Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

IDSEM-UG 800  The Politics of Cult & the Culture of Politics: Interdisciplinary Perspectives  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
One of the hallmarks of our contemporary commonsense is that everything we do in our everyday life is political—the food we eat, the music we listen to, the clothes we wear, the poetry we read. Yet, we also continue to view certain people (i.e. elected officials, street protestors) and certain practices (ie voting and throwing rocks at police) as properly the domain of politics. Further still, dominant western conceptions of politics assert that only certain kinds of cultures can produce democracy, for example one that is “modern,” “westernized” and “secular.” Each of these assertions assume a relationship between something called “culture” and something called “politics”—fundamental concepts within a range of disciplines and theories that seek to understand how societies reproduce and are transformed. This interdisciplinary seminar will examine the following questions: What is culture and how has it been defined in different texts and disciplines? What is politics and how has it been defined in a range of texts and disciplines? How and why have scholars and activists sought to put the cultural and the political in some dynamic relationship to each other? The seminar will not only include a range of texts across disciplines but will enact an interdisciplinary perspective by having three instructors from a range of disciplines (anthropology, political theory, and literary studies).
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1042  Digital Revolution: History of Media III  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
We are in the midst of a revolution. Computers permeate nearly every aspect of our life, yet we understand relatively little about how they work, their historical development, and their impact on our thought and actions. As with previous technological and communications revolutions like the rise of print and the ascendency of the image, computing is transforming our economic and political landscape, bringing with it new possibilities as well as new problems. In this course, we explore this ever-changing and rapidly expanding terrain, paying special attention to how computers and the Internet are transforming how we experience and understand identity and community, control and liberation, simulation and authenticity, creation and collaboration, and the practice of politics. Authors whose works we read may include Donna Haraway, Jean Baudrillard, Jorge Luis Borges, Yochai Benkler, Nicholas Carr, the Critical Art Ensemble, Galileo, Lawrence Lessig, Sherry Turkle, Lewis Mumford, Plato, the RAND Corporation, and Ellen Ullman.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1043  The Image: History of Mass Media II  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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 artificial light, photography, film, and television. "We will pay special attention to issues of representation, presentation, spectacle and celebrity. "Texts may include works from the Bible and Quran, St John of Damascus, Susan Sontag, "Jacques Ranciere, Daniel Boorstin, Wolfgang Schivelbush, Deborah Willis, Joshua Gamson, Liz Ewen, Walter Benjamin, and Guy Debord as well as period photographs, films, and television programs.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1055  Struggle for The Word: History of Media I  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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, whose interests are served by them, and how they are interpreted. Media power has traditionally been the province of elites, from Church and State to multinational communication conglomerates. But this is only one side of the story, for everyday people have also fought for their right to speak and be spoken to. Media has moved from the elite to the masses, in the process becoming "democratized"…but also often commodified. Beginning with the printed word, and moving from the Bible through political pamphlet and popular song, the commercial penny press and immigrant newspapers, and ending with the web, this course will use the history of the printed word to explore enduring questions of power and culture. Texts will range from the Korean Sutra of the Great Incantations to the forced confessions of a barely literate sixteenth-century European miller; from Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson to Frederick Douglass; and from the literature and essays of James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Ursula Le Guin to the historical and contemporary appeals of marketers and advertisers.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1059  Disease and Civilization  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course explores the cultural, social, scientific, and political dimensions of epidemic disease through an examination of selected episodes from plagues in antiquity to AIDS, Ebola, influenza, malaria, and, of course, Covid-19 in our time. We approach the problem of understanding the role of disease in human history from two different, but interrelated, perspectives: an ecological/evolutionary perspective, making use of a combination of environmental, biological, and cultural factors to help explain the origin and spread of epidemics, and a cultural/social history perspective, emphasizing the interaction of cultural values, religious beliefs, scientific knowledge, medical practice, economics, and politics in shaping perceptions of the nature, causes, cures, and significance of various diseases. Topics include disease and health in the ancient world, the origins and consequences of the Black Death, cholera in 19th century New York, influenza 1918, disease and imperialism, the origins of AIDS, and a global history of malaria. Readings range from Thucydides and the Hippocratic writings to Boccaccio, Defoe, and Orwell, including, where possible, nonwestern sources, along with a wide variety of recent works that discuss the historical, social, and biological aspects of epidemic disease in different cultural and geographical settings.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1061  Literary Forms and The Craft of Criticism  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This seminar focuses on the study of literature and literary criticism. Through close reading of a range of literary forms, including short stories, novels, plays, and narrative essays, we identify the conventions, continuities, and innovations that characterize genres (including blurred genres and hybrid texts) and that invite various strategies of reading. In addition to the formal analysis of each work, we will consider theoretical approaches to literature—for example, new historicism, postcolonial studies, feminist and gender analysis, and psychoanalytic criticism—that draw on questions and concepts from other disciplines. Attention will be given to the transaction between the reader and the text. The aims of the course are to encourage students to make meaning of literary works in varied contexts and to hone their skills in written interpretation. Authors may include Poe, Melville, Chekhov, Hawthorne, Bellow, Beckett, Baldwin, Woolf, Morrison, Conrad, Gordimer, Achebe, Kincaid, Borges, and Erdrich.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1067  The Self and the Political: Plato to the Present  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
What defines the “self”? Is it possible to “know thyself”? Or is the self something opaque, unknowable, secret, or in the parlance of psychoanalysis, the effect of unconscious drives? Is selfhood an internal experience or does that very experience come from outside, from others? Is the self primarily autonomous, or the consequence of social and political forces? How do definitions of gender and/or race come into play when we define ourselves or others? What, then, are the possibilities and limitations of “self-fashioning” – in what ways are we free to (re)invent ourselves? – in what ways are we limited? These questions are important not only in terms of self-understanding, but also because the answers have political implications. In this course, we will thus consider how different authors imagine both the self and its relation to the political. We will begin by reading classic definitions of the self: Plato, Seneca, Montaigne. We will then turn to modern theorists of the self: Rousseau, Nietzsche, Freud, Foucault, and contemporary theorists.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1071  Sound and Sense  (4 Credits)  
In this course we study the correspondence between the world of sound and the world of words. While the analogy between poetry and music reaches back to the origins of poetry, in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries poets, philosophers, writers of fiction, and composers breathed new life into the relationship between these arts. We look back to some early philosophical writings on the relations between poetry and music, and then examine how symbolist and modernist thinkers considered these arts. Our inquiry will concentrate on why there was such a rebirth of interest on the part of philosophers, poets, writers, and musicians in the expressive possibilities born of the intermingling of these art forms. Readings may include Plato?s Phaedrus, Aristotle?s On the Art of Poetry and On Music, poems of Mallarm, Valry, Langston Hughes, Stevens, as well as Forster?s A Room with a View and Stravinsky?s The Poetics of Music.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1072  Poets in Protest: Footsteps to Hip Hop  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This seminar examines the tradition of poetic protest in the African Diaspora. From the Harlem Renaissance and Négritude to the Black Liberation Movement of the '60s and today's Hip-Hop/Rap explosion, poets, lyricists and rap/hip-hop artists have sought to reclaim and reshape images of themselves and their communal experiences. Through comparative and critical analysis of historical works, songs, and poetry, we come to a deeper understanding of the common thematic and aesthetic approaches of these movements as they continue to alter the discourse on race and liberation. Texts may include Michael Richardson, ed., Refusal of the Shadow: Surrealism and the Caribbean; David L. Lewis, ed., The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader; films such as Euzhan Palcy’s Sugar Cane Alley and Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant’s Style Wars; and samples from Langston Hughes, Amiri Baraka, KRS-One, Nas, and Tupac Shakur, among others.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1093  The Enlightenment and Its Legacy  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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?
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1097  Inventing Modernity I: The Struggle for Selfhood and the Rise of the Novel  (4 Credits)  
This class will survey canonical European novels and ask why prose fiction became, arguably, the characteristic literary form of Western modernity. That period in Europe was marked by a steady stream of cultural innovations, scientific discoveries, and political revolutions. What work did the novel do, and how did it change to keep up with those ever-changing times? With its emphasis on the particular over the universal, the real over the ideal, the novel must surely have been useful to Europeans trying to understand and improve their time, their communities, their historical moment, their relationship to nature and religion. But if the novel was therefore a kind of modern epic, its protagonist was usually an individual, not a representative hero, and its most compelling action scenes often took place, not on battlefields or in courts, but within the mind of the protagonist. Accordingly, while this class will consider each novel in relation to its immediate social and political context, connection to contemporary philosophy, and particular contribution to the aesthetics of the form, we will consider the tendency within the most highly-praised novels to provide highly charged narratives of internal thought processes rather than action based on resolved ideas. When and why did how we think and feel become more exciting, more aesthetically satisfying, than what we think and feel? Readings will probably include: Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders; Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther; Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary; Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground; Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1103  Pride and Power: Renaissance Revolutions  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The Renaissance in Europe remains one of the most creative, prolific, and dramatic eras in human history. It was a period in which tumultuous events—such as the bubonic plague, the Protestant Reformation, revolutions in science, political transformation and intrigue—were accompanied by an unprecendented explosion in the arts, with the work of Dante, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, and many female writers such as Christine de Pizan, Gaspara Stampa and Veronica Franca. This course examines the politics, literature, philosophy, visual arts, and music of this period, as well as the social behavior of manners, morality, and the role of the Other, such as women and Jews. We will explore the new ideas about existence, the self, and humankind fostered by humanism, philosophy, and the arts. Readings may include Christine de Pizan’s The Treasure of the City of Ladies, Machiavelli’s The Prince, Castiglione’s The Courtier, Shakespeare’s plays, and the work of the Italian female poet, Gaspara Stampa.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1113  The Spirit of The Comic & The Spirit of The Age  (4 Credits)  
Comedy, no less than tragedy, yields insights into the great questions of an age. This course examines the ways the comic, from the ancient world to modern times, reflects attitudes about love, marriage, religion, power, and war. In addition to the philosophical writings of Meredith, Freud, and Hegel, readings may include Aristophanes? Clouds and Lysistrata, Plautus?s Pot of Gold, Petronius? Satyricon, Boccaccio?s Decameron, Shakespeare?s Much Ado About Nothing, Congreve?s The Way of the World, and Beckett?s Endgame.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1116  Fate + Free Will in The Epic Tradition  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1119  Democracy and Authority in Modern Political Thought  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1122  Discourses of Love: Antiquity to the Renaissance  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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 in the west, we need to look at love in its historic, cultural, social, and political contexts from Sappho and Plato to Shakespeare, while also considering non-Western influences. We want to consider Love's multiple roles with regard to desire, seduction, betrothal, marriage, manners, morals, political power, and the pursuit of wisdom, as well as its role in class, gender, and race. Possible readings could include Plato’s Symposium, the poetry of Sappho, the stories of Marie de France, selections from Dante, the Italian comic play, The Deceived, as well as plays of Shakespeare.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1124  Travel Narratives  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course examines several nineteenth- and twentieth-century travel narratives in an exploration of the experience of travel and the many questions it raises about social identity and cultural difference, the traveler's search for adventure and “authenticity,” the relationship between tourism and colonialism, and the pervasive use of travel metaphors in the discourse of postmodernism. Readings will include a variety of nonfiction travel books, such as Flaubert in Egypt, Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London, Chatwin's Songlines, Theroux's The Old Patagonian Express, Phillips’ The European Tribe, and Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place, as well as scholarly articles about the genre of travel narrative and the sociology of travel.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1128  Bodily Fictions  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Freud once famously announced that femininity is a riddle and the female body is a problem. Some years later, feminist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir insisted that the problem is not the female body as such but rather the fictions we produce about the body. In this course, we will focus simultaneously upon two kinds of bodily fictions: Works of literary fiction with the body as their subject; and the various social fictions and cultural representations of the body that are to be found in a wide range of scientific, sociological, and critical texts. Some of the key questions that will structure our work include: How has our understanding of male and female bodies been shaped over time? What does it mean to explore the body as a historical rather than a biological object? How do we define deviant bodies and which bodies get to count as normal? How does our understanding of the opposition between Nature and Culture structure our beliefs about gender and the body? Authors may include: Sigmund Freud, Franz Kafka, Susan Bordo, Luce Irigaray, Michel Foucault, Margaret Atwood, Audre Lorde, and Joan Brumberg.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1135  The Medieval Mind  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The cultural legacy of the Middle Ages continues to challenge and enchant us: its soaring architecture, its large philosophical and theological questions, its magnificent art, literature, and music. This course explores the genius of the medieval mind and its transcendent vision of life. A major focus of the course will be a study of the Realist-Nominalist controversy spurred by Aquinas and Ockham and its effect on writers such as Chaucer and Dante, as well as on the painting, music, and architecture of the period. Readings may include selections from Dante?s Inferno, Aquinas? Summa Theologica, Chaucer?s Canterbury Tales, and the writings of the Pearl Poet. The course may include field trips to the Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a performance of medieval music.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1144  Free Speech and Democracy  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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, while advancing our ability to access and exchange ideas and information, raise serious questions as to the boundaries of speech that is seen to challenge current political and social mores. This course, then, addresses the delicate balance between free speech and democracy, guided by seminal readings from Milton, Locke, and Hobbes as well as modern free speech rights" scholars Geoffrey Stone and Lawrence Tribe. We will also be revisiting Orwell"s 1984 while also examining 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?
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1156  The Darwinian Revolution  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection may be the single most influential, and controversial, scientific theory ever proposed. This course will examine the origin, nature, and consequences of Darwin’s theory, with an emphasis on interrelationships among the intellectual, social, and cultural dimensions of the scientific enterprise. Topics include the connections between Darwinian theory and social, political, and moral discourse in Victorian Britain; initial and more recent scientific and public controversies; past and present religious resistance to the theory; applications and perceived misapplications, such as Social Darwinism, eugenics, and sociobiology; and the influence of Darwinian thought on modern science, literature and the arts. In addition to Darwin’s Origin of Species, Voyage of the Beagle, and Descent of Man, readings may include selections from Malthus, Spencer, and Huxley, and recent works by Richard Dawkins, E.O. Wilson, Stephen Gould, Marlene Zuk, Sarah Hrdy, and Mark Pagel, among others. A background in the sciences is not assumed, but a willingness to engage with the scientific concepts and explanations is expected.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1157  Speech,Silence and The Struggle for Identity  (4 Credits)  
We know a great deal about speech and its role in the formation and transformation of identity for both individuals and groups. We know less about silence in such matters: whether silence complements or subverts speech, hence how it ultimately affects our identity and access to power. Speech and silence can be seen as conflicting strategies used selectively by women and men, blacks and whites, immigrants and indigenous people, rich and poor for the maintenance of self and the silencing of others. Why? What are the psychic and social costs of these strategies? What myths do they help perpetuate? Finally, what are the ideologies that affect our understandings of both? Our readings will include Trudgill?s Sociolinguistics, Achino-Loeb's Silence: The Currency of Power, Woolf?s A Room of One?s Own, Beckett?s Waiting for Godot, Hoffman?s Lost in Translation, Dangarembga?s Nervous Conditions, and excerpts from other sources.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1181  A Sense of Place  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course examines the places in which we work and play, travel and dwell - the office tower and the suburban house, the city street and the superhighway, the small town and the megalopolis, the shopping mall and the theme park, the American road and foreign places. Synthesizing insights from literary works and fields like cultural geography, landscape studies, and architectural history, we explore such questions as: What gives a place its particular feel or character? How do our values and worldview affect the way we experience places, and what constitutes that experience? How do places---and the way they are represented in literature and other media---shape our attitudes and behavior? What gives a place "quality," and how can we design and build better places? Readings may include J. B. Jackson’s Landscape in Sight, Yi-Fu Tuan’s Space and Place, James Kunstler’s The Geography of Nowhere, D. J. Waldie’s Holy Land, Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, and Michael Sorkin’s Twenty Minutes in Manhattan.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1183  Rituals for Living and Dying  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Long before Socrates discovered that the philosopher?s life is a rehearsal for death, before priests and doctors in Medieval and Renaissance Europe practiced ars moriendi (the art of dying), before the German Romantics penned lyrics of lamentation at the loss of love, and before Sigmund Freud proclaimed that the goal of life is death?the pagan world honored death as a god and created rituals to honor the god?s presence in life. In this course we enter into rituals of death and renewal, both ancient and modern, to guide us through our own death experiences in the midst of life. The experience of death-in-life is met only by taking the threatened discontinuity into a higher continuity that tradition calls the ?culture of soul.? Pagan mysteries of initiation, Greek tragedy and myth, the transformative operations of alchemy, and the modern psychoanalytic rituals of Freud, Jung and Winnicott give voice to the culture which soul has crafted out of its own deep and timeless wounds. Texts may include: Burkert?s Ancient Mystery Cults, Sophocles? Oedipus at Colonus, Freud?s Beyond The Pleasure Principle, Von franz?s On Dreams and Death, readings from Buddha?s teaching on ?Impermanence? and Marlan?s Black Sun.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1188  The Emergence of The Unconscious: From Ancient Healing to Psychoanalysis  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1193  Culture as Communication  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course examines the concept of culture through its forms of communication. The shift from orality to literacy to electronic media and now to 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? We will examine the development of electronic media, including the newer digital technologies, and analyze their effects on both the individual and cultural level. The course will conclude with an examination of the biases in search engines and how we might be able to resist the attention economy. Readings may include Plato's Phaedrus , Ong's Orality and Literacy, the Bhagavad-Gita , McLuhan's Understanding Media , Safiya Umoja Noble's Algorithms of Oppression and Jenny Odell's How to Do Nothing.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1197  Narratives of African Civilizations  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1202  Tragic Visions  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course studies the nature of the tragic form in dramatic literature and performance, as well as its role in human existence. Focusing on two of the great periods of tragedy in Western literature and culture—ancient Greece and Renaissance England—we read selected tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Shakespeare as well as philosophical considerations of the tragic such as Aristotle's Poetics. We examine these works in their social, political, and cultural contexts, while considering questions of the role of the Other, Patriarchal power, gender, class, fate, free will, and the origins and evolution of tragedy as a literary and political genre. Readings might include, for example, Aeschylus', Agamemnon; Sophocles' Antigone or Oedipus; Euripides' Medea, as well as Shakespearean tragedies such as Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, or King Lear. Special attention is paid to the Greek and Shakespearean theater and practice, as well as performance. If we can, we will also attend a live performance.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1207  Origins of The Atomic Age  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 permanently altered the world we live in. Fear of nuclear annihilation became a fact of life. Although the end of the Cold War relaxed the tensions somewhat, the combined arsenals of existing nuclear powers are still sufficient to destroy most of life on this planet many times over, and controversies continue over nuclear weapons programs in Iran and North Korea. How did this extraordinary state of affairs come about? Why were the bombs made when and where they were made? Why were they used? Did the individuals involved understand the destructive potential of these new weapons and ponder moral questions involving their manufacture and use? Did they anticipate the nuclear arms race that has resulted? How does this episode fit into the longer history of the relationship between science and warfare? How were both hopes and fears transferred to the debates over nuclear power? Readings will likely include Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Hachiya, Hiroshima Diary, Gordin, Red Cloud at Dawn, and a variety of selections concerning nuclear proliferation, the disarmament movement, and nuclear power.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1211  Buddhist and Western Psychology: A Comparative and Historical Approach  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The course introduces and contrasts basic concepts of Buddha’s psychology of liberation with the modern depth psychologies of Freud and Jung. Buddhist psychology was born from Buddha’s personal awakening experience and had the effect of bridging the social divide between the privileged and working classes of 5th century BCE Northern India transforming the political milieu of the time. Buddha’s psychology of liberation offers the possibility of easing similar class tension in our time. Special attention will be given to theories of the self in Buddhist and Western texts, for it is the idea and belief in an unchanging ego that has emerged a debate between Buddhist and Western forms of psychology. While Western psychology attributes the deficiency of the ego/ self to the failure of upbringing, Buddhist psychology takes the impermanent, changing and unsatisfactory conditions of life as its starting point. Our goal in this class is to bring the Buddhist notion of healing into conversation with the models and strategies for healing in Western psychology. Texts may include: Andrew Olendski, The Radical Experiential Psychology of Buddhism; Peter Gay (ed.), The Freud Reader: David Tacey (ed.), The Jung Reader: David Gethin, The Foundations of Buddhism; Bhikkhu Bodi, In the Words of the Buddha (translation of suttas from the Pali Cannon); Thanissaro Bhikkhu, The Mind Like Fire Unbound; and Mark Epstein, Thoughts without a Thinker; John Strong, The Buddha a Short Biography.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1215  Narrative Investigations I  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
How does narrative create a sense of identity and give value to our lives? What are the ethical implications of looking at knowledge as a construction of narrative? The concept of narrative is currently used across disciplines to describe how people, texts, and institutions create meaning. This course will explore the idea that stories organize our thinking and our lives. We will begin with Plato’s ideas on tragedy and Aristotle’s Poetics, which later narrative explorations emulate and challenge. Our reading of Cervantes’s Don Quixote, Diderot’s Jacques the Fatalist, and modern fictions will investigate the ways fictional texts radically reinvent literary forms and question social conventions. Students will carry out projects that explore narrative trends within their particular areas of interest.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1216  Doing Things With Words: Arts and Politics Across Cultures  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The course will focus on an eclectic group of mostly contemporary, politically-directed writers and other artists primarily from various ethnic or racial minority backgrounds. We begin with performance proper, and then narrow our focus to discuss what elements of performance are incorporated into narrative text to produce “performative writing.” Does minority positioning affect the content, structure, and manner in which these artists perform or write, and in turn, how they are received? How might sexual/gender politics nuance that positioning? Rather than seeking division under the rubric of “national literature,” or the multicultural versions such as “African-American” or “Asian-American” writers/artists, the course will look for structural and contextual models that cross these categories - concern with oral histories and family-community genealogies, for example. We will also analyze how specific power politics inform these artists’ activities across their broadly diverse sociocultural, ethnic, and geopolitical contexts. Texts may include: fiction by William Faulkner, Nakagami Kenji, Ruth Ozeki and Toni Morrison, and theoretical selections from Jacques Derrida, Antonin Artaud, Judith Butler.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1222  Art Now: Tradition and Change  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Art Now focuses on the contemporary art world, the forces producing continuous change and the ubiquitous presence of origins and tradition. We engage new media, technologies and performance while tracing their origins in ancient communities, Shamanism and Ritual. We explore the relationships between new media/performance forms and traditional artistic practice. We ask such questions such as: Why is New York still the capital of the art world? Why has everything in our culture and art become dominated by the money and power of the finance world, by the one-tenth of the one percent? Has money alone become the standard by which art and culture in general are valued? We pursue these questions by learning with guest artists, visiting museums, through imaginative writing, making art and through individual and group projects. Readings may include Meyer Schapiro’s Modern Art, Irving Sandler’s New York School, Harold Rosenberg’s Tradition of the New, John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, Toni Morrison’s Playing in the Dark, Linda Nochlin’s and Lucy Lippard’s work on Women and art and Linda Weintraub’s To Life! Eco Art in the Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1229  Chinatown and The American Imagination  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
What is a ?Chinatown?? The word alone evokes many images, sounds, smells, tastes from many different sensibilities. For recent immigrants it can be a home away from home, for ?outsiders? an exotic place for cheap eats, for male action flic fans Chow Yun Fat (or Mark Walhberg) in ?The Corruptor,? and for you ?!? (fill in the blank). We?re going to explore the nooks and crannies of Chinatown in the American imagination and in its New York real-time, non-virtual existence. How do we know what we know and do not know? What does Chinatown have to do with the formation of normative ?American? identities? What are the possibilities (and limits) of crossing cultural divides? Class members will individually and/or in groups research, experience, and document a chain of persons, places, and/or events creating their own narrative ?tour? of this place?s meanings. Novels, history books, tourist guides, films, and pop culture will supplement the primary ?text? of New York Chinatown. This will be a collaborative, discussion-intensive, field research-driven class.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1238  Anatomy of Love  (4 Credits)  
Recently the feminist author Vivian Gornick announced “the end of the novel of love,” though romance has in fact a powerful place in the history of Western literature. Romantic love is a ubiquitous phenomenon in Western culture; we are saturated with images from the popular media about its value and inevitability, but historians and anthropologists cast doubt on its universality, sociologists point out its unreliability as an index to happy marriages, and contemporary literary treatments tend to run from skeptical to scathing. In this course students will analyze major shifts in definitions and treatments of romantic love, attending especially to issues of gender and power. We will read a selection of representative poetry and fiction, excerpts from research in the psychology of love, cross-cultural and historical views of romantic love, and feminist appraisals of women’s relationship to romance as a cultural institution. Course work may also include texts by Plato, Dante, Goethe and Lawrence, and a selection of love poetry from Sappho to the contemporary era.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1239  Classic Texts and Contemporary Life  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1248  Thinking Politically  (4 Credits)  
Open to sophomores only. Two purposes shape this course. One is to explore our ambivalence towards and alienation from "politics." What does our apathy and cynicism say about politics as it is practiced in our society, and what does it say about ourselves? To pursue these questions means setting a second goal: to analyze what politics?as a concept and a practice?has meant in history, means to us now, and could mean. We begin by closely reading several canonical texts in political theory. We proceed by using more modern texts to explore different "dimensions" of political life: the ways we conceive and pursue interests; the ways we are motivated by often unconscious drives, anxieties, and fantasies; the role of culture in the form of narrative and identity; the place of rhetoric, persuasion and performance, since politics happens through speech on public stages; and lastly, different ways of understanding and practicing democracy. Our basic goal is to learn how to "think politically" about the world, by learning to understand politics in conventional and unconventional senses. Readings include: More, Utopia; Machiavelli, The Prince and The Discourses; Marx, selected writings; Dinnerstein, The Mermaid and the Minotaur; Baldwin, The Fire Next Time; Foucault, The History of Sexuality; and Arendt, "What is Freedom."
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1249  Colonies, Nations, Empires, Globalization  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1253  Shakespeare On The Uses of This World  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Shakespeare, looking back to the Middle Ages and forward to the Renaissance, asks: ?Is it possible to be at home in this world?? Falstaff warns Prince Hal that if Hal banishes him, he banishes ?all the world,? implying what a tragedy that would be. Yet Hamlet says the uses of the world seem to him to be ?weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable.? This course examines the dynamic tension that lies between these two world views, and the complex and challenging ways in which Shakespeare deals with the question. Readings may include Henry IV, Part I; Hamlet; King Lear; Much Ado About Nothing; and Twelfth Night.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1256  The Novel & Society: Victorian Britain  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The realist novel is often considered to have reached its peak in England in the Victorian era. How and why did that happen? To what extent did the society shape the novel? To what extent did the novel reflect or represent the society? For that matter, what is realism, really? Is the realist novel entertainment or art? Does it play a moral role? Can it change society? How does material production influence the novel? We ask these questions through the lenses of four inter-related issues of the period: the conflict between a “mechanical” and a “romantic” philosophy; the increasing wealth of the middle class and the pauperization of the new working class; the “Woman Question,” involving the first large-scale agitation for equal rights for women; and the “imperial adventure” that brought a fourth of the world’s territory under British rule. We read four novels: Dickens’s Hard Times, Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton, George Eliot’s Adam Bede, and Rudyard Kipling’s Kim; essays by “sages” John Stuart Mill, Thomas Carlyle, John Ruskin, Matthew Arnold, and George Eliot; postcolonial criticism by Edward Said; and theories of the novel by Mikhail Bakhtin, F.R. Leavis, Raymond Williams, and Virginia Woolf.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1258  The Ancient Theatre and Its Influences  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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; Seneca; Racine, Sartre, Fugard, Al-Bassam, McLaughlin.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1261  The Politics of Style  (4 Credits)  
In this course we will ask: How do clothes make the man? How has style in its broadest sense come to function as an expression of a person?s political positioning, sexual/gender politics, and allegiance to groups and subcultures? Conversely, how has style been used to limit the individual?s mobility and freedom, that is, to keep people in their place? What is the relationship of capitalism to the marketing of sex, the appropriation of subcultural style, and the system of fashion? We will discuss these issues and others in relation to the politics of style, past and present, in America, France, Britain, Japan and Imperial China, looking at fashion, hair, manners, foot binding, and body arts like tattoo and piercing. Texts may include narrative films, documentaries, fashion magazines, commercials, and writings by Karl Marx, Wolfgang Haug, Dick Hebdige, Judith Butler, Roland Barthes, Dorinne Kondo, Pierre Bourdieu, Richard Sennett, Liz and Stuart Ewen, Charles Baudelaire and George Bernard Shaw.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1263  American Road Trip  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Going on the road is an archetypal American experience, the subject of countless poems, songs, movies, novels, and travel books. Throughout the country’s history, native-born writers and visitors from abroad have hit the road in the hope that through direct experience they could come to a better understanding of the American character and what the country is all about. In this course we travel across the country with these writers, exploring such questions as: What is the “American way of life,” and can some values, myths, and obsessions be seen as distinctly American? What does it mean to speak of a national identity, when there’s so much social and cultural diversity? How do the road trip narratives map the regional and literary geography of the country? Why this love of movement and speed, this romance with the road? Readings may include Twain’s Roughing It, Miller’s The Air-conditioned Nightmare, Beauvoir’s America Day by Day, Steinbeck’s Travels with Charlie, Kerouac’s On the Road, Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Least Heat-Moon’s Blue Highways, and Baudrillard’s America.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1264  Before Philosophy: Wisdom, Authority, and Instruction in the Ancient Mediterranean World  (4 Credits)  
What constituted 'wisdom' for the societies of the ancient Mediterranean world? On what authority was its cultural status based? Long before the ancients formalized wisdom into what we now call "philosophy," they cast it in various literary forms, including parable, proverb, precept, and a range of poetic models. How did this wisdom (or "instruction") literature address questions about mortality, divinity, the natural world, structures of power, erotic relations, and more? Focusing on ancient Mesopotamia (the ancient designation of modern Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Syria, Turkey) as well as on Egypt, Israel, and Greece, we will examine the forms, themes, and cultural construction of wisdom in these ancient societies. Among the questions we will pose and explore: What were and are the cultural limits of wisdom? How did the wisdom traditions of the Near East and Greece interact? What is the relation of 'wisdom' to ideology?
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1268  The Cultural Politics of Childhood  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This interdisciplinary seminar explores children and childhood in the United States from two vantage points—those of public policy makers and of parents. In what ways does public policy shape children’s lives? What historical trends influence the ways that people parent? What happens when parents disagree with laws or conventions regarding how to parent? The first half of the course examines common conceptualizations of the child figure historically and today. While all children possess some universal characteristics that transcend time, place and personal circumstance, we can also understand the contemporary child figure to be a social construction, with “childhood” as we know it emerging as a coherent life stage only in the past few centuries. Public policy—laws about healthcare, education and labor, in particular—have both shaped and responded to these conceptualizations of childhood. The second half of the course examines children as members of families. Just as we can understand the symbolic child figure as a social construction, so we will see that race, class, gender and sexual orientation are key factors influencing the lived experiences of actual children and their parents. Additionally, we will examine how the proscribed “best methods” of child-rearing seem to change continuously—parents who consult various “experts” often receive contradictory advice. Works we may engage include Guggenheim's What's Wrong with Children's Rights?, Lareau's Unequal Childhoods, Postman’s Disappearance of Childhood, and the photography of Sally Mann. By the end of the course, we should have deeper understandings of childhood as a social construction, of the debates surrounding some of the issues that society currently deems relevant to children, and of differing child-rearing practices that parents employ.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1272  Theorizing Politics  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course analyzes what politics—as a practice and as a concept—has meant, means now, and could mean. In what ways has "politics" (as a noun) been used to name a distinctive practice (call it citizenship) located in a specific space in the social world, and in what senses has "political" been used as an adjective to depict certain dimensions of every human practice? How is practice and conceptualization related in different places and moments? Are there distinctive challenges (and gifts) entwined with politics and with the political dimensions of our lives? Are new dilemmas (and possibilities) emerging now, as globalization unsettles the nation-state form? We explore these questions by closely reading several canonical texts in political theory and using them to think about contrasting ways that human beings have practiced politics and invested it with meaning. In turn, working through several profound -and profoundly different- visions of politics will help us learn to “think politically” about collective circumstances, choices, and actions. Key theorists include Machiavelli,Marx, Arendt. Wittgenstein, and Foucault, paired with critical race, feminist, and queer theorists.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1277  Alchemy and the Transformation of Self  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The focus of this course is the history of the human being’s need to turn what is painful about the human condition into something beautiful. We explore the etymology of the word‘transformation’ and ask ourselves why humans have invoked the ecstasies and agonies of the process to explore the breadth and depth of the human psyche as it moves toward greater degrees of consciousness of self and world. We answer these questions by tracing the ancient science of alchemical transformation from its roots in the Stone Age, through the Eastern spiritual practices of China and India, into the embalming practices of ancient Egypt and the astrological symbol system of the Greeks, culminating in the work of C.G. Jung who discovered the ancient art of alchemy as the philosophical antecedent and language to his own transformational psychology, and so introducing the ancient art into the post modern world.The course culminates in The Alchemy Project where students will have the opportunity to experience transformation in thier own lives. Readings include: Eliade’s The Forge and the Crucible; Edward Edinger’s Anatomy of the Psyche: Stan Marlan’s Black Sun; Edinger’s Mystery of the Coniunctio and selections from The Alchemy Reader and Splendor Solis, together with readings from the Buddha,Freud, Jung and Hillman.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1280  Revisioning The Classics  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Re-visioning the classics, often in a subversive mode, has evolved into its own genre in recent years, and many of these literary and performance texts have been shaped by modernist and postmodern narrative innovations and avant-garde theatrical strategies. Several of these works are also informed by ideological criticism that reads “against the grain” of the “master-works” to produce new meanings. However, the revisionist genre also develops a tradition of literary and dramatic renderings of canonical works that look for continuity even in the context of stylistic invention and contemporary themes. This course examines assumptions and conventions surrounding intertextuality—the multiple ways in which texts and productions echo or are linked to earlier renditions. Readings (and viewings) include imaginative reinterpretations of myth, classical and modern drama, the novel, narrative poetry, dance performance as well as theoretical readings on revision and adaptation. Authors and artists may include: Aeschylus, Shakespeare, Henry James, Ola Rotimi, Joyce Carol Oates, Paula Vogel, W.B. Yeats, Adrienne Rich, Martha Graham.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1289  Narrative Investigations II: Realism to Postmodernism  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In this class we will continue to explore the concept of narrative and the way writers interrogate literary and social conventions. As we consider how stories shape our notions of history, love, social class, and sexual identity, we will examine how the thinking of readers, and stories, changed from the nineteenth century to the twentieth. We will follow the emergence of a new form of narration, whose protagonists include not only characters, but also time, place, the city, the reader, and language itself. We will read Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, James Joyce's Ulysses, as well as essays on film and narrative theory.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1294  Health, Humanities, and Culture  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Most medical inquiry focuses on narrow issues of disease from within a biomedical framework. It rarely steps back from the particulars to ask larger philosophic questions regarding the goals of medicine and healthcare. In this class we take the opposite strategy to focus on the larger theoretical and philosophical issues in U.S. healthcare. We unpack the underlying concepts and principles that organize contemporary medical research, practice, and education. We look at the strengths and weaknesses of today's dominant models of medicine and we consider the possibilities of alternative conceptual frames. Plus, we consider how much of the administrative and financial problems of today's healthcare crisis can be explained by conceptual and philosophical issues. Our inquiry will be an interdisciplinary approach that draws from medicine, philosophy, history, anthropology, sociology, gender studies, disability studies, cultural studies, poetry, drama, and documentary.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1298  Ecology and Environmental Thought  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course explores the historical and current relationship between the science of ecology and environmental philosophy and policy. The focus will be on case studies, past and present, that shed light on interactions between ecological science and environmental thinking, the connections of both to broader intellectual, cultural, social and political trends, their sometimes tenuous relationship to one another over the past century, and their continuing interactions in the discourse over the fate of nature. Considerable attention will be given to the science of ecology–its concepts, explanations, and methods—as well as to the broad cultural background in which it has developed. Topics include changing views of equilibrium and the balance of nature, myths of the primitive, the transfer of metaphors between social theory and ecology, cross-cultural transfers and exchanges of ecological knowledge, and recent debates over biodiversity, population, “invasive” species, global warming, and environmental justice. Readings will include historical works by authors from Linnaeus and Darwin to Thoreau, George Perkins Marsh, and Rachel Carson, and a variety of works by recent and contemporary ecologists and environmental thinkers, such as Paul Colinvaux, Why Big Fierce Animals Are Rare, Chris Thomas, Inheritors of the Earth, and Ken Thomson, Where Do Camels Belong?
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1299  Objectivity and the Politics of the Journalism Revolution  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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 that include political power brokers that outspokenly seek to marginalize the press. In this course we examine this ideal or promise: is it possible? desirable? To pursue this inquiry we consider challenges to objectivity by figures such as Truman Capote, who linked a “new journalism” to a personal point of view, Robert McChesney, whose corporate media perspective provides a powerful macro analysis of modern journalism, and Jay Rosen, who articulates the postmodern shifts brought on by the Internet that have redefined and realigned the relationship between the journalist and audience. Readings include Walter Lippmann, Tom Wolfe, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, and Ben Bagdikian.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1300  Militaries and Militarization  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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, among others: A. Bacevich, Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War; C. Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire; C. Enloe, Nimo's War, Emma's War; K. Lutz, Homefront: A Military City and the American Twentieth Century; K. McCaffrey, Military Power and Popular Protest: The U.S. Navy in Vieques, Puerto Rico; J. Horgan The End of War.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1306  Critical Social Theory  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1307  Race, Nation, and Narrative  (4 Credits)  
This course uses social analysis, political speeches, and fiction to explore the relation of race-making, nation-building, and story-telling in the case of the United States. Our broadest premise is that collective subjects (nations, peoples, classes, religions, races) are formed and reformed through narratives joined to collective action. Our specific premise is that "American" nationhood has been formed by racial domination and opposition to it, as represented in and through contesting narratives. Our goal is two-fold: to assess racialized nationalism in its historic and recent iterations, but also to assess how it is contested differently by scholarly treatises, political speeches, and works of literary or cinematic invention. Part One uses social analysis to explore the intersections entwining settler colonialism, chattel slavery, and immigration restriction in forming American society and imagined ("American") national community. The practice and meaning of "democracy," has been set by white supremacy, but also enlarged and contested by social movements and counter-narratives that re-conceive the meaning of race and nation. Part Two thus uses speeches by activists to clarify the debates in the civil rights era about the goals, means, and stories that define effective social change. Part Three compares how fictions in literature and film represent the relation of race, nation, and democratic possibility. Authors include James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Colson Whitehead, Claudia Rankine; theorists include Michael Rogin, Glenn Coulthard, Mae Ngai, Hortense Spillers, Saidiyah Hartman, Frank Wilderson, Fred Moten. Films include Bamboozled, Get Out, and Black Panther.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1311  Mad Science/Mad Pride  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Despite extensive numbers of people diagnosed with mental illness, there remains considerable debate and controversy surrounding these diagnoses. This class uses narrative theory and emergent work in mad studies to explore competing approaches to madness. We start with an overview of narrative theory as relevant to issues of mental difference and suffering. Key narrative topics we discuss include plot, metaphor, character, and point of view. With narrative theory as our guide, we consider multiple approaches to mental difference from mad science pathology to mad-positive art, activism, and spirituality. Throughout our exploration, we will be inspired by the mad pride idea that mental difference is often best seen as a “dangerous gift.” Mad gifts provide a way of knowing and being outside the norm but at the same time they can be challenging to navigate and negotiate.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1313  Ethics for Dissenters  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course is about dissent in a double sense: criticizing accepted ethical values, and criticizing old ways of philosophical thought about ethics. It is about affirmative ethics, not just criticism. Over the years the course has grown into a survey of classic writings in ethical philosophy from Socrates to Sartre. One half of the class is devoted to the classical Greek thought of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics. There is a brief critical look at Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. The modern period covers the ethics of Romanticism, Marxism, Pragmatism, Existentialism, and Feminism "as dissenting alternatives to mainstream Kantian and utilitarian ethics. Authors include Dewey, Emerson, Hegel, Gilligan, James, Marx, Nietzsche, Sartre, and Schiller. From these texts perspectives emerge on: (1) criticizing unjust (e.g. sexist) ethical standards, and inventing fair ones; (2) choosing ethical careers and life paths; (3) recognizing responsibilities to the larger community; (4) resolving ethical dilemmas; (5) forming and justifying visions of a better world; (6) dialoguing productively with adversaries by respecting different ethical positions without the cop-out of "anything goes;" and (7) getting beyond dead-end debate on idealism/realism, egotism/altruism, objectivism/relativism.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1314  Literary and Cultural Theory: An Interdisciplinary Introduction  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In this course, we will examine several questions that arise for students interested in the relation of theory to interdisciplinary study. What is theory essentially? How does it help us to develop approaches and shape questions for study? What are some influential theoretical schools and theoreticians? What do they say and how might they be related to one another? We will proceed through readings from Structuralism to Post-structuralism, focusing on language, feminism, psychoanalysis, deconstruction and interpretations of power and discourse. Authors considered may include Levi-Strauss, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, and Luce Irigaray.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1316  Rethinking the Biological Sciences  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Rethinking the Biological Sciences: Haraway, Theory and Culture Today’s biology has moved out of the lab and into our biofutures. Genetically modified foods, in vitro fertilization, cloning, the biomedical enhancement debates, neurochemical psychic manipulation, and even the possibility of a posthuman culture all loom on the immediate horizon. These biological developments challenge our familiar ways of thinking, and they upset many of our most cherished categories and priorities. As a result, new ways of thinking must emerge to understand and cope with today’s biological sciences. One of the most important scholars to respond to this challenge is feminist historian of science, Donna Haraway. Haraway is unique because of her extensive use of recent theoretical work from humanities and cultural studies to think again about biology. We devote this class to a close study of her work, and we consider the intellectual context of Haraway’s writing in feminist theory, science fiction, and the biosciences.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1318  Shakespeare and The London Theatre  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In this class we take a visit to London in the years 1590 to 1616, in search of Shakespeare and the London in which he lived and wrote. During this period, London, a major political and economic power, was also a center of dramatic arts unparalleled in the rest of Europe. Volumes of plays were written, theaters were built all over London, and each day, during the season, those theaters were filled with audiences from every social and economic class and gender, including foreigners from the rest of Europe, the Mediterranean basin and beyond. Theater was a craze. It was one of the key centers of cultural life in London. And in the center of this remarkably, vibrant creative world, Shakespeare was a superstar. We examine the city of London, Shakespeare, and theater from literary, historical, social, political and cultural perspectives, including questions of gender and race. Our consideration of the theater is in relation to other forms of popular entertainment, such as singing, dancing and mountebank performances, and how they might have influenced Shakespeare. We read a selection of plays written by Shakespeare, that might include As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III, Othello and Measure for Measure. We also see film versions of some of the plays and go to the New York theater, when we are able. We pay special attention to performance.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1322  The Ancient Greeks and Their Influence  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The astounding power of the ancient Greek philosophers and poets has been felt from their times to ours. Scholars in every age have pondered the questions they raised: What is the nature of man? What is the relationship of God or gods to humans? What is a good life? How do we live it? What is our relationship to nature? This course examines the way the Greeks examined these questions and the Greek influence on subsequent cultures. Works to be studied may include: The Odyssey, Oedipus Rex, The Symposium, The Consolation of Philosophy, Midsummer Night's Dream, and selected poetry from Wordsworth, W.B. Yeats, and Wendell Berry.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1324  Baseball as a Road to God  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
"Baseball As a Road to God" aims to link literature about our national pastime with the study of philosophy and theology. This seminar aims to blend ideas contained in classic baseball novels such as Coover's Universal Baseball Association, Kinsella's Iowa Baseball Confederation, and Malamud's The Natural with those found in such philosophical/theological works as Eliade's Sacred and Profane, Heschel's God in Search of Man, and James' Varieties of Religious Experience. It discusses such themes as the metaphysics of sports, the notions of sacred time and space, and the idea of baseball as a civil religion. Not for the faint-hearted, this course requires students to read over two dozen works of varying lengths in addition to supplemental readings as they might arise. Weekly papers are also required. As with any serious commitment of one?s time, the rewards of taking a seminar such as this can be great.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1328  Jung and The Postmodern Religious Experience  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
C.G Jung wrote: “I am not addressing myself to the happy possessors of faith, but to those many people people for whom the light has gone out, the mystery faded, and God is dead.” The course unfolds around the question: How does a person locate meaning in the postmodern age when traditional belief systems have been emptied of symbolic authority? In his discovery of the symbol making function within the human psyche, Jung offers a possible answer. Variously described as the religious, imaginative or creative instinct, this psychological function offers the possibility of losing and finding multiple meanings throughout the cycles of life. We begin by defining pre modern, post modern and post secular within their historical context with special attention to the role of language. We identify the influences that shaped Jung’s discovery, focusing on the classical elements that characterize a religious experience. Finally, we look to figures in the history of culture that have lost and found meaning, Jung himself in his Red Book and the Buddha. Readings may include selections from the Collected Works of C.G. Jung; Julia Kristiva,This Incredible Need to Believe; Nietzsche, The Gay Science; William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience; Gaston Bachelard, Poetics of Reverie; Ernst Cassirer, Language and Myth; Caputo’s The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida and On Religion; Richard Kearney, Anatheism.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1330  Euripedes' Medea and Morrison'S Beloved  (4 Credits)  
In this course we will focus intensively on Euripides? Medea and Toni Morrison?s Beloved, which acknowledges Medea as an important source. In exploring the cross-cultural and trans-historical enrichings each work may cast on the other, we will address questions of the political economy of the family and of sex, the nature of exile, the politics of the body, and the status of maternity. We will consider how these two distinctive genres?drama and novel?confront issues of agency and decision, and more broadly how literature displays and exposes the tensions and contradictions of the social. Readings will include essays by Gayle Rubin, Hortense Spillers, Nicole Loraux and others.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1337  Beyond The Invisible Hnd The Hist of Econ Thought  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1339  Foucault: Biopolitics and the Care of the Self  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
French philosopher and cultural historian Michel Foucault’s radical approach to the power, knowledge, and subjectivity destabilized rigid distinctions between the individual and discursive structures, and it anticipated a new form of "bio-politics." These approaches have been broadly influential across the humanities, cultural studies, and social theory. Foucault’s later work on care of the self was devoted to understanding philosophy as a way of life, a spiritual exercise, and a practice of freedom. This work opens up new ways of thinking about ancient philosophy and religious life. Authors we discuss beyond Foucault include Stuart Hall, John Caputo, Pierre Hadot, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Thomas Merton, and Thich Nhat Hahn.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1340  Hiroshima  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
On August 6 1945 the city of Hiroshima in Japan was leveled by the first atomic bomb. On August 9, the city of Nagasaki was leveled by the second bomb. It is estimated that between 210,000 and 270,000 people were killed, some immediately, some from the radiation days or months later. These estimates do not include more long-term impacts of the radiation, such as birth defects, or various cancers. How can we, as human beings, make sense of these events? How can we cope with, and represent unthinkable trauma? What are the politics of such representation? What processes of healing are possible through remembering? Is it important to represent such traumas, and if so, why? This course will explore a selection of historical, literary, cinematic, and other venues in which this unrepresentable trauma was, and continues to be, indeed, represented. We will aim at exploring the processes of mourning, remembering, and representing collective cultural trauma. Readings will include: Hein and Selden, Living With the Bomb, Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others, LaCapra, Writing History, Writing Trauma, Sigmund Freud, “Mourning and Melancholia,” and selected short fiction, poetry and photographs. We will also view documentary footage and the narrative film Black Rain.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1341  Metaphor and Meaning  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Aristotle described metaphor in The Poetics as "the mark of genius, for to make good metaphors implies an eye for resemblances" (XXII). Since ancient times, poets and philosophers have written about metaphor and its power, while visual artists have transposed the techniques of figurative language from the verbal to the visual. Metaphor has been employed in texts as ornamentation, as a means of introducing new ideas and concepts, and as a way of imitating the working of the mind itself. In this class, we investigate how metaphor, verbal and visual, influences our processes of thinking, creating, and innovating, both intellectually and artistically. And we experiment with making our own metaphors, in words and pictures. Readings will range over poetry, philosophy, theory of art, and linguistics, including essays by Plato, Paul Ricoeur, I.A. Richards, Max Black, Wayne Booth, George Lakoff, and Rudolf Arnheim; poetry by Shakespeare, Campion, Rossetti, Rilke, Stevens, Wordsworth, and Bishop, concrete poetry, and Virginia Woolf's novel To the Lighthouse.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1342  Language, Globalization and the Self  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course is intended as an exploration of language as vehicle for processes of globalization and as framework for our understanding of them. What role did language play in the changes wrought by early capitalist transformations and the colonial expansion and what role does language continue to play in them? Conversely, how have these global changes affected localized communities and the languages that identify them? Finally, how do we come to grips with the multiplicity of frames provided by the advent of new technologies, and has such multiplicity altered our trust in the possibility of global communication? 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. "During our discussions we will keep an eye on the shifting line between information and disinformation and ask ourselves how we identify "truth" in all of this. While ultimately concerned with language, our discussions will have a wide scope ranging from issues of political economy to collective consciousness and individual psychology.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1351  Passion and Poetics in Early Japan  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
It can be argued that until the 1880s one thing was almost entirely absent in Japanese literary and performing arts: the notion of an interiorized subject. In fact, the ancient Japanese arts are examples of extreme "exteriority" that privilege form, word play and intertextuality and enfold the human being and human erotic passions within rituals for purity and harmony with a cosmology of the heavens. This course will explore ancient and premodern Japanese poetics and prose, performing and visual arts, from the very first writings through the nineteenth century, in relation to sociocultural history and belief systems such as Buddhism and Shintoism. Texts will include: selections of poetry, emaki (picture scrolls), noh and puppet plays, selections from The Tale of Genji, The Pillow Book, and the earliest forms of manga.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1357  The Qur'an  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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 misreading's 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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1358  Rethinking Science: Latour, Laboratories  (4 Credits)  
Same as V18.0721001. With the rise of science, modern people believe they irrevocably separated themselves from their primitive, premodern ancestors. But are scientific practices really superior to other forms of inquiry? Does science provide the objective impartial knowledge that many moderns believe, or do social, cultural and traditional influences actually determine its course? And, in the face of increasing ecological crisis, will moderns eventually look back on science as not our greatest gift but our worst curse? For those interested in these kinds of questions, Bruno Latour has been one of the liveliest, most controversial, and most engaged scholars of the field. His work combines poststructuralist theory with robust empirical studies, and he consistently unpacks dense ?actor-networks? of subjectivities, technologies, organizations, and social power. In this course, we follow Latour from his early ethnographies of laboratory life, through his more philosophical works on Modernism and Truth, to his later works on the environmental and the politics of ?nature.? Along the way, Latour?s deliciously iconoclastic ideas will challenge us to rethink science, modernity, nature, and ourselves.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1359  American Capitalism in the Twentieth Century  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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, Malcolm X and Ronald Reagan.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1360  Intellectuals and Power: Foucault, Lenin, Gramsci  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course uses Lenin, Gramsci, and Foucault to pursue two questions: first, how does power operate in society? Second, what is the role of intellectuals in relation to power and politics? On the one hand, we ask: what is power? (Is it located in the state? corporations? media? in discourse? In what ways is power a problem and in what ways a resource?) On the other hand, we ask: what is “the intellectual?” What sort of social category and institution is thereby denoted? What do intellectuals claim to know and what is the political impact of their authority? Our goal is to explore how intellectuals give us a language to “see” power, but also how they have been implicated in the very forms of power they teach us to analyze. Readings include texts by Lenin, Gramsci, and Foucault, among others.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1366  Inventing Modernity II:Realism and Resistance  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The pessimistic turn of Western art and philosophy in the second half of the 19th Century stands in sharp contrast to the progressive rhetoric of that era. European and American newspapers, serving the interests of nationalism, imperialism, and capitalism, trumpeted modernity as an Age of Progress. Mechanical marvels (cameras, electricity, railroads, telephones) and political emancipations (the end of monarchies and abolition of slavery and serfdom) were seen as signs of new and better ways of life for all. The novelists, playwrights, and theorists we will read in this class, on the other hand, tended to see things differently (although not always unanimously among themselves). Committed to a kind of whistle-blowing that was either a mode of representation (“realism”), an intellectual disposition, a moral commitment, or all the above, many of our authors conveyed some version of an idea expressed by the defense at Baudelaire’s obscenity trial in the late 1850’s: the point of art in the modern world is “to expose frank, unidealized, and unpleasant realities.” The most conspicuous “’unpleasant realities’” revealed in our readings cast doubt on philosophical and religious certainty, the sanctity of marriage and family, and the stability of identity and personality. While the general direction of our readings is toward what Weber called “disenchantment” and Freud called “discontent,” it should be noted that most of our readings include a surprising and comforting amount of comedy and wit. Readings will include: Dickens’s Great Expectations, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, James’s The Bostonians, Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals, Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and The Decay of Lying, and selections from Baudelaire on modernity and Mill on feminism.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1367  The Body in The Arabic Tradition  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The body has always been a productive site for the construction of meanings, boundaries, and hierarchies. Taking the trope of the body in pre-modern Arabo-Islamic tradition(s) as its starting point, the course will examine the modes in which various discourses have inscribed themselves unto the body and competed for it. Readings and discussions will revolve around a number of interrelated questions: How was the body gendered and constructed in the early texts of the tradition? How were these representations appropriated and altered in later periods? How were desire and pleasure regulated, contained and/or celebrated ? How were religious representations of the body as a reflection of the divine appropriated by profane poetry and mystical writings? What boundaries and laws existed for the body?s movement in space (particularly female), and what were the implications and punishments for violating them? How did rituals of purity deal with blood and bodily fluids? How did religious and legalistic discourses deal with otherized and marked bodies of religious and sexual minorities? Readings (in translation) will range from excerpts from the Qur?an, hadith, (Prophetic tradition) poetry, Islamic law, philosophy, and erotica.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1369  Japan and the Discovery of Interiority  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The process of modernization in Western Europe spanned hundreds of years, from its nascent origins in the Renaissance, through the Enlightenment, into the twentieth century. In Japan this same process was collapsed into a few short decades around the turn of the nineteenth century. We will examine the shift from a premodern to a modern system of subjectivity and perspective in language, literature, and the performing arts. We will ask: What was the impact of Western imperialism, science, art, gender and sexual politics on Japanese language, literature and film? What were the internal conditions that made Japan ready for modernization? How did premodern conventions create a modernity in Japan different from Western models? What resisted modernization, and why? Our texts will include literature The Miner (Sôseki), In Praise of Shadows (Tanizaki), Ankoku butô dance, and secondary sources on history, language, and society, including Karatani, Origins of Modern Japanese Literature.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1370  Popular Cult. & Struggle for Black Civil Rights  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
How has popular culture served as a path (or obstacle) to social, political and economic equality for African Americans? Can black popular culture align itself with political movements without compromising its artistic integrity and authenticity? What is “authentic” black popular culture anyway? For over a century black artists, intellectuals, political leaders and audiences have engaged with these questions, as part of a larger debate on the relationship between African American participation in popular culture and their status in American society. Because popular culture has historically been one of the few avenues of success open to African Americans, some have credited it with offering black artists and entertainers the possibility of economic success, social mobility and cultural visibility. Others, however, have charged popular culture with perpetuating negative stereotypes and limiting blacks in their quest for equality. Far from being settled, this debate continues today. This course will trace the development of this debate from a variety of historical, cultural and disciplinary perspectives. Students will analyze some of the key historical and contemporary works on the subject, as well as some of the movies, television shows, literature, music and comedy routines that were at the center of this debate.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1372  African Diasporic Art & Spirituality in Americas: Honey is my Knife  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This seminar will investigate the cultural contributions of Africans in the formation of the contemporary Americas. There will be a particular focus on the African religious traditions that have continued and developed in spite of hostile social and political pressures. Because of their important roles in the continuations of African aesthetics, the areas of visual art, music and dance will be emphasized in the exploration of the topic. This seminar will also discuss two important African ethnic groups: the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria, and the Bakongo of Central Africa. It will highlight the American religious traditions of these cultures, e.g., Candomble Nago/Ketu, Santeria/Lucumi, Shango, Xango, etc., for the Yoruba, and Palo Mayombe, Umbanda, Macumba, Kumina, African-American Christianity, etc., for the Bakongo and other Central Africans. In the course discussions, the Americas are to include Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, the United States and numerous other appropriate locations. There will also be a focus on visual artists like Charles Abramson, Jose Bedia, Juan Boza, Lourdes Lopez, Manuel Mendive, etc., whose works are grounded in African based religions. In addition, we will explore how African religious philosophy has impacted on every-day life in the Americas, for example in the areas of international athletics, procedures of greeting and degreeting, culinary practices, etc.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1374  The Birth of The World: The Cosmological Tradition  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
"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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1375  Romantics and Revolutionaries  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In the period of the American and French Revolutions, theater and theatricality took on powerful political significance. This course explores the convergence between theatre and politics during the Age of Revolution, while seeking parallels to the theatricality of our own political culture. Partly, we examine the historical conditions and cultural innovations that fueled writers and artists during this volatile and dynamic period between 1770 and 1850. Partly, we examine dramaturgy and theatre aesthetics exploring the links between history, and theories of drama, playwriting and stage practice, performance styles and critical reception. In addition to class discussions, students will be responsible for an extensive research project (paper and presentation). Course materials may include works by such figures as Voltaire, Rousseau, Sheridan, Blake, Schiller, Byron, Goethe, Stendhal, Robespierre, Washington, Pitt, and Paine; the music of Mozart and Beethoven; and the art of Piranesi, David, Ingres, and Delacroix.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1380  Three Revolutions: Haiti, Mexico, Cuba  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1381  Creative Democracy: The Pragmatist Tradition  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
From Emerson, through William James, to John Dewey, and beyond, Pragmatism has been a uniquely American contribution to political theory and philosophy. The pragmatists are concerned with action in the world, to address “the problems of men and women.” They construct a philosophy for understanding and guiding that action. That philosophy values imaginative vision and exploratory experimentation. It looks forward to the new rather than dwelling on explaining, justifying, or condemning what exists. Pragmatism, like classical political theory, is concerned with politics as a way of achieving a good society, in which people can lead good lives. It does not view politics narrowly in terms only of elections and governments. Reading pragmatism as philosophy, in the first half of the course we will consider ethics, theory of knowledge, theory of science and social science, and put these in the service of democratic theory. Through the lens of the “Dewey-Lippmann controversy” we will consider the capacity of citizens for informed responsible participation. In the second half of the course we will consider democratic experiments: economic democracy, civic journalism, progressive education, participatory action research, and conflict resolution. Possible readings include Emerson’s “The American Scholar;” James’s “Moral Equivalent of War;” Dewey’s The Public and Its Problems, “Creative Democracy,” and “The Economic Basis of the New Society;” Walter Lippmann's Public Opinion, Jay Rosen's. What Are Journalists For, William & Katherine Whyte's, Making Mondragon, and so on.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1385  Black Cultural Studies  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
How do we understand racial identity? How is race represented in popular culture and how has that representation changed over time? In this interdisciplinary seminar, we will answer such questions by focusing intensively on the black cultural studies approach to understanding race. Paying particular attention to the writings of Stuart Hall and those who have been influenced by him, we will introduce to or deepen students? knowledge of this important school of thought that has arisen out of an Afro-British context?a context that has been deeply influenced by African American experiences and political discourses. We will historicize this work, exploring antecedents to black cultural studies and the contexts in which it arises. In the process, we will be asking questions about black identities and their relationships to gender, class, and sexuality and about the African diaspora. Taking this opportunity to study the way that non-Americans look at race will help us break from commonsense and misleading notions of ethnic identity in our own country. At the end of the course, we turn our attention to the United States. Throughout, we will pay particular attention to how race plays out in popular culture. Writers to be studied will include, W.E.B. DuBois, Frantz Fanon, Stuart Hall, Hazel Carby, Kobena Mercer, Paul Gilroy, Isaac Julien, and Zadie Smith.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1387  The Photographic Imaginary  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In this seminar we will examine some of the most provocative ways in which photography has been imagined and practiced over the past century and a half, from early accounts of the daguerreotype to recent work on the digital image. Through close examination of photographic practices and works, as well as the critical discourses that have grown up around them, we will endeavor to understand not just what André Bazin calls the “ontology” of the photographic image, but also how the photograph gets thought about, talked about, utilized and, in turn, produced fantasmatically as a particular kind of object and a special way of picturing. In other words: what, precisely, is a photograph? Do we draw upon its material, chemical, visible, invisible, affective, or discursive properties to describe the essential aspects of this amazing and ubiquitous medium? Readings may include Azoulay, Barthes, Batchen, Bazin, Benjamin, Fox Talbot, Kracauer, Mann, Metz, Silverman,Sontag, Tagg, Wall.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1388  Thinking About Seeing  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Through an art historical lens, this course explores visual communication in a media-saturated society. We will analyze how people “speak” through images and symbols as well as words and how we “read” what we see. This class will attempt to understand the tools used to reach an audience. Images and texts from the past and present will help us assess the character of various media and their personal as well as political implications. Texts will include works by Barthes, Baudrillard, Benjamin, Lev-Strauss, McLuhan, Sontag and other seminal essays on the media.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1389  Sappho & David: Greek & Hebrew Poetic Traditions  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
From Sappho?s love songs to the Psalms of David, poetry in the ancient Greek and Hebrew traditions expressed the gamut of human thought, feeling, and experience. We will explore the Book of Psalms and Sappho, along with the Song of the Sea, the Songs of Songs, and the oracles of the Prophets in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), and the odes of Pindar, the poetry of Anacreon, and Archolochus, and lyrical portions of the Iliad and Odyssey. We will consider historical setting (from war-tribes to kingship and city-state); culture (from the heroic to the democratic and the theocratic); theme (love, God, honor, sexuality, justice, forgiveness); function (the who, what, where, when, and why of any poem). Art and architecture, philosophy, and religious literature will also be examined to provide an in-depth, three-dimensional sense of the context. And finally, we will, throughout the semester, ask the question why these poems, some of them 3000 years old, speak to us with such startling immediacy, power, and urgency in the twenty-first century.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1394  Latinos and The Politics of Race  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1396  Nature and The Polis  (4 Credits)  
Historically nature has been a fundamenHistorically nature has been a fundamental philosophic concept for analyzing the origin and structure of the polis. It has been used not only as a means for explaining the political and its limits, but also as a regulative device for shaping preferred political outcomes. Determining certain actions or institutions as natural can provide a sanction to political decisions so they seem necessary. This is the case whether the natural is determined according to honest scientific analysis, or as the manipulation of belief, with Plato?s hierarchy of souls in the Republic being the most overt. Nature appears in various forms in regard to the political, easily identifying the polis as the end of natural processes or as a protection against a hostile nature that obscures the more important questions of how and why such an answer is arrived at. In this course we will examine the use of the concept of nature throughout the history of political philosophy, with a particular emphasis on the effect the concept has had on the analysis of human activity and on understandings of preferred societal outcomes. Our main, but not exclusive, texts will be Plato?s Republic and Hobbes? Leviathan.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1398  Birth Control: Population Politics, and Power  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1403  The Global Neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1408  Leviathans, Lovers and Libertines  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Louis XIV used theater, music and the visual arts to solidify and articulate his supremacy and in so doing created for himself the role of the magnificent and mighty "Sun King." But in his time Louis was not alone in understanding an idea that we now think so modern that image is all and that the manipulation of that image is the way to power and influence. This course examines performance and its expressions, both theatrical and political, during the Baroque period and the Age of Enlightenment. Readings may include: John E. Wills, 1688; Aphra Behn, The Rover; Jean Racine, Phaedra; Pierre Corneille, The Theatrical Illusion; Pedro Caldern de la Barca, La Vida es Sueo (Life is a Dream); Molire, La Tartuffe and Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme; Susanna Centlivre, A Bold Stroke for a Wife; John Dryden, All for Love; Marivaux, The Game of Love and Chance; Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer; the music of Monteverdi, Lully, Bach, Hndel and Glck; as well as the art of Rubens, Le Brun, Watteau and more.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1410  Satan and The Angels: Good & Evil Personified  (4 Credits)  
The popular imagination findsThe popular imagination finds them irresistible; so did the great artists of the Renaissance. The major religious traditions all have versions of them; so do various cults and makeshift religions. They appear on television, and in Dante?s Commedia. Angels and demons seem to interest everyone, yet very few people have a clear notion of exactly what they are supposed to be and where they come from. Our course will explore the tradition of the angels and the devil in the great global faiths; their origins in the myths and religions of the ancient world; their history in art and literature, from the Greek daimons to modern movies, novels, and cartoon art. Readings will be excerpts from the classic religious texts such as the Bible and the dialogues of Plato, from poems such as the Commedia and Paradise Lost, novels such as The Screwtape Letters and The Exorcist; museum visits for visual art and film viewings will round out the course.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1411  What Was Conceptualism & Why Won'T it Go Away?  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course examines the conceptual art movement, the hopes that shaped its political and aesthetic stratagems, and its legacy. We will begin by revisiting some of the major assumptions and conditions that catalyzed conceptualism, including the cultural climate of the 1960s, the critique of the object-status of art, concerns about the broader social function of the artist, as well as commodity culture. We will then take up our topic from various thematic vantages: the historical and philosophical question of language; the notions of “dematerialization” and documentation, particularly as aesthetic strategies aimed at “suppressing the beholder”; the practice of institutional critique and the broader idea of the world as system; the relationship between art, “information,” and the technological imaginary of the times. A few seminar meetings will be dedicated to focusing on a single artist or artwork. As we proceed we will also keep an eye on the question of why and in what ways conceptualism has persisted beyond its founding moment in the late 1960s, and what its more recent iterations in artistic production—as ‘global-’, ‘neo-’, and ‘post-conceptualisms’—have to offer.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1412  Yellow Peril  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1413  Moral Behavior: Sentiment & Psychology  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Emotions and sentiment have always been a problem for moral philosophy. Aristotle found emotions useful for the development of character but not as the Good in itself. Kant went even farther and considered all emotions as unnecessary and even dangerous for moral actions. But other thinkers, such as the British Moralists, have tried to understand the importance of emotions in moral motivations and they actually developed systems of morals based on emotions. In this course we will first develop a philosophic conception of moral action. Next we will consider how evolution has shaped the debate over the cause, significance, and status of actions and sentiments commonly considered as moral. Finally, we will read contemporary social psychology on the acquisition of moral sense and the causes of destructive behavior. Our main, but not exclusive, texts will be Kant?s Groundwork for a Metaphysics of Morals, Hume?s An Enquiry Concerning The Principles Of Morals, and Frans de Waa l?s Primates and Philosophers.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1417  Politics and The Gods  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
What is the relationship between political life and the divine? What role do the gods play in the course of history? How has religion influenced the organization of human communities and the conduct of war between them? How have political events shaped peoples’ understanding of the divine? This course will explore such questions through the study of texts from ancient Israel and Greece. We will read the works of poets, prophets, and historians, and consider the different ways that they grapple with the human-divine relationship. Readings may include selections from the Hebrew Bible, Greek poetical works, and the historical writings of Herodotus, Thucydides, and Josephus. Though occasional secondary sources may be assigned, emphasis throughout will be on close and careful reading of primary texts.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1420  Reading Poetry  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Poetry is an art which can express our deepest feelings and thoughts about our human experience. Too many of us, however, encounter poetry timidly. We wonder how we can make meaning of poetic words and rhythms so distinct from those we use in our daily lives. In this course, we will work at developing poetic sensibilities, not by digging to find clues to the mysterious meanings of poems, but by gaining an understanding of how to read poetry as a language within a language. We will study how the concentrated language and sounds of poetry help us to grapple with the shades and subtleties of our own experience. The course will begin with a study of various verse forms, and then focus on the art of close reading. We will read many poems ranging from early English lyrics, popular ballads, and Shakespeare’s sonnets, to modern and contemporary poems, as well as poems originally written in other languages.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1421  Wallace Stevens & The 20th Century  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Course meets October 21?December 11. Wallace Stevens holds an important place among modern American poets, yet his readers continue to puzzle over Stevens? work, especially as it relates to the most pervasive concerns of the twentieth century. In his poetry, he writes very little about specific cataclysmic events of his time, yet Stevens ponders questions of faith in a secular world, considers heroism and loss in a century marked by two world wars, and probes our human relationship to nature in an increasingly industrialized and technological world. In this course, we will take a close look at Stevens? relationship to the twentieth century. While his poetry will be at the center of the class, we will focus our attention on how Stevens gives voice to the contradictions and complexities of the modern world. Stevens? own work will be the main text of this course, yet readings will include contextual material drawn from literary criticism, intellectual history, philosophy, and politics.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1425  The Philosophic Dialogue  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In this course, we will read philosophical dialogues and their modern successors—a novel and a play—about 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. Our reading of Ion and Gorgias will look at Plato's ideas on art, rhetoric (oratory), and power before his Republic. Phaedrus, written later, develops Plato's ideas about the relation of the intellect, the emotions, and the appetites. Diderot's Rameau's Nephew revisits some of Plato's themes from the perspective of the eighteenth century and the changing world of the Enlightenment. Finally, we will explore dialogue form in the twentieth century through Virginia Woolf's novel Between the Acts and Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia. Among the questions we will consider together are the following: How are ideas born from conversation (and from our conversations)? What is the importance of human relationship in intellectual inquiry? Readings may include works by Plato, Diderot, Stoppard, and Woolf.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1426  Boundary Crossings  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The words we use to categorize people are proliferating, signaling the increasing instability of our cultural categories for describing race, gender, and sexuality. But is this instability and border crossing a new phenomenon or are we simply more aware of the tenuousness of identity? How are we to understand this explosion of identities and conscious border crossings? We will explore such questions from a historical perspective, beginning with the eighteenth century and ending in the mid-twentieth century. To further focus our discussions, we pay particular attention to racial and gender boundary crossing. Where possible, we will look for circumstances where these racial and gender boundaries intersect. Throughout the course, we hope to give students a historical context for understanding the various ways people cross-cultural boundaries and to alert students to the ways race, gender, and sexuality can be intertwined. Writers we will most likely read include: Nella Larsen, Lisa Duggan, Judith Butler, James Weldon Johnson, and Ross Chambers. Films we may study include Imitation of Life and Looking for Langston.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1432  The Meaning of Home  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
?Home,? Spengler wrote in The Decline of the West, ?is a profound word.? This course examines the concept of home as it has been studied in literature, philosophy, psychology, and art. It examines the issues of home as a place in which we dwell, a place where we find our center. It examines the idea of home in relation to the physical world, cultural ties, and a changing world, a world where homelessness and exile are common. Readings may include: The Odyssey, King Lear, E.M. Forster?s Howards End, and selections from the works of Frost, Freud, and Jung.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1433  The Simple Life  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course examines a theme common to Eastern and Western philosophical traditions?the call to a simple life. Great thinkers in both traditions warn of mindlessly accumulating possessions and entering into a dangerous, frenetic competitiveness. This course examines the value of a simple life and asks such questions as: Is it possible to lead a simple life in an urban setting or does it imply living close to nature? Does such a life lead to a dangerous passivity or does it, as Plato suggests, provide reflective leaders for the society? Does it improve our relationships with others or does it affect them adversely? Texts may include selections from Plato?s Republic, Aristotle?s Ethics, Shakespeare?s The Tempest, Thoreau?s Walden, and the poetry and essays of Wendell Berry.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1439  James Reese Europe and American Music  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course will examine the impact of James Reese Europe (1880-1919) on the development of American music in the early twentieth century. An innovative musician and conductor, Europe organized and conducted the first jazz concerts at Carnegie Hall (1912-1914), founded an African American music school, and served as a collaborator with Irene and Vernon Castle, who made social dancing a world-wide rage. During World War I, James Reese Europe led the all-black “Hellfighters” 15th Infantry Band, which performed throughout France and offered Europeans their first exposure to ‘le jazz hot.’ Readings may include A Life in Ragtime: A Biography of James Reese Europe by Reid Badger; excerpts from Music and War in the United States, edited by Sarah Mahler Kraaz; From Harlem to the Rhine by Arthur W. Little; Black Manhattan by James Weldon Johnson; and Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry 1890-1919 by Tim Brooks. Sound and film recordings will also be utilized.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1440  Sissle, Blake and the Minstrel Tradition  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course will explore the conflicting ideologies apparent in the works of Noble Sissle and James Hubert “Eubie” Blake. Famed for such hit musicals as “Shuffle Along” and “Chocolate Dandies,” Sissle and Blake formed one of the most successful musical theatre collaborations of the 1920’s. Their work draws strongly on the minstrel tradition in African American theatre, and attempts to subvert many of its conventions. It may be argued that their commercial success had the opposite effect, and served to update and modernize the very conventions that they sought to destroy. We will examine the effect of Sissle and Blake’s oeuvre on musical theatre in general and African American musicals in particular. Readings may include excerpts from Black Musical Theatre: From Coontown to Dreamgirls by Allen Woll, Black Drama by Loften Mitchell; Terrible Honesty by Mary Douglas, Blacks in Blackface by Henry T. Sampson, Reminiscing with Sissle and Blake by Robert Kimball, and Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry 1890-1919 by Tim Brooks. Archival sound and film footage will be utilized along with such works as Spike Lee’s film Bamboozled.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1443  Theorizing Popular Culture  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This class surveys popular culture studies from their origin in 19th century debates about the relation of culture to society, politics, and aesthetics. The phrase “popular culture” was once used to describe the everyday life and pastimes “of the people", but today its often used interchangeably with “mass culture” to refer to entertainments and objects manufactured for profit and distributed as widely as possible. How did this shift in meaning come about? Do mass and popular culture effect our social-political life, or reflect it, or neither? Have technological developments such as the invention of cameras and computers harmed or helped? What has happened to art in the age of mass culture? Why, for instance, do discussions of a popular song or TV show so often focus on its political and economic meanings rather than the aesthetic and emotional pleasures it may yield? Is it desirable or possible to restore “the people” as the makers, rather than the consumers, of culture? Readings may include critics such as Marx, Arnold, Leavis, Adorno, Benjamin, Greenburg, Macdonald, Barthes, Radway, Fiske, and Frith.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1444  Looking at Popular Culture: The Poetics of Television  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Some critics refer to television as a “story machine.” Whether that label is fair or not (can a machine produce real art?), it seems clear that television providers can barely keep up with the audience’s insatiable demand for more and more stories. Most television narrative comes to us in the form of a “series,” a dramatic structure that is our basic focus in this class. How has that format assisted or limited TV storytelling? Are the storytelling structures we associate with TV unique to that medium or simple modifications of novelistic and cinematic conventions? In this class we will consider some of the basic Aristotelian components of “good” drama in relation to American television history—genre, character, plotting, and spectacle—and also in relation to questions about how a given program represents life and provides pleasure. We will also examine TV in the light of theories about the cultural and political consequences of its dominance of the American cultural scene in the latter half of the twentieth century and (it might be said) current decline. Readings will be chosen to accompany the close study of several television shows including a season or two of Mad Men and The Wire.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1448  Herodotus & The Idea of History  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1449  Plato: Tragedy, Philosophy, and Politics  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This two-credit course focuses on Plato’s Republic. Our goal is two-fold: we practice the art of close reading to reveal the complex and contradictory layers of meaning in a text, and, we explore the enterprise of political theory by lingering over the central questions Plato raises. Those questions concern philosophy and its relationship to politics, the relationship between knowledge and power, the nature of justice, the role of art, poetry, and myth -of culture in its many senses- in politics, questions that remain urgent in contemporary debates about theory and politics. We begin with Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannos to explore the relationship between tragedy and philosophy, and we end with rflections on Plato by contemporary political theorists.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1450  Machiavelli: Popular Power and the Space of Appearances  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This two-credit course focuses on Machiavelli’s political theory. Our goal is two-fold: we learn the art of close reading, to reveal the complex and contradictory layers of meaning in our texts, and we explore the enterprise of political theory by lingering over the central questions Machiavelli raises. What is the nature of power? What is the character of “good” leadership? What is the relationship between morality and politics? How can human beings sustain forms of self-government, given their short-sightedness and fear, the predatory and narrow interests of ruling classes, and the tendency of institutions to become reified forms of power? We focus on his two greatest texts, but also read several of his greatest interpreters.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1451  Ancient Reflections in a Time of Modern War  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In this class we will explore ancient Greek attitudes toward war, as represented in epic, drama, and historiography. Among the topics we will consider are: rhetoric and rationales for and against war; war and social cohesion; war and empire; the stakes of civil war; war and gender; the social costs of war; the implications for our contemporary situation. Readings may include, Homer, Iliad; Sophocles, Ajax; Aeschylus Seven Against Thebes; Euripides, Iphigeneia in Aulis and Trojan Women; Aristophanes, Peace; Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War; and twentieth century mediations on the problematic of war, such as Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain; Jonathan Shay, Achilles in Vietnam; Simone Weil, The Iliad, or the poem of force.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1454  The IIiad and Its Legacies in Drama  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
"The poem of force," according to Simone Weil, the Iliad is also a poem of forceful influence. In this course we will read the Iliad intensively, followed by an examination of its heritage on the dramatic stage. In the first half of the semester we will primarily explore the Iliad in terms of the poetics of traditionality; the political economy of epic; the ideologics of the Männerbund (the "band of fighting brothers"); the Iliad's uses of reciprocity; its construction of gender; its intimations of tragedy. In the second half of the course, informed by a reading of Aristotle's Poetics, we will focus on responses to the Iliad in dramatic form; possible readings will include Sophocles' Ajax; Euripides' Iphigeneia in Aulis; Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida; Racine's Andromaque; Giraudoux's Tiger at the Gates; Ellen McLaughlin's Iphigenia and Other Daughters. Students will give presentations on an Iliadic intertext of their own choosing.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1457  The Odyssey: Estrangement and Homecoming  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1462  Consuming the Caribbean  (2 Credits)  
Paradise or plantation? Spring break, honeymoon, or narcotics way station? First World host or IMF delinquent? Where do we locate the Caribbean? From Columbus’ journals to Pirates of the Caribbean, the Caribbean has been buried beneath the sedimentation of imagery by and large cultivated by non-Caribbeans, including colonial governments, settlers, international tradesmen, tourist agents and their clients. Caribbean peoples have had to re-member the islands that they eventually called home—haunted by a history of slavery and still a site of consumption and exploitation. A unifying trope, Caribbean landscapes function as metaphor, emblem, or even character. This course takes an interdisciplinary and transnational approach by examining the material relations of consumption, which links places, bodies, capital, text, plants and landscapes, within the Caribbean, the U.S. and its former colonial powers. Thus, the study of the Caribbean emphasizes that the region is central to the understanding of modernity and globalization as a modern construct. Some of the theorists/writers we will engage are Edouard Glissant, Jamaica Kincaid, Maryse Condé, Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire and Mimi Sheller.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1464  In Full Effect: Hip-Hop Culture  (4 Credits)  
Nearly a generation after Chuck D of Public Enemy called hip hop music ?the Black CNN,? Nas?s latest CD declares that ?Hip hop is dead,? and proceeds to investigate who killed it. We?ll put off the autopsy to ask a more basic question: is there a hip hop aesthetic or common themes/tropes that can be traced through the various hip hop-infused cultural forms? To find an answer, we?ll take an interdisciplinary approach to examining hip-hop?s influence on poetry, fiction, film, art, style, and visual culture to see how it operates as a definitive cultural form and (in Raymond Williams? words) ?a particular way of life.? A key subtheme will be the relationship to American mass culture. Equally important to the discussion will be questions of race, class, and gender. Readings will include cultural critics Todd Boyd, Michael Eric Dyson, Mark Anthony Neal, and bell hooks, among others. Also on the list are Krush Groove and Juice (film); Black Artemis? Picture Me Rollin? (fiction); Danny Hoch?s Jails, Hospitals, and Hip Hop (drama); Willie Perdomo, Kahlil Almustafa, and Russell Simmons? Def Poetry Jam (poetry); and Jean-Michel Basquiat and Lady Pink (art/graffiti).
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1466  The Philosophy and Welfare Politics of Distributional Justice  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Are the outcomes of capitalist exchanges fair or unfair? Is capitalism supportive or detrimental to democratic virtues? Does the welfare state rectify the problems of capitalism or exacerbate them? John Rawls’ work A Theory of Justice has greatly shaped these considerations of the welfare state. His theory refined many of the debates concerning the fairness of capitalist economic outcomes and the effects capital accumulation has on democratic virtues. According to Rawls, the welfare state in some form was necessary for capitalism to have morally acceptable outcomes. But, critics of Rawls have called into question welfare state interventions, many finding them economically inefficient and detrimental to democratic virtues. Other critics have founds Rawls’ theory to be too limited in its impact, thereby supporting more extensive interventions into capital accumulation. In this course we will try to answer questions about the morality of capitalist accumulation by studying theoretical conceptions of Rawls’ work and the responses of his critics. The main texts of Rawls’ critics we will consider are Nozick’s Distributive Justice and Cohen's Rescuing Justice and Equality. We will also discuss current welfare state policies such as basic income grants.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1468  Psychoanalysis and The Visual  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
At least since Freud's "Dream Book," psychoanalysis has taught us that psychic life is thoroughly steeped in images. This course will pursue the implications of Jacques Lacan's theory of the subject, which elaborates and complicates Freud's thinking with respect to the ways in which psychic experience and visuality are intertwined. By examining a range of psychoanalytic texts alongside several films and photographs, we will begin with Lacan"s proposition that the "I" comes into being though the subject"s identification with his or her mirror image. This is ultimately a problem for sociality itself, for we learn to relate to others by way of how we relate to ourselves, our primordial other. Course materials MAY include the writings of Borch-Jacobsen, Butler, Descartes, Fanon, Freud, Heidegger, Klein, Lacan, Laplanche, Winnicot as well as several films, including Capturing the Friedmans , American Psycho , I Am Not Your Negro , and The Thin Red Line .
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1470  (Re) Imagining Latin America  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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 Simn Bolvar, Gabriela Mistral, Gabriel Garca Mrquez, Gustavo Gutirrez, Hermano Vianna, Javier Auyero, and Mariano Azuela.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1471  Black Intellectual Thought in the Atlantic World  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course examines the foundations, implementations, and implications of intellectual thought(s) of the African diaspora from the period of slavery in the Americas and post-emancipation societies through the present. Arguably, black intellectualism maintains roots in African-descended religious and cultural societies that pre-dates slavery in the West, however, this seminar seeks to explore the emergence of critical thought through historical, sociological, literary, autobiographical, religious and ethnographic writing that addressed vital issues facing African-descended peoples in the modern world. The matrix of race, class and gender has been a useful lens to analyze the systems and structures in place that both benefited and impeded racial progress. Yet, the themes of migration, nationalism, humor, music and empire-building also serve as essential tools to untangling and mapping the roots and routes of black intellectualism on four continents. Through a diverse set of materials (primary documents, films, music, and art) that utilize a multimedia and interdisciplinary approach to a range of historical, literary, political and economic questions central to Afro-diasporic experience(s), this course will critically engage the writings of thinkers who were at the vanguard of the Afro-modern and theoretical world, such as Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Anna Julia Cooper, Arturo Schomburg, Richard Wright, C.L.R. James, Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, Paule Marshall, and Angela Davis.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1475  American Politics After 9/11  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The central goal of this course is to examine the relationship between democracy and empire in the American case. Partly that means asking theoretical and historical questions about the relationship between the universalist claims of "liberal democracy" on the one hand, and practices of exclusion, racial domination, and military coercion on the other hand. Partly that means considering the ways that culture, livelihood and politics "at home" are shaped (in anti-democratic ways) by the institutions that enable global power. We at first relate these questions to domestic and international politics around the 9/11 attack, but we will focus on the Obama years. How have Americans understood and responded to economic crisis? How should we understand the pervasive language of economic and national decline? How do we explain bi-partisan support among elites for Bush-era "national security" policies, yet intense polarization over "domestic" policies whether taxes, (in)equality, "entitlements," immigration, abortion or gay marriage? What is the racial subtext of these debates? We will study the rhetoric and narratives of Obama, and of the "Tea Party" and "Occupy Wall Street" movements, to consider their different visions of democratic citizenship. To conclude we will compare the representational strategies in recent Hollywood movies that star George Clooney as a character awakening to (and trying to redeem) his complicity in imperial power, political corruption, and economic crisis.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1476  Primary Texts: Moby Dick  (2 Credits)  
This course focuses on Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Our goal is two-fold. Partly, we learn the art of close reading to reveal the complex layers of meaning in a text. Partly, we expand the canon of political thought by exploring how a literary text asks foundational political questions. Indeed, the only profound thinkers about politics in American history are the great literary artists, like Melville, Faulkner, Ellison, and Morrison. Only they analyze American life and politics with the depth and artfulness we find in Plato, Hobbes, Marx, or Nietzsche. We read Melville, then, to explore how he dramatizes questions about the nature of nature, the practice of philosophy, the meaning of justice, the forming of national identity, racial violence and empire, the role of myth (and art) in culture. In addition to Moby Dick, we read Melville’s greatest short stories—“Bartleby the Scrivener,” “Benito Cereno,” and “Billy Budd”—as well as scholarly readings about American culture and politics.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1478  The Modern Arabic Novel  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Colonialism left indelible marks on the cultures and societies of its colonized subjects. While nation-states have emerged, the colonial legacy and its various effects continue to haunt post-colonial societies and the modes in which they represent their history and subjectivity. The novel is a particularly privileged site to explore this problem. This course will focus on the post-colonial Arabic novel. After a brief historical introduction to the context and specific conditions of its emergence as a genre, we will read a number of representative novels. Discussions will focus on the following questions: How do writers problematize the perceived tension between tradition and modernity? Can form itself become an expression of sociopolitical resistance? How is the imaginary boundary between “West” and “East” blurred and/or solidified? How is the nation troped and can novels become sites for rewriting official history? What role do gender and sexuality play in all of the above? In addition to films, readings (all in English) may include Edward Said, Frantz Fanon, Naguib Mahfuz, al-Tayyib Salih, Abdelrahman Munif, Ghassan Kanafani, Elias Khoury, Sun`allah Ibrahim, Huda Barakat, Assia Djebbar, and Muhammad Shukri.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1479  Dangerous Women in Japanese Literature  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
As Japan entered its modern period around the turn of the twentieth century, a new literary trope appeared, into which a variety of premodern and ancient archetypes were collapsed. This is what I am calling the ?dangerous woman,? a powerful, sexy, and intimidating female figure who was reminiscent of, although not a replication of, earlier frightening females of the literary and dramatic tradition. This course will begin by reading a selection of premodern and ancient texts featuring various archetypes of witches, shamanesses, and female demons. Then we will examine how these figures are transformed with modernity, and what literary, social, gendered and other functions they serve as objects of male desire and fear. We will read a selection of relevant feminist literary theory alongside the fictional texts. Texts will include: Excerpts from Buddhist sutras, a Noh play, selections from The Tale of Genji, fiction by Izumi Kyoka, Enchi Fumiko, Sakaguchi Ango and Nakagami Kenji, and feminist theory by Elizabeth Grosz, Luce Irigaray, Cixous and Clement.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1480  Insistence & Possibility: New & Alternate Economy Projects in 21st Century New York  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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-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. This two-semester course will examine the historical formation of both sides of this false yet foundational binary. Dangerous 1 focuses on the colonization and romance of Mannahatta from Leni Lenape coastal communities to Kieft's War to Henry James' Washington Square to Ayn Rand's Wall Street. The rise of wealthy white Anglo American Protestants from port trade becomes the basis for an unresolved, striving elite culture constantly moving uptown away from intermingled, non-WAAP others and from it's own repressive self-disciplining. Dangerous 2, taught Spring 2012, will focus on "Subaltern New York." Course materials will include: Sanderson's Mannahatta maps, Burn's documentary"New York" (1999), Smith's Decolonizing Methodologies (2006), and a course reader. Intensive dialogue-driven seminar approach. Students will learn how to conduct a case study using primary sources. Walking shoes and passion for NYC prerequisites! Friday lab required. Dangerous #1 & #2 can be taken separately or together in any sequence.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1482  Consuming The Caribbean  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Paradise or plantation? Spring break, honeymoon, or narcotics way station? First World host or IMF delinquent? Where do we locate the Caribbean? From Columbus’ journals to Pirates of the Caribbean, the Caribbean has been buried beneath the sedimentation of imagery by and large cultivated by non-Caribbeans, including colonial governments, settlers, international tradesmen, tourist agents and their clients. Caribbean peoples have had to re-member the islands that they eventually called home—haunted by a history of slavery and still a site of consumption and exploitation. A unifying trope, Caribbean landscapes function as metaphor, emblem, or even character. This course takes an interdisciplinary and transnational approach by examining the material relations of consumption, which links places, bodies, capital, text, plants and landscapes, within the Caribbean, the U.S. and its former colonial powers. Thus, the study of the Caribbean emphasizes that the region is central to the understanding of modernity and globalization as a modern construct. Some of the theorists/writers we will engage are Edouard Glissant, Jamaica Kincaid, Maryse Condé, Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire and Mimi Sheller.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1483  The Public Theatre and The Village  (4 Credits)  
This course will examine the relationship between theater and the public life of New York City by studying the history of The Public Theater. We will consider The Public?s effect on American theater, as well as its relationship to Greenwich Village and, by extension, New York City. We will research and discuss landmark productions from the last 50 years, examine the democratizing impulse of the New York Shakespeare Festival and identity theatre, and discuss the recent influence of Joe?s Pub on the development of new work. Questions to be explored include: What social and political circumstances led to the creation of the Public? How did producing Shakespeare and fostering new plays, seemingly in opposition, become the twin missions of the theater? Has the Public contributed more to the American Theater because of its ?importance? or its artistic achievements? How has the Public helped to shape the culture and public life of New York City? The course may include attending performances of the 2007-08 season at The Public, and will feature a special appearance from The Public?s current Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. Readings may be taken from the following genres: biography (Joseph Papp: An American Life, Helen Epstein; A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599, James Shapiro), theatrical history (Shakespeare Alive!, Joseph Papp and Elizabeth Kirkland; On the Line, Robert Viagas, Baayork Lee, Thommie Walsh), social history (The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs), and plays (Topdog/Underdog, Susan-Lori Parks among others).
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1486  Revolucion  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Equating Latin America and revolution seems almost a truism. From Zapata to "Ché" to Chávez, the region's modern history is a tale of one movement promising epic change to the next, each more dramatic than the last and collectively giving rise to an image of Latin America as a cradle of firebrand leaders and riotous masses leaving in their wake endless cycles of unrest. But to look deeper into this history is to find a world of complexity, of peoples pursuing radical change but also gradual reform, at times taking up ballots and at times taking up arms, at times in the factory and at times on the farm, at times from the left and at times from the right. All of it "revolución," yes, but what kind? And through what means? And for what ends? And at what cost? This course traces the evolution of revolution in twentieth century Latin America, from the final collapse of Spanish colonialism in 1898 to the rise of chavismo in 1998, and finally considers the impact of this history on Latin America today. Authors may include, among others, Mariano Azuela, Eva Perón, Gustavo Gutierrez, Subcomandante Marcos, and Raul Zibechi.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1487  Performing Objects  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Puppets and objects used in performance collectively fall under the term ?performing object.? In this course we will study the history of performing objects and consider their practices in a variety of contexts including religious ceremony, political activism, and popular theatre. We will examine several ?case studies? from a variety of perspectives including folklore, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, and performance studies. These case studies will include the Javanese wayang kulit shadow plays, Japanese bunraku, Peter Schumann?s Bread and Puppet Theater, the English Punch and Judy tradition, and Victorian toy theatres to name a few. In each study we will examine the aesthetics of the objects as well as the relationship of the manipulator to the objects and how these values and dynamics change depending on the culture and circumstance of performance. Finally we will consider contemporary performance and the use of puppetry in the work of major downtown New York theatre artists including Basil Twist, Lee Breuer, Theodora Skipitares, Great Small Works, Ralph Lee, Julie Taymor, and Dan Hurlin. Readings may include texts by John Bell, Eileen Blumenthal, Andr Breton, Edward Gordan Craig, Martin Heidegger, Wassily Kadinsky, Heinrich von Kleist, Claude Lvi-Strauss, Filippo Marinetti, Frank Proschan, Richard Schechner, Steve Tillis, and George Speaight.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1488  Antigone  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Antigone: heroine or harridan? Political dissident or family loyalist? Harbinger of the free subject or captive of archaic gender norms? Speaking truth to power or preserving traditional privilege? Sophocles' Antigone has been good to think with since its first production in the fifth century BCE. From ancient commentators through Hegel to contemporary gender theorists like Judith Butler, readers have grappled with what Butler calls "Antigone's Claim." The play's exploration of gender, kinship, citizenship, law, resistance to authority, family vs. the state, and religion (among other issues) has proved especially compelling for modern thought. In this seminar we will closely read the play and some select commentary; supplemental readings may include writings of philosophers, classicists, playwrights, political theorists. We will also conclude with some contemporary adaptations/re-imaginings of Antigone on the stage.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1493  Sports, Race and Politics  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Beyond spectacular touchdowns and 120 mph aces on the tennis court, sport remains a vital institution for analyzing the ideological/theoretical frameworks of nationalism, diplomacy, economic development, corruption, gender and race. From the historic implementation of Title IX policy to the role of FIFA's World Cup in shaping national development plans, sport should be understood beyond masculine bravado, violence and the joy and agony of competition, but also as a serious vehicle for conceptualizing and analyzing the triumphs and limitations of our society and its complicated history. In what ways does sports reify concepts of race and gender? How is it utilized as a tool of challenging domestic inequalities and/or improving international relations? What is the relationship between sports and ethics? This course examines sports within the Americas, Western Europe and an African context during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will read key texts in the field of sport studies that illuminate the significance of sport in shaping culture and politics in our global society.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1494  Monsters in Popular Culture  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
From the earliest myths to the latest big-budget action film, powerful monsters continue to menace the innocent and frighten the listener/reader/viewer. Monsters have been pivotal to folk tales, myths, literary texts, and films. These hybrids of living creatures and otherness have endured since the beginnings of time and inhabit both the ancient and modern imagination. In the nineteenth century, they became intertwined with immigration, industrialization, and scientific experiments. By the end of that century, the psychological monster emerged whose terror lies in its grip on the subconscious. Modern monster stories and films are often sites of veiled political commentary. Post World War II, the shock of the atomic and hydrogen bombs released a new generation on screen of radioactive primitive monsters, while space exploration created another group of alien monsters. In this course, our monsters will include, but not be limited to Frankenstein's Creature, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Nosferatu, Godzilla (including the original Japanese Godjira), King Kong, assorted Blobs, Things, and Aliens, as well as creatures from the worlds of Harry Potter and Bilbo Baggins. The reading/viewing material will include a mix of fiction, films, and critical articles.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1500  Moses and Multiplicity  (4 Credits)  
This course will consider the multiple identities of Moses from a broad range of historical, religious and cultural perspectives. Particular attention will be on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when Moses emerged as a figure of modernity, hovering between history and memory, between cultural purity and hybridity, and between linguistic expression and its limits. We will begin with the Hebrew Bible and debates about reading, re-reading and re-writing the Bible as literature. We will then explore the figures of Moses as an Egyptian, as the liberator of enslaved peoples, and as a complicated figure of modernism and post-modernism. Course materials will include excerpts from the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, works by Hurston, Dunbar, Freud and Assmann, music by Schoenberg, Lee ?Scratch? Perry, and Marley, as well as a selection of Moses-inspired films and artwork. Final assignment will allow students to imagine their own Moseses for the twenty-first century.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1503  American Poetics: Inventions and Intimate Dialogues in the Making of the Hemisphere  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The idea of an America/Amrica has been diffracted but reconstituted by a number of theorists, policymakers, (forced) laborers, artists and revolutionary activists. Each of these actors sought to craft a new existence that distinguished itself from ?Old World? tyranny and tensions, particularly through the creation of imagined communities of identity (i.e. racial, political, religious or sexual). America/Amrica proved to be an extraordinarily malleable idea that liberated, united and modernized. Yet, the narrative of ?Our America? also revealed its internal contradictions and fissures (the underside of modernity) within institutions and social phenomena it helped to perpetuate such as slavery, race, sexuality, diaspora (exile), and empire. This undergraduate course examines the cultural and political investments that have characterized the American Hemisphere and its components. The matrix of race, class and gender has been a useful lens to analyze the systems and structures in place that both benefited and suppressed American peoples and their contributions to the construction of America/Amrica. Yet, the themes of migration, nationalism, sexuality, creolization, and empire-building also serve as essential tools to untangling and mapping the roots and routes of American development. Through a diverse set of materials (primary documents, secondary readings, films, music, and art) that utilize a multimedia and interdisciplinary approach to a range of anthropological, historical, literary, political and economic questions central to American experience(s), this course will critically engage the writings of thinkers (Jos Mart Walter Mignolo, Amy Kaplan, Toni Morrison) who have helped us better understand the ?contact zone where Anglo and Latin America meet up, clash and interpenetrate.?
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1504  Guilty Subjects: Guilt in Literature, Law and Psychoanalysis  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This seminar will explore guilt as the link between the three broad disciplinary arenas of our title. Literary works from ancient tragedy to the modern novel thematize guilt in various ways. Freud places it at the center of his practice and his theory of mind. While law seems reliant mainly upon a formal attribution of guilt in order to determine who gets punished and to what degree, we might also suggest it relies upon ?guilty subjects? for its operation. With all of these different deployments of the concept, we might agree it is a central one, yet how to define it remains a substantial question. Is the prominence of guilt in modern Western culture a vestige of a now-lost religious world? Is it, as Nietzsche suggests, an effect of ?the most profound change man ever experienced when he finally found himself enclosed within the wall of society and of peace?? Freud seems to concur when he argues that guilt must be understood as a kind of internal self-division where aggressivity is turned against the self. Is guilt a pointless self-punishment, meant to discipline us? Or does it continue to have an important relation to the ethical? Readings may include Freud, Nietzsche, Foucault, Slavoj Zizek, Toni Morrison, Ursula LeGuin, W.G. Sebald, and some case law, among others.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1505  Russian Revolutionaries  (4 Credits)  
?Only in Russia is poetry respected?it gets people killed. Nowhere else is poetry so common a motive for murder.? So said the poet Osip Mandelstam before his own state-sanctioned death in 1938. What is the connection between art and politics in Russia? Why have artists been at once so vital and so brutally repressed? Making sense of this terrible paradox means exploring the relationship between art, ideas, and a history of state repression on an almost unprecedented scale. Rather than studying art and politics separately, in this course we will consider together poets, anarchists, novelists, liberals, playwrights, communists, romantics, and other revolutionaries who defy generic categorization. In this course we will examine the cultural history of Russia from Pushkin to Putin, considering Soviet culture alongside that of the Tsarist Empire and today?s capitalist democracy. We will focus on the themes of ?Russia? and ?revolution,? organizing our ideas around these central concepts at the same time that we call these categories into question. How have ideas about revolution shaped ideas of Russianness? How have narratives of revolution been told and retold? How has the role of the revolutionary changed over time? What is the relationship between Russian society and the state? We will look for answers to these questions in significant texts by prominent Russian writers, thinkers, and actors on the world stage. Through posters, paintings, films, cartoons, speeches, essays, poems, and prose, we will trace recurring narrative threads pulled throughout the last two hundred years of Russian history. Readings will include works by Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Bakunin, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Lenin, Mayakovsky, Stalin, Trotsky, Akhmatova, Khrushchev, Pasternak, and Solzhenitsyn.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1507  Abroad at Home  (2 Credits)  
Course meets October 21?December 11. Enrollment is restricted to students planning to study abroad at an NYU site during Spring 2009. This course is for students preparing for a study-abroad experience during spring 2009. Working in small groups and on individualized projects, students read travel literature and other works about the place they?re going, study its culture (art, architecture, music, history, food, etc.), and work with maps, guidebooks, and other orientation tools. In order to practice getting into the mindset of the traveler, the course also encourages students to look at New York through the eyes of the foreigner by exploring the city as a tourist (visiting museums, tourist attractions, etc.) and by reading travel writing about New York. Students are required to blog about their responses to the readings and other assignments, and to work with the students abroad who are taking The Art of Travel course. Reading assignments are individualized for the city and country of each study-abroad site, but some readings are for the whole class: these may include selections from de Botton?s The Art of Travel, Urry?s The Tourist Gaze, MacCannell?s The Tourist, and Leed?s The Mind of the Traveler. For more information, see the course website: placeandliterature.com.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1508  Societies and Cultures of The Middle East  (4 Credits)  
Open to sophomores only. This course is designed to introduce students to the historical, social, political, and cultural dynamics of the contemporary Middle East. We begin with the history and geographical contours of the region, and explore its various cultures, religions, and political systems as we analyze issues concerning economic development, secularism, gender, and Islamic politics. We will attempt to identify the defining characteristics that distinguish the Middle East as a region, but also its internal diversity. To do so, we will use multiple disciplinary approaches and perspectives, anthropological and sociological, economic and political as well as the literary and cinematic. Because the primary purpose of the course is to facilitate cross-cultural understanding, students will be asked to reflect on their own assumptions. Readings include: Dale F. Eickelman, The Middle East and Central Asia: An Anthropological Approach; Fatima Mernissi, Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood; Edmund Burke, ed., Struggle and Survival in the Middle East; Elizabeth Fenea, Women and the Family in the Middle East.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1509  The Streetroots of Latin America I  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
“Gazing on such wonderful sights, we did not know what to say, or whether what appeared before us was real, for on the land there were great cities, and in the lake ever so many more, and in front of us stood the great city of Mexico” (Bernal Diaz, 1518). When Europeans set foot on the “New World” they found a continent deeply shaped by a metropolitan experience. Yet urbanization in Latin America is still seen as a recent phenomenon, the consequence of post-war industrialization and misapplied dreams of Eurocentric modernity. Together, these forces have fixed an image of the Latin American city as a site of endless contradiction—poverty and wealth, order and chaos, intimacy and isolation, hope and frustration. Can we speak of an urban “culture” in Latin America, and if so, what are its features? In this first part of a two course sequence examining urban life in Latin America, we will trace changes and continuities in state policy toward cities and their citizens, from the pre-Columbian metropolises of Cusco and Tenochtitlan, to the colonial capitals of Lima and Rio de Janeiro, to the industrial centers of São Paulo and Buenos Aires. Readings range from the urban critiques of James Scott and Carlos Monsiváis, to personal accounts of city life by Flora Tristan and Carolina Maria de Jesús, and to the literary musings of urban misadventures by Machado de Assis and Mario Benedetti.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1512  Fashion's Fictions: The Texts of Clothing  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The topic of clothing and adornment embraces a broad spectrum, from the need for protective covering to the desire for individual expression to the profit of international industries. Encompassing the history of civilization, clothing epitomizes the way a fundamental necessity has been transformed by cultural construction---as well as desire and creativity---into a complex social indicator, a matrix of culture, class, and gender identity. It is also about aesthetics and the love of beauty. This course looks at the topic from varied perspectives. The history of clothing/fashion is central, but In order to establish a critical grid and vocabulary to use with which to discuss clothing/fashion our sources will include interdisciplinary readings including cultural studies, art, sociology, economics, fashion theory, and semiotics. Above all, our primary focus will be on literature where we will explore the way ancient, medieval, Renaissance and modern writers use clothing as indic ators of civilization, individuality, sensuality, polymorphous gender, guilt, and conspicuous consumption. Literature will include, Gilgamesh, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Utopia, works by Longus, Shakespeare, and Zola, and some Hollywood films from the 1930s and 40s. Other writers include Ann Hollander, Roland Barthes, and James Laver. We will also visit at least one costume collection exhibit.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1513  New Deal Liberalism: Its Rise and Fall  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1514  Science and Religion  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In this course we examine the complex interactions between science and religion through a historical approach. While most popular presentations of science and religion often descend into simplistic models of conflict (the secular nature of modern science and its repeated conflicts with religion) or cooperation/co-existence (science and religion each have clearly defined domains), we explore a wider variety of relationships between the two. Moving beyond claims of superiority or mutual isolation, we consider the complicated negotiation of boundaries and proper authority between science and religion. We mainly focus on the relationship of science and various forms of Christianity, but we also discuss Hinduism, ecotheology, and other new religious movements. Topics include: religion and the laws of nature; how scientists can be religious; natural theology; evolution and religion; miracles and medicine; and the social roles of science and religion. Readings include Augustine, Galileo, Newton, Hume, Darwin, and Einstein.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1515  Homer/Ellison: The Odyssey & Invisible Man  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Who is the “man of many ways”? Who is it who declares “I am nobody but myself”? This course creates a dialogue between Homer's Odyssey and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, the masterwork that evokes the Odyssey even as it reimagines the scope of the twentieth century novel. We will focus on the historical and cultural specificities of each text but will also pursue the synergies and energies promoted by reading them together. We will thus consider what the ancient world has to say to the modern novel, and how modernity might reanimate a key text of antiquity. Among the topics we will consider: formations and representations of subjectivity in antiquity and modernity; the status of race and ethnicity; the structuring effects of kinship, marriage, institutions, the state, and the law; the cultural poetics and politics of narrative. What stories are we telling about “ourselves,” and/or about “others,” and to what ends? We will draw upon secondary readings in literary theory, gender studies, critical race studies, and other social sciences. Students need no background in these materials but do need critical energy and discipline.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1516  Understanding The Universe  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
We live in the universe, but do we really understand it? The struggle to make sense of the cosmos and our place in it is one of the defining aspects of human civilization. This class is an interdisciplinary exploration of how scientists talk about the universe, and particularly the way scientific knowledge and methods intertwine with issues in philosophy, religion, and other socio-cultural perspectives. We discuss the history of how scientists came to understand the nature of stars, galaxies, black holes, extra-terrestrial life, the “Big Bang,” and the apparent “fine tuning” of the laws of nature. We will examine not just ideas about the universe (What is it? Where did it come from?), but also the techniques used to arrive at those conclusions (observations and theories), literary and visual representations of the universe, and larger philosophical issues (Why are we here? Is there only one universe?). Readings may include: Newton, Kant, Einstein, Sagan, and Hawking.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1518  Globalization: Promises and Discontents  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In popular and scholarly discourse, the term "globalization" is widely used to put a name to the shape of the contemporary world. In the realms of advertising, policymaking, politics, academia, and everyday talk, "globalization" references the sense that we are now living in a deeply and ever-increasingly interconnected, mobile, and speeded-up world that is unprecedented, fueled by technological innovations and geopolitical and economic transformations. Drawing on perspectives from history, anthropology, cultural and literary studies, geography, political economy, and sociology, this course will explore theories, discourses, and experiences of globalization. Running through the course are three central concerns: 1) exploring claims about the "new-ness" of globalization from historical perspectives, 2) examining how a variety of social and cultural worlds mediate globalization and 3) analyzing a contested politics of globalization in which the opportunities for social mobility and transformation are pitted against renewed intensifications of exploitation and vulnerability along long-standing vectors of difference and inequality. While "globalization" is often touted as a "flattening" of the world, this course moves beyond such clichés to understand the intersection between large-scale transformations in political economy and culture in and through multiple cultural worlds situated unevenly on the world's map.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1519  Biology & Society  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Perhaps the most recent ethical challenge faced by all of us is biotechnology. This seminar explores the relationship between the biological sciences and society in the U.S. throughout the twentieth century. We will examine how debates concerning "nature versus nurture" have been framed historically. We shall discuss the history of eugenics and investigate how the U.S. government saw eugenics as proffering an objective tool for testing immigration and sterilization policies. We shall ask if there is a link between eugenics and the Human Genome Project. How has the patenting of human and plant genes reshaped the conduct of scientific research? How are molecular biology and pharmaceutical and biotech firms simultaneously challenging and reifying notions of race in the age of biocapitalism? How much of human behavior is shaped by genes, and how does that affect issues concerning free will and culpability? Is it ethical for developing countries to use genetically modified crops rather than their own sustainable practices? Has epigenetics changed philosophical notions of reductionism? How has the HIV/AIDS epidemic reshaped the historical notions of the doctor-patient relationship and objectivity of drug testing? How has the gene-editing techniques of CRISPR-Cas 9 changed the debate on genetic modification of organisms, including humans? This course aims at drawing attention to the ethical, legal, and social issues generated by biology over the past century. Readings will include works from nineteenth-century scientists such as Charles Darwin, twentieth-century politicians such as Teddy Roosevelt, eugenicists, including Charles Davenport, the historian of science Dan Kevles, the philosopher of science Michael Ruse, the sociologist and historian of medicine Steven Epstein, the sociologist of race Troy Duster, and the historian of science Myles W. Jackson, as well as recent works by molecular biologists and geneticists on the definition of race, the role of patenting in biotechnology, how commercial interests are driving scientific research, and the future of genetic modification of species.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1520  Street Roots of Latin America II  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Long viewed as a region of landless peasants and landed elites, Latin America is now a continent of cities and mega-cities on whose streets vibrant social movements confront the challenges of metropolitan life. From Buenos Aires to Porto Alegre to Mexico City, new “streetroots” movements forge political identities, goals, and strategies out of a very particular experience of urbanization stretching back hundreds of years. This course examines the trajectory of these streetroots movements, asking: what social, political, and economic forces have shaped their strategies and demands over time? In turn, how have Latin American urban movements shaped developments in the region and beyond? What kinds of cleavages—geographic, generational, tactical—potentially hinder the broad appeal and usefulness of these movements? Among others, readings will include the work of João José Reis (Brazil), Peter Winn (Chile), and Deborah Levenson (Guatemala) to examine the interplay of race, class, and gender in the development of urban social movements, and first-hand accounts of urban activism by Abraham Guillén (Uruguay) and Hebe de Bonafini (Argentina). We will frame our analysis around seminal theories of urban social movements by E.P. Thompson, Manuel Castells, and Alejandro Portes, as well as contemporary contributions by Javier Auyero, Leonardo Avritzer, and Marina Sitrin.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1521  Political Theology  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course explores the idea of "political theology." In conventional interpretations, the concept has suggested that forms of political rule are anchored in or justified by divine revelation, god's law, or a scripture that enshrines them. Commentators thereby infer a politics from a scripture that they read didactically. But many political theorists have interpreted political theology more broadly, to suggest that collective and personal life is always anchored in a form of faith, including faith in reason, or secularism or democracy. In addition, because no faith (or scripture) is self-evident in what it means and entails, people interpret and practice "theology" in deeply divergent ways, even within the same ostensible faith. Politics thus involves the practice of reading or interpretation, as well as judging and mediating conflict both within and among a variety of faiths. To explore how issues of interpretation and conflict relate faith, self-formation, and politics, we read closely but "against the grain" in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian gospels, while also exploring seminal modern commentaries. The modern readings may include: Kierkergaard, Fear and Trembling; Schmitt, Political Theology and The Concept of the Political; Dostoevsky, "The Grand Inquisitor;" Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, as well as work by William Blake, Allen Ginsberg, James Baldwin, and contemporary political theorists.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1523  Feminism, Imperialism, Decolonization  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The modern world is in fundamental ways the product of imperial interventions. And the workings and legacies of empires continue to devastate the lives of people around the world. Among the most vulnerable to the violence are women. Yet, women have also long challenged the terms of oppression. And, in the process, they have defied, in generative and liberatory ways, common conceptions of what constitutes opposition, freedom, solidarity, politics and knowledge. This course delves into the particularities of women’s experiences and feminist decolonizing imaginaries. It will be guided by the following questions. How have women from the broadly defined Global South been rendered vulnerable and unruly? How have contestations over gender, race, class and sexuality marked the histories of colonies, empires and the Global South? How have imperial interventions made evident the inextricability of the epistemic and material? And thus, what may be feminist decolonizing epistemologies? Readings may include texts from Christina Sharpe, Vandana Shiva, Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Jamaica Kincaid, Gloria Anzaldúa and Audre Lorde.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1527  Finance for Social Theorists  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1530  Wall Street: An Iconographic History  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1532  Lives in Science  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
What kinds of people are scientists? What can we learn by studying their lives? How, if at all, do scientific lives differ from other lives? Do scientists possess unique insights that justify their privileged position in our society? How has the relationship between scientists and society changed over time? This course explores the nature of science, its history, and its place in our culture through a selective study of the lives of scientists. Our main sources will be biographies and autobiographies: books, articles, obituaries. Emphasis will be placed on the process of the creation of scientific knowledge, the relationship between science and politics, economics, philosophy, and religion, and the dissemination and application of scientific knowledge. There will be some attention paid as well to issues involving women and minorities in the sciences, to scientific biography as a genre, and to studies of science as a profession. The cast of characters will be drawn from a variety of time periods and disciplines, from the early modern period to the very recent past, and may include Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Marie Curie, Lise Meitner, E. E. Just, James Watson, Rosalind Franklin, E. O. Wilson, Richard Feynman, and Stephen Hawking.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1534  The Seen and The Unseen in Science  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This class explores how science and scientists work with the invisible, unseen, or unseeable elements of our world. We will examine how scientists convince themselves that these unseen things, such as atoms and molecules, are real. Many things cannot be seen or held in one’s hand, but scientists claim to have detected and to understand them. We ask probing questions about what it means to “see” or “observe” the world around us, and grapple with the basic question of how we gain scientific knowledge at all. Topics include telescopes and microscopes, atomic theory, the unconscious and psychoanalysis, human consciousness and intelligence, dark matter, and the nature of objectivity. We will pay special attention to how scientists are trained to see in particular ways, and how culture and worldview can shape, restrict, or enhance the way we observe. Readings include Galileo, Ernst Mach, Henry Adams, Stephen J. Gould, Peter Galison, T.S. Kuhn, Freud, Edward Tufte.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1535  Narrating Memory, History and Place  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course examines how people imagine places through narrations of the past. It takes as central premises that the past is a contested terrain open to divergent interpretations and that interpretations of the past shape common understandings of places. The meanings bestowed on places dictate who can use them and how. Thus, how people narrate the past matters. It impacts places and thereby the ability of humans to survive and thrive. While this course explores the broad interplay between narrations of memory, history and place, it focuses on the struggles of disempowered communities to narrate history and claim a place of their own. Course readings include literary and other scholarly texts like Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place, Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s Silencing the Past and Michel De Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life as well as writings by Edward Said, William Cronon, Diana Taylor, Steven Hoelscher and Doreen Massey.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1536  Perversion  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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 perversion? 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." Films will include "Patriotism" and "Happiness."
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1537  Place and Memory: a Usable Past  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
By exploring a variety of source materials, including museums, memoirs, historic sites, and written textual evidence, we will begin to consider the ways in which our uses of the past have contemporary social and political impact. Today in the Fatih district of Istanbul, the fifteenth century Roma (gypsy) neighborhood of Sulukule is under threat of demolition as the city begins the process of urban renewal and gentrification. Meanwhile, in Nottinghamshire, England, the Workhouse Museum documents and interprets the brutality of the nineteenth century British ?welfare system? within the dreary walls of an actual, landmarked workhouse. Such conflicting projects prompt us to ask: How do we choose to destroy certain places while preserving?or recreating?others, and what are the consequences of making these choices? What are the ethical problems we face when we save or demolish historic sites, and how are they tied to questions of individual, community, and national identity? These questions derive from political discourse that imagines how nationhood is created and sustained, as well as historical and anthropological inquiry, which so often attempt to locate the ?truth? of the past and the meaning of place. Texts will include selections from Orhan Pamuk, Dolores Hayden, Benedict Anderson, Susan Slyomovics, and Christopher Mele.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1539  Travel Classics:  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course focuses on the literature of travel, from the ancient world of Homer and Herodotus to the Renaissance explorations of the New World. We focus on the conventions of the genre and how they evolved, the influence of myth and hero literature on the traveler’s tale, the construction of the Other and manifestations of Orientalism, the rhetorical implications of the writer’s motives and audience, the Old World’s encounter with the New, and the many social and political questions raised by travel. Readings may include selections from Homer’s Odyssey, Herodotus’ History of the Persian Wars, Travels of Marco Polo, The Travels of Ibn Battuta, The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus, The Narrative of Cabeza de Vaca, and Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1542  Motown Matrix: Race, Gender & Class Identity in in "The Sound of Young America"  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In the 1960s Motown Records emerged as a dominant force in American popular music. Billing itself as "The Sound of Young America," Motown established a lyrical and musical discourse through its records and albums that struck a responsive chord with white and Black listeners alike. In this seminar we examine the race, gender and class identity that is inherent in"and emerges from""The Motown Sound." How did this company exploit the nationalist pride in the African American community while simultaneously positioning itself as a "crossover" enterprise to whites? What models of business and community did Motown emulate and create? And how did Motown affect the politics and racial discourse of its listeners? Our exploration situates Motown in the Detroit community of the 1950s and 1960s, to understand how it was "imagined," and its impact on the wider culture. Readings may include excerpts from The Origins of the Urban Crisis by Thomas Sugrue; Where Did Our Love Go? by Nelson George, Once in a Great City by David Maraniss; Dancing in the Street by Suzanne E. Smith; Just My Soul Responding by Brian Ward, and Detroit: I Do Mind Dying by Dan Georgakas and Marvin Surkin. The lyrics of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Holland-Dozier-Holland as well as such films as "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" and "The Maxine Powell" documentary will be included.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1543  Imagining The Middle East  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course explores the historical and contemporary representations of the Middle Eastern cultures and societies in the Western imaginary. We will examine shifting representations of the Middle East in pre- and post-enlightenment European political and intellectual discourses, Western literary texts and travel literature, and contemporary US popular culture (films, advertising, thrillers, spy novels, romance fiction, etc.). We will also consider the interrelationship between popular cultural representations and the manner in which the Middle East is conceptualized in the academy and in "high culture" in general (e.g., theorized as Orientalism). It is an assumption of the course that a "post colonial" framework is key to interpreting not only the Middle East, but also the “West.” Readings may include: Amin Maalouf, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes; Edward Said, Orientalism and Covering Islam; Zachary Lockman, Contending Visions of the Middle East; Jack Shaheen, Guilty: Hollywood’s Verdict on Arabs; Linda Khatib, Filming the Modern Middle East.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1544  Frantz Fanon: Humanism, Revolution and the Decolonization of the Mind  (4 Credits)  
This class examines the canonical text Wretched of the Earth (Les Damnés de la Terre, 1961) by Martinican-born psychoanalyst and social philosopher Frantz Fanon. What is the relevance of Fanon's classic text and his insight on the revolutionary potential of the poor and intellectuals in our current world? Is there a "healing psychological force" in revolutionary action? This course provides a theoretical introduction to Jean-Paul Sartre's understanding of existentialism and bad faith and its influences on Fanon. More importantly, we will examine Fanon's ideas on existential humanism, the role of violence and tragedy in decolonization, and his notion of an "authentic existence" within and beyond post-colonial context.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1545  On Freud'S Couch: Psychoanalysis Narrative and Memory  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1547  Oceania Vs. King Kong'S New York: Decolonizing  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Why the utter lack of awareness in New York City of the Pacific? - of our own collecting, literary representations, missionary work, and ?manifest destiny? expansionism systemically imagined and formulated in America?s Pacific? How is environmental justice foundational to Oceanic worldviews and our global futures? We will reformulate this historical absence of presence. Help us deconstruct King Kong on the Empire State Building and other New York City-generated representations and formations of scholarly, museological, and pop culture about Pacific places, peoples, goods and ideas! We?re adapting the formulation of Atlantic Worlds to understand the Pacific; what Fijian philosopher Epeli Hau?ofa calls ?Oceania, a sea of islands.? Sessions, on and off campus, will include Herman Melville?s port culture novels, the Lincoln Center?s restaging of Rodgers and Hammerstein?s ?South Pacific? based on James Michener?s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, written in New York City; Margaret Mead and the American Museum of Natural History; Michael Rockefeller and the wing named in his memory at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Pacific Missions to the United Nations; Pacificana kitsch? from tiki lounges to Halloween hula costumes. Through indigenous-grounded epistemologies, and the Pacific renaissance of cultural, linguistic, artistic and scholarly studies, we critically unpack the production of an imagined Pacific and global environmental policies.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1550  Explorations of Architectural Space  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
How are people affected by the shape and appearance of buildings? How do they inhabit buildings and navigate between them? In what way is architecture informed by intangible realities like the builder?s or user?s social power, or identity categories like race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality? And is there such a thing as the architectural sublime also in writing? This class will explore how literary representations help us understand the invisible characteristics of material constructions. As we seek to define the psychological effects of architecture, our readings and discussions will investigate the birth of the capitalist metropolis, the postwar suburban ideal, gated communities, and postmodern urbanism and its culture of the spectacle. We will also address questions of domestic privacy in relation to gender and the spatial politics of AIDS. Readings will include Alain de Botton?s The Architecture of Happiness, Steven Millhauser?s novel Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer, T.C. Boyle?s novel The Tortilla Curtain, D.J. Waldie's memoir, Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir, Rebecca Brown?s account of the AIDS crisis, The Gifts of the Body, and Alison Bechdel's the graphic novel Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1552  Sociology of Religion: Islam and The Modern World  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1554  Independence! Transition from High Colonial Rule  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
What is the relationship between Africa?s colonial past and its postcolonial present? How do we talk about this past and present without falling victim to the dominant discourse on Africa that stems from western domination of the African continent? Through film, literature, historical documents, and theory, we explore the evolution of postcolonial societies in Africa. This is primarily a history course but we will use a variety of interdisciplinary approaches to this history. Works we explore may include the films and writings of Ousmane Semebene, the literature of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah, and the theories of Mahmood Mamdani.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1555  Imagining India: From The Colonial to the Global  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
India is a crucial site for discussions about globalization within the US and beyond. While some discourses fearfully worry about the loss of American jobs to outsourcing within India, other discourses herald “India Rising” to take its place among powerful global players. Drawing on an interdisciplinary set of readings about India, this course explores how the liberalization of the Indian economy and the forces of globalization are transforming the fraught and difficult emergence, out of colonial domination, of the nation-state of India. First, we explore a variety of pre-colonial and colonial imaginings of South Asia and examine politicized assertions of a unified Indian identity during the anti-colonial nationalist movement. Here, nation is not only a political entity, but also a cultural project that re-shapes ideas of self, religion, community, region, family, gender and kinship. The post-independence period is explored through writings on the Partition that created India and Pakistan, “development” as a key concept that has been central to nation-building, and struggles around caste, gender, sexuality, tribal identity, environment, region and religion. How the state contends with majority and minority identities and claims, the complexities of secularism, notions of equality and difference, all in the context of vibrant social movements and a large NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) sector will enable an in-depth exploration of how democracy, as idea and practice, happens in India. Having explored the cultural and political project of modern nation-state formation within India, we will then explore how globalization is transforming politics, economy and culture. Readings include: Ronald Inden’s Imagining India, Amitav Ghosh on the Indian Ocean World, Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy by Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal, the writings of Gandhi, Nehru, and Amdedkar, subaltern studies collective writings on nationalism in India, The Nation and its Fragments by Partha Chatterjee, Manu Joseph’s Serious Men, Menon and Bhasin’s Borders and Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition and India’s New Middle Class: Democratic Politics in an Era of Economic Reform by Leela Fernandes.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1557  Religion and Modernity  (4 Credits)  
From a distance, much like an impressionist painting, modernity appears as a coherent whole, its parts working in concert to represent the possibility of unending, universal progress. Take a step closer, howeveFrom a distance, much like an impressionist painting, modernity appears as a coherent whole, its parts working in concert to represent the possibility of unending, universal progress. Take a step closer, however, and the parts disassemble before your eyes, scattering into discrete elements whose relationship is not always entirely clear. Religion is one such element of modernity. This course investigates the particular history of the passage to modernity in Europe, the concomitant emergence of the general concept of religion, and colonial and postcolonial global debates about the character of modernity and the place of religion in modern social, economic, legal, and political activities. Examples of such debate from around the world are legion, from the United States and Western Europe to South Asia and the Middle East, and will often inform class discussion. Among the general questions that will guide our work together: To what are we referring when we use the term ?modernity?? What constitutes the historical novelty of modern conceptions of religion? What place did the emergence of modern forms of religion have in the transformation of humanity?s understanding of and place in the natural and social worlds? How do modern forms of colonialism and their effects relate to these transformations? To investigate these questions we will read works from (among others): Augustine, Louis Dupr, HM Abrams, Antoine Nicholas de Condorcet, Foucault, James Mill, Bernard Cohn, Talal Asad, Jose Casanova, and Timothy Mitchell.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1558  The Travel Habit: On The Road in The Thirties  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The Great Depression turned millions of people into travelers. Many of the unemployed took to the road in search of work, preferring to give up their homes rather than their cars; others hitchhiked and rode the rails. Ironically, it was also a time for leisure travel too, and this was the era when taking a family trip on a paid vacation became a national ritual. Government and industry promoted tourism to help the economy—and to pacify the working class. But getting people to travel required a deliberate, large-scale effort. As one tourism promoter put it, “The travel habit was not born with Americans. It’s an acquired taste that must be religiously and patiently cultivated.” So the Roosevelt administration created a national travel bureau to assist the hospitality industry, poured millions of dollars into roads and highways, and put authors like Eudora Welty, Saul Bellow, and Ralph Ellison to work writing WPA travel guides. The travel theme attracted novelists like Nathaniel West and Nelson Algren, who used the journey motif in their fictions, and writer-and-photographer teams like James Agee and Walker Evans traveled to document the suffering of sharecroppers and migrant workers. This course will survey the travel writing of the 1930s and provide an introduction to the social history of travel and tourism during the period. Readings may include Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, West’s A Cool Million, Kromer's Waiting for Nothing, Caldwell and Margaret Bourke-White’s You Have Seen Their Faces, and Agee and Evans’ Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, as well as the WPA travel guides and histories of the Depression and the tourist industry.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1559  Politics & Rhetoric  (4 Credits)  
The central question in this course is how to theorize language and conceive its place in political life. Since Plato, philosophy has defined itself against "rhetoric," as if to juxtapose a pure form of speech devoted only to truth against manipulative speech devoted to self-serving persuasion, even domination. Similarly, many theorists of media studies argue that in politics there is only "propaganda," and depict a political world ruled by monolithic "media," even as they disagree about how to respond. While some seek alternatives in scientific expertise, in rational validation, or in post-partisan dialogue, others endorse "counter-propaganda" claiming democratic goals. But perhaps the dichotomy between pure and impure speech is mistaken: Is there an inescapably rhetorical element in all speech, even speech that denounces "rhetoric?" Might rhetoric in fact be essential to any genuine truth-telling, great literary art, and authentic political speech? To pursue these questions we will read Plato, the Gorgias and Protagorus; Aristotle Rhetoric; Danielle Allen, Talking to Strangers; Giambatista Vico, The New Science; Ernesto Grassi, Rhetoric and Philosophy; Machiavelli, The Prince; Kenneth Burke, A Rhetoric of Motives; Judith Butler, Excitable Speech; as well as contemporary examples of political speech.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1560  African American History and Memory  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course looks at the relationships between history, memory, counter-memory, amnesia, and social struggle. Our aim is to track back and forth between learning about the past and about its impact on today. We ask, what gets remembered about African American history, and who does the remembering? In what ways do communities develop collective memories? In what ways do counter-memories emerge? More specifically, we ask how the experience of slavery in the United States is constituted as a past, remembered and forgotten. Our goal is to achieve a solid grounding in 18th and 19th century African-American history, and to develop conceptual tools for making a complex analysis of the past and of the politics of memory. This will be a truly interdisciplinary class, mixing film, fiction, primary resources and historical studies. We may read Toni Morrison, Saidiya Harman, and David Blight. Films we may watch include Gone With the Wind and Django Unchained.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1561  Visions of Greatness: Alexander & His Legacy  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Since his short life in the fourth century BCE, Alexander the Great has enjoyed a legacy that has nearly overshadowed his actual accomplishments. Various cultures, from his own to ours, have honored, embellished, and even reshaped entirely Alexander?s powerful personality and his conquest of the massive Persian Empire. For some, he exemplifies the benevolent conqueror; for others, he represents the hubristic thirst for power, to which even the best-intentioned rulers can become victims. This course investigates the figure of Alexander and his legend in a range of cultural contexts: his own lifetime, the Roman and Byzantine Empires, the Islamic world, early modern Europe, and in the 20th century. Using visual and literary sources, we will investigate where, if anywhere, we might find the ?real? Alexander, what qualities of Alexander are valued or condemned in later periods, and how the figure of Alexander is used to reflect the values of a given culture, or to subvert them. Readings may include Plutarch?s Life of Alexander, Arrian, Diodorus, Pseudo-Callisthenes? Greek Alexander Romance, the Persian Iskandernamah. We will also make use of objects in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1562  Reading The Faces of Ancient Cultures  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In this class, we will investigate the form, development, and role of images of people in pre-modern societies. Using visual and literary sources, we will focus on how we define a portrait and will confront the variety of problems that the representation of human subjects in the ancient world entails. How essential are the concepts of “likeness” and “realism” to the definition of a portrait, and to its function? How do faces and bodies communicate meaning visually, and how do we access this visual language? Who controls the image, and who is the audience? What is the correlation between the image and the individual? How do we think about these possibilities from our perspective in the modern world? We will address these questions and others, concentrating on the use of portraiture in shaping personal, political, and cultural identities. Our texts may include monuments from Akkad, Egypt, Nubia, Greece, Rome, and China. We will make use of objects in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1563  Women's Text(iles)  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Textile arts have been so firmly linked with women's writing that one of the central metaphors of women's writing traditions has become the metaphor of the quilt. This course explores this metaphor that proposes the making of beautiful, functional wholes out of fragments and scraps, using it to explore the cultural work of African American women and to illuminate connections between writers and artists. This rich intersection of writing and art allows us to consider broader questions about power; we investigate the ways in which the written works and textiles articulate, challenge and transform representations of race, gender, sexuality, as well as the meanings of art. This course takes us out into the city, where we view the textile creations of Black women artists like Faith Ringgold, Brenda Amina Robinson and Carrie Mae Weems at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the American Craft Museum, and the Museum of Folk Art. Written texts may include: Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye; Gloria Naylor, Mama Day; Faith Ringgold, Tar Beach ; Ntozake Shange, Sassafras, Cypress and Indigo . We also participate in a quilt-making workshop, where each student creates his or her own textile interpretation of the major issues of the course.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1564  Race & Religion in African American Culture  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The ways in which Americans have imagined and represented the sacred have been profoundly shaped by race and slavery, and this intersection has become a foundation for many kinds of cultural practices and the development of political philosophy in African American culture. Two central questions therefore motivate this course: How has race shaped the production of sacred meaning and African American sacred art? How have spiritual discourses of salvation and redemption motivated political and cultural action? To pursue these questions we will explore representations of the sacred in several genres, including the Bible, essays, sermons, and art, as well as performances of African American sacred music and dance. Also, each student will select a contemporary cultural form and examine how it is shaped by the desire to represent both racialized experience and the sacred. Students can research cultural forms of interest to them, including familiar forms like contemporary music (rap, gospel rap, and more), or films, but could also tackle less familiar forms like public performances (inauguration, anyone?), historical sites and public spaces. Primary texts include: Exodus; Frederick Douglass, Narrative; W.E.B. Dubois, Souls of Black Folk; James Weldon Johnson, God?s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse, including Aaron Douglass? illustrations; Dr. Martin Luther King, selected speeches; Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mother?s Gardens; Alvin Ailey dance performance; spirituals performed by Sweet Honey in the Rock; and gospel music (may include a church visit).
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1565  Critically Queer  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Since the 1990s, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender identities and subcultures have come into mainstream visibility in popular media and through political and consumer targeting. If the term ?queer? has been used to describe cultural critiques of heterosexual and gender normativity, does ?queer? still apply to these more mainstream representations? This course pieces together a mapping of ?queer theory? and ?queer studies? as critical and disciplinary formations that surface in the cultural landscape following the gay liberation, civil rights, power, third world, and feminist social movements of the 1960s and 1970s. We will explore critical strategies that emerge in the aftermath of these contending social struggles. The course takes an intersectional approach towards the analysis of sexuality, gender, race, class, immigration, and ethnicity. It will also look to the emergence of transgender studies for new critical possibilities. Readings may include excerpts from: Harry Benshoff, Queer Cinema, The Film Reader; Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzalda, This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color; Suzanne Danuta Walters, All the Rage: The Story of Gay Visibility in America; Monique Truong, The Book of Salt: A Novel; and Michel Foucault, The Use of Pleasure. Screenings may include: Daniel Peddle, The Aggressives; Sundance Channel/Logo, Transgeneration; and Olaf de Fleur Johannesson, The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1566  History of European Environmental Sciences  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This seminar will provide an overview of the history of the environmental sciences from ancient times to Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species. We will explore ways in which naturalists and lay people came to know the environment and in what ways nature could mobilize social and moral author­ity. With a focus on the history of the European environmental problems from the ancient Greeks, Middle Ages, to colonial and Modern experiences, we will survey different ways of knowing nature. Where did the idea of nature as “designed” come from? How did natural historians and philosophers unveil nature’s secrets? What role did scientists play in the colonial experiences? How was European environmental centrism construed? These broad questions will guide us in our readings of a series of primary sources, including great and not-so-great books by Hippocrates, Plato, Aristotle, Theophrastus, Pliny, St. Francis, Hildegard, Evelyn, Grew, Bacon, Linnaeus, Buffon, Jefferson, Rousseau, Malthus and Darwin, as well as largely forgotten texts by anonymous authors and colonial explorers.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1567  The Arabian Nights  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1568  Narrating Memory, History and Place  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The past two decades have witnessed what has come to be known as the “memory boom,” that is, a greater cultural as well as academic interest in the workings of remembrance and forgetting. At issue are crucial concerns, among them: how past events are written into history; how literature is a form of remembering; how language itself can fail to portray and thereby fail to remember certain traumatic events; and how a culture decides, collectively, what it will and will not recall about its own past. This course takes up these concerns in its examination of memory, especially as growing from three major historic events: World War I, The Holocaust, and 9/11. We consider how memory is narrated and explore the connections between place and modes of narration. Through our readings of works of fiction as well as theoretical texts, through film and analysis of sites of commemoration, we grapple with some of the most fundamental concerns of memory studies today, and in so doing we also explore the dynamic relationship between personal and collective memory. Students will write critical papers, visit a site of commemoration, respond to recent film on the subject of memory, and give a class presentation. Reading will include W. G. Sebald, The Emigrants, and VirginiaWoolf, Mrs. Dalloway.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1569  Myths as Images from Ancient World to Shakesp  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1570  The Place of The Past in Cultural Identity  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Modern western civilization has frequently sought its origin and inspiration in the classical world. Ancient cultures, too, maintained an intimate connection to their own cultural history. This course will investigate the role of perceptions of the past in the shaping of Greek and Roman cultural identity, and the use of texts and images to communicate and perpetuate certain legacies. We will explore the role of monuments, literature, histories, and mythologies in the shaping of Greek and Roman perceptions of their own past, and we will examine how they were used to establish, maintain, or undermine contemporary relationships. We will also investigate the impact of these classical civilizations in Renaissance, and modern Europe and America. Readings may include Homer The Iliad or The Odyssey, Virgil The Aeneid, selections from Livy, Plutarch, and Suetonius, Shakespeare?s Troilus and Cressida and Antony and Cleopatra, Edward Gibbon, Lord Byron, and Heinrich Schliemann.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1571  Humans, Machines, and Aesthetics  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This seminar proffers a glimpse into the historically contingent relationships between machines and humans from the Enlightenment through the Industrial Revolution to the twentieth century. We shall underscore the ways in which those interactions helped define aesthetics, particularly but not exclusively in music. In essence we hope to use machines and music to trace the history of creativity over the past three centuries. Immanuel Kant famously defined ?genius? in his Third Critique as ?a talent for producing something for which no determinate rule can be given, not a predisposition consisting of a skill for something that can be learned by following some rule or other; hence the foremost property of genius must be creativity.? By this definition mimicry and imitation are the antitheses of the creative genius, while mechanical skill and machines were deemed inferior to it. During the later stages of the Industrial Revolution, however, there arose an aesthetic of mass production. Quantity?as Lenin would famously remark a century later?had a quality all its own, and a new aesthetics celebrated how an artifact could be perfectly copied thousands of times over, with unprecedented speed, precision, and efficiency. Central questions and debates follow from this development: How "creative," if at all, are machines? Are mechanical musical instruments superior to performers? How are humans different, if at all, from machines? Readings include Kant's Third Critique, Jackson's Harmonious Triads, Walter Benjamin's The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Essinger's Jacquard's Web, Standage's The Turk, Riskin's (ed.), Genesis Redux, Katz's Capturing Sound, and Thberge's Any Sound You Can Imagine.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1572  America in The 1970'S & 1980'S  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The historical epoch starting in the early 1970s and stretching up to the present has been referred to as the ?age of Reagan,? the era of neoliberalism, and the decline of capitalism?s Golden Age. This interdisciplinary history class will look at the 1970s and 1980s as decades that mark the beginning of many of the problems that we confront today: the rise of economic inequality; the origins of globalization; the first awareness of an ?energy crisis;? the birth of social movements like feminism, gay rights, and black power; the deepening of urban poverty and the expansion of the criminal justice system; the ascendance of the stock market and financial deregulation; the transition to a service economy; the growth of new forms of art and music like hip-hop and punk; the rise of evangelical Christianity as a political force; the emergence of a conservative movement; the end of Soviet Communism. The class will ask students to consider how the social problems of the 1970s and 1980s anticipate those of the present day, and also how America today is different than in this earlier period. We will use political speeches, manifestos, poetry, film, and novels as well as works of historical scholarship in order to try to understand the period. Readings may include Garry Wills, George Gilder, Jerry Falwell, Kwame Ture, Tom Wolfe, Thomas Frank and Alice Echols.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1573  The New American Society  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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, and be inspired by the work of the great world class political economist and unsung American radical thinker, Thorstein Veblen. How do the emerging realities of today portend the future?
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1574  Christian Heresy & The Western Imagination  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1575  Energy  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Energy makes the world work. Originally an obscure concept of natural philosophy, energy has become the foundation for our international economy, social structures, political policy, and everyday life. Energy explains how cars run, the sun shines, and our cell phones ring, but also why Saudi princes are wealthy and Iowa corn farmers receive massive government subsidies. This course examines the gradual realization of energy as a physical concept, its materialization in the engines of the industrial revolution, the construction of an energy infrastructure for electricity and oil, and the emergence of energy as the focus of economic and political conversation. We will use simple equations and math to learn what energy is and the laws that govern it, and how those simple equations help us understand the amazingly complex industrialized world in which we live. We will discuss energy production, transmission and use, and grapple with the problem of alternative energy in technical, social, and political detail.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1576  Whiteness  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Who is white and how has the definition of whiteness changed over the past five centuries? How is our definition of whiteness dependent on gender and other racial and ethnic categories? What are the benefits of being white in American society? How has American culture shaped, challenged, explored and redefined whiteness? Though often invisible or unacknowledged, whiteness has played a significant role in shaping American society, politics and culture. For those who at various times could claim whiteness as a racial category, it offered what W.E.B. DuBois termed a ?psychological wage? and social privileges. For racial and ethnic minorities however, whiteness often served as a justification for their oppression and marginalization within American society. This course will examine the social category of whiteness and its role in shaping modern society from a variety of historical, cultural and disciplinary perspectives, drawing upon the works of historians, legal scholars, literary critics, playwrights, filmmakers, novelists and social scientists. Possible readings include William Shakespeare?s The Tempest, Toni Morrison?s Playing in the Dark, Norman Mailer?s ?The White Negro?, Dalton Connelly?s Honky, Matthew Frye Jacobson?s Whiteness of a Different Color, as well as works by W.E.B. DuBois, Kim Hall, George Lipsitz, Adam Mansbach and Danny Hoch.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1577  The Ethnographic Imagination  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Ethnography has been narrowly construed as the research methodology that defines the discipline of cultural anthropology, but this course explores ethnography more broadly as both a mode of inquiry and a genre of writing through which we grapple with the experience of Self and Other at the intersection of overlapping cultural worlds. We begin by linking modern ethnographic writing to early travel narratives, to missionary accounts, and to colonial reports serving evolving imperial formations. We then examine the consolidation of an "ethnographic" perspective in the emerging discipline of anthropology, as well as more recent critiques of this genre. Our own method is reading classic and contemporary ethnographic works. These reveal ongoing tensions between the scientific and the literary; between abstract "theory" and ethnographic "practice;" and between the claim to truth-telling and the power and limits linked to the positioning of the author. In response to these tensions we also trace the textual experimentation that mixes ethnography, poetry, memoir, and travel writing, fiction, and film. Our goal is to develop a self-reflective ethnographic imagination, open to the possibilities and difficulties in cross-cultural understanding, as we consider the complexities in encounter and contact, looking and describing, representing and translating. Possible texts include travel writings from the period of early European expansion, Conquest of America by Todorov, Argonauts of the Western Pacific by Malinowski, Coming of Age in Samoa by Margaret Mead, Zora Neale Hurston’s Of Mules and Men, Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography by Clifford and Marcus, Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment by J. Biehl, In an Antique Land by Amitav Ghosh, and the films of Trin Minh Ha.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1578  Racial, Sexual Interfaces  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This seminar explores shifts in film analysis and cinematic reception, as initiated by new digital technologies and the growing popular consumption of global cinemas. We will track the development of film aesthetics and critique in relation to other visual mediums, including photography and the computer. How has the specificity of film changed with the speed and mobility of digital media? The course will also speculate on the links between the cultivation of formal film analysis and the increased circulation of images of racial, sexual, and ethnic difference. How have transnational economies of production and viewing impacted cinematic reception? Readings may include excerpts from: Harry Benshoff and Sean Griffin, America on Film; David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction; Kara Keeling, The Witch?'s Flight; Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media; and Jim Pines and Paul Willeman, Questions of Third Cinema. Screenings may include: Alejandro Gonzlez Irritu, Babel; David LaChapelle, Rize; and Alain Resnais, Hiroshima Mon Amour.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1579  Food and Aesthetics  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Food can be both physical sustenance and a form of cultural expression. As with comedy and pornography, this too direct tie to the body problematizes the appreciation of food as a purely aesthetic pleasure. This interdisciplinary seminar will examine food and foodways as they appear in literature, film and painting. These cultural artifacts will be contextualized through readings in the social sciences and the new politics of food. We will try to discover how attitudes about the enjoyment and preparation of food change and reflect different historic eras and cultural milieus. Why are gluttony and abstention tied to morality? Where do our ideas about taste and aesthetics come from? Can we separate an aesthetic appreciation of food from current concerns about sustainability, food safety, and human and environmental health? Texts will include Epicurus's writings, Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate, Brillat-Savarin's The Physiology of Taste, E.A. Burtt's Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha, Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, Gabriel Axel's Babette's Feast, Juzo Itami's Tampopo, Francis Bacon's meat paintings, and Grimm?s Fairy Tales.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1580  Between Rights and Justice in Latin America  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
What is the relationship between human rights and social justice? Do both always operate in conjunction? Are they ever mutually exclusive—one sacrificed at the expense of the other? This course explores key questions around the theory and practice of human rights promotion, surveying specialized literature and founding documents to consider the promise and challenge of existing human rights frameworks as they work for, but sometimes clash with, the promotion of social justice. We ask, are there universal rights? If so, how are these defined, and by whom? What is the relationship between "political" and "human" rights, between individual and collective rights? Can human rights be in conflict, and if so, how are such conflicts to be resolved? In regions rife with inequality—political, social, and economic—is promoting a global human rights agenda unrealistic, or more necessary than ever? After exploring these general questions, we will focus on Latin America, in particular on Argentina, Guatemala, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, and Mexico. How do human rights struggles in these countries change our view of the prevailing human rights regime? How do legacies of colonialism in these countries affect both the protection and violation of human rights in the present? Do these countries reveal a political tension between social justice and human rights? Readings will draw from Bartolomé de las Casas, Immanuel Kant, John Rawls, Martha Nussbaum, Ariel Dorfman, Paul Farmer, and Greg Grandin, among others.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1581  Lefebvre and Urban Marxism  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1582  Gramsci'S Revolution  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1584  Shakespeare's Mediterranean  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course examines Shakespeare’s Mediterranean plays in relation to the cultural and imaginative geography established for this region in the classical, medieval and early Renaissance periods. It also provides a brief introduction to the new field of "ocean studies" and will include some readings in marine environmental studies. We will spend about one third of the class on the Ancient Mediterranean, seen through the lens of comedies by Plautus, Virgil’s Aeneid, and writings by Plutarch, among others. We will consider how the various cultures around the Mediterranean opened emotional, physical, imaginative and political possibilities for Renaissance writers and thinkers, particularly as exemplified in Shakespeare’s plays. Topics for study will include the sea as a space of economic and political possibility and threat, including piracy; the differences created by intermingling gender, genre and diverse geographies; romance and comedy and their relation to travel writing; early map making in relation to other kinds of representation; questions of exoticism, orientalism, and the attraction and fear of the foreign. Along with studying how classical and renaissance writers may imagine the Mediterranean differently, we will consider some representations of religious and cultural divides between the Christian and the Muslim worlds in traveler’s accounts and in literature. Readings will include plays by Plautus, Cervantes and Shakespeare, Vergil’s Aeneid, selections from Boccaccio, Ibn Khaldûn, and Don Quixote.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1585  Memory Wars: Japanese Representations of WW II  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course will examine intersections between historical memory and representations of wartime experience in mediums ranging from art and literature to museums and textbooks. We will consider: What is history, what is memory, and what is the relationship between the two? How is the experience of war translated into different art forms like film, fiction, photography, and documentary? What constraints--historical and ethical—may limit the representation of past traumatic events? We will explore such questions with respect to the Japanese experience in World War II while creating comparisons with war memories elsewhere, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Students will read historical and social theories of memory written by Paul Ricoeur, Pierre Nora, and others before exploring the history of the Pacific War and allied occupation of Japan. Theory will serve as a launching pad from which to explore accounts and representations of Japan's wartime past in fiction, anime, manga, oral histories, visual arts, and documentary. Finally, we will address the use and abuse of history while discussing controversies over the history textbooks, the military "comfort women," the Smithsonian exhibit on the Enola Gay, and the Rape of Nanking.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1586  Consumerism in Comparative Perspective  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Consumerism—the linking of happiness, freedom, and economic prosperity with the purchase and consumption of goods—has long been taken for granted as constitutive of the “good life” in Western societies. Increasingly, global economic shifts have made it possible for some developing countries to engage in patterns of consumption similar to those in the West, such that one quarter of humanity now belongs to the “global consumer class.” At the same time, however, nearly three billion people struggle to survive on less than $2 a day. This course takes an international and interdisciplinary approach to examine consumption in different societies, and we do so by asking several central questions: What are the key determinants of patterns of consumption, and how are they changed or reshaped over time? In turn, how do patterns of consumption shape class formation, racial inequality, identity, aesthetic sensibility, and international boundaries? How do practices of consumption inform the ways in which people understand their values and individuality, imagine success and failure, or conceive happiness? By reading widely in sociology, anthropology, and history we will develop a framework for analyzing the ethical, environmental and social justice implications of consumerism. Readings include case studies from the US, China, India, Europe and Africa Some likely authors include: Keynes, Marx, Marcuse, Benjamin, Mary Douglas, Bill McKibben; Arlie Hochschild, Lizabeth Cohen.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1587  Who Owns Culture?: Intellectual Property Law and Cultural Commons  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Can a yoga pose or a dance step be considered “private property?” Who owns the genetic sequences found in your DNA? What are the rights of an author/artist and how do those rights overlap with the rights of the community to engage with works of art? How can the “public domain” and the “cultural commons” survive in a free-market economy? In this course, we will deepen our understanding of the cultural and ethical implications of copyright, trademark and patent law by placing the concepts of ownership and authorship in both historical and global context. In addition to scholarly essays drawn from the fields of history, legal studies, anthropology and sociology, this course will also draw on a range of texts from the visual arts, music, and literature. Course requirements include: research-based essays and creative projects, in-class presentations, and a general willingness to both critique and create. Texts studied may include Boon's In Praise of Copying, Demer’s Steal this Musicand Patry's Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars. Visual and audio sources from Girl Talk, DJ Spooky and Joy Garnett may also be included.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1589  The Vietnam War  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The Vietnam War occupies a special place in U.S history and foreign relations. For decades, it was known as America’s longest war, the only war the United States ever lost, a war that shattered Americans' faith in their government and spawned a culture of protests that divided one generation from another. More recently, it has become the conflict against which the U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya are most often compared and contrasted. In this course, we will examine the history of the Vietnam War both in its own context and as part of ongoing debates about U.S. foreign policy and military interventions. In addition to considering the war from the U.S. perspective, we will also read texts that offer insights into the Vietnamese experience. We will cover a wide range of genres and disciplines, including: official documents written by Robert McNamara, George Ball, and Daniel Ellsberg; historical scholarship by Leslie Gelb, David Hunt, and Marilyn Young; and novels, films, and poetry of Eugene Burdick, Norman Mailer, Yusef Komunyaaka, and Tim O’Brien.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1590  Walter Benjamin: Theory for Gleaners  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Long before the advent of green politics, and before recycling and repurposing became fashionable, there were people surviving with little fanfare on discards, and theorists meditating on the revolutionary possibilities of refuse and junk. This seminar introduces students to the work of Walter Benjamin, who is both a central figure in critical theory and an early, powerful commentator on the politics and aesthetics of trash. We begin with Agnès Varda’s film The Gleaners and I, and explore the relation between theory and the recycling of ideas, images, and objects, especially those that have been overlooked or abandoned. As a refugee himself, Benjamin knew intimately how whole populations can be dispossessed or cast off. Following his life and thought, we ask what displaced subjects and discarded objects might teach us about the larger economies of capitalism, modernity and the city, as well as human desires, needs and frailties. Our primary text is Benjamin's expansive and unfinished work of citations and brief commentaries, The Arcades Project (1927-1940), but we will read Freud, Marx, and the Frankfurt School to contextualize the work historically and theoretically. What did Benjamin make of dross, and what can we glean from his thought for our own times?
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1591  Bound & Determined:  (4 Credits)  
Ancient Greek tragedies, particularly those detailing the events of the Trojan War and its aftermath, are obsessed with the plight of women who have been taken prisoner in war. The songs in which they lament their fate, recall their past happineses, and wonder about their new lives and homes are some of the most beautiful and moving in Greek poetry. In the non-fictional world of 5th-century Greece, however, these enslaved and foreign women would be all but voiceless. The reality of war and of its female captives was one of slavery and sexual violence, and the female captive herself became a poetic metonym for a fallen city. This course will explore the role of these captive women both within tragedy?their speech and actions and the agency they create for themselves?as well as within the society that produced these plays? the social anxieties revealed by tragedy?s focus on the female captive and the Greek relationship to political realities such as slavery and imperialism. Readings may include plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, as well as historical writings of Herodotus and Thucydides, and philosophical and critical writings by Aristotle, Said, Scott, and Foucault.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1592  : American Narratives I: American Literature, Race and Politics  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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, self-interested bargaining among men in markets and legislatures, whereas the literature depicts genocide, slavery, and sexual violence, domestic life and frontier encounters. One depicts rationality and narrates progress, the other depicts madness and tragedy. The literature makes visible what political rhetoric and canonical political thought typically make invisible - the centrality of race and gender in the formation of nationhood, the operation of politics, and the deep narratives of "America." By comparing American literary art to prevailing forms of political speech and dominant theories of American politics, we ask: 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 can 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 historical context, typical political speech, and canonical political theory.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1593  Barbarians: Ancient Conceptions of Outsider  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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 exotic Dionysus of Euripides' tragedy, 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 can be clarified, rethought, or complicated. 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 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? How does the representation of difference problematize one's own values or traditions? Readings may include Simone de Beauvoir, Clifford Geertz, Euripides Bacchae, Aeschylus The Persians, Herodotus, Caesar The Gallic Wars, Heliodorus Aethiopika (The Ethiopian Romance).
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1594  Gravity'S Rainbow  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course focuses on a single, extraordinary work of fiction, Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow?Pynchon's vision of modernity, and important themes in the history of science and in philosophy. Topics: the weaponization of science in the twentieth century, clashing accounts of explanation. How does one explain the world of V2 rocket-bombs exploding around London in World War II? Do we learn about the location of future detonations from the past, as Pavlov might have had it? Or are events utterly independent one from the other as Poisson would say? Such reflections on the world?and they extend through identity, love, war, and materiality?feed back into the very nature of writing itself, and in the final sessions of the seminar, we will turn to literary-philosophical questions: How, in the absence of causality and continuity, does narrative itself function? What might be a postcausal (postmodern) novel? Along with Pynchon's text, we will read widely in the history of technology, warfare, science, literary theory, and philosophy.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1595  Antigone'S Dilemma: Contemp Legal Philosophy  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
What is the difference between law and morality? Is positing a higher moral order that supervenes over positive law an invitation to chaos or the only way to hold governments to account? To what extent is a legal system undergirded by background moral understandings? And when judges elaborate moral principle rather than black letter law does this undermine judicial legitimacy? Is it ever legitimate to legislate morality, from the bench or through legislative acts? How can civil disobedience be justified? Through questions such as these this course explores the various ways in which law and morality are both clashing and complementary in legal discourse, which also entails examining the relationship between law and religion. We will read canonical political theory and legal texts that discuss the debate between legal positivists and natural law theorists. Readings are likely to include landmark Supreme Court cases and primary texts such as Hobbes' Leviathan, Locke's Two Treatises, Kant's Second Critique, HLA Hart's The Concept of Law, and Dworkin's Taking Rights Seriously.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1596  Domesticating The Wild in Children's Literature  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The Ur-text of literatures for children is the encounter between a child and a Wild Thing. From Little Red Ridinghood to Peter and the Wolf to Charlotte?s Web, the border between the child and the wild is a rite of passage marking the transformation of the child into an adult and is the site of a child?s most fundamental education about how to be human. Works of children?s literature agree that literature can be used to explicitly structure the relationship between children and the wild, and to construct subjectivities by nurturing a deeper awareness of what that relationship should be. Yet, what, exactly, is the wild in children?s literature? Representations of the wild reflect adult ideas about children?do they have a privileged relationship to nature and innate understanding of the connection between humans and the world around them? Or are they wild things themselves, in need of templates for human/humane behavior toward other beings? Representations of the wild are also informed by ideology, shaped by societal ideas about race and gender, domination and subjection, power and privilege. In this course we will be thinking and writing about the surprising ways in which children?s texts imagine the wild as a charged cultural, political and racialized space, and how these texts imagine and construct subjectivities based on these relations of power. Text may include Babar, The Wind in the Willows, Alice in Wonderland, Where the Wild Things Are, Ricky Tiki Tavi and Fantasia.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1597  Love & The Divided Soul in Plato & Freud  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Plato and Freud offer especially interesting and plausible accounts of intrapsychic conflict in terms of the psyche?s having parts. In this course, we will look at the theories of the composite psyche in the dialogues of Plato and in various works and case histories of Freud. Our first theme concerns whether they conceive psychic division differently, and for different purposes. A second and closely related theme concerns the ways that Plato and Freud both posit love as a fundamental force in human life; indeed, Freud explicitly identified his concept of libido with Plato?s eros. But is this claim credible? Our third theme concerns Plato's way of addressing these issues not by telling but by showing us, by writing not a treatise, but a philosophical drama with characters interacting by dialogue. Lastly, we will explore the implications of Plato's and Freud's psychological arguments for philosophical and political practice. Texts include Plato's Gorgias, Republic, and Symposium; and Freud's Ego and Id, Three Essays on Sexuality, and case studies.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1598  Homeric Myth & Narrative Ancient & Modern  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course will examine the mythic and narrative traditions of Homeric Greece, the cultural dynamics of the interactions between them, and finally the ways in which modern narrative can transform such traditions. The course will begin with a consideration of the central structures and emphases of the Greek mythological system, and then move on to a close reading of the Homeric Iliad, with a focus on the ways in which the interactions between mythic and narrative traditions can result in fundamental challenges to a culture and its traditions. The course will then leap forward to the late twentieth century and Derek Walcott's Afro-Caribbean/American, Nobel Prize-winning poem Omeros with its seemingly impossible union of mythic and narrative traditions, its mythic scope extending from Greece to West Africa to Native America as it brings together narrative traditions ranging from the Homeric to the post-colonial.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1599  Visions of The Beyond:  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course explores the relationship between religion and literature by focusing on literary depictions of the afterlife: How are changing beliefs about the afterlife reflected in literary treatments, and how does such literary art affect beliefs and practices? The 'visit to the underworld' is a traditional theme already in the oldest ancient Greek literary texts and we begin with the rich cultic and ritual background of the Homeric underworld visits (nekuiai) and their afterlife in Greek literature. From Homer, we explore how the afterlife theme is taken up in Latin poetry (most notably Vergil's Aeneid), and in turn how Vergil becomes the poet for the Western Middle Ages and is re-imagined by Dante as the guiding poetic model for his own vision of the beyond. At the same time, Dante's Divina Commedia shows striking parallels with literary visions of the afterlife composed in Arabic and Middle Persian. Is the connection a literary manifestation of an experience common to revealed religions, or another indication that literary constructions of imaginary other worlds are readily transmissible across cultures? Indeed, what accounts for the immense popularity of such accounts across cultures? Readings include: Homer, Pindar, Plato, Lucian, Vergil, the Middle Persian Arda Viraz Namag, and Dante's Divina Commedia.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1602  Nature, Resources & the Human Condition  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course is an introduction to global environmental history through an examination of selected episodes and themes, with emphasis on the nature and role of resources, on the one hand, and cultural conceptions of the natural world, on the other. The course asks the general question, “What light can the life and earth sciences shed on human history?” while also drawing upon the perspectives of social, cultural, and political history, anthropology, economic theory, and the history of technology. Humans have been shaped by their environments over the course of their history, and they have obviously altered their environments, often drastically so. The purpose of the course is neither to document environmental gloom and doom nor to cast particular peoples or practices as good or evil on the basis of currently acceptable standards of sewardship or sustainability. Rather it is to understand the role that the natural environment has played in human history and the roles that perceptions of nature have played in shaping human institutions and practices, even as we humans have altered and shaped “natural” environments. Readings will include original works from different periods, broad historical narratives, case studies, accessible scientific works, and possible works of fiction.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1603  Modern Poetry and The Actual World  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Although lyric poetry is the art of language that we reserve for the expression of the emotional dimension of our human experience, lyric poets also importantly use the forms and conventions of their art to respond to the shape and substance of the world they inhabit; that is, the historical, political, and physical aspects of the world—the “actual world”—in which they live. This course has two principal aims: first, to help us to develop skills in the reading of lyric poetry, and, second, to consider the complex relation between lyric poetry and the actual world. In the first half of the class, we will study the forms and conventions of lyric poetry and work on developing our poetic sensibilities. In the second half, we will focus our attention on the relationship of modern poets to the concrete or actual world and focus our study on W.H. Auden and Wallace Stevens, two poets who address the pressing questions of their day, and the world they shared, in strikingly different ways. Yet, however different their approaches, both poets ponder questions of faith and secularity, consider heroism and loss in a century marked by war, and probe our human relationship to nature in answer to an increasingly industrialized and technological world. Readings will include texts that consider how to read lyric poetry (Hirsch, Vendler, Perloff), a representative selection of modern lyric poetry (Eliot, Pound, Valéry, Éluard, Apollinaire, Moore, H.D., Bishop, Hughes, Brooks, Rich), the works of Auden and Stevens (essays and poems), as well as the philosophical, historical and political narratives to which they refer and that inform their work (Freud, Nietzsche, William James, Santayana).
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1604  Crit. Cultural Theory: Walter Benjamin  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) was a literary critic, philosopher and social theorist whose work has proven enormously influential across a number of disciplines, including literary study, media and popular culture studies, urban studies and political theory. Closely associated with the Frankfurt School, Benjamin?s work is itself interdisciplinary, drawing from Marxism, psychoanalysis, sociology, literature and religion. In this course, we will spend time reading some of his major essays as well as parts of his great unfinished Arcades Project in order to attempt to track the thinking of one of the twentieth century?s most astute and complex analysts of culture and politics. While we will also look at some central secondary writing on Benjamin, we will focus most closely on reading his work. Among our readings: essays on Baudelaire and Paris, the ?Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,? ?Theses on the Philosophy of History? and possibly One Way Street.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1605  Crit Cultual Theory: Theodor Adorno  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Theodor Adorno (1903-69) was a philosopher, cultural theorist, music theorist and a central force in the Frankfurt School. His work, departing from the philosophical tradition of German idealism, draws from Marxism, psychoanalysis, and sociological thought. His sometimes controversial writings on literature, popular culture in the middle of the twentieth century, the category of experience in modernity, and the aftermath of the Holocaust repeatedly call us back to the question of the relation of politics, culture and the ethical. Adorno?s work is dense and often difficult to read; we will consult some of the leading secondary sources on his writing, but we will apply most of our energy to examining closely some key shorter texts concerned with literature, art, and politics closely. Among our reading: Notes to Literature, Prisms, sections of The Dialectic of Enlightenment coauthored with Max Horkheimer, and, perhaps, parts of his posthumous Aesthetic Theory.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1606  Staging Ancient Drama: Text, Culture & Perf.  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course is designed to enhance students' understanding of ancient Greek theater and its stagecraft, through directorial practice and close examination of selected plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes. Combining textual study with workshops and exercises focused on staging, we will create a framework for approaching the original environment of the plays and their reception in Athens of the fifth century BCE. The course will investigate the performative aspects of each play (such as character, status, gender, etc.) and will use the insights gained from practical workshops to explain important material elements such as masks, scenic design, and stage properties, as well as to explore the theatrical dynamics involved in the use of the chorus, messengers, entrances and exits. We aim to guide students to a deeper understanding of the plays and to possible techniques for translating them to the modern page and stage.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1607  Philosophies & Follies: Theatre of Enlightenment  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
“The pit of a theatre is the one place where the tears of virtuous and wicked men alike are mingled.”—Denis Diderot. Voltaire, Diderot and Rousseau all wrote for and about the theater. In the Age of Enlightenment, the stage was a place for philosophical exploration. Drama was perceived as an important instrument for the breaking of what the historian Peter Gay called “the sacred circle” of dogma. This class will examine the convergence of theatrical arts and ideas in the eighteenth century—a dramatic expression that would ultimately prove to be the rehearsal and the scripting for the Age of Revolution. This will include: analysis of sample plays of the era; philosophical writings that were influenced by, or responded to, these works; and contemporary accounts of theatrical performances and their implications. Included in our examination of the intersection of Enlightenment thought and theatricality will be a study of the works of visual artists such as Boucher, Chardin, Reynolds, Goya, etc., as well as the musical compositions of Haydn, Glück, Salieri, etc. Course readings may include: the plays and other writings of Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Gotthold Lessing, Louise Gottsched, Goethe, Ramón de la Cruz, Catherine the Great, Carlo Goldoni, Oliver Goldsmith, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan; modern critical works such as, Dena Goodman’s The Republic of Letters and Samuel S. B. Taylor’s Theater of the French and German Enlightenment.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1608  Justice & The Political  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Justice is often understood as a concept that structures political life, by indicating who should be enfranchised, how to rule fairly, who should be punished and how. Even more broadly, "justice" indicates what constitutes a common good as well as who should benefit (and how) from collective actions. But how is the definition of justice established and implemented? Does justice denote a transcendent standard we access by philosophy or by revelation and then "apply" to and in political life? Or is any definition of justice necessarily shaped by political struggles by actors with contrasting interests and points of views ? Must we escape politics to determine justice rightly, or is that an impossible and ultimately tyrannical idea? But if we define justice through politics, is what we call justice necessarily going to be the rule of the strong? This course will consider three attempts to define justice that also explore its relationship to politics: Plato's Republic, Kant's Groundwork for a Metaphysics of Morals, Hegel's Philosophy of Right.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1609  Dante's World  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1610  Darwin & The Literary Imagination  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course will focus on Darwin?s writing, from The Voyage of the Beagle to Vegetable Mould (his last book, about worms), attending to the particular qualities that went into the development of his theory and the sustaining arguments. It will include consideration of contemporary (i.e., early nineteenth century) science writers, and it will also juxtapose literary writers we know Darwin read and valued immensely (like Milton) with one or two contemporary literary texts (like George Eliot?s Middlemarch). The point will be to read Darwin in a cultural context that clearly had significant effect on his own writing and thinking strategies. We will try to understand better the special qualities required to make his great argument and the singularity (and typicality, where that works) of his engagement with imagination, hypothesis and speculation, thought experiments, close observation, and rigorous reasoning. The course will address the question of the relation of these qualities to qualities usually regarded as literary, and thus the question of the relation of literary qualities to science.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1611  Past as Prelude: Thinking Historically  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In 2008 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?
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1612  Contexts of Musical Meaning: What and How Does Music Mean?  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Is it possible to say that a piece of music “means” something? Can music communicate emotion, narrative, or philosophy? Can it embrace or resist political ideology? In what ways is music influenced by, or in what ways does it influence, society? For Richard Wagner, music and words together are capable of expressing the deepest thoughts and feelings that a human can have, and according to Nietzsche, music provides access to the nature of reality itself. On the other hand, Eduard Hanslick insisted that music should be divorced from the extramusical world, and Stravinsky famously claimed that music, by its very nature, is essentially powerless to express anything at all. More recently, thinkers have stressed the importance of approaching music as a cultural construct to reveal its encoded ideological meanings. This course looks at the nature of musical meaning from all these perspectives. We listen to and discuss forms of Western art (i.e. “classical”) music as well as genres of popular and folk music as we explore the relationship of gender, race, class, and politics to musical works. Each unit in this course takes a specific musical text (Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, John Coltrane’s Love Supreme, the Beatles’ White Album) and explores different theoretical, philosophical and musicological approaches to the music’s “meaning.” We read philosophical works of aesthetics and hermeneutics by Plato, Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Heidegger, essays by musicologists and cultural studies scholars such as Carl Dahlhaus, Theodor Adorno, Leo Treitler, Paul Gilroy, Susan McClary, and Robert Walser, and creative pieces by James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, and John Cage.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1613  Secular Politics & Its Discontents  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
During the European Enlightenment, political philosophers set out to establish a novel form of politics?one not grounded in divine authority. We will begin by studying two of the major figures in this endeavor?Thomas Hobbes and John Locke?in light of the sacred scriptures they aimed to overturn. In so doing, we will simultaneously gain an understanding of how the Bible was read as politically normative and how these thinkers co-opted, reinterpreted and undermined the biblical teachings in order to found a secular politics. Even before these ideas started to take root within the early American republic, the viability and desirability of secular politics began to be questioned by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The second part of this course will study the discontents of secularism as articulated by Rousseau in his critique of the Enlightenment vision of politics and by Alexis de Tocqueville in his observations on religion in American democracy.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1614  Narrating Seduction: The Tale of Genji  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Written in the eleventh century by a noble lady of the Japanese court, the Tale of Genji has been called the world?s first novel, and even the world?s first psychological novel. But can we really use the terms ?novel? and ?psychological? to describe the narrative? In this seven-week course we will read and compare two English translations of the text, by Seidensticker and Tyler. Each week we will supplement our readings with selected secondary sources to focus our attention on such topics as: narration, visuality, sexual politics, relation to reality, poetics, and aesthetics in the text.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1615  Language and Desire: Mishima Yukio  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The Japanese author Mishima has been called ?everyone?s favorite homo-fascist.? And, he may be better known in the West for his performative suicide in 1970 by ritual disembowelment than for his writings. But he is well known for his fiction as well?a complex set of narratives that follow an aesthetic that privileges art above life, or reality. In this course we will read a selection of fiction by Mishima, alongside supplementary secondary sources, and screen the films Patriotism and Black Lizard, as well as various YouTube videos. We will ask: what can queer theory bring to an analysis of Mishima?s narratives? How and why did his life become so intertwined with his art? What was performative about his life and writings? Why have so many Western critics psychoanalyzed Mishima? We will hope to come away from the course with a better understanding of both Mishima the man and his literature.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1617  Philosophy of Religion  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Is there such thing as religion--definable and singular? If there is no agreement, how can we have a philosophy of it? Departing from this predicament, this course will first examine how “religion” has been construed over time and in a variety of contexts. After touching upon various Western medieval endeavors to “prove” God’s existence, we’ll attend to the nineteenth century and Friedrich Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morals. We will consider the ways in which Nietzsche employs Hegel’s master/slave dialectic to identify the psychological state of ressentiment as a key factor in the birth and character of Jewish/Christian morality. Also, William James’s Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) will be read as a groundbreaking study in the psychological states of religious consciousness. We will also draw Western notions of the ineffability of God—especially as appearing in the Pseudo-Dionysian tradition of the via negativa—into conversation with the second century (CE) Buddhist philosophy of Nagarjuna and his influences on the Zen/Ch’an tradition. Finally, we’ll explore recent reimaginings of religion in light of postmodern themes such as nihilism and the death of God. Readings include: Anselm of Canterbury, Friedrich Nietzsche, William James, Teresa of Avila, Mircea Eliade, Rene Girard, Gianni Vattimo, Pseudo-Dionysius, Nagarjuna, and Shunyru Suzuki.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1618  Media and Fashion  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course will examine the roles fashion plays in film, television and digital media and their cultural and economic significance. As a signifying system in its own right, fashion contributes to the semiotics of popular forms. It can also operate as a means of authentication (especially in period films and TV) or reveal a variety of ways in which media plays with space and time, purposeful or not. Besides evoking specific temporalities and narrative tone, fashion plays an important role in the construction of gender, both in terms of representation and address. This course will examine the history of the intersection of the fashion and media industries from the free distribution of film-related dress patterns in movie theaters of the 1910s to the current trend for make-over TV, networks like the Style network, the increasing proliferation of fashion blogs and the construction of specifically feminine video games. How does fashion's specific configuration of consumerism, signification and visual pleasure lend itself to the articulation of modern/postmodern cultures and their presentation of the self? Texts will include Stella Bruzzi and Pamela Church Gibson, Fashion Cultures: Theories, Explanations and Analysis ; selections from Roland Barthes, The Fashion System ; Elizabeth Wilson, Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity ; assorted articles and selected clips from films and television shows including Marie Antoinette , What Not To Wear , The New York Hat, Fashions of 1934, Now, Voyager and Sex and the City .
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1619  The Public Sphere  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1620  Socratic Irony & Plato'S Narrators  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
A close reading of seven central Socratic dialogues that discuss (among other things) the nature of love and of the soul, the formation of the universe, the cosmology that can be deduced from it, the relation of love and ideas, the tragic story of Socrates? trial, his defense, and his decision to accept the judgment of the court, namely to drink the hemlock. The class will look particularly at the use of irony to complicate key ideas, at the different, perhaps unreliable narrators included in each one, and at the ways in which literary form and philosophy intersect in these cases to complicate ideas about the ideal structure of the universe or of society. Readings: (1) Timaeus, Critias, (2) Symposium, Phaedrus, (3) Apology, Crito, Phaedo.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1621  Theorizing The Visual  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In a world mediated by images how can we critically approach the visible? This course focuses on the politics of representation, offering students critical approaches and methodologies in the field of visual studies. Exploring the relationship between aesthetic movements and theoretical production, we interrogate how artists and theorists frame and define art and visual politics. How do regimes of the visible render certain subjects and histories invisible? In what different ways, and with what political consequences, has the meaning and practice of ?art? been denaturalized and redefined in the twentieth century? To pursue these questions, we explore a diversity of theoretical paradigms and their implications, including formalism, feminism, psychoanalysis, semiotics, the ?social? history of art, post-structuralism, performance, post-colonial theory, and museum studies. Our goal is to build a theoretical toolkit that will help us to analyze art and visual culture broadly. Readings may include: Stuart Hall, Rey Chow, Michel de Certeau, Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, bell hooks, Lucy Lippard, T.J Clark, Amelia Jones.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1622  International Human Rights  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Human rights has become the privileged political vocabulary for justice in a range of contexts: from Untied Nations meetings on the millennium development goals to media reports on Darfur, from court rooms adjudicating the treatment of Guantanamo detainees to street protests regarding the WTO. For some, it provides inspiration for struggle and progressive change. For others it carries the taint of illusory promises; a fig leaf for liberal hubris and imperial intervention. What historical dynamics have shaped this debate? What potential does human rights carry for different groups? Is human rights the language of dissent and revolution or is it the language of global governance? The course will travel a two-pronged path—partly focused on key debates that have structured the history and theory of human rights, and partly focused on debates internal to specific topics such as torture, homelessness and genocide. In addition to key human rights cases, we will read authors such as Phillip Alston, Talal Asad, Wendy Brown, Andrew Clapham, Karen Engle, David Kennedy, Susan Marks, Sally Merry, Samuel Moyn, Makau Mutua, Jacques Ranciere, Henry Steiner, Gayatri Spivak and others.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1623  Labor and Its  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Labor has long been associated with pain and toil, and more recently with exploitation and the production of commodities. In this class, we will focus on the ways that labor has been represented and understood, especially in relationship to the development of capitalism in its global form. Some primary questions we will explore are: How does labor create value? How do some gain control of the labor of others? How does this relationship of power change over time? How are those who labor valued in society, and represented in art? How are distinctions of gender and race entwined with the division of labor? How has the demand for labor required migration and imposed geographical dislocations? How do laborers themselves seek to shape practices of laboring and how they are valued? To answer these questions we will explore representations of unfree labor--both slavery and indentured servitude--in dialogue with representations both of "free labor" and of migration. Along the way, we will consider how laborers organize themselves and the ways they develop community in new locations. We will begin by looking at a seventeenth-century play (Shakespeare's The Tempest) and a contemporary novel (Toni Morrison's A Mercy) that reflects back on the seventeenth century--the period when systems of global capitalist production were being invented, but before the relationship between race and categories of laborers were firmly fixed. Then we will use writings by Karl Marx to explore how these institutions of labor and production became central to the modern world. In addition to the texts mentioned above, additional works may include documentaries, murals, and fiction, as well as early modern ethnographies, works of political philosophy, and modern scholarship by literary and cultural critics, historians, and anthropologists.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1624  There and Back Again: Travelers and Traveling through the Middle Ages & Beyond  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1626  The Communication Revolution  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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. Readings from: Tom Standage, Writing on the Wall; Plato’s Phaedrus; Walter Ong, Orality and Literacy; Neil Postman, Technopoly; and Sherry Turkle, Alone Together.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1627  Green Design from Geddes to Gore  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Students will explore the designers, cultures, and suppositions about the contemporary environmental movement. Who are the key figures that first ignited the green design revolution and its ensuing agenda? Who effectively promoted maxims such as “energy crisis,” “climate change,” and “sustainability?" Many books, films, projects, and actions contributed to the irresistible success of mainstream eco-values. Which readings initially established the core underpinning of this environmental debate—Hiroshima by John Hersey, Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, or Ecology of Freedom by Murray Bookchin—and how are they linked today? The class will review architecture and art, and unpack texts by thinkers such as Patrick Geddes, Henry David Thoreau, Ebenezer Howard, John Muir, Louis Sullivan, Ivan Illich, Buckminster Fuller, Sim Van der Ryn, Victor Papanek, Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, William McDonough, Marc Reisner, Jared Diamond, and Al Gore. In tandem, we acutely review seminal designs and works by Antoni Gaudi, Norman Bel Geddes, Bruce Goff, Rudolf Steiner, Samuel Mockbee, and others. The overall objective is twofold: to survey the lager historical context of ecological design and define specific contributions to the green movement.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1628  Think Big: Global Issues and Ecological Solutions  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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, Naomi Klein, Laurence Buell, and others. The final project is the production of a mock Madison Ave. advertising campaign that promotes urban 'sustainability'.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1630  Pictures at a Revolution: Film as Political Rhetoric  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
V.I. Lenin called cinema the most important art because of its power to persuade. And in fact, cinema has played a key role in many of the revolutionary movements of the twentieth century, in particular for the Russian and Cuban revolutions. In this course we will examine how the cinema works as political language by introducing a variety of theoretical writings both on revolutionary politics and on political aesthetics. We will explore the boundaries between propaganda and political cinema, and we will analyze whether there is a tension between the aesthetics of modernism and the clarity purportedly necessary for effective political persuasion. As we examine how filmmakers attempt to translate revolutionary ideas into cinema, our topics will include: Italian Neorealism, the French New Wave, Brazilian Cinema Novo, and New Queer Cinema. Readings will include: Franz Fanon, Trinh T.Minh-ha, Sergei Eisenstein, Bertolt Brecht and Glauber Rocha.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1631  The U.S. Empire and The Americas  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The workings and even existence of the U.S. Empire has long been cause of controversy. The debate often revolves around whether the United States is guided by imperial self-interest, or lofty ideals. Because debates about U.S. imperialism since 9/11 have centered on interventions in seemingly distant places like Iraq and Afghanistan, Empire appears to denote a far-from-home phenomenon. Yet, the U.S. Empire is born out of and continues to depend upon interactions in the Americas. This course explores the premise that the U.S. Empire is an American Empire continuously redefined closer-to-home through contested borders, migrations, local politics and cultural practices, and inseparable from hemispheric experimentations with the meanings of freedom, democracy and development. It specifically addresses the following questions. How can Empire be understood as a category of analysis? What distinguishes an American Empire? How are U.S. imperial formations negotiated “at home?” In addition, the course foregrounds the U.S. relationship with Latin America in order to further question the meanings of home, America and Empire. Readings include texts from the disciplines of history, law, literature, political theory and cultural studies.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1632  "Woman" and the Political  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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 do feminist critiques of the absence of “woman” and the “feminine” in discourses of the political affect our ideas of not only the private and public, but also those of citizenship, equality, freedom, the individual, and community? In addition to feminist critiques of political theory, we will also be attentive to internal debates within feminisms, especially with reference to women of color feminisms and queer theory. Readings may include Kimberlé Crenshaw, Carole Pateman, Chandra Mohanty, Bonnie Honig, Judith Butler, Plato, Rousseau, Locke, and Marx.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1633  Ecological Transport, Infrastructure & Bldg  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The current environmental decline is a multifaceted predicament for our civilization. Previously, utopian projects have failed to reverse this ecological decay. This crisis demands robust solutions on a massive scale to deal with an immanent mega-urbanity. We attempt to re-envision vehicles, infrastructure, and buildings to meet the ecological needs of the future. Students consider questions such as: what is wrong with city systems today and what are the key environmental forces that shape them? Each student individually critiques and evaluates multiple engineered urban entities and subsequently prescribe new innovations. The objective is to establish the most scientifically plausible designs for a new socio-ecological world. Readings, historical figures, and works for the course include Janine M. Benyus, Ian McHarg, Richard T.T. Forman, John Todd, Anne Spirn, Geoffery Jellicoe, Jane Jacobs, Annie Leonard, Buckminster Fuller, William J. Mitchell, Mohsen Mostafavi, Ken Yeang, and others.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1634  Postcolonial African Cities  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1636  The Political Economy of Development  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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. The course draws primarily on scholarship from the fields of political economy, geography, anthropology, development studies, and history. In Part 1, we begin by contrasting the dominant metrics used today to measure the object of development. Part 2 examines some of the most important and influential theoretical ideas and intellectual traditions which seek to explain the historical origins of capitalist development. Part 3 then 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 4 analyzes regional trajectories of socio-spatial change in theory and history through detailed case studies of Africa, Latin America, and East Asia. Finally, Part 5 will consider key themes framing contemporary development discourse and practice including gender and sustainable development. Possible readings include: Amartya Sen, Stuart Hall, and Samir Amin.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1639  Witch, Heroine, Saint: Joan of Arc & Her World  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1640  The History of Kindness  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
How have human beings conceived and represented benevolent behavior toward others differently across time and place? In this course, we will explore the history of the concepts, ideals, and behaviors that we associate with the modern English word, "kindness" -- a story that begins in the classical Mediterranean world and unfolds slowly over two millennia into the present day. We will connect ancient debates about human nature, the practice of justice, and moral responsibility, to recent studies concerning the evolutionary biology of altruism (is there a "kindness gene"?), sociological studies of gender difference (is hostility a male trait?), and anthropological studies of how culture regulates conduct. We will study the rise of state-sponsored morality and the ways in which ideals of social welfare have changed over time. Key texts will include Aeschylus's Oresteia, The Gospel of Matthew, Augustine's Against Faustus, Dhuoda's handbook for her son, Bonaventure's Life of St. Francis, and Voltaire's Treatise on Tolerance. As part of the course, students will also conduct individual studies of how philanthropic organizations define, enact, and organize our notions of "kindness" today.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1641  Health and Human Rights in The World Community  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In this seminar, we will consider the interrelationship between health and human rights. We will examine the origins of health and human rights concerns, their impacts and interdependence on one another. We will discuss the health consequences of human rights violations and the premise that individual and community health are improved by protecting and promoting human rights. Similarly, we will consider whether health is essential to the realization of human rights. Sentinel health and human rights issues that continue to unfold, including COVID, racism and immigration, will be among the topics we will explore. "Educational tools we will use to inform our discussions about and to deepen our understanding of health and human rights include scholarly articles, human rights texts, case studies, presentations by guest speakers and seminar participants. This course is intended for non-science as well as science majors. ""Students with diverse interests and experiences are welcome.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1642  Celebrity Culture  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This class investigates celebrity culture as a transmedia phenomenon, exploring what it reveals about a culture and its awareness of self. It analyzes celebrity culture from the late nineteenth century to the present, exploring the role of photography, print media, postcards, movies, television, recorded music and digital media. We will consider how media turn to celebrity at a particular point in their history, often as they start to move away from novelty forms and reach mass audiences and acquire a certain "maturity." Besides examining the different configurations of celebrity produced in each media form, and its relationship to prevailing concerns about fame and the construction of self, we will examine the difference between celebrity and stardom. In the process, we will explore what celebrity discourses reveal about the changing relationship between private and public spheres, work and leisure, and the status of upward mobility and the American dream in twentieth- and twenty-first-century culture.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1643  The Politics of Law and Legal Thought  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1644  Labor and The Global Market: Literature, Film and History  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Globalization has become a much-debated and deeply controversial topic. In this class, we will focus on the ways that labor has been represented and understood, especially in relationship to the development of capitalism in its global form. We will explore how the movement of capital, commodities, and workers across the globe and with seeming indifference to national borders shapes the idea of work and those who perform it. Of equal importance in our study will be the way that work transforms the structure of the global economy. Some primary questions we will explore are: How has the demand for labor required migration and imposed geographical dislocations? How does labor create value within these new locations? How do some gain control of the work of others? How do workers organize themselves and develop community in new locations? Some likely texts for the course include: Shakespeare’s The Tempest, a Haitian novel about a sugar cane worker who migrates to the Dominican Republic, and a postcolonial play created and performed by workers from Kenya. We will place these fictional texts in conversation with visual representations by Diego Rivera, works by Marx, by anthropologists and narrative filmmakers on sex tourism and domestic labor, and by documentary filmmakers and historians on global corporations and utopian economies.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1645  Islands in the City:The Politics and Culture of Caribbean New York  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
New York City possesses the largest population of Caribbean peoples outside of the Caribbean, and this course explores key issues in four boroughs where Caribbean politics are being shaped and identities performed. We will examine Caribbean livelihood in the city—the ways they worship, work and play, their creation and utilization of green and artistic spaces, their access to social services, their political affiliations and mobilization on matters such as immigration, gentrification and domestic worker rights. Our interdisciplinary, critical study of the sacred (e.g. Santería in Brooklyn) and the secular, from educational, political and economic institutions (e.g. hometown associations) to public figures (e.g. Colin Powell)—highlight the politics of the second-generation, migration, race, class, gender-stratified social systems, cultural resistance and appropriation, and nationalist projects. Readings may include: Jesse Huffnung-Garskof’s A Tale of Two Cities: Santo Domingo and New York after 1950; Junot Diaz’s Drown; Elizabeth McAlister’s Rara! Vodou, Power and Performance in Haiti and its Diaspora; Paule Marshall’s Brown Girl Brownstones; and Arlene Dàvila's, Barrio Dreams: Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and the Neoliberal City.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1646  Fractured States  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course explores what happens when geographical spaces get divided and people are dislocated, forced to migrate, or become part of a new political entity. We will focus on these geographical divisions both as larger political crises and as events that have effects at more personal and local levels, for example, on familial ties, the ability to find work, or to practice one's religion. We will focus on a few regions whose borders have been and still are in crisis in different ways: Haiti and the Dominican Republic; India and Pakistan; and Israel and Palestine. Some specific questions we will explore: In what ways do geographical borders participate in the creation of national, racial, or religious, identities? What happens to individuals or groups of people who live in a nation to which they do not feel a primary allegiance and to people who have multiple allegiances? In what ways do borders facilitate or demand the production of social difference? How do writers imagine the relationship of subjects to divided spaces and the relationship of those subjects to each other? How do fictional and historical works address the relationships between possibilities for peace and security and notions of justice? The class will focus primarily on literary texts and narrative films, which we will place in dialogue with oral histories, personal memoir, and documentary films. Some likely authors we will read in the course include: Edwige Danticat, Junot Díaz, Salman Rushdie, Sami Michael, and Ghassan Kanafani.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1647  Visual Narrative: Reading Ancient Art  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1648  Environment and Development in Africa  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course explores the political ecologies of African development in historic perspective. Drawing mainly from anthropology, geography, history, and development studies, it offers an inter-disciplinary perspective on the politics of African environments. The first part of the course focuses on the history of human-environment relations, paying particular attention to the exploitation of the natural environment during colonialism and patterns of extraction and trade set up during that time. Building on this history, we will then concentrate on the postcolonial period in order to compare different forms of exploitation across Africa and their connections to key development debates and national development trajectories. Specific topics may include: the extractive industries; export agriculture; wildlife conservation and tourism; Asian investments and the ‘land grab’; resources and violence; and urban ecologies. Aiming to provide more complex, critical, and nuanced understandings of human-environment relations on the continent, we will draw from academic texts, novels, as well as documentary films. Readings may include: James Ferguson, Gregg Mitman, Michael Watts, and Adam Hochschild.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1649  The Music of Poetry and the Poetry of Music  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Although the ancient Greeks used the word “moûsike” to designate both poetry and music and the two were once “one” art, with alphabetic writing their paths diverged and poetry, music, rhetoric, and musical theory became distinct from one another. Yet, however much music and poetry may have their separate histories and technical languages, poets and composers have continued to probe the relation between the two arts. In this course, we will focus on the relationship between music and poetry in the modern era—from the “fin de siècle” and Verlaine’s call to the symbolist poets to compose “Music above everything,” to the modernists in English and American poetry and the jazz improvisations of the twentieth century. We will study musical and poetic history of the period, grapple with what we mean when we say a poem is musical and what melody means in poetry, and we will study how to define and discuss lyricism in music. Readings may include the work of modern poets (symbolists, imagists, modernists)—Mallarmé, Verlaine, Auden, Brooks, Stein, Hughes, Stevens —and modern composers Debussy, Stravinsky, Copland, Ives, Thomson and the rhythms of blues and jazz. To develop a critical vocabulary, readings may also include texts on the history and theory of both arts (Winn, Kramer, Hollander, Adorno).
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1651  From Memory to Myth: The Mighty Charlemagne  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1652  Science and Culture  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course, which spans from the Scientific Revolution to the present, examines various examples of how the conduct and context of science are framed by culture, and conversely, how science shapes culture. Which models proffered by various historians, philosophers, cultural anthropologists, and sociologists can begin to explain this relationship? The first portion of this course addresses how scientific knowledge was intricately intertwined with religious and political knowledge during the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment. The next section illustrates how important developments in thermodynamics (or the physics of work and waste) led to improvements in nineteenth-century musical instrument design and a change in musical aesthetics. Similarly, we shall discuss how twentieth-century technological and scientific developments in fin-de-siècle Europe and the U.S. directly led to new artistic expressions and aesthetics. The final third of the course looks at how the content of scientific and technological knowledge associated with “Big Science” from World War II to the present owes much to the development of national defense in the case of physics and to venture-corporate capitalism in the case of molecular biology. Rather than simply stay at the level of case studies, we shall continually test the various models, which attempt to explain the complex and historically contingent relationship between science and culture, including Marx’s theory of base-superstructure, Kuhn’s paradigm, Latour’s social constructivism, Shapin and Schaffer’s historical social constructivism, and Galison’s bricolage model and trading zones. Finally, the course will force students to think about related issues, such as the history of objectivity and the differences and similarities between science on the one hand, and the social sciences and humanities on the other. Readings include: Shapin and Schaffer, Galison, Jackson, Latour, Marx, and Kuhn. This interdisciplinary seminar may be used to fulfill the science requirement.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1653  Friendship and Love between Men in Takeshi Kitano's Movies  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Takeshi Kitano, aka Beat Takeshi, is probably the most famous contemporary Japanese actor, filmmaker, and personality. This course will take up the issue of a continuum, or a “thin blue line,” between male homosociality and homosexuality as theorized by Eve Sedgwick in her Between Men, by exploring the role of desire in male friendship, male love and homophobia in the context of three Kitano films: Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, Sonatine, and Taboo. We will be attentive to how male friendships are protected from, or conversely, directly confront homoeroticism, as well as to how women figure as objects between men. We will consider other issues in relation to the specific historical contexts of the three films: (1) colonialism, wartime ethics, and racial politics for Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence; (2) Yakuza characters as film tropes and Okinawan-Japanese ethnic politics for Sonatine; and (3) the politics of male-male relations in samurai culture for Taboo. Readings may include the following: selections from Eve Sedgwick, Between Men and Epistemology of the Closet, Gregory Pflugfelder, Cartographies of Desire, Lydia N. Yu-Jose, Japan Views the Philippines, 1900-1944, and Bhabha, The Location of Culture; Earl Jackson, “Desire at Cross-Cultural Purposes,” positions; Timothy Corrigan, A Short Guide to Writing About Film; and Bob Davis, “Takeshi Kitano,” Senses of Cinema.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1654  Interdisciplinary Dickens  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
2012 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, an artist and public intellectual who can be said to have shaped our times as much as anyone. Like many world historical figures of modernity, he embodies more than one paradox. The adjective “Dickensian” carries opposite meanings: squalid impoverishment and cheerful bounty. Dickens’s work bridges high and low culture, aesthetics and social purpose. We think we know him through his associations with Christmas, familial love, and quaint Victorian sentimentalism, and yet his own political disposition is impossible to label, and the social conscience permeating his fiction co-exists with a dark psychological and philosophical pessimism that inspired writers ranging from Dostoevesky and Freud to the creators of HBO’s The Wire. In this class we will explore a select number of his novels which raise themes of interest in every corner of the university: the nature of childhood, family life, work, labor/management relations, domestic and international politics, urban space and city life, the culture of commerce, education, criminal justice, the politics of representation—and more. He was among a small group of Victorian novelists Marx praised for having “issued to the world more political and social truths than have been uttered by all the professional politicians, publicists and moralists put together.” Dickens, however, went further than his English peers in developing his own ingenious and highly energetic brand of realism that continues to influence, instruct, amuse, and provoke. In this class we may read Oliver Twist, Dombey and Son, David Copperfield, Hard Times, Bleak House, Great Expectations, and/or Our Mutual Friend in conjunction with related work by Dickens’s contemporaries as well as by writers he influenced, including Dostoevsky, Kafka, and Freud.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1655  The Task of the Curator: Translation, Innovation and Intervention in Exhibitionary Practice  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
From their birth in conjunction with the rise of the modern nation state, museums have been under scrutiny by artists, philosophers, public intellectuals, and everyday citizens. Even their precursors, the Early Modern Cabinets of Curiosities, were subtly critiqued by artists commissioned to paint the collections. In the twentieth century, several artists appropriated the role of the curator to denaturalize collection and display practices. The 1980s and early 1990s particularly witnessed an explosion of debates related to curatorial practice. Today, as museums turn towards what is often referred to as the "new museology," curatorial practice remains under scrutiny, and yet too often curators rely on the traditional "white box" to avoid a political stance, or to maintain a self-effacing relationship to their own practices of framing, contextualizing, and disciplining objects. This course explore the roles of curators in relation to how objects are displayed in museums and galleries, considering a variety of disciplinary and professional perspectives. The title, inspired by Walter Benjamin's theories of translation, brings attention to the often overlooked or naturalized labor of curators, which involves subtle but nonetheless transformative acts of framing and poetic interpretation. The course emphasizes a critical approach to display practices where students are exposed to a wide array of interdisciplinary critiques. Assignments may include primary research, museum ethnographies, and the development of a curatorial proposal. Students may be required to attend related events, and field trips. Authors include: Barbara Kirshenblatt Gimblett, Tony Bennett, James Clifford, Griselda Pollock, Carolina Ponce de León, Walter Benjamin, Nicolas Bourriaud, Claire Bishop, Jacques Ranciére, Guillermo Mosquera, Eungie Joo, amongst others.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1656  Environmental Psychology: Place and Behavior  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1657  Darwin and Ethics  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In this course, we will be considering the way Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection affects the way we think about the “ethical.” One form of the question is, “If Darwin’s theory is correct, how is it possible that humans can be moral beings, can be altruistic?” For many people in Darwin’s time and in our own, true morality is only possible if it has an extra-human, divine or transcendental basis. Otherwise, morality is simply arbitrary. Darwin's naturalism raises the issue of whether ethics are objectively “real” in the same way that stars or material things are real. A related issue is nature/nurture: is human behavior determined biologically or culturally? In this class, the discussion of these issues will focus primarily on the nineteenth-century responses to Darwin’s theory, but will also attend to a few arguments of modern scientists relating to questions of ethics. The point of the course is not to provide an unequivocal answer to the questions but to consider why and how the questions arise, and what possible implications they have for our own lives. Readings will include or be drawn from: Paley, Natural Theology; John Stuart Mill, “Nature”; Arthur Balfour, Foundations of Belief, “Ethics and Theism”; Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, “Struggle for Existence,”; the chapter on the origins of morality from Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man; The discussion of religion from Darwin’s Autobiography; W. K. Clifford's "The Ethics of Belief"; William James, “Is Life Worth Living?”; T. H. Huxley, “Prolegomena,” Evolution and Ethics; Bertrand Russell, “A Free Man’s Worship”; Daniel Dennett, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea; Stephen Jay Gould, Ever Since Darwin; Eiseley. The Darwin Century.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1658  Spies Like Us? Cold War Science as the Ultimate National Security Threat  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
On Friday June 19th, 1953 just before the sun set on Sing-Sing prison, Ethyl and Julius Rosenberg were executed by electrocution for their part in an espionage network that transferred classified information associated with top secret U.S. atomic research to the Soviet Union. This case was a landmark at the height of tensions associated with the second Red Scare of the 1940s and 50s, but the almost half-century of Cold War tensions, teetering on the brink of global annihilation, brought out the devastating threats of societal paranoia and political persecution. Throughout the Cold War period science was wielded by both the United States and the Soviet Union with alarming efficacy. As big science began to dominate international and domestic policy, the two superpowers played ‘chicken’ with an atomic arms race and ‘catch me if you can’ with a space race that seemed to fuel animosity and bring us ever closer to the brink of world catastrophe. In this seminar we will use primary and secondary sources to examine the complex role of science during the Cold War, as weapon, threat, and salvation. Readings may include works by J.R. Oppenheimer, Deborah Cadbury, Albert Einstein, John Lewis Gaddis, John Earl Hayes & Harvey Klehr, and Jessica Wang among others.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1659  Exploring Frontiers and Fictions of Science  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
To many people the latest theories in science may seem distant and otherworldly. Math, logical reasoning, and subject specific technical jargon can form intimidating barriers to modern scientific understanding. Why then are big science fiction movies like Star Wars and Avatar so successful at the box office? Is the sci-fi genre simply a social lubricant for the acceptance of science? Do these fictional narratives prophetically predict innovations within the sciences or do they actually serve to inspire these innovations? At its core, the sci-fi genre emerges from the interlacing of scientific rationality and the escapism of story-telling, extrapolating current scientific knowledge into alternate realities. In this seminar we will explore the genre of science fiction and its underlying literary and scientific elements. Readings may include works by: Isaac Asimov,Ursula K. Le Guin, Arthur C. Clarke, Leon Lederman,Orson Scott Card, Alice Sheldon, Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Dawkins, H.G. Wells, Octavia Butler, Robert A. Heinlein, John Gribbin, Philip K. Dick, and Jules Verne.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1660  The Concept of Race in Society and History  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course offers a comparative social and historical analysis of race. Using a wide range of empirical and theoretical materials, we problematize what is too often considered settled: what constitutes race. We challenge the prevailing assumption that race is a biological fact and investigate race as a social construct--one that has changed over time, and varies across societies. A major goal of the course is to understand the mechanisms through which racial domination is (re)produced. We ask questions like: How do systems of racial classification stem from and facilitate patterns of prejudice, discrimination, and segregation? How do those patterns relate to racial violence and even genocide? Why do some societies sanction interracial sex and/or marriage and not others? 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, James Baldwin, Barbara Fields, Pierre Bourdieu, Loic Wacquant, Ann Stoler, Zygmunt Bauman, Dorothy Roberts and Colson Whitehead.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1661  Total War, Terror and Critique  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
There is currently a loud contest over what counts as terrorism, but there is also a quieter and wider crisis in our capacity to name and demarcate violence--the United States' and other's. It is no longer clear what counts as war, what constitutes a combatant, nor what kind of peace we might hope to make. What then can be said to confront, critique or rethink violence? We will begin the seminar by familiarizing ourselves with the origins and logics of the Just War Theory (including Aristotle, Cicero, and Augustine) and we will go on to consider the historical and philosophical contexts of Kant’s call for Perpetual Peace. But the seminar will focus primarily on critical theory’s engagement with the form and logics of modern warfare. Together we will read work from the Frankfurt School in order to begin to reckon the relationship between politics, aesthetics, and violence. Finally, with the help of contemporary theorists (including Asad, Butler, Chow, Mamdani, Mahmood, Redfield) we will turn toward questions of technology, terror, and the changing face of war in the 21st century. Can critique help us in anyway to abate violence or the anguish of its aftermath?
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1662  Critical Culture Theory: Benjamin and Adorno on Culture and Modernity  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In this course, we’ll engage in close reading of some of the work of two of the twentieth century’s most important thinkers: Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) and Theodore Adorno (1903-69). Although Benjamin’s relations to the School for Social Research in Frankfurt and then in exile are complicated, both thinkers are associated with the tradition of critical theory and thus our broader goal in this course is to understand what critical theory is, what traditions it departs from, and what methods it uses. Benjamin was a literary critic, philosopher and social theorist whose work has proven enormously influential across a number of disciplines, including literary study, media and popular culture studies, urban studies and political theory. Benjamin draws from Marxism, psychoanalysis, sociology, literature and religion; his thinking is metadisciplinary in so far as it invites us to think carefully about the way knowledge is constituted in modern societies. Many of the same quest ions surface in Adorno’s work. Departing from the philosophical tradition of German idealism, his sometimes controversial writings on literature, popular culture in the middle of the twentieth century, the category of experience in modernity, and the aftermath of the Holocaust repeatedly call us back to the question of the relation of politics, culture and the ethical. Readings will include some of Benjamin’s major essays and parts of his Arcades Project, some of Adorno’s shorter writings on culture, politics and modernity, and some carefully-chosen secondary works designed to help clarify the stakes of both thinkers’ projects.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1663  The Egyptian Revolution and Its Culture  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The Arab world was long thought to be inhospitable to democracy, both as an idea and a practice. Its culture and societies, dominated by Islam, could only produce authoritarian rule, at best, or Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism. The Egyptian revolutionary upheaval of 2011 shattered this and many other myths perpetuated by ideological and geopolitical interests rather than material reality and rigorous inquiry. It surprised experts and observers alike by toppling a powerful dictator without the use of violence and achieving this feat through a combination of old and new tools of mobilization and organization. Many have highlighted the primary role played by social media (Facebook and Twitter) in this revolution. However, this overlooks human agency and a very complex history of political activism, state-formation, and cultures of resistance that predates social media. This course will start by situating this latest revolutionary-formation within Egypt’s postcolonial history and previous revolutions (1919, 1952) and their sociopolitical impact. We will then focus on the last three decades of Mubarak’s reign and examine the global and local socioeconomic and institutional conditions which formed a fertile terrain for the overthrow of the dictatorship. We will pay particular attention to the cultural forms, genres, and spaces (poems, novels, films, blogs, Facebook pages) through which opposition was expressed and disseminated and political action organized. The course will end by interrogating the effects of this revolution on the region at large as well as what is still needed in order to secure the long-term survival of the revolutionary promise of this period. Readings may include Marx, Arendt, Fanon, Said, Mahfuz, Ibrahim, al-Aswany, Gramsci, Poulantzas, and others.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1664  Omens & Oracles: Reading The Future & Retaining the Past in Early China  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
When ancient Chinese kings seared sacred bones with 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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1665  From Medieval Manuscripts to Graphic Novels  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1666  Dangerous and Intermingled I  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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-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. This two-semester course will examine the historical formation of both sides of this false yet foundational binary. Dangerous 1 focuses on the colonization and romance of Mannahatta from Leni Lenape coastal communities to Kieft's War to Henry James' Washington Square to Ayn Rand's Wall Street. The rise of wealthy white Anglo American Protestants from port trade becomes the basis for an unresolved, striving elite culture constantly moving uptown away from intermingled, non-WAAP others and from it's own repressive self-disciplining. Dangerous 2, taught Spring 2012, will focus on "Subaltern New York." Course materials will include: Sanderson's Mannahatta maps, Burn's documentary"New York" (1999), Smith's Decolonizing Methodologies (2006), and a course reader. Intensive dialogue-driven seminar approach. Students will learn how to conduct a case study using primary sources. Walking shoes and passion for NYC prerequisites! Friday lab required. Dangerous #1 & #2 can be taken separately or together in any sequence.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1667  Dangerous & Intermingled II: Subaltern New York  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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, Burns' 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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1668  Ocular Anxiety: Visuality in the Nineteenth Century  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The nineteenth century was an age of “ocularcentrism.” A culture of looking emerged with the development of new visual technologies and reproduction techniques, the opening of art museums, and the expansion of the art market. This was the heyday of the illustrated book and the beginning of photography. The visual was used not only to make sense of the external world, but also to reveal internal truths and the realm of the invisible. In the mid-nineteenth century, Europeans and Americans alike had great confidence in vision. Yet as the century drew on, there were increasingly moments when this confidence wavered. This course will look at moments of both optimism and skepticism about the ability of the brush, the camera, and the engraver’s tool to capture what the eye could see. This course will cover a range of media, including painting, photography, book illustrations, and even “optical toys.” Focusing on how shifting theories of vision affected art production and reception, we will discuss a wide variety of art movements active in France, Britain, and the U.S. during the second half of the nineteenth century including Realism, Pre-Raphaelitism, Impressionism, Neo-Impressionism, and Symbolism. We will have at least one museum visit.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1669  Legal Fictions: Novel, Law, and Society  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In response to the bafflement expressed by Kafka's hapless Josef K, one of his warders explains that the law is attracted to the guilty. We might adapt this remark to say that the law has been attracted to the novel and vice versa. From Daniel Defoe to the Jacobin fictions of William Godwin and Mary Hayes to Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens and the sensation novelists of the nineteenth century, to more recent narratives from Kafka's Trial to Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians, novels have focused on the ways in which law operates to mediate social relationships, to define public space, to frame questions of justice and injustice. In this course, we'll engage in a study of the novel as form, while interrogating relations between the novel and the law. By supplementing our readings of novels with theoretical and historical texts and legal cases, we'll be able to pose some fundamental questions about this strange mutual attraction between law and the novel. Some of our questions: Do novels offer an alternate vision of justice to that posited by law and even a critique of modern legal apparatus? Or do they instead teach people how to understand themselves as legal subjects? Do novels present themselves as law's supplement in some sense? Or are they always somehow in advance of the law, offering visions of society and the ethical to which law must catch up? Authors studied may include Godwin, Dickens, Eliot, Braddon, Coetzee, and Morrison. We will also consult works by critics and theorists, and perhaps some contemporary popular media narratives.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1670  Black Holes, Human Clones and Nanobots: The Edge of Science Becomes Reality  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Will the newest version of the CERN accelerator in Europe create a mini black hole on earth? What are the implications of our advances in genetic engineering and nanotechnology? 20th Century Science gave us revolutions in many diverse fields, but three of the most important and pervasive innovations were relativity, quantum theory, and the mapping of the human genome. The effects of these advances on human knowledge have begun to ripple through our society but they are far from having realized their full potential. Where do we stand now and where are we headed? These are the fundamental questions we will grapple with in this seminar. The implications of understanding nature, and by extension learning to manipulate her, straddle multiple disciplines. We will be exploring topics in the conceptual understanding of modern science and its relationship to religion, politics, economics, and philosophy. No mathematical background is necessary; a sincere interest in the subject matter is the only pre-requisite for this seminar. Consider this a ‘science for poets’ course. Readings may include works by authors such as Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, James Watson, Justine Burley, Thomas Kuhn, Hilary Putnam, Arthur C. Clarke, Richard Dawkins, and Brian Greene among others.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1671  Debating Science: Great Scientific Controversies in Context  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Is light a wave or a particle? Were the ‘Bone Wars’ of the late 19th Century good for the study of paleontology? Is the atomic world deterministic or not? In the study of animal morphology does function dictate form or is it form that dictates function? What is the scale of our universe? These are some of the greatest debates that have gripped the scientific community over the past 350 years. Many of these debates have been restricted to a healthy dialog within the scientific community but on occasion they have sparked lively and even ad homonym exchanges between scientists. In this seminar we will explore the nature of these debates within their appropriate contexts. To grapple with these debates effectively we will need to examine primary and secondary source materials relating to the particular controversy, including biographical materials on their corresponding protagonists. As such, we will be studying works by scientists like: Isaac Newton, Robert Hooke, Georges Cuvier, Geoffroy St. Hilaire, Niels Bohr, Albert Einstein, Thomas Henry Huxley, Samuel Wilberforce, Harlow Shapely, Heber Curtis, Othniel Marsh, and Edward Cope. Readings will include works by these protagonists as well as supporting secondary source material.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1672  Postmodern Religious Thought  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
At least since Nietzsche, we have been hearing reports of the death of God. How, then, is religious belief still possible? Under the conditions of postmodernity, religious questions and themes about God, the good life, suffering and evil, and what being “human” means have been reclaimed and given new expression. This is the subject of this course. Most authors who might be situated as religiously postmodern write out of the Jewish and Christian traditions, for the postmodern situation arose out of those traditions. But wouldn’t a consistent postmodern ethic be one that seriously engages “religious” perspectives outside the scope of these Abrahamic traditions? Affirming this, we’ll also read Buddhist thinkers who employed philosophical therapies that exposed the error of assigning permanence where it does not reside, as in one’s self. The problem of suffering associated with reified thinking—turning processes into “things”—will serve as one guiding theme throughout our class. Other topics include: God without being; ethics without metaphysical foundations; the secular as sacred; mysticism of “unsaying;” deconstruction and shunyata (emptiness) as shared ways of reading texts and seeing the self and world as both impermanent and interdependent. To help identify some roles that power and transformation play in postmodern religious thought, this class will collaborate and share some readings with Bradley Lewis’s Foucault: Biopolitics and the Care of the Self. Course readings include: John Caputo, Derrida, Epictetus, Pierre Hadot, Thich Nhat Hahn, Heidegger, Irigaray, Kierkegaard, Levinas, David Loy, Jean-Luc Marion, Nagarjuna, Nietzsche, Nishitani, Shunyru Suzuki, and Gianni Vattimo.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1674  The Politics of Food  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In this class we explore food as an explicitly political space, one that demarcates racial and cultural boundaries and shapes identities. We address these core concerns, in part, by engaging works of literature that examine the relationship between food and the expression of culture, history and trauma. Course texts may include novels like Nervous Conditions, Breath Eyes Memory, Beloved, and Black Boy. Nowhere is food more politically and culturally charged than in NYC, so the city is also our classroom. We negotiate the porous yet enduring boundaries of race and culture as often as we eat, walk or shop in Little Italy or Little India, Koreatown or Chinatown, Le Petite Senegal or Harlem. None of these places or cuisines is in any way associated with contemporary American food culture, which has historically harkened to preserving what is "authentically" American. These differences can be understood as forms of exclusion as well as cultural preservation—but either way they are lines of demarcation that make legible forms of power. We use a variety of texts to investigate dynamics of power represented in and by food. Who is food for? How does the representation of food reify and negotiate the boundaries of race and culture?
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1675  Popular Dance and American Cultural Identity  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The course will examine forms of what are known as “social” or popular dance as expressions of cultural or group identity from approximately the 18th century to the present. These dances, from the secular tradition of American social dance, include those performed in ballrooms, cabarets, nightclubs, cabarets, discotheques, and the street. The seminar will explore various social and popular dance styles developed as a result of the rich fusions of West African, African American, Euro-American, and Latin American forms of dance within the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. Topics may include the colonial era and the dances of George Washington; ragtime couple dance and the New Woman; the lindy-hop and the of crossing racial boundaries; and teen dances and youth rebellion of the 1950s. In all cases, we will explore social and popular dance forms as experiences of movement that both respond and give shape to social, cultural, and political issues of the day. In addition to extensive viewing of dance, readings will include Mauss, “Techniques of the Body”; Katz, “The Egalitarian Waltz”; Hunter, “The Blues Aesthetic and Black Vernacular Dance”; Sante, Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York; Tomko, Dancing Class: Gender, Ethnicity, and Social Divides in American Dance; Peiss, Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in Turn of the Century New York; Malone, Steppin’ on the Blues: The Visible Rhythms of African American Dance; Dinerstein, Swinging the Machine: Modernity, Technology, and African American Culture Between the World Wars; and Rose, Black Noise
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1678  Masters of Japanese Cinema  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
We will view three films from the celebrated masters of Japanese filmmaking Ozu, Kurosawa and Mizoguchi, each of whom are famous for their technical innovations in cinematic space, time, and depth of field. The course focus will be on formal film syntax and how these filmmakers arrived at a set of filmic codes independent or in advance of what became the standard Hollywood ones. We will also consider how the films comment on the huge cultural shifts, particularly of values, in Japan’s twentieth century. Specifically, we will look at the ways in which the films handle gender relations, women’s roles, notions of truth, family, and “traditional values.” Readings will include selections from: James Monaco, How to Read a Film, David Bordwell, Ozu and The Poetics of Cinema, Stephen Prince, The Warrior’s Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa, Mark Le Fanu, Mizoguchi and Japan. The films will likely be: “Tokyo Story,” “Rashomon,” and “Sisters of the Gion.”
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1679  Japanese Cinema, 1960s  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The 1960s has been called the golden age of Japanese cinema by many. We will view three critically acclaimed films from the period: Shinoda Masahiro, “Double Suicide”, Kurosawa Akira, “Yojimbo,” and Teshigahara Hiroshi, “Woman in the Dunes.” The course will focus equally on formal film syntax and the “message” of the films. We will be attentive to the cultural and historical context in which the films were first released to explore what these films are saying about postwar Japanese art, culture and society and how they are saying it. Readings may include: James Monaco, How to Read a Film, Chikamatsu, “Love Suicides at Amijima,” Brett de Bary, “Not Another Double Suicide,” Louis Althusser, "Ideology and the State," Selections from Andrew Gordon, ed., Postwar Japan as History, Stephen Prince, The Warrior’s Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa, and Nina Cornyetz, The Ethics of Aesthetics in Japanese Cinema and Literature.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1680  The Global Citizen?  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The term global citizen has been used to think about the expansion of citizenship rights, responsibilities and activism onto a global scale. This course will introduce students to the contemporary theory, history and anthropology of this concept of global citizenship while situating its development in the contexts of unequal capitalist development, international institutions, and the increasing interconnectedness of world populations. The course will address such topics as: nation-state sovereignty and its challenge to global citizenship; the tensions between global citizenship, international law and the moralities embedded in particular legal systems and cultures; the political economy of transnational activism. The guiding question of the class will be: can global citizenship exist in the contemporary world and, if not, can we imagine the conditions under which it might someday emerge? Class texts will include works by: Walter Mignolo, Gloria Anzaldua, Paul Gilroy, Immanuel Kant and William Robinson.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1681  Wandering Knights, Errant Detectives  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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 in 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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1682  Thinking Sex/Gender Globally  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This interdisciplinary seminar explores how gender and sexuality simultaneously produce and is produced by global, transnational and international visions. For example, the project of identifying affinities between women across cultures and national boundaries has long grounded the work of feminist movements, scholars, journalists, institutions and activists in a variety of locations, both within and outside the Euro-American context. More recently, struggles for the rights of sexual minorities have become increasingly transnational. We explore such efforts to forge enabling alliances and solidarities. We also critically examine how such efforts navigate cultural and national differences, hierarchies within a global world order and complex histories of imperialism, paying attention to the different locations through which such projects intersect with the global. The course highlights the rise of a new post-war international order centered in the UN system, exploring the links between colonial legacies and new global trajectories. How and why are women and girls, gender and sexuality so central to this system? By examining development initiatives that target women and girls, anti-violence and anti-trafficking campaigns, and the rights of sexual minorities, we explore how gender and sexuality become grounds for debating global, transnational and international visions and frameworks that, in turn, shape feminist and queer politics in different locales. Readings include Antoinette Burton, Burdens of History: British Feminists, Indian Women and Imperial Culture, Kumari Jayawardena's Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World, Specters of Mother India: The Global Restructuring of an Empire by Mrinalini Sinha, Afsaneh Najmabadi's Women with Mustaches and Men Without Beards, Are Women Human? by Catherine MacKinnon, Transnational LGBT Activism: Working for Sexual Rights Worldwide by Ryan Thoreson and Queer Activism in India: A Story in the Anthropology of Ethics by Naisargi Dave.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1683  Manuals in Early China: Ancient Instructions for Life in a Complex World  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
By the late Warring States period, life in the Chinese cultural sphere had become sufficiently complex, and literacy sufficiently widespread, that manuals or “how-to” books were compiled to transmit specialized knowledge on a wide variety of subjects, including (but not limited to) agriculture, medicine, gastronomy, magic, and of course, the arts of love and war. Relevant to both public and private life in early China, these texts are at times strikingly familiar and at other times disconcertingly strange for modern readers, and they offer an alternative window on the past to that provided by the traditional philosophers and historiographers. We will read them primarily for their intrinsic interest as detailed approaches to aspects of universal human experience from a distant time and place, but note will also be made of implications for understanding the foundations of the Chinese tradition, which has too often been viewed exclusively through the lens of elite philosophical texts. Readings may include: Early Chinese Medical Literature: The Mawangdui Medical Manuscripts by Donald Harper; Sexual Life in Ancient China by R.H. van Gulik; The Art of War by Sun Zi; and selections of recipes, rituals, and get-rich-quick schemes.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1684  Indigenous Culture and Cultural Authenticity  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Even as indigenous groups have found themselves subjugated by centuries of colonialism, they are increasingly finding that they must prove their “indigeneity” to legal, national, or colonial authorities so as to gain territorial, cultural and political rights. Here, national and colonial authorities are concerned to distinguish inauthentic from authentic cultural practice and tradition. But what does it mean for a culture to be “authentic”? What are the criteria by which cultures are evaluated as genuine or spurious, and who judges? This course interrogates the relationship between discourses of cultural authenticity and performances of indigenous identity as a lens through which to understand the particularly post-colonial (and post-modern) predicaments of indigenous peoples today. The course will look at how the concept of indigeneity as a globalized identity-category has emerged historically out of conditions of settler colonialism. We examine common strains in colonial, anthropological, missionary and tourist encounters with local linguistic and cultural communities in order to better understand how indigenous peoples have been represented and constructed as social “Others”, and how indigenous “culture”—as a set of objectified practices—has been discovered, documented, and often prohibited through these encounters. An aim of this course is to understand the double-bind that indigenous groups face: they must publically display signs of “traditional” indigenous culture in order to gain recognition, but in performing “indigeneity” they are then accused of being fakes. Readings will include: James Clifford, The Predicament of Culture; Jean & John Comaroff, Ethnicity, Inc.; Kirk Dombrowski, Against Culture: Development, Politics, and Religion in Indian Alaska; Circe Sturm, Blood Politics: Race, Culture, and Identity in the Cherokee Nation; and Elizabeth Povinelli, The Cunning of Recognition: Indigenous Alterities and the Making of Australian Multiculturalism.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1685  Reading, Performing & Creating James Joyce's Finnegans Wake  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Finnegans Wake is often described as the most difficult work of literature ever written, and it is still debated whether the novel is a masterpiece or an elaborate hoax. This class will be part interdisciplinary seminar and part arts workshop. Half of the class will be devoted to the work itself. We will read short sections of the Wake in concert with various commentaries, histories, and annotations, exploring possible “meanings” the text suggests. The other half of the class will engage with artistic pieces that have been inspired by or that incorporate elements of Finnegans Wake, including visual art, film, music, sound art, theater, and dance. Students will study these pieces (for example John Cage’s sound piece Roaratoriao and Ulick O’Conner’s one act play Joyicity) as well as create and present their own creative works. Class requirements will include an analytical paper and a creative work. The course will also feature invited guest speakers and artists.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1686  Self-Fashioning in Literature and Drama  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In 1980, literary critic Stephen Greenblatt coined the term “self-fashioning” to describe the 16th century phenomenon by which men in England developed an increasing self-consciousness about their ability to shape or “fashion” their identities. Anyone familiar with Shakespeare’s often quoted lines, “All the world’s a stage/ and all the men and women merely players,” has already received an introduction to this idea that identity is “fashion-able” or “performative.” Taking Greenblatt’s concept as a point of departure, this course will explore identity and the concept of “self-fashioning” as it relates to performance. How does one fashion an identity, and how does knowledge of the theater inform our understanding of how identities are fashioned? What degree of autonomy does an individual have in fashioning his or her identity? How are our social, sexual, and racial identities mediated and shaped by our speech, our appearance, our institutions, and finally, our audiences? This course will engage with both primary and secondary sources. Students will examine early modern literature and drama alongside theories of performance from multiple disciplines. Authors will include Marlowe, Shakespeare, Jonson, Castiglione, Pico della Mirandola, Erving Goffman, J.L Austin, and Judith Butler.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1687  Cross-Cultural Encounters on the Renaissance Stage  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The Renaissance witnessed both an explosion in theatrical innovation and an increasingly global world--the beginnings of global trade, the “discovery” of the New World, and bouts of both conflict and cooperation among the world’s powers. By reading plays that stage encounters between Europeans from different countries and of different religions, between Europeans and the Ottoman Empire, among natives of “India,” and among Europeans, Native Americans, and African slaves, we will explore how and why the stage became such a significant site for the representation of cross-cultural encounters. Some questions we will explore include: how do these plays represent conflict—between self and other and over goods and territory—and what possibilities for reconciliation do they imagine? How does the theatre participate in the production of a global consciousness? How do these plays understand the differences encountered as a result of travel, trade, and exploration? Why did the theatre develop a fascination with the exotic (for example, with cannibals and pirates)? In what ways did what it means to be European, Christian, or even a good wife or husband get defined and altered by these encounters? In keeping with the theme of encounters, this course will stage a number of creative encounters from the period: between works from different European nations; between plays and the prose works with which they were in dialogue; and between written and visual materials, for example, engravings of the New World and its inhabitants. We will also read some newly translated accounts of how Arabs viewed Europe. Likely authors include, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Cervantes, Montaigne, Behn, Fletcher, DeBry, and Massinger.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1689  Night and the City: Film Noir and the Noir Imagination  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course will examine Film Noir as a genre coming out of the moral unrest after World War II. Film noir expresses a despairing vision of the world borne of the brutality and absurdity that war forced humanity to face. The atmosphere of loss and isolation in this genre has elicited a variety of readings, some emphasizing class and racial anxieties, and others the impact of suburbanization and changing gender roles. But this course also explores the relatinship between film noir, and existentialist themes in literature and philosophy. Existentialism approaches enduring questions that philosophy, religion and literature have always sought to answer: Does fate, free will or chance dictate our lives? What is the proper response to atrocity and how do we assign blame or establish a moral order in the face of it? We will analyze the fallen world portrayed in noir by tracing these questions in the philosophy and literature that precede and accompany the moment of classic noir in the forties and fifties. We will read Sartre, Camus, Primo Levi, Eli Wiesel, Raymond Chandler, The Book of Job, genre theory, as well as specific film studies texts. Films will include Fritz Lang’s Scarlet Street, Howard Hawk’s The Big sleep, Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity, Roman Polanski’s Chinatown, and Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1690  Cracks in the Mirror: The Margins of Japanese National Identity  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Across time and place, global migration and the flow of information have presented profound questions with respect to national identity. What does it mean to be American? Who can be German? What is a Canadian citizen? How have large immigrant populations in countries like France generated debates on the character of national identity and the demands and nature of citizenship? Can many different cultures (rather than one national culture) coexist peacefully and equitably in a single country under a policy of multiculturalism? We often think of these questions in the context of the United States and Europe. But how do they look if we examine Japan, today a country with falling birthrates and almost zero net immigration? The idea of Tan’itsu minzouku (“a unified race” or a “single people”) is a prevalent one where “the Japanese” are said to share common customs, lifestyles, and beliefs. This course aims to deconstruct the myth of Japanese homogeneity with a focus upon marginalized populations at the fringes of Japanese society. Ultimately it asks the questions: who are “the Japanese” and what place does “Japan” occupy in the contemporary world? Will demographic changes generate more open policies with respect to immigration and citizenship? Weekly topics cover nationalism and the politics of identity, Nihonjinron and the myth of Japanese uniqueness, oldcomers in Japan (Koreans), newcomers to Japan (Filipinos, Chinese, Vietnamese minorities), indigenous populations like Ainu and Okinawans, burakumin, sexual minorities, and popmultiethnicity. Sources include fictional works by Japanese minority writers, historical scholarship, documentaries like Shinjuku Boys, which addresses gender, sexuality, and love in Japanese society, and films such as GO about Zainichi Koreans (resident Koreans).
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1692  The Transformation of Music in a Century of Electronica  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course will examine the effect of electronics on the inventions and the artistic and social activities that shaped musical thought throughout the twentieth century and into today. From the initial “magic” of capturing sound through recording - until the invention and development of electrical and electronic musical instruments, these changes in art and music during the century of electronica were unique and often mind-blowing. The interaction of impressionism, “modernism”, abstract art and dadaism on musical compositions during their times will be explored as will the profound effect of both analog and digital devices on creativity and performance. The primary text will be Electronic and Experimental Music by Thom Holmes, and recommended readings will include Analog Days, by Pinch and Trocco; Theremin, by Albert Glinsky; and Electroacoustic Music, by Herbert Deutsch.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1693  Travel Narratives  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course examines several nineteenth- and twentieth-century travel narratives in an exploration of the experience of travel and the many questions it raises about social identity and cultural difference, the traveler's search for adventure and “authenticity,” the relationship between tourism and colonialism, and the pervasive use of travel metaphors in the discourse of postmodernism. Readings will include a variety of nonfiction travel books, such as Flaubert in Egypt, Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London, Chatwin's Songlines, Theroux's The Old Patagonian Express, Phillips’ The European Tribe, and Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place, as well as scholarly articles about the genre of travel narrative and the sociology of travel.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1695  Competing Images of the Sage: Confucius and Lao Tzu  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Among the early Chinese philosophers whose ideas have framed moral, social and political discourse in East Asia, the figures of Confucius and Lao Tzu stand out, not only as thinkers of towering influence, but also as diametrically opposed archetypes of wisdom. In this seminar, we begin by reading the works attributed to each man, and then we proceed to examine the ways in which their legacies have been and continue to be appropriated by others. Toward this end we explore competing manifestations of Confucius and Lao Tzu in Chinese religion, in popular culture, and in the marketplace of ideas. Themes include the opposing impulses of idolization and iconoclasm, censorship and propaganda, and the sacralization and commercialization of traditional values. Apart from Confucius" Analects and Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching , assignments may include Lao-tzu and the Tao-te-ching edited by Livia Kohn and Michael LaFargue, selections from Early Daoist Scriptures by Stephen R. Bokenkamp, Confucius from the Heart: Ancient Wisdom for Today's World by Yu Dan, and the controversial 2010 Hong Kong film "Confucius" starring Yun-fat Chow.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1697  Murder and More: 3 films by Imamura Shohei  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Imamura Shohei (1926-2006) was one of Japan’s most highly acclaimed film directors, twice awarded the Cannes’ Golden Palm award. This course will explore three of his films, The Insect Woman, Pigs and Battleships, and Vengeance is Mine, each of which takes a hard look at the seedy side of modern Japanese society, depicting, respectively, a prostitute, gangsters, and a serial murderer. We will support our film viewings with analytic treatments of the films, alongside readings on Japanese history and tradition. Possible texts include: Gluck, Postwar Japan as History; Richie, A Hundred Years of Japanese Film; Washburn and Cavanaugh, Word and Image in Japanese Cinema.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1698  The Social Contract: Early Modern European Political Theory  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
What holds a society together? This course will explore one influential answer to this foundational question within philosophy and social theory, namely social contract theory as it developed within early modern European political philosophy. Modern assumptions about the relationship between individual and society, private property and ownership, rationality, economics and the market, and rights and responsibilities of citizenship have all been shaped by social contract theory. But, even though this theory has enjoyed great influence, it has been severely criticized as unrealistic and biased towards individualism and property holders. We will read the foundational social contract works in this course and try to understand their assumptions, strengths, and weaknesses. The works to be read will include: Hobbes' De Cive, Locke's Two Treatises of Government, and Rousseau's The Social Contract.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1699  Feeling, in Theory  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Over the past several decades, scholars from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives—literature, women’s studies, political science, and aesthetics, to name a few—have returned to the question of “affect,” also referred to as “feeling” or “emotion,” as well as “passion,” “pathos,” “mood,” or even “love.” This course aims to familiarize students with the field of “affect theory” by surveying some of the most important texts that ground it (e.g. Aristotle, Raymond Williams, Freud, and Silvan Tomkins) as well as several that have emerged more recently (Deleuze and Guattari, Massumi, Ahmed, Ngai, among others). Much of our work together will be to read closely some very difficult theoretical texts, each of which attempts to describe what affect is, and why it matters to and for a wide range of experiences: political, aesthetic, musical, and psychic, among them. Additionally, over the course of the semester we will focus on some specific affective states and the texts that have grappled with their deep structure—from “cruel optimism," to happiness, anxiety, boredom, and depression. Lastly, we will undertake some experimental work by collaborating to produce what we might call "affective events" that may serve to instruct, persuade, or otherwise make an impact through affective means. While this course has no prerequisites, it is particularly appropriate for students who feel they are up for the challenge of reading some rather difficult theoretical material.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1700  Becoming "Global," Forging "Modernity"  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Over and over, we are told that the world we live in is becoming increasingly global. All its parts are connected to one another, and goods, people, culture, and information can move from one place to another, seemingly without barriers. Yet how new is this phenomenon? Scholars have pointed to the middle of the sixteenth century as the moment when the economy became global, and the age of exploration and colonization began to connect many parts of the world to each other in a complex network that included cooperation, piracy, and slavery. This course will explore the emergence of a global consciousness in the early modern period. Our primary questions include: to what extent did people in this century begin to imagine and experience the world globally (that is, as an entity whose regions were interdependent rather than separate)? Does the change in understanding of the world vary by region, by class, ethnicity, gender, or religion? How did globalization influence cultural developments? What influence did global encounters have on European identities—for example on ideas about, and experiences of, gender, sexuality, class religion, and citizenship? Was the global economy seen as cooperative or competitive? To answer these questions, we will consider how the attempts to create, and the struggle to understand, this global world produced new narratives and forms of interdisciplinary thinking. In order to see how the issues surrounding globalization as we understand them today have a long and complex history, we will also study works that put the past in present in conversation with each other. We will investigate a wide variety of primary works, such as travel narratives, plays, poems, early forms of ethnography, films, engravings, and globes, as well as secondary works by literary scholars, anthropologists, and historians of labor, the economy, and science. While the focus is on the “European” and emerging “American” perspective, we will also read several works that challenge the Eurocentric view of globalization that was emerging and still dominates much of contemporary discourse of globalization.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1701  The End of the World  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The idea of the world coming to an end is a characteristic and fundamental part of the western tradition. The course will examine the emergence of the idea of end-time thinking, often called apocalypticism, and consider its persistence and influence through religious, psychological, sociological, and literary lenses. We will examine Jewish and early Christian apocalypticism, its revival in the middle ages and nineteenth century America, the rereading of Biblical narratives as atomic destruction during the Cold War, and the development of science-based apocalypses. The course will close with deep investigation of the Mayan calendar and the modern eschatological movements inspired by it. Readings may include: Book of Daniel; Book of Revelation; Wessinger, Millenialism, Persecution, and Violence; Kyle, The Last Days are Here Again; Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes; Mary Shelley, The Last Man; Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood's End; Paul Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More; Mayan calendrical documents relating to 2012; Cormac McCarthy, The Road; John Hall, Apocalypse; Film: On the Beach; Carl Sagan, The Cold and the Dark; Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1702  Spectacle and Mass Media  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
It is not surprising that concepts of spectacle have been of great importance for studies of visual media. From the earliest modernist theories that linked spectacle to medium specificity, historians, theoreticians and critics have attempted to understand the centrality of spectacle to mass media. This class looks at some of the pivotal ways in which spectacle has been understood, exploring the differences between modern and post-modern critics and the distinctions and overlaps between historical and theoretical investigations. Starting with Tom Gunning’s idea of attractions, a concept that revolutionized understanding of early cinema and its seemingly cavalier approach to narrative, we will explore how the concept of spectacle links history/theory and representation/reception. We will look at modernist debates around the image and consider their consequences for theories of perception, exploring the impact of consumerism in reshaping the image. We will also consider the relationship of spectacle and narrative, looking at how theorists like Laura Mulvey tied this regimen into the presentation of sexual difference. Mulvey is one of many critics to link spectacle to femininity, a topic we will explore as we consider the relationship of spectacle to sexuality. Finally, we will consider the postmodern consumerist spectacle and the creation of a “virtual gaze,” explored by Anne Friedberg. Readings will include Tom Gunning, “An Aesthetic of Astonishment: Early Film and the (In)Credulous Spectator,” Anne Friedburg, Window Shopping: Cinema and the Postmodern, Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” Jonathan Crary, Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle and Modern Culture.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1703  The Green Dream  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The modern notion of "greenness" equates the natural environment with goodness. What do we make of this equation? This seminar will take an interdisciplinary approach to analyzing the way that people have conceptualized their relationship with nature and the natural, and how these views impact our behavior. We will employ psychological theory and empirical research to explore how people form their values with regard to the environment. Possible texts include Hippocrates, Yi-Fu Tuan, E.O. Wilson, William Cronon, Ernest Callenbach, Rachel Carson, Alan Weisman, Michael Pollan and Ruth Ozeki.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1704  The Weary Blues: Rites of Passage and Writing about Passages  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course will consider the intimate relationship between writing, identity and movement. We will survey texts in the English literary tradition that use the language of motion – travel, migration and wandering– to articulate the problems of identity formation, ranging from mythmaking on a large scale in Anglo-Saxon poetry to the self-fashioning of individuals, such as the poetic aspirations of Langston Hughes. The texts we will consider will include rewritings of the Exodus, the European arrival in the New World and the Middle Passage as well as literary texts that enable literal movement. The swirl of ideas and genres we will question center on the idea of passages, or the possibility of transformation through travel and writing. The course will help students think about the political and effective implications of the written word to bridge cultural gaps, mobilize peoples and excavate one’s sense of heritage. The reading for this course will be cross-temporal and focus on medieval and African-American texts. Medieval texts will include the Old English Exodus, Egil’s Saga, Chaucer’s “Man of Law’s Tale” and “The Clerk’s Tale,” Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain. Later texts will include: Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Dave Eggers’ What Is the What, Langston Hughes’ poetry, Saidiya Hartman’s Lose Your Mother, Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father, Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts’ Harlem is Nowhere.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1705  Antigone(s): Ancient Greece/Performance Now  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
A production of Antigone is taking place somewhere in the world every day—right now, as you are reading this. What was Antigone? What is Antigone? What might Antigone yet be? Our course—a collaboration between a stage director and a classicist—begins with an immersion in Sophocles' prize-winning play (441 BCE), with close attention to the history, politics, aesthetics, performance conditions, and production features of ancient Athenian drama more generally. The second half of our course turns to contemporary renditions of Antigone and will consider the dramatic and cultural configurations each new production activates. Antigone's exploration of the complexities of gender, kinship, citizenship, law, resistance to authority, family vs. the state, and religion (among other issues) has been compelling for modern thought, and especially galvanizing to theaters of resistance and dissent. Our classes will combine critical inquiry into the plays and surrounding discourse as well as experiments in interpretation—including acting workshops and staging exercises. Students need no background in acting, theater, or ancient literature, but do need critical energy and discipline. Among the modern plays we might address, in the second half of the semester, are reimaginings of Antigone by Brecht, Fugard, Miyagawa, Gambaro, Pongstaphone, and Piatote. To help us place antiquity and modernity in a productive conversation, we will also read secondary literature from several fields (classics, political theory, anthropology, theory of sexuality/gender).
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1706  The Origins of Language and its Place in Western Thought  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
How did language emerge? Language is arguably the most important of social institutions and yet its origins and what it reveals about human nature have posed a persistent and unresolved riddle to philosophers and evolutionary biologists alike. This course looks at the long history of thought about the origins of language in the Western tradition, from enlightenment thinkers like Rousseau and Condillac through modern linguists like Chomsky and Pinker, as a way to explore how ideas of the human and of society are theorized. As we will see, each theory of language origins invariably involves a theory of human nature, of the relationship between emotions and rationality, and of the individual to society. How do various theories of language presuppose theories of society and human nature? How do thinkers about language origins account for linguistic diversity and what implications does it have for their understandings of human nature and difference? The course will engage with a lineage of texts from philosophy, anthropology, linguistics, and evolutionary biology in order to explore these questions. Texts include Condillac, Essay on the Origin of Human Knowledge; de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics; Herder, Treatise on the Origin of Language; and Pinker, The Language Instinct.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1708  Visions of the Good Life in Ancient Greece  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
How should one live? What is the best life? The thinkers of Ancient Greece contemplated these questions in different ways, and their responses have powerfully influenced subsequent political and social philosophies. In this course, we will examine four ways in which the Greeks thought about and articulated the idea of the good life—the heroic, which understands the good life as striving for distinction and lasting fame through great deeds; the tragic, which sees the pursuit of happiness as fraught with conflict, ambiguity, and finitude; the philosophical, which prizes contemplation and the quest for truth; and the political, which emphasizes the contribution of collective life to individual happiness. Texts will include Homer’s Iliad, selected plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, Plato’s Republic, and Aristotle’s Politics. We will explore the visions of the good life these texts present, their possible points of overlap, the internal tensions that complicate them, and their continuing relevance and impact on modern ethical and political ideals.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1709  Sites of Surrealism  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
A flea market where one always finds what one has lost; a vanishing passage through a capital city where capitalism dreams of its own demise; a landscape riven by colonial violence whose scars speak the language of resistance. The Surrealists did not want to escape from the world but to return to it -- to reclaim reality for those whom reality drove into exile. The sites of Surrealism are as contradictory and ambivalent as the artworks that represent them: at once external and internal, strange and familiar, contemporary and archaic. In these sites, psychic and social life endlessly mirror each other, and private interiors are open to the elements of history. In this class, we will examine these contested sites in texts by André Breton, Louis Aragon, Claude Cahun, Aimé Césaire, and Julien Gracq. We will draw on the theories of Freud and Marx, both of whom influenced Surrealist thought, and on the work of Walter Benjamin, who found in Surrealism a method of reading the relics of a recent past. Sites are also places seen -- sights -- and Surrealist thought is always a way of seeing. Guided by the work of Rosalind Krauss, Hal Foster, Mary Ann Caws, James Clifford, and Michael Taussig, we will examine Surrealist vision in painting, sculpture, and especially film and photography.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1710  Sex and the State  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Why are gay marriage and family planning at the heart of the cultural divide that polarizes contemporary American politics? What is at stake in debates about family values and the right to choose, and what subject positions do these debates produce and refuse? This course will take a comparative look at the ways citizens inhabit categories of sex, gender, and sexuality, with attention to the fact that some identities are made more legible than others. We will call into question the separation of the so-called public and private spheres, asking what is gained and what is lost by imagining a ‘private’ sphere as somehow outside of politics and the market. If we understand registered marriage as one mode of addressing the state, how does it both generate and violate fantasies of privacy? What is the relationship between private property and the sanctity of the home? What bodily practices are at stake in asserting a relationship between sex, dignity and humanity? Readings may include works by Janet Halley, Hendrik Hartog, Saba Mahmood, Timothy Mitchell, Mimi Thi Nguyen and James Scott.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1711  Politics, Writing and the Nobel Prize in Latin America  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Over the last one hundred years, seven Latin American authors have won the Nobel Prize: Gabriela Mistral (1945); Miguel Angel Asturias (1967); Pablo Neruda (1971); Gabriel García Márquez (1982); Octavio Paz (1990); Rigoberto Menchú (Peace Prize, 1992); Mario Vargas Llosa (2010). Together, they give us a chance to consider some of the major literary and political movements in Latin America leading up to the present. Through novels and autobiography, Asturias and Menchú explore very different aspects of the indigenous struggle in Guatemala; the poetry of Mistral and Neruda reveals the successive influences of surrealism, communism, and feminism, up to the eve of the Pinochet coup in Chile; the novels of García Márquez in Colombia and Vargas Llosa in Peru embody tensions between realism and magical realism; and Paz, in Mexico, in his poetry and essays, represents a country that has been a literary cornerstone of Latin America. We will look at these authors in the context of the history, politics, and cultures of their respective countries, and conclude by considering a few authors who did not get the prize but were equally influential,such as Jorge Luis Borges and Roberto Bolaño.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1712  Empire, Race and Politics  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The goal of this course is not to define kinds of empire or to narrate its historical transformation, though we will consider these issues. Our goal, rather, is to consider how "empire" has been represented, defended, and opposed in American politics. We will focus especially on anti-imperial voices, to consider how they depict what "empire" is and why it is dangerous or wrong, as well as how they justify their opposition and imagine alternatives. We will move through the history of such voices, from critics of the 1787 Constitution to Henry Thoreau and other abolitionist critics of the Mexican War and then of the Spanish-America War, and from critics of World War Two to critics of Vietnam. We will analyze how arguments about and against empire are related to arguments about capitalism, race, masculinity, modernity, and democracy. We will explore the recurring patterns of metaphor, narrative, and argument in this chorus of voices, and analyze the problems, dangers, and variants in their language. (For instance, do critics remain too much within a nationalist frame by telling nostalgic stories of loss and decline? Are they unintentionally imperialist in the kinds of racial priveleges they assume? Do their alternatives to empire enact a wish to escape from valuable aspects of modernity or of democracy?) The course readings end with the Vietnam War, but final projects will consider how contemporary critics of empire do or should relate to these inherited idioms. Readings include J.M Coetze's Waiting for the Barbarians; Norman Mailer's Armies of the Night and Why are We in Vietnam?; poetry by Allan Ginsberg, speeches by SDS leaders and Eugene McCarthy, treatises by C. Wright Mills, David Harvey, and Talal Asad; essays by Audre Lorde and Gloria Anzaldua.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1713  From Blackface to Black Power: Twentieth-century African American History and Culture  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This interdisciplinary seminar looks at the formation and representation of African American identity within the context of the quest for the full rights of United States citizenship during the twentieth century. Throughout this complex period of United States history, African Americans made considerable gains in their pursuit of equal rights. Simultaneously, black identity underwent dramatic changes as the majority of African Americans transformed themselves from enslaved persons to New Negroes to Proud and Beautiful Black Americans. Largely barred from traditional politics and mainstream forms of communication, black men and women developed and relied upon alternative ways of speaking to one another about politics, economics, racism, white America, and society and culture. As cultural mediators, black artists illustrated and provoked transformations of black identity and black political consciousness. Not simply a “wing” of political activism, cultural production is inextricably intertwined with political agitation and social change. Focusing upon the intersection between the cultural and political realms, we will explore the roots and routes of the African cultural Diaspora as the foundation of urban, northern, politically conscious cultural production.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1714  What is Critique?  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The philosopher and theorist Michel Foucault argued that critique is a powerful form of insubordination and a crucial “instrument for those who fight, resist, and who no longer want what is.” But how might critical philosophy, which trades in ideas, help us combat material and pervasive forms of injustice? What is theory’s relationship to praxis and to politics, and what kind of theory or practice is critique? The seminar begins with a consideration of the uneasy place of critique in the western philosophical tradition. We will read Kant, Marx, Foucault,Asad, Mahmood and Moten among others, in order to establish a sense of how critique emerges as a mode of radical questioning, an art of unsettling self-evident answers and interfering with established relations of power. We will consider what the practice of critique entails, and what it means to suggest, as these authors do, that critique interrogates the historically specific relationships between power, truth and the subject. Together we will ask after the conditionsof what can and cannot be thought or said, and how these conditionstend to shape our formation as political subjects. We will close the seminar with a reading of Achille Mbembe’s recently translated Critique of Black Reason.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1715  Narrating Gender in the Arab World  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course examines the work of contemporary female novelists and artists of the Middle East and North Africa. Our objective is to critically investigate how the categories of ‘gender’ and ‘sexuality’ are narrated in the Arab context. We will ask the following questions: what, if anything, is particular to the representation of women in the Arab world? How are these texts symptomatic of and/or resistant to dominant narratives of gendered identity emerging from both the Arab world and West? What are the relationships between gender ideologies and the projects of colonialism, nationalism and globalization? How do gender and sexuality intersect with questions of race, class and religion? What archetypes, tropes and symbols do these works employ, complicate or challenge? How have these images shifted historically and what non-normative visions of gender and sexuality have emerged? Readings include fiction by Sahar Khalifa, Hanan al-Shaykh, Huda Barakat, Ahlam Mosteghanemi, Somaya Ramadan, Mansoura Ez-Eldin and Radwa Ashour. Readings will be paired with film, art and video installations, as well as theoretical selections on: feminism in the Arab world, women and Islam, Orientalism and Queer Theory.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1716  Literature and Film of the Maghreb  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course explores twentieth century literary and cinematic works of the region of North Africa referred to as the Maghreb—namely Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. We will examine Arabophone and Francophone works representative of the diverse cultural, social and political histories of the region. In this regard, we will address issues of linguistic and ethnic pluralism, colonialism, nationalist rhetoric, Arabization policies and Islamic reform. More crucially, the course will ask how these works engage with the lengthy and often violent history of French imperialism in the Maghreb in relation to dominant and emerging narratives of national identity, language and culture. These concerns will be framed alongside the theories of orientalism, postcolonialism, deconstruction and semiotics. We will read works by Muhammad Berrada, Driss Chraïbi, Assia Djebar, Abdelkebir Khatibi, Ahlam Mosteghanemi and al-Tahir Wattar, in addition to watching the films of Moufida Tlatli, Rachid Bouchareb and Nouri Bouzid.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1717  The Keynesian Century  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This class explores the intellectual history of economics during the 20th Century, and particularly the central economist of that century: John Maynard Keynes. What factors led to the ascendency of Keynesian economics during the middle of the 20th Century? What role did historical events such as the Great Depression, World War II, the Vietnam War and Stagflation play in determining this ascendance? What did the new, post-WWII technocratic class take from Keynes and what did they ignore? What led economists to largely disavow Keynes’ insights towards the end of the 20th Century? What does “Keynesian economics” even mean? We will also examine works from the various schools of economic thought that emerged during the 20th century, all of which—in no small part—defined themselves either in support of or in opposition to Keynes’s ideas. Readings will also include selections from Joan Robinson, Fredrick Hayek, Robert Lucas, Milton Friedman David Harvey, James Tobin, John Kenneth Galbraith and others.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1718  Hegel: Spirit, History, and Forgiveness  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
German Idealist thinker G.W.F. Hegel's views of historical and cultural change have been tremendously influential. Hegel asks us to consider: is there a logic to historical development? Can human knowledge ever be complete? Is a past of domination required for a future of freedom? Hegel raises these questions, and more, in The Phenomenology of Spirit. This course will introduce students to this seminal work, exploring Hegel's ideas about the development of civilization, the nature of knowledge, the status of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution as projects of intellectual and political liberation, and the prospect of forgiveness for historical wrongs. We will also look at some other works that draw on similar themes, such as Kant's Perpetual Peace and Sophocles' Antigone.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1719  China Gazing  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Ever since Marco Polo’s travels in the 13th century, China has provoked the Western imagination less as a place than a set of ideas—a cipher of difference and a test-case for universals. For thinkers from Leibniz to Kristeva, and in recent controversies around Ai Weiwei as much as FoxConn, determining how China and the Chinese are (or ought to be) like or unlike other states and cultures has sounded out essential questions about governance, civilizational progress, epistemology, creativity, and the bounds of fellow-feeling. Guided by the history of diplomatic, economic, and cultural exchanges between China and the Western world, this course is built around several key tropes that have persisted adaptively throughout that history, such as despotism and internationalism, the laboring body and the revolutionary masses. Our emphasis is on critical analysis of the political as well as the aesthetic imagination. Readings span literature, history, political philosophy, and travel writing. We also scrutinize several works of art, film, theatre, and performance.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1720  The Artificial and the Natural  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
When we hear the story about molecular biologists inserting a gene responsible for luminosity taken from a lightning bug into a tobacco or strawberry plant, we tend to be repulsed, declaring that such a move is ‘unnatural.’ Yet when we see cows grazing on the Great Plains, or a beautiful array of flowers at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, we praise the beauty of nature. However, flowers and cattle are just as ‘artificial’ as the genetically modified tobacco or strawberry plant. After all, they are the products of centuries of breeding, artificially selecting for traits, which nature itself did not. Likewise, why should a chemical polymer or dye derived from a natural substance, such as carbon, be any more (or less) artificial than a genetically modified mouse programmed to succumb to cancer? Finally, why are we awestruck when we hear about IBM’s Big Blue defeating one of the greatest chess player of the century, Gary Kasparov, yet we are deeply concerned with and troubled by the attempts of scientists and engineers to devise computers, which may one day mimic human attributes, such as consciousness? The goal of this course is to study the debate in the West from Aristotle to the present and explore its socio-political, philosophical, economic and scientific ramifications. This course may be counted toward the science requirement. Readings include Aristotle’s Metaphysics and Meteorology, Essays by Grafton, Newman, and Bensaude-Vincent in The Natural and the Artificial; Shapin, The Scientific Revolution, Riskin on automata, Goethe, N. Hawthorne, E. A. Poe, Freud, Turing, Fullwiley (race and genes) and Jackson (gene patenting).
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1721  Performativity and the Power of Words  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The common expression, "Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me," encapsulates a Euro-American understanding of language in which "real" actions are thought to contrast with "mere" words. And yet, as legal cases concerning hate speech, or controversies surrounding curse words on television make clear, despite our beliefs that they should not, words nevertheless do have powerful effects in the world. Indeed, language not only describes the world, it also acts on it. The concept of "performativity"—the idea that language not only describes things, but does things—has become increasingly important to understanding this, the power of words. This course will give students a solid grounding in the different understandings and orientations towards the idea of "performativity." We will look at the social organization of powerful words expanding the philosophical account of speech as action to include more socially grounded accounts. Case-studies will range from early anthropological work on magical, ritual and taboo speech, to contemporary work on hate speech and "gender performativity." Readings include J.L. Austin How to Do Things with Words; J. Butler Excitable Speech; J. Favret-Saada Deadly Words: Witchcraft in the Bocage.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1722  Writing the Present Day Life  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course examines the impact of the digital age on questions of writing, identity construction, ethics, trauma, and love. Our entry into the digital age has been compared to the cultural shift that occurred when the Gutenberg Bible enabled the wide distribution of the written word. What is the relationship between the "spirit of an age" or Zeitgeist and its narratives and texts? For example, at the end of Virginia Woolf's novel Orlando (1928), her time-traveling and sex-changing Elizabethan heroine Orlando, enters "the present day." By the novel's end, Orlando has grown into a young woman in "present day" London. Who might Orlando be today? Reading a range of texts including Shakespeare's Hamlet, Durras" The Lover, Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, "as well as essays on the gaze, trauma, gender and representation. "We will view Cindy Sherman's photographs and Chaplin's film Modern Times. We conclude with students writing their own last chapter of Orlando, situated in present day New York.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1723  (Dis) inheriting Power: Literature & the Legacies of Colonialism  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course investigates colonialism and its cultural legacies. We will examine texts situated in a variety of international locations including Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, India, China, New Zealand, Australia, Jamaica, and the U.S. Students will have the opportunity to think about how colonial power has shaped both the way we see the world and the way we read literature today. Tackling issues pertaining to gender and sexuality, slavery and memory, religion and cultural identity, and space and privilege, we will probe the various relationships to power that postcolonial writers inhabit. What are the tensions that arise between the First and Third Worlds, between the North and the South, and the East and the West? How and why were these geographic distinctions invented? Readings to include E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India, Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, and J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1724  Race, Ethnicity and Popular Media  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
What does critical race theory look like or sound like when we encounter it on the radio, on a dance-floor, or on a movie screen? What does it mean to use media as a site of cultural critique? In this course we will pay close attention to the racial politics of what neo-Marxist philosopher Theodor Adorno once famously called “the culture industries”: namely film, television, radio and popular music. More specifically, we will examine how contemporary cultural workers of color (musicians, filmmakers, artists, etc.) have utilized mass-mediated forms to resist, respond to, and reveal the conundrum of “race” in the twenty-first century. Our readings will include perspectives from a range of ethnic studies scholars such as Stuart Hall, Tricia Rose, Cornel West, Mark Anthony Neal and Daphne Brooks. We will also survey the more embodied or “performative” theoretical insights offered by figures such as Spike Lee, Lil Kim, R. Kelly, Tyler Perry, Jennifer Lopez, Amy Winehouse, Savion Glover and Beyonce Knowles, among others. In short, in this course we will think about media as more than simply a site for “representing” race, but rather also as a site for forming and constructing race as we know it (i.e. racial formation).
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1725  Cultures of Finance  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Why has the financial sector emerged as such a leading part of our contemporary economy? To what extent does the financial sector today model action across the political, cultural and social spheres of life? Often, we see finance as a realm determined by ‘objective’ -- and opaque -- financial models and devices whose consequences seem out of reach to society. This course seeks to remedy that concept, focusing on the study of culture from within financial institutions and markets, and its development as playing an important role in everyday social life. In this course, we will define key features of the contemporary system of finance as part of the historical development of capitalism. We will consider the ways in the culture of finance has inflected, informed, and determined the wider culture that is increasingly described in financial terms and forms. We will visit the spatial arrangements of trading desks and central exchanges, their technological devices and models, financial instruments, and the people who occupy these spaces as our central object of inquiry, while considering the ways in which financial instruments are made to circulate through this system and the ways in which they are culturally negotiated. Readings may include Max Weber, Arjun Appadurai, Randy Martin, David Harvey, Tim Mitchell, Don MacKenzie, Karen Ho, and Caitlin Zaloom.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1726  The Novel and Society: Victorian Secrets  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In the twenty-first century, the Internet arguably makes secrecy impossible, but the exposure of secrets is already an important theme in many 19th-century British novels. In part, this reflects a society in which identity seems increasingly malleable through greater social class mobility, the questioning of traditional gender roles, and imperialist opportunities. In these novels, fake identities conceal a murderer and a madwoman, among others. And the societal constraints inspiring the fictional secrets also led the authors to keep secrets of their own. Beloved author Charles Dickens, the father of 10, had a 13-year love affair with a woman who was 18 when they met. But does the novel genre, particularly the "realist" Victorian novel, with its emphasis on an omniscient narrator and intersecting plots, have a special relationship to secrets? We attempt to uncover the answer by studying Jane Eyre (1847) by Charlotte Bronte (1847), Great Expectations (1861), by Charles Dickens, George Eliot's Middlemarch (1871-2), and Arthur Conan Doyle's first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet (1887). Theory and criticism include selections from Michel Foucault's History of Sexuality, Edward Said's Culture and Imperialism, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar's The Madwoman in the Attic, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's "Three Women's Texts and a Critique of Imperialism
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1727  Plato's Apology  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
"Corrupting the youth" of Athens? Virtue in action? Threat to the body politic? Model citizen? Plato's Socrates presents a conundrum for ancient and modern thought. In his brilliant dialogue, the Apology , Plato recreates Socrates" defense of himself at his trial in 399 BCE for (among other things) "corrupting the youth" of his city. The Apology sits at the intersection of law, politics, philosophy, religion, erotic's, and pedagogy. In this course, we read the Apology closely, exploring it as philosophical reflection, courtroom oratory, literary text and as gripping drama. Supplementary readings address: intellectual milieu, historical and political context, questions of genre.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1729  Ancient and Renaissance Festivity: Its Literary, Dramatic and Social Forms  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This class investigates the role of festive custom and holiday release, and the kinds of performance and literary form that they enable or frustrate, in ancient Greece and Rome, and in Renaissance Europe, with a 20th century postlude. Why does festivity sometimes lead to political revolt and at other times does not? Why does the "carnivalesque" often include festive abuse as well as celebration? We look at theories of festivity and release, at the dionysiac, at the human/animal union in festivity, and at the role of the classical period in shaping Renaissance and even modern ideas of festivity, irony and the festive worship of the gods. We also explore the effect of the Protestant suppression of festive holiday and theatricality in Shakespeare’s England, and at the tensions inherent in festivity between excess and moderation, between the saturnalia and the philosophical symposium. The class begins with classical festivity, with Plato's “Symposium,” Euripides' The Bacchae and the satyr play Cyclops, selections from Ovid's Fasti, the Metamorphoses, and Apuleius' Golden Ass. Readings from the Renaissance include: Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel; Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1 Henry IV, Twelfth Night, Antony and Cleopatra, The Winter’s Tale. Concluding with carnival practices in the circum-Atlantic world, we take as examples the film Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro, directed by Marcel Camus), New Orleans carnival and Jazz Funerals, and Paule Marshall’s novel The Chosen Place, the Timeless People (1969) in order to see how these older traditions shape modern experience. We may end in 1968 in Greenwich Village with Richard Schechner’s Dionysus in 69.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1730  Art in Critical Theory  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
What is “critical theory”, and how did it gain profound and conspicuous traction in the art world? What does theory have to do with the experience of visual art? Does it change how we look at and respond to Art? Theory and critique are not only expected from so-called “serious artists”, both are also being produced and consumed at rapid rates by students, established artists, historians, critics, etc. This course will begin with a brief look at the foundations of critical theory, and move onto the primary aim of studying the development of critical theory in the field of art. Emphasis will be placed on addressing what it means to be “critical” and how critical theory has been used in the writings and artworks by artists such as Yvonne Rainer, Hans Haake, Mary Kelly, Thomas Lawson, Dan Graham, and Andrea Fraser. These artists have integrated writing/theorizing with creating artworks, and continue to do so with persistence and rigor. In addition to investigating the emergence and impact of critical theory in the field of Art, students will be challenged to make theory into action: to theorize.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1731  Gender Undone: Fiction, Film, and Feminist Theory  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Is gender something one has or something one does? What does it mean to “do” a feminist reading of a text or a film? How might feminist theory endeavor to both describe and undo cultural constructions of gender? This course will explore these questions by reading a range of theoretical and literary texts that elaborate historical, medical, psychoanalytic, and cultural models of gender and sexuality. We will read critics and theorists who have become central to contemporary feminism, including Freud, Mulvey, Foucault, Butler, Halberstam, and hooks, among others. We will pay particular attention to literary texts that have been productive for feminist and queer formulations of gender, including work by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Gloria Anzaldúa, Maxine Hong Kingston, Alison Bechdel, and Ta-Nehisi Coates. Finally, we will screen several films and television shows that invite viewers to reform or rethink their own perceptions of gender, including M. Butterfly, Orange is the New Black, The Wire, and Southern Comfort.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1732  Intermedia and Interdisciplinary Art Practices  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This seminar will focus on the development of interdisciplinary approaches in art practices from the 1960's to the present. Course material will begin with Dick Higgins’ concept of ‘intermedia’, which was initially used to propose interdisciplinarity as the necessity of crossing genres, such as using painting, performance, video, film, poetry, and theatre as part of a viable artistic practice. By moving away from privileging one medium over another, this approach, which we will explore, aimed at challenging notion of authenticity in art and erasing the boundary between producer and viewer as well as between linguistic and visual production. Consideration will then be given to contemporary interdisciplinary methods. Course investigations will also be framed by questions pertaining to the place of ethics and critical discourses in art; the shape and aesthetic that ‘critical’ art projects assume; as well as the relevance and limits of political and critical art projects in exhibition systems. In addition to reading texts from writers such as Amelia Jones, Hal Foster, Nicolas Bourriaud, Andrea Fraser, Liam Gillick, and Miwon Kwon, there will be visits to exhibitions within the city.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1733  Sensation! Affect, the Body and the Market  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The word "sensation" not only indicates “an operation of any of the senses,” but also “an exciting experience” (OED). This course will explore the cultural resonance of "sensation" by asking the following questions: What are the connections between the impressions received by our senses and what is commonly understood as a “sensational” event or experience? How does bodily feeling translate into received opinion? And how does the market shape the reactions of our very senses? What do aesthetics, psychology and marketing have to do with the making of sensational phenomena? We will explore the various meanings of “sensation” in literature and art, taking on questions of affect, scintillation, and outrage, while exploring the various personal and social meanings ascribed to sensational books, art exhibits, and other popular trends. For example, taking Wilkie Collins’s 1860 work The Woman in White, which inaugurated a decade-long craze for novels dealing with bigamy, murder, and insanity, and the 1997 “Sensation” exhibit organized by the art collector Charles Saatchi, featuring such notorious works as Tracey Emin’s Everyone I Have Ever Slept With, Damien Hirst’s formaldehyde-suspended shark, and Chris Ofili’s portrait of the Virgin Mary decorated with elephant dung, we will explore how titillation, captivation, shock, and disgust are produced, shaped, and experienced. Other readings include Roland Barthes, Gilles Deleuze, Sylvie Gilbert, Susan Sontag, and Sigmund Freud.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1734  Renaissance and Renewal in the Ninth Century  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The European Early Middle Ages may seem an unlikely place to find a renaissance. In recent centuries, the era has been labeled foreign and backward -- a “Dark Age” of systemic violence, brutal social injustice, and intellectual and artistic poverty. In reality, however, it was a world of vibrant artistic flourishing, social and political innovation, and ingenuity. In this course, students will study key texts from the long ninth century, which saw a proliferation of scholarship and art under the patronage of the legendary emperor Charlemagne and his heirs. Carolingian courts became centers of learning, bringing the finest thinkers of Europe together in conversation, recalling the aesthetics and values of the ancient world while also forging new artistic styles and modes of scientific thought. Carolingian rulers engaged diplomatically with the world beyond—not just England and Scandinavia beyond the North Sea, but also the eastern Atlantic, North Africa, and the Levant. Immersing themselves in this world, students will consider how the Carolingian “renaissance” paved the way for the inventions and revolutions of the later Middle Ages and beyond.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1735  American Narratives II  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The goal of this course is to create a conversation between post world war two American literature and political thought. We focus especially on the relationship between theorists making arguments using the genre of the treatise or monograph, and literary artists dramatizing protagonists acting in fictional worlds. What theoretical and political difference do differences of genre make in how readers (and citizens) apprehend and act in the world? But we also pursue more substantive questions. First, how is politics (and the meaning of democracy) represented in both theory and fiction? Second, how do literary artists represent and rework the dominant idioms and tropes of American politics - especially ideas of the frontier, self-making, freedom, and related claims to American exceptionalism? Third, how are the politics of race and gender addressed in and by literary art in comparison to works of theory? Lastly, do critics and writers repeat the pervasive and unquestioned attachment to the idea of "America," or do they trouble it by offering anti-national or diasporic identifications? Our theorists include C. Wright Mills, Norman O. Brown, Sheldon Wolin, Judith Butler, Lauren Berlant, Kimberlee Crenshaw, Gloria Anzaldua, and Eve Sedgwick; our literary artists may include Thomas Pynchon, Norman Mailer, Allan Ginsberg, Phillip Roth, James Baldwin, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1736  Making a Scientific Revolution: Medieval Christendom and Islam  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The roots of the "Scientific Revolution" were formed in the Middle Ages - both in Christian and Muslim lands. Science co-developed alongside monothesitic religions in this period of vibrant trade, scholarship, and intellectual development. This course focuses on how the sciences examined the relationships between the human being, nature and the divine. We will read original primary sources (in English) and use period tools and techniques to further our study. We will follow several of these sciences into the "Scientific Revolution" and discuss how they relate to the standard narrative of a revolution in science. Scientific themes will include mathematics, music theory, astronomy/astrology, perspective/optics, alchemy/chemistry, atomism, medicine/physiology, and physics. Readings may include Plato, Aristotle, Lucretius, Ptolemy, Galen, Plotinus, Boethius, Al-kindi, Alhazen, Avicenna, Ibn Tufayl, Averroes, Thomas Aquinas, Buridan, Oresme, Vesalius, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, and Leibniz.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1737  Science and Culture  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course examines various examples of how the conduct and context of science are framed by culture, and conversely, how science shapes culture. Which models proffered by various historians, philosophers, cultural anthropologists, and sociologists can begin to explain this relationship? The first portion of this course addresses how scientific knowledge was intricately intertwined with religious and political knowledge during the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment. The next section illustrates how important developments in thermodynamics (or the physics of work and waste) led to improvements in nineteenth-century musical instrument design and a change in musical aesthetics. Similarly, we shall discuss how twentieth-century technological and scientific developments in fin-de-siècle Europe and the U.S. directly led to new artistic expressions and aesthetics. The final third of the course looks at how the content of scientific and technological knowledge associated with “Big Science” from World War II to the present owes much to the development of national defense in the case of physics and to venture-corporate capitalism in the case of molecular biology. Rather than simply stay at the level of case studies, we shall continually test the various models, which attempt to explain the complex and historically contingent relationship between science and culture Finally, the course will force students to think about related issues, such as the history of objectivity and the differences and similarities between science on the one hand, and the social sciences and humanities on the other. Readings include: Newton, Jackson, Kursell, Riskin, Brain, Kevles, and Weinberg. This interdisciplinary seminar may be used to fulfill the science requirement.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1738  The Cultural Poltics of Bad Taste  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This seminar investigates the ideological, political and historical parameters of "taste" in popular culture. Through examination of media artifacts that exemplify "trash," the course examines how "taste" is constituted as a cultural category that reflects, produces and maintains the social structures of American society. What is meant by designations such as "good" and "bad" media, "high and "low" art, "offensive" or "artistic" and who is empowered to make these distinctions? How do "bad objects" reveal the ideological basis of "taste," and what is their relationship to "legitimate" art forms? Does "trash" pose a challenge to cultural standards of taste and "the mainstream?' What is the relationship between "bad" art and spectatorship and why might audiences find "trash" so enthralling? Readings are drawn from Bourdieu's Distinction , Glynn's Tabloid Culture , Ross" No Respect , and the anthology Trash Culture , while screenings include cult films such as Freaks, Pink Flamingos, Plan 9 From Outer Space,South Park, and The Room , and a selection of reality TV programs, music and viral videos.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1739  Kinship Community: Ancient Texts and Modern Theories  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
What is the relation of the family to larger structures of community and of state? Do kinship bonds provide a model for those of community or must they be superseded in the interest of a more enlightened state? To what degree do contemporary aspirations for gender equality entail a radical renovation of our understanding of the family? We will consider these questions through a close reading of ancient texts, from the Greek and Judeo-Christian traditions, which we will read in conjunction with some contemporary thinkers on kinship and the state. Primary readings include: Aeschylus Oresteia, Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Sophocles Oedipus Tyrannus and Antigone, Euripides Ion, Plato Republic, Aristophanes Ecclesiazusae, Longus Daphnis and Chloe, Genesis and Exodus, Paul Romans and Galatians, Martyrdom of Perpetua, Kushner Angels in America, Nelson The Argonauts; theoretical texts include: Freud Totem and Taboo and Moses and Monotheism, and selections from Engels, Lévi-Strauss, G. Rubin, P. Clastres, A. Rich, and J. Butler.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1740  Bridging Culture and Nature: An Introduction to Conservation Science  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In this course we will explore ways to deepen our relationship to nature and apply this understanding to the challenging work of conservation biology. We will examine the diversity of life on earth, the principal threats to biological and climate systems, and specific actions that are being taken to reverse these threats, and manage our own behavior and choices. Throughout the semester, we will explore how a diverse mix of practitioners - scientists, business leaders, financial institutions, entrepreneurs, social workers, and artists - can work together to conserve the earth's rich diversity and create a balanced and equitable relationship with nature. Students will research and share lessons learned through a weekly blog, and propose a practical project that demonstrates how each of us can work to protect and restore nature. Course research will include extensive readings and viewings from a wide variety of peer reviewed science journals and popular publications. At the course conclusion, students from all disciplines should see a role for themselves in the conservation work that is an essential focus of this century.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1741  Truth and Power  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Socrates, one of the founding figures of Western philosophy, devoted himself to the examined life. He constantly questioned established opinions and received ideologies in order to discover the truth. His city—a democracy—put him to death, on charges of corrupting the youth and undermining belief in the gods. This epochal moment frames a series of troubled questions about the relationships between truth and power. Our aim in this course will be to explore a variety of perspectives on the conflicts and intersections between claims to truth and forms of power. Beginning with the trial of Socrates and continuing through both ancient and modern sources, we will ask: is a life devoted to truth or philosophy fundamentally opposed to political action? In what ways can truth liberate us from oppressive uses of power? How are assertions of the truth bound up with the exercise of institutional power? Readings will include Plato’s Apology and Republic, Sophocles’s Oedipus the King, Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy, Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration, Kant’s “What is Enlightenment?”, John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, and works by Karl Marx, Hannah Arendt, Michel Foucault, and others.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1742  The Politics of Aid: Haiti, NGOs and the Developing World  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
With the demise of European colonial empires and the emergence of developing nations—the neo-colonial state—the Caribbean and the continent of Africa have become the center of development discourse. This dialectic between largely European and U.S. American thinkers and nongovernmental organizations have produced a slew of books within the last decade that analyze the development plans within a neoliberal and post-disaster space, the role of NGOs in the developing world and the shortcomings of the state. This course examines the shifting meaning of development, the relationship between the state and NGOs, and the world of humanitarian aid. By exploring key texts that examine the above themes, including aid programs, donor interests, and strategies for structural and economic improvement, this course utilizes the disciplines of history, anthropology, and economics to better understand the merits and tensions of development in Haiti and also in sub-Saharan Africa. Some of the books we will read include: Mark Schuller’s Killing Them with Kindness and Jonathan Katz, The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster; Frederick Cooper’s and Randall Packard’s International Development and the Social Sciences: Essays on the History and Politics of Knowledge, Dambisa Moyo’s Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1743  James Joyce and Interdisciplinary Modernism  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In this course we will read and discuss the major works of James Joyce with a focus on their significance to Modernism, literary theory, and to interdisciplinary scholarship. We will read Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses , and sections of Finnegans Wake . We will pay particular attention to how different movements in literary theory have responded to Joyce"s work and will therefore read short critical essays by major and minor Joyce scholars. Our exploration of interdisciplinarity will include discussions of Joyce and music, religion, post-colonialism, history, sexuality, philosophy, intellectual property, and Irish Studies. We will also look at representations of Joyce"s work in music, dance, visual art, theater and film.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1746  Feminist Theory: Fiction, Nature/Cultures, and Religion  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This interdisciplinary seminar uses select novels from Margaret Atwood to introduce key topics in feminist theory and philosophy. The novels we read are The Handmaid’s Tale, Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood. Atwood’s fiction provides a richly textured approach to a range of topics which are critical for feminist theory and which show the deep interdisciplinary connection of these topics to each other and to the world. The key issues we consider include sex, gender, sexuality, patriarchy, feminist epistemology, feminist politics, ecofeminism, and feminist theology. The theory and philosophy authors we study include Mary Wollstonecraft, Simone de Beauvoir, Kate Millett, bell hooks, Iris Marion Young, Judith Butler, Carolyn Merchant, Helen Longino, Sandra Harding, Donna Haraway, Elizabeth Grosz, Karen Barad, Nancy Tuana, Susan Bordo, and Rosemary Ruether.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1747  Global Bioethics  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1748  Ruins, Fragments, and Archives  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Traces of time passing, ruins are time that has turned into space, duration ossified and broken up into fragments. Fragments are things we carry out of ruins, relics rescued from the abyss of lost time. We create archives to organize the rescued and the abandoned, compiling catalogs and designing systems that are often ruins themselves. Drawing on literature, painting, film, and installation art, this class will explore the entanglement of nature and history and of the recent and deep past in representations of architectural and social decay in stories and images of ruined cottages, "picturesque" abbeys and castles, partially buried woodsheds. We will examine representations of objects redeemed from the ruins of history as well as the ruined sites in which such objects find refuge (arcades, museums, libraries). And we will consider what it means for something to outlive its usefulness, to survive itself and live on in its own afterlife. Students will write several analytic essays, building toward a research project in which they will explore and interpret a ruin of their choice. Texts may include essays by Uvedale Price, Walter Benjamin, Siegfried Kracauer, Sigmund Freud, Michel Foucault, Douglas Crimp, Robert Smithson, Marguerite Yourcenar, and Hal Foster; engravings, films, and installations by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Jacques Tourneur, Chantal Akerman, Ilya Kabakov, Tacita Dean, and Pat O'Neill; poetry and prose by William Cowper, William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Virginia Woolf, H.D., Louis Aragon, Susan Howe, and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1749  Mixed Emotions: Generic Hybridity from Oliver Twist to Parasite  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
What if comedy and tragedy wore a single mask, not two? In fact, they already do. Drama (particularly melodrama) and comedy have long co-existed within the popular novels, plays, films, and television shows that have circulated since the 1700’s and the rise of mass literacy and media. In this class, we will consider how and why the comic and the melodramatic are so often made to work in tandem rather than against each other. Class readings will enable us to consider melodrama and comic realism as paired responses to or consequences of the key changes said to characterize modernity: the decline of presumed common belief in the universal and metaphysical; the newfound role of the machine in relation to art and the rise of the culture industries; shifts in the political meaning of race, class, gender, and sexuality; and the philosophical arguments that emerged from the tension between the “Age of Enlightenment” and “Discovery of the Unconscious.” The syllabus may include selected television shows (probably WandaVision) as well as fiction and films by Charles Dickens, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Fannie Hurst, Dorothy Parker D. W. Griffiths, Buster Keaton, Douglas Sirk, Max Ophüls, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wong Kar Wei, and Bong Joon Ho.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1750  Good Design: Objects, Bodies, Buildings, Cities  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Good Design takes as its premise that visual literacy is a vital yet under-examined area of academic discourse. Although we engage the designed environment every day, non-specialists have few ways to make sense of the myriad decisions that come together to form objects and places. This course asks students to analyze existing designs and create new work, while also examining the relationships between these two processes. One central question is whether design principles that operate at a small scale, say the scale of a hand-held object, are also appropriate at a larger scale, such as the scale of human habitation. The course uses scale as a lens through which to engage this question, as readings and projects consider the design of something you can hold (like a tool), the design of something that can embrace the body (clothing or furniture), and something that can be inhabited (a dwelling). Presentations of student-designed work, discussions of assigned readings, and reviews of analytic writing will structure the majority of course meetings. Students will read primary source material from the Museum of Modern Art archives, related to the original Good Design exhibits from the 1950's. Other authors will include: Edgar Kaufmann, Jr.; Paola Antonelli, Humble Masterpieces: Everyday Marvels of Design; ; Pietra Rivoli, The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy; Jay Greene, Design is How It Works; Richard Dyer, White; Louise Harpman and Scott Specht, Coffee Lids; podcasts from John Biewen, Seeing White. Field trips to museums, galleries, design retailers are planned.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1751  Biology and Society  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Perhaps the most recent ethical challenge faced by all of us is biotechnology. This seminar explores the relationship between the biological sciences and society in the U.S. throughout the twentieth century. We will examine how debates concerning "nature versus nurture" have been framed historically. We shall discuss the history of eugenics and investigate how the U.S. government saw eugenics as proffering an objective tool for testing immigration and sterilization policies. We shall ask if there is a link between eugenics and the Human Genome Project. How has the patenting of human and plant genes reshaped the conduct of scientific research? How are molecular biology and pharmaceutical and biotech firms simultaneously challenging and reifying notions of race in the age of biocapitalism? How much of human behavior is shaped by genes, and how does that affect issues concerning free will and culpability? Is it ethical for developing countries to use genetically modified crops rather than their own sustainable practices? How has the HIV/AIDS epidemic reshaped the historical notions of the doctor-patient relationship and objectivity of drug testing? This course aims at drawing attention to the ethical, legal, and social issues generated by biology over the past century. Readings will include works from twentieth-century politicians such as Teddy Roosevelt, eugenicists, including Charles Davenport, the historian of science Dan Kevles, the philosopher of science Michael Ruse, the sociologist and historian of medicine Steven Epstein, the sociologist of race Troy Duster, and intellectual property lawyers such as Rebecca Eisenberg, as well as recent works by molecular biologists and geneticists on the definition of race, the role of patenting in biotechnology, and how commercial interests are driving scientific research.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1752  This Mediated Life: How Media Narratives Make Us Who We Are  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This interdisciplinary seminar will investigate how mass media not only provides us with entertainment and distraction but is crucial in constructing and maintaining our identities. Contemporary mass media forms, both legacy and emergent, reflect anxieties and fears, aspirations and hopes while also providing a means by which we navigate an increasingly complex and divisive social and political landscape. Utilizing wide ranging critical and theoretical methodologies, students will consider how media turns fact and fiction, reality and experience into compelling stories through which we find our place in the world. The course will explore questions such as: How do mass media provide narratives that delineate and naturalize prevailing ideologies? How do such narratives alternately form our sense of politics, economics, race, gender, sexuality and citizenship? Can media provide a means to challenge cultural and political hegemony through construction and distribution of narratives which provide alternatives to such structures? Readings will be drawn from Berger's Media Analysis Techniques as well as the anthologies The Media Studies Reader and Gender, Race and Class in the Media and screenings will include excerpts from films The Dark Knight Rises, The Secret, The Truman Show, Network, The Social Network and Quiz Show, television shows Ways of Seeing, The Daily Show, The Simpsons and The X-Files, among others, as well as a selection of other media forms, including advertisements, blogs, podcasts, magazines, music videos, and social media sites.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1753  The Sonnet & the Philosophy of Language: From the Early Modern to the Contemporary  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
How does one read something as complex as a Shakespeare sonnet? What are sonnets trying to do? Who is speaking, and to whom? How does the form of the sonnet—its rhyme scheme, metre, and the set of rhetorical expectations it engenders—enable rather than constrict forms of passionate expression and persuasion. Why should we still be interested in this strange form today? What invites us to imagine ourselves as the speaker or recipient of the sonnets powerful speech acts? Why does it continue to speak to us, not only about love, desire, and the force of argument, but also of language itself? This course will examine the language of the sonnets of Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser and William Shakespeare from the perspective of a variety of philosophers and theorists who have had a significant impact on literary criticism, including Plato, Locke, Saussure, Benveniste, Bakhtin, Wittgenstein, Austin, Derrida and Lacan. It aims to reveal the continuing power of the sonnet in the twenty-first century, and its abiding influence in our discourses of desire, love and personal identity.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1754  Shakespearean Comedy & the Sources of the Comic  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
What is comic about Shakespearean comedy? This course will involve a close, comparative reading of a selection Shakespeare’s comedies. We will trace their origin in Greek and Roman comedy and the folk festivities and festivals of Shakespeare’s time, examine a number of theories of Shakespearean comedy like those of Northrop Frye, J. D. Salingar, C.L. Barber and Murray Krieger, and look at the comedies in the light of recent gender and queer theory. Our discussion of the comedies will attend to their negotiation of love and desire within shifting matrices of social and political power, cross-dressed actors and sexual difference and identity, and the tension between mood and structure in the plays. The course will also include film versions, like Kenneth Branagh’s Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing, Trevor Nunn’s Twelfth Night and The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino as Shylock.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1758  Growing Up Victorian  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
During the Victorian era, the social construction of childhood developed in ways that continue to influence us today. Victoria was 18 on her ascension to the English throne, and during much of her reign more than a third of the population was 15 or younger. Victorians were fascinated by childhood, and many contemporary readers recognize Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and other works from what would become the “golden age” of literature written especially for children, along with novelist Charles Dickens’s depictions of Pip, Little Nell, Oliver Twist and Tiny Tim. Differences in class, gender, location, and generation created not one but multiple Victorian childhoods, so we will study depictions of boys and girls of every class, from the beginning to the end of the era, in various disciplines and literary genres. Readings may include poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, and Edward Lear; Carroll’s and Dickens’s above-mentioned works, selections from the novels Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte), Mary Barton (Elizabeth Gaskell), and Kim (Rudyard Kipling); selections from John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography; Friedrich Engels’ The Condition of the Working Class in England, journalist Henry Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor, Edward Said’s postcolonial criticism; and Phillipe Aries’ Centuries of Childhood.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1759  Exhibition Systems and Curating  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course aims at a thorough investigation of strategies of curating and exhibiting artworks, and how curators as well as artists utilize various installation and exhibition strategies. Course material will consider important texts and practices including but not limited to: relational aesthetics, interdisciplinary art practices, performance art, and institutional critique. There will be an equal amount of time spent both in the seminar room and visiting exhibitions in museums and galleries in New York City. Readings for the course will include essays by Okwui Enwezor, Thelma Golden, Jennifer Gonzalez, Jens Hoffmann, and Paul O'Neill.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1760  Quantification and Social Thought  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In an age of “big data,” “sabermetrics,” and “evidence-based medicine,” statistical concepts and mathematical models for decision-making have become ever more common. Although proponents would argue that these new methods are increasingly powerful, their use raises complicated questions about how decisions can and should be made, in realms from drafting a baseball player to measuring the effectiveness of a federal program. This course examines the history of quantification from the early modern period to the present, with special attention to the ways new technologies and methodologies intersect with changing notions of rationality and causality. Topics include medicine, population statistics, philosophy, professional sports and gambling. Readings may include Laplace, Quetelet, Durkheim, Gould, and Hacking.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1761  Cold War, Hot Science  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The years following World War II witnessed unprecedented expansion in the cost and size of scientific activities in the United States. The expanding budget for military research played a central role, but the relevant developments were not limited to engineering and physics. From genetics and game theory to sociology and psychology, many fields developed in the shadow of the “Cold War.” Caught up in the “military-industrial-academic complex,” scientists and concerned citizens had to grapple with changing political dynamics. This course will approach the topic with a wide-angle lens, combining source material taken from academic scientists, political debates, novels, and popular films. Material may include works by J. Robert Oppenheimer, B.F. Skinner, Rachel Carson, Walter M. Miller, Jr., and Stanley Kubrick.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1762  The Lives, Deaths and Rebirths of Public Space  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Recent and very visible social movements have reclaimed public spaces in cities around the world, prompting the question of what, exactly, are public spaces and to whom do they (and the cities around them) belong. For many scholars, the existence of public spaces—the town square, the agora, the rialto—are what makes cities distinctive, but a number of critics have, for at least the last fifty years, been decrying the end of such spaces. This course first examines a number of the classic statements on public space, followed by a close reading and interrogation of the decline of public space theses. Finally, we examine a number of attempts to recapture and reinvigorate public spaces, drawing freely from examples of public art, planning and architecture, and social movements. Among the statements on public space will be selections from classical, democratic, and critical theory, including Aristotle, Arendt, Habermas, De Certeau, and Foucault. Critical contemporary readings on urban space will include Jane Jacobs and selections from urban geographers, sociologists, feminist scholars, and critical race theorists who have engaged the question. The last third of the course, dedicated to rebirths, will include selections and materials from planners and architects, activists and artists who have reflected on the issue while engaging it. Course requirements include student presentations of materials, three short writing assignments, and a final paper on a case of a reimagined public space from NYC.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1763  Feminist Theory and American Women's Poetry  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Feminist study has almost by definition pursued a strong interdisciplinary commitment. This course explores feminist works in different fields and brings them into fuller relationship with each other, with literature, and specifically poetry, as a site in which their intercrossing becomes both accessible and dramatic. A major theme will be definitions of selfhood. Topics will include feminist literary criticism, anthropology, psychology, history, political theory, cultural studies, law; reading theorists such as Harold Bloom, Carole Gilligan, Michel Foucault, Catherine MacKinnon, Jean Bethke Elshtain. Literary figures studied will include Emily Dickinson, Frances Harper, Charlotte Gilman (prose and poetry), Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Muriel Rukeyser, Gwendolyn Brooks, Marianne Moore along with other short prose.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1764  Media and Global Social Movements  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The recent wave of protest movements—from the uprisings of the Arab Spring to events closer to home like Occupy Wall Street—have sparked a renewed interest in the role of the media in mobilizing and sustaining social movements with global resonance. This seminar offers students the opportunity to analyze the power and limits of the media in contemporary social movements in recent historical contexts. First, readings will examine the political-economic conditions that have led to the mobilization of social claims for global justice in the last decade. We will then consider a range of critical theoretical perspectives on whether and how media and information technologies have been instrumental in the articulation of such claims. This seminar draws on inter-disciplinary readings from media and cultural studies, anthropology, political science and sociology. Authors we will read include: Asef Bayat, Manuel Castells, Donatella Della Porta, Jodi Dean, Alberto Melluci, Nivedita Menon, Francesca Polletta, Michael Watts, among others.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1765  Media and Empire  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
What does the telegraph and cinema, the Internet and new social media, have to do with empire building? Contemporary discussions about media and technology often focus on how the ways in which our world today has been radically transformed by new kinds of information technologies and novel forms of globalized cultures, yet uneven media flows have long connected the world through processes of imperialism. "We will begin at the height of European colonialism in the 19th century, and move forward through the period of decolonization and the Cold War era of the 20th century, into current debates about US hegemony and decline. We will focus on the significance of communication technologies in establishing military and economic power and the role of the mass media in shaping our ideas about racial supremacy and cultural difference. We will also consider the role of these same media and information technologies to challenge colonial domination, mis-representation and imperial rule in the 20th and 21st centuries, with a geographical focus on Africa, Asia and Latin America in relation to Britain and US imperial legacies. Authors we will read include: "Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, Niall Ferguson, Stuart Hall, Anne McClintock, Edward Said and Ella Shohat, among others
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1766  Evil  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This interdisciplinary seminar will examine the concept of evil, as it appears in a variety of religious, philosophical, psychological and literary texts and their cultural contexts. Variably personified as malevolent celestial beings—whether playful or vengeful figures like Beelzebul, Kali, Lucifer, Ravana, Xenu, etc.— evil has been tied to ethics. In South and East Asian traditions evil is an effect of the law of karma (literally, “action”). In Buddhism, evil appears because of ignorance or illusion, which mistakes our ‘self’ and the world to be made up of independent and permanent “things.” In the Christian West, evil was seen as a necessary by-product of a "free will" whose corruption or depravity must be acknowledged to achieve any human goodness. Framed philosophically, as a value judgment that has historically been assigned to intentionally harmful actions, misfortune, or even natural disasters such as the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, evil came to be problematized in the West in the question: “How could a benevolent God allow the innocent to suffer?” We will survey the depth of that question, but also ask: Is this formulation of “the problem of evil” uniquely Western in its assumption that a god must be absolutely good? In addition, we will approach the concept of evil psychologically, by examining demonic possession and exorcism, as well as recurring complicity in mass atrocities, which will lead us to consider the theory of "the scapegoat," and the very different idea that evil now is "banal," as unthinking people become part of the machinery of modern power. Readings may include: Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem; "Book of Job;" Bhagavad-Gita; Wendy Doniger, The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology; Freud, Civilization & Its Discontents; Rene Girard, Violence and the Sacred; Primo Levi, The Drowned and the Saved; Stanley Milgram, Obedience to Authority; Gitta Sereny, Into That Darkness; Voltaire, Candide; and Elie Wiesel, Night.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1767  Crime in the USA  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. This course examines the way that the United States punishes offenders, including the costs borne at the state and federal levels of government to administer prisons and the criminal justice system more broadly. It also examines the causes and consequences of the rising incarceration rates that the nation witnessed during the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, such as the role that politics has played, the labor market effects of having a prison record, and the spill-over effects that incarceration has on formerly incarcerated persons' communities and families. While grounded in the social sciences, the course explores its subject matter from an interdisciplinary perspective, connecting scholarship from history, economics, philosophy, political science, sociology and law. It will combine conceptual and statistical approaches to analysis. It is not a class about policing nor is it about protests or political advocacy, but understanding empirical evidence related to trends in incarceration is a skill that may be useful to students interested in such issues. Possible texts include Bruce Western, Punishment and Inequality in America; Garland, David, Punishment and Modern Society; Mary Pattillo, David Weiman and Bruce Western, eds., Imprisoning America: The Social Effects of Mass Incarceration; Norval Morris and David Rothman, The Oxford History of the Prison; and Jeff Manza and Christopher Uggen, Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1768  Government and the Economy: What Every Ctizen Should Know  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Why does the US government seem unable to ever put together a budget on time? "Why does the United States regularly run deficits and why does the nation owe over $21 trillion dollars in debt? What are some of the different ways that the government intervenes in the economy and why is government intervention often so controversial in the United States? In this course students will learn how an economy functions at the macroeconomic level and about ways the federal government can influence the way the economy performs, while also learning about how the structure of the US government and the political process can shape the nation's economic policies. Our goal is to study the national economy in a way that situates basic economic insights in a political, historical, and moral-philosophical context so that we can fully understand the environment in which economic policy decisions are made. Examples of issues to be analyzed include government spending, taxes, social assistance programs, the government's response to COVID, the Social Security Program, the debt limit, and whom the government borrows from. Readings may include the U.S. Constitution; Mattea Kramer's A Peoples Guide to the Federal Budget; Burman and Slemrod's Taxes in America: What Everyone Needs to Know; the novel Boomsday by Christopher Buckley; "George Lakoff's Moral Politics; Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, and Maurizio Lazzarato's The Making of the Indebted Man.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1769  Lab Lit: Fact, Fiction, and the Narratives of Science  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The past two decades have seen the publication of a surprising number of novels that center on science and scientific work. In this course, we take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding this new genre: at times, we’ll use a literary studies perspective, asking how such novels create fictional drama and narrative suspense out of scientific work. We’ll also draw on research in the history and sociology of science that examines the construction of scientific identity and the dynamics of the scientific community, as we look at how these novels represent scientists and the scientific world. And we’ll turn to feminist critiques of science and work in science studies that interrogates the very nature of scientific research and thinking. Readings may include Allegra Goodman’s Intuition, Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams, Max Weber’s “Science as a Vocation,” Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar’s Laboratory Life, and essays by Evelyn Fox Keller and Sandra Hrdy. Students will explore these texts through seminar-style discussions, brief blogging assignments, a short essay, and a final research paper.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1771  The Promise and Pitfalls of Markets  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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, history, moral philosophy, and the law. Readings may include texts such as the following: Free to Choose by Milton and Rose Friedman, The Winner-Take-All Society by Robert Frank, The Globalization Paradox by Dani Rodrik, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, Lochner v. New York by Paul Kens, and Mary Hirschfeld’s Aquinas and the Market.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1772  Music and Civic Culture: Ancient and Modern  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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, and Plato.) From ancient Greece, we will then turn to the late-nineteenth century efforts of Wagner, partially inspired by Athenian tragedy, to create the "Total Work of Art" in his Ring cycle of music-dramas and in the festival at Bayreuth; we will also read the responses of Nietzsche, Adorno, and Mann (amongst others) to Wagner. Finally, we will listen to and discuss some twentieth-century experiments in music and art, especially those loosely associated with Fluxus and with New York City (e.g., John Cage, Steve Reich, La Monte Young, Yoko Ono, The Velvet Underground), as well as the "free jazz" of of Cecil Taylor and the afro-futurism of Sun Ra.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1773  Anna Karenina  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Tolstoy’s famous novel begins with a provocation: “all happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” In questioning the relationship between morality and ordinary joys and sorrows, this course will begin with the book’s historical context before proceeding with interdisciplinary readings and retellings of the story. Originally published in serialized form, Anna Karenina was a comment on contentious debates about legal reforms and the so-called woman question in 1870s Russia. This course will rely on our reading of the text to similar effect: how do we decide what constitutes a family and why? What work do we expect the state and society to do on behalf of love, and vice versa? With these questions in mind, we will read Tolstoy’s eponymous heroine as a study in subjectivity and selfhood originating in and exceeding the realist novel, illuminating her status as a screen for historical and contemporary anxieties about infidelity, motherhood, consumption, scandal and choice. Reading the novel will be a central project of the class. Secondary readings will range from legal histories of marriage and consent to psychoanalytic works on desire and identification, as well as films such as Darezhan Omirbaev’s Chouga.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1774  Nonviolence in Movements for Social Change  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course will examine the ways in which nonviolent movements have successfully influenced modern societies. While a major focus will be on the American civil rights movement beginning with the Niagara Movement in 1909, we will also study the philosophy and tactics employed by the 1989 Friedliche Revolution (Germany), the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (Argentina), The Community of Peace People (Northern Ireland), the Kenyan Women’s movement (whose “no sex” strategy harkens back to Lysistrata), as well as the moral arguments embedded in the Religious Society of Friends and other “peace churches.” Notions of nonviolent resistance and pacifism as well as the philosophy employed by such leaders as George Fox, A. Philip Randolph, Rosa Parks, Mohandas Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bayard Rustin, and Mairead Maguire will aid us in understanding how nonviolence has been employed to effect social change in many different scenarios and cultures. Texts may include: Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch, Raising up a Prophet: The African American Encounter with Gandhi by Sudarshan Kapur, The Children by David Halberstam, and such films as Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s The Lives of Others, Henry Hampton’s documentary series Eyes on the Prize, Lee Hirsch’s Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony, and Gini Ritiker’s Pray the Devil Back to Hell. Musical works by Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul and Mary, and the Beatles may also be utilized for analysis and chronicling of nonviolent movements.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1775  Contemporary Visual Culture and the Politics of Images  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In this course students learn to think about the reading and writing practices of contemporary visual culture. What does it mean to “read” an image? How are images used politically? Is what is “un-seen” as important as what is seen? Students tackle philosophical, ethical, and political questions, and are encouraged to pursue topics of individual interest for assigned papers and projects. We will ground our discussions in relevant theory and debates and will explore multiple visual genres, including the graphic novel form, film, ads, and photography. In examining the politics of visual images, this course places special, extended emphasis on images in the context of war and social justice crises. Throughout, we will think about our own roles in contemporary visual culture; we are consumers, participators, and creators of imagery. What does this mean for us when considered through, for example, an ethical or aesthetic or humanitarian lens? Critical literature by Susan Sontag, Susie Linfield, Scott McCloud, and/or Shahidul Alam, among others, will inform our discussions and deepen student writing. Our syllabus also incorporates journalistic accounts, feature films, and conflict photography. Students will write reaction papers, longer essays, and have the option of a visual project.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1777  Sex Crimes, Sex Panics  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The idea of the incorrigible sexual monster still lingers in the discourses of medicine and law. This fact is never plainer than in the moments of crisis and panic following revelations of sexual misconduct. Through analysis of historical case studies and discussion of recent events, students in this class will explore ways that sexuality has been criminalized (and decriminalized) and pathologized (and depathologized). Students will have the option of preparing a final case study, a final research paper, a research proposal, or artistic based historical project under direction of the instructor. Readings include works by Gayle Rubin, Michel Foucault, Cesar Lombroso, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Stanley Cohen, and Sigmund Freud.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1778  Punk Aesthetics  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Although punk seemed to be non- or even anti-aesthetic, it has paradoxically proven to be among the most significant artistic phenomena of the last half century. The western aesthetic tradition is based in notions of beauty and conformity to official standards; this course asks, therefore, whether a movement or sensibility that took pride in the ugly, offensive, and outlaw can even be called aesthetic. If not, and given punk's influence on contemporary art, then what relevance does aesthetics hold for us today? Of particular interest is the politics of aesthetics, and the forum which punk provided for expressing racial, sexual, gender, and class differences that were traditionally held to be outside of both society and art. Readings will include aesthetic philosophy, both traditional (Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche) and modern (Brecht, Debord, Adorno & Horkheimer), as well as critical theory of the period (Baudrillard, Jameson, Hebdige). These will be considered in dialogue with works of music, visual art, film, literature, graphic design, and fashion from the punk milieu of the 1970s and 1980s, and with historical precursors who influenced or shared punk's aesthetic worldview (Sade, Goya, Rimbaud, Duchamp).
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1779  Nation, Lyric, Epic: The Poetry of Mahmoud Darwish  (4 Credits)  
Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008) achieved immense fame and international success at a relatively young age as a national/ist poet writing about and for Palestinian existence and resistance in Israel and, later, in various exiles. He resisted this label early on and reinvented himself and his poetry. But the tension between the “political” and the “poetic” and the pressures and demands of the former continued to haunt Darwish even as he became a renowned world poet and one of the most important Arab poets of the 20th century.The course will trace Darwish’s rise in the cultural and political context of the second half of the 20th century and follow his metamorphosis from a national/ist poet to a global figure. We will focus on his experiments with form and narrative and his engagement with nationalism, mythology, history, and other poetic traditions. In addition to extensive selections from Darwish’s work, readings (all in English) will include Yeates, Lorca, Neruda, Brecht, Said, and Benjamin.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1780  Carl Sagan: From Cosmos to Nuclear Winter  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course uses Carl Sagan as a frame through which to examine the complicated relationship between professional science and the public, the place of humans in the universe, the tensions between science and pseudoscience, and the role of science in political activism. Sagan introduced a generation of readers and television viewers to a romantic, awe-filled vision of the universe. He explained that we were literally stardust, and let ordinary people inhabit the excitement of the exploration of space. Through The Tonight Show and Cosmos, he became a fixture of the American home. But Sagan was also censured by his colleagues for his work to popularize science, even as he vigorously patrolled the borders of science against those who fell short of professional stature. And while he gained fame by trying to communicate with aliens, he used that fame to warn against the dangers of nuclear war and environmental destruction. We will read works by Sagan, including Cosmos and its companion television program, Dragons of Eden, Murmurs of Earth, The Demon Haunted World, and The Cold and the Dark. These sources will be supplemented with theoretical work on the rhetoric and philosophy of science.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1781  A Sense of Place  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course examines the places in which we work and play, travel and dwell—the office tower and the suburban house, the city street and the superhighway, the small town and the megalopolis, the shopping mall and the theme park, the American road and foreign places. Synthesizing insights from literary works and fields like cultural geography, landscape studies, and architectural history, we explore such questions as: What gives a place its particular feel or character? How do our values and worldview affect the way we experience places, and what constitutes that experience? How do places—and the way they are represented in literature and other media—shape our attitudes and behavior? What gives a place "quality," and how can we design and build better places? Readings may include J. B. Jackson’s Landscape in Sight, Yi-Fu Tuan’s Space and Place, James Kunstler’s The Geography of Nowhere, D. J. Waldie’s Holy Land, Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, and Michael Sorkin’s Twenty Minutes in Manhattan. —
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1782  Madness and Civilization  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
“Much madness is divinest sense,” Emily Dickinson wrote, further observing that “much sense [is] starkest madness.” The poet insisted that the majority sets and enforces the standard by which sanity is evaluated, and we will take this notion as our starting premise. How are social standards for what is and is not normal set? How are they enforced? What is at stake in maintaining definitions of mental health? How have these definitions changed over time? What is the price of transgressing the boundaries of sanity? What might be the privileges conferred by madness? Using writing as a way of reading closely and thinking critically, students will produce three analytical and literary critical essays and a research paper, as well as present on a topic or issue connected to the course theme. Our readings may include works by Michel Foucault, Chester Brown, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Anne Sexton, Sigmund Freud, and Ken Kesey. We will also consider a number of visual works by artists like Yayoi Kusama and Henry Darger.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1783  Theories of Justice  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Ideas of justice are central to discussions of morality, rule of law, politics and the good life in both the ancient and modern worlds. For instance, the concept of “liberty and justice for all” has potent normative force—undergirding narratives about legitimacy in liberal legalism, as well deployed to defend acts of civil disobedience. Justice has been invoked throughout history as belonging to a higher order moral scheme that supervenes over positive law and politics, serving as a way to endorse or critique social and political arrangements. But, while there tends to be broad acceptance of the general concept of justice, particular conceptions that instantiate the term continue to be matters of controversy and debate. This course explores ways in which conceptions of justice play out in politics, law and morality. We will examine particular forms of justice—distributive, retributive, procedural, substantive, restorative, constitutive etc., reading classic texts, legal opinions and journal articles. And we will discuss how accounts of justice are predicated on various kinds of arguments, such as naturalist claims concerning antecedent facts about the world, etc. We will also look at justice used in novel locutions, such as the term “environmental justice.” The approach will be interdisciplinary, drawing upon a variety of source texts ranging from Socratic propositions about justice (δικαιοσύνη) and virtue (ἀρετή) in Plato’s Republic and Crito to John Rawls’ Theory of Justice, landmark US Supreme Court cases and Albert Camus’ L’Etranger. Course objectives are to develop proficiency in moral theory, political philosophy, law and jurisprudential theory, using the concept of justice as the analytical window to highlight key moments in legal and political philosophy, and as a mechanism to understand conceptions of the good life from the ancient world into modernity. No prior knowledge of social and political philosophy is required or assumed.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1784  Under the Influence of X: The Revolutionary Politics and Poetry of Malcolm X  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The life of Malcolm X represents an extraordinary personal and political evolution that has moved millions around the world. The man born Malcolm Little was at different points in his life described as a foster child, shoeshine boy, street hustler, convicted criminal, Muslim minister, black separatist, revolutionary nationalist and human rights activist. His words and worldview offer meaningful insight into compelling and contradictory aspects of power, politics, and possibilities for social change in America. This course critically examines the institutional and cultural forces—the poetry, the movements, the sociological contexts—that shaped the path by which Malcolm Little became Detroit Red, Malcolm X, and finally El Hajj Malik El Shabazz. At the same time we carefully analyse his theorizing, strategizing, and self-representations. Our focus on this outspoken revolutionary will expose the contradictory impulses of a nation that both demonized and deified him. In turn, tracing his narrative and his reception by black and white worlds will illuminate politics at national and global scales, and provide a critical perspective on race, class, gender, and the state.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1785  U.S. Empire and the Global South: The Long 20th Century  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course will explore the makings of the U.S. Empire in the long 20th century through a closer look at its interactions with what has come to be termed “the Global South.” The main goals are to think critically about “empire” and “the global south” as dynamic categories of analysis, to explore debates about “American Exceptionalism,” and to examine how U.S. imperial power has been articulated and contested. The class will pursue these goals by focusing on four historical conjunctures that have brought together different regions of the world and that enable a better understanding of the political economy and cultural practices of the U.S. Empire. These conjunctures are the 1890s formal acquisition of colonies, the 1950s Cold War realignment, the 1980s debt crisis and counter-revolutions, and the contemporary War on Terror. Readings for this course may include: Greg Gradin’s Empire’s Workshop, Laleh Khalili’s Time in the Shadows, Ann Stoler and Carole McGranahan’s Imperial Formations, Emily Rosenberg’s Financial Missionaries to the World, Christina Duffy Burnett and Burke Marshall’s Foreign in a Domestic Sense, Julian Go’s American Empire and the Politics of Meaning, Edward Said’s Covering Islam, Lila Abu-Lughod’s Do Muslim Women Need Saving?, and Neferti Tadiyar’s Things Fall Away.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1786  Trash Matters: Exploring Development, Environment, and Culture through Garbage  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course considers the production, management, and disposal of garbage as a dynamic cultural phenomenon that can lend insight into a broad array of questions at the nexus of environment and development. Most broadly, unpacking waste’s deep political and cultural dimensions provides for critical reflection on urbanism, social relations of difference, global economic processes, and people’s relationships to nature. After exploring theories of waste and value, the first half of the course examines the rise of the discard society in the global North through looking at waste politics in the United States, with a special focus on New York City. The second half of the course expands the purview of our analysis to consider global waste geographies, focusing on waste trade and circulation in the context of uneven development. Specific topics may include: waste work in New York City; dumping and environmental justice in the US; the limits of recycling; toxic exports and the global e-waste trade; carbon as global waste; biocitizenship and the tragedy of Bhopal; waste-based social movements and rebellion through disorder; the art of rubbish. Authors may include: Mary Douglas, Gay Hawkins, Robin Nagle, Heather Rogers, and Sarah Moore.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1787  Iphigenia (s): War, Sacrifice, and Politics in Performance  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
A war must be fought: or must it? The Greek army must sail: or must it? A daughter's sacrifice is required: or is it? Patriotism motivates war: or does it? Euripides' Iphigenia in Aulis is a brilliant, vertiginous investigation into the intersection of war, sacrifice, politics, and kinship. Through Euripides, we see how a marriage might become a sacrifice; how motives shift over time; how conflicts in one moment are reframed in another —this play is a stunning inquiry into the tricky ways of reason and passion. We will begin with Iphigenia in Aulis and the tradition it mobilizes—that Agamemnon, leader of the Greeks, is compelled to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia in order to ensure a fair wind for the sailing of the Greek expedition against Troy. Behind this play are centuries of profound, complex thinking about reasons for war, the nature of heroism, the rhetorics of patriotism, the obligations of kinship, the logic of marriage. From the Iliad through the efllorescence of tragedy in Athenian state theater, to early modern and 21st century adaptations and transformations, poets and playwrights have found Iphigenia "good to think with." Our classes will combine critical inquiry into Euripides' Iphigenia in Aulis and other ancient and modern treatments of the Iphigenia myth, together with experiments in interpretation—including acting workshops and staging exercises. Students need no background in acting, theater, or ancient literature, but do need critical energy and discipline. Authors we will read, in addition to Euripides, will include Homer, Aeschylus, Thucydides,and Aristotle; in the second half of the semester, we will explore modern re-imaginings of Iphigenia (e.g. Racine's Iphigénie) and those by contemporary playwrights (among them: Ellen McLaughlin, Caridad Svich, Charles Mee).
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1788  The Sublime  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The “sublime” is an aesthetic term that goes back to Ancient Rome and forward to current times. We can get a sense of its contemporary use by looking at a Tate Modern wall description. The Tate tells us that, although the term is “much contested,” the sublime denotes “an exalted state of mind, or an overwhelming response to art or nature that goes beyond everyday experience.” The sublime expresses “formlessness, immensity, intense light or darkness, terror, solitude and silence,” all of which can be overpowering and even traumatic. But, surprisingly, rather than overwhelm us or traumatize us, the sublime offers us “the solace of transcendence, an art in which one could lose oneself.” Early examples of the sublime included natural or artistic representations mountains, avalanches, waterfalls, stormy seas, human ruins, or the infinite vault of the starry sky. This course examines theoretical and creative representations of the sublime in writers and artists from ancient to postmodern. These include Longinus, Kant, Schiller, Wordsworth, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Newman, Rosenblum, Du Bois, Lyotard, Battersby, Chopin, Freeman, Malick, Wagner, Viola, and von Trier. Our goal is to consider the personal, political, spiritual, and aesthetic potential of this most elusive and fascinating concept.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1789  Video: History, Theory, Practice  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course investigates video as an artistic medium, a tool of surveillant culture, and a means for everyday witnessing, watching, documenting, remembering, and giving oneself to be seen. We will begin by tracing the invention of the medium from the mid-1950s, and the subsequent effect on both artists and non-artists as video technology became more commonplace and affordable in the 1970s. We will consider the history of video art, including artists like William Wegman, Adrian Piper, Vito Acconci, Nam June Paik, and Joan Jonas, as well the historical use of video by activist groups such as the Videofreex and Paper Tiger Television. Our discussion of video in contemporary art practice will touch on works by Sharon Hayes, Candice Breitz, Patty Chang, and Jacolby Satterwhite, among many others. Examining the history of video as an art form will require that we make sense of the interaction between artistic and non-artistic uses of the medium, as well as the ways in which artists do the work of representing important aspects of life in the visual field as such technological innovations as video have transformed that experience. What does video offer as a mode of representation that other mediums do not? Are there things that video does particularly well? Conversely, what are the blind spots of the medium? While all students will write critical papers as well as produce short video projects, students are asked to elect to enroll in one of two course code options: Option 1 (Video as Interdisciplinary Seminar, wherein major work completed is of the written type) or Option 2 (Video as Arts Workshop, wherein major work completed is artwork/video projects). All students meet together regardless of option elected, and all students are also required to attend one and a half hour weekly screenings of videos in addition to regular course meeting hours.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1790  The Scientific Revolution  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Science is today one of the most powerful ways to understand the world. But there was a time when all the foundations of modern science—experiments, theories, mathematics, scientific instruments—were considered radical, unreliable, and unjustified. The period when these foundations came to be accepted is known as the Scientific Revolution. This was the era of Copernicus, Newton, and Galileo pioneering dramatically new ways of thinking about the universe and humanity’s place in it, and this course explores how these new ways came to be accepted. We will look at not just the great achievements of the Scientific Revolution, but also how those achievements were crucially interdependent on the contemporary context of society, politics, religion, printing, and art. We will discuss why science appeared when and where it did, how science impacted society, and how we can retain the power of science while also acknowledging that it is fundamentally a human enterprise. Readings include works by Aristotle, Ibn Sina, Copernicus, Descartes, Vesalius, Francis Bacon, Galileo, Pascal, Newton, and Leibniz, as well as selections from Shapin and Schaffer’s Leviathan and the Air Pump, Daston and Park’s Wonders and the Order of Nature, and Ginzburg’s The Cheese and the Worms.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1793  Femininity, Postfeminism and Mass Media  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Postfeminism is an ambiguous and often contradictory term whose very indeterminacy speaks to the difficulties in understanding contemporary relationships between feminism, femininity, citizenship and identity. Positioned simultaneously as a backlash against feminism, a testament to achieved gender equality, as a reclamation of traditional feminine values and a sign of female success, postfeminism’s significance is widely felt even as its specific meanings and cultural effects appear unclear. This class will examine postfeminism’s relationship to feminism and femininity, situating all three as historically and culturally significant manifestations of the female self. Closely linked to the development of neoliberalism with its emphasis on self-reliance, choice and privatization, postfeminism is largely a product of consumer culture and mass media that have particularly consequences for feminine identities and gender relations. This course will look at popular women’s media from the makeover show, to fashion magazines and blogs, chick films and television drama to explore how they manage tradition and promote a more privatized and commercial feminine self, negotiating the relationship between family responsibilities and more laissez faire ideas of female success and self-actualization.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1794  History and Memory in the Early Modern Atlantic World  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course explores the history, memory, and representation of enslavement and abolition in the Atlantic World, circa 1500 to 1888. The key questions we are posing are: how do we recover the unrecoverable and how do we remember the “unrememberable?” We will consider the history of enslavement in the Atlantic World, the gaps in our knowledge, the global trauma of Atlantic World Slavery, and contemporary and contemporaneous representations. Key themes include: the formation of the Atlantic World, enslavement, the transatlantic slave trade, the formation of African American cultures, the emergence of race and racism, resistance and rebellion, abolition, emancipation and the meaning of freedom. We will delve into primary sources and secondary literature including non-fiction, fiction, critical analysis, film, music, and visual arts to consider the ways in which the tentacles of the past reach into and influence the present and future. The reading list may include works by Olaudah Equiano, Aphra Behn, William Shakespeare, Toni Morrison, and Saidiya Hartman.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1795  Art and Ethics  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The relationship between art and ethics has been a significant philosophical problem since antiquity and one that continues to engage us. While some argue that art is autonomous from ethics, others insist that ethics is a necessary component of art and of one’s aesthetic judgment of the work. This course explores the various positions that have been taken in this debate and raises several key questions: Can art be morally enlightening and, if so, how? If a work of art is morally better, does that make it better as art? Is morally deficient art to be shunned, or even censored? Do subjects of artworks have rights as to how they are represented? Do artists have duties as artists and duties as human beings, and if so, to whom? How much tension is there between the demands of art and the demands of life? These questions will be examined through the lens of painting (Rembrandt, Picasso, Rothko), cinema (Pasolini, Riefenstahl, Truffaut), photography (Mapplethorpe, Arbus, Mann), music (Wagner), and literature (Nabokov) with readings drawn from Plato, Horace, Tolstoy, Wilde, Danto, Nabokov, Sontag, as well as other contemporary philosophers, writers, and critics.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1797  Rome: A Visual and Virtual Empire  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In this course we will use modern tools to study an ancient empire. Rome was at the height of its power in the late first century BC through the 4th century AD, during which time it was a multi-cultural and complex political system. In the 21st century, Rome’s visual and material record is increasingly being studied with digital techniques. Over the course of the semester, students will gain hands-on skills with a variety of digital resources and tools; skills that will be useful in the study of any culture, including our own. We will look at the development of public entertainment as seen in amphitheaters around the empire. Students will learn to map the spread of these great structures so as to identify both imperial control and common identity as well as local initiative in the Roman Empire. Pompeii, the city famously destroyed in 79 AD, provides rich opportunities to think about daily life in ancient times. Modern technologies—including Google Street View and 3D reconstructions—are facilitating new approaches to our understanding of how women and men—both rich and poor—interacted, made a living, and died in this complex urban environment. Students will also make their own 3D models of imperial and private portraits in the Metropolitan and Brooklyn Museums.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1798  The Public Conversation on the Urban Environment  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In this course students will work in four communities along Broadway doing Participatory Action Research on the nature of the public conversation about the urban environment at each site. Based on observations, interviews, focus groups, analyses of newspapers, blogs, and other community media, we will learn about the various ways in which people, especially young people, think about, experience, and find meaning in their urban environment. By the end of the semester students will stage a public forum at each site that will prompt an explicit conversation on the topic. Present at the conversation will be experts and community members alike. We will present the findings of our projects to policy makers and public artists identified by the instructor as interested in working in those communities.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1799  Self-Consciousness & Other Burdens of Modernity: European Writing Rousseau to Ibsen  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Today it is widely believed that each of us is a one, unique. Modern Western culture, in this sense, is heir to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who began his Confessions by claiming, “I know my heart, and have studied mankind; I am not made like any one I have been acquainted with, perhaps like no one in existence.” Earlier writers of autobiographies were inclined to identify themselves as one of many sinners or subjects rather than one-of-a-kind. Rousseau’s self-assertion was radical in its time but he spoke for an era that would come to depict growing up as the discovery of personal knowledge and associate maturity with the attainment of individuality and self-sufficiency. Central to that cultural historical trend was the emergence of the modern novel as a major literary form. In hindsight, the novel seems to have been custom-made for readers seeking narratives of heightened subjectivity and singular stories that were truly “novel”—new, unforeseen, ostensibly non-formulaic. In this class we will closely read and discuss texts that reveal how individuality came to be regarded as a felt, acquired, universal experience and pay particular attention to the novel's role in the formation of the new subjectivity. We will consider questions about what was lost and gained as writers struggled with tradition and social awareness to filter everything through a singular consciousness. Possible readings include a few specimens of 18th century philosophy (Rousseau’s Essay on Inequality, Kant’s "What Is Enlightenment?") and popular writing (Samuel Smiles’s Self-Help) as well as literary texts (Wordsworth’s autobiographical verse, Austen’s Emma, Shelley’s Frankenstein, Dickens’s Great Expectations, Flaubert’s Sentimental Education, Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground, selections from Whitman, Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler and A Doll’s House).
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1800  Writing the Rationale and Preparing for the Colloquium  (2 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
The aim of this course is to help students develop and write the Rationale, compose the List of Works, and prepare for the Colloquium. We will begin the course by asking students to hone their Concentration and to think about the relation/difference between a Concentration and a Rationale, and identify key words, questions, and themes to guide their thinking and writing. We will also discuss different disciplinary formations of knowledge and methodologies, how to think interdisciplinarily, how to contextualize works and key themes across cultures, geographic locations, and knowledge formations, and how to historicize key questions and topics. We will do this through weekly guest lectures, short writing assignments, and in class workshops and discussion. The first part of the class will be devoted to drafting, revising, and completing the Rationale and List of Works. Students will work as a class, in small affinity groups, and individually with their advisers and with the professors as they work toward their final drafts. The latter part of the course will focus on the colloquium. We will discuss expectations and strategies for preparation, and in the final weeks of the semester students will practice presenting their ideas and fielding questions in brief, mock colloquia.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Pass/Fail  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1801  Minds and Bodies: A History of Neuroscience  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course examines the history of the sciences of the mind and brain from the end of the eighteenth century to the present. Ranging from mesmerism and phrenology to physiology, genetics, and neuroscience, it will consider the development over time of knowledge about the brain and its relationship to the body. The course will also analyze the ways in which this knowledge has been applied in medicine, law, economics, government policy, and religion. Some of the topics we will look at include the following: mind-body dualism, neuron theory, psychoanalysis and biology, brain imaging, the molecular and plastic brain, and psychotropic drugs. The course takes a primarily historical approach to this topic, but work from other academic disciplines that engage with related questions will also be addressed. The last third of the course will focus on recent history and contemporary issues surrounding the "century of the brain." One of our challenges will be to examine what history and science and technology studies more broadly might contribute to ongoing conversations about minds and bodies. " Texts we will consider include Ann Fabian's The Skull Collectors and Ray Kurzweil's How to Create a Mind .
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1802  Hearing Difference: The Commercial Music Industry and the American Racial Imaginary  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
In 1903, at the dawn of the commercial music industry, sociologist W. E. B. DuBois famously proclaimed that the foremost problem in twentieth century American society is “the problem of the color line.” Du Bois’s prescience sets the stage for this course’s exploration of racial identity in recorded, commercially available music. We will examine how racial performance has intermingled with music consumption in the United States since blackface minstrelsy in the 1830s. Our goal is to understand how deeply embedded race—both ascribed and claimed—is in American music culture, reverberating throughout the last century in debates on artists’ authenticity, propriety, and popularity. This course is organized chronologically; each week is devoted to a particular era and its corresponding musical genres leading up to the present. With the rising importance of visual media since the mid-20th century, a historically informed understanding of the confluences of race and ethnicity in American music culture through music media and technologies will offer an enhanced understanding of the past and our contemporary, internet-driven musical landscape.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1803  Debating Capitalism in America  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Capitalism can often seem as American as apple pie—yet from the Haymarket bombing in 1886 to the epic market collapse of 2008, it has endured periods of significant criticism and public doubt in the United States. Through history, film, economic thought, and music, this course will examine such moments of debate in U.S. history with an eye and ear toward understanding their influence on American social, political, and economic life. How has Americans' understanding of capitalism changed? How has historical context affected its reputation as a system for organizing economic life? How have alternatives to capitalism been envisioned or pursued? Debates over capitalism have arisen equally from moments of adversity and ascendancy in U.S. and global history, and this course will cover both. Readings will include Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Andrew Carnegie, Emma Goldman, Lewis Corey, Milton Friedman, and David Harvey.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1804  Impressionism and the Modern City  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
By breaking with all traditional standards by which great painting was judged – naturalistic representation, historically distant subject matter, and narrative content – Impressionism defined modernism in art. It is no coincidence that Manet, Degas, Monet, Renoir, Cassatt, Morisot, and their followers were based in Paris, a key center of modernization in western culture. Indeed, Paris itself was their primary subject. This course considers how the profound economic and political changes of the later 19th century did, and did not, appear in such characteristic Impressionist themes as leisure, labor, commerce, class, transportation, entertainment, poverty, family, and sex. We will seek to trace the ways that social forces like industrial capitalism and the rise of the bourgeoisie were manifested in the pictorial form of Impressionist painting and the physical form of Haussmann’s Paris. Our guiding text will be T.J. Clark’s groundbreaking study The Painting of Modern Life; in addition to art historical readings, we will draw on fiction (Balzac, Zola) and critical sources both historical (Marx, Baudelaire, Benjamin) and contemporary (Marshall Berman, Susan Buck-Morss, David Harvey).
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1805  The Coen Brothers: Failure and the American Dream  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
One of the most powerful myths in American society is "the American Dream," which promises that opportunity is available to all, and that material success and happiness will come through individual effort. This dream deeply informs our psychic and political lives. In most cases American popular culture reproduces and even magnifies this myth rather than subject it to criticism. Economic downturns, lost wars, and social stagnation are rarely acknowledged in popular American cinema (without some redemptive factor), and abject failure is a surprisingly rare subject. Yet the Coen Brothers—two of the most critically acclaimed contemporary American filmmakers- have made failure their primary subject. Their work abounds with losers, lost hopes, and broken dreams. They challenge and rework established film genres—the western, crime caper, film noir, musical, and even art house film—as they disturb the ideology that drives these narrative forms. In this class we will examine how the genres of American film are structured by the American Dream, and how the Coens criticize its promise of prosperity, upward mobility, recognition, and fulfillment. In addition, we will explore how artists, social scientists, activists, and journalists have sought to portray an alternative (bleaker) view of American life. Readings will include sociological texts, cultural criticism--such as Jack Halberstam's Queer Art of Failure, as well as readings in cinema studies.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1806  Science, Race and Colonialism in Comparative Perspective  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This course examines the history of the concept of race as it relates to the development of both European colonialism and modern biological science. We will examine how and why popular notions and systematic theories of racial difference took shape and changed over time and how those ideas were put to use or expressed in various colonial contexts. The approach of the course is comparative, with a focus on Britain, France, Germany, and the Unites States, and the material is divided into three sections. In the first section, we will look at early European encounters with human difference in the New World, Asia, and Africa and trace how colonial exploration and exchange helped lay the foundations for race science. The second section considers the development of scientific racism from the appearance of Darwin’s theory of evolution to World War II and the Holocaust. The final section examines postwar reappraisals of the race concept and the process of decolonization, as well as a series of unresolved questions about the meanings of race in our contemporary global culture. Primary readings in the course include Andrew Curran’s Anatomy of Blackness and Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1807  Dystopian Fictions  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Science fiction is centrally concerned with the question, “How could things be different?” Often, it has answered that question by imagining that things are much worse. And sometimes, it has imagined that things are much better. This is a course about dystopian and utopian science fiction, focusing primarily on novels and short fiction; our readings may include George Orwell’s 1984, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain’s “Sultana’s Dream,” Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, and Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed. What constitutes dystopia within these texts? How do they envision utopia? How do forms of injustice present in today’s world—such as those involving race and gender—shape these visions of alternate societies? How do those societies relate to the world in which the author was writing, or to our contemporary moment? What responses do dystopian fictions solicit from their readers? Our discussion of these and other questions will be informed by readings that provide historical, critical, and theoretical contexts. Work for the course will likely include short response papers, a class blogging assignment, leading discussion, and two formal papers, the second of which will give students the opportunity to investigate a work of dystopian or utopian fiction of their choosing.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1808  The World According to Opera  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
"No good opera plot can be sensible," explained W.H. Auden, "for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible." This class is about the demonstrative, durational art of opera, and thus about the staging and voicing of unruly passions. An art form where music, language, drama, and design converge, opera unfurls a world where eros, madness, violent demise and the will to power are not only permitted but privileged. This course offers an introduction to four centuries of operatic history through close study of nine key works by Monteverdi, Purcell, Mozart, Wagner, Verdi, Bizet, Puccini, and Adams. Some themes we explore along the way include nationalism; fandom; race/ethnicity and gender/sexuality in plot and in casting; historically informed performance; opera's relationship to other artistic mediums; and philosophical considerations of the singing voice. Assignments include short reading/viewing response essays, a midterm essay, and a final project based on an opera of your choosing. Weekly screenings are mandatory and count toward class attendance.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1809  Achilles' Shield: Mapping the Ancient Cosmos  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
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.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1810  Art and Politics in the City: New York and Buenos Aires  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Using advanced video-conferencing in both cities, this course brings together students in New York and Buenos Aires to examine how urban arts and politics intersect in the Americas: How are art and politics understood and expressed differently and similarly in these two American metropolises and why? How do shared aesthetic features of public art in the city reflect the global circulation of urban creative modes? What do we learn about local politics from looking at the art and writing on a city’s public spaces? Teams of students in both cities will conduct field work in key neighborhoods - among them Colegiales and San Telmo in Buenos Aires, and Chinatown and Bushwick in New York - to build upon an archive of murals, graffiti, performances, and installations begun in the spring of 2015 by students in this course. Then, drawing from readings in history, art criticism,and urban studies, as well as from census and electoral data and using GIS technology, we will analyze how social and political processes like gentrification, inequality, and planning generate and reflect creative political expression as captured in our database, culminating in transnational, collaborative projects that explore what the art and writing of city streets reveals about urban life in 21st century America.
Grading: Ugrd Gallatin Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
IDSEM-UG 1811  Desperate Housewives of the 19th-Century Novel  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
From Jeffrey Eugenides's novel The Marriage Plot to TV's "Desperate Housewives" and "Real Housewives" series, our c