Fall 2017

AM297: Art, Urbanism, and Community
Four credit hours. Lisle

We will examine urban change and the built environment, focusing particularly on the roles that art and culture can play in shaping cities and communities. Our case studies will be Waterville and Washington Park, a neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. We will be particularly attentive to ways that economic, political, social, and cultural power are expressed and resisted through urban spaces. This is an interdisciplinary Humanities Center lab course, meaning it foregrounds experiential and community-oriented learning. We will partner with a course at the University of Chicago being taught by Theaster Gates, an installation artist; we will visit Chicago once during the semester and host our partners once in Waterville.


AR287: The Artist’s Book: Designing and Producing Publications as Art
Four credit hours. Green

Takes students through the history and production of artists’ books, the unique and limited-edition publications that are themselves considered works of art. Students learn to produce their own books, from typography and page design through printing and binding. Many forms of the artist’s book will be considered, including zines, photo books, visual diaries, and fine editions. Students across all disciplines are encouraged to enroll. Origins humanities lab. Prerequisite: Any 100-level studio art course.


AR347: Art and Maine
Four credit hours. Sheehan

This humanities lab introduces students to Maine’s important role in American art. In 2017-2018, it focuses on three case studies from the 19th and 20th centuries: the realist paintings of Winslow Homer, abstractions of Marsden Hartley, and romantic visions of the Wyeth family. Themes include Maine’s representation as a natural resource; embodiment of local, national, and international values; and artistic origin or refuge. Research and writing assignments incorporate first-hand study of objects at the Portland Museum of Art and the Colby Museum of Art as well as field work at the Wyeths’ home on Allen Island.


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

-1In 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

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.


HI241: History of Colby College
Four credit hours. Leonard

Through readings, lectures, discussion, presentations, and independent research, students will learn about the history of Colby since its founding in 1813. Students will participate in writing the College’s history by doing independent research projects on Colby’s past using the abundant resources in Special Collections and elsewhere. Who is your residence hall named after? Why are our sports teams called the Mules? How did town-gown relations change when the College moved to Mayflower Hill? Who was Janitor Sam? Who was Mary Low? Discover answers to these and a multitude of other questions you never thought to ask.


IT397 Zine! A Practical Introduction to Contemporary Poetry (in English)
Four credit hours. Rizzo

Offers students an opportunity to engage directly with some of the most exciting poetry written in the past few decades, create their own texts, and collect them in a zine (a minimalist paper journal) we will be editing. First, we will become familiar with the most common non-lyrical poetic techniques (chance-based, collage, automatic writing, etc.), as well as the artists that invented and practiced them over the past few decades. Then, we will compose brand new poems, to be included in our very own zine. Guest lectures and field trips will enhance the class experience. Origins humanities lab.


JanPlan 2017

TD261: Topics in Performance: Activist Storytelling Workshop
Three credit hours. Weinblatt

Students will create original story-based performance pieces inspired by their own passion — issues such as the environment, race, poverty, reproductive justice, freedom of speech, LGBTQ+ rights, disability, diversity, access to education, etc. Students will explore a variety of writing and performance styles and techniques to engage in creative process and generate material. Culminates in a showcase presentation of solo and small group pieces at Colby and at a professional performance venue in Portland, which will require additional travel and rehearsal time the final week of Jan Plan. No previous writing or performance experience necessary. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.


TD264: Applied Performance/Production: Portland Ballet   
Three credit hours.  Yanowsky

Students will spend Jan Plan in Portland, Maine where they will participate in daily company classes with the Portland Ballet Professional Company, in a new creative project with a visiting choreographer, and will have part-time internships in a variety of areas. Interested students should contact Professor Kloppenberg early in the fall and are strongly encouraged to enroll in TD116 and/or TD117 in the fall semester to be ready to work at a high level. Nongraded. Prerequisite: Audition.


PL297: Taking Philosophy Public
Three credit hours. Gordon

This Humanities Lab explores—theoretically and practically—how philosophy might contribute to public life, and students will engage the public philosophically through a variety of means. Like other disciplines, philosophy has turned recently to urgent conversations about how we might constructively contribute to public life, how we might extend what we do in the academy out to the public sphere. Students will first read philosophical texts about how and why public philosophy should happen and the role of the public intellectual, especially in times of struggle for those struggling; they will Skype with philosophers who are currently engaged in public philosophy activities; and students will then design, organize, and carry out public philosophy events or activities in small groups. Those may include a Socrates Café, writing op-ed pieces for local papers using philosophy to analyze current events, engaging local grade school students or the elderly in philosophical conversation, or something else of their own design and choosing. Prerequisite: at least one course in philosophy.


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

This 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.


Spring 2018

CI298: Visual Storytelling: Found Materials and the Archive
Four credit hours. Murphy.

/>In the past century, humans have created (and lost) so many visual objects — from 16mm films of vacations, to snapshots of graduations and birthdays, to scrapbooks from childhood, to postcards from abroad. More recently we have created and forgotten about Snapchats, Facebook posts, and digital videos. We will take these ephemeral materials and bring them back to life through the art of visual storytelling. We will use materials from our own lives, from the Colby archive in Special Collections, and from the Northeast Historic Film archive to tell new and compelling stories. Students will also learn how to shoot and edit digital video


CI321: Topics in Film Theory: Mainely Cinema: Film and the Archive
Four credit hours. Wessels.

Through studying film on a local level, we can better understand both the origins of cinema in a particular place and the continued relevance of film history more broadly – as its beginnings reveal the ways in which films reflects and influences social, political, and cultural contexts. This Origins themed Humanities lab will focus on the study of local contexts of cinema production and reception, as well as how images of a particular location (Maine) develop meaning. Much of the work that goes into this kind of research requires archival expertise – the ability to sift through newspapers, film collections, web-based archives, etc. This course will provide both a theoretical framework for archival research and practical experience engaging with archival materials. In addition, students will have the opportunity to take a research trip to the Northeast Historic Film archives in Bucksport, develop their own research projects related to film in Maine, and create a website to share their findings with a public audience.


EA221: Second Language Pedagogy
Four credit hours. Wang.

An introduction to current research and theory in the area of second language acquisition (SLA). Students will gain an understanding of theories of SLA; the similarities and differences across first and second language acquisition; and the role of individual differences in language learning (including age, first language, and aptitude, among others). Students will also become familiar with the implications for SLA of sociolinguistic differences for English across time and space in the United States. Intended for students who are interested in second language learning and teaching.


EN239: Literature Against Distortion
Four credit hours. Hanlon.

Literature Against Distortion takes literary and archival research as a foundation for combating misinformation, specious claims, faulty arguments, “alternative facts,” “fake news,” and other violations of intellectual rigor and integrity. It leads students through a series of hands-on exercises, from archival research in special collections to civic engagement projects, designed to give students the tools to recognize, describe, and persuasively undo the proliferating distortions in their daily lives. This Origins Humanities Lab investigates the historical origins of distortion as a political strategy, as well as the origins of the rhetorical study of distortion.


FR351: Minority Issues and Social Change in the Americas
Four credit hours. Mauguiere

This course will examine issues of cultural representation, migration, diaspora and social change primarily in Quebec, Maine and Louisiana. Postcolonial, transatlantic and border theories will be used to better understand the French experience in the Americas. Goals include developing critical reading, presentation and writing skills. Students will analyze print and visual texts, including films and testimonies, and they will contribute to a digital humanities project as part of an on-going, interdisciplinary effort to remap America and American studies. Prerequisite: French 231 and at least one other 200-level course, preferably two.


MU222: Maine’s Musical Soundscapes: Ethnography of Maine
Four credit hours. Zelensky

What are the musical cultures outside of Colby and what are the communities making this music? We will engage this question through direct interaction and observation of Maine’s ethnic and racial communities. Students will learn ethnographic field methods and take field trips to conduct interviews at sites that make up the rich tapestry of Maine’s soundscape, including Waterville establishments and Penobscot, Lebanese, Somali, Russian, and French-Canadian communities (the group under study will rotate on a yearly basis). Students will present their findings in the form of a documentary film.


IT298 Noisemakers: Tracing the Origins of Modern Music in Italy
Four credit hours. Ferrando.

We will explore the history of noise and its impact on 20th-century Italian music. In a multimedia environment that fosters an atmosphere of creative collaboration and encourages creative confidence, students will produce digital soundmaps of the city of Waterville and the Colby campus. Sources will include music, sound/noise clips, manifestos, poetry, short stories, essays, city plans, historical accounts, scholarly works, and online archives as well as other digital humanities projects. The lab will travel to Harvard for a conversation with the Harvard Group for New Music. Origins humanities lab. Prerequisite: Italian 128.


RE221: The Jews of Maine
Four credit hours. Freidenreich.

Participants will advance popular understanding of the experiences of Maine’s Jews past and present by producing mini-exhibitions for display at the Maine State Museum, along with thematically related programs for school groups and adult audiences. In conjunction with the 2017-18 humanities theme, “Origins,” we will explore the question, “What does it mean to be from Maine?” Students will develop transferable skills in research, multimedia communication, and collaboration while gaining a richer understanding of how Jews and others have staked their claim to authenticity as Mainers.


RU242: Ethnic Wars and Peace in (Post-)Soviet Cinema (in English)
Four credit hours. Monastireva-Ansdell.

The impassioned relations Russia and other post-Soviet states share today, be it at war (Ukraine) or in peaceful alliance (Eurasian Union), originated in Soviet constructions of ethnicity. From Lenin’s post-revolutionary cultivation of ethnic identities, we will proceed to Stalin’s hierarchy of depoliticized “symbolic ethnicities,” through non-Russian artists’ interrogation of Russians’ cultural dominance and celebration of political independence. Students will collaboratively map cinematic representations of such major policies as “friendship of the peoples,” “national in form, socialist in content,” “backward” and “enemy” nations, and “first among equals”; and cook a “friendship-of-the-peoples” meal. Conducted in English.


SP493: Seminar: Queer Spain
Four credit hours. Allbritton.

The representation of queer lives and identities in recent Spanish history. We will engage with Spanish film, literature, and culture to consider and question the ‘origins’ of LGBTQ identity in Spain. Have we always imagined queerness as a coupling of people or movements to signify alterity and difference? Who gets to tell the story of queer lives in Spain, and whether such histories form a string of texts that resist silence and fear? Is Spanish queerness related to a transnational sense of queer identity? Thinking of queerness as a spectrum allows us to challenge the borders of sex and gender both within Spain and within our own cultures.