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
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
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
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...
Human rights practitioners around the world rely upon human rights law, language, and methodologies in the struggle for social justice. This freshman seminar explores the underlying legal framework in which human rights advocates operate, and uses specific case studies to consider the legal, ethical, and strategic challenges that practitioners grapple with in their work. The seminar is designed to encourage students to critically evaluate the human rights movement while offering an introduction to some of the essential tools and strategies used by human rights advocates...