Past Courses – (TEST)
Instructor: N. Kebranian
The concept of “nation” and ongoing “national” struggles still remain potent, despite or perhaps because of unbound globalization. We will consider “nation” in relation to “state” and “diaspora,” weighing its implications for literary nation-formation with readings in Armenian Diaspora literature. Theoretical readings from Renan, Bhabha, Anderson, Chatterjee, among others. Primary texts from Shahnour, Vorpuni, V. Oshagan and Beledian in translation.
In what ways does the existence of a “contemporary art” or contemporary situation in art require us to rethink the very idea of “modern” (or “postmodern”) art, its methods and its geographies? In this lecture we take Mainland China as a focus and laboratory for this question, at once critical and curatorial. We look back to the peculiarities of the “modern” period (since the Boxer Rebellion), the intellectual debates about modernity, the Cultural Revolution and its current aftermath. We examine a current sinological surrounding the nature and fate of “traditional” Chinese painting and look at the problem of urbanism in contemporary work. In the process, we examine a series of methodological questions involved in the study of a “contemporary Chinese art” with the participation of historians, curators, and critics working in this emerging field. Related lectures and events in New York are suggested. The Seminar is open to qualified students in different disciplines and departments.
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.
Please note there is a listing issue being resolved on the Directory of Classes – may currently be listed under ENTA subject.
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.
We can’t talk about human rights without talking about the forms in which we talk about human rights. This course will study the convergences of the thematics, philosophies, politics, practices, and formal properties of literature and human rights. In particular, it will examine how literary questions of narrative shape (and are shaped by) human rights concerns; how do the forms of stories enable and respond to forms of thought, forms of commitment, forms of being, forms of justice, and forms of violation? How does narrative help us to imagine an international order based on human dignity, rights, and equality? We will read classic literary texts and contemporary writing (both literary and non-literary) and view a number of films and other multimedia projects to think about the relationships between story forms and human rights problematics and practices. Likely literary authors: Roberto Bolaño, Miguel de Cervantes, Assia Djebar, Ariel Dorfman, Slavenka Drakulic, Nuruddin Farah, Janette Turner Hospital, Franz Kafka, Sahar Kalifeh, Sindiwe Magona, Maniza Naqvi, Michael Ondaatje, Alicia Partnoy, Ousmane Sembène, Mark Twain . . . . We will also read theoretical and historical pieces by authors such as Agamben, An-Na’im, Appiah, Arendt, Balibar, Bloch, Chakrabarty, Derrida, Douzinas, Habermas, Harlow, Ignatieff, Laclau and Mouffe, Levinas, Lyotard, Marx, Mutua, Nussbaum, Rorty, Said, Scarry, Soyinka, Spivak, Williams.
Narrative medicine, its practice and scholarship, is necessarily concerned with issues of trauma, body, memory, voice, and inter-subjectivity. 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 explores 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. 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?
Explores the cultivation of social and artistic performances as a significant force of National Socialism, challenging the notion of “Nazi Theatre” as a monolithic formation. The core of the course further inquires into the analysis of artistic creations in diverse art genres, while working towards an understanding of the social dramaturgy of such events as staging the Führer and the racialized body of the privileged people.
Instructor: R. Briggs
From José Cecilio del Valle’s call for a legion of savants to study Spanish America and publicize its results to Thomas Jefferson’s plan for the school as an organizing principle of local government, Enlightenment blossoms in the New World as proposals for transformational schools—schools that will create new citizens and a new body politic. At the same time that it takes on intrinsic importance as a social and political project, the school develops a rich analogical relationship with notions of personal and historical destiny. Life narratives (Sarmiento, Franklin) become metaphors for the national and regional independence, and the narrative structure of the bildung leaves its mark in essays, novels and magazines concerned (overtly or not) with the problem of public Enlightenment and popular education.
Focusing on the historical period between U.S. independence and the post-1898 consolidation of a firm north-south opposition, we will read essays, novels, autobiographies and magazines from the U.S. and Spanish America. In a time period marked by collaboration, multinational publishing projects, and lively expatriate communities, we will explore both the interactions between north and south and the broader hemispheric ramifications of the era’s most pressing questions: the relationship between education and aesthetics; the moral and political influence of the novel and life narrative; and the Enlightenment paradox of emancipation on the one hand, and educational coercion and control on the other.
The course will be taught in English.
The rapid proliferation, over the last fifteen years, of technologies that aim at the preservation of life at the edges of illness has created a conceptual, intellectual, and political fissure in the ways in which life and death can be fixed with any degree of certainty. This is true as much in chronic cases, such as the various neurodegenerative diseases, as in acute cases managed in the ICU, where life is being preserved through mechanical intervention. Are these mechanical interventions (ventilators, stomas, monitors) prosthetics that become part of the human body, or do they remain within the space of signification of the extracorporeal? What is the glamour of the “cyborg” when it appears within the context of medico-mechanical intervention? These questions are not academic intellectual abstractions but they become pressing questions when they inform the decision-making process in the context of encounters between physicians and patients, patients and families, or physicians and the State. Cases such as Terry Schiavo’s, which captured the global imaginary as it posited the question of “what is a human being” and what is “life” and what is not, belie the deep anxieties that appear when medical interventions are in the process of becoming naturalized and normalized, as if the questions that they posit are exhausted when they are approved by the IRB or the Ethics Board. This course will examine the conceptual spaces that are being created in the crevices of the fixity of life, death, and the human/non-human being by looking at concerns that have been voiced by various thinkers: Donna Haraway, Nicholas Rose, Barbara Maria Stafford, Michel Foucault, Elizabeth Grosz, Rosi Braidotti, Georges Canguilhem, David Napier, Roberto Esposito, Alfred Tauber, Julien Offray de la Mettrie, Lorraine Daston.