Past Courses – (TEST)
This course investigates the complex relationships among colonialism, psychoanalysis, and race. The first part of the course examines the impacts of colonial ideologies of race on key Freudian theories, as well as the complicity of psychoanalysis in the colonial project. It then considers specific means by which imperial regimes shaped the subjectivities of colonizers and the colonized, including the application of theories and treatments connected to ethnopsychiatry. The second part of the course looks at racialized theories of mental illness and modes of social control in current mental health practice. After considering the global circulation of Freudian concepts, the course examines contemporary schools of psychoanalysis that revise classical understandings of mental structure, psychopathology, race, and therapeutic action. The course concludes with readings of recent case studies in cross-racial psychoanalysis. Enrollment limit 20
Instructor: S. Gregory
Instructor: R. Stanton
Fulfills Columbia’s Global Core requirement
Rarely is it mentioned that the country we call Russia – a gigantic land mass stretching all the way from Finland to the Sea of Japan – is, even today, not really a “nation” but an “empire,” encompassing more than 170 distinct ethnic groups within its 6,592,800 square miles. For most of the past two centuries, this empire was even larger and more diverse; as the Union of Soviet Soviet Socialist Republics, it spanned 8,649,538 square miles, including several countries that today are independent. While, inside the Soviet Union, this diversity was often celebrated as proof of the “friendship of peoples” underlying the Communist state, the voices, literatures and cultures of the empire’s ethnic and national minorities were selectively silenced even within the USSR, and remain virtually unknown outside its borders.
In this course, we will read fiction and poetry by authors representing Chechen, Circassian, Daghestani, Abkhaz, Bashkir, Tuvan, Chuvash, Chukchi, and other ethnic minorities on the territory of modern Russia, as well as works by writers from former Russian colonies such as Georgia, Armenia, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan; analyze how ethnic, racial, and national identities are constructed in these texts, and why; and learn how the literature of Russia’s minority peoples has shaped – and been shaped by – Empire, Communism, cultural heritage, politics, and the idea of human rights.
Instructor: N. Abu El-Haj
Scientific inquiry has configured race and sex in distinctive ways. This class will engage critical theories of race and feminist considerations of sex, gender, and sexuality through the lens of the shifting ways in which each has been conceptualized, substantiated, classified and managed in (social) science and medicine.
Instructor: M. Jaanus
*See English Department website for application instructions
Reading selections from Lacan’s Seminar XIV: The Logic of Phantasy 1966-7; Seminar XX: Encore: On Feminine Sexuality, the Limits of Love and Knowledge 1972-3; Seminar XXIV The unknown that knows the unconscious/or blunder takes wings at playing love/death game 1976-7 together with selected novels, short stories, and poems. Emphasis on Lacan’s elaboration of the phantasy, the four discourses, jouissance, the formulas of sexuation, and his redefinition of our notions of the imagination, the body, language, and the function of the arts. Consideration of the relevance of his thought to literature, aesthetics, and culture.
Through an analysis of far-flung examples of comic Jewish literature created by Jews over three centuries and three continents, this course will attempt to answer two questions. First, are there continuities in Jewish literary style and rhetorical strategy, and if so, what are they? And second, can Jewish literature help us to understand the tensions between universality and particularity inherent in comic literature more generally? Works and authors read will include Yiddish folktales, Jewish jokes, Sholem Aleichem, Franz Kafka, Philip Roth, Woody Allen, and selections from American television and film, including the Marx Brothers, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld, and Larry David.
What is religion? This course will seek to engage a range of answers to this question, beginning with some of the reasons we might want to ask it. Acknowledging the urgency of the matter, the class is not a survey of all religious traditions. Rather, it will seek to address religion as a comparative problem between traditions (how does one religion compare with another? Who invented comparative religion?) as well as between scholarly and methodological approaches (does one live–or ask about–religion the way one asks about Law? Culture? Science? Politics?). We will seek to engage the problem of perspective in, for example, the construction of a conflict between religion and science, religion and modernity, as well as some of the distinctions now current in the media (news and movies) between religion and politics, religion and economics. Historical and textual material, as well as aesthetic practices and institutions will provide the general and studied background for the lectures.
Instructor: M. Al-Musawi
This course responds to the sweeping winds of change in the Arab region, covering a great amount of archival and media material including documentaries, films, narratives, poetry and songs. It substantiates and synthesizes its analysis with a theoretical frame that makes use of Arab intellectual thought in translation, along with legacies of popular revolutions and liberation movements in the Arab region and in the three continents, along with readings of significance in the literature of World War I and II. In their presentations and research students are encouraged to participate in archival material gathering, analysis of required texts and active participation in roundtable discussions.
Instructor: H. Mokoema
This course is an examination of how postcolonial intellectuals have participated in the creation and contesting of alternative/multiple/’fugitive’ modernities