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Found 668 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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1631

Description

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

Notes

Same as HIST-UA 282 001.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1535

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-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)