Past Courses – (TEST)
Selected texts of W.E.B. Du Bois, Antonio Gramsci, and B.R. Ambedkar will be read to compare and contrast their points of view on the emancipation of the subaltern. The issue of gendering will be investigated.
A study of frame tale collections from India, Persia, the Middle East, and Western Europe from the 5th century C.E. through the 17thcentury. We will trace the development of short story/novella from their oral traditions and written reworkings, studying such texts as 1001 Nights, Kalila wa-Dimnah, Scholar’s Guide, and the works of Boccaccio, Marguerite de Navarre, Cervantes, and María de Zayas. This is a Global Core course. Application Instructions: E-mail Professor Patricia E. Grieve (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than November 17, with the subject heading “Application: E/W Frametale Narratives.” In your message, include basic information: your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Applicants will be notified of decisions within a week.
Prerequisites: the instructor’s permission. (Seminar). This course examines how European exposure to Africa and the Americas influenced transatlantic literature from Columbus to Aphra Behn, asking how art and texts from all three continents reflected, responded to, and shaped the contact zones created by early modern expansion. Topics include the creation of geographic identities and selves; visual versus verbal representations of ‘savages’; gender and sexuality at home and abroad; old genres and new technologies; utopian communities; travel for pleasure, profit, and pain. Authors include More, Milton, Montaigne, Donne, Guaman Poma, Shakespeare, Sor Juana de la Cruz, & the Basque trans ex-nun, Catalina de Erauso. All texts available in the original and in translation.
This course will focus on the structure, meaning, and function of fairy tales as they keep being told, curated, edited, written and re-written, illustrated, performed and being turned into film, crossing back and forth from popular culture to high art and back; in other words, we will study the fairy tale in relation to practices of adaptation. In terms of the corpus of fairy tales, we will focus primarily on the collection by the Brothers Grimm, the Romantics’ take on popular culture (Wordsworth, Tieck, Arnim, Brentano), questions of translation and Rackham’s superb 19th century illustrations (which are available in Columbia’s rare book library) but we will also look at two French adaptations of Beauty and the Beast (both Mme de Beaumont’s narrative, and Jean Cocteau’s film), Angela Carter’s and Margaret Atwood’s feminist fairy tales, as we will also contrast Disney’s Snow White with the recent black and white Spanish film Bianca Nieve, and trace the transformation of the late medieval Melusine legend into Goethe’s “The New Melusine,” Hans Christian Andersen’s “Little Mermaid,” Disney’s Little Mermaid and Myasake’s Ponyo. We will study, how the fairy tale has been used by Romanticism, folklore studies, narratology and structuralism, psychoanalysis, feminism, the Frankfurt School and queer studies, how it has been deemed too dark for children or perfect for their instruction, politically oppressive or subversive, part of a consumerist mass culture or a reservoir of utopian potential. Thus we will focus on a range of specific discursive contexts that both drew on fairy tales as they also let themselves be shaped by them. This course has no prerequisites and is open to undergraduate and graduate students.
The election of President Donald Trump has renewed interest in the examination of fascism- as an ideology, as a political movement and as a form of governance. Our inquiry into the nature of fascism will primarily focus on Western European cases- some where it remained an intellectual movement (France), and others such as Italy and Germany where it was a ruling regime. Fascism will be discussed in many dimensions- in its novelty as the only new “ism” of the twentieth century, in its relation to nascent technology (radio and film), its racial and gendered configurations, in its relation to (imperialist) war. We will explore the appeal of this ideology to masses and to the individual. Who becomes a fascist? What form of inquiry provides the best explanations? Can art- literature and film- somehow render what social science cannot? Can fascism outlive the century in which it was born and occur in the 21stcentury?
The forms of domination and violence that have characterized the phenomenon of empire have always been interwoven with desire and various forms of intimacy. Personal relationships have been vectors of colonial power as well as sites of resistance. In this course we consider various ways in which love, desire and intimacy have emerged as questions in the French colonial context. The course covers a broad historical and geographic span stretching from the age of plantation slavery to the era of decolonization and from the Caribbean and Louisiana to Vietnam and Africa. We consider both the transmission of categories and practices across colonial contexts and historical transitions and regional specificities. The course methodology is interdisciplinary, drawing on insights from history, sociology and law. The primary lens is, however, be that of literature, a medium in which the personal dimensions of empire have often found expression. We consider how recurrent themes and figures of colonial desire and intimacy have taken shape across different genres and registers of writing.
Clinic, Culture, Cruelty: With the three terms one could indicated both the wide range of Freud’s work and the specific force it kept addressing without shying away from the theoretical and practical consequences that came with it.
In Civilization and its Discontent Freud develops—in part openly, in part secretly—a peculiar, paradoxical and abyssal logic in order to formalize how culture (or civilization) is in a mortal battle with itself. Even more so, culture is this battle; and civilization is the result of a violence the sole aim and source of which is the destruction of civilization. The determining factors of this logic form the proper object of psychoanalysis which had developed out of clinical concerns; and what occurs here as “violence,” or “destruction,” as it does in several texts whose themes are cultural, historical, or sociological, is given multiple other names in all of Freud’s work or is linked to such names: the unconscious, the drive, libido, Eros, Thanatos, sexuality, narcissism, masochism, even hysteria, obsession and psychosis. All these terms mark instances of the same logic in which what we call the “sexual” and “language” are entangled with a “cruelty” that is neither the opposite of pleasure nor can be derived from any supposedly natural ground.
In this seminar, we will trace this logic as well as its material in its reiterations, displacements, and reinventions from Freud’s clinical writings, through his constructions and theories of the “psyche,” to his analyses and speculations in civilization and history. Freud’s text will be read closely, with the attention to details that he himself performed as a virtue and a method. No previous acquaintance with Freud or psychoanalysis is required—only a mind as open as possible to the surprises over what they have to offer today.
Prerequisites: Prior study of Freudian theory and psychoanalysis.
While there is a general familiarity with the history of psychoanalysis’s spread from Vienna throughout Europe, and from the European centers of psychoanalysis to the US, less is known about its broader internationalization. This course explores the globalization of Freudian theory, and the varying ways it has been read and deployed by intellectuals, artists, and political activists–among others–in various parts of the world. Whether its central appeal was to pre-Revolution Russian intellectuals, who wished to assert their cosmopolitanism and kinship with Europe; to Mexican judges, who employed it to analyze criminal defendants; or to Egyptian experts in dreams, who added this tool to their analytic toolkit, psychoanalysis lent itself to novel, and often contrasting, interpretations and uses.
In this class, we will examine how Freud’s universal model of the mind and theory of the subject were refashioned and repurposed to address specific social problems and to advance particular political projects, and how they were revised to conform to local concepts of emotion and the self. We will consider how a system of thought grounded in secularity and individualism was adapted for faith-based and communitarian societies. In addition, we will look into the ways Freudian notions of the unconscious intersected with existing philosophical traditions, and how other cornerstones of psychoanalytic thought were blended with local interpretive practices. Finally, we will address a number of issues that have arisen in the global transmission of psychoanalysis, including problems in the translation of Freudian theory from the original German, and the formation and ongoing conflicts of the International Psychoanalytic Association.
This seminar course takes concerns around rapidly diminishing language diversity as the starting point for an interdisciplinary, trans-regional, and trans-lingual investigation of the role of digital communication technologies in these global shifts. Digital technologies appear to be contributing to language extinction, with a potential for 50-90% loss of language diversity this century. While an increasing number of languages are digitally supported, this process is largely market-driven, excluding smaller or poorer language communities. This course investigates the role of digital design and governance in including or excluding languages from the digital sphere. Digital exclusion and language shift affect minority language communities in ways that cut to the core of their identities, relationships, and epistemologies. Furthermore, it is estimated that there are 800+ endangered languages represented in the NY area, a higher concentration than any other city in the world. As such, this course gives students the opportunity to understand global language justice through the work of leading scholars and practitioners (guest speakers to be announced at beginning of semester), as well to understand it on a personal and practical level through hands-on activities such as interviews with minority language speakers and assessments of digital supports for minority languages. Students will leave this course with new skills in qualitative and quantitative research methods, media production skills, and a rich understanding of how the social sciences, humanities, and big data contribute an interdisciplinary and multi-faceted perspective on the loss of language diversity. Furthermore, students will be challenged to identify and develop evidence-based strategies to advance global language justice in the digital sphere.