Past Courses – (TEST)
Instructor: C. Popkin
A close reading of Chekhov’s best work in the genres on which he left an indelible mark (the short story and the drama) on the subjects that left an indelible imprint on him (medical science, the human body, identity, topography, the nature of news, the problem of knowledge, the access to pain, the necessity of dying, the structure of time, the self and the world, the part and the whole) via the modes of inquiry (diagnosis and deposition, expedition and exegesis, library and laboratory, microscopy and materialism, intimacy and invasion) and forms of documentation (the itinerary, the map, the calendar, the photograph, the icon, the Gospel, the Koan, the lie, the love letter, the case history, the obituary, the pseudonym, the script) that marked his era (and ours). No knowledge of Russian required.
The rise of China has impacted world politics and economy in significant ways. How did it happen? This course introduces some unique angles of self-understanding as suggested by Chinese writers, intellectuals, and artists who have participated in the making of modern China and provided illuminating and critical analyses of their own culture, history, and the world. Our readings will cover a wide selection of modern Chinese fiction and poetry, autobiographical writing, photography, documentary film, artworks, and music with emphasis on the interplays of art/literature, history, and politics. We will pay close attention to the role of storytelling, the mediating powers of technology, new forms of visuality and sense experience, and the emergence of critical consciousness in response to global modernity. In the course of the semester, a number of contemporary Chinese artists, filmmakers, and writers will be invited to answer students’ questions. This course will draw on cross-disciplinary methods from art history, film studies, anthropology, and history in approaching our texts and other works. Our goal is to develop critical reading skills and gain in-depth understanding of modern China and its engagement with the modern world beyond the Cold War rhetoric. Our topics of discussion include historical rupture, loss and melancholy, exile, freedom, migration, social bonding and identity, capitalism, nationalism, and the world revolution. All works are read in English translation.
Instructor: B. O’Keeffe
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.
Instructor: R. John
Instructor: C. Silva
Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor. (Seminar). This seminar asks us to consider what a literary history of early America looks like if we pay as close attention to the bodies and pathogens that bound Native American, African, and European communities as we do to their writings. In doing so, we will inquire into the specific relations between immunology and theology, science and exploration, liberty and violence, all with an eye to theorizing the narrative forms and conventions that gave voice to American and Creole identities in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The class will necessarily be transatlantic and interdisciplinary in scope, so we will build a critical framework to guide our readings, while attending to the rigors and rewards of such work.
We will read a range of texts, including exploration narratives, journals, diaries, pamphlets, poems, and novels focusing on continental North America and the Caribbean. Writers may include William Bradford, Anne Bradstreet, Aphra Behn, Cotton Mather, James Grainger, Phillis Wheatley, Olaudah Equiano, and Charles Brockden Brown, among others. Application Instructions: E-mail Professor Silva (email@example.com) by noon on Wednesday, April 11th, with the subject heading, “Contagion 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.
Instructor: J. Robinson-Appels
The seminar focuses on the ways that bodily essences are directed, depicted, and performed on stage, with a special emphasis on current productions in NYC. We will consider how contemporary playwrights employ bodies in relation to questions concerning the cultural constitution of gender, sexuality, and race. In order to understand theatrical physicality we pay close attention to how the stage directions of a text intersect with the gestures of the actors themselves. Readings cover a broad range of 20th century playwrights, including Stein, Baldwin, Albee, Churchill, Cixous, Vogel, Grotowski, Boal, Artaud, as well as playwrights of the first twelve years of this century.
The course will also examine how the Occupy Wall Street movement has used street theatre and theatrical elements, as well as visceral notions of embodiment, to bring social awareness to those essential values of the theatre: sensation, immediacy, reflection, exchange commerce, and critical action. In order to define embodiment in relation to language, and therefore to define the nature of what it is to occupy the stage, we will work primarily with Merleau-Ponty, Wittgenstein, yoga sutras, and Qi Gong texts. When feasible we will see live performances.
Application instructions: E-mail Professor Robinson-Appels (firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading “Contemporary Theatre 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.
Instructor: P. Watts
(In English) A study of landmarks of French cinema from its origins to the 1970s. We will pay particular attention to the relation between cinema and social and political events in France. We will study films by Jean Vigo, Jean Renoir, Rene Clair, Alain Resnais, Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard.
Instructor: K. Sanborn
This course will examine the intersections of film and anthropology. We will focus on the use of film within anthropology and turn the telescope around to propose a fragmentary anthropology of film. We will query histories and theories of film as they overlap with various understandings of anthropology, interrogating such historically problematic notions as “primitive” and “classic,” “document” and “narrative.” We will examine ethnographic and documentary films as they echo and collide with films seemingly outside the limits of their domains, emphasizing close analysis and detailed comparisons of our objects both in film and in language.