2019 TASP Programs

2019 TASP Programs

“No one had wanted me to truly think before, and TASP came not politely asking, but demanding that I read and analyze, present my view and then defend it.”
– Meredith Durkin, student

“TASP has changed the way I look at history, society, and even myself.”
– Sasha-Mae Eccleston, student

Take a look at the 2019 brochure.

Cornell I Program
Negative Capability in Art and Culture: Romanticism to the Present
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
June 23 – August 3, 2019

Faculty: Justin Kim, Smith College and Deep Springs College, and Charles V. Grimes, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Factotum: Izzy Monroe, Deep Springs College

This seminar aims for a critical reading of Romanticism, Modernism, and Postmodernism, exploring notions of value and meaning in the context of contemporary culture. Does Romanticism offer anything to guide culture in the wake of Postmodernismspecifically with regards to consciousness, rationality, spirit, and identity? How do currents within Postmodernism parallel various commitments of Romanticismthe critique of reason and valorization of intuition, nature, and spiritor does our globalized, technologically-informed contemporary world necessarily alter these? To what degree is Postmodernism a response to modes of thought and power structures in the same way that Romanticism sought to counter the Enlightenment? Is the legacy of Modernism exhausted, or does it offer sources of meaning for the present cultural moment?

Using a range of primary sources including artwork and philosophical, literary, and critical texts, we will work collaboratively, moving from more traditional foundations through the key developments in Romanticism, Modernism, Postmodernism, and contemporary movements to provide students a background from which to evaluate the larger trajectory of art and culture.


Cornell II Program
Freedom Summer
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
June 23 – August 3, 2019

Faculty: La TaSha Levy, University of Washington, and Nicole Burrowes, University of Texas at Austin

Factotum: Jenny Zhang, Ohio State University

This seminar examines one of the most radical moments in civil rights history—the 1964 Mississippi Project. Widely known as “Freedom Summer,” this civil rights campaign organized a multi-faceted program that challenged white supremacy in education and racial terror in the community through the establishment of Freedom Schools, voter registration drives, and an alternative political party called the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Even more, Freedom Summer called on Black women and men from the community, many of whom were poor and uneducated, to lead their own movement.

It was during the Freedom Summer campaign that activists debated the merits of non-violence versus self-defense; the limits of charismatic male leadership; and the role of white allies in the struggle for Black freedom. In the face of extraordinary violence and economic deprivation, Black Mississippians waged one of the most powerful, yet understudied, movements in civil rights history, and they modeled the maxim that “ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things.”

Using primary sources, music, film, and scholarly texts, students will explore the 1964 Freedom Summer Project in order to understand diverse struggles, leadership styles, and competing interpretations of what it means to be free. Borrowing directly from the original Freedom School curriculum, students will contemplate the “myths of society” as well as theoretical and conceptual frameworks necessary for the creation of a just society. This course also seeks to draw connections through a roaming classroom format, in which we will occasionally gather at various historic sites in our surrounding community.



Maryland Program
Constructing Gender in Japanese Popular Culture
University of Maryland, College Park
June 23 – August 3, 2019

Faculty: Michele M. Mason, University of Maryland, and Lindsay Amthor Yotsukura, University of Maryland

Factotum: Jennifer Lee, Columbia University, and Jessica Tanner, Duke University

What does it mean that gender is constructed? And what does this have to do with Japanese popular culture? This course takes a journey through Japanese history to understand how expectations for “proper” women and men have changed over time by looking at depictions of gender in a wide variety of cultural forms, including theater, magazines, film, manga, and anime. And we won’t forget the gender rebels. We will also ask how people have resisted the ever-changing definitions of femininity and masculinity, innovating clever approaches to subverting—sometimes perverting—gender norms in homes, schools, the workplace, and public spaces.

Topics range from the performative aspects of gender in the all-male Kabuki theater and the all-female Takarazuka Revue to the enactment and management of gender identities through constitutive linguistic strategies in diverse social settings, which can be seen in films (including anime) and manga. In addition to addressing the significance of emerging masculinities (for instance, otaku and herbivores) and the concomitant proliferation of linguistic innovations, we also study the unique origins and visual motifs of shōjo manga written by young women for their own empowerment.

And don’t worry, we won’t ruin all of your Japanese pop culture favorites!

No Japanese language knowledge is necessary for this class.


Michigan Program
Poetry and Identity
University of Michigan
June 23 – August 3, 2019

Faculty: Robert Bruno, University of Michigan, and Suzi Garcia, Independent Scholar

Factotum:  Precious Swinton, Howard University, and Zoeey Wilkinson, Tufts University

What did Whitman mean when he said, “I contain multitudes,” and how does this work in poetry being written over a hundred years later? This course interrogates contemporary poetry as a modern way to discuss our own identities. Poetry allows us to write about our own experiences and selves, while also engaging in our current political climate and cultural landscape. Poetry is a living art that we will enter together.

In our course readings, we’ll discuss what poetry is, but also what it means to be a writer. We’ll read works from Asian writers, Latinx poets, Black writers, LGBTQIAP+ writers, writers discussing growing up working class, and, more often than not, poets defying singularity. We’ll engage with these poets on the page, and through Skype interviews and conversations. Drawing on multiple perspectives and poetry forms, such as visual poetry, ekphrastic poetry, and video poems, we will take advantage of the local museum and film auditoriums on campus. In addition, we’ll read critical work by poets, scholars, and poet-scholars as well, and create our own work. You’ll have the opportunity to think about your own identities and experiences and explore the intersections of critical and creative work. No previous creative writing experience is required!