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Academics . Liberal Arts . Courses

Liberal Arts Courses

Science Fiction Writing Workshop

Course No. LLC 210W  Credits: 3.0
Faculty Bradley Ricca

The genre (or sub-genre) of science fiction may, on one level, be seen as a variety of Romanticism, as an extended collective response to features of modernity, specifically scientific discoveries and innovations, as well as elements of the Industrial and technological revolutions. Science fiction, in its astonishing number of permutations, has filled a vast canvas of imaginative possibility, discovering a range of responses and forms that range from the dystopian, pessimistic, even nihilistic, to the utopian. We hear and see, in the voices and imaginations of different science fiction writers and artists, warnings and celebrations, but at the bottom, questionings of what it means to be human and of what kinds of possibilities may lay before us. Science fiction is also a remarkably popular genre; it's vitally manifested in books, television shows, films, toys, games. In this class we will investigate some of the space(s), both literal and metaphorical, that science fiction (and popular ideas of science) offer to the imagination. The course's center, however, is the students' own writing and their own ideas, and will be conducted in workshop format, with relatively brief lectures by the instructor presenting relevant literary, historical, theoretical and biographical backgrounds and contexts. During the semester, students will present two to three original works-in-progress (either creative or critical) to the class, distributing photocopies of their work a week in advance to the members of the class and to the instructor. Fulfills Humanities/Cultural Studies distribution requirement. Creative Writing Concentration course.

Screenwriting

Course No. LLC 318  Credits: 3.0
Faculty Angela Otstot | Shelley Bloomfield Costa

What is a spec script, a slugline, a smash cut? What's the difference between montage and a series of shots, and why does the screenwriter need to know? One script page averages how many minutes of onscreen film time? In addition to the demands of just plain good storytelling, writing for film entails expressing everything about the story visually, which gives visual artists an advantage in adapting to the demands of the form. It is the screenwriter's job to put all of the sights, sounds and speeches on the page, while still leaving room for interpretation by the filmmakers. In this course we will discuss the elements of good storytelling, study the screenplays of Pulp Fiction and Chocolat, and write a short screenplay formatted to conform to industry standards. Fulfills Humanities/Cultural Studies distribution requirement. Creative Writing Concentration course.

Social Cinemas: Politics of Representation and Engagement

Course No. ACD 322  Credits: 3.0

Social is a term used to describe all kinds of art and media today including social media, social practice, and activist media directed toward “social change.” This course examines film and video work that demands we think carefully about how the social is defined and represented as an idea, an experience, and a world (or worlds). We will begin by considering Jean Vigo’s call for a new “social cinema” in the 1930s. We’ll consider how experimental and avant-garde film functioned as a means for organizing social worlds and expressing social critique. We’ll ask what Stan VanDerBeek might have meant when he described the rise of a “new social media consciousness” in 1974. And finally we’ll look at how contemporary filmmakers and video artists respond to the way the Internet has changed our relationships to one another and to the events that shape our sense of how the larger social world is structured and defined. May be applied as an art history elective, Post-1960s art history elective, or humanities/cultural studies elective. Visual Culture Emphasis course.

Sound Art + New Media

Course No. HCS 411  Credits: 3.0

A course on how visual artists (and some composers) use sound in their works. Works discussed in class will include "stand alone" works of sound art, musique concrete, sound sculptures, installation works (using sound as a main component), radio art, film, and internet-based works. Students will be expected to identify differing qualities of sound, and there will be regular listening and reading assignments for each class. Students will also be given written assignments, and will have to compose a work of sound art or sound sculpture as a final project. May be applied as Visual Culture Emphasis course.

Spies

Course No. LLC 309X  Credits: 3.0
Faculty Katherine Clark

In this seminar we will discuss spying in its many manifestations including the reasons and justifications offered for spying; the different types of spying; the means by which spying is conducted; and whether or not spying is a necessary evil. We will use a variety of texts in the class, non-fiction historical works as well as fictional works. Through a variety of media including film, hypertext, popular culture essays, fiction, and radio programs, we will explore the fascination with spies and what spies represent culturally and historically. Our object is that by the end of the semester we will be better readers of texts and more knowledgeable about issues of identity, deception, and information gathering. Fulfills Humanities/Cultural Studies distribution requirement. Creative Writing Concentration course.

Survey of Contemporary Music

Course No. HCS 309  Credits: 3.0

This course will give an overview of avant-garde music written in the twentieth (and twenty-first) centuries, with particular emphasis on the relationships between music and the visual arts. Discussions in class will focus on composers whose work helped define contemporary music while creating aesthetic parallels to the visual arts. Emphasis will be placed on listening to avant-garde and experimental music, and students will be expected to attend several recitals of contemporary music and write about their experiences. Students will also have to complete reading and listening assignments on a regular basis. May be applied as Visual Culture Emphasis course.

The Body: Tradition, Transformation, Transgression

Course No. ACD 458  Credits: 3.0
Faculty Rita Goodman

This seminar-style course will explore one of the most important themes of twentieth-century visual art: the body (male and female). We will discuss a complex range of ideas and values associated with the nude (and naked) body as it has been re-presented in 20th c. photography; painting; sculpture/installation; performance and body art; and video. While the "great tradition" of the nude will be introduced, the course will focus on art produced since the 1950s (from the late modern to the postmodern era). Among other topics, we will study the visual body as a representational site for the self; for erotic desire; for the political position of women; and for formal experimentation. We will look at art that presents bodies which are very much outside tradition: i.e., bodies that are sick, decaying, dying, dead, aging, obese, androgynous, deformed, etc. Topics and terms of analysis will include: the traditional nude; feminist critiques of sexism; voyeurism; "exploitation," "obscenity," and censorship; objectification (gaze theory) sexuality; the nude self-portrait and portrait; parody and quotation; the female nude and modernism; Kenneth Clark's nude-naked (ideal-real) dichotomy; identity and performance; and formal aestheticizing of the body. Visual Culture Emphasis course.

Topics in 20th-Century US History

Course No. HCS 390X  Credits: 3.0

As the title suggests, this is an entry-level survey course in modern American history, covering the period roughly from the end of Reconstruction to the late 20th century. In this course we will follow a chronological continuum. We will emphasize political, economic, cultural and social history. We will look at those in positions of power and those groups in society trying to acquire rights and power. In 15 weeks, we will be progressing from the period of steam engines and the American frontier to rock ‘n’ roll and the Apollo moon landing — a vast amount of material. The choice of what to include and what to leave out is entirely subjective, and class feedback on those decisions is encouraged. Issues of international importance will be discussed, in some cases in depth, but the main emphasis of the course will be on the domestic transformation.

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It's not too late to apply

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Gary D. Sampson ciarotterdam.jpgciarotterdam2.jpg

Gary D. Sampson

Professor of Art + Design History/Chair of Liberal Arts

Gary Sampson teaches art and design history and theory at the Institute. He is also adjunct in art history and...more

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