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Faculty Workshops

Slider: BA in Individualized Studies

Faculty Workshops

Below is a list of some recent workshops presented by MA in Individualized Studies faculty members during the program's eight-day semester residencies.  

Venus in Southern Africa: Social Change Through Art?

Faculty Presenter: Katt Lissard

I recently returned from six months in Lesotho, a small country inside South Africa, where I was supposed to be engaged in research related to Theatre for Development and the exploding HIV/AIDS pandemic. Instead, I spent a great deal of time directing and presenting a production of Suzan-Lori Parks’ Venus – a play about Sarah Baartman who, because of her prominent posterior, was lured to Britain where she was put on display as an exotic freak, the Hottentot Venus. My production, created with students at the National University of Lesotho (where I was a visiting Fulbright), was a success on a number of different levels – and had its final performance in South Africa the 2nd week of June. This workshop/presentation looks at how the production came about, what the (eventual) relationship was between it and the research work I went to Lesotho to do, and the subsequent lessons.

Connecting with Community: Making a Living Doing What You Love

Faculty Presenter: Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

How do you make meaningful connections with organizations, businesses and institutions in your community, and how do you nurture and grow those connections in search of relevant, important work that helps you enhance your gifts and also make a living along the way? This conversational workshop will include lots of tips as well as information and handouts on strong proposals, resumes, background material and more.  With Artist-in-Residence Karen van Meenen, and Alum Danielle La Fleur Brooks.

Liberating Questions

Faculty Presenter: Jim Sparrell

In this workshop we will start with a brief overview of the psychology of belief informed by Hunter Lewis’s A Question of Values, Gazzaniga’s The Ethical Brain, and feminist thinkers in order to consider our own value systems and the ways in which we believe and are persuaded. With that framework in mind we will consider your specific areas of study in terms of potential methods of investigation and what kind of information, experience, logic, art, or argument may be meaningful in creating and addressing new questions. Our goal is to move toward epistemological diversity from our generally increasingly homogenized systems of values and beliefs.

Body as Spirit: A Three-Part Minicourse

Faculty Presenter: Ellie Epp

This semester a student sent me an email that that read: “I'm wondering how, if the mind is body, and identity and the sense of self are body, and thought, brain, and mind are also body, embodiment as a field or school of thought avoids the problem of reducing humanity to mere fleshy matter, in a clinical way. What happens to the ideas of soul and spirit, of the heart that we speak of when we are not talking about the thing with four chambers? What happens to everything we previously thought of as being separate from the body?” This three-part mini-course will begin to answer these questions. There will be a general introduction, and then two more specific workshops illustrating its approach with student work.

Fiction as a Way In to Other Cultures

Faculty Presenter: Karen Campbell

Key words: creating theoretical strategies or frameworks for critical reading and writing, recognizing biases, glimpsing identities, avoiding generalizing from the particular. Is there a difference between fiction and fact, or the images of fiction and historical research? How can fiction possibly inform academic understanding of (for instance) Transformative Language Arts,Consciousness Studies, L & E, Embodiment, Environmental Studies, GLBTQ studies-among the many inter/ transdisciplinary excavations students undertake? This workshop will model one possible framework for evaluating fiction's potential contribution to a broader understanding of our individual work & another theoretical framework for examining individual stories to spot their inbuilt cultural assumptions.

Reading the Landscape: The Stories Each Place Has to Tell

Faculty Presenter: Ralph Lutts

Each landscape has its unique stories to tell. With a very basic understanding of natural history and ecology, an ability to ask the right questions, and a bit of critical thought, we are able to read (or interpret) these tales. This two-part mini-course will introduce key ecological concepts. We will discuss how plants grow and respond to their environments, and we will consider ways that people impact the land. We will walk through Goddard’s fields and forests and read the stories of this landscape. You will gain skills that you can use in just about any landscape.

Lesbian Writing and Embodiment: A Case Study

Faculty Presenter: Lise Weil

Not everything written by lesbian writers is lesbian writing. And not all lesbian writing is written by lesbians. What then is lesbian writing? In this two-part workshop, we will consider selected works of poetry and prose that address the following subjects: love, desire, knowledge, history, cosmology. In each case the lesbian body is seen as a way of entering into the subject, a mode of discovery. To study lesbian writing is to encounter fundamental and exciting questions about embodiment and epistemology. You'll be invited to bring in for discussion writing of your own choosing (original or not) that in your opinion qualifies as lesbian.

Soul Houses

Guest Presenter: Cynthia Ross

The house can be a potent symbol for personal space, for psyche, for domain of self. In this hands-on workshop, we will explore the power of artistic expression (visual and verbal) for giving form to inner states. We will begin by each building a structure to house a ‘soul.’ There will be materials and supplies available for construction. You are also welcome to bring your own special objects and materials. The construction phase will be followed by a writing exercise based on the newly formed structure. This will be an opportunity to access your imagination and to experience different creative modalities. And, it will be fun.

Consciousness: Science, Subjectivity and Engaged Practice

Faculty Presenter: Francis Charet

In the field of Consciousness Studies (CS) a good deal of attention has been given to the conundrum of first person (subjective) versus third person (objective) approaches to the study of consciousness. Recently, the Dalai Lama has called for including contemplative practices to become an integral part of the exploration of consciousness. This two part workshop will explore the issues and tensions in CS, looking at various approaches to the study and exploration of consciousness from the scientific to the transpersonal. We will consider the value of first person approaches and offer a few examples as well as the implications of including engaged practices in CS.

Coming Home to Our Senses and the Living Earth, Bioregional Theory Through the Arts

Faculty Presenter: Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

In drawing on bioregional theory – from the work of Peter Berg, Stephanie Mills, Gene Marshall, David Abram, and others – and the arts as a pathway to the living earth, this two-part workshop will explore how awakening our senses can help us cultivate a more fulfilling relationship with the land, sky, waters and the other beings among us. Through the arts, we’ll look at bioregional terms and practices – such as reinhabitation, eco-poetics, restoration and restory-ation, and cognitive mapping – in relation to relating to our home places. This workshop includes time for discussion and a hands-on exercise, and draws on the writings of William Stafford, Pattiann Rogers, Joy Harjo, Stephanie Mills, Sharon Butula, Robert Bringhurst and others.

House Themes and Powers: Living and Imagining in the Archetype

Faculty Presenter: Ellie Epp

In The Poetics of Space, the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard writes that house “is one of the greatest powers of integration for the thoughts, memories, and dreams of humankind.” This workshop will take the notion of the house as a cross-disciplinary case study in the meaning of ‘archetype’. We will glance at house and archetype in dreams, Jungian and Freudian psychology, cognitive science, fiction, film, archeology, anthropology, and architecture.

Inter-Acting Globally, Thinking Locally

Faculty Presenter: Katt Lissard

The globalization of the world we live in, and the ways in which we’ve become increasingly connected to people and cultures that were remote or inaccessible, challenges us to look at how what it is we’re studying, dreaming about and planning to do could have an impact far beyond our own backyards. The precarious state of the planet makes it imperative that in everything we do we consider ourselves global citizens, transposing the old 60s adage “think globally, act locally” into a call for action and interaction. Using video of the Winter/Summer Institute and its theatre-making around issues of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa as one example, we’ll look at ways to project seemingly individual or localized initiatives onto an international canvass – and examine how your own idea, study plan, research or project could set the stage for connecting and interacting within a larger framework.

Radical Feminist Rocks with Dead White Males

Faculty Presenter: Lise Weil

As a young student of Comparative Literature, I was fed a steady diet of dead white male writers. In the years to come, as I discovered women writers whose values were more akin to mine, I rejected the male writers for their one-dimensional portraits of women and their alienated vision. In recent years I have returned to some of those dead white males and found that, in terms of language, craft, and insight, they had a lot to teach me—and that, in fact, my own writing owes a lot to theirs. This workshop will focus on two of those writers, Marcel Proust and Franz Kafka. It will include a close reading of Kafka’s short story, The Judgment, which participants are strongly encouraged to read beforehand.

Dragon Girls: Wildness, Creation and New Tales of Female Power

Faculty Presenter: Ellie Epp

There’s an Ursula Le Guin short story in which a young woman with a drunk father - a rather large strong girl with unusual powers - makes her way to the all-male mage school asking to be taught. She is turned away because she is a woman, and when she doesn’t leave there is a show-down with a corrupt boss-mage who has misunderstood her nature, as she has too. What they both discover in combat is that she is actually a dragon. This workshop will look in new ways at an ancient and ambiguous archetype. Western heroes slay dragons, but if women slay dragons are they slaying themselves? How should a woman’s initiatory tale be different from a man’s? What can dragon-dealings have to say about dissociation, the unconscious, larger self, and the integrational role of creative work?

13 Ways of Looking at Beauty (and a Blackbird): A Sensory Writing & Arts Workshop

Faculty Presenter: Caryn Mirriam Goldberg

What is the beauty, and what is the role of beauty in our stories, work, studies and lives? In drawing from Wallace Stevens' poem, “13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," we'll explore how we might perceive what’s beautiful, and subsequently, how we may define, seek, create and conceptualize beauty. We’ll experiment with some ways to look at, into and for beauty through the lenses of the arts; including film, music, movement, poetry and fine arts. We’ll also reflect on beauty through our senses.