Spring 2019

AM221: Mapping Waterville
Four credit hours. H. Lisle

This interdisciplinary humanities lab combines geographical and architectural fieldwork, historical research, digital mapping, and storytelling. Waterville is our learning space. Students work collaboratively to analyze the town’s material and spatial character, track and explain changes across time, locate Waterville in broader contexts of urban and social change, and publish interpretations online using a range of digital tools and platforms.

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

Students in this humanities theme lab work together to create a digital map and timeline that traces the history of iconoclasm and cultural destruction from antiquity to the present. They explore the religious and political contexts linked to the production, protection, and destruction of material culture by examining specific case studies over a wide geographic and historic span. Students are encouraged to question the forces behind different instances of destruction as well as the meaning they hold for us today. Assessment consists of reading responses, short writing assignments, and a group project.

EA355: Aging and Public Policy in East Asia
Four credit hours. Zhang

Students will combine ethnographic studies with demographic data to compare and analyze how East Asian countries cope with challenges of rapid population aging and to explore public policy shifts regarding state and private responsibility for the wellbeing of the elderly. Utilizing interactive data from the United Nation Population Division to compare and project aging trends including fertility rates, life expectancy, median age, and dependence ratio in East Asia. Students will also make two field trips to local eldercare facilities to gain comparative insight on the challenges of aging and eldercare provision in Maine, one of the grayest states in the United States.

EN120: Inventing Nature in New England
Four credit hours. Gibson

This humanities lab course will combine field trips around Maine with work in the Colby Museum and the rare book room. We’ll read some of the classics of New England nature writing, make our own “field journals” on Mayflower Hill, and think about how our ideas of and relationships to the natural world are shaped by our knowledge, our technology, and our historical situation. We’ll read prose and poetry, from Emerson to Maine writer Sarah Orne Jewett’s short stories, to modern poetry broadsides in our library’s collection. When spring finally comes we’ll make a field trip to the Maine coast to see for ourselves the world described in Celia Thaxter’s The Isle of Shoals. We will keep journals and write and revise both research essays and journalistic essays.

EN398: Life in Times of Extinction
Four credit hours. Walker

We are living through an event known as the Sixth Extinction. Human impacts on the environment are causing the largest extinction in the last 65 million years. At the same time, humans are discovering and celebrating life in all its biodiversity. Photographs, films, ethological narratives, and biological databases attesting to human interest in newly discovered, and newly endangered, species proliferate. To address this incongruity, this humanities lab will explore a recent strain of scholarship in the environmental humanities that asks how extinction comes to matter to us culturally, ethically, and evolutionarily. Fulfills English C and D requirements.

JanPlan 2019

EN258: Adventurous Writers of Maine: A Creative Writing Lab
Three credit hours. A. Blevins, S. Braunstein

For students who wish to awaken their work to the fortifying sights and sounds of the real world in real time. With our notebooks in hand, we will visit a variety of places, and then return to the classroom to share our work with one another. We will also explore the work of contemporary writers as we consider the ethics of curiosity and the role of witness. Students will produce a portfolio of original work by the end of the term and give a reading to the community. Open to writers of all genres. Beginners welcome.

Fall 2018

AM229 Art, Community, and Ethical Urban Development
Four credit hours. Lisle

We explore how buildings and neighborhoods can be platforms for art, culture, and community. How might we ethically redevelop urban spaces, constructing sustainable places that value beauty and resident rights over narrow profit logics? In this interdisciplinary humanities lab that foregrounds experiential and community-oriented learning, we will examine artistic, political, and community-based organizations in other cities as models to help us develop our own projects for a more just and equitable Waterville.

AY232: Oral History Ethnographic Research Lab: Waterville Main Street
Two credit hours. Tate

In this ethnographic research lab, students will explore the theory and practice of oral history. They will read from a range of sources about the challenges of producing oral history and conduct both archival research and produce oral histories examining the history of Waterville Main Street, using Colby’s Special Collections and with Waterville residents. Drawing on Digital Maine’s previous projects (including American Studies 221, “Mapping Waterville”), the class will produce a collective project presenting oral histories of Waterville Main Street.

AY344: Black Radical Imaginations
Four credit hours. Bhimull

This seminar is a critical transdisciplinary examination of the black radical imagination, an idea developed by Robin D. G. Kelley to describe the transformative power of collective visions for a new society. It explores how black people have long used imagination as a political strategy for survival, emancipation, and liberation – to struggle, to dream, and to create worlds of joy and love that reach beyond and dismantle oppression. It draws attention to the creative traditions of black intellectual activism and invites us to consider how they inform contemporary modes of social action and change.

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

Students will produce and edit short documentaries about Allen Island and mid-coast Maine. Topics may include art, the environment, food production, or island life. 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.

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.

EN397: Poetry Remixes
Four credit hours. Ardam

Remixing, re-visioning, rewriting, appropriation, quotation, and recycling are key methods and concerns for many 20th- and 21st-century poets. This humanities lab will study 100 years of poetic remixing in units on gender, race and identity, and culture. We will work with Special Collections and the Colby Museum, including a project on the found language poetry of Bern Porter. We will ask questions such as: How and why do poets engage other art and cultural forms? How does remixing shape our understanding of history and politics? What does our poetic engagement with the past tell us about how we view our political moment?

WP115: First-Year Writing: Rich and Poor in American Fiction
Four credit hours. Harrington

Invites you to examine an American literary movement–social realism–through the lens of class extremes, looking at how fiction has helped create and reinforce cultural notions of “rich” and “poor”. We will read canonical works as well as contemporary popular literature with an eye toward fictional representation of class division. We will also apply class theory, such as that of Thorstein Veblen, to narrative and will contextualize texts through New Historicism. In the process, we will explore, even deconstruct, our own views of class identities. Assignments will include a short position paper, a longer research paper, a blog, a group project, and a midterm. The Presence of the Past humanities lab.