Culture, Embodiment, and Sensory Experience

Courses in this cluster examine the complex relationships between culture, embodiment, and sensory experience. Students will explore how cultural contexts shape our bodily experiences and sensory perceptions, while also investigating how these factors interact to influence our understanding of the world and our place within it.

Course Descriptions

CC102: Writing the Body & Disability

Instructor: Dot Devota
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Creative Practice
CRN# 15368
Block: 1

In this class, we will read and write essays and stories that attend to---and create greater awareness and support for---the body. Most of the writers we will study are women, BIPOC, and trans and non-binary people who share their experiences with illness and impairment, as well as its effect on their artistic and creative writing practices. This includes authors living with chronic pain, who experience mental health issues or have autoimmune-related and mysterious forms of illness---all of which are largely misunderstood by the “medical industrial complex” and amidst the increasing impact climate change has on our health. Foregrounding the course are distinctions between the medical, the social, and the production models of disability. This class further examines the structures within writing disciplines that dictate how we are to write and who has privilege within creative process systems. By identifying and describing the various physical and virtual spaces we write in, we can begin to study organizational frameworks in the teaching and reproduction of creative writing—what can be referred to as the architexture of writing, in which structural mechanisms create disability and set-off various inequities. We will discuss values around work ethic and labor/productivity, grammar and standard white English language supremacy, writing as a technological construct, pathways to publication, and access to social/institutional support and resources. We will look at expectations around creative writing output, and then challenge traditional modes that are injurious, ableist, exclusionary, and disabling. Ultimately, we will ask ourselves, What is the relationship between writing disciplines and our personal and collective health? What is the relationship between authorship and social justice? We will be introduced to liberatory writing and revision, as well as various experimental practices that accommodate embodied experience and prioritize ecosystems of care, so that we might all find greater agency in how we can approach and cultivate our strongest relationship to our own writing.

CC120: Sport, Media, and Society

Instructor: Taylor Nygaard
CRN# 15369
Block: 2

This course examines the ways in which discourse surrounding sports influences culture, politics, and identity. Using the tools of media and cultural studies students analyze the discourses surrounding topics such as the rhetorical construction of the athlete, sporting events, athletes as racialized and gendered bodies, the commodification of the athlete, athletes and activism, as well as fandom and identification. This isn’t a class about the rules or the appreciation of sport. It’s about how sport is commemorated, how its heroes and villains are constructed and represented, and most importantly what that tells us about how contemporary popular culture values different racial, gendered, and class identities. The aim of the course overall is to introduce students to the kinds of questions scholars ask in studying sport and to enable students to improve their writing by learning to assess and analyze sources more carefully, and to position their own perspective among others in a way that is informed, critical, and civil.

There will be optional afternoon group screenings.


CC105: Dyeing to Learn Chemistry

Instructor: Annelise Gorensek-Benitez
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Scientific Analysis
CRN# 15370
Block: 1

In today’s world, reaching into our closets and pulling out literally whatever shade of clothing we desire is an afterthought. But even 200 years ago, colored garments were a luxury and, in some cases, reserved for royalty. In Dyeing to Learn Chemistry, you will learn about the rich history of natural dyeing traditions around the globe, how these practices were affected by colonialism and industrialization, and how artisans of today work to keep the traditional methods alive. While exploring the historical, economic and social implications of dyes you will build a strong foundation in the chemistry of how dyes work. But what would a chemistry class be without a laboratory component? In this course, you will explore different dyeing techniques in lab (both traditional and modern), use your chemistry knowledge to explain the physical phenomena they observed, and ultimately design and present a research project on a natural dye experiment of your own interest.

Afternoon labs required.

CC120: Inside Out: The Philosophy and Psychology of Emotion

Instructor: Tomi-Ann Roberts
CRN# 15371
Block: 3

Our feelings matter to us in various ways. Emotions such as anger, fear, love, disgust, and embarrassment are complex phenomena that hold a place of great importance in human life – influencing our decisions, coloring our experience, and affecting our mental and bodily health. We have emotions every day, but what exactly are they? Physiological disturbances? Cultural constructions? Expressions or reactions? Judgments, perceptions, appraisals, or evaluations? And why are they such a significant part of human life? Do they serve a personal, social, or biological function? Do they cloud our thinking, or offer us a kind of insight? Can we control them, and should we wish to do so? In this course, we will explore these and other questions, drawing upon evidence and arguments presented by psychologists and philosophers in this exciting area of interdisciplinary scholarship. Students will be introduced to a diverse body of work attempting to explain the matter and meaning of emotion and feeling. Through a critical investigation of the emotions, we will examine what it means to lead a fulfilling life as a human being.


CC106: Music, Food, and the Senses

Instructor: Liliana Carrizo
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Societies and Human Behavior
CRN# 15372
Block: 1

Music, Food, and the Senses is an introduction to social and cultural theory in the humanities with a strong emphasis on embodied and practice theory. Building on the idea of musical and culinary practice as a form of "living history," this course will focus on critical approaches to ethnomusicology, anthropology, ethnography, and social theory from a musical lens. Our investigation will aim to bridge the realms of theory and practice through a multi-disciplinary, liberal arts-based approach that includes intensive textual study in combination with performance-based embodied learning modules, hands-on ethnographic inquiry, and multi-media forms of creative reflection and writing.

2-3 half-day field trips, 1-2 local evening events.

CC120: The Mind-Body Problem

Instructor: David Gardiner
CRN# 15373
Block: 2

“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." This famous quote from Jesus of Nazareth is but one example of what seems a natural division between mind and body, one common not only in many religions but as a mainstay in everyday cultural thinking, globally. In what ways does this bipartite framework get articulated? Inform views of life's purpose? Views of an afterlife? How is it established in secular culture? What reasonings support it? On what bases can it be critiqued? Most importantly, how can both philosophical and scientific inquiry help us construct alternative models of our world? Readings and writings will focus primarily on this last question.

Several day hiking trips, and one overnight field trip at the CC cabin.


CC106: Film and Discourse in Society

Instructor: Taylor Nygaard
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Societies and Human Behavior
CRN# 15398
Block: 1

Films have often been described as “windows to the world,” windows that expand our views, our perspectives, and our understanding of the world. This course endeavors to examine films as cultural artifacts and industrial products that reflect but also refract issues of ideology and power and thus shape cultural understandings and norms about people and identity. As an introduction to social and cultural theory in the humanities, this class will encounter diverse perspectives across several academic disciplines that approach film critically. Our inquiry will be both historical and contemporary with a focus on present-day issues relating to equity, inclusion, and social justice—and the role film plays in representing or speaking to those issues.


CC120: How to Do Nothing: Marxism & Feminism Italian Style

Instructor: Ken Scriboni
CRN# 15399
Block: 2

In this course we’ll analyze the innovations, novelties, and major themes that spawned from Marxism and Feminism in the Italian context. Specific attention will be given to the concepts of hegemony, autonomy, antiwork, the commons, and reproductive labor. We’ll look at both historical and contemporary authors inspired by and working out of these traditions including Franco Berardi, adrienne maree brown, Silvia Federici, Angela Davis, CLR James, Selma James, Fred Moten, Stefano Harney, Jenny Odell, Federico Campagna, Nick Srnicek, Mark Fisher, Astra Taylor, and many others. The authors we read transcend the disciplines of Italian Studies, Political Science, Philosophy, History, Religious Studies, Women & Gender Studies, Economics, and Comparative Literature. We’ll analyze the ways in which these authors utilize interdisciplinary and anti-disciplinary writing and research practices, transgressing the stable boundaries of disciplines and weaving together rigorous scholarly methodologies with bottom-up knowledge practices, to disrupt the authoritarian enclosures of knowledge production making writing a tool for autonomy and liberation. The thinkers we’ll explore transcend their identifications of Marxist, Feminist, or Black Radical Theorist, and in the words of Fred Moten consent “not to be a single being.” These authors are poetic in that they “exceed the field of signification,” according to Franco Berardi and create new possibilities of meaning through what Italo Calvino called the “ars combinatoria”: the combinatory machinic practices of literature. In this light we’ll also consider what possibilities for liberation and autonomy are inscribed or foreclosed by recent developments in AI writing technology. A primary goal of this course is for students to develop their own unique writing practice by exploring a variety of techniques and philosophies from exemplary authors.

1-2 local field trips, as well as 2-3 film screenings.



Report an issue - Last updated: 05/31/2023