Past Courses – (TEST)
Is it reassuring that no philosophical treatise ‘On the Mother’ seems to have been written in the history of occidental thought? Should we be relieved that nothing this violently direct, obscene, on the mother, seems to have been produced? Or should we rather be disturbed that ‘thinking mothers’ has not been a declared task for the mostly male-bonding and father-bound transgenerational band called ‘thinkers’? Would thinking, as philosophical thinking which in one of its traditional senses calls for thinking the essence of ‘a thing’, not require to think motherhood, maternity, or the Mother as the essence of mothers? Would thinking mothers in their supposed essence as giving birth, bringing to life, as a singular (mother) in relation to a singular (progeny), kill the mothers, each and every single one, by thinking that essence which they all would be supposed to share? Does the mother not allow us to think? Is thinking matricidal? Does the essence of mothers lie in not thinking the essence of mothers? Are mothers and thinkers engaged in a struggle for life and death, like two rivaling twins outside of themselves in a womb we have to invent in order to imagine it? Where can we find room to speculate a little differently facing the mirror of thinking mothers? Do we have to resort to psychoanalysis and literature in order to un-think these questions?
This course encompasses a series of readings in the eighteenth-century European novel. Style, narratology, the “rise” of realism and the history of novel criticism will all figure in our discussions; the seminar offers a theoretical rather than a thoroughly historical survey, and should serve as groundwork for considering questions about style and the novel in other periods and national traditions.
Instructor: Sarah Bin Tyeer
SEMINAR Course Description This advanced undergraduate seminar focuses on Arabic literature in the world, as World Literature. The focus will be particularly on pre-modern Arabic literary works that traveled and circulated and were adapted to and acquired individual meanings in different cultures. We will look at how literary works travel and circulate through its fusion with regional concepts, or even take on new meanings at different times and places. Admittedly, also, we will look into the strengths, weaknesses, and criticism surrounding World Literature.
While there is a general familiarity with the history of psychoanalysis’s spread from Vienna throughout Europe, and from the European centers of psychoanalysis to the US, less is known about its broader internationalization. This course explores the globalization of Freudian theory, and the varying ways it has been read and deployed by intellectuals, artists, and political activists–among others–in various parts of the world. Whether its central appeal was to pre-Revolution Russian intellectuals, who wished to assert their cosmopolitanism and kinship with Europe; to Mexican judges, who employed it to analyze criminal defendants; or to Egyptian experts in dreams, who added this tool to their analytic toolkit, psychoanalysis lent itself to novel, and often contrasting, interpretations and uses.
In this class, we will examine how Freud’s universal model of the mind and theory of the subject were refashioned and repurposed to address specific social problems and to advance particular political projects, and how they were revised to conform to local concepts of emotion and the self. We will consider how a system of thought grounded in secularity and individualism was adapted for faith-based and communitarian societies. In addition, we will look into the ways Freudian notions of the unconscious intersected with existing philosophical traditions, and how other cornerstones of psychoanalytic thought were blended with local interpretive practices. Finally, we will address a number of issues that have arisen in the global transmission of psychoanalysis, including problems in the translation of Freudian theory from the original German, and the formation and ongoing conflicts of the International Psychoanalytic Association.
Instructor: Mary McLeod
This class explores the intersections between modern architecture and what is sometimes called “vernacular” building from the early twentieth century to the present. Other adjectives that have been used to describe buildings erected by non-architects (though often with considerable qualification) are “indigenous,” “spontaneous,” “anonymous,” “folk,” “popular,” “rural,” and “primitive.” This interest in vernacular forms also relates directly to concerns for “tradition” and “regionalism,” which modern architects have either espoused or questioned.
Instructor: Sandra Ponzanesi
Representation embodies the notion that language, in its broadest sense, assists in the construction of meanings in the world and influences the way we look at or interpret this world. As Stuart Hall has shown, the reproduction of reality through language, discourse and images is never simply neutral and transparent but always ideologically informed. In postcolonial studies, for example, representations are always implicated in power inequalities and the subordination of the ‘other.’ The course develops an analytic framework for understanding how representation takes place and has evolved over time in different media. We will focus in particular on the analysis of literary texts, films, photography, exhibitions and art but also on popular culture and entertainment in order to understand how cultural logics operate in different contexts. Drawing from literary studies, gender studies, cultural theory, postcolonial studies and media studies, the aim is to develop and practice a new, critical way of looking at contemporary cultural practices. Application instructions: E-mail Aaron Robertson (email@example.com) with the subject heading “Representation seminar.” In your message, include your name, school, major, year of study, relevant courses taken, and a brief statement about why you are interested in taking this course.
Instructors: Lee B. Abraham and Stephane A. Charitos
The 21st century is shaping up to be the century of cities. By 2050, and at the current rate of urbanization, two-thirds of all people on the planet are projected to live in urban centers or clusters and cities will become the key demographic locus of the future. As a consequence, not only will cities become increasingly central to an understanding of modern life, but they could also potentially displace the state as both an essential spatial unit for the organization of territory and a critical container of social processes (Sassen, 2006).
Cities have always been, and will always be, a privileged arena of language contacts. They remain a strategic site where one can encounter multilingualism – a phenomenon that is the inevitable consequence of the constant intermingling of a multiplicity of ethnicities and cultures in a shared geographic space. While multilingualism can be extraordinarily complex to capture, it can also be a revealing lens for investigating social and cultural history in a broad range of urban contexts. Studying multilingualism against the backdrop of an urban environment allows for a rich and textured account of how the changing types of interaction between spaces and languages fundamentally inflects a city’s cultural history.
This course seeks to bring New York City and multilingualism into conversation in order to throw light on the cultural history of New York as a multilingual city in which multiple cultures and languages co-exist, interact and lay claim to an ever-changing urban landscape. Focusing on the history and present state of various languages in the New York landscape, the course will explore urban multilingualism through a variety of critical, theoretical, and cultural lenses that will expand our understanding of the relationship between the spatial organization of a city and its linguistic profile.
The course will balance readings, in-class presentations and discussions, and guest speakers with off-campus field trips to challenge students to develop the necessary tools and competences needed to engage with multilingualism both in New York as well as in other cities that might be characterized by a different multilingual typology. Although fluency in a second language is not required, it is highly recommended. This course will also offer numerous opportunities for those of you currently enrolled in a language course to enrich and extend the content of this course by taking your language study “out of the classroom.”
Instructor: Anna Katsnelson
In recent decades, Russian immigrant identity has changed. Immigrants and children of immigrants are much more involved with their home country. Fiction by Russian-speaking writers shows and also establishes relationship to geographies of their birth, usually Soviet successor nations such as Russia. The focus of this class is an analysis of works by Russian-speaking writers, filmmakers, and artists who create and also trace deepening forms of dialogue between the former Soviet Republics and North America.