Fall 2023

HUM 216 / 217
Interdisciplinary Approaches to Western Culture I

Supratik Baralay, Katie Chenoweth, Andrew Feldherr, Beatrice Kitzinger, Simone Marchesi, Esther Schor
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.

ITA 224
Italian Civilization through the Centuries: Identity Crisis from Dante to the Present
Andrea Capra
, Gaetana Marrone-Puglia
What does it mean to have a crisis? How do we overcome one? This course explores the idea of crisis as a defining feature of Italian culture and history from Dante to the present, spanning the individual, political, and society. Through the examination of the most relevant intellectual, historic, and artistic movements, we study how crises have lead both to some of Italy's most spectacular achievements, and to the rise and fall of Fascism. This will allow us to reflect on today's personal and global crises, such as the atrocities of war and climate change.

HIS 249/AFS 249/AAS 249
Rastafari to Haile Selassie - A Global History of Modern Ethiopia
Lacy Feigh

In the 19th and 20th centuries, Ethiopia underwent rapid processes of expansion and modernization in the highlands of Northeast Africa, and at the same time became a beacon of hope for global Black movements, perhaps made most visible through Rastafarian culture and beliefs. This course introduces students to the history of the modern Ethiopian state and its role shaping moments and movements in global history. It highlights the way African histories are essential to, but often ignored (or erased) in the telling of modern world history. Students will engage with primary and secondary historical texts, literature, and film.

ANT 437 / AAS 437 
Gaming Blackness: The Anthropology of Video Games and Race
Akil Fletcher

This course is an anthropological and experience-based exploration of video games. As we consider scholarship in Digital Anthropology, Game Studies, and African American Studies, we scrutinize the design of games and engage in gameplay, with a particular focus on Black experiences. Throughout the course, we probe how video games utilize and interact with race and, in doing so, we advance an intersectional approach that also accounts for class, gender, and sexuality. The course's core set of theoretical and methodological tools helps students to engage with gaming critically and to create alternative games in the future.

AAS 306 / POL 425 
Topics in Race and Public Policy: Black Politics Since 1965
Marcus Lee

This course surveys the major debates and conundrums that shaped Black political life from the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act to the 2008 election of Barack Obama. The primary aim of the course will be to introduce students to concepts, events, and themes that are central to the study of contemporary racial politics. For example, students will learn about the determinants of Black political behavior, the effects of intra- and inter-group conflict on Black politics, the relationship between politics and popular culture, the limits of formal political representation, etc.

AAS 352 / GSS 348 / HIS 347 
Race and Reproduction in U.S. History
Ayah Nuriddin

The course examines how issues of race and gender shape the medical, social, and cultural discourses of reproduction. It will explore contested meanings of reproductive health alongside histories of eugenics, contraception, pregnancy, childbirth, emerging reproductive technologies, and reproductive justice activism. It will also address the enduring legacies of racism and reproductive violence in medical practice, and their impact on current issues of health inequality.

ENG 409 / THR 410 / HUM 409 
Topics in Drama: Early Modern Theater: Purpose of Playing
Bailey Sincox

Between the opening of the first purpose-built London public theater in 1576 and the beginning of the English Civil War in 1642, a host of playwrights -often in collaboration- wrote for different theatrical companies and spaces, for diverse audiences, and in distinct styles and genres. To understand this period requires immersion in its performance culture as well as exposure to a wide variety of plays. This course introduces students to the early modern theatrical world, from playing companies and playhouses to actors and rehearsals through works by Marlowe, Jonson, Middleton, Webster, Cary, Beaumont, and Fletcher, among others.

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.

EAS 239 / COM 254 / GSS 239 
Modern Chinese Poetry: Seeing Modern China through the Poetry Cloud
Xiaoyu Xia

This course explores the work and life of poets across the Chinese-speaking world from the tumultuous twentieth century to the present. How does poetry adapt to the evolving media landscape and serve as a storage device for the events, experiences, and myths of modern China? How did poets transform crises--dynastic collapse, colonialism, national failure, revolution, war, displacement, state and mass violence, political repression, environmental calamity--into critical reflections on the diverse yet interconnected human condition? Concluding with a glimpse into the creativity of AI poets, we ask: why do humans still need poetry?