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Arts of Resistance (360° Cluster, Bryn Mawr College, Fall 2015)

Anne Dalke's picture

Banksy, Rage, The Flower Thrower
"The pursuit of knowing was freedom to me, the right to declare your own curiosities and follow them through all manner of books. I was made for the library, not the classroom. The classroom was a jail of other people's interests. The library was open, unending, free" (Ta-Nahisi Coates, Between the World and Me).

A cluster of three courses in a 360° about the constraints and agency of individual actors in social spaces, with a particular focus on the institutional settings of colleges and prisons and the “critical spaces” that can open up within them.  How might we come to voice in such spaces? How might we practice silence? What “apprenticeship in freedom” is available to us? What larger visions might activate the lives shaped by the institutions in which we live?  What can we learn from the juxtaposition of colleges and prisons as institutions that pose drastically different and also interestingly parallel kinds of challenges to human beings who are in contrasting and yet also perhaps linked phases of their lives?

To be considered for this 360°, students must have preregistered and submitted a questionnaire.


EDUC 290: Learning in Institutional Spaces
This course considers how the institutions of schools and prisons operate as sites of learning. Beginning with an examination of the origins of educational and penitential institutions, we inquire into how these institutions both constrain and propel learning, and how human beings challenge and change their surroundings. Jody Cohen, Tuesday/Thursday, 12:55-2:15 p.m.

ENGL 228: The Rhetorics of Silence This course considers silence as a rhetorical art and political act, an imaginative space and expressive power that can serve many functions, including that of opening new possibilities among us. Possible theoretical positions and practices will be drawn from philosophy, linguistics, cultural studies, feminist inquiry and religious thought; concrete applications will draw on a variety of cultural expressions, including the visual language of the Deaf. Anne Dalke, Tuesday/Thursday, 2:25-3:45 p.m.

POLS 291: Arts of Freedom This course investigates questions of freedom in the contexts of democracy, oppression, and revolution. Over the course of the semester, we will develop a theoretical vocabulary with which to analyze freedom in different social and political contexts; we will learn these concepts through their use, analyzing how they function within theories of freedom and how different theorists and actors understand and actualize freedom. Joel Schlosser, Monday, 7:10-10 p.m.

Field experience: 25 hours of classtime in a reading and writing group held @ Riverside Correctional Facility, a women’s prison in North Philadelphia (1-3 p.m. every Friday); there will also be a literacy group meeting there on Thursdays, 5-7 p.m., which will be led by Romi Laskin, HC '15 and Haverford House Fellow.