Past Courses – (TEST)
Instructor: Julie S Peters Wednesdays 10:10am-12pm
From its beginnings, film has been preoccupied with law: in cops and robbers silent films, courtroom drama, police procedural, judge reality show, or all the scenes that fill our media-saturated world. What do films and other audio-visual media tell us about what it’s like to come before the law, or about such substantive issues as what counts as murder, war crimes, torture, sexual abuse? How do films model the techniques that lawyers use to sway the passions of their audiences? How do they model the symbolism of their gestures, icons, images? If films and other audio-visual media rewrite legal events, what is their effect: on law? on legal audiences? How is the experience of being a film spectator both like and unlike the experience of being a legal subject? This course investigates such questions by looking at representations of law in film and other audio-visual media. We will seek to understand, first, how film represents law, and, second,how film attempts to shape law (influencing legal norms, intervening in legal regimes). The seminar’s principal texts will be the films themselves, but we will also read relevant legal cases and film theory in order to deepen our understanding of both legal and film regimes.
Conflict Urbanism: Language Justice in New York City
Laura Kurgan, Associate Professor of Architecture (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lydia Liu, Wun Tsun Tam Professor in the Humanities (email@example.com)
Michelle McSweeney, Mellon Associate Research Scholarmam (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This spring, the seminar will focus on the role of language as a structuring principle of cities, highlighting the ways that urban spaces and the world are physically shaped by linguistic diversity, and examining the results of languages coming into contact and conflict. For this work we will use New York City as our laboratory. The New York City metropolitan area is the most linguistically dense city in the world, hosting an estimated 700 different languages.To better understand this diversity, we will look closely at micro-neighborhoods such as Little Senegal (Manhattan), Little Korea (Queens), and Little Ramallah (Paterson, New Jersey). In thinking about the transnational and translingual nature of the city, we will consider structures from digital technology to remittances (small amounts of money sent“home”) and their role in language preservation and language extinction. Finally,through visualizing and mapping how language is situated in these micro-neighborhoods, we will begin to explore the cultures, languages, informal structures and architectures that migrants bring to the city.
Friedrich Nietzsche, one of the great masters of suspicion from the nineteenth century, radically challenged the way we think and engage the world. Nietzsche’s writings and thought had a tremendous influence across the disciplines, upending many—especially philosophy, political thought, philology, and critical theory—and significantly marking others, such as law, anthropology, and the humanities. A number of contemporary critical thinkers in the 20th century—Georges Bataille, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Blanchot, Aimé Césaire, Léopold Senghor, Hannah Arendt, Frantz Fanon, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Sarah Kofman, Luce Irigaray, Hélène Cixous, Jacques Derrida, Ali Shariati, and others—drew inspiration from Nietzsche’s writings and developed a strand of critical theory that has had great influence in disciplines as varied as history, law, philology, and the theory of science. These twentieth century thinkers helped forge a unique Nietzschean strand of contemporary critical thought. In some disciplines, such as philosophy and political theory, the critical influence of Nietzsche’s thought has been analyzed and explored along many dimensions—epistemological, moral, political, and aesthetic, among others. In other disciplines, though, Nietzsche’s influence has been less well understood and studied. As Peter Goodrich and Mariana Valverde note, in their edited collection Nietzsche and Legal Theory: Half-Written Laws (Routledge, 2005), many other scholars have read Nietzsche “not so well,” “rather hurriedly, and through secondhand accounts.” As a result, certain disciplines have missed some of the central critical insights of Nietzsche—including his trenchant critique of “the timeless transcendent value of natural law theory,” as well as his equally cutting critique of “the comparably timeless Kantian ideal of freedom.” (Goodrich and Valverde, at 2). The purpose of this seminar is to explore the rich tradition of contemporary critical thought that has emerged in the wake of Nietzsche. In other words, to explore Nietzschean critical thought in contrast, say, to the Marxian or Freudian traditions. The seminar will proceed through a close reading of the writings on or influenced by Nietzsche of Bataille, Heidegger, Blanchot, Césaire, Senghor, Arendt, Fanon, Deleuze, Klossowski, Foucault, Kofman, Derrida, Irigaray, Cixous, Shariati, and others, with the purpose of excavating critical insights across the disciplines and formulating a coherent Nietzschean strand of contemporary critical thought. This graduate student seminar will thus explore thirteen contemporary critical thinkers from the 20th century who engaged Nietzsche’s thought to challenge our critical thinking across a number of disciplines in social thought, law, and the humanities. The graduate student seminar will be structured to frame a series of 13 formal seminars (the “formal seminars” or “Nietzsche 13/13”) at which two guests, from different disciplines, will be invited to discuss the readings and present on the themes of the seminar. Each formal seminar will host two specialists from across the disciplines, one from Columbia University and one from outside campus. It will also frame and interrelate with a Paris Reading Group that will run alongside the seminar. (See Paris Reading Group below). The graduate student seminar thus will serve as the vehicle to enrich the formal seminars and support the intellectual apparatus that will accompany the formal seminars. It will also prepare entries for the blog of the formal seminars, host the scholars invited to participate in the formal seminars, and prepare questions and comments for the formal seminars. It will serve as the structure that will nourish the formal seminar series. This seminar will also function as an advanced graduate research seminar. We will form four or five research clusters that will conduct on-going research in coordination with the formal seminars.
Instructor: Matthew Hart
This seminar asks how the study of very recent literature relates to literary scholarship in general. Are there stable critical values or methods that should apply to our study of J. M. Coetzee as much as Miguel de Cervantes? How might one combine an interest in the contemporary with historicist method? Does it make a difference—and, if so, what kind of difference—if the authors one studies are alive and still writing? What are the points of connection between academic scholarship and journalistic or para-academic criticism? Since her possible objects of study are so numerous and diverse, what is the specific expertise of the academic specialist in contemporary literature?
The first two seminar meetings focus on the question of how we define “the contemporary” as a temporal category and field of study. From that point, we take two main tracks. First, four clusters of classes, each dedicated to a major contemporary author: China Miéville, Maggie Nelson, W. G. Sebald, and Claudia Rankine. By sampling four literary oeuvres, three of them still in formation, we will explore (among other topics) issues of canon-formation, genre, identity, class, translation, and the relation between literary parts and wholes. Between each cluster, we will pause for classes focused on selected methodological problems of peculiar relevance to contemporary literature: the value of literary sociology; the problem and pleasure of working on and with living authors; and the possibility of doing literary criticism differently—that is, for different audiences and according to different values.
This course will study the materials, techniques, settings, and meanings of skilled craft and artistic practices in the early modern period (1350-1750), in order to reflect upon a series of issues, including craft knowledge and artisanal epistemology; the intersections between craft and science; and questions of historical methodology and evidence in the reconstruction of historical experience. The course will be run as a “Laboratory Seminar,” with discussions of primary and secondary materials, as well as text-based research and hands-on work in a laboratory. This course is one component of the Making and Knowing Project of the Center for Science and Society. This course contributes to the collective production of a transcription, English translation, and critical edition of a late sixteenth-century manuscript in French, Ms. Fr. 640. In 2014-15, the course concentrated on mold-making and metalworking; in 2015-16, on colormaking. In 2016-17, it will focus on natural history, researching the context of the manuscript, and reprising some color-making and moldmaking techniques. Students are encouraged to take this course both semesters (or more), but will receive full credit only once. Different laboratory work and readings will be carried out each semester.
Our engagement with technology entails political, not just instrumental choices. Email clients, social networks, and word processors have a profound effect on the way we relate to each other: work, organize, relax, or make art. Yet, we rarely have a chance to reflect on the civic, cultural virtues implicit in numerous everyday acts of computation: connecting to a wi-fi access point, sending a text message, or sharing a photograph online…..
This course is meeting in Kent 522A
Team-Taught by Souleymane Bachir Diagne and Peter Connor.
This course will explore the significance of translation as “putting languages in touch” (Antoine Berman) and creation of reciprocity and equality even in situations of linguistic asymmetry and inequality. Foundational texts of translation studies will be discussed in connection with the notion of an “ethics of translation”. Particular emphasis will be put on an examination of translation in a colonial context.
MINI SEMINAR – 3 April – 20 April 2017
Mondays and Wednesdays. 6:10pm-8:40pm
Instructor: Michele Battini, ICLS Visiting Professor Spring 2017, University of Pisa
This short course is devoted to the study of a crucial aspect of the cultural catastrophe of Europe in the years comprised between World War One and World War Two. We will analyze this catastrophe as an aspect of the collapse of the XIXth Century European society and its foundations: free market, diplomatic relations among nation-states, representative government, and liberal rights. This complex order survived until 1929, when the first of the above foundations, self-regulated market, failed and the European élites chose to defend this kind of market stabilizing the economy, by resorting to mighty executives and Fascist regimes and destroying democracy. Modern Anti-Semitism should be understood within this historical context, when the European nations depicted themselves as victims of the plot orchestrated by the Jewish international finance and chose the European Jews as scapegoats for the crisis.
This political representation was a change of fundamental importance in the history of European cultures, and a crucial morphological transformation of the millenarian anti-Jewish Christian Tradition into a new type of anti-Semitism, that grew as hostility to the legal emancipation of the Jews, which had started in late XVIIIth century. Emancipation was really won in 1791 for the first time, following the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen in revolutionary France but, after a few years, the anti-Semitic propaganda opposed emancipation and launched a frontal attack against citizenship rights and their beneficiaries, who were held responsible for the decline of the European civilization. This literature may be held at the far origin of the self-representation of the European nations in the 20th century as victims of the financial power of the emancipated Jews. This historical and cultural analysis is timely and can help us to cast some light on the political mutation that the actual financial crisis is impressing on the democratic order that emerged in Europe after the defeat of the anti-Semitic regimes in World War Two.
This course is meeting in HB100 Komoda Room, Heyman Center.
In an interview with Elisabeth Roudinesco, Jacques Derrida details the lack of a philosophical justification for abolitionism. Rather, its proponents have made the case largely through extra-philosophical- i.e., largely literary or politico-activist modes. Our seminar will examine the death penalty as it is presented in three distinct genres: philosophy, literature and film. After a brief consideration of each genre, we turn to the justification for the death penalty in a tradition of western political thought linking it to sovereignty as well as to the construction of a “public enemy.” We shift our focus to the distinctive visuality of the death penalty-how scenes of execution are staged and witnessed. But we also investigate how these genres are mutually implicated in certain figures such as Albert Camus. We conclude with transnational comparisons of the death penalty’s (and abolitionism”s) representation in seemingly disparate works of localized fiction (the “killing states” of the American south and international cinema). Throughout the course we investigate the performance of the death penalty in relation to questions of race, gender, class and national imaginaries.