Summer Courses for Incoming Students

The Sarah Lawrence College faculty—known for their dedication to an individualized academic experience—have committed to teach a range of summer session courses for incoming first year students.

These courses, running July 6–August 7, will emulate our intimate seminar format in an online setting, and you’ll have the opportunity to earn 1 or 2 college credits toward your degree, at no additional charge. This is a chance to start getting to know your peers in the Class of 2024, as well as the faculty you’ll build meaningful relationships with over the next four years. We’re offering classes in a range of subjects, including a few that are more relevant than ever. Keep an eye on your email and check back here for details!

Whether you want to get a taste for what you think you’ll focus on at SLC, or try something new, these courses are a great way to start dipping your toe in college academic life before the fall. You’ll get to see why SLC’s faculty are consistently rated the best in the country and get a jumpstart at a time when it feels like most things have been put on pause.

Initial registration for summer courses is now closed. Students will be notified of their placements shortly. If you have any questions, please get in touch with the Office of Admission.

Summer Session Courses for Incoming Students

Art History 

Star Architecture Today

Faculty: Joe Forte

Capped at 25 students
1 credit
M, W, F: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. EDT

This will be an enlightening and challenging journey through the personalities, social and programmatic ideas, and buildings that make up the contemporary architecture scene. You may have heard the names, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, even maybe Rem Koolhaas and Bjarke Ingels. You know some of the challenges, social issues, ideals of beauty, sustainable architecture, now see the buildings, and know the theories that inform some of the most striking structures of the past fifty years. Themes explored: modernism: classic and post; junkspace; delirious New York; deconstruction: exploded shape; modern at the margins; big and green; projective practice; post pandemic building. Slide lectures in ppts. Reading required.

Art and the AIDS Crisis

Faculty: Sarah Hamill

Capped at 15 students
1 credit
Tu, Th: 1–2:30 p.m. EDT

What can we learn from artists who responded to the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s? Although the current crisis of COVID-19 does not share the discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community that marked the AIDS epidemic, with the U.S. government failing to acknowledge catastrophic deaths, artists then raised issues that are pressing today. How could art be a politics, to raise public awareness and combat stigma against AIDS? What did it look like to memorialize lost bodies? How did an artist’s subject position—as a victim, friend, or observer—shape their approach? What did it mean to create public art for audiences within and outside of the queer community? Weekly readings will look closely at public art projects organized by ACT-UP and the AIDS Quilt, documentary photography of AIDS victims by Peter Hujar, Nicholas Nixon, and Nan Goldin, and memorials, artworks, and films by Félix González-Torres, Derek Jarman, David Wojnarowicz, and Zoe Leonard. This is an art history course, so skills of close looking and visual analysis will be introduced. The course structure will entail weekly 1.5 hour seminars intensively discussing readings and weekly small-group meetings with the professor to build skills of visual description, as students work toward final “object talk” projects on individual artworks of their choosing­­­—these could be videos, in-class presentations, or TED talks.

Biology 

The Biology of Viruses and Pandemics

Faculty: Drew Cressman, Michelle Hersh, and Cecilia Toro

Capped at 15 students
2 credits
M, W, F: 4–6 p.m. EDT

Viruses and pandemics have ravaged humans throughout history, with examples ranging from smallpox infections that devastated one-third of the Roman empire during the Antonine Plague of 165-180 AD to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Such occurrences evoke fear and misunderstanding about the nature of viruses, their resulting effects on the human body, and the manner in which they suddenly appear and spread voraciously amongst a susceptible population. While anti-viral drugs may slow their spread and effects, successfully confronting and overcoming viral pandemics often requires the laborious development of a vaccine. As of the summer of 2020, these issues are at the forefront of the public and scientific consciousness in the current battle against COVID-19. This team-taught course will provide a broad introduction into the biology of viruses and the etiology of pandemics, as understood through the diverse perspectives of the biology faculty’s expertise in molecular and cellular biology, physiology, and ecology. There will be a particular emphasis on those viruses which have been responsible for notable epidemics or pandemics of the past century, including influenza (1918-1919), polio (1950s), Ebola (2013-2016), and COVID-19 (present). This course will be divided into three sections: viral foundations, viral pathophysiology, and viral ecology. We will explore virus history, structures and life cycles; the fundamental physiological processes that are affected by viral infections, including thermoregulation, respiration, digestion, circulation, olfaction, and movement; vaccines and vaccine development; disease emergence and evolution; and epidemiological modeling of pandemics, both to predict disease spread and identify management options. Open to any interested student; no background in biology is required.

Economics 

Understanding the Coronavirus Disease Pandemic Economically

Faculty: An Li

Capped at 15 students
1 credit
M, W: 3–4:30 pm. EDT

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest challenge faced by the world in the 21st century. Besides being a public health crisis, it is also an economic one. Unemployment skyrocketed in all countries impacted by the pandemic. Domestic and international supply chains and trade are disrupted. Many businesses are temporarily or permanently closed. Governments may face very high levels of deficit and debt. Much stronger economic policies are needed for cushioning the impact. The pandemic-induced economic hardship may make inequality worse.

In this one-credit course, we will see different ways in which the theories and tools of economics can help us understand the COVID-19 pandemic. We will examine questions such as (1) the disparity of the pandemic, (2) how to build a simple model for predicting the trajectory of the pandemic, (3) how economic policies work to mitigate the economic shock, and (4) the pros and cons of allowing big pharmaceutical companies to develop patented vaccines and medicines.

Filmmaking and Moving Image Arts 

Animation and Philosophy

Faculty: Robin Starbuck and Una Chung

Capped at 12 students
1 credit
Tu, Th: 3–4:30 p.m. EDT

This course offers a brief introduction to the diverse and rich world of animated films. We will explore a variety of animation techniques that reveal the far-reaching potential of this complex medium. Animation techniques marshal a multitude of aesthetic decisions that determine the assemblage of form, material, image and story in strikingly different ways. Animated films also participate within broader cultural and philosophical discussions, contributing to our understanding of concepts such as surface, gesture, sensation, ecology. We will explore the intimate relationship between techniques of filmmaking and critical concepts within contemporary thought. Through guided screenings and interactive discussions, a selection of 10 films will be examined closely for the ingenious ways in which they teach us technical know-how in tandem with critical thinking.

Drawing the Storyboard: Visual Structure in Animation and Film

Faculty: Scott Duce

Capped at 10 students
2 credits
M, W: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. EDT

This pre production course focuses on the fundamentals of drawing as they pertain to storyboarding structure for animation and film. Students will gain an understanding of visual components within the picture plane and develop basic storyboard drawing techniques in camera angles, aerial mapping, and scene construction placement. Frame composition and shot progression will be discussed to establish both story structure with visual structure. Through the knowledge gained students will create and draw a basic narrative storyboard sequence during the final weeks of class. On-line instruction will include drawing demonstrations, class drawing exercises, animation and film examples, and individual meetings with students. Both hand-drawn and digital techniques will be presented throughout the course.

History 

America’s First Civil War: Reenacting the American Revolution

Faculty: Eileen Cheng

Capped at 15 students
1 credit
M, W: 1–2:30 p.m. EDT

It is June 1776. You are a member of the New York Provincial Congress and are about to vote on whether to authorize New York’s delegates to the Continental Congress to declare independence from Britain. If you vote in favor, and the rebellion fails, you could be tried and executed for treason. If you vote against, you could be ostracized by your revolutionary neighbors, or worse – tarred and feathered or violently tortured in other ways. What would you do? This course will ask students to confront such dilemmas directly for themselves through a role-play simulation of the conflict over the American Revolution in New York, based on the Reacting to the Past series developed by Mark Carnes at Barnard College. The first week of the course will be conducted in regular seminar format, with students reading and discussing sources that will give them the historical background necessary for the role-play. For the next three weeks, students will be assigned roles representing the different groups contending over the revolutionary crisis in New York and asked to reenact debates in the New York Provincial Congress over how to respond to British infringements on colonial rights, culminating with the decision for independence. To prepare for their roles, students will be required to read relevant primary and secondary sources and write position papers expressing their character’s views on the subjects of debate. In the last week, the course will return to regular seminar format to discuss the outcome of the simulation and reflect on what it reveals about the Revolution itself. Students should be aware that since this is a reenactment, the process of playing these historical roles and immersing themselves in an earlier time can be emotionally intense and even uncomfortable. To enter the world of the 18th century – one where people of European descent considered themselves more civilized than others, where women were viewed as subordinate to men, and where aristocrats saw themselves as superior to ordinary people – students should be prepared to engage in and express views that are alien and indeed at times aversive to them. The course thus aims to show how much “the past is a foreign country,” as the writer L.P. Hartley once put it, and to cultivate a sense of historical empathy by trying to understand that foreignness on its own terms.

The Art of Democracy: U.S. Culture and Politics from 1940–1975

Faculty: Lyde Cullen Sizer with guest lecturer Jim Cullen

Capped at 25 students; Monday and Wednesday classes are for the entire group, Fridays the group breaks into two sections
2 credits
M, W: 1:30–3 p.m. EDT; F either 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT or 1:30–3 p.m. EDT (additional weekly small group work to be arranged at first meeting)

This course will explore the politics of the postwar era through literature, cultural criticism, television and music, following the babies of the boom as they grow into disgruntled adulthood, challenge authority, bask in suburbia, and dance to rock and roll and disco. Readings/screenings will all be primary sources until the final week, when we will look at retrospectives, as artists of different kinds work to make sense of the (recent) past. Students will be expected to respond through thought pieces posted before class and will participate in a discussion board. Requirements include an essay on an outside source of their choosing and a final. Classes will include lectures establish a mainstream political and cultural frame, and discussions that draw from the work of all kinds of cultural critics, activists and writers.

John Okada, No-No Boy
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
readings from Dear Sisters
Valerie Taylor, The Girls of 3B
Stories from Flannery O’Connor, “Everything that Rises Must Converge,” & J.D. Salinger, “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” Maxine Hong Kingston, “White Tigers,” Leslie Marmon Silko, “The Man to Send Rain Clouds” among others.

Literature 

“War and Peace” in a Time of Coronavirus

Faculty: Melissa Frazier, Associate Dean of the College

Capped at 15 students
1 credit
M, W: 1–2:30 p.m. EDT

In War and Peace Tolstoy presents a dramatic and difficult moment in Russian history—the Napoleonic Wars and Napoleon’s 1812 invasion—in deeply personal terms, as he seeks to understand how individuals with their own individual actions, small and large, combine to make up the whole that is human history. As a writer Tolstoy is also acutely aware that our access to knowledge is through language: truth for Tolstoy is accordingly a matter of form as well as content. With the help of a weekly discussion board and student-led discussions, our collaborative close reading will appreciate Tolstoy’s extraordinary achievement while acknowledging his own paradoxical sense of failure. Unfortunately for Tolstoy, the wildly original form of his sprawling text with its many characters, intersecting plot lines, and its mix of genres and even languages works against his own desire for a final word. Over more than a thousand pages and two epilogues, it is exactly that final word that eludes him.

Recommended translation:
Pevear and Volokhonsky (trans.), Vintage, 2008 ISBN-10: 1400079985; ISBN-13: 978-1400079988

Alone Together: Fictions of Isolation and Improbable Connection

Faculty: James Horowitz

Capped at 15 students
1 credit
Tu, F: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT

Isolation comes in many forms: voluntary and involuntary, spatial and psychological. You can be alone on an island, like the hero of Daniel Defoe’s iconic novel Robinson Crusoe (1719), but you can also be alone in the bosom of your family, like the discontented heroine of Jane Austen’s Persuasion (1818), or even on a bustling city street, like the roving kleptomaniac at the center of Robert Bresson’s film Pickpocket (1959). As with isolation, intimate connections can occur in surprising ways, and are not dependent—as the current pandemic has reminded us—on physical proximity. This course examines a range of complex and influential works of narrative art that consider the experience of apartness and how it can cultivate unexpected and often startlingly immediate kinds of interpersonal contact, from a romance that flourishes across the walls of a convent to a murder revealed through a telephoto lens and real or imagined visitations from the dead. Along with Defoe, Austen, and Bresson, we will explore novelists and filmmakers such as Aphra Behn, George Eliot (AKA Mary Ann Evans), Henry James, Nella Larsen, and Alfred Hitchcock.

Woolf’s Vision: “To the Lighthouse”

Faculty: Eric Leveau

Capped at 15 students
1 credit
Tu, Th: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT

With To the Lighthouse (1927), Virginia Woolf penned one of most extraordinary works of fiction in the English language. In this novel, Woolf describes the everyday life of a family and their guests during their summer vacation on the Scottish island of Skye around the time of World War I. At the center of the text are two deep and moving characters: Mrs. Ramsay, mother and wife in charge of making everybody feel at home but whose stream of consciousness takes the reader into the most nuanced and exhilarating considerations about what it means to feel and to be alive; and Lily Briscoe, a young woman struggling in her attempts to paint what she sees in front of her and whose difficulties most likely mirror those of Woolf herself. The fact that the whole story takes place at the margins of the Great War adds another layer of poignancy to this masterpiece.

In this class, we will focus on close reading and detailed analyses of specific passages, which will in turn allow us to discuss major aspects of the novel using feminist theory, psychoanalysis and philosophy. Students will lead the class by taking turns in guiding the group through readings of passages of their choice. In addition to short essays, regular individual meetings with the professor will allow each participant to develop a personal writing project around Woolf’s masterpiece.

Preferred edition: Albatross Publishers (2017), ISBN-10: 1946963046, ISBN-13: 978-1946963048

First Person America

Faculty: Nick Mills

Capped at 10 students
1 credit
M, W: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT

First-person writing has been a hallmark of American literature over the last century. It is an approach to writing that focuses on the individual and at the same time reflects the diversity of the country. The form is one that works equally well for fiction and nonfiction—even journalism. For this course we will read the following five books: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son, and Tara Westover, Educated. The course is intended to provide students with a sample of American writing that begins in the 1920s and ends in the present moment with Tara Westover’s 2018 Educated.

“Conjuring Tales”: African Folktales, Epics, and Fiction

Faculty: William Shullenberger

Capped at 15 students
1 credit
Tu, Th: 1–2:30 p.m. EDT

‘Conjuring’ is a mode of spirit-summoning and world-transformation rooted in ancient religious practices and rites, associated in some traditional societies with herbal magic and medicine, and with uncanny and undying bonds to ancestors. ‘Conjuring’ might also be a good way of thinking about the spirit-summoning and wonder-working powers of narratives, from traditional tale-telling, orally transmitted and inherited, to modern and post-modern texts, in printed, recorded, and digital formats, and beyond. This 1-credit course will engage with the ‘conjuring’ powers of traditional African orature—folk tales and epics—and their foundational and generative importance to modern African literature, exemplified in the magic realism of Amos Tutuola’s The Palmwine Drinkard and the tragic cultural realism of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

Shakespeare’s Second Tetralogy

Faculty: Fred Smoler

Capped at 15 students
1 credit
Tu, Th: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT

Shakespeare's Second Tetralogy comprises Richard II, Henry IV pt. 1, Henry IV pt.2 and Henry V, relates the history of three consecutive English reigns, and is generally counted among the earliest history plays and considered the supreme achievement of that genre. The tetralogy, sometimes thought to dramatize Tudor political theory and sometimes to subvert and deconstruct a dominant ideology, has provoked a fabulous variety of interpretations. It contains Falstaff, one of the greatest characters in literary comedy, also Prince Hal, subsequently Henry V, variously imagined as the greatest of English Kings and the greatest of of Machiavels, and it contains Hotspur, variously interpreted as an atavistic and destructive antagonist and as the tragic incarnation of honor in a furiously dishonorable political universe. We'll try to work out how and why a dazzling comic character inhabits a play about war and politics, and we'll know only one thing in advance: we'll spend five weeks with four masterpieces.

“Illness as Metaphor”: The Representation of Pandemic in Literature

Faculty: Heather Cleary, Roland Dollinger, Jason Earle, Eduardo Lago

Capped at 15 students
1 credit
Tu, Th: 1–2:30 p.m. EDT

In this team-taught seminar, four different teachers from the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures will analyze important literary works from the 20th and 21st centuries that all represent deadly pandemics: Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice (1912); Albert Camus's The Plague (1947); José Saramago’s Blindness (1995); and Samanta Schweblin's Fever Dream​ (2014).

Music 

Songwriting and DAWs

Faculty: John Yannelli

Capped at 15 students
1 credit
Tu, Th: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT

This mini-course will focus on songwriting for Digital Audio Workstations. Students will learn how to record, edit and mix a song into ProTools or another DAW. While not required, this course will be a preliminary course for further study in the Music Technology program at SLC.

Philosophy 

The Trial and Death of Socrates: An Invitation to Philosophy

Faculty: Roy Ben-Shai

Capped at 12 students
1 credit
Tu, Th: 4–5:30 p.m. EDT

Designed for students without background in philosophy, who are curious to learn about it, this short course focuses on the writings of the great Greek philosopher, Plato (428–348 BC). Plato wrote philosophy in dialogue form, as a conversation about philosophical issues among two or more people. The main protagonist of these philosophical dialogues was Plato’s mentor, Socrates (470–399 BC), who had been tried and sentenced to death for practicing philosophy, when Plato was still a young man. The dialogues by Plato that we’ll read surround the trial and death of Socrates. By considering why the city of Athens decided to kill Socrates for philosophizing, and how Socrates defended himself and philosophy against the charges, we will gain a better understanding of what philosophy is, why it is politically relevant, and why it is a potentially risky business. We will also discuss a film or two that are inspired by the figure of Socrates, including The Matrix (1999), and use the lessons we learn to reflect upon the challenging times we are living in. The course requires student reading and intensive participation. We will convene online twice a week for 1.5 hours, only 30 minutes of which will be in lecture format, the rest will consist of an open discussion about the readings.

Practicum 

Refugee Resettlement in the U.S. with a focus on SLC’s Local Resettlement Community

Faculty: Mara Gross

Capped at 8 students
1 credit
Tu, Th: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT

This course will explore through readings, discussion and reflection, "what is the experience for some people who resettle in the U.S.?" We will ask ourselves questions such as: What are the circumstances that lead people to become refugees? What is resilience, and how do we see this in the lives of refugees and in our own lives? How do refugees adapt to their new surroundings and how do local communities respond and assist newly resettled refugees? Reading memoirs/autobiographies together along with a weekly guest speaker, (resettled refugees, non-profits that help to resettle refugees and SLC faculty), will be how we explore this topic. Students will also have the opportunity to be a language conversation partner and be paired remotely with a young person or adult in our local resettlement community to assist in their English language learning. Students will also explore resettlement or immigration work in their own communities and discuss what makes effective community-based work.

Each week students will write reflections connected to our readings, class discussions and their community work. The final paper will be a culmination of student’s reflections and connections, questions and insights gained over the 5 weeks.

Psychology 

Mindful Movement: The Science and Practice of Yoga

Faculty: Elizabeth Johnston

Capped at 15 students
2 credits
M, W, F: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT (additional individual and small group meetings to be arranged at the first class meeting)

The study of physiology, psychology, anatomy, and neuroscience potentiates the practice of mindful yoga. Yoga is more than a series of postures (asana), rather it is an integrated set of contemplative practices that includes ethics, breath work, the training of sensory attention, and other meditative practices in addition to asana. Classically defined as a process of stilling the fluctuations of the mind, yoga can be a vital part of developing resilience and flexibility in response to stressful circumstances, such as the one we now find ourselves in. In this course we will develop a yoga practice informed by recent advances in contemplative and affective neuroscience, including the identification of a specialized emotionally charged body sensation pathway that has evolved in human brains. In keeping with emerging work on individual differences in the effectiveness of diverse mindfulness practices, each student will develop a yoga practice tailored to their own preferences, needs, interests, and physiology.

Sociology 

Displacement and the Pandemic: Transnational Perspectives

Faculty: Parthiban Muniandy

Capped at 15 students
1 credit
M: 7–9 p.m., W: 7–8 p.m. EDT

In this seminar, we will be reading about the challenges facing displaced and stateless communities around the world, as they contend with outbreaks of the COVID-19 pandemic. The seminar introduces students to the field of displacement and forced migration studies. We will take a transnational view by looking at regions and communities in Southeast Asia, East Asia, Africa, Middle East and Europe, focusing on border-zones such as the Mediterranean, the Schengen countries, Indochina and the South China Sea by examining how the politics of immigration and national security operate to control and regulate movement of people. We will also read about life and everyday politics in camps and informal settlements for refugees and stateless populations, before taking a look at how the pandemic has impacted such communities and the work of aid organizations around the world. The seminar will meet virtually once per week, and students will be asked to select a region of their choice to conduct a mini-research report by gathering current data about a community, camps and/or settlement. Key readings such as Saskia Sassen's Expulsions, Guy Standing's The Precariat, and Zygmunt Bauman's Strangers at Our Door will provide sociological foundations for understanding displacement.

Visual and Studio Arts 

Art from Trash

Faculty: Angela Ferraiolo

Capped at 12 students
1 credit
Tu: 3–6 p.m. EDT

Junk, ruin, discard, salvage—what is this stuff really? For many artists, paint and plaster don't quite do it. Instead, what's thrown away—materially, digitally, and spiritually—is their essential material, the bricolage of evidence that forms a kind of 'broken knowledge' of our world. This class looks at thirteen artists who use junk in powerful ways: Anselm Kiefer's recycling of debris to express the trauma of history in post-war Germany, Sarah Sze's use of the mundane to create expansive installations, the trash extravagance of excess in Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt's 'Tender Love Among the Junk' and Dieter Roth's 'Large Table Ruin', Bruce Connor's critique of modernity in his found footage collage 'A Movie', Jen Proctor's response to Connor via the cultural scrapheap of youtube and LiveLeek, Vik Muniz's reflection on world poverty as it plays out in the landfills and favelas of contemporary Brasil, Ilya Kabokov's narrative lament for the world in 'The Man Who Never Threw Anything Away', and Dave Hammons' exploration of ​racist culture through the use of 'abject' materials and personal routines of local reconnaissance. Alongside readings, interviews, discussions, and film screenings, students will explore the material of trash as a method of research, collect debris of their own, and use their found materials to create one or two small assemblages. Work will be discussed in large and small group critiques and as well as in one-on-one meetings. Tools, techniques, and strategies of accumulation, assemblage, and representation will also be discussed. This course is open to all and requires no prior experience in art studio—though knowing your way around a sidewalk, trash can, dumpster, or junkyard will come in handy.​​

Open Drawing

Faculty: John O’Connor

Capped at 15 students
1 credit
Tu, Th: 3–4:30 p.m. EDT

This class will help you improve your drawing skills and introduce you to creative drawing approaches. We’ll begin each class by looking at different types of drawings and discussing the myriad approaches to the medium employed by artists throughout history. I’ll then give you a related drawing prompt for each class. These prompts will simultaneously help you to improve your observational skills, while also facilitating new and creative ways of drawing. We’ll discuss your drawings in individual and group critiques, and will explore ways of working within your environment – the spaces around you and the materials readily available. A gift card for drawing supplies will be provided for each student enrolled to supplement their drawing materials. The class is suitable for all levels of experience from beginners to those looking for new ways of sparking their creativity and pushing their drawings in new ways. ​

Material Abstraction

Faculty: Yevgeniya Baras

Capped at 12 students
2 credits
M, W: 3–6 p.m. EDT

This is a project-based painting intensive. Students will be given specific prompts, which will lead them to generate work that is theirs. Prompts encourage visual and personal research in preparation for making. Technical exploration, perception, development of ideas, intuition, invention, representation and communication are at the core of this class. We will have a chance to explore different ways of working with acrylic paint and expand on the idea of what painting is by integrating alternative painting materials (for example: fabric, foil, cardboard, yarn). Students will be asked to incorporate found materials as a way to respond to the environment they are currently living and producing art in. Projects commence with drawing or collage, and mixing media and experimentation are strongly encouraged. Curiosity and giving yourself permission to travel to unexpected places rather than merely relying on skills and experiences which are part of you already is an important part of this class. We will engage in critique, both one on one and in a group setting. We engage in slide lectures and discussions about historical and contemporary painting, writing, explorations and techniques for gathering imagery, ample studio time, and one-on-one and group critiques. As a result of this class students will produce a group of 4 paintings and gain insight into numerous methods of making paintings.​

Monotype: The Painterly Print

Faculty: Vera Iliatova

Capped at 12 students
2 credits
Tu, Th: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. EDT

This course is an opening foray into the possibilities of painterly printmaking and experimental processes that merge printmaking with painting and drawing. The course will also cover basic drawing fundamentals. As means to explore their individual idea, students will investigate a wide range of possibilities offered by monoprint techniques and will experiment with inks and paints, stencils, multiple plates, and images altered in sequence. Students will begin to develop a method to investigate meaning, or content, through the techniques of painterly printmaking. There will be an examination of various strategies that fluctuate between specific in-class assignments and individual studio work. In-class assignments will be supplemented with PowerPoint presentations, reading materials, film clips and video screenings.

Reconfiguring the Archive

Faculty: Justine Kurland

Capped at 12 students
2 credits
M, W: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. EDT

Almost from its inception the photograph was perceived as a form of currency in a closed system. As currency the photograph ascribed value by quantifying things, emphasizing their similarity and difference to other things. These systems attempt to give meaning and coherence through the division between self and other, healthy and diseased, normal and pathological. By reclaiming the archive we can shift the perspective away from dominant narratives, and reimagine the past in order to conceive new possibilities for the future. In this class we will look at the ways artists (Carrie Mae Weems, Carmen Winant, and Leslie Hewit among others) have challenged and repurposed archives. We will consider Allen Sekula and Ariella Azoulay’s theories on the hierarchical (and imperialistic) ordering of things. Students will research and work with archives from family photographs to government archives. Using text, sequence and editing they will make new configurations changing the initial meaning or value. The final project will be a print on demand book re-contextualizing their displaced and fugitive archive with new meaning. The class is open to all.

Writing 

Telling Our Stories: A Generative Writing Workshop

Faculty: Carolyn Ferrell

Capped at 15 students
1 credit
M, W: 1–2:30 p.m. EDT

In this five week course, we will focus on different ways to tell the stories that mean the most to us. To do this, we will work on writing prompts; we will look at essays on the writing craft; and we will read short stories and hopefully watch a film or two. Writing will occur in the online classroom and outside of it, and as we share our work, we’ll explore ways in which we can become constructive critics. This class is open to everyone, whether or not you’ve had a writing class in high school. The goal is to generate material, and then figure out ways to refine that material into stories that live and breathe on the page.

Anatomy of a Scene

Faculty: Mary LaChapelle

Capped at 15 students
1 credit
Tu, Th: 3–4:30 p.m. EDT

The scene is the building block of so many films, and plays, of stories and novels, and even some poems.

I’ve worked with students wanting to write ambitious stories and novels, sometimes a whole series of novels. Ultimately, however, if they can’t write a scene, it’s a nonstarter.

So, let’s start there! Let’s study and discuss key scenes from a selection of films and television, from stories and novels, from plays and a poem or two. What does a masterful opening scene look like? How does it establish the setting, the situation or the inciting incident that makes the story even necessary? How does the scene function for the story? Does it develop character? Or does it introduce a new and marvelous counterpoint character, someone who changes the whole direction of the story? Are the hero’s fortunes reversed in this scene? Are they confronted by their mistakes? With a revealing memory, with a desire they can’t admit and so on and so on.

Inspired by the different scenes that we study, we will write our own every week, we will read each other’s exercises and we will workshop them in class.

I Contain Multitudes: a poetry reading and writing workshop

Faculty: Jeffrey McDaniel

Capped at 12 students
1 credit
M: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. EDT

In this 5-week, 1-credit course, we will do close reads of two primary texts: “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman (located in the 1855 edition of “Leaves of Grass”) and “Wind in a Box” by Terrance Hayes (published in 2006). We will mix in close readings of individual poems by other American poets. Students will do in-class writing exercises, write short analytical responses, and write and revise at least three of their own poems.