The following courses are available for Fall 2016 registration.
Find a complete list of courses offered in other years here.
Literature & Cultural Studies
Origins and History of Drama
Theater is a part of the developing story of every human culture, an inherent paradox—the attempt to explore psychological depths, spiritual mysteries, and social conflicts in a controlled yet power-releasing scheme. As the innovative Polish director Jerzy Grotowski points out, “Theater is not a condition but a process in which what is dark within us slowly becomes transparent.” The lights go out, and we become something entirely different and yet, at the same time, even more familiar and true. This course examines the origins of European drama and traces its development through key transitional periods from Oedipus to Endgame. Plays are chosen according to what is being produced locally and according to shared thematic content. Students attend at least one play in performance.
taught by Patrick Keppel
The Revolutionary Theatre of Bertolt Brecht
Many of the artistic and literary trends of our own time, as well as our moral and political dilemmas, are exemplified in the life and work of 20th century playwright Bertolt Brecht. This course will examine Brecht’s remarkable dramatic contributions, such as his experiments in Expressionist drama, his concept of Epic Theatre and the ‘alienation’ effect, his innovative incorporation of multimedia effects, and his musical collaborations with Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler, and Paul Dessau. We will also place Brecht’s artistry in his ever-changing socio-historical contexts: the post-WWI generation in Europe, the influence of Marxist ideology, the rise of European Fascism, his American exile and confrontation with McCarthyism, and his ambiguous relationship with Cold War Europe. Students will also have the opportunity to create musical and theatrical settings for Brecht’s lyrics.
taught by Patrick Keppel
Reading, Writing, and Race: Contemporary American Ethnic Literature
Why is “ethnic literature” a distinct category in American literary studies and popular discourse? As we read African American, Native American, Latino/a, and Asian American short stories, novels, poems, and memoirs, we will consider writers’ and readers’ heated debates about how literary traditions and canons facilitate or foreclose important reading practices, insights, and politics. In response to racial and cultural Othering, how do writers accommodate or antagonize particular audiences, address cultural insiders and outsiders, and encourage or discourage readers’ identifying with characters? How do race and culture inform our own reading practices and expectations—and do we have “real world” responsibilities bridging the texts we read and the lives we lead? In addition to exploring these questions, we will discuss themes including individual and national identity, immigration and assimilation, language and power, privilege and violence, and resistance and rebellion. Authors will include Toni Morrison, Sherman Alexie, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Maxine Hong Kingston.
taught by Jill Gatlin
History & Social Studies
Cultural History of India
This course is a study of the history of Indian culture beginning with the advent of Hinduism (c. 1500 BC), through the growth of Buddhism (c. 563–200 BC), the “classical era”(c. 320–647 AD), the period of Islamic influence (1200–1750 AD), and the modern era, drawing on such forms of cultural expression as philosophy, literature, science, architecture, and the visual and performing arts. Examples include the Bhagavad Gita and Ramayana, the invention of algebra, Hindu and Islamic architecture (e.g. Taj Mahal), Bharata Natyam (classical dance), and miniature paintings.
taught by Peter Row
Advanced Seminar: Modern Political Philosophy
“Modern Political Philosophy” studies the works of major political thinkers from Machiavelli’s Early Modern ideas to our own age. Studies will read, analyze, and discuss the writings of such luminaries as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Mary Wollstonecraft, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Antonio Gramsci, Friedrich Hayek, and Simone de Beauvoir. Together we will explore the major themes of modern political thought: the origins of nation and state, the conflict of individual freedom and community solidarity; the ideas of class and nationality; the struggle for gender rights against authoritarian privilege; and the clash between traditional values and personal autonomy.
taught by James Klein
The Race for Presidency
"Race for the Presidency" follows the progress of the 2016 campaign as a way of investigating the U.S. electoral process, the structure and dynamics of party politics, the role of such intermediary groups as political action committees, media, and party donors, as well as the ideologies, the economics, and even the psychology of America’s political leaders – and the men and women who vote for them.
taught by James Klein
Science and Mathematics
Evolution of Life on the Planet
We will delve into a focused exploration of the co-evolution of life and Earth surface environments through time. Students will investigate, through in-class labs, lecture, and readings, mass extinctions, rare and short term events that collectively shaped the biological world we experience today. Can we reconstruct mass extinctions as evolutionary events, using the fossil record, aided by phylogenies based on comparative biology? Can we, in turn, use information in sedimentary rocks to understand the environmental perturbations that killed so many organisms? And, using physiology, can we understand causal relationships between environmental events and patterns of selective extinction (and survival) recorded by fossils? Can knowledge of this past provide useful perspective on current threats to biodiversity?
taught by Jennifer Cole
Cognitive Science is an exploration of the nature of intelligence and the brain, in different forms, from machines to animals/humans. This course explores the modern history of our efforts to understand the nature of mind, asking such questions as how a purely physical entity could have a mind, whether a computer or robot could have genuine mental states, and what it really means to be intelligent or to have a mind. In the process of seeking answers to these questions, we will explore such phenomena as perception, memory, prediction, decision-making, action, language, and consciousness by integrating methods and concepts from a number of disciplines, including philosophy, psychology, computer science, neuroscience, biology, linguistics, and anthropology. Material from economics, education, mathematics, engineering, and the arts is increasingly integrated into the field as well, and these will serve as the basis for our quantitative inquiries. The class is intended to serve as an introduction to the unique multidisciplinary approach to studying problems of mind that Cognitive Science represents.
taught by Jennifer Cole
Visual Arts Studio
In this course students will be introduced to the fundamentals of drawing, composition, and printmaking techniques, as well as to intellectual risk-taking, which is inherent in the creative art process. The many platforms and settings we will investigate include: the museum setting, a playful environment to consider elements of composition and improvisation, as well as concepts that grapple with today's world issues; working outside (en plain air), a great way to connect to observational drawing and nature; and the classroom, a useful environment for performance / installation based exercises. Directed observation and sustained discussion sessions on the museum collection and class critiques will help studio participants to develop visual and critical thinking skills to examine in detail the construction of an art piece, as well as associations generated by particular images or subjects. As an outcome of this process of inquiry, students in the course will be able to express their ideas, new visual awareness, and ability to make decisions and choices in various forms of visual medium/interpretation, including installation, drawing/printmaking, and performance-based work.
taught by Katya Popova
In this course, students will read and write poetry, and read and discuss the poetry of classmates both in the workshop itself and in small groups outside class. As poet Robert Creeley points out, “Form is never more than an extension of content, and content is never more than an extension of form.” To that end, we will concentrate on the techniques of poetry, including rhythm, repetition of many kinds, line breaks, pace, point of view, figurative language, imagery, juxtaposition, fixed forms and organic form. Students will also attend two poetry readings and watch weekly on-line poetry videos. At the end of the term the class will give a poetry reading and produce a class booklet.
taught by Ruth Lepson
This course is the first part of the year-long course for beginners in the Italian language, designed for vocal performance music majors but open to all students. The linguistic and phonetic structure of the language will be explored through its application to the field of music, with particular attention to opera. Students will learn vocabulary, grammar, and idiomatic expressions that will enable them to understand and express themselves in a variety of situations in written and spoken Italian. We will address different aspects of Italian culture, and students will have the opportunity to speak Italian in class. Students will learn the basic skills necessary to understand, speak, and write Italian at the advanced beginner level and will develop the competence, interest, and enthusiasm for a language that will inspire their careers in music.
taught by Francesca Santovetti
This course is the first part of the year-long course that teaches students the basics of German. Students will learn fundamental grammar and will practice speaking as well as listening, reading, and writing with the aid of controlled exercises. By the end of the year, students will be able to express themselves in the present, past, and future tenses and will possess a basic vocabulary. Correct pronunciation will be stressed. Students will be able to read uncomplicated texts in German with relative ease and will learn to write clearly structured German sentences.
taught by Sia Liss Stovall
This is a college-level beginning French course. It introduces students to the basics of French grammar through the four building blocks of foreign language learning—listening, speaking, reading and writing, integrating contemporary culture with an emphasis on language as it is spoken today. Through class and small group activities, students will interact with each other and practice listening comprehension and speaking. Students will also become familiar with the videoblogs of four Parisians with diverse Francophone backgrounds. These videos will be watched in class to build on listening comprehension and speaking skills.
taught by Anne Squire