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Found 335 courses
IDSEM-UG1380 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2013

Three Revolutions: Haiti, Mexico, Cuba

4 units Tue Thu
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Antonio Lauria-Perricelli

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1380

Description

We compare and contrast the revolutionary events, processes and outcomes in Haiti, Mexico, and Cuba. None were simple reflexes of European or North American ideas and politics, although such external factors were among their causes and effects. Each had significant anti-colonial or anti-imperial components, as well as social and political conflicts and alliances within the immediate societies of the revolutionary countries which involved both "internal" and "external" groups and ideas. We consider the roles of such investors, landowners, mineowners, merchants, bankers, politicians, state administrators, peasants, laborers, intellectuals, migrants, and other social groups in-country or in the relevant imperial centers. We analyze interrelations among kinds of capitalism, and anti-capitalist ideologies or social forms and types of rationality; changing revolutionary processes and demands; changing role and organization of the state; the supporters or antagonists of the revolution among differing social groups at differing times; the revolution's relation to earlier and later movements. Where necessary, we invoke examples from other countries. Readings might include selections from Wolf, Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century ; DuBois, Avengers of the New World ; Trouillot, Haiti: State Against Nation ; Sheller, various papers on gender, power and 19th century Haiti; Gonzales, The Mexican Revolution, 1910-1940 ; Olcott et al., Sex in Revolution: Gender, Politics, and Power in Modern Mexico ; Pérez Cuba, Between Reform and Revolution ; Kapcia, Cuba in Revolution: A History Since the Fifties ; Foran, Theories of Revolution , and later works.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1589 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2013

The Vietnam War

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1589

Description

The Vietnam War occupies a special place in U.S history and foreign relations. For decades, it was known as America’s longest war, the only war the United States ever lost, a war that shattered Americans' faith in their government and spawned a culture of protests that divided one generation from another. More recently, it has become the conflict against which the U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya are most often compared and contrasted. In this course, we examine the history of the Vietnam War both in its own context and as part of ongoing debates about U.S. foreign policy and military interventions. In addition to considering the war from the U.S. perspective, we also read texts that offer insights into the Vietnamese experience. We cover a wide range of genres and disciplines, including: official documents written by Robert McNamara, George Ball, and Daniel Ellsberg; historical scholarship by Leslie Gelb, David Hunt, and Marilyn Young; and novels, films, and poetry of Eugene Burdick, Norman Mailer, Yusef Komunyaaka, and Tim O’Brien.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1451 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2013

Ancient Reflections in a Time of Modern War

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1451

Description

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

Notes

Course meets 1/29- 3/12 only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1646 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2013

Fractured States: Border Crossings, Divisions, and Partitions

4 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 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 focus on these geographical divisions both as larger political crises and as events that have effects at more personal and local levels, for example, on familial ties, the ability to find work, or to practice one's religion. We focus on a few regions whose borders have been and still are in crisis in different ways: Haiti and the Dominican Republic; India and Pakistan; and Israel and Palestine. Some specific questions we explore: In what ways do geographical borders participate in the creation of national, racial, or religious, identities? What happens to individuals or groups of people who live in a nation to which they do not feel a primary allegiance and to people who have multiple allegiances? In what ways do borders facilitate or demand the production of social difference? How do writers imagine the relationship of subjects to divided spaces and the relationship of those subjects to each other? How do fictional and historical works address the relationships between possibilities for peace and security and notions of justice? The class focuses primarily on literary texts and narrative films, which we place in dialogue with oral histories, personal memoir, and documentary films. Some likely authors we read in the course include: Edwige Danticat, Junot Díaz, Salman Rushdie, Sami Michael, and Ghassan Kanafani.

Notes

Same as COLIT-UA 800 001.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1734 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2013

Renaissance and Renewal in the 9th Century

2 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Andrew Romig

Description

The European Early Middle Ages may seem an unlikely place to find a renaissance. In our popular imagination, the era remains a foreign and backward place, a “Dark Age”: its systemic violence, its brutal social injustices, and its intellectual and artistic poverty. In fact, however, the Early Middle Ages of Europe was far more diverse and vibrant than our common narratives of the “brutish” medieval past suggest. In this course, we focus on the long 9th century, which saw a proliferation of scholarship and art under the patronage of Charlemagne and his heirs that in some ways harkened back to artistic world of imperial Rome. Carolingian courts became centers of learning, bringing the finest thinkers of Europe together in conversation, and recalling the aesthetics of the ancient world while also forging new styles and forms of scientific thought and artistic creation. Carolingian rulers engaged diplomatically with the world beyond—not just England and Scandinavia beyond the North Sea, but Muslim Spain and Baghdad, Jerusalem, and North Africa. In important ways, the Carolingian renaissance paved the way for the inventions and revolutions of the later Middle Ages and beyond. It thus provides a key early comparative example for the study of “renaissances” in all eras. No previous coursework required. Texts may include Einhard’s Life of Charlemagne , the “Coronation Gospels,” The Utrecht Psalter, the Heliand , and the Waltharius .

Notes

Course meets 1/28- 3/11 only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9550 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
SP 2013

TEL AVIV: The Present Past: Archaeology and History of the Land of Israel and its Relevance for Today

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-TEL AVIV. The course examines the archaeological findings, the biblical text and ancient Near Eastern records in an attempt to reconstruct the history of ancient Israel in the first Millennium BCE. The study of ancient Israel in biblical times attracts the imagination of millions around the world. Biblical accounts on kings such as David and Solomon are at the heart of most cultures today and it is no wonder that pure academic debates about the historicity of these biblical accounts echoes into public realm. Can we use archaeology and biblical scholarship in order to reconstruct a better image of these decisive events? Five currently hotly debated subjects in biblical history will be discussed with the students in class meetings, in field trips and with the help of guest speakers who will present their side of the argument.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1116 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2013

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)

SASEM-UG9551 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2013

TEL AVIV: Food and Identity in the Middle East and its Jewish Communities

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-TEL AVIV. The objective of the course is threefold. First (weeks 1-3), it exposes students to the relationships between food, class and gender and to the extent to which food is part of our symbolic system and mode of thought. This discussion introduces students to the main issues in food studies and provides them with a theoretical ground for the course. Second, (weeks 4-7), we will look at the ways in which food has been used to support the Zionist ideology and the formation of the Jewish nation-state. Lectures focus on the ways in which women have been involuntarily recruited into the process of nation building via food practices. Additionally, I address the various immigrant communities in Israel that, although encouraged to change their food habits, have kept their foodways at the level of the home. We will analyze the ways in which immigrants change their domestic foods and the reasons for the changes. Our discussion will question the social, political and economic circumstances that have pushed immigrants to use food as a means of making a living and the changes their dishes have undergone in aim of appealing to a wide array of consumers. Moreover, in order to understand the relationship between ideology, migration and ethnicity in Israel, we will look at the role food and feeding have played in the formation and protection of the ideology of the traditional kibbutz, as opposed to the new kibbutz. Finally, we shall look at various Israeli open-air food markets and their contribution to the preservation of ethnic hierarchies in Israeli society. We will conclude the second part of the course with a field trip to the “Mahane Yehuda food market” in Jerusalem (week 8) and an in-class short midterm followed by a movie on week nine. The third part of the course (weeks 10-14) looks at social and political processes that have affected Middle Eastern cuisines. Our discussion on food and colonialism will elaborate on issues such as the identity of the Palestinian citizens of Israel and the role food occupies in creating a distinctive national identity. Also we shall look at the modernization of the Middle East and its effect on local diets. We will conclude the course by analyzing the consequences of globalization on local diets and the way in which certain Middle Eastern foods have gone global.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1577 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2013

The Ethnographic Imagination

4 units Thu
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Ritty Lukose

Description

Ethnography has been narrowly construed as the research methodology that defines the discipline of cultural anthropology, but this course explores ethnography as both a mode of inquiry and a genre of writing through we grapple with the experience of Self and Other at the intersection of overlapping cultural worlds. We begin by linking modern ethnographic writing to early travel narratives, to missionary accounts, and to colonial reports serving evolving imperial formations.We then examine the consolidation of an "ethnographic" perspective in the emerging discipline of anthropology, as well as more recent critiques of this genre. Our own method is reading classic and contemporary ethnographic works. These reveal ongoing tensions between the scientific and the literary; between abstract "theory" and ethnographic "practice;" and between the claim to truth-telling and the power and limits linked to the positioning of the author. In response to these tensions we also trace the textual experimentation that mixes ethnography, poetry, memoir, and travel writing, fiction, and film. Our goal is to develop a self-reflective ethnographic imagination, open to the possibilities and difficulties in cross-cultural understanding, as we consider the complexities in encounter and contact, looking and describing, representing and translating. Possible texts include travel writings from the period of early European expansion, Conquest of America by Todorov, Argonauts of the Western Pacific by Malinowski, Coming of Age in Samoa by Margaret Mead; Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography by Clifford and Marcus, Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment by J. Biehl, In an Antique Land by Amitav Ghosh, and the films of Trin Minh Ha.

Notes

Open to sophomores only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1486 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2013

Revolucion

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1486

Description

Equating Latin America and revolution seems almost a truism. From Zapata to "Ché" to Chávez, the region's modern history is a tale of one movement promising epic change to the next, each more dramatic than the last and collectively giving rise to an image of Latin America as a cradle of firebrand leaders and riotous masses leaving in their wake endless cycles of unrest. But to look deeper into this history is to find a world of complexity, of peoples pursuing radical change but also gradual reform, at times taking up ballots and at times taking up arms, at times in the factory and at times on the farm, at times from the left and at times from the right. All of it "revolución," yes, but what kind? And through what means? And for what ends? And at what cost? This course traces the evolution of revolution in twentieth century Latin America, from the final collapse of Spanish colonialism in 1898 to the rise of chavismo in 1998, and finally considers the impact of this history on Latin America today. Authors may include, among others, Mariano Azuela, Eva Perón, Gustavo Gutierrez, Subcomandante Marcos, and Raul Zibechi.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1695 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
SP 2013

Competing Images of the Sage: Confucius and Lao Tzu

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1695

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1631 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2013

The U.S. Empire and the Americas

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

Notes

Same as HIST-UA 282 001.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1682 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2013

What Is Global About Gender?

4 units Wed
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Ritty Lukose

Description

This interdisciplinary seminar explores how discourses about women, gender and sexuality depend on and produce visions of the global, the transnational and the international. The project of identifying affinities between women across cultures and national boundaries has long grounded the work of scholars, journalists, social movements, institutions and activists in a variety of locations, both within and outside the Euro-American context. Such efforts are intended to forge enabling alliances and solidarities, often within the larger horizon of “women’s rights” or “feminism”, yet must navigate cultural and national differences, hierarchies within a global world order and complex histories imperialism. The course explores histories of feminism and empire that unravel how imperial visions based on the "civilizing mission" ground their arguments on the "treatment of women". We then explore the rise of a new post-war international order centered on human rights and the UN system. How and why are women and girls, gender and sexuality so central to this system? By examining development initiatives that target women and girls, anti-violence and anti-trafficking campaigns, and more contemporary discourses of the rights of sexual minorities, we explore how gender and sexuality become grounds for debating global, transnational and international visions. Readings include Kumari Jayawardena's Feminism and Third World Nationalism , Afsaneh Najmabadi's Women with Mustaches and Men with Beards , Are Women Human? by Catherine MacKinnon, Human Rights and Gender Violence by Sally Merry, Scattered Hegemonies by Inderpal Grewal and Caren Kaplan.

Notes

Same as SCA-UA 721 003.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1622 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2013

International Human Rights

4 units Tue Thu
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Vasuki Nesiah

Description

Human rights has become the privileged political vocabulary for justice in a range of contexts: from Untied Nations meetings on the millennium development goals to media reports on Darfur, from court rooms adjudicating the treatment of Guantanamo detainees to street protests regarding the WTO. For some, it provides inspiration for struggle and progressive change. For others it carries the taint of illusory promises; a fig leaf for liberal hubris and imperial intervention. What historical dynamics have shaped this debate? What potential does human rights carry for different groups? Is human rights the language of dissent and revolution or is it the language of global governance? The course travels a two-pronged path—partly focused on key debates that have structured the history and theory of human rights, and partly focused on debates internal to specific topics such as torture, homelessness and genocide. In addition to key human rights cases, we read authors such as Phillip Alston, Talal Asad, Wendy Brown, Andrew Clapham, Karen Engle, David Kennedy, Susan Marks, Sally Merry, Samuel Moyn, Makau Mutua, Jacques Ranciere, Henry Steiner, Gayatri Spivak and others.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1716 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2013

Literature and Film of The Maghreb

4 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Hoda El Shakry

Description

This course explores twentieth century literary and cinematic works of the region of North Africa referred to as the Maghreb—namely Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. We examine Arabophone and Francophone works representative of the diverse cultural, social and political histories of the region. In this regard, we address issues of linguistic and ethnic pluralism, colonialism, nationalist rhetoric, Arabization policies and Islamic reform. More crucially, the course asks how these works engage with the lengthy and often violent history of French imperialism in the Maghreb in relation to dominant and emerging narratives of national identity, language and culture. These concerns are framed alongside the theories of orientalism, postcolonialism, deconstruction and semiotics. We read works by Muhammad Berrada, Driss Chraïbi, Assia Djebar, Abdelkebir Khatibi, Ahlam Mosteghanemi and al-Tahir Wattar, in addition to watching the films of Moufida Tlatli, Rachid Bouchareb and Nouri Bouzid.

Notes

Same as COLIT-UA 800 003.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1535 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2013

Narrating Memory, History and Place

4 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 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.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1764 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SU 2014

Media and Global Social Movements

4 units Mon Wed
1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Paula Chakravartty

Description

The recent wave of protest movements—from the uprisings of the Arab Spring to events closer to home like Occupy Wall Street –have sparked a renewed interest in the role of the media in mobilizing and sustaining social movements with global resonance. This seminar offers students the opportunity to analyze the power and limits of the media in contemporary social movements in recent historical contexts. First, readings will examine the political-economic conditions that have led to the mobilization of social claims for global justice in the last decade. We will then consider a range of critical theoretical perspectives on whether and how media and information technologies have been instrumental in the articulation of such claims. This seminar draws on inter-disciplinary readings from media and cultural studies, anthropology, political science and sociology. Authors we will read include: Asef Bayat, Manuel Castells, Donatella Della Porta, Jodi Dean, Alberto Melluci, Nivedita Menon, Francesca Polletta, Michael Watts, among others.

Notes

Session I: May 27 - July 3

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

TRAVL-UG9801 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
WI 2014

Postcolonial Urbanisms: Development, Environment, and Social Movements in Senegal

4 units
Rosalind Fredericks

Description

Application: http://gallatin.nyu.edu/utilities/forms/winter_travel.html For more information: http://gallatin.nyu.edu/academics/undergraduate/global/travelcourses/SenegalPostcolonialUrbanisms.html Description: This travel course examines urban development in the postcolonial global South through the lens of cities in Senegal, West Africa. Like elsewhere across the global South, Senegal is rapidly becoming urban. This process implies a host of important transformations and challenges for development, the environment, and the socio-political lives of city-dwellers. Owing to the country’s particular development trajectory, long history of urbanization, and important legacy as one of Africa’s strongest democracies, Senegal provides an especially fascinating place to examine these dynamics and grapple with their implications for urbanism in the global South and beyond. This course will be based in Senegal’s capital city, Dakar, but will include overnight trips to the other important Senegalese cities of Saint Louis (the colonial capital of French West Africa) and Touba (Senegal’s Islamic Mecca) to compare the form and function of these alternative urban histories and development strategies. Through a combination of course readings, classroom lectures, tours, walks, and field visits, we will explore the legacies of colonialism and unpack a number of key contemporary debates and challenges faced by urban planners and city residents.

Notes

This three-week travel course goes to Dakar, Senegal, January 4-23. Permission required. Application deadline is October 25, 2013. For more information and to apply, please click on course title and link to application.

Type

Travel Courses (TRAVL-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-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-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-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-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-UG1589 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2012

The Vietnam War

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Hannah Gurman

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1589

Description

The Vietnam War occupies a special place in U.S history and foreign relations. For decades, it was known as America’s longest war, the only war the United States ever lost, a war that shattered Americans' faith in their government and spawned a culture of protests that divided one generation from another. More recently, it has become the conflict against which the U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya are most often compared and contrasted. In this course, we will examine the history of the Vietnam War both in its own context and as part of ongoing debates about U.S. foreign policy and military interventions. In addition to considering the war from the U.S. perspective, we will also read texts that offer insights into the Vietnamese experience. We will cover a wide range of genres and disciplines, including: official documents written by Robert McNamara, George Ball, and Daniel Ellsberg; historical scholarship by Leslie Gelb, David Hunt, and Marilyn Young; and novels, films, and poetry of Eugene Burdick, Norman Mailer, Yusef Komunyaaka, and Tim O’Brien.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1678 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2012

Masters of Japanese Cinema

2 units Wed
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Nina Cornyetz

Description

We will view three films from the celebrated masters of Japanese filmmaking Ozu, Kurosawa and Mizoguchi, each of whom are famous for their technical innovations in cinematic space, time, and depth of field. The course focus will be on formal film syntax and how these filmmakers arrived at a set of filmic codes independent or in advance of what became the standard Hollywood ones. We will also consider how the films comment on the huge cultural shifts, particularly of values, in Japan’s twentieth century. Specifically, we will look at the ways in which the films handle gender relations, women’s roles, notions of truth, family, and “traditional values.” Readings will include selections from: Timothy Corrigan, A Short Guide to Writing About Film , David Bordwell, Ozu and The Poetics of Cinema , Stephen Prince, The Warrior’s Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa , Mark Le Fanu, Mizoguchi and Japan. The films will likely be: “Tokyo Story,” “Rashomon,” and “Sisters of the Gion.”

Notes

Course meets 1/25- 3/7 only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1634 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2012

Postcolonial African Cities

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Rosalind Fredericks

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1634

Description

Africa is quickly becoming urban, with profound implications for African socio-economic structures, environments, and political systems. Recent scholarship representing African cities, however, is often divided. On the one hand is a perspective which concentrates on colonial legacies and Africa’s place in international capitalist circuits. On the other is an emphasis on emergent forms of citizenship and the dynamic ways that African cities work. This class holds both in tension while exploring key themes of African urbanism. It begins with a brief history of African cities to lay the groundwork for an examination of colonial legacies. Then, it delves into cross-cutting contemporary issues related to: infrastructure and planning, economies and livelihoods, and politics and identities, including contestations around religion, generation, and gender. Finally, insights gained will be used to reflect on theories of the city and international development. Authors include: AbdouMaliq Simone, Achille Mbembe, Michael Watts, Jennifer Robinson, and Mamadou Diouf.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1457 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2012

The Odyssey: Estrangement and Homecoming

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1457

Description

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

Notes

Course meets 1/24- 3/6 only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1448 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2012

Herodotus

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1448

Description

Referred to both as “the father of lies” and as the founder of the discipline of history, Herodotus (5th cent. B.C.E.) stands at the threshold of historical and ethnographic discourse in the West. Through its primary topic, the wars between Greece and Persia, Herodotus’ Histories examines the distinctive social, political, and religious characters of the major cultures of the ancient mediterranean world. In this class, our reading of the Histories will include a consideration of the following questions: how does the perspective of the Histories contribute to, and complicate, contemporary notions of exoticism and “otherness”; what is the relation of the Histories (with its recognition of cultural pluralism) to the themes and structure of Athenian tragedy? How does Herodotus construct a history out of travel, hearsay, participant-observation? What can we learn from Herodotus about historical method? Our readings will include (in addition to the primary text) selections from: Michel De Certeau, The Writing of History ; Carlo Ginzburg, Clues, Myths and Historical Method ; Leslie Kurke, Coins, Bodies, Games, and Gold: The Politics of Meaning in Archaic Greece .

Notes

Course meets 1/25- 3/7 only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1585 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2012

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-UG1116 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2012

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-UG1568 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2010

Narrating Memory, History and Place

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Marie Cruz Soto

Description

Films can hold a special place in the imagination of communities and their history. This course examines how films have functioned as representational mediums from where to negotiate collective understandings of the past, specifically of the past of the Americas. It further explores how films interact with other historical narratives, at times pushing forth and at other times defying and complicating official histories. Some of the questions guiding the study of the relationship between film and history in the Americas focus on how different communities: cope with the legacies of violent pasts, envision change and revolution, contest the meaning of places and negotiate racial and gender identities. To approach the subject, the course builds upon films like Luis Puenzos La historia oficial and Rea Tajiris History and Memory. The course also builds on texts from directors and film scholars such as Toms Gutirrez Alea and Natalie Zemon Davis.

Notes

2 credits; first seven weeks only

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1116 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2010

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-UG1580 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2010

Between Rights and Justice in Latin America

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

Description

What is the relationship between human rights and social justice? Do both always operate in conjunction? Are they ever mutually exclusive—one sacrificed at the expense of the other? This course explores key questions around the theory and practice of human rights promotion, surveying specialized literature and founding documents to consider the promise and challenge of existing human rights frameworks as they work for, but sometimes clash with, the promotion of social justice. We ask, are there universal rights? If so, how are these defined, and by whom? What is the relationship between "political" and "human" rights, between individual and collective rights? Can human rights be in conflict, and if so, how are such conflicts to be resolved? In regions rife with inequality—political, social, and economic—is promoting a global human rights agenda unrealistic, or more necessary than ever? After exploring these general questions, we will focus on Latin America, in particular on Argentina, Guatemala, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, and Mexico. How do human rights struggles in these countries change our view of the prevailing human rights regime? How do legacies of colonialism in these countries affect both the protection and violation of human rights in the present? Do these countries reveal a political tension social justice and human rights? Readings will draw from Bartolomé de las Casas, Ariel Dorfman, Elena Poniatowska, Alison Brysk, and Greg Grandin, among others.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1482 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2010

Consuming the Caribbean

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

Description

Paradise or plantation? Spring break, honeymoon, or narcotics way station? First World host or IMF delinquent? Where do we locate the Caribbean? From Columbus' journals to Terry McMillan's How Stella Got Her Groove Back , the Caribbean has been buried beneath the sedimentation of imagery by and large cultivated by non-Caribbeans, including colonial governments, settlers, international tradesmen, tourist agents and their clients. Caribbean peoples have had to re-member the islands which they eventually called home—haunted by a history of slavery and still a site of consumption and exploitation. A unifying trope, Caribbean landscapes function as metaphor, emblem, symbol, or even character. This course takes an interdisciplinary (history, literature, anthropology and sociology) and transnational approach by examining the themes of race, freedom, gender, tourism and consumption in the Caribbean. As a conglomeration of nationalities, languages, and cultures, what are the connections between the historical legacy of slavery, European colonialism and migration to the Caribbean's current realities of inequality? Some of the texts we will engage are Mimi Sheller's Consuming the Caribbean , Jamaica Kincaid's A Small Place , and Denise Brennan's What's Love Got to Do With It: Transnational Desires and Sex Tourism in the Dominican Republic .

Notes

SNY

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1585 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2010

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. After exploring the background of the Pacific War and the allied occupation of Japan, students will read historical and social theories of memory written by Paul Ricoeur, Pierre Nora, and others. 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.

Notes

SNY

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1470 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2010

(Re) Imagining Latin America

4 units Tue Thu
6:20 PM - 7:35 PM
Alejandro Velasco

Description

In Bolivia, where non-indigenous elites long ruled exclusively, an indigenous president now leads a socialist revolution; in Argentina, where governments once massacred youth by the thousands, citizens now fill the streets to demand accountability; in Guatemala, where Catholicism long reigned supreme, evangelicals now find rapt audiences. Throughout the region, the once unthinkable is becoming normative, and everywhere pundits wonder: are these the stirrings of a new Latin America or the rumblings of old ghosts in different form? This course has two aims: on one hand to decipher how Latin America has conventionally been imagined, by introducing students to major themes in the region’s study like mestizaje and machismo, authoritarianism and revolution, dependency and industrialization; on the other hand to question how valid these imaginaries remain against the backdrop of contemporary examples of social, political, and economic transformation in Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, and elsewhere. Readings draw widely from academic articles in history, anthropology, and political science, excerpts from memoirs and contemporary journalism, and samplings of music and visual arts, generating thematic student papers asking: is it time to re-imagine Latin America in this new century, and if so, how? Authors include Simón Bolívar, Gabriela Mistral, Gabriel García Márquez, Gustavo Gutiérrez, Hermano Vianna, Javier Auyero, and Mariano Azuela.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1640 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
FA 2010

The History of Kindness

4 units
Section 017
Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Andrew Romig

Description

Does kindness have a history? How have human beings conceived of benevolent behavior toward others differently across time and place? The so- called “Golden Rule” of treating others as one would be treated is present in the ethical philosophies of all of the world’s major religions. Yet humans have found it perpetually difficult to live together in peace, to tolerate cultural difference, and to provide for public welfare. In this course, we will explore the history of thought about benevolent behavior from the ancient world, through the Middle Ages, and into the present. We will read recent studies concerning the evolutionary biology of altruism (is there a “kindness gene”?), sociological studies of gender difference (is hostility a male trait?), and anthropological studies of how culture regulates conduct. We will study the rise of the state and the ways in which ideals of social welfare have changed over time. Key texts will include Plato’s Republic, The Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, Augustine’s City of God, Alcuin of York’s On the Virtues and Vices, Chaucer’s Tale of Melibee, Hobbes’ Leviathan, Voltaire’s Treatise on Tolerance, Ghandi’s The Story of My Experiments with Truth, and the Dalai Lama’s Ethics for the New Millennium. As part of the course, students will also conduct individual studies of how “kindness” is enacted and organized throughout the New York metropolitan area today, with the opportunity to combine research with internship work.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1586 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2010

Consumerism in Comparative Perspective

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Kimberly DaCosta

Description

Consumerism—the linking of happiness, freedom, and economic prosperity with the purchase and consumption of goods—has long been taken for granted as constitutive of the “good life” in Western societies. Increasingly, global economic shifts have made it possible for some developing countries to engage in patterns of consumption similar to those in the West, such that one quarter of humanity now belongs to the “global consumer class.” At the same time, however, nearly three billion people struggle to survive on less than $2 a day. This course takes an international and interdisciplinary approach to examine consumption in different societies, and we do so by asking several central questions: What are the key determinants of patterns of consumption, and how are they changed or reshaped over time? In turn, how do patterns of consumption shape racial inequality and identity, class formation, aesthetic sensibility, and international boundaries? At the same time, how do practices of consumption inform the ways in which people understand their values and individuality, imagine success and failure, or conceive happiness? By reading widely in sociology, anthropology, history and literature we will develop a framework for analyzing the ethical, environmental and social justice implications of consumerism. Readings include case studies from the US, China, India, Europe and Africa, but some likely texts are: Veblen, Theory of the Leisure Class ; Mauss, The Gift ; Bourdieu, Distinction ; Marx, “Commodity Fetishism;” Twitchell, Lead Us Into Temptation ; Bill McKibben, Deep Economy ; Colson Whitehead, Apex Hides the Hurt ; Van Jones, Green Collar Economy.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1622 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2010

International Human Rights

4 units
Section 018
Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Vasuki Nesiah

Description

The course studies the discourses, practices and institutions of human rights. In addition to providing an overview of the international human rights framework, it will engage with the politics of human rights as a local/global movement for social change, a contested family of legal rules and norms, and a repertoire of globalized vocabularies and policy prescriptions enhancing and delimiting justice. This will be a conversation about the work 'human rights' does in relation to systemic injustices and dominant ideologies - the activism and social change agendas that it enables, and those it closes off; what it privileges and legitimates and what it obscures and excludes; its desires and obsessions and its phobias and repulsions. The latter half of the course will look at how human rights laws and norms have been imagined, invoked and negotiated in relation to specific topics; these may include questions of socio-economic justice, minority rights, war crimes, multi-national corporations, sexual trafficking, torture and taboo. Readings will draw from Karl Marx, Hannah Arendt, Phillip Alston, David Kennedy, Sally Merry, Wendy Brown, Mahmood Mamdani, Hanif Kureishi, Thomas Pogge and Talal Asad. Readings will also include a number of legal cases involving the human rights framework.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1357 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
FA 2010

The Qur'an

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1609 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2010

Dante's World

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

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-UG1523 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2010

Feminism, Empire and Postcoloniality

4 units Mon Wed
12:30 PM - 1:45 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-UG1615 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2010

Language and Desire: Mishima Yukio

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

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 for the last seven weeks only, October 27–December 8.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1567 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
or GLOBAL
SU 2012

The Arabian Nights

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu
5:30 PM - 9:00 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 an d 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, Rushdie, Irwin) and will end by watching and exploring how the Nights fared in adaptations in popular culture, especially in the US.

Notes

Three-week Intensive: May 21-June 8.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1239 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SU 2012

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 21-June 29.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

TRAVL-UG9700 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
WI 2012

Culture, Development and Globalization in India

4 units
Ritty Lukose

Description

Contemporary representations of India either paint the subcontinent as a vast treasure trove of exotic culture and tradition and/or as an emergent economic powerhouse, rapidly modernizing to overtake the West. Sitting uneasily between these two images is the idea of India as a third world country, struggling with disparities of well being by trying to "develop" itself. During this two-week course based in Bangalore, India, students are offered an interdisciplinary learning experience that explores the dynamics of culture and development within globalizing India. Bangalore, considered the “Silicon Valley” of India, is at the epicenter of India’s information technology boom—its changing urban landscape a microcosm of third world urban development and globalization. In the classroom, students will be introduced to the philosophical underpinnings and practice of “development” as an important framework through which ideas of culture, economy, politics, tradition and modernity are organized and managed by the Indian state and international organizations. Background historical works will explore how the idea and practice of development are linked to colonialism and anticolonialism, capitalism, nationalism and globalization. Readings will also explore the cultural politics of tradition, tourism, heritage and monuments and the environment in order to understand how tourism is linked to development.

Notes

Permission and application required. Application deadline is October 14, 2011. For information or application, please contact Melissa Daniel at 212-998-7316 or melissa.daniel@nyu.edu

Type

Travel Courses (TRAVL-UG)

IDSEM-UG1589 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2010

The Vietnam War

4 units Tue Thu
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Hannah Gurman

Description

The Vietnam War occupies a special place in American 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. Texts will include novels, films, and poetry of Eugene Burdick, Norman Mailer, Yusef Komunyaaka, and Michael Cimino, official documents written by Robert McNamara, George Ball, and Walt Rostow, and scholarship by David Halberstam, Erik Logevall, and Leslie Gelb.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1574 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
SP 2010

Christian Heresy and the Western Imagination

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

Description

In the development of Christianity the definition of "heresy" was crucial to defining "orthodox" belief and worship. Indeed, every faith seems to struggle over what is deemed heretical as part of defining what is deemed normative, and it is hard to imagine any ideology (even an anti-ideology ideology) that does not draw a boundary to mark what is subversive or unacceptable to it. This course pursues these ideas by asking two central questions: Can there be any form of (religious or secular) faith without such boundaries? What does the study of these boundaries reveal about some of the basic assumptions that have formed (and still form) our society? In the first part of this course we use primary texts to study several of the most divisive theological moments in Christian history: debates over the nature of Christ and God in the fourth century, the reemergence of arguments over heresy in the twelfth century, the Protestant Reformation, and several nineteenth century American sects. In the second part we read literary art that uses and wrestles with the idea and ideas of heresy. We conclude by considering how theological arguments over orthodoxy and heresy are rescripted and reenacted in current debates about censorship, education, constitutional interpretation, the environment, crime and punishment, and torture. Readings will include letters and sermons by Athanasius, Arius, Eusebius, and Augustine, Luther's 95 Theses, the Book of Mormon, poems by William Blake, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, Milton's Paradise Lost, Dostoevsky's 'Grand Inquisitor' Parable, and sections from Ulysses, Moby Dick, Doctor Faustus, and Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose. Contemporary theorists will include Mark Taylor, Harold Bloom, and Slovoj Zizek.

Notes

SNY

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

This course studies the nature of the tragic form in dramatic literature and performance, as well as its role in human existence. Focusing on the two great periods of tragedy in Western literature and culture­—ancient Greece and Renaissance England—we read selected tragedies by Aeschuylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Shakespeare. We examine these works in their social, political, and cultural contexts, while considering questions such as gender, the role of women, and the origins and evolution of tragedy as a literary and political genre. Readings might include Agamemnon and Medea , as well as Hamlet and Macbeth. Special attention is paid to performance.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1586 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2010

Consumerism in Comparative Perspective

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Kimberly DaCosta

Description

Consumerism—the linking of happiness, freedom, and economic prosperity with the purchase and consumption of goods—has long been taken for granted as constitutive of the "good life" in Western societies. Increasingly, global economic shifts have made it possible for some developing countries to engage in patterns of consumption similar to those in the West, such that one quarter of humanity now belongs to the 'global consumer class.' At the same time, however, nearly 3 billion people struggle to survive on less than $2 a day. This course takes an international and interdisciplinary approach to examine consumption in different societies, and we do so by asking several central questions: What are the key determinants of patterns of consumption, and how are they changed or reshaped over time? In turn, how do patterns of consumption shape racial inequality and identity, class formation, aesthetic sensibility, and international boundaries? At the same time, how do practices of consumption inform the ways that people understand their values and individuality, imagine success and failure, or conceive happiness? By reading widely in sociology, anthropology, history and literature we will develop a framework for analyzing the ethical, environmental and social justice implications of consumerism. Readings include case studies from the US, China, India, Europe and Africa, but some likely texts are: Veblen, Theory of the Leisure Class; Mauss, The Gift; Bourdieu, Distinction; Marx, "Commodity Fetishism;" Twitchell, Lead Us Into Temptation; Bill McKibben, Deep Economy; Colson Whitehead, Apex Hides the Hurt; Van Jones, Green Collar Economy.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1380 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2010

Three Revolutions: Haiti, Mexico, Cuba

4 units Tue Thu
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Antonio Lauria-Perricelli

Description

We compare and contrast the revolutionary events, processes and outcomes in Haiti, Mexico, and Cuba. None were simple reflexes of European or North American ideas and politics, although such external factors were among their causes and effects. Each had significant anti-colonial or anti-imperial components, as well as social and political conflicts and alliances within the immediate societies of the revolutionary countries which involved both "internal" and "external" groups and ideas. We consider the roles of such investors, landowners, mineowners, merchants, bankers, politicians, state administrators, peasants, laborers, intellectuals, migrants, and other social groups in-country or in the relevant imperial centers. We analyze interrelations among kinds of capitalism, and anti-capitalist ideologies or social forms and types of rationality; changing revolutionary processes and demands; changing role and organization of the state; the supporters or antagonists of the revolution among differing social groups at differing times; the revolution's relation to earlier and later movements. Where necessary, we invoke examples from other countries. Readings might include selections from Wolf, Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century ; DuBois, Avengers of the New World ; Fick, The Making of Haiti ; Trouillot, Haiti: State Against Nation ; Gonzales, The Mexican Revolution, 1910-1940 ; Nugent, The Spent Cartridges of Revolution ; Stephen, Zapata Lives! ; Kapcia, Cuba: Isle of Dreams ; Saney, Cuba: A Revolution in Motion ; Pérez-Stabli, The Cuban Revolution .

Notes

not visible on Albert

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1503 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2010

American Poetics: Inventions and Intimate Dialogues in the Making of a Hemisphere

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Millery Polyné

Description

The idea of an America/América has been diffracted but reconstituted by a number of theorists, policymakers, (forced) laborers, artists and revolutionary activists. Each of these actors sought to craft a new existence that distinguished itself from "Old World" tyranny and tensions, particularly through the creation of imagined communities of identity (i.e. racial, political, religious or sexual). America/América proved to be an extraordinarily malleable idea that liberated, united and modernized. Yet, the narrative of "Our America" also revealed its internal contradictions and fissures (the underside of modernity) within institutions and social phenomena it helped to perpetuate such as slavery, race, sexuality, diaspora (exile), and empire. This undergraduate course examines the cultural and political investments that have characterized the American Hemisphere and its components. The matrix of race, class and gender has been a useful lens to analyze the systems and structures in place that both benefited and suppressed American peoples and their contributions to the construction of America/América. Yet, the themes of migration, nationalism, sexuality, creolization, and empire-building also serve as essential tools to untangling and mapping the roots and routes of American development. Through a diverse set of materials (primary documents, secondary readings, films, music, and art) that utilize a multimedia and interdisciplinary approach to a range of anthropological, historical, literary, political and economic questions central to American experience(s), this course will critically engage the writings of thinkers (José Martí Walter Mignolo, Amy Kaplan, Toni Morrison) who have helped us better understand the "contact zone where Anglo and Latin America meet up, clash and interpenetrate."

Notes

SNY

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1482 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2012

Consuming the Caribbean

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

Description

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

Notes

Same as - SCA-UA 721.001

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1122 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
FA 2012

Discourses of Love: Antiquity to the Renaissance

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1122

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 from Sappho and Plato to Shakespeare. We want to consider Love's 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 could include Plato’s Symposium , mystical writings, the poetry of Sappho, the stories of Marie de France, selections from Dante, as well as two plays of Shakespeare.

Notes

Open to sophomores only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1197 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
FA 2012

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-UG1503 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2012

American Poetics: Inventions and Intimate Dialogues in the Making of a Hemisphere

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Millery Polyné

Description

The idea of an America has been diffracted but reconstituted by a number of theorists, policymakers, (forced) laborers, and artists. Each of these actors sought to craft a new existence that distinguished itself from “Old World” tyranny, particularly through the creation of imagined communities of identity (i.e. racial, political, religious or sexual). America proved to be an extraordinarily malleable idea. Yet, the narrative of “Our America” also revealed its internal contradictions and fissures within institutions and social phenomena it helped to perpetuate such as slavery, race, and empire. This course examines the cultural and political investments that have characterized the American Hemisphere. The matrix of race, class and gender has been a useful lens to analyze the systems and structures in place that both benefited and suppressed American peoples and their contributions to the construction of America. Yet, the themes of migration, exile, nationalism, sexuality, creolization, and empire-building also serve as essential tools to untangling and mapping the roots and routes of American development. Through a diverse set of materials (primary documents, secondary readings, films, music, and art) that utilize a multimedia and interdisciplinary approach to a range of anthropological, historical, literary, political and economic questions central to American experience(s), this course will critically engage the writings of thinkers (José Martí Walter Mignolo, Amy Kaplan, Toni Morrison) who have helped us better understand the spheres where Francophone, Anglophone and Hispanophone worlds collide, coalesce and interpenetrate.

Notes

Same as SCA-UA 816.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1648 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2012

Environment and Development in Africa

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Rosalind Fredericks

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1648

Description

This course explores the political ecology of African development in historic perspective. Drawing from anthropology, geography, environmental history, development studies, and political science, the course joins theoretical and empirical perspectives on the politics of African environments. The first part will focus on the history of human-environment relations on the continent, paying particular attention to the exploitation of the natural environment during colonialism and patterns of extraction and trade set up during that time. Building on this history, we will then concentrate on the postcolonial period in order to compare different forms of exploitation across Africa and their connections to key development debates and national development trajectories. Specific topics will include: the extractive industries; the management of the urban environment; wildlife conservation and tourism; agriculture and rural livelihoods; environmental governance regimes; environmental health and justice; gender and environment; natural resources and war; and vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. Aiming to provide more complex, critical, and nuanced understandings of human-environment relations on the continent, we will draw from academic texts and novels as well as documentaries. Readings may include: James Ferguson, Paul Richards, James Fairhead, and Adam Hochschild.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1552 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2012

Sociology of Religion: Islam and the Modern World

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Ali Mirsepassi

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1552

Description

This course is designed to explore the role of religion in modern societies. We will examine religion as an important social institution and also as a cultural system. We will study canonical and contemporary theories of religion. The focus of the course, however, will be Islam. We will look at the cultural context and historical construction of Islam, as well as the different social contexts within which Islam has evolved. We will examine the relationship between Islam and modernity, including secular ideologies, gender politics, and modern democracy. We will pay particular attention to the role that Islam plays in the everyday life of those who practice it, who are affected by it, or who struggle with it as their tradition. Our goal is to study Islam not as a fixed object or authentic tradition but as a social and cultural phenomenon subject to change, contestation, and critique. Texts may include Mernissi, Islam and Democracy; Arkoun, Re-Thinking Islam ; Fernea, In Search of Islamic Feminism ; and Armstrong, Islam .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1216 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2012

Doing Things with Words: Arts and Politics Across Cultures

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1216

Description

The course will focus on an eclectic group of mostly contemporary, politically-directed writers and other artists primarily 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. Texts may include: fiction by William Faulkner, Nakagami Kenji, Ruth Ozeki and Toni Morrison, and theoretical selections from Jacques Derrida, Antonin Artaud, Judith Butler.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1736 Lib Arts
SCI
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
FA 2012

Making a Scientific Revolution: Medieval Christendom and Islam

4 units Mon Wed
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Daniel Newsome

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1736

Description

The roots of the "Scientific Revolution" were formed in the Middle Ages - both in Christian and Muslim lands. Science co-developed alongside monothesitic religions in this period of vibrant trade, scholarship, and intellectual development. This course focuses on how the sciences examined the relationships between the human being, nature and the divine. We will read original primary sources (in English) and use period tools and techniques to further our study. We will follow several of these sciences into the "Scientific Revolution" and discuss how they relate to the standard narrative of a revolution in science. Scientific themes will include mathematics, music theory, astronomy/astrology, perspective/optics, alchemy/chemistry, atomism, medicine/physiology, and physics. Readings may include Plato, Aristotle, Lucretius, Ptolemy, Galen, Plotinus, Boethius, Al-kindi, Alhazen, Avicenna, Ibn Tufayl, Averroes, Thomas Aquinas, Buridan, Oresme, Vesalius, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, and Leibniz.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1412 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2011

Yellow Peril

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

Description

Fears of “yellow peril” (and brown “Turban tides”) run deep in the present and past of U.S. political and commercial culture. Its imagery and stories are just beneath the surface of everyday discourse and always latent—readily triggered by an incident, real or fabricated. SARS fears, charges of Chinese “pirating” U.S. cultural properties, the racial profiling of “Arab-looking” peoples, and Asians “taking over” U.S. higher education all illustrate contemporary forms of Asian “peril.” Americans are woefully unaware of this scapegoating tradition and its history, and consequently remain particularly vulnerable to its ideological and affective power. Seminar students will learn historical research skills and collaboratively document historical and contemporary case studies. We’ll explore what can and must be done to counter these fallacies and practices.

Notes

Permission of the instructor required (jack.tchen@nyu.edu). Same as V18.0380002.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1634 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2011

Postcolonial African Cities

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Rosalind Fredericks

Description

Africa is quickly becoming urban, with profound implications for African socio-economic structures, environments, and political systems. Recent scholarship representing African cities, however, is often divided. On the one hand is a perspective which concentrates on colonial legacies and Africa’s place in international capitalist circuits. On the other is an emphasis on emergent forms of citizenship and the dynamic ways that African cities work. This class holds both in tension while exploring key themes of African urbanism. It begins with a brief history of African cities to lay the groundwork for an examination of colonial legacies. Then, it delves into cross-cutting contemporary issues related to: infrastructure and planning, economies and livelihoods, and politics and identities, including contestations around religion, generation, and gender. Finally, insights gained will be used to reflect on theories of the city and international development. Authors include: AbdouMaliq Simone, Achille Mbembe, Michael Watts, Jennifer Robinson, and Mamadou Diouf.

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-UG1567 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
or GLOBAL
WI 2011

The Arabian Nights

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu
10:00 AM - 1:30 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 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 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.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

iDSEM-UG1682 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2012

What Is Global About Gender?

4 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Ritty Lukose

Description

This interdisciplinary seminar will explore the ways in which cross-cultural, transnational, global and international perspectives on women, gender and sexuality are imagined and struggled over by scholars, social movements, and activists in a variety of contemporary locations, both within and outside the Euro-American context. Such efforts are intended to forge politically enabling alliances and solidarities yet must navigate cultural and national differences, hierarchies within a global world order and complex histories of colonialism and imperialism. Beginning with histories and genealogies of feminist movements around the world, the course will first explore the links forged by colonialism, gender and sexuality with the expansion of Western imperialism. We will pay particular attention to the rise of anti-colonial nationalisms and the role of women, gender and sexuality within these formations. In the second part of the course, we will explore the rise of a new post-war international order centered on human rights and the UN system in the period of third world decolonization. Within this context, we will explore the ways in which women and girls, gender and sexuality become objects of development programs and initiatives, anti-violence and sex-trafficking campaigns, war and conflict resolution, among other issues. We will pay particular attention to the ways these international efforts and mobilizations intersect with national and local initiatives and the rise of NGOs as crucial mediators between international and local communities. Finally, we will examine how globalization and transnationalism have shaped frameworks for the study of gender and sexuality within the US context, paying particular attention to how solidarities and differences are imagined and struggled over. It is hoped that this course will help students to critically engage the complex terrain of forging global alliances and solidarities. Readings will include Kumari Jayawardena’s Feminism and Third World Nationalism , Afsaneh Najmabadi’s Women with Mustaches and Men with Beards , Lila Abu-Lughod (ed) Remaking Women: Feminism and Modernity in the Middle East , Aiwa Ong and Michael Peletz, Bewitching Women and Pious Men: Gender and Body Politics in Southeast Asia, “Thinking Sexuality Transnationally” by Elizabeth Povinelli and George Chauncy, Recasting Women: Essays in Colonial History by Kumkum Sangari and Sudesh Vaid, Human Rights and Gender Violence by Sally Merry, Scattered Hegemonies by Inderpal Grewal and Caren Kaplan, Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity by Chandra Mohanty.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (iDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1593 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2012

Barbarians: Ancient Conceptions of the Outsider

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1593

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).

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1680 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2012

The Global Citizen?

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Omar Kutty

Description

The term global citizen has been used to think about the expansion of citizenship rights, responsibilities and activism onto a global scale. This course will introduce students to the contemporary theory, history and anthropology of this concept of global citizenship while situating its development in the contexts of unequal capitalist development, international institutions, and the increasing interconnectedness of world populations. The course will address such topics as: nation-state sovereignty and its challenge to global citizenship; the tensions between global citizenship, international law and the moralities embedded in particular legal systems and cultures; the political economy of transnational activism. The guiding question of the class will be: can global citizenship exist in the contemporary world and, if not, can we imagine the conditions under which it might someday emerge? Class texts will include works by: Walter Mignolo, Gloria Anzaldua, Paul Gilroy, Immanuel Kant and William Robinson.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1412 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2012

Yellow Peril

4 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Jack Tchen

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1412

Description

Fears of “yellow peril” (and brown “Turban tides”) run deep in the present and past of U.S. political and commercial culture. Its imagery and stories are just beneath the surface of everyday discourse and always latent—readily triggered by an incident, real or fabricated. SARS fears, charges of Chinese “pirating” U.S. cultural properties, the racial profiling of “Arab-looking” peoples, and Asians “taking over” U.S. higher education all illustrate contemporary forms of Asian “peril.” Americans are woefully unaware of this scapegoating tradition and its history, and consequently remain particularly vulnerable to its ideological and affective power. Seminar students will learn historical research skills and collaboratively document historical and contemporary case studies. We’ll explore what can and must be done to counter these fallacies and practices.

Notes

Permission of instructor required (jack.tchen@nyu.edu). Same as SCA-UA 380 001.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1695 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
SP 2012

Competing Images of the Sage: Confucius and Lao Tzu

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1695

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1615 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2012

Language and Desire: Mishima Yukio

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1615

Description


Notes

Course meets first seven weeks only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1622 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2012

International Human Rights

4 units Mon Wed
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Vasuki Nesiah

Description

Human rights has become the privileged political vocabulary for justice in a range of contexts: from Untied Nations meetings on the millennium development goals to media reports on Darfur, from court rooms adjudicating the treatment of Guantanamo detainees to street protests the regarding the WTO. Why does rights talk have such traction? What historical dynamics have shaped this development? What are it implications for different groups? Moreover, what ‘counts’ as a human rights within the dominant framework? This course studies the discourses, practices and institutions of human rights by engaging with the politics of human rights as a local/global movement for social change, a contested family of legal rules and norms, and a repertoire of globalized vocabularies and policy prescriptions enhancing and delimiting justice. This will be a conversation about the work 'human rights' does in relation to systemic injustices and dominant ideologies - the activism and social change agendas that it enables, and those it closes off; what it privileges and legitimates and what it obscures and excludes; its desires and obsessions and its phobias and repulsions. The first part of the course will look at key debates that have structured the histories, normative premises and institutional framework of human rights. The second part of the course will look at how human rights laws and norms have been imagined, invoked and negotiated in relation to specific topics; these will include questions of socio-economic justice, racism, war crimes, multi-national corporations, sexuality, torture and taboo. The central text will be the International Human Rights Lexicon by Susan Marks and Andrew Clapham. We will also read a series of human rights cases and other background readings by authors such as Talal Asad, David Kennedy, Wendy Brown, Makau Mutua and others.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1644 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2012

Labor and the Global Market: Literature, Film and History

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1644

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 800 002.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1681 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2012

Wandering Knights, Errant Detectives

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1681

Description

This class will explore the medieval roots and later reinterpretations of the ideas of wandering and error, primarily through the figure of the “errant knight.” The image of the gallant hero who becomes lost within his systems of morality and chivalry persists in English fiction from accounts of the Knights of the Round Table to Batman, the Dark Knight. The course will examine the evolution of this figure and the multiple uses to which he has been put as an avatar of the desire to correct social disorder. These themes will also be discussed in medieval mystical texts and migration narratives that construct a framework around which notions of race and national identity are still constructed. This course will begin with the most robust instances of wandering that the Middle Ages offer – Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur , Geoffrey of Monmouth’s The History of the Kings of Britain , Guy of Warwick , Njal’s Saga and Mandeville’s Travels . Readings will also include texts about metaphorical wandering in Julian of Norwich’s Showings , Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales , the Old English Exodus , Spenser’s Faerie Queene , Shakespeare’s Macbeth , Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and McCarthy’s Blood Meridian . There may also be screenings of Huston’s Maltese Falcon , Ford’s The Searchers and Batman: The Dark Knight .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1574 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
SP 2012

Christian Heresy and the Western Imagination

4 units Tue Thu
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Gregory Erickson

Description

In the development of Christianity the definition of “heresy” was crucial to defining “orthodox” belief and worship. Indeed, every faith seems to struggle over what is deemed heretical as part of defining what is deemed normative, and it is hard to imagine any ideology (even an anti-ideology ideology) that does not draw a boundary to mark what is subversive or unacceptable to it. This course pursues these ideas by asking two central questions: Can there be any form of (religious or secular) faith without such boundaries? What does the study of these boundaries reveal about some of the basic assumptions that have formed (and still form) our society? In the first part of this course we use primary texts to study several of the most divisive theological moments in Christian history: debates over the nature of Christ and God in the fourth century, the reemergence of arguments over heresy in the twelfth century, the Protestant Reformation, and several nineteenth century American sects. In the second part we read literary art that uses and wrestles with the idea and ideas of heresy. We conclude by considering how theological arguments over orthodoxy and heresy are rescripted and reenacted in current debates about censorship, education, constitutional interpretation, the environment, crime and punishment, and torture. Readings will include letters and sermons by Athanasius, Arius, Eusebius, and Augustine, Luther’s 95 Theses, the Book of Mormon, poems by William Blake, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, Milton’s Paradise Lost , Dostoevsky’s ‘Grand Inquisitor’ Parable, and sections from Ulysses, Moby Dick, Doctor Faustus, and Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose . Contemporary theorists will include Mark Taylor, Harold Bloom, and Slovoj Zizek.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1679 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2012

Japanese Cinema, 1960s

2 units Wed
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Nina Cornyetz

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1679

Description

The 1960s has been called the golden age of Japanese cinema by many. We will view three critically acclaimed films from the period: Shinoda Masahiro, “Double Suicide”, Kurosawa Akira, “Yojimbo,” and Teshigahara Hiroshi, “Woman in the Dunes.” The course will focus equally on formal film syntax and the “message” of the films. We will be attentive to the cultural and historical context in which the films were first released to explore what these films are saying about postwar Japanese art, culture and society and how they are saying it. Readings may include: Timothy Corrigan, A Short Guide to Writing About Film, Chikamatsu, “Love Suicides at Amijima,” Brett de Bary, “Not Another Double Suicide,” Louis Althusser, Ideology and the State , Selections from Andrew Gordon, ed., Postwar Japan as History, Stephen Prince, The Warrior’s Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa , and Nina Cornyetz, The Ethics of Aesthetics in Japanese Cinema and Literature .

Notes

Course meets 3/21 - 5/2 only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1555 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2012

Imagining India: From the Colonial to the Global

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Ritty Lukose

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1555

Description

Drawing on an interdisciplinary set of readings about India, this course explores a fraught and difficult dynamic within the modern world – democratic nation-building. We move from a variety of pre-colonial and colonial imaginings of South Asia to politicized assertions of a unified Indian identity during the anti-colonial movement. Here, nation is not only a political entity, but also a cultural project that re-shapes ideas of self, religion, community, region, family, gender and kinship. The post-independence period is explored through writings on the Partition that created India and Pakistan, “development” as a key concept that has been central to nation-building, and struggles around caste, gender, sexuality, tribal identity, environment, region and religion. How the state contends with majority and minority identities and claims, the complexities of secularism, notions of equality and difference, all in the context of vibrant social movements and a large NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) sector will enable an in-depth exploration of how democracy, as idea and practice, happens in India. How globalization shapes contemporary understandings of India will be explored towards the end of the course. Readings include: Ronald Inden’s Imagining India , Amitav Ghosh on the Indian Ocean World, Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy by Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal, the writings of Gandhi and Nehru, subaltern studies collective writings on nationalism in India, The Nation and its Fragments by Partha Chatterjee, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children , Menon and Bhasin’s Borders and Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition and India’s New Middle Class: Democratic Politics in an Era of Economic Reform by Leela Fernandes.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1705 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2012

Antigone(s): Ancient Greece/Performance Now

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1705

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1454 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2012

The Iliad and its Legacies in Drama

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1454

Description

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

Notes

Same as COLIT-UA 104.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1711 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2012

Politics, Writing and the Nobel Prize in Latin America

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1711

Description

In the course of the twentieth century, seven Latin American authors have won the Nobel Prize: Gabriela Mistral (1945); Miguel Angel Asturias (1967); Pablo Neruda (1971); Gabriel García Márquez (1982); Octavio Paz (1990); Rigoberto Menchú (Peace Prize, 1992); Mario Vargas Llosa (2010). Together, they give us a chance to consider some of the major literary and political movements in Latin America leading up to the present. The poetry of Mistral and Neruda reveals the successive influences of surrealism, communism, socialism, up to the eve of the Pinochet coup in Chile; through novels and autobiography, Asturias and Menchú explore very different aspects of the indigenous struggle in Guatamala; the novels of García Márquez in Colombia and Vargas Llosa in Peru embody different sides of magical realism; and Paz, in Mexico, in his poetry and essays, represents a country that has been a literary cornerstone of Latin America.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1684 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2012

Indigenous Culture and Cultural Authenticity

4 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Luke Fleming

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1684

Description

Even as indigenous groups have found themselves subjugated by centuries of colonialism, they are increasingly finding that they must prove their “indigeneity” to legal, national, or colonial authorities so as to gain territorial, cultural and political rights. Here, national and colonial authorities are concerned to distinguish inauthentic from authentic cultural practice and tradition. But what does it mean for a culture to be “authentic”? What are the criteria by which cultures are evaluated as legitimate or spurious, and who judges? This course interrogates the relationship between discourses of cultural authenticity and performances of indigenous identity as a lens through which to understand the particularly post-colonial (and post-modern) predicaments of indigenous peoples today. The course will look at how the concept of indigeneity as a globalized identity-category has emerged historically out of conditions of settler colonialism. We examine common strains in colonial, anthropological, missionary and tourist encounters with local linguistic and cultural communities in order to better understand how indigenous peoples have been represented and constructed as social “Others”, and how indigenous “culture”—as a set of objectified practices—has been discovered, documented, and often prohibited through these encounters. An aim of this course is to understand the double-bind that indigenous groups face: they must publically display signs of “traditional” indigenous culture in order to gain recognition, but in performing “indigeneity” they are then accused of being fakes. Readings may include: James Clifford, The Predicament of Culture; Jean & John Comaroff, Ethnicity, Inc. ; Kirk Dombrowski, Against Culture: Development, Politics, and Religion in Indian Alaska; Jean Jackson & Warren Kay (eds.), Indigenous Movements, Self-Representation, and the State in Latin America ; and Elizabeth Povinelli, The Cunning of Recognition: Indigenous Alterities and the Making of Australian Multiculturalism .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1697 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2012

Murder and More: 3 Films by Imamura Shohei

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1697

Description

Imamura Shohei (1926-2006) was one of Japan’s most highly acclaimed film directors, twice awarded the Cannes’ Golden Palm award. This course will explore three of his films, The Insect Woman , Pigs and Battleships , and Vengeance is Mine, each of which takes a hard look at the seedy side of modern Japanese society, depicting, respectively, a prostitute, gangsters, and a serial murderer. We will support our film viewings with analytic treatments of the films, alongside readings on Japanese history and tradition. Possible texts include: Gluck , Postwar Japan as History , Richie, A Hundred Years of Japanese Film , Washburn and Cavanaugh, Word and Image in Japanese Cinema.

Notes

Course meets last seven weeks only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1580 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2012

Between Rights and Justice in Latin America

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

Description

What is the relationship between human rights and social justice? Do both always operate in conjunction? Are they ever mutually exclusive—one sacrificed at the expense of the other? This course explores key questions around the theory and practice of human rights promotion, surveying specialized literature and founding documents to consider the promise and challenge of existing human rights frameworks as they work for, but sometimes clash with, the promotion of social justice. We ask, are there universal rights? If so, how are these defined, and by whom? What is the relationship between "political" and "human" rights, between individual and collective rights? Can human rights be in conflict, and if so, how are such conflicts to be resolved? In regions rife with inequality—political, social, and economic—is promoting a global human rights agenda unrealistic, or more necessary than ever? After exploring these general questions, we will focus on Latin America, in particular on Argentina, Guatemala, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, and Mexico. How do human rights struggles in these countries change our view of the prevailing human rights regime? How do legacies of colonialism in these countries affect both the protection and violation of human rights in the present? Do these countries reveal a political tension social justice and human rights? Readings will draw from Bartolomé de las Casas, Ariel Dorfman, Elena Poniatowska, Alison Brysk, and Greg Grandin, among others.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1584 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
SP 2012

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 and imaginative geography established for this region in the classical, medieval and early Renaissance periods. It also provides a brief introduction to the new field of "ocean studies" and will include some readings in marine environmental studies. We will spend about one third of the class on the Ancient Mediterranean, seen through the lens of comedies by Plautus, Virgil’s Aeneid , and writings by Plutarch, among others. We will consider how the various cultures around the Mediterranean opened emotional, physical, imaginative and political possibilities for Renaissance writers and thinkers, particularly as exemplified in Shakespeare’s plays. Topics for study will include the sea as a space of economic and political possibility and threat, including piracy; the differences created by intermingling gender, genre and diverse geographies; romance and comedy and their relation to travel writing; early map making in relation to other kinds of representation; questions of exoticism, orientalism, and the attraction and fear of the foreign. Along with studying how classical and renaissance writers may imagine the Mediterranean differently, we will consider some representations of religious and cultural divides between the Christian and the Muslim worlds in traveler’s accounts and in literature. Readings will include plays by Plautus, Cervantes and Shakespeare, Vergil’s Aeneid , selections from Boccaccio, Ibn Khaldûn, and Don Quixote.

Notes

Open to freshmen, sophomores and juniors only. Same as ENGL-UA 800.004 and MEDI-UA 996 002.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1708 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2012

Visions of the Good Life in Ancient Greece

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
James Bourke

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1708

Description

How should one live? What is the best life? The thinkers of Ancient Greece contemplated these questions in different ways, and their responses have powerfully influenced subsequent political and social philosophies. In this course, we will examine four ways in which the Greeks thought about and articulated the idea of the good life—the heroic, which understands the good life as striving for distinction and lasting fame through great deeds; the tragic, which sees the pursuit of happiness as fraught with conflict, ambiguity, and finitude; the philosophical, which prizes contemplation and the quest for truth; and the political, which emphasizes the contribution of collective life to individual happiness. Texts will include Homer’s Iliad , selected plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, Plato’s Republic , and Aristotle’s Politics . We will explore the visions of the good life these texts present, their possible points of overlap, the internal tensions that complicate them, and their continuing relevance and impact on modern ethical and political ideals.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1202 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
FA 2012

Tragic Visions

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1639 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
SP 2012

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

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1639

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 MEDI-UA 984 002.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1636 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2012

The Political Economy of Development

4 units Tue Thu
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Rosalind Fredericks

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1636

Description

Why did Asian countries become economic tigers while African nations saw their economies shrink? This course provides an introduction to the political economy of international development in order to explore the historical origins of the uneven geographies of wealth we see today. Part 1 examines the most influential theories of development, distinguishing between "big D" Development as a post-war international project and "little D" development as a historical process of global capitalist transformation. Part 2 illuminates the key actors, institutions, and discourses of Development, through tracing the history of the Bretton Woods project, in relation to the history of capitalist development. Part 3 analyzes regional trajectories of socio-spatial change in theory and history through detailed case studies of Africa and East Asia. Finally, Part 4 examines key themes in contemporary development studies, including: environment, gender, and cities. Possible readings may include: James Ferguson, Michael Goldman, and Dambisa Moyo.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1535 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2012

Narrating Memory, History and Place

4 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Lauren Walsh

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1694 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2012

Narrating Iraq

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

Description

Iraqi culture is in a unique state: its cultural production has gradually shifted from Iraq itself to a vast diaspora scattered across the globe, in the Middle- East, Europe, Australia and the Americas. A disproportionate number of Iraqis, about five million-- i.e. one sixth of the entire population— now live outside of Iraq’s borders, often in a stateless limbo. Out-of-place Iraqi intellectuals and artists have been attempting to represent their country’s ongoing devastation and fragmentation, amidst a precarious existence and rapidly shifting definitions of belonging. If Iraq is foundationally a composite of multiple ethnicities, religions, and dialects, cross-border dispersions have introduced new hyphenated identities and cultural syncretisms. This course seeks to offer a transnational framework to examine Iraqi culture(s) as embedded in a complex multi-directional itinerary, between “nation” and its diasporic geographies.

Notes

Open to juniors and seniors. Same as ASPP-UT 1019 and MEIS-UA 9112.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1357 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
SP 2012

The Qur'an

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1640 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
SP 2012

The History of Kindness

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1640

Description

Does kindness have a history? How have human beings conceived of benevolent behavior toward others differently across time and place? The so- called “Golden Rule” of treating others as one would be treated is present in the ethical philosophies of all of the world’s major religions. Yet humans have found it perpetually difficult to live together in peace, to tolerate cultural difference, and to provide for public welfare. In this course, we will explore the history of thought about benevolent behavior from the ancient world, through the Middle Ages, and into the present. We will read recent studies concerning the evolutionary biology of altruism (is there a “kindness gene”?), sociological studies of gender difference (is hostility a male trait?), and anthropological studies of how culture regulates conduct. We will study the rise of the state and the ways in which ideals of social welfare have changed over time. Key texts will include Plato’s Republic, The Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, Augustine’s City of God, Dhuoda’s Handbook for her son, Chaucer’s Tale of Melibee, Hobbes’ Leviathan, Voltaire’s Treatise on Tolerance, Ghandi’s The Story of My Experiments with Truth, and the Dalai Lama’s Ethics for the New Millennium. As part of the course, students will also conduct individual studies of how “kindness” is enacted and organized throughout the New York metropolitan area today, with the opportunity to combine research with internship work.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1651 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2012

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.

Notes

Same as HIST-UA 245.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1566 Lib Arts
SCI
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
FA 2012

History of Environmental Sciences Before Darwin

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1566

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1586 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2012

Consumerism in Comparative Perspective

4 units Tue
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Kimberly DaCosta

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1586

Description

Consumerism—the linking of happiness, freedom, and economic prosperity with the purchase and consumption of goods—has long been taken for granted as constitutive of the “good life” in Western societies. Increasingly, global economic shifts have made it possible for some developing countries to engage in patterns of consumption similar to those in the West, such that one quarter of humanity now belongs to the “global consumer class.” At the same time, however, nearly three billion people struggle to survive on less than $2 a day. This course takes an international and interdisciplinary approach to examine consumption in different societies, and we do so by asking several central questions: What are the key determinants of patterns of consumption, and how are they changed or reshaped over time? In turn, how do patterns of consumption shape class formation, racial inequality, identity, aesthetic sensibility, and international boundaries? How do practices of consumption inform the ways in which people understand their values and individuality, imagine success and failure, or conceive happiness? By reading widely in sociology, anthropology, and history we will develop a framework for analyzing the ethical, environmental and social justice implications of consumerism. Readings include case studies from the US, China, India, Europe and Africa Some likely texts are: Veblen, Theory of the Leisure Class ; Mauss, The Gift ; Bourdieu, Distinction ; Marx, “Commodity Fetishism;” Twitchell, Lead Us Into Temptation ; Bill McKibben, Deep Economy ; Lizabeth Cohen, A Consumer's Republic.

Notes

Same as SOC-UA 970.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1723 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2012

(Dis)inheriting Power: Literature and the Legacies of Colonialism

4 units Tue Thu
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Laurie R. Lambert

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1723

Description

This course investigates colonialism and its cultural legacies. We will examine texts situated in a variety of international locations including Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, India, China, New Zealand, Australia, Jamaica, and the U.S. Students will have the opportunity to think about how colonial power has shaped both the way we see the world and the way we read literature today. Tackling issues pertaining to gender and sexuality, slavery and memory, religion and cultural identity, and space and privilege, we will probe the various relationships to power that postcolonial writers inhabit. What are the tensions that arise between the First and Third Worlds, between the North and the South, and the East and the West? How and why were these geographic distinctions invented? Readings to include E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India , Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea , Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children , and J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1523 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2012

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-UG1684 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2012

Indigenous Culture and Cultural Authenticity

4 units Mon Wed
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Luke Fleming

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1684

Description

Even as indigenous groups have found themselves subjugated by centuries of colonialism, they are increasingly finding that they must prove their “indigeneity” to legal, national, or colonial authorities so as to gain territorial, cultural and political rights. Here, national and colonial authorities are concerned to distinguish inauthentic from authentic cultural practice and tradition. But what does it mean for a culture to be “authentic”? What are the criteria by which cultures are evaluated as genuine or spurious, and who judges? This course interrogates the relationship between discourses of cultural authenticity and performances of indigenous identity as a lens through which to understand the particularly post-colonial (and post-modern) predicaments of indigenous peoples today. The course will look at how the concept of indigeneity as a globalized identity-category has emerged historically out of conditions of settler colonialism. We examine common strains in colonial, anthropological, missionary and tourist encounters with local linguistic and cultural communities in order to better understand how indigenous peoples have been represented and constructed as social “Others”, and how indigenous “culture”—as a set of objectified practices—has been discovered, documented, and often prohibited through these encounters. An aim of this course is to understand the double-bind that indigenous groups face: they must publically display signs of “traditional” indigenous culture in order to gain recognition, but in performing “indigeneity” they are then accused of being fakes. Readings will include: James Clifford, The Predicament of Culture ; Jean & John Comaroff, Ethnicity, Inc. ; Kirk Dombrowski, Against Culture: Development, Politics, and Religion in Indian Alaska ; Circe Sturm, Blood Politics: Race, Culture, and Identity in the Cherokee Nation ; and Elizabeth Povinelli, The Cunning of Recognition: Indigenous Alterities and the Making of Australian Multiculturalism .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1715 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2012

Narrating Gender in the Arab World

4 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Hoda El Shakry

Description

This course examines the work of contemporary female novelists and artists of the Middle East and North Africa. Our objective is to critically investigate how the categories of ‘gender’ and ‘sexuality’ are narrated in the Arab context. We will ask the following questions: what, if anything, is particular to the representation of women in the Arab world? How are these texts symptomatic of and/or resistant to dominant narratives of gendered identity emerging from both the Arab world and West? What are the relationships between gender ideologies and the projects of colonialism, nationalism and globalization? How do gender and sexuality intersect with questions of race, class and religion? What archetypes, tropes and symbols do these works employ, complicate or challenge? How have these images shifted historically and what non-normative visions of gender and sexuality have emerged? Readings include fiction by Sahar Khalifa, Hanan al-Shaykh, Huda Barakat, Ahlam Mosteghanemi, Somaya Ramadan, Mansoura Ez-Eldin and Radwa Ashour. Readings will be paired with film, art and video installations, as well as theoretical selections on: feminism in the Arab world, women and Islam, Orientalism and Queer Theory.

Notes

Same as COLIT-UA 302.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1539 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
FA 2012

Travel Classics

2 units Tue Thu
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Steve Hutkins

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1539

Description

This course focuses on the literature of travel, from the ancient world of Homer and Herodotus to the Renaissance explorations of the New World. We focus on the conventions of the genre and how they evolved, the influence of myth and hero literature on the traveler’s tale, the construction of the Other and manifestations of Orientalism, the rhetorical implications of the writer’s motives and audience, 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 , The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus , The Narrative of Cabeza de Vaca , and Shakespeare’s The Tempest .

Notes

Course meets during the first seven weeks only, September 4–October 18.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1609 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2012

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-UG1552 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2010

Sociology of Religion: Islam and the Modern World

4 units Tue
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Ali Mirsepassi

Description

This course is designed to explore the role of religion in modern societies. We will examine religion as an important social institution and also as a cultural system. We will study canonical and contemporary theories of religion. The focus of the course, however, will be Islam. We will look at the cultural context and historical construction of Islam, as well as the different social contexts within which Islam has evolved. We will examine the relationship between Islam and modernity, including secular ideologies, gender politics, and modern democracy. We will pay particular attention to the role that Islam plays in the everyday life of those who practice it, who are affected by it, or who struggle with it as their tradition. Our goal is to study Islam not as a fixed object or authentic tradition but as a social and cultural phenomenon subject to change, contestation, and critique. Texts may include Mernissi, Islam and Democracy; Arkoun, Re-Thinking Islam ; Fernea, In Search of Islamic Feminism ; and Armstrong, Islam .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1417 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2009

Politics and the Gods

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

Description

How is political life related to the divine? In this course, students will explore this question through close readings of classic texts from the ancient world. We shall tackle the question from both ends, asking both what it might mean to have a political life founded theologically and what the possibilities are for a politics that does not orient itself with respect to the divine. We will investigate the political roles of piety, revelation, and divine law, comparing these to notions of a politics rooted in unaided human reason. Additional themes will include: the relationship between poetry and prophecy, the tension between cultural particularity and universal humanity, and the political function of myth. Throughout, emphasis will be on close readings of primary texts. Readings are likely to include the Sumerian King List, the Hebrew Bible, Herodotus' Histories , and Plato's Republic . Occasional secondary-source readings may also be assigned.

Notes

sophomore only

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1471 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2009

Black Intellectual Thought in the Atlantic World

2 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 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 (modernity/coloniality; citizenship, economic self-determination, etc.). 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, 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, Anténor Firmin, W.E.B. Dubois, Arturo Schomburg, Ralph Ellison, Anna Julia Cooper, Audre Lorde, Cornel West, Paul Gilroy, C.L.R. James, bell hooks and Angela Davis.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1258 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2009

Ancient Theatre and Its Influences

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

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 Roman drama? For contemporary theater? Through our readings of tragedy and comedy, 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. Drawing on the work of anthropologists and historians of antiquity, 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 tragedy and comedy and to selected works of the modern theater. Readings may include Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Menander; Plato, Aristotle; Plautus, Seneca; Racine, Sartre, Fugard, Soyinka.

Notes

crosslisted with V29.0104

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1555 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2009

Imagining India: From the Colonial to the Global

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Ritty Lukose

Description

Drawing on an interdisciplinary set of readings about India, this course explores a fraught and difficult dynamic within the modern world – democratic nation-building. We move from a variety of pre-colonial and colonial imaginings of South Asia to politicized assertions of a unified Indian identity during the anti-colonial movement. Here, nation is not only a political entity, but also a cultural project that re-shapes ideas of self, religion, community, region, family, gender and kinship. The post-independence period is explored through writings on the Partition that created India and Pakistan, “development” as a key concept that has been central to nation-building, and struggles around caste, gender, sexuality, tribal identity, environment, region and religion. How the state contends with majority and minority identities and claims, the complexities of secularism, notions of equality and difference, all in the context of vibrant social movements and a large NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) sector will enable an in-depth exploration of how democracy, as idea and practice, happens in India. How globalization shapes contemporary understandings of India will be explored towards the end of the course. Readings include: Ronald Inden’s Imagining India , Amitav Ghosh on the Indian Ocean World, Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy by Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal, the writings of Gandhi and Nehru, subaltern studies collective writings on nationalism in India, The Nation and its Fragments by Partha Chatterjee, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children , Menon and Bhasin’s Borders and Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition and India’s New Middle Class: Democratic Politics in an Era of Economic Reform by Leela Fernandes.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1412 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2015

Yellow Peril

4 units Tue
4:55 PM - 7:35 PM
Jack Tchen

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1412

Description

Fears of “yellow peril” (and brown “Turban tides”) run deep in the present and past of U.S. political and commercial culture. Its imagery and stories are just beneath the surface of everyday discourse and always latent—readily triggered by an incident, real or fabricated. SARS fears, charges of Chinese “pirating” U.S. cultural properties, the racial profiling of “Arab-looking” peoples, and Asians “taking over” U.S. higher education all illustrate contemporary forms of Asian “peril.” Americans are woefully unaware of this scapegoating tradition and its history, and consequently remain particularly vulnerable to its ideological and affective power. Seminar students will learn historical research skills and collaboratively document historical and contemporary case studies. We’ll explore what can and must be done to counter these fallacies and practices.

Notes

Same as SCA-UA 380 001.

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-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)

IDSEM-UG1739 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2014

Kinship and Community: Ancient Texts and Modern Theories

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1739

Description

What is the relation of the family to larger structures of community and of state? Do kinship bonds provide a model for those of community or must they be superseded in the interest of a more enlightened state? To what degree do contemporary aspirations for gender equality entail a radical renovation of our understanding of the family? We consider these questions through a close reading of ancient texts, from the Greek and Judeo-Christian traditions, which we read in conjunction with some contemporary thinkers on kinship and the state. Primary readings include: Aeschylus Oresteia , Sophocles Oedipus Tyrannus and Antigone , Euripides Ion , Plato Republic 5 , Aristophanes Ecclesiazusae , Longus Daphnis and Chloe , Genesis and Exodus , Paul Letter to the Galatians , Martyrdom of Perpetua , Shakespeare Measure for Measure , John Henry Noyes Bible Communism ; theoretical texts include: Freud Totem and Taboo , and selections from Engels, Lévi-Strauss, G. Rubin, P. Clastres, and J. Butler.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9150 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 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-UG1783 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SU 2014

Theories of Justice

4 units Mon Wed
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Peter Rajsingh

Description

Ideas of justice are central to discussions of morality, rule of law, politics and the good life in both the ancient and modern worlds. For instance, the concept of “liberty and justice for all” has potent normative force—undergirding narratives about legitimacy in liberal legalism, as well deployed to defend acts of civil disobedience. Justice has been invoked throughout history as belonging to a higher order moral scheme that supervenes over positive law and politics, serving as a way to endorse or critique social and political arrangements. But, while there tends to be broad acceptance of the general concept of justice, particular conceptions that instantiate the term continue to be matters of controversy and debate. This course explores ways in which conceptions of justice play out in politics, law and morality. We will examine particular forms of justice—distributive, retributive, procedural, substantive, restorative, constitutive etc., reading classic texts, legal opinions and journal articles. And we will discuss how accounts of justice are predicated on various kinds of arguments, such as naturalist claims concerning antecedent facts about the world, etc. We will also look at justice used in novel locutions, such as the term “environmental justice.” The approach will be interdisciplinary, drawing upon a variety of source texts ranging from Socratic propositions about justice (δικαιοσύνη) and virtue (ἀρετή) in Plato’s Republic and Crito to John Rawls’ Theory of Justice , landmark US Supreme Court cases and Albert Camus’ L’Etranger . Course objectives are to develop proficiency in moral theory, political philosophy, law and jurisprudential theory, using the concept of justice as the analytical window to highlight key moments in legal and political philosophy, and as a mechanism to understand conceptions of the good life from the ancient world into modernity. No prior knowledge of social and political philosophy is required or assumed.

Notes

Session II: July 7 - August 15

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1239 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SU 2014

Classic Texts and Contemporary Life

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

Description

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

Notes

Session I: May 27 - July 3

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1797 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2014

Rome: A Visual and Virtual Empire

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Sebastian Heath

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1797

Description

In this course we will use modern tools to study an ancient empire. Rome was at the height of its power in the late first century BC through the 4th century AD, during which time it was a multi-cultural and complex political system. In the 21st century, Rome’s visual and material record is increasingly being studied with digital techniques. Over the course of the semester, students will gain hands-on skills with a variety of digital resources and tools; skills that will be useful in the study of any culture, including our own. We will look at the development of public entertainment as seen in amphitheaters around the empire. Students will learn to map the spread of these great structures so as to identify both imperial control and common identity as well as local initiative in the Roman Empire. Pompeii, the city famously destroyed in 79 AD, provides rich opportunities to think about daily life in ancient times. Modern technologies—including Google Street View and 3D reconstructions—are facilitating new approaches to our understanding of how women and men—both rich and poor—interacted, made a living, and died in this complex urban environment. Students will also make their own 3D models of imperial and private portraits in the Metropolitan and Brooklyn Museums.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9151 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2014

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-UG1711 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2014

Politics, Writing and the Nobel Prize in Latin America

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1711

Description

In the course of the twentieth century, seven Latin American authors have won the Nobel Prize: Gabriela Mistral (1945); Miguel Angel Asturias (1967); Pablo Neruda (1971); Gabriel García Márquez (1982); Octavio Paz (1990); Rigoberto Menchú (Peace Prize, 1992); Mario Vargas Llosa (2010). Together, they give us a chance to consider some of the major literary and political movements in Latin America leading up to the present. Through novels and autobiography, Asturias and Menchú explore very different aspects of the indigenous struggle in Guatamala; the poetry of Mistral and Neruda reveals the successive influences of surrealism, communism, socialism, up to the eve of the Pinochet coup in Chile; the novels of García Márquez in Colombia and Vargas Llosa in Peru embody different sides of magical realism; and Paz, in Mexico, in his poetry and essays, represents a country that has been a literary cornerstone of Latin America.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9402 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2014

PRAGUE: Civil Resistance in Central and Eastern Europe

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-PRAGUE. Civil resistance is not the same as opting out of society or having views that go against the grain. It is fundamentally about deciding not to conform with repressive regimes. It is also about choosing a mode of action that brings with it personal dangers even when, as is usual, it advocates non-violence. This course examines the nature and significance of civil resistance in Central and Eastern Europe in the 20th century. In studying resistance literature (including poetry and song), art and film, we will draw on ideas and arguments from the disciplines of history, political science, literature, art criticism, film studies and psychology.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1562 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2014

Reading the Faces of Ancient Cultures

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1562

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1197 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
FA 2014

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 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 (I n Search of Africa by Manthia Diawara), African civilizations will speak through their own words.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1787 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2014

Iphigenia(s): War, Sacrifice, and Politics in Performance

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1787

Description

A war must be fought: or must it? The Greek army must sail: or must it? A daughter's sacrifice is required: or is it? Patriotism motivates war: or does it? Euripides' Iphigenia in Aulis is a brilliant, vertiginous investigation into the intersection of war, sacrifice, politics, and kinship. Through Euripides, we see how a marriage might become a sacrifice; how motives shift over time; how conflicts in one moment are reframed in another —this play is a stunning inquiry into the tricky ways of reason and passion. We will begin with Iphigenia in Aulis and the tradition it mobilizes—that Agamemnon, leader of the Greeks, is compelled to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia in order to ensure a fair wind for the sailing of the Greek expedition against Troy. Behind this play are centuries of profound, complex thinking about reasons for war, the nature of heroism, the rhetorics of patriotism, the obligations of kinship, the logic of marriage. From the Iliad through the efllorescence of tragedy in Athenian state theater, to early modern and 21st century adaptations and transformations, poets and playwrights have found Iphigenia "good to think with." Our classes will combine critical inquiry into Euripides' Iphigenia in Aulis and other ancient and modern treatments of the Iphigenia myth, together with experiments in interpretation—including acting workshops and staging exercises. Students need no background in acting, theater, or ancient literature, but do need critical energy and discipline. Authors we will read, in addition to Euripides, will include Homer, Aeschylus, Thucydides,and Aristotle; in the second half of the semester, we will explore modern re-imaginings of Iphigenia (e.g. Racine's Iphigénie ) and those by contemporary playwrights (among them: Ellen McLaughlin, Caridad Svich, Charles Mee).

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1523 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2014

Feminism, Empire and Postcoloniality

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

Description

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

Notes

Same as SCA-UA 721 003.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1785 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2014

U.S. Empire and the Global South: The Long 20th Century

4 units Tue
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Marie Cruz Soto, Paula Chakravartty

Description

This course will explore the makings of the U.S. Empire in the long 20th century through a closer look at its interactions with what has come to be termed “the Global South.” The main goals are to think critically about “empire” and “the global south” as dynamic categories of analysis, to explore debates about “American Exceptionalism,” and to examine how U.S. imperial power has been articulated and contested. The class will pursue these goals by focusing on four historical conjunctures that have brought together different regions of the world and that enable a better understanding of the political economy and cultural practices of the U.S. Empire. These conjunctures are the 1890s formal acquisition of colonies, the 1950s Cold War realignment, the 1980s debt crisis and counter-revolutions, and the contemporary War on Terror. Readings for this course may include: Greg Gradin’s Empire’s Workshop , Laleh Khalili’s Time in the Shadows, Ann Stoler and Carole McGranahan’s Imperial Formations, Emily Rosenberg’s Financial Missionaries to the World , Christina Duffy Burnett and Burke Marshall’s Foreign in a Domestic Sense , Julian Go’s American Empire and the Politics of Meaning , Edward Said’s Covering Islam , Lila Abu-Lughod’s Do Muslim Women Need Saving? , and Neferti Tadiyar’s Things Fall Away.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1357 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
FA 2014

The Qur'an

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1518 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2014

Globalization: Promises and Discontents

4 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Ritty Lukose

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1518

Description

In popular and scholarly discourse, the term "globalization" is widely used to put a name to the shape of the contemporary world. In the realms of advertising, policymaking, politics, academia, and everyday talk, "globalization" references the sense that we are now living in a deeply and ever-increasingly interconnected, mobile, and speeded-up world that is unprecedented, fueled by technological innovations and geopolitical and economic transformations. Drawing on perspectives from history, anthropology, cultural and literary studies, geography, political economy, and sociology, this course will explore theories, discourses, and experiences of globalization. Running through the course are three central concerns: 1) exploring claims about the "new-ness" of globalization from historical perspectives, 2) examining how a variety of social and cultural worlds mediate globalization and 3) analyzing a contested politics of globalization in which the opportunities for social mobility and transformation are pitted against renewed intensifications of exploitation and vulnerability along long-standing vectors of difference and inequality. While "globalization" is often touted as a "flattening" of the world, this course moves beyond such clichés to understand the intersection between large-scale transformations in political economy and culture in and through multiple cultural worlds situated unevenly on the world's map.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1229 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2014

"Chinatown" and the American Imagination

4 units Mon
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM Wed
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Jack Tchen

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1229

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 SCA-UA 370 001. Please note there ia a required lab session on Wed, 12:30-1:45.

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-UG1552 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2011

Sociology of Religion: Islam and the Modern World

4 units Tue Thu
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Ali Mirsepassi

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1552

Description

This course is designed to explore the role of religion in modern societies. We will examine religion as an important social institution and also as a cultural system. We will study canonical and contemporary theories of religion. The focus of the course, however, will be Islam. We will look at the cultural context and historical construction of Islam, as well as the different social contexts within which Islam has evolved. We will examine the relationship between Islam and modernity, including secular ideologies, gender politics, and modern democracy. We will pay particular attention to the role that Islam plays in the everyday life of those who practice it, who are affected by it, or who struggle with it as their tradition. Our goal is to study Islam not as a fixed object or authentic tradition but as a social and cultural phenomenon subject to change, contestation, and critique. Texts may include Mernissi, Islam and Democracy; Arkoun, Re-Thinking Islam ; Fernea, In Search of Islamic Feminism ; and Armstrong, Islam .

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-UG1660 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2011

The Concept of Race in Society and History

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Kimberly DaCosta

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1660

Description

This course offers a comparative sociohistorical analysis of race. Using a wide range of empirical and theoretical materials, we problematize what is too often considered settled: what constitutes race. We explore historical and cross-national variations in the bases of racial division, as well as the mechanisms through which racial domination is (re)produced. We begin with the prevailing assumption that race is a biological fact. By showing how even biologists reject the notion of race on scientific grounds, we open the way to exploring race as a social construct--one that has changed over time, and varies across societies. Rather than study the history of particular groups, we explore mechanisms of racial domination, including classification, prejudice, discrimination, segregation, ghettoization, and violence. We read selections from sociology, anthropology, history and literature on ethnoracial division in the US, Western Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Readings may include works by Stephen Gould, George Fredrickson, Virginia Dominguez, Carl Degler, DeVos and Wagatsuma, Barbara Fields, Pierre Bourdieu, Loic Wacquant, Ann Stoler, Zygmunt Bauman, Nancy Scheper Hughes and Colson Whitehead.

Notes

Same as SOC-UA 970 002.

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-UG1470 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2011

(Re) Imagining Latin America

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Alejandro Velasco

Description

In Bolivia, where non-indigenous elites long ruled exclusively, an indigenous president now leads a socialist revolution; in Argentina, where governments once massacred youth by the thousands, citizens now fill the streets to demand accountability; in Guatemala, where Catholicism long reigned supreme, evangelicals now find rapt audiences. Throughout the region, the once unthinkable is becoming normative, and everywhere pundits wonder: are these the stirrings of a new Latin America or the rumblings of old ghosts in different form? This course has two aims: on one hand to decipher how Latin America has conventionally been imagined, by introducing students to major themes in the region’s study like mestizaje and machismo, authoritarianism and revolution, dependency and industrialization; on the other hand to question how valid these imaginaries remain against the backdrop of contemporary examples of social, political, and economic transformation in Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, and elsewhere. Readings draw widely from academic articles in history, anthropology, and political science, excerpts from memoirs and contemporary journalism, and samplings of music and visual arts, generating thematic student papers asking: is it time to re-imagine Latin America in this new century, and if so, how? Authors include Simón Bolívar, Gabriela Mistral, Gabriel García Márquez, Gustavo Gutiérrez, Hermano Vianna, Javier Auyero, and Mariano Azuela.

Notes

Open to sophomores only.

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-UG1663 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2011

The Egyptian Revolution and Its Culture

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

Description

The Arab world was long thought to be inhospitable to democracy, both as an idea and a practice. Its culture and societies, dominated by Islam, could only produce authoritarian rule, at best, or Islamic fundamentalism and t

Notes

Same as MEIS-UA 720 001.

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-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-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-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-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-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-UG1555 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2011

Imagining India: From the Colonial to the Global

4 units Thu
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Ritty Lukose

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1555

Description

Drawing on an interdisciplinary set of readings about India, this course explores a fraught and difficult dynamic within the modern world – democratic nation-building. We move from a variety of pre-colonial and colonial imaginings of South Asia to politicized assertions of a unified Indian identity during the anti-colonial movement. Here, nation is not only a political entity, but also a cultural project that re-shapes ideas of self, religion, community, region, family, gender and kinship. The post-independence period is explored through writings on the Partition that created India and Pakistan, “development” as a key concept that has been central to nation-building, and struggles around caste, gender, sexuality, tribal identity, environment, region and religion. How the state contends with majority and minority identities and claims, the complexities of secularism, notions of equality and difference, all in the context of vibrant social movements and a large NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) sector will enable an in-depth exploration of how democracy, as idea and practice, happens in India. How globalization shapes contemporary understandings of India will be explored towards the end of the course. Readings include: Ronald Inden’s Imagining India , Amitav Ghosh on the Indian Ocean World, Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy by Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal, the writings of Gandhi and Nehru, subaltern studies collective writings on nationalism in India, The Nation and its Fragments by Partha Chatterjee, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children , Menon and Bhasin’s Borders and Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition and India’s New Middle Class: Democratic Politics in an Era of Economic Reform by Leela Fernandes.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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-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-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-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-UG1648 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2011

Environment and Development in Africa

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Rosalind Fredericks

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1648

Description

This course explores the political ecology of African development in historic perspective. Drawing from anthropology, geography, environmental history, development studies, and political science, the course joins theoretical and empirical perspectives on the politics of African environments. The first part will focus on the history of human-environment relations on the continent, paying particular attention to the exploitation of the natural environment during colonialism and patterns of extraction and trade set up during that time. Building on this history, we will then concentrate on the postcolonial period in order to compare different forms of exploitation across Africa and their connections to key development debates and national development trajectories. Specific topics will include: the extractive industries; the management of the urban environment; wildlife conservation and tourism; agriculture and rural livelihoods; environmental governance regimes; environmental he alth and justice; gender and environment; natural resources and war; and vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. Aiming to provide more complex, critical, and nuanced understandings of human-environment relations on the continent, we will draw from academic texts and novels as well as documentaries. Readings may include: James Ferguson, Paul Richards, James Fairhead, and Adam Hochschild.

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-UG1636 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2011

The Political Economy of Development

4 units Mon Wed
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Rosalind Fredericks

Description

Why did Asian countries become economic tigers while African nations saw their economies shrink? This course provides an introduction to the political economy of international development in order to explore the historical origins of the uneven geographies of wealth we see today. Part 1 examines the most influential theories of development, distinguishing between "big D" Development as a post-war international project and "little D" development as a historical process of global capitalist transformation. Part 2 illuminates the key actors, institutions, and discourses of Development, through tracing the history of the Bretton Woods project, in relation to the history of capitalist development. Part 3 analyzes regional trajectories of socio-spatial change in theory and history through detailed case studies of Africa and East Asia. Finally, Part 4 examines key themes in contemporary development studies, including: environment, gender, and cities. Possible readings may include: James Ferguson, Michael Goldman, and Dambisa Moyo.

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-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-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-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-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-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-UG1380 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2011

Three Revolutions: Haiti, Mexico, Cuba

4 units Tue Thu
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Antonio Lauria-Perricelli

Description

We compare and contrast the revolutionary events, processes and outcomes in Haiti, Mexico, and Cuba. None were simple reflexes of European or North American ideas and politics, although such external factors were among their causes and effects. Each had significant anti-colonial or anti-imperial components, as well as social and political conflicts and alliances within the immediate societies of the revolutionary countries which involved both "internal" and "external" groups and ideas. We consider the roles of such investors, landowners, mineowners, merchants, bankers, politicians, state administrators, peasants, laborers, intellectuals, migrants, and other social groups in-country or in the relevant imperial centers. We analyze interrelations among kinds of capitalism, and anti-capitalist ideologies or social forms and types of rationality; changing revolutionary processes and demands; changing role and organization of the state; the supporters or antagonists of the revolution among differing social groups at differing times; the revolution's relation to earlier and later movements. Where necessary, we invoke examples from other countries. Readings might include selections from Wolf, Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century ; DuBois, Avengers of the New World ; Trouillot, Haiti: State Against Nation ; Sheller, various papers on gender, power and 19th century Haiti; Gonzales, The Mexican Revolution, 1910-1940 ; Olcott et al., Sex in Revolution: Gender, Politics, and Power in Modern Mexico ; Pérez Cuba: Between Reform and Revolution ; Kapcia, Cuba in Revolution: A History Since the Fifties ; Foran, Theories of Revolution , and later works.

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-UG1523 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2013

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-UG1555 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2013

Imagining India: From the Colonial to the Global

4 units Tue
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Ritty Lukose

Description

India is a crucial site for discussions about globalization within the US and beyond. While some discourses fearfully worry about the loss of American jobs to outsourcing within India, other discourses herald “India Rising” to take its place among powerful global players. Drawing on an interdisciplinary set of readings about India, this course explores how the liberalization of the Indian economy and the forces of globalization are transforming the fraught and difficult emergence, out of colonial domination, of the nation-state of India. First, we explore a variety of pre-colonial and colonial imaginings of South Asia and examine politicized assertions of a unified Indian identity during the anti-colonial nationalist movement. Here, nation is not only a political entity, but also a cultural project that re-shapes ideas of self, religion, community, region, family, gender and kinship. The post-independence period is explored through writings on the Partition that created India and Pakistan, “development” as a key concept that has been central to nation-building, and struggles around caste, gender, sexuality, tribal identity, environment, region and religion. How the state contends with majority and minority identities and claims, the complexities of secularism, notions of equality and difference, all in the context of vibrant social movements and a large NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) sector will enable an in-depth exploration of how democracy, as idea and practice, happens in India. Having explored the cultural and political project of modern nation-state formation within India, we will then explore how globalization is transforming politics, economy and culture. Readings include: Ronald Inden’s Imagining India, Amitav Ghosh on the Indian Ocean World, Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy by Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal, the writings of Gandhi, Nehru, and Amdedkar, subaltern studies collective writings on nationalism in India, The Nation and its Fragments by Partha Chatterjee, Manu Joseph’s Serious Men , Menon and Bhasin’s Borders and Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition and India’s New Middle Class: Democratic Politics in an Era of Economic Reform by Leela Fernandes.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1765 Lib Arts
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2013

Media and Empire

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Paula Chakravartty

Description

What does the telegraph and cinema, the Internet and new social media, have to do with empire building? Contemporary discussions about media and technology often focus on how the ways in which our world today has been radically transformed by new kinds of information technologies and novel forms of globalized cultures, yet uneven media flows have long connected the world through processes of imperialism. We will begin at the height of European colonialism in the 19th century, and move forward through the period of decolonization and the Cold War era of the 20th century, into current debates about US hegemony and decline. We will focus on the significance of communication technologies in establishing military and economic power and the role of the mass media in shaping our ideas about racial supremacy and cultural difference. We will also consider the role of these same media and information technologies to challenge colonial domination, mis-representation and imperial rule in the 20th and 21st centuries, with a geographical focus on Africa, Asia and Latin America in relation to Britain and US imperial legacies. Authors we will read include: Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, Niall Ferguson, Stuart Hall, Anne McClintock, Edward Said and Ella Shohat, among others

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9402 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2013

PRAGUE: Civil Resistance in Central and Eastern Europe

4 units