Cultural Studies and Languages: Related Content

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At Bennington College, as many as half of the courses offered each term are new. Class offerings change with current events and evolve with faculty members’ research interests. While this method is extraordinary regardless of discipline, it is a particularly unusual way to teach Cultural Studies and Languages, compared to methods used at other colleges and universities.

Curated by Veronica Melendez, Connected Diaspora: U.S. Central American Visuality in the Age of Social Media is a celebration of multimedia artistic contributions of US Central American artists who too often are excluded from contemporary art world conversations.

Bennington College faculty are encouraged to follow their own interests and the interests of their students as they propose their classes. As a result, classes, as many as half of which are new each term, feature topics that are always reflecting new lines of inquiry.

Bennington College visiting faculty member Maboula Soumahoro recently offered the opportunity for twenty Bennington College students to join those at Columbia University in New York City for an exclusive question-and-answer session with Oscar-Nominated Filmmaker Alice Diop.

Bennington College is proud to announce that long-time visiting faculty member Maboula Soumahoro will join scholars from around the world for a year-long fellowship at Columbia University’s Institute for Ideas and Imagination in Paris starting this fall.

Visiting Spanish Faculty Member Lena Retamoso Urbano, a poet and a scholar of contemporary Latin American Literature and Culture, shared a few highlights from the Spring 2022 term.

The Spring 2022 issue of (M)othertongues has launched, featuring student prose, poetry, and artwork. 

Meet faculty member Barbara Alfano, who is teaching Exploring Otherness and Friendship: HBO's My Brilliant Friend as part of the Bennington Early College Program

Onomatopee Press has published Art, Engagement, Economy: The Working Practice of Caroline Woolard, a monograph about the work of Caroline Woolard MFA '20, which arose from her MFA in Public Action.

From her high school experience at United World College Changshu China to her current studies at Bennington College, a global academic perspective has informed the way Andreea Coscai ’22 now reflects on growing up in Bucharest, Romania.

In 2019, undergraduate and Bennington Writing Seminars alumni and faculty published over 65 books.

“We love working with Bennington, and we would love to have more students join us,” said Donnica Wingett of Safe Passage/Camino Seguro. “It says something when someone comes from so far away and looks our kids and moms in the eyes and says, ‘Hey, how are you? I care.’” 

During Spring 2019, Barbara Alfano’s Italian students capped off their term with the creation of the third issue of Occhio all’Italia, a yearly magazine devoted to Italian culture.

At Bennington College, students studying Languages have the opportunity to apply their studies in the broader Bennington community by teaching languages and cultures—including Chinese, French, Japanese, and Spanish—at Bennington Elementary and the Village School of North Bennington (VSNB).

In Entropy Mag, faculty member Marguerite Feitlowitz shares a personal perspective on writing and literary translation. 

Recently, students in Stephen Shapiro’s Insider Perspectives on the Francophone World II and Paris on Screen: Tradition and Modernity courses had the opportunity to meet with French filmmaker Alice Diop, whose documentary Towards Tenderness won the 2017 CÉSAR award for Best Short Film.

“In the world, it’s often the case that a Deaf person is expected to read lips, have the accommodations they need, to do the work to hold a conversation, when really it’s hearing people who should be making the effort,” said Madeline Poultridge ’20.

Faculty member Marguerite Feitlowitz recently published translations of poems by the Chilean poet Ennio Moltedo and French writer Liliane Atlan in Asymptote Journal, World Literature Today, and Exchanges: Journal of Literary Translation.

A dystopian metropolis plagued by dragons. A disillusioned detective back on the beat. An exploration of what it means to be black, feminist, and female in America. A deep dive into the new science of psychedelics. Across millions of words and myriad perspectives, one constant is clear: 2018 was a big year for Bennington writers.

Maboula Soumahoro was highlighted by Le Monde among ten women of African or Afro-descent who have "dedicated their lives to deciphering the colonial past, the slave trade, and the place of women in this painful memory to bring about a world where black women have their place."

Faculty member Marguerite Feitlowitz's translation of Luisa Valenzuela's hybrid text, "If Language Is the Abode of the Self," is featured in the "Nuevísimos" issue of Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas, Vol. 51, No. 1, published in June 2018.

During Spring 2018, the students of Barbara Alfano’s class Unlocking Italian Culture II capped their second term of elementary Italian with the creation of the second issue of Occhio all’Italia.

Marguerite Feitlowitz's translation of The Other Book by Luisa Valenzuela, one of Argentina's most prominent writers and literary activists, appears in the Summer/Fall 2018 issue of The Southampton Review. 

Bruna Dantas Lobato '15 interviewed faculty member Marguerite Feitlowitz for Exchanges Literary Journal as part of a series on translators who also teach. 

Isaac Dwyer '17 spent eight weeks this summer studying the Urdu language in India as a recipient of the 2017 U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship—a government initiative aimed at expanding the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages.

During Spring 2017, the students of Barbara Alfano’s class Unlocking Italian Culture II capped their second term of elementary Italian with the creation of an original magazine: Occhio all’Italia.

It is at times the difficult search for understanding of cultural identity that brings artists to a stronger understanding of themselves and their work; their fragmented discoveries merit consideration of how they are externally perceived by the culture in which they have come to exist or identify, of how they choose to internally interpret shifting cultural identity, and of how all of this can affect artistic practice. My analysis is therefore an exploration of displacement, an attempt to dismantle the internal struggle of the individual, specifically of artists who are either Italian immigrants or Italian-American and who have been physically or metaphorically displaced from their homeland. The argument considers artistic interpretation of cultural identity at a physical and emotional remove, and looks historically to failed nationalist art movements in Italy.

—Anya Smith

My final project in the class America in Italy was a paper looking at relations between the United States and Italy by analyzing characters of a book, Vita by Melania Mazzucco, and a documentary about Italian immigration called Finding the Mother Lode by director-couple Gianfranco Norelli and Suma Kurien. I focused on the stories of women and connected their situations through my thesis, which was that female immigrants that had freed themselves from men were able to find independence and success. The relationship between characters from the book and from the documentary was interesting, and the importance of education for immigrants and especially for immigrant girls seemed to be the most important thing to emancipate the entire family.

–Lucia Pompetti 

All’inizio del diciannovesimo secolo, il futurismo italiano, che veniva lanciato nel 1909 con il primo manifesto di Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, sembrava all’apice dell’arte avanguardista. Anche oggi, quando si pensa alla storia dell’arte e alla letteratura, il futurismo si distingue per il suo estremismo. Il futurismo si costituisce sul desiderio di cambiare il mondo distruggendo tutte le cose legate al vecchio modo di pensare e creare. Secondo i futuristi, il mondo in realtà è cambiato ed è dovere dell’artista di rappresentare fedelmente questo cambiamento.

–Nicole Gounalis

Marguerite Feitlowitz was on a panel at the annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) in February, called "Tipping the Scales: Addressing Gender Imbalance in Literature in Translation,” which was highlighted on Words Without Borders.