Past Courses – (TEST)
This seminar will focus on theorizing the particular contours of radical knowledge production among African diasporic intellectuals in the twentieth century. We will read key works of African, Caribbean, and African American cultural and political movements, with particular attention to the relations between politics and poesis, and the ways that the exigencies of anticolonialism, civil rights, and Pan-Africanism have provoked methodological innovation in interdisciplinary work. We will focus especially on the implications of black radicalism for theories of the archive; to this end, we will not only read current scholarship on the issue, but also take advantage of recent acquisitions of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia, including the papers of C.L.R. James, Hubert Harrison, Alexander Gumby, and Amiri Baraka. Participants will be expected to pursue original archival research in their work for the seminar. This is to say that the seminar will offer both an introduction to the methods and standards of archival practice (with an eye to the particular issues raised by African diasporic history), and a practicum in archival research using the holdings of RBML. Readings may include work by W.E.B. Du Bois, Hubert Harrison, C.L.R. James, Amiri Baraka, Ronald Hobbs, Grace Lee Boggs, Howard “Stretch” Johnson, and Alexander Gumby; and secondary scholarship by David Scott, Robert Hill, Arjun Appadurai, Stuart Hall, Michel Rolph-Trouillot, Cedric Robinson, Achille Mbembe, Carolyn Steedman, Saidiya Hartman, and Ann Stoler.
Instructor: N. Moe
Examines representations of the mafia in American and Italian film and literature. Special attention to questions of ethnic identity and immigration. Comparison of the different histories and myths of the mafia in the U.S. and Italy. Readings include novels, historical studies, and film criticism. Limited to 25 students.
Instructor: G. Ecker
The seminar investigates how literary texts employ the representation of things for various narrative and semantic purposes. In addition to literary analysis, the course will also explore recent theorizations of things and their agency. Authors analyzed include Pamuk, Didion, Appadurai, Latour, and Barthes.
Instructor: W. Brown
In this course we will first analyze Marx’s account of capitalism in Capital and then turn to critical theoretical accounts of neoliberalism, concentrating on Foucault’s account in The Birth of Biopolitics. Our work will have two foci: 1) what is and isn’t distinctive about neoliberalism as a theory, description or modality of capitalism, 2) what is gained and lost in moving between Marx and Foucault.
Thus we will reflect on epistemological and ontological matters in materialism, political rationality, and normative reason, and also on whether central concepts in Marx’s critical theory-labor power, commodities, exchange value, fetishism, contradiction, etc.-remain relevant to neoliberal formations. This course is not an introduction to Marx or neoliberalism. It presumes knowledge of both, even as we will attempt to defamiliarize and rethink both.
Enrollment limit is 15 and the instructor’s permission is required.
Note: To apply, send no more than a page on your relevant academic background and your interest in the course to email@example.com
Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor. (Seminar) Each week’s readings raise a number of questions, often intersecting and contradictory, about how the created world was understood by medieval philosophers and poets. What kinds of coherence did the material world have for religious thought, for popular magic and legend, and for medieval scientific speculation? How is human society based on and distinct from the natural world? What kinds of worldly interactions did medieval people value and abhor? In sum, what was environmental thought in these centuries, and what does it share with contemporary environmental thought? Application Instructions: E-mail Professor Susan Crane (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject heading “Medieval Environments 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.
The current debate on “Post-Secularism” was prefigured by an earlier controversy concerning Freud’s Moses and Monotheism. The earlier debate, which was initiated by Yerushalmi’s Freud’s Moses and included such prominent figures as Jacques Derrida, Jan Assmann, Robert Paul, Richard Bernstein and Edward Said, has not come to a halt. On the contrary, an array of new publications has in fact moved it into its next phase centering more closely on the evaluation of monotheism and its relation to religious violence. This course will consist in three major divisions. The first will face the challenge of trying to make sense Freud’s original text — written as Hitler’s troops were marching into Vienna and as its author was dying of cancer – which, as a “late work,” to use Adorno’s term, is as idiosyncratic, eccentric and downright strange as it is rich and fertile. In the second division, we will examine the first round of the Moses debate to determine its significance for Freud’s thinking and the theory of religion. And finally, we will turn to the more recent texts and examine the ambiguities surrounding the concept of monotheism in detail.
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).
Recent decades have seen a number of major contemporary philosophers engage with cinema. Beginning with the influential books by Gilles Deleuze in the 1980s, this seminar will explore the relationship between philosophy and cinema in writings of Jacques Rancière, Alain Badiou, Giorgio Agamben, Slavoj Zizek, and Bernard Stiegler.
This course is open to graduate students and advanced undergraduates. Some prior acquaintance with the writings of some or all of these philosophers is highly recommended. Undergraduates must email the professor at email@example.com for permission to take the class.