Past Courses – (TEST)
(Seminar).This course focuses on the tumultuous 1930s, which witnessed the growth of anticolonial movements, the coming to power of totalitarian and fascist regimes, and calls for internationalism and a new world vision, among other developments. Even as fascism laid down its roots in parts of Europe, the struggle for independence from European colonial rule accelerated in Asia and Africa, and former subjects engaged with ideas and images about the shape of their new nations, in essays, fiction, poetry, and theater. Supporters and critics of nationalism existed on both sides of the metropole-colony divide, as calls for internationalism sought to stem the rising tide of ethnocentric thinking and racial particularism in parts of Europe as well as the colonies. We’ll read works from the metropole and the colonies to track the crisscrossing of ideas, beginning with writers who anticipated the convulsive events of the 1930s and beyond (E.M. Forster, H.G. Wells, Gandhi), then moving on to writers who published some of their greatest work in the 1930s (Huxley, Woolf, C.L.R. James, Mulk Raj Anand), and finally concluding with authors who reassessed the 1930s from a later perspective (George Lamming).
Instructor: Dimitrios Antoniou
*Summer Session (D) 05/23-07/01
This course examines the way particular spaces – cultural, urban, literary – serve as sites for the production and reproduction of cultural and political imaginaries. It places particular emphasis on the themes of the polis, the city, and the nation-state as well as on spatial representations of and responses to notions of the Hellenic across time. Students will consider a wide range of texts as spaces – complex sites constituted and complicated by a multiplicity of languages – and ask: How central is the classical past in Western imagination? How have great metropolises such as Paris, Istanbul, and New York fashioned themselves in response to the allure of the classical and the advent of modern Greece?
Instructor: C. Harwood
A survey of the Czech, German, and German-Jewish literary cultures of Prague from 1910 to 1920. Special attention to Hašek, Čapek, Kafka, Werfel, and Rilke. Parallel reading lists available in English and in the original.
How does theatre promote democracy, and vice versa: how do concepts and modes of theatre prevent the spectators from assuming civic positions both within and outside a theatrical performance? This class explores both the promotion and the denial of democratic discourse in the practices of dramatic writing and theatrical performance.
This course (cross-listed as SPAN GR6472) has two main objectives. The first is to examine how early modern scholars sought to define and represent universal knowledge in a variety of interrelated media and archives at multiple scales, including lexicons, histories, bibliographies, encyclopedias, libraries, and maps. The course thus functions as an introduction to the scholarly cultures of the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The second objective is to employ the early modern fantasy of universal knowledge and debate about its limits to historicize modern theories of universalism from the realms of economics, religion, law, and literature.
The goal not only of knowing all that there is to know, but also of organizing and representing such universal knowledge in books, maps, archives and other forms may seem foolhardy, even in our digital age. Yet even for those of us who are only too aware of our lack of knowledge, this dream of comprehensiveness nevertheless tends to inform our scholarly methods and structure our presuppositions about how people, capital, and information move and interact in a globalized world. Fields like world history, world literature, digital humanities, and global studies are attempts to make sense of this interconnectivity at a sufficiently broad scale. Religious, legal, and political claims to universality may blunt or buttress the force of the market’s ubiquity and the flattening power of linguistic and cultural imperialism. These various sorts of universalism may at first glance seem unique to the contemporary moment, but, as we will see in this class, they are not. Focusing on that crucial period around the turn of the sixteenth century, when the emergence of print and the rise of global exploration rendered claims to comprehensive knowledge and power both newly relevant and patently inadequate, this class examines the relationship between early and late modern theories of universalism.
Readings and visual materials by Hernando Colón, Konrad Gessner, St. Isidore, Pedro Mexía, Sebastian Münster, Antonio de Nebrija, Juan Páez de Castro, Alonso de Palencia, and Ptolemy, as well as scholarship by Alain Badiou, Ann Blair, Fernando Bouza Álvarez, David Damrosch, Umberto Eco, and others. This course will be conducted in English, Spanish, or a mixture of both, depending upon the preferences of the students who register.
This course explores how the body, the senses, interiority, and materiality are constructed in ancient and medieval literary, philosophical, and religious texts and how they are connected with hermeneutic and cognitive practices. Texts from antiquity include Aristotle, Paul, Philo, Plotinus, Origen, and Augustine; texts from the Middle Ages include the Old English Body and Soul and The Ruin, Old English riddles, William of St. Thierry, Rudolf von Biberach, Guigo II, Marguerite d’Oingt, Hadewijch, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Victorine texts. The course will also look at how medieval readings of embodiment dialogue with, are commensurate to, or differ from readings of materiality and embodiment in Hegel, Marx, Merleau-Ponty, Lévinas, Derrida, Nancy, Lyotard, Negri, Agamben, and Butler. Given the tendency in the wave of phenomenology (Merleau-Ponty) to think of embodiment as a kind of radical inter-pentetration of world and body, what differences do we find in the revision to phenomenology evidenced by thinkers such as Lyotard, Derrida, and Nancy? How do the “materialities” in medieval mystical texts and their theological counterparts compare?
The use of torture to extract confessions and obtain information has formed an integral part of legal and political practice throughout history, from the inquiry that Oedipus conducted in Oedipus Rex to the CIA interrogations at Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. At times, these practices have been strictly regulated according to legal manuals detailing the precise forms of torture that could be applied to a suspect; at others they have been strictly prohibited by human rights conventions and used nonetheless. During several historical periods, these practices comprised a specific juridical form of the “inquest”; at other times, similar kinds of practices (e.g. the threat of death) have been permitted under adversarial legal methods.
This seminar will explore torture and confession from an eminently theoretical perspective. What we are proposing here is not to explain a certain history, and even less to explain torture or confession. We want to think critically on the ever-changing apparatuses, systems, tactics, devices, justifications, and strategies that make possible the presence of torture and the adequacy of confession in the name of certain transcendent goals (i.e. the integrity of the ecclesia christiana, universal western peace, the state, one nation under god, blood, lineage, security, etc.).
As we will explore in this seminar, torture and confession—tortured confessions—are in a permanent regime of exhibition that at the same time aestheticizes the ultimate purpose of this kind of violence and anesthetizes the audience—in what has often amounted to, over the ages, a particularly perverse form of catharsis. The seminar will explore how efforts, over the centuries, to tame these perverse practices—through manuals, prohibitions, instructions, directions, exhibitions, legal opinions, justification, and denunciation—have shaped us, as subjects, and society more broadly.
NOTE: THIS COURSE REQUIRES AN APPLICATION EMAIL.
Be considerate. PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT PROFESSOR BALIBAR DIRECTLY ABOUT YOUR APPLICATION.
Please send an email (must have subject line: “CPLS G4077”) to Assistant Director Sarah Monks by August 15, 2016 with the following information:
- Indicate your desire to take the course for letter grade or R-credit
- Program/Field of Study
- Relevant courses taken
- A few sentences explaining your interest in the course.
Priority will be given to graduate students and undergraduate seniors. You will be notified in August if you’ve been accepted into the course and registered by the department.
The class initiates what I hope will be a collective research and discussion about what could be a “new” critique of political economy (as a theory and activity) in the post-Marxian age. It will, understandably, involve a great deal of reading or revisiting of crucial passages in Marx’s work (essentially taken in the four volumes of Das Kapital), but also comparisons with later Marxist and Non-Marxist writings. It will try to identify essential conceptual connections and their possibilities of variations, as well as limits and “points of stress” (in the terminology of David Harvey) which call for a reformulation, if not a new foundation. The Fall 2015 course was devoted to discussing the correlative functions that the categories of “labour” and “labour-power” receive in Marx’s understanding of the critique. Special attention will be paid to the problematic distinction of “productive” and “unproductive” labour, the postulates of the “reproduction” of the labour-force as a “commodity”, and the intervention of class-antagonism into the contradiction of the “essential relationship” (wage-labour).
More details about the Fall 2016 course to follow.
Chances are you know something about the Brothers Grimm, but not so much, perhaps, about the complex storytelling traditions to which the stories they collected belonged. This seminar will explore the European fairy tale in all its glorious history, including works written or collected by Giovan Francesco Straparola, Giambattista Basile, Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy (who first coined the term “conte de fée” or “fairy tale”), Marie-Jeanne Lhériter, Charles Perrault, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Alexander Afanasyev, Hans Christian Andersen, Joseph Jacobs, Oscar Wilde and George MacDonald. Throughout the semester, we’ll be talking about issues of translation in these tales and comparing them to the fairy-tale-inspired writing of our own age, including work by Angela Carter, Robert Coover, Donald Barthelme, Kelly Link, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, Joy Williams, Joyelle McSweeney, Shelley Jackson, Chris Adrian and others. The course has three main goals: 1. to acquaint you with the general history of the European tale; 2. to get you thinking about translation and the ways it impacts how we read; and 3. to inspire you to explore fairy tales as source material for your own work.