FRE 328 / COM 463 / HUM 301 / ECS 335
The 'Hidden Causes' of History: Integrating the Social and the Economic
Our aim is to examine how the "social" and the "economic" become intertwined. From Enlightenment narratives about the origins of civilization, whether philosophical, ethnographic, or fictional, by Swift, Rousseau, or Graffigny, we also consider history-writing by Voltaire and Gibbon. We read early economic and sociological thought by Malthus, Saint-Simon, Balzac, and Smith, and delve into the crystallization of broadly Marxist approaches to society and culture in Engels, Benjamin, and, of course, Marx. While the category of "literature" will be an important lens for our thinking, archival and historical approaches will also be stressed.
HUM 216 / HUM 217
Interdisciplinary Approaches to Western Culture I: Literature and the Arts
Yelena Baraz, Matthew C. Delvaux, Beatrice E. Kitzinger, Melissa Lane, Yair Mintzker, and Efthymia Rentzou
Humanistic Studies 216-219 is an intensive yearlong exploration of the landmark achievements of the Western intellectual tradition. With a team of faculty drawn from across the humanities and social sciences, students examine pivotal texts, events, and artifacts of European civilization from antiquity forward. The course is enhanced by guest lectures from preeminent scholars and by excursions to museums and performances.
What is Horror?
The word horror brings to mind a genre often rife with supernatural elements, as well as dramatic historical events and, perhaps, even some personal experiences of our past. This class interrogates works of fiction, memoirs, movies, manga, and philosophical texts to study what horror means and why it may fascinate us. In analyzing representations of horror within and beyond the horror genre, we will consider whether it belongs to our modern lives. Honing the participants' close-reading and critical analysis skills, this course will also provide an opportunity to reflect on what horror reveals about our society and ourselves.
AAS 345 / GSS 381
Black Radical Tradition
This course surveys a genealogy of U.S. Black politics and culture in order to gain purchase on the idea of a "Black Radical Tradition." We will examine historical cases of deliberative activities, intimate life, and aesthetic choice in Black communities, orienting our discussions around the following questions: What are the stakes in defining the Black Radical Tradition? What qualifies as 'the political' for Black subjects? And, to what extent are conceptions of politics historically contingent? Students will develop inventive engagements with Black political history and learn concepts that are important to the study of race and politics.
AAS 331 / HIS 382
Beyond Tuskegee: Race and Human Subjects Research in US History
This course will explore the history of human subjects research as a scientific practice and how practitioners interpreted the use of living and dead bodies for producing scientific knowledge. It examines how and why certain bodies become eligible for research and experimentation. This course will show how race, class, gender, and disability shape the history of human subjects research, and show how human subjects were also deliberately selected from vulnerable populations. It will focus on the experiences of African Americans as research subjects, and consider other vulnerable populations such as children, the disabled, and the incarcerated.
SPA 324 / LAS 391
Narco Aesthetics in Colombia and Mexico
This course explores the cultural productions surrounding narcos and cocaine in Colombia and Mexico, two countries whose imaginaries have become globally associated with drug trafficking. Beginning with the transformation of the coca leave into an illegal global commodity, passing through the emergence of the figure of the "sicario" in the 1980s, all the way to Netflix's 'Narcos' vision of the War on Drugs and cryptococaine, the course will engage critically with so-called narco-aesthetics in chronicles, movies, television series, short stories, podcasts, and art.
Forms of Literature: Allegory: Chaucer to Whitehead
Why not say what you mean? As a mode of literary representation, allegory forces readers to do a lot of work. Sometimes allegory is a system of signifiers that corresponds to "real" things. At other times, allegory creates layers of simultaneous possible meanings, the divergence--even contradiction--of which frustrates arrival at any clear "point." In this course, we will ask: What is allegory? How does it create meaning? How do readers read it? Why do authors turn to allegory for particular projects at particular moments in history?
REL 313 / SAS 313
The Making of Hinduism
Guy St Amant
Hinduism is often regarded as one of the world's most ancient living religions, and its oldest scriptures were composed more than 3000 years ago. It may therefore come as a surprise that people did not start calling themselves Hindus until the 15th century. How should we understand the late appearance of this term as a self-referential category, and what does it tell us about religion in South Asia? In this course, we will trace Hinduism's roots from the earliest period up to the 15th century, examining not only continuity in religious thought and practice but also diversity in the traditions that came to form a single Hindu community.