Classes

    The Essay: History and Practice

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2021
    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

    Queer Latinx Borderlands

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2021

    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

    Sound and Color: Music, Race, and US Cultural Politics

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2021
    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

    Mystical Theology

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2021
    This course will examine the history of mystical theology in early and medieval Christianity. Through a close reading of primary texts in translation we will explore the practices through which the mystical life is pursued; the interplay of affirmation (kataphasis) and negation (apophasis) in language and images surrounding mystical reading, prayer, and meditation; varying conceptions of mystical union and annihilation; and the role of gender and what we might call sexuality within texts about the mystical life. Jointly offered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Religion 1448.... Read more about Mystical Theology