Past Courses – (TEST)
Instructor: M. Al-Musawi
In chapter 4 of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Mind, a story is told about a confrontation between a Lord (Herr) and a Bondsman (Knecht). The story conveys how consciousness is born. This story, subsequently better known as the confrontation between Master and Slave, has been appropriated and revised again and again in figures like Marx and Nietzsche, Sartre, De Beauvoir, and Fanon, Freud and Lacan, Emmanuel Levinas, Carl Schmitt, Slavoj Zizek, and Judith Butler. The premise of this course is that one can understand much of which is (and isn’t) most significant and interesting in contemporary cultural theory by coming to an understanding Hegel’s argument, and tracing the paths by which thinkers revise and return to it as well as some of the arguments around it. This course is intended for both graduates and undergraduates. There are no prerequisites, but the material is strenuous, and students will clearly have an easier time if they start out with some idea of what the thinkers above are doing and why. Helpful preparatory readings might include Genevieve Lloyd, The Man of Reason: “Male” and “Female” in Western Philosophy and Judith Butler, Gender Trouble.
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.
Instructor: D. Papanikolaou
(Mini-seminar, meets April 7-23, 2014 only). This lecture mini-course, takes two of the most celebrated and influential thinkers and writers of the 20th century, Greek diaspora poet C.P.Cavafy (1863-1933) and French philosopher Michel Foucault (1926-1984) and attempts to read them side by side, in the light of recently renewed critical emphasis on sexuality, biopolitics, queer temporality and ethics. Each lecture/seminar engages with a different theme: in each case, we will start from 3-4 Cavafy poems and extracts from Foucault, before branching out to key works in queer theory from the 1990s (Butler, Kosofsky-Sedgwick, Michael Warner), as well as questions raised by very recent debates in new queer theory (esp. on space, time, affect, politics and ethics).
The aim is to bring together questions of historical understanding, aesthetics and theory. Thus, our analysis will be positioned at the intersection of three parallel inquiries related to non-normative sexuality in/and modernity : a historical inquiry (the emergence of a homosexual subjectivity since the 18th century); a poetic inquiry (the aesthetics and ethics of sexual difference in modernity); a philosophical inquiry (encapsulated by the modern epistemologies of Foucault and queer theory, but also evident in the writings of such literary writers as Cavafy). Even though students will need to familiarize themselves with the writings of Foucault and Cavafy, as well as with central texts of queer theory, no prior knowledge of these fields is needed in order to follow the course.
Instructor: P. Usher
Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 18 students. Examination of concepts and assumptions present in contemporary views of literature. Theory of meaning and interpretation (hermeneutics); questions of genre (with discussion of representative examples); a critical analysis of formalist, psychoanalytic, structuralist, post-structuralist, Marxist, and feminist approaches to literature.
A seminar on the theory and practice of translation from the perspective of comparative diaspora studies, drawing on the key scholarship on diaspora that has emerged over the past two decades focusing on the central issue of language in relation to migration, uprooting, and imagined community. Rather than foregrounding a single case study, the syllabus is organized around the proposition that any consideration of diaspora requires a consideration of comparative and overlapping diasporas, and as a consequence a confrontation with multilingualism, creolization and the problem of translation. The final weeks of the course will be devoted to a practicum, in which we will conduct an intensive workshop around the translation projects of the student participants.
In this course we investigate the experience of diaspora, exile and migration through the lens of the Modern Greek case. We explore the major movements of populations from and towards the territory of the Greek state from the late 19th century to the present day, and study the anthropology of forced migration and political exile. Materials considered include ethnographic works, published and unpublished memoirs, literature, films, documentaries and oral histories.
Instructor: D. Miron
The seminar on fiction and politics in Israeli Literature examines correlations between political attitudes and development of Israeli fiction since the 1970’s.
*Fulfills Global Core Requirement*
What do the Thousand and One Nights, Panchatantra, and works by Boccaccio, Marguerite de Navarre, María de Zayas and Cervantes have to do with the narrative forms of films such as the romance Love Actually, Stephen King’s psychological thriller Secret Window, or Christopher Guest’s mockumentary Best in Show?
Frametale narratives, the art of inserting stories within stories, in oral and written forms, originated in East and South Asia centuries ago; tales familiar to Europe, often called novellas, can trace their development from oral tales to transmitted Sanskrit and Pahlavi tales, as well as Arabic and Hebrew stories; Both Muslim Spain and Christian Spain served as the nexus between the East and Europe in the journey of translation and the creation of new works. This course examines, through readings and films, the structure, meaning, and function of ancient, medieval, and early modern frametale narratives.
Instructor: J. Stalnaker
Intertextuality was invented in the 1960s to characterize interrelations between texts. Soon ubiquitous, it remains nonetheless problematic. Understood subversively, it refers to any echo of a text – anterior or not – in another text; in a more traditional usage, its meaning has been restricted to sources and influences. The theory and history of the notion needs to be reviewed, with examples of some of its applications.