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

    Gender and Representation

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2021
    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

    Advanced French I: The Contemporary Francophone World Through Cinema

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2021
    In this advanced French language and culture course, you will explore Francophone cultures through contemporary films to build interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational modes of communication while activating analytical and creative thinking. Course materials include French-language films and corresponding literary texts, images, and supporting authentic materials such as posters and advertisements that will help you develop oral and written communication skills through close readings and cultural analysis. Course themes investigate contemporary issues at the heart of Francophone societies today, including deportation and (non)belonging, policing, ableism, education, Blackness, sexuality and transgender identity, as well as the role of the family. The structure of class will promote spontaneous exchange about films and topics studied, real-and real-time collaboration with classmates. Creative assignments include interactive writing assignments, short compositions, scripts, and a short film. No previous familiarity with film study is necessary.... Read more about Advanced French I: The Contemporary Francophone World Through Cinema

    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

    Questions of Theory

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2021

    To explore key literary, cultural and critical theories, we pose questions through readings of classic and contemporary theorists, from Aristotle to Kant, Schiller, Arendt, Barthes, Foucault, Glissant, Ortiz, Kittler, and Butler, among others. Their approaches include aesthetics, (post)structuralism, (post)colonialism, media theory, gender theory, ecocriticism. Each seminar addresses a core reading and a cluster of variations. Weekly writing assignments will formulate a question that addresses the core texts to prepare for in-class discussions and interpretive activities.... Read more about Questions of Theory