Past Courses – (TEST)
Instructors: Dana March & Linda Md Fried
People are living 30 years longer than we did 100 years ago. We have created a whole new stage of life. How do we prepare to benefit from our longer lives? What can you do in your own life? This course explores the personal, population, community, and societal dimensions of our now-longer lives, of aging itself, and the role of health and societal design in the experience of aging. The course examines the meaning of aging and the attendant expectations, myths, fears, and realities. The course examines an aging society as a public health success, the potential for building health futures, the health plan you want to be healthy in old age, and the potential for longer lives and how we unlock it. It addresses the roles public health currently plays and can play in shaping a society for an aging population. The course explores how a public health system—indeed, a society—optimized for an aging population stands to benefit all. The course also examines the physical, cognitive, and psychological aspects of aging, the exposures across our lives that affect these, the attributes and challenges of aging, keys to successful aging, and aging around the globe. The culminating project will design elements of our society that are needed to support the opportunity of having longer lives. This course comprises lectures, class discussions, individual assignments, in-class case activities, and a group project in which students shall take an active role. You will be responsible for regular preparatory assignments, writing assignments, one group project, and attending course sessions. Please note: GSAS students must receive permission from their department before registering for this course.
The 19th Century European Novel in the field of the emotions and in the cultural context of the major thinkers and the major historical events of the era.We will examine feelings, emotions, and passions in the novels from the perspectives of affective neuroscience, psychoanalysis, and philosophy in order to lay bare more clearly what is known and believed versus what is unknown, ignored or latent about human emotional reality at this time. Reading: Austen, Kleist (novella), Emily Bronte, Dickens, Dostoevsky, Hardy, D.H. Lawrence. No reading outside of the novels will be required on your part.
Further, my aim is to expand our cultural knowledge of the era by including the conceptual contributions and formative ideas of major 19th century thinkers in my lectures on the novels. Optional Reading of short selections from: Kant, Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, Darwin, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Freud. Those who wish to read and write in a comparative way or on any of the optional writers will be able to do so in lieu of one or, possibly, two novels.
The so-called refugee crisis has drawn worldwide attention to Europe’s heated debates about immigration and identity, but questions of national and transnational belonging have shaped the continent throughout the last few decades, against the backdrops of sociopolitical Europeanization and socioeconomic globalization. While political discourse has become increasingly polarized with the ascent of anti-immigrant populist forces, contemporary European cinema has developed a range of rich imaginations. In different genres along with more experimental formats, fiction films (as well as documentaries) probe diverging perspectives, unexpected complications, fresh angles or bold responses in tracing experiences of migration and the possibilities of living together in in the twenty-first century. The course explores these rich scenarios by facilitating close looks at individual films in institutional and socio-political context. The guiding notion of transnationalism is developed descriptively as acknowledging contemporary production and distribution conditions, and probed conceptually in dialogue with part competing, part overlapping paradigms such as postcolonialism and cosmopolitanism, intercultural or diasporic and world cinema. We also read some film theory to sharpen our (multisensorial) reading skills. The selection of films reflects the course’s institutional location in the German department while crossing borders in different directions (that is, roughly half of the films are German-language or otherwise significantly associated with Germany). This course is taught in English. All readings will be available on Courseworks in pdf-Format. I will aim to make the films available for streaming on the course website also.
This is a course team-taught by Bernard Harcourt and Alexis Hoag.
This course will explore the social justice road to punitive abolition—to the abolition of capital punishment and the dominant punitive punishment paradigm in the United States. It will investigate how abolition of the death penalty might be achieved in this country, but also what it might mean to imagine abolition in the context of policing, of the prison, and also of punishment more broadly.
The United States incarcerates more of its own than any other country in the world and than any other civilization in history. With over 2,600 inmates on death row, 2.2 million people behind bars, another 5 million people on probation or parole, and over 70 million people in the FBI’s criminal record database, this country now operates a criminal justice system of unparalleled punitiveness. The burden of this system has fallen predominantly on poor communities of color. In fact, in some striking ways, this country’s criminal justice system and reliance on mass incarceration have replaced chattel slavery. As Bryan Stevenson explains, “Slavery didn’t end in 1865. It just evolved.”
This course will explore how the country can move from a punitive paradigm to a new paradigm that favors instead education and well-being. It will investigate: (1) how to chart a social justice path toward abolition of the death penalty; (2) how to reimagine the criminal justice system so that it is no longer based on a punitive paradigm; and (3) what it would mean to imagine abolition more broadly of policing and punishment.
This course offers an introduction to German intellectual history by focusing on the key texts from the 18th and 19th century concerned with the philosophy of art and the philosophy of history. Instead of providing a general survey, this thematic focus that isolates the relatively new philosophical subspecialties allows for a careful tracing of a number of key problematics. The texts chosen for discussion in many cases are engaged in lively exchanges and controversies. For instance, Winckelmann provides an entry into the debate on the ancients versus the moderns by making a claim for both the historical, cultural specificity of a particular kind of art, and by advertising the art of Greek antiquity as a model to be imitated by the modern artist. Lessing’s Laocoon counters Winckelmann’s idealizing approach to Greek art with a media specific reflection. According to Lessing, the fact that the Laocoon priest from the classical sculpture doesn’t scream has nothing to do with the nobility of the Greek soul but all with the fact that a screaming mouth hewn in stone would be ugly. Herder’s piece on sculpture offers yet another take on this debate, one that refines and radicalizes an aesthetics based on the careful examination of the different senses, especially touch and feeling versus sight.—The second set of texts in this class deals with key enlightenment concepts of a philosophical anthropology informing the then emerging philosophy of history. Two literary texts will serve to mark key epochal units: Goethe’s Prometheus, which will be used in the introductory meeting, will be examined in view of its basic humanist program, Kleist’s “Earthquake in Chili” will serve as a base for the discussion of what would be considered the “end” of the Enlightenment: be that the collapse of a belief in progress or the critique of the beautiful and the sublime. The last unit of the class focuses on Hegel’s sweeping supra-individualist approach to the philosophy of history and Nietzsche’s fierce critique of Hegel. Readings are apportioned such that students can be expected to fully familiarize themselves with the arguments of these texts and inhabit them.
On which grounds can we claim, in 2020 and with scholarly confidence, that a literary text has “progressive” or “right-wing” affinities? How do we measure the success of another text’s apparent experimental critique of racist or homophobic dispositifs? Or what could justify the declaration that a film elicits a revolutionary sensibility? Against the backdrop of new political populisms and fascisms, questions such as these couldn’t be more topical today. But do we have equally topical answers? Both within and beyond academia, political reading practices have long been countered with the charge that they don’t do justice to the aesthetic qualities of their object. In the twenty-first century, old-school articulations of this point have been revamped in the name of new formalisms and a range of postcritical methods. The course starts from the premise that these new formalist and postcritical challenges are worth listening to, but do not require that we abandon the desire to read politically. Rather, they can help us refine our skills and develop interpretative methods accounting for hateful or empathetic, egalitarian or elitist overtones and undertones of aesthetic texts in non-reductive, non-symptomatic ways, making room for ambiguity, affective incongruity and multivoicedness, without entirely separating art from ideology. Towards the goal of describing relations between aesthetics and politics in ever more convincing terms, we will return to the tradition of theorizing their interplay from the Frankfurt School to Jacques Rancière, along with selected texts from the fields of critical race and queer studies, and put all of them in a dialogue with new formalist and postcritical perspectives. As we go along, we will probe our reading skills on a number of aesthetic objects (literature & audiovisual).
This course studies the genealogy of the prison in Arab culture as manifested in memoirs, narratives, and poems. These cut across a vast temporal and spatial swathe, covering selections from the Quran, Sufi narratives from al-Halllaj oeuvre, poetry by prisoners of war: classical, medieval, and modern. It also studies modern narratives by women prisoners and political prisoners, and narratives that engage with these issues. Arabic prison writing is studied against other genealogies of this prism, especially in the West, to map out the birth of prison, its institutionalization, mechanism, and role. All readings for the course are in English translations.
In this Seminar, we will explore the question of ‘globalization’ in the arts, and the new debates to which it has given rise, since 1989, or at the dawn of the 21st century. It is open to qualified students in any discipline concerned with such questions. While it is focused on visual arts and arts institutions, it involves other ‘media’ — film, photography, public art, literature. In conjunction with exhibitions at the Guggenheim and the Met Breuer opening this Spring, we will pay special attention to contemporary art in China and Brazil, but the Seminar welcomes students with interests in other areas or geographies as well. It is intended as a kind of open laboratory and forum about the role that critical theory has played and may yet play in this field, still in the making. Thus the challenges to ‘Euro-centrism’ and the associated problem of ‘critical translation’ will be discussed in terms of the over-riding question: what is ‘transnational citizenship’ today, what role might art and critical thought play in it.