Will Ryan

Emeritus Senior Faculty Associate
Hampshire College Professor Will Ryan
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Will Ryan

William Ryan, emeritus senior faculty associate in the School of Social Science, has been at Hampshire since 1980.

Before then, he was a counselor at Johnson State College in Johnson, Vermont, and also a high school history and English teacher. He has a B.A. and M.Ed. from the University of Vermont, and an M.A. in American history from the University of Massachusetts.

A freelance writer with an interest in outdoor recreation, he has written two books on fishing and serves as a contributing editor at Gray's Sporting Journal, where he edits and writes a column on the history of hunting and fishing.

Recent and Upcoming Courses

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  • This course will explore the work of scholars, essayists, and creative writers in order to use their prose as models for our own. We'll analyze scholarly explication and argument, and we'll appreciate the artistry in our finest personal essays and short fiction. Students will complete a series of critical essays in the humanities and natural sciences and follow with a personal essay and a piece of short fiction. Students will have an opportunity to submit their work for peer review and discussion; students will also meet individually with the instructor. Frequent, enthusiastic revision is an expectation. Limited to Division One Students. Key Words: Writing

  • Time and Narrative: Pandemics: Main Question: How do people, communities, and cultures understand, make sense of, and react to pandemics, both historically and now, given COVID-19? Course Description: The shock of suffering and death from the COVID-19 pandemic prompts many to speak of it as unprecedented. In fact, there have been many instances of global pandemics, from the Bubonic Plague of the Middle Ages to the Great Influenza of 1918 to the AIDS pandemic beginning in the 1980s. This class will examine historical, social, cultural, and scientific perspectives on how humans have understood and reacted to infectious disease across cultures and centuries and will provide insight as we seek to reconstruct our lives and societies. We will also investigate how our own particular identity and positionality lead to different consequences for each of us.This transdisciplinary course will involve research, hands-on investigation, and creative expression. We will focus on pandemics from multiple perspectives - biology, epidemiology, and public health policy, as well as history, politics, ethnography, oral history, literature, and other expressive arts. Students will undertake individualized study-analyze scientific data, conduct research in archives and via social media, interview pandemic survivors, and other projects -- and reflect on their own experiences and collectively share their findings through public forums, media, scholarship, creative writing, and journalism. Approaches: #epidemiology, #publicHealth, #history, #journalism, #ethnography