Past Courses – (TEST)
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.
This seminar offers an introduction to basic readings in the field called critical animal studies or human-animal studies, with primary texts from medieval Britain and France, and secondary texts by familiar theorists including Derrida, Foucault, Agamben, Nussbaum, and Haraway together with field-specific founders including Ursula Heise, Vinciane Despret, and Cary Wolfe.
Medieval literature offers a rich archive of thought about nonhuman animals, ranging from the high philosophy of Augustine’s commentary on Genesis and Aquinas’s rediscovery of Aristotle, to the many animal miracles in the Life of Saint Cuthbert, the totemic use of animals in heraldry and family genealogies, and the instructions in treatises on how to hunt boar and deer. Many questions still current in animal studies today engaged medieval writers as well. Do humans have ethical responsibilities to animals? What kinds of consciousness do different species have? How did domestication come about? What kinds of working relationships are possible across species lines? What rhetorical resources (metaphoric? anthropomorphic? affective?) come forward when animals are represented, and what are the limitations of rhetoric for translating animal encounters into language?
What is a woman adventurer in medieval literature? How do these protagonists expand or subvert medieval (and modern) notions of exploration and travel? What are the female counterparts to the questing knight – characters more mobile, cunning and commanding than a damsel in distress? The title of this class is as much a challenge as a theme, and over the course of this semester we will expand the terms of adventure. By reading medieval texts across a range of genres – romance, hagiography and history writing – we will explore how different characters – queens, maidens and mothers, both fictional and historical – travel, stake out ground, and encounter strangeness. We will give particular attention to how romance, a precursor to the novel, imagines women’s movement in unusual ways. Fulfills Comparative, Poetry and pre-1800 requirements.
Instructor: J. Peters
Exploring the borderlines between sex and perversion, human and machine, savage and civilized, modern drama engaged the traumas of modernity in what often seemed a post-tragic age. We will move from the turn-of-the-century sex drama to the drama of decolonization c. 1968, focusing particularly on emergent ideas of sexuality, primitivism, the machine, and the politics of the avant-garde, looking along the way at the period’s aesthetic ‘isms (Symbolism, Dada, Futurism, Expressionism, Constructivism) in the context of theatrical practice, exploring the role of drama in an age of mass media and the significance of theatrical modernism for the “modern” generally. Texts include films, visual images, theatrical documents, theoretical texts, and plays.
Interpretations of civil society and the foundations of political order according to the two main traditions of political thought–contraction and Aristotelian. Readings include works by Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Montesquieu, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Saint-Simon, Tocqueville, Marx, and Mill.
Study of selected novels, novellas, and experimental prose texts from the late-19th century to the 1950s. Hofmannsthal, Schnitzler, Rilke, Musil, Broch, Jahnn, Th. Mann, Benn, Döblin, Einstein, Koeppen, Weiss.
Despite the fact that intimate violence destroys the frameworks of identity and community, testimony and truth, memory and justice, rape has been a fundamental and globally pervasive literary theme and trope, often the very act that engenders narrative and plot. This seminar will explore how rape has been written in the face of its unspeakability and the silences surrounding it, and how the act of bearing witness can become an act of resistance, rebuilding voice, subjectivity and community. Literary texts will be read alongside feminist theoretical work on embodiment, trauma, testimony, and law.
Requirements: class attendance and participation, weekly one-page postings on the readings, two 8-10 page papers.
E-mail Professor Marianne Hirsch (email@example.com) with the subject heading “Narrating Rape seminar.” 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. Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.
The past ten years have seen an explosion of memoirs, blogs, essays, novels, and films about illness and disability. This course will look at the intersection of disability and narrative, investigating the ways that illness and disability give rise to unique forms of representation in a variety of media. We will contextualize our study of narrative by asking what political and social factors have given rise to the current boom in disability narratives, as well as the way we understand disability itself. We will lend historical depth to our investigation by looking at earlier examples of disability in literary and visual culture, seeking to understand how more recent representations are informed both by a longer literary history, as well as such practices as freak shows, institutionalization, and the rise of the medical and/or helping professions. Weekly meetings are organized topically to introduce students to some of the major concepts and debates currently animating the field of disability studies.
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.