Past Courses – (TEST)
Instructor: K. Eden
(Seminar). Major works of rhetorical theory from Greek and Roman antiquity to early modern Europe with a focus on the continuities and changes and with special attention to the forensic elements of both their inventional and stylistic strategies.
Prerequisites: Instructor’s permission (Seminar).
We will investigate performances that are not staged (in the conventional sense), such as tournaments, festivals, secular and religious rituals, and banquet entertainments. Such performances were ubiquitous in late medieval England, and participating in them gets frequent representation in chronicles, poetry, and manuscript illumination. Each week of the course gathers sources around one kind of performance, and considers how it shaped and expressed medieval identities. Some dramatic works (mummings, cycle plays) are set in this wider context of performance types. Works to be considered will include records of royal entries, legends of transvestite saints, Lydgate’s mummings, Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale, and Malory’s Morte Darthur.
Contemporary biomedical technologies have delivered an unprecedented ability to refashion our bodies and by extension the social institutions in which bodies circulate and become meaningful. But these technologies have also wrought unexpected changes in social and cultural institutions like the family and the novel. And the novel has always responded to technological change in its preoccupation with revolutions, industrial and digital, while also becoming an object of those changes as the printing press gives way to digital ways of reading, producing and structuring texts. Technology has broadened medicine’s involvement in everyday life and new literary genres like the neuro-novel and the illness memoir have risen in response. By reading technological change in terms of health and illness, family structures and literary innovation, we will engage with the medical, cultural and representational meanings developed by many of these new technologies. Readings will include but not be limited to novels and memoirs by Shelley Jackson, Lucy Grealy, Maggie Nelson, Kazuo Ishiguro and Tom McCarthy.
Instructor: Nicholas Dames
Instructor: A. Lang
Examines representations of the mafia in American and Italian film and literature. Special attention to questions of ethnic identity and immigration. Comparison to the different histories and myths of the mafia in the U.S. and Italy. Readings include novels, historical studies, and film criticism.
Typewriters, trains, electricity, telephones, telegraph, stock tickers, plate glass, shop windows, radio, television, computers, Internet, World Wide Web, cell phones, tablets, search engines, big data, social networks, GPS, virtual reality, Google glass. The technologies turn back on their creators to transform them into their own image. This course will consider the relationship between mechanical, electronic, and digital technologies and different forms of twentieth-century capitalism. The regimes of industrial, consumer, and financial shape the conditions of cultural production and reproduction in different ways. The exploration of different theoretical perspectives will provide alternative interpretations of the interplay of media, technology, and religion that make it possible to chart the trajectory from modernity to postmodernity and beyond.
(Lecture). In the period since 1965, fiction has become global in a new sense and with a new intensity. Comparison is built into it. Writers from different national traditions have been avidly reading each other, wherever they happen to come from, and they often resist “national” and regional labels altogether. If you ask the Somali writer Nuruddin Farah whether the precocious child of Maps was inspired by Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, he will answer (at least he did when I asked him) that he and Rushdie both were inspired by Sterne’s Tristram Shandy and Grass’s The Tin Drum. At the same time, the human experiences around which novelists organize their fiction are often themselves global, explicitly and powerfully but also mysteriously. Our critical language is in some ways just trying to catch up with innovative modes of storytelling that attempt to be responsible to the global scale of interconnectedness on which, as we only rarely manage to realize, we all live. This course will begin with the Sudanese classic Season of Migration to the North, a rewriting of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” and will end with the British novelist Zadie Smith. In between we will discuss novels by Gabriel García Márquez, Marguerite Duras, Milan Kundera, W.G. Sebald, Roberto Bolaño, and others. Requirements: two short papers (6-8 pages) and a final for undergraduates; one longer paper (12-15 pages) and no final for graduate students.
Narrative medicine – its practice and scholarship – is necessarily concerned with issues of trauma, body, memory, voice, and intersubjectivity. However, to grapple with these issues, we must locate them in their social, cultural, political, and historical contexts. Narrative understanding helps unpack the complex power relations between North and South, state and worker, disabled body and able-body, bread-earner and child-bearer, as well as self and the Other (or, even, selves and others). If disease, violence, terror, war, poverty and oppression manifest themselves narratively, then resistance, justice, healing, activism, and collectivity can equally be products of a narrative based approach to ourselves and the world.
This course will explore the connections between narrative, health, and social justice. In doing so, it broadens the mandate of narrative medicine – challenging each of us to bring a critical, self-reflective eye to our scholarship, teaching, practice, and organizing. We will examine such questions as: How do power and hierarchy – on an interpersonal, institutional, cultural, social, or political scale – impact the work of Narrative Medicine? How can we ‘read’ multiple, simultaneous narratives – ie. the individual and the sociopolitical? What are the intersections of Narrative Medicine with health advocacy and activism on local, national, and global levels? How can the pedagogy of Narrative Medicine enact social justice in health care? In other words, how do we teach Narrative Medicine and why? Finally, how are the stories we tell, and are told, manifestations of social injustice? How can we transform such stories into narratives of justice, health, and change?
The class will be run in seminar format, and will pedagogically centralize learner participation and presentation. Texts assigned weekly will be broadly interdisciplinary – drawing from literature, feature and documentary films, post-colonial studies, disability studies, sociology, anthropology, psychology, criminology, public health, and trauma studies. Students should come to class prepared to engage with each other and with the instructor and to offer their questions, comments, insights, and analysis. Students who are able to read texts in the original language are encouraged to do so (and may be required to do so in the case of certain majors).
(Lecture). The term “new wave” was coined by a journalist to refer to an “outburst” of filmmaking that took place in France beginning in 1959. Although never a movement, and shortlived in terms of whatever aesthetic uniformity it may have had, its effects spread out across various European cinemas and it became the emblem for various American filmmakers well into the 1970s. The class will analyze a (somewhat random) series of such cineastes in an attempt to understand what now perhaps appears, from the current perspective, as one of the last gasps of high cultural production coming up against the reality of corporate necessity. Filmmakers will include Roberto Rossellini, Jean-Luc Godard, Chirs Marker, Louis Malle, Agnès Varda, Alain Resnais, Wim Wenders, Bernardo Bertolucci, Robert Altman, John Cassavetes, Stanley Kubrick, Terrence Malick.
Instructor: R. Braidotti
Time: MW 11:00am-12:55pm
MINI-SEMINAR 2/15/16 – 3/9/16
The course focuses on contemporary formations of critical and feminist issues that start from issues of non-unitary subjectivity and open up to questions related to technological mediation, economic globalization, contemporary security concerns and the cognitive character of advanced capitalism. Questions of “nomadic” mobility are more relevant than ever in the context of advanced capitalism. This means that the role of non-human actors is central to the political economy of critical discourses in the global arena. Global mobility, and the re-definition of human/non-human interaction however, does not automatically resolve power differences and other forms of structural inequality and in many ways even intensifies them. The “posthuman” predicament, far from being post-ideological, calls for an urgent redefinition of political and ethical agency. The course aim at raising critical perspectives to come to terms with the complexity of these conceptual and methodological challenges.