2018 Summer Seminars

2018 Course Offerings

Presidential Greatness: Myth vs. Reality
with Stephen Knott

This seminar will examine the presidencies of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. All of these men are ranked by contemporary American historians and political scientists as “great” presidents. In addition to examining the respective presidencies of these seven men, we will review the standards, the “metrics,” applied by scholars to determine presidential “greatness.” Some scholars have argued that there is an ideological bias in favor of presidents who pursue progressive policies and seek to expand the power of the federal government. In addition these critics have argued that presidents who are obedient to the Constitution and the rule of law are penalized by a process that rewards assertive exercises of executive power. In light of current events, it seems imperative that American citizens develop a deeper understanding of what constitutes presidential greatness, and determine whether we have lost sight of the president’s proper role in the Constitutional framework.

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The Still Life As Personal Metaphor
with Martin Garhart

For as long as the still life has been the subject of secular painting it has served as a reference for the time, culture and individuals of its creation. In this workshop, you will draw from individual still life setups based on a collection of objects chosen as symbolic references of yourself and your time and place. With his new book Learning to Draw, Drawing to Learn as a guide, Martin Garhart will lead artists of all levels through discussions on the way content and meaning are developed through the interaction of the components of drawing’s visual language, from choosing subject matter and developing a marking system to composition, media and format. You will begin each day in the classroom discussing the day’s objectives and reviewing the preceding day’s drawings, followed by both in-class and out-of-class drawing assignments that will sharpen your skills—and may just reveal something new about yourself.

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Space. Time. Light. Five Films
with Ted Walch

Ted Walch, Endowed Chair for Cinema Studies at Harvard-Westlake School (Los Angeles), explores the language and the landscape of film as he examines how five landmark films, varied in tone and texture, sculpt their stories through Space and Time and Light.

  • Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (1941), the game-changer
  • Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958), the master’s masterpiece
  • Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows (1959), which launched The French New Wave
  • Roman Polanski’s Chinatown (1974), with its nearly perfect screenplay by Robert Towne
  • Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood (2007), an epic meditation on power and greed, Citizen Kane meets Elmer Gantry

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A Multidisciplinary Look at the Velvet Underground
with Ellen Leerburger and David Smay

Immerse yourself in the cultural ferment of the downtown New York art scene of the sixties with a full week of interdisciplinary study on the most influential band in American rock history, The Velvet Underground. Join music writer and pop culture historian, David Smay, and arts educator, Ellen Leerburger in tracing the origins of the Velvet Underground through their relationship with Andy Warhol’s Factory and place them within the context of the art, theater, and cinematic avant garde of their era. Each day will focus on one of their original albums from a rich store of recordings, video, film and visual art to supplement our critique and exploration. Classwork will involve student presentations on individual songs, as well as post-VU solo recordings by various members, and musicians or bands directly influenced by the Velvets. Particular focus will be brought on the Velvet Underground’s profound influence on entire genres (Glam, Punk, Post-Punk, Paisley Underground, Goth, Indie Rock, Industrial, Krautrock, Shoegaze) and artists and bands such as David Bowie, The Modern Lovers, The Feelies, R.E.M, The Smiths, The Dream Syndicate, Jesus and Mary Chain, Belle and Sebastian and Luna (among others).


Questions? Please email writers@kenyonreview.org or call 740-427-5196

The application site will open in early January 2018.

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