Two New COL/PHIL Courses for the Spring

Reason and its Limits
COL 292 / PHIL 291
MW 2:50-4:10

This course offers a close study of Immanuel Kant’s magnum opus, the Critique of Pure Reason, supplemented by related writings by Kant and some secondary literature. Kant observes that the history of philosophy is rife with disagreements, even though philosophers purport to traffic in necessary truths disclosed by reason alone. This scandalous fractiousness calls into question reason’s ability to offer substantive insights into necessary truths. Kant’s “critique” aims to vindicate reason by distinguishing, in a principled manner, the sorts of things we can know with certainty from those that lie beyond the limits of human understanding. His central thesis, “transcendental idealism,” holds that “reason has insight only into what it produces after its own plan” (Bxiii). In other words, we can indeed be certain of key structural features of reality such as its spatiotemporality and causal interconnectedness–but only because those features are, in some crucial sense, mind-dependent. This class will explore in detail the arguments for these claims as well as prominent interpretations of their philosophical upshot.

Modern Aesthetic Theory
COL 269/PHIL 269
MW  10:50AM-12:10PM

As a philosophical discipline, aesthetic theory initially coalesced around a cluster of related issues concerning the nature of beauty and the norms governing its production, appreciation, and authoritative assessment. Beginning in the nineteenth century, however, both art and aesthetics undergo a conspicuous yet enigmatic shift, signaled by (among other things) Hegel’s declaration that “art, in its highest vocation, is and remains for us a thing of the past.” Rather suddenly, classical accounts of beauty, genius, aesthetic experience, and critical taste are beset by anxieties about the autonomy and significance of aesthetic praxis in human life and, subsequently, by a series of challenges to the tenebility of traditional aesthetic categories–author, text, tradition, meaning and interpretation, disinterested pleasure, originality, etc. Our aim in this course is to track these conceptual shifts and to interrogate the rationale behind them. (This course complements, but does not presuppose COL 266: History and Limits of Aesthetic Theory.)

SPAN 203: Spanish for Heritage Speaker

Hey! Hablas español hasta que te toca decir una palabra that you don’t know how to say in Spanish?  Do you wonder why some words in Spanish have accents and some don’t?  This is the class for you!

SPAN 203: Spanish for Heritage Speaker
Spring 2018; T-Th 1:30 – 2:45 pm

A course taught at Trinity College and offered to Wesleyan students by telepresence, with plenty of academic and technical support at the home campus, both during and outside of class.

This course is designed for heritage speakers–students who understand and speak Spanish, who grew up in a Spanish-speaking environment, but whose education was primarily in English, in the US. This course, offers many benefits, such as:

  • Study Spanish in an academic setting in the same way that native English-speakers study English
  • Polish both oral and written language skills in Spanish
  • Learn more about your language and your cultural heritage
  • Meet students with similar interests and experiences
  • Gain awareness and understanding of the Hispanic/Latin@ cultures: i.e., identity and communities inside and outside the US, language variation, geography, history, customs and traditions, current events, music, arts and food
  • Prepare for study abroad
  • Increase internship and career opportunities
  • Can count towards the HISP major

Interested? Please contact Profesora Pérez-Gironés: aperezgirone@wesleyan.edu  (127 Downey House; office hours: Monday 1:30-2:30, Wednesday 3-4, and by appointment.)

Project-based Section of PSYC 105

During spring semester, a small, project-based section of PSYC105 (Foundations of Contemporary Psychology) will be taught. This special section will provide an introduction to the field of psychology though digital projects that will include video production, editing, post-production and graphic design using Adobe Photoshop and Premiere. Interested students should request section 2.

Audition for Fall Faculty Production: The Pillowman

Our production this fall is The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh. Here is a note from the director, Visiting Professor-of-Practice Eddie Torres:

“In a world of violence, mistrust and apathy, the state of justice is struggling to survive in the wake of the Pillowman. Come out and take a stand…. AUDITION!”

A brief comment about the play from http://stageagent.com/shows/play/1434/the-pillowman:
“This brutal dark comedy from Martin McDonagh, the master of the horror-comedy, poses unanswerable questions: Can stories hold the power to cause atrocities? Where is the line between truth and fairy tale? Is a life of horror worth living at all? Drawing on inspiration as diverse as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Kafka, and Antonin Artaud, The Pillowman is a dark, twisty, and utterly unforgettable masterpiece from one of Ireland’s most treasured writers.”

All students are encouraged to audition, no matter of experience or academic focus. We would like to have as diverse a pool of talent as possible from throughout the Wesleyan student community.

Space Available in Introduction to Experimental Music (MUSC 109)

Introduction to Experimental Music (MUSC 109)

Fall 2017; Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2:50 p.m. – 4:10 p.m., RHH 003

This course is a survey of recent and historical electronic and instrumental experimental works, with emphasis on the works of American composers. Starting with early experimentalists, germinal works of John Cage and Henry Cowell, Earle Brown, Christian Wolff, and Morton Feldman will be studied; followed by electronic and minimal works of La Monte Young, Terry Riley, David Behrman, Gordon Mumma, Alvin Lucier Robert Ashley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Laurie Anderson, Arthur Russell, John Zorn, Julius Eastman and including discussions of recent work by composers, performers, and sound artists such as Pamela Z, Tristan Perich, Jacob Cooper, Lesley Flanigan,  Nick Hallett, Jace Clayton (DJ /rupture), Jennifer Walshe, and Object Collection. The course includes lectures, demonstrations, and performances, occasionally by guest lecturers.

New Course: Performing the Posthuman: Music and Auditory Culture in the Age of Animanities

MUSC287 — Performing the Posthuman: Music and Auditory Culture in the Age of Animanities

Crosslisting: AMST 278, ENVS 287
Course Cluster: Animal Studies

This seminar engages questions of musical difference by addressing representations, tropes, and examples of posthuman performance, animal musicalities, music mimetic of nonhuman aurality, and cross-species and multi-species performance. Throughout the course we will think across varied types and categories of sounds to explore and contextualize familiar questions about how we sing, play, perform, stage, and sound musical identity, examining the intersections among the humanities, science and technology studies, and the sonic arts. “Animanities” is the name attributed by scholars to the musical response to the dilemma facing the humanities to value, take into account, and take seriously the aural and performance worlds of the nonhuman. It is necessary to include all human, more-than-human, sentient and non-sentient, machine, and animal sounding and musicking into the fields of musicology, ethnomusicology, and sound studies. By listening across different kinds of auditory culture and sounding, scholars can interrogate questions addressing how traditions of listening shape our habits of perceiving others: how we hear nonhuman animals, how we incorporate nonhuman sounding into music composed by humans, how technology has played a role in the study and development of nonhuman and human musicality, and what it means to listen to and value sonic difference more broadly. Through discussions of musical and cultural difference that enrich ongoing discussions of race, gender, and sexuality we will come to a stronger understanding of music’s role in imagined and experienced natural worlds. Topics and case studies will include the pedagogies of audio bird guides; new age nature recordings, multi-species “collaborative” performances; sampled and electronically rendered animal and nature performance in digital video games; wildlife field recording and documentary soundtracks/sound design; forms of animal and environmental mimesis used by composers; the jazz aviary of exotic songbirds and chirping canaries in the publications and reception history of the 1930s–1960s that document female jazz singers and virtuosic operatic sopranos; they way nonhuman animal behavior influenced experimental music communities; and how human musical language and terminology was used to describe the musicking of nonhuman animals in documents circulated by the National Audubon Society and other wildlife guides and field recording initiatives. This seminar draws on the classroom community’s interdisciplinary backgrounds and interests as well as readings and case studies that cross and challenge disciplinary boundaries. Students can achieve success in this course without previous musical knowledge.

New Fall Course: THEA 279, Music Theater Workshop

Tony and Obie Award Winner, Greg Kotis (Urinetown) will be teaching the Music Theater Workshop, THEA 279. 

The course is described here:

https://iasext.wesleyan.edu/regprod/!wesmaps_page.html?stuid=&facid=NONE&crse=014313&term=1179

There are prerequisites, but, as ever, there are also prerequisite over-rides for students who have the appropriate skill set. 

Greg Kotis’s webpage lists this for info about him: 

Greg Kotis is the author of many plays and musicals including Michael von Siebenburg Melts Through the FloorboardsYeast Nation (Book/Lyrics), The Unhappiness PlaysThe Boring-est Poem in the WorldThe Truth About SantaPig FarmEat the TasteUrinetown (Book/Lyrics, for which he won an Obie Award and two Tony® Awards), and Jobey and Katherine.  His work has been produced and developed in theaters across the country and around the world, including Actors Theatre of Louisville, American Conservatory Theater, American Theater Company, Henry Miller’s Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, New York Stage and Film, Perseverance Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company, Soho Rep, South Coast Rep, and The Old Globe, among others.  Greg is a member of the Neo-Futurists, the Cardiff Giant Theater Company, ASCAP, the Dramatists Guild, and is a 2010-11 Lark Play Development Center Playwrights Workshop Fellow.  He grew up in Wellfleet, Massachusetts and now lives in Brooklyn with his wife Ayun Halliday, his daughter India, and his son Milo.

Anyone more interested in Kotis could check him out here: http://gregkotis.com/

Apply for New POI Course for Fall 2017: “The Art of Doing: Creative Project Production and Making It Happen”

Title: “The Art of Doing: Creative Project Production and Making It Happen”
Instructors: Michael Pope with Amanda Palmer
https://iasext.wesleyan.edu/regprod/!wesmaps_page.html?stuid=&facid=NONE&crse=015041&term=1179

Description:
Students learn collaborative creative super filmmaking powers before being dropped off on a metaphoric desert island with nothing but a camera phone and a song. Beauty Ensues.  This studio class will focus on non-traditional video production techniques towards a final project of a class-created music video featuring music and performance by Amanda Palmer. Students will co-create every aspect of this video, from conceptualization to editing to screening, with the final product being released to her Patreon community.

The course seeks to illuminate the creative process by way of mindful reflection, and physical training to promote creative cooperation between various artistic mediums. Students are expected to participate in team building physical exercises inspired by physical theater, Butoh and some physical meditations. Meaning:  Students will be be expected to participate in physical activity that includes jumping, running, yelling, and the like.

The course will allow us to sketch answers to questions like these, among others: How do you forge creative collaborations that allow you to realize your projects and that create the best conditions for your creative work? How do you raise awareness about your creative projects?

Taught by director Michael Pope who has shot, cut and directed the music videos for The Dresden Dolls and Amanda Palmer’s first solo album (Who Killed Amanda Palmer), in collaboration with Amanda Palmer as visiting co-creator, the course will culminate in a screening of the class-created video that will be part of a Wesleyan-hosted Amanda Palmer concert on Dec 9.

No prior film or video-making experience required, though all students seeking admission to the course are required to submit an application.

Only serious, fully engaged and enthusiastic students should apply. Students must commit to shooting the weekend of Nov 17-18-19 and must be available all day Sat and Sun Nov 18 and 19.

Students will be required to apply for this course by August 15. They will be notified of admission to the course by August 31.

Course enrollment limit: 15 (all class years allowed)
Grading mode: Cr/U for final grades. Students will be given an indication of whether they are passing the course by midterm.
Major Readings: Course Reader.

Other readings may include: “The Five Rings” Myamoto Musashi; “50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship”, Salvadore Dali;”Giovanni’s Room”, James Baldwin;

“Just Kids”, Patti Smith; “The Power of Movies”, Colin McGinn.

Assignments: Weekly assignments from individual students, collaborative assignments, final reflective essay of 5 pp.
Class meetings: W and F 2:40-4:10 pm

Additional information:
No prior film or video-making experience required, though all students seeking admission to the course are required to submit an application.

Only serious, fully engaged and enthusiastic students should apply. Students must commit to shooting the weekend of Nov 17-18-19 and must be available all day Sat and Sun Nov 18 and 19.

Students will be required to apply for this course by August 15. They will be notified of admission to the course by August 31.

Application to the “The Art of Doing”
Students are invited to submit this creative challenge for consideration for admission to “The Art of Doing”.

Applications should be submitted to this email address: artofdoingapplication@gmail.com

Only applications sent from wesleyan.edu email addresses will be considered.

There are two required parts to the application. Please make sure each part the application clearly indicates your name.

Part I. Create a digital still-image Self Portrait (photograph, collage, rendering).

Choose and incorporate three items into your self-portrait.

  1. One item to represent who you have been.
  2. One item to represent who you are now.
  3. One item to represent who you imagine yourself to be in the future.

Applicants are invited to interpret this exercise as best suits their creative strengths.

Part II. Please submit only one document that contains all the required elements A-D (detailed below). Please make sure this document clearly identifies you as the author. 

A. In 200 words or less, explain the significance of each item in Part A.
B.  In 200 words or less, explain why your interested in taking the course “The Art of Doing: Creative Project Production and Making It Happen”.
C.  In 100 words, or less, describe your experience with Cr/U courses and your attitude toward Cr/U courses.
D.  Applications should include

  1. List of current creative skills
  2. List of additional interests

E. Optional
Applicants are invited to submit up to three samples of creative work jpeg and mov files.
Note: mov files may be no longer than 180 seconds.

Please do not purchase any books until you have been notified about admission to the course.

SPAN 2013: Spanish for Native Speakers

Spanish for Native Speakers
M-W. 2:50-4:10, Fisk 101
https://iasext.wesleyan.edu/regprod/!wesmaps_page.html?crse=012580&term=1171

Do you speak Spanish at home and with some friends, but feel like there are gaps in your language ability?   SPAN 203 is for you!   

SPAN 203 is designed for heritage speakers of Spanish who feel that they need to gain confidence and ability to take their fluency in Spanish to another level.  In this course you will

  • expand your vocabulary and your understanding of grammar
  • recognize a shared “standard”, while appreciating the many dialects and registers of Spanish
  • work on formal and academic registers
  • develop a critical attitude towards language use and language learning, as well as issues of identity
  • learn strategies for the life-long adventure which is being an educated speaker of a language

 Recognizing that Spanish is an essential element of  the Hispanic identity, as well as an important professional and social asset, SPAN 203 guides students through projects that develop their ability to express themselves in Spanish in a variety of contexts.

The class involves intense reading and writing, presentations, group work, and constant assessment.

 

New Course: “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Rethinking the Italian Renaissance”

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Rethinking the Italian Renaissance
FIST 224 – COL 224 – ITAL 224 – MDST 223 
Prof. F.M. Aresu | Monday and Friday, 10:50 AM – 12:10 PM | FISK210

In this course we will critically explore the intellectual achievements of the Italian Renaissance through a detailed analysis of some of its literary masterpieces. We will inquire into the rediscovery and emulation of classical literatures and civilizations. We will examine the revalidated notions of beauty, symmetry, proportion, and order. We will analyze the ways in which this rebirth fundamentally changed the languages, literatures, arts, philosophies, and politics of Italy at the dawn of the modern era. We will also approach often-neglected aspects of Renaissance counter-culture, such as the aesthetics of ugliness and obscenity, and practices of marginalization (misogyny, homophobia). In a pioneering quest for the fulfillment of body and soul, self-determination, glory, and pleasure, Italian scholars, philologists, poets, playwrights, and prose writers contributed to the development of new and increasingly secular values. Through a close reading of texts by authors such as Francesco Petrarca, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Michelangelo Buonarroti, we will investigate continuities and ruptures between their quest for human identity and ours.

* Fear not! Course conducted in English. All primary and secondary sources in English.

For more information, please go to: https://iasext.wesleyan.edu/regprod/!wesmaps_page.html?crse=014560&term=1171 and do not hesitate to contact Professor F. Marco Aresu <faresu@wesleyan.edu>.

New and Timely Course for this Coming Semester: FIST 229 “Political Turmoil”

FIST229: POLITICAL TURMOIL: “What just happened? What’s going to happen? What do we do now?”
Prof. Meg Furniss Weisberg <mweisberg@wesleyan.edu>
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:20-2:40pm
https://iasext.wesleyan.edu/regprod/!wesmaps_page.html?crse=014857&term=1171

Political turmoil, while disconcerting to say the least, is nothing new. This course will look at case studies from different times and regions (the creation of the US; the 1960’s in the US, France, Italy, and elsewhere; Brazil’s and Chile’s dictatorships; Italy in the 90s; the Arab Spring; post-Revolution Iran; the Great Leap Famine in China; contemporary Mali and D. R. Congo; and the U.S. just before the Civil War, among others) to see how others have responded to periods of political oppression and upheaval. After an initial period of discussion based on readings, we will hold conversations with members of our campus community who have experienced various forms of political turmoil.

The goal of the course is ultimately project-based: as we gain perspective on the issues, we will turn what we learn into well-informed, measured, concrete action. In particular, we will workshop several writing exercises related to the topic and destined to make an impact (letter to the editor, letter to an elected official, public service announcement for the radio, etc). All students (including those whose first language is not English) are welcome in the course and will receive individualized attention to their writing.

The structure of this course will be somewhat unusual: after the first few meetings, the first session of each week will be devoted to discussing the week’s reading and collectively brainstorming questions; during the second session, we’ll ask those questions of the week’s invited guest (often, but not always, another faculty member). We will write and workshop pieces related to the topic and/or destined to make an impact (letter to the editor, letter to an elected official, public service announcement for the radio, etc). We are also going to make a radio program interviewing our guests, so that the course can reach a wider audience.

This course is going to be an experiment: it will operate more like a working group than a regular academic course, and I will be learning beside you, rather than imparting information. My role will be to teach about effective writing, deepen your critical thinking and analytical abilities, solicit guest speakers who will suggest readings, and facilitate discussions. The class will be graded CR/U, and would likely be fine to take in addition to a normal course load—though it goes without saying that you should check with your advisor.

More info: contact:

Meg Furniss Weisberg
Visiting Assistant Professor of French
Interim Director of Academic Writing
Wesleyan University
300 High St, Middletown CT USA
+1 (860) 685-2902
https://wesleyan.academia.edu/MegWeisberg

Seats Still Available in Allbritton Center classes

This spring, the Center for the Study of Public Life (CSPL) is showcasing several classes taught by some exciting and unusual visitors, in addition to some wonderful classes taught by Wesleyan professors. The following courses still have seats available:

Community Research Seminar (SOC 316), cross-listed with ENVS, the Civic Engagement Certificate, and the Environmental Studies Certificate.  Taught by Rob Rosenthal (1.5 credit, meets M/W 10:50 am-12:10 pm) – contact Course Assistant Maddie Scher for the application and with any questions. 

Teams of students learn the theory and practice of doing community research while carrying out research for local nonprofits, community organizations, and activist groups.  1.5 credits.  Highly challenging, highly rewarding. This year’s projects include research on how institutional and systemic racism effects of Communities of Color in Middletown (for the Middlesex Coalition for Children) and the long-range effects of service-learning courses (for the Wesleyan Service-Learning Program).

Group Psychology in Politics: Local, State, and National Perspectives (CSPL 206).  Taught by Middletown’s Mayor Dan Drew (0.5 credits, meets Friday 1:20-4:10 pm) – open to first-years!

This course is an introduction to the use of group dynamics to understand the deep personal and systems-level issues at play in the body politic. This framework is applicable at the local, state, national, and international levels. Often, if not most of the time, these issues play an outsized role in any public policy initiative, debate, vote, action, deliberation, and discourse, though they are rarely acknowledged. This class will examine group dynamics as it is practiced in the field of organizational development (OD), a branch of organizational psychology used to implement cultural changes across social systems. The application of OD to politics is not widespread, but its tools are useful in understanding the dynamics in political situations and in the understanding of how power is exercised. The course will introduce concepts in open systems theory and will introduce three models to hold the data in our case studies: the Burke-Litwin Model, BART, and GRPI. 

Topics in Journalism: Writing, Wit, and the Natural World (CSPL/WRCT 250K).  Taught by Koeppel Fellow Richard Michael Conniff (1 credit, meets T/R 2:50-4:10 pm)

This course will engage students as readers and writers of essays, opinion pieces, and long form articles about the natural world. We live in the shadow of climate change and the sixth great extinction event. So when is outrage effective, and when does wit or irony allow a writer to find a more persuasive voice? What’s the role of objectivity in a world where everybody seems to be shouting? We’ll consider the work of such writers as Gerald Durell, David Quammen, Elizabeth Kolbert, and Peter Matthiessen. Students will also write regularly and collaborate together in class to critique and improve one another’s work. 

Collaborative Cluster Initiative Research Seminar II (CSPL 321).  Taught by Sean McCann and Charles Barber (0.5 credit, meeting time TBA) – POI (open to any interested students)

Students participating in the Collaborative Cluster Initiative will take this course in the spring semester. They will continue with projects started in the fall semester. This is a continuation of CSPL320. This course will supplement the seminars providing historical and cultural background of the prison system in the United States. The emphasis will be on the practical application of topics engaged in the other seminars and contemporary concerns related to the prison system in the U.S. We shall follow current debates at both the national and state level, including legislation, media, and university initiatives. Students will also visit local sites. Speakers will visit the class to share their experiences and expertise. Students will conduct individual research projects and present them in workshop fashion.

Music Movements in a Capitalist Democracy (CSPL 333).  Taught by singer/songwriter Dar Williams (1 credit, meets Wednesday 1:20-4:10 pm)

This course will focus on music movements that have used the presentation, expression, and production of music and music events to facilitate sociopolitico transitions. The vital context of these movements is the United States in particular, where the speed and power of commerce, as well as the concentration of capital, present unique opportunities for progressive values and goals in music.

We will look at huge events, like the Newport festivals, Woodstock, Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, Lillith Fair, and Bonnaroo, and examine how these movements have both evolved and spread their tendrils into the world (if they have). We will also spend some time on smaller, grassroots venues and music series in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, and New York and see how blues, folk, punk, and “Americana” venues have affected and interacted with their communities. We will look at how music scenes evolved and grew and sometimes became institutions, like the Chicago Old Town School of Music.

Topics in Education, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship: Social Entrepreneurship in Education (CSPL 341B).  Taught by Harber Fellow Bernard Dean Bull (1 credit, meets T/R 10:20-11:40 am)

This seminar focuses upon educational innovation and entrepreneurship as a form of social entrepreneurship, some of society’s greatest challenges in education. Learners will survey critical issues in contemporary education and explore innovative and entrepreneurial efforts to address these issues. Learners will explore how diverse education startups, non-profit organizations and NGOs, individuals and grassroots groups, K-12 schools, Universities, foundations, professional associations and others are responding to these issues in innovative ways. As the course progresses, learners will explore the roles of foundations, corporations, and government policies and regulations upon educational innovation and entrepreneurship. As part of this course, learners will work individually or in groups to research solutions to a pressing contemporary educational challenge and propose/pitch a means of addressing that challenge through social entrepreneurship.

New Teaching Evaluations Update

Wesleyan is implementing a new teaching evaluation form this fall.  The majority of classes will use the new teaching evaluation form, with new questions.  However, a small number of classes will continue to use the old form for a few more terms, so some students will complete a different form for certain classes.  There will be one landing page for all student course evaluations, with a link to the correct form for each course.

Winter Session Registration – Courses Filling

If you are interested in taking a Winter Session course, register as soon as possible! 

To register for Winter Session, print the form from the bucket in your portfolio, complete the form, have your advisor sign it, and bring the form with payment to the Winter Session office (74 Wyllys Ave). You can also prepay on your student account before bringing your form in.

Housing and Dining forms for Winter Session are also in your portfolio and will close at noon on December 6. Only students who have completed the forms as well as registered for Winter Session (or another program) by noon on December 6 will be eligible for housing and dining. More information at http://www.wesleyan.edu/wintersession

Please contact the Winter Session office with any questions – winter@wesleyan.edu or 860-685-2005.

New Course: CGST 210 “Language and Thought: Introduction to Linguistics”

Q:  What is linguistics?
A: It’s the study of language, its structures, and the way it works.

We’re pleased to be re-introducing into the Wesleyan curriculum an introductory course on Linguistics, to be taught by Prof. Louise Neary in Spring 2017.  This course will introduce students to some of the principal areas like phonology  (the study of the sounds of language),morphology (the structure of words), syntax (the structure of sentences) and semantics (the meaning of language). 

This course has no prerequisites and will be interesting for anyone curious about how and why humans make the sounds we make. 

Check out Wesmaps for more info.  Offered M & W—2:50-4:10 p.m.