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Found 1200 courses
IDSEM-UG1653 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2011

Friendship And Love Between Men in Takeshi Kitano’s Movies

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1653

Description

Takeshi Kitano, aka Beat Takeshi, is probably the most famous contemporary Japanese actor, filmmaker, and personality. This course will take up the issue of a continuum, or a “thin blue line,” between male homosociality and homosexuality as theorized by Eve Sedgwick in her Between Men , by exploring the role of desire in male friendship, male love and homophobia in the context of three Kitano films: Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence , Sonatine , and Taboo . We will be attentive to how male friendships are protected from, or conversely, directly confront homoeroticism, as well as to how women figure as objects between men. We will consider other issues in relation to the specific historical contexts of the three films: (1) colonialism, wartime ethics, and racial politics for Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence ; (2) Yakuza characters as film tropes and Okinawan-Japanese ethnic politics for Sonatine ; and (3) the politics of male-male relations in samurai culture for Taboo . Readings may include the following: selections from Eve Sedgwick, Between Men and Epistemology of the Closet, Gregory Pflugfelder, Cartographies of Desire , Lydia N. Yu-Jose, Japan Views the Philippines, 1900-1944, and Bhabha, The Location of Culture; Earl Jackson, “Desire at Cross-Cultural Purposes,” positions; Timothy Corrigan, A Short Guide to Writing About Film; and Bob Davis, “Takeshi Kitano,” Senses of Cinema.

Notes

Course meets during the last seven weeks only, October 26–December 13.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1504 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Guilty Subjects: Guilt in Literature, Law and Psychoanalysis

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 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-UG1664 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
FA 2011

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

4 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Ethan Harkness

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1664

Description

When ancient Chinese kings seared sacred bones with elemental 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-UG1351 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
or GLOBAL
FA 2011

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 absent in Japanese literary and performing arts: the notion of an interiorized subject. In fact, the premodern 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 premodern Japanese poetics and prose, performing and visual arts, from the very first writings through the nineteenth century, in relation to history and religious and philosophic belief systems such as Buddhism, Shintoism and Confucianism. Texts will include: selections of poetry, emaki (picture scrolls), noh and puppet plays, selections from The Tale of Genji, The Pillow Book, Essays in Idleness .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1662 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Critical Cultural Theory: Benjamin and Adorno on Culture and Modernity

4 units Mon Wed
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Sara Murphy

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1662

Description

In this course, we’ll engage in close reading of some of the work of two of the twentieth century’s most important thinkers: Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) and Theodore Adorno (1903-69). Although Benjamin’s relations to

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1388 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Thinking About Seeing

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

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-UG1608 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Justice and the Political

4 units Fri
2:00 PM - 4:45 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 four attempts to define justice that also explore its relationship to politics: Plato’s Republic, Kant’s Ground work for a Metaphysics of Morals, and Hegel’s Philosophy of Right.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1657 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Darwin and Ethics

4 units Tue
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
George Levine

Description

In this course, we will be considering the way Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection affects the way we think about the “ethical.” One form of the question is, “If Darwin’s theory is correct, how is it possible that humans can be moral beings, can be altruistic?” For many people in Darwin’s time and in our own, true morality is only possible if it has an extra-human, divine or transcendental basis. Otherwise, morality is simply arbitrary. Darwin's naturalism raises the issue of whether ethics are objectively “real” in the same way that stars or material things are real. A related issue is nature/nurture: is human behavior determined biologically or culturally? In this class, the discussion of these issues will focus primarily on the nineteenth-century responses to Darwin’s theory, but will also attend to a few arguments of modern scientists relating to questions of ethics. The point of the course is not to provide an unequivocal answer to the questions but to consider why and how the questions arise, and what possible implications they have for our own lives. Readings will include or be drawn from: Paley, Natural Theology; John Stuart Mill, “Nature”; Arthur Balfour, Foundations of Belief, “Ethics and Theism”; Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species , “Struggle for Existence,”; the chapter on the origins of morality from Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man; The discussion of religion from Darwin’s Autobiography ; W. K. Clifford's "The Ethics of Belief"; William James, “Is Life Worth Living?”; T. H. Huxley, “Prolegomena,” Evolution and Ethics; Bertrand Russell, “A Free Man’s Worship”; Daniel Dennett, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea; Stephen Jay Gould, Ever Since Darwin; Eiseley. The Darwin Century .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1629 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Kafka and His Context

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Magdalena Platzova

Description

“A book must be an ax for a frozen sea in us,” wrote Franz Kafka (1893-1924), 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. We will try to find out, what were the possible sources of Kafka´s imagination and how did his art capture 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 a bureaucratic system? We will look at Kafka as one of the “Prague circle” writers but also in the broader context of artistic, philosophical and social ideas that swept across Europe before and after World War I. And we will question the writing itself: the urge, the need to write, writing as a way of survival. We will read selected works of Kafka, but also commentaries and parallel fictions by Walter Benjamin, Elias Canetti, Hannah Arendt, Milan Kundera, Václav Havel, and Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. 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.

Notes

Same as K20.9201.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1588 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

The Rise and Fall of the Harlem Renaissance

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

Description

Langston Hughes's question "What happens to a dream deferred?" is one of the most famous phrases to come from the Harlem Renaissance, yet it is a question rarely posed about the Harlem Renaissance itself. This class, therefore, will examine the dream of the Harlem Renaissance by tracing not only its appearance, but also the meaning of its failure. This course will explore the Harlem Renaissance as one of the most celebrated flowerings of culture in the history, and as a crucial articulation of America's dream. We will ask: how did Harlem Renaissance writers, artists, filmmakers, musicians, dancers (and more) use creative expression to depict, reject, and transform narratives of African American and American identity, to offer dreams of racial healing and national redemption? Because the Harlem Renaissance is an important and cherished signpost in America's narrative of struggle and redemption, however, it is rarely read as a dream deferred. So we also ask: how was the Harlem Renaissance a promise song for a future that never arrived, a dream of cultural change and social transformation never fully completed? Writers and artists who followed the Renaissance enunciate both sharp critiques and collective despair about the possibility of change. Speaking critically of the hopes of the Renaissance, writers like James Baldwin, Ann Petry and Richard Wright assert the failure of the its promise of racial rebirth and national reconciliation; depicting repetition not progress, they call for, seek and invent creative forms and strategies through which people can imagine themselves out of their tragic present. By studying the Renaissance as well as the dark imaginings that followed it, we will pursue broad questions about the centrality of racial identity to ideas of "Americanness," the centrality of narrative in of history, and the centrality of a fractured past to contemporary definitions of freedom. By tracing connections between an earlier but seminal cultural moment, and our own, we can undertake an important conversation about the meaning of race in this country.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1644 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2011

Labor and the Global Market: Literature, Film and History

4 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Valerie Forman

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1314 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Literary and Cultural Theory: An Interdisciplinary Introduction

4 units Mon Wed
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Sara Murphy

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-UG1375 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Romantics and Revolutionaries: The Birth of Modern Political Theatre

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Christopher Cartmill

Description

In the period of the American and French Revolutions, theater and theatricality took on powerful political significance. This course explores the convergence between theatre and politics during the Age of Revolution, while seeking parallels to the theatricality of our own political culture. Partly, we examine the historical conditions and cultural innovations that fueled writers and artists during this volatile and dynamic period between 1770 and 1850. Partly, we examine dramaturgy and theatre aesthetics exploring the links between history, and theories of drama, playwriting and stage practice, performance styles and critical reception. In addition to class discussions, students will be responsible for an extensive research project (paper and presentation). Course materials may include works by such figures as Voltaire, Rousseau, Sheridan, Blake, Schiller, Byron, Goethe, Stendhal, Robespierre, Washington, Pitt, and Paine; the music of Mozart and Beethoven; and the art of Piranesi, David, Ingres, and Delacroix.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1589 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2011

The Vietnam War

4 units Tue Thu
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Hannah Gurman

Description

The Vietnam War occupies a special place in U.S history and foreign relations. It was America's longest war, the only war it ever lost, a war that shattered Americans' faith in their government and spawned a culture of protests that divided one generation from another. It has been said that Vietnam was the "most traumatic experience for the United States in the twentieth century." In this course, we will examine the Vietnam War through the lens of literature, film, official documents, memoirs, and historical analysis, under the premise that each of these sources offers different, yet important insights into the cause, experience, and effect of the war. In addition to considering the war from the U.S. perspective, we will also read texts that offer insights into the Vietnamese experience. Texts will include novels, films, and poetry of Eugene Burdick, Norman Mailer, Yusef Komunyaaka, and Tim O’Brien, official documents written by Robert McNamara, George Ball, and Daniel Ellsberg, and scholarship by Leslie Gelb, David Elliott, and Marilyn Young.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1116 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2011

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-UG1568 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2011

Narrating Memory, History and Place

4 units Mon Wed
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

Formerly titled "Narrating the Americas: History and Film."

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1451 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Ancient Reflections in a Time of Modern War

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

Description

In this class we will explore ancient Greek attitudes toward war, as represented in epic, drama, and historiography. Among the topics we will 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 ; Aeschylus Seven Against Thebes ; Euripides, Iphigeneia in Aulis and Trojan Women ; Aristophanes, Peace ; Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War ; and 20th 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

Course meets 1/26 - 3/9 only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1593 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2011

Barbarians: Ancient Conceptions of the Outsider

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

Description

The conceptions of people outside of one's own culture are complex and multi-layered, and this was as true in the ancient world as it is today. From the conquered Elamites that were depicted on the palace walls of the Neo-Assyrian Assurbanipal, to the mythical Ethiopians of Homer's epics, or to the Gauls with whom Julius Caesar did battle, representations of other kinds of people serve as a backdrop against which a distinctive sense of cultural identity is clarified or reinforced. This seminar explores the representation of "foreign" peoples in the visual arts and literature of the ancient Near Eastern, Greek, and Roman worlds. Using visual (reliefs, vase-painting, sculpture, mosaics, and wall-painting) and written (inscriptions, epic poetry, drama, histories, novels) sources, we pursue the following questions: What role do local ideals play in the construction and definition of another culture? What are the political or social motivations for the representations of foreigners in ancient art and literature? To what extent does the definition of an "other" reflect an already defined identity, and to what extent is identity constituted by imagining difference? Readings may include Simone de Beauvoir, Clifford Geertz, Euripides Medea, Aeschylus The Persians, Herodotus, Caesar The Gallic Wars, Heliodorus Aethiopika (The Ethiopian Romance).

Notes

Formerly titled "Cultural Others in the Ancient World."

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1590 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Walter Benjamin: Theory for Gleaners

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

Description

Long before the current vogue for eco-living, recycling, and repurposing, there have been people surviving with little fanfare on leftovers and discards, and theorists meditating on the revolutionary possibilities of refuse and junk. This seminar will introduce 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 the cast-off. We begin the course with Agnes Varda's film The Gleaners and I, and we will continue to explore the relation between theory and the collecting and recycling of ideas, images, and objects, especially those that have been overlooked or abandoned. What, if anything, do ragpickers or dumpster divers have to teach us about subjects as large as theory, history, modernity, and the city? Our primary text will be Benjamin's expansive and unfinished work of citations and brief commentaries, The Arcades Project (1927-1940), but we will consider the work of other 19th and 20th century collectors and archivists. Texts include the poems of Baudelaire and Aragon, the theory of Freud, the short stories of Walser, the photographs of Blossfeldt and Atget, the Mnemosyne-Atlas of Warburg. What did Benjamin and these moderns make of dross, and what can we glean from their thought for our own times?

Notes

Same as V29.0117.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1635 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Playing Video Games: Theory, History and Practice

4 units Tue Thu
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Samuel Tobin

Description

Video games are an increasingly ubiquitous form of media, but what are they, how do they work and who plays them? And what can we learn from them, about them and through them? In this course we will explore the histories of video games as well as the key ways in which video games, games in general and play have been theorized in the humanities and social sciences. One of the central questions theorists of play have is exactly how do we define play and how does it relate to games, work, war, sociability, learning and other key concepts. We will read and discuss a broad range of texts about play and about video games from authors including Johan Huizinga, Roger Caillois, Clifford Geertz, David Sudnow, Jesper Juul and McKenzie Wark. We will also play with a range of games, old and new, both in and out of class. No special video game systems, experience or equipment is required.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1339 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Foucault: Biopolitics and the Care of the Self

4 units Tue
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Bradley Lewis

Description

Michel Foucault’s radical approach to the body destabilized rigid distinctions between biology and culture, and it anticipated a new form of "bio-politics." These approaches were first used by ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) and have gone on to influence feminist theory of the body, disability studies, queer theory, and postanarchy. Each of these forms of theory and activism have in common a focus on the dense intertwining of knowledge (science/reason), power, desire, subjectivity, and disciplinary control. We devote this class to close readings of Foucault’s work. Our focus will be on his key notions of discourse, power, biopower, discipline, subjectivity, and sexuality. In addition, we explore the ways Foucault’s theories and concepts became synergistic with AIDS activism and, more recently, with emergent trends in post-anarchicism.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1563 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Women’s Text(iles)

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1624 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

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

4 units Tue
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Andrew Romig

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1370 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Popular Culture and the Struggle for Black Civil Rights

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Justin Lorts

Description

How has popular culture served as a path (or obstacle) to social, political and economic equality for African Americans? Can black popular culture align itself with political movements without compromising its artistic integrity and authenticity? What is “authentic” black popular culture anyway? For over a century black artists, intellectuals, political leaders and audiences have engaged with these questions, as part of a larger debate on the relationship between African American participation in popular culture and their status in American society. Because popular culture has historically been one of the few avenues of success open to African Americans, some have credited it with offering black artists and entertainers the possibility of economic success, social mobility and cultural visibility. Others, however, have charged popular culture with perpetuating negative stereotypes and limiting blacks in their quest for equality. Far from being settled, this debate continues today. This course will trace the development of this debate from a variety of historical, cultural and disciplinary perspectives. Students will analyze some of the key historical and contemporary works on the subject, as well as some of the movies, television shows, literature, music and comedy routines that were at the center of this debate.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1612 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Contexts of Musical Meaning: What and How Does Music Mean?

4 units Tue Thu
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Gregory Erickson

Description

Is it possible to say that a piece of music “means” something? Can music communicate emotion, narrative, or philosophy? Can it embrace or resist political ideology? In what ways is music influenced by, or in what ways does it influence, society? For Richard Wagner, music and words together are capable of expressing the deepest thoughts and feelings that a human can have, and according to Nietzsche, music provides access to the nature of reality itself. On the other hand, Eduard Hanslick insisted that music should be divorced from the extramusical world, and Stravinsky famously claimed that music, by its very nature, is essentially powerless to express anything at all. More recently, thinkers have stressed the importance of approaching music as a cultural construct to reveal its encoded ideological meanings. This course will look at the nature of musical meaning from all these perspectives. We will listen to and discuss forms of Western art (i.e. “classical”) music as well as genres of popular and folk music as we explore the relationship of gender, race, class, and politics to musical works. Each unit in this course will take a specific musical text (Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, John Coltrane’s Love Supreme, the Beatles’ White Album) and explore different theoretical, philosophical and musicological approaches to the music’s “meaning.” We will read philosophical works of aesthetics and hermeneutics by Plato, Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Heidegger, essays by musicologists and cultural studies scholars such as Carl Dahlhaus, Theodor Adorno, Leo Treitler, Paul Gilroy, Susan McClary, and Robert Walser, and creative pieces by James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, and John Cage.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1512 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Fashion's Fictions: The Texts of Clothing

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Patricia Lennox

Description

The topic of clothing and adornment embraces a broad spectrum, from the need for protective covering to the desire for individual expression to the profit of international industries. Encompassing the history of civilization, clothing epitomizes the way a fundamental necessity has been transformed by cultural construction---as well as desire and creativity---into a complex social indicator, a matrix of culture, class, and gender identity. It is also about aesthetics and the love of beauty. This course looks at the topic from varied perspectives. The history of clothing/fashion is central, but In order to establish a critical grid and vocabulary to use with which to discuss clothing/fashion our sources will include interdisciplinary readings including cultural studies, art, sociology, economics, fashion theory, and semiotics. Above all, our primary focus will be on literature where we will explore the way ancient, medieval, Renaissance and modern writers use clothing as indicators of civilization, individuality, sensuality, polymorphous gender, guilt, and conspicuous consumption. Literature will include, Gilgamesh, Genesis, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Utopia and works by Longus, Shakespeare, and Zola. Other writers include Ann Hollander, Roland Barthes, Christopher Brewen, and James Laver. We will also visit at least one costume collection exhibit.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1408 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Leviathans, Lovers and Libertines: Theatre and Aesthetics of Grandeur

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Christopher Cartmill

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1408

Description

Louis XIV used theater, music and the visual arts to solidify and articulate his supremacy and in so doing created for himself the role of the magnificent and mighty "Sun King." But in his time Louis was not alone in understanding an idea that we now think so modern that image is all and that the manipulation of that image is the way to power and influence. This course examines performance and its expressions, both theatrical and political, during the Baroque period and the Age of Enlightenment. Readings may include: John E. Wills, 1688; Aphra Behn, The Rover; Jean Racine, Phaedra; Pierre Corneille, The Theatrical Illusion; Pedro Calderón de la Barca, La Vida es Sueño (Life is a Dream); Molière, La Tartuffe and Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme; Susanna Centlivre, A Bold Stroke for a Wife; John Dryden, All for Love; Marivaux, The Game of Love and Chance; Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer; the music of Monteverdi, Lully, Bach, Händel and Glück; as well as the art of Rubens, Le Brun, Watteau and more.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1649 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

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-UG1523 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2011

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.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1471 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2011

Black Intellectual Thought in the Atlantic World

2 units Wed
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Millery Polyné

Description

This course examines the foundations, implementations, and implications of intellectual thought(s) of the African diaspora from the period of slavery in the Americas and post-emancipation societies through the present. Arguably, black intellectualism maintains roots in African-descended religious and cultural societies that pre-dates slavery in the West, however, this seminar seeks to explore the emergence of critical thought through historical, sociological, literary, autobiographical, religious and ethnographic writing that addressed vital issues facing African-descended peoples in the modern world. The matrix of race, class and gender has been a useful lens to analyze the systems and structures in place that both benefited and impeded racial progress. Yet, the themes of migration, nationalism, humor, music and empire-building also serve as essential tools to untangling and mapping the roots and routes of black intellectualism on four continents. Through a diverse set of materials (primary documents, films, music, and art) that utilize a multimedia and interdisciplinary approach to a range of historical, literary, political and economic questions central to Afro-diasporic experience(s), this course will critically engage the writings of thinkers who were at the vanguard of the Afro-modern and theoretical world, such as Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Anna Julia Cooper, Arturo Schomburg, Richard Wright, C.L.R. James, Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, Paule Marshall, and Angela Davis.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1444 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Looking at Popular Culture: The Poetics of Television

2 units Tue Thu
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Karen Hornick

Description

Some critics refer to television as a “story machine.” Whether that label is fair or not (can a machine produce real art?), it seems clear that television providers can barely keep up with the audience’s insatiable demand for more and more stories. Most television narrative comes to us in the form of a “series,” a dramatic structure that is our basic focus in this class. How has that format assisted or limited TV storytelling? Are the storytelling structures we associate with TV unique to that medium or simple modifications of novelistic and cinematic conventions? In this class we will consider some of the basic Aristotelian components of “good” drama in relation to American television history—genre, character, plotting, and spectacle—and also in relation to questions about how a given program represents life and provides pleasure. We will also examine TV in the light of theories about the cultural and political consequences of its dominance of the American cultural scene in the latter half of the twentieth century and (it might be said) current decline. Readings will be chosen to accompany the close study of several television shows including a season or two of Mad Men and The Wire.

Notes

Course meets during the last seven weeks only, October 26–December 13.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1655 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

The Task of the Curator: Translation, Innovation and Intervention in Exhibitionary Practice

4 units Tue
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Lissette Olivares

Description

From their birth in conjunction with the rise of the modern nation state, museums have been under scrutiny by artists, philosophers, public intellectuals, and everyday citizens. Even their precursors, the Early Modern Cabinets of Curiosities, were subtly critiqued by artists commissioned to paint the collections. In the twentieth century, several artists appropriated the role of the curator to denaturalize collection and display practices. The 1980s and early 1990s particularly witnessed an explosion of debates related to curatorial practice. Today, as museums turn towards what is often referred to as the "new museology," curatorial practice remains under scrutiny, and yet too often curators rely on the traditional "white box" to avoid a political stance, or to maintain a self-effacing relationship to their own practices of framing, contextualizing, and disciplining objects. This course explore the roles of curators in relation to how objects are displayed in museums and galleries, considering a variety of disciplinary and professional perspectives. The title, inspired by Walter Benjamin's theories of translation, brings attention to the often overlooked or naturalized labor of curators, which involves subtle but nonetheless transformative acts of framing and poetic interpretation. The course emphasizes a critical approach to display practices where students are exposed to a wide array of interdisciplinary critiques. Assignments may include primary research, museum ethnographies, and the development of a curatorial proposal. Students may be required to attend related events, and field trips. Authors include: Barbara Kirshenblatt Gimblett, Tony Bennett, James Clifford, Griselda Pollock, Carolina Ponce de León, Walter Benjamin, Nicolas Bourriaud, Claire Bishop, Jacques Ranciére, Guillermo Mosquera, Eungie Joo, amongst others.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1661 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Total War, Terror and Critique

4 units Thu
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
A.B. Huber

Description

There is currently a loud contest over what counts as terrorism, but there is also a quieter and wider crisis in our capacity to name and demarcate violence--the United States' and other's. It is no longer clear what counts as war, what constitutes a combatant, nor what kind of peace we might hope to make. What then can be said to confront, critique or rethink violence? We will begin the seminar by familiarizing ourselves with the origins and logics of the Just War Theory (including Aristotle, Cicero, and Augustine) and we will go on to consider the historical and philosophical contexts of Kant’s call for Perpetual Peace. But the seminar will focus primarily on critical theory’s engagement with the form and logics of modern warfare. Together we will read work from the Frankfurt School in order to begin to reckon the relationship between politics, aesthetics, and violence. Finally, with the help of contemporary theorists (including Asad, Butler, Chow, Mamdani, Mahmood, Redfield) we will turn toward questions of technology, terror, and the changing face of war in the 21st century. Can critique help us in anyway to abate violence or the anguish of its aftermath?

Notes

Same as COLIT – UA 843 002.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1258 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2011

Ancient Theatre and Its Influences

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1258

Description

What role did the theater play in the civic life of ancient Greece? How did Greek drama address vital social and political issues? Does Greek drama serve as a useful paradigm for exploring contemporary theater? Through our readings, we will explore Greek theater as a live space of social action, representing conflicts between the claims of family and state, between male and female, between traditional values and emergent democratic concerns. We will examine Greek drama's relation to religion (e.g. sacrifice, lament, festival), to law (e.g. courtroom proceedings, punishment), and to civic debate. We will discuss both how plays were produced and the theories of drama they inspired. Building on our investigation of the Greek 'case', we will turn our attention to Roman drama and to selected works of the modern theater. Readings may include Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Menander; Plautus, Seneca; Racine, Sartre, Fugard.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1277 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Alchemy and the Transformation of Self

4 units Tue Thu
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Lee Robbins

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1277

Description

The focus of this course is the one relationship we sustain from birth to the grave and possibly beyond—the relationship to ourselves. The quality of our relationship to work, community and intimate others is deeply affected by the level of connection we have to parts of ourselves. In this course we explore the “middle ground of psychic realities” between ego and unconscious, soul and deity, male and female, spirit and body and finally self and other. The middle ground within the psyche is presented in historical perspective from Buddha through the ancient art of alchemy to the modern depth of psychologies of Freud, Jung and Winnicott. How does each of these traditions understand the psyche as the site of struggle and radical transformation? Students will have the opportunity to discover and experience the middle ground within themselves through the crafting of personal Alchemical rituals. Readings may include: Suttas from the Pali Canon, Eliade’s The Forge and the Crucible, Plato’s Symposium, Corbin’s Avicenna and the Visionary Recital, Bachelard’s Poetics of Space, Emerson’s “Self Reliance”, Edinger’s Anatomy o f t he Psyche and especially selections from CG Jung who rediscovered alchemy as the antecedent to his own psychology of the unconsciious and so introduced the ancient art of alchemy into the modern and postmodern world.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1419 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
FA 2011

Primary Texts: Plato and Machiavelli on Philosophy and Politics

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1419

Description

This course compares Plato’s Republic to Machiavelli’s two great texts, The Prince and The Discourses. Our goal is two-fold. On the one hand we learn the art of close reading to reveal the complex and contradictory layers of meaning in a text. On the other hand, we introduce the enterprise of political theory by exploring two of the greatest (and apparently antithetical) thinkers about politics. For Plato, philosophy seems to provide standards of judgment and order in politics: human life can flourish only if rulers gain philosophic knowledge of justice. He thus consigns political life, and the “mere” opinions of those who inhabit it to a “cave” which can be escape (and ruled) only by those who pursue philosophy. In contrast, Machiavelli denies that philosophic truth is relevant to politics: we do not need to leave “the cave” of the political world, for we can produce forms of order and standards of justice through political life itself. If he seems to embrace the moral dilemmas, contingency, and risk that Plato seems to avoid by turning to philosophy, it is no wonder he has been cast as a corrupt even “evil” figure! To stage a conversation between Plato and Machiavelli, therefore, is to confront the fundamental questions about politics: what is the nature of power? What is justice? What is the best form of regime? How is myth and art related to political life? Is force or fraud ever justified? What characterizes human excellence? In what consists human freedom? We pursue these questions by focusing on primary texts, but also by reading essays about the contemporary stakes of their arguments. This class is limited in enrollment to sophomores.

Notes

Open to sophomores only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1443 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Theorizing Popular Culture

2 units Tue Thu
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Karen Hornick

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1443

Description

This class surveys popular culture studies from their origin in 19th century debates about the relation of culture to society, politics, and aesthetics. The phrase “popular culture” was once used to describe the everyday life and pastimes “of the people", but today its often used interchangeably with “mass culture” to refer to entertainments and objects manufactured for profit and distributed as widely as possible. How did this shift in meaning come about? Do mass and popular culture effect our social-political life, or reflect it, or neither? Have technological developments such as the invention of cameras and computers harmed or helped? What has happened to art in the age of mass culture? Why, for instance, do discussions of a popular song or TV show so often focus on its political and economic meanings rather than the aesthetic and emotional pleasures it may yield? Is it desirable or possible to restore “the people” as the makers, rather than the consumers, of culture? Readings may include critics such as Marx, Arnold, Leavis, Adorno, Benjamin, Greenburg, Macdonald, Barthes, Radway, Fiske, and Frith.

Notes

Course meets during the first seven weeks only, September 6–October 23.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1541 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2011

Divine Indifference

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Aaron Tugendhaft

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1541

Description

Do the gods care about human beings? Is history providentially guided? Is there divine retribution after death? Or is god indifferent to human well-being? In this course we explore how different views of the divine are related to such themes as human freedom, happiness, despair, justice, and nihilism. We begin with works by Solon and Sophocles to set forth the traditional view of Greek piety and observe how it begins to be questioned. We then turn to the Epicurean tradition, to assess the impact of its view of god's indifference. We will conclude by considering two questions: What is at stake in the contrast between Epicurean theology and the Christian teaching of a philanthropic god who dies for human sins? To what degree does ancient Epicureanism serve as the foundation for the modern critique of Christianity? The key texts will be Sophocles' Oedipus Rex , Lucretius' On the Nature of Things , Spinoza's Ethics , and Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1609 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2011

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-UG1439 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

James Reese Europe and American Music

0 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 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, September 6–October 23.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1072 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Poets in Protest: Footsteps to Hip-Hop

4 units Fri
2:00 PM - 4:45 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 60's 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 will 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 ; Tricia Rose, Black Noise ; films such as Euzhan Palcy, Sugar  Cane Alley , and Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant, Style Wars ; and samples from Langston Hughes, NWA, Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, KRS-One, OutKast, Dead Prez, Public Enemy, and Tupac Shakur.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1651 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2011

From Memory to Myth: The Mighty Charlemagne

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1651

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1493 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2011

Sports, Race and Politics

4 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Millery Polyné

Description

Beyond spectacular touchdowns and walk-off grand slams, sport remains a vital institution for analyzing the ideological/theoretical frameworks of nationalism, diplomacy, economic development, corruption, gender and race. From Joe Louis's historic fight against Max Schmeling in June 1936 to the role of FIFA's World Cup played in South Africa's structural development, sport should be understood beyond masculine bravado, violence and the joy and agony of competition, but also as a serious vehicle for conceptualizing and analyzing the triumphs and limitations of our society and its complicated history. This course examines sports (baseball, boxing, soccer, basketball and cricket), primarily from a U.S. and Latin American context, during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In what ways do these sports reify concepts of race and gender? How is it utilized as a tool of diplomatic relations? We will read key articles and seminal books in the field of the sport studies that illuminate the significance of sport in shaping culture and politics in our global society.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1542 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

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

4 units Fri
2:00 PM - 4:45 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 will 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 will situate 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 Segrue; 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-UG1181 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

A Sense of Place

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 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 I nvisible Cities , and Michael Sorkin’s Twenty Minutes in Manhattan .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1583 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Present Absences: The Philosophical and Literary Sources of Theory

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Stacy Pies

Description

This course will study three "case histories" which form the background of contemporary literary theory. The class's purpose is not to study theory in itself, but to understand some of the ideas and sources that have contributed to contemporary formulations. We will begin with Aristotle’s philosophy and its connections to Moses Maimonides and to Christian thinkers’ ideas about divine attributes, called "negative theology," tracing the connections to Jacques Derrida’s notions of différance and deferred meaning. We will then look at nineteenth-century French poet Stéphane Mallarmé’s poetry and prose, as well as poems by Charles Baudelaire, Emily Dickinson, Rainer Maria Rilke and Paul Celan. Our reading will investigate how the play with syntax, metaphor and meaning instantiates absence and semantic indeterminacy into poetic texts. In turn, poetry's experiments with productive absences inspire some of the concepts of modern linguists, philosophers and psychologists, as well as modern writers. Finally, we will examine works of Dostoyevsky and Woolf in order to hear and think about multiple voices and the dialogic--what Bakhtin calls "heteroglossia"--in literature and other discourse. Through looking at the ways literature and philosophy have employed negation, indeterminacy and discursive diversity to create new spaces in readers' imaginations and new ways of generating meaning, we will make visible the literature at the heart of theory. No previous experience with literary theory required.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1135 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

The Medieval Mind

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Clair McPherson

Description

The legacy of the Middle Ages is our legacy. From modern architecture (the Chrysler Building) to postmodern science (the Theory of Relativity), modern art (Matisse and Modigliani) to recent movies ( Beowulf , Tristan and Isolde ), the Medieval mind continues to inform, challenge, and inspire. Our course will trace the development of that mind through its philosophy, religion, poetry, and art. Beginning with the thinkers of Late Antiquity such as Augustine of Hippo, continuing through the creative Early medieval poets and artists who gave us Beowulf and the Niebelungenlied, to the high medieval synthesis of Thomas Aquinas and the soaring Gothic Cathedrals, we shall explore the development of medieval culture in all its manifestations. The course concludes with a visit to the Cloisters, for an on-site experience of medieval architecture and artifacts. Other options may include a concert of medieval music and the viewing of Ingmar Bergman’s classic film The Seventh Seal.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1072 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Poets in Protest: Footsteps to Hip-Hop

4 units Wed
2:00 PM - 4:45 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 60's 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 will 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 ; Tricia Rose, Black Noise ; films such as Euzhan Palcy, Sugar  Cane Alley , and Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant, Style Wars ; and samples from Langston Hughes, NWA, Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, KRS-One, OutKast, Dead Prez, Public Enemy, and Tupac Shakur.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1630 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Pictures at a Revolution: Film as Political Rhetoric

4 units Fri
2:00 PM - 4:45 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, Sergei Eisenstein, Film Form; Bertolt Brecht and Glauber Rocha.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1318 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Shakespeare and the London Theatre

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

Description

In this class we will 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 will examine the city of London, Shakespeare, and theater from literary, historical, political and cultural perspectives. Our consideration of the theater will be in relation to other forms of popular entertainment, such as singing, dancing and mountebank performances, and how they might have influenced Shakespeare. We will read a selection of plays written by Shakespeare such as As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III, Othello, and Measure for Measure . We will also see film versions of some of the plays and go to the New York theatre.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1539 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
SP 2011

Travel Classics

2 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Steve Hutkins

Description

Modern tourism begins in the eighteenth century with the Grand Tour---the rite-of-passage, "study abroad" experience of young aristocrats. This course focuses on the literature of travel before tourism, from the ancient world of Homer and Herodotus to the Renaissance explorations of the New World. We focus on several classics of travel writing, with attention to the conventions of the genre, the influence of myth and hero literature on the traveler’s tale, the Old World’s encounter with the New, and the many social and political questions raised by travel. Readings may include selections from Homer’s Odyssey , Herodotus’ History of the Persian Wars , Travels of Marco Polo, The Travels of Ibn Battuta , Sir John Mandeville’s Travels , The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus, The Narrative of Cabeza de Vaca , and Shakespeare’s The Tempest .

Notes

Course meets 1/25 - 3/10 only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1572 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

America in the 1970s and 1980s: From Recession Blues to Free Market Frenzy

4 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Kimberly Phillips-Fein

Description

The historical epoch starting in the early 1970s and stretching up to the present has been referred to as the "age of Reagan," the era of neoliberalism, and the decline of capitalism's Golden Age. This interdisciplinary history class will look at the 1970s and 1980s as decades that mark the beginning of many of the problems that we confront today: the rise of economic inequality; the origins of globalization; the first awareness of an "energy crisis;" the birth of social movements like feminism, gay rights, and black power; the deepening of urban poverty and the expansion of the criminal justice system; the ascendance of the stock market and financial deregulation; the transition to a service economy; the growth of new forms of art and music like hip-hop and punk; the rise of evangelical Christianity as a political force; the emergence of a conservative movement; the end of Soviet Communism. The class will ask students to consider how the social problems of the 1970s and 1980s anticipate those of the present day, and also how America today is different than in this earlier period. We will use political speeches, manifestos, poetry, film, and novels as well as works of historical scholarship in order to try to understand the period. Readings may include Garry Wills, George Gilder, Jerry Falwell, Kwame Ture, Tom Wolfe, Thomas Frank and Alice Echols.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1561 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Visions of Greatness: Alexander and his Legacies

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

Description

Since his short life in the fourth century BCE, Alexander the Great has enjoyed a legacy that has nearly overshadowed his actual accomplishments. Various cultures, from his own to ours, have honored, embellished, and even reshaped entirely Alexander’s powerful personality and his conquest of the Persian Empire. For some, he exemplifies the benevolent conqueror, interested primarily in unifying mankind; for others, he represents the hubristic thirst for power, to which even the best-intentioned rulers can become victims. This course investigates the figure of Alexander and his legend in a range of cultural contexts: his own lifetime, the Roman and Byzantine Empires, the Islamic world, early modern Europe, and in the 20th century. Using visual and literary sources, we will investigate the following questions: What qualities of Alexander are valued or condemned in various periods and cultures? How do later cultures reinterpret earlier sources on Alexander’s life and image, and to what extent is their conception of Alexander an imagined one? How is the figure of Alexander used to reflect—or subvert—the values of a given culture and its politics? Where, if anywhere, might we find the “real” Alexander? Readings include Plutarch, Life of Alexander; Arrian, Campaigns of Alexander; Diodorus, Books 17-18 of The Histories; Pseudo-Callisthenes, Greek Alexander Romance; The Persian Iskandernamah (selection); Ferdawsi, Shahnamah (selection); Dante, Inferno (Canto 12); and Rudyard Kipling, The Man Who Would Be King.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1578 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Racial, Sexual Interfaces: Film, New Media and Globalization

4 units Mon Wed
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Jian Chen

Description

This seminar explores recent shifts in theories and practices of film, visual media, and spectatorship, as provoked by digital technologies, global economies of production and consumption, and the racial sexual coding of imagery and information. We will track the transformation of aesthetic, ideological, and subjective conceptions of film---the pre-eminent cultural form of the twentieth century---by the media convergence enabled by the computer and the Internet at the turn of the 21st century. How have digital simulation and interactivity changed cinematic representation and viewing? And how does the transnational production and consumption of multimedia cinema impact its form and content? Alongside questions concerning changes in technological medium, the course examines the racial and sexual underpinnings of aesthetic and technological conceptions of cinema and new media. For instance, how do fantasies of sexual and racial hybridity feed the idea of "cyberspace"? Also, how can cine ma and digital media change our understandings of gender, sexual, and racial representation? Readings may include: David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction ; Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, Multiculturalism, Postcoloniality, and Transnational Media ; Jessica Evans and Stuart Hall, Visual Culture: The Reader; Toby Miller, Nitin Govil, John McMurria, and Ting Wang, Global Hollywood 2 ; Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media ; and Lisa Nakamura, Digitalizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet . Screenings may include: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Babel (2007); Alain Resnais, Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959); and Neill Blomkamp, District 9 (2009).

Notes

Formerly titled "Death of the Moving Image? Film, New Media, and Globalization."

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1494 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SU 2013

Monsters in Popular Culture: Invented, Awakened, Invading

4 units Mon Wed
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Patricia Lennox

Description

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

Notes

Session I: May 28 - July 5

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1612 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
WI 2013

Contexts of Musical Meaning: What and How Does Music Mean?

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu
10:00 AM - 1:30 PM
Gregory Erickson

Description

Is it possible to say that a piece of music “means” something? Can music communicate emotion, narrative, or philosophy? Can it embrace or resist political ideology? In what ways is music influenced by, or in what ways does it influence, society? For Richard Wagner, music and words together are capable of expressing the deepest thoughts and feelings that a human can have, and according to Nietzsche, music provides access to the nature of reality itself. On the other hand, Eduard Hanslick insisted that music should be divorced from the extramusical world, and Stravinsky famously claimed that music, by its very nature, is essentially powerless to express anything at all. More recently, thinkers have stressed the importance of approaching music as a cultural construct to reveal its encoded ideological meanings. This course looks at the nature of musical meaning from all these perspectives. We listen to and discuss forms of Western art (i.e. “classical”) music as well as genres of popular and folk music as we explore the relationship of gender, race, class, and politics to musical works. Each unit in this course takes a specific musical text (Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, John Coltrane’s Love Supreme, the Beatles’ White Album) and explore different theoretical, philosophical and musicological approaches to the music’s “meaning.” We read philosophical works of aesthetics and hermeneutics by Plato, Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Heidegger, essays by musicologists and cultural studies scholars such as Carl Dahlhaus, Theodor Adorno, Leo Treitler, Paul Gilroy, Susan McClary, and Robert Walser, and creative pieces by James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, and John Cage.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1542 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
WI 2013

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

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu
10:00 AM - 1:30 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 Segrue; 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-UG1239 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SU 2011

Classic Texts and Contemporary Life

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1239

Description

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

Notes

Session I: May 23-July 1.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1617 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Philosophy of Religion

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Joe Thometz

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1617

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 (1902) 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, Mircea Eliade, Marguerite Porete, Meister Eckhart, Pseudo-Dionysius, Nagarjuna, Dogen, Shunryu Suzuki, and Gianni Vattimo.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1558 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

The Travel Habit: On the Road in the Thirties

2 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 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

Course meets during the first seven weeks only, September 6–October 23.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1493 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2011

Sports, Race and Politics

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Millery Polyné

Description

Beyond spectacular touchdowns and walk-off grand slams, sport remains a vital institution for analyzing the ideological/theoretical frameworks of nationalism, diplomacy, economic development, corruption, gender and race. From Joe Louis's historic fight against Max Schmeling in June 1936 to the role of FIFA's World Cup played in South Africa's structural development, sport should be understood beyond masculine bravado, violence and the joy and agony of competition, but also as a serious vehicle for conceptualizing and analyzing the triumphs and limitations of our society and its complicated history. This course examines sports (baseball, boxing, soccer, basketball and cricket), primarily from a U.S. and Latin American context, during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In what ways do these sports reify concepts of race and gender? How is it utilized as a tool of diplomatic relations? We will read key articles and seminal books in the field of the sport studies that illuminate the significance of sport in shaping culture and politics in our global society.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1611 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
FA 2011

Past As Prelude: Thinking Historically

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Alejandro Velasco

Description

In a much-remarked campaign speech on race relations, then-candidate Barack Obama drew on Faulkner to remind Americans of the continuing legacies of racism in the US: “the past is never dead,” he noted, “it’s not even past.” In doing so Obama called upon a familiar trope in critical thought, that history is just as dynamic and elusive as the present, each one (past and present) continuously shaping and informing the other. This begs the question: what is history? What does it mean to think historically, to understand history not as an array of facts but as process, not as a field of study but as a sensibility, as a way to analyze the world around us? This course is designed for students seeking to add meaningful historical dimensions to their concentrations. We begin by surveying conventional approaches to historical analysis, from Herodotus to Hegel to Marx to Benjamin. Then we draw from Nietzsche, Foucault, Hayden White, and Michel-Rolph Trouillot to consider how history is constructed, used, and misused. We will then examine how jurists, anthropologists, novelists, sociologists, and human rights activists think historically to inform and deepen their craft, reading from Tolstoy, Justices Breyer and Scalia, Eric Wolf, Charles Payne, and Daniel Wilkinson. We end with workshops that consider what it would mean to think historically about your own concentrations. What kinds of questions and materials would you include as you prepare for your rationale, booklist, colloquium, and ultimately, life after NYU, armed with a sense of history?

Notes

Same as HIST-UA 275 001.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1646 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2011

Fractured States: Border Crossings, Divisions, and Partitions

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1646

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 will 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. Our readings will likely begin with a medieval romance and an early modern dramatic text that explore crossings of the line dividing Christian Europe from the Ottoman Empire. We will then focus on a few regions whose borders have been and/or are in crisis in periods ranging from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries: Haiti and the Dominican Republic; the United States, Texas, and California; India and Pakistan; and Israel and Palestine. Some specific questions we will explore: how do writers imagine the relationship of subjects to newly divided spaces? 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? How do these texts address the relationships between possibilities for peace and security and notions of justice? Some likely authors we will read in the course include: Christopher Marlowe, Alejo Carpentier, Edwige Danticat, Junot Díaz, Amitav Ghosh, Salman Rushdie, and Babsi Sidhwa. We will place these literary texts and others in dialogue with oral histories and works by social historians, anthropologists, filmmakers and geographers, as well as with a television series created by an Israeli-born Palestinian journalist working in Jerusalem.

Notes

Same as COLIT-UA 141.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1440 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Sissle, Blake and the Minstrel Tradition

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

Description

This 2-credit 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, October 26–December 13.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1197 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
FA 2011

Narratives of African Civilizations

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Dan Dawson

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1197

Description

African civilizations speak to us as much through monumental edifices, visual artifacts, sign systems, oral tradition, and films as they do through alphabetic texts. In their varied expressions, these societies, ancient and contemporary, present us with new ways of knowing. When we encounter these social imaginations through their multiple texts, the experience is reflexive, double-imaged, because of the complex interaction of the perceptions of Africa with the West’s own image of itself. Texts may include hieroglyphics, architectural symbolism, music, visual art, epics, folktales and proverbs, cosmologies and rituals (such as the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead), The Epic of Sundiata (which explores medieval Ghana and Mali), and the society of the Dogon and its extraordinary cosmology. African modernist art and writing will also be represented, through novels like Conde’s Segu and Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions, and films like Keita, Finzan and Ceddo. Using ideas both ancient (African Cosmology of the Bantu-Kongo by Fu-Kiau) and contemporary (In Search of Africa by Manthia Diawara), African civilizations will speak through their own words.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1654 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Interdisciplinary Dickens

4 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Karen Hornick

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1654

Description

2012 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, an artist and public intellectual who can be said to have shaped our times as much as anyone. Like many world historical figures of modernity, he embodies more than one paradox. The adjective “Dickensian” carries opposite meanings: squalid impoverishment and cheerful bounty. Dickens’s work bridges high and low culture, aesthetics and social purpose. We think we know him through his associations with Christmas, familial love, and quaint Victorian sentimentalism, and yet his own political disposition is impossible to label, and the social conscience permeating his fiction co-exists with a dark psychological and philosophical pessimism that inspired writers ranging from Dostoevesky and Freud to the creators of HBO’s The Wire . In this class we will explore a select number of his novels which raise themes of interest in every corner of the university: the nature of childhood, family life, work, labor/management relations, domestic and international politics, urban space and city life, the culture of commerce, education, criminal justice, the politics of representation—and more. He was among a small group of Victorian novelists Marx praised for having “issued to the world more political and social truths than have been uttered by all the professional politicians, publicists and moralists put together.” Dickens, however, went further than his English peers in developing his own ingenious and highly energetic brand of realism that continues to influence, instruct, amuse, and provoke. In this class we may read Oliver Twist , Dombey and Son , David Copperfield , Hard Times , Bleak House , Great Expectations , and/or Our Mutual Friend in conjunction with related work by Dickens’s contemporaries as well as by writers he influenced, including Dostoevsky, Kafka, and Freud.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1387 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

The Photographic Imaginary

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 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 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, Bazin, Benjamin, Fox Talbot, Kracauer, Manovich, Metz, Sontag, Tagg.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1614 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2011

Narrating Seduction: The Tale of Genji

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1614

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 seven-week course we will read and compare two English translations of the text, by Seidensticker and Tyler. Each week we will supplement our readings with selected secondary sources to focus our attention on such topics as: narration, visuality, sexual politics, relation to reality, poetics, and aesthetics in the text.

Notes

Course meets during the first seven weeks only, September 6–October 23.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)