on the Iberian Peninsula from the Middle Ages to the present day. Students will become familiar with the general contours of Spanish history as they study in depth a selected number of masterpieces, including works by Miguel de Cervantes, Calderón de la Barca, Teresa de Jesús, Cadalso, Larra, Galdós, Emilia PardoBazán, Unamuno, Lorca, and Carmen Laforet. The course will be organized around three thematic modules: Spanish culture’s engagement with notions of purity and pollution; the emergence and evolution of the first person singular in Spanish literature; and the representations of the country and the city, the center and the periphery. In each module we will undertake a survey of relevant literature occasionally put in conversation with the visual arts. Conducted in Spanish. 

THTR 317: 20th Century Avant-Garde Performance

Professor: Miriam Felton-Dansky

 “Set fire to the library shelves!” wrote the Italian Futurists in their first manifesto of 1909. With their revolutionary politics, audience provocations, and enthusiastic embrace of the new, the Futurists inaugurated a century of avant-garde performance. This course will investigate that century, tracing the European and American theatrical avant-gardes from 1909 to 1995, including movements and artists such as Expressionism, Surrealism and Dada; John Cage, Allan Kaprow, and Happenings; utopian collectives of the 1960s; Peter Handke, Heiner Müller, the Wooster Group and Reza Abdoh. We will explore questions including: the implications of assuming the mantle of the “avant-garde”; the contested status of the dramatic text in avant-garde performance; the relationship between performance and emerging media forms; and avant-garde artists’ efforts to create radical fusions of art and life. This course will require a research paper, reading responses, and a presentation.

EUS/ ARTS 135: Designing Body and World

Professor: Ross Adams

This course introduces architecture through a studio-seminar hybrid. We will approach architectural design not by focusing on the production of a particular building, but by working transversally across a number of conceptual scales from the body to the planet. This trans-scalar approach aims to interrogate what it means to practice architecture as a historically, theoretically and methodologically situated field indelibly conditioned by urbanization measured at a planetary scale. Indeed, since at least the twentieth century, architecture’s scope of practice has widened to include landscapes, cities, regions, territories—even the entire planet itself—while also narrowing its focus to include the design of micro environments for and modulations of the human body. The course will allow us not only to understand the techniques and ideas emerging from these various scalar practices, but to cultivate new, critical design approaches to intervene in the spaces and processes of planetary urbanization. Each ‘scale’ we investigate will be accompanied by a corresponding design project. Among the techniques of architectural representation students will learn in the process are basic 2D and 3D CAD drawing, sketching, model making and other forms of representation. Please note studio work involves weekly assignments and, when possible, one or two social events. Computers with required software will be provided by the College, yet costs for model making and printing are not. No prior experience with architecture or drawing are required.

ART 100 A: Digital 1: Digital Sculpture

Professor: Maggie Hazen

Today, digital machines do not simply produce images and information; they produce subjects and objects which govern ways of existing. This course will provide an introductory approach to digital sculpture for visual artists. We will cover basic software and digital equipment by designing a series of versatile, studio driven digital sculptures on each piece of equipment in the Studio Arts digital lab and woodshop—taking the work from physical to digital and back again. Students will learn basic Adobe Creative Suite programs: Photoshop and Illustrator, along with open source 3D modeling software. Projects designed with these software programs will manifest physically through the use of industry standard equipment such as laser cutting, 3D printing, 3D scanning, digital printing and CNC available in our digital lab.  No prior digital knowledge is necessary, however, some experience using Adobe Photoshop or 3D modeling programs is preferred.

CLAS 224: Science Technology: Ancient Greece/Rome

Professor: Kassandra Miller

How did ancient Greeks and Romans learn about and make sense of the world around them? And how did they use technology to change and exert control over that world? This course offers an introduction to the scientific and technological developments that took place in the ancient Mediterranean between the 6th century BCE and the 4th century CE. We will also consider the afterlives of these developments in Islamic, Enlightenment, and modern-day science. In the first half of the course, we will explore ancient scientific theories and practices in areas we would now call astronomy, physics, biology, medicine, geography, and mathematics. In the second half of the course, we will shift our focus to the technologies that ancient Greeks and Romans used to harness nature, and students will participate in a collaborative project with hands-on components. Ultimately, students in this course will deepen their understanding of how scientific theories, practical experiences, and social incentives can interact to produce different scientific and technological trends. NOTE: All readings will be in English translation, and no prior knowledge of the ancient world is required.

CMSC 141: Object Oriented Programming

Professor: Kerri-Ann Norton

This course introduces students to the methodologies of object-oriented design and programming, which are used throughout the Computer Science curriculum. Students will learn how to move from informal problem statement, through increasingly precise problem specifications, to design and implementation of a solution for problems drawn from areas such as graphics, animation, and simulation. Good programming and documentation habits are emphasized.

FILM 342: Stereoscopic 3D Video

Professor: Ben Coonley

This course introduces methods and strategies for producing stereoscopic 3D and 360-degree moving image artworks. Students will learn to use 3D and 360 videocameras, 3D projection systems, VR headsets, and related technologies that exploit binocular and panoramic viewing. We will examine moments in the evolution of 3D technology and historical attempts at what André Bazin called “total cinema,” considering the perceptual and ideological implications of apparatuses that attempt to intensify realistic reproductions of the physical world. Students attend weekly screenings of a broad range of 3D and 360-degree films and videos, including classic Hollywood genre movies, contemporary blockbusters, short novelty films, independent narratives, animations, industrial films, documentaries, avant-garde and experimental artworks. Creative assignments challenge students to explore the expressive potential of the immersive frame, while developing new and experimental approaches to shooting and editing 3D images. This production class fulfills a moderation requirement. 

PHIL/ HIST 144: History of Experiment

Professor: Michelle Hoffman

Scientific method and experiment are arguably the most powerful inventions of the modern period. Although dating back in its current form to the sixteenth century, the concept of the experiment as an attempt to find underlying regularities in experience has origins stretching back to earliest recorded history. In this course, we will look at how the experiment has been conceptualized in different epochs, and we will consider the epistemology of the experiment in a framework that includes aesthetics, theology, ethics, and politics. In doing this, we will draw on twentieth- and twenty-first-century philosophy and sociology of science to grapple with what experimental science can tell us about knowledge, scientific practice, and the natural world.   

AS/ FREN/ HR/ HIST 314: Violent Culture/Material Pleasure

Professor: Christian Crouch

Emeralds.  Chocolate. Sugar.  Tobacco. Precious. Exotic.  Sweet. Addictive. Like human actors, commodities have stories of their own.  They shape human existence, create new sets of interactions, cross time and space, and offer a unique and incredible lens through which to view history.  This course explores the hidden life of material objects that circulated from the early modern Atlantic into the rest of the world. The life cycle of these products and items reveal narratives of Atlantic violence imbedded into these products: the claiming of Indian land, the theft of enslaved labor, the construction and corruption of gender norms.  Course readings will introduce historical methods and strategies to reclaim history from objects found in different parts of the Americas and will culminate with students having the opportunity to do original research and write the narrative of an item themselves. This course fulfills the American Studies Junior Seminar requirement and History Major Conference requirement.  

HR 222: Migration and Media

Professor: Emma Briant

This course explores in depth the role of media in the global refugee and migration crisis. We will begin by examining the causes of migration and recent trends, and then turn to theories of media and  representation and how they can help us understand the role of political rhetoric and mainstream media reporting. Students will examine media representation and political rhetoric in relation to a number of international examples including: citizenship by investment programs used by wealthy elites, economic migration to America, and the refugee crisis. The course will consider theories of political communication, rhetoric, audience understanding and the impact of media representations of migration on migrants and their communities.We will examine how new media forms and developments in algorithmic propaganda are being used to advance false narratives. Students will also consider the practical and ethical implications of new technologies, including how they can both enable integration and allow for the social control of migrant flows and the suppression of human rights.

LIT 153: Falling in Love

Professor: Maria Cecire

Caught up, let down, storm-tossed by emotion, under a spell, suddenly looking around as if with new eyes: are we talking about falling in love, or reading a great book? This course will consider some iconic literary depictions of romantic love as well as lesser-known texts, critical theory, and popular material across a range of media as we expand and challenge our ideas about this often-controversial emotional state. We will consider to what extent language and literature can capture and convey our most intimate feelings, experiences, and desires — and to what extent they participate in creating them. Course texts will include medieval chivalric romance, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Gabriel García Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, selections of love poetry, and at least one mass-market “bodice-ripper” romance novel. Our discussions will bring us into contact with discourses of gender and sexuality, power and desire, and “literary” and “lowbrow” fiction, and address what role digital culture plays in how love is imagined and experienced today. This course is open both to intended Literature majors and to others interested in developing skills in close-reading and critical analysis.

PSY 375: Podcasts: Disordered Experience

Professor: Justin Dainer-Best

Despite the history of the term “talking cure,” we often focus almost entirely on the written word in courses introducing the basics of psychological disorders. In the rise of podcasts, however, we have an increased ability to learn about mental illness and treatment directly from people who are willing to share their experiences. In this seminar, each class meeting will revolve around a podcast episode that provides insight into some aspect of mental illness, accompanied by reading primary source research articles and theory. Topics will include cognitive processing therapy, gender identity, major depression, couples therapy, and opiate addiction. Students will be expected to make oral presentations of material in class and to write a substantive research paper, which may have auditory elements. Prerequisites: This course is limited to moderated students who have taken PSY 141 (Introduction to Psychological Science). A course in either Adult or Child Abnormal Psychology (PSY 210 or PSY 211) is also required, or permission of instructor.

LIT/ SPAN 359: Haunted by Ghost of Cervantes

Professor: Patricia Lopez-Gay

Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, widely considered the first modern novel, is a work intra-textually attributed to a fictional Moorish author, at a time when the Moors were being expelled from Spain. Authors trapped in fiction are sometimes persecuted, and then killed by their characters; others feel terrified, and become invisible as they hide behind the lines they write. Lastly, some authors are dead (or said to be dead), and speak to us from their tombs. What are the changing ways in which the ghostly figure of the author returns to fiction? What does it mean to be an author? This course will be an experimental reflection on the notion of authorship as it was originally redefined with the birth of modern novel in Golden Age Spain, and reshaped during Romanticism and contemporary times, through old and new media. With an emphasis on Iberian and Latin American literatures occasionally put in conversation with film, we will explore selected writings by Cervantes, J. A. Bécquer, Unamuno, Machado de Asís, Fernando Pessoa, Clarice Lispector, and Roberto Bolaño, among others. Theoretical texts to be read will include essays by Roland Barthes, Jorge Luis Borges, and Michel Foucault. Conducted in Spanish.

Fall 2019

ARTH 316 Multi-Media Gothic

Professor: Katherine Boivin

Although scholarship on medieval art has often been separated by medium, Gothic church programs were actually multi-media spaces with meaning transcending the individual work of art. This class, therefore, explores a wide range of artistic media, including stained glass, painting, sculpture, architecture, textiles, and metalwork, as they contributed to the dynamic space of the Gothic church. In addition, it considers modern technologies for representing these complex programs, drawing parallels between the explosion of images in the Gothic era and the role of media today. Structured around the investigation of case-study churches throughout western Europe—with a particular focus on France and Germany from the 13th through 15th centuries—this class will cover topics including architectural structuring of space, image placement, dramatic performances of the liturgy, the “economy of salvation,” and cultural notions of decorum. Coursework includes weekly writing assignments, active in-class discussion, and a final 15-page research paper.

ANTH / EUS 326: SCIENCE, EMPIRE & ECOLOGY

Professor: Michele Dominy

This seminar examines indigenous, colonial, and postcolonial ecologies in the Pacific from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century as we trace the transformation of projects of empire to contemporary projects of species and biodiversity preservation and restoration. We focus initially on the voyages of naturalists Joseph Banks on HMS Endeavour (1768-1771), Charles Darwin on HMS Beagle (1831-1836), and Joseph Hooker on HMS Erebus (1839-1843) by considering archival sources — naval logs, field notes, scientific correspondence, and visual representations. Their “botanical imperium” provides understanding into the relationship of ecological imperialism to the botanical garden, herbarium, and seed bank as we map the arc from the field to the metropole. Next we consider Australia and New Zealand as productive sites for exploring radical processes of ecological colonization and decolonization, including indigenous discourses of sustainability, and evolving state strategies for resource management and ecological restoration. Drawing initially from the history of science, natural history, and historical ethnography, we turn to cultural geography and political ecology to analyze the interdisciplinary connections between island biogeography, conservation biology and spatial interpretation and analysis. To investigate these intersections, students will meet with archivists and plant conservationists at the New York Botanical Gardens and create a digital map, georeferencing plant provenance and tracking botanical circulation as part of a semester-long research project.

EUS 305: EUS PRACTICUM: MULTI-MEDIA ENVIRONMENTAL STORYTELLING

Professor: Jon Bowermaster

This course will explore what it means to be a modern-day rivertown by focusing on Kingston, NY. Kingston is facing issues including population growth, energy concerns and pollution, crime, poverty, and aging infrastructure. The Hudson River is also slated to rise over six feet in the next 50 years. Jon Bowermaster, an award winning environmental film-maker, journalist, and long-time Hudson Valley resident, will use a team approach in this class to tackle storytelling — focused on environmental stories — in a variety of media, including film, podcasting, radio, written word, photography and art. Students will use Kingston’s rich community resources to accomplish this work, and will share work during the class through social media, Radio Kingston, the Hudson River Maritime Museum and other avenues. The class will culminate with a community showing in Kingston, bringing together students, faculty, and Kingston community.

LIT 3046: WOMAN AS CYBORG

Professor: Maria Cecire

From the robot Maria in the 1927 film Metropolis to the female-voiced Siri application for iPhone, mechanized creations that perform physical, emotional, and computational labor have been routinely identified as women in both fiction and reality. In this course, we will discuss how gynoids, fembots, and other feminine-gendered machinery reflect the roles of women’s work and women’s bodies in technologized society. Why might it matter that “typewriter” and “computer” used to be titles for jobs held by women? How do the histories of enslaved women’s stolen labor, reproductive capacities, and autonomy shape modern ideas of women’s work? What can cyborgism contribute to feminist theory? Beginning with discussions about what we mean when we say “woman” and “cyborg,” this course will draw upon scholarship by Judith Butler, Silvia Federici, Donna Haraway, Arlie Russell Hochschild, Andreas Huyssen, Jennifer L. Morgan, and others as we explore the relationships between race, gender, modernity, labor, and mechanization in a range of cultural texts. These will include written works from ancient Greece, Karel Capek’s 1923 play R.U.R. (in which the word “robot” first appeared), Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Ira Levin’s The Stepford Wives, and examples from film, TV, popular music, as well as real-world androids and computer programs.

MUS 251: IMPROVISATION AS SOCIAL SCIENCE

Professor: Whitney Slaten

How does improvisation operate as social research? What does it mean to improvise? How do not only musicians, but also people in everyday life, and broader social structures, improvise with one another? How can critical improvisation studies shift our recognition of the phrase “jazz studies” from a noun to a declarative statement? This course provides an introduction to improvisation studies both within and beyond music. Students will read, present, and discuss scholarship about improvisation while considering examples that reveal the collective choices of individuals and groups who pursue various opportunities over time. Lectures and demonstrations will focus on how such examples outline “new” methodologies for qualitative social research. This course will culminate in a paper that explores how improvisational techniques in music can inform poststructural ethnographic research.

ARTS 110: FUTURE OF PUBLIC LIBRARIES

Professor: Ross Adams & Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco

It has become commonplace to doubt the future of the public library. While typically attributed to the rise of digital technologies or the supposed waning of the book, this line of thinking often covers over a more complex political question about the status of public institutions today in a world fueled by private capital. What spaces should public libraries occupy in the future? What can the architecture of the public library say about the wider socio-political questions of publicness at stake today? Reflecting on these issues, students will critically study a variety of architectural precedents to critically document the contemporary politics of the public library through drawings, diagrams and model making. Through this, students will learn basic techniques of architectural representation (2D and 3D CAD representation, model making and other forms of representation). Finally, students will experiment by proposing a schematic design for a public library of the future.  Please note studio work involves weekly assignments and, when possible, one or two social events. Computers with required software will be provided by the College, yet costs for model making and printing are not. No prior experience with architecture or drawing are required.

ANTH 320: THE VOICE IN THE MACHINE

Professor: Laura Kunreuther

Modern ideologies of voice – deployed in politics, social movements and humanitarian organizations, as well as many musical and cultural productions – tend to naturalize the relationship between voice and individuality, agency, and empowerment. The voice, it is assumed, provides unmediated and immediate access to the self and a direct way of making one’s desires and ideas known in public. But the immediacy of the voice often depends upon specific media and/or technologies that make specific voices audible, such as sound recording, amplification, broadcasting, as well as institutional divisions of labor through which voices are represented, cited, and invoked. In this course, we will explore a range of conduits of voice that re-present an original voice through technological means – radio, telephone captioning, voice recorders – and/or human means ¬– interpreters/translators, voice-over artists, spirit possession, and stenographers. Through these explorations we will trouble some of the assumptions about the directness of voice, even as we discover how the feelings and sense of immediacy is produced. Drawing inspiration from philosopher Gilbert Ryle’s notion of ‘the ghost in the machine’ to critique mind-body distinctions, the course will broadly ask students to think critically about the relationship of human self and voice to technologies and practices that animate and circulate voices. Students will be required to research a specific ‘conduit of voice’ and create both a research paper and an EH-inspired project that demonstrates their knowledge about this voice and its medium. They will be asked to contribute readings to the class related to their specific project.

CMSC 141 I: OBJECT ORIENTED PROGRAMMING

Professors: Kerri-Ann Norton 1 & Robert McGrail 2

This course introduces students to the methodologies of object-oriented design and programming, which are used throughout the Computer Science curriculum. Students will learn how to move from informal problem statement, through increasingly precise problem specifications, to design and implementation of a solution for problems drawn from areas such as graphics, animation, and simulation. Good programming and documentation habits are emphasized.

HIST 116: INTRODUCTION TO MEDIA

Professor: Drew Thompson

Introduction to Media provides a foundation in media history and theory. It also explores how students can use aspects of traditional humanistic approaches (e.g., close reading, visual literacy, and historical studies) to critically engage with texts of all kinds. Students consider how material and historical conditions shape discourse and assess their own positions as consumers and producers of media.

HIST 342: A METHODS SEMINAR IN THE VISUAL HISTORIES AND MATERIAL CULTURES OF AFRICA

Professor: Drew Thompson

As technology and practice of image making, photography in Africa evolved alongside territorial imperialism and globalization. In turn, the photograph and its archiving were critical facets of the continent’s histories of liberation and post-independence as well as of the visual and performative cultures that characterized this landscape. This seminar in historical and visual methods introduces students to the historical development of photography in Africa and the historical use of photographs in the late-nineteenth century to recent times. The course begins with different theoretical views on the relationship between photography, history, and visual culture. After a consideration of the photography of the royal courts in North Africa and Christian missionaries in West Africa, the class will shift to the role of photography in the making of independent African nations and their liberation struggles during and after World War II. The course concludes by considering the commodization of African photography at international biennales and through the publication of photo books. Key themes include photography’s role in shaping historical knowledge and the representation of Africa and its peoples, the appropriation of image making into African creative practices and daily life, the politics of exhibition and archiving, and the ethics of seeing war and social justice. Students will design and curate a digital exhibition informed by extensive archival and oral history research. With that aim, over the course of the semester, they will also have the opportunity to interact with leading photography curators, photojournalists and art photographers who have spent time in Africa.

REL 111: THE FIRST BIBLE

Professor: Bruce Chilton

This introductory course looks at the biblical texts in the order in which they were actually produced. Particular attention is paid to the material culture and art of the periods involved. We see how the Bible grew and evolved over centuries. This enables us to understand in literary terms what the Bible is, how it was built and why, and show how its different authors were influenced by one another.

REL 357: THE MULTI-MEDIA, PUBLIC BIBLE: CALDERWOOD SEMINAR

Professor: Bruce Chilton

The Bible features in American society not only as a group of texts, but also as the focus for art and art history, literature, music, politics, and religion. This seminar is designed to understand how the texts are taken up into exchanges in these and other media. Critical, public writing is the method best suited to this inquiry, because the purpose is to appreciate both how the Bible framed its meaning and how that meaning is appropriated. Culturally, such writing is today presented in many platforms, which will also be introduced during the semester. By the end of the course, each student should have the tools and contacts available to contribute productively to an issue of increasing concern: the place of the Bible in American aesthetic, intellectual, and social relations. Calderwood Seminars are intended primarily for junior and senior majors in the field (or in some cases affiliated fields–check with the faculty member if you are unsure). They are designed to help students think about how to translate their discipline (e.g. art history, biology, literature) to non-specialists through different forms of public writing. Depending on the major, public writing might include policy papers, book reviews, blog posts, exhibition catalog entries, grant reports, or editorials. Students will be expected to write or edit one short piece of writing per week. Interested students should consult with Prof. Chilton prior to registration.

ARTS 115: ARCHITECTURAL NATURE(s) OF THE HUDSON VALLEY

Professor: Ross Adams & Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco

Architecture is never an isolated object. It is always embedded in larger networks that operate at multiple scales from the intimate to the infrastructural to the planetary. Tied into global supply chains and extractive industries, and multiplied by the demands of a rapidly urbanizing world, architecture is indeed a unit of the ‘anthropocene’. Yet often we imagine architecture’s relation to nature as one reduced to its immediate context—something private, romantically benign, silent; at most, its harmful effects can be tempered by ‘sustainable’ practices and techniques of design. While sustainability is a welcomed response to climate emergency, it often mystifies architecture’s relationship to the larger networks of capital that drive its consumptive multiplication across the planet. This studio will look to critically interrogate the often mystified relation that architecture holds with the natural world. Rather than focusing on architecture as a site of technical improvement, this studio will approach architecture’s relation to nature through spatial research and documentation of a heterogeneous collection of sites throughout the Hudson Valley using architectural drawing techniques to investigate spaces beyond the building. Finally students will experiment with architecture’s relation to nature(s) by designing a speculative public institution: The Center for Public Knowledge of the Hudson Valley. Among the techniques of architectural representation students will learn in the process are 2D and 3D CAD drawing, model making and other forms of representation.  Please note studio work involves weekly assignments and, when possible, one or two social events. Computers with required software will be provided by the College, yet costs for model making and printing are not.  No prior experience with architecture or drawing are required.

Spring 2019

IDEA 135: GAMES AT WORK: PARTICIPATION, PROCEDURE, AND PLAY

Professor: Keith O’Hara, Ben Coonley

This course is an intensive, interdisciplinary investigation of games and their pervasive role in contemporary life. What constitutes a game? Why do people play them? What makes digital games different from non-digital games? What roles do games play in contemporary culture? How have game-like incentive systems and other forms of “gamification” infused non-game contexts, such as social media, fine art, democracy, education, war, and the modern workplace? Do games and “gamer” culture effectively preclude, privilege, include, or exclude certain groups, identities, and worldviews? Course readings, screenings, and mandatory game play will augment and inform our investigation of these questions and beyond. The primary coursework will consist of game creation using tools and methodologies from computer science and electronic art. Students will create original games (non-digital and digital video games), both independently and in groups. This work will be augmented by short assignments designed to build fluency in visual art creation and interactive game design through short exercises in coding in Javascript, visual design applications, and game design software. Assignments will push students to develop experimental and critical approaches to game creation. This course is restricted to students in the lower college. Students with little experience playing games and/or a healthy skepticism about the cultural and artistic value of games are encouraged to apply. No prerequisites.

AS/ ARTH 315: INTERIOR WORLDS

Professor: Julia Rosenbaum

How does the world of interior spaces, their furnishings and decorative objects, tell us stories, assert values, project identities? Through an engaged-learning experience with three early twentieth-century National Park sites in the Hudson Valley—the Vanderbilt Mansion, the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Eleanor Roosevelt’s Home at Val-Kill—this seminar explores both the relationship between objects and identities and issues of consumption and appearance. The course will focus on American decorative arts from the late nineteenth into the twentieth century addressing theories about the purpose, meaning, and value of design and decoration as well as key movements, designers, and artists. Visiting the sites and collections regularly, we will combine the scholarly study of aesthetic ideals and social practices with hands-on examination of specific objects in the Vanderbilt and Roosevelt museum collections. Final research projects may involve individual or group curated digital exhibitions.  Sophomores can enroll with permission of the professor. (Art History requirement: Americas, 1800 to Present) 

AS/ EUS 317: RE-IMAGINED FARMS IN RE-IMAGINED SPACES

Professor: Katrina Light

This course examines the role farms and gardens play within institutions and the interplay of race, gender, class and power within these spaces. Working closely with farmer, Rebecca Yoshino, students will answer the questions: What purpose do these spaces serve? Who are the primary stakeholders and who benefits? Students will study issues surrounding land-use, equity, and social capital. Through a series of lectures and site visits to our own as well as other non-profit growing spaces, students will gather this information. Through this process they will hone interview techniques, create visual  representations and ultimately, examine, synthesize and distribute findings to community stakeholders. Finally, students will develop a mission statement and re-imagined direction for Bard’s agricultural initiatives. Moderation required or professor approval.

FILM 203: PERFORMANCE & VIDEO

Professor: Ben Coonley

This course explores intersections of video and performance art. Course participants develop strategies for exploiting video’s most fundamental property: its ability to reproduce a stream of real-time synchronized images and sounds. How does video technology mediate between on-screen performer and audience? How can artists interested in creating critical and self-reflexive media respond to video’s immediacy and “liveness”? How can performance artists use video playback devices, displays, projectors, interactive elements, and live video mixing software to shape and enhance live art? The first half of the course concentrates on the creation of performance “tapes” (or tape-less video recordings) and the history of experimental video focused on performance for the camera. The second half of the course concentrates on the use of video as a central component within live performance art. We will read about and carry on a sustained conversation about the cultural and psychological impact of video technology on subjectivity and conceptions of the artist as “medium.” Readings on and viewings of work by Marina Abramović, Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, Trisha Baga, John Baldessari, Paul Chan, Patty Chang, Chris Burden, Coco Fusco,  Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Wynne Greenwood, Nancy Holt, Joan Jonas, Miranda July, Mike Kelley, George Kuchar, Kalup Linzy, Tata Mateik, Shana Moulton, Jayson Musson, Bruce Nauman, Nam Jun Paik, Sondra Perry, Walid Raad, Martha Rosler, Jacolby Satterwhite, Michael Smith, Ryan Trecartin, Andy Warhol, William Wegman, among others. 

MUS 251: IMPROVISATION AS SOCIAL SCIENCE

Professor: Whitney Slaten

Fall 2019

How does improvisation operate as social research? What does it mean to improvise? How do not only musicians, but also people in everyday life, and broader social structures, improvise with one another? How can critical improvisation studies shift our recognition of the phrase “jazz studies” from a noun to a declarative statement? This course provides an introduction to improvisation studies both within and beyond music. Students will read, present, and discuss scholarship about improvisation while considering examples that reveal the collective choices of individuals and groups who pursue various opportunities over time. Lectures and demonstrations will focus on how such examples outline “new” methodologies for qualitative social research. This course will culminate in a paper that explores how improvisational techniques in music can inform poststructural ethnographic research.

ART 100: HYPERBLEED

Professor: Margaret Hazen

In this class, students will learn the basic technical aspects of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Priemere and Cinema 4D as we examine both still and moving images related to the shaping of our global identity over the past 60 years. The projects in this course will be framed by a new concept called The Hyperbleed. The Hyperbleed is a metaphor describing the way images in the digital age have begun to “bleed” or slip off the screen into an embodied reality. This blur or slippage point marks a process of transition where images begin to invade reality. This course will examine the subject through an unconventional combination of practice, play and discussion. Students will be given project prompts in Photoshop, Premiere and Cinema 4D that relate to The Hyperbleed in prevalent popular media including (but not limited too), identity, gender, violence, entertainment and fiction. Be prepared for these projects to move beyond the grid.

ART 250: EXPERIMENTAL PICTURE-MAKING

Professor: John von Bergen

“More Than 1000 Words” is a course that explores the possibilities of picture- making through unconventional materials and techniques. Any experimental process that students wish to develop will be encouraged, be it sculptural, digital, performative, or with mixed-media. The end results should involve “the picture”, and a personal journey to achieve these results that steps outside the boundaries of conventional 2D image-making. The semester will begin with more conventional techniques to explore the basics of graphic solutions as part of the “sketch” phase, but will escalate soon into exploring techniques and discussing concepts that relate directly to one’s interest. Some group assignments or exercises may involve “drone drawing” as well as VR (virtual reality). We will also look at many contemporary artists who continue to approach picture-making through some unique process. 

AS 310: ART, ANIMALS & ANTHROPOCENE

Professor: Krista Caballero

From species extinction to radioactive soil and climate change, we are now in the age of the Anthropocene. This recently proposed geologic period refers to the ways in which human activities have dramatically impacted and altered every ecosystem on Earth. Now in an age of mass extinction, what does it mean to visually interpret our more-than-human world and explore the often messy and complicated encounters between human and nonhuman animals? Indigenous and traditional ecological knowledges will ground our exploration as we consider the cultural, artistic, and technological implications of species decline. Our focus will include examining animal representations from caves to cages and from the living to the virtual, as well as themes of the wild and the tame, zoos, animal rights, laboratory research, and companion species. Each of these topics will be paired with an exploration of the ever-increasing presence of animals in contemporary art with particular emphasis on multimedia and inter-species installations, bio art, as well as experimental video, film, performance, and robotics. Students will work intensively to develop experimental humanities approaches that blur boundaries between physical and digital media, integrate field-based research, and experiment with interdisciplinary practices of art making in order to grapple with ways in which our understanding of other species directly relates to human self-understanding. This course is open to unmoderated and moderated students. It can be used to fulfill the American Studies Junior Seminar requirement for students moderated into that program. This course is part of the Thinking Animals Initiative, an interdivisional collaboration among students and faculty to further the understanding of animals and human-animal relationships.

HIST 342: A METHODS SEMINAR IN THE VISUAL HISTORIES AND MATERIAL CULTURES OF AFRICA

Professor: Drew Thompson

Fall 2019

As technology and practice of image making, photography in Africa evolved alongside territorial imperialism and globalization. In turn, the photograph and its archiving were critical facets of the continent’s histories of liberation and post-independence as well as of the visual and performative cultures that characterized this landscape. This seminar in historical and visual methods introduces students to the historical development of photography in Africa and the historical use of photographs in the late-nineteenth century to recent times. The course begins with different theoretical views on the relationship between photography, history, and visual culture. After a consideration of the photography of the royal courts in North Africa and Christian missionaries in West Africa, the class will shift to the role of photography in the making of independent African nations and their liberation struggles during and after World War II. The course concludes by considering the commodization of African photography at international biennales and through the publication of photo books. Key themes include photography’s role in shaping historical knowledge and the representation of Africa and its peoples, the appropriation of image making into African creative practices and daily life, the politics of exhibition and archiving, and the ethics of seeing war and social justice. Students will design and curate a digital exhibition informed by extensive archival and oral history research. With that aim, over the course of the semester, they will also have the opportunity to interact with leading photography curators, photojournalists and art photographers who have spent time in Africa.

REL 111: THE FIRST BIBLE

Professor: Bruce Chilton

Fall 2019

This introductory course looks at the biblical texts in the order in which they were actually produced. Particular attention is paid to the material culture and art of the periods involved. We see how the Bible grew and evolved over centuries. This enables us to understand in literary terms what the Bible is, how it was built and why, and show how its different authors were influenced by one another.

REL 357: THE MULTI-MEDIA, PUBLIC BIBLE: CALDERWOOD SEMINAR

Professor: Bruce Chilton

Fall 2019

The Bible features in American society not only as a group of texts, but also as the focus for art and art history, literature, music, politics, and religion. This seminar is designed to understand how the texts are taken up into exchanges in these and other media. Critical, public writing is the method best suited to this inquiry, because the purpose is to appreciate both how the Bible framed its meaning and how that meaning is appropriated. Culturally, such writing is today presented in many platforms, which will also be introduced during the semester. By the end of the course, each student should have the tools and contacts available to contribute productively to an issue of increasing concern: the place of the Bible in American aesthetic, intellectual, and social relations. Calderwood Seminars are intended primarily for junior and senior majors in the field (or in some cases affiliated fields–check with the faculty member if you are unsure). They are designed to help students think about how to translate their discipline (e.g. art history, biology, literature) to non-specialists through different forms of public writing. Depending on the major, public writing might include policy papers, book reviews, blog posts, exhibition catalog entries, grant reports, or editorials. Students will be expected to write or edit one short piece of writing per week. Interested students should consult with Prof. Chilton prior to registration.

DSC03271
Wiki2
Introduction to Media

Taught by various EH faculty across divisions.

Typically offered in Fall semester

Introduction to Media provides a foundation in media history and theory. It also explores how students can use aspects of traditional humanistic approaches (e.g., close reading and visual literacy) to critically engage with texts of all kinds. Students consider how material conditions shape discourse and assess their own positions as consumers and producers of media.

 

History of Experiment

Taught by various EH faculty across divisions.

Typically offered in Spring semester

History of Experiment considers major figures and experimental approaches, such as poetics, the philosophical thought experiment, and the scientific method, and challenges students to reconsider existing categories of and approaches to knowledge formation.

GIS/ HIST/ AS 101: INTRO TO AMERICAN CIVILIZATIONS

Professor: Christian Crouch

Fall 2018

The cries of “No Taxation without Representation!” and the celebration of the American Revolution make the transformation of English North American into “these United States of America” seem like a seamless process. In reality, this process was fraught, violent, contested, and uncertain. This course offers an introduction into the intedisciplinary methods of American Studies by considering this history via cultural production from the colonial period through today. We trace the winding process of becoming and defining “American” from English beginnings in piracy in the Caribbean (the first attempts to claim an empire in the Western Hemisphere) up through the the early Republic. Each week will also consider the implications of colonial history on current American flashpoints of migration, culture, gender equity, and Indigenous rights.

AS/ EUS/ HIST 123: THE WINDOW AT MONTGOMERY PLACE

Professor: Myra Armstead

Spring 2019

In 1802, when widow Janet Montgomery (1743-1824) acquired a 380-acre property on the Hudson River, she began the process  of converting the landscape from a “wilderness” into a “pleasure ground.” This transformation was a physical one, reflecting prevailing ideas about the ideal, aesthetic relationship between humans and “nature” as well as emerging notions regarding scientific agriculture. After her death, her successors continued this task.  Additionally, the creation and development of Montgomery Place mirrored contemporary social relations and cultural conventions, along with shifts in these realities at the national level. As it was populated by indentured servants, tenants, slaves, free workers, and elites, Montgomery Place will be approached as a historical laboratory for understanding social hierarchies, social roles, cultural practices, and the evolving visions of the nation and “place” that both sustained and challenged these things during the nineteenth century in the United States.

AS/ EUS/ HR/ HIST 180: Technology, Labor, Capitalism

Professor: Jeanette Estruth

Spring 2020

Artificial intelligence and the knowledge economy. Computation and Credit. Satellites and social media. Philanthropy and factory flight. “Doing what you love” and digital activism. Climate change and corporate consolidation. This class will explore changes in capitalism, technology, and labor in the twentieth- and twenty-first century United States. We will learn how ideas about work and technology have evolved over time, and how these dynamic ideas and evolving tools have shaped the present day.

AS/ EUS/ HR 219: Mapping Police Violence

Professor: Kwame Holmes

Spring 2020

This class emerges from my preoccupation with the recent increase in media and political attention to extra- judicial killings by police officers in the United States. Predominant questions will include: What can we know about police violence, and what are the barriers to data transparency and distribution? What are the means–political, legal, economic, cultural– through which Western societies authorize the police to use deadly force?  Can we measure the impact of police violence on a range of exogenous factors like public health indices, adjacent property values, educational opportunities and the distribution of social services? In pursuit of answers, we will engage political theory, history, sociology, economics, and cultural studies to produce an interdisciplinary study of police violence. I use the word “produce” with great intention. Students will be tasked with producing new knowledge about police violence.  As a collective, we will use demographic analytical tools, alongside datasets from the Police Data Initiative, to spatially apprehend police violence incidents in a given city. Students will then bring their own research questions to our collectively generated maps. In that sense, we will also think critically about how to ask a research question, and how to pursue a variety of research projects.

ARTH/ AS/ EUS 225: Art and the Environment

Professor: Julia Rosenbaum

Fall 2020

This course explores art and the environment, specifically considering the visual expression of that relationship in the United States: How have Americans imagined “nature” and visually represented it? How has the concept of landscape shaped perceptions about social order, health, identity, and sustainability? The course provides a framework for thinking about these questions, particularly in the context of a potential new era, the “Anthropocene,” a term used now by both scientists and humanities scholars to describea world of human-dominated ecosystems. Over the semester, we will focus on specific objects and sites to examine engagements with the physical environment, addressing, for example, visual re-presentations such as landscape painting; physical shaping through landscape design, and contemporary activist art related to ecology and conservation. Field trips to local sites and work with local resources will be a component of the course.  AHVC distribution: 1800-present, Americas.

HIST/ AS/ AFR/ FREN/ HR 2631: Capitalism and Slavery

Professor: Christian Crouch

Fall 2020

Scholars have argued that there is an intimate relationship between the contemporary wealth of the developed world and the money generated through four hundred years of chattel slavery in the Americas and the transatlantic slave trade. Is there something essential that links capitalism, even liberal democratic capitalism, to slavery? How have struggles against slavery and for freedom and rights, dealt with this connection? This course will investigate the development of this linkage, studying areas like the gender dynamics of early modern Atlantic slavery, the correlation between coercive political and economic authority, and the financial implications of abolition and emancipation.  We will focus on North America and the Caribbean from the early 17th century articulation of slavery through the staggered emancipations of the 19th century. The campaign against the slave trade has been called the first international human rights movement – today does human rights discourse simply provide a human face for globalized capitalism, or offer an alternative vision to it?  Questions of contemporary reparations, rising colonialism and markets of the nineteenth century, and the ‘duty’ of the Americas to Africa will also be considered.  Readings will include foundational texts on capitalism and a variety of historical approaches to the problem of capitalism within slavery, from economic, cultural, and intellectual perspectives.  There are no prerequisites, although HIST 130, 2133, or 263 all serve as introductory backgrounds.

EUS/ AS/ HR 309: EUS Colloquium/Practicum

Professors: Elias Dueker & Krista Caballero

Fall 2020

We generally assume maps are objective, accurate representations of data and the world around us when, in fact, they depict the knowledge, experience, and values of the humans who draft them. As a hybrid EUS practicum + colloquium, this course will explore ways in which ecological issues are entangled with colonial histories of racism and supremacy, resource extraction and expansion through mapping. Native American scholarship will ground our exploration as we consider the impact and consequences of mapping as a tool used historically to claim ownership and invite exploitation. We will also investigate the evolution of radical cartography to counter these practices and imagine alternative mapping for more just ecological futures. A series of Indigenous scholars and activists will provide an opportunity for students to learn from experts working at the forefront of their fields to address environmental injustices locally, nationally, and internationally. These guest lectures will be paired with hands-on projects that explore mapping as a tool for environmental advocacy alongside artistic and counter-mapping approaches that experiment with ways we might communicate scientific and humanistic knowledge to a wider audience. In both theory and practice this team-taught course aims to reconsider and transform ways of engaging community science and community action through collaborative inquiry, interdisciplinary experimentation, and meaningful cross-cultural dialogue.

AS 310: ART, ANIMALS & ANTHROPOCENE

Professor: Krista Caballero

Spring 2020

From species extinction to radioactive soil and climate change, we are now in the age of the Anthropocene. This recently proposed geologic period refers to the ways in which human activities have dramatically impacted and altered every ecosystem on Earth. Now in an age of mass extinction, what does it mean to visually interpret our more-than-human world and explore the often messy and complicated encounters between human and nonhuman animals? Indigenous and traditional ecological knowledges will ground our exploration as we consider the cultural, artistic, and technological implications of species decline. Our focus will include examining animal representations from caves to cages and from the living to the virtual, as well as themes of the wild and the tame, zoos, animal rights, laboratory research, and companion species. Each of these topics will be paired with an exploration of the ever-increasing presence of animals in contemporary art with particular emphasis on multimedia and inter-species installations, bio art, as well as experimental video, film, performance, and robotics. Students will work intensively to develop experimental humanities approaches that blur boundaries between physical and digital media, integrate field-based research, and experiment with interdisciplinary practices of art making in order to grapple with ways in which our understanding of other species directly relates to human self-understanding. This course is open to unmoderated and moderated students. It can be used to fulfill the American Studies Junior Seminar requirement for students moderated into that program. This course is part of the Thinking Animals Initiative, an interdivisional collaboration among students and faculty to further the understanding of animals and human-animal relationships.

AS/ FREN/ HR/ HIST 314: Violent Culture/Material Pleasure

Professor: Christian Crouch

Spring 2020

Emeralds.  Chocolate. Sugar.  Tobacco. Precious. Exotic.  Sweet. Addictive. Like human actors, commodities have stories of their own.  They shape human existence, create new sets of interactions, cross time and space, and offer a unique and incredible lens through which to view history.  This course explores the hidden life of material objects that circulated from the early modern Atlantic into the rest of the world. The life cycle of these products and items reveal narratives of Atlantic violence imbedded into these products: the claiming of Indian land, the theft of enslaved labor, the construction and corruption of gender norms.  Course readings will introduce historical methods and strategies to reclaim history from objects found in different parts of the Americas and will culminate with students having the opportunity to do original research and write the narrative of an item themselves. This course fulfills the American Studies Junior Seminar requirement and History Major Conference requirement.  

AS/ ARTH 315: INTERIOR WORLDS

Professor: Julia Rosenbaum

Spring 2019

How does the world of interior spaces, their furnishings and decorative objects, tell us stories, assert values, project identities? Through an engaged-learning experience with three early twentieth-century National Park sites in the Hudson Valley—the Vanderbilt Mansion, the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Eleanor Roosevelt’s Home at Val-Kill—this seminar explores both the relationship between objects and identities and issues of consumption and appearance. The course will focus on American decorative arts from the late nineteenth into the twentieth century addressing theories about the purpose, meaning, and value of design and decoration as well as key movements, designers, and artists. Visiting the sites and collections regularly, we will combine the scholarly study of aesthetic ideals and social practices with hands-on examination of specific objects in the Vanderbilt and Roosevelt museum collections. Final research projects may involve individual or group curated digital exhibitions.  Sophomores can enroll with permission of the professor. (Art History requirement: Americas, 1800 to Present) 

AS/ EUS 317: RE-IMAGINED FARMS IN RE-IMAGINED SPACES

Professor: Katrina Light

Spring 2019

This course examines the role farms and gardens play within institutions and the interplay of race, gender, class and power within these spaces. Working closely with farmer, Rebecca Yoshino, students will answer the questions: What purpose do these spaces serve? Who are the primary stakeholders and who benefits? Students will study issues surrounding land-use, equity, and social capital. Through a series of lectures and site visits to our own as well as other non-profit growing spaces, students will gather this information. Through this process they will hone interview techniques, create visual  representations and ultimately, examine, synthesize and distribute findings to community stakeholders. Finally, students will develop a mission statement and re-imagined direction for Bard’s agricultural initiatives. Moderation required or professor approval.

LIT/ EUS/ AS 3028: SOUNDSCAPES OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

Professor: Alexandre Benson

Spring 2020

We often use sonic terms—voice, tone, echo, resonance—to describe literary texts, even as we set writing in opposition to the noisy, melodious stuff of speech and song. This paradox raises some knotty questions of aesthetics, sensation, and media, questions that become still more complicated in the context of American literature from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. Over this period, shifts in migration, labor, transport, and the built environment radically alter what cities sound like, while audio recording and reproduction technologies reconfigure the forms and functions of popular music. American poets, novelists, and essayists, meanwhile, experiment with new ways of writing sound: new rhythms, new structures of narrative voice, new ideas about sonic experience as a function of cultural difference and of ability. To get a sense of these experiments, we’ll concentrate on moments in which technology, identity, environment, and hearing tightly interweave (as when the train whistles past Thoreau at Walden Pond). We’ll track the adaptation of literary texts across media, from print to performance to phonograph (as when Abbey Lincoln sings a Paul Laurence Dunbar poem). And we’ll engage with the theoretical questions that emerge around terms like “soundscape” itself–a concept first coined as a way of describing the noise of urban infrastructure, even as it nods to traditions of pastoral aesthetics. As a Junior Seminar, the course will emphasize methods of research and argumentation that will be of use not only in literary sound studies, but also in Senior Projects in the humanities more generally. Likely figures: James Baldwin, John Cage, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Charlie Chaplin, Emily Dickinson, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, and Helen Keller.

AS/ HR/ HIST 3145: JAMESTOWN: AN AMERICAN HORROR STORY

Professor: Christian Crouch

Spring 2018

Jamestown: the first permanent English locality in the Western Hemisphere is a settler colonial story from hell. Cannibalism, starvation, constant war with First Nations, Atlantic slavery, and eco-terrorism-Jamestown had it all. Although this story has long been overshadowed by Plymouth and ‘Thanksgiving,’ Jamestown was the actual model on which all future English colonial ventures were based. The first half of this research seminar investigates historiographical trends centered on Jamestown’s changing place in American narratives, including the “myth of Pocahontas.” Students will learn strategies used to retrieve and reconstruct different historical voices, especially those of enslaved and indigenous peoples, in order to add them to more familiar historical actors and events. We will also address the problems and possibilities of using transnational, global, and multi-disciplinary approaches to local history. Students will then turn to investigate early Virginia primary sources (oral, visual, textual, archaeological), available through the media portal Virtual Jamestown and will use these to write a research paper. Drafts will be collectively workshopped in the final weeks of term to allow for best practices in writing. This course fulfills the History Major Conference-Research/American Studies Junior Seminar requirements.

ANTH/ MUS 236: MUSIC, SEXUALITY & GENDER

Professor: Maria Sonevytsky

Spring 2018

This course surveys musicological approaches to the study of sexuality and gender, asking how music informs and reflects cultural constructions of femininity and masculinity. Taking wide-ranging examples that include opera, popular music, folk and indigenous musics, we will investigate how modern gendered subjectivities are negotiated through musical practices such as composition, performance and consumption. Class readings will include musicological, anthropological, feminist, Marxist and queer theory approaches. Students will practice writing skills in a variety of formal and informal formats, culminating in an in-class presentation based on original research.

MUS/ ANTH 247: Ethnography: Music & Sound

Professor: Whitney Slaten

Fall 2020

How have recent ethnomusicologists and anthropologists written about traditional and popular musics around the world? How does this writing respond to representing culture, locally and globally? How does this writing about musics’ social contexts respond to changing academic attitudes within the humanities and social sciences, as well as the interdisciplinary development of sound studies? Students will read, present, and discuss chapters from recent book length examples of musical ethnography. Lectures and discussions will focus on the writing strategies of ethnographers, continually assessing how writing represents and analyzes local and global practices of production, circulation, and consumption, as well as how such works participate in emergent scholarly traditions. The course will culminate in a written comparative ethnography analysis paper in which students will compare two ethnographic monographs.

ANTH/ GIS/ HR/ HIST 3103: POLITICAL RITUAL/MODERN WORLD

Professor: Robert Culp

Fall 2018

The Olympic opening ceremony, military parades, the US presidential inaugural, the Imperial Durbar, Bastille Day, pageants reenacting the Bolshevik Revolution, and all modes of political protest. In all these forms and many others, political ritual has been central to nation-building, colonialism, and political movements over the last three centuries. This course uses a global, comparative perspective and readings from a range of academic disciplines to analyze the modern history of political ritual. We will explore the emergence of new forms of political ritual with the rise of the nation-state in the nineteenth century and track global transformations in the performance of politics as colonialism spread the symbols and pageantry of the nation-state. Central topics will include state ritual and the performance of power, the relationship between ritual and citizenship in the modern nation-state, the ritualization of politics in social and political movements, and the power of mediated mass spectacle in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Seminar meetings will focus on discussion of secondary and primary materials that allow us to analyze the intersection of ritual and politics in a variety of contexts. These will range from early-modern Europe, pre-colonial Bali, and late-imperial China to revolutionary France, 19th-century America, colonial India, post-colonial Africa, several fascist and socialist states, Europe in 1968, the modern Middle East, and the contemporary global marketplace. In addition to common readings and seminar participation, students will do a final project exploring one aspect or instance of political ritual. Moderated history students can use this course for a major conference; Experimental Humanities students are encouraged to do a multi-media project.

ANTH 320: THE VOICE IN THE MACHINE

Professor: Laura Kunreuther

Fall 2019

Modern ideologies of voice – deployed in politics, social movements and humanitarian organizations, as well as many musical and cultural productions – tend to naturalize the relationship between voice and individuality, agency, and empowerment. The voice, it is assumed, provides unmediated and immediate access to the self and a direct way of making one’s desires and ideas known in public. But the immediacy of the voice often depends upon specific media and/or technologies that make specific voices audible, such as sound recording, amplification, broadcasting, as well as institutional divisions of labor through which voices are represented, cited, and invoked. In this course, we will explore a range of conduits of voice that re-present an original voice through technological means – radio, telephone captioning, voice recorders – and/or human means ¬– interpreters/translators, voice-over artists, spirit possession, and stenographers. Through these explorations we will trouble some of the assumptions about the directness of voice, even as we discover how the feelings and sense of immediacy is produced. Drawing inspiration from philosopher Gilbert Ryle’s notion of ‘the ghost in the machine’ to critique mind-body distinctions, the course will broadly ask students to think critically about the relationship of human self and voice to technologies and practices that animate and circulate voices. Students will be required to research a specific ‘conduit of voice’ and create both a research paper and an EH-inspired project that demonstrates their knowledge about this voice and its medium. They will be asked to contribute readings to the class related to their specific project.

ANTH / EUS 326: SCIENCE, EMPIRE & ECOLOGY

Professor: Michele Dominy

Fall 2019

This seminar examines indigenous, colonial, and postcolonial ecologies in the Pacific from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century as we trace the transformation of projects of empire to contemporary projects of species and biodiversity preservation and restoration. We focus initially on the voyages of naturalists Joseph Banks on HMS Endeavour (1768-1771), Charles Darwin on HMS Beagle (1831-1836), and Joseph Hooker on HMS Erebus (1839-1843) by considering archival sources — naval logs, field notes, scientific correspondence, and visual representations. Their “botanical imperium” provides understanding into the relationship of ecological imperialism to the botanical garden, herbarium, and seed bank as we map the arc from the field to the metropole. Next we consider Australia and New Zealand as productive sites for exploring radical processes of ecological colonization and decolonization, including indigenous discourses of sustainability, and evolving state strategies for resource management and ecological restoration. Drawing initially from the history of science, natural history, and historical ethnography, we turn to cultural geography and political ecology to analyze the interdisciplinary connections between island biogeography, conservation biology and spatial interpretation and analysis. To investigate these intersections, students will meet with archivists and plant conservationists at the New York Botanical Gardens and create a digital map, georeferencing plant provenance and tracking botanical circulation as part of a semester-long research project.

ARCH 111: ARCHITECTURE AS MEDIA

Professor: Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco

Fall 2020

This studio-based course introduces students to architectural tools of communication while presenting architecture as a field that communicates not only technical knowledge, but public imaginaries, spatial aesthetics of popular culture and contested ideas. In this way, the course will teach students basic architectural tools of representation as a situated practice of aesthetic production. Students will learn and practice techniques of contemporary digital drafting, diagramming, mapping and image-making, all of which will be carefully positioned against a survey of paradigmatic moments in the history of architecturally-related visual cultures. Thus, it will span a series of design technique workshops across a range of lectures ranging from the historical emergence of the floorplan, to contextualizing the collages of El Lissitzky to the sci-fi animations of Archigram to the films of Ray and Charles Eames to the Marxist photocollages of Superstudio to the CGI-rendered culture of late capitalist architecture to the activism of Architecture Lobby, Forensic Architecture and WBYA? to the planetary imaginaries of Urban Theory Lab, Nemestudio, Design Earth, among other crucial episodes in the history of architectural media. Studio work involves weekly assignments. When possible, a field trip will be organized. Estimated costs for studio related assignments and activities is $200. Financial assistance may be available. Please contact instructor. No prior experience required.

ARCH/ EUS 121: DESIGN STUDIO-SEMINAR 1: PLANETARY

Professor: Ross Adams

Fall 2020

This design studio-seminar introduces architecture as a trans-scalar practice that directly ties buildings, bodies, and ecosystems together. The course will involve not only the understanding and application of architectural representational techniques but also the cultivation of critical discourses that position design as a means to intervene across different scales. As a studio-seminar, students will acquire techniques through design exercises (architectural drawing and modeling) that are framed around an intellectual review of various critical spatial practices. Since at least the twentieth century, architecture’s scope of practice has widened to include landscapes, cities, regions, territories—even the entire planet itself—while also narrowing its focus to include the design of micro environments for and modulations of the human body. Working transversally across conceptual scales from the body to the planet, this course will develop critical approaches to design aimed at intervening in the spaces and processes of planetary urbanization. Each ‘scale’ we investigate will be accompanied by a corresponding design project. Please note studio work involves weekly assignments and, when possible, extracurricular events, such as field trips and studio-related talks. Computers with required software will be provided by the College, yet costs for model making and printing are not, the estimated costs is $200. Financial assistance may be available. Please contact instructor. No prior experience with architecture or drawing are required.

ARTH/ EUS/ PS/ IDEA 215: OF UTOPIAS 

Professor: Kevin Duong, Olga Touloumi

Spring 2018

This class explores the theory and practice of utopia from an interdisciplinary perspective. Utopias have always been imagined through a variety of mediums like the manifesto, the blueprint, and visual and performing arts. The course investigates the manifold scales of utopian articulation and realization, from tiny communities to project designing the entire globe. Combining the history of political thought and architectural history, the class will use the concept of utopia to map out the ways that men and women have sought to transform the spatial, psychic, and social landscapes they inhabited. What can we learn from the utopian imperative? What is the shape of utopia? How should we understand the relationship between thought and practice, hope and disappointment, idealism and realism? Projects presented range from early industrial colonies, socialist utopias, Christian communities, and anarchist utopias to settlement housing, shopping malls, and factories. The projects will be discussed in conjunction with major texts by Sir Thomas More, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Karl Marx, Robert Owen, Louis Marin, to name a few. Apart from regular writing assignments, students will engage with creative designs, building toward a final exhibition of design projects for future utopias. The course will include a field trip to Shaker’s Village.

ARTH/ AS/ EUS 225: ART AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Professor: Julia Rosenbaum

Fall 2020

This course explores art and the environment, specifically considering the visual expression of that relationship in the United States: How have Americans imagined “nature” and visually represented it? How has the concept of landscape shaped perceptions about social order, health, identity, and sustainability? The course provides a framework for thinking about these questions, particularly in the context of a potential new era, the “Anthropocene,” a term used now by both scientists and humanities scholars to describea world of human-dominated ecosystems. Over the semester, we will focus on specific objects and sites to examine engagements with the physical environment, addressing, for example, visual re-presentations such as landscape painting; physical shaping through landscape design, and contemporary activist art related to ecology and conservation. Field trips to local sites and work with local resources will be a component of the course.  AHVC distribution: 1800-present, Americas.

ARTH/ GER/ IDEA 225: 1989 ART, LITERATURE, & POLITICS IN TRANSITION

Professor: Alex Kitnick, Thomas Wild

Spring 2018

This class explores the theory and practice of utopia from an interdisciplinary perspective. Utopias have always been imagined through a variety of mediums like the manifesto, the blueprint, and visual and performing arts. The course investigates the manifold scales of utopian articulation and realization, from tiny communities to project designing the entire globe. Combining the history of political thought and architectural history, the class will use the concept of utopia to map out the ways that men and women have sought to transform the spatial, psychic, and social landscapes they inhabited. What can we learn from the utopian imperative? What is the shape of utopia? How should we understand the relationship between thought and practice, hope and disappointment, idealism and realism? Projects presented range from early industrial colonies, socialist utopias, Christian communities, and anarchist utopias to settlement housing, shopping malls, and factories. The projects will be discussed in conjunction with major texts by Sir Thomas More, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Karl Marx, Robert Owen, Louis Marin, to name a few. Apart from regular writing assignments, students will engage with creative designs, building toward a final exhibition of design projects for future utopias. The course will include a field trip to Shaker’s Village.

ARTH 287: EXPERIMENTS: ART & TECHNOLOGY

Professor: Alex Kitnick

Fall 2018

This course will explore various connections between art and technology from the 1960s up to the present day. Students will examine a wide range of writings, artworks, performances, and videos by figures including Marshall McLuhan, John McHale, Robert Rauschenberg, and Carolee Schneemann. The idea of the course is to show that both artists and theorists are involved in a common project of responding to new technologies. Questions of distribution, audience, and globalization will be of key concern. In the last weeks, we will consider how these ideas have evolved in the age of the Internet. Open to all students. Students will work on various writing assignments and class presentations. Art History Distribution: Modern

ARTH/ EUS/ HR 307: CONTESTED SPACES

Professor: Olga Touloumi

Spring 2020

During the 19th and 20th century, streets, kitchens, schools, and ghettos were the spaces of political conflict and social transformation. Often these spaces are studied as sites of contestation, where old pedagogical, medical, institutional paradigms witness the emergence of new. This course will focus on these spaces of contestation and discus show objects and buildings in dialogue construct new ideas about class, gender, and race. Readings by Chantal Mouffee, Hannah Arendt, Antony Vidler, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Michel Foucault will provide us with analytical tools and theoretical frameworks to address those actors excluded from history, problematizing agency and authorship in art and architecture. The class assignments include weekly responses, collaborative projects on the course website, and a final paper. The class is taught in collaboration with the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. AHVC distribution: 1800-Present/America.

EUS/ HR/ ARTH 314: Public Writing and the Built Environment

Professor: Olga Touloumi

Spring 2020

This course introduces students to issues concerning architecture, the built environment, and spatial justice through forms of public writing. In collaboration with the instructor, each student will focus on one area or issue such as the prison- industrial complex (as found, for example, at Rikers Island), gentrification in Newburgh, housing inequality in Chicago, the water crisis in Flint, management of nuclear waste in the Hudson, shrinking cities in the Rust Belt, and oil pipeline infrastructure on tribal lands. To mobilize interested publics and address officials, students will use Twitter; design petitions; write blog entries; interview stakeholders; write protest letters; and prepare for a public hearing. The goal will be to inform the public, raise awareness, and reclaim agency over the design and planning of our environments through writing. Combining texts from the various assignments, students will produce a final thirty-minute podcast that will live online. (Fulfills two program requirements: Modern / Europe + US)

AS/ ARTH 315: INTERIOR WORLDS

Professor: Julia Rosenbaum

Spring 2019

How does the world of interior spaces, their furnishings and decorative objects, tell us stories, assert values, project identities? Through an engaged-learning experience with three early twentieth-century National Park sites in the Hudson Valley—the Vanderbilt Mansion, the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Eleanor Roosevelt’s Home at Val-Kill—this seminar explores both the relationship between objects and identities and issues of consumption and appearance. The course will focus on American decorative arts from the late nineteenth into the twentieth century addressing theories about the purpose, meaning, and value of design and decoration as well as key movements, designers, and artists. Visiting the sites and collections regularly, we will combine the scholarly study of aesthetic ideals and social practices with hands-on examination of specific objects in the Vanderbilt and Roosevelt museum collections. Final research projects may involve individual or group curated digital exhibitions.  Sophomores can enroll with permission of the professor. (Art History requirement: Americas, 1800 to Present) 

ARTH 316 Multi-Media Gothic

Professor: Katherine Boivin

Fall 2019

Although scholarship on medieval art has often been separated by medium, Gothic church programs were actually multi-media spaces with meaning transcending the individual work of art. This class, therefore, explores a wide range of artistic media, including stained glass, painting, sculpture, architecture, textiles, and metalwork, as they contributed to the dynamic space of the Gothic church. In addition, it considers modern technologies for representing these complex programs, drawing parallels between the explosion of images in the Gothic era and the role of media today. Structured around the investigation of case-study churches throughout western Europe—with a particular focus on France and Germany from the 13th through 15th centuries—this class will cover topics including architectural structuring of space, image placement, dramatic performances of the liturgy, the “economy of salvation,” and cultural notions of decorum. Coursework includes weekly writing assignments, active in-class discussion, and a final 15-page research paper.

ARTH 337: POP ART

Professor: Alex Kitnick

Spring 2018

This course looks at Pop Art as a series of exchanges between the fine arts and mass culture; it also examines Pop as a way of responding to the increased dominance of global capital in the postwar period. The course progresses through a number of case studies, beginning with the emergence of Pop Art in England in the late 1950s. It will continue by examining Pop movements throughout the US, Germany, and South America in the 1960s. In addition to painting and sculpture, the course will examine Pop through a wide variety of media, including movies, music, and books. Artists covered in the course include EvelyneAxell, Richard Hamilton, CildoMeireles, Gerhard Richter, and Andy Warhol. Students will turn in one-page reading responses each week. Two longer papers are also required: the first, an expanded version of a response paper, is due at the midterm. The final research essay will be due at the end of the semester.  Art History distribution: Modern

IDEA 135: GAMES AT WORK: PARTICIPATION, PROCEDURE, AND PLAY

Professor: Keith O’Hara, Ben Coonley

Spring 2019

This course is an intensive, interdisciplinary investigation of games and their pervasive role in contemporary life. What constitutes a game? Why do people play them? What makes digital games different from non-digital games? What roles do games play in contemporary culture? How have game-like incentive systems and other forms of “gamification” infused non-game contexts, such as social media, fine art, democracy, education, war, and the modern workplace? Do games and “gamer” culture effectively preclude, privilege, include, or exclude certain groups, identities, and worldviews? Course readings, screenings, and mandatory game play will augment and inform our investigation of these questions and beyond. The primary coursework will consist of game creation using tools and methodologies from computer science and electronic art. Students will create original games (non-digital and digital video games), both independently and in groups. This work will be augmented by short assignments designed to build fluency in visual art creation and interactive game design through short exercises in coding in Javascript, visual design applications, and game design software. Assignments will push students to develop experimental and critical approaches to game creation. This course is restricted to students in the lower college. Students with little experience playing games and/or a healthy skepticism about the cultural and artistic value of games are encouraged to apply. No prerequisites.

ARTH/ EUS/ PS/ IDEA 215: OF UTOPIAS 

Professor: Kevin Duong, Olga Touloumi

Spring 2018

This class explores the theory and practice of utopia from an interdisciplinary perspective. Utopias have always been imagined through a variety of mediums like the manifesto, the blueprint, and visual and performing arts. The course investigates the manifold scales of utopian articulation and realization, from tiny communities to project designing the entire globe. Combining the history of political thought and architectural history, the class will use the concept of utopia to map out the ways that men and women have sought to transform the spatial, psychic, and social landscapes they inhabited. What can we learn from the utopian imperative? What is the shape of utopia? How should we understand the relationship between thought and practice, hope and disappointment, idealism and realism? Projects presented range from early industrial colonies, socialist utopias, Christian communities, and anarchist utopias to settlement housing, shopping malls, and factories. The projects will be discussed in conjunction with major texts by Sir Thomas More, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Karl Marx, Robert Owen, Louis Marin, to name a few. Apart from regular writing assignments, students will engage with creative designs, building toward a final exhibition of design projects for future utopias. The course will include a field trip to Shaker’s Village.

ARTH/ GER/ IDEA 225: 1989 ART, LITERATURE, & POLITICS IN TRANSITION

Professor: Alex Kitnick, Thomas Wild

Spring 2018

This class explores the theory and practice of utopia from an interdisciplinary perspective. Utopias have always been imagined through a variety of mediums like the manifesto, the blueprint, and visual and performing arts. The course investigates the manifold scales of utopian articulation and realization, from tiny communities to project designing the entire globe. Combining the history of political thought and architectural history, the class will use the concept of utopia to map out the ways that men and women have sought to transform the spatial, psychic, and social landscapes they inhabited. What can we learn from the utopian imperative? What is the shape of utopia? How should we understand the relationship between thought and practice, hope and disappointment, idealism and realism? Projects presented range from early industrial colonies, socialist utopias, Christian communities, and anarchist utopias to settlement housing, shopping malls, and factories. The projects will be discussed in conjunction with major texts by Sir Thomas More, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Karl Marx, Robert Owen, Louis Marin, to name a few. Apart from regular writing assignments, students will engage with creative designs, building toward a final exhibition of design projects for future utopias. The course will include a field trip to Shaker’s Village.

BIO/ EUS 157: FOOD MICROBIOLOGY

Professor: Gabriel Peron

Fall 2020

In this course, appropriate for potential biology majors and interested non-majors, we will study the microorganisms that inhabit, create, or contaminate food. The first half of the course will introduce students to topics in food safety such as food spoilage, foodborne infections, and antibiotic resistance. In the second half of the course, students will learn how to harness the capabilities of the many microbes present in our environment to turn rotting vegetables or spoiling milk into delicious food. Students will also learn how next-generation technologies are revealing the important ecological dynamics shaping microbial communities in transforming food with possible beneficial effects on human health. Throughout the course, students will learn how to design, conduct, and analyze simple experiments while working with microbiology techniques, including DNA sequencing. No prerequisite.

CLAS 224: ScienceTechnology: Ancient Greece/Rome

Professor: Kassandra Miller

Spring 2020

How did ancient Greeks and Romans learn about and make sense of the world around them? And how did they use technology to change and exert control over that world? This course offers an introduction to the scientific and technological developments that took place in the ancient Mediterranean between the 6th century BCE and the 4th century CE. We will also consider the afterlives of these developments in Islamic, Enlightenment, and modern-day science. In the first half of the course, we will explore ancient scientific theories and practices in areas we would now call astronomy, physics, biology, medicine, geography, and mathematics. In the second half of the course, we will shift our focus to the technologies that ancient Greeks and Romans used to harness nature, and students will participate in a collaborative project with hands-on components. Ultimately, students in this course will deepen their understanding of how scientific theories, practical experiences, and social incentives can interact to produce different scientific and technological trends. NOTE: All readings will be in English translation, and no prior knowledge of the ancient world is required.

CMSC 141: OBJECT ORIENTED PROGRAMMING

Taught by various faculty

Fall 2020

This course introduces students to the methodologies of object-oriented design and programming, which are used throughout the Computer Science curriculum. Students will learn how to move from informal problem statement, through increasingly precise problem specifications, to design and implementation of a solution for problems drawn from areas such as graphics, animation, and simulation. Good programming and documentation habits are emphasized.

CMSC/ MUSIC 262: Introduction to Max/Msp

Professor: Matthew Sargent

Spring 2020

This course will introduce students to Max/Msp, an object-oriented programming environment for real-time audio processing, digital synthesis, algorithmic composition, data sonification, and more. Students will learn fundamental concepts of digital audio and computer programming while engaging in creative projects and in-class performances. The class will include examples of Max patches found in major works of 20/21st century electroacoustic music and sound art repertoire. The course will also explore connectivity between Max and other software applications, including Max4Live. The course will conclude with a final project. Introduction to Electronic Music, or a 100-level course in Computer Science, is recommended as a prerequisite.

CMSC 226: Principles: Computing Systems

Professor: Keith O’Hara

Spring 2020

This course takes a systems perspective to the study of computers.  As our programs scale up from a single author, user, and computer to programs designed, written, maintained, and used by multiple people that run on many computers (sometimes at the same time), considerations beyond algorithms alone are magnified. Design principles and engineering practices help us cope with this complexity: version control for multiple authors, input validation for multiple (adversarial) users, build automation tools for multiple platforms, process and thread models for parallelism.  From how numbers are represented in hardware to how instruction-level parallelism and speculation can lead to bugs: the design, implementation, evaluation, safety and security of computing systems will be stressed. Students will explore computers from the ground up, using a variety of programming languages (including assembly) and tools like the command line, debuggers, and version control. Pre-requisites: Object-Oriented Programming or permission of instructor. 

MUS/ CMSC 375: TOPICS IN MUSIC SOFTWARE

Professor: Matthew Sargent

Fall 2020

This course is an advanced seminar on the Max programming language and the digital signal processing of audio. Students will learn advanced concepts of digital audio and computer programming, while engaging in creative projects and in-class performances. The class will include study of the Fourier theorem, physical modeling, granular synthesis, multi-channel audio dispersion, binaural and ambisonic panning, and digital reverb design. The class will include critical discussion of electroacoustic and sound art repertoire of the 20/21st century. The course will conclude with a final project. Introduction to Max/Msp (or significant 300-level work in Computer Science) is required as a prerequisite.

EUS/ ARTS 135: Designing Body and World

Professor: Ross Adams

Spring 2020

This course introduces architecture through a studio-seminar hybrid. We will approach architectural design not by focusing on the production of a particular building, but by working transversally across a number of conceptual scales from the body to the planet. This trans-scalar approach aims to interrogate what it means to practice architecture as a historically, theoretically and methodologically situated field indelibly conditioned by urbanization measured at a planetary scale. Indeed, since at least the twentieth century, architecture’s scope of practice has widened to include landscapes, cities, regions, territories—even the entire planet itself—while also narrowing its focus to include the design of micro environments for and modulations of the human body. The course will allow us not only to understand the techniques and ideas emerging from these various scalar practices, but to cultivate new, critical design approaches to intervene in the spaces and processes of planetary urbanization. Each ‘scale’ we investigate will be accompanied by a corresponding design project. Among the techniques of architectural representation students will learn in the process are basic 2D and 3D CAD drawing, sketching, model making and other forms of representation. Please note studio work involves weekly assignments and, when possible, one or two social events. Computers with required software will be provided by the College, yet costs for model making and printing are not. No prior experience with architecture or drawing are required.

BIO/ EUS 157: FOOD MICROBIOLOGY

Professor: Gabriel Peron

Fall 2020

In this course, appropriate for potential biology majors and interested non-majors, we will study the microorganisms that inhabit, create, or contaminate food. The first half of the course will introduce students to topics in food safety such as food spoilage, foodborne infections, and antibiotic resistance. In the second half of the course, students will learn how to harness the capabilities of the many microbes present in our environment to turn rotting vegetables or spoiling milk into delicious food. Students will also learn how next-generation technologies are revealing the important ecological dynamics shaping microbial communities in transforming food with possible beneficial effects on human health. Throughout the course, students will learn how to design, conduct, and analyze simple experiments while working with microbiology techniques, including DNA sequencing. No prerequisite.

AS/ EUS/ HR/ HIST 180: Technology, Labor, Capitalism

Professor: Jeanette Estruth

Spring 2020

Artificial intelligence and the knowledge economy. Computation and Credit. Satellites and social media. Philanthropy and factory flight. “Doing what you love” and digital activism. Climate change and corporate consolidation. This class will explore changes in capitalism, technology, and labor in the twentieth- and twenty-first century United States. We will learn how ideas about work and technology have evolved over time, and how these dynamic ideas and evolving tools have shaped the present day.

AS/ EUS/ HR 219: Mapping Police Violence

Professor: Kwame Holmes

Spring 2020

This class emerges from my preoccupation with the recent increase in media and political attention to extra- judicial killings by police officers in the United States. Predominant questions will include: What can we know about police violence, and what are the barriers to data transparency and distribution? What are the means–political, legal, economic, cultural– through which Western societies authorize the police to use deadly force?  Can we measure the impact of police violence on a range of exogenous factors like public health indices, adjacent property values, educational opportunities and the distribution of social services? In pursuit of answers, we will engage political theory, history, sociology, economics, and cultural studies to produce an interdisciplinary study of police violence. I use the word “produce” with great intention. Students will be tasked with producing new knowledge about police violence.  As a collective, we will use demographic analytical tools, alongside datasets from the Police Data Initiative, to spatially apprehend police violence incidents in a given city. Students will then bring their own research questions to our collectively generated maps. In that sense, we will also think critically about how to ask a research question, and how to pursue a variety of research projects.

ARTH/ EUS/ PS/ IDEA 215: OF UTOPIAS 

Professor: Kevin Duong, Olga Touloumi

Spring 2018

This class explores the theory and practice of utopia from an interdisciplinary perspective. Utopias have always been imagined through a variety of mediums like the manifesto, the blueprint, and visual and performing arts. The course investigates the manifold scales of utopian articulation and realization, from tiny communities to project designing the entire globe. Combining the history of political thought and architectural history, the class will use the concept of utopia to map out the ways that men and women have sought to transform the spatial, psychic, and social landscapes they inhabited. What can we learn from the utopian imperative? What is the shape of utopia? How should we understand the relationship between thought and practice, hope and disappointment, idealism and realism? Projects presented range from early industrial colonies, socialist utopias, Christian communities, and anarchist utopias to settlement housing, shopping malls, and factories. The projects will be discussed in conjunction with major texts by Sir Thomas More, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Karl Marx, Robert Owen, Louis Marin, to name a few. Apart from regular writing assignments, students will engage with creative designs, building toward a final exhibition of design projects for future utopias. The course will include a field trip to Shaker’s Village.

EUS/ HR/ ARTS 220: Architectural Entanglements with Labor

Professor: Ivonne Santoyo Orozco

Spring 2020

Architecture is both the product of labor and the organizer of its relations, yet often these issues remain overshadowed by aesthetic considerations and the broader discourse of design. In shifting the question of labor in architecture to the foreground, this course invites students to reflect on the spatio-political role architecture has played in mediating bodies, work and capital. To do this, we will analyze contemporary transformations to paradigmatic sites of work (offices, factories, tech campuses), as well as the many spaces that have been produced to feed architectural production and its endless cycles of extraction (camps, slums, mines), and the architecture that reproduces forms of maintenance (houses, squares, resorts). We will analyze a diverse set of contemporary and historical architectural precedents against a heterogenous landscape of voices from Maurizio Lazzarato, Silvia Federici, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, David Harvey, Peggy Deamer, Mabel O. Wilson, among others. The course will unfold in a combination of lectures and seminars. There are no exams but students are expected to complete weekly assignments and a final project.

ARTH/ AS/ EUS 225: ART AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Professor: Julia Rosenbaum

Fall 2020

This course explores art and the environment, specifically considering the visual expression of that relationship in the United States: How have Americans imagined “nature” and visually represented it? How has the concept of landscape shaped perceptions about social order, health, identity, and sustainability? The course provides a framework for thinking about these questions, particularly in the context of a potential new era, the “Anthropocene,” a term used now by both scientists and humanities scholars to describea world of human-dominated ecosystems. Over the semester, we will focus on specific objects and sites to examine engagements with the physical environment, addressing, for example, visual re-presentations such as landscape painting; physical shaping through landscape design, and contemporary activist art related to ecology and conservation. Field trips to local sites and work with local resources will be a component of the course.  AHVC distribution: 1800-present, Americas.

LIT/ AS/ EUS 3028: SOUNDSCAPES OF AMERICAN LIT

Professor: Alexandre Benson

Fall 2020

(Junior Seminar) We often use sonic terms—voice, tone, echo, resonance—to describe poetry and fiction, even as we set writing in opposition to the noisy, melodious stuff of speech and song. If this paradox poses a knotty problem for our study of literature as a medium, it also raises questions of social relation that have been central to the history of American writing: What does it mean to read and to listen in situations of radical cultural difference? How have the concepts of textuality and orality intersected with the histories of racism and other instruments of inequality? What happens to the traditional dichotomy of sound and sight when approached from the perspectives of disability studies and of environmental humanities? We will explore these questions in literary texts, musical recordings, and theoretical work in the field of sound studies and beyond. Authors and artists considered may include James Baldwin, John Cage, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Emily Dickinson, Zora Neale Hurston, Helen Keller, Abbey Lincoln, and Pauline Oliveros. Coursework will focus on practices of research, writing, revision, and collaboration that will prepare students to write senior projects in Literature and related humanities fields.

EUS 305: PRACTICUM: MULTI-MEDIA ENVIRONMENTAL STORYTELLING

Professor: Jon Bowermaster

Fall 2019

This course will explore what it means to be a modern-day rivertown by focusing on Kingston, NY. Kingston is facing issues including population growth, energy concerns and pollution, crime, poverty, and aging infrastructure. The Hudson River is also slated to rise over six feet in the next 50 years. Jon Bowermaster, an award winning environmental film-maker, journalist, and long-time Hudson Valley resident, will use a team approach in this class to tackle storytelling — focused on environmental stories — in a variety of media, including film, podcasting, radio, written word, photography and art. Students will use Kingston’s rich community resources to accomplish this work, and will share work during the class through social media, Radio Kingston, the Hudson River Maritime Museum and other avenues. The class will culminate with a community showing in Kingston, bringing together students, faculty, and Kingston community.

ARTH/ EUS/ HR 307: CONTESTED SPACES

Professor: Olga Touloumi

Spring 2020

During the 19th and 20th century, streets, kitchens, schools, and ghettos were the spaces of political conflict and social transformation. Often these spaces are studied as sites of contestation, where old pedagogical, medical, institutional paradigms witness the emergence of new. This course will focus on these spaces of contestation and discus show objects and buildings in dialogue construct new ideas about class, gender, and race. Readings by Chantal Mouffee, Hannah Arendt, Antony Vidler, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Michel Foucault will provide us with analytical tools and theoretical frameworks to address those actors excluded from history, problematizing agency and authorship in art and architecture. The class assignments include weekly responses, collaborative projects on the course website, and a final paper. The class is taught in collaboration with the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. AHVC distribution: 1800-Present/America.

EUS/ AS/ HR 309: EUS COLLOQUIUM/PRACTICUM

Professors: Elias Dueker & Krista Caballero

Fall 2020

We generally assume maps are objective, accurate representations of data and the world around us when, in fact, they depict the knowledge, experience, and values of the humans who draft them. As a hybrid EUS practicum + colloquium, this course will explore ways in which ecological issues are entangled with colonial histories of racism and supremacy, resource extraction and expansion through mapping. Native American scholarship will ground our exploration as we consider the impact and consequences of mapping as a tool used historically to claim ownership and invite exploitation. We will also investigate the evolution of radical cartography to counter these practices and imagine alternative mapping for more just ecological futures. A series of Indigenous scholars and activists will provide an opportunity for students to learn from experts working at the forefront of their fields to address environmental injustices locally, nationally, and internationally. These guest lectures will be paired with hands-on projects that explore mapping as a tool for environmental advocacy alongside artistic and counter-mapping approaches that experiment with ways we might communicate scientific and humanistic knowledge to a wider audience. In both theory and practice this team-taught course aims to reconsider and transform ways of engaging community science and community action through collaborative inquiry, interdisciplinary experimentation, and meaningful cross-cultural dialogue.

EUS/ AS 310: Art, Animals & Anthropocene

Professor: Krista Caballero

Spring 2020

From species extinction to radioactive soil and climate change, we are now in the age of the Anthropocene. This recently proposed geologic period refers to the ways in which human activities have dramatically impacted and altered every ecosystem on Earth. Now in an age of mass extinction, what does it mean to visually interpret our more-than-human world and explore the often messy and complicated encounters between human and nonhuman animals? Indigenous and traditional ecological knowledges will ground our exploration as we consider the cultural, artistic, and technological implications of species decline. Our focus will include examining animal representations from caves to cages and from the living to the virtual, as well as themes of the wild and the tame, zoos, animal rights, laboratory research, and companion species. Each of these topics will be paired with an exploration of the ever-increasing presence of animals in contemporary art with particular emphasis on multimedia and inter-species installations, bio art, as well as experimental video, film, performance, and robotics. Students will work intensively to develop experimental humanities approaches that blur boundaries between physical and digital media, integrate field-based research, and experiment with interdisciplinary practices of art making in order to grapple with ways in which our understanding of other species directly relates to human self-understanding. This course is open to unmoderated and moderated students. It can be used to fulfill the American Studies Junior Seminar requirement for students moderated into that program. This course is part of the Thinking Animals Initiative, an interdivisional collaboration among students and faculty to further the understanding of animals and human-animal relationships.

EUS/ HR/ ARTH 314: Public Writing and the Built Environment

Professor: Olga Touloumi

Spring 2020

This course introduces students to issues concerning architecture, the built environment, and spatial justice through forms of public writing. In collaboration with the instructor, each student will focus on one area or issue such as the prison- industrial complex (as found, for example, at Rikers Island), gentrification in Newburgh, housing inequality in Chicago, the water crisis in Flint, management of nuclear waste in the Hudson, shrinking cities in the Rust Belt, and oil pipeline infrastructure on tribal lands. To mobilize interested publics and address officials, students will use Twitter; design petitions; write blog entries; interview stakeholders; write protest letters; and prepare for a public hearing. The goal will be to inform the public, raise awareness, and reclaim agency over the design and planning of our environments through writing. Combining texts from the various assignments, students will produce a final thirty-minute podcast that will live online. (Fulfills two program requirements: Modern / Europe + US)

AS/ EUS 317: RE-IMAGINED FARMS IN RE-IMAGINED SPACES

Professor: Katrina Light

Spring 2019

This course examines the role farms and gardens play within institutions and the interplay of race, gender, class and power within these spaces. Working closely with farmer, Rebecca Yoshino, students will answer the questions: What purpose do these spaces serve? Who are the primary stakeholders and who benefits? Students will study issues surrounding land-use, equity, and social capital. Through a series of lectures and site visits to our own as well as other non-profit growing spaces, students will gather this information. Through this process they will hone interview techniques, create visual  representations and ultimately, examine, synthesize and distribute findings to community stakeholders. Finally, students will develop a mission statement and re-imagined direction for Bard’s agricultural initiatives. Moderation required or professor approval.

ANTH / EUS 326: SCIENCE, EMPIRE & ECOLOGY

Professor: Michele Dominy

Fall 2019

This seminar examines indigenous, colonial, and postcolonial ecologies in the Pacific from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century as we trace the transformation of projects of empire to contemporary projects of species and biodiversity preservation and restoration. We focus initially on the voyages of naturalists Joseph Banks on HMS Endeavour (1768-1771), Charles Darwin on HMS Beagle (1831-1836), and Joseph Hooker on HMS Erebus (1839-1843) by considering archival sources — naval logs, field notes, scientific correspondence, and visual representations. Their “botanical imperium” provides understanding into the relationship of ecological imperialism to the botanical garden, herbarium, and seed bank as we map the arc from the field to the metropole. Next we consider Australia and New Zealand as productive sites for exploring radical processes of ecological colonization and decolonization, including indigenous discourses of sustainability, and evolving state strategies for resource management and ecological restoration. Drawing initially from the history of science, natural history, and historical ethnography, we turn to cultural geography and political ecology to analyze the interdisciplinary connections between island biogeography, conservation biology and spatial interpretation and analysis. To investigate these intersections, students will meet with archivists and plant conservationists at the New York Botanical Gardens and create a digital map, georeferencing plant provenance and tracking botanical circulation as part of a semester-long research project.

EUS/ HR/ WRIT 345: IMAGINING NONHUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS

Professor: Benjamin Hale

Spring 2019

 P hilosopher Thomas Nagel asked, “What is it like to be a bat?” Ultimately, he determined the question unanswerable: A bat’s experience of the world is so alien to our own that it is beyond the human  understanding of subjective experience. That’s arguable. But it is true at least that a bat’s experience—or that of any other nonhuman consciousness—is not inaccessible to human imagination.  In this course we will read and discuss a wide variety of texts, approaching the subject of nonhuman consciousness through literature, philosophy, and science.  We will read works that attempt to understand the experiences of apes, panthers, rats, ticks, elephants, octopuses, lobsters, cows, bats, monsters, puppets, computers, and eventually, zombies. Course reading may include Descartes, Kafka, Rilke, Jakob von Uexküll, Patricia Highsmith, John Gardner’s Grendel, J.A. Baker’s The Peregrine, Eduardo Kohn’s How Forests Think, David Foster Wallace, Temple Grandin, Frans de Waal, Jane Goodall, Thomas Nagel, John Searle, Susan Datich, E. O. Wilson, Giorgio Agamben, and Bennett Sims’s A Questionable Shape, among others, in addition to a viewing of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, and possibly other films. This is also a craft class, as each student will produce a substantial project over the semester.  The assignments will be open-ended, open to both creative and analytical works; a major component of the class will be incorporating these ideas into our own writing. This course is part of the Thinking Animals Initiative, an interdivisional collaboration among students and faculty to further the understanding of animals and human-animal relationships.

FILM 167: SURVEY OF ELECTRONIC ART

Professor: Edward Halter

Spring 2018

An introductory lecture course on the history of moving-image art made with electronic media, from the earliest computer-generated films, through television, the portable video camera, the internet, and gaming. Topics include analog versus digital, guerrilla television, expanded cinema, feminist media, video and performance, internet art, video installation, and the question of video games as art. Requirements include two short essays and a final in-class exam or final research paper.

FILM 203: PERFORMANCE & VIDEO

Professor: Ben Coonley

Fall 2020

This course explores intersections of video and performance art. Course participants develop strategies for exploiting video’s most fundamental property: its ability to reproduce a stream of real-time synchronized images and sounds. How does video technology mediate between on-screen performer and audience? How can artists interested in creating critical and self-reflexive media respond to video’s immediacy and “liveness”? How can performance artists use video playback devices, displays, projectors, interactive elements, and live video mixing software to shape and enhance live art? The first half of the course concentrates on the creation of performance “tapes” (or tape-less video recordings) and the history of experimental video focused on performance for the camera. The second half of the course concentrates on the use of video as a central component within live performance art. We will read about and carry on a sustained conversation about the cultural and psychological impact of video technology on subjectivity and conceptions of the artist as “medium.” Readings on and viewings of work by Marina Abramović, Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, Trisha Baga, John Baldessari, Paul Chan, Patty Chang, Chris Burden, Coco Fusco,  Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Wynne Greenwood, Nancy Holt, Joan Jonas, Miranda July, Mike Kelley, George Kuchar, Kalup Linzy, Tata Mateik, Shana Moulton, Jayson Musson, Bruce Nauman, Nam Jun Paik, Sondra Perry, Walid Raad, Martha Rosler, Jacolby Satterwhite, Michael Smith, Ryan Trecartin, Andy Warhol, William Wegman, among others. 

FILM 225: 3D ANIMATION

Professor: Ben Coonley

Spring 2018

 In this course, students are introduced to processes for creating moving image artworks using 3D animation software and its ancillary technologies. Topics include: the basics of 3D modeling and animation, 3D scanning, and creative use of other technologies that allow artists to combine real and virtual spaces. Weekly readings reflect on the psychological, cultural, and aesthetic impacts of the increasingly prevalent use of computer-generated imagery in contemporary media. Students are not assumed to have any previous experience with 3D animation. This production class fulfills a moderation requirement.

FILM 342: Stereoscopic 3D Video

Professor: Ben Coonley

Spring 2020

This course introduces methods and strategies for producing stereoscopic 3D and 360-degree moving image artworks. Students will learn to use 3D and 360 videocameras, 3D projection systems, VR headsets, and related technologies that exploit binocular and panoramic viewing. We will examine moments in the evolution of 3D technology and historical attempts at what André Bazin called “total cinema,” considering the perceptual and ideological implications of apparatuses that attempt to intensify realistic reproductions of the physical world. Students attend weekly screenings of a broad range of 3D and 360-degree films and videos, including classic Hollywood genre movies, contemporary blockbusters, short novelty films, independent narratives, animations, industrial films, documentaries, avant-garde and experimental artworks. Creative assignments challenge students to explore the expressive potential of the immersive frame, while developing new and experimental approaches to shooting and editing 3D images. This production class fulfills a moderation requirement. 

FILM 310: POST-WAR FRANCE & ITALY

Professor: John Pruitt

Spring 2019

A lecture survey of two major cinematic schools in post-war Western Europe, both of which had enormous international influence at the time, an  influence which arguably can still be felt in contemporary film. We will study four concentrated historical moments of remarkably intense, creative activity: (1) the immediate post-war years in Italy of Neo-realism, dominated by Rossellini, Visconti and De Sica (2) the mid-fifties in France when Tati and Bresson are most impressive as “classicists”;(3) the late fifties and early sixties of The French New Wave with the dawn of the directorial careers of Godard, Truffaut, Rivette, Varda, Rohmer, Chabrol et al., and the miraculous maturation of a number of key directors in Italy at roughly the same time, best represented by Fellini, Antonioni, Olmi and Pasolini. Required supplementary readings. Two essay exams and a term paper. 

GIS/ HR/ HIST 2237: RADIO AFRICA: BROADCASTING HISTORY

Professor: Drew Thompson

Fall 2020

The radio is a type of technological innovation that was party to Africa’s colonization and decolonization. While colonial authorities used the radio to broadcast news reports and to internally transmit governing strategies, local African communities sometimes appropriated the radio for both political and entertainment purposes. This course uses the technological history of the radio in Africa to explore histories of political activism, leisure, cultural production and entertainment across Sub-Saharan Africa from colonial to present times. From a topical perspective, the course will cover the development of radio stations and distribution markets, the politics of programming and censorship, international development agencies’ push for community radio, and radio dramas. Using theoretical texts on sound, affect and oral tradition, students will identify different cultures of listening with the aim of unpacking what it means to use words and music in order to “broadcast” history. As a final project and in conjunction with the Human Rights Program’s Radio Initiative, students will design a podcast on a topic of historical relevance to the course.

ANTH/ GIS/ HR/ HIST 3103: POLITICAL RITUAL/MODERN WORLD

Professor: Robert Culp

Fall 2018

The Olympic opening ceremony, military parades, the US presidential inaugural, the Imperial Durbar, Bastille Day, pageants reenacting the Bolshevik Revolution, and all modes of political protest. In all these forms and many others, political ritual has been central to nation-building, colonialism, and political movements over the last three centuries. This course uses a global, comparative perspective and readings from a range of academic disciplines to analyze the modern history of political ritual. We will explore the emergence of new forms of political ritual with the rise of the nation-state in the nineteenth century and track global transformations in the performance of politics as colonialism spread the symbols and pageantry of the nation-state. Central topics will include state ritual and the performance of power, the relationship between ritual and citizenship in the modern nation-state, the ritualization of politics in social and political movements, and the power of mediated mass spectacle in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Seminar meetings will focus on discussion of secondary and primary materials that allow us to analyze the intersection of ritual and politics in a variety of contexts. These will range from early-modern Europe, pre-colonial Bali, and late-imperial China to revolutionary France, 19th-century America, colonial India, post-colonial Africa, several fascist and socialist states, Europe in 1968, the modern Middle East, and the contemporary global marketplace. In addition to common readings and seminar participation, students will do a final project exploring one aspect or instance of political ritual. Moderated history students can use this course for a major conference; Experimental Humanities students are encouraged to do a multi-media project.

GIS/ HR/ HIST 322: CAPTIVE CHILDREN AND THE EMPIRE

Professor: Christian Crouch

Spring 2019

Children in the era of increased global interaction since 1400 have experienced a unique role as cultural intermediaries, translators, sources of forced labor,  and as the human glue of diplomatic alliances. This class takes a close look at the contemporary reality and the afterlives of prominent captive children including Native American captive Powhatan Pocahontas, English settler-colonist Esther Wheelwright, and Ethiopia’s Prince Alamayu. Through archival detective work and a consideration of changing media representations, students will learn how to recover the lived experiences of children and teens who were ‘spirited away.’ The course will also consider how these histories shape current dialogues and representations of imperial encounter, colonial legacies, child rights, and family separation today. This seminar can be used to fulfill the American Studies Junior Seminar requirement and the Historical Studies Major Conference requirement.

GIS/ HR 359: HUMAN RIGHTS & BOSNIAN WAR

Professor: Thomas Keenan, Gilles Peress

Spring 2018

The breakup of Yugoslavia and in particular the war in Bosnia between 1991-95 is something like the birthplace of contemporary human rights discourse and practice. 100,000 people died, in what courts later judged to be a genocide, and phrases like ‘ethnic cleansing,’ ‘humanitarian intervention,’ and “international criminal justice’ entered our lexicon. It was a human, ethical, and political catastrophe — and it was the site of many remarkable activist, legal, civic and journalistic innovations. Much of the debate about what to do in Bosnia revolved around the interpretation of the region’s ancient and recent history, and often that recourse to history functioned as a manner of turning  a blind eye toward terrible violence. How can we come face to face with history in an honest way, not as alibi or excuse but as the condition within which we take positions andact in the world? This research workshop, linked to the production of a book, will explore the concepts and narratives, the languages, in which the conflict was played out, through close and intensive work with documents, historical accounts, political analyses and images from the war.

HIST 109: Scientific Literature

Professor: Cecelia Watson

Spring 2020

Scandalous suppositions about God, invisible murderers, bad puns, cliffhangers, deadpan comedy, breathtaking lyricism– these are perhaps not the first elements that come to mind when we think about scientific writing. Yet the history of science is filled with examples of spectacular rhetoric. In this course, we will consider scientific texts that have particular literary merit. As we read and discuss each text closely, proceeding chronologically, we will also begin to develop a sketch of the history of concepts like truth and evidence. By the end of the course, students will be well-positioned to ask what it means to be intelligent consumers and producers of science. Readings include work from Aristotle, Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, Charles Darwin, W.E.B. Du Bois, Joan Riviere, Watson and Crick, and more.

HIST 116: INTRODUCTION TO MEDIA

Professor: Drew Thompson

Fall 2019

Introduction to Media provides a foundation in media history and theory. It also explores how students can use aspects of traditional humanistic approaches (e.g., close reading, visual literacy, and historical studies) to critically engage with texts of all kinds. Students consider how material and historical conditions shape discourse and assess their own positions as consumers and producers of media.

AS/ EUS/ HIST 123: THE WINDOW AT MONTGOMERY PLACE

Professor: Myra Armstead

Spring 2019

In 1802, when widow Janet Montgomery (1743-1824) acquired a 380-acre property on the Hudson River, she began the process  of converting the landscape from a “wilderness” into a “pleasure ground.” This transformation was a physical one, reflecting prevailing ideas about the ideal, aesthetic relationship between humans and “nature” as well as emerging notions regarding scientific agriculture. After her death, her successors continued this task.  Additionally, the creation and development of Montgomery Place mirrored contemporary social relations and cultural conventions, along with shifts in these realities at the national level. As it was populated by indentured servants, tenants, slaves, free workers, and elites, Montgomery Place will be approached as a historical laboratory for understanding social hierarchies, social roles, cultural practices, and the evolving visions of the nation and “place” that both sustained and challenged these things during the nineteenth century in the United States.

HIST 144: THE HISTORY OF EXPERIMENT 

Professor: Michelle Hoffman

Spring 2020

The scientific method and the modern form of the scientific experiment are arguably the most powerful inventions of the modern period. Although dating back in its modern form to only the sixteenth century, the concept of the experiment as an attempt to find underlying continuities in experience has numerous origins stretching back to earliest recorded history. In this course, we will look at several different epochs’ definition of experiment, focusing on the classical, medieval, and finally renaissance eras to the present. Throughout, we will understand the concept of experiment as closely connected with an era’s broader cosmology and definition of experience, and as such will see the epistemological problem of the experiment in a framework that includes aesthetics, theology, ethics and politics. We will also assume that “experiment” has taken different forms in the different sciences, and even in fields such as art and law.

AS/ EUS/ HR/ HIST 180: Technology, Labor, Capitalism

Professor: Jeanette Estruth

Spring 2020

Artificial intelligence and the knowledge economy. Computation and Credit. Satellites and social media. Philanthropy and factory flight. “Doing what you love” and digital activism. Climate change and corporate consolidation. This class will explore changes in capitalism, technology, and labor in the twentieth- and twenty-first century United States. We will learn how ideas about work and technology have evolved over time, and how these dynamic ideas and evolving tools have shaped the present day.

HIST/ THTR 236: POWER & PERFORMANCE IN THE COLONIAL ATLANTIC

Professor: Christian Crouch, Miriam Felton-Dansky

Spring 2019

Societies in different historical periods have habitually used performance to stage, reinforce, and re-imagine the scope of political and colonial power. The history of the theater, therefore, is inextricably connected with the history of how societies have performed conquest, colonialism, and cultural patrimony in different parts of the world. This interdisciplinary course, covering performance and power of the early modern period, will disrupt habitual assumptions about both the disciplines of theater and history. Students will read baroque plays, study their historical contexts, and experiment with staging scenes, to uncover the links between imagined and actual Atlantic expansion and the impact of colonialism, 1492-1825. Artistic forms to be examined include the English court masque, the Spanish auto sacramental, and spectacles of power and conversion staged in the colonial Americas; plays will range from Shakespeare’s The Tempest to Marivaux’s The Island of Slaves to allegorical works by Calderon, Lope de Vega, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, and more.

AS/ FREN/ HR/ HIST 314: Violent Culture/Material Pleasure

Professor: Christian Crouch

Spring 2020

Emeralds.  Chocolate. Sugar.  Tobacco. Precious. Exotic.  Sweet. Addictive. Like human actors, commodities have stories of their own.  They shape human existence, create new sets of interactions, cross time and space, and offer a unique and incredible lens through which to view history.  This course explores the hidden life of material objects that circulated from the early modern Atlantic into the rest of the world. The life cycle of these products and items reveal narratives of Atlantic violence imbedded into these products: the claiming of Indian land, the theft of enslaved labor, the construction and corruption of gender norms.  Course readings will introduce historical methods and strategies to reclaim history from objects found in different parts of the Americas and will culminate with students having the opportunity to do original research and write the narrative of an item themselves. This course fulfills the American Studies Junior Seminar requirement and History Major Conference requirement.  

GIS/ HR/ HIST 322: CAPTIVE CHILDREN AND THE EMPIRE

Professor: Christian Crouch

Spring 2019

Children in the era of increased global interaction since 1400 have experienced a unique role as cultural intermediaries, translators, sources of forced labor,  and as the human glue of diplomatic alliances. This class takes a close look at the contemporary reality and the afterlives of prominent captive children including Native American captive Powhatan Pocahontas, English settler-colonist Esther Wheelwright, and Ethiopia’s Prince Alamayu. Through archival detective work and a consideration of changing media representations, students will learn how to recover the lived experiences of children and teens who were ‘spirited away.’ The course will also consider how these histories shape current dialogues and representations of imperial encounter, colonial legacies, child rights, and family separation today. This seminar can be used to fulfill the American Studies Junior Seminar requirement and the Historical Studies Major Conference requirement.

HIST 334: FINNEGANS WAKE

Professor: Gregory Moynahan

Spring 2019

In 1725, Giambattista Vico presented to the world a “New Science” of poetic imagination that was intended as a point-by-point re-contextualization of the already established foundations of the natural sciences of Rene Descartes and Francis Bacon. In 1939, with much of the world enveloped in fascism and on the verge of a new technological war, James Joyce presented an immersive demonstration of Vico’s science in Finnegans Wake. By turns confusing, hilarious, and profound, Joyce’s “vicociclometer” sought to provide a reorientation in myth and history of the relation of ancient and modern life, religion, and politics. In this course, we will use the “exception” provided by both texts to look at the norms of modern intellectual history, using selections in their context to reconsider the background assumptions of modern societies and their political implications. Central issues will include the destruction of oral and traditional cultures (and peoples) by print based-civilizations, the function of science and myth in the organization of modern life (particularly as mediated by law), the definition of individuals and collectives by narrative and institutional form, the relation of written history to power, the function of technological media in politics, and the place of complexity in aesthetics and life. A central theme will be the history of the book as it develops among other media technologies, which we will thematize through the use of Bard’s collection of the facsimiles of Joyce’s voluminous notecards on Finnegans Wake (the so-called “Buffalo Manuscripts”).

GIS/ HR/ HIST 2237: RADIO AFRICA: BROADCASTING HISTORY

Professor: Drew Thompson

Fall 2020

The radio is a type of technological innovation that was party to Africa’s colonization and decolonization. While colonial authorities used the radio to broadcast news reports and to internally transmit governing strategies, local African communities sometimes appropriated the radio for both political and entertainment purposes. This course uses the technological history of the radio in Africa to explore histories of political activism, leisure, cultural production and entertainment across Sub-Saharan Africa from colonial to present times. From a topical perspective, the course will cover the development of radio stations and distribution markets, the politics of programming and censorship, international development agencies’ push for community radio, and radio dramas. Using theoretical texts on sound, affect and oral tradition, students will identify different cultures of listening with the aim of unpacking what it means to use words and music in order to “broadcast” history. As a final project and in conjunction with the Human Rights Program’s Radio Initiative, students will design a podcast on a topic of historical relevance to the course.

HIST 2238: AFRICA AND THE INDIAN OCEAN

Professor: Drew Thompson

Fall 2018

The Indian Ocean travels along Africa’s Swahili Coast, and for some time has facilitated the movement of people, goods, and ideas between Africa and Asia. In addition to being an oceanic divide, the Indian Ocean is a historiographical tradition through which to think about Africa’s historical past in ways not permitted by the Black Atlantic tradition. This course seeks to engage the Indian Ocean as both an object of study and a theoretical lens onto Africa’s history. In turn, it will consider the ways that populations in Africa and Asia even before European colonization engaged with the Ocean in their daily lives as well as how such activities like fishing, sailing and farming reshaped geographies of colonization and resistance in East and Central Africa. Students will use architectural plans and traveler accounts to reconstruct the historical origins of slave and trading towns on the Swahili Coast. Participants will also consider how this early history set the backdrop against which not only nationalist movements fought for Southern Africa’s independence but the Cold War played out in Africa. This colonial and nationalist context offers an analytical space to revisit more recent engagements with the Indian Ocean, particularly China’s and Brazil’s renewed interest with the region, the mineral wars of the Great Lakes, and the identity politics at play around displaced migrant communities. This course seeks to use the history of the Indian Ocean as it relates to Africa in order to prompt a rethinking of the geographical and theoretical axes along which we engage with African histories of colonialism, nationalism, and decolonization.

ANTH/ GIS/ HR/ HIST 3103: POLITICAL RITUAL/MODERN WORLD

Professor: Robert Culp

Fall 2018

The Olympic opening ceremony, military parades, the US presidential inaugural, the Imperial Durbar, Bastille Day, pageants reenacting the Bolshevik Revolution, and all modes of political protest. In all these forms and many others, political ritual has been central to nation-building, colonialism, and political movements over the last three centuries. This course uses a global, comparative perspective and readings from a range of academic disciplines to analyze the modern history of political ritual. We will explore the emergence of new forms of political ritual with the rise of the nation-state in the nineteenth century and track global transformations in the performance of politics as colonialism spread the symbols and pageantry of the nation-state. Central topics will include state ritual and the performance of power, the relationship between ritual and citizenship in the modern nation-state, the ritualization of politics in social and political movements, and the power of mediated mass spectacle in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Seminar meetings will focus on discussion of secondary and primary materials that allow us to analyze the intersection of ritual and politics in a variety of contexts. These will range from early-modern Europe, pre-colonial Bali, and late-imperial China to revolutionary France, 19th-century America, colonial India, post-colonial Africa, several fascist and socialist states, Europe in 1968, the modern Middle East, and the contemporary global marketplace. In addition to common readings and seminar participation, students will do a final project exploring one aspect or instance of political ritual. Moderated history students can use this course for a major conference; Experimental Humanities students are encouraged to do a multi-media project.

AS/ HR/ HIST 3145: JAMESTOWN: AN AMERICAN HORROR STORY

Professor: Christian Crouch

Spring 2018

Jamestown: the first permanent English locality in the Western Hemisphere is a settler colonial story from hell. Cannibalism, starvation, constant war with First Nations, Atlantic slavery, and eco-terrorism-Jamestown had it all. Although this story has long been overshadowed by Plymouth and ‘Thanksgiving,’ Jamestown was the actual model on which all future English colonial ventures were based. The first half of this research seminar investigates historiographical trends centered on Jamestown’s changing place in American narratives, including the “myth of Pocahontas.” Students will learn strategies used to retrieve and reconstruct different historical voices, especially those of enslaved and indigenous peoples, in order to add them to more familiar historical actors and events. We will also address the problems and possibilities of using transnational, global, and multi-disciplinary approaches to local history. Students will then turn to investigate early Virginia primary sources (oral, visual, textual, archaeological), available through the media portal Virtual Jamestown and will use these to write a research paper. Drafts will be collectively workshopped in the final weeks of term to allow for best practices in writing. This course fulfills the History Major Conference-Research/American Studies Junior Seminar requirements.

HIST 342: A METHODS SEMINAR IN THE VISUAL HISTORIES AND MATERIAL CULTURES OF AFRICA

Professor: Drew Thompson

Fall 2019

As technology and practice of image making, photography in Africa evolved alongside territorial imperialism and globalization. In turn, the photograph and its archiving were critical facets of the continent’s histories of liberation and post-independence as well as of the visual and performative cultures that characterized this landscape. This seminar in historical and visual methods introduces students to the historical development of photography in Africa and the historical use of photographs in the late-nineteenth century to recent times. The course begins with different theoretical views on the relationship between photography, history, and visual culture. After a consideration of the photography of the royal courts in North Africa and Christian missionaries in West Africa, the class will shift to the role of photography in the making of independent African nations and their liberation struggles during and after World War II. The course concludes by considering the commodization of African photography at international biennales and through the publication of photo books. Key themes include photography’s role in shaping historical knowledge and the representation of Africa and its peoples, the appropriation of image making into African creative practices and daily life, the politics of exhibition and archiving, and the ethics of seeing war and social justice. Students will design and curate a digital exhibition informed by extensive archival and oral history research. With that aim, over the course of the semester, they will also have the opportunity to interact with leading photography curators, photojournalists and art photographers who have spent time in Africa.

AS/ EUS/ HR/ HIST 180: Technology, Labor, Capitalism

Professor: Jeanette Estruth

Spring 2020

Artificial intelligence and the knowledge economy. Computation and Credit. Satellites and social media. Philanthropy and factory flight. “Doing what you love” and digital activism. Climate change and corporate consolidation. This class will explore changes in capitalism, technology, and labor in the twentieth- and twenty-first century United States. We will learn how ideas about work and technology have evolved over time, and how these dynamic ideas and evolving tools have shaped the present day.

AS/ EUS/ HR 219: Mapping Police Violence

Professor: Kwame Holmes

Spring 2020

This class emerges from my preoccupation with the recent increase in media and political attention to extra- judicial killings by police officers in the United States. Predominant questions will include: What can we know about police violence, and what are the barriers to data transparency and distribution? What are the means–political, legal, economic, cultural– through which Western societies authorize the police to use deadly force?  Can we measure the impact of police violence on a range of exogenous factors like public health indices, adjacent property values, educational opportunities and the distribution of social services? In pursuit of answers, we will engage political theory, history, sociology, economics, and cultural studies to produce an interdisciplinary study of police violence. I use the word “produce” with great intention. Students will be tasked with producing new knowledge about police violence.  As a collective, we will use demographic analytical tools, alongside datasets from the Police Data Initiative, to spatially apprehend police violence incidents in a given city. Students will then bring their own research questions to our collectively generated maps. In that sense, we will also think critically about how to ask a research question, and how to pursue a variety of research projects.

EUS/ HR/ ARTS 220: Architectural Entanglements with Labor

Professor: Ivonne Santoyo Orozco

Spring 2020

Architecture is both the product of labor and the organizer of its relations, yet often these issues remain overshadowed by aesthetic considerations and the broader discourse of design. In shifting the question of labor in architecture to the foreground, this course invites students to reflect on the spatio-political role architecture has played in mediating bodies, work and capital. To do this, we will analyze contemporary transformations to paradigmatic sites of work (offices, factories, tech campuses), as well as the many spaces that have been produced to feed architectural production and its endless cycles of extraction (camps, slums, mines), and the architecture that reproduces forms of maintenance (houses, squares, resorts). We will analyze a diverse set of contemporary and historical architectural precedents against a heterogenous landscape of voices from Maurizio Lazzarato, Silvia Federici, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, David Harvey, Peggy Deamer, Mabel O. Wilson, among others. The course will unfold in a combination of lectures and seminars. There are no exams but students are expected to complete weekly assignments and a final project.

HR 222: Migration and Media

Professor: Emma Briant

Spring 2020

This course explores in depth the role of media in the global refugee and migration crisis. We will begin by examining the causes of migration and recent trends, and then turn to theories of media and  representation and how they can help us understand the role of political rhetoric and mainstream media reporting. Students will examine media representation and political rhetoric in relation to a number of international examples including: citizenship by investment programs used by wealthy elites, economic migration to America, and the refugee crisis. The course will consider theories of political communication, rhetoric, audience understanding and the impact of media representations of migration on migrants and their communities.We will examine how new media forms and developments in algorithmic propaganda are being used to advance false narratives. Students will also consider the practical and ethical implications of new technologies, including how they can both enable integration and allow for the social control of migrant flows and the suppression of human rights.

HR/ REL 237: CONTEMPORARY ISLAM

Professor: Matthew Lynch

Spring 2018

This course examines how Muslims have shaped and reacted to contemporary, global human experience. Various modalities of Muslim life will be explored, from intellectual and political reactions to modernity, war, and empire to aesthetic production in the fields of literature, film, and music. Students will be asked to interrogate the poly-form ways that traditional practices of or related to Islam have confronted or accommodated contemporary trends around the issues of justice, gender, freedom, and equality. The class will make large use of a variety of media, including film and music, as source materials for learning, and students will be asked to develop their own multimedia projects to respond creatively about Islam and Muslim practice within the increasingly networked global sphere.

HR/ PS/ PHIL 254: POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY IN THEORY AND PRACTICE

Professor: Thomas Bartscherer

Spring 2018

The principle of popular sovereignty posits that legitimate political authority rests with the people, the very people who are subject to that same authority. It is the principle underlying the idea of a government that would be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” In this course, we employ a diversity of materials and methods to interrogate this principle, examining its origins in antiquity; the philosophical arguments, both ancient and modern, that have been advanced for and against it as a governing ideal; and the relationship between this principle and the practice of representational democracy in a constitutional republic such as the United Sates. Questions we shall address include: what constitutes “a people,” in what sense can it be regarded as sovereign, and how is inclusion within, or exclusion from, this group determined? In what sense has rule by the people been regarded as legitimate or good? In what sense and to what degree do institutions of representation such as legislatures embody the ideal of popular sovereignty? How is the will of the people conceptualized and expressed? What is the relationship, if any, between “public opinion” and popular sovereignty? The course will encompass both theoretical analysis and empirical research, aiming to bring diverse modes of investigation into conversation. Readings will range from canonical texts of ancient and modern philosophy (e.g. Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, the Federalists, Tocqueville) to contemporary works in history, theory, and political science (e.g., Morgan, Key, Skinner, Young, Mehta, Page & Shapiro, Igo). Several guest lecturers will visit the class over the course of the semester.

GIS/ HR/ HIST 2237: RADIO AFRICA: BROADCASTING HISTORY

Professor: Drew Thompson

Fall 2020

The radio is a type of technological innovation that was party to Africa’s colonization and decolonization. While colonial authorities used the radio to broadcast news reports and to internally transmit governing strategies, local African communities sometimes appropriated the radio for both political and entertainment purposes. This course uses the technological history of the radio in Africa to explore histories of political activism, leisure, cultural production and entertainment across Sub-Saharan Africa from colonial to present times. From a topical perspective, the course will cover the development of radio stations and distribution markets, the politics of programming and censorship, international development agencies’ push for community radio, and radio dramas. Using theoretical texts on sound, affect and oral tradition, students will identify different cultures of listening with the aim of unpacking what it means to use words and music in order to “broadcast” history. As a final project and in conjunction with the Human Rights Program’s Radio Initiative, students will design a podcast on a topic of historical relevance to the course.

ARTH/ EUS/ HR 307: CONTESTED SPACES

Professor: Olga Touloumi

Fall 2020

During the 19th and 20th century, streets, kitchens, schools, and ghettos were the spaces of political conflict and social transformation. Often these spaces are studied as sites of contestation, where old pedagogical, medical, institutional paradigms witness the emergence of new. This course will focus on these spaces of contestation and discus show objects and buildings in dialogue construct new ideas about class, gender, and race. Readings by Chantal Mouffee, Hannah Arendt, Antony Vidler, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Michel Foucault will provide us with analytical tools and theoretical frameworks to address those actors excluded from history, problematizing agency and authorship in art and architecture. The class assignments include weekly responses, collaborative projects on the course website, and a final paper. The class is taught in collaboration with the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. AHVC distribution: 1800-Present/America.

EUS/ AS/ HR 309: EUS COLLOQUIUM/PRACTICUM

Professors: Elias Dueker & Krista Caballero

Fall 2020

We generally assume maps are objective, accurate representations of data and the world around us when, in fact, they depict the knowledge, experience, and values of the humans who draft them. As a hybrid EUS practicum + colloquium, this course will explore ways in which ecological issues are entangled with colonial histories of racism and supremacy, resource extraction and expansion through mapping. Native American scholarship will ground our exploration as we consider the impact and consequences of mapping as a tool used historically to claim ownership and invite exploitation. We will also investigate the evolution of radical cartography to counter these practices and imagine alternative mapping for more just ecological futures. A series of Indigenous scholars and activists will provide an opportunity for students to learn from experts working at the forefront of their fields to address environmental injustices locally, nationally, and internationally. These guest lectures will be paired with hands-on projects that explore mapping as a tool for environmental advocacy alongside artistic and counter-mapping approaches that experiment with ways we might communicate scientific and humanistic knowledge to a wider audience. In both theory and practice this team-taught course aims to reconsider and transform ways of engaging community science and community action through collaborative inquiry, interdisciplinary experimentation, and meaningful cross-cultural dialogue.

ANTH/ GIS/ HR/ HIST 3103: POLITICAL RITUAL/MODERN WORLD

Professor: Robert Culp

Fall 2018

The Olympic opening ceremony, military parades, the US presidential inaugural, the Imperial Durbar, Bastille Day, pageants reenacting the Bolshevik Revolution, and all modes of political protest. In all these forms and many others, political ritual has been central to nation-building, colonialism, and political movements over the last three centuries. This course uses a global, comparative perspective and readings from a range of academic disciplines to analyze the modern history of political ritual. We will explore the emergence of new forms of political ritual with the rise of the nation-state in the nineteenth century and track global transformations in the performance of politics as colonialism spread the symbols and pageantry of the nation-state. Central topics will include state ritual and the performance of power, the relationship between ritual and citizenship in the modern nation-state, the ritualization of politics in social and political movements, and the power of mediated mass spectacle in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Seminar meetings will focus on discussion of secondary and primary materials that allow us to analyze the intersection of ritual and politics in a variety of contexts. These will range from early-modern Europe, pre-colonial Bali, and late-imperial China to revolutionary France, 19th-century America, colonial India, post-colonial Africa, several fascist and socialist states, Europe in 1968, the modern Middle East, and the contemporary global marketplace. In addition to common readings and seminar participation, students will do a final project exploring one aspect or instance of political ritual. Moderated history students can use this course for a major conference; Experimental Humanities students are encouraged to do a multi-media project.

WRIT/ HR 313: IMAGINATION UNDER SIEGE

Professor: Valeria Luiselli

Fall 2020

This course focuses on re-imagining processes of documenting violence and writing about it: political, environmental, racial, and gender-based violence, among others. We will be reading an array of authors –such as Ursula K Le Guin, Anne Carson, Dolores Dorantes, Ernesto Cardenal, Maria Zambrano, and Aimé Césaire– and will be looking at work emerging from other disciplines, such as soundscapes, architecture, land art, alternative mappings, as well as forms of protest and collective organizing. Students will work on fragmentary and hybrid forms of prose, in search for new ways of exploring imagination as both a tool for political resistance and as an end in itself. During the semester, students in “Imagination Under Siege” will also meet with Ann Lauterbach’s course “The Entangled Imagination,” to converse/discuss/collaborate on the ways in which imaginative thinking is a necessary tool in resisting and finding alternatives to authoritarian governments, surveillance capitalism, and climate emergency, among the realities we are facing today.

EUS/ HR/ ARTH 314: Public Writing and the Built Environment

Professor: Olga Touloumi

Spring 2020

This course introduces students to issues concerning architecture, the built environment, and spatial justice through forms of public writing. In collaboration with the instructor, each student will focus on one area or issue such as the prison- industrial complex (as found, for example, at Rikers Island), gentrification in Newburgh, housing inequality in Chicago, the water crisis in Flint, management of nuclear waste in the Hudson, shrinking cities in the Rust Belt, and oil pipeline infrastructure on tribal lands. To mobilize interested publics and address officials, students will use Twitter; design petitions; write blog entries; interview stakeholders; write protest letters; and prepare for a public hearing. The goal will be to inform the public, raise awareness, and reclaim agency over the design and planning of our environments through writing. Combining texts from the various assignments, students will produce a final thirty-minute podcast that will live online. (Fulfills two program requirements: Modern / Europe + US)

AS/ FREN/ HR/ HIST 314: Violent Culture/Material Pleasure

Professor: Christian Crouch

Spring 2020

Emeralds.  Chocolate. Sugar.  Tobacco. Precious. Exotic.  Sweet. Addictive. Like human actors, commodities have stories of their own.  They shape human existence, create new sets of interactions, cross time and space, and offer a unique and incredible lens through which to view history.  This course explores the hidden life of material objects that circulated from the early modern Atlantic into the rest of the world. The life cycle of these products and items reveal narratives of Atlantic violence imbedded into these products: the claiming of Indian land, the theft of enslaved labor, the construction and corruption of gender norms.  Course readings will introduce historical methods and strategies to reclaim history from objects found in different parts of the Americas and will culminate with students having the opportunity to do original research and write the narrative of an item themselves. This course fulfills the American Studies Junior Seminar requirement and History Major Conference requirement.  

GIS/ HR/ HIST 322: CAPTIVE CHILDREN AND THE EMPIRE

Professor: Christian Crouch

Spring 2019

Children in the era of increased global interaction since 1400 have experienced a unique role as cultural intermediaries, translators, sources of forced labor,  and as the human glue of diplomatic alliances. This class takes a close look at the contemporary reality and the afterlives of prominent captive children including Native American captive Powhatan Pocahontas, English settler-colonist Esther Wheelwright, and Ethiopia’s Prince Alamayu. Through archival detective work and a consideration of changing media representations, students will learn how to recover the lived experiences of children and teens who were ‘spirited away.’ The course will also consider how these histories shape current dialogues and representations of imperial encounter, colonial legacies, child rights, and family separation today. This seminar can be used to fulfill the American Studies Junior Seminar requirement and the Historical Studies Major Conference requirement.

HR 323: RACE AND THE PASTORAL

Professor: Ann Seaton

Spring 2019

 “Race and the Pastoral”: Ekphrasis, Education, Anecdote(s) begins in the third century BCE, not in Greece, but in Hellenistic Egypt. Theocritus, an Alexandrian court poet, wrote pastoral “idylls” memorializing earlier Greek literature. The pastoral begins with this paradox: it writes about being Greek, but not in Greece itself. Theocritus’s “idylls,” or “little pictures” feature frolicking shepherds and bubbling Greek springs. Their Egyptian context is almost always ignored, except in a few poems that refer to “Egyptian ruffians” or to the Ptolemies as conquerors. Later critics have enacted their own boundaries, insisting that Theocritean poems explicitly set in Egypt are “urban,” and not “pastoral.” We will follow this conflict inside alongside the texts we read, noticing how pastoral ekphrasis is often used to elaborate or disguise racial, ethnic, or aesthetic boundaries. After Theocritus, Virigl, and Longus, the pastoral spreads virally–not only in poetry, but also through philosophy and theory, landscape art and architecture, biology, and even in the framing design and practices of the liberal arts college itself, informing the very structure of how knowledge is both created and transmitted. This class will use experimental practices (personal narrative, ethnographic writing, creative/multimedia responses) in addition to close reading and critical analysis. Since the class is (also) a work-in-progress, some course sessions will also be recent lectures, or book chapters. Students are also encouraged to connect their work in the class with their own projects. We will begin with ancient poets, and keep circling back to them even as we look forward to Bacon, Locke, Emerson, the Hudson River School/the “Manor Estate Pastoral” and Heidegger/the “Nazi Pastoral.” Throughout, our readings will be informed by queer practices, eccentric readings, critical race theory, ethnographic critique, and archival research.

AS/ HR/ HIST 3145: JAMESTOWN: AN AMERICAN HORROR STORY

Professor: Christian Crouch

Spring 2018

Jamestown: the first permanent English locality in the Western Hemisphere is a settler colonial story from hell. Cannibalism, starvation, constant war with First Nations, Atlantic slavery, and eco-terrorism-Jamestown had it all. Although this story has long been overshadowed by Plymouth and ‘Thanksgiving,’ Jamestown was the actual model on which all future English colonial ventures were based. The first half of this research seminar investigates historiographical trends centered on Jamestown’s changing place in American narratives, including the “myth of Pocahontas.” Students will learn strategies used to retrieve and reconstruct different historical voices, especially those of enslaved and indigenous peoples, in order to add them to more familiar historical actors and events. We will also address the problems and possibilities of using transnational, global, and multi-disciplinary approaches to local history. Students will then turn to investigate early Virginia primary sources (oral, visual, textual, archaeological), available through the media portal Virtual Jamestown and will use these to write a research paper. Drafts will be collectively workshopped in the final weeks of term to allow for best practices in writing. This course fulfills the History Major Conference-Research/American Studies Junior Seminar requirements.

EUS/ HR/ WRIT 345: IMAGINING NONHUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS

Professor: Benjamin Hale

Spring 2019

 P hilosopher Thomas Nagel asked, “What is it like to be a bat?” Ultimately, he determined the question unanswerable: A bat’s experience of the world is so alien to our own that it is beyond the human  understanding of subjective experience. That’s arguable. But it is true at least that a bat’s experience—or that of any other nonhuman consciousness—is not inaccessible to human imagination.  In this course we will read and discuss a wide variety of texts, approaching the subject of nonhuman consciousness through literature, philosophy, and science.  We will read works that attempt to understand the experiences of apes, panthers, rats, ticks, elephants, octopuses, lobsters, cows, bats, monsters, puppets, computers, and eventually, zombies. Course reading may include Descartes, Kafka, Rilke, Jakob von Uexküll, Patricia Highsmith, John Gardner’s Grendel, J.A. Baker’s The Peregrine, Eduardo Kohn’s How Forests Think, David Foster Wallace, Temple Grandin, Frans de Waal, Jane Goodall, Thomas Nagel, John Searle, Susan Datich, E. O. Wilson, Giorgio Agamben, and Bennett Sims’s A Questionable Shape, among others, in addition to a viewing of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, and possibly other films. This is also a craft class, as each student will produce a substantial project over the semester.  The assignments will be open-ended, open to both creative and analytical works; a major component of the class will be incorporating these ideas into our own writing. This course is part of the Thinking Animals Initiative, an interdivisional collaboration among students and faculty to further the understanding of animals and human-animal relationships.

HR 366: Propaganda: Dark Arts

Professor: Emma Briant

Spring 2020

This course examines changing policies and practices of propaganda in democracies. It will examine propaganda as a political tool and in information warfare. Students will explore important historical and technological transitions and learn core theoretical approaches and ethical questions. The course will follow the history of propaganda in democracies from the wars of the 20th Century to the development of surveillance capitalism, bots, and emergence of AI propaganda. Topics include: public opinion and democracy; censorship; power, emotion, and language; selling war; hacking, leaking, and big data; data rights and ethics; Cambridge Analytica and election manipulation.

GIS/ HR 359: HUMAN RIGHTS & BOSNIAN WAR

Professor: Thomas Keenan, Gilles Peress

Spring 2018

The breakup of Yugoslavia and in particular the war in Bosnia between 1991-95 is something like the birthplace of contemporary human rights discourse and practice. 100,000 people died, in what courts later judged to be a genocide, and phrases like ‘ethnic cleansing,’ ‘humanitarian intervention,’ and “international criminal justice’ entered our lexicon. It was a human, ethical, and political catastrophe — and it was the site of many remarkable activist, legal, civic and journalistic innovations. Much of the debate about what to do in Bosnia revolved around the interpretation of the region’s ancient and recent history, and often that recourse to history functioned as a manner of turning  a blind eye toward terrible violence. How can we come face to face with history in an honest way, not as alibi or excuse but as the condition within which we take positions andact in the world? This research workshop, linked to the production of a book, will explore the concepts and narratives, the languages, in which the conflict was played out, through close and intensive work with documents, historical accounts, political analyses and images from the war.

LIT 153: Falling in Love

Professor: Maria Cecire

Spring 2020

Caught up, let down, storm-tossed by emotion, under a spell, suddenly looking around as if with new eyes: are we talking about falling in love, or reading a great book? This course will consider some iconic literary depictions of romantic love as well as lesser-known texts, critical theory, and popular material across a range of media as we expand and challenge our ideas about this often-controversial emotional state. We will consider to what extent language and literature can capture and convey our most intimate feelings, experiences, and desires — and to what extent they participate in creating them. Course texts will include medieval chivalric romance, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Gabriel García Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, selections of love poetry, and at least one mass-market “bodice-ripper” romance novel. Our discussions will bring us into contact with discourses of gender and sexuality, power and desire, and “literary” and “lowbrow” fiction, and address what role digital culture plays in how love is imagined and experienced today. This course is open both to intended Literature majors and to others interested in developing skills in close-reading and critical analysis.

JAPN/ EUS/ LIT 2191: MEDIA/METROPOLIS: MODERN JAPAN

Professor: Nathan Shockey

Fall 2018

Modern Japan has undergone one of the most dramatic urbanizations in history. In just over a hundred years, it has been transformed from a largely rural, agricultural nation to a global symbol of high-tech hyper futurism. In this course, we will explore the myriad ways in which this process and the urban space it has created has been written and represented. We will ask how artists attempt to express and make sense of the shifting field of sensation and information that constitutes city life in modern Japan. We will also examine questions of what is lost in the rural to urban transition and problems of nostalgia and alienation in the countryside and new suburbs. The course explores how the experiences and emotions germane to metropolitan life can be expressed, communicated, and understood through literature, film, photography, music, manga, maps, and more. Includes work by Tanizaki, Kafû, Yokomitsu, Akutagawa, Tatsumi, and Kuroi, and many more. The class also serves to introduce major works of urban theory by Mumford, Lefebvre, Simmel, Harvey, and others.

LIT 235: INTRODUCTION TO MEDIA

Professor: Nathan Shockey

Fall 2020

This course offers an introduction to media history and theory, tracking a series of events, technologies, and concepts with the aim of understanding media not simply as a scholarly object but as a force constitutive of our selves, our social lives, and our world. We will  consider old and new media alike, from writing to printing to photography to comics to the contemporary digital landscape, as we explore how media have reconstructed our perceptions of time, space, knowledge, and identity. The premise of the course is that the new-ness of new media can only be approached against the background of humanistic experimentation and imagination, even as it transforms our lives and experiences. We will read key media theorists such as Walter Benjamin, Donna Haraway, Katherine Hayles, Friedrich Kittler, Marshall McLuhan, John Durham Peters, and Byung-Chul Han, as well as critical, literary, and artistic reflections on our mediated universe, including new topics such as media archaeology, media geology, and energy humanities. We will also spend some hands-on time working with — and not just on — media, in order to assess our own positions as producers as well as users and consumers of media via the ethos of practice and making. Intro to Media is one of the two core courses for the Experimental Humanities concentration.

LIT 243: LITERATURE IN THE DIGITAL AGE 

Professor: Patricia Lopez-Gay

Fall 2020

The proliferation of digital information and communications technologies over the past half-century has transformed and continues to transform how literary works are composed, produced, circulated, read, and interpreted. What new forms and practices of reading and writing have emerged in this late age of typography? What is the nature, extent, and significance of these changes? This course re-assesses questions and themes long central to the study of literature including: archiving, authorship, canon formation, circulation, materiality, narrative, poetics, and readership, among others. The course aims to understand our present moment in historical context by pairing contemporary works with texts from and about other shifts in media from the ancient world to the modern era. Readings include Augustine, Borges, Eisenstein, Flusser, Hayles, Jenkins, and Plato, as well as works of HTML/hypertext fiction, Twitter literature, online poetry, fan fiction, and so on. Coursework will include online and off-line activities in addition to traditional papers. Recommended for current and potential Experimental Humanities concentrators. 

LIT 263: WHAT IS A CHARACTER?

Professor: Noor Desai

Spring 2018

We are often drawn to characters more than anything else in our encounters with books, plays, or movies. This happens despite our knowing that characters remain exactly what their name implies: trapped by printed letters, scriptedness, or the limits of a screen. Characters are always mediated, but they can also show us how concepts like humanity and personhood depend on and contend with the media humans use to share ideas. In this course, we will study the history of characters in western fiction to learn how archetypes, racial and gendered stereotypes, historical or geographical settings, and the capabilities of different media technologies shape our encounters with them. We will also explore different ways of “reading” characters by thinking about how computer algorithms might understand something as supposedly complex as an individual’s personality. Primary texts will include Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, and Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author, and short stories by Toni Morrison, Kate Chopin, and others. We will also consider films, television shows, and video games. Students will have the opportunity become characters in class debates, discuss fan fiction, and experiment with how to translate characters between media as we engage in analytical, theoretical, and creative work throughout the term.

LIT/ SPAN 301: Intro to Spanish Literature

Professor: Patricia Lopez-Gay

Spring 2020

This course explores some of the major literary works produced on the Iberian Peninsula from the Middle Ages to the present day. Students will become familiar with the general contours of Spanish history as they study in depth a selected number of masterpieces, including works by Miguel de Cervantes, Calderón de la Barca, Teresa de Jesús, Cadalso, Larra, Galdós, Emilia PardoBazán, Unamuno, Lorca, and Carmen Laforet. The course will be organized around three thematic modules: Spanish culture’s engagement with notions of purity and pollution; the emergence and evolution of the first person singular in Spanish literature; and the representations of the country and the city, the center and the periphery. In each module we will undertake a survey of relevant literature occasionally put in conversation with the visual arts. Conducted in Spanish.  

LIT/ AS/ EUS 3028: SOUNDSCAPES OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

Professor: Alexandre Benson

Fall 2020

(Junior Seminar) We often use sonic terms—voice, tone, echo, resonance—to describe literary texts, even as we set writing in opposition to the noisy, melodious stuff of speech and song. This paradox raises some knotty questions of aesthetics, sensation, and media, questions that become still more complicated in the context of American literature from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. Over this period, shifts in migration, labor, transport, and the built environment radically alter what cities sound like, while audio recording and reproduction technologies reconfigure the forms and functions of popular music. American poets, novelists, and essayists, meanwhile, experiment with new ways of writing sound: new rhythms, new structures of narrative voice, new ideas about sonic experience as a function of cultural difference and of ability. To get a sense of these experiments, we’ll concentrate on moments in which technology, identity, environment, and hearing tightly interweave (as when the train whistles past Thoreau at Walden Pond). We’ll track the adaptation of literary texts across media, from print to performance to phonograph (as when Abbey Lincoln sings a Paul Laurence Dunbar poem). And we’ll engage with the theoretical questions that emerge around terms like “soundscape” itself–a concept first coined as a way of describing the noise of urban infrastructure, even as it nods to traditions of pastoral aesthetics. As a Junior Seminar, the course will emphasize methods of research and argumentation that will be of use not only in literary sound studies, but also in Senior Projects in the humanities more generally. Likely figures: James Baldwin, John Cage, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Charlie Chaplin, Emily Dickinson, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, and Helen Keller.

LIT 3046: WOMAN AS CYBORG

Professor: Maria Cecire

Fall 2019

From the robot Maria in the 1927 film Metropolis to the female-voiced Siri application for iPhone, mechanized creations that perform physical, emotional, and computational labor have been routinely identified as women in both fiction and reality. In this course, we will discuss how gynoids, fembots, and other feminine-gendered machinery reflect the roles of women’s work and women’s bodies in technologized society. Why might it matter that “typewriter” and “computer” used to be titles for jobs held by women? How do the histories of enslaved women’s stolen labor, reproductive capacities, and autonomy shape modern ideas of women’s work? What can cyborgism contribute to feminist theory? Beginning with discussions about what we mean when we say “woman” and “cyborg,” this course will draw upon scholarship by Judith Butler, Silvia Federici, Donna Haraway, Arlie Russell Hochschild, Andreas Huyssen, Jennifer L. Morgan, and others as we explore the relationships between race, gender, modernity, labor, and mechanization in a range of cultural texts. These will include written works from ancient Greece, Karel Capek’s 1923 play R.U.R. (in which the word “robot” first appeared), Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Ira Levin’s The Stepford Wives, and examples from film, TV, popular music, as well as real-world androids and computer programs.

LIT 320: TEXTS/CONTEXTS IN ENGLISH LITERATURE

Professor: Marisa Libbon

Spring 2018

Why are some texts deemed canonical and others not?  How and when does this process occur and under what (or whose) auspices?  In the case of early English texts, did their contemporary readers hold them in the high regard we do? Or in branding these texts unquestionable literary and cultural masterpieces are we ignoring their meanings and uses to earlier readers and times? Could better or different choices have been made about our literary inheritance?  These questions will guide our work as we take a fresh and multifaceted look at what we have been told are the “must reads” of early English literature, including the Old English epic Beowulf, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  We will devote extensive time to each of these texts as close and critical readers of literature, but we will also examine them within their original historical, cultural, and manuscript contexts, and trace their movements from their original composition through time to determine how, when, and why they became for us essential touchstones of the past and signifiers of good taste and modern high culture.  To get a sense of the rich textual field from which our canonical texts have been plucked, we will also read a variety of texts from Anglo-Saxon and medieval England that were clearly popular in their own time, but have since fallen out of fashion and into obscurity: why are these alternative texts not part of our canon? This is a pre-1800 course offering. 

LIT 341: THE BOOK BEFORE PRINT

Professor: Marisa Libbon

Spring 2019

What were books like before the invention of print? What was the experience of reading them? How did they shape and how were they shaped by the world in which they were produced? And how do we know? In 1476 William Caxton set up England’s first printing press. Prior to the arrival of this new technology—which the sixteenth-century writer John Foxe deemed miraculous—English books were made of vellum (animal skin) and were written and decorated by hand. In this course, we’ll study early English books both as cultural objects and literary archives, dividing our time between investigating how pre-print English manuscript-books were made and read, and studying their contents, including the popular literature of medieval England and the painted illuminations that accompanied it: epics, lyrics, histories, romances, all of which will be made available in modern printed editions. Our work will raise questions about the relationship between material form and literary content; the intersection of image and text; the development and preservation of literary and visual artifacts; the ethical and practical problems of producing modern printed editions of handwritten texts; and the proximity of anonymous pre-print culture to the so-called Internet Age.  This is a pre-1800 Literature course offering.

LIT/ SPAN 354: TRUE FICTIONS: LIFE NARRATION

Professor: Patricia Lopez-Gay

Spring 2019

This interdisciplinary course will propose a possible archeology of auto, biographical visual and written accounts produced in contemporary Spain, put in dialogue with Latin American, including Brazilian, and French cultural manifestations. We will focus on some of the numerous literary, film and photography productions of our cultural present that seek to undermine the foundations of the split between fiction and reality. In this context, fiction will be understood as the space wherein the self –the author or the artist, the reader or the viewer– experiences, and experiments with, the world. Some questions that will arise throughout the semester are: What are the limits of art and literature? How does life interfere with fiction? How does fiction operate within life? We will consider works by writers, artists, and filmmakers such as Enrique Vila-Matas, Clarice Lispector, Roberto Bolaño, Jorge Luis Borges, Sergio Oksman, Sophie Calle, Joan Fontcuberta, Mercedes Álvarez, and Víctor Erice. Students’ final projects for this class may take different forms, ranging from written research essays to podcasts, visual essays, and other artistic interventions. Conducted in Spanish.

LIT/ SPAN 359: Haunted by Ghost of Cervantes

Professor: Patricia Lopez-Gay

Spring 2020

Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, widely considered the first modern novel, is a work intra-textually attributed to a fictional Moorish author, at a time when the Moors were being expelled from Spain. Authors trapped in fiction are sometimes persecuted, and then killed by their characters; others feel terrified, and become invisible as they hide behind the lines they write. Lastly, some authors are dead (or said to be dead), and speak to us from their tombs. What are the changing ways in which the ghostly figure of the author returns to fiction? What does it mean to be an author? This course will be an experimental reflection on the notion of authorship as it was originally redefined with the birth of modern novel in Golden Age Spain, and reshaped during Romanticism and contemporary times, through old and new media. With an emphasis on Iberian and Latin American literatures occasionally put in conversation with film, we will explore selected writings by Cervantes, J. A. Bécquer, Unamuno, Machado de Asís, Fernando Pessoa, Clarice Lispector, and Roberto Bolaño, among others. Theoretical texts to be read will include essays by Roland Barthes, Jorge Luis Borges, and Michel Foucault. Conducted in Spanish.

LIT/ SPAN 354: TRUE FICTIONS: LIFE NARRATION

Professor: Patricia Lopez-Gay

Spring 2019

This interdisciplinary course will propose a possible archeology of auto, biographical visual and written accounts produced in contemporary Spain, put in dialogue with Latin American, including Brazilian, and French cultural manifestations. We will focus on some of the numerous literary, film and photography productions of our cultural present that seek to undermine the foundations of the split between fiction and reality. In this context, fiction will be understood as the space wherein the self –the author or the artist, the reader or the viewer– experiences, and experiments with, the world. Some questions that will arise throughout the semester are: What are the limits of art and literature? How does life interfere with fiction? How does fiction operate within life? We will consider works by writers, artists, and filmmakers such as Enrique Vila-Matas, Clarice Lispector, Roberto Bolaño, Jorge Luis Borges, Sergio Oksman, Sophie Calle, Joan Fontcuberta, Mercedes Álvarez, and Víctor Erice. Students’ final projects for this class may take different forms, ranging from written research essays to podcasts, visual essays, and other artistic interventions. Conducted in Spanish.

WRIT/ LIT 380: POETRY AND ATTENTIVENESS

Professor: Philip Pardi

Spring 2019

 The premise of this course is that poetry invites us to attend to the world—and to our experience of the world—in profound and possibly revelatory ways. We will accept this invitation and immerse ourselves in the possibilities created by such attentiveness. The heart of our work together will involve reading and responding to an eclectic list of poets. Readings will include poetry, criticism, and one (lengthy) biography of a poet; writing assignments will include creative pieces, short and long critical responses, and a semester-long notebook of observations and reflections. Poets whose work we will read with care include Basho, Langston Hughes, John Keats, Marianne Moore, Eileen Myles, Marilyn Nelson, Frank O’Hara, and several poets of the Chinese T’ang Dynasty. In addition, we will take up the question of attentiveness itself: what does it mean to truly “pay” attention? What is it like to spend a full hour with a 4-line poem? What is it like to go for a walk, alone, without technology, for an hour, committed merely to walking and noticing? In this part of the course, we will practice, read, and write about our own ability to truly immerse ourselves in what we read and what we experience. We will also consider our tendency to get distracted, bored, or angsty. Note on Course Format: this course meets once a week for seven hours. At the beginning of each session, we will all turn in our phones, laptops, smart watches, etc. That is, we will agree to be completely offline for the duration of the seven hours. Thus, not only will we read and write about poetry and ponder the nature of attention and distraction, we will also live, and perhaps wrestle, in their midst. 

PHIL/ MATH 105: TIME, SPACE AND INFINITY: MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVES ON PHILOSOPHICAL PARADOXES

Professor: Steven Simon

Spring 2018

If time is composed of moments with zero duration, is change an illusion? Beginning with Zeno’s ancient paradoxes, fundamental problems on the nature of time and space   and intimately related ones regarding infinity have bedeviled thinkers through the contemporary period. This course will provide a beginner-friendly tour of some of mathematics’ most profound discoveries (irrational numbers, limits, uncountability) and the concerns (e.g., how can there be the “same” amount of whole numbers as there are fractions, yet “fewer” fractions than real numbers?) which arise in answering such intractable questions. Other than a working knowledge of basic algebra, the class requires only a willingness to explore new ideas and construct convincing arguments

ANTH/ MUS 236: MUSIC, SEXUALITY & GENDER

Professor: Maria Sonevytsky

Spring 2018

This course surveys musicological approaches to the study of sexuality and gender, asking how music informs and reflects cultural constructions of femininity and masculinity. Taking wide-ranging examples that include opera, popular music, folk and indigenous musics, we will investigate how modern gendered subjectivities are negotiated through musical practices such as composition, performance and consumption. Class readings will include musicological, anthropological, feminist, Marxist and queer theory approaches. Students will practice writing skills in a variety of formal and informal formats, culminating in an in-class presentation based on original research.

MUS 247: ETHNOGRAPHY: MUSIC & SOUND 

Professor: Whitney Slaten

Fall 2020

How have recent ethnomusicologists and anthropologists written about traditional and popular musics around the world? How does this writing respond to representing culture, locally and globally? How does this writing about musics’ social contexts respond to changing academic attitudes within the humanities and social sciences, as well as the interdisciplinary development of sound studies? Students will read, present, and discuss chapters from recent book length examples of musical ethnography. Lectures and discussions will focus on the writing strategies of ethnographers, continually assessing how writing represents and analyzes local and global practices of production, circulation, and consumption, as well as how such works participate in emergent scholarly traditions. The course will culminate in a written comparative ethnography analysis paper in which students will compare two ethnographic monographs

MUS 251: IMPROVISATION AS SOCIAL SCIENCE

Professor: Whitney Slaten

Fall 2019

How does improvisation operate as social research? What does it mean to improvise? How do not only musicians, but also people in everyday life, and broader social structures, improvise with one another? How can critical improvisation studies shift our recognition of the phrase “jazz studies” from a noun to a declarative statement? This course provides an introduction to improvisation studies both within and beyond music. Students will read, present, and discuss scholarship about improvisation while considering examples that reveal the collective choices of individuals and groups who pursue various opportunities over time. Lectures and demonstrations will focus on how such examples outline “new” methodologies for qualitative social research. This course will culminate in a paper that explores how improvisational techniques in music can inform poststructural ethnographic research.

MUS 253: ETHNOMUSICOLOGY: LOUDSPEAKERS AS CULTURE

Professor: Whitney Slaten

Spring 2020

How do loudspeakers construct musical culture? How does listening to loudspeakers reorganize social behavior? Critical organology, intersections of local and global influences, manufacturing and nationalism, cultural imperialism, strategies of resistance, generational change, race and bass, gender and power, digital technology, fidelity and loss as technological and cultural ideas, and ethnographic inquiry will be themes that organize the course. Students will understand the importance of loudspeakers from the perspectives of ethnomusicology, sound studies, and audio science. Class sessions will include experiments with audio transducers, as well as critical listening for the contributions of audio transducers in recorded and amplified music. Through weekly reading and writing assignments, short papers, and an ethnographic research paper, students will complete the course with a nuanced understanding of the relationship between music, technology, and culture.

MUS 262: TOPICS IN MUSIC SOFTWARE

Professor: Matthew Gantt

Fall 2018

In this course, students will learn how to integrate sound and music into interactive experiences, primarily using the Unity game engine and editor. Unity is a widely used tool in interactive media design, allowing users to publish stand-alone applications on multiple platforms, including desktop, mobile, web and virtual reality. Specific topics will include contrasting sample-based vs. procedural sound design, musical cues that adapt to user input, algorithmic or generative music, and techniques for designing convincing spatial audio. Students will also learn basic programming concepts, using easy-to-integrate scriptable behaviors in the C# language. This course is open to majors and non-majors. Students should have some previous classroom experience in electronic music (such as Introduction to Electronic Music), electronic arts, or computer science. 

CMSC/ MUSIC 262: Introduction to Max/Msp

Professor: Matthew Sargent

Spring 2020

This course will introduce students to Max/Msp, an object-oriented programming environment for real-time audio processing, digital synthesis, algorithmic composition, data sonification, and more. Students will learn fundamental concepts of digital audio and computer programming while engaging in creative projects and in-class performances. The class will include examples of Max patches found in major works of 20/21st century electroacoustic music and sound art repertoire. The course will also explore connectivity between Max and other software applications, including Max4Live. The course will conclude with a final project. Introduction to Electronic Music, or a 100-level course in Computer Science, is recommended as a prerequisite.

MUS 269: SOUND STUDIES/CRITICAL LISTEN

Professor: Whitney Slaten

Spring 2019

From the perspective of both ethnomusicology and the audio sciences of sound reproduction, this course provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary work on sound studies. Throughout, it engages how specific critical listening techniques and features of sound studies discourses can be mutually informative for both musicians, sound artists, listeners, writers and cultural theorists who are interested in identifying the significance of musical or extramusical sounds within specific social contexts. Students will read, present, and discuss chapters and articles that each focus on singular keywords that are prominent within sound studies discourse. Lectures and demonstrations will juxtapose this terminology to a set of audio based ear training exercises that will develop students’ abilities to both hear and listen to the centers and peripheries of musical sounds and the evidence of related social life. Final projects for the course will take the form of an analysis that is informed by a blended critical listening and writing practice

MUS 329: THE WILD SIDE OF BAROQUE MUSIC

Professor: Alexander Bonus

Fall 2018

Music from the Baroque era is full of wild things — Furious gods; enraged lovers; clashing armies; hideous villains; and chaotic storms, just to name a few. This course explores a rich variety of French, German and Italian compositions that embrace these more volatile and violent aspects of Baroque culture. Particular emphasis is placed on the mythological origins and literary inspirations for these musical works. Each week, students will synthesize diverse materials and contribute to class discussions by offering analyses and opinions on reading and listening assignments. A final project consists of a well-researched paper and class presentation, which gives each student an opportunity to explore other “wild” Baroque compositions or composers not addressed in weekly lectures or discussions.

MUS/ CMSC 375: TOPICS IN MUSIC SOFTWARE

Professor: Matthew Sargent

Fall 2020

This course is an advanced seminar on the Max programming language and the digital signal processing of audio. Students will learn advanced concepts of digital audio and computer programming, while engaging in creative projects and in-class performances. The class will include study of the Fourier theorem, physical modeling, granular synthesis, multi-channel audio dispersion, binaural and ambisonic panning, and digital reverb design. The class will include critical discussion of electroacoustic and sound art repertoire of the 20/21st century. The course will conclude with a final project. Introduction to Max/Msp (or significant 300-level work in Computer Science) is required as a prerequisite.

HIST 144: THE HISTORY OF EXPERIMENT 

Professor: Michelle Hoffman

Spring 2020

The scientific method and the modern form of the scientific experiment are arguably the most powerful inventions of the modern period. Although dating back in its modern form to only the sixteenth century, the concept of the experiment as an attempt to find underlying continuities in experience has numerous origins stretching back to earliest recorded history. In this course, we will look at several different epochs’ definition of experiment, focusing on the classical, medieval, and finally renaissance eras to the present. Throughout, we will understand the concept of experiment as closely connected with an era’s broader cosmology and definition of experience, and as such will see the epistemological problem of the experiment in a framework that includes aesthetics, theology, ethics and politics. We will also assume that “experiment” has taken different forms in the different sciences, and even in fields such as art and law.

PHIL/ MATH 105: TIME, SPACE AND INFINITY: MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVES ON PHILOSOPHICAL PARADOXES

Professor: Steven Simon

Spring 2018

If time is composed of moments with zero duration, is change an illusion? Beginning with Zeno’s ancient paradoxes, fundamental problems on the nature of time and space   and intimately related ones regarding infinity have bedeviled thinkers through the contemporary period. This course will provide a beginner-friendly tour of some of mathematics’ most profound discoveries (irrational numbers, limits, uncountability) and the concerns (e.g., how can there be the “same” amount of whole numbers as there are fractions, yet “fewer” fractions than real numbers?) which arise in answering such intractable questions. Other than a working knowledge of basic algebra, the class requires only a willingness to explore new ideas and construct convincing arguments

HR/ PS/ PHIL 254: POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY IN THEORY AND PRACTICE

Professor: Thomas Bartscherer

Spring 2018

The principle of popular sovereignty posits that legitimate political authority rests with the people, the very people who are subject to that same authority. It is the principle underlying the idea of a government that would be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” In this course, we employ a diversity of materials and methods to interrogate this principle, examining its origins in antiquity; the philosophical arguments, both ancient and modern, that have been advanced for and against it as a governing ideal; and the relationship between this principle and the practice of representational democracy in a constitutional republic such as the United Sates. Questions we shall address include: what constitutes “a people,” in what sense can it be regarded as sovereign, and how is inclusion within, or exclusion from, this group determined? In what sense has rule by the people been regarded as legitimate or good? In what sense and to what degree do institutions of representation such as legislatures embody the ideal of popular sovereignty? How is the will of the people conceptualized and expressed? What is the relationship, if any, between “public opinion” and popular sovereignty? The course will encompass both theoretical analysis and empirical research, aiming to bring diverse modes of investigation into conversation. Readings will range from canonical texts of ancient and modern philosophy (e.g. Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, the Federalists, Tocqueville) to contemporary works in history, theory, and political science (e.g., Morgan, Key, Skinner, Young, Mehta, Page & Shapiro, Igo). Several guest lecturers will visit the class over the course of the semester.

PSY 334: SCIENCE OF GOAL PURSUIT

Professor: Richard Lopez

Fall 2020

As human beings, we have to choose from myriad behaviors to engage in and/or refrain from—whether it is eating, drinking, exercising, socializing, playing, working, sleeping, or binge watching, just to name a few. How do we know exactly which behaviors are most congruent with our goals, and which are at odds with those goals? When certain patterns of behavior undermine health and wellbeing, are there any evidence-based cognitive or motivational strategies that can meaningfully change human behavior? How much truth is there in the saying “old habits die hard?” In this seminar, we will take a deep dive into the science of goal pursuit and behavior change, discussing both the promise and challenges of this area of study. Foundational readings from the psychological and brain sciences will cover important theoretical models of self-regulation and goal pursuit as well as the empirical evidence of these respective models to date. Students are expected to give in-class presentations of course material (individually and in groups), critically evaluate and propose alternatives to popular apps and devices advertised to promote behavior change, and write a final research-oriented paper (e.g., a study proposal or a review paper). The course is open to all moderated psychology and MBB students, or with permission of the instructor.

PSY 375: Podcasts: Disordered Experience

Professor: Justin Dainer-Best

Spring 2020

Despite the history of the term “talking cure,” we often focus almost entirely on the written word in courses introducing the basics of psychological disorders. In the rise of podcasts, however, we have an increased ability to learn about mental illness and treatment directly from people who are willing to share their experiences. In this seminar, each class meeting will revolve around a podcast episode that provides insight into some aspect of mental illness, accompanied by reading primary source research articles and theory. Topics will include cognitive processing therapy, gender identity, major depression, couples therapy, and opiate addiction. Students will be expected to make oral presentations of material in class and to write a substantive research paper, which may have auditory elements. Prerequisites: This course is limited to moderated students who have taken PSY 141 (Introduction to Psychological Science). A course in either Adult or Child Abnormal Psychology (PSY 210 or PSY 211) is also required, or permission of instructor.

REL 211: BUDDHISM AND NEW MEDIA

Professor: Dominique Townsend

Spring 2018

Today, many Buddhist teachers and institutions use digital technologies to reach huge followings and to disseminate Buddhist texts, practical and ethical instructions, and iconic Buddhist imagery to students across the globe. How have digital technologies reshaped how Buddhist teachers instruct students and attract new disciples? How do social media platforms shape Buddhist teacher’s messages, and how do they allow for an unprecedented global reach? What are the social and political risks and benefits of digital expressions of Buddhism? Students will analyze the history and use of Buddhist text and images and investigate the use of new media by Buddhist teachers and groups to reach large and distant audiences. Recent developments in new media will be considered in a broad cultural and historical context that takes into account the diversity of Buddhist practices and pedagogies. Prerequisite: at least one previous Buddhist Studies course.

HR/ REL 237: CONTEMPORARY ISLAM

Professor: Matthew Lynch

Spring 2018

This course examines how Muslims have shaped and reacted to contemporary, global human experience. Various modalities of Muslim life will be explored, from intellectual and political reactions to modernity, war, and empire to aesthetic production in the fields of literature, film, and music. Students will be asked to interrogate the poly-form ways that traditional practices of or related to Islam have confronted or accommodated contemporary trends around the issues of justice, gender, freedom, and equality. The class will make large use of a variety of media, including film and music, as source materials for learning, and students will be asked to develop their own multimedia projects to respond creatively about Islam and Muslim practice within the increasingly networked global sphere.

REL 357: THE MULTI-MEDIA, PUBLIC BIBLE: CALDERWOOD SEMINAR

Professor: Bruce Chilton

Fall 2019

The Bible features in American society not only as a group of texts, but also as the focus for art and art history, literature, music, politics, and religion. This seminar is designed to understand how the texts are taken up into exchanges in these and other media. Critical, public writing is the method best suited to this inquiry, because the purpose is to appreciate both how the Bible framed its meaning and how that meaning is appropriated. Culturally, such writing is today presented in many platforms, which will also be introduced during the semester. By the end of the course, each student should have the tools and contacts available to contribute productively to an issue of increasing concern: the place of the Bible in American aesthetic, intellectual, and social relations. Calderwood Seminars are intended primarily for junior and senior majors in the field (or in some cases affiliated fields–check with the faculty member if you are unsure). They are designed to help students think about how to translate their discipline (e.g. art history, biology, literature) to non-specialists through different forms of public writing. Depending on the major, public writing might include policy papers, book reviews, blog posts, exhibition catalog entries, grant reports, or editorials. Students will be expected to write or edit one short piece of writing per week. Interested students should consult with Prof. Chilton prior to registration.

ART 100: Digital 1: Digital Sculpture

Professor: Maggie Hazen

Spring 2020

Today, digital machines do not simply produce images and information; they produce subjects and objects which govern ways of existing. This course will provide an introductory approach to digital sculpture for visual artists. We will cover basic software and digital equipment by designing a series of versatile, studio driven digital sculptures on each piece of equipment in the Studio Arts digital lab and woodshop—taking the work from physical to digital and back again. Students will learn basic Adobe Creative Suite programs: Photoshop and Illustrator, along with open source 3D modeling software. Projects designed with these software programs will manifest physically through the use of industry standard equipment such as laser cutting, 3D printing, 3D scanning, digital printing and CNC available in our digital lab.  No prior digital knowledge is necessary, however, some experience using Adobe Photoshop or 3D modeling programs is preferred.

ART 100: HYPERBLEED

Professor: Margaret Hazen

Spring 2019

In this class, students will learn the basic technical aspects of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Priemere and Cinema 4D as we examine both still and moving images related to the shaping of our global identity over the past 60 years. The projects in this course will be framed by a new concept called The Hyperbleed. The Hyperbleed is a metaphor describing the way images in the digital age have begun to “bleed” or slip off the screen into an embodied reality. This blur or slippage point marks a process of transition where images begin to invade reality. This course will examine the subject through an unconventional combination of practice, play and discussion. Students will be given project prompts in Photoshop, Premiere and Cinema 4D that relate to The Hyperbleed in prevalent popular media including (but not limited too), identity, gender, violence, entertainment and fiction. Be prepared for these projects to move beyond the grid.

ART 200: DIGITAL II: HYPERBLEED

Professor: Maggie Hazen

Fall 2020

The Hyperbleed—a metaphor or framework for describing the way images in the digital age have begun to “bleed” or slip off the screen into an embodied reality. This blur or slippage point marks a process of transition where images begin to invade reality. Throughout this course we will examine both still and moving images as they relate to the shaping of our global identity over the past 60 years. Students will learn the basic technical aspects of Adobe Premiere with an introduction to the video game design software Unity. We will examine the subject through an unconventional combination of practice, play and discussion. Students will be given project prompts that relate to The Hyperbleed in prevalent popular media including (but not limited too), identity, gender, violence, entertainment and fiction. Be prepared for these projects to move beyond the grid.

EUS/ HR/ ARTS 220: Architectural Entanglements with Labor

Professor: Ivonne Santoyo Orozco

Spring 2020

Architecture is both the product of labor and the organizer of its relations, yet often these issues remain overshadowed by aesthetic considerations and the broader discourse of design. In shifting the question of labor in architecture to the foreground, this course invites students to reflect on the spatio-political role architecture has played in mediating bodies, work and capital. To do this, we will analyze contemporary transformations to paradigmatic sites of work (offices, factories, tech campuses), as well as the many spaces that have been produced to feed architectural production and its endless cycles of extraction (camps, slums, mines), and the architecture that reproduces forms of maintenance (houses, squares, resorts). We will analyze a diverse set of contemporary and historical architectural precedents against a heterogenous landscape of voices from Maurizio Lazzarato, Silvia Federici, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, David Harvey, Peggy Deamer, Mabel O. Wilson, among others. The course will unfold in a combination of lectures and seminars. There are no exams but students are expected to complete weekly assignments and a final project.

ART 250: EXPERIMENTAL PICTURE-MAKING

Professor: John von Bergen

Spring 2019

“More Than 1000 Words” is a course that explores the possibilities of picture- making through unconventional materials and techniques. Any experimental process that students wish to develop will be encouraged, be it sculptural, digital, performative, or with mixed-media. The end results should involve “the picture”, and a personal journey to achieve these results that steps outside the boundaries of conventional 2D image-making. The semester will begin with more conventional techniques to explore the basics of graphic solutions as part of the “sketch” phase, but will escalate soon into exploring techniques and discussing concepts that relate directly to one’s interest. Some group assignments or exercises may involve “drone drawing” as well as VR (virtual reality). We will also look at many contemporary artists who continue to approach picture-making through some unique process. 

SOC 347: MORALITY/TECHNOLOGY/SOCIAL NET

Professor: Laura Ford

Spring 2019

In this course we will seek to understand social media, as social and moral phenomena.  Each week we will “theorize” social media from a different perspective, seeking new sociological insights into social media-related “spaces,” and into the ways that morality, ethics, and politics are enacted within such spaces.  After initially situating one technological platform for social media (Facebook) in its historical and legal context, we will expand our inquiry and seek answers to the following types of questions. What are social networks, and how do they work?  How do the technical controls (e.g. friend suggestions) and institutional frameworks (e.g. corporate business models and intellectual property laws) of social media impact qualities and characteristics of social interaction? How might this matter for social movements relying on social media?  Do social relationships and communities work differently, when they are formed through social media? How might we affect normative orders of truth-telling and justice in the ways that we use (or don’t use) social media?

LIT/ SPAN 301: INTRO TO SPANISH LITERATURE

Professor: Patricia Lopez-Gay

Spring 2020

This course explores some of the major literary works produced on the Iberian Peninsula from the Middle Ages to the present day. Students will become familiar with the general contours of Spanish history as they study in depth a selected number of masterpieces, including works by Miguel de Cervantes, Calderón de la Barca, Teresa de Jesús, Cadalso, Larra, Galdós, Emilia PardoBazán, Unamuno, Lorca, and Carmen Laforet. The course will be organized around three thematic modules: Spanish culture’s engagement with notions of purity and pollution; the emergence and evolution of the first person singular in Spanish literature; and the representations of the country and the city, the center and the periphery. In each module we will undertake a survey of relevant literature occasionally put in conversation with the visual arts. Conducted in Spanish. 

LIT/ SPAN 354: TRUE FICTIONS: LIFE NARRATION

Professor: Patricia Lopez-Gay

Spring 2019

This interdisciplinary course will propose a possible archeology of auto, biographical visual and written accounts produced in contemporary Spain, put in dialogue with Latin American, including Brazilian, and French cultural manifestations. We will focus on some of the numerous literary, film and photography productions of our cultural present that seek to undermine the foundations of the split between fiction and reality. In this context, fiction will be understood as the space wherein the self –the author or the artist, the reader or the viewer– experiences, and experiments with, the world. Some questions that will arise throughout the semester are: What are the limits of art and literature? How does life interfere with fiction? How does fiction operate within life? We will consider works by writers, artists, and filmmakers such as Enrique Vila-Matas, Clarice Lispector, Roberto Bolaño, Jorge Luis Borges, Sergio Oksman, Sophie Calle, Joan Fontcuberta, Mercedes Álvarez, and Víctor Erice. Students’ final projects for this class may take different forms, ranging from written research essays to podcasts, visual essays, and other artistic interventions. Conducted in Spanish.

LIT/ SPAN 359: Haunted by Ghost of Cervantes

Professor: Patricia Lopez-Gay

Spring 2020

Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, widely considered the first modern novel, is a work intra-textually attributed to a fictional Moorish author, at a time when the Moors were being expelled from Spain. Authors trapped in fiction are sometimes persecuted, and then killed by their characters; others feel terrified, and become invisible as they hide behind the lines they write. Lastly, some authors are dead (or said to be dead), and speak to us from their tombs. What are the changing ways in which the ghostly figure of the author returns to fiction? What does it mean to be an author? This course will be an experimental reflection on the notion of authorship as it was originally redefined with the birth of modern novel in Golden Age Spain, and reshaped during Romanticism and contemporary times, through old and new media. With an emphasis on Iberian and Latin American literatures occasionally put in conversation with film, we will explore selected writings by Cervantes, J. A. Bécquer, Unamuno, Machado de Asís, Fernando Pessoa, Clarice Lispector, and Roberto Bolaño, among others. Theoretical texts to be read will include essays by Roland Barthes, Jorge Luis Borges, and Michel Foucault. Conducted in Spanish.

HIST/ THTR 236: POWER & PERFORMANCE IN THE COLONIAL ATLANTIC

Professor: Christian Crouch, Miriam Felton-Dansky

Spring 2019

Societies in different historical periods have habitually used performance to stage, reinforce, and re-imagine the scope of political and colonial power. The history of the theater, therefore, is inextricably connected with the history of how societies have performed conquest, colonialism, and cultural patrimony in different parts of the world. This interdisciplinary course, covering performance and power of the early modern period, will disrupt habitual assumptions about both the disciplines of theater and history. Students will read baroque plays, study their historical contexts, and experiment with staging scenes, to uncover the links between imagined and actual Atlantic expansion and the impact of colonialism, 1492-1825. Artistic forms to be examined include the English court masque, the Spanish auto sacramental, and spectacles of power and conversion staged in the colonial Americas; plays will range from Shakespeare’s The Tempest to Marivaux’s The Island of Slaves to allegorical works by Calderon, Lope de Vega, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, and more.

THTR 247: CHANCE IN PERFORMANCE

Professor: Annie Dorsen

Spring 2018

The notion of  chance’ has been used to describe a wide range of artistic practices, including the readymade, collage, participatory work, indeterminacy in composition and/or performance, and more. This course will cover the major historical, theoretical and practical issues surrounding its use in artistic production, and survey its significance in performance. We will explore distinct and overlapping movements in which chance has figured, beginning with Dada and Duchamp, and including Cage/Cunningham, Fluxus artists, Nature Theatre of Oklahoma and Eve Sussman. Students will create projects using, or responding to, the techniques studied.

THTR 259: GOING VIRAL

Professor: Miriam Felton-Dansky

Fall 2020

In our current era of pandemic, “the virus” not only occupies our headlines and news feeds; it also takes shape as a profound and frightening force in the cultural imagination. For theater and performance artists, this is nothing new: contagion, virus, and the viral have long functioned as subject matter, metaphor, and methods of disseminating work to audiences. This course investigates contagion and the viral as they have mattered to modern and contemporary artists, from the French modernist Artaud, who compared the “ideal theater” to the plague; to the 1970s collective General Idea, who called themselves viral artists nearly two decades before making some of the most iconic visual art responding to the HIV/AIDS crisis. We will examine the viral as a phenomenon of changing media landscapes–beginning with Orson Welles’s infamous 1938 “War of the Worlds” broadcast, long before the phrase “going viral” took on its current meaning–and ask questions about the nature of performance in a moment where all theatrical life is lived online. Though the focus of the courses will be viral theater and performance, we will find intersections with the viral in literature, new media, and installation art; students will explore the viral through critical essays and by making a viral work of art.

ARTH/ LIT/ THTR 317: 20TH CENTURY AVANT GARDE PERFORMANCE

Professor: Jean Wagner

Fall 2020

 “Set fire to the library shelves!” wrote the Italian Futurists in their first manifesto of 1909. With their revolutionary politics, audience provocations, and enthusiastic embrace of the new, the Futurists inaugurated a century of avant-garde performance. This course will investigate that century, tracing the European and American theatrical avant-gardes from 1909 to 1995, including movements and artists such as Expressionism, Surrealism and Dada; John Cage, Allan Kaprow, and Happenings; utopian collectives of the 1960s; Peter Handke, Heiner Müller, the Wooster Group and Reza Abdoh. We will explore questions including: the implications of assuming the mantle of the “avant-garde”; the contested status of the dramatic text in avant-garde performance; the relationship between performance and emerging media forms; and avant-garde artists’ efforts to create radical fusions of art and life. This course will require a research paper, reading responses, and a presentation. 

WRIT/ HR 313: IMAGINATION UNDER SIEGE

Professor: Valeria Luiselli

Fall 2020

This course focuses on re-imagining processes of documenting violence and writing about it: political, environmental, racial, and gender-based violence, among others. We will be reading an array of authors –such as Ursula K Le Guin, Anne Carson, Dolores Dorantes, Ernesto Cardenal, Maria Zambrano, and Aimé Césaire– and will be looking at work emerging from other disciplines, such as soundscapes, architecture, land art, alternative mappings, as well as forms of protest and collective organizing. Students will work on fragmentary and hybrid forms of prose, in search for new ways of exploring imagination as both a tool for political resistance and as an end in itself. During the semester, students in “Imagination Under Siege” will also meet with Ann Lauterbach’s course “The Entangled Imagination,” to converse/discuss/collaborate on the ways in which imaginative thinking is a necessary tool in resisting and finding alternatives to authoritarian governments, surveillance capitalism, and climate emergency, among the realities we are facing today.

WRIT 317: THE ENTANGLED IMAGINATION

Professor: Ann Lauterbach

Fall 2020

“Me miserable! which way shall I fly/ Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?/ Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell” cries Milton’s Satan in Book Four of Paradise Lost (1667). How do contemporary poems negotiate the terrain between fact and fiction; the real and the true? What is the status of the empirical, what we see and hear, when what we perceive is not necessarily what we can or should believe? This course will interrogate the role of the imagination in poetic thinking, and whether such ancient linguistic figures as metaphor, simile, myth and persona are sufficient to grasp the entangled realms and new vocabularies arising from contemporary biology, physics, and ecology in a time of accelerated change and personal anxiety. Readings culled from disparate resources and disciplines, and may include the work of Fred Moten, Will Alexander, Donna Haraway, Jaron Lanier, Harryette Mullen, Olga Tokarczuk, William Kentridge, Roberto Tejada, Inger Christensen, Ernesto Cardinal, Ursula K. Le Guin, Anna Tsing, Gayatri Spivak. A letter of inquiry is required; please be in touch with Ann Lauterbach at lauterba@bard.edu, stating reasons for wanting to be in the class; students outside of Written Arts welcome.          During the semester, we will also meet with students in Valeria Luiselli’s course, “Imagination Under Siege,” to converse/discuss/collaborate on the ways in which imaginative thinking is a necessary tool in resisting and finding alternatives to authoritarian governments, surveillance capitalism, and climate emergency, among the realities we are facing today.

WRIT 332: ADVANCED CONTEMPORARY POETICS

Professor:  Dawn Lundy Martin

Spring 2018

This course will be a course in interdisciplinary making/creating and innovative reading. We will investigate the evolving fields of poetry and poetics through a critical and creative lens with a particular eye turned toward poetries, practices, and theories as they are enacted and put forth by writers of color. In this class, we will think and work across genres (poetry, prose), mediums (page, canvas, digital, film, or theatrical space), and disciplines (writing, literary criticism, visual arts, drama choreography, history, etc.),  and collapse the walls between presenter and audience, creator and critic, as we work individually and collaboratively toward new modes of making/creating. Writers and readings include Myung Mi Kim, Simone White, Sontag’s Reborn, Douglas Kearney, Hoa Nguyen, John Cage, Ellen Gallagher (visual artist), and Adrienne Kennedy (playwright).

EUS/ HR/ WRIT 345: IMAGINING NONHUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS

Professor: Benjamin Hale

Spring 2019

 P hilosopher Thomas Nagel asked, “What is it like to be a bat?” Ultimately, he determined the question unanswerable: A bat’s experience of the world is so alien to our own that it is beyond the human  understanding of subjective experience. That’s arguable. But it is true at least that a bat’s experience—or that of any other nonhuman consciousness—is not inaccessible to human imagination.  In this course we will read and discuss a wide variety of texts, approaching the subject of nonhuman consciousness through literature, philosophy, and science.  We will read works that attempt to understand the experiences of apes, panthers, rats, ticks, elephants, octopuses, lobsters, cows, bats, monsters, puppets, computers, and eventually, zombies. Course reading may include Descartes, Kafka, Rilke, Jakob von Uexküll, Patricia Highsmith, John Gardner’s Grendel, J.A. Baker’s The Peregrine, Eduardo Kohn’s How Forests Think, David Foster Wallace, Temple Grandin, Frans de Waal, Jane Goodall, Thomas Nagel, John Searle, Susan Datich, E. O. Wilson, Giorgio Agamben, and Bennett Sims’s A Questionable Shape, among others, in addition to a viewing of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, and possibly other films. This is also a craft class, as each student will produce a substantial project over the semester.  The assignments will be open-ended, open to both creative and analytical works; a major component of the class will be incorporating these ideas into our own writing. This course is part of the Thinking Animals Initiative, an interdivisional collaboration among students and faculty to further the understanding of animals and human-animal relationships.

WRIT/ LIT 380: POETRY AND ATTENTIVENESS

Professor: Philip Pardi

Spring 2019

 The premise of this course is that poetry invites us to attend to the world—and to our experience of the world—in profound and possibly revelatory ways. We will accept this invitation and immerse ourselves in the possibilities created by such attentiveness. The heart of our work together will involve reading and responding to an eclectic list of poets. Readings will include poetry, criticism, and one (lengthy) biography of a poet; writing assignments will include creative pieces, short and long critical responses, and a semester-long notebook of observations and reflections. Poets whose work we will read with care include Basho, Langston Hughes, John Keats, Marianne Moore, Eileen Myles, Marilyn Nelson, Frank O’Hara, and several poets of the Chinese T’ang Dynasty. In addition, we will take up the question of attentiveness itself: what does it mean to truly “pay” attention? What is it like to spend a full hour with a 4-line poem? What is it like to go for a walk, alone, without technology, for an hour, committed merely to walking and noticing? In this part of the course, we will practice, read, and write about our own ability to truly immerse ourselves in what we read and what we experience. We will also consider our tendency to get distracted, bored, or angsty. Note on Course Format: this course meets once a week for seven hours. At the beginning of each session, we will all turn in our phones, laptops, smart watches, etc. That is, we will agree to be completely offline for the duration of the seven hours. Thus, not only will we read and write about poetry and ponder the nature of attention and distraction, we will also live, and perhaps wrestle, in their midst.