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Found 842 courses
IDSEM-UG1752 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
WI 2017

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

4 units Tue Wed Thu Fri
10:00 AM - 1:15 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 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, The Matrix, The Truman Show, Network, Idiocracy and Catfish, television shows 60 Minutes, Family Guy, The Simpsons, South Park and The X-Files, as well as a selection of other media forms, including blogs, podcasts, radio programs, graphic novels, newspapers, magazines, music videos, social media sites and video games.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1542 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
WI 2017

Motown Matrix: Race, Gender and Class Identity in "The Sound of Young America"

4 units Tue Wed Thu Fri
10:00 AM - 1:15 PM
Michael Dinwiddie

Description

In the 1960s Motown Records emerged as a dominant force in American popular music. Billing itself as “The Sound of Young America,” Motown established a lyrical and musical discourse through its records and albums that struck a responsive chord with white and black listeners alike. In this seminar we examine the race, gender and class identity that is inherent in—and emerges from—“The Motown Sound.” How did this company exploit the nationalist pride in the African American community while simultaneously positioning itself as a “crossover” enterprise to whites? What models of business and community did Motown emulate and create? And how did Motown affect the politics and racial discourse of its listeners? Our exploration situates Motown in the Detroit community of the 1950s and 1960s, to understand how it was “imagined,” and its impact on the wider culture. Readings may include excerpts from  The Origins of the Urban Crisis  by Thomas Sugrue;  One Nation Under a Groove  by Gerald Early;  Where Did Our Love Go?  by Nelson George;  American Odyssey  by Robert Conot;  Dancing in the Street  by Suzanne E. Smith;  Just My Soul Responding  by Brian Ward, and  Detroit: I Do Mind Dying  by Dan Georgakas and Marvin Surkin. The lyrics of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Holland-Dozier-Holland as well as such films as  Standing in the Shadows of Motown  and  Dream Girls  may be included.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1289 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

Narrative Investigations II: Realism to Postmodernism

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

Description

In this class we will continue to explore the concept of narrative and the way writers interrogate literary and social conventions. As we consider how stories shape our notions of history, love, social class, and sexual identity, we will examine how the thinking of readers, and stories, changed from the nineteenth century to the twentieth. We will follow the emergence of a new form of narration, whose protagonists include not only characters, but also time, place, the city, the reader, and language itself. We will read Flaubert’s  Madame Bovary , James Joyce's  Ulysses , as well as essays on film and narrative theory.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1811 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

Desperate Housewives of the 19th-Century Novel

4 units Thu
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 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..Readings include Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (1856), Kate Chopin's The Awakening (1899), and George Gissing’s The Odd Women (1893). We contextualize each with readings on historical events in the French, American, and English settings. We also read about the post-publication history of these works, including Flaubert’s trial for obscenity, Chopin’s supposedly abandoning novel-writing because of the controversy over her work, and Gissing’s own two disastrous marriages. Other readings include selections from J.S. Mill's The Subjection of Women, and from the theory of Thorstein Veblen and Michel Foucault. We end with an update: journalist Kate Bolick’s Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own (2015) which examines her life and those of five other unmarried women writers: Maeve Brennan, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edith Wharton, Neith Boyce, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1903 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
SP 2017

Montaigne

2 units Wed
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Andrea Gadberry

Description

This class is a seven-week introduction to the thought of Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592). Nowadays, we encounter Montaigne’s work most frequently in aphoristic quotations like this one: “When I am playing with my cat, how do I know she is not playing with me?” Yet taken out of context, solitary citations conceal the complexity of Montaigne’s thought as well as that of the genre in which they appear, a genre, in f act, Montaigne is credited with having invented: the essay. This semester, we will read widely across the three volumes of Montaigne’s Essais and the diverse topics they consider, from lofty questions that grapple with the construction of the self, the question of experience, and the meaning of friendship and family to more banal topics like books, laziness, and, yes, thumbs. We will contextualize these writings by placing them in conversation with texts of other authors of the early modern period (Bacon, Browne, Burton, Castiglione, Columbus, de las Casas, Shakespeare, Sidney) as well as with more recent literary critical and critical theoretical texts.

Notes

Course meets during the first seven weeks only, First Class: January 25; Last Class: March 8.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1738 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

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)

IDSEM-UG1856 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

The Politics, Ethics and Aesthetics of Photography

4 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
A.B. Huber

Description

The seminar begins with a critical history of photography, and a consideration of the technology’s 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 different spectators affectively, ethically, and politically. The seminar will rely on key theoretical works on photography as well as more recent critical interventions that help us reckon the use of surveillance and its neoliberal logics (Cole, 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.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9200 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

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-UG1457 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2017

The Odyssey: Estrangement and Homecoming

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

Description

One of the two foundational epics of so-called Western Culture, the  Odyssey  features a wily hero whose journeys are extraordinary and whose longing for home is unbounded. The  Odyssey  offers a complex meditation on brotherhood, bestiality, sexuality, kinship, and power; it is the great epic of cross-cultural encounter, in all its seductive and violent aspects, as well as the great poem of marriage. An adventure in nostos (homecoming), the  Odyssey  shows us the pleasures and dangers of voyaging among strangers. Constantly exploring the boundaries between the civilized and the savage, the poem offers as well a political critique of many ancient institutions, not least the family, patriarchy, hospitality customs, and the band-of-brothers so central to epic ideology. And as a masterwork of narrative art, the  Odyssey  asks us to consider the relation of fiction to “truth.” We will explore these and other matters in the  Odyssey , and may make some concluding forays into contemporary re-workings of Odyssean themes and characters.

Notes

Course meets during the first seven weeks only, First Class: January 25; Last Class: March 8.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1700 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
SP 2017

Becoming "Global" in the Early Modern World

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Valerie Forman

Description

Over and over, we are told that the world we live in is becoming increasingly global, that 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 true are these claims? And how new are the phenomena these claims describe? 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 and radically reimagined forms of cooperation, piracy, and slavery. This course will explore what kinds of global consciousness developed in the early modern period in negotiations with these transformations. Some of our central questions include: to what extent did early modern people begin to imagine and experience the world globally, that is, as an entity whose regions were interdependent? Which groups of people began to experience it globally? How were things, places, and persons, not seen before categorized or valued? What influence did global encounters have on ideas about gender, sexuality, class, religion, and citizenship and on social and economic practices? What new kinds of narratives about the world developed in relation to the challenges of participating in it? Finally, to what extent is globalization a “western” phenomenon or a sign of modernity? We will investigate a wide variety of primary works, including travel narratives, plays, poems, ethnography, film, engravings, and globes. We will also read secondary works by literary scholars, anthropologists, and historians of labor, the economy, and science. Many of these works also put the past and present in conversation with each other in compelling ways. While many of the primary works originate in “Europe” or the Americas, we will also study a range of works that challenge the Eurocentric view of globalization that was emerging and still dominates much of contemporary discourse of globalization.

Notes

Same as SCA-UA 721 006.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1603 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

Modern Poetry and the Actual World

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

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-UG1910 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

Habits of Reading: Narrative and Genre in Europe and America

4 units Mon Wed
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Karen Hornick

Description

“Myth,” “novel,” “epic,” “thriller,” “romantic comedy”—why do people bother making these distinctions between types of narratives, and how do we make them? From defining self (“I’m a sci-fi geek”) to organizing society (“only kids read comic books”), genres help us make sense of what we read and perform artistic, social, personal, and commercial functions. In this class we will closely examine stories representing a wide range of Western genres--an ancient epic, fairy tales and folktales, a Shakespearean tragedy, a novel, a novella, a short story, one modern 3-act play (a comedy), television shows, a classic Hollywood film, an "art" film, a video game "narrative," a graphic novel, perhaps even narrative painting and photography. In addition to helping us consider genre in relation to authorial intention and reader response, our survey will enable us to address contemporary questions about readership, fan fiction, and interactivity. When and why do we find it necessary to classify our stories into categories, and who benefits? How do genres reflect and contribute to the cultures that produce them? How do media shape genre and vice verse? How has genre constrained and inspired European and American authors? How do narrative genres prompt distinctions between fiction and truth, affect taste judgements, and shape opinion?

Notes

Open to sophomores only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1775 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

Contemporary Visual Culture and the Politics of Images

4 units Thu
2:00 PM - 4:45 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/or Marita Sturken, among others, will inform our discussions and deepen student writing. Our syllabus also incorporates journalistic accounts and conflict photography, and may include 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-UG1861 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2017

Modern Architectures of South Asia

4 units Wed
9:30 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-UG1781 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

A Sense of Place

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

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 27; Last Class: March 10.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1906 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2017

Culture and Politics: An Exploration of Cuban Cinema Since the 1959 Revolution

4 units Thu
3:30 PM - 7:35 PM
Valerie Forman

Description

In this course we will explore the rich and complex cinematic tradition that has developed in Cuba since the Revolution. Our particular focus will be on the conversation between the films and social and political life in Cuba. Some questions that will guide our investigation follow: if the implementation of the Revolution required a new way of imagining one’s political, social, and economic self in relation to one’s larger community, what was cinema’s role in that imagination? How has Cuban cinema negotiated complex issues surrounding shifting socio-economic practices: for example, the radical increase in the number of women in the workforce; declarations of racial equality; and housing shortages? How did Cuban Cinema continue to provide a form and forum for debate about Cuba’s role in the world: for example, the US Embargo/Blockade, the war in Angola, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the influx of foreign tourists that began in the 1990s? We will view a wide range of filmic genres and forms: newsreels, documentaries, narrative features, as well as recent short and feature length films produced with new technology. We will also attend the screening of at least one film at the 18th Annual Havana Film Festival New York. In addition to weekly film viewings, readings about Cuban economic, social, and political life will be central to the course and will contribute to our understanding of the many changes that have taken place in Cuban culture and politics in the past fifty-seven years. Some likely texts and films for the course include: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea,  Memories of Underdevelopment ; Sara Gómez,  One Way or Another ; Humberto Solás,  Lucia ; Fernando Pérez,  Life is to Whistle  (1998); Ernesto Darnas,  Behavior ; Gloria Rolando , Breaking the Silence;  Channan,  Cuban Cinema ; Ann Marie Stock,  On Location in Cuba: Street Filmmaking during Times of Transition. 

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1788 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

The Sublime

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

Description

Art of the sublime stirs up strong emotions and competing evaluations. Often labeled “indescribable,” the sublime has been debated for centuries amongst writers, poets, artists, and philosophers. The concept goes back to classical Greece, but it became particularly important in eighteenth century Europe. At that time the sublime was applied in relation to the creative arts to describe aspects of nature that instill awe and wonder such as mountains, avalanches, waterfalls, stormy seas, or the infinite vault of the starry sky. In the wake of the French Revolution, the sublime for the Romantics became a quasi-secular route to cultural and aesthetic freedom through contact with the unbounded and the supersensible. In our contemporary world, where culture and gender difference, psychoanalysis, postmodern theory, technology, neuroscience, and neoliberal spectacle seem to eclipse former concepts of nature and transcendent experience, the characteristics of the sublime are perhaps more fuzzy than ever. The term and the debates however remain very much alive and relevant to contemporary aesthetic, metaphysical, and ethical concerns. This course will examine theories of the sublime in writers and artists from ancient to postmodern, including Longinus, Burke, Kant, Wordsworth, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Newman, Rosenblum, Lyotard, Deleuze, Kristeva, and Viola.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1072 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

Poets in Protest: Footsteps to Hip-Hop

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Michael Dinwiddie

Description

This seminar examines the tradition of poetic protest in the African Diaspora. From the Harlem Renaissance and Négritude to the Black Liberation Movement of the '60s and today's Hip-Hop/Rap explosion, poets, lyricists and rap/hip-hop artists have sought to reclaim and reshape images of themselves and their communal experiences. Through comparative and critical analysis of historical works, songs, and poetry, we come to a deeper understanding of the common thematic and aesthetic approaches of these movements as they continue to alter the discourse on race and liberation. Texts may include Michael Richardson, ed.,  Refusal of the Shadow: Surrealism and the Caribbean ; David L. Lewis, ed.,  The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader ; films such as Euzhan Palcy,  Sugar Cane Alley , and Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant,  Style Wars ; and samples from Langston Hughes, Amiri Baraka, KRS-One, Dead Prez, and Tupac Shakur.

Notes

Same as SCA-UA 721 005.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1699 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

Feeling, in Theory

4 units Tue
3:30 PM - 6:10 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 Aristotle, Raymond Williams, Freud, and Tomkins) as well as several that have emerged more recently (Deleuze and Guattari, Massumi, Ahmed, Ngai, among others). Much of our work together will be to read closely some very difficult theoretical texts, each of which attempts to describe what affect is, and why it matters to and for a wide range of experiences: political, aesthetic, musical, and psychic, among them. Additionally, over the course of the semester we will focus on some specific affective states and the texts that have grappled with their deep structure—from “cruel optimism," to happiness, anxiety, boredom, and depression. Lastly, we will undertake some experimental work by collaborating to produce what we might call "affective events" that may serve to instruct, persuade, or otherwise make an impact through affective means. While this course has no prerequisites, it is particularly appropriate for students who have some exposure to structuralist, poststructuralist, and/or postmodernist discourses, and are also up for the challenge of reading some rather difficult theoretical material.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9100 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

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-UG1924 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2017

The Afro-Arabic World

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Sophia Azeb

Description

Who is an Arab? Where does the “Middle East” end and Africa begin? This course will explore how Arabic-speaking and African-descended peoples have engaged one another and the overlapping configurations of blackness and Arabness that have long circulated in the African Diaspora. Though “Arabs” are popularly imagined in the West through long-held Orientalist stereotypes of the exotic, brown, and uncivilized “other,” many Africans and African Americans were inspired by the Arab anti-colonial culture and politics they encountered during the World Wars. Similarly, as Arabs sought to counter harmful colonial misrepresentations, they looked to the transnational, anti-racist philosophies and movements that African Americans and other African diasporic figures pioneered. These exchanges resulted in surprising moments of solidarity, like the Black Panther Party’s first international chapter in Algeria, and the late Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser’s funding of Malcolm X’s travels through Africa. Through a historical and cultural survey of black and Arab thought through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries – a recent field of inquiry we will call “Afro-Arab Studies” – this class will examine the parallel and intersecting narratives of a range of significant Afro-Arab confluences, including but not limited to: négritude and pan-Arabism, the U.S. Civil Rights and Black Power movements and global anti-colonialism, cultural manifestations of the Non-Aligned and Pan-Africanist movements, and recent Black/Palestinian solidarity organizing. Readings will include narrative essays, political biography, historical monographs, and cultural theory by such writers, poets, and scholars as James Baldwin, Frantz Fanon, June Jordan, Alex Lubin, and Theri A. Pickens.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1116 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2017

Fate and Free Will in the Epic Tradition

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

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-UG1927 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2017

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

2 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Millery Polyné

Description

This class investigates the architecture and history of colonialism and neo-colonialism and its intersections with race, gender and labor within Martinique, Haiti and Algeria in the 20th century. The life and work of Martinican-born psychoanalyst and social philosopher Frantz Fanon is the central lens in which we will interrogate (neo)colonialism and citizen responses to the psycho-social world that imperial encounters made. By examining several key texts, including  Wretched of the Earth  (1961),  Black Skin, White Masks (1952)  and  A Dying Colonialism  (1965) and a number of films, this course poses a number of key questions: What does it mean to be human? What does wo/man want? In what ways does Fanon's discussion of existentialism, alienation or even the idea or the materiality of the veil prove relevant to current political and social tensions and movements in the United States and abroad? Is there a "healing psychological force" in revolutionary action? Fanon's work is an important piece in understanding the development and intervention of mid-twentieth century critical theory and intellectual history in the Atlantic world.

Notes

Course meets during the first seven weeks only, First Class: January 26; Last Class: March 9.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1919 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

Fashion: The Art, the Politics, the Performance

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Rhonda Garelick

Description

This seminar is devoted to the modern legacy of fashion, to understanding how the 19th and 20th centuries shaped fashion and how fashion shapes us today in the 21st. We shall explore the sexual politics of fashion, its philosophical relationship to temporality (its relentless and impossible pursuit of the ‘now’), and its relationship to certain modernist art movements. Fashion, as opposed to traditional dress based on one’s social class or occupation, is a fairly recent phenomenon. Historians place the beginning of fashion in the early fifteenth century, concurrent with the burgeoning wool and silk trades of Flanders and Italy. One result of the increased trade and travel of this era was a new, growing awareness of what people were wearing beyond one’s own small community. A new desire was born: the wish to look like a figure in a picture, to imitate someone you might never have seen in person. The everyday act of dressing turned into a version of costuming the self, inhabiting a theatrical role, based on an imagined relationship to an image. Fashion, in other words, finds its roots in performance. This performance now plays out on a global stage and has become a multi-billion- dollar industry, raising a host of aesthetic, philosophical, and political questions: Can one opt out of this performance? For whom is fashion performed? How do we experience the duality or split implied by the daily creation of a ‘fashioned self’?

Notes

Section 1 reserved for students who have completed a Practicum in Fashion Business. Prerequisite: PRACT-UG 1301. Section 2 restricted to juniors and seniors who have taken advanced classes in literature, history, art history, or anthropology. All others permission of the instructor required (rkgar@earthlink.net).

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9102 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

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-UG1865 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

Times of Trauma

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

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-UG1369 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2017

Japan and the Discovery of Interiority

4 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Nina Cornyetz

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)

SASEM-UG9151 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2017

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)

SASEM-UG9550 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
SP 2017

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-UG1826 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

(Dis)Placed Urban Histories

4 units Fri
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Rebecca Amato

Description

Neighborhood change comes in many varieties. Mid-twentieth century urban renewal in U.S. cities brought bulldozers and tower-in-the-park housing developments to dozens of poor neighborhoods considered ripe for revision. Early-twenty-first century gentrification, meanwhile, has brought high-end commerce and affluence to areas once occupied by low-income and working class communities. In the Melrose section of the South Bronx, a series of changes have influenced the streetscapes and lives of residents. Rampant arson in the 1970s and 1980s destroyed acres of the neighborhood, for example, while migrants from Puerto Rico and immigrants from the Dominican Republic, West Africa, and Bangladesh, among others, settled in the remaining homes of Melrose to build new lives in a new city. Most recently, federal dollars have been earmarked for Melrose’s reconstruction and redevelopment. This course, offered in partnership with the Bronx-based community empowerment organization WHEDCo, invites students to become activist historians whose objective is to learn what histories are at risk of being silenced or displaced as the South Bronx changes. 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 protect the interests of the current community of Melrose. The course will culminate in an on-line archive and a physical, history-based exhibit to be co-produced with neighborhood residents and displayed in a publicly accessible, outdoor park. Readings may include Jonathan Mahler’s  Ladies and Gentlemen the Bronx is Burning  and Jill Jonnes’s  South Bronx Rising .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9403 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

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-UG1823 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

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

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 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 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-UG1772 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2017

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)

SASEM-UG9150 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2017

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-UG1793 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

Femininity, Postfeminism and Mass Media

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

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-UG1905 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

Designing for New Climates: Histories of Adaptation

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Peder Anker, Mitchell Joachim

Description

The course explores how designers have responded to environmental problems and climate change. It starts with turn of the century admirations for primitivism and ends with the cyber punks design­ing new environments online. Following the work of architects, artists, urban planners, graphic designers and fashionista, the course will review the historical evolution of attempts to “save the world” from our environmental crisis. Who were the key figures that first ignited the green design revolution and its ensuing agenda? The class will unpack texts by thinkers such as Patrick Geddes, Henry David Thoreau, Ebenezer Howard, Louis Sullivan, Buckminster Fuller, Jane Goodall, Annie Leonard, Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, Walter Gropius, Herbert Beyer, Ian McHarg, and many more. The class will focus on various modernist design schemes for adapting to new warmer climates, and why these attempts often failed. We will also devote time to discuss topics such as building closed ecological systems, counterculture designs, cyber environments, sick building syndrome, biomimetics, eco-fashion, earth art, and other attempts to design with nature. The overall objective is twofold; to survey the larger historical context of ecological design and define specific contributions to the climate change debate. The students will be asked to design, develop and participate in a street project.

Notes

Section 002 for Environmental Studies Majors

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1866 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2017

Poetry and the Politics of Decolonization

4 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Linn Cary Mehta

Description

The course looks at poets writing in the twentieth century and after whose work is concerned with liberation from colonial rule and, subsequently, with the formation of a post-colonial literary voice. Poetry in the period of decolonization deals with issues of national, racial, and gender identity, place and displacement, and freedom from linguistic and political oppression. We will read, among others, two leading poets of négritude, Aimé Césaire and Léopold Senghor, in relation to movements in Caribbean, African, and American literature including the Harlem Renaissance (Nicolas Guillén, Derek Walcott, Claude McKay, Langston Hughes); poets from the Indian Subcontinent and Middle East such as Tagore, Iqbal, Faiz and Darwish; Latin American poets including Gabriela Mistral, Pablo Neruda, and Octavio Paz; and English-language poets including W.B. Yeats, William Carlos Williams, and more contemporary movements in poetry. Using theory and historical background, we will look at the work of each poet comparatively in the context of international development and political change. The course offers an approach to globalization through literature; since this process has touched so much of the world, we are open to works from other literatures that students propose.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9400 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

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-UG1440 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

Sissle, Blake and the Minstrel Tradition

2 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Michael Dinwiddie

Description

This course will explore the conflicting ideologies apparent in the works of Noble Sissle and James Hubert “Eubie” Blake. Famed for such hit musicals as “Shuffle Along” and “Chocolate Dandies,” Sissle and Blake formed one of the most successful musical theatre collaborations of the 1920’s. Their work draws strongly on the minstrel tradition in African American theatre, and attempts to subvert many of its conventions. It may be argued that their commercial success had the opposite effect, and served to update and modernize the very theatre conventions they sought to destroy. We will examine the effect of Sissle and Blake’s oeuvre on musical theatre in general and African American musicals in particular. Readings may include  Black Musical Theatre: From Coontown to Dreamgirls  by Allen Woll,  Black Drama  by Loften Mitchell, with excerpts from  Terrible Honesty  by Mary Douglas,  Blacks in Blackface  by Henry T. Sampson,  Reminiscing with Sissle and Blake  by Robert Kimball, and essays by W.E.B. DuBois and Alain Locke. Archival sound and film footage will be utilized along with such works as Spike Lee’s film  Bamboozled .

Notes

Course meets during the last seven weeks only, First Class: March 24; Last Class: May 5.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9356 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
SP 2017

Art’s Role in Race, Empire, and Universalism

4 units
Todd Porterfield

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE IN PARIS: This seminar begins with the conviction that the arc of modern history for both the U.S. and France has had a similar form. Both countries’s Enlightenment ideals of stunning potential, as found in  The Declaration of Independence  and  The Declaration of the Rights of Man  [sic], have often been ballyhooed and ignored, actualized and subverted. At the same time, we have remarked that the specificity of the ambivalent French entanglement with universalism, race, and empire is too rarely understood in the so-called New World. Our focus will be directed to art that in all its manifestations has had a critical role in this dynamic. It has been and continues to be deeply imbricated in the contradictory and reinforcing projects of universalism, race, and empire. But how exactly? What roles have objects played? This is the subject that the seminar will investigate. How have they functioned as symptoms, vectors, or agents in France and in dialogue with sites of French artistic and political ambitions and claims, including New France and Louisiana; the Caribbean; Egypt, North and West Africa; Tahiti and Viet Nam? And what has been their role when it comes to stateless people? Readings and discussions will consider fine art such as painting, drawing, prints, and sculpture, as well as other material objects and products of human and natural manufacture, such as books, the sea, obelisks, shells, textiles, makeup, and clothing.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9401 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2017

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-UG1439 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

James Reese Europe and American Music

units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Michael Dinwiddie

Description

This course will examine the impact of James Reese Europe (1880-1919) on the development of American music in the early twentieth century. An innovative musician and conductor, Europe organized and conducted the first jazz concerts at Carnegie Hall (1912-1914), founded an African American music school, and served as a collaborator with Irene and Vernon Castle, who made social dancing a world-wide rage. During World War I, James Reese Europe led the all-black “Hellfighters” 15th Infantry Band, which performed throughout France and offered Europeans their first exposure to ‘le jazz hot.’ Readings may include  A Life in Ragtime: A Biography of James Reese Europe  by Reid Badger; excerpts from  The Unknown Soldiers: African-American Troops in World War I  by Arthur E. Barbeau and Florette Henri;  From Harlem to the Rhine  by Arthur W. Little;  Black Manhattan  by James Weldon Johnson; and  They All Played Ragtime  by Rudi Blesh and Harriet Janis. Sound and film recordings will also be utilized.

Notes

Course meets during the first seven weeks only, First Class: January 27; Last Class: March 10.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1639 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
SP 2017

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

4 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 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 569

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9354 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

Babel

4 units
Todd Porterfield

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-PARIS. 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.

Notes

Same as IDSEM-UG 1869. Students who have taken IDSEM-UG 1869 (Babel) will not receive credit for IDSEM-UG 9354. Course is not repeatable.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9201 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

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-UG1918 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
SP 2017

Truth in Narrative: Race and Slavery in the Atlantic World 1600-1900

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Carolyn Arena

Description

This seminar investigates first-person narratives of slavery from the perspective of adventurers, novelists, former slaves, abolitionists, and slave owners from the early modern period (c1500-1900). Audiences from that period, and historians alike, have doubted some of these accounts as exaggerations. 17th-century dramas, like Aphra Behn's  Oroonoko  and John Smith's  History of Virginia , have been novelized or romanticized for commercial appeal, yet nevertheless contain undeniable truths about the experience of slavery. 18th- and 19th-century accounts from former slaves, such as Mary Prince and Olaudah Equiano, have been challenged as sensationalized by those in favor of slavery, who doubted that former slaves could become such eloquent writers, and suggested that white abolitionists had ghost-written them instead for their own political gain. This class will discuss how racism influenced these accusations, and how their central message of slavery's brutality can be confirmed, rather than rejected, using memoirs by slave-holders themselves. This course uses these sources to trace the trajectory of New World slavery from its origins in the Mediterranean, to the enslavement of both Native Americans and Africans shipped throughout the Atlantic, to the development of slavery as a racialized institution through colonial legal codes, and finally, to Abolition movements leading up to the American Civil War. The course will focus on the discussion of the aforementioned narratives plus other narratives and film adaptations like Solomon Northup's  Twelve Years a Slave , with short lectures contextualizing each work in colonial and international history.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1867 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
SP 2017

Global Noodles: Silk Routes & Subway Connections

4 units Tue
3:30 PM - 6:10 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,  The Silk Road: A New History of the World ,  Cuisine & Empire: Cooking in World History , essays from 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-UG1867 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
SP 2017

Global Noodles: Silk Routes & Subway Connections

4 units
Section 002
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,  The Silk Road: A New History of the World ,  Cuisine & Empire: Cooking in World History , essays from 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. 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-UG1867 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
SP 2017

Global Noodles: Silk Routes & Subway Connections

4 units
Section 003
Thu
6:20 PM - 7:35 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,  The Silk Road: A New History of the World ,  Cuisine & Empire: Cooking in World History , essays from 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. 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-UG9251 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

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-UG1727 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2017

Plato's Apology

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

Description

‘Corrupting the youth’ of Athens? Virtue in action? Threat to the body politic? Model citizen? Plato’s Socrates presents a conundrum for ancient and modern thought. In his brilliant dialogue, the  Apology , Plato recreates Socrates’ defense of himself at his trial in 399 BCE for (among other things) ‘corrupting the youth’ of his city. The  Apology  sits at the intersection of law, politics, philosophy, religion, erotics, and pedagogy. In this course, we read the  Apology  closely, exploring it as philosophical reflection, courtroom oratory, literary text—and as gripping drama. Supplementary readings address: intellectual milieu, historical and political context, questions of genre.

Notes

Course meets during the first seven weeks only, First Class: January 24; Last Class: March 7. Open to juniors and seniors only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9250 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

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-UG1859 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

Modern Poetry and the Senses

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

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 "Introduction to Metaphysics" 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 Brooks.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9254 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

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-UG1870 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
SP 2017

Going Baroque: Baroque Theater, from Ambiguity to Hyperbole

4 units Tue Thu
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Simon Fortin

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-UG1590 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

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.866.001

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1535 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2017

Narrating Memory, History and Place

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Marie Cruz Soto

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.

Notes

Same as SCA-UA 721 007.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9252 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

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-UG1904 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
SP 2017

Descartes

2 units Wed
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Andrea Gadberry

Description

This course is a seven-week introduction to the major philosophical works of René Descartes (1596-1650). As we read Descartes’ writing, we will study some of the concepts his work is best known for, among them, radical doubt, mind-body dualism, and the “I” created by his famous formula  cogito ergo sum , or “I think therefore I am.” We will take an interdisciplinary approach to our study of Descartes, valuing careful close readings of the texts and putting Descartes’ thought in conversation with literary works of the period (Calderón and Shakespeare, for instance). At the same time, we will look ahead to some of Descartes’ more recent interlocutors, examining the debates of twentieth-century thinkers responding to Cartesian questions.

Notes

Course meets during the last seven weeks only, First Class: March 22; Last Class: May 3.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1907 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2017

The Literature of Environmental Crisis

4 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Gregory Vargo

Description

What does it mean for literature to engage with political and ethical concerns about the degradation of the environment? Ranging from such literary and environmental classics as Rachel Carson’s  Silent Spring  and John Steinbeck’s  The Grapes of Wrath  to contemporary science fiction, this course will look at the way literature changes when it addresses unfolding environmental crisis. We’ll ask whether and how the novel, a form adapted to narrating the story of individual lives, can be stretched to represent broad social formations, long-term ecological processes, and abstract political and philosophic positions. How can the “slow violence” of climate change take narrative shape given that it is a process unfolding over centuries? How can writers approach a topic as vast as the Anthropocene—the great sixth age of mass extinctions in which human industry has become a force on par to catastrophic geologic events? How can the myriad and far-flung relationships of global capitalism be instantiated in fictional form? Can non-human species be given voice in language or image? What can science writing borrow from literary art to make technical debates accessible and compelling to a wide audience? Is there a way to write about environmental crisis that also preserves space for human agency—and therefore hope? We’ll look at a variety of media and genres which artists have utilized to criticize the present and imagine alternative futures: science fiction, situationism, a graphic novel, social problem fiction, poetry, anarchist manifestos, environmental essays and documentary film. Probable readings include: Margaret Atwood,  The Year of the Flood ; Paolo Bacigalupi,  Pump Six ; Rachel Carson,  Silent Spring ; Paul Chadwick,  Concrete: Think Like a Mountain ;   Paul Greenberg,  Four Fish ; Jim Hansen,  Storms of my Grandchildren ; Eizabeth Kolbert,  The Sixth Extinction ; Ricky Laurentiis,  Boy with Thorn ; Bill McKibben,  The End of Nature ; Lydia Millet,  How the Dead Dream ; Ken Saro-Wiwa,  A Month and a Day: A Detention Diary ; Bill Talen,  What Should I do if Reverend Billy Is in My Store? ; Indra Sinha,  Animal’s People ; Justin Taylor,  The Gospel of Anarchy ; Jesmyn Ward,  Salvage the Bones ; Alan Weisman,  The World without Us .

Notes

Same as ENGL-UA 252.003. Section 002 for Environmental Studies majors only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1664 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
SP 2017

Omens and Oracles: Reading the Future and Retaining the Past in Early China

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

Description

When ancient Chinese kings seared sacred bones with fire, reading the future from the resulting cracks went hand in hand with creating archival records to preserve the past. In this class, we will explore several interrelated early Chinese divination traditions through classical texts, archaeology, and recently excavated manuscripts. In all cases we will pay attention to the complex interplay between past, present, and future, including aspects of the history of writing, the history of the book, and the interwoven histories of science and religion. After starting with a discussion of the above-mentioned oracle bones, we will proceed to examine the enigmatic  Yijing  ( Book of Changes ), the earliest and most revered of all the Chinese classics. Then we will consider a popularization of divination practices in the form of almanacs that circulated widely in ancient China. Students can expect to try their hands at the actual practice of the various divination techniques covered, but most class time will be used to engage important themes arising from our investigations, Readings may include:  The Ancestral Landscape: Time, Space, and Community in Late Shang China (Ca. 1200-1045 B.C.)  by David Keightley;  Oracle Bones: A Journey Through Time in China  by Peter Hessler; the  Yijing  ( Book of Changes ); selections from  The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 B.C. ; and select scholarly articles.

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

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)

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)

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)

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-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)

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)

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)

IDSEM-UG1449 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2015

Plato: Tragedy, Philosophy, and Politics

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1449

Description

This two-credit course focuses on Plato’s  Republic . Our goal is two-fold: we learn the art of close reading to reveal the complex and contradictory layers of meaning in a text, and we introduce the enterprise of political theory by lingering over the central questions Plato raises. Those questions concern philosophy and its relationship to politics, the relationship between knowledge and power, the nature of justice, the role of art, poetry, and myth in politics and culture. we also read Sophocles'  Oedipus Tyrannos  to explore the relationship between tragedy and philosophy. We analyze these issues in relation to Plato’s world, and to our own.

Notes

Open to sophomores only. Course meets first seven weeks, 9/3-10/15.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (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-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)

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)

SASEM-UG9202 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

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)

SASEM-UG9250 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 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-UG1714 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

What is Critique?

4 units Wed
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, Asad, 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. Together we will ask after the conditions of what can and cannot be thought or said, and how these conditions tend to shape our formation as gendered, racialized and liberal subjects.

Notes

Same as COLIT-UA 550.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1388 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

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-UG1789 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

Video: History, Theory, Practice

4 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM Wed
6:20 PM - 7:35 PM
Eve Meltzer

Description

This course investigates video as an artistic medium, a tool of surveillant culture, and a means for everyday witnessing, watching, documenting, remembering, and giving oneself to be seen. We will begin by tracing the invention of the medium from the mid-1950s, and the subsequent effect on both artists and non-artists as video technology became more commonplace and affordable in the 1970s. We will consider the history of video art, including artists like William Wegman, Vito Acconci, Nam June Paik, and Joan Jonas, as well as video’s use by activist groups such as the Videofreex and Paper Tiger Television. Our discussion of video in contemporary art practice will touch on works by Sharon Hayes, Candice Breitz, Patty Chang, and John Kessler, among many others. Examining the history of video as an art form will require that we make sense of the interaction between artistic and non-artistic uses of the medium, as well as the ways in which artists do the work of representing important aspects of life in the visual field as such technological innovations as video have transformed that experience. What does video offer as a mode of representation that other mediums do not? Are there things that video does particularly well? Conversely, what are the blind spots of the medium? While all students will write critical papers as well as produce short video projects, students are asked to elect to enroll in one of two course code options: Option 1 (Video as Interdisciplinary Seminar, wherein major work completed is of the written type) or Option 2 (Video as Arts Workshop, wherein major work completed is artwork/ video projects). All students meet together regardless of Option elected, and all students are also required to attend one and a half hour weekly screenings of videos in addition to regular course meeting hours.

Notes

Same as ARTS-UG 1609. Students may enroll in either IDSEM-UG 1789 or ARTS-UG 1609. Students enrolled in IDSEM-UG 1789 will focus their work on the written critical analysis of video; students enrolled in ARTS-UG 1609 will focus their work on the production of video work. All students in this team-taught course share some assignments, written and production-based. Please note this course includes an additional, required meeting hour (Wed, 6:20-7:35) for weekly video screenings. Previous experience with video is strongly suggested for students who enroll in ARTS-UG 1609. Students enrolled in ARTS-UG 1609 should also note that they will not receive credit toward either the liberal arts foundation or interdisciplinary seminar requirement.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1899 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2016

Ancient Reflections in a Time of Modern War

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1899

Description

In this class we explore ancient Greek attitudes toward war, as represented in epic, drama, and historiography. Among the topics we consider are: rhetoric and rationales for and against war; war and social cohesion; war and empire; the stakes of civil war; war and gender; the social costs of war; the implications for our contemporary situation. Readings may include, Homer, Iliad; Sophocles, Ajax; Aeschylus Seven Against Thebes; Euripides, Iphigeneia in Aulis and Trojan Women; Aristophanes, Peace; Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War; and twentieth century mediations on the problematic of war, such as Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain; Jonathan Shay, Achilles in Vietnam; Simone Weil, The Iliad, or the poem of force.

Notes

Same as COLIT-UA 866.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1881 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

Justice and Rights Movements: "Let Them Lead the Way"

4 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Michael Dinwiddie

Description

“ I believe the children are our future; teach them well and let them lead the way. ” George Benson’s lyric from  The Greatest  highlights the focus of this interdisciplinary seminar, which will examine the various roles that young people have played in movements of social transformation. From civil rights marches to anti-nuclear protests, young people have oftentimes been the “shock troops” on the front line for social change. But rarely is this aspect of justice and rights movements explored. On a global scale, students will study various methods and strategies used by civil society actors organizing campaigns to lobby against inequity and violence targeted at specific groups. What advocacy mechanisms have been developed and how effective are they? The emphasis will be on the active role of young people as they seek to dismantle systems of oppression and mobilize into “peaceful warriors.” A weekend trip to the NYU Global Site in Washington, DC, will include visits to the U.S. Institute of Peace and the National Museum for the American Indian as well as civil rights memorials. Students will create a “young people’s peace map” of New York City and conclude with a mini-conference. Readings may include  The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child ,  The Children  by David Halberstam,  Civil Disobedience  by Henry David Thoreau,  Marching on Washington: The Forging of a Political Tradition  by Lucy Barber, selections from  Peace and Conflict Studies  by David P. Barash and Charles P. Webel, and creative works such as the film  Amandla! , music by Peter, Paul and Mary, Miriam Makeba, Pete Seeger, Odetta, and Woodie Guthrie, among others.

Notes

Same as SCAI-UF 401 001. Team-taught with Joyce Apsel. Permission required (mdd3@nyu.edu). Please note this course includes a three-day visit to Washington D.C. with overnight stay on Friday, October 28th and Saturday, October 29th. Students who wish to take this course should not enroll in any courses that meet on Friday.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1705 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2016

Antigone(s): Ancient Greece/Performance Now

4 units Tue
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Kristin Horton, Laura Slatkin

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1705

Description

A production of  Antigone  is taking place somewhere in the world every day—right now, as you are reading this. What was  Antigone ? What is  Antigone ? What might  Antigone  yet be? Our course—a collaboration between a stage director and a classicist—begins with an immersion in Sophocles' prize-winning play (441 BCE), with close attention to the history, politics, aesthetics, performance conditions, and production features of ancient Athenian drama more generally. The second half of our course turns to contemporary renditions of  Antigone  and will consider the dramatic and cultural configurations each new production activates.  Antigone's  exploration of the complexities of gender, kinship, citizenship, law, resistance to authority, family vs. the state, and religion (among other issues) has been compelling for modern thought, and especially galvanizing to theaters of resistance and dissent. Our classes will combine critical inquiry into the plays and surrounding discourse as well as experiments in interpretation—including acting workshops and staging exercises. Students need no background in acting, theater, or ancient literature, but do need critical energy and discipline. Among the modern plays we might address, in the second half of the semester, are reimaginings of  Antigone  by Brecht, Fugard, McLaughlin, and Miyagawa. To help us place antiquity and modernity in a productive conversation, we will also read secondary literature from several fields (classics, political theory, anthropology, theory of sexuality/gender).

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9150 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 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-UG1318 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
FA 2016

Shakespeare and the London Theatre

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1318

Description

In this class we take a visit to London in the years 1590 to 1616, in search of Shakespeare and the London in which he lived and wrote. During this period, London at the height of its Renaissance power, was a center of dramatic arts unparalleled in the rest of Europe. Volumes of plays were written, theaters were built all over London, and each day, during the season, those theaters were filled with audiences who were drawn from every social and economic class and both genders. Theater was a craze. It was the center of cultural life in London. And in the center of this remarkably, vibrant creative world, Shakespeare was a superstar. We examine the city of London, Shakespeare, and theater from literary, historical, political and cultural perspectives. Our consideration of the theater is in relation to other forms of popular entertainment, such as singing, dancing and mountebank performances, and how they might have influenced Shakespeare. We read a selection of plays written by Shakespeare, that might include As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III, Hamlet, and Measure for Measure. We also see film versions of some of the plays and go to the New York theatre.

Notes

Same as MEDI-UA 991 003.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1562 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2016

Reading the Faces of Ancient Cultures

4 units Mon Wed
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Hallie Franks

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1562

Description

In this class, we will investigate the form, development, and role of images of people in ancient Egypt, the Near East, Greece, and Rome. Using visual and literary sources, we will focus on how we define a portrait and will confront the variety of problems that the representation of the individual in the ancient world entails. How essential are the concepts of “likeness” and “realism” to the definition of a portrait, and to its function? How are ancient portraits manipulated to serve specific public or private roles? Who does the manipulating, and who is the audience? Does there exist, in pre-modern cultures, a correlation between the portrait of an individual and that individual’s character? We will address these questions and others, concentrating on the use of portraiture in shaping personal, political, and cultural identities. Texts may include the Stele of Naram-Sin; Aristophanes, Clouds; Pseudo-Aristotle, Physiognomics; images of Alexander the Great and his Successors; the Prima Porta Augustus; and Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray. We will make use of objects in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1884 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
FA 2016

Accessorizing the Renaissance: Manners, Taste, and Fashion in Early Modern Europe

4 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Bella Mirabella

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1884

Description

Many of the ideas that we in the West have about manners, good taste, style, and fashion originate in the Italian Renaissance, particularly with visual artists who portrayed the clothing of the time, and with writers who focused on the ideas of self-fashioning in the construction of a personal and public identity and the necessity of good manners and fine clothing in fostering the relationship one has with the social community. These ideas became crucially important throughout Europe, influenced in part by their trade within the Mediterranean Basin and the Middle East, and form the basis of contemporary attitudes on style, manners, and fashion. This class will explore these key ideas through the perspective of their impact on gender, status, power, identity, and the position of the other. We will read primary texts from the Renaissance about self-fashioning, good manners, and dress in Europe and non-European countries, literary texts that give us dramatic representations of the importance of decorous behavior and style as well as visual representations of attire from the period. Readings may be drawn from texts such as Baldesare Castiglione’s  Courtier , Giovanni della Casa’s , Galateo , Moderata Fonte’s  The Worth of Women , Shakespearean plays, such  as Othello , and  Twelfth Night , and contemporary essays and texts on fashion and dress such as James Laver’s , Costume and Fashion  and Susan Vincent’s  Dressing the Elite. 

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1840 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

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 lyric poems, short stories and novels (Woolf’s  Mrs. Dalloway , Shelley’s  Frankenstein , and the  Arabian Nights ), 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.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1802 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

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

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 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-UG9254 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

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-UG9355 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2016

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

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-PARIS. 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.

Notes

Same as IDSEM-UG 1871. Students who have taken IDSEM-UG 1871 (Civilization, the Extreme West, and the Argentine Artist Léon Ferraril) will not receive credit for IDSEM-UG 9355. Course is not repeatable.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1886 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

Imagining Justice

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

Description

Cultural work is political imagining. This course asks just where the picture of a just world comes from. The common link between recent political movements like Occupy, Black Lives Matter, contemporary radical feminisms and queer politics is the claim that justice is not for everyone. Through events, actions and statements, movements urge us to see who is left out of the collective imagination of a just world. The creative work of our culture, as much as much as any political document or decree, teaches us what justice is and whom it is for. This means that it is crucial for us to examine how novels, film, exhibitions, memorials and events represent histories of political change and the achievement of justice. Our time is ripe for this exploration, since in the last few years we have been inundated with work in many genres that represent the anniversaries of the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Rights Movement, LGBTQ movements and more. Who do these narratives teach us that justice is for, and what happens to those who fall out of their view? We will investigate a range of texts, considering how they uphold or limit forms of justice and also how they intervene against those limits. A range of primary and secondary texts might include Morrison's  Beloved , Walker's  Meridian , Baldwin's  The Fire Next Time , Coates's  Between the World and Me , and the recent films  Selma  and  12 Years a Slave. 

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1809 Lib Arts
SCI
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2016

Achilles' Shield: Mapping the Ancient Cosmos

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

Description

In Book 18 of the  Iliad , Homer describes the shield made for the hero Achilles. On the shield, the god Hephaestos represented the whole earth, the sun and moon, the constellations, the Ocean that encircles the world, the cities of men, and their farms, festivals, and wars. Achilles’ shield introduces questions about the ways in which the world and the cosmos were understood in the ancient world and the contexts that produced these understandings. How did different ancient sources represent the world and the relationship of the world to the heavenly bodies? What were the organizational principles and goals that governed these representations? As scientific knowledge expands, how do popular conceptions of the world adapt to this new information? And in the absence of maps, which have largely not survived from antiquity, how might other kinds of visual and textual evidence reveal how people thought about geographical relationships, as well as related relationships between centers and frontiers, peoples familiar and foreign, and the earth and heavens? This course investigates ancient scientific and mathematical theories on the extent and shape of the world alongside other kinds of representations—poetic, political, religious, material, and visual. Primary sources may include: Homer  Iliad , Alcman, Plato  Timaeus , Aristotle  De Caelo , Herodotus, Hanno’s Periplous, Ptolemy, Strabo, Pomponius Mela, Copernicus, Giordano Bruno, Gallileo.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1752 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

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

4 units Fri
2:00 PM - 4:45 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 ,  The Matrix ,  The   Truman Show ,  Network, Idiocracy  and  Catfish , television shows  60 Minutes, Family Guy, The Simpsons, South Park  and  The X-Files , as well as a selection of other media forms, including blogs, podcasts, radio programs, graphic novels, newspapers, magazines, music videos, social media sites and video games.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9151 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 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-UG1351 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
or GLOBAL
FA 2016

Passion and Poetics in Early Japan

4 units Mon Wed
3:30 PM - 4:45 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-UG1630 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2016

Pictures at a Revolution: Film as Political Rhetoric

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Rahul Hamid

Description

V.I. Lenin called cinema the most important art because of its power to persuade. And in fact, cinema has played a key role in many of the revolutionary movements of the twentieth century, in particular for the Russian and Cuban revolutions. In this course we will examine how the cinema works as political language by introducing a variety of theoretical writings both on revolutionary politics and on political aesthetics. We will explore the boundaries between propaganda and political cinema, and we will analyze whether there is a tension between the aesthetics of modernism and the clarity purportedly necessary for effective political persuasion. As we examine how filmmakers attempt to translate revolutionary ideas into cinema, our topics will include: Italian Neorealism, the French New Wave, Brazilian Cinema Novo, and New Queer Cinema. Readings will include: Franz Fanon, Trinh T.Minh-ha, Sergei Eisenstein, Bertolt Brecht and Glauber Rocha.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1885 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

Literature and/of Human Rights

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

Description

The extent and the manner in which we can think of literary or cinematic genres as linked with human rights raises many questions. The historian Lynn Hunt has argued that the emergence of the novel as a genre in the eighteenth century is the site of the emergence of human rights: the novel invited its readers to engage with an individual's story, to sympathize and empathize with a character whose situation might be quite different from the reader's own. Literary works might even be understood as participating in the construction of the rights-bearing individual and designating the boundaries of the human. However, as Samuel Moyn points out, human rights, as a concept associated with legal frameworks and political claims, is a product of the mid-twentieth century. Testimony, autobiography, plays, essays, and film have been recruited to expose violations of what we might call human rights, inciting awareness and sympathy--and sometimes action. We will begin by sketching a microhistory of the emergence of human rights, testing--and complicating--Hunt's claims for the novel. Then we will move on to look at specific sites and issues. What are some different ways in which literary genres and discourses represent, render visible, and perhaps even constitute human rights violations? How do the techniques of representation associated with the literary communicate? What are the stakes of these forms of representation? How have writers negotiated the limits of genre and language to engage with that which cannot be readily represented? To what extent do the norms of some forms of literary representation serve, paradoxically, to silence or occlude certain voices? Do certain kinds of literary discourse implicitly sustain a problematic opposition between the humanitarian and the political? Authors and texts discussed may include Mary Hays, Olympe De Gouges, anti-gallows literature, Hannah Arendt, Costas Douzinas, Jane Taylor, J. M. Coetzee, Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Rigoberta Menchu, among others.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1523 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2016

Feminism, Empire and Postcoloniality

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

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-UG1914 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

Islam and Race in the United States

4 units Tue Thu
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Sophia Azeb

Description

What has been the role of Islam and Muslim Americans in the culture and politics of the United States? This course will explore the history, culture and politics of American Islam from Malcolm X and the Five-Percent Nation to A Tribe Called Quest and Muslimah feminisms. Islam first arrived in the Americas in the holds of the earliest slave ships and has been here ever since. But over the course of the 20th century, millions more Muslims came to the United States from all parts of the globe, bringing with them numerous theological and cultural interpretations of the faith. While Islam has historically appealed to people of color in the U.S. and elsewhere due to its theological emphasis on universality, or the transcendence of racial difference, it has also been strategically deployed by African Americans in the U.S. to identify and confront racism within both American society at large as well as within the multifaceted American Muslim community. This course examines these complex histories and relationships--looking especially closely at the tensions between Black Muslims and the many Muslim immigrants who came to the United States in the 20th century--in order to identify how variations of American Muslim expression emerge alongside the realities of a specifically American racial framework. Understanding the relationship between race and Islam in America is especially important today, as political rhetoric tied to the “War on Terror” often conflates race and religion, to the detriment of Muslim and Muslim-adjacent (or “perceived Muslim”) communities at home and abroad. Through close readings of historical and cultural texts, such as the scholarly work of Edward E. Curtis and the fictional writings of Michael Muhammad Knight, music, film, and other graphic materials; students in this course will study the plurality of American Islam(s) and the role American Muslims play in the pursuit of civil rights and social justice in our society.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1215 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
FA 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)

IDSEM-UG1739 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2016

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 2016

Enlightenment Subjects and Subjections

4 units Tue
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
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. Our course will begin by examining works that 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 .

Notes

Same as COLIT-UA 141.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9100 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 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)

SASEM-UG9400 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 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)

SASEM-UG9403 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 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-UG1889 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

Body Art, Body Horror

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

Description

According to Western tradition, the human figure – beautiful, flawless, transcendent – was the original and ultimate subject of art. Why, then, has art so often returned to bodies that are carnal, ugly, disgusting, or horrific? This course will consider artistic modes (grotesque, abject, obscene) and subjects (excretion, mortality, perversion, deformity) that make up this alternative aesthetic history. What different purposes has body horror served across historical contexts? Horror has frequently been leveraged against women, sexual minorities, and nonwhite peoples in order to justify their disenfranchised positions; why, then, have these groups sometimes claimed repulsive identities with pleasure and pride? Is this aesthetic an exclusively Euro-American formation, or does it overlap with traditions of body horror in, for example, Japan or India? Readings will include critical theory (Edmund Burke, Sigmund Freud, Julia Kristeva, Elizabeth Grosz) and fiction (Marquis de Sade, Georges Bataille, Katherine Dunn), as well as art history (Kenneth Clark, Sander Gilman, Amelia Jones) and cinema studies (Carol Clover, Noël Carrol, Vivian Sobchack). Alongside ancient, medieval, and modernist artworks, we will focus on contemporary works by artists such as Kiki Smith, Robert Gober, Paul McCarthy, and Kara Walker, and films by Tod Browning, Ridley Scott, David Cronenberg, and Frank Henenlotter.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1794 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
FA 2016

History and Memory in the Early Modern Atlantic World

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Heather Vermeulen

Description

This course 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, Aphra Behn, William Shakespeare, Toni Morrison, and Saidiya Hartman.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Becoming Global? "Europe" and the World

4 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 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

Open to sophomores only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1795 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

Art and Ethics

4 units Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 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-UG1609 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2016

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-UG9200 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 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)

SASEM-UG9401 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 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-UG1750 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

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)

IDSEM-UG1735 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

American Narratives II

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1735

Description

The goal of this course is to create a conversation between post world war two American literature and political thought. We focus especially on the relationship between theorists making arguments using the genre of the treatise or monograph, and literary artists dramatizing protagonists acting in fictional worlds. What theoretical and political difference do differences of genre make in how readers (and citizens) apprehend and act in the world? But we also pursue more substantive questions. First, how is politics (and the meaning of democracy) represented in both theory and fiction? Second, how do literary artists represent and rework the dominant idioms tropes of American politics - especially ideas of the frontier, self-making, freedom, and related claims to American exceptionalism? Third, how are the politics of race and gender addressed in and by literary art in comparison to works of theory? Fourth, do critics and writers affirm -or dramatize and trouble- the pervasive and typically unquestioned attachment to the idea of "America?" What is the relationship between re-imagining (and redeeming) American nationhood, and in contrast, imagining anti-national or diasporic identifications? Our theorists include C. Wright Mills, Norman O. Brown, Sheldon Wolin, Judith Butler, Jacques Ranciere, Lauren Berlant, Kimberlee Crenshaw, Gloria Anzaldua, and Eve Sedgwick; our literary artists may include Thomas Pynchon, Norman Mailer, Allan Ginsberg, Phillip Roth, James Baldwin, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison.

Notes

Prerequisite IDSEM-UG 1592 or IDSEM-UG 1844 or IDSEM-UG 1450 or IDSEM-UG 1272 or permission of the instructor (gms1@nyu.edu).

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1711 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2016

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-UG1314 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

Literary and Cultural Theory: An Interdisciplinary Introduction

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
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-UG1061 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

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-UG9550 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
FA 2016

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-UG1618 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

Media and Fashion

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 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)

SASEM-UG9102 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 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)

IDSEM-UG1642 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

Celebrity Culture

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1642

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-UG9354 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

Babel

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-PARIS. 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.

Notes

Same as IDSEM-UG 1869. Students who have taken IDSEM-UG 1869 (Babel) will not receive credit for IDSEM-UG 9354. Course is not repeatable.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1566 Lib Arts
SCI
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
FA 2016

History of Environmental Sciences Before Darwin

4 units Tue Thu
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Peder Anker

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 2016

The Travel Habit: On the Road in the Thirties

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

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

This 2-unit course meets the last seven weeks only. First class: October 28; last class: December 16.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1909 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2016

Art for Emancipation: Reversing Field in Adversarial Territory

4 units Wed
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Zahia Rahmani

Description

How might the production and analysis of literature, art, and cinema help us forge tools for the emancipation of individuals against society's expectations, and those of family and community, as well as prefabricated identity assignments? In this seminar we will study American literature, art, and cinema in order to develop new interpretations for the specific contexts in which we work, think, write and play. Emulating the model of the shot/countershot--the field practice of the cinematographer who sees from one and then the other angle--we will adopt the perspective of an outsider or a minority in order to gain a new approach to the works of authors and artists such as Erskine Caldwell, Richard Wright, Robert Rauschenberg, John Ford, James Agee and Walker Evans. Looking at these closely, we will try to discern the ways in which these American contributions may resonate with minority worlds, which are too often and otherwise rendered invisible. We will see how and why these works--and many others--might foster a desire for emancipation.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9252 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 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)