Courses

Fall 2021

FRE 351
The Age of Enlightenment

Célia Abele
Flora Champy
What is the Enlightenment? This course investigates the era of change and radical thought that precipitated the French Revolution. Far from stereotypes about "Enlightenment ideology," we will explore how the Enlightenment opened up spaces for critique, generating new ideas and values that challenged the traditional authorities of the "Ancien Régime." Our readings will exemplify the richness of the moral, political, and philosophical debates that divided 18th-century France, focusing on the role of the philosopher, the place of science in society, rethinking social inequalities, sexual freedom, women's education, religion and atheism.

HUM 216 / HUM 217
Interdisciplinary Approaches to Western Culture I: Literature and the Arts
Matthew Delvaux
, Barbara Graziosi, Daniel Heller-Roazen, Beatrice Ellen Kitzinger, Jhumpa Lahiri, Moulie Vidas
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.

COM 457 / HUM 457
Ways of Knowing: Philosophy and Literature
Maya Kronfeld

Do works of poetry and fiction produce their own distinctive forms of knowledge, or do they simply help preexisting philosophical concepts get absorbed more easily? This course explores the mutual implications of philosophy and literature for epistemology. We'll read lyrical poems, short stories and novels alongside philosophical accounts of language and mind, linking textual phenomena with features of cognition. Topics include conceptuality vs. non-conceptuality, argument vs. narrative, metaphor and image schema, knowledge by acquaintance vs. by description, defamiliarization and estrangement, logic vs. association, form and spontaneity.

HIS 454 / SAS 454
Afghanistan in World History: Between and Beyond Empires 
Amanda Lanzillo

From the consolidation of European imperial control in South and Central Asia through the present day, Afghanistan has featured in the global imagination of empire. Imperial writers have termed it a "buffer state," "the graveyard of empires," and the land of the "great game". But how have Afghans experienced imperialism? We will trace the history of imperial engagement with Afghanistan alongside Afghan articulations of history, society, and culture. We ask how empires imagined Afghanistan and established regional authority. Equally, we study how Afghans responded to imperial geopolitical claims and developed their own historical narratives.

AAS 331 / HIS 382
Beyond Tuskegee: Race and Human Subjects Research in US History 
Ayah Nuriddin 

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 350/LAS 349
Topics in Latin American Cultural Studies: Money and Matter in Spanish America
Nicolás Sánchez-Rodríguez

How has money shaped the material world that surrounds us? How have objects in turn influenced our financial thinking? In this course, students will learn to use humanistic tools to reflect on these questions through an examination of the cultural production of Spanish America. Engaging with works that span from the Baroque period all the way to the present-day neoliberal era, this class invites us to think creatively about the complex relationship between money and materiality that is at the core of capitalist development.

ANT 337 / GSS 279
Queer Becomings
Aniruddhan Vasudevan

The goal of this course is to understand what queer lifeworlds are like in diverse cultural and sociopolitical contexts. What is the relationship between queerness and larger forces such as culture, coloniality, global capitalism, religion, and the state? What counts as queer and whose recognition matters? What is the nature of the work of becoming that is involved, and what resources do they draw upon in doing so? What factors enable or curtail these possibilities? Is queer always radical and against the norm? We will answer such questions by reading ethnographies, theories, and biographies that focus on queer lifeworlds across the world.