Stuart Nadler

The repercussions of the refugee crisis in Syria and at our southern border have once again thrust the politics of migration and refuge into the public discussion. In this course we will investigate the literature of forced exile and resettlement in order to understand how our collective narratives about emigration are formed, and to ask what it means for a writer to superimpose the personal onto the political. We will read Viet Than Nguyen, Edward Said, Uwem Akpan, Mohsin Hamid, Sara Novic, Jenny Erpenbeck. Students in this class will write weekly responses to the readings, a midterm paper, and a final essay.

Marguerite Feitlowitz

What does it mean to be “rooted,” “uprooted,” “living in translation”? Can a language, literary tradition, or far-flung literary republic be one’s homeland? Does “cultural authority” derive from being considered “native”? How is it that immigrant literary translators have been met with apprehension on the part of publishers? Might this stem from definitions of “fluency” and “expertise” that are themselves full of anxiety, confusion, political vexation, and even bias? What about the age-old debate between “domesticating” texts from elsewhere and making the reader aware of the palpable signs of “foreign-ness” in the original? Should a language have a legitimized “standard” usage? These, and other questions, will fuel our discussions.

Course-Connected Visiting Translator Series: “Immigration and Diaspora” Attendance at Guest Readings is mandatory.

This class is part of the Lexicons of Migration Consortium with Bard, Sarah Lawrence and Vassar. There will be opportunities for exchange with the students and faculty from these partner institutions. 

Eileen Scully

International law is no longer merely “out there” somewhere, relevant only to travelers, merchants and diplomats. International law is being globalized, and glocalized, so that it now covers complex contested areas such as civil unions, health insurance, sexual orientation, migration. We will focus on the fundamentals of twenty-first century international law, delving into areas including: Human Rights, Peace Building, Conflict Resolution, Migration, and Restorative Justice. Engagement avenues include attendance at relevant campus talks and events, working through readings and notable cases, discussion posts, small-group activities, projects and papers.

Prerequisites: Interested students should contact the instructor (escully@bennington.edu) after May 10, 2019. Priority will be given to students wishing to integrate the course into their individual Plan.

Thomas Leddy-Cecere

The Mediterranean represents a critical site of interaction between speakers of three of the world’s largest language families; nevertheless, linguists typically treat this contact and cross-pollination as an incidental, even distorting product of the families’ southern/northern/western peripheries, rather than as constituting a dynamic center of gravity for linguistic and sociolinguistic innovation.  In this course, we will explore the linguistic dimension of historical and ongoing Mediterranean encounters, and how language-based developments reflect or contribute to broader socio-historical cycles of integration, fragmentation and movement observed to operate in the region.  We will consider topics including literacy, linguistic imperialism/nationalism, multilingualism, transnational migration, and identity (de)construction as we work to identify forces and trends which shape the Mediterranean, past and present, as an ontologically valid community of linguistic practice with global reach.

Prerequisites: Any LIN coursework, or permission of the instructor. 

Miroslava Prazak

Why are cultures and societies so different, and simultaneously, so similar? This introductory course examines some of the theoretical and methodological approaches of anthropology in exploring human culture and society. We explore various ethnographic examples to develop an anthropological perspective on economy and politics, social organization, kinship and family life, ideology and ritual, ecology and adaptation, as well as a focus on the sources and dynamics of inequality. Further, we focus on the dynamics of change in contemporary life-globalization, migration, political collapse, environmental calamity and social reorganization-and how these processes challenge social scientists to construct appropriate paradigms to describe and understand the production of cultural meanings in the increasingly globalized world, and to identify cultural differences and human universals.

Marguerite Feitlowitz

This course, while rooted in Literature, is part of the Lexicons of Migration cluster. Taking as a point of departure Isabelle de Courtivron’s touchstone Bilingual Lives: Writers and Identity, students will update, complicate, and enrich the binary orientation of this collection, originally published in 2003. We will delve into the personal, familial, communal, and political dynamics of living diasporic, multi-lingual and multi-cultural lives. Our readings will include Madhu Kaza’s Kitchen Table Translation, Mireille Gansel’s Translation as Transhumance, and ark Polizzotti’s Sympathy for the Traitor: A Translation Manifesto; and a wide array of poems, stories, and hybrid texts from around the world.

Students will conceive, commission, edit, and design this online publication, which may culminate in a one-off print volume. There is the potential for editorial cooperation with students from Bard, Sarah Lawrence and Vassar; editorial calls for student submissions may be national and international.

We will host distinguished guest writer-translators; attendance at these events is mandatory.

Students from all disciplines are welcome.