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Found 1200 courses
IDSEM-UG1698 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
EARLY
WI 2016

The Social Contract: Early Modern European Political Theory

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu
2:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Justin Holt

Description

What holds a society together? This course will explore one influential answer to this foundational question within philosophy and social theory, namely social contract theory as it developed within early modern European political philosophy. Modern assumptions about the relationship between individual and society, private property and ownership, rationality, economics and the market, and rights and responsibilities of citizenship have all been shaped by social contract theory. But, even though this theory has enjoyed great influence, it has been severely criticized as unrealistic and biased towards individualism and property holders. We will read the foundational social contract works in this course and try to understand their assumptions, strengths, and weaknesses. The works to be read will include: Hobbes' De Cive, Locke's Two Treatises of Government, and Rousseau's The Social Contract.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1544 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
WI 2016

Frantz Fanon: Humanism, Revolution and the Decolonization of the Mind

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu
11:00 AM - 2:30 PM
Millery Polyné

Description

This class examines the canonical text Wretched of the Earth ( Les Damnés de la Terre , 1961) by Martinican-born psychoanalyst and social philosopher Frantz Fanon. What is the relevance of Fanon's classic text and his insight on the revolutionary potential of the poor and intellectuals in our current world? Is there a "healing psychological force" in revolutionary action? This course provides a theoretical introduction to Jean-Paul Sartre's understanding of existentialism and bad faith and its influences on Fanon. More importantly, we will examine Fanon's ideas on existential humanism, the role of violence and tragedy in decolonization, and his notion of an "authentic existence" within and beyond post-colonial context.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1752 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
WI 2016

This Mediated Life: An Introduction to the Study of Mass Media

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu
10:00 AM - 1:30 PM
Julian Cornell

Description

This interdisciplinary seminar will provide an intensive introduction to the study of mass media. Utilizing wide ranging critical and theoretical methodologies, the course will consider how media alternately reflects and forms our sense of politics, economics, race, gender, sexuality and citizenship. The course will be concerned with questions such as: What function does mass media serve for society? How does a media saturated cultural environment shape our identity? How do mass media forms delineate and naturalize prevailing ideologies and ways of being in the world? Can media provide a means to challenge cultural and political hegemony? Readings will be drawn from Berger’s Media Analysis Techniques  and Jenkins’ Convergence Culture  as well as the anthologies The Media Studies Reader  and Gender, Race and Class in the Media and the course will include excerpts from the films The Dark Knight Returns, The Secret  and  The Truman Show television shows such as Family Guy, The Simpsons, South Park and The X-Files , and a selection of other media forms, including blogs, radio shows, podcasts, magazines, music videos and social media sites.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1830 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
WI 2016

Arab Cinema(s)

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu
10:00 AM - 1:30 PM
Sinan Antoon

Description

The Arab world is a vast region encompassing vibrant societies and dynamic cultures, but its geopolitical importance and a resilient Orientalism often reduce it to Hollywoodish stereotypes and misrepresentations. One way of transcending these misrepresentations is to ask: How do Arab filmmakers represent their own reality cinematically? This course introduces students to contemporary Arab cinema. We will begin by briefly examining the introduction of the medium in colonial times and trace its development both as an industry as well as an art form through the national era all the way to the neoliberal present. We will view and critically examine a number of selected films that represent the diversity of the region, but also the shared concerns and common sociopolitical struggles and challenges facing its societies. We will focus on key moments, both aesthetically and politically, and will explore how filmmakers negotiate and represent the following: anti-colonialism and liberation, nationalism and national identity, gender and sexuality, communal strife and civil wars, class struggle and social justice, globalization and neoliberalism, and the recent revolts. Texts will include Said’s “Orientalism,” Shafik’s “Arab Cinema,” Khatib’s “Filming the Modern Middle East.” Films will include Chahine’s “Alexandria Why?”Abu As`ad’s “Paradise Now” Tlatli’s “Silence of the Palace,” and Oday Rasheed’s “Quarantine.”

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

TRAVL-UG9500 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SU 2016

Berlin: Capital of Modernity

4 units
Karen Hornick

Description

Application: http://gallatin.nyu.edu/utilities/forms/summersaapp.html For more information: http://gallatin.nyu.edu/academics/undergraduate/global/travelcourses/berlin.html Description: Some of the most thrilling, momentous, and terrible events of the 1900’s occurred in Berlin, Germany. Today, Berlin's streets, buildings, and cultural monuments offer tales of warning and inspiration to the present century about the folly of nationalist ambition; inspiring sagas of intellectual and physical courage; cold testimonials of crime and retribution; lyrical ballads of brutal honesty; personal records of hope and despair. This course, set in the heart of that city, will take in many of the sights and sounds of old and contemporary Berlin. We will focus on the involvement of twentieth-century politicians and activists, artists and architects, bohemians and intellectuals with the causes, experience, and far-reaching consequences of World War II. Our period of study begins just after World War I and focuses first on the turbulent politics and culture of Weimar Berlin in the 1920's. Then we consider the consolidation of Nazi power in the 1930's when Hitler declared Berlin his capital, and the seige on Berlin of 1945 that ended Hitler's Reich once and for all. We look next at life in Berlin during the Cold War years and pay particular attention to the impact of the Wall (built in 1961) on the imaginations and realities of Berlin's citizens, and finally we assess our experiences of this reunited city as the the astonishing building boom that followed the fall of the Wall in 1989 slows down and the city faces its future as an EU capital. Required class meetings include several seminars a week as well as related field trips intended to deepen our understanding of the readings, as well as the rich resources of the city’s museums, neighborhoods, historical sites, memorials, and cultural monuments. There is a lot of required reading but students will find ample opportunity to explore Berlin and develop their own individual projects. The course is taught in English but we also provide a few voluntary survival German language classes.

Notes

This four-week course meets in Berlin, June 4 - July 1. Permission required. Application deadline is March 1, 2015. For more information and to apply, please click on course title and link to application.

Type

Travel Courses (TRAVL-UG)

IDSEM-UG1239 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SU 2016

Classic Texts and Contemporary Life

4 units Tue Thu
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Antonio Rutigliano

Description

This course examines several “classic” texts to understand both their own intrinsic merit and their influence on society from their inception until our own time. Our emphasis, indeed, is on using these texts to understand our lives and world now. We explore classic texts in relation to contemporary life’s dilemmas of consumerism and spiritualism, individual rights and community rights, vocation and career, God and the afterlife, rebellion and escape from freedom. Readings may include Aeschylus’  The Oresteia , Sappho’s  Poems , Plato’s  Republic , Lucretius’  On the Nature of the Universe , Ovid’s  Metamorphoses  or Cicero’s  On the Laws , Chaucer’s  The Canterbury Tales  or Cervantes’s  Don Quixote .

Notes

Session I: May 23 - July 5

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1640 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
SU 2016

The History of Kindness

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Andrew Romig

Description

How have human beings conceived and represented benevolent behavior toward others differently across time and place? In this course, we will explore the history of the concepts, ideals, and behaviors that we associate with the modern English word, "kindness" -- a story that begins in the classical world and unfolds slowly through two millennia into the present day. We will connect ancient debates about human nature, the practice of justice, and moral responsibility, to recent studies concerning the evolutionary biology of altruism (is there a "kindness gene"?), sociological studies of gender difference (is hostility a male trait?), and anthropological studies of how culture regulates conduct. We will study the rise of state-sponsored morality and the ways in which ideals of social welfare have changed over time. Key texts will include Plato's Republic, The Gospel of Matthew, Augustine's City of God, Dhuoda's handbook for her son, Chaucer's Tale of Melibee, Voltaire's Treatise on Tolerance, and Ghandi's The Story of My Experiments with Truth. As part of the course, students will also conduct individual studies of how "kindness" is defined, enacted, and organized throughout the New York metropolitan area today, with the opportunity to combine research with internship work.

Notes

Intensive: May 23 - June 13

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1494 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SU 2016

Monsters in Popular Culture: Invented, Awakened, Invading

4 units Tue Thu
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Patricia Lennox

Description

From the earliest myths to the latest big-budget action film, powerful monsters continue to menace the innocent and frighten the listener/reader/viewer. Monsters have been pivotal to folk tales, myths, literary texts, and films. These hybrids of living creatures and otherness have endured since the beginnings of time and inhabit both the ancient and modern imagination. In the nineteenth century, they became intertwined with immigration, industrialization, and scientific experiments. By the end of that century, the psychological monster emerged whose terror lies in its grip on the subconscious. Modern monster stories and films are often sites of veiled political commentary. Post World War II, the shock of the atomic and hydrogen bombs released a new generation on screen of radioactive primitive monsters, while space exploration created another group of alien monsters. In this course, our monsters will include, but not be limited to Frankenstein's Creature, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Nosferatu, Godzilla (including the original Japanese Godjira), King Kong, assorted Blobs, Things, and Aliens, as well as creatures from the worlds of Harry Potter and Bilbo Baggins. The reading/viewing material will include a mix of fiction, films, and critical articles.

Notes

Session II: July 6 - August 16

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1781 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

A Sense of Place

2 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Steve Hutkins

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1781

Description

This course examines the places in which we work and play, travel and dwell—the office tower and the suburban house, the city street and the superhighway, the small town and the megalopolis, the shopping mall and the theme park, the American road and foreign places. Synthesizing insights from literary works and fields like cultural geography, landscape studies, and architectural history, we explore such questions as: What gives a place its particular feel or character? How do our values and worldview affect the way we experience places, and what constitutes that experience? How do places—and the way they are represented in literature and other media—shape our attitudes and behavior? What gives a place "quality," and how can we design and build better places? Readings may include J. B. Jackson’s  Landscape in Sight , Yi-Fu Tuan’s  Space and Place , James Kunstler’s  The Geography of Nowhere , D. J. Waldie’s  Holy Land , Italo Calvino’s  Invisible Cities , and Michael Sorkin’s  Twenty Minutes in Manhattan .

Notes

Course meets during the first seven weeks only, First Class: January 29; Last Class: March 11.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9403 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

PRAGUE: Central European Film

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-PRAGUE. This interdisciplinary seminar is designed to discuss and question the identity of specific nations in European space, which has always been a fascinating crossroad of ideas and ideologies as well as the birthplace of wars and totalitarian systems. The course will cover masterpieces of Russian, Hungarian, German, Polish and Czech cinematography, focusing on several crucial periods of history, in particular WWII and its aftermath, showing moral dilemmas of individuals and nations under the Nazi regime as well as revealing the bitter truth of the Stalinist years.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1738 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

The Cultural Politics of Bad Taste

4 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Julian Cornell

Description

This seminar investigates the ideological, political and historical parameters of ‘taste’ in popular culture. Through examination of media artifacts that exemplify ‘trash,’ the course examines how ‘taste’ is constituted as a cultural category that reflects, produces and maintains the social structures of American society. What is meant by designations such as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ media, ‘high and ‘low’ art, ‘offensive’ or ‘artistic’ and who is empowered to make these distinctions? How do ‘bad objects’ reveal the ideological basis of ‘taste,’ and what is their relationship to ‘legitimate’ art forms? Does ‘trash’ pose a challenge to cultural standards of taste and ‘the mainstream?' What is the relationship between ‘bad’ art and spectatorship and why might audiences find ‘trash’ so enthralling? Readings are drawn from Bourdieu’s  Distinction , Glynn’s  Tabloid Culture , Ross’  No Respect , and the anthology  Trash Culture , while screenings include cult films such as  Mystery Science Theater 3000, Pink Flamingos, Plan 9 From Outer Space, South Park,  and  The Room , and a selection of reality TV programs, music and viral videos.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9102 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

BERLIN: Topics in German Cinema

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-BERLIN. Berlin is one of the most well-known film cities in the world. This course wants to introduce you to the study of German cinema by looking at changing images of the city since the postwar period. The course will begin with an introduction to film analysis, giving special attention to the relationship between film and city. We will go on to discuss a number of influential productions from East, West and reunified Germany, and draw comparisons to other German as well as non-German city films. Through seminar discussions, reading responses, and critical essays, you will gain an understanding of how the cinema has engaged with the city of Berlin and its transformations since the end of the Second World War.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9400 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

PRAGUE: Modern Dissent in Central Europe: The Art of Defeat

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-PRAGUE. Totalitarian ideologies which were used in European political discourse in the twentieth century to explain major historical changes have changed forever the relationship between the state and its citizens. The aspiration of the totalitarian state to acquire total control over individual lives through control of education, employment and health systems succeeded beyond anything perceived possible until then in any political regime after European Enlightenment. Nazism and Communism mobilized irrationally motivated mass support and won power in a very short time. Their success was partially based on a mass propaganda, using fear as primary instinctive argument against a picture of both external and internal enemies. The major focus of the course will be oriented towards topics trying to explain the reasons for mass support for totalitarian ideologies and states on the basis of individual psychology. We will examine psychological explanations of a selfvictimisation, role of a victim and a perpetrator, majority society response to mass human rights abuses and the abusive past. On this background a phenomenon of a political and cultural dissent will be introduced and discussed. The role of electronic mass media, antiglobalisation movements and global terrorism are discussed as possible modern vehicles of totalitarian tendencies and reactions against them.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9252 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

LONDON: History of British Fashion

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-LONDON: This interdisciplinary seminar serves as a broad overview for several centuries of British male and female fashion trends, from roughly the Tudor period to today. The course focuses on ways that modes and standards of dress evolved in response to political, economic and technological developments; empire and immigration; changing gender and class formations; and the vagaries of popular culture. In short, the course examines not only what people wore at different historical moments, but why they wore what they did, and how they felt about it. Readings come from the fields of literature, history, art history, gender studies, and sociology.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1816 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
SP 2016

Proximity and Protest in the 18th-Century Letter and its Afterlives

4 units Tue
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Andrea Gadberry

Description

In this course we unearth the lost art of letter-writing and study epistolary form in interdisciplinary context, putting the epistolary novel, one of the most popular prose forms of the eighteenth century, in conversation with a range of primary documents (newspapers, pamphlets, travel letters) as well as works of philosophy and critical theoretical works. As we do so, we will ask how these letters let us unfold the problems of distance, intimacy, and exchange. Of particular interest to us will be how the epistolary form accounts for the scenes of itscomposition and represents the circumstances and space around the act of writing: In what ways does the epistolary novel (along with collectionsof letters of the period) i magine travel and contact with other cultures? What exactly is the “readerly” intimacy letters create, and how do these strategies portray and construct gender? How do these letters depict strangers, foreigners, and other “others,” and how do they address or confront the public? We will think about how the letter reinforces or resists norms. Our readings will take us across the European and Anglo-American traditions and, more locally, to the Wrightsman Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where we will consider the domestic spaces and objects that inform some exemplars of this literary form. Finally, we will conclude our inquiry with a look at the epistolary form’s 21st-century afterlife, and students can expect some creative projects along the way. Major texts include: Samuel Richardson, Pamela (1741), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774), Denis Diderot, The Nun (1780), Choderlos de Laclos, Dangerous Liaisons (1782), Montesquieu, Persian Letters (1721), Lady Mary Montagu, Turkish Embassy Letters (1763), and Helen Maria Williams, Letters Written in France (1790).

Notes

Same as COLIT-UA 866.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1813 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2016

Exhibitions: A History, A Theory, An Exploration

2 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Florencia Malbran

Description

Exhibitions are spaces of knowledge, experience, and entertainment. This course studies the methods, functions, and conditions of exhibition practice, through visual and textual analysis as well as exhibition visits. Although the history of exhibitions and museums, from the 18th to 21st century, will provide an underlying basis for this course, special attention will be paid to the present. New York will be considered as a center of cultural experimentation where artists (including Latin American artists) share ideas in a global context. We will visit a variety of exhibitions on view in the city when class will be on-site in order to develop critical skills and address the following questions: What are the major theoretical and practical issues at stake in different kinds of exhibitions, and how can we perceive their significance? What is the relationship between the curator and artist/s? What role does museum architecture play in creating a context for experiencing exhibitions? What are some illuminating interactions between exhibitions and contemporary thought? Finally, what is an exhibition? Readings will include essays by curators, writers, and critics such as Walter Benjamin, Jorge Luis Borges, Michael Brenson, Brian O’Doherty and Mari Carmen Ramírez.

Notes

Course meets during the last seven weeks only, First Class: March 23; Last Class: May 4. Students should not schedule any classes immediately before or after this class to allow ample time to travel to off-site locations including museums and galleries.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1759 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Exhibition Systems and Curating

4 units Wed
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Meleko Mokgosi

Description

This course aims at a thorough investigation of strategies of curating and exhibiting artworks, and how curators as well as artists utilize various installation and exhibition strategies. Course material will consider important texts and practices including but not limited to: relational aesthetics, interdisciplinary art practices, performance art, and institutional critique. There will be an equal amount of time spent both in the seminar room and visiting exhibitions in museums and galleries in New York City. Readings for the course will include essays by Okwui Enwezor, Thelma Golden, Jennifer Gonzalez, Jens Hoffmann, and Paul O'Neill.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1808 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
SP 2016

The World According to Opera

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Chinnie Ding

Description

"No good opera plot can be sensible," explained W.H. Auden, "for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible." This class is about the demonstrative, durational art of opera, and thus about the staging and voicing of unruly passions. An art form where music, language, drama, and design converge, opera unfurls a world where eros, madness, violent demise and the will to power are not only permitted but privileged. This course offers an introduction to four centuries of operatic history through close study of nine key works by Monteverdi, Purcell, Mozart, Wagner, Verdi, Bizet, Puccini, and Adams. Some themes we explore along the way include nationalism; fandom; race/ethnicity and gender/sexuality in plot and in casting; historically informed performance; opera's relationship to other artistic mediums; and philosophical considerations of the singing voice. Assignments include short reading/viewing response essays, a midterm essay, and a final project based on an opera of your choosing. Weekly screenings are mandatory and count toward class attendance.

Notes

Please note this course includes an additional meeting time (Thu, 6:20-9:00pm) for weekly film screenings.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1871 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2016

Civilization, the Extreme West, and the Argentine Artist Léon Ferrari

4 units Tue
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Todd Porterfield

Description

For more than half a century, artist León Ferrari (1920-2013) was at the center of Argentine (and sometimes Brazilian) art, culture, politics, and history. In 1965, his controversial sculpture entitled Western and Christian Civilization, which depicted Christ crucified on a two-meter-long model of a U.S. Vietnam-era bomber, elicited both accolades and shock. During decades of national and international tension, Ferrari's art spurred controversy for the way it critiqued linguistic and cultural convention; sexual repression; anti-Semitism, misogyny, and homophobia; military dictatorship; religion and colonialism; and Latin American megacities. At the same time, he explored paths toward liberation, the potential of mass media and the revolutionary potential of making-- and not making-- art. Is it any wonder that his 2004-2005 Buenos Aires retrospective was vandalized? A judge closed the show, but others mobilized in its favor, thereby demonstrating the unsettled business of culture and politics in a country one historian has called "the Extreme West." In this seminar Ferrari's career will be a springboard to examine a number of crosscutting issues, in particular cultural inheritance and global modernism; artistic, individual, and national sovereignty; censorship and vandalism; and differing notions of civilization. Such questions will lead us to look across media and disciplines toward architecture and urbanism, film and cartoons; as well as philosophy, political theory, history, and literature.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1823 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

In with the Old, Out with the New: Debates on "Tradition" in Western Music

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Kwami Coleman

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1823

Description

Contests between stalwart custodians of “tradition” and rebels searching for new, untested modes of expression pervade Western music history. This course surveys some of the most contentious debates on music’s past, present, and future waged between music theorists, critics, artists, and audiences, spanning the last five hundred years. Our focus is on the seemingly inevitable tension between what music is, what it should be, and what it can be. Starting with the Greek philosophers of antiquity, we explore debates on the music of Claudio Monteverdi, Ludwig van Beethoven, Richard Wagner, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, John Cage, Bob Dylan, and The Slits. We also examine the backlash against and subsequent defense of styles like jazz, rock and roll, punk rock, and rap. Our goal is to better understand how culture is “made” ​precisely ​during ​these ​moments of charged debate, where a particular music’s perceived merits​ or transgressions serve as the pretext for larger ​often controversial ideological issues. Art, in this sense, becomes a platform by which to observe how competing aesthetic value​ systems​ reveal deep social and cultural rifts. This class meets twice a week. Our first session is devoted to scrutinizing and discussing primary sources​:​ letters, newspaper and magazine articles, journal entries, sound recordings, and film. For our second session we read and discuss secondary sources by scholars, critics, and investigative journalists for context, using this new information as a way to think critically about the primary sources and our own aesthetic judgments. Debating music tradition and innovation, as we shall see, is a long-standing tradition in its own right.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1769 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Lab Lit: Fact, Fiction, and the Narratives of Science

4 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Anne DeWitt

Description

The past two decades have seen the publication of a surprising number of novels that center on science and scientific work. In this course, we take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding this new genre: at times, we’ll use a literary studies perspective, asking how such novels create fictional drama and narrative suspense out of scientific work. We’ll also draw on research in the history and sociology of science that examines the construction of scientific identity and the dynamics of the scientific community, as we look at how these novels represent scientists and the scientific world. And we’ll turn to feminist critiques of science and work in science studies that interrogates the very nature of scientific research and thinking. Readings may include Allegra Goodman’s Intuition, Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams, Max Weber’s “Science as a Vocation,” Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar’s Laboratory Life, and essays by Evelyn Fox Keller and Sandra Hrdy. Students will explore these texts through seminar-style discussions, brief blogging assignments, a short essay, and a final research paper.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9254 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

LONDON: Fashion, Culture, and the Body

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-LONDON: This is a course that explores the relationship between ideas, the body and the way that fashion can be understood to mediate between the two. Through a range of disciplines and media this course considers the body as an aspect of not only medical and scientific exploration, but crucially as a vital element of culture and society. Bodies affect the ways in which the social world and power relations are organized, and they even arguably condition the way that we understand reality itself. Our physical form is constantly shaped according to both philosophies and fashions. Body ideals and broader ideals often interrelate strongly through bodily practices and with what we wear. There are meanings and fashions in all bodily forms (skinny, buxom, muscular, ideas of ‘whiteness’) and body practices (dieting, hair management, cleansing rituals, plastic surgery and genital cutting). Over the sessions, we will take a conceptual approach to fashion, as a strident condition of modern life, that incorporates politics, science and aesthetics and we will closely read a number of cultural texts against a number of theoretical models. Attitudes towards the body can vary widely according to historical period, and this course will explore how, in different moments, and via different media, we have been preoccupied with the aesthetics of different body zones, with displaying identity (gender, class and ethnicity), and also with power. Different cultural forms (literary, visual, material etc) will provide the focus of our discussions as they all engage with the different ways that we make meaning out of our bodies. Students will be invited to investigate in their written work set texts from class in addition to primary material of their own choice.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1713 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

From Blackface to Black Power: Twentieth-century African American History and Culture

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Laurie Woodard

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1713

Description

This interdisciplinary seminar looks at the formation and representation of African American identity within the context of the quest for the full rights of United States citizenship during the twentieth century. Throughout this complex period of United States history, African Americans made considerable gains in their pursuit of equal rights. Simultaneously, black identity underwent dramatic changes as the majority of African Americans transformed themselves from enslaved persons to New Negroes to Proud and Beautiful Black Americans. Largely barred from traditional politics and mainstream forms of communication, black men and women developed and relied upon alternative ways of speaking to one another about politics, economics, racism, white America, and society and culture. As cultural mediators, black artists illustrated and provoked transformations of black identity and black political consciousness. Not simply a “wing” of political activism, cultural production is inextricably intertwined with political agitation and social change. Focusing upon the intersection between the cultural and political realms, we will explore the roots and routes of the African cultural Diaspora as the foundation of urban, northern, politically conscious cultural production.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1420 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Reading Poetry

2 units Tue Thu
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Lisa Goldfarb

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1420

Description

Poetry is an art which can express our deepest feelings and thoughts about our human experience. Too many of us, however, encounter poetry timidly. We wonder how we can make meaning of poetic words and rhythms so distinct from those we use in our daily lives. In this course, we will work at developing poetic sensibilities, not by digging to find clues to the mysterious meanings of poems, but by gaining an understanding of how to read poetry as a language within a language. We will study how the concentrated language and sounds of poetry help us to grapple with the shades and subtleties of our own experience. The course will begin with a study of various verse forms, and then focus on the art of close reading. We will read many poems ranging from early English lyrics, popular ballads, and Shakespeare’s sonnets, to modern and contemporary poems, as well as poems originally written in other languages.

Notes

Course meets during the first seven weeks only, First Class: January 26; Last Class: March 10.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9150 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2016

BUENOS AIRES: Tango and Mass Culture (in Spanish)

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-BUENOS AIRES. This course explores Tango as an aesthetic, social and cultural formation that is articulated in interesting and complex ways with the traditions of culture and politics in Argentina and Latin America more generally. During the rapid modernization of the 1920s and 1930s, Tango (like Brazilian Samba), which had been seen as a primitive and exotic dance, began to emerge as a kind of modern primative art form that quickly came to occupy a central space in nationalist discourse. The course explores the way that perceptions of a primative and a modern converge in this unique and exciting art. In addition, the course will consider tango as a global metaphor with deeply embedded connections to urban poverty, social marginalization, and masculine authority.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9200 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

FLORENCE: History of Italian Fashion

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-FLORENCE. Students trace the birth, evolution, decline, revival, and most recent developments of Italian fashion from the Late Gothic Age to the present "made in Italy" design. Italian fashion styles are decoded in relation to art history in an international, social and economic context. Fashion and its connections with culture, subculture, gender and communication are emphasized. On-site visits also illustrate the dominating role of Florence in fashion from its origin until now. Conducted in English.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1872 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Impressionism: Myths and Modernism

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Todd Porterfield

Description

Scholars have often resorted to a variety of familiar cliches to interpret the artistic movement known as modernism. With an emphasis on the Impressionist school of painting, this class will take on those inherited truths, exploring them to tease out their paradoxes and contradictions. Some of the key myths we will explore include the idea of the metropolis (especially Paris) as the center of individual freedom; the notion that artistic change, fueled by technological innovation, is inevitably progressive; and the concept of scientific observation as the basis of knowledge and artistic practice. We will look especially at the idea that art is an autonomous realm, and ask why this vision of art emerged in an era framed by civil war, military defeat, and the emergence of trade and travel across colonial networks--the Caribbean, North Africa and the South Pacific--during an extensively colonial era. Some artists we will look at include: Manet, Monet, Degas, Cassatt, Gauguin, and Pissarro. This seminar will include study trips to the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum, and to MoMA, where we will visit the first exhibition of Degas monotypes in 50 years.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1421 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Wallace Stevens and the 20th Century

2 units Tue Thu
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Lisa Goldfarb

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1421

Description

Wallace Stevens holds an important place among modern American poets, and his work continues to exert a powerful influence on contemporary poets. Still, his readers continue to puzzle over Stevens’ work, especially as it relates to the most pervasive concerns of the twentieth century. In his poetry, Stevens tends to write little and indirectly about specific cataclysmic events of his time, yet his poetics, as enunciated in his prose, often rests on his understanding of the pressing questions of his day. In this course, we will take a close look at Stevens’ relationship to the twentieth century. While his poetry will be at the center of the class, we will focus our attention on how Stevens gives voice to the contradictions and complexities of the modern world. Stevens’ own work will be the main text of this course, yet readings will include contextual material drawn from literary criticism, intellectual history, philosophy, and politics. We will also consider the work of poets influenced by Stevens. Readings also may include poems and, in some cases, essays by John Ashbery, Edward Hirsch, Susan Howe, Adrienne Rich, Mark Strand, Tracy K. Smith, Maureen McLane, among others.

Notes

Course meets during the last seven weeks only, First Class: March 22; Last Class: May 5.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1793 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Femininity, Postfeminism and Mass Media

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Moya Luckett

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1793

Description

Postfeminism is an ambiguous and often contradictory term whose very indeterminacy speaks to the difficulties in understanding contemporary relationships between feminism, femininity, citizenship and identity. Positioned simultaneously as a backlash against feminism, a testament to achieved gender equality, as a reclamation of traditional feminine values and a sign of female success, postfeminism’s significance is widely felt even as its specific meanings and cultural effects appear unclear. This class will examine postfeminism’s relationship to feminism and femininity, situating all three as historically and culturally significant manifestations of the female self. Closely linked to the development of neoliberalism with its emphasis on self-reliance, choice and privatization, postfeminism is largely a product of consumer culture and mass media that have particularly consequences for feminine identities and gender relations. This course will look at popular women’s media from the makeover show, to fashion magazines and blogs, chick films and television drama to explore how they manage tradition and promote a more privatized and commercial feminine self, negotiating the relationship between family responsibilities and more laissez faire ideas of female success and self-actualization.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1631 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2016

The U.S. Empire and the Americas

4 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Marie Cruz Soto

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1631

Description

The workings and even existence of a U.S. Empire has long been cause of controversy. The debate often revolves around whether the United States is guided by imperial self-interest, or by the pursuit of freedom. Because debates about U.S. imperialism since 9/11 have centered on interventions in seemingly distant places like Iraq and Afghanistan, Empire appears to denote a far-from-home phenomenon. Yet, the U.S. Empire is born out of and continues to depend upon (post)colonial interactions in the Americas. This course, therefore, explores the premise that the U.S. Empire is an American Empire continuously redefined closer-to-home through contested borders, migrations, local politics and cultural practices, and inseparable from hemispheric experimentations with the meanings of freedom, democracy and development. It specifically addresses: How can Empire be understood as a category of analysis? What distinguishes an American Empire? How are U.S. imperial formations negotiated “at home?” The course, in addition, foregrounds the U.S. relationship with Latin America in order to further question the meanings of home, America and Empire. Readings include texts from the disciplines of history, law, literature, political theory and cultural studies.

Notes

Same as HIST-UA 699 002.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1865 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Times of Trauma

4 units Mon Wed
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Judith Greenberg

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1865

Description

The shock of trauma can freeze a moment. Time can seem elongated or detached. But then, belatedly, a traumatic event can hauntingly return and feel present. How does trauma fracture narrative continuity and a cohesive sense of time? How can it collapse distinctions among past, present and future? This course will explore theories about the nature of time and the coherence or fragmentation of Self. It will consider how traumas are documented, narrated, and passed on individually and in art, memorials, and performance. Readings may include St. Augustine's  Confessions  (Book 11), Marcel Proust  Swann's Way , Virginia Woolf's  Between the Acts , W. B. Sebald's Austerlitz, Art Spiegelman's  Maus , Tim O'Brien's  The Things They Carried , Marguerite Duras'  The War , Patrick Modiano's  Dora Bruder , Saidiya Harman's  Lose Your Mother  and  The Melancholy of Race  by Anne Anlin Cheng.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1516 Lib Arts
SCI
Hist & Cult
EARLY
SP 2016

Understanding the Universe

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Matthew Stanley

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1516

Description

This class is an interdisciplinary exploration of how humans have tried to understand the universe. We begin with the first Greek attempts to make sense of the universe, discuss the “Scientific Revolution,” through to modern Big Bang theory. Themes include the interaction of astronomy, physics, and philosophy necessary for talking about the cosmos, and how scientists came to accept that the universe changes and develops over time. We discuss the history of how scientists came to understand the nature of stars, galaxies, black holes, extra-terrestrial life, and the apparent “fine tuning” of the laws of nature. Special attention is paid to the problem of how we can talk scientifically about things we can never experiment on or reproduce. We will examine not just ideas about the universe (what is it? where did it come from? and so on), but also the methods used to arrive at those conclusions (observations and theories), literary and visual representations of the universe, and larger philosophical issues (why are we here?). Readings may include: Aristotle, Copernicus, Newton, Kant, Einstein.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1644 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2016

Labor and the Global Market: Literature, Film and History

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Valerie Forman

Description

Globalization has become a much-debated and deeply controversial topic. In this class, we will focus on the ways that labor has been represented and understood, especially in relationship to the development of capitalism in its global form. We will explore how the movement of capital, commodities, and workers across the globe and with seeming indifference to national borders shapes the idea of work and those who perform it. Of equal importance in our study will be the way that work transforms the structure of the global economy. Some primary questions we will explore are: How has the demand for labor required migration and imposed geographical dislocations? How does labor create value within these new locations? How do some gain control of the work of others? How do workers organize themselves and develop community in new locations? Some likely texts for the course include: Shakespeare’s  The Tempest , a Haitian novel about a sugar cane worker who migrates to the Dominican Republic, and a postcolonial play created and performed by workers from Kenya. We will place these fictional texts in conversation with visual representations by Diego Rivera, works by Marx, by anthropologists and narrative filmmakers on sex tourism and domestic labor, and by documentary filmmakers and historians on global corporations and utopian economies.

Notes

Same as COLIT-UA 550.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1772 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2016

Music and Civic Culture: Ancient and Modern

4 units Mon Wed
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Bruce King

Description

This course examines the role of music theory and musical performance in the formation of community, actual and utopic. We will begin our study with the musical, mathematical, and mystical thought of Pythagoras and his followers in the short-lived utopian community of Croton: How is “the Music of the Spheres” a paradigm both for ethical action within the community and for the progress of the soul within the cosmos? From Croton, we will turn to debates about music and civic culture in fifth-century democratic Athens: What forms of music and poetry sustain and subvert citizens and states? Is there a particularly “democratic” form of music? (Readings from Aeschylus, Euripides, Aristophanes, Plato, and Aristotle.) From ancient Greece, we will then turn to the late-nineteenth century efforts of Wagner, partially inspired by Athenian tragedy, to create the “Total Work of Art” in his Ring cycle of music-dramas and in the festival at Bayreuth; we will also read Nietzsche’'s (and Adorno’'s) responses to Greek tragedy and to Wagner. Finally, we will consider some twentieth-century experiments in music and art, especially those associated with Fluxus and with New York City (e.g., John Cage, Steve Reich, La Monte Young, Yoko Ono, The Velvet Underground), in dialogue with our earlier readings.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1675 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Popular Dance and American Cultural Identity

4 units Mon Wed
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Julie Malnig

Description

The course will examine forms of what are known as “social” or popular dance as expressions of cultural or group identity from approximately the 18th century to the present. These dances, from the secular tradition of American social dance, include those performed in ballrooms, cabarets, nightclubs, cabarets, discotheques, and the street. The seminar will explore various social and popular dance styles developed as a result of the rich fusions of West African, African American, Euro-American, and Latin American forms of dance within the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. Topics may include the colonial era and the dances of George Washington; ragtime couple dance and the New Woman; the lindy-hop and the of crossing racial boundaries; and teen dances and youth rebellion of the 1950s. In all cases, we will explore social and popular dance forms as experiences of movement that both respond and give shape to social, cultural, and political issues of the day. In addition to extensive viewing of dance, readings will include Mauss, “Techniques of the Body”; Katz, “The Egalitarian Waltz”; Hunter, “The Blues Aesthetic and Black Vernacular Dance”; Sante, Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York; Tomko, Dancing Class: Gender, Ethnicity, and Social Divides in American Dance; Peiss, Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in Turn of the Century New York; Malone, Steppin’ on the Blues: The Visible Rhythms of African American Dance; Dinerstein, Swinging the Machine: Modernity, Technology, and African American Culture Between the World Wars; and Rose, Black Noise

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1482 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2016

Consuming the Caribbean

4 units Tue
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Millery Polyné

Description

Paradise or plantation? Spring break, honeymoon, or narcotics way station? First World host or IMF delinquent? Where do we locate the Caribbean? From Columbus’ journals to  Pirates of the Caribbean , the Caribbean has been buried beneath the sedimentation of imagery by and large cultivated by non-Caribbeans, including colonial governments, settlers, international tradesmen, tourist agents and their clients. Caribbean peoples have had to re-member the islands that they eventually called home—haunted by a history of slavery and still a site of consumption and exploitation. A unifying trope, Caribbean landscapes function as metaphor, emblem, or even character. This course takes an interdisciplinary and transnational approach by examining the material relations of consumption, which links places, bodies, capital, text, plants and landscapes, within the Caribbean, the U.S. and its former colonial powers. Thus, the study of the Caribbean emphasizes that the region is central to the understanding of modernity and globalization as a modern construct. Some of the theorists/writers we will engage are Edouard Glissant, Jamaica Kincaid, Maryse Condé, Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire and Mimi Sheller.

Notes

Same as SCA-UA 721 003.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1874 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Charles Dickens' Victorian London: Fictions of Urbanization

4 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Sara Murphy

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1874

Description

London is a Victorian city. That is to say, the years during which Queen Victoria reigned marked its growth and development as a truly modern and global metropolis--and, in fact, as these years saw the expansion and affirmation of the British Empire, an imperial city. Charles Dickens is perhaps the most important novelistic voice of that city, producing unforgettable images of its streets, its people, and its institutions throughout his writing career. In this course, we bring them together to engage a study of a writer and his works through the exploration of the development of London as a modern urban space. We'll begin the course with Dickens' journalism and shorter fiction, setting it in the context of the rise and expansion of the periodical press, and focus our attention on some of the major urban issues that arose in the mid-century: slum clearance, education, the rise of the middle class, and environmental issues that bear on a rapidly expanding urban space, such as the need for a modern sewage system. Then, to further investigate Dickens as novelist, we will center our attention on  Bleak House  (1852-53) and Little Dorrit (1855-1857). Punctuating our reading and discussion of this novel, we will travel to London over spring break.

Notes

This course includes travel to London, England during the week of Spring Recess, March 13-20. Permission required: Application deadline is October 26, 2015. For more information and to apply, please click on course title and then link to application.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1777 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Sex Crimes, Sex Panics

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Cyd Cipolla

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1777

Description

The idea of the incorrigible sexual monster still lingers in the discourses of medicine and law. This fact is never plainer than in the moments of crisis and panic following revelations of sexual misconduct. Through analysis of historical case studies and discussion of recent events, students in this class will explore ways that sexuality has been criminalized (and decriminalized) and pathologized (and depathologized). Students will have the option of preparing a final case study, a final research paper, a research proposal, or artistic based historical project under direction of the instructor. Readings include works by Gayle Rubin, Michel Foucault, Cesar Lombroso, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Stanley Cohen, and Sigmund Freud.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1567 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
or GLOBAL
SP 2016

The Arabian Nights

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Sinan Antoon

Description

 The Arabian Nights  ( The Thousand and One Nights ) is one of the most fascinating "world" texts. Since its translation and publication in European languages it has captivated the imagination of countless writers and artists such as Poe, Joyce, Borges, Mahfouz, and Rushdie. It continues to play a disproportionate role in constructing and perpetuating an essentialized and imaginary East, populated by violent and hypersexual beings. The narratives of the  Nights  and the cultural archive they have spawned have had a fascinating influence on literary and artistic production, popular culture, and political imagination. The course introduces students to this important world masterpiece and the debates surrounding it. We will start out by briefly tracing the genealogy of this collectively authored and anonymous text, its collection, and versions and the cultural context of its translation and popularity in the west. We will then explore the literary structure and narrative strategies and dynamics of the  Nights , read some of its most famous cycles and discuss how they have been read from a variety of perspectives, focusing primarily on gender and sexuality, power and politics, and otherness and boundaries. In the last part of the course we will read some of the modern literary works inspired by the  Nights  (Borges, Mahfouz, and Rushdie) and will end by watching and exploring how the  Nights  fared in adaptations in popular culture, especially in the US. All readings in English.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9251 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

LONDON: Art and War, 1914-2004

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-LONDON. This 15 week course will take an in-depth yet wide-ranging look at an important but curiously neglected aspect of modern western visual culture. Within a broadly chronological structure, topics to be dealt with will include the following: the relationship between art and atrocity, and the attendant problem of the aestheticisation of horror; the crucial influence of photography and the growth of mass communications; the issue of censorship, both external and internal, and the related issue of the "limits of representation" (above all, in relation to the Holocaust and Hiroshima); the distinction between official and unofficial war art, and between art and propaganda, between art that endorses and even glorifies war and an art of protest; issues of gender and sexuality; questions of cultural memory and the memorialization process, and the representation of war in contemporary art practice. It will consist of a combination of informal lectures, student presentations, at least one gallery visit, and the occasional film showing.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1369 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2016

Japan and the Discovery of Interiority

4 units Mon Wed
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Nina Cornyetz

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1369

Description

The process of modernization in Western Europe spanned hundreds of years, from its nascent origins in the Renaissance, through the Enlightenment, into the twentieth century. In Japan this same process was collapsed into a few short decades around the turn of the nineteenth century. We will examine the shift from a premodern to a modern system of subjectivity and perspective in language, literature, and the performing arts. We will ask: What was the impact of Western imperialism, science, art, gender and sexual politics on Japanese language, literature and film? What were the internal conditions that made Japan ready for modernization? How did premodern conventions create a modernity in Japan different from Western models? What resisted modernization, and why? Our texts will include literature  The Miner  (Sôseki),  In Praise of Shadows  (Tanizaki), Ankoku butô dance, and secondary sources on history, language, and society, including Karatani,  Origins of Modern Japanese Literature .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9100 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

BERLIN: Berlin's Modern History and Culture: A European Perspective

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-BERLIN. Germany’s profound influence on Modern European history and culture is felt nowhere as visibly as in Berlin. This interdisciplinary course analyzes the city’s contributions to culture––in literature, memoir, music, film and painting––and its politics in the wider context of European trends. The course provides a comprehensive survey of Modern Berlin history and examines how artists reflected on those changing times. Special topics include: Christopher Isherwood’s fictionalized memoirs during the Weimar Years, the Nazi Aesthetic during the Berlin 1936 Olympics as constructed by filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, the photo-realist reflections of painter Gerhard Richter on terrorism in Berlin in the 1970s, and Germany’s literary reassessment of guilt and victimhood following reunification. Readings and lectures are supplemented with walking tours of Berlin and its museums, to look at traces of historical, social and cultural change in situ; how memory, history and place interact over time in specific locations.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1867 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
SP 2016

Global Noodles: Silk Routes & Subway Connections

4 units
Section 003
Thu
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM

Description

Is this just an excuse to eat lots of noodles. Yes, it is! This basic research course is immersive education in the most delicious, fully embodied sensate, and legal way possible. Along the way, you’ll learn about the secret ingredient to noodle making, the oldest noodle, Italian or Chinese?, and what Genghis Khan did for modernity. And yes this course is also historical and sopping in critical cultural theory, you can tell your parents, as a way to learn about cross-cultural communication challenges, intermingled spaces, and embodied knowledges and practices. We will examine the historical and ongoing impacts of the silk route latitudinal and longitudinal movements throughout Central Asia on the vernacular cultures of global cities, such as the migrant friendly neighborhoods New York City. Part of what is unarticulated yet implied by global cities is the compression of longue durees of times/spaces in one distinctive time/space. Besides slurping for mouth feel, understanding family broth recipes, and storytelling practices, we’ll be documenting, making, analyzing, and appreciating the worlds of noodle practices and conveying our collaborative findings using the latest in mapping apps. Readings and films will include: work by Chef Ken Hom, histories by Morris Rossabi, Jared Diamond and Jack Weatherford, food and affect studies, and the use of CartoDB mapping software. Prerequisites – still loving  Tampopo  (1985) after three viewings, having comfy but stylish walking shoes, and purchasing two monthly Metro Cards.

Notes

Same as SCA-UA 380 003.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1867 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
SP 2016

Global Noodles: Silk Routes & Subway Connections

4 units
Section 002
Tue
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM

Description

Is this just an excuse to eat lots of noodles. Yes, it is! This basic research course is immersive education in the most delicious, fully embodied sensate, and legal way possible. Along the way, you’ll learn about the secret ingredient to noodle making, the oldest noodle, Italian or Chinese?, and what Genghis Khan did for modernity. And yes this course is also historical and sopping in critical cultural theory, you can tell your parents, as a way to learn about cross-cultural communication challenges, intermingled spaces, and embodied knowledges and practices. We will examine the historical and ongoing impacts of the silk route latitudinal and longitudinal movements throughout Central Asia on the vernacular cultures of global cities, such as the migrant friendly neighborhoods New York City. Part of what is unarticulated yet implied by global cities is the compression of longue durees of times/spaces in one distinctive time/space. Besides slurping for mouth feel, understanding family broth recipes, and storytelling practices, we’ll be documenting, making, analyzing, and appreciating the worlds of noodle practices and conveying our collaborative findings using the latest in mapping apps. Readings and films will include: work by Chef Ken Hom, histories by Morris Rossabi, Jared Diamond and Jack Weatherford, food and affect studies, and the use of CartoDB mapping software. Prerequisites – still loving  Tampopo  (1985) after three viewings, having comfy but stylish walking shoes, and purchasing two monthly Metro Cards.

Notes

Same as SCA-UA 380 002.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1867 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
SP 2016

Global Noodles: Silk Routes & Subway Connections

4 units Tue Thu
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Jack Tchen

Description

Is this just an excuse to eat lots of noodles. Yes, it is! This basic research course is immersive education in the most delicious, fully embodied sensate, and legal way possible. Along the way, you’ll learn about the secret ingredient to noodle making, the oldest noodle, Italian or Chinese?, and what Genghis Khan did for modernity. And yes this course is also historical and sopping in critical cultural theory, you can tell your parents, as a way to learn about cross-cultural communication challenges, intermingled spaces, and embodied knowledges and practices. We will examine the historical and ongoing impacts of the silk route latitudinal and longitudinal movements throughout Central Asia on the vernacular cultures of global cities, such as the migrant friendly neighborhoods New York City. Part of what is unarticulated yet implied by global cities is the compression of longue durees of times/spaces in one distinctive time/space. Besides slurping for mouth feel, understanding family broth recipes, and storytelling practices, we’ll be documenting, making, analyzing, and appreciating the worlds of noodle practices and conveying our collaborative findings using the latest in mapping apps. Readings and films will include: work by Chef Ken Hom, histories by Morris Rossabi, Jared Diamond and Jack Weatherford, food and affect studies, and the use of CartoDB mapping software. Prerequisites – still loving  Tampopo  (1985) after three viewings, having comfy but stylish walking shoes, and purchasing two monthly Metro Cards.

Notes

Same as SCA-UA 380 001. In order to register, students enroll in the lecture, IDSEM-UG 1867 001, and then select one of the recitations, IDSEM-UG 1867 002 or IDSEM-UG 1867 003.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1837 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

How Art Works

4 units Tue
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Stephen Duncombe

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1837

Description

It's commonplace to say that art "moves" us. But what does that really mean and how, exactly, does this happen? For millennia the effect/affect of art has been theorized, debated, and worried over. This class takes as its core the question "How does art work?", and looks at the ways in which various philosophic, religious, educational, political, and scientific texts, from antiquity to the present, have attempted to answer this question. Exploration of this larger question depends on others: What are the ancient philosophers' hopes and fears regarding art's affective abilities? What is at stake in the debate over Biblical iconoclasm and the defense of religious art? How do theorists talk about the ineffable sublime, or categorize aesthetic judgment? How does the avant-garde frame its intersection with the political? What does neuroscience suggest about art's impact on our brains? How does art educate? Finally, does art, as the poet Auden once pondered, make nothing happen? Through readings and in class discussions, writing individual research papers and creating a collaborative on-line database, students will tackle our major question from a variety of disciplinary and historical perspectives. Through this broad survey, How Art Works will be approached as an open question: our goal is not to arrive at a definitive destination, but instead to explore the terrain.

Notes

Open to sophomores only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1280 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Revisioning the Classics

4 units Mon
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Sharon Friedman

Description

Re-visioning the classics, often in a subversive mode, has evolved into its own genre in recent years, and many of these literary and performance texts have been shaped by modernist and postmodern narrative innovations and avant-garde theatrical strategies. Several of these works are also informed by ideological criticism that reads “against the grain” of the “master-works” to produce new meanings. However, the revisionist genre also develops a tradition of literary and dramatic renderings of canonical works that look for continuity even in the context of stylistic invention and contemporary themes. This course examines assumptions and conventions surrounding intertextuality—the multiple ways in which texts and productions echo or are linked to earlier renditions. Readings (and viewings) include imaginative reinterpretations of myth, classical and modern drama, the novel, narrative poetry, dance performance as well as theoretical readings on revision and adaptation. Authors and artists may include: Aeschylus, Shakespeare, Henry James, Ola Rotimi, Joyce Carol Oates, Paula Vogel, W.B. Yeats, Adrienne Rich, Martha Graham.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1695 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
SP 2016

Competing Images of the Sage: Confucius and Lao Tzu

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Ethan Harkness

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1695

Description

Among the early Chinese philosophers whose ideas have framed moral, social and political discourse in East Asia, the figures of Confucius and Lao Tzu stand out, not only as thinkers of towering influence, but also as diametrically opposed archetypes of wisdom. In this seminar, we begin by reading the works attributed to each man, and then we proceed to examine the ways in which their legacies have been and continue to be appropriated by others. Toward this end we explore competing manifestations of Confucius and Lao Tzu in Chinese religion, in popular culture, and in the marketplace of ideas. Themes include the opposing impulses of idolization and iconoclasm, censorship and propaganda, and the sacralization and commercialization of traditional values. Apart from Confucius’  Analects  and Lao Tzu’s  Tao Te Ching , assignments may include  Lao-tzu and the Tao-te-ching  edited by Livia Kohn and Michael LaFargue, selections from  Early Daoist Scriptures  by Stephen R. Bokenkamp,  Confucius from the Heart: Ancient Wisdom for Today's World  by Yu Dan, and the controversial 2010 Hong Kong film  Confucius  starring Yun-fat Chow.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9201 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

FLORENCE: Topics in 19th Century Literature: Italy and Italians in English Literature from the Romantics to Modernism

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-FLORENCE. Romantic, Victorian, and Modernist writers in both Britain and the United States were fascinated by Italy. The "Italy and Italians" of the title refers not only to images and characters in the works of the British and American authors we will be reading but also to their affinities with Italian literature. Recurring themes in the course will be history and its uses in literature, gender and sexuality, democracy and aristocracy, language and power, and religion as an instrument of sexual repression.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9151 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2016

BUENOS AIRES: Myths, Icons, and Invented Traditions: A Cultural History of Latin America

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-BUENOS AIRES. Mitos, íconos y tradiciones inventadas is an advanced conversation course, which seeks to make students familiar with the rich and complex history of Latin America through the study of some of its most known and iconic cultural expressions. It does also work as an introductory map to the most influential and widespread approaches in Latin American social sciences, cultural studies and literary criticism. Thus, students will not only have a first encounter with key historical processes that lie behind some well know cultural icons, but also will be introduced to arguments and ways of writing that help constitute modern Latin American educated Spanish. The course will be structured in seven topics; each topic will be covered in two weeks. During these four classes, students will be exposed to different kinds of cultural materials, including literary texts, film, papers from several disciplines, theater plays, art shows and live concerts.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1215 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
SP 2016

Narrative Investigations I

4 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Stacy Pies

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1215

Description

How does narrative create a sense of identity and give value to our lives? What are the ethical implications of looking at knowledge as a construction of narrative? The concept of narrative is currently used across disciplines to describe how people, texts, and institutions create meaning. This course will explore the idea that stories organize our thinking and our lives. We will begin with Plato’s ideas on tragedy and Aristotle’s  Poetics , which later narrative explorations emulate and challenge. Our reading of Cervantes’s  Don Quixote , Diderot’s  Jacques the Fatalist , and modern fictions will investigate the ways fictional texts radically reinvent literary forms and question social conventions. The works of critics such as Bakhtin, Chatman, Schafer, and Iser will reveal how narrative has been adopted as both a theoretical model and a methodology within a variety of fields. Students will carry out projects that explore narrative trends within their particular areas of interest.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9250 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

LONDON: Seeing London's Architecture

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-LONDON. London, like New York is a rich and complicated city. Unlike New York however, it has been continuously occupied for just under 2000 years. Almost every epoch of London’s history can be detected in the city’s architecture and distinctive streetscape. This course is designed to work in three ways. Firstly it is an opportunity to learn about London’s architecture and art by physically exploring it. Secondly this class is an introduction to sketching and keeping a travel notebook, a basic and useful skill that any liberal arts student should have an experience of. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this course teaches how to 'read' a town or city. The ability to visually make sense of European built-environment should really help in understanding the architecture of New York City and, of course, town and cities throughout the United States, and anywhere else.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1116 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2016

Fate and Free Will in the Epic Tradition

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Antonio Rutigliano

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1116

Description

The role of the gods in human affairs inevitably raises the question of fate and free will. The epics, from the ancient world to the Renaissance, frequently reflect and define this debate. This course examines how the epics of Homer, Vergil, Dante and Milton not only mirror the philosophical and theological perceptions of the period, but sometimes forecast future debates on the issue. Readings may include the  Epic of Gilgamesh, Iliad  or  Odyssey, Aeneid,  and  Divine Comedy,  as well as selections from Plato's  Protagoras  or Aristotle's  Ethics , Cicero's  De Fato , Boethius's  Consolation of Philosophy , and Fromm's  Escape From Freedom .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1743 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

James Joyce and Interdisciplinary Modernism

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Gregory Erickson

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1743

Description

Application: http://gallatin.nyu.edu/utilities/forms/course-app.html For more information: http://gallatin.nyu.edu/academics/undergraduate/global/travelcourses/dublin-joyce.html Description: In this course we will read and discuss the major works of James Joyce with a focus on their significance to Modernism, literary theory, and to interdisciplinary scholarship. We will read  Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses , and sections of  Finnegans Wake . We will pay particular attention to how different movements in literary theory have responded to Joyce’s work and will therefore read short critical essays by major and minor Joyce scholars. Our exploration of interdisciplinarity will include discussions of Joyce and music, religion, post-colonialism, history, sexuality, philosophy, intellectual property, and Irish Studies. We will also look at representations of Joyce’s work in music, dance, visual art, theater and film. We will be traveling as a class to Dublin over Spring break and therefore will focus throughout the course on the relationship of Joyce to Ireland past and present, and on issues of place, memory, and literary tourism. The course will include guest speakers and events at the Glucksman Irish House.

Notes

This course includes travel to Dublin, Ireland during the week of Spring Recess, March 13-20. Permission required: Application deadline is October 26, 2015. For more information and to apply, please click on course title and then link to application.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1861 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2016

Modern Architectures of South Asia

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Anooradha Siddiqi

Description

Struggles between nativisms and globalisms in architecture have produced significant iterations in South Asia; architecture’s modern practices and discourses within and outside the region have refracted a colonial and imperial imagery, national visions, regional and vernacular aesthetic inflections, and artistic, urban, and territorial worldviews. This course will focus on a history of architecture and planning that interrogates a history of South Asian modernism and modernity, examining constructions of each from within and beyond the subcontinent and its diasporas, through architecture’s many forms, including artifacts and practices of formal and informal building, territorial construction, photographic representation and other spatial imagery, criticism and writing, pedagogy, exhibitions and other public activity, and discourses on aesthetics. Course material spans the mid-nineteenth century to the present, and includes the study of work by both celebrated and little-known actors such as Edwin Lutyens, Otto Koenigsberger, Minnette de Silva, Louis Kahn, Charles Correa, and Brinda Somaya, and the projects of institutions and initiatives such as the Archaeological Survey of India and the Urban Study Group in Bangladesh. We will explore a range of writings, from Sir Banister Fletcher’s A History of Architecture to the journals MARG and Mimar, as well as architectural pedagogy as introduced to the subcontinent (and the colonies) in the Sir J.J. School of Art in what was once Bombay, and much later in the Centre for Environment Planning & Technology (CEPT) School of Architecture in Ahmedabad. We will also examine formal and informal urbanisms of sites such as Delhi, Chandigarh, Dhaka, and Dharavi, as well as geographies and architectures of war, scarcity, and borders, for which South Asia has become emblematic.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1856 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

The Politics, Ethics and Aesthetics of Photography

4 units Tue Thu
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
A.B. Huber

Description

The seminar begins with a short critical history of photography, and a consideration of its advent as something of a misfit art, before focusing on its increasing use as an instrument of visual evidence. We turn then to a series of case histories, from the early use of photography as a forensic tool at 19th century crime scenes, to the counter-forensic visual reconstructions of contemporary drone strikes in Pakistan, or recent police violence against unarmed civilians of color in the US. In each instance we ask how photography shapes what becomes visible or legible as violence, and what kinds of suffering—and what modes of resistance—move us affectively, ethically, politically. The seminar will introduce students to key theoretical works on photography (Benjamin, Kracauer, Sekula) as well as more recent critical interventions that help us reckon our own, and others, increasing exposure to surveillance and its neoliberal logics (Farocki, Steyerl, Weizman). How might the ubiquity of cameras inure or blind us to photography’s work? The seminar seeks to help students better understand the complex linkages between perception and understanding, and how photographs, as the modern visual form par excellence, shape our sense of the political world and our place in it. The course presumes an interest not only in photography, but in political and aesthetic theory.

Notes

Open to sophomores only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1862 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2016

Oedipus the King

2 units Tue
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Laura Slatkin

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1862

Description

Oedipus: exemplary citizen or outlier? Savior of the city or its destroyer? Upholder or suspender of the law (including the law of kinship)? As a meditation on kingship as well as kinship, Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannos, first produced in the fifth century BCE, offers a complex Oedipus, if not, perhaps, an Oedipus complex. Sophocles' meditation on the polis, law, family, knowledge, the structure of mind, desire, and the disease in and of state has proved especially rich for philosophers, psychoanalysts, and theater artists: the play also famously provides the core example for Aristotle's meditation on tragedy in the Poetics. We will explore the OT as tragedy, as resource, as example and exception.

Notes

Some prior familiarity with Greek drama required, or permission of the instructor (laura.slatkin@nyu.edu). Course meets during the first seven weeks only, First Class: January 26; Last Class: March 8.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1202 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
SP 2016

Tragic Visions

4 units Tue Thu
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Bella Mirabella

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1202

Description

This course studies the nature of the tragic form in dramatic literature and performance, as well as its role in human existence. Focusing on two of the great periods of tragedy in Western literature and culture­—ancient Greece and Renaissance England—we read selected tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Shakespeare as well philosophical considerations of the tragic by, for example, Aristotle and Nietzsche. We examine these works in their social, political, and cultural contexts, while considering questions around gender, power, fate, free will, and the origins and evolution of tragedy as a literary and political genre. Readings might include, for example, Aeschylus', Agamemnon; Sophocles' Antigone or Oedipus; Euripides' Medea, as well as Shakespearean tragedies such as Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, or King Lear. Special attention is paid to performance, and we will also attend a performance.

Notes

Same as MEDI-UA 992 001.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1339 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Foucault: Biopolitics and the Care of the Self

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Bradley Lewis

Description

French philosopher and cultural historian Michel Foucault’s radical approach to the power, knowledge, and subjectivity destabilized rigid distinctions between the individual and discursive structures, and it anticipated a new form of "bio-politics." These approaches have been broadly influential across the humanities, cultural studies, and social theory. Foucault’s later work on care of the self was devoted to understanding philosophy as a way of life, a spiritual exercise, and a practice of freedom. This work opens up new ways of thinking about ancient philosophy and religious life which is increasingly important for religious studies. This seminar is devoted to a close reading of Foucault’s work. Authors we discuss beyond Foucault include Plato, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Pierre Hadot.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1826 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

(Dis)Placed Urban Histories

4 units Fri
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Rebecca Amato

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1826

Description

According to the vacation rental site, Airbnb, Brooklyn’s “ultra-trendy” Williamsburg neighborhood is “New York City’s top spot for looking awesome” and can be credited with being one of the borough’s “first neighborhoods to create collector’s items out of defunct warehouses.” Until recently, such descriptions were assumed to be about the northern section of Williamsburg, where boutiques and chic restaurants, galleries, lofts, and artisanal markets abound. Now, as the  New York Post  notes, the formerly “scruffy” and “barren” South Williamsburg is also “growing up” as LEED-certified luxury construction and trendy restaurants materialize there as well. This language of encroaching gentrification, though relatively new to both North and South Williamsburg, has a longer history, having been applied to Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, East Village, and Soho neighborhoods decades before. Yet while twenty-somethings pour into South Williamsburg, many question their role in displacing long-term residents, small businesses, and local traditions with a homogenizing “hipster” culture. This course invites students to become historical activists whose objective is to learn who and what is being displaced by gentrification and what the historical processes are that have aided this change. Students will conduct archival and secondary research; produce collaborative oral histories with neighborhood residents and business owners; and meet with activists who are working to stem the tide of gentrification. The course will culminate in an on-line archive and a physical exhibit to be co-produced with neighborhood residents and displayed at El Museo de Los Sures in South Williamsburg.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1868 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

New Negro Arts and Politics: The Harlem Renaissance Reconsidered

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Laurie Woodard

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1868

Description

Throughout the Twentieth Century, African Americans employed a variety of strategies toward the attainment of social, political, and economic equality. At different historical moments, specific agenda, tactics, and participants have come to forefront, yet the overall objectives remain the same. During the 1920s and 1930s, many African Americans put forth a fusion of cultural and political activism as the vanguard of the movement. While exploring the rich literature of the era, this course looks beyond traditional literary models and delves into the work of performing and visual artists to present students with a deeper and more complete understanding of the complex and dynamic social, cultural, and political phenomenon known as the New Negro or Harlem Renaissance. We will explore the intersection between culture and politics during a specific moment in African American history and examine its place within the larger quest for equality. Readings may include works by Langston Hughes, Fannie Hurst, Carl Van Vechten, Aaron Douglass, Richard Bruce Nugent, Noble Sissle, Eubie Blake, Augusta Savage, Cheryl Greenberg, Mary Renda, and Zora Neale Hurston.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1870 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
SP 2016

Going Baroque: Baroque Theater, from Ambiguity to Hyperbole

4 units Tue Thu
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Simon Fortin

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1870

Description

Mannered, adorned, elaborate, grand, exaggerated, eccentric, reactionary—these are all qualities often associated with the Baroque aesthetic, a complex artistic movement that swept the European continent from the late sixteenth to the early eighteenth centuries. While the Baroque may accommodate such descriptions, it also refuses the fetters of definitions. In this course, we examine the controversies that animate the use of the term “Baroque”: How did an aesthetic of grandeur come to inform architecture, politics, religion, the visual arts, and specifically for our intent, the theater? How might the Baroque period be considered a living tension between  Ambiguity , a quality we associate more closely with the Renaissance, and  Hyperbole , understood here as excessive dogmatism? We look at texts that embrace, but also denounce, the Baroque aesthetic turn, and we try to understand how this appetite for grandeur, for excess, for unbridled expressivity still mediates the sensibilities of our post-modernity.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1859 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Modern Poetry and the Senses

4 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Lisa Goldfarb

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1859

Description

In a letter that he wrote to his Cuban correspondent, Jose Rodriguez Feo, Wallace Stevens referred to Marcel Proust as a poet. “It seems like a revelation,” Stevens wrote of Proust, “but it is quite possible to say that that is exactly what he was and perhaps all that he was.” Proust’s masterpiece,  In Search of Lost Time , is often considered for the way it challenged and enlarged the form of the 20th century novel, as well as for the author’s meticulous exploration of the workings of time, history, memory, psychology, and the senses. Yet, it is more unusual to study Proust as a poet, or for his impact on modern poetry. In this course, therefore, we begin our study of the presentation and importance of the senses in modern poetry with Proust (via portions of  In Search of Lost Time ). Proust will then serve as prelude to our examination of the various ways that modern poets respond to, follow, and reach beyond him in their use and portrayal of the senses (and, by extension, time and memory). Contextual materials may include, among other texts, Bergson’s  Creative Evolution  and Susan Stewart’s  Modern Poetry and the Fate of the Senses.  Primary readings include portions of Proust’s  In Search of Lost Time , and poetry and essays of Valéry, Eliot, Pound, Moore, Bishop, Auden, Stevens, and Césaire.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1535 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2016

Narrating Memory, History and Place

4 units Tue Thu
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Marie Cruz Soto

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1535

Description

This course examines how people imagine a place of their own through narrations of the past. The past, after all, is a contested terrain open to divergent interpretations that shape common understandings of places. The meanings bestowed on places dictate who can use them, and how. Thus, the ways through which people narrate the past can transform places. This course, therefore, explores the broad interplay between narrations of memory, history and place. It focuses, however, on the politics of historical narrations in struggles of disempowered communities to claim a place of their own. Course readings include literary and other scholarly texts like Jamaica Kincaid’s  A Small Place , Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s  Silencing the Past  and Michel De Certeau’s  The Practice of Everyday Life  as well as writings by Edward Said, William Cronon, Diana Taylor, Steven Hoelscher and Doreen Massey.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1866 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2016

Poetry and the Politics of Decolonization

4 units Mon Wed
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Linn Cary Mehta

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1866

Description

The course looks at poets writing in the twentieth century and after whose work is caught up in the struggle for independence from colonial rule and, subsequently, with the formation of a post-colonial literary voice. This poetry confronts issues of national and racial identity, place and displacement, decolonization and freedom from linguistic and political oppression. We will read, among others, the two leading poets of négritude, Aimé Césaire and Léopold Senghor, in relation to movements in Caribbean, African, and American literature including the Harlem Renaissance (Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, Nicolas Guillén); Latin American poets including Gabriela Mistral, Pablo Neruda, and Octavio Paz; English-language poets including W.B. Yeats, William Carlos Williams, and Derek Walcott; and the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore. Readings will be in English, though languages of composition vary from French and Spanish to Bengali; we will also include other literatures of this period that students are interested in.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1729 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
SP 2016

Ancient and Renaissance Festivity: Its Literary, Dramatic and Social Forms

4 units Mon
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Susanne Wofford

Description

This class investigates the role of festive custom and holiday release, and the kinds of performance and literary form that they enable or frustrate, in ancient Greece and Rome, and in Renaissance Europe, with a 20th century postlude. Why does festivity sometimes lead to political revolt and at other times does not? Why does the "carnivalesque" often include festive abuse as well as celebration? We look at theories of festivity and release, at the dionysiac, at the human/animal union in festivity, and at the role of the classical period in shaping Renaissance and even modern ideas of festivity, irony and the festive worship of the gods. We also explore the effect of the Protestant suppression of festive holiday and theatricality in Shakespeare’s England, and at the tensions inherent in festivity between excess and moderation, between the saturnalia and the philosophical symposium. The class begins with classical festivity, with Plato's “Symposium,” Euripides'  The Bacchae , selections from Ovid's  Fasti  and the  Metamorphoses , and Apuleius'  Golden Ass . Readings from the Renaissance include: Rabelais,  Gargantua and Pantagruel ; Shakespeare,  A Midsummer Night’s Dream ,  1 Henry IV; Twelfth Night, Antony and Cleopatra,   The Winter’s Tale.  Concluding with carnival practices in the circum-Atlantic world, we take as examples the film  Black Orpheus  ( Orfeu Negro , directed by Marcel Camus), New Orleans carnival and Jazz Funerals, and probably Paule Marshall’s novel  The Chosen Place, the Timeless People  (1969) in order to see how these older traditions shape modern experience. We will end in 1968 in Greenwich Village with Richard Schechner’s Dionysus in 69.

Notes

Open to sophomores and juniors. Seniors require permission of the instructor (susanne.wofford@nyu.edu). Same as ENGL-UA 252 003.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1488 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2016

Antigone

2 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Laura Slatkin

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1488

Description

Antigone: heroine or harridan? Political dissident or family loyalist? Harbinger of the free subject or captive of archaic gender norms? Speaking truth to power or preserving traditional privilege? Sophocles' Antigone has been good to think with since its first production in the fifth century BCE. From ancient commentators through Hegel to contemporary gender theorists like Judith Butler, readers have grappled with what Butler calls "Antigone's Claim." The play's exploration of gender, kinship, citizenship, law, resistance to authority, family vs. the state, and religion (among other issues) has proved especially compelling for modern thought. In this seminar we will closely read the play and some select commentary; supplemental readings may include writings of philosophers, classicists, playwrights, political theorists. We will also conclude with some 20th C. adaptations/re-imaginings of Antigone on the stage.

Notes

Course meets during the first seven weeks only, First Class: January 27; Last Class: March 9.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1857 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Photography through the Lens of Magnum and VII

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Lauren Walsh

Description

Does the still image have the same power today—an era saturated by images—as it did just a few decades ago? As a photographer, what are the ethical ramifications of acting as the public’s eyes? Some of the greatest works of journalistic and documentary photography over the last seventy years have been produced by members of the world-renowned photo collectives, Magnum and VII. Photographers at these leading collectives have not only created iconic documentary images, but also helped define, limit, and focus the field of photojournalism as we know it today. This course examines Magnum and VII both as a business model, in opposition to wire services and other photo agencies, and as a formative influence over the style and content of documentary photography in recent decades. We thus use these collectives as a lens (pun intended!) through which to address a recent history of photography, the trajectory of visual journalism, and ultimately, the place of advocacy in documentary photography, since these collectives often turn an eye toward momentous histories and social justice. Using specific photojournalistic works from each collective, and through conversations with some of the photographers themselves, students will interrogate how historic events (from guerrilla wars to the break up of Yugoslavia), and humanitarian issues (like the mining of “conflict minerals” in the Congo) are recorded in this medium and what impact these images have had on the reception of these events. Texts may include work by Ritchin, Cartier-Bresson, Sontag, and Dyer, and photographs by Robert Capa, Susan Meiselas, Ron Haviv, and Marcus Bleasdale. Students, in turn, will produce their own visual projects.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1651 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2016

From Memory to Myth: The Mighty Charlemagne

4 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Andrew Romig

Description

In this course students will explore historical memory, mythmaking, and the myriad ways in which human beings construct and reconstruct the past to address present hopes, dreams, and fears. Our case study will be the Frankish Emperor Charlemagne (d. 814), who in life helped to lay the foundations of modern European society, and in death would continue to represent an imagined pan-European unity that predated factionalism, regionalism, and nationalism. The seminar will begin in the ninth century with Charlemagne in memory before moving briskly forward in time to study Charlemagne in legend and myth. Along the way, we will discuss themes and problems of particular relevance, including the birth of “Europe,” the advent of “the state,” Christianity and Crusade, the rise of vernacular literature, and early colonialism. In addition to theoretical works on memory, myth, and history-writing, texts for discussion will include a vibrant mix of canonical and lesser-known gems: Einhard’s  Life of Charlemagne,   The Song of Roland , and Ariosto’s  Orlando Furioso ; but also the Astronomer’s  Life of Louis the Pious ,  The Voyage of Charlemagne to Jerusalem and Constantinople , and the anonymous  Charlemagne  play from the London of Shakespeare and Marlowe.

Notes

Same as HIST-UA 245.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1873 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Jane Austen in the 21st Century: The Novels and Their Afterlife

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
June Foley

Description

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen’s novels are most appreciated while sipping tea and nibbling crumpets. Yet considerable controversy surrounds Austen’s six novels, their place in literary history, their cultural work and cultural capital. Scholarship includes books on "Austen and. . . " the French Revolution, queer studies, and game theory, along with  Global Jane Austen . Questions abound: Is Austen, who first published as "A Lady," politically conservative, progressive, or radical? Is she a proto-feminist? Does she glorify the marriage plot or subvert it, and what narrative aspects provide the basis for each claim? What part do irony and free indirect discourse play in her sparkling style? Media commodification brings debates on the afterlife: Which group to join, idolizing (and fan fiction-writing) Janeites or academic Austenites? Was "Clueless" the best adaptation? What about the Bollywood or manga versions? We consider these issues and more while reading  Pride and Prejudice ,  Mansfield Park ,  Emma , and  Persuasion  through the lenses of literature, gender studies, and cultural studies. Critics and theorists include F.R. Leavis, D.W. Harding, Lionel Trilling, Claudia Johnson, Edward Said, Mary Poovey, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Cornel West.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9401 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2016

PRAGUE: Kafka and His Contexts

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-PRAGUE. "A book must be an ax for the frozen sea in us," wrote Franz Kafka (1883-1924), one of the best known but least understood authors of our times. In this course, we will break some of the clichés which are stuck to Kafka's life and work and dive into the fascinating, intricate and profoundly humorous world of his thoughts and emotions. In Prague, the city that determined and held Kafka in its "claws", we will trace the possible sources of the writer's private obsessions which became the general characteristics of modern men: The sense of isolation, the anxiety, the self-irony, the sense of responsibility and guilt, the quest for freedom, the struggle of an individual against the system. We will read selected works of Kafka, but also Meyrink - the author of Prague ghetto - and Milan Kundera. This course aims to bring the students to a point from which they can find their own genuine and intimate understanding of Kafka's writing.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1700 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
SP 2016

Becoming Global? "Europe" and the World

4 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Valerie Forman

Description

Over and over, we are told that the world we live in is becoming increasingly global. All its parts are connected to one another, and goods, people, culture, and information can move from one place to another, seemingly without barriers. Yet how new is this phenomenon? Scholars have pointed to the middle of the sixteenth century as the moment when the economy became global, and the age of exploration and colonization began to connect many parts of the world to each other in a complex network that included cooperation, piracy, and slavery. This course will explore the emergence of a global consciousness in the early modern period. Our primary questions include: to what extent did people in this century begin to imagine and experience the world globally (that is, as an entity whose regions were interdependent rather than separate)? Does the change in understanding of the world vary by region, by class, ethnicity, gender, or religion? How did globalization influence cultural developments? What influence did global encounters have on European identities—for example on ideas about, and experiences of, gender, sexuality, class religion, and citizenship? Was the global economy seen as cooperative or competitive? To answer these questions, we will consider how the attempts to create, and the struggle to understand, this global world produced new narratives and forms of interdisciplinary thinking. In order to see how the issues surrounding globalization as we understand them today have a long and complex history, we will also study works that put the past in present in conversation with each other. We will investigate a wide variety of primary works, such as travel narratives, plays, poems, early forms of ethnography, films, engravings, and globes, as well as secondary works by literary scholars, anthropologists, and historians of labor, the economy, and science. While the focus is on the “European” and emerging “American” perspective, we will also read several works that challenge the Eurocentric view of globalization that was emerging and still dominates much of contemporary discourse of globalization.

Notes

Same as MEDI-UA 992 002.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1590 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Walter Benjamin: Theory for Gleaners

4 units Wed
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
A.B. Huber

Description

Long before the advent of green politics, and before recycling and repurposing became fashionable, there were people surviving with little fanfare on discards, and theorists meditating on the revolutionary possibilities of refuse and junk. This seminar introduces students to the work of Walter Benjamin, who is both a central figure in critical theory and an early, powerful commentator on the politics and aesthetics of trash. We begin with Agnès Varda’s film The Gleaners and I, and explore the relation between theory and the recycling of ideas, images, and objects, especially those that have been overlooked or abandoned. As a refugee himself, Benjamin knew intimately how whole populations can be dispossessed or cast off. Following his thought, we ask what displaced subjects and discarded objects might teach us about the larger economies of capitalism, modernity and the city, but also about human desire, need and frailty. Our primary text is Benjamin's expansive and unfinished work of citations and brief commentaries, The Arcades Project (1927-1940), but we will read Freud, Marx, and the Frankfurt School to contextualize the work historically and theoretically. What did Benjamin make of dross, and what can we glean from his thought for our own times?

Notes

Same as COLIT-UA 852.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1478 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2016

The Modern Arabic Novel

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Sinan Antoon

Description

Colonialism left indelible marks on the cultures and societies of its colonized subjects. While nation-states have emerged, the colonial legacy and its various effects continue to haunt post-colonial societies and the modes in which they represent their history and subjectivity. The novel is a particularly privileged site to explore this problem. This course will focus on the post-colonial Arabic novel. After a brief historical introduction to the context and specific conditions of its emergence as a genre, we will read a number of representative novels. Discussions will focus on the following questions: How do writers problematize the perceived tension between tradition and modernity? Can form itself become an expression of sociopolitical resistance? How is the imaginary boundary between “West” and “East” blurred and/or solidified? How is the nation troped and can novels become sites for rewriting official history? What role do gender and sexuality play in all of the above? In addition to films, readings (all in English) may include Edward Said, Frantz Fanon, Naguib Mahfuz, al-Tayyib Salih, Abdelrahman Munif, Ghassan Kanafani, Elias Khoury, Sun`allah Ibrahim, Huda Barakat, Assia Djebbar, and Muhammad Shukri.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1699 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Feeling, in Theory

4 units Thu
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Eve Meltzer

Description

Over the past two decades, scholars from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives—literature, women’s studies, political science, and aesthetics, to name a few—have returned to the question of “affect,” also referred to as “feeling” or “emotion,” as well as “passion,” “pathos,” “mood,” or even “love.” This course aims to familiarize students with the field of “affect theory” by surveying some of the most important texts that ground it (such as Chaucer and Aristotle, Freud and Thompkins) as well as several that have emerged more recently (Massumi, Terrada, Ngai, among others). When we consider the stakes and claims of some of the more recent work on affect, it becomes clear that a central predicament is at hand: how are we to understand affective life  now , after so many “deaths”—that of the subject, the author, art, and so on—have been announced by theories of postmodernism? How do we reconcile the resurgence of theories of affect when the end of the feeling subject is also touted by these same theories? This question leads us to our second challenge: to tackle the relationship between feeling and theory. While art and music have long been associated with emotionalism and affective life, what about the feelings that theory gives us? Alternatively, what is the affective life of theory? How does it harness, repress, produce, or otherwise make use of affect? While this course has no prerequisites, it is particularly appropriate for students who have strong feelings—love or hate—for so-called “theory.”

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9100 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

BERLIN: Berlin's Modern History and Culture: A European Perspective

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-BERLIN. Germany’s profound influence on Modern European history and culture is felt nowhere as visibly as in Berlin. This interdisciplinary course analyzes the city’s contributions to culture––in literature, memoir, music, film and painting––and its politics in the wider context of European trends. The course provides a comprehensive survey of Modern Berlin history and examines how artists reflected on those changing times. Special topics include: Christopher Isherwood’s fictionalized memoirs during the Weimar Years, the Nazi Aesthetic during the Berlin 1936 Olympics as constructed by filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, the photo-realist reflections of painter Gerhard Richter on terrorism in Berlin in the 1970s, and Germany’s literary reassessment of guilt and victimhood following reunification. Readings and lectures are supplemented with walking tours of Berlin and its museums, to look at traces of historical, social and cultural change in situ; how memory, history and place interact over time in specific locations.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1826 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

(Dis)Placing Urban Histories

4 units
Section 025
Fri
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1826

Description

According to the vacation rental site, Airbnb, Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood is “quickly ascending the ranks when it comes to creative-minded destinations and hotspots for self-expression.” Only five years ago, as Douglas Elliman Real Estate describes Bushwick, “a parent would cringe if they saw where their children were living,” but today, “this industrial neighborhood full of street grit thrives with twenty-somethings.” This language of creativity-driven gentrification, though new to Bushwick, has a longer history, having been applied to the area’s neighbor Williamsburg more than a decade before and to Manhattan’s East Village and Soho neighborhoods even earlier. Yet while twenty-somethings pour into Williamsburg and Bushwick, many question their role in displacing long-term residents, small businesses, and local traditions with a homogenizing “hipster” culture. This course invites students to become historical activists whose objective is to learn who and what is being displaced by gentrification and what the historical processes are that have aided this change. Students will conduct archival and secondary research; interview neighborhood residents and business owners; and meet with activists who are working to stem the tide of gentrification. The course will culminate in a collaborative exhibit to be shown at El Museo de Los Sures in South Williamsburg.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1617 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Philosophy of Religion

4 units Tue Thu
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Joe Thometz

Description

Is there such thing as religion—definable and singular? If there is no agreement, how can we have a philosophy of it? Departing from this predicament, this course will first examine how “religion” has been construed over time and in a variety of contexts. After touching upon various Western medieval endeavors to “prove” God’s existence, we’ll attend to the nineteenth century and Friedrich Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morals . We will consider the ways in which Nietzsche employs Hegel’s master/slave dialectic to identify the psychological state of ressentiment as a key factor in the birth and character of Jewish/Christian morality. Also, William James’s Varieties of Religious Experience will be read as a groundbreaking study in the psychological states of religious consciousness. We will also draw Western notions of the “ineffability”of God—especially as appearing in the Pseudo-Dionysian tradition of the via negativa—into conversation with the second century (CE) Buddhist philosophy of Nagarjuna and his influences on the Zen/Ch’an tradition. Finally, we’ll explore recent reimaginings of religion in light of postmodern themes such as nihilism and the death of God. Readings include: Anselm of Canterbury, Friedrich Nietzsche, William James, Teresa of Avila, Mircea Eliade, Rene Girard, Gianni Vattimo, Pseudo-Dionysius, Nagarjuna, and Shunyru Suzuki.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1811 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Desperate Housewives of the 19th-Century Novel

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
June Foley

Description

From Jeffrey Eugenides's novel The Marriage Plot to TV's Desperate Housewives and "Real Housewives" series, our contemporary culture explores what happens after "happily ever after." Some of the great novels of the mid-to-late 19th century also examine the dilemmas of wives during a period when every aspect of "The Woman Question," including divorce and child custody laws, was debated. In this course we will explore controversial novels in which female characters struggle with lives largely limited by the cultural stereotypes of the Angel in the House and the emerging New Woman. Possible readings include Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary ( 1856), Thomas Hardy's J ude the Obscure (1895), and Kate Chopin's The Awakening (1899 ) . We will contextualize each novel with readings on historical events in the French, English, and American settings. We will also read about the post-publication history of these works, including Flaubert’s trial for obscenity, Hardy’s plea for “Candour in English Fiction,” and his turning from prose to poetry to escape censorship, and Chopin’s abandoning novel-writing as a result of the controversy over her work. Other readings will likely include selections from J.S. Mill's The Subjection of Women , and from the theory of Thorsten Veblen and Michel Foucault.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1669 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Legal Fictions: Novel, Law, and Society

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Sara Murphy

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1669

Description

In response to the bafflement expressed by Kafka’s hapless Josef K, one of his warders explains that the law is attracted to the guilty. We might adapt this remark to say that the law has been attracted to the novel—and vice versa. From Daniel Defoe to the Jacobin fictions of William Godwin and Mary Hayes to Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens and the sensation novelists of the nineteenth century, to more recent narratives from Kafka’s Trial to Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians, novels have focused on the ways in which law operates to mediate social relationships, to define public space, to frame questions of justice and injustice. In this course, we’ll engage in a study of the novel as form, while interrogating relations between the novel and the law. By supplementing our readings of novels with theoretical and historical texts and legal cases, we’ll be able to pose some fundamental questions about this strange mutual attraction between law and the novel. Some of our questions: Do novels offer an alternate vision of justice to that posited by law and even a critique of modern legal apparatus? Or do they instead teach people how to understand themselves as legal subjects? Do novels present themselves as law’s supplement in some sense? Or are they always somehow in advance of the law, offering visions of society and the ethical to which law must catch up? Authors studied may include Godwin, Dickens, Eliot, Braddon, Coetzee, and Morrison. We will also consult works by critics and theorists, and perhaps some contemporary popular media narratives.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1714 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

What is Critique?

4 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
A.B. Huber

Description

The philosopher and theorist Michel Foucault argued that critique is a powerful form of insubordination and a crucial “instrument for those who fight, resist, and who no longer want what is.” But how might critical philosophy, which trades in ideas, help us combat material and pervasive forms of injustice? What is theory’s relationship to praxis and to politics, and what kind of theory or practice is critique? The seminar begins with a consideration of the uneasy place of critique in the western philosophical tradition. We will read Kant, Marx, Foucault, Butler, Mahmood and Mbembe among others, in order to establish a sense of how critique emerges as a mode of radical questioning, an art of unsettling self-evident answers and interfering with established relations of power. We will consider what the practice of critique entails, and what it means to suggest, as these authors do, that critique interrogates the historically specific relationships between power, truth and the subject. In the last third of the class, we will focus on queer of color critique (Muñoz, Ferguson, Reddy, and Chen), a relatively recent body of scholarship that exemplifies the urgency, risk and daring of critique as a critical practice.

Notes

Same as COLIT-UA 141.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1812 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Reading and Thinking about David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest

2 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Gregory Erickson

Description

“If words are all we have as world and god,” David Foster Wallace wrote, “we must treat them with care and rigor: we must worship.” A new generation of readers seems to have taken Wallace’s advice and his 1996 novel Infinite Jest is arguably the most talked about and influential American novel of the 21st century. Described as “hysterical realism,” “post-ironic literature,” the “grunge American novel,” the “definitive hipster novel,” “new sincerity,” and also as an “awful novel” showing “no discernable talent,” the book explores themes of depression, addiction, family, advertising, film theory, media studies, drugs, and tennis. But the book is more than the sum of these themes and is often described as anticipating coming cultural changes or even as preparing readers for these changes. This course will focus on reading the entirety of the novel and thinking about ways in which it interacts with contemporary culture, media, and technology. Course requirements include reading the entire 1079 pages (including footnotes), discussion, regular blog posts, and two short analytical papers or projects. We will also briefly look at writing about the novel in critical and popular works and in online forums. Both first time and return readers are welcome to the class.

Notes

Course meets during the last seven weeks only, First Class: March 24; Last Class: May 7.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9252 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

LONDON: History of British Fashion

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-LONDON: This interdisciplinary seminar serves as a broad overview for several centuries of British male and female fashion trends, from roughly the Tudor period to today. The course focuses on ways that modes and standards of dress evolved in response to political, economic and technological developments; empire and immigration; changing gender and class formations; and the vagaries of popular culture. In short, the course examines not only what people wore at different historical moments, but why they wore what they did, and how they felt about it. Readings come from the fields of literature, history, art history, gender studies, and sociology.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1738 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

The Cultural Politics of Bad Taste

4 units Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Julian Cornell

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1738

Description

This seminar investigates the ideological, political and historical parameters of ‘taste’ in popular culture. Through examination of media artifacts that exemplify ‘trash,’ the course examines how ‘taste’ is constituted as a cultural category that reflects, produces and maintains the social structures of American society. What is meant by designations such as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ media, ‘high and ‘low’ art, ‘offensive’ or ‘artistic’ and who is empowered to make these distinctions? How do ‘bad objects’ reveal the ideological basis of ‘taste,’ and what is their relationship to ‘legitimate’ art forms? Does ‘trash’ pose a challenge to cultural standards of taste and ‘the mainstream?' What is the relationship between ‘bad’ art and spectatorship and why might audiences find ‘trash’ so enthralling? Readings are drawn from Bourdieu’s Distinction , Glynn’s Tabloid Culture , Ross’ No Respect , and the anthology Trash Culture , while screenings include cult films such as Mystery Science Theater 3000, Pink Flamingos, Plan 9 From Outer Space, South Park, and The Room , and a selection of reality TV programs, music and viral videos.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1624 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
SP 2015

There and Back Again: Travelers and Traveling through the Middle Ages and Beyond

4 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Andrew Romig

Description

The image of the medieval world as dark, backward, and stagnant has for too long held sway over our modern popular conceptions of the era. In this course, we will investigate the ways in which the Middle Ages were actually a period of vast movement, migration, and pilgrimage. We will study the “discovery” of North America by Scandinavian sailors five centuries before Columbus. We will explore the colonization of the New World by European powers in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. And throughout, we will ask how we can better understand the history of identity formation, orientalism, and imperialism in the pre-modern era. We will delve into the questions, the conflicts, and the painful changes that these travels and encounters fomented both within European society and without. Readings may include the Confession of St. Patrick , Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People , The Thousand and One Nights , the Saga of Eirik the Red , Marco Polo’s Division of the World , Mandeville’s Travels , Dante’s Divine Comedy , Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales , Christine de Pizan’s Book of the City of Ladies , More’s Utopia , Bartolomé de las Casas’ Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies , and Françoise de Graffigny’s Letters from a Peruvian Woman .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1468 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Psychoanalysis and the Visual

4 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Eve Meltzer

Description

At least since Freud’s “Dream Book,” psychoanalysis has taught us that psychic life is thoroughly steeped in images. This course will pursue the implications of Jacques Lacan’s theory of the subject, which elaborates and complicates Freud's thinking with respect to the ways in which psychic experience and visuality are intertwined. By examining a range of psychoanalytic texts alongside several films and photographs, we will begin with Lacan’s proposition that the “I” comes into being though the subject’s identification with his or her mirror image. This is ultimately a problem for sociality itself, for we learn to relate to others by way of how we relate to ourselves, our primordial other. Course materials include the writings of Borch-Jacobsen, Butler, Descartes, Fanon, Freud, Heidegger, Lacan, Laplanche as well as several films, including Capturing the Friedmans, American Psycho, and The Thin Red Line.

Notes

Same as ARTH-UA 850 005.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1759 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Exhibition Systems and Curating

4 units Fri
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Meleko Mokgosi

Description

This course aims at a thorough investigation of strategies of curating and exhibiting artworks, and how curators as well as artists utilize various installation and exhibition strategies. Course material will consider important texts and practices including but not limited to: relational aesthetics, interdisciplinary art practices, performance art, and institutional critique. There will be an equal amount of time spent both in the seminar room and visiting exhibitions in museums and galleries in New York City. Readings for the course will include essays by Okwui Enwezor, Thelma Golden, Jennifer Gonzalez, Jens Hoffmann, and Paul O'Neill.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1644 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2015

Labor and the Global Market: Literature, Film and History

4 units Tue Thu
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Valerie Forman

Description

Globalization has become a much-debated and deeply controversial topic. In this class, we will focus on the ways that labor has been represented and understood, especially in relationship to the development of capitalism in its global form. We will explore how the movement of capital, commodities, and workers across the globe and with seeming indifference to national borders shapes the idea of work and those who perform it. Of equal importance in our study will be the way that work transforms the structure of the global economy. Some primary questions we will explore are: How has the demand for labor required migration and imposed geographical dislocations? How does labor create value within these new locations? How do some gain control of the work of others? How do workers organize themselves and develop community in new locations? How does this relationship of power change over time? Some likely texts for the course include: Shakespeare, The Tempest ; Ngugi wa Thiong'o’s postcolonial play, I Will Marry When I Want ; a Haitian novel about a sugar cane worker who migrates to the Dominican Republic. We will place these fictional texts in conversation with visual representations by Diego Rivera, works by Marx, by anthropologists and narrative filmmakers on sex tourism and domestic labor, and by documentary filmmakers and historians on global corporations and utopian economies.

Notes

Same as COLIT-UA 550.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9201 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

FLORENCE: Topics in 19th Century Literature: Italy and Italians in English Literature from the Romantics to Modernism

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-FLORENCE. Romantic, Victorian, and Modernist writers in both Britain and the United States were fascinated by Italy. The "Italy and Italians" of the title refers not only to images and characters in the works of the British and American authors we will be reading but also to their affinities with Italian literature. Recurring themes in the course will be history and its uses in literature, gender and sexuality, democracy and aristocracy, language and power, and religion as an instrument of sexual repression.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1478 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2015

The Modern Arabic Novel

4 units Tue
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Sinan Antoon

Description

Colonialism left indelible marks on the cultures and societies of its colonized subjects. While nation-states have emerged, the colonial legacy and its various effects continue to haunt post-colonial societies and the modes in which they represent their history and subjectivity. The novel is a particularly privileged site to explore this problem. This course will focus on the post-colonial Arabic novel. After a brief historical introduction to the context and specific conditions of its emergence as a genre, we will read a number of representative novels. Discussions will focus on the following questions: How do writers problematize the perceived tension between tradition and modernity? Can form itself become an expression of sociopolitical resistance? How is the imaginary boundary between “West” and “East” blurred and/or solidified? How is the nation troped and can novels become sites for rewriting official history? What role do gender and sexuality play in all of the above? In addition to films, readings (all in English) may include Edward Said, Frantz Fanon, Naguib Mahfuz, al-Tayyib Salih, Abdelrahman Munif, Ghassan Kanafani, Elias Khoury, Sun`allah Ibrahim, Huda Barakat, Assia Djebbar, and Muhammad Shukri.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9151 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2015

BUENOS AIRES: Myths, Icons, and Invented Traditions: A Cultural History of Latin America

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-BUENOS AIRES. Mitos, íconos y tradiciones inventadas is an advanced conversation course, which seeks to make students familiar with the rich and complex history of Latin America through the study of some of its most known and iconic cultural expressions. It does also work as an introductory map to the most influential and widespread approaches in Latin American social sciences, cultural studies and literary criticism. Thus, students will not only have a first encounter with key historical processes that lie behind some well know cultural icons, but also will be introduced to arguments and ways of writing that help constitute modern Latin American educated Spanish. The course will be structured in seven topics; each topic will be covered in two weeks. During these four classes, students will be exposed to different kinds of cultural materials, including literary texts, film, papers from several disciplines, theater plays, art shows and live concerts.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1639 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
SP 2015

Witch, Heroine, Saint: Joan of Arc and Her World

4 units Mon Wed
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Andrew Romig

Description

In May 1431, Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orléans, was burned at the stake as a heretic and a witch by an English partisan court after the French nobility had betrayed her. An illiterate peasant girl just sixteen years of age, she had led the French back from the brink of defeat and saved the French monarchy from ruin. Yet in death, she would gain further power still as a martyr and symbol of indomitable French will and resistance. In this seminar, we will study Joan’s complex historical moment and her place within the long history of medieval women, Christian mysticism, and religious fanaticism. We will trace the stories of her appearance and military success, attempt to hear her voice in the extant transcript of her heresy trial, analyze contrasting French and English narratives about her life, and explore how she became the national heroine, patron saint, and political symbol that she is today. Texts will include Christine de Pizan’s Book of the City of Ladies, Catherine of Siena’s Dialogues and Letters, Thomas of Cantimpré’s Life of Christina the Astonishing, and Shakespeare’s I Henry VI. We will also analyze and discuss modern renditions of the Joan of Arc story by such diverse artists as Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw, Bertolt Brecht, Carl Theodor Dreyer, and Luc Besson.

Notes

Same as HIST-UA 670

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1722 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Writing the Present Day Life

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Judith Greenberg

Description

This course examines the impact of the digital age on questions of writing, identity construction, ethics, trauma, and love. Our entry into the digital age has been compared to the cultural shift that occurred when the Gutenberg Bible enabled the wide distribution of the written word. What is the relationship between the “spirit of an age” or Zeitgeist and its narratives and texts? For example, at the end of Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando (1928), her time-traveling and sex-changing Elizabethan heroine Orlando, enters “the present day.” By the novel’s end, Orlando has grown into a young woman in “present day” London. Who might Orlando be today? Reading a range of texts including Shakespeare's Hamlet, Duras’ The Lover, Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, as well as essays on the gaze, trauma, gender and representation. We will view Cindy Sherman’s photographs and Chaplin's film Modern Times. We conclude with students writing their own last chapter of Orlando, situated in present day New York.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9401 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2015

PRAGUE: Kafka and His Contexts

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-PRAGUE. "A book must be an ax for the frozen sea in us," wrote Franz Kafka (1883-1924), one of the best known but least understood authors of our times. In this course, we will break some of the clichés which are stuck to Kafka's life and work and dive into the fascinating, intricate and profoundly humorous world of his thoughts and emotions. In Prague, the city that determined and held Kafka in its "claws", we will trace the possible sources of the writer's private obsessions which became the general characteristics of modern men: The sense of isolation, the anxiety, the self-irony, the sense of responsibility and guilt, the quest for freedom, the struggle of an individual against the system. We will read selected works of Kafka, but also Meyrink - the author of Prague ghetto - and Milan Kundera. This course aims to bring the students to a point from which they can find their own genuine and intimate understanding of Kafka's writing.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9150 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2015

BUENOS AIRES: Tango and Mass Culture (in Spanish)

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-BUENOS AIRES. This course explores Tango as an aesthetic, social and cultural formation that is articulated in interesting and complex ways with the traditions of culture and politics in Argentina and Latin America more generally. During the rapid modernization of the 1920s and 1930s, Tango (like Brazilian Samba), which had been seen as a primitive and exotic dance, began to emerge as a kind of modern primative art form that quickly came to occupy a central space in nationalist discourse. The course explores the way that perceptions of a primative and a modern converge in this unique and exciting art. In addition, the course will consider tango as a global metaphor with deeply embedded connections to urban poverty, social marginalization, and masculine authority.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1700 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
SP 2015

Becoming Global? Europe and the World: A Literary Exploration

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Valerie Forman

Description

Over and over, we are told that the world we live in is becoming increasingly global. All its parts are connected to one another, and goods, people, culture, and information can move from one place to another, seemingly without barriers. Yet how new is this phenomenon? Scholars have pointed to the middle of the sixteenth century as the moment when the economy became global, and the age of exploration and colonization began to connect many parts of the world to each other in a complex network that included cooperation, piracy, and slavery. This course will explore the emergence of a global consciousness in the early modern period. Our primary questions include: to what extent did early modern Europeans begin to imagine and experience the world globally, that is, as an entity whose regions were interdependent rather than separate? How did globalization influence cultural developments? What influence did global encounters have on European identities—for example on ideas about, and experiences of, gender, sexuality, class religion, and citizenship? Was the global economy seen as cooperative or competitive? To answer these questions, we will consider how the attempts to create, and the struggle to understand, this global world produced new narratives and forms of interdisciplinary thinking. In order to see how the issues surrounding globalization as we understand them today have a long and complex history, we will also study works that put the past in present in conversation with each other. We will investigate a wide variety of primary works, such as travel narratives, plays, poems, early forms of ethnography, films, engravings, and globes, as well as secondary works by literary scholars, anthropologists, and historians of labor, the economy, and science. While the focus is on the European perspective, we will also read works that challenge the Eurocentric view of globalization that was emerging and still dominates much of contemporary discourse of globalization.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9403 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

PRAGUE: Central European Film

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-PRAGUE. This interdisciplinary seminar is designed to discuss and question the identity of specific nations in European space, which has always been a fascinating crossroad of ideas and ideologies as well as the birthplace of wars and totalitarian systems. The course will cover masterpieces of Russian, Hungarian, German, Polish and Czech cinematography, focusing on several crucial periods of history, in particular WWII and its aftermath, showing moral dilemmas of individuals and nations under the Nazi regime as well as revealing the bitter truth of the Stalinist years.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1820 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

The Faces of Landscape

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Eugene Vydrin

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1820

Description

Landscapes are views of the world: sites seen as well as ways of seeing and knowing. Representations of landscape invite us to perceive the world while instructing us how to conceive it. Drawing on poetry and prose, narrative and philosophy, painting, photography, and film, this course will explore landscapes as symbolic sites that are also physical places, windows on reality that mirror our subjectivity. Our focus will be on the Romantic landscape and its transformation by and into the modern city. The Romantic self reads the face of nature as an ambivalent text, by turns beautiful and sublime, vivifying and deathly, familiar and strange. Romantic “spots of time,” local reservoirs of psychic meanings, register the growth of the mind as well as the passage of history, reflecting and resisting the ruinous progress of industrialization and commodification that overwrites the Book of Nature with a new system of inorganic signs. The modern city both negates the Romantic landscape and recovers it in the second nature of streets, façades, and crowds. Turning to the cityscape, we will examine its hiding places for modern fugitives from modernity and their melancholy pursuers. We will theorize landscapes from psychoanalytic, Marxist, and phenomenological points of view and, in turn, consider the role of landscape in these theoretical writings. Texts may include Romantic prose and poetry by Burke, Wordsworth, and Mary Shelley; modern and postmodern writing by Baudelaire, Stein, Woolf, Césaire, and Borges; cultural and aesthetic theory by Freud, Heidegger, Benjamin, Adorno, Smithson, Jackson, Cosgrove, Rose, and Taussig.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1808 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
SP 2015

The World According to Opera

4 units Wed
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM Fri
3:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Chinnie Ding

Description

"No good opera plot can be sensible," explained W.H. Auden, "for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible." This class is about the demonstrative, durational art of opera, and thus about the staging and voicing of unruly passions. An art form wherein music, language, drama, and design converge, opera unfurls a world where eros, madness, violent demise and the will to power are not only permitted but privileged. How did Western opera evolve from its 16th-century courtly origins to the Wagnerian maximalism of the 19th century? What were the form's distinct contributions to pan-artistic movements like Realism and Modernism? How has the operatic stage served as an arena of civil rights struggle for black singers from Sissieretta Jones and Paul Robeson onward? How have the cult of the diva, and opera's abiding traditions of sexual-masquerade plots and cross-gender casting, made the form particularly rich for explorations of gender and desire? Why was early cinema - even silent films - so attracted to opera, and how did the advent of recording and radio alter its consumption? What is it about the form that has compelled non-classical musicians from The Who to Rufus Wainwright to fashion operas of their own?

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1425 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2015

The Philosophic Dialogue

4 units Tue Thu
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Stacy Pies

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1425

Description

In this course, we read philosophical dialogues and their modern successors, poetic prose pieces and a play whose subjects are art and rhetoric. Ancient to modern writers have been fascinated with the power of art, and for each, ideas about art are connected to those about language and society. In our reading of Ion and Gorgias we look at Plato’s ideas on art, rhetoric (oratory), and power before his Republic. Phaedrus, written later, complements the discussion in earlier texts, developing Plato’s ideas about the relation of the intellect, the emotions, and the appetites. We then discuss Diderot’s Rameau’s Nephew, which revisits some of Plato’s themes from the perspective of the eighteenth century and the changing world of the Enlightenment. Finally, we explore the dialogue form in the twentieth century through Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia and excerpts from works of modern writers. In our dialogue, we explore not only what these writers say, but how they say it, and speculate on how and why conversation, rather than monologue, can give rise to knowledge. Among the questions I hope we consider are the following: How are ideas born from conversation (and, I hope, our conversations)? What is the importance of human relationship in intellectual inquiry? How does the dialogue imply, and necessitate, our participation as readers? Readings may include works by Plato, Diderot, Stoppard and selected excerpts from Bakhtin and Mallarmé.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1816 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
SP 2015

Proximity and Protest in the 18th-Century Letter and its Afterlives

4 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Andrea Gadberry

Description

In this course we unearth the lost art of letter-writing and study epistolary form in interdisciplinary context, putting the epistolary novel, one of the most popular prose forms of the eighteenth century, in conversation with a range of primary documents (newspapers, pamphlets, travel letters) as well as works of philosophy and critical theoretical works. As we do so, we will ask how these letters let us understand the problem of “distance” in emotional, aesthetic, political, narratological, and geographical terms. Of particular interest to us will be how the epistolary form accounts for the scenes of its composition and represents the circumstances and space around the act of writing: In what ways does the epistolary novel (along with collections of letters of the period) imagine travel and contact with other cultures? What exactly is the “readerly” intimacy letters create, and how do these strategies portray and construct gender? How do these letters depict strangers, foreigners, and other “others,” and how do they address or confront the public? We will think about how the letter reinforces norms of behavior and how the letter wages protest. Our readings will take us across the European and Anglo-American traditions and, more locally, to the Wrightsman Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where we will consider the domestic spaces and objects that inform some exemplars of this literary form. Finally, we will conclude our inquiry with a look at the epistolary form’s 21st-century afterlife. How might “distance” and dissent change when epistles travel by fiber-optics rather than horseback? Major texts include: Samuel Richardson, Pamela (1741), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774), Denis Diderot, The Nun (1780), Montesquieu, Persian Letters (1721), Lady Mary Montagu, Turkish Embassy Letters (1763), and Helen Maria Williams, Letters Written in France (1790).

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1116 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2015

Fate and Free Will in the Epic Tradition

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Antonio Rutigliano

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1116

Description

The role of the gods in human affairs inevitably raises the question of fate and free will. The epics, from the ancient world to the Renaissance, frequently reflect and define this debate. This course examines how the epics of Homer, Vergil, Dante and Milton not only mirror the philosophical and theological perceptions of the period, but sometimes forecast future debates on the issue. Readings may include the Epic of Gilgamesh, Iliad or Odyssey, Aeneid, and Divine Comedy, as well as selections from Plato's Protagoras or Aristotle's Ethics , Cicero's De Fato , Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy , and Fromm's Escape From Freedom .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1819 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

What is Post-structuralism?

4 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Sara Murphy

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1819

Description

Like so many terms using the "post-" prefix, post-structuralism is hard to define: do we mean to indicate an aftermath, a continuity, a break, a repetition? In this course, we'll investigate some of the thinkers associated with post-structuralism and discover, perhaps, that all of these designators apply. Post-structuralism emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s and is associated with writers as diverse and complicated as Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, and Julia Kristeva. We might say that post-structuralism is what happens when structuralist thought collides with aspects of the "Continental" tradition in philosophy. If the central claim of structuralism is that all systems of meaning are structured along the lines of language, post-structuralist thought interrogates that claim. But rather than rejecting it outright, post-structuralist thinkers attend to the ways in which systems of meaning tend to instability, contingency, opening up gaps and silences, leaving echoes and traces. In the first part of this course, we'll focus on some of the nineteenth- and twentieth-century philosophers who influenced the post-structuralist turn: Nietzsche, Freud, Heidegger, Blanchot. In the second part of the course, we'll read some works of major post-structuralist thinkers. Finally, in the third part of the course, we'll spend some time looking at the impact of this general tendency in thought and the way in which it has influenced contemporary writers in political theory, gender studies and media studies.

Notes

Prior coursework in critical theory required.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1823 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

In with the Old, Out with the New: Debates on "Tradition" in Western Music

4 units
Section 014
Tue Thu
6:20 PM - 7:35 PM
Kwami Coleman

Description

Contests between stalwart custodians of “tradition” and rebels searching for new, untested modes of expression pervade Western music history. This course will survey some of the most dynamic debates on music’s past, present, and future waged in impassioned arguments between music theorists, critics, artists, and audiences as preserved in historical literature. Our focus is on the seemingly inevitable tension between what music is, what it should be and what it can be. Starting with the Greek philosophers of antiquity, we will study debates on the music of figures like Claudio Monteverdi, Ludwig van Beethoven, Richard Wagner, James Reese Europe, Duke Ellington, and Bob Dylan, and explore the backlash against and defense of styles like jazz, rock and roll, punk rock, and rap. The goal of this course is to better understand how culture is “made” during moments of charged debate, where a particular music’s perceived transgressions or merits serve as the pretext for larger conflicting ideological issues. Art, in this sense, becomes a site where competing aesthetic values reveal and articulate deep social and cultural rifts. This class will meet twice a week; our first session is devoted to scrutinizing and discussing primary sources, i.e. letters, newspaper and magazine articles, journal entries, audio recordings, film, and even commentary from the internet (e.g. Youtube). For our second session we will read secondary (scholarly) sources for context and use this as a way to think critically about our own aesthetic judgments. Debates on tradition and innovation in music, as we shall see, are a long-standing tradition in its own right.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1627 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Green Design from Geddes to Gore

4 units
Section 011
Tue
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Mitchell Joachim

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1627

Description

Students will explore the designers, cultures, and suppositions about the contemporary environmental movement. Who are the key figures that first ignited the green design revolution and its ensuing agenda? Who effectively promoted maxims such as “energy crisis,” “climate change,” and “sustainability?" Many books, films, projects, and actions contributed to the irresistible success of mainstream eco-values. Which readings initially established the core underpinning of this environmental debate— Hiroshima by John Hersey, Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, or Ecology of Freedom by Murray Bookchin—and how are they linked today? The class will review architecture and art, and unpack texts by thinkers such as Patrick Geddes, Henry David Thoreau, Ebenezer Howard, John Muir, Louis Sullivan, Ivan Illich, Buckminster Fuller, Sim Van der Ryn, Victor Papanek, Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, William McDonough, Marc Reisner, Jared Diamond, and Al Gore. In tandem, we acutely review seminal designs and works by Antoni Gaudi, Norman Bel Geddes, Bruce Goff, Rudolf Steiner, Samuel Mockbee, and others. The overall objective is twofold: to survey the lager historical context of ecological design and define specific contributions to the green movement.

Notes

Same as ENVST-UA 450 004.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1642 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Celebrity Culture

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Moya Luckett

Description

This class investigates celebrity culture as a transmedia phenomenon, exploring what it reveals about a culture and its awareness of self. It analyzes celebrity culture from the late nineteenth century to the present, exploring the role of photography, print media, postcards, movies, television, recorded music and digital media. We will consider how media turn to celebrity at a particular point in their history, often as they start to move away from novelty forms and reach mass audiences and acquire a certain “maturity.” Besides examining the different configurations of celebrity produced in each media form, and its relationship to prevailing concerns about fame and the construction of self, we will examine the difference between celebrity and stardom. In the process, we will explore what celebrity discourses reveal about the changing relationship between private and public spheres, work and leisure, and the status of upward mobility and the American dream in twentieth- and twenty-first-century culture.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1567 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
or GLOBAL
SP 2015

The Arabian Nights

4 units Mon Wed
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Sinan Antoon

Description

The Arabian Nights ( The Thousand and One Nights ) is one of the most fascinating "world" texts. Since its translation and publication in European languages it has captivated the imagination of countless writers and artists such as Poe, Joyce, Borges, Mahfouz, and Rushdie. It continues to play a disproportionate role in constructing and perpetuating an essentialized and imaginary East, populated by violent and hypersexual beings. The narratives of the Nights and the cultural archive they have spawned have had a fascinating influence on literary and artistic production, popular culture, and political imagination. The course introduces students to this important world masterpiece and the debates surrounding it. We will start out by briefly tracing the genealogy of this collectively authored and anonymous text, its collection, and versions and the cultural context of its translation and popularity in the west. We will then explore the literary structure and narrative strategies and dynamics of the Nights , read some of its most famous cycles and discuss how they have been read from a variety of perspectives, focusing primarily on gender and sexuality, power and politics, and otherness and boundaries. In the last part of the course we will read some of the modern literary works inspired by the Nights (Borges, Mahfouz, and Rushdie) and will end by watching and exploring how the Nights fared in adaptations in popular culture, especially in the US. All readings in English.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9251 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

LONDON: Art and War, 1914-2004

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-LONDON. This 15 week course will take an in-depth yet wide-ranging look at an important but curiously neglected aspect of modern western visual culture. Within a broadly chronological structure, topics to be dealt with will include the following: the relationship between art and atrocity, and the attendant problem of the aestheticisation of horror; the crucial influence of photography and the growth of mass communications; the issue of censorship, both external and internal, and the related issue of the "limits of representation" (above all, in relation to the Holocaust and Hiroshima); the distinction between official and unofficial war art, and between art and propaganda, between art that endorses and even glorifies war and an art of protest; issues of gender and sexuality; questions of cultural memory and the memorialization process, and the representation of war in contemporary art practice. It will consist of a combination of informal lectures, student presentations, at least one gallery visit, and the occasional film showing.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1813 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2015

Exhibitions: A History, A Theory, An Exploration

2 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Florencia Malbran

Description

Exhibitions are spaces of knowledge, experience, and entertainment. This course studies the methods, functions, and conditions of exhibition practice, through visual and textual analysis as well as exhibition visits. Although the history of exhibitions and museums, from the 18th to 21st century, will provide a foundation for this course, special attention will be paid to the present. New York will be considered as a center of cultural experimentation where artists (including Latin American artists) share ideas in a global context. We will visit a variety of exhibitions on view in the city, when class will be on-site in order to develop critical skills and address the following questions: What are the major theoretical and practical issues at stake in different kinds of exhibitions, and how can we perceive their significance? What is the relationship between the curator and artist/s? What role does museum architecture play in creating a context for experiencing exhibitions? What are some productive interactions between exhibitions and contemporary thought? Finally, what is an exhibition? Readings will include essays by curators, writers, and critics such as Walter Benjamin, Jorge Luis Borges, Michael Brenson, Brian O’Doherty and Mari Carmen Ramírez.

Notes

Course meets during the last seven weeks only, First Class: March 23; Last Class: May 11. Students should not schedule any classes immediately before or after this class to allow ample time to travel to off-site locations including museums and galleries. Students are expected to pay for their own travel expenses.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9250 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

LONDON: Seeing London's Architecture

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-LONDON. London, like New York is a rich and complicated city. Unlike New York however, it has been continuously occupied for just under 2000 years. Almost every epoch of London’s history can be detected in the city’s architecture and distinctive streetscape. This course is designed to work in three ways. Firstly it is an opportunity to learn about London’s architecture and art by physically exploring it. Secondly this class is an introduction to sketching and keeping a travel notebook, a basic and useful skill that any liberal arts student should have an experience of. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this course teaches how to 'read' a town or city. The ability to visually make sense of European built-environment should really help in understanding the architecture of New York City and, of course, town and cities throughout the United States, and anywhere else.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1280 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Revisioning the Classics

4 units Mon
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Sharon Friedman

Description

Re-visioning the classics, often in a subversive mode, has evolved into its own genre in recent years, and many of these literary and performance texts have been shaped by modernist and postmodern narrative innovations and avant-garde theatrical strategies. Several of these works are also informed by ideological criticism that reads “against the grain” of the “master-works” to produce new meanings. However, the revisionist genre also develops a tradition of literary and dramatic renderings of canonical works that look for continuity even in the context of stylistic invention and contemporary themes. This course examines assumptions and conventions surrounding intertextuality—the multiple ways in which texts and productions echo or are linked to earlier renditions. Readings (and viewings) include imaginative reinterpretations of myth, classical and modern drama, the novel, narrative poetry, dance performance as well as theoretical readings on revision and adaptation. Authors and artists may include: Aeschylus, Shakespeare, Henry James, Ola Rotimi, Joyce Carol Oates, Paula Vogel, W.B. Yeats, Adrienne Rich, Martha Graham.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1818 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Mindfulness and Mysticism

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Bradley Lewis

Description

Religious practices of meditation and contemplation have recently emerged as “mindfulness based interventions” (MBI) in medicine, education, the military, the arts, and popular culture. In most of these settings, the religious and historical affiliations of these practices are downplayed and their uses for developing spiritual, even mystical, states of consciousness are minimized. In this class, we go the other direction to explore the relationship between MBI and religious/spiritual practices. We will be thinking about cross-cultural ideas of health and medicine, spirituality and well-being, and what happens when these ideas migrate across cultures and historical eras. We start with a close reading of key secular texts devoted to mindfulness and we compare and contrast these with a range of original texts from religious sources. Along the way, we use theoretical and philosophical work from religious studies, cultural studies, and gender studies to contextualize and politicize key terms and concepts. Authors and texts include Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thich Nhat Hahn, William James, Walter Stace, Stephen Katz, Graze Jantzen, Richard King, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Buddhist Sutras, Plotinus, Origen, Eckhart, Cloud of Unknowing, and Rumi.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9400 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

PRAGUE: Modern Dissent in Central Europe: The Art of Defeat

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-PRAGUE. Totalitarian ideologies which were used in European political discourse in the twentieth century to explain major historical changes have changed forever the relationship between the state and its citizens. The aspiration of the totalitarian state to acquire total control over individual lives through control of education, employment and health systems succeeded beyond anything perceived possible until then in any political regime after European Enlightenment. Nazism and Communism mobilized irrationally motivated mass support and won power in a very short time. Their success was partially based on a mass propaganda, using fear as primary instinctive argument against a picture of both external and internal enemies. The major focus of the course will be oriented towards topics trying to explain the reasons for mass support for totalitarian ideologies and states on the basis of individual psychology. We will examine psychological explanations of a selfvictimisation, role of a victim and a perpetrator, majority society response to mass human rights abuses and the abusive past. On this background a phenomenon of a political and cultural dissent will be introduced and discussed. The role of electronic mass media, antiglobalisation movements and global terrorism are discussed as possible modern vehicles of totalitarian tendencies and reactions against them.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1103 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
SP 2015

Pride and Power: Renaissance Revolutions in Art and Culture

4 units Tue Thu
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Bella Mirabella

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1103

Description

The Renaissance in Europe remains one of the most creative, prolific, and dramatic eras in human history. It was a period in which tumultuous events—such as the bubonic plague, the Protestant Reformation, revolutions in science, political transformation and intrigue—were accompanied by an unprecendented explosion in the arts, with the work of Dante, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, and many female writers such as Christine de Pizan, Gaspara Stampa and Veronica Franca. This course examines the politics, literature, philosophy, visual arts, and music of this period, as well as the social behavior of manners, morality, and the role of the Other, such as women and Jews. We will explore the new ideas about existence, the self, and humankind fostered by humanism, philosophy, and the arts. Readings may include Christine de Pizan’s The Treasure of the City of Ladies , Machiavelli’s The Prince , Castiglione’s The Courtier , Shakespeare’s plays, and the work of the Italian female poet, Gaspara Stampa.

Notes

Same as MEDI-UA 994 001.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1752 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
WI 2015

This Mediated Life: An Introduction to the Study of Mass Media

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu
10:00 AM - 1:30 PM
Julian Cornell

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1752

Description

This interdisciplinary seminar will provide an intensive introduction to the study of mass media. Utilizing wide ranging critical and theoretical methodologies, the course will consider how media alternately reflects and forms our sense of politics, economics, race, gender, sexuality and citizenship. The course will be concerned with questions such as: What function does mass media serve for society? How does a media saturated cultural environment shape our identity? How do mass media forms delineate and naturalize prevailing ideologies and ways of being in the world? Can media provide a means to challenge cultural and political hegemony? Readings will be drawn from Berger’s Media Analysis Techniques , Jenkins’ Convergence Culture , Levinson’s New New Media as well as the anthologies The Media Studies Reader and Gender, Race and Class in the Media and the course will include excerpts from the films The Dark Knight Returns, The Matrix, The Truman Show, and Wag the Dog , television shows such as 60 Minutes, Family Guy, The Simpsons, South Park and The X-Files , and a selection of other media forms, including blogs, radio shows, podcasts, graphic novels, magazines, music videos, social media sites and videogames.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1827 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
WI 2015

Justice, Tragedy and Philosophy: Politics in Ancient Greece

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu
10:00 AM - 1:30 PM
Justin Holt

Description

This course is an introduction to the tragedy and philosophy of ancient Athens. We are especially interested in exploring concepts of guilt, justice, and the good, as these are developed in diverging ways by tragedians and philosophers. What role does free will play in politics? What does the invention of philosophy tell us about changing attitudes toward politics? Can justice be decided by a political body or must humans conform to an eternal standard? What is the correct way to educate the young? Is the good attainable and what is its relationship to happiness and pleasure? Is democracy possible or must we be ruled by the virtuous and the wise? What place does divinity and revelation have in politics? Does philosophy have a unique vantage point to discuss political questions? Is the emphasis in tragedy on imperfect knowledge a legitimate political concern? These issues will be considered by reading the following works: Aeschylus' Oresteia , Sophocles' Three Theban Plays, Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, and Plato's Republic.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1563 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Women’s Text(iles)

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Myisha Priest

Description

Textile arts have been so firmly linked with women’s writing that one of the central metaphors of women’s writing traditions has become the metaphor of the quilt. This course explores this metaphor that proposes the making of beautiful, functional wholes out of fragments and scraps, using it to explore the cultural work of African American women and to illuminate connections between writers and artists. This rich intersection of writing and art allows us to consider broader questions about power; we investigate the ways in which the written works and textiles articulate, challenge and transform representations of race, gender, sexuality, as well as the meanings of art. This course takes us out into the city, where we view the textile creations of Black women artists like Faith Ringgold, Brenda Amina Robinson and Carrie Mae Weems at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the American Craft Museum, and the Museum of Folk Art. Written texts may include: Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye; Gloria Naylor, Mama Day; Faith Ringgold, Tar Beach ; Ntozake Shange, Sassafras, Cypress and Indigo . We also participate in a quilt-making workshop, where each student creates his or her own textile interpretation of the major issues of the course.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1777 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Sex Crimes, Sex Panics

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Cyd Cipolla

Description

The idea of the incorrigible sexual monster still lingers in the discourses of medicine and law. This fact is never plainer than in the moments of crisis and panic following revelations of sexual misconduct. Through analysis of historical case studies and discussion of recent events, students in this class will explore ways that sexuality has been criminalized (and decriminalized) and pathologized (and depathologized). Students will choose one case study and prepare a final research project on this case. Readings include works by Gayle Rubin, Michel Foucault, Cesar Lombroso, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Ann Fausto-Sterling, Stanley Cohen, and Nicole Hahn Rafter.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1675 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Popular Dance and American Cultural Identity

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Julie Malnig

Description

The course will examine forms of what are known as “social” or popular dance as expressions of cultural or group identity from approximately the 18th century to the present. These dances, from the secular tradition of American social dance, include those performed in ballrooms, cabarets, nightclubs, cabarets, discotheques, and the street. The seminar will explore various social and popular dance styles developed as a result of the rich fusions of West African, African American, Euro-American, and Latin American forms of dance within the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. Topics may include the colonial era and the dances of George Washington; ragtime couple dance and the New Woman; the lindy-hop and the crossing racial boundaries; and teen dances and youth rebellion of the 1950s. In all cases, we will explore social and popular dance forms as experiences of movement that both respond and give shape to social, cultural, and political issues of the day. In addition to extensive viewing of dance, readings will include Ellis, The Dance of Life , Dickens, American Notes : and The Uncommercial Traveler : Fitzgerald, Flappers and Philosophers; Sante, Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York ; Malnig, Ballroom, Boogie, Shimmy Sham, Shake: A Social and Popular Dance Reader; Linda Tomko, Dancing Class: Gender, Ethnicity, and Social Divides in American Dance; Peiss, Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in Turn of the Century New Yor k; Jacqui Malone, Steppin’ on the Blues: The Visible Rhythms of African American Dance ; Dinerstein, Swinging the Machine: Modernity, Technology, and African American Culture Between the World Wars ; Hine, The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9200 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

FLORENCE: History of Italian Fashion

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-FLORENCE. Students trace the birth, evolution, decline, revival, and most recent developments of Italian fashion from the Late Gothic Age to the present "made in Italy" design. Italian fashion styles are decoded in relation to art history in an international, social and economic context. Fashion and its connections with culture, subculture, gender and communication are emphasized. On-site visits also illustrate the dominating role of Florence in fashion from its origin until now. Conducted in English.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9102 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

BERLIN: Topics in German Cinema

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-BERLIN. Course description coming soon.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9352 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

PARIS: Topics in French Literature: Paris Modern Literature & Art

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-PARIS. Course description coming soon.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1685 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Reading, Performing, and Creating James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake

2 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Gregory Erickson

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1685

Description

Finnegans Wake is often described as the most difficult work of literature ever written, and it is still debated whether the novel is a masterpiece or an elaborate hoax. This class will be part interdisciplinary seminar and part arts workshop. Half of the class will be devoted to the work itself. We will read short sections of the Wake in concert with various commentaries, histories, and annotations, exploring possible “meanings” the text suggests. The other half of the class will engage with artistic pieces that have been inspired by or that incorporate elements of Finnegans Wake , including visual art, film, music, sound art, theater, and dance. Students will study these pieces (for example John Cage’s sound piece Roaratoriao and Ulick O’Conner’s one act play Joyicity ) as well as create and present their own creative works. Class requirements will include an analytical paper and a creative work. The course will also feature invited guest speakers and artists.

Notes

Course meets during the first seven weeks only, First Class: January 27; Last Class: March 12.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1807 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Dystopian Fictions

4 units Tue
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Anne DeWitt

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1807

Description

Science fiction is centrally concerned with the question, “How could things be different?” Often, it has answered that question by imagining that things are much worse. And sometimes, it has imagined that things are much better. This course focuses on dystopian and utopian science fiction in both literature and film. What constitutes dystopia within these texts? How do they envision utopia? How do these fictions draw on and develop problems and scientific ideas from their historical contexts? Our investigation of these questions will be informed by readings in the cultural, scientific, and philosophical contexts of these works of fiction; we will also consider the development of science fiction and important critical statements about the genre. Texts studied may include H. G. Wells, The Time Machine ; Fritz Lang, Metropolis ; Yevgeny Zamyatin, We ; George Orwell, 1984 ; Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale ; Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go ; Andy and Lana Wachowski, The Matrix (1999) ; Ursula LeGuin, The Dispossessed . The class culminates with a research paper that asks students to investigate a work of dystopian or utopian fiction of their choosing.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1426 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Boundary Crossings

4 units Tue Thu
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
E. Frances White

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1426

Description

The words we use to categorize people are proliferating, signaling the increasing instability of our cultural categories for describing race, gender, and sexuality. But is this instability and border crossing a new phenomenon or are we simply more aware of the tenuousness of identity? How are we to understand this explosion of identities and conscious border crossings? We will explore such questions from a historical perspective, beginning with the eighteenth century and ending in the mid-twentieth century. To further focus our discussions, we pay particular attention to racial and gender boundary crossing. Where possible, we will look for circumstances where these racial and gender boundaries intersect. Throughout the course, we hope to give students a historical context for understanding the various ways people cross-cultural boundaries and to alert students to the ways race, gender, and sexuality can be intertwined. Writers we will most likely read include: Nella Larsen, Lisa Duggan, Judith Butler, James Weldon Johnson, and Ross Chambers. Films we may study include Imitation of Life and Looking for Langston.

Notes

Same as SCA 721 001.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1772 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2015

Music and Civic Culture: Ancient and Modern

4 units Mon Wed
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Bruce King

Description

This course examines the role of music theory and musical performance in the formation of community, actual and utopic. We will begin our study with the musical, mathematical, and mystical thought of Pythagoras and his followers in the short-lived utopian community of Croton: How is “the Music of the Spheres” a paradigm both for ethical action within the community and for the progress of the soul within the cosmos? From Croton, we will turn to debates about music and civic culture in fifth-century democratic Athens: What forms of music and poetry sustain and subvert citizens and states? Is there a particularly “democratic” form of music? (Readings from Aeschylus, Euripides, Aristophanes, Plato, and Aristotle.) From ancient Greece, we will then turn to the late-nineteenth century efforts of Wagner, partially inspired by Athenian tragedy, to create the “Total Work of Art” in his operas (especially Das Rheingold and Die Walküre) and in the festival at Bayreuth; we will also read Nietzsche’s (and Adorno’s) responses to Greek tragedy and to Wagner. Finally, we will consider some twentieth-century experiments in music and art, especially those associated with Fluxus (e.g. John Cage, Stockhausen, La Monte Young), in dialogue with our earlier readings.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1413 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Moral Behavior: Sentiment, Evolution, and Psychology

4 units Fri
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Justin Holt

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1413

Description

Emotions and sentiment have always been a problem for moral philosophy. Aristotle found emotions useful for the development of character but not as the Good in itself. Kant went even farther and considered all emotions as unnecessary and even dangerous for moral actions. But other thinkers, such as the British Moralists, have tried to understand the importance of emotions in moral motivations and they actually developed systems of morals based on emotions. In this course we will first develop a philosophic conception of moral action. Next we will consider how evolution has shaped the debate over the cause, significance, and status of actions and sentiments commonly considered as moral. Finally, we will read contemporary social psychology on the acquisition of moral sense and the causes of destructive behavior. Our main, but not exclusive, texts will be Kant’s Groundwork for a Metaphysics of Morals , Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning The Principles Of Morals , and Frans de Waa l’s Primates and Philosophers .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1817 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Politics of Reform in America

4 units Fri
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
David Huyssen

Description

This course examines reformers and reform movements advocating for social or legislative change in the United States, from the Progressive Era to the present day. In various areas of public debate – inequality, public morality, race relations, baseball, sexual practices, and educational policy, to name just a few – we will probe the relationship between reform efforts, forms of radicalism, and mainstream discourses. What role did reform movements play in transforming the United States? How should we define the limits to what “reform” has been able to achieve within the historical framework of American capitalism? Readings will include selections from Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives , Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s journalism, Jennifer Fronc’s New York Undercover , Ira Katznelson’s Fear Itself , as well as other primary and secondary sources.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1289 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Narrative Investigations II: Realism to Postmodernism

4 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Stacy Pies

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1289

Description

In this course, we will read philosophical dialogues and their modern successors, a novel and a play whose subjects are art and rhetoric. Ancient to modern writers have been fascinated with the power of art, and for each, ideas about art are connected to those about language and society. In our reading of Ion and Gorgias we will look at Plato's ideas on art, rhetoric (oratory), and power before his Republic . Phaedrus , written later, complements the discussion in earlier texts, developing Plato's ideas about the relation of the intellect, the emotions, and the appetites. We may also read Plato's Symposium to consider, as Tina Turner says, what love has to do with it. We will then discuss Diderot's Rameau's Nephew , which revisits some of Plato's themes from the perspective of the eighteenth century and the changing world of the Enlightenment. Finally, we will explore the dialogue form in the twentieth century through one modern novel, Virginia Woolf's Between the Acts and Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia . In our dialogue, we will explore not only at what these writers say, but how they say it, and speculate on how and why conversation, rather than monologue, can give rise to knowledge. Among the questions I hope we consider are the following: How are ideas born from conversation (and, I hope, our conversations)? What is the importance of human relationship in intellectual inquiry? How does the dialogue imply, and necessitate, our participation as readers? Readings may include works by Plato, Diderot, Stoppard, and Woolf.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1781 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

A Sense of Place

2 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Steve Hutkins

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1781

Description

This course examines the places in which we work and play, travel and dwell—the office tower and the suburban house, the city street and the superhighway, the small town and the megalopolis, the shopping mall and the theme park, the American road and foreign places. Synthesizing insights from literary works and fields like cultural geography, landscape studies, and architectural history, we explore such questions as: What gives a place its particular feel or character? How do our values and worldview affect the way we experience places, and what constitutes that experience? How do places—and the way they are represented in literature and other media—shape our attitudes and behavior? What gives a place "quality," and how can we design and build better places? Readings may include J. B. Jackson’s Landscape in Sight , Yi-Fu Tuan’s Space and Place , James Kunstler’s The Geography of Nowhere , D. J. Waldie’s Holy Land , Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities , and Michael Sorkin’s Twenty Minutes in Manhattan .

Notes

Course meets during the first seven weeks only, First Class: January 30; Last Class: March 13.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1340 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Hiroshima

4 units Wed
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Nina Cornyetz

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1340

Description

On August 6 1945 the city of Hiroshima in Japan was leveled by the first atomic bomb. On August 9, the city of Nagasaki was leveled by the second bomb. It is estimated that between 210,000 and 270,000 people were killed, some immediately, some from the radiation days or months later. These estimates do not include more long-term impacts of the radiation, such as birth defects, or various cancers. How can we, as human beings, make sense of these events? How can we cope with, and represent unthinkable trauma? What are the politics of such representation? What processes of healing are possible through remembering? Is it important to represent such traumas, and if so, why? This course will explore a selection of historical, literary, cinematic, and other venues in which this unrepresentable trauma was, and continues to be, indeed, represented. We will aim at exploring the processes of mourning, remembering, and representing collective cultural trauma. Readings will include: Hein and Selden, Living With the Bomb , Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others, LaCapra, Writing History, Writing Trauma, Sigmund Freud, “Mourning and Melancholia,” and selected short fiction, poetry and photographs. We will also view documentary footage and the narrative film Black Rain .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9254 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

LONDON: Fashion, Culture, and the Body

4 units

Description

This is a course that explores the relationship between ideas, the body and the way that fashion can be understood to mediate between the two. Through a range of disciplines and media this course considers the body as an aspect of not only medical and scientific exploration, but crucially as a vital element of culture and society. Bodies affect the ways in which the social world and power relations are organised, and they even arguably condition the way that we understand reality itself. Our physical form is constantly shaped according to both philosophies and fashions. Body ideals and broader ideals often interrelate strongly through bodily practices and with what we wear. There are meanings and fashions in all bodily forms (skinny, buxom, muscular, ideas of ‘whiteness’) and body practices (dieting, hair management, cleansing rituals, plastic surgery and genital cutting). Over the sessions, we will take a conceptual approach to fashion, as a strident condition of modern life, that incorporates politics, science and aesthetics and we will closely read a number of cultural texts against a number of theoretical models. Attitudes towards the body can vary widely according to historical period, and this course will explore how, in different moments, and via different media, we have been preoccupied with the aesthetics of different body zones, with displaying identity (gender, class and ethnicity), and also with power. Different cultural forms (literary, visual, material etc) will provide the focus of our discussions as they all engage with the different ways that we make meaning out of our bodies. Students will be invited to investigate in their written work set texts from class in addition to primary material of their own choice.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1828 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
SP 2015

Comparative Melancholies

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Andrea Gadberry

Description

Twentieth- and twenty-first-century thinkers looked back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as they theorized the black dog dogging modernity: melancholy. Our course will return to these earlier texts, putting early modern, Enlightenment, and Romantic literatures in conversation with modern and post-modern psychoanalytic, philosophical, and political-theoretical works. Our course will be both formal and historical. We will ask how our primary texts understand (and create) structures of melancholy and how these texts communicate the losses we cannot avow. And we’ll also examine how varying forms of melancholy have shaped our subjectivities and societies as we study a history of melancholy coinciding with and subtending modernity’s origins – a history that includes the emergence of the modern nation-state, of the colony, and of capital. Our seventeenth- and eighteenth-century texts will include: Shakespeare, Hamlet; Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (selections); Defoe, Robinson Crusoe; Charles Brockden Brown, Wieland; Claire de Durfort Duras, Ourika; Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther; and poems by Coleridge, Blair, Young, Keats, and others. Among our modern readings will be works by Freud, Lacan, Benjamin, Butler, Fanon, Brown, Klein, Kristeva, and others.

Notes

Same as COLIT-UA 175.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1830 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SU 2015

Arab Cinema(s)

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu
12:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Sinan Antoon

Description

The Arab world is a vast region encompassing vibrant societies and dynamic cultures, but its geopolitical importance and a resilient Orientalism often reduce it to Hollywoodish stereotypes and misrepresentations. One way of transcending these misrepresentations is to ask: How do Arab filmmakers represent their own reality cinematically? This course introduces students to contemporary Arab cinema. We will begin by briefly examining the introduction of the medium in colonial times and trace its development both as an industry as well as an art form through the national era all the way to the neoliberal present. We will view and critically examine a number of selected films that represent the diversity of the region, but also the shared concerns and common sociopolitical struggles and challenges facing its societies. We will focus on key moments, both aesthetically and politically, and will explore how filmmakers negotiate and represent the following: anti-colonialism and liberation, nationalism and national identity, gender and sexuality, communal strife and civil wars, class struggle and social justice, globalization and neoliberalism, and the recent revolts. Texts will include Said’s “Orientalism,” Shafik’s “Arab Cinema,” Khatib’s “Filming the Modern Middle East.” Films will include Chahine’s “Alexandria Why?”Abu As`ad’s “Paradise Now” Tlatli’s “Silence of the Palace,” and Oday Rasheed’s “Quarantine.”

Notes

Session I Intensive: June 15 - July 2

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

TRAVL-UG9500 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SU 2015

Berlin: Capital of Modernity

4 units
Karen Hornick

Description

Application: http://gallatin.nyu.edu/utilities/forms/summersaapp.html For more information: http://gallatin.nyu.edu/academics/undergraduate/global/travelcourses/berlin.html Description: THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT N.Y.U. BERLIN. Some of the most thrilling, momentous, and terrible events of the 1900’s occurred in Berlin, Germany. Today, Berlin's streets, buildings, and cultural monuments offer tales of warning and inspiration to the present century about the folly of nationalist ambition; inspiring sagas of intellectual and physical courage; cold testimonials of crime and retribution; lyrical ballads of brutal honesty; personal records of hope and despair. This course, set in the heart of that city, will take in many of the sights and sounds of old and contemporary Berlin. We will focus on the involvement of twentieth-century politicians and activists, artists and architects, bohemians and intellectuals with the causes, experience, and far-reaching consequences of World War II. Our period of study begins just after World War I and focuses first on the turbulent politics and culture of Weimar Berlin in the 1920's. Then we consider the consolidation of Nazi power in the 1930's when Hitler declared Berlin his capital, and the seige on Berlin of 1945 that ended Hitler's Reich once and for all. We look next at life in Berlin during the Cold War years and pay particular attention to the impact of the Wall (built in 1961) on the imaginations and realities of Berlin's citizens, and finally we assess our experiences of this reunited city as the the astonishing building boom that followed the fall of the Wall in 1989 slows down and the city faces its future as an EU capital. Required class meetings include several seminars a week as well as related field trips intended to deepen our understanding of the readings, as well as the rich resources of the city’s museums, neighborhoods, historical sites, memorials, and cultural monuments. There is a lot of required reading but students will find ample opportunity to explore Berlin and develop their own individual projects. The course is taught in English but we also provide a few voluntary survival German language classes.

Notes

This four-week course meets in Berlin, June 1 - June 27. Permission required. Application deadline is March 1, 2015. For more information and to apply, please click on course title and link to application.

Type

Travel Courses (TRAVL-UG)

IDSEM-UG1239 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SU 2015

Classic Texts and Contemporary Life

4 units Tue Thu
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Antonio Rutigliano

Description

This course examines several “classic” texts to understand both their own intrinsic merit and their influence on society from their inception until our own time. Our emphasis, indeed, is on using these texts to understand our lives and world now. We explore classic texts in relation to contemporary life’s dilemmas of consumerism and spiritualism, individual rights and community rights, vocation and career, God and the afterlife, rebellion and escape from freedom. Readings may include Aeschylus’ The Oresteia , Sappho’s Poems , Plato’s Republic , Lucretius’ On the Nature of the Universe , Ovid’s Metamorphoses  or Cicero’s On the Laws , Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales or Cervantes’s Don Quixote .

Notes

Session I: May 26 - July 2

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

TRAVL-GG2060 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
SU 2015

Italian Renaissance, Art and Literature: The Culture Explosion

4 units
Bella Mirabella

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT N.Y.U. FLORENCE. During a three-week, interdisciplinary program in beautiful and historic Florence, Italy, students are offered a total immersion and multifaceted learning experience that is an essential beginning to understanding our modern world through the lens of the Italian Renaissance. This course explores the literature, culture, art, and thought of the Renaissance from multiple perspectives. During their stay, students develop and present an individualized project based on their academic interests and background, and the ways in which the Renaissance has inspired them. As a quintessential Gallatin experience, the course places emphasis on the cultural and historical contexts from which the literature and art of Renaissance Florence emerged. Readings might include the works of Dante, Pico Della Mirandola, Machiavelli, and selected female writers, as well as art texts such as Vasari's The Lives of the Artists . In addition, students study the art of Florentine painters such as Botticelli, Giotto, and Michelangelo in the places where these works were created. Throughout the course, students will visit museums and churches such as the Uffizi, The Duomo, the church of Santa Maria Novella, and the monastery of San Marco to engage fully with the art and architecture of Renaissance Italy. Classes, which are taught in English, meet four days a week.

Notes

Course meets in Florence, June 7 - 27

Type

Travel Courses (TRAVL-GG)

IDSEM-UG1494 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SU 2015

Monsters in Popular Culture: Invented, Awakened, Invading

4 units Tue Thu
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Patricia Lennox

Description

From the earliest myths to the latest big-budget action film, powerful monsters continue to menace the innocent and frighten the listener/reader/viewer. Monsters have been pivotal to folk tales, myths, literary texts, and films. These hybrids of living creatures and otherness have endured since the beginnings of time and inhabit both the ancient and modern imagination. In the nineteenth century, they became intertwined with immigration, industrialization, and scientific experiments. By the end of that century, the psychological monster emerged whose terror lies in its grip on the subconscious. Modern monster stories and films are often sites of veiled political commentary. Post World War II, the shock of the atomic and hydrogen bombs released a new generation on screen of radioactive primitive monsters, while space exploration created another group of alien monsters. In this course, our monsters will include, but not be limited to Frankenstein's Creature, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Nosferatu, Godzilla (including the original Japanese Godjira), King Kong, assorted Blobs, Things, and Aliens, as well as creatures from the worlds of Harry Potter and Bilbo Baggins. The reading/viewing material will include a mix of fiction, films, and critical articles.

Notes

Session II: July 6 - August 14

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9400 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

PRAGUE: Modern Dissent in Central Europe: The Art of Defeat

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-PRAGUE. Totalitarian ideologies which were used in European political discourse in the twentieth century to explain major historical changes have changed forever the relationship between the state and its citizens. The aspiration of the totalitarian state to acquire total control over individual lives through control of education, employment and health systems succeeded beyond anything perceived possible until then in any political regime after European Enlightenment. Nazism and Communism mobilized irrationally motivated mass support and won power in a very short time. Their success was partially based on a mass propaganda, using fear as primary instinctive argument against a picture of both external and internal enemies. The major focus of the course will be oriented towards topics trying to explain the reasons for mass support for totalitarian ideologies and states on the basis of individual psychology. We will examine psychological explanations of a selfvictimisation, role of a victim and a perpetrator, majority society response to mass human rights abuses and the abusive past. On this background a phenomenon of a political and cultural dissent will be introduced and discussed. The role of electronic mass media, antiglobalisation movements and global terrorism are discussed as possible modern vehicles of totalitarian tendencies and reactions against them

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1854 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2015

Architecture and the Modern

4 units Mon Wed
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Anooradha Siddiqi

Description

This course examines a global framework for “the modern,” using architecture and urbanism as concrete objects for the study of this contentious category in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The theory and practice of architecture and urbanism embody and yet contest the universalizing aspirations of concepts of modernism, modernization, and modernity, as highly specific cultural, political, social, and technological enterprises. Taking as a premise that architecture is a site and subject for critical inquiry, what does it tell us about modernities, globalization, and politics, as well as history, theory, and criticism as epistemological approaches? In addition to a range of cultural theorists and historians of architecture and urbanism, students will be introduced to a critical selection of architects and architectural voices from the past and present, each with some stake in (or counter-claim against) the “modern,” including practitioners, critics, and institutions—from Le Corbusier to Rem Koolhaas, Reyner Banham to Manfredo Tafuri, the Bauhaus to the Rural Studio, and the Museum of Modern Art to the City of New York. We will engage architectural concepts and designs by learning to critically read and assess drawings and buildings closely within their historical contexts, drawing on designs, built artifacts, journals, books, films, and web-based materials. The class will also visit significant local works, archives, and institutions.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9150 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2015

BUENOS AIRES: Tango and Mass Culture (in Spanish)

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-BUENOS AIRES. This course explores Tango as an aesthetic, social and cultural formation that is articulated in interesting and complex ways with the traditions of culture and politics in Argentina and Latin America more generally. During the rapid modernization of the 1920s and 1930s, Tango (like Brazilian Samba), which had been seen as a primitive and exotic dance, began to emerge as a kind of modern primative art form that quickly came to occupy a central space in nationalist discourse. The course explores the way that perceptions of a primative and a modern converge in this unique and exciting art. In addition, the course will consider tango as a global metaphor with deeply embedded connections to urban poverty, social marginalization, and masculine authority.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1603 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Modern Poetry and the Actual World

4 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Lisa Goldfarb

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1603

Description

Although lyric poetry is the art of language that we reserve for the expression of the emotional dimension of our human experience, lyric poets also importantly use the forms and conventions of their art to respond to the shape and substance of the world they inhabit; that is, the historical, political, and physical aspects of the world—the “actual world”—in which they live. This course has two principal aims: first, to help us to develop skills in the reading of lyric poetry, and, second, to consider the complex relation between lyric poetry and the actual world. In the first half of the class, we will study the forms and conventions of lyric poetry and work on developing our poetic sensibilities. In the second half, we will focus our attention on the relationship of modern poets to the concrete or actual world and focus our study on W.H. Auden and Wallace Stevens, two poets who address the pressing questions of their day, and the world they shared, in strikingly different ways. Yet, however different their approaches, both poets ponder questions of faith and secularity, consider heroism and loss in a century marked by war, and probe our human relationship to nature in answer to an increasingly industrialized and technological world. Readings will include texts that consider how to read lyric poetry (Hirsch, Vendler, Perloff), a representative selection of modern lyric poetry (Eliot, Pound, Valéry, Éluard, Apollinaire, Moore, H.D., Bishop, Hughes, Brooks, Rich), the works of Auden and Stevens (essays and poems), as well as the philosophical, historical and political narratives to which they refer and that inform their work (Freud, Nietzsche, William James, Santayana).

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1640 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
FA 2015

The History of Kindness

4 units Mon Wed
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Andrew Romig

Description

How have human beings conceived and represented benevolent behavior toward others differently across time and place? In this course, we will explore the history of the concepts, ideals, and behaviors that we associate with the modern English word, "kindness" -- a story that begins in the classical world and unfolds slowly through two millennia into the present day. We will connect ancient debates about human nature, the practice of justice, and moral responsibility, to recent studies concerning the evolutionary biology of altruism (is there a "kindness gene"?), sociological studies of gender difference (is hostility a male trait?), and anthropological studies of how culture regulates conduct. We will study the rise of state-sponsored morality and the ways in which ideals of social welfare have changed over time. Key texts will include Plato's Republic, The Gospel of Matthew, Augustine's City of God, Dhuoda's handbook for her son, Chaucer's Tale of Melibee, Voltaire's Treatise on Tolerance, and Ghandi's The Story of My Experiments with Truth. As part of the course, students will also conduct individual studies of how "kindness" is defined, enacted, and organized throughout the New York metropolitan area today, with the opportunity to combine research with internship work.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1750 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Good Design: Scale

4 units Tue Thu
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Louise Harpman

Description

Good Design takes as its premise that visual literacy is a vital yet under-examined area of academic discourse. Although we engage the designed environment every day, non-specialists have few ways to make sense of the myriad decisions that come together to form things and places. Through a combination of reading, drawing, writing, and model-making, this course asks students to examine the complex intersections between analyzing existing designs and creating new work. One central question is whether design principles that operate at a small scale, say the scale of a hand-held object, are also appropriate at a larger scale, like the scale of human habitation. The course uses scale as a lens through which to engage this question, as readings and projects consider the design of something you can hold (such as a tool), the design of something that can hold the body (such as clothing or furniture), and something that can be inhabited (such as a dwelling). Discussions of the readings, analytic writing, and presentation of student-designed work will structure the majority of course meetings. Authors will include: Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. and the original Museum of Modern Art curatorial Good Design texts from the 1950s; Paola Antonelli, Humble Masterpieces: Everyday Marvels of Design; Pietra Rivoli, The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy; Jay Greene, Design is How It Works; Richard Dyer, White. Field trips to MoMA and other design museums are scheduled.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9151 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2015

BUENOS AIRES: Myths, Icons, and Invented Traditions: A Cultural History of Latin America

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-BUENOS AIRES. Mitos, íconos y tradiciones inventadas is an advanced conversation course, which seeks to make students familiar with the rich and complex history of Latin America through the study of some of its most known and iconic cultural expressions. It does also work as an introductory map to the most influential and widespread approaches in Latin American social sciences, cultural studies and literary criticism. Thus, students will not only have a first encounter with key historical processes that lie behind some well know cultural icons, but also will be introduced to arguments and ways of writing that help constitute modern Latin American educated Spanish. The course will be structured in seven topics; each topic will be covered in two weeks. During these four classes, students will be exposed to different kinds of cultural materials, including literary texts, film, papers from several disciplines, theater plays, art shows and live concerts.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9254 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

LONDON: Fashion, Culture, and the Body

4 units

Description

This is a course that explores the relationship between ideas, the body and the way that fashion can be understood to mediate between the two. Through a range of disciplines and media this course considers the body as an aspect of not only medical and scientific exploration, but crucially as a vital element of culture and society. Bodies affect the ways in which the social world and power relations are organised, and they even arguably condition the way that we understand reality itself. Our physical form is constantly shaped according to both philosophies and fashions. Body ideals and broader ideals often interrelate strongly through bodily practices and with what we wear. There are meanings and fashions in all bodily forms (skinny, buxom, muscular, ideas of ‘whiteness’) and body practices (dieting, hair management, cleansing rituals, plastic surgery and genital cutting). Over the sessions, we will take a conceptual approach to fashion, as a strident condition of modern life, that incorporates politics, science and aesthetics and we will closely read a number of cultural texts against a number of theoretical models. Attitudes towards the body can vary widely according to historical period, and this course will explore how, in different moments, and via different media, we have been preoccupied with the aesthetics of different body zones, with displaying identity (gender, class and ethnicity), and also with power. Different cultural forms (literary, visual, material etc) will provide the focus of our discussions as they all engage with the different ways that we make meaning out of our bodies. Students will be invited to investigate in their written work set texts from class in addition to primary material of their own choice.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9202 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

FLORENCE: Topics in 20th Century Literature: The Two World Wars in Literature

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-FLORENCE. This course focuses on literary representations of WWI and WWII. The online course pack includes examples of the political and military rhetoric to which Montale and Hemingway objected, historical essays and images (war photographs, recruitment posters, etc.), as well as the shorter texts we are studying. Central themes in the course are the concepts of political literature and historical fiction and the contrasting approaches and theoretical premises of classical realism and modernism. Among the supplementary sources available in the Villa Ulivi library are two good cultural histories on the subject: James Shehan Where Have All the Soldiers Gone and Mark Mazower Dark Continent. Other recurring issues will be gender, sexuality, religion, class politics, kitsch, psychoanalysis, rhetoric, and power.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9200 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

FLORENCE: History of Italian Fashion

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-FLORENCE. Students trace the birth, evolution, decline, revival, and most recent developments of Italian fashion from the Late Gothic Age to the present "made in Italy" design. Italian fashion styles are decoded in relation to art history in an international, social and economic context. Fashion and its connections with culture, subculture, gender and communication are emphasized. On-site visits also illustrate the dominating role of Florence in fashion from its origin until now. Conducted in English.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1731 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Gender Undone: Fiction, Film, and Feminist Theory

4 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Meghan Fox

Description

Is gender something one has or something one does? What does it mean to “do” a feminist reading of a text or a film? How might feminist theory endeavor to both describe and undo cultural constructions of gender? This course will explore these questions by reading a range of theoretical and literary texts that elaborate historical, medical, psychoanalytic, and cultural models of gender and sexuality. We will read critics and theorists who have become central to contemporary feminism, including Freud, Foucault, Butler, Halberstam, Ahmed, and Fausto-Sterling, among others. We will pay particular attention to literary texts that have been productive for feminist and queer formulations of gender, including work by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Gloria Anzaldúa, Nella Larsen, James Baldwin, and Alison Bechdel. Finally, we will screen several films that invite viewers to reform or rethink their own perceptions of gender, including  Orlando, Southern Comfort , and  Paris is Burning . Topics we will discuss include gender norms, the psychosomatic, the gaze, transgender theory, and performativity.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9250 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

LONDON: Seeing London's Architecture

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-LONDON. London, like New York is a rich and complicated city. Unlike New York however, it has been continuously occupied for just under 2000 years. Almost every epoch of London’s history can be detected in the city’s architecture and distinctive streetscape. This course is designed to work in three ways. Firstly it is an opportunity to learn about London’s architecture and art by physically exploring it. Secondly this class is an introduction to sketching and keeping a travel notebook, a basic and useful skill that any liberal arts student should have an experience of. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this course teaches how to 'read' a town or city. The ability to visually make sense of European built-environment should really help in understanding the architecture of New York City and, of course, town and cities throughout the United States, and anywhere else.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1357 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
FA 2015

The Qur'an

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Sinan Antoon

Description

The political upheavals and events of recent years have focused much attention on “Islam” and its cultures and texts, especially the Qur’an. Most of the attention and interest in the Qur’an, however, has been reductive and superficial, amounting to no more than de-contextualized misreadings of certain verses in most cases. This seminar will serve as an introduction to the Qur’an as scripture, but also as a generative and polyphonic cultural text. We will start with a brief look at the legacy of Qur’anic studies within the larger paradigm of Orientalist scholarship and “Western” approaches to all things Islamic. We will, then, address the historical and cultural background and context of the Qur’an’s genesis as an oral revelation, its intimate affinities with Biblical and Near Eastern narratives, and its transformation into a written and canonized text after the death of Muhammad. We will then examine the Qur’an’s structure as a “book” and read selections from its most famous chapters and explore how they were deployed in various discourses as Islam became the official religion of a civilization and an empire. Readings and discussions will focus on the themes of prophecy, gender and sexuality, violence and peace. The seminar neither assumes nor requires any prior knowledge of Islamic studies or Arabic.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1504 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Guilty Subjects: Guilt in Literature, Law and Psychoanalysis

4 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Sara Murphy

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1504

Description

This seminar will explore guilt as the link between the three broad disciplinary arenas of our title. Literary works from ancient tragedy to the modern novel thematize guilt in various ways. Freud places it at the center of his practice and his theory of mind. While law seems reliant mainly upon a formal attribution of guilt in order to determine who gets punished and to what degree, we might also suggest it relies upon “guilty subjects” for its operation. With all of these different deployments of the concept, we might agree it is a central one, yet how to define it remains a substantial question. Is the prominence of guilt in modern Western culture a vestige of a now-lost religious world? Is it, as Nietzsche suggests, an effect of “the most profound change man ever experienced when he finally found himself enclosed within the wall of society and of peace?” Freud seems to concur when he argues that guilt must be understood as a kind of internal self-division where aggressivity is turned against the self. Is guilt a pointless self-punishment, meant to discipline us? Or does it continue to have an important relation to the ethical? Readings may include Freud, Nietzsche, Foucault, Slavoj Zizek, Toni Morrison, Ursula LeGuin, W.G. Sebald, and some case law, among others.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1387 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

The Photographic Imaginary

4 units Wed
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Eve Meltzer

Description

In this seminar we will examine some of the most provocative ways in which photography has been imagined and practiced over the past century and a half, from early accounts of the daguerreotype to recent work on the digital image. Through close examination of photographic practices and works, as well as the critical discourses that have grown up around them, we will endeavor to understand not just what André Bazin calls the “ontology” of the photographic image, but also how the photograph gets thought about, talked about, utilized and, in turn, produced fantasmatically as a particular kind of object and a special way of picturing. Readings may include Barthes, Batchen, Bazin, Benjamin, Fox Talbot, Kracauer, Marcuse, Metz, Silverman,Sontag, Tagg, Wall.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9403 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

PRAGUE: Central European Film

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-PRAGUE. This interdisciplinary seminar is designed to discuss and question the identity of specific nations in European space, which has always been a fascinating crossroad of ideas and ideologies as well as the birthplace of wars and totalitarian systems. The course will cover masterpieces of Russian, Hungarian, German, Polish and Czech cinematography, focusing on several crucial periods of history, in particular WWII and its aftermath, showing moral dilemmas of individuals and nations under the Nazi regime as well as revealing the bitter truth of the Stalinist years.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1711 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2015

Politics, Writing and the Nobel Prize in Latin America

4 units Mon Wed
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Linn Cary Mehta

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1711

Description

In the course of the twentieth century, seven Latin American authors have won the Nobel Prize: Gabriela Mistral (1945); Miguel Angel Asturias (1967); Pablo Neruda (1971); Gabriel García Márquez (1982); Octavio Paz (1990); Rigoberto Menchú (Peace Prize, 1992); Mario Vargas Llosa (2010). Together, they give us a chance to consider some of the major literary and political movements in Latin America leading up to the present. Through novels and autobiography, Asturias and Menchú explore very different aspects of the indigenous struggle in Guatemala; the poetry of Mistral and Neruda reveals the successive influences of surrealism, communism, socialism, up to the eve of the Pinochet coup in Chile; the novels of García Márquez in Colombia and Vargas Llosa in Peru embody different sides of magical realism; and Paz, in Mexico, in his poetry and essays, represents a country that has been a literary cornerstone of Latin America. We will look at these authors in the context of the history, politics, and anthropology of their respective countries, and conclude by considering a few authors who did not get the prize but were equally deserving,such as Jorge Luis Borges and Roberto Bolaño.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1775 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Contemporary Visual Culture and the Politics of Images

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Lauren Walsh

Description

In this course students learn to think about the reading and writing practices of contemporary visual culture. What does it mean to “read” an image? How are images used politically? Is what is “un-seen” as important as what is seen? Students tackle philosophical, ethical, and political questions, and are encouraged to pursue topics of individual interest for assigned papers and projects. We will ground our discussions in relevant theory and will explore all manner of visual genres, including the graphic novel form, film, magazine ads, and photography. In examining the politics of visual images, this course places special, extended emphasis on images in the context of war and humanitarian crises. Throughout, we will think about our own roles in contemporary visual culture; we are consumers, participators, and creators, and sometimes we have no power over images. What does this mean for us when considered through, for example, an ethical or aesthetic or humanitarian lens? Critical literature by Susan Sontag, Susie Linfield, Scott McCloud, and Marita Sturken, among others, will inform our discussions and deepen student writing. Our syllabus also includes journalistic accounts and war photography, as well as at least one piece by the writer and documentary filmmaker Errol Morris. Students will write reaction papers, longer essays, and have the option of a visual project.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1752 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

This Mediated Life: An Introduction to the Study of Mass Media

4 units Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Julian Cornell

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1752

Description

This interdisciplinary seminar will provide an intensive introduction to the study of mass media. Utilizing wide ranging critical and theoretical methodologies, the course will consider how media alternately reflects and forms our sense of politics, economics, race, gender, sexuality and citizenship. The course will be concerned with questions such as: What function does mass media serve for society? How does a media saturated cultural environment shape our identity? How do mass media forms delineate and naturalize prevailing ideologies and ways of being in the world? Can media provide a means to challenge cultural and political hegemony? Readings will be drawn from Berger’s  Media Analysis Techniques  and Jenkins’  Convergence Culture  as well as the anthologies  The Media Studies Reader  and  Gender, Race and Class in the Media  and the course will include excerpts from the films  The Dark Knight Rises ,  Idiocracy   The   Truman Show ,  Network, The Secret  and  The Bling Ring , television shows  60 Minutes, Ways of Seeing The Simpsons, South Park  and  The X-Files , radio programs  Amos ‘N Andy, Burns and Allen, This American Life  and  The War of the Worlds , as well as a selection of other media forms, including blogs, graphic novels, newspapers, magazines, music videos, social media sites and video games.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1842 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
FA 2015

Ancients vs. Moderns

4 units Mon
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Frederic Clark

Description

Ancients and moderns have participated in constant dialogue—sometimes friendly, and sometimes hostile—that still shapes the complexities of our own approaches to the past today. This relationship has been figured in the metaphor of the modern dwarf standing atop the shoulders of the ancient giant, and seeing further thanks to the giant’s tall stature. This trope goes back to the Middle Ages, when medieval thinkers used it to express their relationship to the philosophers, poets, and historians of ancient Greece and Rome. While elegant, the phrase is decidedly ambiguous. Is the present better than the past? Or is the present only praiseworthy because of the past that preceded it? Could moderns ever be giants too? And what of conflicts, when moderns preferred to stand on their own two feet instead? As we will see, the story of “ancients vs. moderns” often proved counterintuitive. Moderns did not always advocate what we might regard as progress, nor did ancients always adopt outlooks that we might think traditional. This seminar traces approximately two millennia of conflict and compromise between so-called “ancients” and “moderns”—from ancient Greece to the world of revolutionary France and America. Students will explore competing constructions of antiquity and modernity through primary source readings from Cicero, Augustine, Peter Abelard, Petrarch, Erasmus, Bacon, Descartes, Gibbon and others.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9401 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2015

PRAGUE: Kafka and His Contexts

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-PRAGUE. "A book must be an ax for the frozen sea in us," wrote Franz Kafka (1883-1924), one of the best known but least understood authors of our times. In this course, we will break some of the clichés which are stuck to Kafka's life and work and dive into the fascinating, intricate and profoundly humorous world of his thoughts and emotions. In Prague, the city that determined and held Kafka in its "claws", we will trace the possible sources of the writer's private obsessions which became the general characteristics of modern men: The sense of isolation, the anxiety, the self-irony, the sense of responsibility and guilt, the quest for freedom, the struggle of an individual against the system. We will read selected works of Kafka, but also Meyrink - the author of Prague ghetto - and Milan Kundera. This course aims to bring the students to a point from which they can find their own genuine and intimate understanding of Kafka's writing.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1523 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2015

Feminism, Empire and Postcoloniality

4 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Marie Cruz Soto

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1523

Description

Jamaica Kincaid once said, “I now consider anger as a badge of honor. [It is] the first step to claiming yourself.” Anger, rather than Betty Friedan’s “problem that has no name,” has haunted the life of many women whose negotiations of the meaning of gender, race and sexuality are marked by the violence of colonial-imperial encounters. Accordingly, this course examines the following questions: How have colonial-imperial encounters shaped the imagination of gender, race and sexuality? How have women built feminist solidarities amidst, or perhaps based on, the shared experience of violence and anger? In turn, how has the imagination of gender, race and sexuality redefined the histories of colonies and empires? To pursue these questions, course readings include literary and other scholarly texts engaging feminist and postcolonial theory. Readings range from Kincaid’s  The Autobiography of My Mother  and Rigoberta Menchú’s  I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala  to other texts by scholars like Uma Narayan, Patricia Mohammed, Vandana Shiva, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Ann Stoler.

Notes

Same as SCA-UA 721 002.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1341 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Metaphor and Meaning

4 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Stacy Pies

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1341

Description

Aristotle described metaphor in  The Poetics  as “the mark of genius, for to make good metaphors implies an eye for resemblances” (XXII). Since ancient times, poets and philosophers have written about metaphor and its power, while visual artists have transposed the techniques of figurative language from the verbal to the visual. Metaphor has been employed in texts as ornamentation, as a means of introducing new ideas and concepts, and as a way of imitating the working of the mind itself. In this class, we investigate how metaphor, verbal and visual, influences our processes of thinking, creating, and innovating, both intellectually and artistically. And we experiment with making our own metaphors, in words and pictures. Readings will range over poetry, philosophy, theory of art, and linguistics, including essays by Plato, Paul Ricoeur, I.A. Richards, Max Black, Wayne Booth, George Lakoff, and Rudolf Arnheim; poetry by Shakespeare, Campion, Rossetti, Rilke, Stevens, Wordsworth, and Bishop, concrete poetry, and Virginia Woolf's novel  To the Lighthouse .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9350 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

PARIS: The French Art World in the Nineteenth Century

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-PARIS. This course investigates French art of the nineteenth-century, paying particular attention to the way in which historical factors informed artistic production during this period. Beginning with David, Neo-Classicism and the French Revolution, we will move to the Napoleonic period, Romanticism, the Revolutions of 1830 and 1848, and trace the connection from Realism to Impressionism. The second half of the course will examine the disparate movements spurred by Impressionism, collectively referred to as Post-Impressionism (including Neo-Impressionism, Synthetism, and Symbolism), and will culminate with the rise of Art Nouveau at the end of the century. Throughout, we will interrogate how social forces (including politics, gender, race, religion, etc.) influenced the manner in which “Modern” art was produced and understood in nineteenth-century France. Conducted in English.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1841 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

American Road Narratives

4 units Tue Thu
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Amy Spellacy

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1841

Description

This seminar will explore the literary and historical significance of the road narrative in twentieth-century American literature and film. We will identify the defining features of the American road narrative and ask how stories of travel, especially automobile travel, have functioned as a forum for examining larger social and cultural issues. As we consider the possibilities and promises represented by travel in these stories, we will also interrogate how race, class, and gender affect the experience of being on the road. While the road might signify freedom and new opportunity for some, for others it is linked with desperation or homelessness. Throughout the course, we will think about the relationship between cultural texts and the historical periods during which they were produced. The ways that the automobile has shaped American cities, landscape, and daily life will be particularly important to us. Many of the texts in the seminar feature movement from East to West that evokes the conquest and settling of the U.S. West, a central component of the founding mythology of the United States. However, we will also contemplate different trajectories in the Americas that question the association between travel and conquest. Authors include Zora Neale Hurston, John Steinbeck, Vladimir Nabokov, Jack Kerouac, and Cormac McCarthy.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9102 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

BERLIN: Topics in German Cinema

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-BERLIN. Berlin is one of the most well-known film cities in the world. This course wants to introduce you to the study of German cinema by looking at changing images of the city since the postwar period. The course will begin with an introduction to film analysis, giving special attention to the relationship between film and city. We will go on to discuss a number of influential productions from East, West and reunified Germany, and draw comparisons to other German as well as non-German city films. Through seminar discussions, reading responses, and critical essays, you will gain an understanding of how the cinema has engaged with the city of Berlin and its transformations since the end of the Second World War.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1314 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Literary and Cultural Theory: An Interdisciplinary Introduction

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Sara Murphy

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1314

Description

In this course, we will examine several questions that arise for students interested in the relation of theory to interdisciplinary study. What is theory essentially? How does it help us to develop approaches and shape questions for study? What are some influential theoretical schools and theoreticians? What do they say and how might they be related to one another? We will proceed through readings from Structuralism to Post-structuralism, focusing on language, feminism, psychoanalysis, deconstruction and interpretations of power and discourse. Authors considered may include Levi-Strauss, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, and Luce Irigaray.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1515 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2015

Homer/Ellison: The Odyssey and Invisible Man

4 units Tue
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
E. Frances White, Laura Slatkin

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1515

Description

Who is the “man of many ways”? Who is it who declares “I am nobody but myself”? This course creates a dialogue between Homer's  Odyssey  and Ralph Ellison’s  Invisible Man , the masterwork that evokes the  Odyssey  even as it reimagines the scope of the twentieth century novel. We will focus on the historical and cultural specificities of each text but will also pursue the synergies and energies promoted by reading them together. We will thus consider what the ancient world has to say to the modern novel, and how modernity might reanimate a key text of antiquity. Among the topics we will consider: formations and representations of subjectivity in antiquity and modernity; the status of race and ethnicity; the structuring effects of kinship, marriage, institutions, the state, and the law; the cultural poetics and politics of narrative. What stories are we telling about “ourselves,” and/or about “others,” and to what ends? We will draw upon secondary readings in literary theory, gender studies, critical race studies, and other social sciences. Students need no background in these materials but do need critical energy and discipline.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1749 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Melodrama Unchained: Genre and Style in Western Narrative since 1800

4 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Karen Hornick

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1749

Description

What do Jane Austen and  Empire  have in common? The forms taken by stories since the Industrial Revolution changed in tandem with shifts in the organization of work and leisure. Melodrama and realism, the major genres/styles of this period, have often been seen as antagonistic toward each other. In this class, however, we’ll follow up on recent suggestions that both modes always co-exist even though melodramatic and realistic texts so clearly differ in ostensible purpose, effect, and audience. Melodrama, for example, promotes conventionality but subversively celebrates the felt over the known and thereby speaks an otherwise unspeakable truth. Realism, in contrast, was developed to criticize a world that can be known and articulated, and yet the form tends to isolate the individual while failing to promote collectivity. Class readings will enable us to consider melodrama and realism as responses to or consequences of the key changes said to characterize Western modernity: the loss of common belief in the universal and metaphysical; the newfound role of the machine in relation to art; shifts in the political meaning of race, class, gender, and sexuality; and the philosophical arguments that emerged from the tension between the “Age of Enlightenment” and “Discovery of the Unconscious.” The syllabus, in addition to a few basic critical works on this topic (James Baldwin, Linda Williams, Lauren Berlant), may include: early examples of melodramatic plays and fiction; examples of sensation fiction and plays; Harriet Beecher Stowe’s  Uncle Tom’s Cabin , Henrik Ibsen’s  Hedda Gabler ; Fannie Hurst’s  Imitation of Life  and Douglas Sirk’s film version; a comparative analysis of Sirk’s  All that Heaven Allows , Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s   Ali:  Fear Eats the Soul,  and Todd Haynes’s  Far from Heaven.  Students will have the opportunity to propose other texts as our ideas develop.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1840 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Reading Closely, Reading Historically

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Gregory Vargo

Description

What does it mean to read closely? How does a work of literature change as you learn more about its historical context or the history of its own production? This is a class on reading and perspective meant to cultivate our skills as students of literature or other kinds of texts. In the first half of the semester, we will approach short stories and lyric poems (drawn from a variety of periods and genres) as worlds unto themselves, taking seriously the texts’ internal logic while probing their peculiarities, ambiguities, and paradoxes. We will attend to how poetry fuses intellectual, emotional and aesthetic concerns while developing a shared vocabulary in order to better understand and describe the ways poets utilize wordplay, figurative expression (such as metaphor, synesthesia, and synecdoche), and sonic devices (like rhyme and rhythm) as they transform ordinary language into art. For fiction, we will consider how stories are narrated, their arrangement of time and space, their experiments with point of view, and the ways in which they instantiate character. In the second half of the semester, our perspective will broaden as we look at two case studies. We will set Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel  Jane Eyre  against the backdrop of nineteenth-century ideas about women’s work, the cult of the home and domesticity, the early feminist movement, and roiling debates about the British empire, all issues which intersect Brontë’s strange novel, which is at once a coming-of-age story, a spiritual memoir, and a Gothic romance. Similarly, we will explore how issues of race, diaspora, and urban life shape Langston Hughes’s 1949 poetry volume  One-Way Ticket . In the process, we will consider how literary forms themselves are marked by genre (a different kind of history) as they play with and against longstanding conventions.

Notes

Now open to all.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1450 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
EARLY
FA 2015

Machiavelli: Popular Power and the Space of Appearances

2 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
George Shulman

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1450

Description

This two-credit course focuses on Machiavelli’s political theory. Our goal is two-fold: we learn the art of close reading, to reveal the complex and contradictory layers of meaning in our texts, and we explore the enterprise of political theory by lingering over the central questions Machiavelli raises. What is the nature of power? What is the character of “good” leadership? What is the relationship between morality and politics? How can human beings sustain forms of self-government, given their short-sightedness and fear, the predatory and narrow interests of ruling classes, and the tendency of institutions to become reified forms of power? We focus on his two greatest texts, but also read several of his greatest interpreters.

Notes

Open to sophomores only. Course meets last seven weeks,10/22-12/10.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1351 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
or GLOBAL
FA 2015

Passion and Poetics in Early Japan

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Nina Cornyetz

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1351

Description

It can be argued that until the 1880s one thing was almost entirely absent in Japanese literary and performing arts: the notion of an interiorized subject. In fact, the ancient Japanese arts are examples of extreme "exteriority" that privilege form, word play and intertextuality and enfold the human being and human erotic passions within rituals for purity and harmony with a cosmology of the heavens. This course will explore ancient and premodern Japanese poetics and prose, performing and visual arts, from the very first writings through the nineteenth century, in relation to sociocultural history and belief systems such as Buddhism and Shintoism. Texts will include: selections of poetry,  emaki  (picture scrolls), noh and puppet plays, selections from  The Tale of Genji ,  The Pillow Book , and the earliest forms of manga.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1689 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Night and the City: Film Noir and the Noir Imagination

4 units Fri
1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Rahul Hamid

Description

This course will examine Film  Noir  as a genre coming out of the moral unrest after World War II. Film  noir  expresses a despairing vision of the world borne of the brutality and absurdity that war forced humanity to face. The atmosphere of loss and isolation in this genre   has elicited a variety of readings, some emphasizing class and racial anxieties, and others the impact of suburbanization and changing gender roles. But this course also explores the relatinship between film  noir,  and existentialist themes in literature and philosophy. Existentialism approaches enduring questions that philosophy, religion and literature have always sought to answer: Does fate, free will or chance dictate our lives? What is the proper response to atrocity and how do we assign blame or establish a moral order in the face of it? We will analyze the fallen world portrayed in  noir  by tracing these questions in the philosophy and literature that precede and accompany the moment of classic  noir  in the forties and fifties. We will read Sartre, Camus, Primo Levi, Eli Wiesel, Raymond Chandler, The Book of Job, genre theory, as well as specific film studies texts. Films will include Fritz Lang’s  Scarlet Street , Howard Hawk’s  The Big sleep , Billy Wilder’s  Double Indemnity , Roman Polanski’s  Chinatown , and Robert Altman’s  The Long Goodbye .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1646 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2015

Fractured States: Border Crossings, Divisions, and Partitions

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Valerie Forman

Description

This course explores what happens when geographical spaces get divided and people are dislocated, forced to migrate, or become part of a new political entity. We focus on these geographical divisions both as larger political crises and as events that have effects at more personal and local levels, for example, on familial ties, the ability to find work, or to practice one's religion. We focus on a few regions whose borders have been and still are in crisis in different ways: Haiti and the Dominican Republic; India and Pakistan; and Israel and Palestine. Some specific questions we explore: In what ways do geographical borders participate in the creation of national, racial, or religious, identities? What happens to individuals or groups of people who live in a nation to which they do not feel a primary allegiance and to people who have multiple allegiances? In what ways do borders facilitate or demand the production of social difference? How do writers imagine the relationship of subjects to divided spaces and the relationship of those subjects to each other? How do fictional and historical works address the relationships between possibilities for peace and security and notions of justice? The class focuses primarily on literary texts and narrative films, which we place in dialogue with oral histories, personal memoir, and documentary films. Some likely authors we read in the course include: Edwige Danticat, Junot Díaz, Salman Rushdie, Sami Michael, and Ghassan Kanafani.

Notes

Same as COLIT-UA 550.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9100 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

BERLIN: Berlin's Modern History and Culture: A European Perspective

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-BERLIN. Germany’s profound influence on Modern European history and culture is felt nowhere as visibly as in Berlin. This interdisciplinary course analyzes the city’s contributions to culture––in literature, memoir, music, film and painting––and its politics in the wider context of European trends. The course provides a comprehensive survey of Modern Berlin history and examines how artists reflected on those changing times. Special topics include: Christopher Isherwood’s fictionalized memoirs during the Weimar Years, the Nazi Aesthetic during the Berlin 1936 Olympics as constructed by filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, the photo-realist reflections of painter Gerhard Richter on terrorism in Berlin in the 1970s, and Germany’s literary reassessment of guilt and victimhood following reunification. Readings and lectures are supplemented with walking tours of Berlin and its museums, to look at traces of historical, social and cultural change in situ; how memory, history and place interact over time in specific locations.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1795 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Art and Ethics

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Christopher Trogan

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1795

Description

The relationship between art and ethics has been a significant philosophical problem since antiquity and one that continues to engage us. While some argue that art is autonomous from ethics, others insist that ethics is a necessary component of art and of one’s aesthetic judgment of the work. This course explores the various positions that have been taken in this debate and raises several key questions: Can art be morally enlightening and, if so, how? If a work of art is morally better, does that make it better as art? Is morally deficient art to be shunned, or even censored? Do subjects of artworks have rights as to how they are represented? Do artists have duties as artists and duties as human beings, and if so, to whom? How much tension is there between the demands of art and the demands of life? These questions will be examined through the lens of painting (Rembrandt, Picasso), cinema (Pasolini, Reed, Griffith), photography (Mann, Mapplethorpe) and literature (Nabokov) with readings drawn from Hume, Plato, Tolstoy, Wilde, Nussbaum, Danto, as well as other contemporary philosophers, artists, and critics.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1739 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2015

Kinship and Community: Ancient Texts and Modern Theories

4 units Mon Wed
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Bruce King

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1739

Description

What is the relation of the family to larger structures of community and of state? Do kinship bonds provide a model for those of community or must they be superseded in the interest of a more enlightened state? To what degree do contemporary aspirations for gender equality entail a radical renovation of our understanding of the family? We consider these questions through a close reading of ancient texts, from the Greek and Judeo-Christian traditions, which we read in conjunction with some contemporary thinkers on kinship and the state. Primary readings include: Aeschylus  Oresteia , Homeric  Hymn to Demeter , Sophocles  Oedipus Tyrannus  and  Antigone , Euripides  Ion , Plato  Republic , Aristophanes  Ecclesiazusae , Longus  Daphnis and Chloe , Genesis and Exodus, Paul  Romans  and  Galatians ,  Martyrdom of Perpetua , Shakespeare  Measure for Measure , Kushner  Angels in America ; theoretical texts include: Freud  Totem and Taboo  and  Moses and Monotheism , and selections from Engels, Lévi-Strauss, G. Rubin, P. Clastres, A. Rich, and J. Butler.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1831 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
FA 2015

Enlightenment Subjects and Subjections

4 units Tue Thu
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Andrea Gadberry

Description

This semester, we will read broadly in literary, philosophical, and political works of the Enlightenment as we ask how this period understood what it meant to be human – and what it meant to be a human in relationship to others. The first third of our course will examine works that will let us ask how authors of the period conceived of "man" and world. Looking at these classic texts (which will move us from skeptical philosophy to theories of feeling to proposals that we consider humans as machines), we will then turn to works that unsettle this category of “man” and allow us to consider other possibilities: citizen, foreigner, woman, and slave. How might these works complicate how we understand personhood? How do the Enlightenment ideals of reason and freedom fare when confronted with subjects neither considered to have reason nor granted freedom? We’ll finish our semester with an eye toward figures who critique Enlightenment reason and represent their own subjectivity in autobiographical texts. Primary texts may include David Hume,  An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding , Adam Smith,  Theory of Moral Sentiments , Mary Wollstonecraft,  A Vindication of the Rights of Woman , Voltaire,  Candide , Montesquieu,  Persian Letters , Olaudah Equiano,  The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano… , and Jean-Jacques Rousseau,  Confessions .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1388 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Thinking About Seeing

4 units Tue
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Keith Miller

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1388

Description

Through an art historical lens, this course explores visual communication in a media-saturated society. We will analyze how people “speak” through images and symbols as well as words and how we “read” what we see. This class will attempt to understand the tools used to reach an audience. Images and texts from the past and present will help us assess the character of various media and their personal as well as political implications. Texts will include works by Barthes, Baudrillard, Benjamin, Lev-Strauss, McLuhan, Sontag and other seminal essays on the media.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1794 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
FA 2015

History and Memory in the Early Modern Atlantic World

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Laurie Woodard

Description

History and Memory in the Early Modern Atlantic World explores the history, memory, and representation of enslavement and abolition in the Atlantic World, circa 1500 to 1888. The key questions we are posing are: how do we recover the unrecoverable and how do we remember the “unrememberable?” We will consider the history of enslavement in the Atlantic World, the gaps in our knowledge, the global trauma of Atlantic World Slavery, and contemporary and contemporaneous representations. Key themes include: the formation of the Atlantic World, enslavement, the transatlantic slave trade, the formation of African American cultures, the emergence of race and racism, resistance and rebellion, abolition, emancipation and the meaning of freedom. We will delve into primary sources and secondary literature including non-fiction, fiction, critical analysis, film, music, and visual arts to consider the ways in which the tentacles of the past reach into and influence the present and future. The reading list may include works by Olaudah Equiano, David Northrop, Deborah Gray White, Toni Morrison, and Saidiya Hartman.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1617 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Philosophy of Religion

4 units Tue Thu
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Jeffrey Morris

Description

Is there such thing as religion—definable and singular? If there is no agreement, how can we have a philosophy of it? Departing from this predicament, this course will first examine how “religion” has been construed over time and in a variety of contexts. After touching upon various Western medieval endeavors to “prove” God’s existence, we’ll attend to the nineteenth century and Friedrich Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morals . We will consider the ways in which Nietzsche employs Hegel’s master/slave dialectic to identify the psychological state of ressentiment as a key factor in the birth and character of Jewish/Christian morality. Also, William James’s Varieties of Religious Experience will be read as a groundbreaking study in the psychological states of religious consciousness. We will also draw Western notions of the ineffability of God—especially as appearing in the Pseudo-Dionysian tradition of the via negativa—into conversation with the second century (CE) Buddhist philosophy of Nagarjuna and his influences on the Zen/Ch’an tradition. Finally, we’ll explore recent reimaginings of religion in light of postmodern themes such as nihilism and the death of God. Readings include: Anselm of Canterbury, Friedrich Nietzsche, William James, Teresa of Avila, Mircea Eliade, Rene Girard, Gianni Vattimo, Pseudo-Dionysius, Nagarjuna, and Shunyru Suzuki.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1608 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Justice and the Political

4 units Fri
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Justin Holt

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1608

Description

Justice is often understood as a concept that structures political life, by indicating who should be enfranchised, how to rule fairly, who should be punished and how. Even more broadly, "justice" indicates what constitutes a common good as well as who should benefit (and how) from collective actions. But how is the definition of justice established and implemented? Does justice denote a transcendent standard we access by philosophy or by revelation and then "apply" to and in political life? Or is any definition of justice necessarily shaped by political struggles by actors with contrasting interests and points of views ? Must we escape politics to determine justice rightly, or is that an impossible and ultimately tyrannical idea? But if we define justice through politics, is what we call justice necessarily going to be the rule of the strong? This course will consider three attempts to define justice that also explore its relationship to politics: Plato's  Republic , Kant's  Groundwork for a Metaphysics of Morals , Hegel's  Philosophy of Right .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1778 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Punk Aesthetics

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Joshua Shirkey

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1778

Description

Although punk seemed to be non- or even anti-aesthetic, it has paradoxically proven to be among the most significant artistic phenomena of the last half century. If the western aesthetic tradition is based in notions of beauty and conformity to accepted standards, this course will ask whether a movement or sensibility that has prided itself on being ugly, offensive, and outlaw can be said to have an aesthetic—and if not, of what relevance is the aesthetic tradition to contemporary art? Of particular interest will be the politics of aesthetics, and the way punk provided a forum for the expression of racial, gender, sexual, and class difference outside the privileged position traditionally assumed by aesthetics. Readings will include classic texts in aesthetic thought (Burke, Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche) and contemporary critical theory and sociology (Guy Debord, Herbert Marcuse, Pierre Bourdieu, and Dick Hebdige). These will be considered in dialogue with American, British, French, and German works of music, visual art, film, literature, graphic design, and fashion from the 1970s and 1980s, as well as earlier historical works that were significant influences on that generation.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1869 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Babel

4 units Wed
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Todd Porterfield

Description

How might we examine the myth of Babel to test assumptions about belonging and separateness? The construction of the Tower and its destruction by God, who then covered the earth with uncomprehending multitudes, would seem to be a story of uniformity, ambition, and then essential difference, of architecture, power, identity, language, and geographic spread. For thousands of years and from the Bible to the Early Modern to today, it seems to haunts us in architectural and imperial ambitions, in film and mass media, in high and contemporary art, in dystopian nightmares about globalization, in novels of authoritarian repression and novellas of spell-binding imaginings of freedom and connectedness. In this seminar we will analyze many of its figurations in Biblical and archaeological scholarship, literature, art and architectural history, film and visual studies, linguistics, philosophy, politics, and history. The subject leaves few alternatives but to broach the culture, politics, and philosophy of living together, and so we will explore some possible alternatives in peace and hospitality, in translation and in embracing the incompetence of language. Amongst the authors encountered, there will be Borges, Derrida, Gideon, Goethe, Huntington, Kafka, Kant, Mirzoeff, and Wordsworth.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1782 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Madness and Civilization

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Yevgeniya Traps

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1782

Description

“Much madness is divinest sense,” Emily Dickinson wrote, further observing that “much sense [is] starkest madness.” The poet insisted that the majority sets and enforces the standard by which sanity is evaluated, and we will take this notion as our starting premise. How are social standards for what is and is not normal set? How are they enforced? What is at stake in maintaining definitions of mental health? How have these definitions changed over time? What is the price of transgressing the boundaries of sanity? What might be the privileges conferred by madness? Using writing as a way of reading closely and thinking critically, students will produce three analytical and literary critical essays and a research paper, as well as present on a topic or issue connected to the course theme. Our readings may include works by Michel Foucault, Chester Brown, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Anne Sexton, Sigmund Freud, and Ken Kesey. We will also consider a number of visual works by artists like Yayoi Kusama and Henry Darger.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9252 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

LONDON: History of British Fashion

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-LONDON. This interdisciplinary seminar serves as a broad overview for several centuries of British male and female fashion trends, from roughly the Tudor period to today. The course focuses on ways that modes and standards of dress evolved in response to political, economic and technological developments; empire and immigration; changing gender and class formations; and the vagaries of popular culture. In short, the course examines not only what people wore at different historical moments, but why they wore what they did, and how they felt about it. Readings come from the fields of literature, history, art history, gender studies, and sociology.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9550 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
FA 2015

TEL AVIV: Ancient Israel History and Archaeology: Travelers, Collectors, and Antiquities Robbers

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-TEL AVIV. The story of the archaeological discipline in the Land of Israel is strongly tied with the major developments that the region has undergone in the last two centuries. This course offers an overview of the history of archaeology in Palestine since the appearance of the first European travelers and missionaries in the mid-19th century, along the vibrant interest of collectors, forgers and robbers in the Promised Land, through the appearance of the first scientific excavations, the rise of the American biblical archaeology and its influence on local Israeli research. Special attention will be given to the way the newly born Israeli archaeology helped to establish the Zionist identity that wished to pass over two thousand years of Diaspora history; the methods by which the nascent Israeli archaeology connected new-comers to the land of the patriarchs and the manner by which Israeli scholars served state interests in the creation of the national Zionist ethos. The aftermath of the Six Days War and the increasing tension between the Bible and archaeology will be discussed in light of the intense debate over the historicity of the Exodus story, Joshua's conquests and the United Kingdom of David and Solomon. Finally, at the turn of the millennium, post-modern archaeology presented a new pluralistic view of the past. This multi-vocal framework will be used as a background for discussing the archaeology of otherness and minorities in 21st century Israel.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1566 Lib Arts
SCI
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
FA 2015

History of Environmental Sciences Before Darwin

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Peder Anker

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1566

Description

This seminar will provide an overview of the history of the environmental sciences from ancient times to Charles Darwin’s  The   Origin of Species . We will explore ways in which naturalists and lay people came to know the environment and in what ways nature could mobilize social and moral author­ity. With a focus on the history of the European environmental problems from the ancient Greeks, Middle Ages, to colonial and Modern experiences, we will survey different ways of knowing nature. Where did the idea of nature as “designed” come from? How did natural historians and philosophers unveil nature’s secrets? What role did scientists play in the colonial experiences? How could Modern scholars imagine “improving” the face of the Earth? These broad questions will guide us in our readings of a series of primary sources, including great and not-so-great books by Hippocrates, Plato, Aristotle, Pliny, St. Francis, Evelyn, Grew, Bacon, Linnaeus, Buffon, Jefferson, Rousseau, Malthus and Darwin, as well as largely forgotten texts by anonymous authors and colonial explorers.

Notes

Sect 002 for Environmental Studies majors.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1558 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

The Travel Habit: On the Road in the Thirties

2 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Steve Hutkins

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1558

Description

The Great Depression turned millions of people into travelers. Many of the unemployed took to the road in search of work, preferring to give up their homes rather than their cars; others hitchhiked and rode the rails. Ironically, it was also a time for leisure travel too, and this was the era when taking a family trip on a paid vacation became a national ritual. Government and industry promoted tourism to help the economy—and to pacify the working class. But getting people to travel required a deliberate, large-scale effort. As one tourism promoter put it, “The travel habit was not born with Americans. It’s an acquired taste that must be religiously and patiently cultivated.” So the Roosevelt administration created a national travel bureau to assist the hospitality industry, poured millions of dollars into roads and highways, and put authors like Eudora Welty, Saul Bellow, and Ralph Ellison to work writing WPA travel guides. The travel theme attracted novelists like Nathaniel West and Nelson Algren, who used the journey motif in their fictions, and writer-and-photographer teams like James Agee and Walker Evans traveled to document the suffering of sharecroppers and migrant workers. This course will survey the travel writing of the 1930s and provide an introduction to the social history of travel and tourism during the period. Readings may include Steinbeck’s  The Grapes of Wrath , West’s  A Cool Million , Kromer's  Waiting for Nothing , Caldwell and Margaret Bourke-White’s  You Have Seen Their Faces , and Agee and Evans’  Let Us Now Praise Famous Men , as well as the WPA travel guides and histories of the Depression and the tourist industry.

Notes

Course meets last seven weeks only, 10/23 - 12/11.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1609 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2015

Dante's World

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Antonio Rutigliano

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1609

Description

This course will explore the social, political, intellectual and religious evolution of the late medieval dantesque world, by focusing on Dante’s  Divine Comedy . A close reading of  The Divine Comedy  will serve as a forum to discuss and analyze Dante's writings and those important works that helped to shape the thirteenth-century Florentine society that ultimately served as a stepping stone for the humanist movement that paved the way for the Italian Renaissance. But Dante’s  Divine Comedy  is not just a text of and for its own time. It has left readers fascinated and shuddering for over 700 years because its poetical and literary tropes enable them to confront their experience of the human condition and transform what and how they desire. During the class, therefore, students will conduct research projects on more historical and more enduring aspects of Dante’s Commedia. As well, field trips to museums, cinematic recreations, documentaries, music and other visual and auditory aids will be used to enrich our sense of the text’s meaning and context. Readings include:  The Divine Comedy, The Confessions, The Consolation of Philosophy, The Aeneid , and  The Book of the Zohar. 

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1802 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Hearing Difference: The Commercial Music Industry and the American Racial Imaginary

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Kwami Coleman

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1802

Description

In 1903, at the dawn of the commercial music industry, sociologist W. E. B. DuBois famously proclaimed that the foremost problem in twentieth century American society is “the problem of the color line.” Du Bois’s prescience sets the stage for this course’s exploration of racial identity in recorded, commercially available music. We will examine how racial performance has intermingled with music consumption in the United States since blackface minstrelsy in the 1830s. Our goal is to understand how deeply embedded race—both ascribed and claimed—is in American music culture, reverberating throughout the last century in debates on artists’ authenticity, propriety, and popularity. This course is organized chronologically; each week is devoted to a particular era and its corresponding musical genres leading up to the present. With the rising importance of visual media since the mid-20th century, a historically informed understanding of the confluences of race and ethnicity in American music culture through music media and technologies will offer an enhanced understanding of the past and our contemporary, internet-driven musical landscape.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1454 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2015

The Iliad and its Legacies in Drama

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Laura Slatkin

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1454

Description

"The poem of force," according to Simone Weil, the  Iliad  is also a poem of forceful influence. In this course we will read the  Iliad  intensively, followed by an examination of its heritage on the dramatic stage. In the first half of the semester we will primarily explore the  Iliad  in terms of the poetics of traditionality; the political economy of epic; the ideologics of the   Männerbund  (the "band of fighting brothers"); the  Iliad 's uses of reciprocity; its construction of gender; its intimations of tragedy. In the second half of the course, informed by a reading of Aristotle's  Poetics , we will focus on responses to the  Iliad  in dramatic form; possible readings will include Sophocles'  Ajax ; Euripides'  Iphigeneia in Aulis ; Shakespeare's   Troilus and Cressida ; Racine's   Andromaque ; Giraudoux's  La guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu;  Ellen McLaughlin's   Iphigenia and Other Daughters.  Students will give presentations on an Iliadic intertext of their own choosing.

Notes

Same as COLIT-UA 972.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1838 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
FA 2015

Narrating Seduction: The Tale of Genji

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Nina Cornyetz

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1838

Description

Written in the eleventh century by a noble lady of the Japanese court, the Tale of Genji has been called the world’s first novel, and even the world’s first psychological novel. But can we really use the terms “novel” and “psychological” to describe the narrative? In this course we will carefully and closely read  The Tale of Genji  alongside selected secondary sources to focus our attention on such topics as: narration, visuality, sexual politics, relation to reality, poetics, and aesthetics in the text.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1618 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Media and Fashion

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Moya Luckett

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1618

Description

This course will examine the roles fashion plays in film, television and digital media and their cultural and economic significance. As a signifying system in its own right, fashion contributes to the semiotics of popular forms. It can also operate as a means of authentication (especially in period films and TV) or reveal a variety of ways in which media plays with space and time, purposeful or not. Besides evoking specific temporalities and narrative tone, fashion plays an important role in the construction of gender, both in terms of representation and address. This course will examine the history of the intersection of the fashion and media industries from the free distribution of film-related dress patterns in movie theaters of the 1910s to the current trend for make-over TV, networks like the Style network, the increasing proliferation of fashion blogs and the construction of specifically feminine video games. How does fashion’s specific configuration of consumerism, signification and visual pleasure lend itself to the articulation of modern/postmodern cultures and their presentation of the self? Texts will include Stella Bruzzi and Pamela Church Gibson,  Fashion Cultures: Theories, Explanations and Analysis ; selections from Roland Barthes,  The Fashion System ; Elizabeth Wilson,  Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity ; assorted articles and selected clips from films and television shows including  Marie Antoinette ,  What Not To Wear ,  The New York Hat, Fashions of 1934, Now, Voyager  and  Sex and the City .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1835 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2015

The Poetics and Politics of Mourning

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Sinan Antoon

Description

If “the past is never dead,” as Faulkner wrote, how does it continue to live on? How do its ghosts continue to haunt the political present? Can these ghosts be exorcised or does one have to learn to live with them? These questions become especially urgent and consequential in the aftermath of war and catastrophe, as writers and artists confront the legacy of violence and try to memorialize annihilated bodies and spaces. The aesthetic modes they choose to address both the dead and the living and the ways in which they narrate the past have political consequences for the future. We will explore and try to answer these questions by reading a selection of texts (fiction, poetry, film, and visual art) as sites and acts of mourning. Our main focus will be on Iraq, but we will also read works from and about Armenia, Palestine, Lebanon, and the US. Readings will include Benjamin, Boulus, Butler, Darwish, Derrida, Freud, Khoury, Morrison, and Youssef.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1649 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

The Music of Poetry and the Poetry of Music

4 units Tue Thu
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Lisa Goldfarb

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1649

Description

Although the ancient Greeks used the word “moûsike” to designate both poetry and music and the two were once “one” art, with alphabetic writing their paths diverged and poetry, music, rhetoric, and musical theory became distinct from one another. Yet, however much music and poetry may have their separate histories and technical languages, poets and composers have continued to probe the relation between the two arts. In this course, we will focus on the relationship between music and poetry in the modern era—from the “fin de siècle” and Verlaine’s call to the symbolist poets to compose “Music above everything,” to the modernists in English and American poetry and the jazz improvisations of the twentieth century. We will study musical and poetic history of the period, grapple with what we mean when we say a poem is musical and what melody means in poetry, and we will study how to define and discuss lyricism in music. Readings may include the work of modern poets (symbolists, imagists, modernists)—Mallarmé, Verlaine, Valéry, Pound, Auden, Mina Loy, Gertrude Stein, Langston Hughes, Stevens —and modern composers Debussy, Stravinsky, Copland, Ives, Thomson and the rhythms of blues and jazz. To develop a critical vocabulary, readings may also include texts on the history and theory of both arts (Winn, Bucknell, Kramer, Hollander, Meyer, Adorno).

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1834 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Wisdom for Life: Cultivating Self, Philosophy, and Society

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Bradley Lewis

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1834

Description

We live in a time of tremendous challenges: climate change, inequality, financial hardship, conflict, risk, rising mental illness and life style disease, and declining happiness and well being. These challenges signal the need for social and political change, but increasingly they also signal the need for personal and interpersonal change. Echoing a range of contemporary thinkers, cultural and environmental historian Thomas Berry has called the task of bringing the personal and political together the “Great Work.” This is the task of giving shape and meaning to our lives by relating personal stories to larger metanarratives of nature and culture. This course explores this idea. What does it mean to see today’s overarching challenges as opportunity for creatively reimagining ourselves and the stories we tell about ourselves? What kinds of guidance could we get from philosophical, religious, and aesthetic traditions to develop visions for human life in harmony with itself and with nature? And, perhaps most important, how might we develop personal and political strategies for putting these visions into practice for ourselves and our community?

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1061 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Literary Forms and the Craft of Criticism

4 units Wed
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Sharon Friedman

Description

This seminar focuses on the study of literature and literary criticism. Through close reading of a range of literary forms, including short stories, novels, plays, and narrative essays, we identify the conventions that characterize each genre (including the blurring of genres) and that invite various strategies of reading. In addition to the formal analysis of each work, we will consider theoretical approaches to literature—for example, new historicism, postcolonial studies, feminist and gender analysis, and psychoanalytic criticism—that draw on questions and concepts from other disciplines. Attention will be given to the transaction between the reader and the text. The aims of the course are to encourage students to make meaning of literary works and to hone their skills in written interpretation. Authors may include Poe, Melville, Chekhov, Hawthorne, Bellow, Beckett, Baldwin, Woolf, Morrison, Conrad, Gordimer, Achebe, Kincaid, and Erdrich.

Notes

Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9351 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

PARIS: Topics in French Literature: Paris in French and Expatriate Literature

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-PARIS. In this course, we will explore the ways in which Paris plays a role in the representation of the subject. Through the study of novels and autobiographies by Breton, Hemingway, Stein, Duras, Modiano, de Beauvoir, and Baldwin, we will ask, what is the role of place in the imagining or invention of the self? How does the experience of a specific city, Paris, influence the formation of identity? How do these authors represent, or subvert, the notion of the ‘real’? Although the focus of this course is literary, we will also engage with major political, cultural, and artistic movements of the period, exploring the ways in which our writers negotiate history through their writings. Conducted in English.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9350 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

PARIS: Paris Monuments and Political Power in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-PARIS. This course examines aspects of political and social change in France from the end of the French Revolution to the present day. Through an exploration of Paris neighborhoods, monuments and museums, we will look at how the city’s evolution has been inscribed on the urban landscape, and reflect on how history and national identity are imagined, produced and contested through the carving up of urban space. Major dates and events of French political history form the chronological backbone for this course, while class discussions are organized thematically from the perspective of social history and the history of ideas. Classes include walking tours and site visits in and around Paris. Conducted in English.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9404 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

PRAGUE: Literature and Place of Central Europe

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-PRAGUE. You are now in the center of Europe, where West melds with East, creating a melting-pot. What does central Europe mean in terms of literature? Which authors reveled in their location, thus inspiring others, and which longed to be free from this by-and-large geographically land-locked mass? Discover the prose and poetry of this space that has belonged to others for centuries and that now belongs to you as well. The literature will also be supplemented with various Central European photographs and culinary investigations!

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1759 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

Exhibition Systems and Curating

4 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Meleko Mokgosi

Description

This course aims at a thorough investigation of strategies of curating and exhibiting artworks, and how curators as well as artists utilize various installation and exhibition strategies. Course material will consider important texts and practices including but not limited to: relational aesthetics, interdisciplinary art practices, performance art, and institutional critique. There will be an equal amount of time spent both in the seminar room and visiting exhibitions in museums and galleries in New York City. Readings for the course will include essays by Okwui Enwezor, Thelma Golden, Jennifer Gonzalez, Jens Hoffmann, and Paul O'Neill.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)