Fall 2019

AM235: Made in Maine   
Four credit hours. Lisle

We examine the “design” of Maine, exploring how Mainers have made meaning through things and space at different scales, from handheld tools to the shape of cities, from owner-built houses to craft beers. As participants in a humanities lab course, we cultivate a “classroom without walls,” combining reading, writing, and discussion with fieldwork, archival research, community engagement, archive building, and digital publishing.

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

Introduces students to the basics of documentary video production. Students will learn how to conceive, plan, shoot, and edit a documentary short subject about food production and sustainability in Waterville, Maine. Students will actively engage with the ethics of documentary filmmaking while developing relationships with their subjects. Ultimately, students will leave this course knowing how to build relationships through documentary filmmaking, while raising awareness of the challenges around food production and insecurity in Central Maine. Humanities lab course.

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.

CN453: Chinese Food Culture and Changing Landscape
Four credit hours. Wang

This Humanities Lab is an advanced Chinese language course with a content-based approach to cultivating essential understandings of the historical, sociocultural aspects of the Chinese food culture. Students will read primary sources in Chinese for historical and literary understandings, and gain hands-on experience of cooking through monthly Chinese cooking classes. Students will also interact with preselected Chinese immigrant communities and participate in food-related events to learn about the evolving immigrant food culture in the United States.

EA242: Development and Environmental Issues in Contemporary China
Four credit hours. Hong Zhang

As the most populous country in the world with more than 1.3 billion people, and undergoing rapid industrialization/urbanization as it has been integrated into the global economy over the past four decades, China faces a diverse range of developmental and environmental challenges. This course adopts a multidisciplinary approach to study the environmental governance and challenges in China. Students gain visual, ethical, cultural and social perspectives on the complex issues concerning developmental rights and environmental protection, human costs of rapid urbanization, dislocation, environmental justice/equity, environmental activism, and environmental policy-making and implementation in China. This course also contains an Environmental Humanities Lab component in that students will download the mobile “Blue Map” apps to track and analyze pollution data in China throughout the semester. This course also connects with the Energy/Exhaustion theme in that it examines transnational green movements and the rise of innovative environmental activism that taps technology and mobilizes citizens to monitor dirty energy and industrial pollution in China.

EN398: Energy and Utopia
Four credit hours. Chris Walker

From the appearance of slavery in “Thomas More’s Utopia (1516) to the centrality of the alien energy source “vibranium” in Nnedi Okorafor’s Afro-futurist The Black Panther (2018), utopian narratives have been underwritten by the myth of endless, free energy, and the elision of exhausted, disenfranchised labor. Considering this historical problem, we will ask what type of political work is performed by the utopian genre today? To do so, this humanities lab will investigate literary, cinematic, and theoretical examinations of our current climate, energy, and political crises.

FR 297: Indigenous Resistances to Petrocapitalism: “We Are Not Drowning, We Are Fighting!”
Four credit hours. Maurer

Pacific writers and artists are at the forefront of the movement to oppose petrocapitalism and to fight American carbon imperialism. In this Humanities Lab, students will analyze Pacific cultural production, interview climate activists from Oceania, and read critical articles on the opposition to nuclear energy and resource exhaustion. Students will also help to promote the message of Pacific climate activists by transforming Pacific works into digital artifacts catering to a mainland audience. Course and readings all in English.

GM127: Intermediate German I: Exploring German Studies
Four credit hours. Koch

An investigative and experiential course focused on content/disciplinary practices in the field of German Studies and different forms of (non-)digital storytelling, GM127 is an introduction to extended readings and writings in German via cultural contexts. As a Humanities Lab, GM 127 leads students toward understanding the intersections of the German-speaking world and their studies at Colby via modular exploration of the field of German Studies (that is, by equipping students with the tools for analysis of aesthetic and intellectual accomplishments representative of major periods in German, Austrian, and Swiss history, the course will enable students to address the question What constitutes German Studies?) and through different forms of storytelling. Image from www.all-free-photos.com.

RE285: Faith, Class, and Community
Four credit hours. Freidenreich

Explores the various intersections between religious traditions, socioeconomic structures, and faith-based communities/organizations (among others), with particular attention to dynamics in Waterville. Students gain a deeper understanding of religious and other ethical approaches to issues related to wealth, poverty, and inequality. Students develop skills associated with community organizing and non-profit leadership through meaningful engagement with organizational partners and produce recommendations for addressing local challenges that draw heavily on field research.

TD297: Choreography for the Camera: The Art of Athletics
Four credit hours. Kloppenberg

Examines the aesthetic properties of the expenditure of bodily, physical energy through practical explorations in choreography and filmmaking. We take as source material the effortful movement of athletics, exploring how to aestheticize and translate that action through choreographic logic and by framing it in for the screen. Course begins with contextual theoretical frameworks for choreographic practice and dance for the camera and concludes with practical experience producing a film. Briefly considers notions of spectatorship and audience, considering the distinctions between live events and events on the screen. No prior experience necessary.

Spring 2020

AM120: Social Justice and the City   
Four credit hours. Lisle

In this writing intensive course, we examine ways that cultural, economic, and political power is expressed and resisted through urban social and spatial relations. Why do cities exist? Whose interests do they serve? How might they work differently? We explore topics that include gentrification, homelessness, the “right to the city,” social activism, immigration, and environmental justice. Students learn how to interpret the city through various methods–including textual analysis, geographical fieldwork, and digital storytelling and mapping–applying them particularly to the Maine cities of Waterville, Lewiston, and Portland.

AR393: Museum Practicum: The L.C. Bates Museum: History and Collections
Four credit hours. Plesch

Students work closely with faculty to develop an original, museum-based project. Work will include researching museum collections and creating a website. Combines hands-on, practical training with creative and critical interventions. Humanities lab course.

EN363: The Enlightenment and the Anthropocene
Four credit hours. Hanlon

This seminar is guided by the question: Is the Anthropocene a product of the Enlightenment? We will explore questions of what exactly “the Enlightenment” and “the Anthropocene” are, and when and where slippages in our usage or understanding of these concepts cause confusion and error that can ripple across disciplines. Fulfills English C and E requirements.

EN398: Special Topics in Medieval Literature: A Yorkshire Miscellany   
Four credit hours.Cook.

Examines both the contents and the material form of British Library MS Additional 37049, a manuscript made in Yorkshire, England near the end of the fifteenth century. The collection brings together a wide variety of late medieval texts, including both prose and verse, many accompanied by vivid–if somewhat unrefined–illustrations depicting religious figures, decaying bodies, and the fate of souls in the afterlife. This course takes a critical digital humanities approach to manuscript and introduces students to a variety of tools for the analysis of early books. No prior knowledge of medieval literature is required. Fulfills English C and E requirements. 

RU222: Revolutionary Performances: Theater and the Energy of the Unspoken (in English)  
Four credit hours.  Parker


In a troubled climate, the theater seems to speak from underground: what kinds of new stories can a director tell through radical restaging, in a medium that is live – both embodied and in real-time? This Humanities Lab course will explore the Humanities Theme of Energy/Exhaustion through revolutionary developments in Russian and Polish performance, focusing on the theoretical and practical contributions of directors, actors, and playwrights to now canonical practices and theories of performance art. As an Energy/Exhaustion Theme course, it approaches Eastern European theater as a revolutionary series of dynamic breakthroughs, whose avant-garde theatrical craft existed in a protracted tension between the catalytic possibilities of an embodied medium and the exhausted body politic of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc. Taking advantage of the Humanities Lab format and drawing on the instructor’s own professional actor training in Russia, students will combine viewings, primary documents and histories of Russian and Polish productions with their own hands-on exercises. All readings in English.