Courses

Spring 2021

FRE 337 / COM 391 / ECS 361 / HUM 337 
Styles of Literature and Science in 18th- and 19th-Century Europe

Célia Abele
Is literature a "science"? Can science be "literature"? This class reads literary, scientific, and philosophical texts from the Enlightenment and 19th century from the lens of both history of science and literature. We focus on France, Germany, and England, though we also look at scientific voyages beyond Europe. Other than published "works," we will engage with the rich material culture of drafts, notebooks, botanical specimens, illustrations, and research of all kinds that these fields produced. Our aim will be to deepen our understanding of the complex interrelations of practice and thought among the sciences, philosophy, and literature.

HIS 415 / AMS 415
Race, Labor, and Empire

Neama Alamri
This course explores histories of race, labor, and empire in the United States from Late 19th century to the present from a transnational perspective. In doing so, we will examine the history of race as a product of modernity and colonization. By the end of this course, students will have a keen understanding of how racial constructions (in intersection with gender, sexuality, and class) are deeply intertwined with histories of empire, labor, and immigration. Yet, we will also discuss how groups have resisted, survived, and thrived. We will engage a wide range of sources including legal documents, court rulings, newspapers, and literature.

EAS 353/HUM 353
Uyghur History: A Survey 

Joshua Freeman
This seminar surveys the history of the Uyghurs, a Muslim group of about eleven million living mostly in northwest China. The course draws on a wide range of scholarship on Uyghur history, culture, and religion in order to offer a broad overview of Uyghur history from ancient times to the present. The seminar incorporates numerous translations of Uyghur literature and historical materials, enabling students to encounter native voices directly. Through discussion, readings, and written work building to a final paper, students will come to understand Uyghur history in contexts ranging from ancient nomadic empires to twentieth-century Communism.

ANT 246 / AMS 246 / LAS 246 
Native American and Indigenous Studies: An Introduction

Tiffany Cherelle (Cain) Fryer
This course will introduce students to the comparative study of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. We will take a broad hemispheric approach instead of focusing solely on the experiences of any particular native community, allowing students to both acquaint themselves with the diversity of indigenous communities and better understand the multitude of indigenous experiences--or, what it means to be indigenous--across regional contexts. How do processes of imperial expansionism and settler colonialisms shape the conditions within which indigenous Americans now live? How do native peoples relate to settler colonial governing bodies today?

HUM 218 / HUM 219
Interdisciplinary Approaches to Western Culture II: Literature and the Arts / History, Philosophy, and Religion

Bridget A. Alsdorf
Denis Feeney
Maya Kronfeld
Joel B. Lande
Jennifer M. Rampling
Moulie Vidas
This team-taught double credit course examines European texts, works of art and music from the Renaissance to the modern period. Readings, lectures, and discussions are complemented by films, concerts, and special events. It is the second half of an intensive interdisciplinary introduction to Western culture that includes history, religion, philosophy, literature and the arts. Although most students will have taken HUM 216 - 217, first-years and sophomores are welcome to join at this point.

HIS 416 / SAS 416 
Resistance and Reform: Islam and Colonialism in Modern South Asia

Amanda Lanzillo
In this course, we analyze the diversity of encounters between European imperial power and Muslim communities in South Asia. We focus particularly on how Muslim-led social, political, and religious movements negotiated the colonial encounter. Students will explore changing models of religious education, new forms of engagement with pilgrimages, shifting ideas of legality, and rearticulated relationships across sects and with other religious communities. Students will develop historical analytical skills through the study of primary source documents authored by South Asian Muslims with divergent social and political views.

REL 251 / HLS 251 / MED 251 
Christianity in the Roman Empire: Secret Rituals, Mystery Cults, and Apocalyptic Prophets

Matthew Larsen
How did Jesus' earliest followers interpret his life and death? What were secret initiation rites and love feast gatherings about? How did women participate in leadership? How did the Roman government react to this movement and why did Jesus' followers suffer martyrdom? How did early Christians think about the end of the world, and what did they do when it did not happen? This course is an introduction to the Jesus movement in the context of the Roman Empire and early Judaism. We examine texts in the New Testament (the Christian Bible) and other relevant sources, such as lost gospels, Dead Sea scrolls, and aspects of material culture.

HUM 331 / HIS 336 
A History of Words: Technologies of Communication from Cuneiform to Coding

Melissa Buckner Reynolds
Did the invention of cities give rise to the invention of writing? Is it true that the printing press made the Reformation possible? Has social media destroyed democracy? This course will attempt to answer these questions in weekly discussions that explore how "revolutions" in communications' technologies--from ancient cuneiform to modern coding--have altered the course of human history. In complementary weekly "digital practica" we will examine cutting-edge digital archives and learn how to wield the new digital tools that are transforming how historians engage with the past in the wake of our latest digital communications "revolution."

ANT 217 / HUM 211 / SAS 217 
Anthropology of Religion: Religion, Ethics, Social Life

Aniruddhan Vasudevan
What is religion? And what is religion for anthropology? Is it centered on beliefs or representations or practices or rites? What do we study when we study religion? What do people get out of their engagement with religion? Is justice possible within the framework of religion today? What is the force of religious worldviews in shaping people's ideas about how to live? How does technology mediate religious experience? How does globalization impact religious forms, experiences, and identities? These are some of the questions we will address in this course through our reading of ethnographic, theoretical, and critical texts.

POL 410 / GSS 425 
Seminar in Political Theory: Science, Identity, and the Politics of Human Difference

Joanna Wuest
This course explores scientific thinking about identity, behavior, and human difference in the U.S. We will examine theories of biopolitics, policy debates over identity and difference since the nineteenth century, and scientific studies on race, gender, sexual, and class categories. The point of the seminar is to discuss not only the ethics of this research but also to comprehend the causes and consequences of bringing science to bear so heavily on conflicts over political power and rights.