John Hultgren

The course is intended to provide students an introduction to foundational concepts of migration studies. The course will navigate this complex topic through four thematic anchors: (1) Time and Space, which will explore the history of migration from a global perspective, emphasizing the uneven development, colonial encounters, and environmental pressures that give rise to particular forms of migration; (2) Home and Belonging, which will consider the loss of home, the treacherous journey to “safety,” and the ensuing and often impossible struggle to “be at home” in a foreign land; (3) Discourse and Representation, which will analyze who speaks of and for the forced migrant, and how the displaced speak back; and (4) Law and Policy, which will examine the legal and political underpinnings of the contemporary global refugee regime and its development in specific areas. By the end of the term, students will have a working understanding of the causal forces producing displacement, the institutional structures that attempt to govern forced migration and displacement, and the myriad challenges faced by migrant and refugee populations seeking to navigate a new terrain and build a new home. elements.

Burcu Seyben

Today, millions of children and young people are forced to leave their homeland, or want to move to other countries for a variety of reasons. This course will focus on the experience of these children and young people who cross borders due to war, conflict, pursuit of education, new discoveries, jobs, family, or human trafficking. The course will explore how children and young people move in between countries and cultures. Are their journeys voluntary or forced, legal or illegal? How do they adapt to change? This course will be conducted parallel to Jean Randich’s Metamorphoses: Devising Multicultural Theater, allowing the two groups to meet jointly to share knowledge, process, and discoveries. Themes of love, gender, sexuality, class, metamorphosis, obstacles, violation, violence, and imagination will be explored along with resilience, perseverance, and the power of art. Students will respond to a number of plays, novels and films whose specific focus is child and youth migration. We will also cover basic sociological texts on the subject. Students will write a paper and do a project.

Ella Ben Hagai

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 conduct their own cross-cultural research. 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.

Noah Coburn

Despite the 1997 comprehensive landmine ban, there are over 100 million landmines in 30 countries, with millions more still being produced each year. Landmines kill and injury 15,000 to 20,000 people annually, but beyond this, the presence of landmines reshape the ways that people live, the land they can cultivate and the communities that they are connected to. Landmine clearance, in particular, is an interdisciplinary exercise with technical, economic, political and social consequences. This course takes a similarly interdisciplinary approach to look at the lived experiences of landmines from an anthropological, political and public health angle. Case studies will be drawn Sri Lanka, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nepal, the Balkans and elsewhere. Students will be asked to conduct an independent research project as a final paper that develops a clear line of inquiry into how we live with and think about landmines.

Prerequisites: Students will be prioritized who have previous work in SCT or APA, and/or plans with overlapping interests and concerns. Please send a brief email after registration begins to ncoburn@bennington.edu stating why you are interested in this course and any potential connections to your Plan. 

Jean Randich

This course on devised theater is aimed at students who have experienced living in more than one culture and are interested in creating a multilingual theater piece inspired by their own experiences of crossing cultures, sensing boundaries, and the role of transformation. We will read selections from contemporary writers, such as Marjane Satrapi, Gloria Anzaldua, and Kapka Kassabova. We will build the performance by invoking myths, songs, dance, and poetry as a threshold to personal experience in diverse cultures.

Participants will select, devise, and dramatize episodes, including personal, family, and cultural myths, with their peers as a way to share a moment of challenge, survival, or resilience in dealing with borders, crossing boundaries, and what lies beyond. We will create an inclusive, multicultural narrative composed by all the students in the course. Songs, visual imagery, and movement sequences will also be collaboratively composed. This course will be conducted parallel to Burcu Seyben’s Migration: In Between Cultures course, allowing the two groups to have joint meetings to share knowledge, process, and discoveries. Themes of love, gender, sexuality, class, metamorphosis, obstacles, violence, and imagination will be investigated along with resilience, perseverance, and the power of art. We will use methodology from Augusto Boal, Ping Chong’s Undesirable Elements, Frantic Assembly, and the Tectonic Theater Project. The course will culminate in a performance of the devised piece.

Emily Mitchell-Eaton

Critical political geography, at its core, is a field interested in the relationship between space, place, and power. How are power dynamics enforced, and contested, through spatial practices and discourses? How do space and place shape intersections of power and resistance? This course will explore these questions in a variety of places, contexts, and scales, using a range of theoretical frameworks, including feminist, Marxist, postcolonial, anti-racist, queer, abolitionist, and other critical lenses. We will examine the production of place and space vis-à-vis key themes in political geography, such as territory and territoriality, borders, nationalism, citizenship, militarism, colonialism, and geopolitics. We will also consider the historical origins of contemporary productions of space, asking how processes of colonialism, imperialism, globalization, urbanization, and the emergence of capitalism have informed power and space over time. Lastly, we will use the theories, scholarship, and case studies from the course to better understand our own place in the world: on campus, in our own homes and neighborhoods, and in our encounters with others as we move in the world.

Burcu Seyben

This course will focus on the plays, films, playwrights, directors and theatre companies exploring the diasporic experience of the recent Middle Eastern migrants. The course will explore how Middle Eastern Diaspora Theatre responds to the recent political climate, the conflict and wars in the Middle East. The course will look at the works of those artists who have left their countries either recently or long time ago. The students will mostly focus on what common themes, social and political problems are addressed in these plays and films. The students will also explore examples of political activism through theatre and film. They will be expected to write two research papers. One of these papers will be about one or more of the works we have covered in the course. The other will be on a work(s) chosen by the student, and can be about a play or film used as political activism to challenge the status quo in any context or country.

Andrea Galindo

The course will provide a comprehensive understanding of the effect of human mobility on women; how women’s human rights are affected by States’ policies and practices; and what is their protection under international human rights law. Mobility is different for men and women, both in terms of the reasons why they migrate as well as the impact wile in transit and upon arrival to the destination and beyond. In this course we will explore the international rules that apply in different mobility scenarios focusing particularly in the effect that it has on women. Through the course the students will explore: – What is human mobility? – How does human mobility particularly affect women? – What are the main human rights challenges that create? – What are the main international instruments that safeguard women in a mobility context? – What is the role of the international and regional organizations? 

Andrea Galindo

The course will provide a comprehensive understanding of the International Human Rights Law and its importance. Based on the international legal standards adopted by the international community through the time, this course aims to provide the students with the basic concepts of international human rights law, its sources, and the general protection institutions that exist to protect these guarantees. Through the course the students will explore: – What are human rights? – What are the main international instruments that safeguard HR? – Where do HR rules come from? – Who makes these rules? And who monitors those? The course will provide a comprehensive understanding of the International Human Rights Law and its importance. 

Vahidin Omanovic

This Module will serve as an introduction to the work of Peacebuilding around the world, both in theory and practice. Vahidin Omanovic, Director of Center for Peacebuilding in Bosnia, will be joining us to reflect on his work and introduce us to key topics in peacebuilding, including: peacebuilding in a local community, identity and discrimination, methods of sustainable peacebuilding, the cycle of revenge and reconciliation, conflict analysis, and the willingness and responsibility of a person to work on change and peacebuilding.