The word 'love' is almost never used in any portrayal or description of the African American community's daily life in contemporary media and in the social sciences. But love, as a human experience, is central to our understanding of what it means to be a vital member of a culture and society and thus respected, nurtured, etc. This seminar examines the love that difference makes. It is a comprehensive study of the representation of gender, love and sexuality in African American and African Diasporan culture.... Read more about How Sweet is it to be Loved By You: Black Love and the Emotional Politics of Respect
The word 'love' is almost never used in any portrayal or description of the African American community's daily life in contemporary media and in the social sciences. But love, as a human experience, is central to our understanding of what it means to be a vital member of a culture and society and thus respected, nurtured, etc. This seminar examines the love that difference makes. It is a comprehensive study of the representation of gender, love and sexuality in African American and African Diasporan culture.... Read more about How Sweet is it to be Loved by You: Black Love and the Emotional Politics of Respect
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
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
How do love, care, and desire influence the value of work, and why is emotional labor – which is vital to child or elder care, domestic labor, nursing, teaching, and sex work – often considered to be something other than work? How and why do the racial and gender identities of workers affect the economic, social, and emotional value of their labor? How do political and social arrangements of labor help produce and reinforce racial categories while solidifying the boundaries separating masculinity and femininity? Through a mix of primary and secondary sources, this seminar explores histories of emotional labor and the power structures that give meaning to often taken-for-granted categories of work. These sometimes hidden histories are key to untangling the gender, sexual, and racial implications of the “intimate industries” that populate today’s transnational labor economies.
How might critical attention to race and ethnicity as they intersect with gender and sexuality—and also frameworks of indigeneity and class—shape how we study? How do these lenses shift the questions we ask, the information that counts as data, and the genres of work that we recognize as 'academic'? For those newer to studies of race and ethnicity, this course provides intersectional frameworks for recognizing what assumptions undergird academic projects and fields of study. For those familiar with ethnic studies, it aims to serve as a ‘Theories and Methods’ course, providing tools and strategies for refining one's own interdisciplinary inquiries.... Read more about Power, Knowledge, Identity: Critical Approaches to Race and Ethnicity
When the coronavirus pandemic started to hit the world in 2020, it gave the wrong impression that it would affect everyone the same way, acting as a ‘great equalizer’. However, the effects of COVID-19 exacerbated structural injustices and the impact varied dramatically different depending on race, gender, class. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in May 2021, Hispanics/Latinos were twice as likely to get the virus in comparison to white adults, and 2.3 times more likely to die from it. Even as vaccines have become available, their distribution has also been affected by disparities of access. For this class we will analyze discursivities that have been exposed by the pandemic and have since become topics of ethical and social reevaluation: health disparities, the distribution of labor, housing and transportation, language access, environmental racism (including activism against anti-Asian and anti-Black violence).... Read more about COVID-19, inequality and the Latinx Community
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
Margaret Atwood is often asked if the The Handmaid’s Tale is a “feminist” novel. Her response: “If you mean an ideological tract in which all women are angels and/or so victimized they are incapable of moral choice, no. If you mean a novel in which women are human beings — with all the variety of character and behavior that implies — and are also interesting and important, and what happens to them is crucial to the theme, structure and plot of the book, then yes. In that sense, many books are ‘feminist.’” This course focuses on such feminist books. It explores issues of perspective: what happens when an author writes from the perspective of a woman? Since taking this perspective does not depend on biology, we will explore authors from a variety of backgrounds, especially those whose class, race, and/or ethnicity add another dimension. We’ll focus on contemporary Anglophone novels and drama.... Read more about Gender and Representation
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
The disparate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the global impact of the Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd have highlighted for all to see the dramatic inequities and entrenched human rights violations that continue to plague human societies. Extreme poverty, especially among communities of color, is sky rocketing, refugees and other forced migrants are blocked from seeking life-saving protection, domestic violence is soaring, evidence of structural racism and its enduring legacy is present on every continent. Despite over half a century of...
Narrative Negotiations explores narrative “voice” in a wide range of literary and cultural texts. Narrative voice is a lively dialogue between the author and the reader as they engage in the experience of determining the value and veracity of the narrative: whose story is it anyway? The writer creates the imaginative universe of character, plot, emotions and ideas—she seems to be holding all the cards; but it is the reader who rolls the dice as she draws on her human experience and moral values to question the principles and priorities of the storyteller. The game of narrative becomes deadly serious when storytelling confronts issues of colonialism, slavery, racial profiling and gender discrimination.... Read more about Narrative Negotiations: How do Readers and Writers Decide on What are the Most Important Voices and Values Represented in a Narrrative?
We coined the term implicit bias in 1995 to capture the idea that bias, i.e., a deviation from accuracy or values can be implicit, i.e., operate without conscious awareness or conscious control. The idea emerged from basic research on implicit social cognition (ISC), an area of scientific psychology that explores the hidden aspects of mental representations of self, other, and social groups. Today, 25 years later, the term implicit bias has transcended academic psychology and permeated contemporary culture where it is used and contested every day. In this seminar, we will study the science of implicit bias, with a focus on disparities that emerge along the lines of social categories of age, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, physical attributes, religion, politics, language and culture, geographic region and nationality.... Read more about Implicit Bias: Science and Society
What is the relationship between cultural change and individual pathology? Are the stresses of modern life implicated in the emergence of new forms of psychic distress and mental illness? Over the past century, psychological experts have identified new emotions, dissatisfactions, and disorders, producing an expansive catalogue of modern woes and fashioning a range of remedies. With attention to variations across race and gender, we explore the coalescence and cultural fortunes of, among other topics, the personality disorders (narcissism, BPD); trauma, PTSD; disorders of identity and of attachment; social anxiety, isolation; gaslighting; Black Rage; greed, success neurosis, imposter syndrome; stress, coping, burnout.... Read more about Psychopathologies of Modern Life
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.