Alumni College 2017 will take place August 31–September 3. Check back here for descriptions of this year’s courses when they become available.

Course Descriptions from Alumni College 2016

Shakespeare and His Times

James E. Berg
Visiting Assistant Professor of English and American Literatures

Read and discuss three Shakespeare plays—A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, and Othello—in the context of the religious, political, and domestic culture of the Renaissance England in which Shakespeare lived. We will also examine their relevance today, especially in terms of character, gender, and race. We will consider original staging conventions and the tension between reading the plays as poetry and staging them as scripts.

Toxic Trespass: Before Love Canal and Beyond Flint

Molly S. Costanza-Robinson
Associate Professor of Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Environmental Studies

Chemicals form the very basis of our modern existence, but some of these chemicals, even ones found routinely in our homes, are known or suspected to pose risks to human and environmental health. In this course, we will explore the modern history and science of society’s interaction with known or suspected toxins. Case studies will highlight our evolving understanding of environmental toxicity, issues of environmental justice, and the notion of toxic trespass – the exposure to known or suspected toxins without our knowledge or consent.

War: What is it Good For?

Amy T. Yuen
Associate Professor of Political Science

War is expensive. It costs lives, treasure and opportunity, so why does it happen? We’ll look at the causes of war and peace as presented by modern studies of conflict in political science. We’ll explore the validity and limits of these ideas, and conclude by examining whether and how war has served some purpose in shaping a more peaceful human society. Are the trends of war changing? How should we look to the future of human conflict?

Conservation and Place—Connecting with the Forests and Wetlands of Bread Loaf

Marc Lapin
Associate in Science Instruction in Environmental Studies

This mostly outdoor course explores the forests, wetlands and streams surrounding the Bread Loaf campus. Learn about Middlebury’s recent conservation project that has protected these lands and study ecological relationships and ecosystem values. We’ll participate in thoughtful learning activities that help build direct relationships with people, earth and life systems. You should be comfortable walking up to three miles of woods roads and trails each day and being outside in the wood for several hours at a time to participate in this class.

Treasures from the Vault: Examining Middlebury’s Anti-Slavery Archive

William Nash
Professor of American Studies and English and American Literatures

Deepen your understanding of individual efforts in the fight against American slavery and experience hands-on work with archival primary source materials. We will explore Middlebury’s Special Collections and its published and unpublished documents, then move beyond library to local sites connected to Vermont’s anti-slavery movement.

Additional $25 field trip fee

Alumni Office
700 Exchange Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753
P: 802.443.5183