The following courses are available for Fall 2015 registration.
Find a complete list of courses offered in other years here.
Literature & Cultural Studies
Transcendence and Entrapment: 19th Century American Literature
Nineteenth-century American writers repeatedly reflect on themes of transcendence—of literary conventions, of cultural norms and codes, of the individual self, of geographical constraints, or of material culture in a realm of nature or spirit. At the same time, they detail the entrapments of slavery, reservation lands, cities, mass culture, human nature, socially enforced constructions of identity, and the human mind. This introduction to nineteenth-century American literature explores the tensions of transcendence and entrapment, among other themes, in stories, poems, personal narratives, and essays by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Walt Whitman, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Apess, Emily Dickinson, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Mark Twain. Students will have the opportunity to see where Thoreau, Emerson, Hawthorne, and the Alcotts lived and wrote on a field trip to Concord and Walden Pond.
taught by Jill Gatlin
As the ancient Greek civilization progressed from scattered agrarian and seafaring kingships to more ordered city-states of the revolutionary tyrants and eventually to the democratic Athenian Empire, dramatic expression moved from ecstatic acts of worship of Dionysus to an organized annual religious/civic festival to an increasingly secular and political act, as central to the function of Athenian society as the Assembly. The major plays of the Classical period that this course examines—the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides and the comedies of Aristophanes—are dramatic representations of the effects of this change on individuals and society. They are profound explorations of the dynamic tensions in the human psyche, described in rich metaphors and lyrics and played out through the interaction of compelling characters. The plays are also complex reflections on Greek society itself, celebrating how far it has progressed even while expressing ever deepening concerns about its current direction and future prospects.
taught by Patrick Keppel
Hindu Myths is a course designed to introduce students to the rich mythology of India, a domain populated by extraordinary deities, powerful demons and supernatural humans all engaged in a complex narrative from creation through the evolution of the significant Hindu concepts of dharma, karma, samsara, and moksha (roughly 1500 BC to 200 AD). Since understanding Hindu Myths requires a knowledge of the philosophies and religious practices of Hinduism, the course will use appropriate background reading to supplement inquiry into the myths, such as Wendy Doniger’s Hindu Myths and Gavin Flood’s An Introduction to Hinduism.
taught by Peter Row
History & Politics
Cultural Capital: Vienna, 1848–1919: Music, Culture, and Society in Mitteleuropa
Cultural Capital, Vienna, 1848 – 1919 studies the musical, cultural, social and political life of 19th Century Europe’s most diverse capital city. In contrast to the steady continuity of the London regime, or the abrupt changes of 19th century Paris, Vienna presents us with a world of dichotomies: conservative monarchy and revolutionary thinkers; staid bourgeois life and the most challenging psychological theories; monumental art and the iconoclasm of Klimt’s non-representation designs; the leisure music of the waltz and the radical explorations of Mahler and Schoenberg. In Cultural Capitals: Vienna, we will examine those polarities as they shaped the ideas, and the daily lives, of this great Middle European capital, discussing the musicians, artists, writers, and philosophers who created much of our modern culture; in doing so, we will also examine the place – and the ambition – of the court aristocracy, the bourgeoisie, and workers who sustained a great empire, while exploring the changing social ideas about the women’s roles, nation and ethnicity, and the city itself in a world marked by a growing sense of darkness and pessimism.
taught by James Klein
Advanced Seminar: Film and Politics
Film and Politics looks at contemporary political issues through the lens of mainstream American movies. Students will examine and discuss artistic efforts to portray such issues as war and American international policies, terrorism, racial injustice and civil rights, the changing roles of women and the place of gender, immigration, work, and class, along with the still larger questions of political freedom and government power. We will consider film as historical narrative, as satire, and as allegory, focusing on questions of how presentation, genre, and action help shape our thinking about critical issues confronting the American people.
taught by James Klein
Science and Mathematics
Topics in Environmental Science
Environmental Studies deals with relationships between humans and environments. How do these relationships mediate or exacerbate human/environment problems? What are the problems with, and solutions to: water supply and pollution, air pollution, the environmental impacts of agriculture, materials use, recycling, overpopulation, and resource use? Answers to these questions are life-long queries, and in this course students will learn what they need to know to continue the search. Students will be exposed to both “environmentalist” as well as “economic development” perspectives on environmental issues and by the end of the course should be able to hold and articulate distinct views on specific environmental topics.
taught by Jennifer Cole
How do the various relationships between humans and environments mediate or exacerbate environmental problems? How have we found ourselves in a quandary regarding overpopulation, pollution, and poverty? This course introduces students to the science and mathematics behind a wide variety of sustainability topics, such as geographical layout, water, food, transportation, infrastructure, energy, politics and law, society, economy, trade, and technology. Guest speakers and field trips will introduce students to several current local sustainable initiatives. Through group projects, students will explore the rational and practical treatment of sustainable development issues, learning how quantitative analyses can help aid in the understanding of, and ultimately the solving of, environmental problems.
taught by Jennifer Cole
Drama Workshop I
Drama Workshop I is a collaborative workshop in the elements of acting and directing: the creation of a “serious-play” space where students can take risks and explore the dramatic art form in order to become better actors and better performers. No previous acting experience is required. Students engage in various sense memory exercises and group improvisations and work together as a unit on a series of scenes from a play currently being rehearsed and performed by students in the Boston University acting program.
taught by Patrick Keppel
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.” As such, 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 & 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
Interarts will access all the arts (e.g. fiction, poetry, dance and theatre, as well as music and fine art) and confront the same issues that must be tackled in every discipline to create innovative work. How does an artist push her/himself to really crack open to inventive and authentic ideas and approaches critical to performance and installation art? Multiple ways of engaging a wide range of disciplines will include sampling and scanning, the role of improvisation and chance and the use of non-traditional tools and media. We will actively utilize the Museum of Fine Arts exhibitions, collections and films. Multimedia collaborations might entail deep thinking on a small scale and a tight budget or require an enormous space for a brief time. Projects can pull from popular culture to grapple with contemporary issues. This course lives in a place that is “inter”: that which is between and among. We will engage as many inters as we’re interested in. For instance, we might interlope and intermingle, while we internalize, interpret, and interrupt, interweaving as we go along.
taught by Katya Popova
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