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Spring 2017   Fall 2016  

Spring 2017

ART 394-02

Globalization and Contemporary Art

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 03:00 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: ARTCOM 102
  • Instructor: Joanna Inglot

Notes: Globalization processes are forcing artists, curators and museum directors to rethink the way we study and understand contemporary art. The increasingly international art market and auction houses, art fairs, festivals, and biennales in places such as Dubai, Istanbul, or Cairo, have done much to spark the excitement about the contemporary art around the globe and move us beyond the traditional centers of gravity in Europe and the United States.This course will introduce students to global artistic production from the 1990s to the present. Using a series of geographical case studies, we will examine how social and political contexts have shaped artistic developments in various regions in the world, beyond the Western canon. Students will study the shift of the dominant western avant-garde in Europe and the United States to more global art world and learn about contemporary art practices in Asia, Africa, India, Latin America, Russia, Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. While analyzing a diverse range of artistic practices, we will also look critically at discourses of multiculturalism, postcolonialism, and globalization. Classes will be primarily structured around lectures and group discussions of class readings.

ENGL 294-03

Introduction to Literary Theory

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 03:00 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: NEILL 213
  • Instructor: Taylor Schey

Notes: If you’ve taken courses in the humanities, then you’re probably aware of a field that goes by the nickname of “theory.” You may have heard of thinkers such as Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, though chances are you haven’t yet studied how their writings grew out of a common engagement with questions of language and textuality. This course offers you the opportunity to do so. Beginning with Ferdinand de Saussure’s groundbreaking Course in General Linguistics, we’ll trace the development of literary theory through structuralism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminism, queer theory, postcolonial theory, posthumanism, and ecocriticism. Our approach will be to treat literary theory as a field of study in itself (rather than as an assortment of methodologies to apply to works of literature and other cultural texts), and, to that end, we’ll be reading exclusively primary texts from this field—though, if you engage these texts seriously, they will most likely change the way you read just about everything, from poems to images to television shows to text messages. This course will be of interest to all students who wish to learn about literary theory as well as to those who plan to pursue Ph.D. programs in literary studies. Authors include J. L. Austin, Roland Barthes, Lauren Berlant, Judith Butler, Hélène Cixous, Jacques Derrida, Lee Edelman, Michel Foucault, Sigmund Freud, Donna Haraway, Luce Irigaray, Roman Jakobson, Jacques Lacan, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Paul de Man, Timothy Morton, Ferdinand de Saussure, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak.

GERM 394-01

Spinoza and the Enlightenment

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 03:00 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: NEILL 214
  • Instructor: Kiarina Kordela

Notes: The Dutch philosopher Baruch/Benedict de Spinoza (1632-1677) was the son of Sephardic Portuguese immigrants and had a turbulent life which includes excommunication from the Jewish community, the banning of his books by the Catholic Church, exile, and finally a premature death caused by lung illness, likely the result of his life-long breathing of glass dust as a professional lens grinder. His life is followed by his highly controversial legacy, in which he has been claimed, or attacked, by divergent thinkers in various fields, notably, philosophy, critical theory, and political and social theories. Some see him as representative of pantheism and others of atheism; for some he is the forerunner of the Enlightenment, for others an anomaly in the tradition of the Enlightenment; for some he is the “prince of the philosophers,” the ancestor of Freudian psychoanalysis, and the forerunner of modern theoretical physics, while for others he is simply “absurd.” We shall focus both on his Ethics and his political writings and we shall examine his relation to other philosophical and political theories from the sixteenth century to his further reception (e.g., Descartes, Hobbes, Leibniz, Rousseau, Hegel, Mendelsohn, Novalis, Schopenhauer), including his increasingly ardent revival since the mid-twentieth century (e.g., L. Althusser, E. Balibar, G. Deleuze, B. Lord, P. Macherey, W. Montag, A. Negri). All course readings in English, no prerequisites.

INTL 300-01

Advanced Feminist/Queer Theories and Methodologies

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room: MAIN 003
  • Instructor: Sonita Sarker

Notes: *Permission of instructor required; first day attendance required; cross-listed with WGSS 300-01*

This course is an in-depth study of some specific theories and methodologies on which contemporary feminist and queer thinkers have based their analysis, critique, and reconstruction of men's and women's roles. Some guiding questions are: What is a nation? Who are its citizens? How do language and gender roles shape the ways we imagine our roles as men and women? Do sexuality or economy affect how we subscribe to or resist political ideologies? In previous offerings, the course has explored the intersection of Postcolonialism (specifically gendered critiques of colonizing sociopolitical structures) with Postmodernism (specifically gendered critiques of language and sexuality). The course will include film, photography, music, and the writings of Butler, Foucault, Chodorow, Kristeva, hooks, Spivak, and Trinh, among others. It offers ways to create links with local community and social-work organizations. (4 credits)

INTL 321-01

Cultures of Neoliberalism

  • Days: W
  • Meeting Time: 07:00 pm-10:00 pm
  • Room: ARTCOM 202
  • Instructor: Bradley Stiffler

Notes: *Cross-listed with MCST 321*


MCST 321-01

Cultures of Neoliberalism

  • Days: W
  • Meeting Time: 07:00 pm-10:00 pm
  • Room: ARTCOM 202
  • Instructor: Bradley Stiffler

Notes: *Cross-listed with INTL 321-01*

Neoliberal theory posits the relative autonomy of the economic sphere from both culture and politics. Rejecting this assumption, the course will give students the ability to understand the interconnection of economic, political and cultural practices as well as the ways that economic theories are shaped by cultural assumptions about what constitutes a person, a life, a society, etc. We will read some of the foundational texts from the neoliberal school of economic thought (Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman) alongside more contemporary reflections on the culture and politics of neoliberalism from the fields of Anthropology, Geography, Philosophy, Cultural Studies, and Critical Race Studies. Additionally, we will look at both the global institutions that craft and enforce economic policies as well as their impacts in multiple international contexts. This course will emphasize interdisciplinarity and original research. Finally, in addition to key texts, we will examine recent documentaries that attempt to render economic structures visible. (4 credits)

PHIL 300-01

20th Century Contintental Philosophy

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 02:20 pm-03:20 pm
  • Room: MAIN 111
  • Instructor: Diane Michelfelder

Notes: This course, taught every two years, is focused on close reading, reflection, and analysis of philosophical work within the tradition of 20th Century European philosophy. The theme for this year’s course is inspired by Prince, who left behind him a vast number of unreleased recordings in a vault in his Paisley Park studio. In this course, we will be exploring writings that were left behind on the desks and in the metaphorical vaults of some 20th century philosophers at the time of their death and which have subsequently been published. These writings will be Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s The Visible and Invisible (which includes “Working Notes”) and Martin Heidegger’s lecture course The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude and selections from The Black Notebooks (along with some critical commentary). We will also take up selections from Jacques Derrida’s The Beast and the Sovereign, Part II and his Heidegger: The Question of Being and History, published this past summer and which we will read side-by-side with some passages from Heidegger’s Being and Time. While will close out the course with an essay of Derrida’s published during his lifetime: “The Eyes of Language: The Abyss and the Volcano,” the question will linger: What can we learn from reading work that has come to a sudden end about open questions in philosophy, and what it means to ask a philosophical question itself?

POLI 160-01

Foundations of Political Theory

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-10:40 am
  • Room: CARN 105
  • Instructor: Charmaine Chua

Notes: An examination of the evolution of fundamental western political ideas from the Greeks to the present. (4 credits)

Foundations Courses: Courses numbered in the 100s are Foundations courses. These courses are designed principally for beginning political science majors, as well as non-majors seeking an introduction to the discipline's various sub-fields. The purpose of these courses is threefold: To provide foundational knowledge of the key actors, structures, institutions and/or historical dynamics relevant to the respective sub-fields; to introduce the major theoretical trends, perspectives and debates that have shaped the evolution of the respective sub-fields; and to begin to develop a range of practical competencies (esp. research/writing skills) essential to further scholarly inquiry within the discipline of political science.


SOCI 272-01

Social Theories

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 10:50 am-11:50 am
  • Room: CARN 105
  • Instructor: Khaldoun Samman

Notes: This course is designed to engage students with the most sophisticated and useful schools of thought available in the social science disciplines. The course raises a number of questions: How can we best understand the complexities of self and society? Are these units of analysis useful in and of themselves? Are they contained in an essential body or polity that we can identify as some unitary entity

called Jenny and John Doe, American, French, Arab/Jew, black/white, modern/primitive, developed/underdeveloped, Oriental/ Occidental, homo/heterosexual, male/female? Or are they socially produced units that have no essence in-of-themselves, produced and made real only through performance with the "Other"? Furthermore, is there something unique about modernity that has fundamentally transformed the notions of our selves, bodies, polities, races, and civilizations? If the answer to the last question is in the affirmative, how and why did this come to be the case, and what consequences does it hold for our

understanding of the past and of the future? These are the kinds of questions that great figures in sociology have been asking since the nineteenth-century, including classic theorists like Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, and Karl Marx, as well as more recent writers such as Ervin Goffman, Michel Foucault, Immanuel Wallerstein, and Edward Said.

SOCI 290-01

Colonialism, Modernity, and Identities in the Middle East

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room: CARN 204
  • Instructor: Khaldoun Samman

Notes: How can we best understand the complexities of the present U.S. "War on Terrorism"? Should it be understood as a clash between two different cultural systems, one modern and democratic and the other feudal and fanatic? Or, is the violence systemic, taking a variety of forms in different parts of the globe? What role does power and inequality on a global scale have to do with it? These and many other questions will be dealt with in this course. We will trace the conflict historically to assess moments of violence and tensions and other periods of calm and symbioses. Finally, we will analyze how modernity transformed the relationship between Islam and the West, Jew and Arab, male and female, and nation/race and identity. (4 credits)


WGSS 240-01

Comparative Feminisms: Then and Today

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 03:00 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: MAIN 009
  • Instructor: Sonita Sarker

Notes: *First day attendance required; cross-listed with AMST 294-03 and ENGL 294-10*

Feminisms today show new ways of being and also carry the legacies of feminisms past. This course will explore the similarities and differences in feminist concepts and practices in the 20th and 21st centuries, through writings from North and South America, Western Europe, and South Asia. We will compare and contrast inside and also across generations. We will address issues such as racial/ethnic difference, political and sexual autonomy, nationalism, violence, and consumerism, through literature, film, music and other performative arts, and internet publishing. Some writers included are Gwendolyn Bennett, Victoria Ocampo, Grazia Deledda (from past generations) and shani jamila, Sonia Shah, and Adriana Lopez (from recent generations). (4 credits)

WGSS 300-01

Advanced Feminist/Queer Theories and Methodologies

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room: MAIN 003
  • Instructor: Sonita Sarker

Notes: *Permission of instructor required; first day attendance required; cross-listed with INTL 300-01*

This course is an in-depth study of some specific theories and methodologies on which contemporary feminist and queer thinkers have based their analysis, critique, and reconstruction of men's and women's roles. Some guiding questions are: What is a Nation? Who are its citizens? How do language and gender roles shape the ways we imagine our roles as men and women? Do sexuality or economy affect how we subscribe to or resist political ideologies? In previous offerings, the course has explored the intersection of Postcolonialism (gendered critiques of colonizing sociopolitical and economic structures) with Postmodernism (gendered critiques of language, sexuality, culture, and nation). The course will include film, photography, music, and the writings of Butler, Foucault, Chodorow, Kristeva, hooks, Spivak, and Trinh, among others. It offers ways to create links with local community and social-work organizations. Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 200 highly recommended as prerequisite. (4 credits)

Fall 2016

ENGL 394-02

Dead White Men: Time & Truth in Era of Ideology & Biopower (Crit Thought from Descartes to Zizek)

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 03:30 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: NEILL 226
  • Instructor: Kiarina Kordela

Notes: *Cross-listed with GERM 337-01 and MCST 337-01*


GERM 337-01

Dead White Men: Time & Truth in Era of Ideology & Biopower (Crit Thought from Descartes to Zizek)

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 03:30 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: NEILL 226
  • Instructor: Kiarina Kordela

Notes: *Cross-listed with ENGL 394-02 and MCST 337-01*

Today we often hear people dismiss the Western (mostly European) philosophical tradition as a bunch of “dead white men.” In other words, the argument goes, these thinkers harbored such passe notions as universal truths, a universal subject, and an individual in total control of itself and endowed with a pure reason unadulterated by rhetoric, imagination, fiction, and politics. Why should we bother with “dead white men” now that we understand that truth depends on historical context, that the self is decentered by the unconscious, that identity is constituted by gender, race, class, and other cultural factors, that truth is linked to power, and that ideology is omnipresent? Unfortunately, this all-too-familiar attitude overlooks its own faulty presupposition: it presumes a clear-cut break between philosophical tradition and contemporary thought, as if contemporary thought had no tradition out of which it emerged and could, therefore, merely discard what preceded it. Hence the popularity of phrases like “philosophy is dead.” It is all the more ironic to see this attitude prevail in the West at the very moment that multiculturalism has become our cause celebre : all cultural traditions are supposed to be “respected,” except the West’s own tradition. (Perhaps as a new way for the West to reinstate surreptitiously its superiority as the sole culture with no tradition?) This course pursues a close reading of texts by various “dead white men” as the unconscious (i.e., repressed and, for that matter, all the more powerful) undercurrent of contemporary thought. Assigned texts will include: Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Pascal, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Marx, as well as texts by twentieth-century thinkers that stress the dependence of contemporary thought on philosophy. No pre-knowledge required; all readings in English. With different reading lists this course may be taken more than once for credit. Cross-listed with Media and Cultural Studies 337. Alternate years. (4 credits)

GERM 394-02

From Kant to Hegel

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-11:10 am
  • Room: NEILL 212
  • Instructor: David Martyn

Notes: *Cross-listed with PHIL 294-02; not open to incoming FY students; core course for Critical Theory* "Spirit is a bone," wrote Hegel, confounding the basic distinctions we depend on to make sense of the world -- mind/body, subject/object, culture/nature -- and by extension the way we think about ethics, politics, and society. Hegel's insistence that consciousness is not a timeless, natural attribute of humans but an historical artifact, the product of specific social and political conditions, cleared the way not just for Marx, but also for neo-Marxist social theory (Adorno), feminism (Beauvoir, Irigaray), and constructivist gender theory (Butler), to mention just a few who moved in the "wake of Hegel." In this course, after familiarizing ourselves with relevant issues in Kant (Hegel's main foil), we will work through Hegel's "Phenomenology of Spirit" with an eye to its significance for issues of critical and social theory. Discussion topics include: "human nature" as a product of history; narrative as a way of “doing" philosophy; the master-slave dialectic; how an historical event like the French Revolution is part of “philosophy"; gender theory and Hegel's reading of Sophocles’ "Antigone." Readings by Kant, Hegel, Gadamer, Judith Butler, Irigaray, Jean-Luc Nancy, Derrida, Werner Hamacher. No prerequisites except a willingness to work through densely argued texts.

MCST 337-01

Dead White Men: Time & Truth in Era of Ideology & Biopower (Crit Thought from Descartes to Zizek)

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 03:30 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: NEILL 226
  • Instructor: Kiarina Kordela

Notes: *Cross-listed with ENGL 394-02 and GERM 337-01*

Today we often hear people dismiss the Western (mostly European) philosophical tradition as a bunch of “dead white men.” In other words, the argument goes, these thinkers harbored such passe notions as universal truths, a universal subject, and an individual in total control of itself and endowed with a pure reason unadulterated by rhetoric, imagination, fiction, and politics. Why should we bother with “dead white men” now that we understand that truth depends on historical context, that the self is decentered by the unconscious, that identity is constituted by gender, race, class, and other cultural factors, that truth is linked to power, and that ideology is omnipresent? Unfortunately, this all-too-familiar attitude overlooks its own faulty presupposition: it presumes a clear-cut break between philosophical tradition and contemporary thought, as if contemporary thought had no tradition out of which it emerged and could, therefore, merely discard what preceded it. Hence the popularity of phrases like “philosophy is dead.” It is all the more ironic to see this attitude prevail in the West at the very moment that multiculturalism has become our cause celebre : all cultural traditions are supposed to be “respected,” except the West’s own tradition. (Perhaps as a new way for the West to reinstate surreptitiously its superiority as the sole culture with no tradition?) This course pursues a close reading of texts by various “dead white men” as the unconscious (i.e., repressed and, for that matter, all the more powerful) undercurrent of contemporary thought. Assigned texts will include: Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Pascal, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Marx, as well as texts by twentieth-century thinkers that stress the dependence of contemporary thought on philosophy. No pre-knowledge required; all readings in English. With different reading lists this course may be taken more than once for credit . Alternate years. Cross-listed with German Studies 337. (4 credits)

PHIL 294-01

From Kant to Hegel

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-11:10 am
  • Room: NEILL 212
  • Instructor: David Martyn

Notes: *Cross-listed with GERM 394-02; not open to incoming FY students; core course for Critical Theory* "Spirit is a bone," wrote Hegel, confounding the basic distinctions we depend on to make sense of the world -- mind/body, subject/object, culture/nature -- and by extension the way we think about ethics, politics, and society. Hegel's insistence that consciousness is not a timeless, natural attribute of humans but an historical artifact, the product of specific social and political conditions, cleared the way not just for Marx, but also for neo-Marxist social theory (Adorno), feminism (Beauvoir, Irigaray), and constructivist gender theory (Butler), to mention just a few who moved in the "wake of Hegel." In this course, after familiarizing ourselves with relevant issues in Kant (Hegel's main foil), we will work through Hegel's "Phenomenology of Spirit" with an eye to its significance for issues of critical and social theory. Discussion topics include: "human nature" as a product of history; narrative as a way of “doing" philosophy; the master-slave dialectic; how an historical event like the French Revolution is part of “philosophy"; gender theory and Hegel's reading of Sophocles’ "Antigone." Readings by Kant, Hegel, Gadamer, Judith Butler, Irigaray, Jean-Luc Nancy, Derrida, Werner Hamacher. No prerequisites except a willingness to work through densely argued texts.

RELI 235-01

Theorizing Religion

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room: MAIN 111
  • Instructor: Erik Davis

Notes: The course is an introduction to some of the important theoretical and methodological work conducted by scholars in various disciplines who hope to better define and understand religious phenomena. This seminar begins with some of the early twentieth century texts that are often cited and discussed by contemporary scholars of religion (e.g., Durkheim, Weber, Freud) and then turns to a number of investigations stemming from engagement with earlier theorists or refracting new concerns. The course inquires into the problems of defining and analyzing religious cultures, and the researcher's position or positions in this analysis, as this has been approached from anthropological, sociological, and religious studies perspectives. (4 credits)


RELI 354-01

Human Sacrifice: Killing for God and State

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 03:00 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: MAIN 011
  • Instructor: William Hart

Notes: Though sacrifice is often viewed as the exclusive property of religion, this course is organized around the claim that religion and statecraft (the art of governing a nation well) are connected through practices of human sacrifice. Thus, in this course, we use "human sacrifice" as a comparative category to understand aspects of religion and statecraft, especially in war, capital punishment, torture, terrorism, and genocide. Though torture, terrorism, and genocide are important, our special focus is warfare and capital punishment, which encompass the other sites of human sacrifice. The central questions are the following: Why do gods and states demand blood; whence the impulse to human sacrifice? What are the relations between divine sovereignty, political sovereignty, and sacrifice? What are the modalities of human sacrifice? Is human sacrifice inevitable? (4 credits)

THDA 489-01

Performance Theory Seminar: Theorizing the Body/Embodying Theory

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 03:00 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: THEATR 205
  • Instructor: Malin Palani

Notes: *First day attendance required; course open to Juniors and Seniors of any discipline; all others contact instructor for approval.* Those who make performance—the practitioners—are often thought to be different and distinct from those who theorize performance—the academics. However, as this seminar suggests, well-thought theory is rooted in material practice inasmuch as performance practice is rooted in thinking and theorizing. The primary goal of this course is to introduce students to a wide array of critical theorists and theoretical approaches with a particular emphasis on how these approaches are bound to the study and practice of theatre and performance. The seminar is not a comprehensive course that investigates any one theoretical field in detail and to its fullest complexity. Rather, we will work to closely read texts from a broad range of critical approaches, to connect theoretical approaches to material practices, and to understand theory through our own embodiment. The readings are situated in fields such as Feminist/Queer Theory, Critical Race Theory, Critical Theory, and Eco-Criticism. The course is designed to encourage students to practically think through theory and to theoretically think through practice—questioning how the two are bound together in different ways.