This seminar is an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of feminist science studies. As the feminist movements of the 1970s began to change the American political landscape, academic feminists began inquiries into the marginalization of women in science – a debate philosopher Harding called “the woman question in science.” Feminist scientists began to examine sex, gender and race bias in their own disciplines. In consequence, they raised questions about androcentric – male-centered – epistemologies underlying Western science (alongside a growing critique of Eurocentrism).... Read more about Feminist Science Studies
Given the urgency of the contemporary political moment and heightened conversations around race and especially gendered racial violence, what might anthropology stand to gain from an overt engagement with ethnic studies? Furthermore, how might anthropology’s longstanding interest in local meaning, knowledge, and practices disrupt hegemonic or US-centric notions of the ethnic Other? By foregrounding scholarship that traverses ethnic studies, Asian American studies, and anthropology, this course is designed to highlight the ways that histories of minoritized groups overlap and are connected.... Read more about Ethnic Studies, Anthropology, and the Transpacific Ethnography of Asian America
The Story of the Stone (also known as The Dream of the Red Chamber) by Cao Xueqin (1715?-1763) is widely recognized as the masterpiece of Chinese fiction. It is also a portal to Chinese civilization. Encyclopedic in scope, this book both sums up Chinese culture and asks of it difficult questions. Its cult status also accounts for modern popular screen and television adaptations. Through a close examination of this text in conjunction with supplementary readings and visual materials, the seminar will explore a series of topics on Chinese culture, including foundational myths, philosophical and religious systems, the status of fiction, conceptions of art and the artist, ideas about love, desire and sexuality, gender roles, garden aesthetics, family and clan structure, and definitions of socio-political order.
Women represent half of humanity, but they have been greatly underrepresented in studies of past cultures and societies. This course provides an introduction to aspects of women’s lives in the cultures of ancient Mediterranean Greece and Rome. We will examine not only what women actually did and did not do in these societies, but also how they were perceived by their male contemporaries and what value to society they were believed to have. The course will focus on how women are reflected in the material and visual cultures, but it will incorporate historical and literary evidence as well. Through such a comparative and interdisciplinary approach, we will examine the complexities and ambiguities of women’s lives in the ancient Mediterranean and begin to understand the roots of modern conceptions and perceptions of women in the Western world today.
This seminar explores the construction and complexity of identities in the Greek tradition (300-1500). Students will read fascinating narratives, biographies, and autobiographies, and will learn how to analyze them from historical and literary perspectives. Questions for discussion include political, religious, and ethnic identity in late antiquity and Byzantium, the meaning of being "Roman" and "Greek," the plasticity of self-representation, and the interpretation of religion, gender, and class as both social and cultural categories.... Read more about Identity and the Self in the Medieval Greek Tradition
This course is intended to provide hands-on practice toward doing research on Latinx issues, with an approach grounded in the understanding that terms ‘Hispanic’ and ‘Latinidad’ are not static concepts and, at the same time, not a homogeneous mix. We will examine culture, intellectual production, languages, economics, and political thought, as well as the dynamics of Latino/a/e people in the United States. Throughout the class, students will become familiar with a wide range of thinkers, currents, concepts, topics, and they will be exposed to frameworks of decolonial history and knowledge. The class will also facilitate conversations about the current place of Latinx cultures within the U.S. imaginary, including the immigrant groups from Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, as well Indigenous and Afro-diasporic communities.... Read more about Topics in Latinx Studies: Imagining Latinidad
Our thoughts and feelings about identity, self-expression, and the power of the imagination draw on the British Romantic poetry of the Long Eighteenth Century—whether we've read any or not. Focusing on John Keats (his key poems, and his key ideas, about "negative capability", the "camelion poet", and so on), this course makes unconventional connections into the twentieth, and twenty-first century. Tracking issues of race, class, gender and sexuality, we'll bounce from Keats into war verse; African-American poetries; world/postcolonial writing; the literature of social class; feminist experimentalism; and constructions of masculinity. Concentrators will learn how to analyze poetry in both closed and open forms.... Read more about Keats Isn't Dead: How We Live Romanticism
Matthew Arnold famously said that poetry is, at bottom, “a criticism of life.” But if any literary form is truly a criticism of life, it is the essay. And yet despite the fact that all students write essays, most students rarely study them; bookshops and libraries categorize such work only negatively, by what it is not: “non-fiction.” At the same time, the essay is at present one of the most productive and fertile of literary forms. It is practiced as memoir, reportage, diary, criticism, and sometimes all four at once. Novels are becoming more essayistic, while essays are borrowing conventions and prestige from fiction. This class will disinter the essay from its comparative academic neglect, and examine the vibrant contemporary borderland between the reported and the invented. We will study the history of the essay, from Montaigne to the present day. Rather than study that history purely chronologically, each class will group several essays from different decades and centuries around common themes: death, detail, sentiment, race, gender, photography, the city, witness, and so on.... Read more about The Essay: History and Practice
We'll be reading Hamlet, King Lear, The Merchant of Venice,Henry V, and The Tempest. Special attention to dramatically motivating issues involving familial kinship, racial and linguistic difference, and national and religious conflict. Philosophical and historical issues include Shakespeare's unique use of language, the ambiguous authorship of the plays, gender issues informing stage production, the sense of place in Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, and the influence of the Shakespearean canon in the various arts and media.... Read more about Five Shakespeare Plays
This course’s focus is on the social history of tattooing in Europe and North America from the mid-18th century to the present. The course also considers tattoo practices in Asian, Polynesian, and indigenous North America cultures. In addition to their own intrinsic interest, these practices and their histories are essential to a critical understanding of the development of tattooing within globalized modern and post-modern culture.... Read more about Tattoo: Histories and Practices
In this course, we will study literary responses to and representations of loss, both public and private, in twentieth- and twenty-first-century French literature. We will investigate how mourning intersects with various theoretical and historical topics including gender and sexuality, the memory of war, and the AIDS epidemic. We will discuss how the particular intellectual contexts and historical events of the twentieth century brought about shifts in the way that individuals and communities experienced loss and worked through grief. We will consider how the work of mourning generates political as well as aesthetic questions, and we will ask how literature helps us to think about loss and to propose alternative models of mourning. Readings may include literary works by Marcel Proust, Simone de Beauvoir, Hervé Guibert, and Patrick Modiano. We will also look at theoretical writings on loss from a variety of perspectives, from psychoanalysis to deconstruction and queer theory.... Read more about The Politics and Aesthetics of Mourning
Human rights and humanitarianism are fundamental to modern political ethics. Yet the moral consensus surrounding these terms obscures an often disturbing history. This course is an introduction to human rights and humanitarianism as frameworks for understanding European, imperial, and global history from the enlightenment to the present day. Rather than uncritically accepting a triumphalist narrative, we will explore how these concepts were constructed over time, asking how they were used in practice, whose interests they served, and how they enabled inequality and exclusion along axes of race, gender, class, and nationality even as they promised a more just world.... Read more about Human Rights and Humanitarianism in the Modern World
What does Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny have to do with 16th century Mexico criminal archives? What does the Netflix series Pose (2018) have to do with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848)? They converge in the queer borderlands, Chicana lesbian Gloria Anzaldúa’s spatial framework. Just as border studies has taught us that such encounters and crossroads exist far beyond literal borders, so too does this course delink from any geographical space, instead deploying Anzaldúa’s framework to provide an account for two major arcs while centering gender and sexual non/normativity.... Read more about Queer Latinx Borderlands
Although race is often presumed to be a visual phenomenon, it is also created and produced through sound. But what does race sound like? What might we learn when we attune our ears to the music and noise that race makes in popular music, on the stage, and in literature? How can texts like songs, films, and novels both reinforce and challenge cultural hierarchies and arrangements of social power? This course explores the sonification of race and the racialization of sound, music, and noise in the United States from the late nineteenth century to the present.... Read more about Sound and Color: Music, Race, and US Cultural Politics
In this seminar, we will ask: first, how has the present wave of far-right parties in western and central Europe tapped into notions of national decline, instability, and changing demographics? Second, what can we learn about these movements by studying histories of European fascism in France, Germany, Spain, and Italy? And finally, how have these histories been obscured and rehabilitated in different ways in each of these countries? By moving from contemporary cases of resurgent nationalist sentiment to their interwar predecessors and back again, and through a consideration of novels, films, historical documents, speeches, and monuments, among other sources, the course will seek to uncover how anxieties of migration, race, and empire—as well as changing roles of religion, gender, and nationhood—shaped political animosities and allegiances within the European Far Right both a century ago and today.
This class will examine noir not only as an aesthetic—brutality disguised in beauty—but also as a social commentary on American life in the 1940s and 50s. How did cultural conceptions of the tough guy and femme fatale reflect or shape the gender and sexual politics of the era? How did noir speak to anxieties surrounding race, ethnicity, and social class? And how did America’s anti-heroes reflect a changing conception of nationhood and citizenship in the atomic age? By looking at cultural works like films, novels, and true crime pieces in the context of postwar psychology and sociology, we will consider what audiences’ fascination with violence, murder, and deceit revealed about the American identity.... Read more about American Noir
German History loomed like a specter over the twentieth century. In the twenty-first century, Americans have been debating the relevance and legitimacy of comparisons between German history and our contemporary world. How useful is German history for understanding our current moment? How might our present day concerns distort what we see in the past? This course will examine the history of Germans in Europe and elsewhere, starting with the revolutions of 1848 and ending with the separation of Austria, West Germany, and East Germany following the Second World War. Themes will be war, insurrection, and terrorism, revolution and counter-revolution, gender and sexuality, reform, violence, anti-semitism, racial thinking and racism, and migration.... Read more about German History from Bismarck to Hitler
Considers theories of power in American political science and political theory; how to measure and use these theories to understand political choices. Attention to race, gender, class, legal standing, policies, history, values and institutional frameworks.... Read more about Power in American Society
This is a survey of advanced topics in political economy, with a focus on affluent democracies in North America, Western Europe, and East Asia. We will explore cross-national differences in the organization of economic, political, and social institutions, and how these produce divergent economic policies and outcomes. We will also ask how class, race, and gender affect the politics of inequality and redistribution, and we will consider the political and economic consequences of globalization, women’s economic mobilization, and new technology -- including the rise of right populism. The course is taught seminar-style and restricted to a maximum of 16 advanced undergraduates.... Read more about Political Economy: Advanced Democracies