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Courses

Advancement of Public Action

Advanced Leadership & Strategic Planning Workshop

The problems we face today are too great for any one person to solve alone. But what does it practically take to lead meaningful change and advance public action? What leadership capacities are needed now to move ourselves and others forward strategically and adaptively in a changing world? This course will support student leaders and entrepreneurs who are engaged in forwarding real projects on campus, in local communities and in the world. It will serve as an opportunity for students currently grappling with leading student groups, and launching entrepreneurial start-ups and initiatives, with a structured opportunity to forward their work, and to support each other as a leadership network. We will focus our time in equal parts on personal leadership capacity development and high-impact strategy design and implementation. Project-based work will be supplemented with readings, case studies and written assignments. There will also be a public service component to this course, which workshop participants will take on as a collective. The workshop format of this course will require a high degree of personal accountability and participation. Interested students will be asked to submit brief proposals outlining how they see to leverage the workshop to forward their work. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor. To request a seat in this course, email the following to adennis@bennington.edu on or before April 29: In no more than 500 words, please describe how you see to leverage this workshop to forward yourself as a leader and the work you are pursuing now. Those that have been accepted into the course will be notified on May 5.

  • Alison Dennis | FA2014 | T, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | APA4130.01

Advanced Mediation

This course is an advanced level of training in mediation. Advanced mediator skills are featured including effective neutral intervention, constructive communication, reframing, problem framing, interest-based negotiation and agreement writing. Students will participate in daily role-play exercises, read and present articles, and write a reflection essay or short project. Based on prior course credit, a certificate for a 24-hour training will be issued to each student who completes this course. Prerequisites: Introductory Mediation and Negotiation module or permission of the instructor.

  • Peter Pagnucco | SP2013 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | APA4206.01
  • Peter Pagnucco | SP2014 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD4101.01

Advanced Workshop in CAPA

This workshop is designed to enable students to pursue work they have already begun that is focused on public action regardless of the particular issue/s they are addressing and to integrate Field Work Term into that work. Students will be presenting their own work to the workshop as it unfolds. Some portion of the workshop will be dedicated to common experience - in particular exploring those concepts and methods that inform this work including: multiple aspects of effective presentation, writing, visual mapping, speaking, mediation and negotiation skills, the design and development of proposals. Bennington faculty and staff, CAPA Fellows and guests will participate throughout the workshop. Admission to the workshop requires a written statement outlining one's plans for how it will be used, and an interview by the instructor. A year long course. Prerequisites: By permission of instructors.

  • Erika Mijlin | FA2013 | W, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA4124.01
  • Erika Mijlin | SP2014 | W, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA4124.01
  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2013 | W, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA4124.01
  • Susan Sgorbati | SP2014 | W, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA4124.01
  • Erika Mijlin | FA2014 | W, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA4126.01

APA Workshop: Focus: Cities

This workshop is designed to enable students to pursue a variety of issues relating to the advancing of public action. Cities serves both as a shared focus and a place to integrate a wide and rich variety of perspectives. Students will also be presenting their work to the workshop as it unfolds. Some portion of the workshop will also be dedicated to exploring concepts and methods that are capable of transforming ones relationship to public action independent of the particular issue being pursued. Bennington faculty and staff, CAPA Fellows and guests will participate throughout the workshop. The workshop will run throughout the year. Admission to the workshop requires a written statement outlining ones plans for how it will be used and an interview by the instructor. Prerequisites: By permission of instructor

  • Eileen Scully | FA2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | APA2150.01
  • Susie Ibarra | FA2013 | W, 8:00AM-12:00PM | APA4150.01

APA Workshop: Focus: Human Rights: Women and Girls

"As long as discrimination and inequities remain so commonplace everywhere in the world, as long as girls and women are valued less, fed less, fed last, overworked, underpaid, not schooled, subjected to violence in and outside their homes-the potential of the human family to create a peaceful, prosperous world will not be realized." Hillary Clinton The extension of human rights to women and girls has an unparalleled and demonstrable capacity to transform possibilities--from education, economic equity, and health to governance, the environment, and uses of force. Nonetheless, despite its huge and pragmatic benefits for the entirety of the human community, its evident ethical value, and the vast array of resources that have been directed at achieving the goal of extending full human rights to women and girls, progress in this area is painstaking at best. To address this issue adequately will demand the very best strategic thinking, a breadth of human capacities from rhetoric to design, empathy to quantitative reasoning. The range, complexity and depth of the force field it engages invites the participation of the full gamut of the arts and sciences and a range of perspectives from outside the academy including business, journalism, law, medicine and politics. The workshop will proceed by first: analyzing and evaluating the current efforts to address the persistence and varieties of inequity; second, on the basis of this analysis selecting the challenge/s to focus on that will enable us to use our resources in optimally effective ways; and finally addressing the challenge carved out by the workshop and laying the groundwork for next steps. Students are invited to participate in this workshop provided they have an interest in working in the arena of public action whatever the particular area of interest. The choice of focus for this workshop-the full extension of human rights to women and girls-is precisely its capacity to benefit from and integrate a vast range of orientations. In addition to those enrolled in the workshop, we will engage the resources of Bennington faculty, staff and students and guests from outside the College and guests from outside the College to assist in realizing its goals. Reading: Nicholas Kristoff and Shery WuDunn, Half the Sky which provides an overview of the current situation and the multiple efforts to address it. Subsequent readings will emerge as the workshop proceeds. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructors.

  • Elizabeth Coleman | FA2012 | T, 8:20AM-12:00PM | APA4202.01
  • Susie Ibarra | FA2012 | T, 8:20AM-12:00PM | APA4202.01

Aphorisms: from Ideas to Action

Aphorisms-brief, witty, philosophical sayings-are the oldest written art form on the planet and one of the few forms of oral literature still practiced in every country and culture around the world. This course explores how and why this shortest of literary forms has such an outsized impact on everything from the way we vote to how we think to what we buy. Readings range from the very first aphoristic texts, composed some 5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt and China, to works by the likes of Mark Twain ("I never let school interfere with my education"), 17th-century French aristocrat Fran├žois VI Duc de la Rochefoucauld ("Old people are fond of giving good advice; it consoles them for no longer being able to set a bad example") and Polish dissident Stanislaw Lec ("No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible"). In addition to the primary texts, we also examine slightly longer aphoristic forms (riddles, parables, micro-essays) and do secondary reading in psychology, behavioral economics and neuroscience to learn how language works in the brain and why aphorisms are so powerful and persuasive. We consider contemporary variations on the form, such as advertising taglines, political slogans, bumper stickers and tweets. We also investigate non-linguistic aphorisms, through the work of artists like Rene Magritte and Marcel Duchamp and by watching the contemporary French movie Ridicule and the short films of silent comedy pioneer Buster Keaton. Through close reading and lively discussion, we analyze rhetorical and stylistic devices (the use of metaphor, wit and prosody), decipher hidden agendas, and debate the philosophical and political messages conveyed through aphorisms. Students will write three critical papers, give one presentation on a topic/reading of their choice, and regularly compose their own aphorisms and critique those of their classmates. Active engagement with the reading/writing assignments and in class discussions is required. Prerequisites: None.

  • James Geary | SP2012 | M, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA2120.01

Arts Forum: Consciousness and Transformation

People change the world. Art changes people. Art affects individual and civic engagement in a very real way. Societal transformation begins with the individual. The arts are a powerful conduit to greater consciousness, personal awakening and spiritual elevation and ultimately change not only the way people think, but also the way they interact with each other and with the world. This course will be a forum taught by a group of faculty representing Music, Dance, Literature, Drama and Visual Arts and guests from outside of Bennington College. Each week a lecture/presentation will explore different aspects of the arts and artists' relationship to social engagement. Topics will include: Isadora Duncan and Nijinsky; roots of women's liberation and freedom of expression, Performance as Spiritual Practice, Don Quixote; Freedom of Belief and Expression and the Dignity of the Individual, Lyric Poetry and Public Action, and more. A two-page response paper will be expected for each presentation, reflecting on the topics presented. Tom Bogdan will coordinate and organize the class. Prerequisites: None.

  • Thomas Bogdan | SP2011 | M, 7:00PM- 9:00PM | APA2103.01

CAPA Workshop: Rethinking Education

We start with as deep and thoughtful an exploration as we can manage of what education should be, then look at what it is in order to take on the challenge of what it will take to close the gap between the two. We focus initially on the United States where its historic position as a model to the world with respect to public education has radically altered. Despite having a research establishment that is the envy of the world more than half of the American public does not believe in evolution. Outcries about global warming are ignored for decades. Indifference to the dire implications of a radical change in the world's consumption of fossil fuels defies reason and sanity. Mastery of basic skills, and bare minimum of cultural literacy increasingly eludes vast numbers of our students. Schools are often experienced as cold, grim and lifeless places. The vital connection between education, democracy and a vibrant citizenship, once the bedrock of public education in this country, has atrophied making the perpetuation of that democracy increasingly precarious. The challenges of reversing these trends are sobering for sure, but that does not diminish the need to do so. Nothing approaches the capacity of education to transform possibilities for realizing a better life and a better world; there is a wealth of powerful ideas to be mined; the resourcefulness of the human imagination and intellect to change the world is formidable. The intent of this workshop is to focus those resources on this intriguing, and urgent issue. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.

  • Elizabeth Coleman | SP2014 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | APA4208.01

Cities and Extending Human Rights to Women/Girls

The focus of this workshop will be on Cities and Extending Human Rights to Women and Girls enabling students enrolled int he Fall 2012 Workshops to continue to pursue work in these areas. Students who were not enrolled in the Fall workshops and students who are working in other areas of public action are welcome to apply for admission. Bennington faculty and staff, CAPA Fellows and guests will participate throughout the workshop. Prerequisities: Permission of the instructors.

  • Elizabeth Coleman | SP2013 | T, 8:20AM-12:00PM | APA4205.01
  • Susie Ibarra | SP2013 | T, 8:20AM-12:00PM | APA4205.01

Cities Arts Forum

Cities Art Forum will explore and discuss the current trajectories of cities through the relationships and works of artists with cities. Cities have defined many artist's work, while artists have also defined and help build cities. Art has transformed public spaces and created economic growth. It has provided a critical eye and ear for what is not being seen or heard. While collaborating with health programs and supporting children's education, art also grapples with poverty, and speaks out on human rights issues. Art has demonstrated against violence and wars, interacted with media and technology, and provided experiences of great beauty. Art in cities continues to demand however loud or quiet cultural growth in preserving heritage and cutting the edge. Who are some of these artists and what do their works look and sound like? What are some of the creative methods? What are some of the examples of how the creative process has served as a change agent? What are some of the possibilities? This Monday night series will include several guest speakers and performers in residence with Bennington during the spring term. Prerequisites: None.

  • Susie Ibarra | SP2014 | M, 6:30PM- 8:30PM | APA2117.01

Conflict Resolution: The Ideas and Practice

Conflict Resolution as a field of inquiry began in the 1950s and 60s. This course will present an interdisciplinary approach to the practice and study of conflict resolution. Theories of conflict resolution will be introduced and then explored through a number of different prisms. These will include the nature of peace, the Arab-Israeli Conflict, the Bible, Rock 'n' Roll, the arts, and the environment. The course will culminate during its last two sessions with students sharing and discussing their own perspectives on conflict resolution based on the readings and topics discussed in class. Prerequisites: None.

  • Michael Cohen | SP2013 | Th, 6:10PM-10:00PM | APA2136.01
  • Michael Cohen | SP2014 | Th, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | MED2112.01

Education Forum

In our educational system, too many schools struggle to meet the basic educational needs of all students. Education is the foundation of a democratic society, yet it is a system that needs major reform and attention. This is a moment that requires innovative thinking, informed leadership, and thoughtful action. We are all challenged to mobilize to engage in substantive analysis, take action in our communities, and participate in reform. The Education Forum meets for the first seven weeks of the spring term. It is a weekly, one-credit course co- designed and co-facilitated by Bennington students who have already been involved with work in education to foster a broader conversation on campus about the issue of education. The Forum will combine visiting speakers, discussions, and readings about educational change. It is a way to connect students' academic work, passion, and curiosity with a complex, real-world issue. Students interested in education - whether from the perspective of policy, governance, systems design, history, social change, philosophy, or teaching - are highly encouraged to enroll for credit. Guest lectures will be open to all students. To earn credit, students must complete all readings for lectures and discussions, and write a paper at the end of the course. Prerequisites: None.

  • Carol Meyer | SP2011 | Th, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA2104.01
  • Ken Himmelman | SP2011 | Th, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA2104.01

Effective Public Action: Case Studies

What kind of world are we making? What kind of world should we be making? What kind of world can we be making? We explore these questions through case studies of successful public action, ranging from local projects to global initiatives. Working together to identify the complex variables and design principles of successful models, students collaboratively develop frameworks for effective solutions to consequential problems. Prerequisites: None.

  • Eileen Scully | FA2013 | W, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA2116.01

Fundamentals of Advancing Public Action

This country is facing challenges of unprecedented scale and urgency in the areas of health, education, inequalities in the distribution of wealth, environmental sustainability; the capacity of our governing structures to address the public interest; mounting threats to fundamental democratic processes, a dangerous predilection for the uses of force. We examine each of these topics individually while recognizing their interdependence. We also address capacities fundamental to this work regardless of the particular topic. They include: working with data; reading; seeing; listening; connecting; understanding improvisation; managing issues of scale. Throughout the course the focus is on the challenge of effective action in the world in ways that go beyond the ad hoc and address causes rather than symptoms. In addition to engaging materials that illuminate the current state of things we engage texts that allow us to explore the role of the past in charting the future and the critical matter of values. Prerequisites: None.

  • Elizabeth Coleman | FA2011 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | APA2101.01
  • Elizabeth Coleman | SP2011 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | APA2101.01
  • Elizabeth Coleman | SP2012 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | APA2101.01
  • Ken Himmelman | SP2011 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | APA2101.01
  • Eileen Scully | SP2013 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | APA2101.01
  • Elizabeth Coleman | FA2013 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA2101.01

Graphs with Style

Data and the modern world come hand in hand. Often this data comes in a visual format, as a graph or slideshow. What attributes make graphs excellent? What attributes obfuscate the content of a graph? When should you use a pie chart instead of a bar chart? How did PowerPoint presentations mislead NASA into launching the space shuttle Challenger? How can we improve the content of PowerPoint presentations? This class will answer these questions as we examine famous and infamous visual representations of data. Completing this class will improve your ability to communicate ideas and thus increase your influence on the world (or earn more money). Grades will be determined by problem sets, which will consist mainly of creating and evaluating representations of data. Prerequisites: None.

  • Michael Rolleigh | SP2012 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA2107.01

How Do You Know: The Culture of Information

On a daily basis, we each define a relationship to information, as a bearer of truth, evidence, authority, timeliness, social leverage, insight, etc. Part seminar and part workshop, this course will attempt to make that complex relationship visible. We will first focus on a history of knowledge, and the various ways in which it has been used to organize the world. We will then move toward a contemporary understanding of information, data, and knowledge work, inquiring about the qualities of each of these, in theory and in practice. Through readings and projects we will explore questions of access to information, big data and the cloud, the uses of information, visualizing information, etc. We will put into action the cultural role of being an information-seeker across disciplines, experimenting with various ways of framing questions, collecting information, and presenting research. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

  • Erika Mijlin | FA2013 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | APA4106.01
  • Erika Mijlin | FA2012 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | APA4106.01

In the Land of Mega-Media

Every day we navigate a landscape of enormous media and information repositories: from YouTube to Wikipedia, from the visible accumulations in Flickr to the invisible mountains of expired tweets, etc. Although much of this is constructed out of our own content-contributions, the values of 'local', 'individual', and 'private' continue to be redefined as the world looks more and more toward 'the cloud' as a new mega-receptacle. What is it like to live with, and in, and amongst, these mammoth creatures in the media landscape ? What are the boundaries, edges, and problems of these immense containers ? We will study how all this 'knowledge-content' is manufactured, distributed, promoted, and warehoused, and to what greater effect. Prerequisites: None.

  • Erika Mijlin | SP2012 | WF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA2205.01

Incarceration in America

7 million Americans are under correctional supervision. The United States of America has the highest documented rate of incarceration in the world. Too many people are in prison, and in many cases the current system doesn't work. It is inefficient, inhumane, and does not accomplish rehabilitation. It also costs too much - financially as well as in terms of human suffering - the current $74 billion spent each year does not include either other incalculable associated costs or the far greater future resulting social and financial consequences. There are alternatives and they work better and cost less. We will listen to experts on several aspects of incarceration, and will explore and discuss such questions as alternatives to incarceration, race and incarceration, drugs and incarceration, incarceration and the mentally ill, children of incarcerated parents, probation, and other alternatives to incarceration. There will be at least one mandatory evening or weekend event. Students will write one essay and a number of papers. Prerequisites: None.

  • Annabel Davis-Goff | FA2014 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | APA2108.01
  • Annabel Davis-Goff | SP2014 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | APA2108.01

Interpreting Data in the Modern World

It is nearly impossible to live in the modern world without being inundated with data. From media sources to sports broadcasts, statistics are used to support claims and convince voters. How do we learn to recognize dishonest or unintentionally distorted representations of quantitative information? How can we reconcile two medical studies with contradictory conclusions? How many observations do we need to make an informed decision? This course aims to answer these questions and more by developing an appreciation for and an understanding of the interpretation of data. All coursework will be implemented in Excel. This course will familiarize students with correlation, t-tests, variance, regressions, and their interpretations. Applications will range from cheating on standardized tests to medical studies and will come from the world around us. Grades will be determined by problem sets based on the applications. Prerequisites: None.

  • Michael Rolleigh | SP2012 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA2106.01

Introduction to Economics: Applications

This course covers the fundamentals of microeconomics and macroeconomics, including supply, demand, market structures, income distribution, fiscal policy, growth, international economic relations, and behavioral economics. The focus will be on using these ideas to explain behavior and design better public policies. Should we use minimum wage or the Earned Income Tax Credit to support the incomes of low wage earners? Should we use tariffs to preserve jobs in US manufacturing? Do agricultural subsidies in the US and EU hurt the poorest countries? What changes in technology or government policies have led to the current concentration of wealth in the US? These are a few of the applications we will address in this class. Grades will be determined by problem sets, short papers, and either a final exam or longer paper. Prerequisites: None. Not open to students who have taken PEC2110 Microeconomics.

  • Michael Rolleigh | SP2012 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | APA2115.01

Keystone XL Pipeline

Whether ultimately approved or not, the Keystone XL Pipeline offers a telling window into the contemporary politics of hydrocarbons in North America. Although oil pipelines have been around for nearly a century, they have long been neglected in scholarship and public debate. Today, that is beginning to change. Whether as a vehicle of development or as a harbinger of climate change, oil pipelines are increasingly understood not as inert things but as consequential authors in our troubled present. Using the technical planning for and spirited protests around the Keystone XL as primary source material, we will reflect more generally on the question of what kind of politics is possible around energy networks. A few themes will guide our inquiries: the aspirations and anxieties that gather around such projects; the inner workings of the regulatory process; the status of public voices; the relations between disclosed data and buried material; how energy networks build certain material and ethical linkages and sever others; and how fossil fuels interact with (or elude) traditional forms of criticism and change. At a number of points we will link the Keystone XL Pipeline to much bigger debates in social research today, including questions about the social dimensions of infrastructure as well as questions about the technical limits of democratic practice. Comparisons will be made with the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, BTC Pipeline, and the Chad Cameroon Pipeline. Prerequisites: None.

  • David Bond | FA2014 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | APA2130.01

Making Computing Socially Relevant

Educators are beginning to attend to the challenges of developing meaningful computer science education: identifying a common core of intended learning outcomes, instructional designs, and assessments. Computer scientists are beginning to attend to the challenges of making computing relevant to communities and society and educating the next generation of computing professionals. However, existing approaches to teaching computing tend to focus on small projects, solely for the consumption of the teacher and students in the class ("toy projects"); formal methods (the "traditional" approach); game development ("projects about toys"); or examples intended to be meaningful to the digital generation ("relevant" projects, but with a lower-case "r"). We will review existing computing curricula such as the Association for Computing Machinery's model K-12 computing curriculum and Cisco Academy; frameworks such as the media computation, robotics, and game approaches to introductory computing; and trends such as recent calls for computational thinking across disciplines to understand efforts to make computing accessible to a wide audience. We'll learn the underlying computing topics (programming, networking, etc.) at a level of detail that will allow us to address issues in curriculum development and instruction, assessment, and evaluation planning. Students will develop learning modules that are Socially Relevant (with a capital "R"), meaningful in the sense that they contribute to our understanding of and ability to improve society at large. This course will be of interest to education and computing students and those interested in computing education in service to public action. No prior programming experience is required. Prerequisites: None.

  • William Doane | SP2011 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | CS2105.01

Media Action Lab

What critical issues and questions should we grapple with? What are the resources required and available for social action? What are some of the best examples of how media are being used for public action? These are some of the questions that we address in this laboratory that seeks to develop media based projects that confront critical contemporary. Students design and collaborate on new media based initiatives and to share projects already in progress. Prerequisites: Open to students who have completed a course in media studies or theory or by permission of the instructor.

  • Peter Haratonik | FA2011 | W, 6:00PM- 9:00PM | APA4103.01

Media and Democracy Workshop

A laboratory for learning and working through the complexities of media's role in a democratic society. We will zero in on some of the pressing issues of this year's midterm elections, and use them as a lens onto topics such as: campaign finance, media ownership, information visualization (or distortion) by media, and some new strategies for media as a platform for ideas and a catalyst for action. Students will be conduing active independent and/ or group research projects, and ar expected to remain fully engaged in current media/ democracy news during the course. This course will meet principally on Tuesdays from 2:10pm-4:00pm, but will also require participation in a semi-regular Wednesday 7:00-8:30pm meeting, used either as group lab time or for visiting speakers. Prerequisites: None.

  • Erika Mijlin | FA2014 | T, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | APA2207.01
  • Erika Mijlin | FA2012 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA2207.01

Media And Social Action Seminar

What should every citizen know about media and their relation to contemporary society? What approaches can best prepare us to function effectively as critics, activists, scholars, teachers, artists, managers, and producers in an increasingly global, digital, and competitive landscape? What critical issues and questions should we grapple with? What resources are required and available for social action? These are some of the questions that we address in this seminar and laboratory that examines media and their relationships to society and culture. Students are encouraged to design new media based initiatives and to share projects already in progress. Prerequisites: None.

  • Peter Haratonik | SP2011 | M, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | APA2202.01

Media Convergence and Culture

A seminar on the changing nature of the relationship between consumption and production of media, and how these newly intersect. With a perspective rooted in the cultural history of forms such as quotation, parody, and collage, in this course we will explore the many transitions in the present media paradigm -- the changing aesthetics of digital media content and context, the personal and political uses of creativity and expression, and the economic and political implications of access, ownership, and participation in media. By investigating the new landscape of cinema, television, internet, gaming, social media, fan/remix culture, technoculture, media archaeology and more, we find that what we think of as 'convergence' is even more than a technological transition, and is in fact a cultural transformation. Prerequisites: Previous coursework in media studies or permission of the instructor.

  • Erika Mijlin | SP2013 | M, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | APA4102.01
  • Erika Mijlin | FA2011 | WF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | APA4102.01

Media Technology and Social Change

From the print revolution to the birth of photography, from moving images to social networking, we find that new media technologies are continually adapting to us, as we simultaneously, and more subtly, adapt to them. Every wave of technological innovation leaves human existence more closely intertwined with media of documentation and communication. A central question forms this course's premise : How has media technology changed the way we interact, the way we think, and the way we live, historically, and in the modern moment ? Reading Benjamin, McLuhan, Postman, Baudrillard, Sontag, etc. Screenings from Metropolis and Modern Times, from classic film documentaries to web projects, YouTube, video art, etc. Prerequisites: None.

  • Erika Mijlin | FA2013 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA2203.01
  • Erika Mijlin | FA2014 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA2203.01
  • Erika Mijlin | FA2011 | WF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA2203.01

Mediating the Past, Mediating the Present

In this course, we explore the ways in which our knowledge and understanding of present, recent past, and history are inevitably 'mediated'. How does the constant stream of the present become the permanent record of the past? As we dwell in the flow of a 24/7 information stream, we can identify and practically touch the moments at which the raw information 'feed' becomes digested, mediated, and perhaps more permanently interpreted into a social, cultural or political narrative. Once certain accounts are accepted into the cultural record, are there dangers in relying on one film or television account of history as definitive ? How will we (or others) choose to retell the events currently swirling through our public sphere ? At a different scale, in our personal lives, how are we creating a digital bread-crumb trail through social media ? It is in this context that we ask ourselves 'what is an event', 'what is history', and 'who is telling this story' ? With a focus on visual and digital media, the course will explore three major areas: historical films and television (fiction and non-fiction); social media and its impact on both personal and public events; and the information-news cycle, with its manufacture of narratives and events. Prerequisites: Previous coursework in media studies or permission of the instructor.

  • Erika Mijlin | SP2012 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | APA4105.01

Music as an Instrument for Social Change

This course will examine how music has provided strength and solidarity to various protest movements of the 20th century, often with dedicated support from student populations. We will look for examples of injustice and oppression which resulted in powerful musical expressions of both descriptive concern and angry defiance. Some of the social movements with a rich partnership in music will include: civil rights in the US, the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, anti-war movements, free speech movements, various labor struggles and other fights against racism, sexism and religious or national persecution. We will compare lyrics and opinions of artists as varied as Woody Guthrie, Bob Marley and John Lennon, noting how musical styles such as folk, rock, reggae and gospel can help unify a group of people with a common cause. Prerequisites: None. Corequisites: Students will be required to attend weekly screenings of pertinent films: Thursdays, 7-9 pm.

  • Bruce Williamson | FA2011 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | APA2114.01

Nature in the Americas

What is Nature? And what can we do with Nature? Such questions have a lively history in the Americas. Indeed, while Nature has a near mythic form in many public debates, much of its content is culled again and again from salient American examples. This course, then, uses such thorny questions as provocations to reflect more precisely on the historical cases and empirical problems that both animate presences of Nature in the contemporary and account for some of what makes social life in the Americas particular. Our orientation will be critical, comparative, and constructive. First, we will take a closer look at how the figure of nature has offered expedient cover to a number of interested causes, from colonialism to climate change. Next, we will compare the analytical configurations of nature in scholarship, understanding how nature has been taken up as a resource to fight over, as a historical agent in its own right, as an ideal that orients emotions and ethics, and as a crisis that demands new forms of political action. Lastly, we will work to mobilize what we've learned into a more potent set of reflections and engagements with the natural world today. Prerequisites: Previous work in social science or permission of the instructor.

  • David Bond | FA2013 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | ANT4215.01
  • David Bond | FA2014 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | APA4128.01

One Man's Treasure: Env. Conflict Resolution

On this ever shrinking planet, the likelihood that one will be a stakeholder in a dispute over natural resources, property development or environmental injury has never been greater. Through experiential learning, this course in environmental dispute resolution is designed to help equip students to effectively engagesuchconflict. We will examine the complexity of environmental disputes and, focusing on collaborative, multiparty processes, we will structure and work through processes intended to bring resolution. Through readings, written assignments, class exercises, and a semester long case study role play,students will experience these processes from the inside out.Ultimately, students will develop a richer understanding of the challenges and opportunities of environmental dispute resolution which will help inform their decisions and actions when confronted with the inevitable environmental conflict. Prerequisites: None.

  • Peter Pagnucco | SP2013 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA2210.01

Point of Criticality: Problems of Complexity

This is a course on the relationship of complex systems to conflict analysis. Concepts such as self-organization and improvisation, emergence, pattern recognition and complexity, feedback loops, nesting and topologies will all be examined as aspects of how complex problems are constructed. By looking at the 10 Step Complexity CR Model, we will analyze two case studies of current conflicts, one of high stakes distribution related to resources, and one that the class will decide on while making recommendations for action. Prerequisites: None.

  • Susan Sgorbati | SP2013 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA4203.01
  • Susan Sgorbati | SP2014 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA4203.01

Power 101

In this 14-week workshop, we will approach the question of power in its many dimensions. The questions of who does or does not have power underlie some of society's most pressing public and private dilemmas. Shadowed behind our many institutional, social and personal movements toward change, both historical and contemporary, power stands as a little understood structure. How does this complex commodity flow through our institutions ? How does power organize itself to be visible, or available ? With essential contribution from CAPA fellows and invited guests, through readings, case studies, and active exercises in visualizing and navigating power, we will attempt to describe and understand what power is, where it comes from, how it is taken or given, how it is wielded, and what is its transformative social potential. Presenting participants, individually and in panel, will include CAPA fellows Matt Kohut, Gong Szeto, Veronica Gunn, Suzanne Brundage, Rob Sanders, and Nigel Jacob, as well as other invited guests and Bennington faculty. Prerequisites: None.

  • Erika Mijlin | SP2013 | T, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | APA2208.01

Rebuilding Cities with the Arts

"Rebuilding Cities with the Arts with a Focus Study on Sister City Project : Tagum City , Mindanao Philippines and Bennington Vermont Rebuilding Cities with the Arts examines case studies of Cities that have rebuilt themselves after natural disasters, dealing with governance and economic inequity, innovative growth, political change, and response to environmental situations. Who are the artists who have contributed to this growth? Which cities are examples of some of these situations? In conjunction to this conversation, I am inviting Bennington students in the research and design of the development of a sister city project, Tagum City and Bennington Vermont. Situated in the heart of a rich agricultural island, Mindanao in the Philippines, Tagum City is known as a city that is progressive in education as well as a music capital of the Philippines. Residing 20 minutes of central Davao City , the eco-city of the Philippines , Tagum is set in an ideal location with resources. Bennington Students are invited to research and design what it would mean to have a sister city relationship through the performing and visual arts.

  • Susie Ibarra | FA2014 | W, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | APA2109.01

Rhetoric: The Art and Craft of Persuasion

The ability to speak and write persuasively is an essential skill for everyone. Whether you are writing a plan essay, applying for a job, or running for public office, you need to be persuasive and compelling. This course is a practical workshop in rhetoric. Students will write, deliver, and critique short (two-minute) persuasive speeches in each class. We will learn classic rhetorical terms and techniques, and apply them in our analysis of famous political speeches. At the end of the course, students will compete by delivering a five-minute speech on a topic of their choice to a distinguished panel of judges. Prerequisites: None.

  • Karen Gover | FA2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI2112.01
  • Karen Gover | FA2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | PHI2112.01

Seminar on Good Governance

Good governance involves the diverse ways by which governments manage public affairs, institutions and resources for the well being of their citizens and constituents. Largely taken for granted in the advanced industrialized world, good governance is now regarded by the international development community as the single most important factor for addressing conflict, poverty and state fragility and failure in underdeveloped or developing regions. This 7-week seminar will focus on the challenge of promoting good governance. Readings, presentations, assignments and discussions will explore the meanings of good governance, rules-based and outcome-based indicators of governance, major strategies for enhancing governmental quality and effectiveness (including decentralization, liberalization, democratization, anti-corruption reform, fiscal responsibility, and donor policy-level conditionality and selectivity), and illustrative country case studies of robust, mixed and poor governance. Prerequisites: At least one curse in the social sciences.

  • Rotimi Suberu | FA2011 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA4110.01

Sister City Project

In this course, Bennington students will participate in the research, design, and development of a sister city project between Tagum City and Bennington, Vermont. Situated in the heart of a rich agricultural island, Mindanao in the Philippines, Tagum City is known as a city that is progressive in education as well as a music capital of the Philippines. 20 minutes from central Davao City, the eco-city of the Philippines, Tagum is set in an ideal location with resources. Students will explore what it would mean to have a sister city relationship through the performing and visual arts. Prerequisites: None. Corequisites: Students enrolled in this course, must also be registered for APA2109, Rebuilding Cities.

  • Susie Ibarra | FA2014 | W, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | APA2110.01

Social Practices in Art

Social practices in art incorporates many diverse strategies from interactive media, online networks, manifestos, street interventions, social sculpture, design, performance, activism, open systems, public discourse and more. In this course we examine the history of social practice and focus in on how media and technology are impacting and shifting current practice. Students are encouraged to work collaboratively on projects that critically engage topics pertinent to this moment in history and are situated in the public sphere -- local or global, online or offline. There are lectures, reading assignments, studio projects and critiques during the course. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

  • Robert Ransick | FA2011 | T, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | APA4104.01
  • Robert Ransick | FA2014 | M, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | DA4103.01
  • Robert Ransick | FA2012 | T, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | VA4104.01
  • Robert Ransick | FA2013 | T, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | VA4104.01

The Interface is the Message

Some of the most revolutionary work in new media development is happening on the level of interface design -- where human meets machine, new paradigms of communication are established. We will begin with some historical milestones in interface design (the keyboard, the mouse, etc) and then move into some more contemporary innovations (touch screens, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, kinetic input, brain-computer interfaces, etc). Our work will be to see beyond the novelty of the devices themselves to discuss their transformative implications for human societies at both a personal and public scale. Prerequisites: None.

  • Erika Mijlin | SP2012 | WF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA2206.01

The U.S. Constitution: Ratification

Delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia produced a creditable document, yet it was the year-long battle over ratification during 1787 and 1788 that transformed their final draft into an enduring, singular civil covenant. Ratification debates were quintessentially American, a mix and match of sacred and profane, treatises and trinkets, high-minded and underhanded. Weekly readings include primary documents, contemporary newspapers and historical commentary. Writing assignments are varied and weekly. When the class convenes, we will arrange one or two day trips to nearby historically significant locations. Prerequisites: None.

  • Eileen Scully | FA2011 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | APA2134.01

The U.S. Constitution: Rough Drafts

The United States Constitution began as a idea and a rough draft. Indeed, when first presented to delegates at the Philadelphia Convention, the draft was a proposed treaty among thirteen erstwhile British colonies. In this seven-week seminar, we delve into the pivotal events, people and debates that produced the final draft, something far closer to a civil covenant than a pragmatic treaty. Weekly readings include primary documents, contemporary newspapers and historical commentary. Written work is varied and weekly. Once convened, the class will work out arrangements for one or two day trips to Boston and other nearby historically significant locations. Prerequisites: None.

  • Eileen Scully | FA2011 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | APA2133.01

Thought, Action, and Passion

For a long time we have disconnected the activity of thinking from that of doing. In addition to the impoverishment of both thought and action that results from this separation, we have lost touch with the emotional and intellectual intensities that the integration of thought and action generate. This course reconnects thought, action and passion by focusing on exploring the power of deliberation, understood as disciplined conversation about things that matter driven by the necessity for action. Our own conversation will address the challenges to deliberation that are especially acute in today's world: a crisis of values; an avoidance of complexity; an intolerance for ambiguity; a confusion of certainty with understanding, information with knowledge; an increasing tendency to embrace technological fundamentalism; a trivializing of the conditions necessary for innovation and an inadequate appreciation of the importance of improvisation. The development and exercise of these resources, which is the pedagogy of capa, will be explored through the lens of four topics: the environment, the use of force, governance and public health.

  • Elizabeth Coleman | FA2014 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA2118.01
  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2014 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | APA2118.01

Understanding Media in Everyday Life

To say the media play an important role in peoples live is both a commonplace and an understatement. Just try to find someone who doesn't e-mail, surf, tweet, blog, text, chat, IM, download, burn, scan, stream, watch, listen, or read on a daily basis. As symbol making and symbol using animals this is what we do. Many cling to older media forms. Others are totally immersed in emerging digital worlds. But being "immune" from or existing "outside" of media is virtually impossible. What then should every citizen know about media and their relation to contemporary society? What approaches can best prepare us to function effectively as critics, activists, scholars, teachers, artists, managers, and producers in an increasingly global, digital, and technological complex landscape? Required readings will frame the discussion of these questions. Students will complete a project involving contemporary media and social and political concerns. Four course sessions that focus on the stakes of media in everyday life will be open to the entire community. Prerequisites: None.

  • Peter Haratonik | FA2011 | W, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | APA2204.01

Workshop on Advancing Public Action

This workshop is designed to enable students to pursue work focused on public action regardless of the particular issue/s they are addressing or how far along they are in pursuing it. Some portion of the workshop will be dedicated to common experience - in particular exploring those concepts and methods that are capable of transforming one's relationship to public action independent of the particular issue being pursued. Students will also present their work to the workshop as it unfolds. Bennington faculty and staff, CAPA Fellows and guests will participate throughout the workshop. Prerequisites: Submission of a written proposal outlining the work to be undertaken and an interview with the instructor.

  • Elizabeth Coleman | FA2011 | W, 8:20AM-12:00PM | APA4201.01
  • Elizabeth Coleman | SP2012 | W, 8:20AM-12:00PM | APA4201.01

Design Lab

Investigating Digital 3D Thinking

The challenges posed by pressing contemporary social and political problems are complex and multifaceted; they will require multi-dimensional responses. This design lab investigates the potential for extending the reach of digital 3D thinking to problem solving in general by first immersing ourselves in the new digital design and fabrication processes and then applying its multi-dimensional techniques, orientation, and approach to problem solving generally. The first term explores the emerging world of digital production that can enable innovation that the analog world has failed to provide. The practice of object-making is undergoing an intense transition into digital production. Additive manufacturing has been posed as the next trillion-dollar business; in your lifetime you will be able to download objects--tables, chairs, clocks--and "manufacture" them in your own home. Designers, architects, and artists are finding digital design and fabrication processes to be common ground for communication and collaboration, in large part because many new projects necessitate multi-dimensional thinking about form and making. Through a series of discrete exercises coupling digital fabrication and design techniques, students in this course will gain familiarity with digital space and creative systems thinking. Students will design solutions to extant problems using digital modeling software; these digital designs will then be translated into analog objects by way of hand, machine, and robotic tools. We will observe the multiple transitions from digital to analog, with a keen eye toward understanding the qualities of each state (if indeed they can be neatly separated). A project lab course offered in the spring 2012 term will provide the opportunity to apply digital 3D thinking to real-world problem solving working with faculty and staff from the College and special guests. Prerequisites: None.

  • Jon Isherwood | FA2011 | M, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | DL2120.01

Investigating Digital 3D Thinking, Part 2

The challenges posed by pressing contemporary social and political problems are complex and multifaceted and will require multi-dimensional responses. This year-long course investigates the potential for extending the reach of digital 3D thinking to problem solving in general by first immersing ourselves in the new digital design and fabrication processes and then applying its multi-dimensional techniques, orientation, and approach to problem solving generally. The first term explored the emerging world of digital production that can enable innovation that the analog world has failed to provide. Through a series of discrete exercises coupling digital fabrication and design techniques, students gained familiarity with digital space and creative systems thinking. This term, students will design solutions to extant problems using digital modeling software; these digital designs will then be translated into analog objects by way of hand, machine, and robotic tools. We will observe the multiple transitions from digital to analog, with a keen eye toward understanding the qualities of each state (if indeed they can be neatly separated). Prerequisites: Completion of DL2120 Investigating Digital 3D Thinking or permission of the instructors.

  • Guy Snover | SP2012 | M, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | DL4120.01
  • Jon Isherwood | SP2012 | M, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | DL4120.01

Solving the Impossible: Intractable Conflicts

This course is about the challenge of solving conflicts that are firmly entrenched with little hope for change. Often these conflicts repeat a pattern of violence between groups that hold fixed positions and beliefs. We will look in depth at this type of conflict, analyzing the factors that contribute to intractibility. We will then look at people like Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, who led movements that made a conscious effort to resolve conflict non-violently and broke through the fixed nature of the problems they found themselves in. Current political movements in Egypt and Tunisia have been influenced by these great leaders. They applied non-violent theories to practical action. These strategic non-violent encounters will also be explored through the lens of complex dynamic systems. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2012 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | DL2201.01
  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2011 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | DL4101.01
  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2013 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | MED2106.01

The Sababa Project

The Problem: One of the urgent problems of our time is the number of at-risk youth around the world regularly recruited into violent conflicts. What are the factors that make this possible? This Design Lab will look at the serious problems facing adolescents in our own community as well as in other cultures. "Sababa" is a word that means "cool", created by both Israeli and Palestinian adolescent youth. As far as we know, it is the only shared word of its kind that was created by youth from two warring peoples. "Sababa" is an example of the spontaneous, hopeful response that is possible when youth are given the opportunity to respond to their conflicts. The Lab: In this Design Lab, college students will be meeting each week with the students in the Quantum Leap classroom at Mount Anthony Union High School. This is a classroom for at-risk youth, and college students will be mentoring as well as learning along side the high school students. We will be studying the factors involved in growing up and being particularly vulnerable to violent and destructive behaviors, and will be meeting with youth from other cultures as well to see if there are common experiences we share. The Action: After studying and reflecting on the factors contributing to youth violence and recruitment into destructive conflicts, we will be proposing projects that will change this phenomenon both locally and globally. This term, we will be focusing on the intractable conflict between Israel and Palestine. Students from Bennington College and the Quantum Leap Classroom will collaborate on projects that will be exhibited in the Museum Exhibit at Mount Anthony Union High School at the end of May. Prerequisites: For first-year students. Upper-class students admitted by application.

  • Daniel Michaelson | SP2011 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | DL2102.01
  • Susan Sgorbati | SP2011 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | DL2102.01

The Sababa Project: Children in Crisis

There are similarities in children and adolescents all over the world who are in crisis, whether they are youth at-risk in the United States as a result of domestic violence, poverty, drug abuse, or for academic reasons, or if they are youth at-risk in countries that are at-risk, for example, because of horrific violence or issues of economic or environmental sustainability. This class will meet regularly with students from the Quantum Leap alternative classroom at Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington. Separately, and together, we will look at adolescence - moving from "telling your story", to understanding adolescent developmental issues (including differences particular to boys or girls), to examining solutions and approaches that help young people navigate the world, to expanding the sense of connection to other communities. There will be guest speakers from the faculty and community. Readings will include "A Mind at a Time" (Mel Levine), "A Training Guide for Mentors" (Jay Smink),as well as fiction and non-fiction dealing with adolescents coming of age. Films may include "Promises", "Invisible Children", and "Pass on the Gift" (Heifer International Foundation). Bennington College students will write several small reflection essays and one longer research paper, act as mentors to the Quantum Leap students, as well as participate in a small group collaboration with them to create a project that demonstrates sustainability practices in a country of the group's choosing. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructors. By May 2, please email a brief statement of interest and relevant coursework and experience to dmichaelson@bennington.edu.

  • Daniel Michaelson | FA2012 | MTh, 8:30AM-12:00PM | DL4202.01
  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2012 | MTh, 8:30AM-12:00PM | DL4202.01
  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2013 | M, 8:20AM-12:00PM | MED4202.01

Theater and the Arts for Peace and Reconciliation

How can theater and the other arts help youth in at-risk situations, or build international peace, or rehabilitate prisoners, or help victims of genocide? Students in this class will investigate various efforts both local and international that involve theater and other arts as well as help to develop a resource list. Guest artists will discuss their particular projects. Students will work to develop their own individual or collaborative ideas for additional projects. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor. Previous experience in the arts or work in the social sector preferred.

  • Daniel Michaelson | FA2011 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | DL4102.01
  • Daniel Michaelson | FA2013 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | MED4102.01

Mediation

Advanced Mediation Training

This course is an advanced level of training in mediation and negotiation. Skills such as principled collaborative problem-solving, interest-based negotiation and impartiality are a part of the practice. Students will be asked to participate in role-play exercises, read a series of articles, and write a response paper and reflection essay. Based on attendance in the previous course, a certificate for a 24-hour training will be issued to each student who completes this course. Prerequisites: MOD2110 Mediation and Negotiation module or permission of the instructor.

  • Peter Pagnucco | SP2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MED4301.01

Advanced Projects in Community Dispute Resolution

Students create/investigate/implement a community project. Examples have been "What's GNU?" Global Network of Understanding" - the Quantum Leap website that promotes cultural understanding by connecting students around the world, a non-profit "Music In The Key of Peace" that brings Israeli and Palestinian musicians together on projects, and a pilot conflict resolution program for all first year students at the local high school in Bennington. Prerequisites: MOD2110 Mediation and Negotiation module.

  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2012 | T, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MED4286.01

And Process for All

In American society, conflict resolution need not mean a punch in the nose-instead, we have process. This course is an experiential examination of two primary conflict resolution processes, litigation and mediation; and is intended for students willing to try things out. First, we will explore what society might want from a conflict resolution process and examine some of the sources of our wisdom on process. Then we will embark on an experiential study of litigation and mediation. Throughout the course, students will have many opportunities, through readings, written assignments, class exercises, and mediation and litigation/trial role plays, to learn about these processes from the inside out and practice skills employed by various process participants (lawyers, judges, mediators, disputants, etc.). Ultimately students will develop a richer understanding of these processes which will help inform their decisions and actions when confronted with conflict. Prerequisites: None.

  • Peter Pagnucco | SP2011 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | MED2110.01
  • Peter Pagnucco | SP2012 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | MED2110.01
  • Peter Pagnucco | SP2014 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | MED2110.01

Conflict Resolution: The Ideas and Practice

This course will present an interdisciplinary approach to the theory of conflict resolution. Theories of conflict resolution will be introduced and then explored through a number of different prisms. These will include the macro issues of the nature of peace, the environment, the media, NGOs, as well as the role of religion and the Bible. There will also be a focus for part of the course on the Arab-Israeli Conflict. The relationship of Rock n Roll and the arts to conflict resolution will also be examined. The course will culminate during its last two sessions with students sharing and discussing their own personal conflict resolution philosophy and statements. Prerequisites: none.

  • Michael Cohen | SP2013 | Th, 6:10PM-10:00PM | APA2136.01
  • Michael Cohen | SP2014 | Th, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | MED2112.01

Projects in Community Dispute Resolution

Students create/investigate/implement a community dispute project of their own choosing. Past projects have included introducing mediation skills in the local high school as well as setting up a literacy program for girls in Pakistan. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor. Training or introductory course in conflict resolution.

  • Daniel Michaelson | SP2011 | , - | MED4285.01
  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2011 | , - | MED4285.01

Small Claims Court Mediation

Students are asked to observe, research, and co-mediate with professional mediators in Small Claims Court Mediation Project in Superior Court in Bennington and Manchester, Vermont. We explore the nature of community dispute resolution and how landlord/tenant, small businesses, and neighborhood disputes are structured and resolved. How the adversarial process of court and the collaborative process of mediation are contrasted and juxtaposed are subjects of investigation in this course. If time permits, students will also learn the basics of restorative justice by observing community panels for court diversion and restorative programs sponsored by the Center of Restorative Justice. Students write a short paper on each mediation or community panel observed, analyzing why a particular dispute was resolved or not. Prerequisites: Mediation training or Mediation and Negotiation module AND permission of the instructor.

  • Daniel Michaelson | SP2011 | Th, 1:00PM- 3:00PM | MED4101.01
  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2011 | Th, 1:00PM- 3:00PM | MED4101.01
  • Susan Sgorbati | SP2012 | Th, 1:00PM- 3:00PM | MED4101.01

Solving the Impossible: Intractable Conflicts

This course is about the challenge of solving conflicts that are firmly entrenched with little hope for change. Often these conflicts repeat a pattern of violence between groups that hold fixed positions and beliefs. We will look in depth at this type of conflict, analyzing the factors that contribute to intractibility. We will then look at people like Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, who led movements that made a conscious effort to resolve conflict non-violently and broke through the fixed nature of the problems they found themselves in. Current political movements around the world have been influenced by these great leaders. They applied non-violent theories to practical action. These strategic non-violent encounters will also be explored through the lens of complex dynamic systems. Multi-party collaborative problem-solving is a capacity that is a practice of this course. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2012 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | DL2201.01
  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2011 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | DL4101.01
  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2013 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | MED2106.01

The Art of Mediation and Negotiation

In this class we will explore the basic elements of conflict resolution. We will learn and observe the differences between mediation, negotiation, and court processes. We will examine which behaviors escalate conflicts, and which ones build lasting foundations of peace. Incorporated into this class is a certified twenty-hour training in basic mediation skills, including active participation in role-plays. The training, if completed successfully, results in a certificate from the Bennington College Conflict Resolution Program. We will address throughout the class current conflicts around the world and how they are, are not, or might be resolved. Students will be expected to write several short response papers as well as a final project examining how other cultures approach conflict and the problems that occur when these different approaches confront one another. This class involves reading, discussion, training, research, and writing. Prerequisites: None.

  • Daniel Michaelson | FA2014 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | MED2107.01

The Dual Narrative and the Arab-Israeli Conflict

This course will look at one of the longest protracted conflicts in the world today. A complex conflict with many components this course will use the dual narrative approach to gain a deeper understanding of this century old war. Historical events and documents will be examined through the prism of the dual narrative. The dual narrative approach to the Arab-Israeli Conflict was developed by Dr. Sami Adwan of Bethlehem University and Dr. Dan Bar-On of Ben-Gurion University. Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor.

  • Michael Cohen | FA2013 | T, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | MED4206.01

The Sababa Project: Children in Crisis

There are similarities in children and adolescents all over the world who are in crisis, whether they are youth at-risk in the United States as a result of domestic violence, poverty, drug abuse, or for academic reasons, or if they are youth at-risk in countries that are at-risk, for example, because of horrific violence or issues of economic or environmental sustainability. This class will meet regularly with students from the Quantum Leap alternative classroom at Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington. Separately, and together, we will look at adolescence - moving from "telling your story", to understanding adolescent developmental issues (including differences particular to boys or girls), to examining solutions and approaches that help young people navigate the world, to expanding the sense of connection to other communities. There will be guest speakers from the faculty and community. Readings will include "A Mind at a Time" (Mel Levine), "A Training Guide for Mentors" (Jay Smink),as well as fiction and non-fiction dealing with adolescents coming of age. Films may include "Promises", "Invisible Children", and "Pass on the Gift" (Heifer International Foundation). Bennington College students will write several small reflection essays and one longer research paper, act as mentors to the Quantum Leap students, as well as participate in a small group collaboration with them to create a project that demonstrates sustainability practices in a country of the group's choosing. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructors.

  • Daniel Michaelson | FA2012 | MTh, 8:30AM-12:00PM | DL4202.01
  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2012 | MTh, 8:30AM-12:00PM | DL4202.01
  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2013 | M, 8:20AM-12:00PM | MED4202.01

The Sababa Project: Youth in Crisis

There are similarities in children and adolescents all over the world, whether they live in the United States and are in crisis as a result of domestic violence, poverty or drug abuse, or if they live in other countries around the world, where there is horrific violence or issues of economic or environmental sustainability. The Sababa Project: Youth in Crisis is a unique class composed of both Bennington College students and high school students from the Quantum Leap* Exhibit Program at the local high school. Sababa means cool in both Hebrew and Arabic, a word popularized by youth culture in a region of conflict. The Bennington College students in this class are both learners and mentors. Meeting together with the high school students, the class will look at adolescents around the world, examining how youth are at risk currently and/or in the future. There will be guest speakers from the faculty and community. A public viewing of the work will occur in the first week in December in the Knowledge Cafe, created at the Quantum Leap Exhibit Program. *Quantum Leap is an award-winning program that reconnects youth to their education, created in 1999 by Bennington College faculty members Susan Sgorbati and Daniel Michaelson. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor. By May 2 please email a brief statement of interest and relevant coursework and experience to dmichaelson@bennington.edu

  • Daniel Michaelson | FA2014 | MTh, 8:10AM-10:00AM | MED4207.01

Theater and the Arts for Peace and Reconciliation

How can Theatre, Visual Arts, Music and Dance help youth in at-risk situations, or build international peace, or rehabilitate prisoners, or help victims of genocide, or heal the environment? Students in this class will investigate various efforts both local and international that involve theatre and other arts for social action, including the "Belarusian Dream" project in Spring 2014, when Bennington College along with other international venues, will produce eight award-winning short plays dealing with Eastern European country of Belarus. Students in this class will write several short papers, help to develop a resource list, and work to create their own individual or collaborative ideas for future projects. Some students may want to follow up by enrolling in Jean Randich's Spring 2014 class Belarusian Dream: Human Rights and Performance. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor. Previous experience in the arts or work in the social sector preferred.

  • Daniel Michaelson | FA2011 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | DL4102.01
  • Daniel Michaelson | FA2013 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | MED4102.01

Module

Actors and Writers Collaborative

When a writer puts words on paper, she writes not into a void, but towards a certain unknown reader. She must choose her words so that a reader may glean nuance and intent: the true voice. The reader, too, makes choices; he must use his instincts, coupled with careful text analysis, to bring life to those words and communicate that true voice. This course will explore what may be learned in the interchange of written and spoken word. The first week will focus on reading outside texts, writing new material, and exploring methods of text analysis and the performance techniques of Readers Theater. The second week's work will focus on readings and reflections about the choices made; reevaluation of work will be ongoing. During the final week, actors and writers will collaborate on revision and reading. All students will participate fully in discussion and write weekly reflections on the process. Students are also expected to attend one lecture, performance, or event outside of regularly scheduled class time. Prerequisites: None.

  • Jenny Rohn | SP2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2128.01
  • Rebecca Godwin | SP2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2128.01
  • Jenny Rohn | SP2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2128.03
  • Rebecca Godwin | SP2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2128.03

Advanced Mediation

This course is an advanced level of training in mediation. Advanced mediator skills are featured including effective neutral intervention, constructive communication, reframing, problem framing, interest-based negotiation and agreement writing. Students will participate in daily role-play exercises, read and present articles, and write a reflection essay or short project. Based on prior course credit, a certificate for a 24-hour training will be issued to each student who completes this course. Prerequisites: Introductory Mediation and Negotiation module or permission of the instructor.

  • Peter Pagnucco | SP2013 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | APA4206.01
  • Peter Pagnucco | SP2014 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD4101.01

Business Incubator

Do you imagine someday starting your own venture? Do you have an idea for a business, organization or social enterprise? Are you a working artist, musician or entrepreneur? Are you considering a self-employed career path? Group sessions and one-on-one coaching will help entrepreneurs develop and hone practical plans to support, strengthen and forward their business ideas. Students can use this module to forward existing businesses and enterprises, to develop a new business or to practice the planning process by forwarding a hypothetical concept. Prerequisites: None.

  • Alison Dennis | FA2013 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | MOD2145.02
  • Alison Dennis | FA2014 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2145.02

Business, Ethics, & Society

What are the relationships between economic, social and ecological prosperity? Is the creation of a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society possible given today's economic models and market dynamics? What are our obligations as individuals to contribute to setting the economic agenda for our society? What new approaches and models are redefining the relationship between business and society? Are these new models and approaches scale-able? This three-week module will address the rapidly changing relationship between business, ethics, and society and explore past, present and future models for public action. Prerequisites: none.

  • Alison Dennis | FA2013 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | MOD2146.03

Conflict Confident

Conflict is a natural and inevitable part of life. How we deal with it can make all the difference. This course is designed to impact fundamental skills necessary for individuals to productively engage conflict: in short, to become conflict confident. Major themes will include: an effective intellectual approach to techniques. Students will participate in role plays and other exercises, read classic texts and prepare a project or reflection essay. Prerequisites: none.

  • Peter Pagnucco | SP2014 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2143.02

Cultural Studies: Amanda Knox in Translation

This is the second of a two-module series that discusses the importance of approaching a different culture from its own perspective. The series, which includes "Cultural Studies: Learning Cultural Perspectives Through Ikebana," will help students experience the process of cross-cultural understanding. One of the interesting and controversial aspects of Knox's trial in Italy is related to translation and, in particular, to cultural misunderstanding there were things the Italian court and Italians in general were not able to understand about Amanda, and things that Amanda was not able to understand about Italy, even though she had been living there for some time. What happens when people form different cultures must be able to communicate efficaciously, especially in a context where clarity is highly desirable, and assumptions and suppositions see the clashing of different cultural backgrounds? We will try and see what specifically happened in the case of the cultural clash between Amanda Knox and Italy, by reading and analyzing what has been said about this case in the press coverage, in books, interviews, and other materials, both in Italy and the US. No knowledge of Italian is necessary.

  • Barbara Alfano | FA2014 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | MOD2138.02

Cultural Studies: Learning Culture Through Ikebana

This is the first of a two-module series that discusses the importance of approaching a different culture from its own perspective. The series, which includes Cultural Studies: Amanda Knox in Translation, will help students experience the process of cross-cultural understanding. The capacity to sense, let alone experience, anothers point of view seems critical in understanding todays world. Because ways of viewing and organizing information can be tied to culture, it is often difficult to grasp art/ architecture/ events from a cultural perspective not from our own. Students will use Ikebana, one of the prominent art forms of Japan, as a vehicle or an entry point to notice and reflect on codes/symbols that are entirely foreign and unfamiliar. This leads into a rich discussion of cultural perceptions and perspectives. Using flowers as its material, each element in Ikebana has a symbolic meaning and each symbol represents cultural perspectives and aesthetics. There is deep consideration of principals found in nature and of relationships between humans and nature. In this three-week course, students will study how culture affects ones thought and perception by analyzing the philosophical principles of Ikebana and the Japanese sense of beauty. They will also practice Ikebana, applying their understanding, and challenging their own assumptions about culture and symbols, proportion, line, the inter- relationship between elements, and ultimately, meaning.

  • Ikuko Yoshida | FA2014 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2148.01

Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" & Public Action

Since its publication in 1843, Charles Dickens' allegorical tale about a miserly businessman has never gone out of print. While the novella's holiday-themed story is widely known, a close reading of the original text reveals sharp criticism of industrial capitalism and its devastating impact on social welfare. In this module we will read "A Christmas Carol" aloud together and explore its relevance and power today, both as evergreen social criticism and as a literary call to action. We will also explore the issue of hunger in the town of Bennington, Vermont, and engage in a public action project. Like the novella, this module will take place as the holidays approach, during the last three weeks of the term.

  • Alison Dennis | FA2014 | W, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2136.04
  • Brooke Allen | FA2014 | W, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2136.04

Environmental Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations

Have you ever heard environmental factoids such as, recycling one aluminum can saves enough electricity to run a TV for 3 hours, or installing 1 megawatt of wind energy saves 2,600 tons of carbon dioxide, and wondered how these numbers are calculated, or if they are even close to realistic? Have you ever wondered how many wind turbines or solar panels we would need to install in order to get our electricity without burning coal? These types of approximations are relatively easy to make using simple math along with reasonable estimations and assumptions. This module will present the knowledge and skills needed to quickly distinguish reasonable claims from wild inaccuracies, and good ideas from half-baked notions. Prerequisites: None.

  • Tim Schroeder | SP2013 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2133.03

Envisioning Information: Mapping Complexity

This Module explores how complex systems can be mapped visually. Often, non-linear structures are difficult to see and understand. They happen at different levels and at different scales. These classes will be devoted to learning the skills of visual mapping. Certain websites will be investigated, such as bubbl.org, visualcomplexity.com and informationisbeautiful.og. Books by Manuel Lima and Edward Tufte will be read and analyzed. Visual mapping will be practiced, focusing on specific problems that include complex balancing and reinforcing feedback loops. Prerequisites: None.

  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2014 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2139.03

Frame and Focus

Most people usually think of a frame as something surrounding a two-dimensional object such as a painting, an architectural aperture such as a door or window, or as the smallest stopped unit of a film. A frame may function to strengthen focus on whatever is located within its border. In this module, we will explore the concepts of frame and focus and their relationship to scale as applied to three-dimensional space. To explore frame and focus on a small scale, we will view and discuss images of the small, diorama-like boxes created by artist Joseph Cornell and the window displays of Gene Moore. On a large scale, we will look at some historical examples of theater forms, such as Greek, Roman, Renaissance, Elizabethan, and contemporary, to identify how these architectural types differently frame and focus the performances housed within. In between, we will look at how various windows around campus frame our views/focus on the campus landscapes. Students are also expected to attend one lecture, performance, or event outside of regularly scheduled class time. Prerequisites: None.

  • Michael Giannitti | FA2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2109.02
  • Michael Giannitti | FA2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2109.03

Hedge Fund

This module will be a 6-session class simulation of running a hedge fund, from trading stocks and other investment instruments, to research analysis, risk management, and financial information technologies. The objective of this module is to teach students about financial markets, corporations, and industry sectors, all from the standpoint of the role these play in our global economy. Students will be asked to choose industrial sectors to concentrate in, play roles as analysts or traders, and we will be reading from the Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The New York Times, and other daily sources to inform our hedge funds' priorities, risk management philosophy, and daily trading activities. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the role of markets in society, how financial markets function, introductory investment knowledge, and financial data literacy, all in a fun and engaging simulation environment using a $1 million virtual firm capital portfolio and trading simulation software using real market data. Students interested in learning how our world's financial markets work and how they may relate to your plans are encouraged to enroll. Prerequisites: None.

  • Gong Szeto | SP2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2131.01

Mediation and Negotiation

This module includes a twelve-hour training in Mediation and Negotiation skills. Mediation is a facilitated process where a third neutral party helps disputants with conflicting interests negotiate an agreement. The process of Mediation can be used in a range of conflicts such as family, roommate, sports, business, environmental, and international. Capacities such as active listening, defining interests, identifying issues, and developing options will be practiced. The difference between adversarial and principled negotiation will be explored. An official certificate is given to a student who successfully completes this training. Students are also expected to attend one lecture, performance, or event outside of regularly scheduled class time. Prerequisites: None.

  • Daniel Michaelson | FA2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2110.01
  • Daniel Michaelson | FA2013 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2110.01
  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2110.01
  • Daniel Michaelson | FA2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2110.02
  • Daniel Michaelson | FA2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2110.02
  • Daniel Michaelson | FA2013 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2110.02
  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2110.02
  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2110.02
  • Daniel Michaelson | FA2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2110.04
  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2110.04

Negotiation

This course is an advanced level of training in negotiation, but is open to all students. The skills and theory of interest-based negotiation will be primarily featured. Students will read Fisher and Ury's classic, "Getting to Yes", participate in daily role-play exercises and write a reflection essay or short project. Prerequisties: None.

  • Peter Pagnucco | SP2013 | TF, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2142.02

Noticing, Choosing and Writing to Describe

When looking at an object, watching something moving, experiencing the sound of an occurrence, witnessing an interaction between people, or noticing the surrounding circumstance of any object or event - how do we choose what we see? What are we not choosing? And how do we attempt to speak or write about it? Focusing on any events or objects, not intentionally art, we will practice noticing myriad aspects of them, discussing them, and writing about them. The first week will be dedicated to describing objects, motion, and sound; the second to interactions between objects, living beings, etc; the third to surrounding circumstances of events. Students are expected to write and rewrite a series of descriptions, fully participate in exercises and discussions. Students are also expected to attend one lecture, performance, or event outside of regularly scheduled class time. Prerequisites: None.

  • Dana Reitz | SP2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2107.01
  • Dana Reitz | SP2013 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2107.01
  • Dana Reitz | SP2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2107.02
  • Dana Reitz | FA2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2107.03
  • Dana Reitz | FA2013 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2107.03
  • Dana Reitz | FA2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2107.04
  • Dana Reitz | FA2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2107.04
  • Dana Reitz | FA2013 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2107.04

Seeing the Light

Through the directed observation of the light we all encounter in our everyday lives and some examples of light depicted in various art forms, we will seek to enhance each participant's visual vocabulary and ability to assess and articulate perceptions. We will also learn about the characteristics of various light sources, the technologies involved in producing light, and energy consumption issues associated with lighting. We will observe how light functions in various architectural settings around the campus, and also view some examples of artists' depiction of light. We will then move on to explore how the composition and focus of an otherwise darkened space can be manipulated with light, and discuss how principles of composition and focus might be applicable to work in other disciplines. Students are expected to fully engage in class observations and discussions, complete several short written assignments, and attend one lecture outside of regularly scheduled class time. Prerequisites: None.

  • Michael Giannitti | FA2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2106.01
  • Michael Giannitti | FA2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2106.01

Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Calling all innovators, catalysts and designers: this three-week module is for students interested in the process of developing creative solutions and ventures in response to societal needs. Participants are invited, as individuals or teams, to enter the workshop with a specific social or environmental issue or area of interest, from capus or community issues to national and global challenges. Through the workshop participants will go through the creative process of identifying a specific societal need and developing a solution from idea to launch. Participants will conduct primary research to understand societal needs, employ a range of strategic planning and design tools and explore a spectrum of nonprofit, for-profit and hybrid organizational models. At the completion of the model, participants will present their plans to a panel of practitioners and get feedback. The workshop can be used as a way to gain experience by forwarding a hypothetical project or as a launch pad to develop a real venture. Prerequisites: None.

  • Alison Dennis | FA2013 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | MOD2144.01
  • Alison Dennis | FA2014 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2144.01

Social Marketing

The everyday choices we make as citizens and consumers directly impact human and environmental health. From the food we eat to the clothing we wear, each choice has upstream and downstream impacts. The more global our society becomes, the more challenging it is to understand the impacts of our choices and to make informed decisions. This three-week module will explore social marketing as a powerful tool for raising public awareness, changing public behavior and catalyzing social movements. Participants will have the opportunity to research an issue of interest as individuals or as teams and to develop a social marketing campaign employing a wide range of media. All writers, actors, dancers, filmmakers, photographers, social scientists, activists and upstarts welcome. Prerequisites: None.

  • Alison Dennis | FA2014 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2147.03
  • Alison Dennis | FA2013 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | MOD2147.04

Social/Cultural Codes & Symbols through Ikebana

The capacity to sense, let alone experience, another's point of view, seems critical in understanding today's world. Ways of viewing and organizing information can be tied to culture. It is often difficult to consider art/architecture/events from a cultural perspective not our own. Students will use Ikebana, one of the prominent art forms of Japan, as a vehicle or an entry point to notice and reflect on codes/symbols that are entirely foreign and unfamiliar. This leads into a rich discussion of cultural perceptions. Using flowers as its material, each element in Ikebana has a symbolic meaning and each symbol represents cultural perspectives and aesthetics. There is deep consideration of principals found in nature and of relationships between humans and nature. In this three-week course, students will study the history and the philosophical principals of Ikebana and analyze the Japanese sense of beauty by contemplating various styles from various schools. They will also practice some Ikebana, applying their understanding, challenging their own assumptions about culture and symbols, proportion, line, the inter-relationship between elements, and ultimately, meaning. Students are also expected to attend one lecture outside of regularly scheduled class time. Prerequisites: None.

  • Ikuko Yoshida | FA2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2103.01

Speak Out

We all have things that are important for us to say and we want to be heard. This module will help us to explore using our voices in a healthy way that will allow us to be heard more clearly. We will use simple exercises to develop breath support and vocal projection while learning about basic vocal production. We want to be reminded of what all babies know -- and what most grownups have forgotten. Our work will lead to being heard more clearly while using our voices in authentic, meaningful ways. Students are also expected to attend one lecture, performance, or event outside of regularly scheduled class time. Prerequisites: None.

  • Thomas Bogdan | FA2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2117.01
  • Thomas Bogdan | FA2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2117.03

The Art of Critique

How do we see an artwork and clearly articulate what we experience into verbal or written language? Focusing on different expressions of art and culture over three weeks, we will examine a process of critique that includes observation/investigation, description, analysis/interpretation, evaluation and suggestion. We explore how these methods of artistic critique can be broadly applied when critically examining texts from a variety of sources including popular culture (movies, music, television, advertising etc.), media messages (news/journalism, blogs, etc.), literature and more. Students are expected to fully participate in exercises and discussions, read a series of articles each week and attend one lecture outside of regularly scheduled class time. Prerequisites: None.

  • Dana Reitz | FA2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2105.02
  • Robert Ransick | FA2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2105.02
  • Dana Reitz | SP2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2105.03
  • Robert Ransick | SP2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2105.03

The Bible and Conflict Resolution

The Bible provides many examples and lessons about conflict resolution. This three-week module will focus on some of the most important texts in the Bible when it comes to conflict resolution. Those selected texts will be examined using two thousand years of commentary and analysis. Modern conflict resolution theories, which provide contemporary approaches, will be integrated into the exploration of the text to help the student understand the meaning through the prism of conflict resolution and provide the student with conflict resolution skills.

  • Michael Cohen | FA2014 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2137.04

The Radicals: Stravinsky and Dance

This three-week module will focus on three extraordinary dance works created by choreographers Vaslav Nijinsky, Bronislava Nijinska, and George Balanchine to music by Igor Stravinsky. In examining both the music and dance of "Le Sacre du Printemps" (1913), "Les Noces", (1923) and "Agon" (1954), we will look for the ways in which the artists in each medium radically rethought their vocabularies, creating works whose emotional power and dynamism arose both from exploring the potential of hitherto neglected aspects of their art, and from drastically suppressing other features which had been the very mainstay of what had previously been considered "expressive" and "beautiful". The resulting works have a severity, an energy, and a freshness that still shocks and moves us. It is possible to change perception through creative acts. This Module will help students visualize, hear, and translate radical, innovative work and understand its implications for profound cultural change. Students will be challenged to reflect on these complex works, to observe and consider details in the languages of dance and music that may be new to them. They will be expected to discuss the work and write response papers that distill and analyze what they have learned. Prerequisites: None.

  • Allen Shawn | FA2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2132.01
  • Susan Sgorbati | FA2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2132.01

Tintin and the Secret of Semiotics

Semiotics, beyond the study of signs and symbols, has evolved into the study of particular cultural structures. By analyzing one of the greatest comic books, Tintin in Tibet (i.e. how the story is laid out visually as well as narratively) we gain and/or develop ways to interpret other systems (commercials, Presidential debates, reportage, artifacts). Many disciplines converge here; we can look at color, shape, gesture, space, etc. This does not override any other critical approach, but adds to the overall understanding of the world we live in. Students will be asked to apply their new skills to another medium and produce a semiotic analysis of their choice. Students are also expected to attend one lecture, performance, or event outside of regularly scheduled class. Prerequisites: None.

  • Jean-Frederic Hennuy | SP2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2129.01

Understanding Dewey's Reflective Practice

For John Dewey reflection was a disciplined practice central to learning. He puts forth a four-stage cycle in which a learner identifies and describes an experience of disequilibrium, analyzes it, and, based on the analysis, experiments. In this module students will read works by and about John Dewey and apply his four-stage model of reflection to their own learning. They will be asked to identify a moment in which they experience disequilibrium to be used as the basis for their work in the class. Prerequisites: None.

  • Carol Meyer | SP2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2123.02
  • Carol Meyer | FA2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2123.03

Wicked Problems

"Wicked problems" demand answers and resist remedies. They loom large, yet cannot be located or pinned down. Examples include global warming, terrorism, poverty, and human trafficking. After orienting ourselves in the topology and terminology of "wicked problems," we will do a brief survey of innovative approaches. Using downloadable share-ware specifically designed to tackle this species of "wickedness," we will undertake hands-on application of two particularly accessible and intriguing approaches: dialogue mapping, and argumentative design. There is no assumption that students will already be familiar with computer-assisted visualization or dialogue mapping, though curiosity about wickedness is essential. Prerequisites: None.

  • Eileen Scully | FA2013 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2126.02
  • Eileen Scully | SP2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2126.02
  • Eileen Scully | FA2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2126.03
  • Eileen Scully | FA2013 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | MOD2126.04