Courses

Spring 2020

ANT 379 / HUM 379 / AMS 379
Making History: Museums, Monuments, and Cultural Heritage
Tiffany Cain
This course contends with how shared histories are collectively made and remade in contemporary society. We will interrogate the meaning of history, memory, heritage, and "the past." What is at stake in how we represent the past? What do we mean when we make a claim on history as "ours"? What role do museums, monuments, and memorials play in the formation and maintenance of collective identities? Can practices like public history and archaeology promote collective healing?

 

COM 370 / HUM 371 / ECS 377 / ART 361
Topics in Comparative Literature: On Collecting: Anatomy of an Obsession
Guangchen Chen
Why do people collect objects? What desires motivate this obsession across cultures? How does a collection reflect and shape our relationship with objects? It is no accident that many writers are fascinated by the collector: Balzac, Eco, James, Pamuk and Proust all devoted significant creative energy to this figure. In this course, we will consider collecting as a serious mode of thinking. Analysis of key literary works will be combined with hands-on study of museum collections in Princeton and beyond. You will develop your own approach to the humanities that combines methodologies in archaeology, art, literature, intellectual history.

 

EAS 375
Everyday Life in Mao's China
Joshua Freeman
For three decades, Mao Zedong presided over one of the most ambitious social experiments in human history. This course explores everyday life in China in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s: the radical reordering of economic, political, and social relations; the shattering experiences of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution; and the evolution of a party-state which governs China up to the present. While Maoist ideology and policies were homogenizing in intent and often in effect, this course will emphasize the ways in which the experiences of the Mao era were mediated through categories like gender, social status, and ethnicity.

 

HUM 320 / HIS 346 / MED 322 / ENG 233
Making Medieval Worlds: Methods and Materials
Sarah M. Anderson
Janet Kay
This course engages the core disciplines of history, literary analysis, and archaeology to examine how people in medieval Britain and northwest Europe understood and created the physical, imaginative, and sociocultural landscapes in which they lived. Through texts, structures, and objects, we will recover what individuals in these cultures believed, how they ate, and what they longed for. We're interested in arcs of trade and political contacts, as well as in creative exchanges worked out in brilliant metalwork and unforgettable poetry.

 

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.


HIS 492 / AFS 492 / AAS 492
Utopias of Yesteryear: Socialist Experiments in Africa
Benedito Machava
This seminar explores the contours of Africa's embrace and engagement with the most influential ideology of the twentieth-century. Why, and through which channels, were Africans attracted to socialism? Did particular forms of colonialism and decolonization push African political actors in that direction? Is it legitimate, as some scholars have suggested, to speak of genuinely African socialisms? We will discuss the contexts in which specific countries adopted and implemented socialism. Our goal is to place Africa in the mainstream of conversations about socialism.


HUM 218 / HUM 219
Interdisciplinary Approaches to Western Culture II: Literature and the Arts
Yelena Baraz
Denis Feeney
Desmond P. Hogan
Yair Mintzker
Simon A. Morrison
Natalie V. Prizel
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, museum visits 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, freshmen and sophomores are welcome to join at this point.

 
HIS 491 / GSS 491
Fertile Bodies: A Cultural History of Reproduction from Antiquity to the Enlightenment
Melissa Reynolds
The ancient Greeks imagined a woman's body ruled by her uterus. Medieval Christians believed in a womb touched by God. Renaissance doctors uncovered the 'secrets' of women through dissection, while early modern states punished unmarried mothers. This course will ask how women's reproductive bodies were sites for the production of medical knowledge, the articulation of state power, and the development of concepts of purity and difference from ancient Greece to 18th-c. Europe. The course will incorporate sources as varied as medieval sculptures of the Madonna, Renaissance medical illustrations, and early modern midwifery licenses.

 

MUS 266 / ECS 313
Music and Society in France, c.1750 to the Present
Mari Jo Velasco
From the singing entertainments of Parisian café-concerts, to the historical revisions of grand opera, to the social critiques of banlieue rappers, music has been central to the cultural and social developments of the French nation. This course explores a survey of music across many genres - opera, concert music, sacred music, song, dance music, folk, rock, rap - to investigate how music participated in, shaped, and fueled many debates in French society from the Enlightenment onwards.

 

POL 342 / GSS 414
Sexuality, Gender, and Gender Identity in American Law and Politics
Joanna Wuest
This course explores questions of sexuality, gender, and gender identity in U.S. politics and the law from the late-nineteenth to the twenty-first century. Some of the topics that we will cover include: anti-discrimination policies, same-sex marriage, free speech and religious rights, sex/gender ID markers, sex offender registries, the administrative regulation of sex, and the relationships among race, gender, and sexuality. In examining how sexuality and gender are categorized and contested in the law, we will pay close attention to the changing political historical context in which these developments occur.