This discussion-animated seminar provides art historical, cultural, and critical contexts for the Visual Arts Lecture Series (VALS): Ways of Seeing: Movements, Migrations, Diasporas. The course also provides opportunities for engagement with visiting artists, curators, critics, and historians. Consistent participation, independent research, writing assignments, and presentations are required, as are visits to local and regional museums and archives. Please note: Students taking the seminar will not need to register for, and will not receive separate credit for, VALS. However, attendance at all VALS lectures is a requirement of the course.
Combining a study of language, immigration, and public action, GANAS remains a community-driven, cross-cultural association that provides students with volunteer opportunities to engage with the predominantly undocumented Latino migrant worker population. These opportunities are facilitated through partnerships with organizations such as the Vermont Migrant Education Program, the Bennington Free Clinic, and the Vermont Workers Center. Current members are designing an ESL program, researching workshops on financial literacy, conducting health surveys, maintaining a web presence, advertising, archiving the history of migration in Vermont, and continuing with social events. The course structure for new participants will focus on a theoretical approach, addressing the nature of authority, legal concerns, government policy, and possible grants relating to immigration as well as further involvement in public action in the local community.
There have always been borders. Crossing borders has always been complicated. Paradoxically, cosmopolitan hospitality requires strong sovereign governments and strong national identities. How else can good behavior and tolerance be induced and compelled among large populations of longer-settled earlier arrivals? This course explores the historical complexities of crossing borders into and within the United States. We focus in particular on the nineteenth- and early twentieth centuries. Mass migration into the US and the constitutional vision of free movement across internal borders have continuously challenged individuals, groups, localities, and institutions in the US to revise and devise workable mechanisms for establishing and enforcing who owes what to whom. The work of the course incorporates readings, discussions, presentations, films, documentaries, case studies, and assignments meant to hone writing skills, creativity, ingenuity, and non-linear thinking.
In this course, we will carefully consider the ways in which certain cultural practices and ideologies shape individual psychology. Using a comparative lens, we will explore how people’s sense of self and identity differ in individualistic compared to collectivist cultures. How do differences in cultural codes associate with differences in thinking styles, emotional expression, and sense of agency? We will use a sociocultural approach to examine how child development and learning differ across cultural communities (e.g., Mexico, United States, Madagascar, and China). We will consider the ways in which different languages (grammar and words) shape speakers’ worldviews (i.e. Sapir–Whorf hypothesis). Students will complete a term project focused on immigrant, refugee or cosmopolitan identity and processes of acculturation. As part of this research, students will become familiar with basic statistical methods in the social sciences. In the context of an increasingly transnational and globalized world, students in this class will become even more proficient in cross-cultural engagement.
Why are certain conflicts so difficult to resolve? This course will examine conflicts that are long-standing and elude resolution. We will explore the factors that contribute to complex disputes and the conditions that allow groups to begin to address them. Can individuals like Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela transform historical conflict? What role do power and religion play in multi-party conflicts? Peacekeeping and peacebuilding will be analyzed as to their effectiveness in chronic conflicts. The role of “the breaking of bread” in all cultures as a method for peacebuilding among diverse groups will be examined, and a project, “Breaking Bread for Hadil” will begin in this class. We will be baking bread as a part of this course. It is highly recommended that this course be taken along with The Art of Mediation and Negotiation, which includes a 14-hour certificate in conflict resolution skills.