Past Courses – (TEST)
This course will investigate the connections between literary/cultural production and petroleum as the substance that makes possible the world as we know it, both as an energy source and a component in the manufacture of everything from food to plastic. Our current awareness of oil’s scarcity and its myriad costs (whether environmental, political, or social) provides a lens to read for the presence (or absence) of oil in texts in a variety of genres and national traditions. As we begin to imagine a world “beyond petroleum,” this course will confront the ways in which oil shapes both the world we know and how we know and imagine the world. Oil will feature in this course in questions of theme (texts “about” oil), of literary form (are there common formal conventions of an “oil novel”?), of interpretive method (how to read for oil), of transnational circulation (how does “foreign oil” link US citizens to other spaces?), and of the materiality (or “oiliness”) of literary culture (how does the production and circulation of texts, whether print or digital, rely on oil?).
This course hopes to entice you into readings in the literature of lost and submerged continents, as well as of remote lands hidden from history. While now often relegated to the stuff of science fiction, accounts of submerged land-masses were among the most serious popular literature of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and readers were riveted by the enduring mystery about the lost continents of Atlantis and Lemuria. Works about these and other lost lands inspired a form of “occult ethnography.” Novels such as The Coming Race (1871) drew on the popular fascination with buried land-masses in order to re-imagine alternative narratives in which the “imperial English” would be colonized by a new race of people rising from the forgotten depths of the earth. At one level, the use of ethnographic details in such novels provided an ironic commentary on the European ethnographies of colonized peoples. But at another level it also offered a visionary description of a world as yet unseen and unknown, so that the idea of the past itself becomes less stable in the cultural imagination. In animating the details of a rediscovered people, occult ethnography both drew on and subverted evolutionary models of development by showing these “lost” people, in some instances, to have reached the highest perfection possible, both in technological capability and human potential. The unsettling of established and familiar conceptions of nation, history, and cultural identity through the exploration of lost or drifting lands reaches an apex in José Saramago’s The Stone Raft (1986). In probing the enduring fascination with lost or separated lands in the cultural imagination, the course hopes to illuminate the importance of such literature in unveiling the processes of colonization, ethnography, nationalism, evolution, and technology, as well as understanding the writing of history itself: i.e., what is included in mainstream accounts and what is left out.
Instructor: Nelson Moe
Examines representations of the mafia in American and Italian film and literature. Special attention to questions of ethnic identity and immigration. Comparison of the different histories and myths of the mafia in the U.S. and Italy. Readings includes novels, historical studies, and film criticism. Limit 35
Instructor: Nelson Moe
Examines representations of the mafia in American and Italian film and literature. Special attention to questions of ethnic identity and immigration. Comparison of the different histories and myths of the mafia in the U.S. and Italy. Readings includes novels, historical studies, and film criticism. (NOTE: This is the graduate section of CLIA GU3660 which meets W 6:10p-10:00p)
There is a significant correlation between race and health in the United States. People of color and those from underserved populations have higher mortality rates and a greater burden of chronic disease than their white counterparts. Differences in health outcomes have been attributed to biological factors as race has been naturalized. In this class we will explore the history of the idea of “race” in the context of changing biomedical knowledge formations. We will then focus on the impact that social determinants like poverty, structural violence, racism and geography have on health. Ultimately, this course will address the social implications of race on health both within the classroom and beyond. In addition to the seminar, there will also be a significant service component. Students will be expected to volunteer at a community organization for a minimum of 3 hours a week. This volunteer work will open an avenue for students to go beyond the walls of their classrooms while learning from and positively impacting their community.
Along with Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche and Freud have radically altered what and how we know; about humans, language, history, religion, things and life. Because their thought has shaped our sense of ourselves so fundamentally, Michel Foucault has referred to these three authors as discourse-founders. As such they will be treated in this class. Special attention will be paid to the affinities and competition among their approaches. Secondary sources will be subject to short presentations (in English) of those students capable of reading German.
This course offers a survey of major works on metaphor, beginning with Aristotle and ending with contemporary cognitive and media theory. Appropriate for both undergraduate and graduate students, our sessions will involve weekly discussion and an occasional “lab” component, in which we will test our theoretical intuitions against case studies of literary metaphor and metaphor in the fields of law, medicine, philosophy, and design. I am particularly interested in ways metaphors “break” or “die,” whether from disuse, overuse, or misapplication. In their classical sense, metaphors work by ferrying meaning across from one domain to another. For example, by calling a rooster “the trumpet of the morn,” Shakespeare means to suggest a structural similarity between horn instruments and birds. Note that this similarity cannot pertain to the objects in their totality. The analogy applies to the call of the bird only or perhaps to the resemblance between a beak and the flute of a trumpet. The metaphor would fail yet again if there were no perceivable analogies between birds and trumpets. Similarly, computer users who empty their virtual “trash bins,” are promised the erasure of underlying data. The course will conclude by examining the metaphors implicit such media transformations.
Instructor: Sandra Ponzanesi
Migration has always been part of human mobility and civilization. Yet migration is often perceived as a ‘crisis’, creating ‘stranger encounters’ (Ahmed, 2000) and producing ‘space invaders’ (Puwar, 2004). Liquid figurations that posit migration in terms of invasion, wave, flow, and tide are the order of the day. And yet in a digital age, boundaries and borders are becoming porous and virtual so that we now speak of the ‘connected migrant’ (Diminescu, 2008) subject to ‘high tech orientalism’ (Chun, 2006) rather than the displaced migrant.
How can we account for the shifts in migrant figurations across geopolitical borders, genres, and disciplines? How can we rethink migrant figurations through the voices and performances of migrants themselves?
In this seminar, we aim to investigate different theories and practices relating to migrant figurations. We will engage with theoretical texts in order to unpack the main figurations of diaspora, nomadism, and hospitality (i.e. Bauman, Derrida, Gilroy, Braidotti, Butler, and Spivak). More concretely, the focus will be on cinematic, literary, artistic, and digital practices that challenge and resignify dominant representations, from the viral image of ‘Aylan Kurdi’ to ‘migrant selfies’ debates, from Adichie’s Americanah to Hamid’s Exit West, from Ai Wei’s exhibition in NY to Banksy’s graffiti, from migrant films to documentary films (Fire at Sea, The Edge of Heaven, Nine Muses). Migrant figurations tend to stick to the ‘other’. How can we move beyond the sticky signs without losing the material histories of disenfranchisement?