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Found 484 courses
SASEM-UG9100 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

BERLIN: European Environmental Policy

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-BERLIN. The course gives an introduction to various aspects of EU environmental policy making and policy implementation. After a brief recap of the basics of policy making in the EU, students will learn about the guiding principles and developments within EU environmental policy, the main actors and their interests in and influence on policy making. An optional part of the course might be a visit to the European House of the European Commission (EC) in Berlin where students either have the opportunity to role-play the decision-making process of the EC on the introduction of CO2-standards for cars or to engage in a debate with an EC representative. The second half of the course analyses EU environmental policies in different issue areas (e.g. climate change, biodiversity, waste) for their effectiveness in solving environmental problems. Different policy instruments are discussed for their merits and shortcomings (one example will be the EU Emissions Trading System) and linkages to other issue areas of EU policy making (e.g. industry and agriculture) are discussed. Finally, the course provides an international perspective on EU environmental policy making: sessions will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of EU environmental policy making at home and in international negotiations, compare it with US environmental politics, and discuss future challenges (e.g. EU enlargement) and trends for EU environmental governance.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

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-UG1719 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

China Gazing

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Chinnie Ding

Description

Ever since Marco Polo’s travels in the 13th century, China has provoked the Western imagination less as a place than a set of ideas—a cipher of difference and a test-case for universals. For thinkers from Leibniz to Sontag to Badiou, and in recent controversies around Ai Weiwei as much as FoxConn, determining how China and the Chinese are (or ought to be) like or unlike other states and cultures has sounded out essential questions about governance, human rights, civilizational progress, epistemology, and the bounds of fellow-feeling. Guided by the history of diplomatic, economic, and cultural exchanges between China and the Western world, this course is built around several key tropes that have persisted adaptively throughout that history, such as despotism and internationalism, the laboring body and the revolutionary masses. Our emphasis is on critical analysis of the political as well as the aesthetic imagination. Writing assignments consist of weekly response papers, a midterm essay, and a final research project. Readings span literature, history, political philosophy, critical theory, and travel writing. We also scrutinize several works of art, film, theatre, and performance.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1628 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

Think Big: Global Issues and Ecological Solutions

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1628

Description

What are the most stimulating solutions to global climate change? If we were given an imaginary “client” with an unlimited budget and colossal power, what should we design? The resounding formula for green thinking is broadly interpreted in three meta-themes; apocalyptic, technological, and traditional. Each category promises solutions and/or interpretations of our current environmental calamity. We explore critical philosophical, artistic, and scientific positions in each meta-theme that help elucidate this dilemma. Students read, evaluate, and synthesize projects and texts from great minds such as; William Cronon, Bill McKibben, Bruce Mau, Mike Davis, Marshall McLuhan, Bjorn Lomborg, David Orr, Paul Virilio, Marshall Mclean , Laurence Buell, and others. The final project is the production of a mock Madison Avenue advertising campaign that promotes urban “sustainability.”

Notes

Open to sophomores only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1342 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

Language, Globalization and the Self

4 units Mon
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Maria-Luisa Achino-Loeb

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1342

Description

This course is intended as an exploration of language as vehicle for processes of globalization. What role did language play in the changes wrought by early capitalist transformations and the colonial expansion? Conversely, how have these global changes affected localized communities and the languages that identify them? And why should we care? To answer these questions we examine how the colonial experience has given rise to value-laden linguistic practices that mirror and sustain the racializing of privilege; and how the experience of language-loss encountered by voluntary and involuntary migrants can attack the integrity of the self. While ultimately concerned with language, our discussions have a wide scope ranging from issues of political economy to collective consciousness and individual psychology. Readings include Achino-Loeb's Silence: The Currency of Power , Anderson's Imagined Communities , Wolf's Europe and the People Without History , Hoffman's Lost in Translation , Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions , Richard Rodriguez’ Hunger of Memory as well as selected excerpts from other sources.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1299 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

Objectivity and the Politics of the Journalism Revolution

4 units Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Paul Thaler

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1299

Description

At the birth of this nation, it was assumed by journalists and their readers that journalists were partisans, telling stories from particular points of view. But the growth of the modern newspaper combined with the ideals of science transformed the image, self-image, and practice of journalism, which now claims to worship at the altar of objectivity, to present information or “news” without bias. This ethic has carried over to the contemporary media, despite challenges from critics. Rather than multiple media outlets presenting different optics or lenses through which to see events and their contexts, media outlets claim to speak impartially. In this course we examine this ideal or promise: is it possible? desirable? To pursue this inquiry we consider challenges to objectivity by figures such as Truman Capote, who linked a “new journalism” to a personal point of view, Robert McChesney, whose corporate media perspective provides a powerful macro analysis of modern journalism, and Jay Rosen, who articulates the postmodern shifts brought on by the Internet that have redefined and realigned the relationship between the journalist and audience. Readings include Walter Lippmann, John Dewey, Tom Wolfe, Michael Herr, Eric Alterman, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, and Ben Bagdikian.

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-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)

IDSEM-UG1573 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

The New American Society

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Laurin Raiken

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1573

Description

Until 2007-08 we took for granted that in the past sixty years following World War II, the industrialized Western world experienced unprecedented economic expansion, and the United States was economically and geopolitically.” the dominant superpower, indeed America was the primary coordinator and beneficiary of the post World War II period. Only a few keen observers detected economic flaws or geopolitical vulnerability in what has been called “The American Century.” Since the mid-1970s however, there have been enormous changes in the United States and the world. New forms of violence, major economic shifts and geopolitical reversals have seriously undermined and changed the world order and particularly American lives and even more pointedly the lives of American youth. Recently the self-destruction and breakdown of the U.S. financial and economic systems triggered a deep global destabilization and The Great Recession. For a growing number of Americans life has become the equivalent to the severe dislocations of the Great Depression of the 1930s. With this broad historical are in view, this seminar offers a critical history of Post World War II America, focusing especially on major social, political, ideological, extremist “teavangelical” obstructionist aggression and the world historical economic collapse. Readings include social and political thinkers such as C. Wright Mills, Barrington Moore Jr., Hannah Arendt, and Arthur J. Vidich and economists such as, John Maynard Keynes, Milton Friedman, John Kenneth Galbraith, the essayist John Lanchester, and Nobel Laureates Paul Krugman and Joseph Stieglitz. We read “Ill Fares the Land,” by the late New York University historian Tony Judt, and be inspired by the work of the great world class political economist and unsung American radical thinker, Thorstein Veblen. How do the emerging realities of today portend the future?

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1717 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

The Keynesian Century

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Andrew Bossie

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1717

Description

This class explores the intellectual history of economics during the 20th Century, and particularly the central economist of that century: John Maynard Keynes. What factors led to the ascendency of Keynesian economics during the middle of the 20th Century? What role did historical events such as the Great Depression, World War II, the Vietnam War and Stagflation play in determining this ascendance? What did the new, post-WWII technocratic class take from Keynes and what did they ignore? What led economists to largely disavow Keynes’ insights towards the end of the 20th Century? What does “Keynesian economics” even mean? We also examine works from the various schools of economic thought that emerged during the 20th century, all of which—in no small part—defined themselves either in support of or in opposition to Keynes’s ideas . Readings also include selections from Joan Robinson, Fredrick Hayek, Robert Lucas, Milton Friedman David Harvey, James Tobin, John Kenneth Galbraith and others.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1042 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

Digital Revolution: History of Media III

4 units Mon Wed
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Stephen Duncombe

Description

We are in the midst of a revolution. Computers permeate nearly every aspect of our life, yet we understand relatively little about how they work, their historical development, and their impact on our thought and actions. As with previous technological and communications revolutions like the rise of print and the ascendency of the image, computing is transforming our economic and political landscape, bringing with it new possibilities as well as new problems. In this course we explore this ever changing and rapidly expanding terrain, paying special attention to how computers and the Internet are transforming how we experience and understand identity and community, control and liberation, simulation and authenticity, creation and collaboration, and the practice of politics. Authors whose works we read may include: Jean Baudrillard, Jorge Luis Borges, Yochai Benkler, Nicholar Carr, the Critical Art Ensemble, Galileo, Donna Haraway, Lawrence Lessig, Lewis Mumford, Plato, the RAND Corporation, Sherry Turkle, and Ellen Ullman.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9250 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

LONDON: Immigration

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-LONDON. To provide an understanding of the main immigration trends in Britain, France and Germany since 1850 To provide an understanding of the problems attending the social and political integration of immigrants in contemporary Western Europe To compare the experience and understanding of immigration in Europe with the experience and understanding of immigration in the United States To examine the ways in which the memory of immigration is represented in literature and contemporary culture.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1703 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

The Green Dream

4 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Meredith Theeman

Description

The modern notion of "greenness" equates the natural environment with goodness. What do we make of this equation? This seminar takes an interdisciplinary approach to analyzing the way that people have conceptualized their relationship with nature and the natural, and how these views impact our behavior. We employ psychological theory and empirical research to explore how people form their values with regard to the environment. Possible texts include Hippocrates, Yi-Fu Tuan, E.O. Wilson, William Cronon, Ernest Callenbach, Rachel Carson, Alan Weisman, Michael Pollan and Ruth Ozeki.

Notes

Section 3 for Environmental Studies majors only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-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-UG1360 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

Intellectuals and Power: Reading Through Foucault, Lenin, and Gramsci

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
René Francisco Poitevin

Description

This course uses Lenin, Gramsci, and Foucault to pursue two questions: first, how does power operate in society? Second, what is the role of intellectuals in relation to power and politics? On the one hand, we ask: what is power? (Is it located in the state? corporations? media? in discourse? In what ways is power a problem and in what ways a resource?) On the other hand, we ask: what is “the intellectual?” What sort of social category and institution is thereby denoted? What do intellectuals claim to know and what is the political impact of their authority? Our goal is to explore how intellectuals give us a language to “see” power, but also how they have been implicated in the very forms of power they teach us to analyze. Readings include texts by Lenin, Gramsci, and Foucault, among others.

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-UG1313 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

Ethics for Dissenters

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Bill Caspary

Description

This course is about dissent in a double sense: criticizing accepted ethical values, and criticizing old ways of philosophical thought about ethics. It is about affirmative ethics, not just criticism. Over the years the course has grown into a survey of classic writings in ethical philosophy from Socrates to Sartre. One third of the class is devoted to the classical Greek thought of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics. There is a brief critical look at Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. The modern period covers the ethics of Romanticism, Marxism, Pragmatism, Existentialism, and Feminism—as dissenting alternatives to mainstream Kantian and utilitarian ethics. Authors include Dewey, Emerson, Hegel, Gilligan, James, Marx, Nietzsche, Sartre, and Schiller. From these texts perspectives emerge on: (1) criticizing unjust (e.g. sexist) ethical standards, and inventing fair ones; (2) choosing ethical careers and life paths; (3) recognizing responsibilities to the larger community; (4) resolving ethical dilemmas; (5) forming and justifying visions of a better world; (6) dialoguing productively with adversaries by respecting different ethical positions without the cop-out of "anything goes;" (8) and getting beyond dead-end debate on idealism/realism, egotism/altruism, objectivism/relativism.

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-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)

SASEM-UG9402 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2013

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)

K20.1313 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2008

Ethics for Dissenters

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

Description

This course is about dissent in a double sense: criticizing accepted ethical values, and criticizing old ways of philosophical thought about ethics. It is about affirmative ethics, not just criticism. Topics will grow from student questions and concerns, as well as the professor's. Suggested topics include viewpoints and skills to: (1) Criticize unjust ethical standards, e. g. sexist ones, and invent fair ones; (2) Choose ethical careers and life paths; (3) Recognize responsibilities to the larger community; (4) Resolve ethical dilemmas; (5) Justify visions of a better world; (6) Dialogue productively with adversaries; (7) Respect different ethical positions without "anything goes;" (8) Learn, and question, and still have principles; (9) Get beyond dead-end debate on idealism/realism, egotism/altruism, objectivism/relativism? (When is it justified to defeat adversies politically, as with civil rights laws? Is force justified, as in the American Civil War?) Readings from feminist, pragmatist, existentialist, ecological, nonviolence and conflict resolution, neo-classical, Marxist, and humanistic and developmental psychology approaches—as alternatives to mainstream Kantian and utilitarian ethics. Authors include de Beauvoir, Dewey, Emerson, Gandhi, Gilligan, James, Kohlberg, Marx, Maslow, Nietzsche, Nussbaum, Rogers, Sartre.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1193 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2008

Culture as Communication

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

Description

This course examines the concept of culture through its forms of communication. The shift from orality to literacy and on to electronic processing has important consequences for the social, political, and economic structures within a culture. If we take as axiomatic that every culture wishes to preserve itself through its forms of communication, we then need to ask ourselves which forms of communication are best suited for this purpose. What happens to cultures when traditional forms of communication are forced to compete with the newer technologies? What do we mean by "knowledge" in the age of information? The impact of written narrative on orality will be discussed as well as the changes brought about by the invention of the printing press. We will examine the development of electronic media including the newer technologies such as the Internet and analyze their effects on individual and cultural levels. Readings may include Plato's Phaedrus, Ong's Orality and Literacy, Achebe's Things Fall Apart, McLuhan's Understanding Media, and selected readings on Internet culture.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1518 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2008

Globalization: Promises and Discontents

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

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. Readings include: World Systems Theory; theories of globalization in the social sciences; studies of environmental and indigenous rights activism, gender and labor issues, and consumer culture; as well as a selection of films and novels.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1513 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2008

New Deal Liberalism: Its Rise and Fall

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

Description

This course will examine the rise and fall of New Deal liberalism as the dominant political and social order of mid- twentieth century America. It will begin with the onset of the Great Depression as the event which sets in motion profound transformations in the economy, in the balance of political power, in the role of the State, and in the relations between social classes and ethnic/racial groups. It will explore the rise of the labor movement and the creation of the welfare state. It will analyze the impact of the Cold War on domestic politics. Discussions will probe the emergence of the civil rights, anti-war, and counter-culture movements. The class will analyze the conservative reaction against the New Deal culminating in the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Students will analyze primary documents, novels, and films such as the Grapes of Wrath and Dr. Strangelove, as well as read secondary works including Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal by William E. Leuchtenberg, America in Our Time by Godfrey Hodgson, and Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody.

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)

IDSEM-UG1268 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SU 2014

Cultural Politics of Childhood

4 units Tue Thu
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Patrick McCreery

Description

This interdisciplinary seminar examines the ways that society has imbued children and childhood with meanings that are simultaneously symbolic and political. We begin our investigation broadly and gradually grow more specific. “Big” questions we engage include: Is the child figure as we know her a social construction, or does she possess some universal characteristics that transcend time, place and personal circumstance? What social forces of the Romantic and Victorian eras converged to help form the modern child? What do “moral panics” have to do with childhood? From here, the course becomes more specialized, focusing on highly contested topics: gender identity; ethnicity versus national identity; rights and representation. Throughout the course, we will focus on adult expressions of concern over the worth, safety and happiness of children’s lives. We also will study how children understand and represent themselves. A continual issue in the course is the extent to which such expressions are motivated by genuine worry for children’s well-being, by crass political maneuvering, or by some combination of the two. By the end of the course, we should have deeper understandings of childhood as a historical construction and of the debates surrounding some of the issues that society currently deems relevant to children. Works we will engage may include Lois Lowry’s The Giver , Neil Postman’s The Disappearance of Childhood , Roger Smith’s A Universal Child? , and Elisabeth Young-Bruehl’s Childism: Confronting Prejudice Against Children .

Notes

Session II: July 7 - August 15

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)

K20.1144 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2004

Free Speech and Democracy

4 units

Description

The tension between free expression and social control has shadowed the Great American Conversation since the birth of this country. The constitutional ideal that our government "shall make no law" abridging free speech has given way, in fact, to laws that limit discussion, ostensibly for the public good. Likewise, new media technologies advance our ability to access and exchange ideas and information, but raise new questions as to the limits of such dialogue. This course, then, addresses the delicate balance between free speech and democracy, guided by our readings of Plato's Republic, Lippmann's Public Opinion, and McChesney's Our Unfree Press. We also examine important Supreme Court decisions that have shaped First Amendment rights in regard to hate speech, pornography, corporate control of mass media, and the rights of journalists. With this foundation, we ask: Are there any forms of free speech that should be restricted? If so, which? And, who should decide?

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1193 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2004

Culture as Communication

4 units

Description

This course examines the concept of culture through its forms of communication. The shift from orality to literacy and on to electronic processing has important consequences for the social, political, and economic structures within a culture. If we take as axiomatic that every culture wishes to preserve itself through its forms of communication, we then need to ask ourselves which forms of communication are best suited for this purpose. What happens to cultures when traditional forms of communication are forced to compete with the newer technologies? What do we mean by "knowledge" in the age of information? The impact of written narrative on orality will be discussed as well as the changes brought about by the invention of the printing press. We will examine the development of electronic media including the newer technologies such as the Internet and analyze their effects on individual and cultural levels. Readings may include Plato's Phaedrus, Ong's Orality and Literacy, Achebe's Things Fall Apart, McLuhan's Understanding Media, and selected readings on Internet culture.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1313 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2006

Ethics for Dissenters

4 units

Description

This course is about dissent in a double sense: criticizing accepted ethical values, and criticizing old ways of philosophical thought about ethics. It is about affirmative ethics, not just criticism. Topics will grow from student questions and concerns, as well as the professor's. Suggested topics include viewpoints and skills to: (1) Criticize unjust ethical standards, e. g. sexist ones, and invent fair ones; (2) Choose ethical careers and life paths; (3) Recognize responsibilities to the larger community; (4) Resolve ethical dilemmas; (5) Justify visions of a better world; (6) Dialogue productively with adversaries; (7) Respect different ethical positions without "anything goes;" (8) Learn, and question, and still have principles; (9) Get beyond dead-end debate on idealism/realism, egotism/altruism, objectivism/relativism? (When is it justified to defeat adversies politically, as with civil rights laws? Is force justified, as in the American Civil War?) Readings from feminist, pragmatist, existentialist, ecological, nonviolence and conflict resolution, neo-classical, Marxist, and humanistic and developmental psychology approaches—as alternatives to mainstream Kantian and utilitarian ethics. Authors include de Beauvoir, Dewey, Emerson, Gandhi, Gilligan, James, Kohlberg, Marx, Maslow, Nietzsche, Nussbaum, Rogers, Sartre.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1144 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2006

Free Speech and Democracy

4 units

Description

The tension between free expression and social control has shadowed the Great American Conversation since the birth of this country. The constitutional ideal that our government "shall make no law" abridging free speech has given way, in fact, to laws that limit discussion, ostensibly for the public good. Likewise, new media technologies advance our ability to access and exchange ideas and information, but raise new questions as to the limits of such dialogue. This course, then, addresses the delicate balance between free speech and democracy, guided by our readings of Plato's Republic, Lippmann's Public Opinion, and McChesney's Our Unfree Press. We also examine important Supreme Court decisions that have shaped First Amendment rights in regard to hate speech, pornography, corporate control of mass media, and the rights of journalists. With this foundation, we ask: Are there any forms of free speech that should be restricted? If so, which? And, who should decide?

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1342 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2006

Language, Globalization and the Self

4 units

Description

This course is intended as an exploration of language as vehicle for processes of globalization. What role did language play in the changes wrought by early capitalist transformations and the colonial expansion? Conversely, how have these global changes affected localized communities and the languages that identifies them? And why should we care? To answer these questions we will examine how the colonial experience has given rise to value-laden linguistic practices that mirror and sustain the racializing of privilege; and how the experience of language-loss encountered by voluntary and involuntary migrants can attack the integrity of the self. While ultimately concerned with language, our discussions will have a wide scope ranging from issues of political economy to collective consciousness and individual psychology. Readings will include Achino-Loeb's Silence: The Currency of Power, Anderson's Imagined Communities, Wolf's Europe and the People Without History, Hoffman's Lost in Translation, Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions, as well as selected excerpts from Edward Sapir's Culture, Language and Personality and Jameson and Miyoshi's The Cultures of Globalization.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1193 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2006

Culture as Communication

4 units

Description

This course examines the concept of culture through its forms of communication. The shift from orality to literacy and on to electronic processing has important consequences for the social, political, and economic structures within a culture. If we take as axiomatic that every culture wishes to preserve itself through its forms of communication, we then need to ask ourselves which forms of communication are best suited for this purpose. What happens to cultures when traditional forms of communication are forced to compete with the newer technologies? What do we mean by "knowledge" in the age of information? The impact of written narrative on orality will be discussed as well as the changes brought about by the invention of the printing press. We will examine the development of electronic media including the newer technologies such as the Internet and analyze their effects on individual and cultural levels. Readings may include Plato's Phaedrus, Ong's Orality and Literacy, Achebe's Things Fall Apart, McLuhan's Understanding Media, and selected readings on Internet culture.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1398 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2008

Birth Control: Population, Politics and Power

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

Description

What is the political and economic value of people?  Who has the right to control human reproduction and why?  How do individuals express reproductive autonomy, and how do states exercise population control?  This course will focus on birth control (broadly defined as the management of human reproduction) as a lens through which to see how the evaluation and cultivation of national populations has shaped government in the modern world.  In discussing and writing about topics such as race and eugenics, overpopulation and sustainability, sterilization and abortion, human rights and demographic nationalism, students will draw on a variety of primary and secondary sources to develop their own ideas about government and self-government in the age of birth control. Readings will include works by Angela Davis, Thomas Malthus, Emma Goldman, Michel Foucault and Margaret Sanger.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1486 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2008

Revolucion

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

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. Authors may include, among others, Mariano Azuela, Eva Perón, Gustavo Gutierrez, Omar Cabezas, and Subcomandante Marcos.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1144 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2008

Free Speech and Democracy

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

Description

The tension between free expression and social control has shadowed the Great American Conversation since the birth of this country. The constitutional ideal that our government "shall make no law" abridging free speech has given way, in fact, to laws that limit discussion, ostensibly for the public good. Likewise, new media technologies advance our ability to access and exchange ideas and information, but raise new questions as to the limits of such dialogue. This course, then, addresses the delicate balance between free speech and democracy, guided by our readings of Plato's Republic, Lippmann's Public Opinion, and McChesney's Our Unfree Press. We also examine important Supreme Court decisions that have shaped First Amendment rights in regard to hate speech, pornography, corporate control of mass media, and the rights of journalists. With this foundation, we ask: Are there any forms of free speech that should be restricted? If so, which? And, who should decide?

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1342 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2008

Language, Globalization and the Self

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

Description

This course is intended as an exploration of language as vehicle for processes of globalization. What role did language play in the changes wrought by early capitalist transformations and the colonial expansion? Conversely, how have these global changes affected localized communities and the languages that identifies them? And why should we care? To answer these questions we will examine how the colonial experience has given rise to value-laden linguistic practices that mirror and sustain the racializing of privilege; and how the experience of language-loss encountered by voluntary and involuntary migrants can attack the integrity of the self. While ultimately concerned with language, our discussions will have a wide scope ranging from issues of political economy to collective consciousness and individual psychology. Readings will include Achino-Loeb's Silence: The Currency of Power, Anderson's Imagined Communities, Wolf's Europe and the People Without History, Hoffman's Lost in Translation, Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions, as well as selected excerpts from Edward Sapir's Culture, Language and Personality and Jameson and Miyoshi's The Cultures of Globalization.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1313 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2005

Ethics for Dissenters

4 units

Description

This course is about dissent in a double sense: criticizing accepted ethical values, and criticizing old ways of philosophical thought about ethics. It is about affirmative ethics, not just criticism. Topics will grow from student questions and concerns, as well as the professor's. Suggested topics include viewpoints and skills to: (1) Criticize unjust ethical standards, e. g. sexist ones, and invent fair ones; (2) Choose ethical careers and life paths; (3) Recognize responsibilities to the larger community; (4) Resolve ethical dilemmas; (5) Justify visions of a better world; (6) Dialogue productively with adversaries; (7) Respect different ethical positions without "anything goes;" (8) Learn, and question, and still have principles; (9) Get beyond dead-end debate on idealism/realism, egotism/altruism, objectivism/relativism? (When is it justified to defeat adversies politically, as with civil rights laws? Is force justified, as in the American Civil War?) Readings from feminist, pragmatist, existentialist, ecological, nonviolence and conflict resolution, neo-classical, Marxist, and humanistic and developmental psychology approaches—as alternatives to mainstream Kantian and utilitarian ethics. Authors include de Beauvoir, Dewey, Emerson, Gandhi, Gilligan, James, Kohlberg, Marx, Maslow, Nietzsche, Nussbaum, Rogers, Sartre.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1144 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2005

Free Speech and Democracy

4 units

Description

The tension between free expression and social control has shadowed the Great American Conversation since the birth of this country. The constitutional ideal that our government "shall make no law" abridging free speech has given way, in fact, to laws that limit discussion, ostensibly for the public good. Likewise, new media technologies advance our ability to access and exchange ideas and information, but raise new questions as to the limits of such dialogue. This course, then, addresses the delicate balance between free speech and democracy, guided by our readings of Plato's Republic, Lippmann's Public Opinion, and McChesney's Our Unfree Press. We also examine important Supreme Court decisions that have shaped First Amendment rights in regard to hate speech, pornography, corporate control of mass media, and the rights of journalists. With this foundation, we ask: Are there any forms of free speech that should be restricted? If so, which? And, who should decide?

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1342 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2005

Language, Globalization and the Self

4 units

Description

This course is intended as an exploration of language as vehicle for processes of globalization. What role did language play in the changes wrought by early capitalist transformations and the colonial expansion? Conversely, how have these global changes affected localized communities and the languages that identifies them? And why should we care? To answer these questions we will examine how the colonial experience has given rise to value-laden linguistic practices that mirror and sustain the racializing of privilege; and how the experience of language-loss encountered by voluntary and involuntary migrants can attack the integrity of the self. While ultimately concerned with language, our discussions will have a wide scope ranging from issues of political economy to collective consciousness and individual psychology. Readings will include Achino-Loeb's Silence: The Currency of Power, Anderson's Imagined Communities, Wolf's Europe and the People Without History, Hoffman's Lost in Translation, Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions, as well as selected excerpts from Edward Sapir's Culture, Language and Personality and Jameson and Miyoshi's The Cultures of Globalization.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1193 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2005

Culture as Communication

4 units

Description

This course examines the concept of culture through its forms of communication. The shift from orality to literacy and on to electronic processing has important consequences for the social, political, and economic structures within a culture. If we take as axiomatic that every culture wishes to preserve itself through its forms of communication, we then need to ask ourselves which forms of communication are best suited for this purpose. What happens to cultures when traditional forms of communication are forced to compete with the newer technologies? What do we mean by "knowledge" in the age of information? The impact of written narrative on orality will be discussed as well as the changes brought about by the invention of the printing press. We will examine the development of electronic media including the newer technologies such as the Internet and analyze their effects on individual and cultural levels. Readings may include Plato's Phaedrus, Ong's Orality and Literacy, Achebe's Things Fall Apart, McLuhan's Understanding Media, and selected readings on Internet culture.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1193 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2005

Culture as Communication

4 units

Description

This course examines the concept of culture through its forms of communication. The shift from orality to literacy and on to electronic processing has important consequences for the social, political, and economic structures within a culture. If we take as axiomatic that every culture wishes to preserve itself through its forms of communication, we then need to ask ourselves which forms of communication are best suited for this purpose. What happens to cultures when traditional forms of communication are forced to compete with the newer technologies? What do we mean by "knowledge" in the age of information? The impact of written narrative on orality will be discussed as well as the changes brought about by the invention of the printing press. We will examine the development of electronic media including the newer technologies such as the Internet and analyze their effects on individual and cultural levels. Readings may include Plato's Phaedrus, Ong's Orality and Literacy, Achebe's Things Fall Apart, McLuhan's Understanding Media, and selected readings on Internet culture.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1313 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2004

Ethics for Dissenters

4 units

Description

This course is about dissent in a double sense: criticizing accepted ethical values, and criticizing old ways of philosophical thought about ethics. It is about affirmative ethics, not just criticism. Topics will grow from student questions and concerns, as well as the professor's. Suggested topics include viewpoints and skills to: (1) Criticize unjust ethical standards, e. g. sexist ones, and invent fair ones; (2) Choose ethical careers and life paths; (3) Recognize responsibilities to the larger community; (4) Resolve ethical dilemmas; (5) Justify visions of a better world; (6) Dialogue productively with adversaries; (7) Respect different ethical positions without "anything goes;" (8) Learn, and question, and still have principles; (9) Get beyond dead-end debate on idealism/realism, egotism/altruism, objectivism/relativism? (When is it justified to defeat adversies politically, as with civil rights laws? Is force justified, as in the American Civil War?) Readings from feminist, pragmatist, existentialist, ecological, nonviolence and conflict resolution, neo-classical, Marxist, and humanistic and developmental psychology approaches—as alternatives to mainstream Kantian and utilitarian ethics. Authors include de Beauvoir, Dewey, Emerson, Gandhi, Gilligan, James, Kohlberg, Marx, Maslow, Nietzsche, Nussbaum, Rogers, Sartre.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Barbarians: Ancient Conceptions of the Outsider

4 units Mon Wed
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Hallie Franks

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1313 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Ethics for Dissenters

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Bill Caspary

Description

This course is about dissent in a double sense: criticizing accepted ethical values, and criticizing old ways of philosophical thought about ethics. It is about affirmative ethics, not just criticism. Topics will grow from student questions and concerns, as well as the professor's. Suggested topics include viewpoints and skills to: (1) Criticize unjust ethical standards, e. g. sexist ones, and invent fair ones; (2) Choose ethical careers and life paths; (3) Recognize responsibilities to the larger community; (4) Resolve ethical dilemmas; (5) Justify visions of a better world; (6) Dialogue productively with adversaries; (7) Respect different ethical positions without "anything goes;" (8) Learn, and question, and still have principles; (9) Get beyond dead-end debate on idealism/realism, egotism/altruism, objectivism/relativism? (When is it justified to defeat adversies politically, as with civil rights laws? Is force justified, as in the American Civil War?) Readings from feminist, pragmatist, existentialist, ecological, nonviolence and conflict resolution, neo-classical, Marxist, and humanistic and developmental psychology approaches—as alternatives to mainstream Kantian and utilitarian ethics. Authors include de Beauvoir, Dewey, Emerson, Gandhi, Gilligan, James, Kohlberg, Marx, Maslow, Nietzsche, Nussbaum, Rogers, Sartre.

Notes

SNY

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-UG1587 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Who Owns Culture?: Intellectual Property Law and the Cultural Commons

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Gail Drakes

Description

Can a dance step be considered "private property?" What about the genetic sequences that are part of what makes you who you are? How do we strike a balance between the rights of the author/artist and the rights of the community to engage with works of art? In this course, we will deepen our understanding of the cultural and ethical implications of copyright and patent law by placing the concepts of ownership and authorship in historical and global context. In addition to scholarly essays drawn from the fields of history, anthropology and sociology, this course will also draw on a range of texts from the visual arts, music, and literature. Course requirements include a research essay and research-based creative projects. Texts studied will include: Siva Vaidhyanathan's The Anarchist in the Library and Kembrew McLeod's Freedom of Expression®. Visual and audio sources from Girl Talk, Negativeland, DJ Spooky and Joy Garnett will also be included.

Notes

SNY

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1486 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Revolucion

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

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. Authors may include, among others, Mariano Azuela, Eva Perón, Gustavo Gutierrez, Omar Cabezas, and Subcomandante Marcos.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1342 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Language, Globalization and the Self

4 units Thu
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Maria-Luisa Achino-Loeb

Description

This course is intended as an exploration of language as vehicle for processes of globalization. What role did language play in the changes wrought by early capitalist transformations and the colonial expansion? Conversely, how have these global changes affected localized communities and the languages that identifies them? And why should we care? To answer these questions we will examine how the colonial experience has given rise to value-laden linguistic practices that mirror and sustain the racializing of privilege; and how the experience of language-loss encountered by voluntary and involuntary migrants can attack the integrity of the self. While ultimately concerned with language, our discussions will have a wide scope ranging from issues of political economy to collective consciousness and individual psychology. Readings will include Achino-Loeb's Silence: The Currency of Power, Anderson's Imagined Communities, Wolf's Europe and the People Without History, Hoffman's Lost in Translation, Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions, as well as selected excerpts from Edward Sapir's Culture, Language and Personality and Jameson and Miyoshi's The Cultures of Globalization.

Notes

SNY

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-UG1619 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

The Public Sphere

4 units Mon Wed
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Paul Fotsch

Description

In a democracy everyone can speak, but will they be heard? Ideally, a public sphere is where diverse voices can debate government policy directly. Does this public sphere still exist? What is the relationship between the public sphere and media? This course explores the theory and reality of the public sphere by focusing on the ways in which different media, from parades to movies, shape forms of expression and who can participate. The rise of commercial culture concentrated control of the media among elites, but it also expanded audiences. Indeed, has the advent of consumer culture changed political life, as citizens become consumers and “publics” become “audiences?” On the other hand, do Internet applications like Facebook and Twitter, by giving many more people access to a wider audience, make political mobilization easier or more effective, enhancing participation in political life? Or does virtual community fail to achieve the deliberation and power that modern political thought associated with the formation of publics and counter-publics? Our central goal, then, is to explore the relationship between media, political participation, and different forms of power. Texts will include: John Stuart Mill, On Liberty ; Jurgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere ; Mary P. Ryan, Women in Public: Between Banners and Ballots, 1825-1880 ; Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, Written by Himself ; Miriam Hansen, Babel and Babylon: Spectatorship in American Silent Film ; Walter Lippman, Public Opinion ; Johyn Newey, The Public and Its Problems ; Michael Warner, Publics and Counterpublics .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1530 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Wall Street: An Iconographic History

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Steve Fraser

Description

This course will examine the cultural history of Wall Street. For two centuries Wall Street has attracted, repelled, and fascinated Americans. It has profoundly influenced our economic and political life, challenged our conceptions of democracy and equality, and infused the work of writers, filmmakers, cartoonists, journalists, and others. Images of the Street have imprinted themselves on the public imagination. The course will explore five of these images and how they have changed over time. Students will consult the work of historians as well as analyze movies, novels, political tracts, cartoons, poems, and other materials to trace the influence of Wall Street in American public life from the time of the American Revolution to the present. Readings will include works by Tom Wolfe, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John Kenneth Galbraith, William Dean Howells, Louis Brandeis, Thomas Friedman, and Herman Melville.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1381 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Creative Democracy: The Pragmatist Tradition

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Bill Caspary

Description

From Emerson, through William James, to John Dewey, and beyond, Pragmatism has been a uniquely American contribution to political theory and philosophy. Pragmatism, like classical political theory, is concerned with politics as a way of achieving the good life rather than viewing politics narrowly in terms of elections and governments. Through texts by and about the Pragmatists, especially Dewey, the course will introduce theories and practices of participatory democracy, economic democracy, civic journalism, progressive education, participatory action research, and conflict resolution. Reading Pragmatism as philosophy, in the Hegelian tradition, we will address many of the questions pursued by Marx, Nietzsche, and the postmodernists, and will uncover rich alternative answers. Possible readings include Emerson’s “Self Reliance”; James’s “Moral Equivalent of War”; Dewey’s The Public and Its Problems , “Creative Democracy,” and “The Economic Basis of the New Society”; Royce’s The Hope of the Great Community ; Seigfried’s Pragmatism and Feminism ; and West’s writings on “prophetic pragmatism.”

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-UG1272 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Theorizing Politics: Machiavelli, Marx, and Foucault

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
George Shulman

Description

This course explores American ambivalence toward and alienation from “politics.” What do our apathy and cynicism say about politics as it is practiced in our society, and what do they say about ourselves? To pursue these questions we analyze what politics–as a concept and a practice–has meant in history, means to us now, and could mean. The course proceeds by closely reading several canonical texts in political theory and using them to think about current events. Working through several profound visions of politics will help us learn to “think politically.”

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-UG1592 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

American Narratives I: American Literature, Race and Politics

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
George Shulman

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1592

Description

The premise of this course is that there is no great political philosophy in the American tradition—the Federalist Papers do not rival Plato or Marx—but that profound thinking about politics does occur—in the literary art of Melville, Faulkner, Ellison, Mailer, and Morrison among others. Moreover, formally "political” writers, like Madison and Hamilton, present a world that seems antithetical to the world presented by, say, Melville and Morrison: one depicts rational bargaining and self-interested contracts among men in markets and legislatures, whereas the other depicts racial and sexual violence, rape and slavery, in claustrophobic domestic spaces or in nature on frontiers. One depicts rationality and progress, the other madness and tragedy. The literature thus makes visible what is made invisible by prevailing forms of political science and American political thought, not only the constitutive power of race, gender, and sex, but also the deep narrative forms structuring the culture. We therefore ask several basic questions. First, what accounts for this difference and how shall we understand it? Second, what can we learn about (American) political life if we read literature as a form of political theory? But third, do we lose what is precious about literary art if we reduce it to an argument about politics? Or is the literary/aesthetic character of a work—the ways it uses language and narrative to create both ambiguity and meaning—an important part of what it can teach us about politics and political theorizing? To pursue these questions we focus on Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America , Herman Melville’s Moby Dick , and Toni Morrison’s Playing in the Dark and Beloved .

Notes

Open to sophomores only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1342 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Language, Globalization and the Self

4 units Mon
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Maria-Luisa Achino-Loeb

Description

This course is intended as an exploration of language as vehicle for processes of globalization. What role did language play in the changes wrought by early capitalist transformations and the colonial expansion? Conversely, how have these global changes affected localized communities and the languages that identify them? And why should we care? To answer these questions we will examine how the colonial experience has given rise to value-laden linguistic practices that mirror and sustain the racializing of privilege; and how the experience of language-loss encountered by voluntary and involuntary migrants can attack the integrity of the self. While ultimately concerned with language, our discussions will have a wide scope ranging from issues of political economy to collective consciousness and individual psychology. Readings will include Achino-Loeb's Silence: The Currency of Power, Anderson's Imagined Communities, Wolf's Europe and the People Without History, Hoffman's Lost in Translation, Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions, Richard Rodriguez’ Hunger of Memory as well as selected excerpts from other sources.

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-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-UG1582 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Gramsci's Revolution

2 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
René Francisco Poitevin

Description

Few intellectuals have been so universally embraced as Italian Marxist and social theorist Antonio Gramsci. His political writings—most of them written from prison under Mussolini almost eighty years ago—continue to shape and inspire the way we think about society today. Yet the implications of his theories for our understanding of political change and its relationship to theory are far from settled. Using David Forgacs' The Gramsci Reader as our primary source—and with the help of secondary sources—our job for this course is to: 1.take a close look at Gramsci's ideas on intellectuals, power, and the State; 2. historically contextualize his theoretical framework within the Marxist tradition; and 3. explore the potential relevance of his analyses in our current state of affairs today.

Notes

2 credits; first seven weeks only

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1193 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Culture as Communication

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Vasu Varadhan

Description

This course examines the concept of culture through its forms of communication. The shift from orality to literacy and on to electronic processing has important consequences for the social, political, and economic structures within a culture. If we take as axiomatic that every culture wishes to preserve itself through its forms of communication, we then need to ask ourselves which forms of communication are best suited for this purpose. What happens to cultures when traditional forms of communication are forced to compete with the newer technologies? What do we mean by "knowledge" in the age of information? The impact of written narrative on orality will be discussed as well as the changes brought about by the invention of the printing press. We will examine the development of electronic media including the newer technologies such as the Internet and analyze their effects on individual and cultural levels. Readings may include Plato's Phaedrus, Ong's Orality and Literacy, Achebe's Things Fall Apart, McLuhan's Understanding Media, and selected readings on Internet culture.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1592 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

American Narratives I: American Literature, Race and Politics

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
George Shulman

Description

The premise of this course is that there is no great political philosophy in the American tradition—the Federalist Papers do not rival Plato or Marx—but that profound thinking about politics does occur—in the literary art of Melville, Faulkner, Ellison, Mailer, and Morrison among others. Moreover, formally "political" writers, like Madison and Hamilton, present a world that seems antithetical to the world presented by, say, Melville and Morrison: one depicts rational bargaining and self-interested contracts among men in markets and legislatures, whereas the other depicts racial and sexual violence, rape and slavery, in claustrophobic domestic spaces or in nature on frontiers. One depicts rationality and progress, the other madness and tragedy. The literature thus makes visible what is made invisible by prevailing forms of political science and American political thought, not only the constitutive power of race, gender, and sex, but also the deep narrative forms structuring the culture. We therefore ask several basic questions. First, what accounts for this difference and how shall we understand it? Second, what can we learn about (American) political life if we read literature as a form of political theory? But third, do we lose what is precious about literary art if we reduce it to an argument about politics? Or is the literary/aesthetic character of a work—the ways it uses language and narrative to create both ambiguity and meaning—an important part of what it can teach us about politics and political theorizing? To pursue these questions we focus on Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, Herman Melville's Moby Dick, and Toni Morrison's Playing in the Dark and Beloved.

Notes

sophomore 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-UG1581 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Determination Without Determinism: Lefebvre and Urban Marxism

2 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
René Francisco Poitevin

Description

Despite being heralded after his death in 1991 as the most prolific French intellectual of the twentieth century—he wrote more than seventy books!—the fact is that few theorists have had such as bad a rap as Marxist philosopher and sociologist Henri Lefebvre. Scolded by the Althusserian establishment during the 1960s and 1970s for his rejection of structuralist epistemology; chastised by the French Communist Party for his contempt for dogma and orthodoxy; and ignored by academia for his irreverence toward disciplinary boundaries, Lefebvre's ideas were never fully embraced until recently. In this course we focus especially on his writings about urbanism—with special emphasis on his concepts of everyday life, social reproduction, and the right to the city—as we explore why his ideas are becoming so popular today. Primary readings include The Urban Revolution, The Survival of Capitalism, Critique of Everyday Life (volume three), and chapters from State, Space, World: Selected Essays.

Notes

2 credits; last seven weeks

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1144 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Free Speech and Democracy

4 units Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Paul Thaler

Description

The tension between free expression and social control has shadowed the Great American Conversation since the birth of this country. The constitutional ideal that our government "shall make no law" abridging free speech has given way, in fact, to laws that limit discussion, ostensibly for the public good. Likewise, new media technologies advance our ability to access and exchange ideas and information, but raise new questions as to the limits of such dialogue. This course, then, addresses the delicate balance between free speech and democracy, guided by our readings of Plato's Republic, Lippmann's Public Opinion, and McChesney's Our Unfree Press. We also examine important Supreme Court decisions that have shaped First Amendment rights in regard to hate speech, pornography, corporate control of mass media, and the rights of journalists. With this foundation, we ask: Are there any forms of free speech that should be restricted? If so, which? And, who should decide?

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1513 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

New Deal Liberalism: Its Rise and Fall

4 units Fri
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Steve Fraser

Description

This course will examine the rise and fall of New Deal liberalism as the dominant political and social order of mid- twentieth century America. It will begin with the onset of the Great Depression as the event which sets in motion profound transformations in the economy, in the balance of political power, in the role of the State, and in the relations between social classes and ethnic/racial groups. It will explore the rise of the labor movement and the creation of the welfare state. It will analyze the impact of the Cold War on domestic politics. Discussions will probe the emergence of the civil rights, anti-war, and counter-culture movements. The class will analyze the conservative reaction against the New Deal culminating in the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Students will analyze primary documents, novels, and films such as the Grapes of Wrath and Dr. Strangelove , as well as read secondary works including Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal by William E. Leuchtenberg, America in Our Time by Godfrey Hodgson, and Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody.

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-UG1188 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

The Emergence of the Unconscious: From Ancient Healing to Psychoanalysis

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

Description

Recognized in the modern world as Freud’s id and Jung’s collective unconscious, what we call the unconscious has a long and dignified ancestry in the ancient art of psychotherapy and in the histories of religion, philosophy and medicine. The focus of this course is to trace the history of the idea of the unconscious from the Upanishads, Plato and Augustine through the Enlightenment, Freud, Jung and beyond, to the linguistic analyses of Derrida and Kristeva, and recent discoveries in the genetic roots of consciousness.

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-UG1527 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Finance for Social Theorists

4 units Mon
7:45 PM - 10:15 PM
Peter Rajsingh

Description

Why are some private, profit-making institutions “too big to fail?” The objective of this course is to provide students with conceptual, interpretive and analytical tools to understand finance. The approach will be interdisciplinary and interpretive, drawing upon political theory, economics, psychology, basic statistics and accounting. For example, we will use the subprime crisis to explore core concepts associated with credit, banking, business ethics, monetary policy and macro economics. We will reference key ideas from familiar texts and also take up contemporary debates in finance. The aim is to help students become more literate and numerate as economic and social agents. Readings include Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations (excerpts); John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy (excerpts); Georg Simmel, The Philosophy of Money ; Peter Bernstein, Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk ; Mohammed El-Erian, When Markets Collide ; and Nassim Taleb, Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in the Markets and in Life .

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-UG1628 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Think Big: Global Issues and Ecological Solutions

4 units Wed
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Mitchell Joachim

Description

What are the most stimulating solutions to global climate change? If we were given an imaginary “client” with an unlimited budget and colossal power, what should we design? The resounding formula for green thinking is broadly interpreted in three meta-themes; apocalyptic, technological, and traditional. Each category promises solutions and/or interpretations of our current environmental calamity. We explore critical philosophical, artistic, and scientific positions in each meta-theme that will help elucidate this dilemma. Students will read, evaluate, and synthesize projects and texts from great minds such as; William Cronon, Bill Mckibben, Bruce Mau, Mike Davis, Marshall McLuhan, Bjorn Lomborg, David Orr, Paul Virilio, Marshall Mclean , Laurence Buell, and others. The final project is the production of a mock Madison Ave. advertising campaign that promotes urban “sustainability”.

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-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-UG1480 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Dangerous & Intermingled: Subaltern New York

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

Description

In the world of political moralists, intermingled New York has and still represents the epitome of danger and evil about the American experiment—the public intermixture of classes, genders, races, sexualities, spiritualisms, and the-devil-knows-what-else!#? As elite Protestants created a refined European-affected "high brow" culture, they also created myriad "others"—a transgressive, lowly polyglot city of shadows, miscegenation, and impurity. The docks, the Bowery, The Five Points, Greenwich Village, LES/Loisaida, Chinatown, and Harlem were all forged against the repressed imaginings of the powerful and the distinguished. This peoples' Gotham, this disdained intertwined underworld of music, slang, jokes, songs, stories, foodways, and marvels of people will be the focus of this advanced research seminar. Course materials will include: Wallace & Burrow's Gotham, Burn's documentary New York, Smith's Decolonizing Methodologies, and a course reader. Research walks and visits off campus will be held during lab hours on Fridays. Students will learn how to conduct a case study using primary sources.

Notes

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

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-UG1536 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Perversion

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

Description

For Sigmund Freud, perversion denoted all sexual deviances from the heterosexual and genital social norm, even as he acknowledged the ubiquity of such perversions. For Jacques Lacan, perversion meant a particular structure of desire, regardless of social norm, and was related to an ethical dimension. For Michel Foucault, who thoroughly rejected Freud’s “repressive hypothesis,” perversion was an effect of modern sexuality. The course will pursue the following questions and more: What is perverse? Is there a “cause” of perversion? Does it lie in the individual or in the epistemological and ideological formulations of a particular historical chronotope? This course will explore Freud, Lacan and Foucault’s three contrasting notions of perversion, alongside some feminist critiques of the psychoanalytic models, in relation to a selection of Japanese fiction and film depicting a variety of perversions. Readings will include: Freud, “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality”; Deleuze, “Masochism”; Foucault, History of Sexuality Vol. I; Kawabata, The House of the Sleeping Beauties ; Tanizaki, Naomi ; Kono, “Toddler Hunting”; Mishima, Confessions of a Mask ; some Yaoi manga ; and selections from Lacan, Irigaray ( This Sex Which is not One) , and Grosz ( Space, Time and Perversion) . Films will include Patriotism and Okoge .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1518 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Globalization: Promises and Discontents

4 units Tue Thu
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Omar Kutty

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. Often, globalization is presumed to be not only an intrinsically new economic, cultural and technological force, but also one originating in the West and ushering cultural homogenization throughout the world. Drawing on perspectives from history, anthropology, cultural and literary studies, geography, political economy, and sociology, this course will critically examine such presumptions and explore theories, discourses, and experiences of globalization. Running through the course are three central concerns: 1) exploring claims about the novelty of globalization from historical perspectives, 2) examining the variety of ways in which social and cultural worlds mediate globalization and the multiple routes it can take, 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. Readings may include Friction : An Ethnography of Global Connection by Anna Tsing; High Tech and High Heels in the Global Economy: Women, Work and Pink-Collar Identities in the Caribbean by Carla Freeman; In An Antique Land: History in the Guise of a Traveler’s Tale by Amitav Ghosh; The Modern Girl Around the World: Consumption, Modernity and Globalization , Weinbaum et al., eds.; and Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History by Sidney M. Mintz.

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-UG1359 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

American Capitalism in the Twentieth Century

4 units Mon Wed
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Kimberly Phillips-Fein

Description

This course examines the development of capitalism in the United States over the course of the twentieth century, paying special attention to the relationship between the economy and political, cultural and intellectual transformations. It will cover the rise of the modern corporation, the labor movement, the Great Depression and the New Deal, the economic impact of war in the twentieth century, racism and economics, the changing economic position of women, deindustrialization and the stock market boom of the 1990s. The class will focus in particular on the problem of how Americans have confronted and sought to understand hard economic times. In a country whose culture privileges the “American dream” of economic success, how have people dealt with struggle, difficulty and failure? How have financial panics, depressions and recessions, and economic decline affected American political economy and culture? Readings will incorporate both primary and secondary sources. Possible authors include Betty Friedan, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Ronald Reagan.

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-UG1573 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

The New American Society

4 units Mon
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Laurin Raiken

Description

Until 2008 we took for granted that in the fifty years following World War II, the industrialized Western World experienced unprecedented economic expansion, and the United States was geopolitically the dominant superpower, indeed, the primary coordinator and beneficiary of the post World War II period. Only a few keen observers detected economic flaws or geopolitical vulnerability. Over the past two decades, however, new forms of violence, major economic shifts, and geopolitical reversals have seriously threatened world order. Recently, the self-destruction and breakdown of the U.S. financial system triggered a deep global destabilization and recession. To many, Amerrican life is becoming similar to the severe dislocations of the Great Depression. With this broad historical arc in view, this seminar offers a critical history of the Post World War II period, focusing especially on major social changes and world-historical economic collapse. Readings will include sociologists C. Wright Mills, Barrington Moore Jr. and Arthur J. Vidich; as well as economic thinkers as diverse as Milton Friedman, J.K Galbraith, Paul Krugman. Overall, our approach is influenced by the work of the great unsung American radical, Thorstein Veblen.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1587 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Who Owns Culture?: Intellectual Property Law and the Cultural Commons

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Gail Drakes

Description

Can a yoga pose or a dance step be considered “private property?” Who owns the genetic sequences found in your DNA? What are the rights of an author/artist and how do those rights overlap with the rights of the community to engage with works of art? How can the “public domain” and the “cultural commons” survive in a free-market economy? In this course, we will deepen our understanding of the cultural and ethical implications of copyright, trademark and patent law by placing the concepts of ownership and authorship in both historical and global context. In addition to scholarly essays drawn from the fields of history, legal studies, anthropology and sociology, this course will also draw on a range of texts from the visual arts, music, and literature. Course requirements include: research-based essays and creative projects, in-class presentations, and a general willingness to both critique and create. Texts studied may include Boon's In Praise of Copying , Demer’s Steal this Music and Patry's Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars . Visual and audio sources from Girl Talk, DJ Spooky and Joy Garnett may also be included.

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-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-UG1592 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

American Narratives I: American Literature, Race and Politics

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1592

Description

The premise of this course is that there is no great political philosophy in the American tradition—the Federalist Papers do not rival Plato or Marx—but that profound thinking about politics does occur—in the literary art of Melville, Faulkner, Ellison, Mailer, and Morrison among others. Moreover, formally "political” writers, like Madison and Hamilton in The Federalist Papers, present a world that seems antithetical to the world presented by, say, Melville and Morrison: one depicts rational bargaining and self-interested contracts among men in markets and legislatures, whereas the other depicts racial and sexual violence, rape and slavery, in domestic spaces or on "the frontier." One depicts rationality and progress, the other madness and tragedy. The literature thus makes visible what is made invisible by prevailing forms of political science and American political thought, not only the power of race and gender, but also the deep narrative forms structuring the culture. Our goal, then, will be to compare prevailing forms of political speech and American political thought, to American literary art. How do literary artists retell the stories Americans tell themselves about themselves? How does that art re-orient people toward the assumptions, practices, and tropes that rule their world and govern what "American" means? To pursue these questions we focus on Herman Melville’s Moby Dick , and Toni Morrison’s Beloved , while surrounding and contextualizing each text with contemporary political speech and political theory.

Notes

Open to sophomores and juniors only.

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-UG1641 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Health and Human Rights in the World Community

4 units Fri
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Allen Keller

Description

This course focuses on the relationship between health and human rights. First, it provides an overview of human rights violations in the world and it offers an analysis of the health consequences of human rights abuses. Second, it explores how individual and community health can be improved by protecting and promoting human rights. Third, it evaluates the ethical obligations of health professionals in the fact of human rights violations, and it explores their role in caring for the victims. Intended for non-science as well as science majors, we use lectures and discussion to explore the link between health and human rights. Readings include Claude and Weston, Human Rights in the World Community: Issues and Actions , and Martin and Rangaswamy, eds., Twenty Five Human Rights Documents .

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-UG1632 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

"Woman" and the Political

4 units Tue Thu
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Rosanne Kennedy

Description

Recent feminist theorists have critiqued the canonical works of political theory as implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) premised on the exclusion of “woman” and the “feminine.”The “feminine” (private, domestic, passive) has been seen to be in opposition to the (“masculine”) political sphere (active, public, rational). In this course we will read works from the canon of political theory alongside feminist critiques. The question we will consider is: how does feminist critiques of the absence of “woman” and the “feminine” in discourses of the political affect our notions of not only the private and public, but also those of citizenship, equality, freedom, the individual,and community? Readings may include Plato, Machiavelli, Locke, Rousseau, Arendt, Wollstonecraft, Simone de Beauvoir, Sherry Ortner, Carole Pateman, and Linda Zerilli.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1306 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Critical Social Theory: The Predicament of Modernity

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

Description

The central theme of this course is modernity as a social and intellectual project. We will read a number of critical social theory texts which deal with modernity as their central theoretical subjects. The goal of this class is to introduce various theoretical perspectives about modernity and to examine different aspects of the current debate on modernity and its fate in our time. In the first three weeks of the class we will study earlier social theorists of modernity (Karl Marx, Emile Durkhiem, and Max Weber). We will then read two modernist texts (Habermas’ Transformation of Public Sphere and Berman’s All That Is Solid Melts Into Air ), two texts critical of the modernity project (Foucault’s Knowledge/Power and Lyotard’s Postmodern Condition ), and a text which deals with modernity’s colonial impact (Said’s Orientalism ). This is a relatively advanced social theory course, and student participation in the course requires some knowledge of classical social theory.

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-UG1545 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
WI 2011

On Freud's Couch: Psychoanalysis, Narrative and Memory

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu
2:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Nina Cornyetz

Description

In this course we will read closely and thoroughly one of Sigmund Freud’s papers, “Screen Memories,” and two of his classic case histories: “Fragment of an Analysis of Hysteria,” (Dora) and “From the History of an Infantile Neurosis,” (the Wolfman). In general, we will focus on how the psychoanalytic method takes narrative seriously—that is, “at its word,” or literally—at the same time as it recognizes that whatever is articulated may be in a negative or “canted” (in other words, “encoded”) relation to what it “means.” We will explore how time, memory and history signify in psychoanalytic frameworks, and ask what literature and poetics might share with psychoanalysis. Finally, we will debate the validity of what might be called Freud’s “reductionism” in relation to drive theory and the sexual instincts.

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-UG1193 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Culture as Communication

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Vasu Varadhan

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1193

Description

This course examines the concept of culture through its forms of communication. The shift from orality to literacy to electronic media and now digital media has important consequences for the social, political, and economic structures within a culture. If we take as axiomatic that every culture wishes to preserve itself through its forms of communication, we then need to ask ourselves which forms of communication are best suited for this purpose. What happens to cultures when traditional forms of communication are forced to compete with the newer technologies? What do we mean by “knowledge” in the age of information? The impact of written narrative on orality will be discussed as well as the changes brought about by the invention of the printing press. We will examine the development of electronic media, including the newer technologies such as the Internet, and analyze their effects on individual and cultural levels. Readings may include Plato’s Phaedrus , Ong’s Orality and Literacy , Achebe’s Things Fall Apart , McLuhan’s Understanding Media , and Carr's The Shallows . There will also be selected handouts on the impact of social media in the political, social and economic spheres.

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-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-UG1641 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Health and Human Rights in the World Community

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Allen Keller

Description

This course focuses on the relationship between health and human rights. First, it provides an overview of human rights violations in the world and it offers an analysis of the health consequences of human rights abuses. Second, it explores how individual and community health can be improved by protecting and promoting human rights. Third, it evaluates the ethical obligations of health professionals in the face of human rights violations, and it explores their role in caring for the victims. Intended for non-science as well as science majors, we use presentations and discussion to explore the link between health and human rights. Readings include Claude and Weston, Human Rights in the World Community: Issues and Actions, and Martin and Rangaswamy, eds., Twenty Five Human Rights Documents.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1581 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Determination Without Determinism: Lefebvre and Urban Marxism

2 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
René Francisco Poitevin

Description

Despite being heralded after his death in 1991 as the most prolific French intellectual of the twentieth century—he wrote more than seventy books!—the fact is that few theorists have had such as bad a rap as Marxist philosopher and sociologist Henri Lefebvre. Scolded by the Althusserian establishment during the 1960s and 1970s for his rejection of structuralist epistemology; chastised by the French Communist Party for his contempt for dogma and orthodoxy; and ignored by academia for his irreverence toward disciplinary boundaries, Lefebvre’s ideas were never fully embraced until recently. In this course we focus especially on his writings about urbanism—with special emphasis on his concepts of everyday life, social reproduction, and the right to the city—as we explore why his ideas are becoming so popular today. Primary readings include The Urban Revolution, The Survival of Capitalism , Critique of Everyday Life (volume three), and chapters from State, Space, World: Selected Essays .

Notes

Course meets 3/19 - 5/7 only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1043 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

The Image: History of Mass Media II

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Stephen Duncombe

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1043

Description

In 1859 Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote of the new science and art of photography: “Every conceivable object of Nature and Art will soon scale off its surface for us. Men will hunt all curious, beautiful, grand objects, as they hunt the cattle in South America, for their skins and leave the carcasses as of little worth.” We now live in the world that Holmes could then only glimpse. In this course we will study the relationship between skin and carcass, surface and reality, through the history of oil painting, light, photography, films, and television. We will pay special attention to issues of representation, presentation, spectacle and celebrity. Texts may include works by John Berger, Jacques Ranci'ere, Daniel Boorstin, Wolfgang Schivelbush, Joshua Gamson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Liz and Stuart Ewen, Charles Baudelaire, Lizabeth Cohen, Lewis Hine, and Guy Debord as well as period films and television programs.

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-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-UG1626 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

The Communication Revolutions

4 units Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Paul Thaler

Description

We say we live in the Information Age as if such an age never existed before. But throughout time, the introduction of new forms of media and communication technologies have had a transformational effect on existing social, political, and economic life, creating new perceptual pathways to our understanding. This course examines history through the prism of these communication “revolutions,” beginning with the arrival of the spoken word, the development of writing systems, the spread of the printed word, the age of electricity, before focusing on the modern era of digital media. It is through our investigation of these previous revolutions that we may come to some greater understanding about the promise, and consequence, of our own technological age. Possible readings: Jay David Bolter, Turing’s Man: Western Culture in the Computer Age ; James Carey, Culture as Communication ; Elizabeth Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change ; Eric Havelock, Preface to Plato ; Marshall McLuhan, Gutenberg Galaxy ; Lewis Mumford, Technics and Civilization ; Walter Ong, Orality and Literacy ; Susan Sontag, On Photography ; Neil Postman, Technopoly ; and Sherry Turkle, The Second Screen .

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-UG1582 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Gramsci's Revolution

2 units Mon Wed
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
René Francisco Poitevin

Description

Few intellectuals have been so universally embraced as Italian Marxist and social theorist Antonio Gramsci. His political writings—most of them written from prison under Mussolini almost eighty years ago—continue to shape and inspire the way we think about society today. Yet the implications of his theories for our understanding of political change and its relationship to theory are far from settled. Using David Forgacs’ The Gramsci Reader as our primary source—and with the help of secondary sources—our job for this course is to: 1.take a close look at Gramsci’s ideas on intellectuals, power, and the State; 2. historically contextualize his theoretical framework within the Marxist tradition; and 3. explore the potential relevance of his analyses in our current state of affairs today.

Notes

Course meets 1/23- 3/7 only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1527 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Finance for Social Theorists

4 units Mon
7:45 PM - 10:15 PM
Peter Rajsingh

Description

Why are some private, profit-making institutions “too big to fail?” The objective of this course is to provide students with conceptual, interpretive and analytical tools to understand finance. The approach will be interdisciplinary and interpretive, drawing upon political theory, economics, psychology, basic statistics and accounting. For example, we will use the subprime crisis to explore core concepts associated with credit, banking, business ethics, monetary policy and macro economics. We will reference key ideas from familiar texts and also take up contemporary debates in finance. The aim is to help students become more literate and numerate as economic and social agents. Readings include Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations (excerpts); John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy (excerpts); Georg Simmel, The Philosophy of Money ; Peter Bernstein, Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk ; Mohammed El-Erian, When Markets Collide ; and Nassim Taleb, Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in the Markets and in Life .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1710 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Sex and the State

4 units Mon
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Lauren Kaminsky

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1710

Description

Why are gay marriage and family planning at the heart of the cultural divide that polarizes contemporary American politics? What is at stake in debates about family values and the right to choose, and what subject positions do these debates produce and refuse? This course will take a comparative look at the ways citizens inhabit categories of sex, gender, and sexuality, with attention to the fact that some identities are made more legible than others. We will call into question the separation of the so-called public and private spheres, asking what is gained and what is lost by imagining a ‘private’ sphere as somehow outside of politics and the market. If we understand registered marriage as one mode of addressing the state, how does it both generate and violate fantasies of privacy? What is the relationship between private property and the sanctity of the home? What bodily practices are at stake in asserting a relationship between sex, dignity and humanity? Readings may include works by Janet Halley, Hendrik Hartog, Saba Mahmood, Timothy Mitchell, Mimi Thi Nguyen and James Scott.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1394 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Latinos and the Politics of Race

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
René Francisco Poitevin

Description

This course takes a look at the history of racial and ethnic relations in the U.S. from the standpoint of Latinos. We will explore how recent changes in Latino demographics, now the largest minority group in the U.S., are challenging our notions of whiteness, blackness, and the dominant White-Black race paradigm. Are Latinos the ‘new whites’? Or are they becoming instead the ‘new blacks’? What does this mean for politics and public policy debates? Through memoirs, fiction, videos, and social science theory, we will trace the history of racialization in the U.S. (from slavery to our latest Latino immigration cycle) in order to interrogate both the fluidity and the challenges confronting race relations in U.S. society. Readings will include Michael Omi, David Roediger, Leo Chavez, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Lisa Lowe, Clara Rodriguez, Piri Thomas, and Samuel Huntington.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1643 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Law and Legal Thought

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1643

Description

This class introduces students to critical legal studies through focused engagement with diverse areas of law. It is anchored in reading cases that captured pivotal debates in American legal history, cases such as Brown v. Board of Ed. , Roe v. Wade , Lochner v. NY , MacPherson v. Buick Motor Co., Univ. of CA v. Bakke, King v. Smith, Perry v. Schwarzenegger and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission . Through discussion of these cases, we examine different understandings of the relationship between legal debates and social justice. Can law be tilted towards the powerful, while also being ‘indeterminate’? Does it undermine the ‘rule of law’ if, as some scholars argue, legal rules contained ‘gaps, contradictions and ambiguities’? How do unjust outcomes and appear legally necessary? How do different understandings of gender impact anti-discrimination law? How does the legal architecture of property impact labor rights? What are the legitimate roles, rights and responsibilities of different actors in the system—from judges to corporations to welfare recipients? In addition to reading cases and legal scholarship, we will also analyze films focused on law and society. Readings include Duncan Kennedy, Cornell West, Karl Klare, Janet Halley, Rich Ford, Martha Minow, Joe Singer, James Clifford, Austin Sarat, Alan Freeman and others.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1712 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Empire, Race and Politics

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
George Shulman

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1712

Description

The goal of this course is not to define kinds of empire or to narrate its historical transformation, though we will consider these issues. Our goal, rather, is to consider how "empire" has been represented, defended, and opposed in American politics. We will focus especially on anti-imperial voices, to consider how they depict what "empire" is and why it is dangerous or wrong, as well as how they justify their opposition and imagine alternatives. We will move through the history of such voices, from critics of the 1787 Constitution to Henry Thoreau and other abolitionist critics of the Mexican War and then of the Spanish-America War, and from critics of World War Two to critics of Vietnam. We will analyze how arguments about and against empire are related to arguments about capitalism, race, masculinity, modernity, and democracy. We will explore the recurring patterns of metaphor, narrative, and argument in this chorus of voices, and analyze the problems, dangers, and variants in their language. (For instance, do critics remain too much within a nationalist frame by telling nostalgic stories of loss and decline? Are they unintentionally imperialist in the kinds of racial priveleges they assume? Do their alternatives to empire enact a wish to escape from valuable aspects of modernity or of democracy?) The course readings end with the Vietnam War, but final projects will consider how contemporary critics of empire do or should relate to these inherited idioms. Readings include J.M Coetze's Waiting for the Barbarians ; Norman Mailer's Armies of the Night and Why are We in Vietnam? ; poetry by Allan Ginsberg, speeches by SDS leaders and Eugene McCarthy, treatises by C. Wright Mills, David Harvey, and Talal Asad; essays by Audre Lorde and Gloria Anzaldua.

Notes

Open to sophomores and juniors only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1144 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Free Speech and Democracy

4 units Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Paul Thaler

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1144

Description

The tension between free expression and social control has shadowed the Great American Conversation since the birth of this country. The constitutional ideal that our government "shall make no law" abridging free speech has given way, in fact, to laws that limit discussion, ostensibly for the public good. Likewise, new media technologies advance our ability to access and exchange ideas and information, but raise new questions as to the limits of such dialogue. This course, then, addresses the delicate balance between free speech and democracy, guided by seminal readings from Milton, Locke, Meikeljohn, among others, as well as important Supreme Court decisions that have critically shaped First Amendment rights in regard to hate speech, pornography, corporate control of mass media, the student press and the rights of journalists. With this foundation, we ask: Are there any forms of free speech that should be restricted? If so, which? And, who should decide?

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1698 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
EARLY
FA 2012

The Social Contract: Early Modern European Political Theory

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Justin Holt

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1698

Description

What holds a society together? This course will explore one influential answer to this foundational question within philosophy and social theory, namely social contract theory as it developed within early modern European political philosophy. Modern assumptions about the relationship between individual and society, private property and ownership, rationality, economics and the market, and rights and responsibilities of citizenship have all been shaped by social contract theory. But, even though this theory has enjoyed great influence, it has been severely criticized as unrealistic and biased towards individualism and property holders. We will read the foundational social contract works in this course and try to understand their assumptions, strengths, and weaknesses. The works to be read will include: Shakespeare's Richard III, Hobbes' De Cive, Locke' Two Treatises of Government, Rousseau's  The Social Contract, and   Kant's The Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals.

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-UG1337 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Beyond the Invisible Hand: The History of Economic Thought

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

Description

What is the economy, and how did it come to be understood as a separate, discrete realm of society, so unique that it demands its own academic discipline? How have philosophers understood the basic problems of economics—production, labor, coercion, risk, leisure, desire, self-realization, and the constraints of the material world—over time? Contemporary economics is modeled to a great extent on the hard sciences, and claims to reveal the universal laws that underlie the immense complexity of economic life. The economy, however, is itself a historical and political realm, shaped in fundamental ways by human choices, and the very way that people think about and try to make sense of the economy is influenced by historical circumstance. In this course, we will read and analyze works of economic philosophy and literature in order to understand the variety of ways that people have looked at economic life. Readings may include Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Friedrich Hayek.

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-UG1643 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

The Politics of Law and Legal Thought

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Vasuki Nesiah

Description

This class is aimed at introducing students to law and legal theory through focused engagement with diverse areas of law within the American legal history. Each week the class will read pivotal cases such as Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, Boys Market v. Clerks Union, Perry v. Schwarzenegger and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Through discussion of these cases and how theywere approached by critical legal scholars, we will examine different understandings of the relationship between legal institutions and social justice and alternative interpretations of every day legal debates. Can law be tilted towards the powerful, while also being ‘indeterminate’? Does it undermine the ‘rule of law’ if, as some scholars argue, law contained ‘gaps, contradictions and ambiguities’? Can law produce unjust outcomes and yet appear legitimate? How could different understandings of gender impact anti-discrimination law? How does the legal architecture of property rights impact labor law? What are the legitimate roles, rights and responsibilities of different actors in the system - from judges to corporations to welfare recipients? In addition to reading cases and legal scholarship, we will also watch and analyze films that reproduce or contest different understandings of law and society. Readings include Duncan Kennedy, Karl Klare, Janet Halley, Rich Ford, Martha Minow, Joe Singer, James Clifford, Austin Sarat , Alan Freeman and others.

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-UG1381 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Creative Democracy: The Pragmatist Tradition

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Bill Caspary

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1381

Description

From Emerson, through William James, to John Dewey, and beyond, Pragmatism has been a uniquely American contribution to political theory and philosophy. Pragmatism, like classical political theory, is concerned with politics as a way of achieving the good life rather than viewing politics narrowly in terms of elections and governments. Through texts by and about the Pragmatists, especially Dewey, the course will introduce theories and practices of participatory democracy, economic democracy, civic journalism, progressive education, participatory action research, and conflict resolution. Reading Pragmatism as philosophy, in the Hegelian tradition, we will address many of the questions pursued by Marx, Nietzsche, and the postmodernists, and will uncover rich alternative answers. Possible readings include Emerson’s “Self Reliance”; James’s “Moral Equivalent of War”; Dewey’s The Public and Its Problems , “Creative Democracy,” and “The Economic Basis of the New Society”; Royce’s The Hope of the Great Community ; Seigfried’s Pragmatism and Feminism ; and West’s writings on “prophetic pragmatism.”

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-UG1193 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Culture as Communication

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Vasu Varadhan

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1193

Description

This course examines the concept of culture through its forms of communication. The shift from orality to literacy to electronic media and now digital media has important consequences for the social, political, and economic structures within a culture. If we take as axiomatic that every culture wishes to preserve itself through its forms of communication, we then need to ask ourselves which forms of communication are best suited for this purpose. What happens to cultures when traditional forms of communication are forced to compete with the newer technologies? What do we mean by “knowledge” in the age of information? The impact of written narrative on orality will be discussed as well as the changes brought about by the invention of the printing press. We will examine the development of electronic media, including the newer technologies such as the Internet, and analyze their effects on individual and cultural levels. Readings may include Plato’s Phaedrus, Ong’s Orality and Literacy, Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, McLuhan’s Understanding Media, and Carr's The Shallows. There will also be selected handouts on the impact of social media in the political, social and economic spheres.

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-UG1667 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Dangerous and Intermingled II: Subaltern New York

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1667

Description

In the world of political moralists, intermingled New York has and still represents the epitome of danger and evil about the American experiment—the public intermixture of classes, genders, races, sexualities, spiritualisms, and the-devil-knows-what-else!#? As elite Protestants created a refined European-affected “high brow” culture, they also created myriad “others”—a transgressive, lowly polyglot city of shadows, miscegenation, and impurity. The docks, the Bowery, The Five Points, Greenwich Village, LES/Loisaida, Chinatown, and Harlem were all forged against the repressed imaginings of the powerful and the distinguished. This peoples’ Gotham, this disdained intertwined underworld of music, slang, jokes, songs, stories, foodways, and marvels of people will be the focus of this advanced research seminar. Course materials will include: Wallace & Burrow’s Gotham, Burn’s documentary New York, Smith’s Decolonizing Methodologies, and a course reader. Research walks and visits off campus will be held during lab hours on Fridays. Students will learn how to conduct a case study using primary sources.

Notes

Permission of instructor required (jack.tchen@nyu.edu). Same as SCA-UA 380 002.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1306 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Critical Social Theory: The Predicament of Modernity

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

Description

The central theme of this course is modernity as a social and intellectual project. We will read a number of critical social theory texts which deal with modernity as their central theoretical subjects. The goal of this class is to introduce various theoretical perspectives about modernity and to examine different aspects of the current debate on modernity and its fate in our time. In the first few weeks of the class we will study original works by “classical” social theorists (Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber). We will then read two modernist texts (Habermas’ Transformation of Public Sphere and Berman’s All That Is Solid Melts Into Air ), a text critical of modernity (Foucault’s Knowledge and Power ), and a text which deals with modernity and the non-western world (Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom ). This is a relatively advanced social theory course and student participation in the course requires some knowledge of classical or contemporary social theory.

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-UG1573 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

The New American Society

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Laurin Raiken

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1573

Description

Until 2007-08 we took for granted that in the past sixty years following World War II, the industrialized Western world experienced unprecedented economic expansion, and the United States was economically and geopolitically.” the dominant superpower, indeed America was the primary coordinator and beneficiary of the post World War II period. Only a few keen observers detected economic flaws or geopolitical vulnerability in what has been called “The American Century.” Since the mid-1970s however, there have been enormous changes in the United States and the world. New forms of violence, major economic shifts and geopolitical reversals have seriously undermined and changed the world order and particularly American lives and even more pointedly the lives of American youth. Recently the self-destruction and breakdown of the U.S. financial and economic systems triggered a deep global destabilization and The Great Recession. For a growing number of Americans life has become the equivalent to the severe dislocations of the Great Depression of the 1930s. With this broad historical are in view, this seminar offers a critical history of Post World War II America, focusing especially on major social, political, ideological, extremist “teavangelical” obstructionist aggression and the world historical economic collapse. Readings will include social and political thinkers such as C. Wright Mills, Barrington Moore Jr., Hannah Arendt, and Arthur J. Vidich and economists such as, John Maynard Keynes, Milton Friedman, John Kenneth Galbraith, the essayist John Lanchester, and Nobel Laureates Paul Krugman and Joseph Stieglitz. We will read “Ill Fares the Land,” by the late New York University historian Tony Judt, n be inspired by the work of the great world class political economist and unsung American radical thinker, Thorstein Veblen.

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-UG1545 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

On Freud's Couch: Psychoanalysis, Narrative and Memory

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1545

Description

In this course we will read closely and thoroughly a selection of Sigmund Freud’s papers, including “Three Essays on Sexuality,” and “Screen Memories,” and three of his classic case histories: “Fragment of an Analysis of Hysteria,” (Dora), “From the History of an Infantile Neurosis,” (the Wolfman), and “An Autobiographic Account of a Case of Paranoia,” (Dr. Schreber). In general, we will focus on how the psychoanalytic method takes narrative seriously—that is, “at its word,” or literally—at the same time as it recognizes that whatever is articulated may be in a negative or “canted” (in other words, “encoded”) relation to what it “means.” We will watch a selection of films alongside the primary texts. We will explore how time, memory and history signify in psychoanalytic frameworks, and ask what literature, film and poetics might share with psychoanalysis. Finally, we will debate the validity of what might be called Freud’s “reductionism” in relation to drive theory and the sexual instincts.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1300 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Militaries and Militarization

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

Description

What are the effects of a large, permanent military upon the political economy and society of the United States? What are the effects on other countries of their militaries? What are the effects on local societies of US military bases? What is the role of the various militaries in the history of colonial/neo-colonial control, and in contemporary empire? How are military establishments and violence linked to ethno-national, class and other social movements—and to the repression and domination of such movements? What does a military do to/for the people who staff it? What are the implications of militarization in such areas as gender, human rights, the environment, sports, knowledge and learning? What is the role of militias, “para-militaries”, and guerrillas? What methods can social or popular movements use in their attempts to subvert, paralyze, eliminate or otherwise struggle against militaries, military bases, and weapons? Texts may include: Lutz, Homefront: A Military City and the American Twentieth Century ; Enloe, Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women’s Lives ; McCaffrey, Military Power and Popular Protest: The U.S. Navy in Vieques, Puerto Rico ; and Green, Fear as a Way of Life .

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-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-UG1527 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Finance for Social Theorists

4 units Mon
7:45 PM - 10:15 PM
Peter Rajsingh

Description

Why are some private, profit-making institutions “too big to fail,” what are the main contours of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), where do you find the Shadow Banking System? The objective of this course is to provide students with conceptual, interpretive and analytical tools for understanding contemporary themes in finance. The approach will be interdisciplinary and interpretive, drawing upon political theory, economics, psychology, basic statistics and accounting. For example, we will use the GFC to explore core concepts associated with credit, banking, business ethics, fiscal and monetary policy and macro economics. We will reference key ideas from familiar texts and also take up contemporary debates in finance. The aim is to help students become more literate and numerate as economic and social agents. Readings include Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations (excerpts); John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy (excerpts); Peter Bernstein, Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk ; Mohammed El-Erian, When Markets Collide ; and Nassim Taleb, Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in the Markets and in Life .

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-UG1725 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2012

Cultures of Finance

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Robert Wosnitzer

Description

Why has the financial sector emerged as such a leading part of our contemporary economy? To what extent does the financial sector today model action across the political, cultural and social spheres of life? Often, we see finance as a realm determined by ‘objective’ -- and opaque -- financial models and devices whose consequences seem out of reach to society. This course seeks to remedy that concept, focusing on the study of culture from within financial institutions and markets, and its development as playing an important role in everyday social life. In this course, we will define key features of the contemporary system of finance as part of the historical development of capitalism. We will consider the ways in the culture of finance has inflected, informed, and determined the wider culture that is increasingly described in financial terms and forms. We will visit the spatial arrangements of trading desks and central exchanges, their technological devices and models, financial instruments, and the people who occupy these spaces as our central object of inquiry, while considering the ways in which financial instruments are made to circulate through this system and the ways in which they are culturally negotiated. Readings may include Max Weber, Arjun Appadurai, Randy Martin, David Harvey, Tim Mitchell, Don MacKenzie, Karen Ho, and Caitlin Zaloom.

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-UG1299 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Objectivity and the Politics of the Journalism Revolution

4 units Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Paul Thaler

Description

At the birth of this nation, it was assumed by journalists and their readers that journalists were partisans, telling stories from particular points of view. But the growth of the modern newspaper combined with the ideals of science transformed the image, self-image, and practice of journalism, which now claims to worship at the altar of objectivity, to present information or “news” without bias. This ethic has carried over to the contemporary media, despite challenges from critics. Rather than multiple media outlets presenting different optics or lenses through which to see events and their contexts, media outlets claim to speak impartially. In this course we examine this ideal or promise: is it possible? desirable? To pursue this inquiry we consider challenges to objectivity by figures such as Truman Capote, who linked a “new journalism” to a personal point of view, Robert McChesney, whose corporate media perspective provides a powerful macro analysis of modern journalism, and Jay Rosen, who articulates the postmodern shifts brought on by the Internet that have redefined and realigned the relationship between the journalist and audience. Readings will include Walter Lippmann, John Dewey, Tom Wolfe, Michael Herr, Eric Alterman, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, and Ben Bagdikian.

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-UG1249 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Colonies, Nations, Empires, Globalization

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

Description

Colonialism, imperialism, and globalization all involve the domination of one part of the world by another. How do these forms of control differ? How are they related to each other? What are their dimensions in different places and times? What kinds of changes—economic, political, social, sexual, biological—are produced among the dominated and the dominators? What definitions and feelings of “nationhood” develop during these processes? How are peoples drawn into or able to resist these relations? What are the liberatory or the oppressive aspects of different kinds of nationalisms? What do the changing links among countries and peoples signify? How is today’s “globalization” connected to older forms of control, while creating new forms of domination? Texts may include several films ( Life and Debt, The Triumph of the Will, The Battle of Algiers ) with selections from, among others: AIDS and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame ; Imperial Leather: Race, Gender, Sexuality, in the Colonial Context ; Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power ; The Wretched of the Earth ; Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1144 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2007

Free Speech and Democracy

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

Description

The tension between free expression and social control has shadowed the Great American Conversation since the birth of this country. The constitutional ideal that our government "shall make no law" abridging free speech has given way, in fact, to laws that limit discussion, ostensibly for the public good. Likewise, new media technologies advance our ability to access and exchange ideas and information, but raise new questions as to the limits of such dialogue. This course, then, addresses the delicate balance between free speech and democracy, guided by our readings of Plato's Republic, Lippmann's Public Opinion, and McChesney's Our Unfree Press. We also examine important Supreme Court decisions that have shaped First Amendment rights in regard to hate speech, pornography, corporate control of mass media, and the rights of journalists. With this foundation, we ask: Are there any forms of free speech that should be restricted? If so, which? And, who should decide?

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-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-UG1822 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

The Politics of Work

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Rosanne Kennedy

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1822

Description

Work—especially wage labor—has come to be assumed as a necessary and unavoidable orientation of modern adult life. Even more, we assume that work is intrinsic to our sense of identity and self-worth. Attached to modern understandings of work are implicit values and morals, specifically the work ethic that frames work as individualistic, merit-based, and belonging to the private sphere. However, recent political critiques have begun to (re) question the ways in which labor and spaces of work constitute (or exclude) us as social and political subjects. In this seminar we will consider work as not only connected and buttressed by the political sphere but as itself political. Our aim will be to examine the unquestioned values that inhere in our understanding of work as well the ways in which the organization of modern forms of work constitute us and organize us a political subjects. In doing so we will consider how labor relations produce and reproduce us as embodied and affective subjects that sustain or exclude different classes, genders, races and ages. We will begin by first examining classical understandings and critiques of the organization of work in the writings of John Locke, Adam Smith, Marx, and Max Weber. We will then turn to contemporary critiques of work including those that point to postwork imaginaries. What would it look and feel like to live in a postwork society? How would we reorganize our time? What creative projects might ensue? What conditions (a basic universal income?) would make such a society possible? Readings for this section of the course may include: Arendt, Foucault, Baudrillard, Barbara Ehrenreich, Aronowitz, Negri, Bloch, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Kathi Weeks.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1643 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

The Politics of Law and Legal Thought

4 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Vasuki Nesiah

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1643

Description

This class introduces students to critical legal studies through focused engagement with diverse areas of law. It is anchored in reading cases that captured pivotal debates in American legal history, cases such as Brown v. Board of Ed., Roe v. Wade, Lochner v. NY, MacPherson v. Buick Motor Co., Univ. of CA v. Bakke, King v. Smith, Perry v. Schwarzenegger and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission . Through discussion of these cases, we examine different understandings of the relationship between legal debates and social justice. Can law be tilted towards the powerful, while also being 'indeterminate?' Does it undermine the 'rule of law’ if, as some scholars argue, legal rules contained ‘gaps, contradictions and ambiguities?' How do unjust outcomes appear legally necessary? How do different understandings of gender impact anti-discrimination law? How does the legal architecture of property impact labor rights? What are the legitimate roles, rights and responsibilities of different actors in the system—from judges to corporations to welfare recipients? In addition to reading cases and legal scholarship, we will also analyze films focused on law and society. Readings include Duncan Kennedy, Cornel West, Karl Klare, Janet Halley, Rich Ford, Martha Minow, Joe Singer, James Clifford, Austin Sarat, Alan Freeman and others.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1641 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Health and Human Rights in the World Community

4 units Fri
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Allen Keller

Description

This course focuses on the relationship between health and human rights. First, it provides an overview of human rights violations in the world and it offers an analysis of the health consequences of human rights abuses. Second, it explores how individual and community health can be improved by protecting and promoting human rights. Third, it evaluates the ethical obligations of health professionals in the face of human rights violations, and it explores their role in caring for the victims. Intended for non-science as well as science majors, we use presentations and discussion to explore the link between health and human rights. Readings include Claude and Weston, Human Rights in the World Community: Issues and Actions , and Martin and Rangaswamy, eds., Twenty Five Human Rights Documents .

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-UG1628 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Think Big: Global Issues and Ecological Solutions

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1628

Description

What are the most stimulating solutions to global climate change? If we were given an imaginary “client” with an unlimited budget and colossal power, what should we design? The resounding formula for green thinking is broadly interpreted in three meta-themes; apocalyptic, technological, and traditional. Each category promises solutions and/or interpretations of our current environmental calamity. We explore critical philosophical, artistic, and scientific positions in each meta-theme that help elucidate this dilemma. Students read, evaluate, and synthesize projects and texts from great minds such as William Cronon, Bill McKibben, Bruce Mau, Mike Davis, Marshall McLuhan, Bjorn Lomborg, David Orr, Paul Virilio, Marshall McLean, Laurence Buell, and others. The final project is the production of a mock Madison Avenue advertising campaign that promotes urban “sustainability.”

Notes

Open to sophomores only.