Fall 2016

AR471: Picasso’s Suite Vollard and its Contexts
Four credit hours. Plesch

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA), October 13, 2013 Auction of Important Modern Art & Design featuring works from the Estate of Ruth and Dalzell HatfieldNamed after the Parisian art dealer Ambroise Vollard who commissioned it, the Suite Vollard consists in a collection of one hundred etchings that Picasso created between 1930 and 1937. The richness of the Suite Vollard is such that it is the perfect focus for an “object-centered” course, supporting research for an entire semester by a group of students. This Humanities Lab is an in-depth exploration of the Suite and of the contexts of its production: technical, iconographic, stylistic, historical, cultural, and biographical. In the museum, seminar participants will study first-hand the Suite as well as other examples of intaglio prints. We will also visit the department’s printmaking studio to see materials and tools and witness the etching and printing process. Students will be conducting interdisciplinary research (besides art historical scholarship, they will consult works on mythology, history, etc.) and gather materials in a variety of media. The results of the research will be presented in an online virtual exhibition that will include essays on individual prints as well as contextual (and multi-medial) materials; students will also share their research at a small conference.

AY297: The Art and Politics of Revolution in Latin America
Four credit hours. Tate

venezuela-artConsiders the role of revolution in Latin American political life, and its impact in artistic production in the societies where revolutions, or revolutionary movements, have taken hold. Students will identify and analyze the interconnection between revolutionary thought throughout Latin America, as well as the forms and practices of artistic production that accompany it. Through assignments and class discussions, students will develop their skills of anthropological thinking and critical analysis, and enhance their ability to express complex ideas and to support their arguments using concrete evidence in both written and oral modes of communication. Revolutions Humanities Lab. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112.

CI245: Documentary Video Production: An Editor’s Perspective   
Four credit hours.  Murphy

In this Humanities Lab students will produce and edit short documentaries about Allen Island and mid-coast Maine which will be included in the Maine Food documentary series. Topics may include lobstering, aquaponics, food co-ops, and food education. Students will learn the basics of video production, although the focus will be on video editing. Students will learn the art of revision, as well as technical skills such as using a camera, shooting a scene, and interviewing subjects. Students’ videos will be informed by best practices in the documentary genre. One overnight trip to Allen Island is required. Previously listed as Cinema Studies 297 (Fall 2014).

CI248: Digital Publishing: Telling Stories Online
Four credit hours. Murphy

This Humanities Lab explores the many methods and tools available for creating digital stories. Students learn the basic skills of multimedia production and develop strategies for conceiving original and creative projects. They explore the potential uses of digital storytelling, including promoting nonprofits, marketing a new business, and developing social justice campaigns. Projects include the creation of animated .gifs, photo manipulations, audio soundscapes, digital video mash-ups, and promotional web videos. Students also become fluent in a variety of programs, including Photoshop, Audacity, and Final Cut X, and engage with a variety of publishing platforms including Vine, Flickr, WordPress, Vimeo, and Tumblr. Previously listed as Cinema Studies 298.

EN297: Poetry and Paintings
Four credit hours. Gibson

unnamedWhy do poets write about art? What inspires them? How can we imagine our own creative processes in this exchange? Drawing on poems from Homer to Bishop, from Blake and the Rossettis to Ashbery and Rita Dove, we will explore what it means to write between the arts. Using the many resources of the Colby College Museum of Art to focus our thinking and provide examples of the artists addressed by the poets we consider, we will analyze the sister arts and create our own creative projects linking word and image. Fulfills English C and P requirements. Prerequisite: Any W1 course (may be taken concurrently). Humanities Lab.

IT397: City of Water: Uncovering Milan’s Aquatic Geographies
Four credit hours. Ferrando

Image_12In this Humanities Lab, students will explore the cultural history of water in Milan, Italy’s self-described ‘city of water,’ in a multimedia environment that fosters an atmosphere of creative collaboration and encourages creative design. Students will turn from consumers of information into producers of cultural artifacts by generating searchable, annotated, thick maps of Milan and disseminating them outside the classroom. Primary sources will include photographs, maps, poems, short stories, essays, graphic novels, comics, manifestos, music, city plans, and historical accounts. Secondary sources will comprise scholarly works, online archives as well as other digital humanities projects. The Lab will travel once to Harvard’s MetaLab(@)Harvard and WorldMap Center. Guest speakers will include: Prof. Jeffrey Schnapp and poet Milo De Angelis.The course will be taught in English with an optional Italian language focus for Italian Studies minors. The Lab also fulfills the literature requirement.

LT232: Love and Revolution
Four credit hours. O’Neill

Lesbia1878JohnReinhardWeguelinExplores the role of Latin love poetry in the cultural revolution that accompanied the bloody death of the Republic and the rise of the Imperial princeps. Catullus, the originator of Latin love poetry grew up in the shadow of Spartacus’ slave revolt and rebellions across the Roman world. Tibullus and Propertius established the genre of love elegy against the backdrop of a wave of failed uprisings and violent power struggles. The revolution that brought the emperor Augustus to power soon metamorphosed into an autocratic empire incompatible with the ideals of love elegy, which Ovid abandoned when he was sent into exile. Students will develop digital humanities skills by creating web-based commentaries of assigned poems. Revolutions Humanities Lab.

SP127 B1 and 127 C: Intermediate Spanish I
Four credit hours. Hey-Colon

Escobar_PicassoThrough sustained engagement with the recently acquired Vollard Suite, students will deepen their cultural knowledge of Spain and Latin America as they review key concepts of Spanish grammar. By means of guided visits to the Colby Museum of Art, as well as their own independent research and writing, students will explore their personal relationship to art, learn about Picasso, and uncover his influence in the Spanish-speaking world. At the end of this Humanities Lab students will present their research, in Spanish, to the general public.

SP197: After the Revolutions: Masculinities in Mexico and Cuba
One credit hour. White

Focuses on the representation of iconic revolutionary figures in the Mexican and Cuban revolutions–such as Pancho Villa, Emiliano Zapata, Che Guevara, and a young Fidel Castro–and the subsequent performance of shifting masculinities in their aftermath. Considers how traditional masculinity has defined “ideal” revolutionaries and citizens, and how artists have reinforced or resisted those limits. Students will stage one of the contemporary theatrical works studied and will be involved in all aspects of staging and direction, including acting, costuming, lighting, sound and set design. Does not count toward the Spanish major. Revolutions Humanities Lab.


WG223: Critical Race Feminisms and Tap Dance
Four credit hours. Thomas

ThomasThis Humanities Lab offers an introduction to critical race feminism and tap dance. Students will learn about the history of tap dance in the United States and abroad, black feminist thought, the concept of intersectionality, and the hypervisibility of raced bodies. Students will learn to perform and name basic tap skills and the “shim sham shimmy,” a dance historically performed by African American female tap dancers in Harlem; to perform a visual cultural analysis; to understand and think critically about concepts from critical race theory, black feminist thought, and feminist performance theory; and to know the history of tap dance and its significance to racial politics in the United States.

JanPlan 2017

AR393 Asian Museum Workshop: Zao Wou-Ki in Context
Three credit hours. Weitz

DSCN1355In this Humanities Lab we will curate a small exhibition of artwork from Colby’s permanent collection to supplement the larger exhibition, No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki. During the first week of Jan Plan, we will travel (all expenses paid) to New York City to see No Limits during its final days at the Asia Society Museum. After our return, we will stay abreast of the transportation and installation of No Limits at Colby. We will also develop a smaller exhibition that contextualizes Zao’s art within Colby’s larger collection; our end product will consist of a gallery guide and labels for our “Zao in Context” exhibition.

CI243: Narrative Film Production   
Three credit hours.  Murphy

unnamedIn this Humanities Lab students will learn the essential skills required to produce a compelling narrative short film through development of preproduction skills from initial idea, to writing a script, to storyboarding, to creating a shot list. We will learn the basics of cinematography, casting, and directing. Finally, students will learn how to edit and manage a postproduction workflow. Previously offered as Cinema Studies 297 (2014).

Spring 2017

AR323: Destroying Culture: Iconoclasm from Antiquity to Today
Four credit hours. Ameri

From Moses to ISIS, human beings have been destroying art and culture for as long as we have been creating it. The reasons for this are often as varied as the types of materials that are destroyed, but have often been lumped into one or two easy categories. This course approaches the question of why humans destroy culture by tracing the history of destructive practices from antiquity to the present. In this class, we will explore the religious and political contexts linked to the production, protection, and destruction of material culture by examining specific case studies of cultural destruction over a wide geographic and historic span. Students will be encouraged to question and understand the forces behind different instances of destruction as well as the meaning they hold for us today. Over the course of the semester, we will also be working collaboratively to create a map and timeline of cultural destruction which will later be made available over Colby’s website. Revolutions Humanities Lab.

AR358: Photography and Migration
Four credit hours. Sheehan

This Humanities Lab and civic engagement course explores how photography has been used to document, enable, or control the movement of people across geographical and cultural borders. It focuses on how photographers have put a face on immigration, making visible its associations with transition, displacement, hardship, and opportunity. Engaging with current scholarship, students work closely with photographs in Special Collections at Miller Library and the Colby College Museum of Art. They also study materials in local archives and the family photographs of Maine immigrant communities. The seminar culminates in an exhibition and community event organized by the students. Previously listed as Art 498 (Spring, 2015). Prerequisite: An American studies or art history course.

AR356: Writing Art Criticism
Four credit hours. Harkett

This Humanities Lab familiarizes students with the forms, techniques, and aims of art criticism. Designed around artworks and exhibitions that students can experience firsthand, assignments prepare them to compose reviews of books and exhibitions, entries in exhibition catalogues, and other writing for museums, galleries, and websites. The class will also conduct interviews with studio art majors, write critical analyses of their artwork, and coauthor the catalogue for the annual Senior Art Exhibition at the Colby College Museum of Art.

EN351: Contemporary American Poetry–“American Poetry Since 1945: Wars and Wiles and Other Charms”
Four credit hours. Blevins

In this Humanities Lab we will marry traditional study of a literary period and genre—American poetry since 1945—to an experiential community engagement. Critical discussions will focus on close reading of major American poems and will investigate the ongoing questions and debates that have defined the eclectic character of American poetry in the contemporary period. Our readings will be supplemented by critical assessments focused on our poetry’s richly inventive evolution viewed partly through the manifestos and aesthetic arguments of the poets themselves. As part of the final project, students will work with a local artist to illuminate poetry on buildings at Colby and in downtown Waterville as part of a collaborative community engagement experiment around National Poetry Month. Students will curate an author bio and description of the defining aesthetic features of the poetry they choose to share and endeavor to portray it in a way that reveals how lyric intimacy can create connection to and accessibly for the broader public.

EN333: Environmental Revolutions in American Literature and Culture
Four credit hours. Sibara

ideas-about-green-business-and-its-environmental-perks-cd7670e6Explores the role that literature and the arts have played in the ongoing “environmental revolution” waged by people of color and their allies. Case studies will introduce students to a range of environmental justice issues and movements, bringing a humanities-based approach to topics most often treated through the lenses of science, law, and policy. Texts will include multiethnic American literature, film, and music, as well as several artworks in the Colby College Museum of Art. We will analyze how environmental justice activists, scholars, and artists have responded to new challenges while also revising core concepts and priorities of mainstream environmentalism. Fulfills English C and D requirements. Revolutions Humanities Lab. Prerequisite: Any W1 course.

EN386:Special Topics: Documentary Radio
Four credit hours. Spark

Screen Shot 2016-11-29 at 9.01.41 AMIn this Humanities Lab students will listen to and make a variety of short documentary pieces, learning how to use recording equipment, interview, write radio scripts, and edit and mix sound. They will produce radio essays, public service announcements, vox pops (person-on-the-street-type interviews), soundscapes, and profiles. They should expect to go off campus for assignments, as well as to spend time in the Theater and Dance Department’s sound studio. Includes readings about sound reporting and the making of This American Life, as well as guests from on and off campus.

FR223: French Theater Workshop
Four credit hours. Brunetaux

IMG_5012Designed for students wishing to develop their French language skills in a less traditional environment. Through close study of French plays, students acquire in-depth knowledge of contemporary French theater. As their final project, they have the unique opportunity to select, direct, and perform a French play. This Humanities Lab engages students in collaborative and experiential learning. Emphasis on analysis, drama performance, French oral practice, and creativity. No prior acting experience required. May be repeated once for additional credit.

FR371: L’écriture de soi/Writing the Self
Four credit hours. Brunetaux

This Humanities Lab explores concepts of memory and self-fashioning in French non-canonical/non-traditional autobiographical narratives, and questions the (im)possibilities of writing the self through French and Francophone film, literature, graphic novels, and art. Through theoretical readings, students will acquire a better understanding of the processes by which written/visual memoirs and autobiographies are produced. To put into practice what they learn in class, students will carry out research/creative projects that will challenge their own notion of “self” vis-à-vis issues of race, gender, and identity. The exhibit “Unbound” by Tim Rollins and K.O.S (Portland Museum of Art) will be the point of departure for their projects.

HI352 Asian Migrations
Four credit hours. H, I. LaCouture

UntitledSince the Cold War, academics and policy makers have understood Asia as a map clearly delineated by the borders of modern nation-states and further divided into three Asias: South, Southeast, and East. Introduces migrations as a category of historical analysis to un-map Cold War-era understandings of Asia and generate a new trans-regional awareness of the Asian world. This Humanities Lab examines the migrations of people, language and culture, capital, and things across Asia from early modern history through the Cold War. Students will engage with cutting-edge research on Asian migrations and contribute to this growing field with an original research project. Prerequisite: East Asian Studies 150, History 250, 276, or 350.

MU493 Seminar: Sounds of Maine
Four credit hours. Zelensky

This Humanities Lab explores Maine’s musical cultures through the methodologies and theories of ethnomusicology. Topics include Maine’s migration history, ethnographic writing, the problems and praxis of musical transcription, interviewing, and the ethics of fieldwork. Students will conduct an in-depth ethnographic study of a local music scene. One of the primary questions considered is how our work in the academy can extend to the communities we study. Indeed, the notion of ethnography as activism will be a central point of scrutiny in theory and in practice. Discussion-based seminars with fieldtrips to concerts and specific sites of research.

SP198: Telling Stories and Making Books in Medieval Iberia
One credit hour. Savo

Cantigas, códice ricoThis Humanities Lab introduces students to the frame narrative tradition of 13th- and 14th-century Iberia and the methods, both oral and written, by which these texts circulated. Through close readings of primary sources, students will reflect on storytelling as a source of pleasure, a conduit for cultural exchange, and even a way to achieve immortality. For the lab component, students will write, compile, and publish an original collection of stories and present their book in a public reading. Does not count toward the Spanish major.