Fall Term 2013 Courses
"Certain people start with a documentary and arrive at fiction...others start with fiction and arrive at the documentary."-Jean Luc Godard This is an introductory course for students who would like to develop their interest in documentary practice. Through a combination of screenings, lectures, readings and technical workshops, we will explore a critical/historical overview of this genre and incorporate our knowledge and experience to produce individual or collaborative projects in a variety of "modes of representation. " Projects need not be restricted to a particular medium; in fact, students will be encouraged to explore the ways in which film, video, and/or animation can be utilized together.
This course focuses on the broad fundamentals of western music and music theory, including music literacy (how to read western music notation). We will learn theoretical concepts (pitch, rhythm, timbral nuances, texture, intervals, chords, harmony, etc.) and develop our sense of aural music cognition through ear training. This course will connect music to theory by teaching students how to compose music and by performing on instruments the basic theoretical concepts covered throughout the course. No prior music training or literacy is required. We will also apply the theory we learn to the instruments we play (or to Orff xylophones for those who do not play an instrument). While we will use instruments as a sort of laboratory to test out the theory we learn, this course does not attempt to teach students how to play their instrument.
Students must attend ear training classes once a week and can choose between Monday or Thursday evenings, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm, Music Classroom in the Music and Dance Building.
While we may live in a society that favors narrative, poetry remains a vital art form that we can learn to appreciate. This course is designed to enhance the experience of reading, knowing, responding to, thinking through, and articulating ideas about poems. Key units will address the language, sound, rhythm, and form of poetry as well as explore several enduring poetic themes. Readings will span the history of British and American poetry from the early modern to the contemporary.
In this introductory-level course we will explore the genealogies of underground, alternative, and radical comics in the United States, focusing on how unconventional comics relate to ideas about popular culture, underground cultures, and politics of race, gender, sexuality, and class. Course readings will include comics, critical and theoretical readings, and histories; we will make extensive use of the Underground and Independent Comics Database. In addition to exploring this subject matter, the course will also focus significant attention on critical reading and writing. Students will complete weekly reading responses; write two short papers; and propose, write, and revise an 8-10 page research essay.
TRIGGER WARNING: Some of the assigned material this semester involves explicit depictions of violence, including sexual violence and incest. I will give students warnings about these assigned readings, but there may be times when such triggering material enters into class discussions and presentations without adequate warning. In both cases, any student is welcome to step out of the room to take a break, or leave class for the day if needed. However, our database of comics presents a larger minefield of triggers. If you are concerned about your ability to navigate this course material, please come speak to me or the T.A. early in the semester.
This course is the foundation for the core curriculum in media arts at Hampshire College in Film/Video, Photography, Performance and Installation art centering on the analysis and production of visual images. Students are expected to learn to read visual images by focusing on the development of art forms and their relationship to their historical and cultural context (economic, historical, political, intellectual and artistic) from which they came. Areas explored in depth will include the beginning of photography and cinema, from the camera obscura to the Lumiere brothers; Pictorialism, Documentary, Dada, Surrealism, Russian Constructivism, Experimental and Structuralist filmmaking, Feminist Performance Art and Identity Politics. Faculty members in the media arts will present their own work as producers/artists/critics and thinkers. Students will read a variety of seminal text including: Walter Benjamin on "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction;" Susan Sontag's ""On Photography; several chapters of Eisentein's Film Form, Bazin's "What is Cinema"; Laura Mulvey's "Visual Pleassure and the Narrative Cinema" etc.
This writing intensive course develops the communication skills that are necessary for college-level work. The class takes its premise from Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein’s They Say / I Say, which argues that writing well means entering into conversation with others. As Graff and Birkenstein explain, “the underlying structure of effective academic writing… resides not just in stating our own ideas, but in listening closely to others around us, summarizing their views in a way that they will recognize, and responding with our own ideas in kind.” In other words, good writing negotiates a balance between self-expression and effective communication.
To better explore the social activity of writing, students collectively select discussion topics that matter to them. The semester builds towards in-class debates that dramatize the give-and-take of academic arguments. In preparation for this work, we spend the first weeks of the semester studying essays by well-regarded writers and developing a shared vocabulary for analyzing the components of academic writing. Subsequent class meetings address the skills that are essential for persuasive writing, including experimenting with different ways to respond, assembling a critical conversation, seeing the other side’s point of view, and assessing the effectiveness of one’s argument. Special attention also devoted to self-identifying common compositional errors, micro-editing, and properly documenting the use of outside sources.
Philosophy today is generally conceived and practiced as a purely theoretical discipline dedicated to answering conceptual questions and solving intellectual problems. Yet philosophy began as a practical discipline dedicated to helping human beings live their lives in the fullest and best way possible. In this course, we will read and discuss the work of various philosophers - ancient, modern, and postmodern - for whom philosophy is a practical tool for living. Readings from Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Epictetus, the Buddha, Lao-Tzu, Shankara, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, Debord, and Deleuze.
This course is a foundational art-making course, an update of a traditional optical color theory course or section in 2D foundations. In addition to the basics of color theory, we will consider the cultural and conceptual meanings of specific colors, and other seemingly neutral design elements such as stripes and patterns. Instead of approaching these subjects from a formal angle of relations, we will investigate how colors can be approached on the level of psychology, anthropology, literature, history, and art history. Projects will consist of physical and conceptual color theory exercises. Readings will include David Batchelor, Lisa Robertson, Herman Melville, Charles Baudelaire, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Michael Taussig, Colour after Klein. Students will be expected to make artworks weekly outside of class in addition to reading, approximately 6-8 hours per week, while in class time will be devoted to in class exercises, material demonstrations, artist presentations, critiques, museum visits, and collaborative projects.
You will be required to work approximately 8 hours outside of class per week.
LEFT COAST: Why is America's future born on the Pacific Coast? Skeptical? Consider that iPod (or iPad or iWhatever) on your desk. Consider the laptop beside it. The Google onscreen. The Starbucks in your hand. The Kindle in your future. The movie and/or TV you'll stream tonight. Nikes and Levis. Suburban sprawl and the 747 soaring above it. This class will explore how the so-called Left Coast came to be the seat of American free-thinking. Abounding in colorful characters, from Leland Stanford to Wavy Gravy, from Steve Jobs to Portlandia, the class will celebrate creativity, novelty, and a seat-of-your-pants version of the American dream. Readings will include Mark Twain, Jack London, John Steinbeck, multi-cultural memoirs (Richard Rodriguez's Hunger of Memory), the Library of America's Writing Los Angeles, Wired magazine, the odd surburban memoir Holy Land, and the still more odd Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. "Eastward I go only by force," Henry David Thoreau wrote, "but westward I go free."
How did Victorians conceive of the body? In a culture associated in the popular imagination with modesty and propriety, even prudishness, discussions of sexuality and physicality flourished. This course explores both fictional and non-fictional texts from nineteenth-century Britain in conjunction with modern critical perspectives. We will discuss debates over corsetry and tight-lacing, dress reform, prostitution and the Contagious Diseases Acts, sexology, hysteria, and other topics relating to science and the body, alongside novels, poetry, and prose by major Victorian writers. The writings of Freud, Foucault, and other theorists will assist us in contextualizing nineteenth-century discourses of gender, sexuality, and embodiment. Several shorter papers and a longer research project will be required.
From Kurukshestra to Khandahar and from Troy to Baghdad, the experience of war has shaped and shattered lives as much in the ancient world as it does in our own and in much the same ways. This course will examine and compare the accounts of war and its wounds-visible and invisible-as well as the forms of healing, reconciliation, and forgiveness that are to be found in epic and dramatic literature, as well as philosophical and religious writings, ancient and modern.
Required Course Texts
Euripides, tr. Robert Meagher, Hekabe, Bolchazy ISBN:0865163308
Homer, tr. Stanley Lombardo, Iliad, Hackett ISBN:0872203522
Robert Meagher, Herakles Gone Mad, Interlink ISBN:1566566355
Jonathan Shay, Achilles in Vietnam, Simon&Schuster ISBN:0684813211
Required texts are available at Amherst Books, 8 Main Street, on Amherst town green. All other readings are available for download on the course website. Procedure for gaining access to films will be explained in class.
This introduction to feminist theory will focus on the last half-century of feminist thought, with some exploration of earlier foundational texts. We will consider issues of essential, constructed, intersectional, and performed understandings of subjectivity and trace feminist theory's interactions with race, class, materialism, psychoanalytic theory, poststructuralism, post-colonialism, and queer theory, as well as delving into recent work in feminist epistemology, technoscience, and affect theory. Writing assignments will include short weekly response pieces as well as longer analytic pieces. Film viewings will be required. One of the goals of this course is to inspire students to be theorists themselves. Please bring a description or definition of "feminist" and "theory" (not necessarily from the dictionary) to the first class meeting.
This seminar delves into the dynamics, debates, and desires that drive pop fandom. In this class, we ask: What is fan culture? Does it build community? Are fans different from other consumers? What are the ethics and politics of fandom? What are the aesthetic, social, and legal ramifications of fan-produced forms such as mash-ups, remixes, youtube videos, and fanfic/slash that borrow, customize, and reinterpret pop commodities? How do such textual appropriations call into question the boundaries between high and low, production and consumption, intellectual property and fair use? Do fan-produced forms challenge or reinforce Romantic notions of authorship and authenticity? Particular attention will be paid to: the queering of heterosexist pop texts; the racialized and sexualized construction of masculinity and femininity; the politics of sampling, remixing, and mashing; and the role of the Internet, blogs, and social networking technologies in fan culture. This course is reading-, writing-, and theory-intensive. MCP, WRI, IND.
REQUIRED TEXTS: All readings are available via the course website, clips via the SRM YouTube Channel.
In this performance-based introductory class, students will begin to develop the skills and techniques of jazz performance, including ensemble playing and improvisation. Students will study the forms and concepts of jazz composition and theory and apply them in the composition and performance of repertoire. They will learn to compose elements of jazz pieces and will present original work and/or arrangements in a concert performance. This course is open to all instrumentalists and vocalists who want to acquire proficiency in the basic elements of jazz. Students are expected to have a basic music theory background (Musical Beginnings or equivalent) and reasonable proficiency on their instrument, including basic scales and rudimentary reading ability.
This course teaches the basic skills of film production, including camera work, editing, sound recording, and preparation and completion of a finished work in film and video. Students will submit weekly written responses to theoretical and historical readings and to screenings of films and videotapes, which represent a variety of aesthetic approaches to the moving image. There will be a series of filmmaking assignments culminating in an individual final project for the class. The development of personal vision will be stressed. The bulk of the work in the class will be produced in 16mm format. Video formats plus digital image processing and non-linear editing will also be introduced. Prerequisite courses include a 100 level course in media arts (Introduction to Media Arts, Introduction to Media Production, Introduction to Digital Photography & New Media, or equivalent and must be completed and not concurrent with this course.)
This course is an introduction to the creative and technical possibilities of digital photography. We will cover camera operations (shutter speed, aperture, focal length) and digital tools (scanning, printing, raw file formats). An emphasis will be placed on Photoshop and inkjet printing through an understanding of color management. In addition, we will discuss the conceptual possibilities digital technologies have raised in photography, looking at artists who explore the intersection of image making and technology.
The myriad of tools available to digital photographers are a means for creating photographs, not an end in and of themselves, and in this class you will explore how to engage with these tools as a way to develop your unique voice as a photographer. Throughout the semester we will return to the question: How has digital technology shaped contemporary art photography? And throughout the semester, as you learn the techniques of digital photography, you will be challenged to shape these tools to your own way of seeing.
An additional lab workshop will meet once a week for two hours Prerequisites: Introduction to Media Arts, Art History or Photographic History course or its equivalent in studio arts.
You know those theorists whose names you hear dropped in every lit class you take? It's finally time to read some of them. In this course, we will gain a familiarity with some of the key contributors to literary theory in conjunction with a selection of literary texts. Maurice Blanchot writes, "literature begins the moment when literature becomes a question." From the structuralist focus on language beginning with Saussure and the Russian formalists at the start of the century to the politicization of literary studies after 1968 with third-wave feminism, post-colonialism, and Marxism, the role of literature in contemporary society has been questioned and altered. We will ask how literary theory opens the possibilities of what literature can do in the world as well as how it limits its chances. This course will give you a working knowledge of the various specialized discourses associated with different methodologies of 20th- and 21st-century literary theory. No background in literary theory is necessary. Theorists may include Saussure,, Heidegger, Benjamin, Adorno, Barthes, Blanchot, Althusser, Lacan, Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, Irigiray, Cixous, Spivak, Gates.
This seminar focuses exclusively on the writings of the Argentine Jorge Luis Borges. Famous for his erudite "fictions" that speculate on time, history, knowledge, identity, reality, and the imagination, Borges taught us to think literature anew. He also delighted in spoofing erudition, in the conspiratorial wink against the purveyors of Culture. This playful side has its shadow, for much of his writings revolve around violence-iniquity, to cite one of his early titles. We will explore this duality of violence and pleasure selectively in his stories, poems, and essays. Students with a working knowledge of Argentine will be encouraged to read the original texts.
This course is supported by the CBD Program. Throughout the course will also explore the interface between writing and certain basic mathematical concepts and the imagination and memory.
Shortly after September 11th many journalists suggested that the attacks marked the death of irony. Nevertheless, irony, parody and political satire were used to challenge the Bush Administration's response to the attacks. How do these forms of communication allow people to speak the unspoken, to challenge the political, social and cultural status quo, and to consolidate community? What are the limitations of these rhetorical strategies? Using irony as a means of exploring cultural theory and politics, we will grapple with its social functions, the extent to which it has been an effective means of addressing issues such as the War on Terror and racial inequality, and why -- despite what commentators have argued -- irony shows no signs of losing its cultural hold in the United States. In addition to gaining familiarity with relevant cultural and social theory, students will read and write analyses of specific satirical cartoons, comedic television programs and online publications.
Even in during its most robust period in the 1830's and 40's, the Transcendentalist Movement never included more than a few dozen vocal supporters, but it fostered several significant cultural precedents, including a couple of America's first utopian communities (Brook Farm and Fruitlands), an early women's rights manifesto (Fuller's Woman in the Nineteenth Century), the first enthusiastic appropriation of Asian religious ideas, and, in the travel writings of Thoreau, the nation's earliest influential environmentalism. The Transcendentalists also produced some of the richest and most original literature of the nineteenth century.
In our increasingly fast-paced and multi-tasking culture, what happens to the body? Disembodiment, being out of sync with one's own body, can cause a host of problems including stress, injury and a decreased sense of wellbeing. And for artists and performers these problems can dampen creativity, imagination, and resourcefulness as well as undermine technique. Different somatic disciplines offer a range of strategies for increasing body/mind integration and all share the goal of helping bring people back to themselves and to their senses. In this course we will explore principles, theories and philosophies behind a few of these somatic disciplines with the goal of experiencing what they awaken in us somatically and how they help us better cope with environmental stimuli and stressors, and creative challenges. Students will also have the opportunity to independently research a somatic discipline of their choosing for the final project. This course may be of interest to students planning to concentrate in dance/performance arts, or who have a serious interest in the martial arts, athletics or yoga. Prior experience in any movement practice is welcomed but not required, however students must be willing to engage fully, deeply, and energetically in a range of movement activities.
This course examines contemporary Japanese popular culture as a way of understanding cultural dimensions of globalization and its complex operation, which transcends traditional national boundaries. Narrowly defined, J-pop refers to a genre of music that has dominated Japan's music scene since the early 1990s. In this course we extend our investigation to include various other media, forms, and expressions of popular culture related to our interest, e.g., manga, anime, films, computer games, and distinctive fashions. These cultural industries together play an important role in the transnational production and dissemination of images and ideas about race, gender, and sexuality. We also examine the phenomenon from a consumers' side, by delving into the subcultures and subcultural praxis of people called "otaku" (nerd, geek, mania) who have supported and propelled the transnational trend through their compulsive consumption of both tangible and intangible commodities of J-pop and avid networking.
The greatness of artistic practice is not that it empowers the artist to create the illusion of reality. It is that art is teaching us to reinterpret the world. This course offers students to explore abstraction and non-representational painting. Students are encouraged-through readings, digital image lectures, and assignments-to develop an individual approach to the subject matter. This course will address issues such as alternative methods to image making, surface qualities, compositional structure and color theory, while exploring transcultural influences on abstract painting tradition and its various manifestations. Prerequisite: This course is open to students who completed a painting class on an introductory level.
This course is designed for students interested in merging social activism, performing arts and teaching. It teaches students to use movement, dance and theatre in settings such as senior centers, schools, prisons, and youth recreation centers. In studio sessions, students will learn how to identify, approach, and construct classes and dance exchanges or events for community sites. Much of the time will be spent together off-site in various locations throughout the Pioneer Valley, where students themselves will create and lead movement/theatre experiences. Some outside of class lab time will be necessary to organize and develop the classes and possible performances. Selected videos and readings will provide a context for discussion and written responses and assist in the development of an individual student's research and teaching methods. No previous experience in the arts or in teaching is necessary.
Texts for course: Most of the readings will be articles or web pages, given each week in the resources section of Moodle. There is one text book required, and a few recommended for student interest.
Amans, Diane. An Introduction to Community Dance Practice. Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.
This course will introduce students to interdisciplinary work in media and language acquisition. Students in this class will be active readers, lookers, thinkers, and makers. War is a subject making activity. We learn to engage with images, understand their proliferation, and to contend with them as a mass language. In recent years, the battle- and playing- fields have shifted and access to information and images has also changed. U.S. troops pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan, democracy movements emerge in the Middle East, Occupy movements take root in Europe and the U.S. and the War on Drugs claims new victims; meanwhile PDAs/Handheld technologies, social media networks, twitter, live web-streaming, podcasts, eclipse mass-media broadcast channels distributing news and information. These shifting terrains become points of contact between multi-lingual participants. Though English is a dominant online interface language, English speakers are more aware that our counterparts across the globe are facile in multiple languages -- and our access to 'what's really going on' expands once we add second and third languages to our repertoire. Students will engage with materials in multiple languages: Arabic, Spanish, English, visual, and digital in order to tap into resources that can elucidate and expand our understandings of struggles for democracy and sovereignty across the globe. Weekly reading and looking assignments will provoke written and visual responses. Students will participate in group work and dynamic class discussions. This is a rigorous theory/practice workshop class designed specifically for Division II students. We will challenge traditional modes of production and presentation collectively. Students will focus in on their critical skills that will enable them to describe, interpret, and evaluate the ways in which images represent the world around us and be required to produce written responses, visual projects, and a research project/presentation. This will be a challenging course for serious students in the media arts, social sciences, and critical studies. This course has received funding from the Mellon Language Acquisition grant in order to incorporate foreign languages (in this case Spanish and Arabic) into the course.
The aim of this course was the comparative study of four ancient epics from Mesopotamia, Greece, India, and Ireland. The core readings comprised: the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Iliad, the Mahabharata, and the Tain. Each text was considered both in its own historical and cultural context and in the larger shared context of ancient epic, myth, religion, and literature.
Required Course Texts
Andrew George, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Viking/Penguin ISBN:0140449191
Stanley Lombardo, Iliad, Hackett ISBN:0872203522
C.V. Narasimhan, Mahabharata, Columbia University ISBN:0231110553
Thomas Kinsella, Tain, Oxford ISBN:0192803735
It is essential that you read these translations of the class texts and that you always bring to class a hard copy of the text being discussed. Required texts are available at Amherst Books, 8 Main Street, on Amherst town green. All other readings are available for download on the course website. Procedure for gaining access to films will be explained in class.
This course will trace a genealogy of the "American abroad" in literature from Mark Twain's time-just before the closing of the U.S. frontier in the late 19th century-up to the late 1980s, paying particular attention to the ways in which literature has represented U.S. power and "American" identities beyond the nation's borders.
This class will continue the work done in Tonal Theory I. We will be studying part writing and voice leading, as well as continuing the process of understanding and using basic chromatic harmony. Within this study, we will begin to look at large scale forms and structures. Some composition assignments will be included along the way as we assimilate new theoretical knowledge. Topics and repertoire for study are drawn from European classical traditions as well as jazz, popular, and non-western musics. Prerequisite: Tonal Theory I or 5 College equivalent.
An exploration of the "African-New World Diaspora" through critical and creative texts-written and visual "narratives"-some fictional, some factual, some theoretical. Inquiries include: What is this thing called the "African Diaspora?" What does it name? What are its meanings? What can these meanings make us see, hear, remember, imagine, theorize , translate, try to transform? What does the "African diaspora" offer as intellectual category, as encounter, endeavor, future promise? How are "diasporicities" produced, practiced and experienced? These questions exceed purely racial and cultural phenomena or ties to singular geographical regions, and expose dynamic links between and among seemingly disconnected yet interrelated global populations affiliated by diverse yet conversant histories and migrations. Authors/Creators of fictional and critical-theoretical works pertaining to diaspora may include Olaudah Equiano, Henry Box Brown, Martin Delany, Lawrence Hill, Saidiya Hartman, Michelle Cliff, Barbara Chase-Riboud, James Clifford, Tiffany Ruby Patterson, Robin Kelley, Brent Edwards, Katrina Browne. Requirements: presentations, research-papers, independent projects, attendance.
In this course, we will learn how to produce music pieces for public radio. We will first learn the basics of radio journalism, including reporting, recording, scriptwriting, production, and the effective use of music and ambient sound. Students will then produce three music-related pieces, including a vox pop, a CD review, and a short documentary feature in a style consistent with public radio. Students will also gain a working knowledge of sound editing techniques using ProTools software. In addition to regularly workshopping students' projects in class, we will discuss weekly reading and listening assignments that introduce students to creative public radio pieces focusing on music. Students can borrow digital recorders, microphones, and other equipment from Media Services. Prerequisite: Prior college-level coursework in writing, journalism, media production, music, or ethnomusicology/anthropology is required.
Becky is always available to help with questions or problems you may have with any aspect of this course.
TA: Jo Ann Nguyen is available to help with various production/scripting questions.
TA-assistant: Reilly Kennon is available to help with ProTools.
John Bruner is available to help with any aspect of recording and production equipment as well as with ProTools. Email: email@example.com; ext. 5326.
Email any of us if you are having problems or require assistance with your productions.
Immanuel Kant revolutionized philosophy by arguing that human knowledge does not grasp the world as it really is, but only the world as it corresponds to categories and forms imposed on it by the human mind. Kant's successors pushed this idea further, moving toward the view that absolute reality is essentially ideal, mental, or spiritual. In this course, we will begin with an examination of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, proceed to some criticisms and extensions of Kant by Fichte and Schelling, and end by reading the most important parts of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. The focus will be on epistemological and metaphysical issues, though we will touch upon moral and aesthetic issues as well.
This is a composition course that will also survey the history, theory, and practice of electro-acoustic music. The course will introduce the musical, technical, and theoretical issues of electro-acoustic music, broadly construed to include the Classical avant-garde, Electronica, DJ culture, Re-mixes, Ambient, etc. Digital recording, editing, and mixing will be covered using the Audacity and ProTools programs. Students will also work with sampling techniques using Ableton Live and mixing skills with ProTools. Other topics to be covered include basic acoustics and synthesis techniques. Students will be expected to complete three composition projects during the course of the semester. Formal knowledge of music is helpful, but not required.
The bioapparatus is a term coined by two Canadian media artists, Nell Tenhaaf and Catherine Richards, to cover a wide range of issues concerning the technologized body. This course will explore the relationship of the mind and body to technology in contemporary art and culture. We will consider the resonance and currency of the bioapparatus in relation to the cyborg, the posthuman, and bionics. We will discuss issues such as the nature of the apparatus, re-embodiment, designing the social, natural artifice, cyborg fictions, subjectivities, perfect bodies, virtual environments, the real interface, art machines and bioart. Division II and III students will have the opportunity to develop an independent paper or portion of their thesis in this course.
In her 1924 essay "Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown," Virginia Woolf observed, "On or about December, 1910, human character changed." Drawing inspiration from Woolf's famous phrase, this course focuses on modes of redescribing personhood in the work of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, placing their writings in the larger context of British culture between the First and Second World Wars. In addition to reading texts by these two foremost modernists to explore their experiments with form and voice, we will also read lesser-known writers whose work is in conversation with the modernist canon. Themes to be addressed include the disjointedness and fragmentation of modernity; war, violence, and trauma; gender, sexuality, and the nation. Frequent short responses and a substantial research paper will be required. This course is designed for students concentrating in literature, history, and cultural studies, and prior coursework in literary studies is strongly recommended.
This course will comprise weekly group lessons in music composition, with occasional private tutorials. Emphasis will be on the refinement of technical skills such as notation, orchestration, and formal construction. Students will also be encouraged to broaden their conceptual framework for writing music from the study of contemporary music literature. Student composers will have at least one work read and recorded during the semester. Pre-requisite is Contemporary Musical Practices (HACU303).
This course will examine the changing status of printed matter from the flowering of book design and book-bindings in turn-of-the-century England and the Continent through the early 20th-century transformative experiments of the Italian Futurists and the textual agitprop of the Russian Constructivists. Topics will explore the politics and possibilities of collaboration, innovation and design. Of particular interest will be such examples as William Morris's Kelmscott Press, the Brussels-based publishers Edmond Deman and la Veuve Monnom; the Art Nouveau book and the renaissance of typographic design in Europe and the US; and the revolutionary book arts of El Lissitzky and Filippo Marinetti. Instructor Permission required.
This class calls into question genre specificity and thematic orientation and instead examines the constructs and the philosophical tenets of work. Through independent work in multiple media - including drawing, painting, and basic printmaking, as well as performance, sculpture, installation - students will call into question value structures and assumptions of work in an individual artistic practice. Focusing on the manners of work that typically define art schools, collectives, and concepts of the American "workplace," including the concept of an American work ethic will be foreground. Discussions regarding labor, duties, tasks, exertion, and industry will augment physical studio projects and performances. Readings will include Herman Melville, Carl Andre, Alain de Botton, Helen Molesworth, Joan Didion among others. Contemporary artists will be discussed. This class will also include several collaborative projects, including some that engage the broader community. You will be expected to work. Prerequisite: at least four studio art classes. A minimum of 8 hours per week outside of class time. Open to artists in Division III and late Division II.
The representation of the human body is central to the history of art. This course will explore this crucial subject as it has been portrayed over the past two centuries. The course begins with readings on anatomy and the shift from Jacques-Louis David's virile masculinity in the 1780s to a more androgynous and even feminized male as rendered by his followers. It then will explore the spectacle of a modern city in which prostitutes/ Venus/ femme fatales/other kinds of working women, often were favored over the domestic sphere. After examining art from the period of World War I where various assaults on traditional mimesis took place among avant-garde artists, this course will explore contemporary investigations of bodily representation, from the body sculpting projects of Orlan to identity politics and the ways that bodily representation have been developed.
Recent narratives and films from Latin America have addressed and problematized the relationship between technology and human identity. This tutorial examines the ways in which cultural productions figure the encounter and interface between machine and organism in order to make sense of recent social and political realities. These texts provide glimpses of the human reality of most of Latin America, where "economies race ahead," but their human components are more or less forgotten. Calss discussions will be based on writings by Clarice Lispector, Manuel Puig, Ricardo Piglia, Alicia Borinsky, and Diamela Eltit. The following films will be screened to supplement our cultural knowledge and enrich our dialogue: La teta asustada, La mujer sin cabeza, Juan de los muertos, and XXY.
For students of dance, music, black studies, cultural studies: Start your Hampshire education on the beat with a socio-political history of Rhythm & Blues that takes you from your seat to (dancing in) the street. In the classroom, we will learn about the evolution of R&B from its roots in jump blues, electric blues, blues-gospels, and doo-wop to a style of soul music that reached its height of popularity in the 1960s with Motown Records in the "Motor City" of Detroit, where such tunes as Martha and the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Street" became not only infectious party song but reflective of the politically and racially-charged environment of black urban communities during the Black Power Movement. In the studio, we will combine basic tap steps and social dance moves into back-up dance-chorus routines in the style of Cholly Atkins, the legendary rhythm tap dancer who, as house director of Motown Records, devised "vocal choreography" for such acts as the Supremes, Temptations, Four Tops, and Gladys Knight & Pips. Class routines will be rhythmically succinct but simple enough to execute and enjoy. There will also be an R&B History and Singing Lab in which students learn back-up harmonizing singing style that engages with the lyrics while (like the dancing) remaining cool, relaxed, and in control. Open to all incoming first-year students wishing to refine their rhythmic sensibilities and move with grace and style. No dance experience necessary.
This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of visual art in general and drawing in particular by focusing on perception, composition, line and materiality. Students will draw from objects, the human figure, interior and exterior spaces, and from imagined sources. We will explore a variety of materials and work small and large scale. Maintenance of an individual sketchbook will be expected. Regular class critiques will assist in developing skills evaluating work in progress, and in analyzing formal composition principles. Readings and one paper on an artist to be assigned will be part of this class.
Meditation, vision, conversion, mysticism, devotion, ecstasy, prayer: these are just some of the forms through which people of faith around the world have conceived of religious or spiritual meaning. The purpose of this tutorial is to introduce students to the study of world religions through a consideration of several modalities of religious experience as represented in texts variously drawn from Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Native American sources. Adopting for our methodological framework a typology of religious psychology suggested by William James, we will examine each of these writings in their respective religious, historical, and literary contexts. Our basic concern will be to understand the problems of representing private, interior, or ineffable experiences in written forms. What can we understand of religious experience from its literary representations? What, for example, is the relationship between religious conversion and an allegory of faith? Is poetry better equipped than narrative for the expression or recreation of meditative experience? In addition to James's The Varieties of Religious Experience, our reading will include Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, Jayadeva's Gitagovinda, Black Elk Speaks, Elie Wiesel's Souls on Fire, the Buddhacarita, the Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila, The Way of a Pilgrim, and Basho's The Narrow Road to the Deep North.
This class will explore the role of place in the creation of art. For many artists, the work they create is bound tightly with a particular place - a landscape, a house, a city. This is especially true for photographers; the stillness and precision of photography is well suited to revealing, in depth, and over time, the subtle changes, details, and nuances of a place. Photographers such as Eugene Atget, Jem Southam, Barbara Bosworth, Roy DeCarava and Robert Adams have created bodies of work investigating one particular environment. In this class students will use photography, writing and sound to create an in depth portrait of a place. Each student will choose a location (in a building or in a landscape) and they will be expected to spend extensive time observing and responding to this place throughout the semester. No photography experience is required, but students will be expected to complete a substantial amount of reading, writing, looking and making outside of class.
In his last interview Fluxus artist Dick Higgins said, "[O]ne of the areas that has been understated since the immediate post-war era has been ethics. Exploring the nature of kindness or of cruelty, or of the various implications of Bosnia or of militarism or things like that. Ethical exploration is an area of subject matter that has to be dealt with." More recently, Canadian cultural critic Jeanne Randolph has explored how we act morally and ethically while participating in a culture of abundance, opulence and consumerism. This course will explore ethics as a subject in the work of contemporary artists and thinkers in different media and disciplines, and across different cultures. It will explore ethical imagining as a cultural practice—how the imagination is elusive, contingent, yet exceedingly precious, and how it helps us understand changes in human relations and in culture that have evolved with 20C and 21C materialism.