ENGL 392-402 / CIMS 392-402
Wednesday 2:00-5:00 PM
We will be engaging with an array of film and media texts and objects to understand the mutual entanglements of media and environment. Media Infrastructures like fiber optic cables are part of the environment and elements mined from the environment find themselves in digital media devices. In this course, we ask: In what ways does the environment shape media? How can we connect the aesthetics and politics of ecocinema? How are theories of viral media and microbial contagion related? How do human and animal bodies live in irradiated environments? How do vulnerable communities document their struggles against resource extractivism? The course is organized in three sections. In the first part, we will be engaging with mediated representations and visualizations of the environment including depictions of ecological disasters and GIS modeling of climate change. What can radiation detectors and mapping technologies tell us about the interaction between bodies and radiation? The second section shall deal with the environmental impact of media infrastructures such as the energy dynamics of data servers/cloud computing. Towards the end of the course, we examine ways of conceptualizing media as environment with a particular focus on media geology and media ecology as research methods to study media phenomena.
This course is a Ben Franklin Seminar.
Monday/Wednesday, 3:30 - 5:00 PM
In this course we will investigate some of the ethical issues that arise from our relationship with the environment. Topics may include : What are our responsibilities toward the environment, as individuals and as members of institutions? How do our responsibilities toward the environment relate to other ethical considerations? Do non-human animals/species/ecosystems have intrinsic value? What should conservationists conserve?
STSC 379 / HSOC 379
Tuesday/Thursday, 12 - 1:30 PM
This course considers human-animal relationships as they have developed over time. How have humans and animals co-evolved? How do humans think about animals and classify animals? Why is there a boundary between humans and other animals, and how is it defined and maintained? What do humans know about animals and how do they know it?
In particular, the course examines how the sites and knowledge about animals and human-animal relationships developed and changed within the fields of technology, medicine and science after the mid-19th century. How do animals become technologies? How do animal sciences and medicine emerge and evolve? We will consider topics such as pets, wildlife, work animals, zoo animals, war animals and lab animals; we will look at evolution, domestication, breeding, archeology, veterinary medicine, ethology, ecology, extinction and predation.
Tuesday 1:30-4:30 PM
This course will explore one of the fundamental questions we face as humans: how do we bear witness to ourselves and to the world? How do we live and write with a sense of response-ability to one another? How does our writing grapple with traumatic histories that continue to shape our world and who we are in it? The very word “witnessing” contains a conundrum within it: it means both to give testimony, such as in a court of law, and to bear witness to something beyond understanding. In this class, we will explore both senses of the term “witness” as we study work by writers such as Harriet Jacobs, Paul Celan, M. NourbeSe Philip, Bhanu Kapil, Layli Long Soldier, Claudia Rankine, Juliana Spahr, and others that wrestles with how to be a witness to oneself and others during a time of ongoing war, colonialism, racism, climate change, and other disasters. Students are welcome in this class no matter what stage you are at with writing, and whether you write poetry or prose or plays or make other kinds of art. Regardless of your experience, in this class you’ll be considered an “author,” which in its definition also means a “witness.” We will examine and question what authorship can do in the world, and we will analyze and explore the fine lines among being a witness, a bystander, a participant, a spectator, and an ally. In this class you will critically analyze and write responses to class readings; you’ll do writing exercises related to the work we read; and you’ll complete (and be workshopped on) a portfolio of creative writing (and/or art) that bears witness to events that matter to you. This class also has an optional Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) component for students who choose to do community work during the semester (organized through the Netter Center or on your own) and write about that community work for this class.
This course fulfills Sector IV: Interdisciplinary Humanities and Social Sciences of the College's General Education Curriculum