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Found 484 courses
IDSEM-UG1664 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
FA 2011

Omens and Oracles: Reading the Future and Retaining the Past in Early China

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1664

Description

When ancient Chinese kings seared sacred bones with elemental fire, reading the future from the resulting cracks went hand in hand with creating archival records to preserve the past. In this class, we will explore several interrelated early Chinese divination traditions through classical texts, archaeology, and recently excavated manuscripts. In all cases we will pay attention to the complex interplay between past, present, and future, including aspects of the history of writing, the history of the book, and the interwoven histories of science and religion. After starting with a discussion of the above-mentioned oracle bones, we will proceed to examine the enigmatic Yijing ( Book of Changes ), the earliest and most revered of all the Chinese classics. Then we will consider a popularization of divination practices in the form of almanacs that circulated widely in ancient China. Students can expect to try their hands at the actual practice of the various divination techniques covered, but most class time will be used to engage important themes arising from our investigations, Readings may include: The Ancestral Landscape: Time, Space, and Community in Late Shang China (Ca. 1200-1045 B.C.) by David Keightley, Oracle Bones: A Journey Through Time in China by Peter Hessler, the Yijing ( Book of Changes ), selections from The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 B.C ., and select scholarly articles.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1351 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
or GLOBAL
FA 2011

Passion and Poetics in Early Japan

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1351

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Environment and Development in Africa

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1648

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1359 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

American Capitalism in the Twentieth Century

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 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 112 001.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1527 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

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-UG1313 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

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.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1643 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Law and Legal Thought

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

Description

This class is aimed at introducing students to law and social theory through focused engagement with diverse areas of law - from property law to labor law. Paying particular attention to critical traditions in law and social thought in the United States, we will study legal realism, critical legal studies, critical race law and feminist legal studies. This course will examine the relationship between legal institutions and social justice from many different angles and try to develop critical tools with which to approach every day legal debates. How do different understandings of gender offer alternative trajectories for anti-discrimination law? What is the role of judges and courts in a democracy? In addition to reading legal scholars and social theorists, the course will also draw on films that reproduce or contest different understandings of law and society. Readings will include Roberto Unger, Duncan Kennedy, Michel Foucault, Martha Minow, Austin Sarat, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Karl Klare, John Locke, Margaret Radin, Joe Singer, Nancy Fraser, Richard Ford, Karl Marx and Patricia Williams.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1573 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

The New American Society

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1513 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

New Deal Liberalism: Its Rise and Fall

4 units Fri
11:00 AM - 1:45 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-UG1342 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

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 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, 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)

IDSEM-UG1116 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2011

Fate and Free Will in the Epic Tradition

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1593 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2011

Barbarians: Ancient Conceptions of the Outsider

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

Description

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

Notes

Formerly titled "Cultural Others in the Ancient World."

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1626 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

The Communication Revolutions

4 units Wed
2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
Paul Thaler

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1300 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Militaries and Militarization

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1144 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

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. 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-UG1552 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2011

Sociology of Religion: Islam and the Modern World

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1552

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1093 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

The Enlightenment and Its Legacy

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1093

Description

The Enlightenment, the 18-century cultural and intellectual movement in the West, has had a lasting influence on our present values and political thought. Reason, freedom, skepticism, critical thought, progress - and even democracy - are values and commitments we have inherited from this era. In order to specify the thought of this period (as well as debates and disagreements), we will first read various authors of the Enlightenment, including Montesquieu, Rousseau, Kant, and Wollstonecraft. In the second part of the course we will turn to the legacy of the Enlightenment. We will consider the doubts and critiques that have arisen. For example, Nietzsche and Freud (and psychoanalysis) have questioned the primacy of reason in both individual and collective action; Adorno and Foucault have questioned the ethics of political rationalism; and recent feminists have noted the paradoxes of the Enlightenment's rather narrow and implicitly gendered view of equality and citizenship. Do such criticisms alter our view of the basic tenets of Enlightenment thought? Or, on the contrary, might we read them as continuing the "spirit of critique" inaugurated by the thought of the 18th century?

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1656 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Environmental Psychology: Place and Behavior

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Meredith Theeman

Description

Environmental Psychology examines the intersections between behavior, mood, place and space. We will define "environment" and learn about the ways in which environments can impact our behavior, beliefs, and feelings. Does living in an urban place change the way you act in public? How can city planning impact the way you commute from home to school? Can exposure to a garden help you recover from surgery? When you are sick, can where you live impact how your symptoms are treated? This class will examine these questions related to natural and built environments by incorporating the theoretical perspectives and research methodologies of Ecology, Environmental Psychology, Geography, Physiology, and Sociology. Topics may include attachment to place, the concept of "home", the benefits of being outside, institutional spaces (e.g., schools, jails, and hospitals), privacy, and navigation. Readings may include: Benjamin, Arcades Project; Gibson, The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception; Kaplan & Kaplan, The Experience of Nature; Lynch, The Image of the City; Nasar, The Evaluative Image of the City; Thoreau, Walden; and Wilson, Biophilia.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1398 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Birth Control: Population, Politics and Power

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1398

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)

IDSEM-UG1475 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

American Politics After 9/11: Empire, Race and Democracy

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1475

Description

The central goal of this course is to examine the relationship between democracy and empire that is displayed repeatedly in history: the Athenian polis, the Roman republic, and parliamentary Great Britain professed democratic principles and practiced imperial politics. We will focus on this paradoxical relationship in the American case. Partly, we ask theoretical questions, to explore what we count as "imperial" forms of power, and to trace how "empire" is internal (or "at home") and not only external (or "abroad"). Partly, we ask historical questions to relate democratic principles, exclusionary practices, and national expansion in American history. Have forms of imperial power (and their justification) changed over time? In what ways do citizens knowingly authorize or allow imperial politics? How have anti-imperial voices justified themselves? Partly, we assess post-9/11 politics to explore how the "war on terror” is related to historic white supremacy and a hundred years of anxiety about aliens and communism. In turn, how is the emergence of Obama (and also the Tea Party Movement) related to issues of imperial power? Have we entered a “crisis of the republic,” and if so, what is to be done? Readings may include Hannah Arendt, Imperialism and Crises of the Republic; J.M. Coetze, Waiting for the Barbarians; Margaret Atwood, Handmaid's Tale;   Allan Ginsberg, Wichita Vortex Sutra ; Norman Mailer, Armies of the Night and Why Are We In Vietnam?;   Judith Butler, Precarious Life; Talal Asad, On Suicide Bombing ;   recent essays by political theorists about post-9/ll politics.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1055 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Struggle for the Word: History of Media I

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1055

Description

The history of the media is the history of struggle, a battle waged over words and images: who produces them, who has access to them, and whose interests are served by them. Beginning with the Bible and moving through plays and popular song; pamphlets, penny press and advertisements; this course will use the history of the printed word to explore enduring questions of power and culture. Readings will range from Genesis and Plato to the forced confessions of a barely literate sixteenth-century miller, Thomas Jefferson to Frederick Douglass, slave songs to early newspapers, and writings of public relations impresarios like Edward Bernays to the words of the novelist James Joyce.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1381 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Creative Democracy: The Pragmatist Tradition

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1381

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1258 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2011

Ancient Theatre and Its Influences

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1258

Description

What role did the theater play in the civic life of ancient Greece? How did Greek drama address vital social and political issues? Does Greek drama serve as a useful paradigm for exploring contemporary theater? Through our readings, we will explore Greek theater as a live space of social action, representing conflicts between the claims of family and state, between male and female, between traditional values and emergent democratic concerns. We will examine Greek drama's relation to religion (e.g. sacrifice, lament, festival), to law (e.g. courtroom proceedings, punishment), and to civic debate. We will discuss both how plays were produced and the theories of drama they inspired. Building on our investigation of the Greek 'case', we will turn our attention to Roman drama and to selected works of the modern theater. Readings may include Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Menander; Plautus, Seneca; Racine, Sartre, Fugard.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Imagining India: From the Colonial to the Global

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1555

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1587 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

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

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

Description

Can a yoga pose be considered “private property?” Who owns the genetic sequences found in your DNA? What are the rights of an author/artist and how do those rights overlap with the rights of the community to engage with works of art? What is the significance of the “public domain” and the “cultural commons” in a free-market economy? In this course, we will deepen our understanding of the cultural and ethical implications of copyright, trademark and patent law by placing the concepts of ownership and authorship in both historical and global context. In addition to scholarly essays drawn from the fields of history, legal studies, anthropology and sociology, this course will also draw on a range of texts from the visual arts, music, and literature. Course requirements include a research essay, research-based creative projects and in-class presentations. Texts studied may include Peñalver’s Property Outlaws , Coombe’s The Cultural Life of Intellectual Properties . Visual and audio sources from Girl Talk, Negativeland, DJ Spooky and Joy Garnett may also be included.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1527 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

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-UG1419 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
FA 2011

Primary Texts: Plato and Machiavelli on Philosophy and Politics

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1419

Description

This course compares Plato’s Republic to Machiavelli’s two great texts, The Prince and The Discourses. Our goal is two-fold. On the one hand we learn the art of close reading to reveal the complex and contradictory layers of meaning in a text. On the other hand, we introduce the enterprise of political theory by exploring two of the greatest (and apparently antithetical) thinkers about politics. For Plato, philosophy seems to provide standards of judgment and order in politics: human life can flourish only if rulers gain philosophic knowledge of justice. He thus consigns political life, and the “mere” opinions of those who inhabit it to a “cave” which can be escape (and ruled) only by those who pursue philosophy. In contrast, Machiavelli denies that philosophic truth is relevant to politics: we do not need to leave “the cave” of the political world, for we can produce forms of order and standards of justice through political life itself. If he seems to embrace the moral dilemmas, contingency, and risk that Plato seems to avoid by turning to philosophy, it is no wonder he has been cast as a corrupt even “evil” figure! To stage a conversation between Plato and Machiavelli, therefore, is to confront the fundamental questions about politics: what is the nature of power? What is justice? What is the best form of regime? How is myth and art related to political life? Is force or fraud ever justified? What characterizes human excellence? In what consists human freedom? We pursue these questions by focusing on primary texts, but also by reading essays about the contemporary stakes of their arguments. This class is limited in enrollment to sophomores.

Notes

Open to sophomores only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1660 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2011

The Concept of Race in Society and History

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1660

Description

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

Notes

Same as SOC-UA 970 002.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1541 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2011

Divine Indifference

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1541

Description

Do the gods care about human beings? Is history providentially guided? Is there divine retribution after death? Or is god indifferent to human well-being? In this course we explore how different views of the divine are related to such themes as human freedom, happiness, despair, justice, and nihilism. We begin with works by Solon and Sophocles to set forth the traditional view of Greek piety and observe how it begins to be questioned. We then turn to the Epicurean tradition, to assess the impact of its view of god's indifference. We will conclude by considering two questions: What is at stake in the contrast between Epicurean theology and the Christian teaching of a philanthropic god who dies for human sins? To what degree does ancient Epicureanism serve as the foundation for the modern critique of Christianity? The key texts will be Sophocles' Oedipus Rex , Lucretius' On the Nature of Things , Spinoza's Ethics , and Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1470 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2011

(Re) Imagining Latin America

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

Description

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

Notes

Open to sophomores only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1609 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2011

Dante's World

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1609

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1651 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2011

From Memory to Myth: The Mighty Charlemagne

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1651

Description

In this course students will explore historical memory, mythmaking, and the myriad ways in which human beings construct and reconstruct the past to address present hopes, dreams, and fears. Our case study will be the Frankish Emperor Charlemagne (d. 814), who in life helped to lay the foundations of modern European society, and in death would continue to represent an imagined pan-European unity that predated factionalism, regionalism, and nationalism. The seminar will begin in the ninth century with Charlemagne in memory before moving briskly forward in time to study Charlemagne in legend and myth. Along the way, we will discuss themes and problems of particular relevance, including the birth of “Europe,” the advent of “the state,” Christianity and Crusade, the rise of vernacular literature, and early colonialism. In addition to theoretical works on memory, myth, and history-writing, texts for discussion will include a vibrant mix of canonical and lesser-known gems: Einhard’s Life of Charlemagne, The Song of Roland , and Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso ; but also the Astronomer’s Life of Louis the Pious , The Voyage of Charlemagne to Jerusalem and Constantinople , and the anonymous Charlemagne play from the London of Shakespeare and Marlowe.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1337 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Beyond the Invisible Hand: The History of Economic Thought

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1636 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2011

The Political Economy of Development

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Yellow Peril

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

Description

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

Notes

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Postcolonial African Cities

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1641 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Health and Human Rights in the World Community

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1539 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
SP 2011

Travel Classics

2 units Tue Thu
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Steve Hutkins

Description

Modern tourism begins in the eighteenth century with the Grand Tour---the rite-of-passage, "study abroad" experience of young aristocrats. This course focuses on the literature of travel before tourism, from the ancient world of Homer and Herodotus to the Renaissance explorations of the New World. We focus on several classics of travel writing, with attention to the conventions of the genre, the influence of myth and hero literature on the traveler’s tale, the Old World’s encounter with the New, and the many social and political questions raised by travel. Readings may include selections from Homer’s Odyssey , Herodotus’ History of the Persian Wars , Travels of Marco Polo, The Travels of Ibn Battuta , Sir John Mandeville’s Travels , The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus, The Narrative of Cabeza de Vaca , and Shakespeare’s The Tempest .

Notes

Course meets 1/25 - 3/10 only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1632 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

"Woman" and the Political

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1306 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Critical Social Theory: The Predicament of Modernity

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1747 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SU 2013

Global Bioethics

4 units Tue Thu
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Allen Keller

Description

According to the philosopher Peter A. Singer, “Global bioethics seeks to identify key ethical problems faced by the world's six billion inhabitants and envisages solutions that transcend national borders and cultures.” In this course, we examine the emerging field of global bioethics, addressing questions such as: What bioethical concerns do the world’s populations share in common? What are the opportunities and challenges to establishing a common moral framework for addressing bioethical concerns worldwide? Are cultural and geographic variations of ethical concerns and means for addressing them inevitable and perhaps appropriate? We will explore the historical context, principles and practices of bioethics and global health, as well as their interrelationships. Other issues that we will discuss in this seminar include the social determinants of health, human rights, research ethics, HIV/AIDS, ethical issues at the end of life, and emergency/disaster relief. Throughout the course we will utilize case studies to compare and contrast bioethical dilemmas locally, nationally and internationally. Students will learn and apply a stepwise approach for conducting ethical analysis. Class activities will include simulated clinical bioethics committees, research ethics review committees as well as policy analysis and recommendations. Course readings will include scholarly articles and chapters from the medical and social science literature such as public health, political science and philosophy. Additionally, we will read from selected works of fiction that can inform and enrich our discussion of global bioethics including Camus’ The Plague and Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness .

Notes

Session II: July 8 - August 16

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1403 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SU 2013

The Global Neighborhoods of Downtown Manhattan

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu
10:00 AM - 1:30 PM
René Francisco Poitevin

Description

This course explores the ‘global city’ of New York from the standpoint of three downtown Manhattan neighborhoods: the Lower East Side, Chinatown, and SoHo (South of Houston.) What are the historical and political roots of these communities? What are the social and global economic forces shaping their identity, from architecture and public space to labor markets and community organizing? How is gentrification—and the subprime housing crisis—transforming them? Through lectures, films, theory, literature, and walking-tours of each of these three neighborhoods, students will gain a firsthand understanding of the idiosyncrasies and struggles that make New York City such an unique place.

Notes

Three-week Intensive: May 28 - June 14

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1403 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
WI 2013

The Global Neighborhoods of Downtown Manhattan

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu
10:00 AM - 1:30 PM
René Francisco Poitevin

Description

This course explores the ‘global city’ of New York from the standpoint of three downtown Manhattan neighborhoods: the Lower East Side, Chinatown, and SoHo (South of Houston.) What are the historical and political roots of these communities? What are the social and global economic forces shaping their identity, from architecture and public space to labor markets and community organizing? How is gentrification—and the subprime housing crisis—transforming them? Through lectures, films, theory, literature, and walking-tours of each of these three neighborhoods, students gain a firsthand understanding of the idiosyncrasies and struggles that make New York City such an unique place.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1239 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SU 2011

Classic Texts and Contemporary Life

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1239

Description

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

Notes

Session I: May 23-July 1.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1628 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Think Big: Global Issues and Ecological Solutions

4 units Wed
3:30 PM - 6:10 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-UG1611 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
FA 2011

Past As Prelude: Thinking Historically

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

Description

In a much-remarked campaign speech on race relations, then-candidate Barack Obama drew on Faulkner to remind Americans of the continuing legacies of racism in the US: “the past is never dead,” he noted, “it’s not even past.” In doing so Obama called upon a familiar trope in critical thought, that history is just as dynamic and elusive as the present, each one (past and present) continuously shaping and informing the other. This begs the question: what is history? What does it mean to think historically, to understand history not as an array of facts but as process, not as a field of study but as a sensibility, as a way to analyze the world around us? This course is designed for students seeking to add meaningful historical dimensions to their concentrations. We begin by surveying conventional approaches to historical analysis, from Herodotus to Hegel to Marx to Benjamin. Then we draw from Nietzsche, Foucault, Hayden White, and Michel-Rolph Trouillot to consider how history is constructed, used, and misused. We will then examine how jurists, anthropologists, novelists, sociologists, and human rights activists think historically to inform and deepen their craft, reading from Tolstoy, Justices Breyer and Scalia, Eric Wolf, Charles Payne, and Daniel Wilkinson. We end with workshops that consider what it would mean to think historically about your own concentrations. What kinds of questions and materials would you include as you prepare for your rationale, booklist, colloquium, and ultimately, life after NYU, armed with a sense of history?

Notes

Same as HIST-UA 275 001.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1299 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Objectivity and the Politics of the Journalism Revolution

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1299

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1193 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Culture as Communication

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1193

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1197 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or GLOBAL
FA 2011

Narratives of African Civilizations

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1197

Description

African civilizations speak to us as much through monumental edifices, visual artifacts, sign systems, oral tradition, and films as they do through alphabetic texts. In their varied expressions, these societies, ancient and contemporary, present us with new ways of knowing. When we encounter these social imaginations through their multiple texts, the experience is reflexive, double-imaged, because of the complex interaction of the perceptions of Africa with the West’s own image of itself. Texts may include hieroglyphics, architectural symbolism, music, visual art, epics, folktales and proverbs, cosmologies and rituals (such as the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead), The Epic of Sundiata (which explores medieval Ghana and Mali), and the society of the Dogon and its extraordinary cosmology. African modernist art and writing will also be represented, through novels like Conde’s Segu and Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions, and films like Keita, Finzan and Ceddo. Using ideas both ancient (African Cosmology of the Bantu-Kongo by Fu-Kiau) and contemporary (In Search of Africa by Manthia Diawara), African civilizations will speak through their own words.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1666 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2011

Dangerous and Intermingled I: WASP New York

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

Description

In the world of fundamentalists, intermingled New York has and still represents the epitome of danger and evil about the American experiment—the public mixture of classes, genders, races, sexualities, spiritualisms, and the

Notes

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Three Revolutions: Haiti, Mexico, Cuba

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

The Birth of the World: The Cosmological Tradition

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1374

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Visual Narrative: Reading Ancient Art

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1647

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

From Medieval Manuscripts to Graphic Novels

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1394 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Latinos and the Politics of Race

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

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

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1093 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

The Enlightenment and Its Legacy

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Rosanne Kennedy

Description

The Enlightenment, the 18-century cultural and intellectual movement in the West, has had a lasting influence on our present values and political thought. Reason, freedom, skepticism, critical thought, progress - and even democracy - are values and commitments we have inherited from this era. In order to specify the thought of this period (as well as debates and disagreements), we will first read various authors of the Enlightenment, including Montesquieu, Rousseau, Kant, and Wollstonecraft. In the second part of the course we will turn to the legacy of the Enlightenment. We will consider the doubts and critiques that have arisen. For example, Nietzsche and Freud (and psychoanalysis) have questioned the primacy of reason in both individual and collective action; Adorno and Foucault have questioned the ethics of political rationalism; and recent feminists have noted the paradoxes of the Enlightenment's rather narrow and implicitly gendered view of equality and citizenship. Do such criticisms alter our view of the basic tenets of Enlightenment thought? Or, on the contrary, might we read them as continuing the "spirit of critique" inaugurated by the thought of the 18th century?

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1486 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2011

Revolucion

4 units Tue
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-UG1380 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2014

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-UG1527 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

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 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); 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-UG1569 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2014

Myths as Images from the Ancient World to Shakespeare

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1569

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1771 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

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

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

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9100 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

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-UG1119 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Democracy and Authority in Modern Political Thought

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1119

Description

A specifically “modern” politics seems to mean overthrowing the authority of god, church, and tradition—in the name of establishing freedom. In turn, “self-determination” in its personal and political senses seems to mean an ongoing “democratic experiment” that questions the authority of all cultural codes and social practices. Canonical political theorists from Rousseau to Marx gave modernity this democratic meaning against traditional forms of authority, deference, ascribed identity, and exclusion. But significant figures in "modern political thought" have also questioned this romance of emancipation in profound ways. Some theorists explored how democratic forms in Europe were entwined with slavery and colonization as specifically modern forms of authority. Some theorists showed how self-determination among the enfranchised actually produced mass conformity and political docility, while other theorists focused on the difficulties of anti-colonial revolution. If modern politics was animated by a narrative promising movement from domination to emancipation, a significant chorus of modern political theorists questioned it. In political, cultural, and psychological terms, in metropolitan and colonial scenes, and through a variety of genres, they disclosed new forms of subjection, while re-imagining the meaning and conditions of human freedom. Readings include: Tocqueville, Democracy in America; Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy, Beyond Good & Evil, and The Genealogy of Morals; Kafka, “The Penal Colony;” Dostoevsky, “The Grand Inquisitor;” Fanon, Wretched of the Earth; Arendt, The Human Condition; Freud, Moses & Monotheism; Jessica Benjamin, The Bonds of Love.

Notes

Prerequisite: IDSEM-UG 800 or IDSEM-UG 1272 or IDSEM-UG 1475 or IDSEM-UG 1592 or IDSEM-UG 1712 or IDSEM-UG 1735, or permission of the instructor (gms1@nyu.edu).

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

SASEM-UG9402 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 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-UG1639 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
or EARLY
SP 2015

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

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

Description

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

Notes

Same as HIST-UA 670

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Music and Civic Culture: Ancient and Modern

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1771 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

The Promise and Pitfalls of Markets

4 units Mon Wed
3:30 PM - 4:45 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 it will touch on emerging ideas about social entrepreneurship in order to examine ways that the concept of a producer or an "entrepreneur" has been expanded to include more than individuals who are concerned with simply maximizing profits and personal enrichment. Readings may include texts such as the following: Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich and Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science by Charles Wheelan.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1055 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

Struggle for the Word: History of Media I

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Stephen Duncombe

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1055

Description

The history of the media is the history of struggle, a battle waged over words and images: who produces them, who has access to them, and whose interests are served by them. Beginning with the Bible and moving through plays and popular song; pamphlets, penny press and advertisements; this course will use the history of the printed word to explore enduring questions of power and culture. Readings will range from Genesis and Plato to the forced confessions of a barely literate sixteenth-century miller, Thomas Jefferson to Frederick Douglass, slave songs to early newspapers, and writings of public relations impresarios like Edward Bernays to the words of the novelist James Joyce.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1643 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

The Politics of Law and Legal Thought

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1643

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

PRAGUE: Civil Resistance in Central and Eastern Europe

4 units

Description

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

Type

Global Programs (SASEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1313 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2014

Ethics for Dissenters

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1313

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1809 Lib Arts
SCI
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2015

Achilles' Shield: Mapping the Ancient Cosmos

4 units Mon Wed
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Matthew Stanley, Hallie Franks

Description

In Book 18 of the Iliad , Homer describes the shield made for the hero Achilles. On the shield, the god Hephaestos represented the whole earth, the sun and moon, the constellations, the Ocean that encircles the world, the cities of men, and their farms, festivals, and wars. Achilles’ shield introduces questions about the ways in which the world and the cosmos were understood in the ancient world and the contexts that produced these understandings. How did different ancient sources represent the world and the relationship of the world to the heavenly bodies? What were the organizational principles and goals that governed these representations? As scientific knowledge expands, how do popular conceptions of the world adapt to this new information? And in the absence of maps, which have largely not survived from antiquity, how might other kinds of visual and textual evidence reveal how people thought about geographical relationships, as well as related relationships between centers and frontiers, peoples familiar and foreign, and the earth and heavens? This course investigates ancient scientific and mathematical theories on the extent and shape of the world alongside other kinds of representations—poetic, political, religious, material, and visual. Primary sources may include: Homer Iliad , Alcman, Plato Timaeus , Aristotle De Caelo , Herodotus, Hanno’s Periplous, Ptolemy, Strabo, Pomponius Mela, Copernicus, Giordano Bruno, Gallileo.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Consumerism in Comparative Perspective

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1586

Description

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

Notes

Same as SOC-UA 970-004.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1626 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

The Communication Revolutions

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

Description

We say we live in the Information Age as if such an age never existed before. But throughout time, the introduction of new forms of media and communication technologies have had a transformational effect on existing social, political, and economic life, creating new perceptual pathways to our understanding. This course examines history through the prism of these communication “revolutions,” beginning with the arrival of the spoken word, the development of writing systems, the spread of the printed word, the age of electricity, before focusing on the modern era of digital media. It is through our investigation of these previous revolutions that we may come to some greater understanding about the promise, and consequence, of our own technological age. Possible readings: Marshall McLuhan, Understanding; Walter Ong, Orality and Literacy; Susan Sontag, On Photography; Neil Postman, Technopoly; and Sherry Turkle, The Second Screen.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1821 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Democracy and Difference

4 units Fri
9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Rosanne Kennedy

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1821

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-UG9250 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 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-UG1425 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2015

The Philosophic Dialogue

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1425

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Fate and Free Will in the Epic Tradition

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1116

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1188 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

The Emergence of the Unconscious: From Ancient Healing to Psychoanalysis

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Lee Robbins

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1188

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 healing art of shamanism and in the histories of both Eastern and Western religion, philosophy and medicine. Our focus will be to trace the development of the idea of the unconscious as it evolves in the Upanishads, Greek Mystery Religion, Plato and Augustine through the Enlightenment, Freud, Jung and beyond, to the postmodern condition. This academic course will challenge your preconceived notions about the human psyche.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1825 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2015

Human Rights: Local and Global

4 units Wed
11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Vasuki Nesiah

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1825

Description

The term ‘International Human Rights’ invokes the notion of universalism as background presupposition, as practice and as promise. Yet human rights means something very different in different political contexts. How does the tension between supranational definitions of human rights and the situated knowledges of particular contexts get articulated? What are the harmonies and disharmonies between global and local practice? How do different locals relate to each other? How are questions of empire implicated in the human rights field? This course approaches these questions by looking at how human rights is invoked and negotiated in the United States and Sri Lanka in areas such as prison conditions and media freedom. This is a ten week course that combines classroom study of the human rights field with site visits to human rights organizations in both countries. First in the US and then in Sri Lanka, students will talk with experts in the field, visit with key national and international organizations, and explore how human rights mechanisms negotiate the ‘glocal’ space. The Sri Lankan component of the course will entail travel to the country over spring break. That week will include shared classroom learning with students from University of Colombo in the morning and site visits in the afternoon. We will read authors such as Sally Merry, David Kennedy, Makau Mutua, Radhika Coomaraswamy and Deepika Udagama as well as country reports by the UN and other organizations regarding the human rights issues in the USA and Sri Lanka.

Notes

This course includes travel to Sri Lanka during the week of Spring Recess, March 12-22. Permission required: Application deadline is October 24, 2014. For more information and to apply, please click on course title and then link to application.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

The Arabian Nights

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1342 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Language, Globalization, and the Self

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1342

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1592 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

American Narratives I: American Literature, Race and Politics

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1592

Description

The premise of this course is that profound thinking about politics occurs in American literary art. Indeed, formally "political” writers, like Madison and Hamilton in The Federalist Papers, present a world that seems antithetical to the world presented by, say, Melville and Morrison: one depicts rational bargaining and self-interested contracts among men in markets and legislatures, whereas the other depicts racial and sexual violence, rape and slavery, in domestic spaces or on "the frontier." One depicts rationality and progress, the other madness and tragedy. The literature thus makes visible what political rhetoric and canonical political thought typically make invisible - the centrality of race and gender in the formation of nationhood and operation of politics, but also the deep narrative forms structuring the culture as well as ideas of "America." Our goal, then, is to compare prevailing forms of political speech, theories of politics, and American literary art: How do literary artists narrate nationhood? How do they retell the stories that Americans tell themselves about themselves? What is the difference between a fiction that dramatizes a world, and a treatise that makes an argument about it? What can literary art do that theory cannot? How does that art re-orient people toward the assumptions, practices, and tropes that rule their world? To pursue these questions we read Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and Toni Morrison’s Beloved, while surrounding each text with typical political speech and canonical political theory.

Notes

Open to sophomores only

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1380 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2015

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-UG1527 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Finance for Social Theorists

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

Description

Financial literacy is often a gap in a liberal arts education. However, finance and economics are not subjects comfortably ignored. For instance, the effects of the financial crisis continue to be felt today and have a significant bearing upon us all. This seminar aims 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, financial theory 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 classic 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 are drawn from key works in finance and economics as well as contemporary articles and commentaries. There is also a group entrepreneurial project.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1545 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
WI 2015

On Freud's Couch: Psychoanalysis, Narrative and Memory

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Justice, Tragedy and Philosophy: Politics in Ancient Greece

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Yellow Peril

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1412

Description

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

Notes

Same as SCA-UA 380 001.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1822 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

The Politics of Work

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1822

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1643 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

The Politics of Law and Legal Thought

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1643

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1641 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Health and Human Rights in the World Community

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Music and Civic Culture: Ancient and Modern

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1628 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Think Big: Global Issues and Ecological Solutions

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1628

Description

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

Notes

Open to sophomores only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1313 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2015

Ethics for Dissenters

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1313

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

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-UG1360 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

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

4 units Tue Thu
2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
René Francisco Poitevin

Description

This course sets up a head-on collision between three of the foremost intellectuals of power of the 20th century in order to ask the following questions: what makes power so “powerful”? What is it about intellectuals that give them such a privileged standpoint from which to critique society? What are the areas of convergence and/or divergence between these three theorists on these issues? By the end of the semester we will be comfortable looking at the complex ways in which power is not just institutional, but also implicated within the very knowledges used to theorize it – and the ways in which power goes way beyond just repression and control. Primary readings include Foucault’s History of Sexuality , Discipline and Punish, and The Birth of Biopolitics ; Lenin’s What is to Be Done , State and Revolution; and excerpts from Gramsci’s pre-prison and prison writings -– plus contributions from secondary sources from philosophy, sociology, and literary theory.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1193 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 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 Lessig’s The Future of Ideas .

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Classic Texts and Contemporary Life

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-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-UG1536 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Perversion

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1518 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Globalization: Promises and Discontents

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

Description

In popular and scholarly discourse, the term “globalization” is widely used to put a name to the shape of the contemporary world. In the realms of advertising, policymaking, politics, academia, and everyday talk, “globalization” references the sense that we are now living in a deeply and ever-increasingly interconnected, mobile, and speeded-up world that is unprecedented, fueled by technological innovations and geopolitical and economic transformations. Often, globalization is presumed to be not only an intrinsically new economic, cultural and technological force, but also one originating in the West and ushering cultural homogenization throughout the world. Drawing on perspectives from history, anthropology, cultural and literary studies, geography, political economy, and sociology, this course will critically examine such presumptions and explore theories, discourses, and experiences of globalization. Running through the course are three central concerns: 1) exploring claims about the novelty of globalization from historical perspectives, 2) examining the variety of ways in which social and cultural worlds mediate globalization and the multiple routes it can take, and 3) analyzing a contested politics of globalization in which the opportunities for social mobility and transformation are pitted against renewed intensifications of exploitation and vulnerability along long-standing vectors of difference and inequality. While “globalization” is often touted as a “flattening” of the world, this course moves beyond such clichés to understand the intersection between large-scale transformations in political economy and culture in and through multiple cultural worlds situated unevenly on the world’s map. Readings may include Friction : An Ethnography of Global Connection by Anna Tsing; High Tech and High Heels in the Global Economy: Women, Work and Pink-Collar Identities in the Caribbean by Carla Freeman; In An Antique Land: History in the Guise of a Traveler’s Tale by Amitav Ghosh; The Modern Girl Around the World: Consumption, Modernity and Globalization , Weinbaum et al., eds.; and Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History by Sidney M. Mintz.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Tragic Visions

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1359 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

American Capitalism in the Twentieth Century

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-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)

K20.1144 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2009

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)

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-UG1586 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
SP 2010

Consumerism in Comparative Perspective

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Three Revolutions: Haiti, Mexico, Cuba

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

Description

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

Notes

not visible on Albert

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1573 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

The New American Society

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1342 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2009

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.

Notes

SNY

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1313 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2009

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)

K20.1513 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2009

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-UG1417 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
FA 2009

Politics and the Gods

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

Description

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

Notes

sophomore only

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Ancient Theatre and Its Influences

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

Description

What role did the theater play in the civic life of ancient Greece? How did Greek drama address vital social and political issues? Does Greek drama serve as a useful paradigm for exploring Roman drama? For contemporary theater? Through our readings of tragedy and comedy, we will explore Greek theater as a live space of social action, representing conflicts between the claims of family and state, between male and female, between traditional values and emergent democratic concerns. Drawing on the work of anthropologists and historians of antiquity, we will examine Greek drama’s relation to religion (e.g. sacrifice, lament, festival), to law (e.g. courtroom proceedings, punishment), and to civic debate. We will discuss both how plays were produced and the theories of drama they inspired. Building on our investigation of the Greek ‘case’, we will turn our attention to Roman tragedy and comedy and to selected works of the modern theater. Readings may include Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Menander; Plato, Aristotle; Plautus, Seneca; Racine, Sartre, Fugard, Soyinka.

Notes

crosslisted with V29.0104

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Imagining India: From the Colonial to the Global

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-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-UG1299 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Objectivity and the Politics of the Journalism Revolution

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1552 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
GLOBAL
FA 2010

Sociology of Religion: Islam and the Modern World

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1249 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
FA 2010

Colonies, Nations, Empires, Globalization

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1144 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2007

Free Speech and Democracy

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

K20.1342 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2007

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 2007

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 2007

Culture as Communication

4 units Tue Thu
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)

IDSEM-UG1626 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

The Communication Revolutions

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Wandering Knights, Errant Detectives

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1681

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Christian Heresy and the Western Imagination

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1582 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Gramsci's Revolution

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

Description

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

Notes

Course meets 1/23- 3/7 only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1527 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Finance for Social Theorists

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

What Is Global About Gender?

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (iDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1193 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Culture as Communication

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1193

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Barbarians: Ancient Conceptions of the Outsider

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1593

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Yellow Peril

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1412

Description

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

Notes

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

The Arabian Nights

4 units Mon Tue Wed Thu
5:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Sinan Antoon

Description

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

Notes

Three-week Intensive: May 21-June 8.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Classic Texts and Contemporary Life

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1239

Description

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

Notes

Session I: May 21-June 29.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Culture, Development and Globalization in India

4 units
Ritty Lukose

Description

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

Notes

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

Type

Travel Courses (TRAVL-UG)

IDSEM-UG1480 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2010

Dangerous & Intermingled: Subaltern New York

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

Description

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

Notes

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1641 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Health and Human Rights in the World Community

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1581 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Determination Without Determinism: Lefebvre and Urban Marxism

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

Description

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

Notes

Course meets 3/19 - 5/7 only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Postcolonial African Cities

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1634

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1592 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

American Narratives I: American Literature, Race and Politics

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1592

Description

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

Notes

Open to sophomores only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1342 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Language, Globalization and the Self

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

The Odyssey: Estrangement and Homecoming

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1457

Description

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

Notes

Course meets 1/24- 3/6 only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Herodotus

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1448

Description

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

Notes

Course meets 1/25- 3/7 only.

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1116 Lib Arts
HUM
Hist & Cult
PREMOD
SP 2012

Fate and Free Will in the Epic Tradition

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1116

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

The Political Economy of Development

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1636

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1667 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Dangerous and Intermingled II: Subaltern New York

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1667

Description

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

Notes

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1306 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

Critical Social Theory: The Predicament of Modernity

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

The Qur'an

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

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

The History of Kindness

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1640

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1573 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

The New American Society

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1573

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG1043 Lib Arts
SOC
Hist & Cult
SP 2012

The Image: History of Mass Media II

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1043

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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

Competing Images of the Sage: Confucius and Lao Tzu

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

Syllabus

IDSEM-UG1695

Description

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

Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)