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Found 525 courses
IDSEM-UG1698 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
EARLY
WI 2017

The Social Contract: Early Modern European Political Theory

4 units Tue Wed Thu Fri
2:00 PM - 5:15 PM
Justin Holt

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: Hobbes' De Cive, Locke's Two Treatises of Government, and Rousseau's The Social Contract.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1580 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2015

Between Rights and Justice in Latin America

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

Syllabus

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 between social justice and human rights? Readings will draw from Bartolomé de las Casas, Immanuel Kant, John Rawls, Martha Nussbaum, Ariel Dorfman, Paul Farmer, and Greg Grandin, among others.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1842 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
FA 2015

Ancients vs. Moderns

4 units Mon
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Frederic Clark

Description

Ancients and moderns have participated in constant dialogue—sometimes friendly, and sometimes hostile—that still shapes the complexities of our own approaches to the past today. This relationship has been figured in the metaphor of the modern dwarf standing atop the shoulders of the ancient giant, and seeing further thanks to the giant’s tall stature. This trope goes back to the Middle Ages, when medieval thinkers used it to express their relationship to the philosophers, poets, and historians of ancient Greece and Rome. While elegant, the phrase is decidedly ambiguous. Is the present better than the past? Or is the present only praiseworthy because of the past that preceded it? Could moderns ever be giants too? And what of conflicts, when moderns preferred to stand on their own two feet instead? As we will see, the story of “ancients vs. moderns” often proved counterintuitive. Moderns did not always advocate what we might regard as progress, nor did ancients always adopt outlooks that we might think traditional. This seminar traces approximately two millennia of conflict and compromise between so-called “ancients” and “moderns”—from ancient Greece to the world of revolutionary France and America. Students will explore competing constructions of antiquity and modernity through primary source readings from Cicero, Augustine, Peter Abelard, Petrarch, Erasmus, Bacon, Descartes, Gibbon and others.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1144 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Free Speech and Democracy

4 units Wed
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 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. The course also takes a case-study approach to issues related to free speech in wartime and political crisis, a tension made evident in recent debates over privacy rights and national security. 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)

SASEM-UG9550 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
FA 2015

TEL AVIV: Ancient Israel History and Archaeology: Travelers, Collectors, and Antiquities Robbers

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-TEL AVIV. The story of the archaeological discipline in the Land of Israel is strongly tied with the major developments that the region has undergone in the last two centuries. This course offers an overview of the history of archaeology in Palestine since the appearance of the first European travelers and missionaries in the mid-19th century, along the vibrant interest of collectors, forgers and robbers in the Promised Land, through the appearance of the first scientific excavations, the rise of the American biblical archaeology and its influence on local Israeli research. Special attention will be given to the way the newly born Israeli archaeology helped to establish the Zionist identity that wished to pass over two thousand years of Diaspora history; the methods by which the nascent Israeli archaeology connected new-comers to the land of the patriarchs and the manner by which Israeli scholars served state interests in the creation of the national Zionist ethos. The aftermath of the Six Days War and the increasing tension between the Bible and archaeology will be discussed in light of the intense debate over the historicity of the Exodus story, Joshua's conquests and the United Kingdom of David and Solomon. Finally, at the turn of the millennium, post-modern archaeology presented a new pluralistic view of the past. This multi-vocal framework will be used as a background for discussing the archaeology of otherness and minorities in 21st century Israel.

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1566 Lib Arts
SCI
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
FA 2015

History of Environmental Sciences Before Darwin

4 units Mon Wed
9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Peder Anker

Syllabus

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 historians and philosophers 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, Pliny, St. Francis, Evelyn, Grew, Bacon, Linnaeus, Buffon, Jefferson, Rousseau, Malthus and Darwin, as well as largely forgotten texts by anonymous authors and colonial explorers.

Notes

Sect 002 for Environmental Studies majors.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1609 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2015

Dante's World

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

Syllabus

Description

This course will explore the social, political, intellectual and religious evolution of the late medieval dantesque world, by focusing on Dante’s  Divine Comedy . A close reading of  The Divine Comedy  will serve as a forum to discuss and analyze Dante's writings and those important works that helped to shape the thirteenth-century Florentine society that ultimately served as a stepping stone for the humanist movement that paved the way for the Italian Renaissance. But Dante’s  Divine Comedy  is not just a text of and for its own time. It has left readers fascinated and shuddering for over 700 years because its poetical and literary tropes enable them to confront their experience of the human condition and transform what and how they desire. During the class, therefore, students will conduct research projects on more historical and more enduring aspects of Dante’s Commedia. As well, field trips to museums, cinematic recreations, documentaries, music and other visual and auditory aids will be used to enrich our sense of the text’s meaning and context. Readings include:  The Divine Comedy, The Confessions, The Consolation of Philosophy, The Aeneid , and  The Book of the Zohar. 

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1552 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2015

Sociology of Religion: Islam and the Modern World

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

Syllabus

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 .

Notes

Same as MEIS-UA 785 001.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1847 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Dangerous and Intermingled: An Intensive Introduction to Critical Research Practices

8 units Fri
12:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Jack Tchen

Syllabus

Description

This course provides a foundation for critical, cross-cultural urban research methodologies, and challenges students to develop interdisciplinary, problem-focused analytic skills and insights by rethinking what we know about New York City. In the world of fundamentalists, intermingled New York has represented and still represents the epitome of danger and evil about the American experiment—the public mixture 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." This intensive course will examine the historical formation of both sides of this false yet formative binary by walking Manhattan (and Red Hook) to get a grounded understanding of the way spaces have been built, ignored, and rebuilt over time. Course materials will include: Sanderson's Mannahatta maps, Burn's documentary "New York – a documentary" (1999), Smith's  Decolonizing Methodologies  (2006), and a course reader. Intensive dialogue-driven seminar approach. Walking shoes and passion for NYC prerequisites!

Notes

Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors only. This course is recommended for students who wish to conduct advanced, independent, research as part of their subsequent studies. It combines the course sequence Dangerous and Intermingled I (WASP New York) and II (Subaltern New York), previously taught as IDSEM 1666 and 1667, respectively; students who have taken IDSEM 1666 and/or 1667 may not take this course for credit.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1454 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2015

The Iliad and its Legacies in Drama

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

Syllabus

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 972.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1838 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
FA 2015

Narrating Seduction: The Tale of Genji

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

Syllabus

Description

Written in the eleventh century by a noble lady of the Japanese court, the Tale of Genji has been called the world’s first novel, and even the world’s first psychological novel. But can we really use the terms “novel” and “psychological” to describe the narrative? In this course we will carefully and closely read  The Tale of Genji  alongside selected secondary sources to focus our attention on such topics as: narration, visuality, sexual politics, relation to reality, poetics, and aesthetics in the text.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1193 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Culture as Communication

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

Syllabus

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-UG1839 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Freud

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Eve Meltzer

Description

This course aims to give students an in-depth understanding of the fundamental concepts, vocabulary and theories of Sigmund Freud, the so-called “Father of Psychoanalysis.”’ We will read closely a wide range of texts by Freud, covering the earliest incarnations of Freudian psychoanalysis to its final formulations, including concepts of the subject, drive theory, the “talking cure,” transference, dream interpretation, and more. Our sights will also be set on the ways in which psychoanalytic thought has, from its very beginnings, been in fruitful dialogue with the humanities, broadly speaking—most specifically, literature, philosophy, and the arts, although we will also consider its relevance as a clinical practice. Texts will include: Studies on Hysteria, The Interpretation of Dreams, Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Totem and Taboo, The Ego and the Id, On the History of the Psychoanalytic Movement, Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of His Childhood, and a selection of his shorter papers.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1357 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
FA 2015

The Qur'an

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1648 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2015

Environment and Development in Africa

4 units Tue
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Rosalind Fredericks

Syllabus

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 may include: the extractive industries; the management of the urban environment; wildlife conservation and tourism; agriculture and rural livelihoods; and gendered access to resources. 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, Gregg Mitman, Michael Watts, and Adam Hochschild.

Notes

Sect 002 for Environmental Studies majors.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1739 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2015

Kinship and Community: Ancient Texts and Modern Theories

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

Syllabus

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1848 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Expertise and Democracy

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Gianpaolo Baiocchi

Syllabus

Description

One of the central questions facing activists and reformers is that of expertise. We live an increasingly complex world in which experts of all sorts are unavoidable. Many of central issues facing us - from climate change to global poverty and vaccinations - are problems that require expert knowledge to adjudicate. What role should experts play in a democracy? How can we productively articulate expertise and democracy? Using activism and social change as a backdrop, students will explore theoretical questions as well as practical attempts from the world of social justice to resolve these issues. We will explore the literature in both science studies and in democratic theory and will explore a range of case studies of attempts to "democratize expertise." Guest speakers will include activists from local organizations and former Gallatin students who have gone on to pursue activism. Readings will include a range of “classic” and more contemporary texts on the connection between expertise and democracy, including: Paulo Freire, Martin Luther King, Cornel West,Frances Moore Lappe, among others.

Notes

Formerly titled and numbered, Tools for Social Change, CLI-UG 1403.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9402 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2015

PRAGUE: Civil Resistance in Central and Eastern Europe

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1450 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
EARLY
FA 2015

Machiavelli: Popular Power and the Space of Appearances

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

Syllabus

Description

This two-credit course focuses on Machiavelli’s political theory. Our goal is two-fold: we learn the art of close reading, to reveal the complex and contradictory layers of meaning in our texts, and we explore the enterprise of political theory by lingering over the central questions Machiavelli raises. What is the nature of power? What is the character of “good” leadership? What is the relationship between morality and politics? How can human beings sustain forms of self-government, given their short-sightedness and fear, the predatory and narrow interests of ruling classes, and the tendency of institutions to become reified forms of power? We focus on his two greatest texts, but also read several of his greatest interpreters.

Notes

Open to sophomores only. Course meets last seven weeks,10/22-12/10.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1351 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
or GLOBAL
FA 2015

Passion and Poetics in Early Japan

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

Syllabus

Description

It can be argued that until the 1880s one thing was almost entirely absent in Japanese literary and performing arts: the notion of an interiorized subject. In fact, the ancient Japanese arts are examples of extreme "exteriority" that privilege form, word play and intertextuality and enfold the human being and human erotic passions within rituals for purity and harmony with a cosmology of the heavens. This course will explore ancient and premodern Japanese poetics and prose, performing and visual arts, from the very first writings through the nineteenth century, in relation to sociocultural history and belief systems such as Buddhism and Shintoism. Texts will include: selections of poetry,  emaki  (picture scrolls), noh and puppet plays, selections from  The Tale of Genji ,  The Pillow Book , and the earliest forms of manga.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1632 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

"Woman" and the Political

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Rosanne Kennedy

Syllabus

Description

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 ideas of not only the private and public, but also those of citizenship, equality, freedom, the individual, and community? Readings may include Plato, Machiavelli, Rousseau, Locke, Marx, Arendt, Susan Okin, Luce Irigaray, Linda Zerilli, Carole Pateman, and Bonnie Honig.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1527 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

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?” Where is the Shadow Banking System? What is Minsky moment? The objective of this course is to provide students with conceptual, interpretive and analytical tools to understand finance. The approach is interdisciplinary and interpretive, drawing upon political theory, economics, psychology, basic statistics and accounting. For example, we use the subprime crisis to explore core concepts associated with credit, banking, business ethics, monetary policy and macro economics. We 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 and Nassim Taleb, Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in the Markets and in Life, as well as journal articles and pieces from the contemporary financial press. There is also an entrepreneurial team project.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1849 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Black Lives Matter: Race, Resistance and Popular Protest

4 units Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Frank Roberts

Syllabus

Description

The age of the Obama Presidency has been plagued by a number of highly publicized police cases involving the shooting of unarmed black citizens at the hands of law enforcement and/or local vigilantes. In the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown, Vonderrick Myers, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones, and others, the recent #blacklivesmatter movement has emerged largely in response to histories of state sanctioned violence against black and brown bodies. This seminar links the #blacklivesmatter” movement to four broader phenomena: 1) the rise of the U.S. prison industrial complex and the increasing militarization of inner city communities, 2) the role of media in influencing national conversations about race and racism, 3) the state of racial justice activism in the purportedly “post-racial” Obama Presidency, and 4) the increasingly populist nature of decentralized protest movements in the U.S. We will debate and engage with a variety of topics, including the moral ethics of “looting” and riotous forms of protest; violent vs. nonviolent civil disobedience; the media myth of “black on black” crime; coalitional politics and the black feminist and LGBTQ underpinnings of the #blacklivesmatter movement; comparisons between the blacklivesmatter movement and the U.S. civil rights movement; and the dynamics of political protest among the millennial and post-millennial generations. Readings will likely include writings by Cornel West, Michelle Alexander, James Cone, Osaygefo Sekou, Imani Perry, Frederick Harris. Our reading material will also be supplemented by guest speakers and media activists who have played prominent roles in the blacklivesmatter movement.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1682 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2015

Thinking Sex/Gender Globally

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

Syllabus

Description

This interdisciplinary seminar explores how gender and sexuality simultaneously produce and is produced by global, transnational and international visions. For example, the project of identifying affinities between women across cultures and national boundaries has long grounded the work of feminist movements, scholars, journalists, institutions and activists in a variety of locations, both within and outside the Euro-American context. More recently, struggles for the rights of sexual minorities have become increasingly transnational. We explore such efforts to forge enabling alliances and solidarities. We also critically examine how such efforts navigate cultural and national differences, hierarchies within a global world order and complex histories of imperialism, paying attention to the different locations through which such projects intersect with the global. The course highlights the rise of a new post-war international order centered in the UN system, exploring the links between colonial legacies and new global trajectories. 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 the rights of sexual minorities, we explore how gender and sexuality become grounds for debating global, transnational and international visions and frameworks that, in turn, shape feminist and queer politics in different locales. Readings include Antoinette Burton,  Burdens of History: British Feminists, Indian Women and Imperial Culture , Kumari Jayawardena's  Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World ,  Specters of Mother India: The Global Restructuring of an Empire  by Mrinalini Sinha ,  Afsaneh Najmabadi's  Women with Mustaches and Men Without Beards ,  Are Women Human?  by Catherine MacKinnon,  Transnational LGBT Activism: Working for Sexual Rights Worldwide  by Ryan Thoreson and  Queer Activism in India: A Story in the Anthropology of Ethics  by Naisargi Dave .  

Notes

Same as SCA-UA 721.003.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1640 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
FA 2015

The History of Kindness

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

Description

How have human beings conceived and represented benevolent behavior toward others differently across time and place? In this course, we will explore the history of the concepts, ideals, and behaviors that we associate with the modern English word, "kindness" -- a story that begins in the classical world and unfolds slowly through two millennia into the present day. We will connect ancient debates about human nature, the practice of justice, and moral responsibility, to 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 state-sponsored morality and the ways in which ideals of social welfare have changed over time. Key texts will include Plato's Republic, The Gospel of Matthew, Augustine's City of God, Dhuoda's handbook for her son, Chaucer's Tale of Melibee, Voltaire's Treatise on Tolerance, and Ghandi's The Story of My Experiments with Truth. As part of the course, students will also conduct individual studies of how "kindness" is defined, 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-UG1300 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Militaries and Militarization

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

Syllabus

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-UG9250 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

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-UG1863 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

By Any Means Necessary: The Life and Times of Malcolm X and James Baldwin

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

Syllabus

Description

This course considers the overlapping lives and legacies of two figures whose influence on the American Civil Rights movement was profound and far reaching: Malcolm X and James Baldwin. In this seminar we will examine the convergences and confluences of these two men’s political ideologies—and well as the worlds that shaped them. Though the American public rarely imagined them as political bedfellows in their time, a closer inspection of their lives reveals striking biographical similarities: both were born as the sons of Baptist ministers; both went on to become Harlem legends; and both emerged as “prophets” for the 1960s black freedom movement. Given that both of these men are often thought of as “revolutionaries”—we will move through this course searching for answers to questions such as: How was each of these men "revolutionary" and what precisely did each mean by "revolution"? What were their political differences in terms of envisioning race, racial politics, and the perils of American democracy? How were these concerns manifested in the form and force of their public lives, rhetoric, and written work? How are each of these men remembered, and what are the stakes in studying these figures in a "post" Civil Rights world? Our reading material will include  By Any Means Necessary: The Writings and Speeches of Malcolm X  and  The Fire Next Time.  Our course will also include trips to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture as well as the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Center in Harlem.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1786 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Trash Matters: Exploring Development, Environment, and Culture through Garbage

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

Syllabus

Description

This course considers the production, management, and disposal of garbage as a dynamic cultural phenomenon that can lend insight into a broad array of questions at the nexus of environment and development. Most broadly, unpacking waste’s deep political and cultural dimensions provides for critical reflection on urbanism, social relations of difference, global economic processes, and people’s relationships to nature. After exploring theories of waste and value, the first half of the course examines the rise of the discard society in the global North through looking at waste politics in the United States, with a special focus on New York City. The second half of the course expands the purview of our analysis to consider global waste geographies, focusing on waste trade and circulation in the context of uneven development. Specific topics may include: waste work in New York City; dumping and environmental justice in the US; the limits of recycling; toxic exports and the global e-waste trade; carbon as global waste; biocitizenship and the tragedy of Bhopal; waste-based social movements and rebellion through disorder; the art of rubbish. Authors may include: Mary Douglas, Gay Hawkins, Robin Nagle, Heather Rogers, and Sarah Moore.

Notes

Sect 002 for Environmental Studies majors.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1449 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2015

Plato: Tragedy, Philosophy, and Politics

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

Syllabus

Description

This two-credit course focuses on Plato’s  Republic . Our goal is two-fold: we learn the art of close reading to reveal the complex and contradictory layers of meaning in a text, and we introduce the enterprise of political theory by lingering over the central questions Plato raises. Those questions concern philosophy and its relationship to politics, the relationship between knowledge and power, the nature of justice, the role of art, poetry, and myth in politics and culture. we also read Sophocles'  Oedipus Tyrannos  to explore the relationship between tragedy and philosophy. We analyze these issues in relation to Plato’s world, and to our own.

Notes

Open to sophomores only. Course meets first seven weeks, 9/3-10/15.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1586 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2015

Consumerism in Comparative Perspective

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

Syllabus

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 authors include: Veblen, Keynes, Marx; Twitchell; Sut Jhally; Bill McKibben; Arlie Hochschild, Lizabeth Cohen.

Notes

Same as SOC-UA 970-005.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1767 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Crime in the USA

4 units Mon Wed
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Ngina Chiteji

Description

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. This course examines the US criminal justice system, including (i) the causes and consequences of the rising incarceration rates that the nation has witnessed over the past 30 years, and the role of politics in driving society's appetite for locking people up; (ii) the labor market effects of having a prison record, along with the "spill-over" effects that incarceration has on ex-offenders' communities and families; and (iii) the costs borne at the state and federal levels of government. The course explores its subject matter from an interdisciplinary perspective, connecting ideas from economics, political science, sociology, and law. It will combine conceptual and statistical approaches to analysis. Possible texts include Bruce Western,  Punishment and Inequality in   America ; Garland, David,  Punishment and Modern Society ; Mary Pattillo, David Weiman and Bruce Western, eds.,  Imprisoning America:  The Social Effects of Mass Incarceration ; and Norval Morris and David Rothman,  The Oxford History of the Prison .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1381 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Creative Democracy: The Pragmatist Tradition

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

Syllabus

Description

From Emerson, through William James, to John Dewey, and beyond, Pragmatism has been a uniquely American contribution to political theory and philosophy. The pragmatists are concerned with action in the world, to address “the problems of men and women.” They construct a philosophy for understanding and guiding that action. That philosophy values imaginative vision and exploratory experimentation. It looks forward to the new rather than dwelling on explaining, justifying, or condemning what exists. Pragmatism, like classical political theory, is concerned with politics as a way of achieving a good society, in which people can lead good lives. It does not view politics narrowly in terms only of elections and governments. Reading pragmatism as philosophy, in the first half of the course we will consider ethics, theory of knowledge, theory of science and social science, and put these in the service of democratic theory. Through the lens of the “Dewey-Lippmann controversy” we will consider the capacity of citizens for informed responsible participation. In the second half of the course we will consider democratic experiments: economic democracy, civic journalism, progressive education, participatory action research, and conflict resolution. Possible readings include Emerson’s “The American Scholar;” James’s “Moral Equivalent of War;” Dewey’s  The Public and Its Problems , “Creative Democracy,” and “The Economic Basis of the New Society;” Walter Lippmann's  Public Opinion , Jay Rosen's.  What Are Journalists For , William & Katherine Whyte's,  Making Mondragon , and so on.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1844 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Genre, Politics and Theory

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

Syllabus

Description

Our inquiry in this course concerns the relationship between how (through style and genre) we speak and what we are saying. To pursue this relationship, we ask: What are the worldly and political implications when theorists write in the contrasting forms of -for example- dialogue, a treatise, a manifesto, or when literary artists write in the genres of tragedy or melodrama? How does literary form shape a depiction of the world and our relation to it? When political figures seek to authorize action, what differences follow from their form of address? If political actors seek radical political change, must they confirm or disturb our expectations of literary form? Our goal is not to make rules to distinguish genres, but, instead, to think through the kinds of self-reflection and action that different genres foster in audiences. In the first half of the course texts may include: Sophocles'  Oedipus Tyrannos  compared to Pericles "Funeral Oration," Machiavelli's  The Prince  compared with Thomas More,  Utopia ; Marx,  The Communist Manifesto  compared to Nietzsche "Thus Spake Zarathustra." The second half of the semester focuses on the American case by reading texts that perform jeremiadic rhetoric, the frontier myth, racial melodrama, populist rage, progressive narration, and apocalyptic endings.

Notes

Open to sophomores and juniors only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1836 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2015

Fashion, Politics and Justice

4 units Tue Thu
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Paula Chakravartty

Syllabus

Description

This course offers an overview of the political economy of the 21st century fashion industry. Focusing on specific transnational supply chains, we follow the globalized production and consumption of garments and brands, and examine closely the debates about gender and globalization, economic and social development, labor standards, sustainability and activism. Some of the questions we will explore include: How do we account for the globalization of the garment industry? What are the politics of today’s global “fast fashion” industry both in the global South and in the North? Do alternatives such as ethical fashion initiatives by designers, programs for corporate social responsibility and campaigns of consumer activism offer meaningful interventions? What role do workers in the fashion industry—from garment workers to retail workers, to models—play in shaping discussions about a more just and sustainable future for fashion? We draw from interdisciplinary scholarship ranging from anthropology and sociology to media studies and race and ethnic studies. Readings for this course may include: Sarah Banet-Weiser’s  Commodity Activism ; Jane Collins  Threads: Gender, Labor Power in the Global Apparel Industry; Jill Esbenshade’s  Monitoring Sweatshops: Workers, Consumers, and the Global Apparel Industry ; Kendra Coulter’s  Revolutionizing Retail: Workers, Political Action, and Social Change ; Naila Kabeer’s  The Power to Choose ; Nancy Plankey Videla  We are in this Dance Together;  and Lisa Richey’s   Brand Aid .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1768 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2015

Government and the Economy: What Every Citizen Should Know

4 units Tue
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Ngina Chiteji

Description

What are the different ways that the government intervenes in the economy? Why is government intervention so controversial in the United States? In this course students will learn how an economy functions at the macroeconomic level while also learning about the structure of the U.S. government and the way that the political process shapes economic policies. Our goal is to study the national economy in a way that situates basic economic insights in a political and historical context in order to fully understand the legislative and institutional environment in which policy decisions are made; and existing programs, policies, and outcomes, such as the Social Security Program, state and federal welfare programs, , the Federal Reserve's policies , and the $1.1 trillion budget deficit. The course combines conceptual and quantitative approaches to its subject matter. Readings may include David Wessel, Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget; Benjamin Bernanke, The Federal Reserve and the Financial Crisis; and The US Constitution.

Notes

Open to sophomores only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1515 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2015

Homer/Ellison: The Odyssey and Invisible Man

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

Syllabus

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1543 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SU 2016

Imagining the Middle East

4 units Tue Thu
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Ali Mirsepassi

Syllabus

Description

This course explores the historical and contemporary representations of the Middle Eastern cultures and societies in the Western imaginary. We will examine shifting representations of the Middle East in pre- and post-enlightenment European political and intellectual discourses, Western literary texts and travel literature, and contemporary US popular culture (films, advertising, thrillers, spy novels, romance fiction, etc.). We will also consider the interrelationship between popular cultural representations and the manner in which the Middle East is conceptualized in the academy and in "high culture" in general (e.g., theorized as Orientalism). It is an assumption of the course that a "post colonial" framework is key to interpreting not only the Middle East, but also the “West.” Readings may include: Amin Maalouf,  The Crusades Through Arab Eyes ; Edward Said,  Orientalism  and  Covering Islam ; Zachary Lockman,  Contending Visions of the Middle East ; Jack Shaheen,  Guilty: Hollywood’s Verdict on Arabs ; Linda Khatib,  Filming the Modern Middle East. 

Notes

Session I: May 23 - July 3. Same as MEIS-UA 518.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1239 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SU 2016

Classic Texts and Contemporary Life

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

Syllabus

Description

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

Notes

Session I: May 23 - July 3

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1764 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SU 2016

Media and Global Social Movements

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu
10:00 AM - 1:15 PM
Paula Chakravartty

Syllabus

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

Same as MCC-UE 1826.001. Intensive: May 23 - June 9

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

TRAVL-UG9801 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SU 2016

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

4 units
Rosalind Fredericks

Description

Application: http://gallatin.nyu.edu/utilities/forms/summersaapp.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 urban processes all over the globe. Rejecting the language of crisis, chaos, and exception that is so often used to characterize urbanization in the global South, the course provides theoretically and experientially informed perspectives on the way postcolonial cities work as well as the challenges that remain. Though we will draw on readings from across the global South, the course will focus on the dynamic intersections of development, environment, and social movements in Senegal in light of the country’s particular history, geography, culture, and politics. Specifically, the 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 (the holy city of Senegal's Islamic Mouride Brotherhood) to compare the form and function of these alternative urban development trajectories. Through a combination of course readings, classroom lectures, tours, 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. Within Dakar, day trips will include Gorée Island, the municipal garbage dump, a traditional fishing village, and a hip hop community center. The class will meet daily and field visits will occur throughout the week and on weekends. Through the lectures and field trips, we will be exposed to multiple challenges and approaches to development from a broad variety of actors, including municipal governments, NGOs, and grassroots community-based organizations.

Notes

This three-week travel course goes to Dakar, Senegal, May 24 - June 15. Permission required. For more information and to apply, please click on link to application.

Type

Travel Courses (TRAVL-UG)

IDSEM-UG1640 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
SU 2016

The History of Kindness

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu
10:00 AM - 1:15 PM
Andrew Romig

Description

How have human beings conceived and represented benevolent behavior toward others differently across time and place? In this course, we will explore the history of the concepts, ideals, and behaviors that we associate with the modern English word, "kindness" -- a story that begins in the classical world and unfolds slowly through two millennia into the present day. We will connect ancient debates about human nature, the practice of justice, and moral responsibility, to 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 state-sponsored morality and the ways in which ideals of social welfare have changed over time. Key texts will include Plato's Republic, The Gospel of Matthew, Augustine's City of God, Dhuoda's handbook for her son, Chaucer's Tale of Melibee, Voltaire's Treatise on Tolerance, and Ghandi's The Story of My Experiments with Truth. As part of the course, students will also conduct individual studies of how "kindness" is defined, enacted, and organized throughout the New York metropolitan area today, with the opportunity to combine research with internship work.

Notes

Intensive: May 23 - June 9

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1849 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SU 2016

Black Lives Matter: Race, Resistance and Popular Protest

4 units Tue Thu
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Frank Roberts

Description

The age of the Obama Presidency has been plagued by a number of highly publicized police cases involving the shooting of unarmed black citizens at the hands of law enforcement and/or local vigilantes. In the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown, Vonderrick Myers, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones, and others, the recent #blacklivesmatter movement has emerged largely in response to histories of state sanctioned violence against black and brown bodies. This seminar links the #blacklivesmatter” movement to four broader phenomena: 1) the rise of the U.S. prison industrial complex and the increasing militarization of inner city communities, 2) the role of media in influencing national conversations about race and racism, 3) the state of racial justice activism in the purportedly “post-racial” Obama Presidency, and 4) the increasingly populist nature of decentralized protest movements in the U.S. We will debate and engage with a variety of topics, including the moral ethics of “looting” and riotous forms of protest; violent vs. nonviolent civil disobedience; the media myth of “black on black” crime; coalitional politics and the black feminist and LGBTQ underpinnings of the #blacklivesmatter movement; comparisons between the blacklivesmatter movement and the U.S. civil rights movement; and the dynamics of political protest among the millennial and post-millennial generations. Readings will likely include writings by Cornel West, Michelle Alexander, James Cone, Osaygefo Sekou, Imani Perry, Frederick Harris. Our reading material will also be supplemented by guest speakers and media activists who have played prominent roles in the blacklivesmatter movement.

Notes

Session II: July 5 - August 14

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1239 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SU 2015

Classic Texts and Contemporary Life

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

Description

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

Notes

Session I: May 26 - July 2

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1268 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SU 2015

Cultural Politics of Childhood

4 units Mon Wed
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Patrick McCreery

Description

This interdisciplinary seminar explores children and childhood in the United States from two vantage points—those of public policy makers and of parents. In what ways does public policy shape children’s lives? What historical trends influence the ways that people parent? What happens when parents disagree with laws or conventions regarding how to parent? The first half of the course examines common conceptualizations of the child figure historically and today. While all children possess some universal characteristics that transcend time, place and personal circumstance, we can also understand the contemporary child figure to be a social construction, with “childhood” as we know it emerging as a coherent life stage only in the past few centuries. Public policy—laws about healthcare, education and labor, in particular—have both shaped and responded to these conceptualizations of childhood. The second half of the course examines children as members of families. Just as we can understand the symbolic child figure as a social construction, so we will see that race, class, gender and sexual orientation are key factors influencing the lived experiences of actual children and their parents. Additionally, we will examine how the proscribed “best methods” of child-rearing seem to change continuously—parents who consult various “experts” often receive contradictory advice. Work we may engage include Guggenheim's What's Wrong with Children's Rights? , Lareau's Unequal Childhoods , Solomon's Far from the Tree , and the photography of Sally Mann. By the end of the course, we should have deeper understandings of childhood as a social construction, of the debates surrounding some of the issues that society currently deems relevant to children, and of differing child-rearing practices that parents employ.

Notes

Session II: July 6 - August 14

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1543 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SU 2015

Imagining the Middle East

4 units Tue Thu
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Ali Mirsepassi

Description

This course explores the historical and contemporary representations of the Middle Eastern cultures and societies in the Western imaginary. We will examine shifting representations of the Middle East in pre- and post-enlightenment European political and intellectual discourses, Western literary texts and travel literature, and contemporary US popular culture (films, advertising, thrillers, spy novels, romance fiction, etc.). We will also consider the interrelationship between popular cultural representations and the manner in which the Middle East is conceptualized in the academy and in "high culture" in general (e.g., theorized as Orientalism). It is an assumption of the course that a "post colonial" framework is key to interpreting not only the Middle East, but also the “West.” Readings may include: Amin Maalouf, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes ; Edward Said, Orientalism and Covering Islam ; Zachary Lockman, Contending Visions of the Middle East ; Jack Shaheen, Guilty: Hollywood’s Verdict on Arabs ; Linda Khatib, Filming the Modern Middle East. 

Notes

Same as MEIS-UA 518. Session I: May 26 - July 2

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

TRAVL-UG9350 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SU 2015

Madrid: Faces of the Changing European City

4 units
Gianpaolo Baiocchi

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT N.Y.U. MADRID. This course explores the contemporary history and geography of Madrid, with a focus on recent changes. Compared to just twenty years ago, Madrid, like most European cities, is today more diverse, more interconnected (and subject to more complex governance arrangements), more unequal, more subject to volatile financial investments, and more environmentally vulnerable. This course explores both how residents have experienced these changes and how organized groups and institutions have sought to respond to these challenges.

Notes

This course meets in Madrid, June 27-July 20.

Type

Travel Courses (TRAVL-UG)

IDSEM-UG1486 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SU 2015

Revolucion

4 units Mon Wed
5:30 PM - 8:30 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, 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.

Notes

Session II: July 6 - August 14

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1829 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

The Story of/in Psychoanalysis

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Marissa Dennis

Description

We spend our lives telling stories, listening to other people’s stories, trying desperately to remember a story, wishing we could forget a story, tell a different story. Joan Didion famously begins The White Album : “We tell ourselves stories in order to live….We live entirely…by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images…” But the process of trying to order our lives also has consequences. This course will be an inquiry into one particular type of story: the psychoanalytic story. Of what does this story consist? What role does the unconscious play in storytelling through dreams, distortion, and displacement? What role do dreams play in the stories that we live each day? What role does the analyst’s story play in the tales the patient comes to tell and understand as her own? These are some of the questions we will discuss throughout the semester as we attempt to find ways to talk about the phenomenology of stories that take place both consciously and unconsciously. Our primary texts will be theoretical readings in psychoanalytic theory, primary case material, and stories from psychoanalysts who write about their own internal processes. Readings may include selections from Sigmund Freud, Christopher Bollas, Janet Malcolm, Stephen Grosz, Thomas Ogden, and others.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9353 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

PARIS: What is Technology?

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE IN PARIS: Social transformation and technology cannot be theorized in isolation. The technological, mediological, and digital worlds constitute a part of a shared material culture with profound implications for human experience. In this course, attempt to develop a critical heuristic which maps the topoi of the socio-eco-techno system. Drawing on mediology, ethics, and the French school of the anthropology of techniques, we explore such topoi as a form of “deep” historical sediment and also to understand how our values are negotiated and transformed via our on-going rapport with the technological. Conducted in English.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1380 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2016

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. 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. None of the three cases were simple reflexes of European or North American ideas and politics, although such external factors were among the revolution’s causes and effects. We consider the roles of 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; the 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 and power in 19th century Haiti; Gonzales,  The Mexican Revolution, 1910-1940 ; Pérez Cuba,  Between Reform and Revolution ; Kapcia,  Cuba in Revolution: A History Since the Fifties ; A. Chomsky,  A History of the Cuban Revolution ; Meeks,  Caribbean Revolutions and Revolutionary Theory ; Foran,  Theories of Revolution  and later works.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1771 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

The Promise and Pitfalls of Markets

4 units Mon Wed
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Ngina Chiteji

Description

In his classic text, the Wealth of Nations, the Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith argued that the human propensity to "truck, barter and exchange" would naturally lead to socially optimal outcomes if people were left to trade freely, without any government interference in markets. This idea that a competitive market can lead to efficient outcomes is a central tenet of economic theory today. Moreover, the more general belief that markets know what's best is widely held throughout U.S. society. This course is designed to teach students about what economics has to offer to the analysis of markets and the ways that firms make decisions. It also will include analyses of market outcomes from scholars in disciplines outside economics,  and   some   discussion of firms' ethical obligations .  In its exploration of these topics, the course draws largely on disciplines such as economics, sociology, moral philosophy, and the law.  Readings may include texts such as the following: Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich,  Winner-Take-All Markets by Robert Frank, and The Globalization Paradox by Dani Rodrik .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1729 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
SP 2016

Ancient and Renaissance Festivity: Its Literary, Dramatic and Social Forms

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

Description

This class investigates the role of festive custom and holiday release, and the kinds of performance and literary form that they enable or frustrate, in ancient Greece and Rome, and in Renaissance Europe, with a 20th century postlude. Why does festivity sometimes lead to political revolt and at other times does not? Why does the "carnivalesque" often include festive abuse as well as celebration? We look at theories of festivity and release, at the dionysiac, at the human/animal union in festivity, and at the role of the classical period in shaping Renaissance and even modern ideas of festivity, irony and the festive worship of the gods. We also explore the effect of the Protestant suppression of festive holiday and theatricality in Shakespeare’s England, and at the tensions inherent in festivity between excess and moderation, between the saturnalia and the philosophical symposium. The class begins with classical festivity, with Plato's “Symposium,” Euripides'  The Bacchae , selections from Ovid's  Fasti  and the  Metamorphoses , and Apuleius'  Golden Ass . Readings from the Renaissance include: Rabelais,  Gargantua and Pantagruel ; Shakespeare,  A Midsummer Night’s Dream ,  1 Henry IV; Twelfth Night, Antony and Cleopatra,   The Winter’s Tale.  Concluding with carnival practices in the circum-Atlantic world, we take as examples the film  Black Orpheus  ( Orfeu Negro , directed by Marcel Camus), New Orleans carnival and Jazz Funerals, and probably Paule Marshall’s novel  The Chosen Place, the Timeless People  (1969) in order to see how these older traditions shape modern experience. We will end in 1968 in Greenwich Village with Richard Schechner’s Dionysus in 69.

Notes

Open to sophomores and juniors. Seniors require permission of the instructor (susanne.wofford@nyu.edu). Same as ENGL-UA 252 003.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1488 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2016

Antigone

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

Syllabus

Description

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

Notes

Course meets during the first seven weeks only, First Class: January 27; Last Class: March 9.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1466 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

The Philosophy and Welfare Politics of Distributional Justice

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

Syllabus

Description

Are the outcomes of capitalist exchanges fair or unfair? Is capitalism supportive or detrimental to democratic virtues? Does the welfare state rectify the problems of capitalism or exacerbate them? John Rawls’ work  A Theory of Justice  has greatly shaped these considerations of the welfare state. His theory refined many of the debates concerning the fairness of capitalist economic outcomes and the effects capital accumulation has on democratic virtues. According to Rawls, the welfare state in some form was necessary for capitalism to have morally acceptable outcomes. But, critics of Rawls have called into question welfare state interventions, many finding them economically inefficient and detrimental to democratic virtues. Other critics have founds Rawls’ theory to be too limited in its impact, thereby supporting more extensive interventions into capital accumulation. In this course we will try to answer questions about the morality of capitalist accumulation by studying theoretical conceptions of Rawls’ work and the responses of his critics. The main texts of Rawls’ critics we will consider are Nozick’s  Distributive Justice  and Cohen's  Rescuing Justice and Equality . These theoretical conceptions will be contrasted with the case studies contained in Esping-Andersen’s  The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1651 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2016

From Memory to Myth: The Mighty Charlemagne

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

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-UG1628 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Think Big: Global Issues and Ecological Solutions

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

Syllabus

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

Sect 002 for Environmental Studies majors.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1518 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2016

Globalization: Promises and Discontents

4 units Thu
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Ritty Lukose

Syllabus

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1521 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2016

Political Theology

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

Syllabus

Description

This course explores the idea of "political theology." In conventional interpretations, the concept has suggested that forms of political rule are anchored in or justified by divine revelation, god's law, or a scripture that enshrines them. Commentators thereby infer a politics from a scripture that they read didactically. But many political theorists have interpreted political theology more broadly, to suggest that collective and personal life is always anchored in a form of faith, including faith in reason, or secularism or democracy. In addition, because no faith (or scripture) is self-evident in what it means and entails, people interpret and practice "theology" in deeply divergent ways, even within the same ostensible faith. Politics thus involves the practice of reading or interpretation, as well as judging and mediating conflict both within and among a variety of faiths. To explore how issues of interpretation and conflict relate faith, self-formation, and politics, we read closely but "against the grain" in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian gospels, while also exploring seminal modern commentaries. The modern readings may include: Kierkergaard,  Fear and Trembling;  Schmitt,  Political Theology  and  The Concept of the Political ; Dostoevsky, "The Grand Inquisitor;" Nietzsche,  Thus Spake Zarathustra , as well as work by William Blake, Allen Ginsberg, James Baldwin, and contemporary political theorists.

Notes

Open to sophomores only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG9050 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2016

ACCRA: Cocoa and Gold: Ghana’s Development in Global Perspective

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE AT NYU-ACCRA. This course explores Ghana’s development from the colonial era to the recent postcolonial period, providing an interdisciplinary history that is attentive to political economy, social relations, geography, and politics as they congeal throughout Ghana’s development. Key historical moments will include the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the colonial era in light of their attendant reconfigurations of land, labor, and natural resources—as well as landscapes of power and politics. In the postcolonial period, the course will examine the central epochs in the country’s development trajectory in relation to its rich political history and shifting global discourses of development and geopolitics. This will include a focus on dynamics such as Asian investment, urbanization, international development aid, and the discovery of oil. The goal of the course is to explore theories and debates on development through deep engagement, using Ghana as a sort of intensive case study. Ghana’s specific development trajectory will in turn be located alongside that of wider Africa and the global South, and alongside development debates and discourses whenever possible. Field trips will include visits to sites such as local gold mines and cocoa fields.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1821 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Democracy and Difference

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Rosanne Kennedy

Syllabus

Description

This seminar focuses on what political theorists call "democratic theory," which addresses the defining institutions, cultural meaning, inherent difficulties, and contemporary crisis of specifically "democratic" forms of political life. We begin by reviewing classical and contemporary formulations of what democracy is, for what can be called liberal, deliberative, communitarian, and agonistic approaches entail very definitions of democracy, contrasting senses of its dangers and possibilities, as well as divergent visions of citizenship and public life, political culture and modernity. Then we consider these approaches in relation to the issue of  difference:  how do they explain and address the persistence of racialized and gendered forms of inequality in regimes committed to formal and legal equality? Why are formally democratic societies typically characterized by intense struggle over issues of identity and difference, not only race, gender, and sexuality, but also immigration? Our seminar concludes by exploring the relation between democratic regimes and empire, state violence, and national security: how does "democracy" become the name for a regime engaged in permanent war, torture, surveillance of citizens, and suspension of civil liberties?

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1299 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Objectivity and the Politics of the Journalism Revolution

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

Syllabus

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, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, and Ben Bagdikian.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1468 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Psychoanalysis and the Visual

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

Description

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

Notes

Same as ARTH-UA 850 004.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1359 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

American Capitalism in the Twentieth Century

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 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.

Notes

Same as HIST-UA 699 001.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1877 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

An Analysis of Leadership: Drinking the Kool-Aid

4 units Mon Wed
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Benjamin Brooks

Syllabus

Description

What is leadership? The calls for more "leadership" and the need for "better" leaders are refrains used with great frequency in the public sphere, but with very little substantive understanding of what the callers are actually seeking. What do we mean by a word that is applied to both Adolf Hitler and Martin Luther King Jr.? Is leadership a unique set of traits ordained from birth that resides within the individual? Is leadership a set of skills that any individual can develop? Is it an ethical stance or only calculated by action and result? Is the role of leader assigned or is it fluid and meritocratic? Does leadership even reside within an individual or is it a relationship between individuals in a group context? This course will not give students a blueprint to becoming an effective leader, but will instead use case studies to critically interrogate what we mean when we talk about leadership. We will explore the contextual and dynamic nature of leadership, and concepts commonly related to leadership, such as culture, race, gender, charisma, competence, decision-making, trust, ethics, and power. The cases we analyze include Hitler's rise to power in Nazi Germany, Jim Jones's People's Temple, Edward Snowden's leaking of NSA files, the rise and fall of Enron, Hillary Clinton's past and present runs for the presidency, the treatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib, and Rudy Giuliani's actions as mayor before and after 9/11.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1867 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
SP 2016

Global Noodles: Silk Routes & Subway Connections

4 units
Section 003
Thu
4:55 PM - 6:10 PM

Syllabus

Description

Is this just an excuse to eat lots of noodles. Yes, it is! This basic research course is immersive education in the most delicious, fully embodied sensate, and legal way possible. Along the way, you’ll learn about the secret ingredient to noodle making, the oldest noodle, Italian or Chinese?, and what Genghis Khan did for modernity. And yes this course is also historical and sopping in critical cultural theory, you can tell your parents, as a way to learn about cross-cultural communication challenges, intermingled spaces, and embodied knowledges and practices. We will examine the historical and ongoing impacts of the silk route latitudinal and longitudinal movements throughout Central Asia on the vernacular cultures of global cities, such as the migrant friendly neighborhoods New York City. Part of what is unarticulated yet implied by global cities is the compression of longue durees of times/spaces in one distinctive time/space. Besides slurping for mouth feel, understanding family broth recipes, and storytelling practices, we’ll be documenting, making, analyzing, and appreciating the worlds of noodle practices and conveying our collaborative findings using the latest in mapping apps. Readings and films will include: work by Chef Ken Hom, histories by Morris Rossabi, Jared Diamond and Jack Weatherford, food and affect studies, and the use of CartoDB mapping software. Prerequisites – still loving  Tampopo  (1985) after three viewings, having comfy but stylish walking shoes, and purchasing two monthly Metro Cards.

Notes

Same as SCA-UA 380 003.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1867 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
SP 2016

Global Noodles: Silk Routes & Subway Connections

4 units
Section 002
Tue
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM

Syllabus

Description

Is this just an excuse to eat lots of noodles. Yes, it is! This basic research course is immersive education in the most delicious, fully embodied sensate, and legal way possible. Along the way, you’ll learn about the secret ingredient to noodle making, the oldest noodle, Italian or Chinese?, and what Genghis Khan did for modernity. And yes this course is also historical and sopping in critical cultural theory, you can tell your parents, as a way to learn about cross-cultural communication challenges, intermingled spaces, and embodied knowledges and practices. We will examine the historical and ongoing impacts of the silk route latitudinal and longitudinal movements throughout Central Asia on the vernacular cultures of global cities, such as the migrant friendly neighborhoods New York City. Part of what is unarticulated yet implied by global cities is the compression of longue durees of times/spaces in one distinctive time/space. Besides slurping for mouth feel, understanding family broth recipes, and storytelling practices, we’ll be documenting, making, analyzing, and appreciating the worlds of noodle practices and conveying our collaborative findings using the latest in mapping apps. Readings and films will include: work by Chef Ken Hom, histories by Morris Rossabi, Jared Diamond and Jack Weatherford, food and affect studies, and the use of CartoDB mapping software. Prerequisites – still loving  Tampopo  (1985) after three viewings, having comfy but stylish walking shoes, and purchasing two monthly Metro Cards.

Notes

Same as SCA-UA 380 002.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1867 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
SP 2016

Global Noodles: Silk Routes & Subway Connections

4 units Tue Thu
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Jack Tchen

Syllabus

Description

Is this just an excuse to eat lots of noodles. Yes, it is! This basic research course is immersive education in the most delicious, fully embodied sensate, and legal way possible. Along the way, you’ll learn about the secret ingredient to noodle making, the oldest noodle, Italian or Chinese?, and what Genghis Khan did for modernity. And yes this course is also historical and sopping in critical cultural theory, you can tell your parents, as a way to learn about cross-cultural communication challenges, intermingled spaces, and embodied knowledges and practices. We will examine the historical and ongoing impacts of the silk route latitudinal and longitudinal movements throughout Central Asia on the vernacular cultures of global cities, such as the migrant friendly neighborhoods New York City. Part of what is unarticulated yet implied by global cities is the compression of longue durees of times/spaces in one distinctive time/space. Besides slurping for mouth feel, understanding family broth recipes, and storytelling practices, we’ll be documenting, making, analyzing, and appreciating the worlds of noodle practices and conveying our collaborative findings using the latest in mapping apps. Readings and films will include: work by Chef Ken Hom, histories by Morris Rossabi, Jared Diamond and Jack Weatherford, food and affect studies, and the use of CartoDB mapping software. Prerequisites – still loving  Tampopo  (1985) after three viewings, having comfy but stylish walking shoes, and purchasing two monthly Metro Cards.

Notes

Same as SCA-UA 380 001. In order to register, students enroll in the lecture, IDSEM-UG 1867 001, and then select one of the recitations, IDSEM-UG 1867 002 or IDSEM-UG 1867 003.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1695 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
SP 2016

Competing Images of the Sage: Confucius and Lao Tzu

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

Syllabus

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-UG1641 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

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-UG1116 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2016

Fate and Free Will in the Epic Tradition

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

Syllabus

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-UG1862 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2016

Oedipus the King

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

Syllabus

Description

Oedipus: exemplary citizen or outlier? Savior of the city or its destroyer? Upholder or suspender of the law (including the law of kinship)? As a meditation on kingship as well as kinship, Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannos, first produced in the fifth century BCE, offers a complex Oedipus, if not, perhaps, an Oedipus complex. Sophocles' meditation on the polis, law, family, knowledge, the structure of mind, desire, and the disease in and of state has proved especially rich for philosophers, psychoanalysts, and theater artists: the play also famously provides the core example for Aristotle's meditation on tragedy in the Poetics. We will explore the OT as tragedy, as resource, as example and exception.

Notes

Some prior familiarity with Greek drama required, or permission of the instructor (laura.slatkin@nyu.edu). Course meets during the first seven weeks only, First Class: January 26; Last Class: March 8.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1202 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
SP 2016

Tragic Visions

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

Syllabus

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 Aeschylus, 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 around gender, power, fate, free will, and the origins and evolution of tragedy as a literary and political genre. Readings might include, for example, Aeschylus', Agamemnon; Sophocles' Antigone or Oedipus; Euripides' Medea, as well as Shakespearean tragedies such as Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, or King Lear. Special attention is paid to performance, and we will also attend a performance.

Notes

Same as MEDI-UA 992 001.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1313 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Ethics for Dissenters

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

Syllabus

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 half 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;" and (7) getting beyond dead-end debate on idealism/realism, egotism/altruism, objectivism/relativism.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1772 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2016

Music and Civic Culture: Ancient and Modern

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

Syllabus

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 Ring cycle of music-dramas 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 and with New York City (e.g., John Cage, Steve Reich, La Monte Young, Yoko Ono, The Velvet Underground), in dialogue with our earlier readings.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1864 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Museums as Sites of Social Change

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

Description

Although traditionally viewed as storage houses for the past, many museums today see themselves as active agents of change and social progress. Museums can act as conveners and catalysts to engage a wide range of issues, from political stances to social justice issues to environmental concerns. But what happens when museums move from a static, neutral stance of reflecting society, to one that actively asserts its views and initiates social progress? How can museums maintain the public’s trust and support while engaging with issues that may be charged, or even controversial? Through a range of case studies and guest experts, we will examine how museums are embracing their role as sites for social change.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1567 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
or GLOBAL
SP 2016

The Arabian Nights

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1843 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Psychoanalysis Beyond Freud

4 units Mon Wed
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Nina Cornyetz

Syllabus

Description

This course looks beyond Sigmund Freud to the expansion of psychoanalytic studies in a sampling of diverse fields of application and engagement, as well as some later psychoanalytic schools. We will ask: how have theorists expanded psychoanalytic methodologies to think about semiotics, visual, literary and historical studies, as well as race, politics and more? We will also explore how later psychoanalytic schools modified Freud’s drive-based therapy with object relations and ego psychology. Readings will include selections from Melanie Klein, Jacques Lacan, Slavoj Zizek and Kaja Silverman, among others.

Notes

Prerequisite IDSEM–UG 1839 or permission of the instructor (nina.cornyetz@nyu.edu).

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9402 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2016

PRAGUE: Civil Resistance in Central and Eastern Europe

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1342 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Language, Globalization, and the Self

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

Syllabus

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-UG9250 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

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-UG9353 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

PARIS: What is Technology?

4 units

Description

THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE IN PARIS: Social transformation and technology cannot be theorized in isolation. The technological, mediological, and digital worlds constitute a part of a shared material culture with profound implications for human experience. In this course, attempt to develop a critical heuristic which maps the topoi of the socio-eco-techno system. Drawing on mediology, ethics, and the French school of the anthropology of techniques, we explore such topoi as a form of “deep” historical sediment and also to understand how our values are negotiated and transformed via our on-going rapport with the technological. Conducted in English.

Type

Global Programs (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1851 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Politics of Protection and Global Governance

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Diana Anders

Syllabus

Description

The course explores new modes of global governance linked to the emergence of an international politics of protection in various forms. This burgeoning and multivalent political form is said to have colonized contemporary international political debates, and is rooted in the conviction that the international community has an ethical responsibility to protect those most in need, especially victims of political violence, poverty, health epidemics and natural disasters. The politics of protection is intimately bound up with contemporary humanitarianism, and at times is used to justify military intervention in cases of flagrant breaches of human rights norms. But what forms of power might this politics give rise to, authorize, delimit, and preclude? To what extent does the politics of protection signal an incarnation of empire? In what ways might it open up new possibilities for democracy? The course sets out to question whether and when political interventions in the name of “protection” can provide the intended humanitarian relief or security they promise. Close attention will be paid to the ways this mode of governance may produce new forms of regulation, vulnerability, and victimization for the very subjects it sets out to help. Class discussions and assignments will be structured around assigned texts from an array of disciplines (political theory, anthropology, international law, and psychology, for ex.) Possible case studies we will explore include: the so-called “humanitarian bombing” of Kosovo, the “Save Darfur” campaign, “the War on Terror” and Guantanamo, environmental treaties to counter global warming, programs to stop the spread of Ebola in Africa, asylum policies in France, peacekeeping missions in the Congo, and transnational anti-trafficking campaigns, to name a few. Readings will look at regional, national, and transnational instantiations of the global politics of protection, and will include works by Michel Foucault, Anne Orford, Nicola Perugini and Neve Gordon, Didier Fassin, Mahmood Mamdami, Miriam Ticktin, Eyal Weisman, and Kofi Annan, among others.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1858 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2016

Couture Culture: Sexual Politics on the Runway

4 units Thu
6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Elena Wang

Description

The global high fashion industry is a crucial site of cultural production. This course focuses on contemporary European and American high fashion to explore how clothes as well as bodies are produced and valued on the runways of New York, London, Milan and Paris. We will consider the roles and meanings of body and gender through the runway spectacle, taking the model’s laboring body as our point of departure. Drawing on a diverse array of popular and academic sources, this course places into dialogue the material and representational dimensions of high fashion. Critical and feminist literature will help us read recent films, autobiographies and journalistic accounts of high fashion that examine the industry from the inside. The course also incorporates psychology and psychoanalysis to enrich our discussions and student writing. Texts include Young’s  On Female Body Experience ,   Bauman’s  Wasted Lives , and Freud’s seminal 1917 essay, “Mourning and Melancholia”.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)