Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Slavery in the Global Middle Ages

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

This course focuses on systems of human bondage in the period stretching from ancient Rome to the eve of the sixteenth century, which is when modern racialized slavery began to predominate. Though class readings will focus on the historical and archaeological evidence from the societies ringing the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean, students are warmly encouraged to develop research projects featuring the slave systems of East Asia and the New World.

Learning Objectives. After successfully completing this course, students will have acquired:

  • A framework for understanding the history of Old World slavery, principally Western Eurasia, Africa, and the Indian Ocean, from ancient Rome to the 16th century
  • An introduction to slave systems in the New World and an understanding of forms of Indigenous slavery
  • An understanding of major themes in the general history and anthropology of slavery, including the role of race and gender, the forms of domination, and the existence of inter-cultural and historical variation
  • Skills associated with identifying and working with primary and secondary sources in multiple languages
  • The ability to design and execute a historical research project

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Morphosemantics

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021
This course explores how nominal features like person, number, and grammatical gender are formally marked as well as interpreted, with greatest attention paid to grammatical gender. Are categories such as “masculine”, “feminine”, and “neuter” linguistically on equal footing, or are there asymmetries in how they are morphologically expressed or in how they map onto meanings? Are these categories represented consistently across languages? Depending on enrollee/participant interests, topics may include the representation of “markedness”; morphosyntactic defaults; connections between notional and non-notional gender assignment to nouns; gender and scope interactions; the interpretability of fake indexicals; and singular they.... Read more about Morphosemantics

Love's Labors Found: Uncovering Histories of Emotional Labor

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

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.

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Human Rights and the Global South

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

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...

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How Sweet is it to be Loved By You: Black Love and the Emotional Politics of Respect

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

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

Identity and the Self in the Medieval Greek Tradition

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021
This seminar explores the construction and complexity of identities in the Greek tradition (300-1500).  Readings include fascinating narratives, biographies, and autobiographies. Students will learn how to approach these rich texts from combined historical and literary perspectives, while gaining familiarity with current cutting-edge research. 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

Creativity Research: Eccentrics, Geniuses, and Harvard Students

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021
Examines human creativity from three perspectives: a) empirical research sources, b) case studies of eminent creative achievers, and c) ourselves as creative subjects. Topics include the definition and measurement of creativity, the creative process, the neuroscience of creativity, the creative personality, the role of family life and culture in creativity, the relationship of creativity to IQ, gender differences, and the relationship of creativity to psychopathology. The course format will consist of a combination of lectures, student presentations, and discussion. Students will write a final paper on the topic of their choice related to creativity.... Read more about Creativity Research: Eccentrics, Geniuses, and Harvard Students

Power, Knowledge, Identity: Critical Approaches to Race and Ethnicity

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021
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

Narrative Negotiations: How do Readers and Writers Decide on What are the Most Important Voices and Values Represented in a Narrrative?

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021
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?

How Sweet is it to be Loved by You: Black Love and the Emotional Politics of Respect

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

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

Ottoman State and Society II (1550-1920)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021
Surveys the transformations of the Ottoman order in the Middle East and southeastern Europe in the early modern era and in the long nineteenth century until the demise of the state. Topics include changes in the conduct of state; social and religious movements; the impact of the new world economy and new trade routes; relations with Europe; emergence of nationalism; the `Eastern Question.' Ethnic and religious diversity, rural society, urban popular culture, guilds, gender and family life are also examined. The importance of this era for understanding today's Middle East is stressed.... Read more about Ottoman State and Society II (1550-1920)

COVID-19, inequality and the Latinx Community

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021
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

Implicit Bias: Science and Society

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021
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

Ethnic Studies, Anthropology, and the Transpacific Ethnography of Asian America

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021

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

Readings in Native American and Indigenous Studies: Seminar

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2021
This course offers a survey of the historiography of Native American and Indigenous Studies.  Centered on six themes—Power and the Middle Ground, Borderlands, Settler Colonialism and Sovereignty, Race and Slavery, Modernity and Futurity, and Global and Comparative Indigeneity—the course is designed to allow explorations into additional terrain, including gender and sexuality, law and policy, and comparative ethnic studies, among others.  Core readings will focus on recently published scholarship.  To explore field trajectories, scholarly exchange, and indigenous politics, members of the class will research and write historiographical essays that will be shared collectively, and form the basis for seminar discussion.... Read more about Readings in Native American and Indigenous Studies: Seminar

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