Past Courses – (TEST)
Instructor: R. Stanton
Examines literary treatments of magic produced at five pivotal moments in (mostly) European intellectual history, and inquires: How does the depiction of magic relate to the idea of “modernity” and its attendant anxieties? How do texts produce magical effects? How does magic function as a way of understanding the world? Readings include works by Ovid, Apuleius, Marie de France, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Goethe, Pushkin, Bulgakov and others, as well as folklore and theoretical texts.
Recent decades have witnessed a flood of life writing about illness and disability. This development represents a significant change, as autobiography has historically been reserved for the most accomplished and able-bodied among us. Our course will study the rise of illness and disability memoir, asking how it revises traditional autobiography as it attempts to carve out literary space for voices and bodies that have not historically been represented in public. We will consider how these new memoirs talk back to doctors and other health care professionals who medicalize the disabled body, as well as social environments that stigmatize and exclude the ill and disabled. We will also ask how race and gender inform stories of illness and disability, as well as investigating differences between physical and mental illness and/or disability. Each week we will read one memoir, paired with other writings meant to prompt discuss and critical examination. In addition to more traditional academic writing, students will also have opportunities to experiment with their own life writing.
This class is open to both graduate and undergraduate students.
In the last two decades, a contemporary visual art has arisen in Mainland China on an unprecedented scale and on a peculiar calendar, arising after the death of Mao, later encouraged by new economic policies, auction houses and market forces, biennials and fairs. In this seminar, we explore this on-going episode and its implications within the emerging field of global art history and theory and for the very idea of ‘the contemporary’. We first look at the question of documents and methods available for its study in the context of new translations and intellectual debates and the frameworks and calendars through which it unfolds, its relations with New York and Paris. We then focus on the work of several key artists whose work refracts these questions and take up a number of specific current issues within the field: how the rise of contemporary ink painting draws on Asian visual tradition in new ways; how new museum expansions in Asia pose questions for the old nineteenth European ‘museum without walls’; how the Market figures in the field and in the story about it; how a practice of the ‘moving image’ arose and developed, how questions of realism and abstraction are posed in it. With the participation of a number of noted artists, critics and curators, and geared to related events in New York City, the seminar is thus conceived as a laboratory for a critical investigation of the field, and is open to qualified students in all relevant disciplines and departments.
This course examines the writing (including major novels, short stories, essays and memoirs) of the Russian-American author Vladimir Nobokov. Special attention to literary politics and gamesmanship and the author’s unique place within both the Russin and Anglo-American literary traditions. Knowledge of Russian not required.
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 to 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.