Fall 2018

COM 219 / GER 219 / MUS 227 (LA)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit
A Cultural History of Nineteenth Century Europe through Wagner's Ring
Guangchen Chen

Wagner's 15-hour opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen is a unique masterpiece that transformed opera as a genre. With enormous emotional and intellectual power, it provides insight into key social and political issues that were particularly troubling in 19th-century Europe. It is also the magnum opus of a controversial composer whose overt anti-Semitism resonates well into the present. Through a close study of audio and video recordings, and with equal emphasis on musical and theatrical aspects, this course will offer a cross-disciplinary introduction to the Ring, unpacking the musical, cultural, political and economic history of the period.


AAS 499 / ENG 499 / AMS 499 (EC)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit
Theoretical Approaches in Black Studies
Nijah Cunningham

This course stages a critical survey of key theoretical approaches and debates that have shaped the contemporary discourse of black studies. We will read recent works by  scholars who take up what is casually referred to as "the study of blackness" from different vantage points such as black feminist theory, postcolonial criticism, afro-pessimism, queer-of- color critique, and black radicalism. The course particularly focuses on the question of criticism as it emerges within this discursive field and demonstrates how topics like the archive, citationality, and style provide alternate ways of thinking
theory and the project of black studies.


FRS 131 (HA)   na, npdf
Archaeology as History: Studying the Past by Digging in the Dirt
Janet Kay

This course will examine the relationship between archaeology and history as disciplines, looking at the ways that the results of archaeological excavation can serve as historical sources, and emphasizing the importance of STEM methods and research in the humanities. Students will learn that while archaeological research can answer historical questions, the process of gathering such data, like the reading of texts, needs to be treated with the same care to understand research biases in the methods used and questions asked. Over the semester, they will learn how we can use archaeological methods to interpret the lives of the people we study as historians, especially the people who are not mentioned in texts. Students will interact with physical remains of the past, which brings the historical narratives that they learn to life. The main project for the semester will be the small-group excavation of a “burial,” constructed using life-size 3D-printed replicas of skeletons that I have worked with in my own research on early medieval Britain.


HUM 216 & HUM 217 (LA)   na, npdf
Interdisciplinary Approaches to Western Culture I: Literature and the Arts
Yelena Baraz
Daniel Heller-Roazen
Beatrice E. Kitzinger
Matthew D. Larsen
Benjamin C. Morison
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. This double-credit course meets for six hours a week and fulfills distribution requirements in both LA and HA.


HIS 492 / AFS 492 / AAS 492 (HA)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit
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.


HIS 444 / AMS 444 (HA)   na, npdf
Commodity Histories: From Sugar to Cocaine
Bernadette J. Perez

What is a commodity? What does it do? Can it shape history? This course will introduce students to a recently popular genre of historical writing which concentrates on single commodities like cotton, sugar, bananas, and oil. We will consider how commodity histories offer a unique approach to rethinking the boundaries of history. Our readings will cross conceptual and geographic borders, raising questions about the relationship between the global and the local. Course themes will include: environmental change, imperialism/colonialism, capitalism, slavery, race, identity, consumerism, and the relationship between nation-states and corporations.


ANT 336 / LAS 384 (SA)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit
The Anthropology of Selected Regions - The Amazon
Justin D. Perez

We survey the Amazonian region as the product of dynamic historical, economic, and ecological processes, focusing on how ethnographic traditions have contributed to its construction. From accounts of shamanism to reflections on the ethics of ethnographic fieldwork, anthropological debates around Amazonian cultures have animated broader discussions about the consequences of resource exploitation, the boundaries of nature and culture, and what it means to be human. We identify some traditional themes of Amazonian anthropology and examine emerging spaces, actors, and questions that continue to make the region relevant to anthropological inquiry.
 

FRS 111 (LA)   na, npdf
Disability and the Making of the Modern Subject: From Wordsworth to X-Men
Natalie Prizel
To what extent do our bodies—or bodyminds—determine our personal sense of self and the way in which we move in the world? Is the body destiny? How are embodied selves experienced culturally, socially, aesthetically, and politically? And how does the body, and particularly the disabled or aberrant body, create its own definitions of culture, aesthetics, and politics. By reading and looking at texts and objects from the eighteenth century to the present, we will see the centrality of bodily deviation and singularity in making the modern subject. Texts will likely include works by: Dickens, Wilde, Woolf, Mary
Seacole, Jean Rhys, Deepa Mehta; episodes of the BBC’s Call the Midwife; and films such as X-Men: First Class.


MUS 260 / AMS 309 (LA)  Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit
North American Music Traditions
Mari Jo Velasco

From Native American song to modern hip-hop, the North American continent has a rich history and repertory of musical expressions. This course will delve into the many historical themes, social issues, and musical aspects of the diverse musical traditions of Mexico, the U.S., and Canada. We will focus particularly on comparing colonial traditions, examining the musics of the U.S. South, comparing protest music of the 1960s, and exploring newer contributions to global music trends. While mostly taking a historical approach, we will also examine issues of authenticity, appropriation, migration,
race/gender/class, and the music industry.