Past Courses – (TEST)
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.
Instructor: M. Al-Musawi
This course applies current theories to the study of Arabic literary production. It focuses on forms of the ‘sacred’ and social critique that have developed over time and gathered momentum in the modern period. Although a number of Arab intellectual interventions are used to substantiate literary production, the primary concern of the discussion is narrative. A base for modern narrative was laid in the tenth century Maqamat of Badi al-Zaman al-Hamadhnai that led in turn to the growth of this phenomenal achievement that set the stage for narratives of contestation, crisis, and critique.
(Same as ARCH A4780)
This seminar will investigate contemporary trajectories of architectural research and practice that intersect with questions of human rights, notions of democratic public space, and spatial politics. We will ask what role the discipline plays (or might play) in current debates over questions of political representation, defense, the organization of territory, surveillance, warfare, political conflict, and cultural heritage as well as in questions of citizenship, diaspora, humanitarian intervention, and justice. These questions mark out a profoundly fascinating and highly complicated field of study, and there is a growing body of important literature pertaining to them. The seminar will provide a forum for considering aspects of this literature and practices associated with it, as well as for identifying new lines of research and further critical prospects for the discipline of architecture.
This course examines psychoanalytic movements that are viewed either as post-Freudian in theory or as emerging after Freud’s time. The course begins by considering the ways Freud’s cultural and historical surround, as well as the wartime diaspora of the European psychoanalytic community, shaped Freudian and post-Freudian thought. It then focuses on significant schools and theories of psychoanalysis that were developed from the mid 20th century to the present. Through readings of key texts and selected case studies, it explores theorists’ challenges to classical thought and technique, and their reconfigurations, modernizations, and total rejections of central Freudian ideas. The course concludes by looking at contemporary theorists’ moves to integrate notions of culture, concepts of trauma, and findings from neuroscience and attachment research into the psychoanalytic frame.
An introduction to the deep engagement of peoples of African descent with the City of Light throughout the twentieth century. We will take up the full variety of black cultures that have taken shape in dialogue with Paris, including poetry, prose, journals and magazines, music, and film in English and French by African American as well as Francophone Caribbean and African artists and intellectuals. Our investigation will focus on a series of historical moments central to any understanding of black Paris: the efflorescence of the “Jazz Age” in the 1920s (especially through the many Harlem Renaissance artists who spent significant time in France); the emergence of the Négritude movement in the 1930s and 1940s (in relation to other currents such as surrealism, existentialism, and anti-imperialism); the great age of post-World War II expatriate writers such as James Baldwin and Richard Wright; and contemporary black culture in the hip hop era. Throughout the semester, we will discuss the political implications of thinking about black culture through the lens of Paris, whether at the height of the French colonial empire in the interwar period, during the US Civil Rights movement and the Algerian war of independence, or in relation to contemporary debates around religion and immigration. We will be especially attentive to ways Paris can be considered a culture capital of the African diaspora, through what Baldwin called “encounters on the Seine” among black intellectuals and artists from Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States. Readings may include fiction, poetry, and autobiography by authors such as Langston Hughes, Josephine Baker, Claude McKay, Ho Chi Minh, Aimé Césaire, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Jean-Paul Sartre, Cheikh Hamidou Kane, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, William Gardner Smith, Chester Himes, Melvin Van Peebles, Calixthe Beyala, Maryse Condé, and Marie NDiaye; and literary and historical scholarship by Edward Said, Tyler Stovall, Dominic Thomas, Christopher Miller, Pap Ndiaye, and Bennetta Jules-Rosette, among others. Requirements: weekly short reading responses; one take-home midterm; and one longer final research paper. Reading knowledge of French is useful but not required.
Instructor: C. Popkin
A close reading of Chekhov’s best work in the genres on which he left an indelible mark (the short story and the drama) on the subjects that left an indelible imprint on him (medical science, the human body, identity, topography, the nature of news, the problem of knowledge, the access to pain, the necessity of dying, the structure of time, the self and the world, the part and the whole) via the modes of inquiry (diagnosis and deposition, expedition and exegesis, library and laboratory, microscopy and materialism, intimacy and invasion) and forms of documentation (the itinerary, the map, the calendar, the photograph, the icon, the Gospel, the Koan, the lie, the love letter, the case history, the obituary, the pseudonym, the script) that marked his era (and ours). No knowledge of Russian required.
Introduction to Middle Eastern cinema as a unique cultural product in which artistic sensibilities are mobilized to address, and thus reflect, significant aspects of contemporary society, Arab, Israeli, Turkish, and Iranian cinema. Cultural and collective expressions of some enduring concerns in modern Middle Eastern societies. No P/D/F or R credit is allowed for this class.
Introduction to Middle Eastern cinema as a unique cultural product in which artistic sensibilities are mobilized to address, and thus reflect, significant aspects of contemporary society, Arab, Israeli, Turkish, and Iranian cinema. Cultural and collective expressions of some enduring concerns in modern Middle Eastern societies.
Instructor: D. Mukherjee
This graduate seminar explores the representational, imaginative, and analytical connections between cinema and the urban experience. Theories of modernity frequently hold up the city as the most emblematic site for locating the modern (eg. Benjamin, Simmel, Kracaueur). Cinema, too, as art and apparatus, can be said to have embodied the ‘shocks’ of the modern (Singer, Gunning, Eisenstein). This course introduces students to a significant corpus of literature on cinema and mediated urbanisms. By insisting on a comparative approach, the seminar seeks to put existing theories of cinematic urbanisms that pertain to Berlin, Paris, or Los Angeles, into dialogue with ‘other’ cinematic sites such as Mumbai, Algiers, Mexico City, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, or Dakar.
Open to qualified undergraduates with instructor’s permission.
Instructor: E. Horn
This course will explore concepts and narratives of climate and climate change. We will focus on literary and theoretical texts ranging from the eighteenth century to today’s debates on global warming and the “Anthropocene”. While “climate” is currently tightly bound to the idea of its catastrophic destabilization, for centuries climate was seen as a principle of stability, as cyclic time and as a steady influence on culture. However, climate change is not a discovery of the past twenty years, but has been part of natural history and literature since 1800.
We will examine the historical and aesthetic responses to a wide array of questions revolving around the relationship between human life-worlds and their environmental and climatic conditions: How does climate affect different cultures? How do humans experience time through the medium of the seasons? How can we relate to the deep time of climatic change? How do extreme climates affect human bodies and minds? How can climate and climate change be grasped aesthetically?
Instead of focusing solely on present debates and genres (such as “Cli-Fi”) the course aims at a deeper historical understanding of a century-old discourse on climate and climatic change. The goal of such a historical perspective will be not only to re-assess concepts such as “global warming” or the “Anthropocene”, but also to open up a better understanding of how literature engages with the profound environmental transformations that we are facing today.