Skip Navigation

Courses

Courses

Found 782 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)

IDSEM-UG1061 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Literary Forms and the Craft of Criticism

4 units Mon
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Sharon Friedman

Description

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

Notes

Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Prerequisite: First-Year Writing Seminar or equivalent.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1374 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2011

The Birth of the World: The Cosmological Tradition

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Katharina Piechocki

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1374

Description

"How did the world begin?" and "why is there anything rather than nothing?" and "Who made the starts?" These are primary questions: the kind children like to ask, and philosophers, and theologians, and scientists. In this course we'll read and discuss the various classic accounts of Creation. We will anchor the course in the Hebrew tradition (Genesis) and the Greek tradition (both mythic and philosophical: Hesiod, and the Presocratics), and from there examine sources and analogs in Babylon, Sumer, Egypt; their counterparts in Japanese, African, and other global mythologies and religions; the story of their interpretation (especially in the Talmudic and Patristic traditions); and, finally, their relation to the paradigms of modern astronomy and philosophy. Texts will include Genesis; the Theogony; the fragments of the Presocratics; selections from Plato's Timaeus and other dialogues; Midrash on Genesis; Commentaries by Church Fathers such as Augustine and Gregory on the Creation story; and selections from ancient Middle Eastern, Hindu. Buddhist, Taoist, and Muslim scriptures and myths.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1512 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Fashion's Fictions: The Texts of Clothing

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Patricia Lennox

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1512

Description

The Texts of Clothing 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 indic ators of civilization, individuality, sensuality, polymorphous gender, guilt, and conspicuous consumption. Literature will include, Gilgamesh, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Utopia, works by Longus, Shakespeare, and Zola, and some Hollywood films from the 1930s and 40s. Other writers include Ann Hollander, Roland Barthes, and James Laver. We will also visit at least one costume collection exhibit.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1627 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Green Design from Geddes to Gore

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1564 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Race and Religion in African American Culture

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

Description

The ways in which Americanshave imagined and represented the sacred has been profoundly shaped by race and slavery, and this intersection has become a foundation for many kinds of cultural practices and the development of political philosophy in African American culture. Two central questions therefore motivate this course: How has race shaped the production of sacred meaning and African American sacred art? How have spiritual discourses of salvation and redemption motivated political and cultural action? To pursue these questions we will explore representations of the sacred in several genres, including the Bible, essays, sermons, and art, as well as performances of African American sacred music and dance. Also, each student will select a contemporary cultural form and examine how it is shaped by the desire to represent both racialized experience and the sacred. Students can research cultural forms of interest to them, including familiar forms like contemporary music(rap, gospel rap, and more), or films, but could also tackle less familiar forms like public performances (inauguration, anyone?), historical sites and public spaces. Primary texts include: Exodus ; Frederick Douglass, Narrative; W.E.B. Dubois, Souls of Black Folk; James Weldon Johnson, God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse,including Aaron Douglass' illustrations; Dr. Martin Luther King, selectedspeeches; Alice Walker, In Search of our Mother’s Gardens; Alvin Ailey dance performance; Spirituals performed by Sweet Honey in the Rock; Gospel Music (may include a church visit).

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1596 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Domesticating the Wild in Children's Literature

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

Description

The Ur-text of literatures for children is the encounter between a child and a Wild Thing. From Little Red Ridinghood to Peter and the Wolf to Charlotte’s Web , the border between the child and the wild is a rite of passage marking the transformation of the child into an adult, and is the site of a child’s most fundamental education about how to be human. Works of children’s literature agree that literature can be used to explicitly structure the relationship between children and the wild, and construct subjectivities by nurturing a deeper awareness of what that relationship should be. Yet, what, exactly, is the wild in children’s literature? Representations of the wild reflect adult ideas about children—do they have a privileged relationship to nature, and innate understanding of the connection between humans and the world around them? Or are they wild things themselves, in need of templates for human/humane behavior toward other beings? Representations of the wild are also informed by ideology, shaped by societal ideas about race and gender, domination and subjection, power and privilege. In this course we will be thinking and writing about the surprising ways that children's texts imagine the wild as a charged cultural, political and racialized space, and how these texts imagine and construct subjectivities based on these relations pf power. Text may include Babar , The Wind in the Willows , Alice in Wonderland, Where the Wild Things Are , Ricky Tiki Tavi and Fantasia .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1647 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2011

Visual Narrative: Reading Ancient Art

4 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Hallie Franks

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1647

Description

Using the foundation of ancient imagery from the Ancient Near East, Greece, and Rome, this course will examine that process of visual communication with special attention to the question: How is time represented? While the reading of imagery often seems a natural one to us, the ancient world offers a moment in the history of art when artists were wrestling with—and innovating—ways of telling a narrative that unfolds at different moments over time. We will look, for instance, at narrative programs like the ones displayed on the walls in Neo-Assyrian palaces (which both serve as a record of the king’s accomplishments and symbolically reflect the Empire’s geography) and the victory columns of Rome. We will look at single images that conflate pivotal moments of ritual movement or mythological episodes, and at images that juxtapose moments that seem to have no direct sequential relationship. The following questions, among others, will guide our investigation: How do audiences learn to recognize an abstract concept like “time”? How does narrative imagery in architectural settings shape the audience’s movement through and relationship to space? To what extent do the “reading” of text and image correspond? How does the study of narrative intersect with and impact other concerns in the study of ancient imagery, including political and social functions and cross-cultural exchange? We will make use of objects in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Readings may include K. Weitzmann, Illustrations in Roll and Codex ; T. Todorov, Grammar of Narrative; R. Barthes, “An Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narrative”; G. Genette, Narrative Discourse ; Homer, Odyssey ; Virgil, Aeneid ; Theocritus; Aristotle, Poetics; and Res Gestae Divi Augustus.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1665 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2011

From Medieval Manuscripts to Graphic Novels

4 units Tue Thu
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Matthew Vernon

Description

International, innovative and cool are terms rarely associated with medieval texts. These adjectives more usually describe the domain of contemporary forms, particularly the graphic novel or avant-garde literature. This course will complicate the relationship we assume between medieval and contemporary texts by reading them in tandem with an eye to their many commonalities. The goal of this course is to consider the way texts - both medieval and modern - challenge how we read and how older literary styles inform current works. We will be reading medieval manuscripts and graphic novels as complex forms which allow us to interrogate the relationship between high and low art; the connections between books as physical objects and as vehicles for narrative; and the workings of non-linear plot structures. Readings may include Beowulf, Le Morte d’Arthur , Mandeville’s Travels , Dave Eggers’ McSweeney’s project, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home , Art Speigelman’s Maus and W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1488 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Antigone

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

Description

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

Notes

Course meets 1/25 - 3/8 only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1639 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
SP 2011

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

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Andrew Romig

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1280 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Revisioning the Classics

4 units Mon
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Sharon Friedman

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1642 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Celebrity Culture

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

Description

This class investigates celebrity culture as a transmedia phenomenon, exploring what it reveals about a culture and its awareness of self. It analyzes celebrity culture from the late nineteenth century to the present, exploring the role of photography, print media, postcards, movies, television, recorded music and digital media. We will consider how media turn to celebrity at a particular point in their history, often as they start to move away from novelty forms and reach mass audiences and acquire a certain “maturity.” Besides examining the different configurations of celebrity produced in each media form, and its relationship to prevailing concerns about fame and the construction of self, we will examine the difference between celebrity and stardom. In the process, we will explore what celebrity discourses reveal about the changing relationship between private and public spheres, work and leisure, and the status of upward mobility and the American dream in 20th and 21st century culture.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1432 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

The Meaning of Home

2 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Pat Rock

Description

"Home," Spengler wrote in The Decline of the West, "is a profound word." This course examines the concept of home as it has been studied in literature, philosophy, psychology, and art. It examines the issues of home as a place in which we dwell, a place where we find our center. It examines the idea of home in relation to the physical world, cultural ties, and a changing world, a world where homelessness and exile are common. Readings may include: The Odyssey, King Lear, E.M. Forster's Howards End, and selections from the works of Frost, Freud, and Jung.

Notes

Course meets 3/25 - 5/06 only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1585 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2011

Memory Wars: Japanese Representations of WW II

4 units Wed
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Nicole Cohen

Description

This course will examine intersections between historical memory and representations of wartime experience in mediums ranging from art and literature to museums and textbooks. We will consider: What is history, what is memory, and what is the relationship between the two? How is the experience of war translated into different art forms like film, fiction, photography, and documentary? What constraints--historical and ethical—may limit the representation of past traumatic events? We will explore such questions with respect to the Japanese experience in World War II while creating comparisons with war memories elsewhere, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Students will read historical and social theories of memory written by Paul Ricoeur, Pierre Nora, and others before exploring the history of the Pacific War and allied occupation of Japan. Theory will serve as a launching pad from which to explore accounts and representations of Japan's wartime past in fiction, anime, manga, oral histories, visual arts, and documentary. Finally, we will address the use and abuse of history while discussing controversies over the history textbooks, the military "comfort women," the Smithsonian exhibit on the Enola Gay, and the Rape of Nanking.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1638 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Literature of Rebellion in Early Modern Europe

4 units Mon Wed
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Valerie Forman

Description

The early modern period in Europe witnessed an explosion of writing about the possibility of freedom and the forms of tyranny and enslavement that restricted it. Our goal is to explore the representation of authority, rebellion, and freedom in both its worldly and textual forms and to investigate how the worldly and textual become entangled in one another. Focusing on writers from France, England, and Spain, we will explore literature that represents and responds to rebellion against rulers, resistance by women to patriarchal authority, class struggles on both sides of the Atlantic, conflicts with Native Americans, and slave rebellions. We will also discuss Europeans who rebel against their own culture and choose that of the natives they encounter, Europeans resisting other Europeans’ claims to newly “discovered” territories, and colonial resistance to economic imperialism. Our reading will also include imaginative literary experiments in what political, economic, and other kinds of community could emerge when oppressive authority is eliminated. Though our readings will focus primarily on a variety of genres from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, we will also likely read some works of classical political theory in order to see how writers in this later period both borrowed from, and rebelled against, earlier theories of authority and good government. Primary texts will likely include: Shakespeare, Coriolanus ; Elizabeth Cary, The Tragedy of Mariam ; Marguerite de Navarre, The Heptameron ; Aphra Behn, The Widow Ranter ; Jean de Léry, History of a Voyage to the Land of Brazil ; Cabeza de Vaca, Shipwrecks; Bartolomé de las Casas, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies ; John Milton, Paradise Lost ; as well as additional selections from Locke, Winstanley, Grotius, and others.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1211 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Buddhism and Psychology

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

Description

This course introduces basic concepts of Buddhist Psychology, and then compares Buddhist insights into the nature of the mind with the modern depth psychologies of Freud and Jung. Special attention will be given to theories of the self in Buddhist and Western texts, for it is the idea of the "false self" that has emerged as a key common ground between Buddhist and Western forms of Psychology. While Western psychology attributes the false self to the deficiencies of upbringing, Buddhist psychology takes the false self as its starting point, to claim that traditional models of therapeutic intervention fail to free people from narcissistic craving. Our goal is to bring this insight, and classical Buddhist strategies for healing the mind, into conversation with the models and strategies of Western psychology. Texts may include: Olendski, The Radical Experiential Psychology of Buddhism ; Suler, Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Eastern Thought; Gay, The Freud Reader ; Epstein, Thoughts Without a Thinker ; Jung, Psychology and the East ; Meckel and Moore, Self and Liberation: Jung and the Buddhist Dialogue ; Gethin, The Foundations of Buddhism ; Bhikku Bodi, In The Words of the Buddha (translation of suttas from the Pali Cannon).

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1631 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

The U.S. Empire and the Americas

4 units Mon Wed
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Marie Cruz Soto

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1468 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Psychoanalysis and the Visual

4 units Mon Wed
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Eve Meltzer

Description

At least since Freud’s “Dream Book,” psychoanalysis has taught us that psychic life is thoroughly steeped in images. This course will pursue the implications of Jacques Lacan’s theory of the subject. By examining a range of psychoanalytic texts alongside several films and photographs, we will consider Lacan’s proposition that the “I” comes into being though the subject’s identification with his or her mirror image. This is ultimately a problem for sociality itself, for we learn to relate to others by way of how we relate to ourselves, our primordial other. Readings include the writings of Borch-Jacobsen, Descartes, Fanon, Freud, Heidegger, Lacan, Laplanche. Visual materials include North by Northwest, American Psycho, The Thin Red Line, as well as several bodies of photographic images.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9404 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

PRAGUE: Literature and Place of Central Europe

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1759 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

Exhibition Systems and Curating

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9403 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

PRAGUE: Central European Film

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1738 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

The Cultural Politics of Bad Taste

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1738

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9150 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2014

BUENOS AIRES: Tango and Mass Culture (in Spanish)

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1615 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2014

Language and Desire: Mishima Yukio

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1615

Description

The Japanese author Mishima has been called “everyone’s favorite homo-fascist.” And, he may be better known in the West for his performative suicide in 1970 by ritual disembowelment than for his writings. But he is well known for his fiction as well—a complex set of narratives that follow an aesthetic that privileges art above life, or reality. In this course we will read a selection of fiction by Mishima, alongside supplementary secondary sources, and screen the films Patriotism and Black Lizard , as well as various YouTube videos. We will ask: what can queer theory bring to an analysis of Mishima’s narratives? How and why did his life become so intertwined with his art? What was performative about his life and writings? Why have so many Western critics psychoanalyzed Mishima? We will hope to come away from the course with a better understanding of both Mishima the man and his literature.

Notes

Course meets during the first seven weeks only, First Class: January 29; Last Class: March 12.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1569 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2014

Myths as Images from the Ancient World to Shakespeare

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1569

Description

The mythological stories of the classical gods and heroes are perhaps the best known and most widely appealing of the legacies left from the ancient world. Myths offered morals and explanations in addition to entertainment, and, although they are familiar in large part because they are preserved in literary sources, the episodes and characters from the mythic world supplied a vast and compelling body of subjects for ancient artists. This course investigates the ways in which episodes from mythology appear in the visual tradition, and focuses on the ways in which the visual tradition complicates and enhances what we think we know from written sources. We also expand our study to later traditions from the Renaissance and modern periods. We consider what ancient sources are influential in transmitting myths and how these myths are reinterpreted both in literature and in visual media. Readings may include Homer, Iliad and Odyssey ; Ovid, Metamorphosis ; Pseudo-Apollodorus Library; Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica ; Shakespeare, Midsummer Night’s Dream ; Kurt Weitzmann, Illustrations in Roll and Codex . We will also make use of objects in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9100 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

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

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1826 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

(Dis)Placing Urban Histories

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1826

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1617 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Philosophy of Religion

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1811 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Desperate Housewives of the 19th-Century Novel

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1669 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Legal Fictions: Novel, Law, and Society

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1669

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1714 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

What is Critique?

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

Description

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

Notes

Same as COLIT-UA 141.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1812 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Reading and Thinking about David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest

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

Description

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

Notes

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9252 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

LONDON: History of British Fashion

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1738 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

The Cultural Politics of Bad Taste

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1738

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

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

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1468 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Psychoanalysis and the Visual

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

Description

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

Notes

Same as ARTH-UA 850 005.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1759 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Exhibition Systems and Curating

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Labor and the Global Market: Literature, Film and History

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

Description

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

Notes

Same as COLIT-UA 550.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9201 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

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

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

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

The Modern Arabic Novel

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

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

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

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

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

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

Description

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

Notes

Same as HIST-UA 670

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1772 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2014

Music and Civic Culture: Ancient and Modern

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1774 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

Nonviolence in Movements for Social Change

4 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Michael Dinwiddie

Description

This course will examine the ways in which nonviolent movements have successfully influenced modern societies. While a major focus will be on the American civil rights movement beginning with the Niagara Movement in 1909, we will also study the philosophy and tactics employed by the 1989 Friedliche Revolution (Germany), the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (Argentina), The Community of Peace People (Northern Ireland), the Kenyan Women’s movement (whose “no sex” strategy harkens back to Lysistrata ), as well as the moral arguments embedded in the Religious Society of Friends and other “peace churches.” Notions of nonviolent resistance and pacifism as well as the philosophy employed by such leaders as George Fox, A. Philip Randolph, Rosa Parks, Mohandas Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bayard Rustin, and Mairead Maguire will aid us in understanding how nonviolence has been employed to effect social change in many different scenarios and cultures. Texts may include: Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch, Raising up a Prophet:  The African American Encounter with Gandhi by Sudarshan Kapur, The Children by David Halberstam, and such films as Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s The Lives of Others , Henry Hampton’s documentary series Eyes on the Prize , Lee Hirsch’s Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony , and Gini Ritiker’s Pray the Devil Back to Hell . Musical works by Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul and Mary, and the Beatles may also be utilized for analysis and chronicling of nonviolent movements.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1420 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

Reading Poetry

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1420

Description

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

Notes

Course meets during the first seven weeks only, First Class: January 28; Last Class: March 13.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9250 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

LONDON: Seeing London's Architecture

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1758 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

Growing Up Victorian

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

Description

During the Victorian era, the social construction of childhood developed in ways that continue to influence us today. Victoria was 18 on her ascension to the English throne, and during much of her reign more than a third of the population was 15 or younger. Victorians were fascinated by childhood, and many contemporary readers recognize Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland , and other works from what would become the “golden age” of literature written especially for children, along with novelist Charles Dickens’s depictions of Pip, Little Nell, Oliver Twist and Tiny Tim. Differences in class, gender, location, and generation created not one but multiple Victorian childhoods, so we will study depictions of boys and girls of every class, from the beginning to the end of the era, in various disciplines and literary genres. Readings may include poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, and Edward Lear; Carroll’s and Dickens’s above-mentioned works, selections from the novels Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë), Mary Barton (Elizabeth Gaskell), and Kim (Rudyard Kipling); selections from John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography ; Friedrich Engels’ The Condition of the Working Class in England , journalist Henry Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor , Edward Said’s postcolonial criticism; and Phillipe Aries’ Centuries of Childhood .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9253 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

Fashion's Fictions: The Texts of Clothing

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-LONDON: 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 goal of international industries. 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, gender identity and aesthetics. This course looks at the ways clothing and fashion are used by story tellers, in print and on film, from the ancient world to the modern as indicators of civilization, individuality, sensuality, polymorphous gender, guilt, and conspicuous consumption. In order to establish a critical grid and vocabulary with which to discuss fiction’s use of clothing/fashion our sources will also include readings in cultural studies, art, sociology, economics, fashion theory, and semiotics along with the literature and films.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1686 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
EARLY
SP 2014

Self Fashioning in Literature and Drama

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Jeanette Tran

Description

In 1980, literary critic Stephen Greenblatt coined the term “self-fashioning” to describe the 16th century phenomenon by which men in England developed an increasing self-consciousness about their ability to shape or “fashion” their identities. Anyone familiar with Shakespeare’s often quoted lines, “All the world’s a stage/ and all the men and women merely players,” has already received an introduction to this idea that identity is “fashion-able” or “performative.” Taking Greenblatt’s concept as a point of departure, this course explores identity and the concept of “self-fashioning” as it relates to performance. How does one fashion an identity, and how does knowledge of the theater inform our understanding of how identities are fashioned? What degree of autonomy does an individual have in fashioning his or her identity? How are our social, sexual, and racial identities mediated and shaped by our speech, our appearance, our institutions, and finally, our audiences? This course engages with both primary and secondary sources. Students examine early modern literature and drama alongside theories of performance from multiple disciplines. Authors include Marlowe, Shakespeare, Jonson, Castiglione, Pico della Mirandola, Erving Goffman, J.L Austin, and Judith Butler.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9352 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

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

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1631 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2014

The U.S. Empire and the Americas

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1631

Description

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

Notes

Same as HIST-UA 282 001.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1627 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

Green Design from Geddes to Gore

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1627

Description

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

Notes

Same as ENVST-UA 450 005.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1558 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

The Travel Habit: On the Road in the Thirties

2 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Steve Hutkins

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1558

Description

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

Notes

Course meets during the first seven weeks only, First Class: January 28; Last Class: March 13.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1630 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2014

Pictures at a Revolution: Film as Political Rhetoric

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM Fri
2:00 PM - 3:15 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-UG1211 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

Buddhism and Psychology

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1211

Description

This course introduces basic concepts of Buddhist psychology, and then compares Buddhist insights into the nature of the mind with the modern depth psychologies of Freud and Jung. Special attention will be given to theories of the self in Buddhist and Western texts, for it is the idea of the "false self" or a belief in an unchanging ego that has emerged as a key common ground between Buddhist and Western forms of psychology. While Western psychology attributes the false self to the deficiencies of upbringing, Buddhist psychology takes the changing self as its starting point to claim that traditional models of therapeutic intervention fail to free people from narcissistic craving. Our goal is to bring this insight, and classical Buddhist strategies for healing the mind, into conversation with the models and strategies of Western psychology and postmodern theory. Texts may include: Olendski, The Radical Experiential Psychology of Buddhism ; Gay, The Freud Reader ; Epstein, Thoughts Without a Thinker ; Jung, Psychology and the East ; Meckel and Moore, Self and Liberation: Jung and the Buddhist Dialogue ; Gethin, The Foundations of Buddhism ; Bhikku Bodi, In The Words of the Buddha (translation of suttas from the Pali Cannon); Batchelor, Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist ; Thanissaro Bhykkhu, The Mind Like Fire Unbound ; and David Loy, Lack and Transcendence .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1722 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Writing the Present Day Life

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

PRAGUE: Kafka and His Contexts

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

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

BUENOS AIRES: Tango and Mass Culture (in Spanish)

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

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

Becoming Global? Europe and the World: A Literary Exploration

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9403 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

PRAGUE: Central European Film

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1820 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

The Faces of Landscape

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1820

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

The World According to Opera

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

The Philosophic Dialogue

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1425

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

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

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Fate and Free Will in the Epic Tradition

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1116

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1819 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

What is Post-structuralism?

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1819

Description

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

Notes

Prior coursework in critical theory required.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1823 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

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

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1627 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Green Design from Geddes to Gore

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1627

Description

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

Notes

Same as ENVST-UA 450 004.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1642 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Celebrity Culture

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

The Arabian Nights

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9251 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

LONDON: Art and War, 1914-2004

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

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

Exhibitions: A History, A Theory, An Exploration

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

Description

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

Notes

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9250 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

LONDON: Seeing London's Architecture

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1280 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Revisioning the Classics

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1818 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Mindfulness and Mysticism

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9400 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

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

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

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

Pride and Power: Renaissance Revolutions in Art and Culture

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1103

Description

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

Notes

Same as MEDI-UA 994 001.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1752 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
WI 2015

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

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1752

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Justice, Tragedy and Philosophy: Politics in Ancient Greece

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1596 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
WI 2009

Domesticating the Wild in Children's Literature

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri
12:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Description

The Ur-text of literatures for children is the encounter between a child and a Wild Thing. From Little Red Ridinghood to Peter and the Wolf to Charlotte's Web, the border between the child and the wild is a rite of passage marking the transformation of the child into an adult, and is the site of a child's most fundamental education about how to be human. Works of children's literature agree that literature can be used to explicitly structure the relationship between children and the wild, and construct subjectivities by nurturing a deeper awareness of what that relationship should be. Yet, what, exactly, is the wild in children's literature? Representations of the wild reflect adult ideas about children, but do children have a privileged relationship to nature, and innate understanding of the connection between humans and the world around them? Or are they wild things themselves, in need of templates for human/humane behavior toward other beings? Representations of the wild are also informed by ideology, shaped by societal ideas about race and gender, domination and subjection, power and privilege. In this course we will be thinking and writing about the surprising ways that children's texts imagine the wild as a charged cultural, political and racialized space, and how these texts imagine and construct subjectivities based on these relations of power. Text may include Babar, The Wind in the Willows, Alice in Wonderland, Where the Wild Things Are, Ricky Tiki Tavi and Fantasia.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1563 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Women’s Text(iles)

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1777 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Sex Crimes, Sex Panics

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1675 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Popular Dance and American Cultural Identity

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9200 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

FLORENCE: History of Italian Fashion

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9102 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

BERLIN: Topics in German Cinema

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9352 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

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

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1685 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

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

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1685

Description

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

Notes

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1807 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Dystopian Fictions

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1807

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1426 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Boundary Crossings

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1426

Description

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

Notes

Same as SCA 721 001.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Music and Civic Culture: Ancient and Modern

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1413 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Moral Behavior: Sentiment, Evolution, and Psychology

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1413

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1817 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Politics of Reform in America

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1289 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Narrative Investigations II: Realism to Postmodernism

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1289

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1781 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

A Sense of Place

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1781

Description

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

Notes

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1340 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Hiroshima

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1340

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1593 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2010

Barbarians: Ancient Conceptions of the Outsider

4 units Mon Wed
3:30 PM - 4:45 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 Claude Lévi-Strauss, Jean-Paul Sartre, Aeschylus The Persians, Herodotus, Caesar The Gallic Wars, Heliodorus Aethiopika (The Ethiopian Romance).

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1216 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2010

Doing Things with Words: Arts and Politics Across Cultures

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

Description

This course will focus on an eclectic group of mostly contemporary, politically-directed writers and artists from various ethnic or racial minority backgrounds. We begin with performance proper, and then narrow our focus to discuss what elements of performance are incorporated into narrative text to produce "performative writing." Does minority positioning affect the content, structure, and manner in which these artists perform or write, and in turn, how they are received? How might sexual/gender politics nuance that positioning? Rather than seeking division under the rubric of "national literature," or the multicultural versions such as "African-American" or "Asian-American" writers/artists, the course will look for structural and contextual models that cross these categories—concern with oral histories and family-community genealogies, for example. We will also analyze how specific power politics inform these artists' activities across their broadly diverse sociocultural, ethnic, and geopolitical contexts. Artists and texts may include: Amiri Baraka, Ruth Ozeki, Japanese butoh dance and the Takarazuka all-women theater troupe, Ntozake Shange, William Faulkner, Brecht, Foucault.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1512 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

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. But it is also about aesthetics and the love of beauty. This course looks at the topic from varied perspectives including: sociology, art, social history—and above all, literature, including early texts from ancient Mesopotamia, the Roman Empire, Elizabethan England, and writers up to the twenty-first century, including current fashion magazines. In order to establish a critical grid and vocabulary to use with which to discuss clothing/fashion our writers may include: art historian Anne Hollander, sociologist Diana Crane, fashion expert Fred Davis and Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. We will look at the way ancient, medieval and Renaissance writers use clothing as indicators of civilization, guilt, individuality, sensuality, polymorphous gender, and conspicuous consumption. Literature will include Gilgamesh, Genesis, and works by Longus, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Zola. We will also visit at least one costume collection exhibit.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1432 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

The Meaning of Home

2 units Fri
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Pat Rock

Description

"Home," Spengler wrote in The Decline of the West, "is a profound word." This course examines the concept of home as it has been studied in literature, philosophy, psychology, and art. It examines the issues of home as a place in which we dwell, a place where we find our center. It examines the idea of home in relation to the physical world, cultural ties, and a changing world, a world where homelessness and exile are common. Readings may include: The Odyssey, King Lear, E.M. Forster's Howards End, and selections from the works of Frost, Freud, and Jung.

Notes

2 credits; last seven weeks

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1567 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
or GLOBAL
SP 2010

The Arabian Nights

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Sinan Antoon

Description

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

Notes

sophomores only

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1590 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Walter Benjamin: Theory for Gleaners

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

Description

Long before the current vogue for eco-living, recycling, repurposing, and 'cash for your trash,' there have been people surviving with little fanfare on other people's leftovers and discards, and theorists meditating on the revolutionary possibilities of refuse and junk. This seminar is designed to introduce students to the work of Walter Benjamin, who is both a crucial figure in critical theory and an early and powerful commentator on the politics and aesthetics of the cast-off. We will 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 also consider other modern collectors and archivists, including Freud (The Interpretation of Dreams), Aragon (Paris Peasant), Atget (photographs), Braque (collages). What did Benjamin and these moderns make of junk, and what can we glean from their thought for our own times?

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1584 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
SP 2010

Shakespeare's Mediterranean

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

Description

This course examines Shakespeare's Mediterranean plays in relation to the cultural geography of the early modern period. It also provides a brief introduction to the new field of "ocean studies" and includes readings in marine environmental studies. We focus on the ways in which the various cultures around the Mediterranean opened emotional, physical, imaginative and political possibilities for English subjects, as exemplified in Shakespeare's plays and other contemporary readings. But that also means considering the sea as a space of economic and political possibility and threat; exploring the differences created by intermingling gender, genre and diverse geographies; analyzing romance and comedy and their relation to travel writing; tracing how early map making relates to other kinds of representation; examining the attraction, fear, and representation of what is considered exotic or foreign. Our work will link this past to our present in two ways especially: how do early modern travel accounts and literary art, as well as maps and prints, represent divisions between the Christian and Muslim worlds in ways that remain powerful? How does this maritine past create an environmental history that continues to affect us? Our readings begin with Mediterranean comedies by the classical Greek playwright Plautus, as well as classical geographies and selections from Vergil's Aeneid. We then turn to late medieval/early modern fictional accounts of the Mediterranean, such as Boccaccio's Decameron, and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Othello and other plays. Lastly, we read "the captive's tale" in Don Quixote, historical accounts of captivity including pirate narratives, and texts by Arab travelers about Europe in this period.

Notes

Same as V65.0986001.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1388 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

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-UG1122 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
FA 2010

Discourses of Love: Antiquity to the Renaissance

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

Description

This course explores the impulse to define, understand, contain, praise, analyze, lament, restrain, and express love. Through a study of philosophy, poetry, drama, religion, art, and music we will endeavor to discourse on the meaning of this profound emotion. However, in order to understand the place of love within the lives of humans, we need to look at love in its historic, cultural, social, and political contexts. We want to consider its multiple roles with regard to desire, seduction, betrothal, marriage, manners, morals, political power, and the pursuit of wisdom, as well as its role in class, gender, and race. Possible readings will include Plato’s Symposium , mystical, and philosophical writings, the poetry of Sappho, Catullus, the female troubadours, and Dante, as well as selected plays of Shakespeare.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1614 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2010

Narrating Seduction: The Tale of Genji

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

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 for the first seven weeks only, September 8–October 20.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1229 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

"Chinatown" and the American Imagination

4 units Wed
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Jack Tchen

Description

What is a “Chinatown”? The word alone evokes many images, sounds, smells, tastes from many different sensibilities. For recent immigrants it can be a home away from home, for “outsiders” an exotic place for cheap eats, for male action flic fans Chow Yun Fat (or Mark Walhberg) in “The Corruptor,” and for you ?!? (fill in the blank). We’re going to explore the nooks and crannies of Chinatown in the American imagination and in its New York real-time, non-virtual existence. How do we know what we know and do not know? What does Chinatown have to do with the formation of normative “American” identities? What are the possibilities (and limits) of crossing cultural divides? Class members will individually and/or in groups research, experience, and document a chain of persons, places, and/or events creating their own narrative “tour” of this place’s meanings. Novels, history books, tourist guides, films, and pop culture will supplement the primary “text” of New York Chinatown. This will be a collaborative, discussion-intensive, field research-driven class.

Notes

Same as V18.0370.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1607 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Philosophes and Follies: Theatre of the Enlightenment

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Christopher Cartmill

Description

“The pit of a theatre is the one place where the tears of virtuous and wicked men alike are mingled.”—Denis Diderot. Voltaire, Diderot and Rousseau all wrote for and about the theater. In the Age of Enlightenment, the stage was a place for philosophical exploration. Drama was perceived as an important instrument for the breaking of what the historian Peter Gay called “the sacred circle” of dogma. This class will examine the convergence of theatrical arts and ideas in the eighteenth century—a dramatic expression that would ultimately prove to be the rehearsal and the scripting for the Age of Revolution. This will include: analysis of sample plays of the era; philosophical writings that were influenced by, or responded to, these works; and contemporary accounts of theatrical performances and their implications. Included in our examination of the intersection of Enlightenment thought and theatricality will be a study of the works of visual artists such as Boucher, Chardin, Reynolds, Goya, etc., as well as the musical compositions of Haydn, Glück, Salieri, etc. Course readings may include: the plays and other writings of Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Gotthold Lessing, Louise Gottsched, Goethe, Ramón de la Cruz, Ekaterina Dashkova, Carlo Goldoni, Oliver Goldsmith, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan; modern critical works such as, Dena Goodman’s The Republic of Letters and Samuel S. B. Taylor’s Theater of the French and German Enlightenment .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1617 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Philosophy of Religion

4 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Joe Thometz

Description

Is there such a thing as religion? If there is no universal agreement, how can we then 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 Western medieval endeavors to “prove” God’s existence, we’ll attend to the nineteenth century and beyond when translations of Sanskrit texts from South Asia began making their way into the Western academy. We’ll consider, for example, how Nietzsche’s critique of religion was informed by Hegel as well as his (mis)readings of Buddhism. Later in the course, we’ll draw Western notions of the “ineffability” of God into conversation with the second- century Buddhist philosophy of Nagarjuna and his influences on the Zen/Ch’an/Dhyana tradition. Finally, we’ll come to the “death of God,” and explore postmodern religious themes. Readings may include: Mircea Eliade, Anselm of Canterbury, Pseudo-Dionysius, Marguerite Porete, Meister Eckhart, Nagarjuna, Dogen, Shunryu Suzuki, and Gianni Vattimo.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1366 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Inventing Modernity II: Realists and Radicals

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

Description

This class is structured around the close reading of eight major texts: Flaubert’s Madame Bovary , Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina , Henry James’s Portrait of a Lady , Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler , Gissing’s The Odd Women , Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals , and Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents . In the latter half of the nineteenth century, Europe dominated most of the world through political, economic, and cultural expansion. At home, however, unhappy intellectuals and writers found themselves compelled to expose the hyprocrisy in religion, politics, capitalism, and family life in order to uncover what Joseph Conrad called the “heart of darkness,” the underlying truth about human nature. By the middle of the 1800s, the true artist channeled truth, no matter how unpleasant. Many writers and intellectuals embraced the artistic and analytical mode of Realism as the only way to challenge the stale pieties of those who wished to maintain an illusory stability. The point of art, all at once, was to expose “frank, unidealized, and unpleasant realities” (as a lawyer said at Baudelaire’s obscenity trial in the 1850s). The most conspicuous “unpleasant realities” in our readings are related to philosophical and religious doubt, marriage and family, consumerism, double standards of morality, feminism, insanity, and identity. Despite the literary/philosophical orientation of our readings, final projects will be developed according to students’ concentrations.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1515 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Homer/Ellison: The Odyssey and Invisible Man

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

Description

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

Notes

Same as V29.0141.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1061 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Literary Forms and the Craft of Criticism

4 units Wed
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Sharon Friedman

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1072 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SU 2010

Poets in Protest: Footsteps to Hip-Hop

4 units
Section 002

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.

Notes

June Intensive, June 7 - June 25

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1239 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SU 2010

Classic Texts and Contemporary Life

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

TRAVL-GG2060 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
SU 2010

Italian Renaissance, Art and Literature: The Culture Explosion

4 units
Bella Mirabella

Description

Course meets in Florence, June 5-26. Graduate course open to undergraduates. Many of our modern ideas about art, literature, architecture and its uses, politics, culture, philosophy, gender and class derive from the vibrant and prolific period of the Renaissance. During a three-week, interdisciplinary program in the beautiful and historic Florence, Italy, students are offered a total immersion and multifaceted learning experience that is an essential beginning to understanding our modern world through the lens of the Italian Renaissance. This course explores the literature, culture, art, and thought of the Renaissance from multiple perspectives. During their stay, students will develop and present an individualized project based on their academic interests and background, and the ways in which they have been inspired by the Renaissance. As a quintessential Gallatin experience, the course places emphasis on the cultural and historical contexts from which the literature and art of Renaissance Florence emerged. Students study the art of Florentine painters such as Botticelli, Giotto, and Michelangelo in the places where these works were created. Readings might include the works of Dante, Pico Della Mirandola, Machiavelli, and selected female writers, as well as art texts such as Vasari's The Lives of the Artists. Classes, which are taught in English, meet four days a week. Throughout the course, students will visit such museums and churches as the Uffizi, The Duomo, the church of Santa Maria Novella, and the monastery of San Marco to engage fully with the art and architecture of Renaissance Italy.

Notes

Graduate course open to undergraduate students.

Type

Travel Courses (TRAVL-GG)

IDSEM-UG1596 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
WI 2010

Domesticating the Wild in Children's Literature

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri
12:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Myisha Priest

Description

The Ur-text of literatures for children is the encounter between a child and a Wild Thing. From Little Red Ridinghood to Peter and the Wolf to Charlotte's Web , the border between the child and the wild is a rite of passage marking the transformation of the child into an adult, and is the site of a child's most fundamental education about how to be human. Works of children's literature agree that literature can be used to explicitly structure the relationship between children and the wild, and construct subjectivities by nurturing a deeper awareness of what that relationship should be. Yet, what, exactly, is the wild in children's literature? Representations of the wild reflect adult ideas about children, but do children have a privileged relationship to nature, and innate understanding of the connection between humans and the world around them? Or are they wild things themselves, in need of templates for human/humane behavior toward other beings? Representations of the wild are also informed by ideology, shaped by societal ideas about race and gender, domination and subjection, power and privilege. In this course we will be thinking and writing about the surprising ways that children's texts imagine the wild as a charged cultural, political and racialized space, and how these texts imagine and construct subjectivities based on these relations of power. Text may include Babar , The Wind in the Willows , Alice in Wonderland , Where the Wild Things Are , Ricky Tiki Tavi and Fantasia .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1197 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
FA 2010

Narratives of African Civilizations

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

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, Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions , and Mda’s Ways of Dying , and films like Lumumba, Mandabi, and Hyenas .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1558 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

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 for the first seven weeks only, September 7–October 21.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1289 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Narrative Investigations II: Realism to Postmodernism

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

Description

In this class we will continue to explore the concept of narrative and the way writers interrogate literary and social conventions. As we consider how stories shape our notions of history, gender, class, and sexual identity, we will examine how the thinking of readers, and stories, changed from the nineteenth century to the twentieth. Tracing the evolution of literary narrative from realism, to modernism and postmodernism, we will see a new form of narration emerge, where protagonists include not only characters, but also time, place, the city, the reader, and language itself. Our readings will include Stendhal’s The Red and the Black , Joyce’s Ulysses , and Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body , as well as writing on film by Seymour Chatman and films such as Memento .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1605 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Close Readings in Critical Cultural Theory: Theodor Adorno

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

Description

Theodor Adorno (1903-69) was a philosopher, cultural theorist, music theorist and a central force in the Frankfurt School. His work, departing from the philosophical tradition of German idealism, draws from Marxism, psychoanalysis, and sociological thought. His sometimes controversial writings on literature, popular culture in the middle of the twentieth century, the category of experience in modernity, and the aftermath of the Holocaust repeatedly call us back to the question of the relation of politics, culture and the ethical. Adorno’s work is dense and often difficult to read; we will consult some of the leading secondary sources on his writing, but we will apply most of our energy to examining closely some key shorter texts concerned with literature, art, and politics closely. Among our reading: Notes to Literature, Prisms , sections of The Dialectic of Enlightenment coauthored with Max Horkheimer, and, perhaps, parts of his posthumous Aesthetic Theory .

Notes

Course meets for the last seven weeks only, October 27–December 15.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1389 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Sappho and David: The Greek and Hebrew Poetic Traditions

4 units Mon Wed
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Clair McPherson

Description

From Sappho’s love songs to the Psalms of David, poetry in the ancient Greek and Hebrew traditions expressed the gamut of human thought, feeling, and experience. We will explore the Book of Psalms and Sappho, along with the Song of the Sea, the Songs of Songs, and the oracles of the Prophets in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), and the odes of Pindar, the poetry of Anacreon, and Archolochus, and lyrical portions of the Iliad and Odyssey . We will consider historical setting (from war-tribes to kingship and city-state); culture (from the heroic to the democratic and the theocratic); theme (love, God, honor, sexuality, justice, forgiveness); function (the who, what, where, when, and why of any poem). Art and architecture, philosophy, and religious literature will also be examined to provide an in-depth, three-dimensional sense of the context. And finally, we will, throughout the semester, ask the question why these poems, some of them 3000 years old, speak to us with such startling immediacy, power, and urgency in the twenty-first century.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1202 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
FA 2010

Tragic Visions

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

Description<