Fundamentals of Music
A study of the elements and forms of music and consideration of how they define the stylistic characteristics of the literature of music from the late Renaissance to the present. There will be extensive use of recordings, as well as attendance at concerts and recitals.
Music Cultures of the World
Examines music from a variety of musical cultures around the world, from Native American to Indonesian Gamelan music, including ethnic musical events in New York City.
Athenian Old Comedy is one of the timelessly funniest and widest-ranging forms of comedy every produced. In this course we will read, perform (selections), and examine four plays by Aristophanes, the greatest of ancient comic playwrights: Frogs, Clouds, Birds, and Wasps, each named for the characters assumed by its masked chorus. Aristophanes' irreverent portrait of the philosopher Socrates in Clouds will be weighed against Plato's more flattering, and ultimately more influential version in the Apology, which we will also read. Slides will be shown to recreate the stunning visual environment of Periclean Athens which literally and figuratively formed the backdrop to the original performances of the plays. This broadly based course will encompass a little military and political history, a little art history, a little social history, a little literary criticism, and a lot of fun.
The course will concentrate not just on the endlessly fascinating stories of the gods drawn from the classic sources, but on a critical analysis of the question: How do the gods fare throughout the course of western history? Periods to be focused on include the time of Homer, Hesiod and the Homeric Hymns; the Archaic period (the time of the Lyric poets); the high Classical period (the golden age of Greek tragedy); the late Classical and Hellenistic periods (the age of the great philosophers and their schools); the Augustan era of the Roman Empire (the time of Virgil and Ovid); and the Renaissance.
The Fairy Tale
This course introduces students to the development of fairy and folk tales through history, and across cultures and geographies. While we focus on these tales in their originary contexts, we will consider the work they perform in such diverse modern appropriations as Disney cartoons, gaming, and the men’s movement. Excerpts from the major collections of Western Europe, West Africa, the Middle East, South and East Asia will furnish our primary readings. We pay particular attention to the collected tales of the brothers Grimm, the Panchatantra, The Thousand and One Arabian Nights, The Tales of Anansi and Brer Rabbit, and Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang. Our investigation will be interdisciplinary, with our critical approach drawing from theorists such as Freud, Jung, and Frazer, and modern scholars such as Maria Tatar and Jack Zipes.
Our course will be devoted to really reading Shakespeare – understanding how the plays work, what characters say and do, the imagery and thematics of Shakespeare’s dramas, and the performance practices of the Elizabethan and Jacobean era. We will also consider the cultural milieu of the plays—the historical, political, and religious world they inhabit—in order to deepen our access to Shakespeare’s language and to hear it with both his ears and our own. This semester we will study and explore six plays: Titus Andronicus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V, As You Like It, Hamlet, and The Winter’s Tale.
An examination of Native American world views against a background of history. The stress will be on written literary texts drawn from oral cultures, including collections of traditional songs and stories, as well as contemporary writers. In addition, we will watch videos and listen to music.
An examination of theater-making both theoretical and practical, students will work together to explore the act of play from the various perspectives of the actor, writer, director, designer, and producer. The class will explore ensemble driven devised theater-making as well as more traditional methodologies in a study of process that will culminate in group projects inspired by the myth of Icarus. Throughout the semester students will be expected to attend several performances and subsequent in-class talkback sessions with guest artists.
Starting with exercises and word games, then moving to, e.g., the objective poem, collage and concrete poetry, metrics, translations. As well as writing, students are expected to read widely in poetry and fiction. Attendance at a poetry or prose reading is obligatory. Grade based on class performance and portfolio of work.
Art and the Crisis of Modernity
This course will develop a parallel reflection on the world in which the art of our time expresses itself, and which art, in turn, tries to shape. In the first part, we analyze different interpretations of the crisis of modernity, which aim to offer, through different historical and philosophical approaches, other meanings of the age of ‘postmodernity’. In the second part, we initially focus on some of the artistic revolutions that took place almost simultaneously in the early twentieth century, a time of enormous tension that led to radical changes of worldviews. Thereafter, the discourse develops around some of the avant-garde movements that staged an aesthetic explosion from mid-century onward, such as abstract expressionism, minimalism or post-minimalism; a choice, however, that does not imply the possibility of defining a unique direction in the artistic experience of our time. Yet, precisely the re-definition of time that emerges in the work of some of these artists can be seen as a metaphor of the art of our time. As T.W. Adorno observes in Aesthetic Theory, it is precisely through a fragmentary and ‘not closed’ form, through a ‘synthesis of the dispersed’ which renounces the idea of consonance, that art can express the reality of our time.
This course considers what makes media "new" and why those characteristics are relevant in contemporary society. We will consider how older media have been adapted to incorporate new media technologies and strategies, how video games and the Internet have changed our expectations of media experiences, the impact of new media on artistic practice, the important of new media in contemporary cultural economy, and related topics.
This course is an introduction to Islamic aesthetics with emphasis on the nature and development of the arabesque and calligraphy as ornament in art and architecture. Lectures will ask and attempt to answer the question of why a pragmatic and down-to-earth philosophy chose to express itself in a most abstract visual language, how much of the vocabulary of that language was originally Arabic, and how much was inspired and/or acquired from the various lands conquered by Islam. Digital image lectures will be accompanied by some poetry, music, Qur’anic recitations and film viewings.
Science and Contemporary Thought
The aim of this course is to reflect on the role of science in our society, with particular emphasis on the philosophical, political and social aspects of contemporary thought. Although the importance of science in our daily life is indisputably assumed―giving rise to a sort of myth of technology―it is important to analyze its influence on other aspects of contemporary thought, as well as on the very concept of knowledge. The essence of science, in fact, lies in the desire for searching, leading to a necessarily provisional knowledge which survives as a paradigm until it is eventually contradicted by new investigations. Moreover, it is important to acquire consciousness of the political, economic, and cultural constraints acting on both the methodology and the goals of contemporary science. Nowadays these constraints cannot be ignored, but few are really prepared to reflect free from political or philosophical bias.
The Novel: Joyce’s "Ulysses"
The title of James Joyce’s Ulysses raises a number of issues about the meaning and method of the text: by naming his novel about an Irish Everyman after the Latin version of the Greek hero Odysseus, Joyce sets up a complex web of cultural and political references that ramify throughout the work. Students in this course will learn to read Ulysses by paying close attention to the text itself and by making strategic associations to the political and cultural contexts that inform the novel. Along the way, we will ask ourselves such questions as these: What adjustments does the reader have to make to the practice of “normal” reading in order to understand and appreciate the novel? What makes Ulysses different from novels written before it? What makes it a modernist work? Or a proto-postmodernist work? What is the relationship of tradition and experimentation in the novel? And so on. Students should purchase the edition of Ulysses edited by Hans Walter Gabler and read the first chapter for the first class meeting.
Presence of Poetry
This will be a class in which the center of attention is the poem itself. We will concentrate on modern English and American poetry. The common text will be The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, 2nd edition, edited by Richard Ellman and Robert O'Clair (Norton, 1998), but students are encouraged to look into other anthologies and into such studies as those of William Empson in Seven Types of Ambiguity and Martin Heidegger in Poetry, Language, Thought.
Puppet, Automaton, Robot
They are us, and not us: puppets, automata, and robots are toys or machines that look like us (or parts of us). From antiquity to the present, we have imagined, and then invented, inorganic versions of ourselves, sometimes for entertainment, sometimes to perform essential tasks. This course will draw upon an interdisciplinary range of materials –from philosophy, the history of science, and psychoanalysis to drama, popular culture, and art. Instead of separating the “scientific” from the “poetic,” this course will introduce and explore ways in which we can thinkabout what we want from our “artificial life,” and how the boundaries between living/non-living require constant rethinking
The History of the Cinema
A history of the motion picture from its origins until now, emphasizing the evolution of the language of cinematic representation—in feature, documentary, animated and experimental filmmaking. Canonical works and the major figures of the silent and sound cinema are treated, including Griffith, Chaplin, Eisenstein, Vertov, Renoir, Welles, Deren, Hitchcock and Godard.
History of the Cinema: 1895-1945
This course surveys the history of the motion picture, along with some of the discourses it inspired, from the nickelodeon period through World War II, considering avant-garde, documentary and commercial films, with particular emphasis on the movie as urban entertainment, expression of modernity and cult enthusiasm. Important figures include D.W. Griffith, Fritz Lang, Dziga Vertov, Carl Th. Dreyer, Leni Riefenstahl, Orson Welles, and Maya Deren. The transition from silent to sound cinema and the surrealist theory of film spectatorship will be given particular attention.
The History of the Cinema: 1945 to the Present
A history of the cinema from World War II through the present day, with particular attention to the development of neo-realist, new wave and third-world movements. Topics include the impact of television, the influence of Pop Art and the development of digital technology. Alfred Hitchcock, Jean-Luc Godard, and Andrei Tarkovsky are among the major figures treated.
Postmodernism and Technology
This course will explore postmodern theory and practice and its relationship to the problems and solutions posed by technology in contemporary society.
Eros in Antiquity
This course will study the theory and practice of love in the ancient world and its legacy in the modern. Working with primary textual sources, the course will consider Plato’s erotic dialogues and writings from the Neo-Platonic tradition extending up to Shelley’s poetry as well as Ovid’s Amores and the Art of Love. These major texts will be supplemented with examples of erotic poetry from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Archaic and Classical Greece, and Rome, as well as works of visual art.
On the Nature of Things Stephen Greenblatt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2011 book, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, re-introduced Lucretius and his amazing philosophical epic poem, De Rerum Natura, to the modern world. Its title derived from the most famous theory associated with the Roman philosopher/poet, Greenblatt’s book features a fascinating chronicle of the discovery in 1417 by Poggio Bracciolini, in the library of a remote German monastery, of the only surviving manuscript of Lucretius’ Latin text. Greenblatt skillfully interweaves a real-life detective story with a comprehensive account of how this chance discovery caused the modern world itself to “swerve.” The Swerve (via Greenblatt’s energetic style and flair for story-telling, no doubt) has inspired a resurgence of interest in this relatively little known but highly influential Epicurean philosopher of the first century B.C.E., whose magnum opus, De Rerum Natura (best translated, “On the Nature of Things”), stands as the richest extant repository of our knowledge of ancient atomism and Epicurean philosophy, otherwise lost with the exception of a few fragments of Epicurus, himself. On the Nature of Things is hands-down the most important philosophical poem ever written (what a delightful way to get your philosophy!), and the single most important source for our knowledge of one of the most important and influential schools of Hellenistic philosophy, Epicureanism. But it is also an exquisitely beautiful work of poetic art and a gold mine of information and ideas on subjects as wide-ranging as mythology, religion, morality, science, sex, cosmology, geology, history, horticulture, agriculture, meteorology, astronomy, humanism, sociology, the senses, pleasure, life in the late Roman Republic, and much more besides. The course, which will be conducted seminar-style, focuses exclusively on a close-reading of the six books of De Rerum Natura in translation (the instructor has also read much of the text in the original Latin), ending with a reading of Greenblatt’s The Swerve and a discussion of the modern reception of Lucretius. Along with the text of Lucretius, we will read excerpts of many additional primary texts which either influenced or were influenced by De Rerum Nature.
The Age of Augustus
Augustan Rome presents the only serious ancient contender for comparison with the "Golden Age" of Periclean Athens. In all categories of art, architecture, and literature, the age of the first Roman emperor, Augustus (27 BCE-14 CE), rivals that of high Classical Greece. The course thus combines the disciplines of history the visual arts, and literature, with the heaviest emphasis on literature to arrive at a comprehensive picture of a relatively short, but disproportionately consequential moment in the history of civilization.
A seminar devoted entirely to a close reading and critical analysis of Plato’sgreatest dialogue, the Republic, and its reverberations down through the ages as amodel of political theorizing, if not a template for an ideal society. As we workthrough the text book by book, we will create our own "Socratic dialogue," that is,a series of problems, questions, deliberations, and considerations that would runparallel to the text, with the ultimate aim of assessing what Plato means, andintends, with this enigmatic work. Comparative material in the form of historicaland contemporary (to Socrates and Plato) influences,precedents, and references will be introduced where appropriate. We will thenventure briefly into the analogous genre of “utopian” literature which the Republicinadvertently engendered, finishing with the most influential modern critique, thatof Popper.
Pythagoras: The Philosophy of Number
This course explores the intense and extensive intellectual activity of the Pythagorean school, which extends from mathematics to philosophy, from cosmology to music, and whose legacy had a decisive influence from the Greek world to the Renaissance. For the Pythagoreans, in effect, those we now consider as separate disciplines were inseparable aspects of a unique inquiry, inspired by a mystical enthusiasm and carried out through a profound philosophical and mathematical search. In Pythagoreanism, then, sifted through Platonic philosophy, we may find the first historical antecedent of many of the components which contributed to the birth of the modern world. The course starts from such premises and explores the meaning and the implications of the mysticism of number in Pythagoreanism, with particular emphasis on its influence on mathematics, art, and philosophy. Advanced knowledge of mathematics is not expected of students taking the course.
Philosophy & Contemporary Art
It is not easy to express the ‘meaning’ of art. Even less, certainly, in the era of post-modernity, when not only the splintering of perspectives prevents from seeing a single line, but the artist, along with the search for meaning, definitively renounces the idea of defining what art should be, merely expressing the ‘appearance of an instant’. Hence that fragmented nature concerning both the works and the reading of the art of our time. As Adorno writes in his Aesthetic Theory, it is precisely through a fragmentary form, through a ‘synthesis of the diffuse’ which renounces the idea of consonance, that art can express the reality of our time. Still, it is not possible to escape this need to express the inexpressible, even knowing that thought can only approach the essence of things, never achieving it. But it is precisely through this, as a negative presentation, that such an invisible essence can sometimes be understood.
Homer and the Tragic Vision
An in-depth introduction to Homer's Iliad and to the major literary genre it spawned, Greek tragedy. The methodology throughout will be close reading, using comparative translations of select passages checked alongside the original Greek text, with the instructor’s guidance. This course is meant to “model” a particular approach to the study of literature in translation. It presents an opportunity for interested but "Greekless" students to experience some of the most important and influential works of classical literature in a manner that approximates as closely as possible the experience of those who do have knowledge of ancient Greek.
The Personal Essay
In this course we will study and discuss essays in Philip Lopate, ed., The Art of the Personal Essay, and we will also write our own, on any topics we choose, on all manner of subjects—the daily round, pleasures and pains, taking a walk, solitude, friendship, in short, our personal responses to any number of objects and situations, multiplying ourselves in the process.
Public Speaking: Contemporary Issues
Develops skills in persuasive and expository speech-making— extemporaneous, written and memorized—on contemporary issues and topics. Students learn how to research a speech, marshal arguments and use language effectively by speaking clearly and eloquently.
Race & Gender in Literature
In this course we will engage different contexts in which women have been and are communicating their responses to the social, political, religious, and engendered conditions of their respective nations. Our themes include the politics of canon formation, the challenges of language, “Third World” and Western feminism. Thus, we consider the larger traditions into which women’s writings have been absorbed, or which their writings resist, or change. We will explore the following questions: Can we probe the traditional value of mothers and wives with the gender roles and behavioral expectations that go with them, without banishing them from the realm of political resistance or without reifying them? What rhetorical or narrative methods are used to express gendered realities where acts of writing do not always equate with authority, truth, or stability? How are politics inscribed on the gendered and racialized body? What narrative styles are deployed to articulate gendered participation in the national fabric? While we engage primarily in literature, we will also consider music and visual art. The works we will explore include Sojourner Truth, Jamaica Kincaid, Assia Djebar, Betool Khedairi, among others.
Issues in Contemporary Fiction
Study of literary topics including particular genres, themes, sensibilities and critical approaches. The focus of this course will change in individual semesters.
Philosophy of Science
What, exactly, is science? What is scientific inquiry and explanation, and how might it differ from other forms of inquiry and explanation? In the course, we will investigate the nature and status of scientific knowledge. Along the way, we shall ask such questions as: What are scientific theories? What relations obtain between scientific theories and observed facts? How are scientific theories confirmed or disconfirmed? Do scientific theories represent the true nature of the world, or are they merely convenient tools for making predictions and developing technology? Is scientific inquiry a purely rational process? Is it influenced by social and cultural factors? What makes science successful?
Studies in Cinema
A seminar based on a special topic in the study of cinema. The seminar may be repeated for credit with the permission of the dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Mind and Morals
Examines the philosophical dichotomy of moral realism and moral naturalism, with emphasis on three types of new moral naturalism: normative moral naturalism, meta-ethical moral naturalism and cognitive moral naturalism. Authors include Bratman, Churchland, Descartes, Flanagan, Goldman, Hume, Johnson, Kant, Longino, Mill, Millikan, Moore and Streba.
Black Literature in a World Perspective
An examination of black literature from South America to Papua New Guinea, chiefly in the 20th century. Stress is placed on the connections between various literatures and how they form a world culture. The course considers oral literature, the Harlem Renaissance, Negritude poetry, the African novel and Indian Ocean poets.
The Caribbean region is known for lush landscapes, pristine beaches, and iconic bits of culture such as reggae, Rastafarianism, salsa, calypso, and carnival. The beauty of these islands belies serious economic, political, and social issues of which visitors are generally unaware. However, the history and cultural practices of the region paint a different picture. In this course, we will examine how the earliest institutionalized and intertwined forms of violence and economics--including genocide of the indigenous population, slavery, the rise of the plantocracy, and the impact of globalization on the economies of the region—and their attendant/resultant forms of cultural production continue to shape present Caribbean life. We will examine the various systems of colonial and imperial power, past and ongoing, and their lasting impact in various ways across the region. Finally, we will consider the idea of the Caribbean as a haven for tourists that depends upon a sanitized representation of the region’s history of institutionalized violence and exploitation. We shall conduct our investigations through film, literature, history, sociology, and theory. Students will submit weekly 2-page analytical response papers before weekly meetings, and a final 10-page argument driven sourced essay grounded in questions, issues, problems and concepts arising during study.
History of the Book
An introduction to the creation, use and meaning of "the book" over its long history from the clay tablet to the digital download. Readings and discussions will bring together literary and cultural history, as well as aspects of politics, art history and the history of technology. Topics will include the moves from oral to written cultures,from the scroll to the codex, and from public reading to reading as a private experience; the emergence of printers and publishers; the invention of the library; censorship and the spread of reading publics; the rise of the novel and "popular reading"; the comic book; the paperback; and the movement through digital technologies to non-print books.
Seminar in Humanities (variable topics)
This course introduces South Korean cinema from the late-1980s to the present,addressing the concept of New Korean Cinema, the rise of the domestic film industry and auteurs, the emergence of blockbusters, and their growing regional and international recognition, popularity and dependence. Among the selected commercial and independent features, consideration will be given to how they reclaim and redefine South Korea and its history across film genres, including the divided nation, the Korean War, the military regimes, and the process of democratization and globalization. Other topics include the role of censorship, quota systems, and international film festivals in the development of the local film industry.
Contemporary Culture and Criticism
A survey of the cultural climate since the 1950s, including the influence of works by such writers as Benjamin and Bakhtin and the concern with contemporary life in terms of fundamental shifts in community, representation, identity and power.
This course begins with the post World War II generation of social thinkers and critics, such as Barthes, de Beauvoir, Foucault, Adorno, Horkheimer, Lacan, in the development of what later became known of as the critical theory of culture. We then proceed to more recent critics, each time taking our clues from real life examples. This course emphasizing learning how to "see" and think in "cultural practices." It offers a chance to have our understanding extended into everyday life and its ways of making us cultural beings.
Under this rubric, courses may address a range of issues, periods, themes or questions in African-American literature. Specific topics and descriptions will be detailed in the relevant course bulletin each time the course is offered.
This course will examine the history, materials and structures of opera, a rich and complicated art that is both musical and theatrical. We will address such topics as the origins of opera in 17th-century Italy, the Baroque style, the art of bel canto, opera and politics, Wagner's revolutionary ideas, realism and impressionism in music, experiments in tonality, and opera in English. Several works will be considered in detail. Classes will combine lecture-discussion and screenings of performance on DVDs. An interest in music is essential, but no ability to read scores or play an instrument is required.
The Life and Death of Socrates
Socrates, the son of a humble stonemason, Sophroniskos, was one of the most remarkable, controversial and influential human beings who ever lived. Though he left behind no written testimonial of his peculiar, singular genius, we know quite a bit about him through the accounts and recollections of his contemporaries, critics and followers, primary among them, Plato, Xenophon and Aristophanes. Based almost exclusively on readings of the major ancient texts, the course focuses less on the philosophy of Socrates, as filtered through the great and not unbiased lens of his most famous student, Plato, than on the man, his physical demeanor, his way of life, his loves, his friendships and especially his trial and death in 399 B.C.E.
Love in Western Art and Literature
This course address the representation of love in Western art, with specific attention to the body, gender, and identity. The course will be grounded across two crucial poles: the so-called Greek revolution as a founding moment in the West, with its idea of Eros and the ideally beautiful body, and the rise of the individual in the Renaissance/Baroque period, with its concepts of subjectivity, self and vision (including Shakespeare's provocative formulation of "a perjured eye." Readings will include Plato's Symposium, poetry in the troubadour and Petrarchan traditions, Ficino and the Neoplatonists, Shakespeare, Keats, Shelley, Austen, Foucault, Derrida, Anne Carson and others.
Did human beings invent ideas of right and wrong? Are there such things as moral facts, that is, facts that dictate how we ought to live and what sorts of actions are worth pursuing? This course surveys three central traditions in ethical theory in the West as typified by the works of Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, and J. S. Mill, together with a radical critique by Friedrich Nietzsche and ending with selections from 20th-century philosophy.
An introduction to the five major world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The course considers ancient and contemporary religious practices as it examines faith and belief, ritual, scripture and scriptural interpretation, religious art, orthodoxy and heresy, mysticism, and pilgrimage through a comparative lens. Focus is on origins, textual traditions and central doctrines with further attention to religion "on the ground" as a living and evolving phenomenon.
Hip Hop and Culture
In this class, we will trace the roots of rap music to West Africa rhythms, Jamaican sound systems, and oral expressive cultures in the American South; analyze some of the most influential and iconic rap recordings across the decades; study the techniques and technologies that are used to create DJ-based music; consider other pillars of hip hop culture (e.g. graffiti and break dancing); and examine the controversies that swirl around hip hop culture and rap music.
Independent Study (Humanities)
Environmentalism in the Urban Context
The recent work of environmental activists and scholars has produced a new urbanism in which the city form and function is intimately connected with natural processes. This rethinking of the city has opened several new possibilities for looking at human-environment interactions. In particular, the everyday environment of the city may be examined as a site for identifying the hidden geographies of raw materials, energy and waste flows. This course looks at three central issues: (1) identification of the material and ecological processes that make possible city form and function possible; (2) interpretation of the city as a constellation of economic institutions and social practices that transform nature over different temporal and spatial scales; and (3) the examination of the environmental and health impacts stemming from a city's role in production and consumption. Students will work on projects using the principles of ecological design in the redevelopment of urban sites.
History of the Modern Middle East
This course considers topics in Middle Eastern history from the First World War to the present. We examine a century of political unrest that included two world wars, colonialism, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the rise of authoritarian state structures, the Iranian Islamic revolution, and the American war on terror.
Leonardo, Scientist and Engineer
This course uses the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci (1453–1519) to explore science, medicine, and engineering in Renaissance Europe. We will look at the social and economic life of the era and examine the institutions and influences that served Leonardo’s imagination, his inventiveness, and his arts.
Public Policy in Contemporary America
Issues such as conservation, environmental law and policy, mass transportation, transfer of development rights, incentive zoning and historic preservation, beginning with an introduction to and general analysis of the policy process.
Human Rights, Law, and Society (variable topics)
In the aftermath of the second world and the genocide directed against European Jewry, a new language of human rights and international law developed to address the consequences of total war and the Holocaust: trials and tribunals sought to mete out justice for crimes against humanity and international agencies worked to provide relief and rehabilitation for survivors and displaced refugees. The postwar discourse of international law, human rights, and commemoration has not prevented further outbreaks of extreme racial and ethnic violence and the trans-generational legacies of collective trauma, but it has provided us with a framework for analyzing historical origins, the gendered experiences of both victims and perpetrators, and the possibilities and limits of resistance, as well as redress and reconciliation efforts and multiple forms of memorialization. With the Holocaust as the limit case,and using a wide variety of sources including historical accounts, eyewitness reports, contemporary reportage, archival records, memoirs, oral and written testimonies, and visual representations in photography, film, and art, we will examine cases of genocide and mass violence incomparative global context, ranging from German East Africa at the beginning of the century to Armenia during World War I, and Bangladesh, Cambodia, former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda in the post-World War II era.
Comparing political systems is at least as old as Aristotle, whose library contained more than 135 studies of constitutions of the ancient world. This course will compare contemporary political systems and consider some of the main challenges they face: forging a common identity and sense of community; meeting social and economic needs; and securing civil and political liberties and human rights. Recognizing that political societies of today's worlds can differ dramatically, the course will begin by introducing concepts and approaches that make it possible to compare systems as different as those of China and Great Britain. In addition to the broader paradigms of system, structure and function, we will also consider forms of political culture and socialization, interest articulation and aggregation, party systems and policymaking. Several distinct systems will be studied; these will be chosen not only for their geographical, but also for their political diversity, representing first-world nations such as the United States, Britain and France, as well as post-communist and post-colonial states such as Russia, China and Nigeria.
The American Presidency
The nature and sources of the power of the American presidency, the ways in which it is wielded and the Constitutional restraints upon its exercise.
Politics and Collective Memory
The political uses of collective memory can range from defining national and social identities to shaping public opinion. In exploring the interactions between memory and politics, this course will focus on the nature and forms of collective memory, its development and reconstruction and its relationship to structures of authority. Emphasis will be placed on examples from recent political history.
Politics of Ethnonational Conflict
An examination of the movements for national liberation and independence that have become an increasingly important phenomenon in the second half of the 20th century. Among the movements considered are those of Algeria, Nigeria, Cyprus, Bangladesh, Northern Ireland, Quebec, Lebanon and the PLO.
This course presents an overview of the principles of theeconomics of scarcity and choice; supply and demand; output and price. It utilizes marginal analysis as well as theories of the firm. It considers the market system in terms of both its virtues and vices. It focuses especially on the distribution of income and the labor market of the United States but also includes a section on the stock and bond markets. In addition, it covers the role of government in the economy.
Science and Technology in the Long 18th Century (1687-1839)
This course will examine the changing roles of science and technology in the West during the 18th and early 19th centuries. We will use a case-study approach to consider such topics as color in theories (light and optics) and color in practice (painting, dyeing and glassmaking); geology mineralogy and the development of ceramic industries in Europe; the invention, use (and misuse) of the natural classifications; and automation and automatons: Vaucanson's duck, Jacquard's loom, Babbage's Difference Engine.
American Foreign Policy
In the 20th century, challenges to Western liberalism came from fascism and communism, while more recent challenges have come from terrorist movements on the one hand and the European Union on the other. This course examines American foreign policy since the collapse of communism in the context of these changing challenges.
African History: History of West Africa
This course is an introduction to some of the major themes and debates in the study of West African history. Students will gain an appreciation for the diversity, depth, and dynamism of West African history. Students are encouraged to think broadly about historical processes, lasting changes, and the movement of people and ideas across geographic and intellectual space. The course is rooted in West Africa, but it places West Africa and West Africans at the center of dynamic global movements. We will study how Africa and Africans shaped many world orders, from Islam to the Atlantic World to the Third World. This course begins with the great West African empires and continuing through the eras of slave trades, the formation and consolidation of the Islamic and Atlantic worlds, and the end of colonization. We conclude with some post-colonial questions and debates with great bearing on independent Africa. Throughout the roughly 700 years this course spans, we will ask questions about long-term processes of change. How have states and state power changed over the course of the seven hundred years or so this course covers? Equally importantly, how have people’s relationships to states changed? How did Africans build new forms of power and authority? How did they resist others? How did different dividing lines—ethnic, gender, race, and class—change over time in African social, political, and cultural life?
Anthropology of Ritual
The study of ritual takes us to the heart of anthropological approaches to experience, performance, symbolism and association. Once thought to be "vestigial" organs of archaic societies, rituals are now seen as arenas through which social change may emerge and are recognized to be present in all societies. Throughout the course we will explore varying definitions of ritual and its universal and particular aspects, while surveying ethnographic case studies from around the world.
The Raymond Brown Seminar (variable topics) for Fall 2018 "Bodies in Formation"
Bodies in Formation: Anthropology of a digitally scripted life
Can digital sensors “read” our minds? Will we soon be able to upload and store copies of ourselves online? The metaphor of “reading” mediates contemporary relationship to digital data. But what does it mean to say that sensors placed on our bodies, in our phones, and in the ambient environment increasingly “read” our gestures, thoughts, and patterns of behavior, creating digital duplicates of our lives? We will approach these questions and the view of the body as information from an anthropological and an ethnographic perspective. Students will consider the idea of embodiment and the relationship between the body and the digital dataset from a comparative and a cross-cultural lens, complicating the idea that lives and bodies can be digitally scripted and “read.” Leveraging the ethnographic method, students will also conduct micro-ethnographies of digital self- monitoring, practicing working with field notes and situating analysis within key theoretical debates.
This special seinar is centered around five themes. (1) Transparent Machines explores nineteenth and early twentieth century shifts in the social reception of technology that have contributed to the view of automated technology as sources of objective knowledge and helped to spur the belief that, as Katherine Hayles (1999) had put it, people and computers are “brothers under the skin.” (2) Bodies in Formation pairs classic anthropological literature that has proposed to see culture as a text to be read with one’s body and as that which can be read off of one’s body with contemporary work that demonstrates ways technology has variously mediated cross-cultural experience of the body. (3) Bio- Information and Capital explores the commodification of bio-information and personal data. (4) Political Technology of the Body delves deeper into the politics of representation to consider the way contemporary technology like PET scans, DNA analysis, and sensor data collected by computers are shaping how different bodies can be “read,” counted, and made accountable. (5) Politics of the Archive explores ways to read the (digital) archive for its gaps, its silences, and its multiple connotations.
Urban Sociology: Reading the City
Focuses on the relationship between the built environment and human behavior, the design of public, urban spaces as a reflection of and impetus for certain types of human interactions and reactions. Another interest of the course will be to onsider the notion of community as it plays out in the disciplines of sociology and architecture—how they intersect, and how they are changing in our postmodern, post-industrial terrain. Some of the broad areas of interest of urban sociologists will also be considered.
The development of modern macroeconomic theory as it evolves in response to a succession of economic problems and crises. Emphasis on the recent Keynesian/monetarist debates and the role of the Federal Reserve Bank.
Considers specific and general factors that contribute to the rise of global cities—New York, London, Tokyo—and how such cities impact other city-types, existing and emerging. This course examines the forces underpinning globalization, including the shift from industrial to informational economies, the development of new technologies and the emergence of new patterns of immigration, in order to understand the complexities of global processes in urban terrains.
Examination of the crisis of urban America seen through the lens of New York City. Individual topics will include urban poverty, relocation of manufacturing and foreign competition, but students will be encouraged to examine closely a particular aspect of New York City's problems.
Colonial cities were major centers of trade, commerce and manufacturing, attracting money and immigrants from across the world. By focusing on the ways in which they shaped industrialization, urbanization and culture production, we will learn about technology and modern work practices, developments in housing, infrastructure and urban planning, new ideas of political resistance and artistic expressions of discontent that originated in these cities. In doing so, we will highlight the prominent role of colonial cities in shaping modern cosmopolitan life as well as the lasting legacies of colonial rule.
History of 20th-Century Europe
A study of the dramatic ruptures of Europe's 20th century, haunted by imperialism, war and genocide. Topics include the First World War; modernity and modernism in interwar culture; fascism, National Socialism and the Holocaust; postwar displacements and migrations; decolonization, the cold war and the postwar economic miracle; 1968 and 1989 in both East and West; and the ongoing challenges of integration and multiculturalism.
This course will be a dialogue on sustainability, the concept of a society that flourishes by living within the limits of, and in harmony with, the natural environment. Taking an integrative approach to all aspects of sustainable development, the course will stress the ecological character of human life and human history, how both have been shaped by the natural environment and have shaped it in return, and how issues of environmental sustainability shape our lives and careers
American Social History
This course offers an introduction to the major themes in American Social History from the Late Colonial Period to World War Two. Over the last few decades, social historians have introduced a broader cast of characters into the making of American society; workers, immigrants, minorities and native Americans are now seen more as active participants in the story of the United States rather than as passive victims or marginal figures. This course examines the changing role of such significant groups and considers how they may have changed the shape of the dominant political culture.
New York, 1820-1920: An Urban and Cultural History
A presentation of two "maps" to the city. The first is a history of the built environment, focusing on the changing systems of transportation, the development of building forms and the way the city's population and functions have been distributed in that space. The second historical map is made up from people's imaginative responses to those changes, especially as seen in literature and visual iconography. Among the areas singled out for special examination are the Bowery and the Lower East Side, Central Park and the "downtown" of amusement and vice, wherever it happened to be at the time.
Social History of Food
A study of the transformations in food production and consumption, 1492 to the present. The course examines the passage of "new world" foods into Europe and Asia, the rise of commercial agriculture in the colonies, especially sugar, the rise of national cuisines, the advent of restaurant culture and the perils of fast and industrial food.
American Intellectual History
A study of major works in intellectual and literary history written from 1780 to the present, focusing on changing notions of the self, character and community and the ways these concepts have gained intellectual and literary expression in the United States.
New York City will serve as our model for exploring how the history of urban land use is illuminated through archaeology, and what archaeological excavation in an urban context entails. In class lectures and field trips, we will look at the geography and physical history of the city as preserved both in documents and in the archaeological remains of sites and artifacts characteristic of its successive culture periods from the prehistoric era to the early 20th century.
This course studies popular culture in a primarily 20th-century context. Using both creative and theoretical texts, it considers developments in contemporary popular culture including the rise of mass media and consumerism, the elaboration of pop-cultural theory and the trend toward multiculturalism. We will sharpen our critical perspective on our cultural surroundings by questioning boundaries between the popular and other cultural categories, notions of creativity in the high and popular arts and the bases of our own preferences.
This course introduces students to the developments sometimes called the post-postmodern era of globalization, with a particular focus on the study of cultural impact. Our approach will entail both the macro level discussion of conditions and possibilities for effecting a decent global future and the micro level of actual sites of responses to (1) technology transfer; (2) cultural preservation, resistance, modernization and integration; and (3) the new dialogues around ecological sustainability. We study analytical texts, autobiographies, films and proposals on how to humanize the New World Order.
History of Modern Asia
This course seeks to explore the history of Asia from the later imperial eras of China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia into the modern era. The course examines a wide variety of political, social, economic and cultural issues that predominated during this period. While emphasizing the distinctive nature of the region, the course will stress the wide diversity and interconnectedness of ideas, technologies, and religions of modern East Asia.
An introduction to forms of psychoanalytic thinking and theory making, with special attention paid to the ways in which different theorists conceptualize and invoke psychoanalysis as a theory of mind, research tool, therapeutic process and utopian vision. Readings include foundational texts by Freud, Ferenczi and Klein, as well as responses to classical theory by Horney, Winnicott, Lacan and others.
Cognitive Pyschology: Sensation and Perception
Our experiences of the world through vision, touch, smell, taste, and hearing inform most everything that we believe to be true. This course is an introduction to the scientific exploration of how the senses and perception operate. We will look at the latest discoveries from the fields of cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience, methodologies, history, as well as currently unanswered questions. People tend to think, naively, that there is not much to perceiving the world: we simply open our eyes and, hey presto, the world appears. However, there is a huge amount of complicated processing going on (most if not all of it unconsciously), and it is these processes, which have been discovered through empirical investigation, that we will be looking at over the course of the semester.
Some representative questions we will be seeking to answer are: How do scientists go about studying sensations and perceptions? How is energy from light converted into the electrical signals that lead to vision? How do we see the world in three dimensions given the two- dimensional retinal image? How is color created by the brain and what is it for? What role does attention play in perception? How do movies create the perception of objects in motion? What are the physical and psychological qualities of sound? How important is embodiment to cognition? What are some of the physical and psychological factors that influence our sense of touch, including its sensitivity and perception?
Readings for this course will be from primary-source material (e.g. peer-reviewed papers) as well as secondary-source material (chapters from a textbook.) Students will be assessed by two exams (a mid-term and a final), papers amounting to 20 finished pages of writing, including one extended piece of writing on a topic that they decide early in the semester, and other assignments, including class discussion, homework, and active participation in class demonstrations.
"Am I That Name?” Topics in Gender and Sexuality
This course offers an introduction to the fields of inquiry that have come to be known as women’s, gender, and/or queer studies, and to the feminist theory that informs those studies. Students will engage in an interdisciplinary examination of the ways in which gender (that is, feminity and masculinity) has been constructed by visual media, literature, political theory, and social, political, and economic institutions; the historical bases for these constructions; and the activism that challenges some of these gender constructs. We will pay particular attention to the interlocking of gender with other forms of hierarchy, including race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality. We will read current scholarship in works of literature, film, history, social science, and theory, but above all, we will work our way through some of the “canonical” texts which inform that current scholarship, theory, and indeed popular culture (and our own ideas about women and men, gender and sexuality)
This course will examine current issues of global significance and their implications for policy and decision-making. Among the trends we will consider are the tensions between resource competition and authority; the emergence of a global economy; the environment and sustainable development; demographic change; and the emergence of new security issues, including societal and environmental stress.
Modernity and Modernism: Culture and Society in the Weimar Republic
This course explores the turbulent and innovative interwar years 1918-1933 in Weimar Germany, paying particular attention to cultural and social politics. We will study the difficult establishment of the "republic that nobody wanted" in the wake of a lost war, a collapsed empire and a failed revolution; the chaotic period of rebellion and inflation until 1923; the brief "Golden Twenties" of relative stabilization and Neue Sachlichkeit (New Sobriety) with its burst of social welfare initiatives, architectural and engineering innovations and efflorescence of art, music, theater and literature; and finally the crises of economic depression and political polarization that culminated with Adolf Hitler's appointment as chancellor of Germany in January 1933.
Contemporary Social Psychology
Utilizing a variety of social psychological perspectives, general issues such as human nature, socialization, attitude formation and change, verbal and non-verbal language, interpersonal behavior and the art of persuasion will be explored with interest in cross-cultural comparisons. The core questions we will explore include: What does it mean to be human? How is the self defined and determined? What impact do social groups, culture and the (built) environment have on the development of the self and on our everyday behavior?
Time, Travel and Communication in Early Modern Europe
This course is a history of early modern European technology with a strong focus on design technologies and material culture. It will cover the time period extending approximately from the Age of Exploration through the French Revolution (about 1500-1800).We will examine early modern ideas about three critical aspects of modern life: time, communication and travel. (Interpretation of these themes will be broad and may include not only carriages and bridges but also carriage upholstery and passports; not only letters, newspapers and books but also songs and emblems; not only the shift from public to personal time but also calendar reform.) In addition to readings (both primary and secondary) and discussions (in-class and online), students will choose to study three artifacts that are relevant to the themes of time, communication and travel, research them and present their findings to the class.
The course will follow the unfolding of human development from conception through adolescence by means of an array of analytic perspectives. We will examine and critique cognitive, psychoanalytic, information processing, and psychosocial models of brain/body/mind growth. Reading assignments will be from a textbook on child development as well as primary sources, which will include academic writing, memoir, and fiction. We will also view educational and fictional films, and may also include family video chronicles.
Since its introduction in 1943 by John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern, the general theory of games has been instrumental to our understanding of various social behaviors. With key contributions of such renowned scholars as John Nash, Robert Arrow, Thomas Schelling and John Harsanyi, among other Nobel Laureates, game theory has quickly gained a large following among students of economics, evolutionary biology and even political science. Though at times seemingly abstract, game theory has shown us that it has practical value with applications in firm-level management and strategic decisions making in military campaigns. The course has two dimensions: the first is to explore the theoretical basis of games; the second is to consider the application of these concepts in economics and political science.
Anthropology and the Other
This course provides an introduction to concepts in social-cultural anthropology. Students will rethink such concepts as culture, race, ethnicity, nationalism, transnationalism, gentrification, power and memory. We will use these concepts to address the questions of human universals and the origins of cultural differences. At the bases of these inquiries will be the question of the "Other." Who are the "Others" in culture or society?
Science and Technology in the Modern World
This course will explore the social, intellectual and economic relationships of science and technology in the modern world (approximately 1845 to the present day). We will use a modified case-study approach to create “snapshots” of topics that incorporate such factors as who participates in scientific and technological endeavors, where work is conducted, and the supports (social, financial, emotional) necessary to individual and collective pursuits. Class members will have some input into the topics we study, which may include: Technology and science in everyday things, Darwin and his aftermath, Communication technologies, Science and technology in war, Transportation, Health and Medicine. Sub-themes that will be incorporated into all topics include: Objects and physical spaces of science and technology, Attitudes about the immediate and larger environment, Changing ideas of improvement and progress.
3 credits. Sarah Lowengard
The Early Modern Atlantic World
This course examines the history of the Atlantic world from the mid-fifteenth century through the end of the eighteenth century. Incorporating the histories of Europe, North America, South America, and Africa, the course will explore social, cultural, economic, and political developments of the early modern era as men and women came together to form the societies in the Americas. Topics will include European-Amerindian relations, European-African relations, the slave trade, gender structures, the development of an Atlantic economy, and the maturation of colonial societies.
Comparative Cities: New York/Berlin, 1848-1948
A comparative, team-taught urban history seminar on Berlin and New York from 1848 to 1948. The course examines the differing causes of urban growth and the way it was accommodated in novel forms of urban space, highlighting the differences between a city that became a capital of empire and one given over to commercial and residential development, as well as the very different ways that both cities experienced periods of rebellion and war.
The Rise of the Modern City in the European Middle Ages
Explores how early medieval landscapes with castles and small villages became wider communities—the first modern cities. Focuses on the major debates of the Middle Ages: the tensions between country and city life; the role of the church; Scholasticism; the debate between reason and faith; the role of the French cathedral in medieval life; the lay reaction to ecclesiastical control and the rise of communal Italian cities such as Florence, Venice and Siena centered around the civic palace; and the early requirements for city beautification. We will “visit” (virtually) the first hospital, universities and prototypical housing. Everyday life will be illustrated from the material remains of art and architecture through a cross section of different social environments.
Introduction to Mind and Brain
The goal of this is to introduce the student to the basic principles of psychology, to guide the student through the brain and to provide a basic understanding of the relationship between the brain and mind addressing issues of consciousness. The first third of the course will examine the brain and underlying theories in psychology. The majority of the course will be focused on the relationship between the brain and consciousness including self-awareness, theory of mind, deception, abstract reasoning, art, music, spatial abilities and language. Steeped in recent findings in both psychology and neuroscience, the goal of this class will be to provide a modern foundation in the mind and the brain.
Darwin and His Times
This course will use the work and life of Charles Darwin (12 February-1809-19 April 1882) to examine the nature of scientific practices during the nineteenth century and their changing, often revolutionary, role in life—then and now. Our study will look at Darwin’s life, and conduct close readings of Darwin's writing on geology and evolutionary biology. We will consider and discuss both interpretations and implications of “Darwinism,” and opposition to Darwin’s ideas.
This course will examine cultural radicalism in American thought from the Young Americans of the 1910s and the New York Intellectuals of the 1930s to the Beat poets of the 1950s and the Neo-Conservatives of the 1970s. Through figures such as Randolph Bourne, John Dewey, Meyer Schapiro, Lewis Mumford, C. Wright Mills and Dorothy Day, we will trace the rise and fall of the American avant-garde, the quest for an indigenous theory of culture, the social sources of counterculture, and the shifting meanings of the concepts "mass culture," "consumer culture," "kitsch," and highbrow/middlebrow/lowbrow. Among the questions we will address are: Can one be a political radical and a cultural conservative? A political conservative and a cultural radical?
The course focuses on how the city of Rome changes through time and the way its idea of eternity reflects on its culture and urban changes. Monumental Imperial Rome will be compared to the recent results from excavations and research of the poorly preserved archaic and Medieval Rome. Fifteenth-century Rome, with its powerful popes, initiated a radical urban transformation by attracting the best architects and artists for the next 300 years. With the monarchy of the end of the 19th century and then Mussolini, the city undergoes radical changes once again.
North American Environmental History
This course examines recent historical work that makes claims for the "environment" being the major determinant in the development of the North American continent. We will look at land use in pre-colonial times, the spread of slave-based extensive agriculture in the South, wood lot management in the north, mid-western farming, western mining, the parameters of nineteenth century urban growth as well as the consequences of the arrival of the automobile. We will also look at the growth of the environmental movement over the last two centuries.
History of Industrial Design
In tracing the history of industrial design from its emergence at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to the present, this will course will not only examine aesthetics (of furniture and the decorative arts, typography, advertising, machinery, toys, etc.) but also the social and political forces that have shaped the many styles. Throughout, we will also demonstrate how movements in industrial design relate to parallel developments in the history of painting, sculpture and architecture.
Study of the "first wave" of feminism, including Mary Wollstonecraft and Abigail Adams, through the achievement of suffrage in 1920 and then study of the more radical claims of "second wave" feminists in the 1970s, with Marxist and Freudian analysis. This course will conclude with contemporary post-feminisms" and changing gender relationships.
Independent Study (Social Sciences)
Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 in Practice Test Argumentative Questions
Here are two documents that you can use to review the steps of writing an argument. I think you’ll find that you already have a good idea on how to think through an argumentative essay, but this will affirm your understanding and give you some confidence.
Here is a worksheet for you to plan your argumentative essay. Students, use this graphic organizer for planning your essay, instead of what we looked atin first hour. It should make more sense to you. Planning your Argumentative Essay
First Essay: Use the Practice Test #1 packet, Essay question 3 on quote by Drabble concerning “Conformity”. Read the prompt in your packet and then do the Steps for Planning the Argumentative Essay, worksheet found below.
Rubric for Essay question #3: To see the essay rubric for the argument question 3 in the 2008 test, scroll to the end of the following document. Evaluate your paper based on this rubric. Practice Exam with Question 3 “Conformity”
Second Essay: Question 3: “Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.” —Horace
Consider this quotation about adversity from the Roman poet Horace. Then write an essay that defends, challenges,or qualifies Horace’s assertion about the role that adversity (financial or political hardship, danger, misfortune, etc.) plays in developing a person’s character. Support your argument with appropriate evidence from your reading,observation, or experience.
Find question #3 in the following 2009 Scoring guidelines rubrics and Student Responses Question #3
You can also read the reader’s comments on the good and bad of the essays by going to this link: 2009 readers comments on student writing 2009 AP ® ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION FREE-RESPONSE QUESTIONS www.collegeboard.com.