Over the next week, we’re going to feature a couple of colleges in the Vermont area that are teaching courses this upcoming Spring Semester that stuck out as we looked through the course lists. There’s a lot of variety to the courses here, ranging from new digital technologies, to looking at speculative fiction as a genre to foreign policy for other countries around the world. There’s a facinating range of things to learn.
Obviously, admission to these courses are going to depend on your student status, but if you’re looking for an excuse to go back to school, it’s worth talking with their respective admissions departments and seeing what you have to do to sign up.
Our last college to look at this time around, Marlboro college is an alternative liberal arts college located in Marlboro, Vermont. Here’s what they’ve got to offer:
HUM1447 Making the American Enemy
From the course catalog: Just after the antagonism of World War I, America faced the domestic issue of radical political dissidents on its home soil. Refugees escaping the ravages of war and reconstruction in their own countries came to America with politics that were, occasionally, outside the acceptable limits of democratic ideology. The politics of post-nationalism had become a threat with the success of the Russian revolution, and the rhetoric of union bosses seemed equivalent with that of socialists and bomb throwing anarchists. America began to organize its culture and its political machinery against the ravages of anarchism, socialism, communism, and fascism-a process that often meant withdrawal into attitudes of isolationism and racism.
This class will cover the creation of American enemies during three decades of the Twentieth Century (from the end of the First World War to the opening moves of the Cold War). We will be looking at American propaganda campaigns, commercial film successes, print journalism, and the political literature that helped to define UnAmerican ideology from the First Red Scare to the Second. The goal of this class is to interpret American anti-ideological propaganda-its development, its general trends, and its obvious implications for later attempts at defining the American enemy. Prerequisite: None
HUM1200 CHINA’S PROBLEMS SINCE MAO
From the course catalog: During the last thirty years, the People’s Republic of China has achieved economic growth on a historically unprecedented scale. But at what cost? This class will consider some of the problems that have attended China’s tremendous development: environmental degradation, ethnic conflict, and human rights. While each problem has roots that run deep in Chinese history, each also has very distinctive contemporary expressions. After a brief survey of contemporary China’s political, economic, and geographic framework, we will examine the relationship between individuals, social movements, and the state through case studies on water quality, ethnic minorities in Tibet and Xinjiang, the pro-democracy movement of Tiananmen Square, and the One-Child Policy. Students will write frequent responses to the reading, and will track, over the course of the term, specific issues of interest to them using on-line resources. Prerequisite: None
NSC597 Building Gadgets: An Open Electronics Lab
From the course catalog: A hands-on exploration of interactive electronics using a programmable microcontroller such as the Arduino,
some sensors, motors, and a computer. After looking at some basics of circuits and loading programs at the start of the term, you’ll choose a project, purchase the materials, build it (probably following a recipe), and explain it. We will likely also play with 3D printing using a RepRap. To take this course, you should be comfortable with a do-it-yourself approach to tinkering, and have had some exposure to foundation courses in physics and/or computers. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
HUM1444 The Dynamic Legend of King Arthur
From the course catalog: Kings, queens, knights, damsels, battles, magic, quests, the Holy Grail. These are some of the common images associated with King Arthur and his court. This course will survey a number of medieval and modern works surrounding the stories of King Arthur, his knights, Merlin, and the quest for the Holy Grail. Medieval authors will be studied before turning to authors from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The class will begin with an exploration of the “traditional” Arthurian legend. Discussion will then be directed to the historical treatment and development of Arthur and his legend before considering the later versions. The course will examine the ways in which traditional characters and themes have been adapted and altered to deal with more modern interests and mores.Prerequisite: None
HUM1453 Exploring Paradise: Milton & Morrison
From the course catalog: “To be born is to come to the world weighed down with strange gifts of the soul and an inextinguishable sense of exile.” Ben Okri
In this seminar, we will spend seven weeks (the first half of the semester), exploring John Milton’s 1667 epic poem, Paradise Lost and Toni Morrison’s 1998 novel, Paradise. A side-by-side reading of the revolutionary visions of each of these writers – Milton’s “to justify the ways of God to men” and Morrison’s to explore “why paradise necessitates exclusion” – will open up many questions about the meaning of paradise and the shape of spiritual heroism. We will consider Milton’s logic of liberation, and Morrison’s exploration of “the one all-black town worth the pain” and the all-female community that challenges it. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
HUM1448 Dystopian Literature & Capitalism
From the course catalog: Literature has always been positioned strangely against the culture of which it is a product. From this place it enjoys the capacity to evaluate the society which creates it-whether that be the social diorama of human experience or, in the case of this class, the economic forces that guide material desires and necessities. In America, this has become a description of a tension that began with American laissez faire economics and free enterprise, and the associated problems relative to the human condition. America’s system of capitalism is generally held responsible for such excessive practices as slavery, child labor, generally unsafe working conditions, and the rising rift between the nation’s rich and poor; quite often, it falls to literature to voice the cry of protest.
To wit, while American capitalism is often praised as the basis for modern global economics, it has also been the target of scathing reviews. Especially in fiction, capitalism is shown in social realistic novels as deeply dystopian and, at its very core, flawed with a lack of humanity that enslaves its workers and destroys their lives. We will be reading some of these literary works and looking at them as a basis of understanding American responses to its own economic system.
In this class, we will be reading critiques of capitalism in fiction from the latter half of the nineteenth century and early half of the twentieth from Melville, Lewis, Sinclair, and Powers. As this is a writing class, we will also be producing essays rooted in social and literary criticism. We will produce three major papers for the class.