Boundaries and Margins

Boundaries highlight or fix limits for people, places, objects, and events. But beyond this, boundaries mark relational sites where meaning, value, and belonging are made, reworked, and contested. Should  we approach boundaries as restrictive forces that constrict us within walls, borders, and lines, be they real or metaphorical, or as creative forces that overlap, move, and encourage us to rupture our own definitions of limits? Boundaries produce and attempt to manage marginal areas. They allow for a liminal space, a space “in-between” that is transitory, transient, unexpected and uncertain to erupt. This theme will allow us to interrogate the margins, those spaces in which subversive, often oppressed, knowledges and life ways take shape. If boundaries attempt to codify and construct worlds, what new worlds can emerge through the pursuit of this theme’s inquiry?

Fall 2020

AY253: Cultural Perspectives on Global Economies

Four credit hours. Halvorson

Explores the global cultural diversity and social embeddedness of economic practice. Students gain analytical tools to critically examine global capitalism, consumption/consumerism, markets and their myriad social dimensions through a focus on transactions, exchange, social obligation, class distinction, and labor activities. In-depth case studies apply these insights to debates on topics such as debt, economic inequality, class, and the limits of commodification. Readings, films, and other materials highlight the rich diversity of anthropological perspectives on economic practice, from ethnographies of Wall Street to Malaysian factory work to middle-class formation in Nepal. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112.

AY373: The Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality

Four credit hours. Mills

Gender and sexuality represent fundamental categories of human social and cultural experience; in every human society, understandings about gender and sexuality constitute powerful aspects of individual identity that shape and are shaped by key aspects of social relations and cultural belief. Yet specific beliefs and social structures vary tremendously across cultures. An investigation of the varied ethnography of gender and sexuality as well as important theoretical concerns: how meanings are attached to the human body, production and reproduction of gender hierarchies, and processes by which gender and sexual meanings (and associated social forms) may be transformed or contested in societies. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112 and one other anthropology course.

 

CL136: Myth and Magic

Four credit hours. O'Neill

Popular culture is fixated on magic, from Harry Potter to Game of Thrones, but the roots of this interest can be found in the myths and magical practices of antiquity. Love and hate, hope and fear, ambition and greed – powerful emotions drove Circe, Medea, and Hekate in myth as well as ordinary mortals in the ancient world. The focus will be on the role of magic in the contested realm of antiquity’s social and gender hierarchies. We will examine the function and fascinating allure of witchcraft by analyzing extracts from literary texts (e.g. Homer, Theocritus, Pindar, Vergil, Horace, and Lucan), protective amulets, and ancient spells designed to seduce the beloved, ward off rivals, silence legal foes, rig sports events, reveal the future, and summon demons.

CN345: Chinese Women from Mao to Market

Four credit hours. Zhang

Explores the shifting political discourses and visual representations of Chinese women from Mao’s socialist China (1949-1978) to post-Mao market-reform China (1978 to present). Drawing on primary sources such as propaganda posters, cover images and selected texts from Women of China, the official magazine of All-China Federation of Women (ACFW), students gain linguistic, visual, and historical knowledge on state feminism, gender equality, birth control policy, and impact of market reform and consumer culture on women in China from 1949 to the present. 

EN370: Literature and Medicine: Voices from the Margins

Four credit hours. Sibara

Explores what we can learn about the field of medicine from works of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction that prioritize the perspectives of those most vulnerable and marginalized in mainstream medicine. Thus, patient-centered narratives by people of color, people with disabilities, poor people, women, and queer and genderqueer folks will be our focus, alongside theoretical readings from the fields of women of color feminism, critical disability studies, and biopolitics. Our explorations in this Humanities Lab course will also include visits to the Art Museum and Special Collections.

EN378: Fiction Writing II: Constrained Writing

Four credit hours. Spark

Course in constrained writing that looks at how work by the French Oulipo, Dr. Seuss, present day New Yorker writers, and others play with and grow from restrictions. We’ll read and write stories written around a single phrase or assigned image, stories written with technological or linguistic constraints, borrowed form stories, and more.

EN493: Women Writers in Britain and the Empire

Four credit hours. Gibson

Focusing on women writers in the long nineteenth century, this seminar addresses multiple borders and margins: the porous borders between Britain and the empire, the borders created by internal colonialism within Britain, the shifting definitions and power of the provincial and the metropolitan. Case studies ranging from the ex-slave Mary Prince to the South Asian poet Toru Dutt, from the ‘provincial’ Currer Bell (Charlotte Bronte) to Michael Field (Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper).  How were women writers  marginalized–and how did they overcome this marginalization? How did they cross geographical borders, genres, and gendered boundaries? Fulfills English C and P. Boundaries and Margins humanities lab.

GM297: Women's Literary, Cultural, and Visual Production

Four credit hours. Ellis

In this interdisciplinary course, we will concern ourselves with the intellectual production and development of women working in the German and Austrian contexts. Designed to explore the role of women, gender and representation, we will examine their artistic activities through historical, literary, and social movement frames. We will read women’s writing, view their art, and watch their films. Topics include the development of a public female aesthetic that encompasses Afro-German women as writers, historians, and filmmakers; Expressionist artists such as Kollwitz and Modersohn-Becker; and authors that include but are not limited to Bachmann, Ayim, and Tawada. Students will also further deepen those skills necessary for critical thinking, writing, and speaking. Conducted in German. Prerequisite: German 128 or equivalent.

GM342: Contested Subjects in German Culture

Four credit hours. Ellis

Introduction to critical analysis of contested subjects in German and German-speaking cultures. While topics vary, this course will refine close reading skills of written and visual texts, including poetry, works of art, drama, short stories, prose, and film that focus on culturally contested topics. Focus on critical, written and interpretive analysis, student presentations, and exposure to relevant cultural, theoretical, and historical sources. Conducted in German. Prerequisite: A 200-level German course.

GS251: Global Displacement

Four credit hours. El-Shaarawi

When people are forced to flee their homes because of persecution, what happens to them? What should happen? In our transnational world, cross-border conflict and displacement challenge our ideas about governance, identity, and justice. This course provides a framework to understand displacement in global perspective. We will trace the evolution of international refugee law and policy dealing with this growing population and consider the implications of displacement for individuals, communities, and states. Through case studies, we will also grapple with the social, cultural, political, and ethical challenges posed by refugee aid. 

GS297: Oak Activist Research Lab on Mobility and Mutual Aid

Four credit hours. Razsa

Students collaborate in activist research—which both studies and contributes to refugee struggles for human rights. Co-taught with 2020 Oak Fellow Nasim Lomani, himself a refugee, the course centers the voices, experiences, and activism of people on the move. Substantial time dedicated to documenting and analyzing Lomani’s work with refugee solidarity and mutual aid initiatives in Greece and beyond, including his central role in the remarkable self-organized squat City Plaza Hotel that hosted hundreds of refugees in Athens. Recent history studied in the context of contemporary theorizing and analysis of migrant struggles in Europe and beyond.

HI356: Cultures and Identities of the British Empire

Four credit hours. Duff

This course asks students to examine the construction, maintenance, and blurring of the boundaries of culture and identity within the British Empire over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The course will explore how empire not only produced new, allegedly stable ethnic and racial identities, but also how these were constantly undermined and challenged, and were subject to change over both time and space. The course will do this by reading and discussing a series of novels written over the course of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries—both during empire, in other words, and in its wake.

HI397: A Global History of Manga and Anime

Four credit hours. Shmagin

Japanese comic books and cartoons are known throughout the world by their Japanese names: “manga” and “anime.” This is no accident, but a reflection of their enormous global popularity. Why are they so popular? What does their popularity say about the place of Japan in today’s global culture? How did these two phenomena emerge and develop, and how do they influence each other? Our class will explore these and other related questions through readings, screenings, discussion, and original research.

IT346: Geographies of R/existence: ’70s Liberation Movements in Italy

Four credit hours. Cannamela.

This Boundaries and Margins Humanities Lab explores three Italian liberation movements of the 1970s–early 1980s: the femminismo della differenza (feminism of sexual difference), the gay liberation front (in particular, the radical thought of Mario Mieli), and the trans* movement. The goal is to investigate how these interrelated movements have questioned notions of boundaries that have been taken for granted, and traced new embodied and political geographies. Through in-class discussions, hands-on activities, and conversations with guest speakers, the class will engage in a debate about gender and sexuality that can spur dialogue across cultures while suggesting new modes of thinking, doing, and being in a place. Taught in English.

SO397: Categories, Classification, and Social Boundaries

Four credit hours. Mayrl

Is gender a “binary” or a “spectrum”? Are sociology and economics really “scientific”? Are Hispanics a “race” or an “ethnicity”? Are some poor people more “deserving” of assistance than others? How we answer these questions matters for the organization of social space, the distribution of resources, and the legitimacy of social inequalities. This course explores the social and political dynamics of classification across a range of substantive arenas, with special emphasis on how collective struggles to define socially important categories contributes to the creation, maintenance, or dissolution of social boundaries.

TD132: Boundaries and Margins Lecture series

One credit hours. Brunetaux and Brown.

This course will consider a broad range of boundaries from national borders to social categories, from laws to metaphysics. We will explore how boundaries mark relational sites where meaning, value, and belonging are made, reworked, and contested. The theme will also allow us to interrogate the margins, those liminal spaces existing outside the mainstream, far from the center, next to the external limits–spaces of subversion, resistance, and survival. Students will attend public lectures by visiting scholars and Colby faculty as well as film screenings, performances, and community events. Together, we will engage in focused discussion and create innovative documentation of these events. 

WG120: Race, Gender, and Sport

Four credit hours. Thomas

This course will examine racism and sexism in a variety of different sports contexts. The class will also explore how sport can bring attention to social inequalities and prompt feminist anti-racist activism that goes beyond the sports world. Topics include intersexed bodies and Olympic gender testing, colonialism and cricket/rugby, race and the Scripps National Spelling Bee, indigeneity and #MMIWG (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls), Black Lives Matter protests, and Asian American identities and sport. This W1 course is writing intensive with weekly writing assignments, response papers, and a final research paper on Babe Ruth Baseball. Students will learn about plagiarism, how to use the Colby College library, Chicago style citation, develop an argument/thesis statement, organize research into a research paper, and to write about research they collected through feminist methods.

WP115: Writing through the Multicultural Lens

Four credit hours. Gherwash

Uses the theme of multiculturalism/multilingualism as a framework to read, analyze, and write about non-fiction texts by writers from various cultural/linguistic backgrounds. More specifically, it focuses on boundary and margin crossing through the discussion of “in-betweeness,” how ideas of global citizenship and multilingualism challenge established political, geographical, and linguistic boundaries. It covers topics, such as world Englishes and translingualism, which result from language users crossing artificial linguistic boundaries and creating a liminal space where multiple languages function in given interactive episodes. The humanities lab portion of the course will engage students with the idea of “internationalization at home,” which will allow them to work with Special Collections’ International Students at Colby Archive (ISACA), a broad compilation of artifacts and interviews with international students at Colby. This course fulfills the international diversity requirement.

Fall 2020

AY253: Cultural Perspectives on Global Economies

Four credit hours. Halvorson

Explores the global cultural diversity and social embeddedness of economic practice. Students gain analytical tools to critically examine global capitalism, consumption/consumerism, markets and their myriad social dimensions through a focus on transactions, exchange, social obligation, class distinction, and labor activities. In-depth case studies apply these insights to debates on topics such as debt, economic inequality, class, and the limits of commodification. Readings, films, and other materials highlight the rich diversity of anthropological perspectives on economic practice, from ethnographies of Wall Street to Malaysian factory work to middle-class formation in Nepal. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112.

AY373: The Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality

Four credit hours. Mills

Gender and sexuality represent fundamental categories of human social and cultural experience; in every human society, understandings about gender and sexuality constitute powerful aspects of individual identity that shape and are shaped by key aspects of social relations and cultural belief. Yet specific beliefs and social structures vary tremendously across cultures. An investigation of the varied ethnography of gender and sexuality as well as important theoretical concerns: how meanings are attached to the human body, production and reproduction of gender hierarchies, and processes by which gender and sexual meanings (and associated social forms) may be transformed or contested in societies. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112 and one other anthropology course.

 

CL136: Myth and Magic

Four credit hours. O'Neill

Popular culture is fixated on magic, from Harry Potter to Game of Thrones, but the roots of this interest can be found in the myths and magical practices of antiquity. Love and hate, hope and fear, ambition and greed – powerful emotions drove Circe, Medea, and Hekate in myth as well as ordinary mortals in the ancient world. The focus will be on the role of magic in the contested realm of antiquity’s social and gender hierarchies. We will examine the function and fascinating allure of witchcraft by analyzing extracts from literary texts (e.g. Homer, Theocritus, Pindar, Vergil, Horace, and Lucan), protective amulets, and ancient spells designed to seduce the beloved, ward off rivals, silence legal foes, rig sports events, reveal the future, and summon demons.

CN345: Chinese Women from Mao to Market

Four credit hours. Zhang

Explores the shifting political discourses and visual representations of Chinese women from Mao’s socialist China (1949-1978) to post-Mao market-reform China (1978 to present). Drawing on primary sources such as propaganda posters, cover images and selected texts from Women of China, the official magazine of All-China Federation of Women (ACFW), students gain linguistic, visual, and historical knowledge on state feminism, gender equality, birth control policy, and impact of market reform and consumer culture on women in China from 1949 to the present. 

EN370: Literature and Medicine: Voices from the Margins

Four credit hours. Sibara

Explores what we can learn about the field of medicine from works of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction that prioritize the perspectives of those most vulnerable and marginalized in mainstream medicine. Thus, patient-centered narratives by people of color, people with disabilities, poor people, women, and queer and genderqueer folks will be our focus, alongside theoretical readings from the fields of women of color feminism, critical disability studies, and biopolitics. Our explorations in this Humanities Lab course will also include visits to the Art Museum and Special Collections.

EN378: Fiction Writing II: Constrained Writing

Four credit hours. Spark

Course in constrained writing that looks at how work by the French Oulipo, Dr. Seuss, present day New Yorker writers, and others play with and grow from restrictions. We’ll read and write stories written around a single phrase or assigned image, stories written with technological or linguistic constraints, borrowed form stories, and more.

EN493: Women Writers in Britain and the Empire

Four credit hours. Gibson

Focusing on women writers in the long nineteenth century, this seminar addresses multiple borders and margins: the porous borders between Britain and the empire, the borders created by internal colonialism within Britain, the shifting definitions and power of the provincial and the metropolitan. Case studies ranging from the ex-slave Mary Prince to the South Asian poet Toru Dutt, from the ‘provincial’ Currer Bell (Charlotte Bronte) to Michael Field (Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper).  How were women writers  marginalized–and how did they overcome this marginalization? How did they cross geographical borders, genres, and gendered boundaries? Fulfills English C and P. Boundaries and Margins humanities lab.

GM297: Women's Literary, Cultural, and Visual Production

Four credit hours. Ellis

In this interdisciplinary course, we will concern ourselves with the intellectual production and development of women working in the German and Austrian contexts. Designed to explore the role of women, gender and representation, we will examine their artistic activities through historical, literary, and social movement frames. We will read women’s writing, view their art, and watch their films. Topics include the development of a public female aesthetic that encompasses Afro-German women as writers, historians, and filmmakers; Expressionist artists such as Kollwitz and Modersohn-Becker; and authors that include but are not limited to Bachmann, Ayim, and Tawada. Students will also further deepen those skills necessary for critical thinking, writing, and speaking. Conducted in German. Prerequisite: German 128 or equivalent.

GM342: Contested Subjects in German Culture

Four credit hours. Ellis

Introduction to critical analysis of contested subjects in German and German-speaking cultures. While topics vary, this course will refine close reading skills of written and visual texts, including poetry, works of art, drama, short stories, prose, and film that focus on culturally contested topics. Focus on critical, written and interpretive analysis, student presentations, and exposure to relevant cultural, theoretical, and historical sources. Conducted in German. Prerequisite: A 200-level German course.

GS251: Global Displacement

Four credit hours. El-Shaarawi

When people are forced to flee their homes because of persecution, what happens to them? What should happen? In our transnational world, cross-border conflict and displacement challenge our ideas about governance, identity, and justice. This course provides a framework to understand displacement in global perspective. We will trace the evolution of international refugee law and policy dealing with this growing population and consider the implications of displacement for individuals, communities, and states. Through case studies, we will also grapple with the social, cultural, political, and ethical challenges posed by refugee aid. 

GS297: Oak Activist Research Lab on Mobility and Mutual Aid

Four credit hours. Razsa

Students collaborate in activist research—which both studies and contributes to refugee struggles for human rights. Co-taught with 2020 Oak Fellow Nasim Lomani, himself a refugee, the course centers the voices, experiences, and activism of people on the move. Substantial time dedicated to documenting and analyzing Lomani’s work with refugee solidarity and mutual aid initiatives in Greece and beyond, including his central role in the remarkable self-organized squat City Plaza Hotel that hosted hundreds of refugees in Athens. Recent history studied in the context of contemporary theorizing and analysis of migrant struggles in Europe and beyond.

HI356: Cultures and Identities of the British Empire

Four credit hours. Duff

This course asks students to examine the construction, maintenance, and blurring of the boundaries of culture and identity within the British Empire over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The course will explore how empire not only produced new, allegedly stable ethnic and racial identities, but also how these were constantly undermined and challenged, and were subject to change over both time and space. The course will do this by reading and discussing a series of novels written over the course of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries—both during empire, in other words, and in its wake.

HI397: A Global History of Manga and Anime

Four credit hours. Shmagin

Japanese comic books and cartoons are known throughout the world by their Japanese names: “manga” and “anime.” This is no accident, but a reflection of their enormous global popularity. Why are they so popular? What does their popularity say about the place of Japan in today’s global culture? How did these two phenomena emerge and develop, and how do they influence each other? Our class will explore these and other related questions through readings, screenings, discussion, and original research.

IT346: Geographies of R/existence: ’70s Liberation Movements in Italy

Four credit hours. Cannamela.

This Boundaries and Margins Humanities Lab explores three Italian liberation movements of the 1970s–early 1980s: the femminismo della differenza (feminism of sexual difference), the gay liberation front (in particular, the radical thought of Mario Mieli), and the trans* movement. The goal is to investigate how these interrelated movements have questioned notions of boundaries that have been taken for granted, and traced new embodied and political geographies. Through in-class discussions, hands-on activities, and conversations with guest speakers, the class will engage in a debate about gender and sexuality that can spur dialogue across cultures while suggesting new modes of thinking, doing, and being in a place. Taught in English.

SO397: Categories, Classification, and Social Boundaries

Four credit hours. Mayrl

Is gender a “binary” or a “spectrum”? Are sociology and economics really “scientific”? Are Hispanics a “race” or an “ethnicity”? Are some poor people more “deserving” of assistance than others? How we answer these questions matters for the organization of social space, the distribution of resources, and the legitimacy of social inequalities. This course explores the social and political dynamics of classification across a range of substantive arenas, with special emphasis on how collective struggles to define socially important categories contributes to the creation, maintenance, or dissolution of social boundaries.

TD132: Boundaries and Margins Lecture series

One credit hours. Brunetaux and Brown.

This course will consider a broad range of boundaries from national borders to social categories, from laws to metaphysics. We will explore how boundaries mark relational sites where meaning, value, and belonging are made, reworked, and contested. The theme will also allow us to interrogate the margins, those liminal spaces existing outside the mainstream, far from the center, next to the external limits–spaces of subversion, resistance, and survival. Students will attend public lectures by visiting scholars and Colby faculty as well as film screenings, performances, and community events. Together, we will engage in focused discussion and create innovative documentation of these events. 

WG120: Race, Gender, and Sport

Four credit hours. Thomas

This course will examine racism and sexism in a variety of different sports contexts. The class will also explore how sport can bring attention to social inequalities and prompt feminist anti-racist activism that goes beyond the sports world. Topics include intersexed bodies and Olympic gender testing, colonialism and cricket/rugby, race and the Scripps National Spelling Bee, indigeneity and #MMIWG (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls), Black Lives Matter protests, and Asian American identities and sport. This W1 course is writing intensive with weekly writing assignments, response papers, and a final research paper on Babe Ruth Baseball. Students will learn about plagiarism, how to use the Colby College library, Chicago style citation, develop an argument/thesis statement, organize research into a research paper, and to write about research they collected through feminist methods.

WP115: Writing through the Multicultural Lens

Four credit hours. Gherwash

Uses the theme of multiculturalism/multilingualism as a framework to read, analyze, and write about non-fiction texts by writers from various cultural/linguistic backgrounds. More specifically, it focuses on boundary and margin crossing through the discussion of “in-betweeness,” how ideas of global citizenship and multilingualism challenge established political, geographical, and linguistic boundaries. It covers topics, such as world Englishes and translingualism, which result from language users crossing artificial linguistic boundaries and creating a liminal space where multiple languages function in given interactive episodes. The humanities lab portion of the course will engage students with the idea of “internationalization at home,” which will allow them to work with Special Collections’ International Students at Colby Archive (ISACA), a broad compilation of artifacts and interviews with international students at Colby. This course fulfills the international diversity requirement.