Classes

    Historical Injustice

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    What is the moral and political significance of past injustice in the history of a political community? In a variety of national contexts, the redress of historical injustice has struck many as both a legitimate and urgent political cause. Others argue that, since both the original victims and perpetrators of historical injustices are dead, there are no persons who have valid claims against these historical episodes nor, at any rate, are there any individuals who can be rightly...
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    Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Cares? Reimagining Global Health

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    How can health care systems be restructured to provide high quality care even to the poorest and most vulnerable people on our planet?If you are sick or hurt, whether you live or die depends not only on biological factors, but social ones: who you are and where you are, what sort of healthcare system is available to help you survive, and what kind of care is available to help you recover, if society believes you deserve it. The global coronavirus pandemic illustrates with dramatic...
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    African Architecture

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022

    This course examines architecture in African in an array of contexts and historical periods. Emphasis will be given to the shaping of the built environment around core cultural, social, political and economic contexts. Questions of style, materials, design considerations, gender, class, religion, building genres, colonialism and globalization will be addressed. Students will gain a knowledge not only of key monuments and models of African architecture, but also of differential scholarly approaches to these striking traditions. 

     

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    Social Theory, In and Out of Africa

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    Social Theory, In and Out of Africa examines some of the major con­cep­tual and methodological approaches that have shaped the history of social thought in, from, and about Africa. In so doing, it will address the historical roots, political invest­ments, and philosophical foundations of theory-making as they have taken shape in the crucible of empire, with Africa serving largely as the object of hegemonic Eurocentric knowledge-production. The readings will explore the interplay of...
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    Memory and Diaspora

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    Diasporas are frequently invoked to emphasize shared history and the possibility of shared identity. Yet the question of what is held in common is in constant negotiation and flux. We will consider how contemporary ideas about race, culture, and belonging are entangled with what is remembered, and how and why. They evolve from complex dealings with migration, intergenerational dynamics, gender, sexuality, language, and religion, and with internal and external narratives of origin,...
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    Topics in Latinx Studies: Imagining Latinidad

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    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...
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    Sophomore Tutorial: Literary Methods

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    This course, taught in small groups and required for concentrators, introduces theories, interpretive frameworks, and central questions about literature and literary media. What do we do when we read? What is an author? What do we mean by “literature” itself? How might we compare and evaluate interpretations? How do the historical, social, cultural, and legal frameworks around a text shape its meanings and its effects? Combining major critical and theoretical writings with primary...
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    The Essay: History and Practice

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    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,...
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    Wit, Irony, Comedy

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    In life, as in literature, humor often takes us by surprise: it gives delight; it lightens our mood; it makes us laugh. The question is: why? Laughter, in many ways, is a mystery. If tragedy’s existence is all too easy to explain— suffering needs to be borne, and we yearn to find explanations for it—then it’s comedy that’s the enigma. Taking the comic seriously, this seminar provides a broad investigation into the psychological, sociological, philosophical, dramatic, and literary...
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    The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful: The Ethics of Art

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    What, if anything, is the relationship between art and morality? Can art be immoral? Or is it a mistake to evaluate a work of art in such terms? Can the moral of a content of a work bear on its aesthetic value, that is, whether it is good art? What of the moral status of artists—does the (im)morality of an artist bear on the success of her work? Should art serve as an instrument of moral education? A force for liberation? A method of unifying people? How do the arts shape who and...
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    Implicit Bias: Science and Society

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022

    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...

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    #Adulting

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    Debates about when adolescence ends and adulthood begins often lead to judgements about how long youth today are taking to reach adulthood and uncertainties about what it means to become an adult. The transition from adolescence to adulthood is often fraught with anxieties about realizing one’s dreams, getting into college, succeeding in the job market, and finding a life partner. Have the definitions and markers of adulthood changed across generations? Should these...
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    Questions of Theory

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022

    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. 

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    Japan and Globalization

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    The main objective of this course is to provide students with a deeper understanding of how Japan has been impacted by and responded to structural changes brought about by globalization as a developed democratic polity situated in East Asia. Topics include Japan’s rise as a middle power, the idea of a liberal international order, trade, human rights, environment, territorial disputes, migration and refugees, gender inequality, and challenges posed by the Trump presidency....
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    Tasting Place: Food and Culture in America

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    We often associate specific tastes and foods with particular places, memories, and experiences. What would it mean, then, to center taste in our study of place and culture? How can places be tasted, and tastes be placed? In this class, we explore the relationship between taste and place within American culture, discussing how elements of nation, region, and identity are created, absorbed, and imagined through foods and their represented forms. The word “taste” has multiple meanings...
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    Con Artist Nation: Scams, Schemes, and American Dreams

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022

    With the popularity of shows like Inventing Anna and The Dropout, 2022 might be called the year of the scammer. Yet contemporary con artists come from a long lineage of carnival barkers, snake oil salesmen, and self-proclaimed miracle workers. This class examines the conditions of American capitalism and political populism that gave way to a society of schemers and dupes. We will consider how exploitation and self-invention were ultimately bound up in issues of class, race, gender, and religion. How did swindlers create or subvert stereotypes in search of profits? Who were imagined as...

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    The End of Communism

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022

    Examines how and why communism collapsed in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Places the events of 1989/1991, usually considered sudden and shocking, within the political, economic, social, and cultural context of the surrounding decades (1970-2000). Considers both international and domestic factors, including the Cold War and the arms race; ideology and dissent; consumption and culture; oil, economics and the environment; nationalism and civil war; gender and health. Investigates the role of structural conditions and contingency in history. 

     

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    Diagnostic Technologies in Medicine: From the Stethoscope to Artificial Intelligence

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    This course will explore the role of technology in the diagnosis of disease from the nineteenth century to today. Each class session will begin with a specific technology as a starting point to examine how social, cultural, political, economic, geographic, and scientific factors have intersected to determine who receives a diagnostic label and the impact of disease diagnosis on patients and society. We will explore such questions as: How have diagnostic technologies been...
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    Science, Activism, and Political Conflict

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    Today scientists often believe that their credibility requires them to stay “neutral” on controversial issues. But as we will explore in this course, scientists have regularly entered the public fray for over a century. They have marshaled their expertise as advocates in debates about race, gender, sexuality, poverty, and environmental protection. And they have struggled against sponsoring institutions to secure access to funding for research on controversial topics, such as gun...
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    Analyzing Pop Music

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022

    How can music analysis inform the way we understand, listen to, and write about popular music? This course introduces tools and methods for studying the features, technologies, and compositional styles of post-2000 popular music. Weekly readings will address issues of form, rhythm & meter, instrumental and vocal timbre, computer-assisted analysis, vocal performance, and music videos. An ever-present concern of the class will be the ways in which these analytical tools and methods interact with issues of race, gender, and sexuality. The repertoire under study in the readings will...

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