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In Representing Equality, students will discuss art works and texts that touch on a variety of aspects of inequality in our larger society, including educational disparities as well as racial ethnic, gender, and economic inequality. They will also explore techniques of productive dialogue across differences and acquire listening skills in interviewing and careful listening.
The course will be discussion based and writing intensive with four analytic papers based on course materials. These will include J.M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians and Michele Alexander’s The New Jim Crow and art works like Jeremy Deller’s, The Battle of Orgreave, in which the community of Orgreave in Yorkshire re-enacted for film the 1984 battle between police and workers during a coal miners’ strike. Participants will also engage with work done by contemporary artists dealing with representation and tensions or inequality within or between communities, such as the work of Anna Deveare Smith that examines the ethnic rifts leading to violence, Kara Walker’s installations on slavery, Emily Jacir’s collaborative project, Where We Come From, and Donna Ferrato’s work on domestic violence.
As a final assignment, pairs of students or one student and a staff or community member will design and carry out a collaborative art project that will explore social issues as they relate to the Amherst College campus and the lives of first-year students. Participants will interview one another and make a series of images that accompany their interviews. In addition to developing listening and interviewing techniques, students will learn picture-making skills to present their words and images in a coherent way.
Fall semester. Visiting Artist in Residence Ewald and Professor Saxton.