What does it take to make a video and then an environment and bring them together in harmony? In this plan tutorial I will be finding out.

The semester is organized around the different research topics of seniors doing Plan work in American Studies. Students will present research in progress and read and critique each other's writing. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor  Note:  The class only meets on Tuesdays.

This course will explore phenomenological approaches to perception, language, and the body.  We will begin with an introduction to the phenomenology of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty, and then focus on David Abram's The Spell of the Sensuous.  Later in the semester we will be joined by David Abram, who will be spending some time at Marlboro. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor

The class will meet for an hour and a half per week at a time and location to be determined. 

In this course we will be continuing research and analysis on texts focusing on invasive plants and their implications for their novel environments.

This is a Chinese language course for beginners.  It aims to help you develop communicative competence in Chinese, focusing on the four basic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. You will learn basic vocabulary and sentence structures for use in everyday situations through various forms of oral practice.  Pinyin (the most widely used Chinese phonetic system) will be taught as a tool to learn the spoken language. You will also learn Chinese characters in order to be able to communicate effectively in real Chinese situations. While linguistic aspects of the Chinese language are the primary focus, introduction to the social and cultural background of the language will also form an important part of the course.  Prerequisite:   None 


This course will focus on student involvement in the art community.  Students will work with one, or many, local artists or craftsmen in a community based learning environment. Students will participate in a variety of online activities and meet weekly to discuss with their instructor and classmates. The ability to work independently in an online working environment is essential to this course. Fields of study within this course could include, but are not limited to, studies in the following: culinary art, sewing and textiles, the fine arts (drawing, painting, sculpture, and ceramics), graphic design and print production, video and film editing, or an advanced study in an art form of the student’s choice. Students will present their work at the end of the course.  



This class will focus on learning the basic drum techniques and rhythms of Senegal, West Africa. With an emphasis on Sabar and Saouruba, students will explore rhythms from Dakar, the capital of Senegal, to Casamance, a rural village in south Senegal. Students will learn to play on authentic drums and will accompany dancers, learning the give and take between drummer and dancer that is inherent to the musical culture of West Africa. Prerequisite: None

This class will focus on learning both the popular and traditional dances of Senegal, West Africa. With an emphasis on Sabar and Saouruba, students will explore dances from Dakar, the capital of Senegal, to Casamance, a rural village in south Senegal. Students will be taught steps in the form of short, choreographed pieces and will be accompanied by live drumming whenever possible. Prerequisite: None

This course is for seniors on Plan in Philosophy who will be engaging with each other, and with selected texts, to develop their work. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor

Teaching practice for the TESOL Certificate will take the form of an internship in an ESOL context during the Spring Break. It is required in order to qualify for the certificate. Participants will complete a total of six hours of observed teaching practice. They will participate in post-teaching feedback sessions and will observe other English classes. They will attend workshops on topics that will be determined by the trainers based on what they observe in the teaching practice. In addition students will compile a portfolio of revised lesson plans and learning reflections.


The certificate is designed for people who may wish to teach English abroad or to tutor language learners in the US, or who may undertake an internship abroad and who could apply the knowledge and skills in the communities they will be living and studying in. In order to earn the certificate, participants must take both the TESOL Certificate courses (Fall & Spring), complete a teaching internship and compile a portfolio. The course complies with internationally recognized standards as an entry-level qualification in the field of TESOL.  

Prerequisite: TESOL Certificate I & II


The TESOL certificate  course continues with a focus on understanding the nature of and teaching the four skills (listening, speaking, reading & writing), lesson planning, classroom management and inter-cultural communication. Lesson planning will involve using frameworks and a communicative, interactive approach. Micro-teaching sessions will provide opportunities to implement these lesson plans and to receive and give constructive feedback. In addition students will prepare for teaching practice by gathering information about their teaching context and preparing some materials. After spring break the focus will be on what they have learned about themselves and their learners as cultural beings and about intercultural communication, about teaching and about themselves as teachers.  We will conclude the term with a focus on the role of English in the world today.  Students are required to compile a portfolio that includes lesson plans as well as teaching materials and resources and their rationale for the relevance to their potential students. 

Prerequisite: TESOL Certificate I

An introductory seminar designed to help students begin to think historically, culturally, and geographically. We will cover a handful of theoretical approaches to contemporary history as well as trace the historical threads of a number of major events outwards in time and space.  Student work will include presentations identifying the influence or resonance of the major events of the course.  The theoretical approaches will allow us to consider major themes of the recent past including: colonialism, genocide, human rights, socialism, globalization, and environmental change.  Required for WSP students; Open to non-WSP students. Prerequisite: None

Prerequisite: None

Vermont is getting national attention for its commitment to ending opiate addiction in the state. Instead of relying purely on law enforcement to curb drug abuse, the Shumlin administration is promoting a model that includes treatment, prevention, and recovery. This class draws on political theory to analyze the discourse currently used by government actors and community activists to address the issue of addiction. We'll consider what sort of politics is being invoked by these various strategies and how public and private funding fits into the mix. Students will develop skills in argument, community research, and analyzing public debate for its political assumptions. Prerequisite: This is a graduate level class open to juniors and seniors on the undergraduate campus and to graduate students

Note: This class will meet on the following Friday afternoons and Sunday mornings at the Graduate Center in Brattleboro: January 16 and 18, February 20 and 22, and March 20 and 22. There will not be undergraduate housing available for the January and March classes. This class will only be feasible for Marlboro College students who already have or can arrange housing off campus for those weekends.

This course challenges the physiological approach to vision by examining the theory of an ecological optics, based on the theories of James J. Gibson. 

Prerequisite: Physiological Optics

In a globalized world economies are connected to each other in many ways.  One of the most important ways these connections are facilitates is through the exchange of different currencies. This course will explore the nature of money, explain how exchange rates are discussed, examine what makes one economy’s money worth more or less over time, and elucidate the causes and consequences of crises within this international system. This course is ideal for students who have taken an introductory level course in economics but is also accessible to motivated and algebra literate students without previous economics experience.

This course will explore the history of Anthropological theory. We will trace the evolution of the discipline from the 19th century to the present, reading the seminal texts from each major theoretical progression and turn. Relating theory to the social context of the time, we will read articles, ethnographies, and popular culture texts.


The great contradiction of American history is the practice of slavery in a land of freedom. This class uses case law to consider how judges and political philosophers negotiated the tension between the natural rights of persons and the property rights of slave owners from the Colonial Era up to Emancipation. In the second half of the class, we'll investigate how the federalist legal system maintains its color through various legal mechanisms. Students will develop skills in close reading, briefing a case, argumentation, and debate.

This course provides an introduction to research methods often employed in anthropology and sociology. Through a mix of readings and fieldwork, students will learn the basics of survey design, participant observation, interviewing techniques, evaluation analysis, and ethnography. We will also discuss the ethical considerations fundamental to conducting research with human participants. Each student will leave this course having crafted a research proposal for use in their Plan, study abroad work, a fellowship, or a research paper, and run this proposal through IRB.

All students wishing to pursue Plan work in Sociology are required to take this course. Prerequisite: Introductory level work in the social sciences

In international politics and popular culture, spies are figures of fascination and mystery. Fears of invasion, infiltration, and secret powers marked the beginning of the 20th century, fueling early spy stories and the creation of government spy agencies. Today, as through the past century, spy fictions – often written by former agents – offer a window on hidden history. We will explore spy fiction as reflections of historical situations and concerns of cultural modernity, including the growth, even normalization, of  spying and surveillance in society.

Reading of key texts in theory and cultural history on the characteristics and dynamics of modernity and postmodernity.  Prerequisite: Reading-centered coursework in social sciences or humanities

The Maghreb provides a particularly suitable 'frame' for the consideration of comparative politics as a sub-field in the discipline of Political Science. United as a region in so many respects, yet internally and cross-nationally unique and separate, the countries of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria will be examined in their historical context yet with an eye to their global political relevance today. Prerequisite: None

Exploring the individual within society with regards to empathy, socialization, and morals. How an individual affects and is affected by society.

In this introduction to winter ecology we will explore how our local environment changes throughout the winter and how life adapts, endures and survives to meet the challenges that the cold season brings. Skills covered will include winter tree ID, snow tracking and animal signs, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, building snow structures, exploring the structure of snow, and mammal and bird ID and sugaring. We will be outside alot. Prerequisite: none

This laboratory-based course is designed to introduce students to basic concepts and techniques in proteomics. This field - one of the many '-omics' - is quite broad, but generally involves the study of the array of proteins present in a cell or tissue, as well as the determination of the structure and function of proteins. In this course students will separate and purify a specific, target protein, then work with faculty at the University of Vermont (through the Vermont Genetics Network) to sequence the proteins using mass spectrometry. The final portion of the course will focus on the interpretation of mass spectra and software tools for protein identification.

: General Chemistry or Organic Chemistry

A seminar on Charles Petzold's book "Codes: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software", which explains the inner workings of computers, starting with the binary numbers and Morse code, then through logic gates and up into operating systems.  We will read the book and meet once per week to discuss it - that's it. No written assignments involved. If you've ever wondered how computers really work, here's your chance to find out. Prerequisite: None


An investigation of the properties of groups, rings, fields and vector spaces. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor, facility with vectors and matrices, several math courses

A hands-on exploration of interactive electronics with the Arduino programmable microcontroller and various sensors, motors, lights and switches which will show you the basics of circuits, coding, and the techniques behind the DIY (Do It Yourself) "Maker" culture.  Prerequisite: None

Required hardware : "SparkFun Inventor's Kit" ($100 at https://www.sparkfun.com/products/12060 )

An introduction to Einstein's special relativity, investigating how this theory has changed our comprehension of space and time.  Special relativity can be understood without advanced mathematics, and this makes this course suitable both for science students and non-science students willing to know more about one of the theories that drastically changed our understanding of physics during the 20th century. Prerequisite: Proficiency in high school algebra

A wide range of math topics prerequisite for further study in mathematics and science and of interest in their own right. The course is divided into 10 units, listed on the course web page. One credit will be earned for each unit completed. Students select units depending on their interest and need. The course is especially designed for students who plan to study calculus or statistics, would like to prepare for the GRE exam, or just want to learn some math. Over the semester, 3-4 units will be offered in the timetabled sessions. Individual tutorial-style arrangements can be made with students who want to study the non-timetabled units, or who want to study units at their own pace.

The laboratory sessions for the second semester will continue to be an opportunity for students to hone their lab skills and to explore topics and ideas discussed in class. Students will work in teams to devise, conduct and analyze experiments on the synthesis and properties of biofuels, and bio-remediation. We will use primary literature to provide some context for our experiments, and we will continue to focus on employing the principles of green chemistry in our lab experiments. Prerequisite: General Chemistry I Laboratory    Co-requisite: General Chemistry II



The central topic of general chemistry is the composition of matter and transformations of matter, and we will continue to focus on how these microscopic transformations underlie our macroscopic experiences. In the second half of this course we will examine in detail models of chemical bonds, reaction kinetics, acid-base equilibria, and electrochemistry. We will also explore some aspects of thermodynamics, and environmental chemistry will continue to be a secondary theme of the course as we relate all of these topics to the effects of human activity on our environment.

We will start each chapter with a discussion of selected topics, followed by in-class projects, problem-solving sessions and homework review. Prerequisite: General Chemistry I (NSC158)

We are treating the history of math under three differing but somewhat overlapping concepts.  We will begin with the question of how people have defined mathematics in the western intellectual tradition starting with modern definitions and working backwards to the Greeks.  Second we will investigate specific intellectual developments that helped to separate math from what we now think of as related fields (physics, astronomy, economics, etc.)  Finally, we will focus on the specific biographies of a number of mathematicians, keeping the first two broad questions in mind as we think about the elements of their lives that shaped their mathematical thinking.  Students will get to propose and study specific mathemeticians for this final segment, but some possible candidates include Pythagorus, Euclid, al-Khwarizmi, Fibonacci, Newton, Gauss, or Erdös.  Throughout the course, we will have mathematical examples as well as opportunities to engage with difficult math questions.  We will also develop techniques from the history of science, including primary source work, and finally some philosophy of math.  There is no math or history prerequisite for the course, but we encourage some familiarity with one or the other discipline. Prerequisite: None

A sophomore-level introduction to the major topics in modern physics, including wave-particle duality, the Schrodinger equation and its application to the structure of atoms and molecules, and other topics. Prerequisite: Electricity & Magnetism

A close look at a number of classic computational recipes and the ideas behind them. Topics may be drawn from data structures, sorting, searching, compression, randomness parsing, cryptography, and numerical methods. This is an intermediate level foundation course, strongly recommended for folks considering further work in computer science, and an intro to the material in the Artificial Intelligence course next fall. The programming language will be Python, building on the material in the Intro Programming class. Prerequisite: Previous programming and math experience.


Differential equations is the mathematics of changing systems. It has wide-ranging applications, including biology, physics, and economics. This course is an introduction to ordinary differential equations, with an emphasis on finding and applying techniques to solve first-order and linear higher-order differential equations. Prerequisite: Calculus II


Further exploration of biological principles and biological diversity in a laboratory setting with independent student projects and a survey of campus vernal pool ecosystems. Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in General Biology II

General Biology serves as an introduction to the scientific study of life and basic biological principles. In this second semester we will explore biological concepts at the organismal and population level. Topics will include evolution, the diversity of life, plant structure and function, animal structure and function, and ecology. Prerequisite: General Biology 1 or permission by instructor

Second semester of the introductory physics class, suitable for students considering a plan in physics, science students, or non-science students who want a physics foundation. Topics include fluids, thermodynamics, oscillations, waves and optics. Prerequisite: General Physics I or approval of instructor

Forested ecosystems span the globe from the northern coniferous forests of the taiga to tropical forests to New England's varied forests. In this course, we will focus our attention on the deciduous, coniferous, and wetland forests close to home here in Marlboro with additional emphasis on forested systems throughout the world that are of particular interest to students. In the context of these forested ecosystems, we will learn about ecological processes and dynamics such as nutrient cycling, productivity and energy flow, succession, disturbance, and biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Several fieldtrips will provide opportunities for exploring New England's forested systems firsthand. Our knowledge of forested systems will allow us to engage in discussion of environmental issues such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, and habitat fragmentation in forested systems. Course work will include developing proposals for the management and conservation of the college's forested lands. Prerequisite: None

Preparation, purification and synthesis of organic compounds using microscale techniques. The laboratory sessions will continue to be an opportunity for students to hone their lab skills and to explore topics and ideas discussed in class. We will use primary literature to provide some context for our experiments, and students will work in teams to devise, conduct and analyze experiments. Also, this semester there will be a greater focus on self-designed laboratory investigations. Prerequisite: Organic Chemistry Lab I; Enrollment in or completion of Organic Chemistry II

"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution" - T. Dobzhansky

Accordingly, this course will serve as an in-depth examination of the unifying principles of evolutionary biology. We will cover the genetic basis of evolutionary change with an emphasis on Mendelian, molecular, and population genetics and then develop an understanding of the mechanisms of evolution including natural selection. Our understanding will then allow us to explore such concepts as phylogenetic relationships, adaptation, and coevolution.  Recommended for all students doing Plan work in the life sciences. Prerequisite: College-level biology course

Organic chemistry takes its name from the ancient idea that certain molecules - organic molecules - could only be made by living organisms. In second semester organic chemistry we will continue our study of different classes of organic compounds and their reactions. The first part of the semester will include material on important analytical techniques such as IR spectroscopy and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. In the latter part of the semester we will turn to the original realm of organic chemistry - living systems. For example, we will examine properties and reactions of amines, carboxylic acids, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, amino acids, peptides and proteins, and lipids. This semester will also include a special focus on the process of olfaction in humans. Prerequisite: Organic Chemistry I (NSC12)

We build on the theory and techniques developed in Calculus. Topics include integration techniques, applications of integrals, series of real numbers, power series, Taylor series, parametric equations, complex numbers and differential equations.  We may cover some other topics if time permits. Prerequisite: Calculus (NSC515) or equivalent

Statistics is the science--and art--of extracting data from the world around us and organizing, summarizing and analyzing it in order to draw conclusions or make predictions. This course provides a grounding in the principles and methods of statistics. Topics include: probability theory; collecting, describing and presenting data; hypothesis testing; correlation and regression; and analysis of variance. Two themes running through the course are the use of statistics in the natural and social sciences and the use (and abuse) of statistics in the news media.  We will use the open source statistical computing package R (no prior computing experience is assumed). Prerequisite: Some of Topics in Algebra, Pre-Calculus and Trigonometry, or the equivalent (a reasonable level of high school math is fine)

How have different social groups, in different historical contexts, struggled to define and organize public life in the United States? In exploring this question, the course offers a thematically organized survey of U.S. history from the latter part of the nineteenth century to the present. Central issues to be explored include the nature of democracy in an era marked by a centralization of political and economic power, the role of mass culture in shaping ideas of freedom and the good life, the struggle over national identity in the context of multiculturalism, and the history of social protest in affecting change. The course advances a definition of "politics" which links these issues not simply to the laws, structures and operations of  government but to a more inclusive set of institutions and practices and to an understanding of political life that incorporates how people imagine and represent the social order. Prerequisite: None

Continuation of Latin IA. Prerequisite: Latin IA or equivalent






Religious experiences have fundamentally shaped the ways in which people have thought about themselves and the world. In this course we will study a variety of religious experiences and practices across traditions, throughout history, and in different forms of expression. The range of material we will study includes autobiographical reflections on religious experiences, historical accounts of religious practices, artistic expressions, and philosophical accounts. Readings will include Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy, Sophocles’ Antigone, St. Augustine’s Confessions, Julian of Norwich, Søren Kierkegaard, as well as a selection of texts from the Buddhist and Islamic traditions.

In this course we will pursue a close and detailed study of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and a short selection of the innovative texts of German Idealism that emerged in the wake of Kant’s revolutionary work.  Not only did the Critique mark a seminal shift in philosophical thinking, it also gave rise to a short and immensely rich and productive intellectual period in Germany (1787-1800).  During this period, many young thinkers attempted to extend Kant’s critical project in new ways, often times beyond the limits that Kant’s own project set for the possibility of knowledge.  We will devote the majority of our study to working through the major sections of both the “Transcendental Analytic” and the “Transcendental Dialectic” of Kant’s text.  Our goal will be to determine the problems motivating Kant’s work, its central claims about the conditions and limits to knowledge, and how there is a tendency in the nature of reason to overstep the bounds of possible experience in order to think what he calls the “unconditioned.”  One of our central questions will be the role of this “unconditioned” element in Kant’s system, and how it provoked different attempts to grasp it and to incorporate it into the system of thought.  For the final few weeks, we will read short selections from Maimon, Fichte, and Schelling to see some of these different directions of philosophical thought that were oriented by Kant’s project. 





This course will be an introduction to some of the important texts and questions in the history of philosophy. We will begin by examining how the basic philosophical question about the ultimate nature of desire leads us to a diverse number of questions about ourselves and the concrete world in which we are always situated.  We will think about human nature, our knowledge of the world around us, and the relations with others that both give our lives significance and set limits to our actions.  Our study will begin in Ancient Greece with Plato’s Symposium, a provocative dialogue that presents us with multiple accounts of what human desire (eros) is and where it originates.  We will then turn to the early Roman period in which the Stoicism of Epictetus asks about human freedom and the capacity for action in light of the restrictions nature places on them.  With De Boetie and Thomas Hobbes in the modern period, this concern with human freedom will be posed in terms of political governance, power, and submission.  Having worked through these insights about the ethical and political ways we exist in the world, we will turn to another way in which we relate to the world: not merely in terms of conduct but through knowledge.  Together with Hobbes’ empiricism, we will read selections from Spinoza’s Ethics, in which he aims to deduce an account of reality from the definition of God as “substance.”  In the final part of the course, we will read Martin Heidegger’s “Essay Concerning Technology” in which he calls into question how the way we conceive the world has potentially destructive effects in our attempt to master it.  The goal of this course is twofold: 1) to learn to read, interpret, and discuss philosophical texts collectively, and 2) to develop skills in the written explanation of the ideas and arguments that these texts provide us. We will seek to develop an understanding of how the project of philosophy tells us something about what it means to live meaningfully in a world. 

What does it mean to live in somebody else's Eden?  

From the moment Huckleberry Finn announced that he was "lighting out to the Territory ahead of the rest," the western frontier has been framed as a place of new beginnings:  a site where the contradictory ideas that make up American culture -- the pastoral garden, the transforming crucible, the cult of the individual, the democratic impulse -- meet in violent paradox.  In this course we will examine the literature of that "frontier," as it has been imagined by men and women who had never been there, and as it is experienced by the people, indigenous, colonial and post-colonial, who have made there. Texts will include works by Owen Wister, Willa Cather, Leslie Marmon Silko, Cormac McCarthy, Louise Erdrich, James Welch, Wallace Stegner and others. 

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Although in Latin America there have been many attempts to develop the region with the intent of making life more prosperous, the reality is that state led modernizing strategies have not succeeded in democratizing or raising the standard of living for people in this vast and complex region. For that reason the Latin American initiave project has said that "While Latin America shares many features with the rest of the developing world, three features characterize most countries in the region: Latin America is the most financially open (that is, it has the fewest restrictions to the cross-border movement of capital), the most democratic" yet this region remains the most socially unequal of the world’s developing regions. In part, due to these contradictory features Latin America faces important development challenges. Why and how? This class will attempt to answer these questions.

This is a survey course of the literature and culture of the French-speaking world. The focus is on the literary study of selected works by authors from Africa, Europe, Canada and the Caribbean. We also investigate how these works address culture in their narratives through representation, figures and issues. In addition, this course will provide the opportunity to define and refine the term of Francophonie in its literary, cultural and political dimensions.   

No partial credit will be offered for this class.

This course is an introduction to syntax, the structure of sentences. It should be of interest to anyone who gets excited about language and wants to know more about it, whether you focus on linguistic analysis or want to teach English as a second language. Exercises focus on linguistic analysis and argumentation. Prerequisite: None

Global war and national revolutions in the mid-20th century turned South and Southeast Asia from a network of European possessions into a series of independent countries.  This course will explore the cultural legacies of this transformation.  We will ask questions about indigenous adaptations of colonial languages, about intergenerational conflicts over tradition and modernity, and about globalization and its discontents.   Our attention will be directed first at India, and then will travel eastwards to Indonesia, Vietnam, and Taiwan.  Readings will include novels by Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Amitav Ghosh, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, and Duong Thu Huong, as well as short stories by Huang Chun-ming.  Students will write a series of short essays reflecting on the readings.

While the course serves to continue a conversation begun in  “Somewhere East of Suez: Asia through Colonial Literature,” that class is not a prerequisite for this one. Prerequisite: none

This course explores what oral histories can contribute to our “ways of knowing” about cultures, historical events, individual psychologies and collective understandings.  Students will engage with both the theory and practice of oral history and will design and complete an oral history project.  Prerequisite: Coursework in History, American Studies, Sociology, or Anthropology or permission of instructor


"Embodying Diversity:  Religious Communities & Practices of Nepal" will focus on religious life as expressed in the context of Nepal.  Specifically, Hinduism, Buddhism and Bon traditions will be explored with an eye to how religious worlds are constructed as well as how to move through these worlds.  This course includes a two-week study tour on site in Kathmandu over Spring Break through the generous funding of the Christian Johnson Endeavor Foundation.  Nepal is an ideal site to study religious diversity because it is a crossroads of many traditions.  A few of the questions we will explore include:  How does religious life interact with and represent the "Other" (e.g., tourism; iconography; ethnic lines); How is religious life bound up in cultural norms and how do these norms manifest in daily practices?;  What is the correlation between religious practices, gender and development? Prerequisite: Application required

This course is the second half of the second-year Chinese. You will continue to learn more skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing for daily communication. A broad variety of expressions and complicated sentence structures will be taught so that you can participate in conversations on various topics related to modern Chinese society. While equal emphasis will still be given to both characters and structures, you will be guided to write more Chinese essays. Activities related to the broad spectrum of Chinese culture will be organized to facilitate language learning with knowledge and analysis of the cultural background of the language. Prerequisite: Practical Chinese III or permission of the instructor

This is an introductory class that deals with the history and development of the city from Ancient Mesopotamia to the Present day. We will leapfrog through time, understanding what is known and what is still unclear about the development and design of the cities in the Ancient world. The idea of the city in Christian thought (St Augustine) will be studied alongside the writing of Ibn Khaldun. The modern period will examine the seminal texts of a number of urban theorists as well as look at contemporary questions of sustainability and design, examining Masdar in the UAE, Singapore and Beijing, among others.

This class offers an overview of Islamic art and architecture as it influenced and was influenced by European cultural contacts. An often overlooked aspect of the cultural heritage of Western Europe is the fact that from the seventh century until the present Islamic art and architectural practice has been part of European cultural consciousness so we will also be looking at the ways in which European art was influenced by Islamic ideas. Our examination will take a case-study approach beginning with the building of the Great mosque in Damascus begun in 706, to Cordoban caliphate in Spain, to the period of the Crusades and the urban design of the Mamluks in Egypt and Syria, synchronous with the rise of urban design in the city-states of Italy, and we’ll end with classical Ottoman architecture in Istanbul, synchronous with the development of Baroque architecture in Europe.

This is the second term Chinese language course. It aims to help you develop communicative competence in Chinese, focusing on the four basic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. You will learn basic vocabulary and sentence structures for use in everyday situations through various forms of oral practice. Pinyin (the most widely used Chinese phonetic system) will be taught as a tool to learn the spoken language. You will also learn Chinese characters in order to be able to communicate effectively in real Chinese situations. While linguistic aspects of the Chinese language are the primary focus, introduction to the social and cultural background of the language will also form an important part of the course.  Prerequisite: Practical Chinese I or consent of instructor

We’ll explore written descriptions of North American first encounters in this intermediate level literature course, including texts such as the Vinland Sagas and Cabeza de Vaca’s narrative in addition to British colonial writers such as Mary Rowlandson and William Wood. Other sources in translation may be French, Russian, or even Chinese as we work to dislocate—or perhaps relocate—the concept of American exceptionalism and common origins alongside the shared landscape. Concurrently, we’ll study early Native American writers such as Sarah Winnemucca as well as various oral traditions. While the course will be based in literary methods, the primary texts and issues explored may also be of interest for students of history, anthropology, Native American studies, American Studies, and more. 

This course is the continuation of Elementary French I. This course builds on and expands language and cultural skills learned in the first semester. So, students will continue to develop their basic skills in French language competency including listening, speaking, reading and writing. The course is designed to facilitate active learning about the francophone world through study of its language and cultures. Emphasis is on vocabulary building, basic grammar structures, and cultural and historical knowledge.

Required textbook: Chez Nous: Branché sur le monde francophone, 4/E, 2014

Prerequisite: Elementary French I or permission of the instructor.


No partial credits offered for this class

Offers a dynamic and interactive introduction to Spanish and Spanish American cultures. The course covers the basic grammar structures of the Spanish language through extensive use of video, classroom practice, and weekly conversation sessions with a native-speaking language assistant. It is a continuation of Spanish I. Prerequisite: One semester college level Spanish or equivalent

"'The proper stuff of fiction' does not exist," wrote Virginia Woolf in 1925, "everything is the proper stuff of fiction, every feeling, every thought; every quality of brain and spirit is drawn upon; no perception comes amiss." The novelists we will be reading in this course - a rather open-ended exploration of the contemporary British novel from the 1980s to the present - would agree with Woolf. In exploring a range of richly diverse and original novels, we will consider the writers' attempts to respond to the major social, economic and political events that shaped their lives: the end of empire; immigration from the former colonies; radical changes in racial and sexual politics; and the increasingly postmodern and postcolonial experience of British culture. Authors may include: Doris Lessing, Julian Barnes, Caryl Phillips, Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan, Arundhati Roy, Amitav Ghosh, Salman Rushdie, Pat Barker, Graham Swift, Jeanette Winterson, Angela Carter, A.S. Byatt, Zadie Smith. Prerequisite: One previous literature course

Intermediate Spanish II builds on and expands the language skills acquired in Intermediate Spanish. It combines an extensive grammar review while focusing on all relevant language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Culture is integrated in all aspects of the program; therefore, we will have critical discussions about the culture of different countries of the Spanish speaking world. Frequent compositions, selected literary readings, class discussions, and debates on films and current events. It meets three times a week as a class and an extra 50 minutes section with a language assistant, to be arranged.

Intermediate Spanish II is a course for students who have completed Intermediate Spanish or have been deemed to be proficient enough for this class after taking an introductory Spanish placement test and talking to the professor about prior course work. If you are taking Spanish for the first time at Marlboro College, you need to talk to the professor. Prerequisite: Two semesters of college Spanish or equivalent.

Great Britain's incarceration rate is quite high by world standards: 142 of every 100,000 Britons are currently in jail. That number in China is 118 per 100,00, in France 91, in Japan 58, and in Nigeria 31. The U.S. currently imprisons almost 800 of every 100,000 citizens. In other words, one out of every 135 Americans is currently serving time in jail or prison.

Nearly half of the resulting U.S. prison population -- which now numbers almost 2.5 million -- is African American, while African Americans make up only 12% of the U.S. population. And according to a United Nations study, in all the prisons in the world outside the U.S., there are currently 12 minors serving life sentences. In U.S. prisons today there are more than 2,000.

In this seminar we will examine the reality of crime and punishment in the United States. We will begin by studying cases, to build a sense of the principles and practices behind criminal law and criminal sentencing. Then we will move to the deeper level: we will examine the reasoning for and against the death penalty as decisions on death penalty cases. We will then examine the criminal justice system itself, asking a simple question: How did the U.S. find itself with the highest incarceration rate in the world? How are we to judge the costs and benefits of American crime and punishment?

As in any writing seminar, we will write about all of it: expect at least three major papers, culminating in a research paper of your own design, and weekly shorter writing assignments. Discussions of the text will alternate with work on writing: conferences, writing workshops and discussions of style and structure. Prerequisite: None


Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Virginia Woolf describes the essay as a form that "must lap us about and draw its curtain across the world." But what, she questions, "can the essayist use in these short length of prose to sting us awake and fix us in a trance which is not sleep but rather an intensification of life - a basking, with every faculty alert, in the sun of pleasure?" Her answer is a simple one: "He must know - that is the first essential - how to write." From David Quamman's "The Face of the Spider" to Scott Russell Sanders' "Looking at Women" to Wallace Stegner's "The Town Dump" to Annie Dillard's "Living Like Weasels" to George Saunders' "The Braindead Megaphone," we will explore how contemporary essayists -- in personal essays, nature writing, literary journalism, and science writing -- look closely at everyday objects, practices and experiences. We will analyze what makes these essayists effective, entertaining, and enlightening. And, of course, we will be writing about all of this in several formats: in-class exercises and shorter assignments leading up to two 4-6 page papers and one 8-10 page research paper. Peer response workshops, writing conferences, and in-class work on style, revision, and editing will alternate with our class discussion of the essays. Prerequisite: None

In this course, the focus is on vocabulary building, basic grammar structures, and some cultural and historical knowledge.  The course is also designed to primarily develop conversation skills.  Available only to students with prior Arabic instruction.

This course is the continuation of Intermediate Arabic I.  Students will continue to learn more essential skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing for daily communication.  A broad variety of expressions and complicated sentence structures will be taught so that students can participate in conversations on various topics related to Arabic society.  More emphasis will be given to speaking, structures, and writing.  Students will be guided to write more paragraphs.  A language table will take place twice a week to help learners improve their communication skills.  Prerequisite:  We will continue using the same book we had for the fall semester in addition to the material I provide for every class.

A continuation of “Ancient Chinese History and Culture,” this course will examine the major trends in Chinese history from the 17th century to the present. Along the way we will consider phenomenal expansion of China's territory, population, and economy under the Manchu Qing dynasty. We will then explore the onslaught of rebellion, reform, and revolution that put an end to the imperial system. Finally, we will study the radical communism of Mao Zedong and conclude by looking at the challenges facing China today. Throughout the semester we will focus on the changing forms of political power and their implications for empowerment and accountability.

This is the second half of a year-long course, reading and discussion of the major works of western culture from Old Testament to Shakespeare. Heavy reading schedule, regular discussions, papers required.

Prerequisite: Seminar in Religion, Literature, and Philosophy I or permission of instructor

What do we do when we write, and how do we learn to do it? This is the question that will drive our inquiry into both the theory and the practice of teaching writing, and we will conduct that inquiry with an eye toward learning something not only about the teaching of writing, but also about our own writing processes. We'll focus on teaching and tutoring writing -- and we'll get plenty of hands-on experience, working with each other and with other Marlboro students. Two things you should note: first, this is not a writing seminar. Second, all participants in this course should be enrolled in at least one other course that requires frequent writing, since we will use your own writing as a basis for many of our in-class exercises. Prerequisite: Must have passed the Clear Writing Requirement

Robert Barton has noted, "We perceive style in terms of our expectations." From the expansiveness of Elizabethan and Jacobean plays to the taut control of Noel Coward's texts, this class will give us the opportunity to interrogate our own expectations as we explore the possibilities of theatrical performance within the context of period plays. The course will include fight scenes choreographed by Jodi Clark and require rehearsal time outside of the designated class period. Prerequisite: Acting 1 and permission of the instructor

In this course, we will trace the development of uniquely American dance forms such as tap dancing, jazz dancing and hip-hop from their origins in the rhythmic dances of Africa and Western Europe through their development on American stages and in social dance contexts.  Our focus will include both the aesthetic principles active in these dances and the complex dynamics of race, class,  gender, and culture  that shaped their development.   Prerequisite: None

This semester the workshop will emphasize compositions for small choir or vocal ensemble. Students will write compositions weekly which will be performed by fellow students in workshop. Prerequisite: Theory fundamentals, ability to read music

A study of the development of both sacred and secular forms and styles in music and its relation to social and cultural conditions of the time. Prerequisite: None

This course will explore oil painting through a series of projects based on the model, still life, and landscape. The class will begin by working on paper and expanding to include panel and stretched canvas. Emphasis is on close observation as well as individual response. Prerequisite: Drawing 1 or Studio Art or permission of instructor

Additional Fee: $50

Sculptors and architects share a language of three dimensions that leads to diverse points of contact between their art forms. This course will be an artist's look at buildings and sculpture from various cultures and periods of history. Responses will be in three forms: written research projects, sculpture and building designs.  Prerequisite: Three Dimensional Design or permission

Additional Fee: $75.00

Students will work with camera, editing, and sound to make experimental videos where they act on fresh ideas and instincts in response to a series of open-ended filmmaking prompts.  The goal is for students to explore visual and sound constructions employing various aspects of film theory and practice. We will also screen and discuss a number of experimental films each week—from early experimentalists Maya Deren, Man Ray, and Luis Bunuel to 60's innovators Chris Marker, Ernie Gehr, and Hollis Frampton to contemporary filmmakers Su Friedrich, Sally Potter, Chantal Ackerman, and others.

Each student will be expected to make six short films including a final project. Regular production assignments will invite students to explore ideas for a one-shot film, abstract and associational films, found footage, reflexive films, and experimental narrative and documentary. Weekly hand-outs will be provided for supplementary reading. Students must be prepared to screen and discuss their films in class and contribute toward regular critiques and dialogues.

In addition to making films, students will be asked to keep a filmmaker’s journal about their work, sharing thoughts about the inspiration, process, meaning, and/or form of their films.  The journal should be typed and will be reviewed and graded at the end of the semester.  What I’m looking for is evidence of engagement with your own development of work—and with work screened in class.

The semester-end festival will be curated from among films produced this semester.

Learn a vocabulary of expressive movement, both leading and following in an improvised close partnership. Argentine Tango is an evolving social dance which uses traditional and contemporary music styles, popular locally and throughout the world. See http://youtu.be/qqL911qU3VE for a taste. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: None


This course is designed for advanced level students in the visual arts either on Plan or intending to soon be so, incorporating photography into their visual plan work. We will spend the vast majority of our meeting times critiquing student works in progress. It is not required that all the work being critiqued be solely photographic or even photographic at all. If a student is doing a portion of plan work, which is not at all photographic, but is intended to relate to their photographic work they should feel comfortable bringing it in for critique. We will also discuss all issues concerning the preparation of the Plan Exhibition. Prerequisite: Plan application on file or by permission of instructor

Long weekly classes devoted to an analysis and discussion of poems written for the class. Students encouraged to experiment with forms and techniques.  Variable credit, 2-5

Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor, based on submitted manuscripts.

Contact Improvisation (CI) is an exploration of the movement that is possible when two bodies are in physical contact, using each other's support to balance and communicating through weight and momentum. CI was invented in the United States in the early 1970s and it has since spread all around the world, where it is practiced both as a social dance and as a component of post-modern dance performance. In this class, we will learn basic skills and concepts to enter the practice of contact improvisation. We will work to develop comfort with our bodies, to trust one another, to take risks, to make choices in the moment, and to understand the forces of physics as they apply to the body in motion. We will listen to sensation, communicate through skin and muscles, develop reflexes for falling and flying, and find access to our own strength and sensitivity. Prerequisite: None

An opportunity for students to meet on a weekly basis to read and rehearse music from the standard chamber music repertoire. Woodwind, string, brass instruments welcome. Prerequisite: Ability to play an instrument and read music. Course may be repeated for credit.

This course provides a forum for students to share their Plan work with each other and to engage in critical dialogue. This semester the course will include attending the lectures in the visiting artist series  and will require students to write and revise a "statement of purpose" regarding their work. This is a required course for seniors on plan in the Visual Arts. Prerequisite: A student on Plan in the Visual Arts or by permission

Note:  The meeting time will be 4:00 - 8:00 pm. for the five days there will be visiting artists.

Swedish director Ingmar Bergman is widely respected as one of the pioneers of modern European cinema.  He began his career in theater but navigated to film, as both a  screenwriter and director.   Bergman frequently explored dark themes of loneliness and alienation and existential questions that probed the meaning of life, love, God, and faith.  We will examine Bergman’s work over a remarkable span of 30 years, during which time his treatment of these themes developed and found new applications for creative expression.

Films planned for study include Smiles of a Summer Night, The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, The Virgin Spring, Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light, Persona, Shame, Cries and Whispers, Scenes from a Marriage, Autumn Sonata, and Fanny and Alexander. This class is open to all students.

Additional Fee: $20

This course will cover four distinct areas within ceramics: mold making, printmaking on clay, glaze calculation and kiln building. During the first half of the semester, students will employ molds and prints to repeat forms and images, and investigate the potential to create unique objects with these techniques. Specific topics covered include bisque molds, one and two piece plaster molds, slip casting, and relief, silkscreen and lithographic processes as applied to the ceramic surface. The second half of the course will be devoted to the transformative powers of glazes and firing. Students will study the development of glazes, firing techniques for a variety of kilns, and engage in a kiln building project. With permission of instructor, students may take the class for partial credit to study specific topics. Prerequisite: None

Additional Fee: $75

This will be a reading intensive seminar for intermediate and advanced students to explore thematic content and further develop an understanding of the structure of various contemporary performance texts. We’ll read plays ranging from (but not exclusive to) Horton Foote, Marina Carr, Maria Irene Fornes, Caryl Churchill, Simon Stephens, Joe Penhall, Emily Mann, and Anna Deavere Smith. In general, we’ll read one to two plays per week, post forum notes, and students will lead discussions based on the readings. In January over the winter break, interested students in the New England area will meet up in NYC for a marathon weekend of performance viewing at the Under the Radar Festival (The Public Theater). Prerequisite: Introduction to acting and a college level dramatic literature class

This theater literature course examines the personal, political, and historical relationship between humans and their environment utilizing an ecocritical lens. Through stories/storytelling we will consider multiple and multicultural perspectives of people and place. We will explore concepts ranging from manifest destiny to environmental racism to eco feminism within the United States. At the same time, we will seek to understand how the United States' relationship to land affects international communities. Class format will be a combination of response papers, discussions and presentations.

In this class we will utilize our collective body knowledge as a starting place for creativity. We will connect with our senses and imagination as we explore multiple physical theatre forms including commedia, clown, melodrama and mask. This course is about discovery and tapping into our body intelligence to create characters, connect with emotions and generate stories. Prerequisite: None

This course will introduce students to a range of printmaking techniques including relief, intaglio, and monoprinting. In addition there will be opportunity to experiment with alternative processes such as collagraph and large scale work. The class will work from direct observation to include still life, landscape, the figure as well as a range of historical and contemporary sources. Active parallel work in drawing will be required. This class requires collaboration, ability to focus and sustain work outside of class time. Some experience with drawing is helpful.

Additional Fee: $100

Jazz Workshop is a two tiered course. The first, taken for 2 credits, is a weekly meeting dedicated to learning of common jazz practice - improvising on chord changes, transcribing solos from recording, etc.. The second, for an additional credit, will be a group meeting an additional weekly session, rehearsing (and eventually performing) of jazz standards and original compositions.

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor required to register, and a separate audition required for the ensemble portion of the class.

The course will concern Jazz music, a contentious, often ill-defined set of musical practices and music- and social identity signifiers, from a historical and cultural context. We will track the evolution, master practitioners, and cultural reception and arguments surrounding "jazz" throughout the previous century and into this one.

The class will involve close listening to recording, readings of scholarly articles and other, less scholarly sources, 3 research projects, and editing / producing one 60 minute episode of a podcast.

This course will be an introduction to  photography with an emphasis given both to visual communication and technique. Students will learn basic procedures of analog and digital photography including; camera operation, exposure of film and digital images, development and enlargement of the image, while exploring the visual and expressive qualities of the medium. 

Additional Fee: $100

Begun by sculptors in the mid-twentieth century who were looking for a form of art that emphasized the interaction of objects and room spaces, the spread of installation art over the last 20 years has become worldwide. We will engage in an understanding of this art form in a series of making and relational projects. Working both in the classroom in spaces scattered over the campus, students will create sculptural work that inhabits the site and surrounds the viewer. The inclusion of other media such as photography and video will be encouraged. Prerequisite: A course in either sculpture or film/video

Additional Fee: $75

In this course, we will develop expansive, articulate, and powerful dancing through a study of principles of contemporary release-based technique. Core concepts will include weight, momentum, alignment, breath, focus, and muscular efficiency. We will work on finding center, playing off balance, moving in and out of the floor, going upside down, initiating movement clearly, and maintaining a continuous sense of flow. Through our practice, we will develop strength, range of motion, balance, flexibility, stamina, self-awareness, and coordination. This course combines intermediate and advanced level study, with students at the two levels assisting each other in learning. Prerequisite: Previous dance experience and permission of the instructor

In this course, the potter's wheel is used as the primary forming process for making functional and sculptural pieces. Assignments are designed to build competency on the wheel, and to create a vocabulary of skills centered on repetition, gesture, articulation and scale.  Students will also construct pieces by combining thrown components, and altering forms. The evening meeting for this course will include throwing demonstrations, discussions and image presentations, and critiques. There will be an additional meeting times in two smaller groups; these weekly meetings will emphasize throwing techniques. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Additional Fee: $100