Courses of Interest Spring 2014

UPDATE: These courses are STILL open.

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Sometimes, in the chaos of planning one’s courses, we can overlook (also source of picture above– shout-out to the amazing Avery Trufleman ’13 who’s killin it in the real world) some incredible WesMaps gems. In an effort to help you out, here are some courses next semester to watch out for as suggested by Wesleying staff:

WRCT260: Advanced Fiction with Amy Bloom ’76 

“It’s a fiction class. With Wesleyan’s award-winning writer-in-residence Amy Bloom. Amy Bloom only teaches courses in the spring, so this is an opportunity you shouldn’t easily pass up. It’s not crosslisted so it’s easy to miss on Wesmaps, folks.”

ENVS361: Living in a Polluted World with Johan Varekamp

 “All that you breathe, drink and eat has been exposed to natural and person-made toxins. For each contaminant, we study where it comes from, how it cycles through the environment, and its pathway of human ingress. Then we discuss what it does to our bodies and souls. Topics range from arsenic and hexachromium exposure to: “Does dandruff shampoo protect against cancer”? “Is ritualistic mercury inhalation a good idea”?, and “Are there really >85,000 poorly characterized organic pollutants”?”  — Johan Varekamp

WRCT268: Topics in Journalism: Writing (and Arguing) About Inequality: How to Make Your Case with Anne Greene and Tracie McMillan

“Journalist Tracie McMillan is looking forward to working with Wesleyan students in this spring’s Koeppel Journalism course (WRCT 268) , Topics in Journalism: Writing (and Arguing) about Inequality: How to Make Your Case. McMillan received the Sidney Hillman Award for Social Justice Journalism and the James Beard Award, among others, for her book about the marketing of food and consumers’ food choices: The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields, and the Dinner Table. Applications are dueNov.14; details on WesMaps.” —Anne Greene

More after the jump!

RELI302: Kierkegaard: An Advanced Seminar in Absurdity with Mary-Jane Rubenstein

And among our favorite offerings, 3 courses, all offered in FGSS, with “Temporality” in the title:

AMST266: Future Visions: Temporality and the Politics of Change with Margot Weiss and Amy Tang

“We’d say that we are very excited to teach “Future Visions.” The class emerges directly from our own research and our recent collaboration at the Center for the Humanities (around the theme of temporality). Prof. Tang’s research on repetition in Asian American literature and art connects to new work on time and ethnic studies; Prof. Weiss’s research on queer left activists and their visions of (future) justice extends new work on queer temporalities. We’re excited to teach (and learn) together, combining ethnic studies, queer studies, and related fields, and exploring multiple genres (including literature, ethnography, film, and visual art).” —Margot Weiss

ENGL378: Queer Times: The Poetics and Politics of Temporality with Lisa Cohen

CHUM308: Taped in Front of a Live Audience: On Liveness & Temporality in Media and Performance with Katherine Brewer Ball

I came up with the idea for “Taped in Front of a Live Audience” after a conversation I had with Wendy Hui Kyong Chun (Professor of Modern Culture and Media at Brown and our first CHUM lecture series speaker in the spring) on ways in which the fields of performance studies and media studies might intersect. She told me the best work at this disciplinary juncture is being done by grad students and I thought, well maybe undergrads are even better equipped to think through contemporary questions of liveness and presence across media having grown-up in the age of Facebook and the internet. So, the class seemed like an excellent opportunity to teach what I know about these fields, and see what we might, as a class, put together in terms of new ways of thinking about this intersection from within. And The Center for the Humanities will have a media lab up and running by the spring semester, so it also seemed like a great opportunity to experiment with different media formats for class presentations and projects.

And a little background about the content:
I have a degree in Performance Studies from NYU and one of the big debates in the field of Performance Studies has to do with liveness. Performance itself is often defined by its presence and immediacy, whereas media is often thought to be all about copies and circulation. This is a really interesting assumption, especially today when work—actual labor—often looks like linguistic-cogntivie virtuosic performance, and media is more than just a copy, but actively performs in the present from code to cookies to interface. The other part of this is that performance is often considered to be radical, to resist commodification, precisely because it is live and then disappears never to be repeated in exactly the same way. But, when all labor looks like performance, what we might call “immaterial labor” or “affective labor,” then performance becomes an ideal model for this new post-fordist form of work. So the class takes this conversation as a jumping-off point from which to discuss the liveness of an audience, and how that audience might be a place to re-think the radical or activist potentials of performance.

We will read lots of fun performance studies, queer and feminist theory, critical race theory, and media studies texts and explore what it means to be a social actor in the realm of the aesthetic. Oh, we are also going to watch live performances, videos of performances, and videos that are performances. Artists include: Sharon Hayes, Dynasty Handbag, Nam Jun Paik, MPA/ Sadie Benning, Brian Lobel, Toddy Haynes, Adrian Piper, boychild, Jennifer Monson/ Robin Vachal, Maya Deren & more!
Let me know if you have more specific questions!
I think it will be a fun class because it’s something that I find endlessly fascinating and politically engaging.”      —Katherine Brewer Ball