Fall 2008 First-Year Writing Seminars
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AMERICAN STUDIES 1140
Common Ground: Cornell and Ithaca in Collaboration
Would you like to experience Cornell as something more than campus? This course offers students a meaningful community interaction as part of their writing experience. Specifically, students in this seminar will meet at regular intervals (during the normal class time) with a class of Ithaca High School juniors and/or seniors to engage in critical discussions about our community and American cultural values as they relate to shared readings (e.g., Franklin, Baldwin, Anzaldúa, Trask, Leguin, Ehrenreich, Madison, Reich). Writing assignments as well as projects relating to local issues will will challenge student views in connection to various types of diversity, which may include class, gender, and ethnicity. Ideally, students will broaden their perspectives while developing a greater comprehension of textual material, as well as verbal and written skill in considering that material rhetorically. Cross-listed; please choose ENGL 1140 on your ballot.
TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. x-listed w. ENGL 1140 & WRIT 1400 14020
The commute to Ithaca High School will require that students make available an additional twenty-five minutes before the scheduled class time.
AMERICAN STUDIES 1142.123
The African American Experience Through History and Literature
What has been the African American experience in the United States? We will explore the complexities of this subject by studying texts from a range of periods—Slavery, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Movement, the post Cold War era—and written by various African American historical figures, authors, and scholars. Among texts we may discuss are David Walker’s Appeal to End Slavery, selections from Langston Hughes’s The Ways of White Folks, and writings from Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. Students will strengthen their writing skills through a series of writing assignments based on the assigned readings and classroom discussions.
TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. William Harris 14119 Jones-Correa, Michael
Whips, Snakes, and Tombs: Archaeology in Pop Culture(s)
Mention of Archaeology tends to conjure up visions of adventure and danger in foreign lands, often with Nazis and beautiful women, at least for Americans weaned on Indiana Jones movies. Where, however, does the line between fact and fiction lie in this perception of the profession? We will explore, and write about, this sometimes blurry divide and also analyze the role that this fictionalized adventurer plays in American culture. In addition, we will look at the archaeologist from the perspective of Native American, Egyptian, Greek, and other cultures which, more often than not, perceive the archaeologist as a thief and defiler of gravesites. Is it possible to reconcile these two perspectives or are they simply two aspects of the same individual?
TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Daniel Costura 15081 Fajans, Jane
Coming to America: Immigration and Language Ideologies
In this course, we will explore the connections between immigration to the United States and emerging language ideologies. Who are the Minute Men and why are they patrolling the US-Mexico border? Why do people object to highway signs in English and Spanish? We will take a close look at current public discourse on immigration policy and debates on bilingual education, while considering a historical perspective on these controversies. We will view documentary films and read a range of authors, from the Founding Fathers to contemporary activists. Students will write short essays and a longer position paper in order to explore ideas, develop arguments, and communicate viewpoints effectively.
TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Elizabeth Phelps 13201 Fajans, Jane
Cross-Cultural Friendship: Ten Steps to Getting it Right
You’re a good person, right? So why can’t you make a genuine Third World friend? Missionaries, aid workers, and anthropologists travel abroad with the best intentions of helping and learning from people in developing nations. This seminar examines the frequent pitfalls in the unique relationships that develop. Classic novels, such as Strangers in a Strange Land and The Ugly American, will introduce the topic of cross-cultural relationships. Diary excerpts, memoirs of missionaries, and scholarly essays by noted anthropologists, will provide fascinating first-hand accounts of host-guest interactions, while works by authors such as Freud, Nyamnjoh, and Fajans will give diverse perspectives on cultural interactions. Students will be asked to write personal and analytical essays, reflecting on their own experiences while pondering the complexities of cross-cultural relationships.
TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Marcus Watson 15067 Fajans, Jane
You-Are-Here: Cartography, Mapping, and Representations of Social Reality
This course will examine the issues surrounding the production and use of maps as graphic representations of reality. Through the anthropology of cartography and mapping we will focus on both literal and conceptual maps and consider in our writing, critique, and discussion the modes by which they are produced, the ways they correspond (or don’t) to the tangible social worlds they are meant to represent, the ways they over constrain or delink the representations of the object from the object itself, the ways mapping intersects with culture and ideology, and the ways maps are and are not iterations of socially and historically specific social realities. We will apply anthropological techniques such as producing short ethnographies, mapping network and kinship systems, concept mapping, and interviewing, along with critical response and class presentations.
MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Noni Session 13202 Fajans, Jane
The Mandala and McDonalds: Technology and Transformation in Cultural Perspective
One hears continually how the world is getting smaller. Yet what exactly does this mean in a cultural sense? Is cultural particularity falling victim to the “McDonaldization” of the world, or do new technologies enable new forms of identity and identification? What is the individual’s relationship to history and locality in a cosmopolitan environment? This seminar will read modern theoretical works and case studies dealing with globalization, the city, and the interpretations of history through an anthropological perspective. Students will have the opportunity to think about and compare new forms of being and belonging, and compare these to other forms of historical transformation. Students will write response papers applying theoretical insights to concrete examples from around the world.
MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Andrew Johnson 13203 Fajans, Jane
Of Magic and Medicine
Charms and witchcraft have long been used to cause and ward off misfortune and illness throughout history. Things imbued with the aura of something extra-ordinary also exist in the field of medicine where chemicals acquire new social meaning through marketing. Often brand-names allude to exotic civilizations or ancient wisdom, transforming the medicine into something desirable and with “guaranteed potency.” For although medicines are biochemically potent in themselves, medicines as commercial products become social objects that shape the illness experience. This class examines the relationship between social meaning and healing through writing assignments based on articles and theoretical texts dealing with a variety of issues surrounding the topic of magic and medicine (e.g., magic, drug branding, and the boom in herbal supplements).
MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Daena Funahashi 13204 Fajans, Jane
Generations: Anthropological Approaches to Persons and Things
If both human families and computer programs have generations, what are generations? “Generation” is used to define the time between the birth of parents and that of their offspring. However, it has come to define not only people, but also things, and increasingly people who are defined by things, such as Generation X and the Millennials. We will investigate these changing conceptions of generation from contexts as diverse as Korean families and U.S. scientists by reading anthropological, social science, fiction, and popular media in addition to viewing films. Writing assignments will include personal reflection, short ethnography, position papers, research proposals, and research papers. Through these different writing genres, students will practice how to connect personal experience with social analysis.
TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Amy Levine 13205 Fajans, Jane
Cultural Notions of Youth: The Impact of Participation in Politics
The social category youth is one that is specific to each culture. Within each culture, those who claim to be youth or who claim influence over them contest the category. Historically, throughout the world, youth generations have found autonomy and power in defining themselves through activism. Even the current political events in America have shown youth can be inspired to create change through political participation. In this course, we will explore how youth is defined in different cultural contexts and how political participation plays a role in this discursive process. Through the shared process of writing, we will analyze theoretical works, speeches, and media that are meant to mobilize youth or lay claim to the category in order to understand how it operates in various cultures.
MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Amanda Snellinger 13206 Fajans, Jane
Gifting, Debt, Memory, and Hope: Social Dynamics of Migration and Remittances
This course introduces students to economic anthropology. Usually we think of the economy as being merely financial exchanges, but we will broaden that construct to include the social relations that accompany and are affected by financial exchange. In our explorations, we will draw on a rich body of anthropological literature and social theory that explores the relations between people and money, including Karl Polanyi, Marcel Mauss, and Karl Marx. We will use these theoretical frameworks to consider contemporary socio-economic issues, looking in particular at cases of international migration and corresponding remittance flows back to families and communities in the home country. Students will identify and address additional relevant issues for discussion and reflection with the class through a series of structured and semi-structured writing assignments.
MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Ivan Small 14014 Fajans, Jane
ART HISTORY 1127
African Personal Adornment: Changes and Translations
Central African ivory, Venetian glass beads, Indian Ocean shells, West African gold, and Dutch cloth are just some of the materials covered in this seminar. Students will examine how intercultural trade has affected the creation, use, and interpretation of African personal adornment. Case studies will include the nineteenth-century trade in cloth within West Africa, the use of African adornment in European modern art and fashion, and the role of African aesthetics in contemporary global arts and fashions. While developing skills in critical analysis and writing, students will study both scholarly and popular interpretations of the art objects. The course will incorporate visits to on-campus resources, such as the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art.
MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Amanda Gilvin 12356 Pan, An-yi
ART HISTORY 1129
Blasting the Machine: Questioning Technology through Art
Over the last decades, media artists and activists have adopted consumer technologies to intervene and participate in mainstream media culture. Their works are exhibited and used in virtual and public spaces such as the internet, supermarkets, health clinics, and museums. Artists create these works from the premise that technologies are not neutral: they carry assumptions about communal culture and the individual body. But we become accustomed to such technologies and their assumptions: they become a “natural” part of our social fabric. In our class, we will survey the strategies that artists and technologists use to highlight the cultural implications of “new” technologies, from the work of SubRosa to Waffa Bilal and others. For discussion, reading, and writing, students will explore issues raised by these works, identifying critical topics for exploration from both an arts context and beyond.
MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Claudia Pederson 12357 Pan, An-yi
ASIAN STUDIES 1103
Japan Performs! Myth, Storytelling, and Drama
How has performance in Japan adapted to suit the tastes of different audiences over time? How have Japan’s traditional performing arts influenced its modern media culture? This course introduces Japan’s performing arts, from its mythic origins in a risque dance by a celestial shamaness, medieval war ballads recited by itinerant, blind musicians, the puppet theatre on stage and screen, the all-male kabuki plays, all-female Takarazuka musicals, to TV melodramas popular throughout Asia. Focusing on issues of orality, literacy, and gender, writing assignments will range from short responses to formal critical essays on a variety of readings, including dramatic literature, critical treatises by playwrights, and academic writing. Short video clips of various performances will also be shown.
TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Janice Kanemitsu 14015
ASIAN STUDIES 1112
Recent Trends in Japanese Literature and Visual Media
How was the so-called “bubble economy” of 1980s’ Japan and its aftermath narrated and reflected upon in media such as literature, manga, film, anime, and contemporary art? The course explores two periods of recent Japanese cultural production through a wide diversity of media. We begin with analysis of works of literature, manga, and cinema from Japan after 1995, addressing notions of hope and its loss in contemporary society. In a second stage, we examine the cultural production of the period of Japan’s “economic bubble” in a wide range of artistic genres, as well through theoretical and historical sources. Writing assignments will include interpretation of literary and visual sources.
TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Pedro Erber 13402 Taylor, Keith
AFRICANA STUDIES 1801
Stories, Poems, and Essays by Black Male Writers
This course introduces students to the broad spectrum of literature by Black men that address the challenges and obstacles presented by the complexities of life in the United States and the victories achieved. From Boyd and Allen’s anthology Brotherman—portraying the Black man’s long odyssey in this country—students will read and write about the human experience as told through the voices of Black male writers. As a text, Brotherman offers “a literal and metaphorical map of the Black man’s quest for self-affirmation.” Through writing essays, students will learn to reflect upon the inner journey toward self-awareness as portrayed through this collection of fiction and non-fiction drawn from the rich body of 150 years of Black literature.
MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Beverly Blacksher 12995
AFRICANA STUDIES 1802
In this seminar, we will discuss the different styles, techniques, and aesthetics of African Cinema. In the process students will have a unique opportunity to increase their knowledge of African cultures and societies, as well as examine issues of social change, gender, class, tradition, and modernization. Students will encounter familiar genres and themes in African film: political struggle, sexual satire, social tension, and familial comedy. But unlike Hollywood blockbusters such as Blood Diamond and The Last King of Scotland, films directed and produced by Africans frame the issues with African perspectives. Writing assignments will help students develop the analytic skills necessary to critique cinematic techniques, to think critically about their media viewing habits, and to write about important cultural issues.
MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Diane Butler 13157
AFRICANA STUDIES 1803
Exploring Self-Knowledge with Stories by African American Women Writers
This seminar will provide us with a unique opportunity to explore the visions, values, themes, characters, and settings presented by African American women writers. Probing the rich worlds of Harriet Jacobs, Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison, we will engage in dialogue—both written and oral—for a stimulating exchange of ideas. Literary themes of self-knowledge will be studied in conjunction with essays and other works by authors of diverse backgrounds. Through written and oral communication, we will face the challenge and the privilege of understanding the significance of literary themes as they relate to broader issues of society, and to our personal lives as well.
TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Beverly Blacksher 12996
AFRICANA STUDIES 1811
Women Writing in South Africa
In this course, students will explore the works of Southern African women. We will read and respond in discussion and writing to testimonies, films, stories, songs, and many other texts that represent the voices of women in Southern Africa. In our studies, we will discover what the voices of Southern African women are and how their discourse expresses experiences in the countries of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Mozambique.
MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Sarah Mkhonza 12999
ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY 1640
Valuing our environment and developing a sustainable relationship with it is the major challenge for the growing human population. We are facing the need for significant lifestyle and economic adjustments. This seminar will provide an opportunity to explore both classic and contemporary writings that call attention to growing environmental challenges. Writings about the environment are rich in the variety of styles and approaches to communication. Understanding both the form and substance of different kinds of exposition will provide opportunities to explore and expand your writing skills.
TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Brian Chabot 12976
NEUROBIOLOGY & BEHAVIOR 1220.101
Environmental, Economic, and Community Perspectives
How do you define “sustainability”? Is sustainability important to the future of our society? During this course, we will examine perspectives of sustainability from environmental, economic, political, and community sectors. Readings will include selections from Thoreau’s Walden, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, E. O. Wilson’s Future of Life, and the Science Times (New York Times). Screenings of Inconvenient Truth and Who Killed the Electric Car? and clips from Living on Earth and Science Friday (National Public Radio) will initiate discussions. Writing projects will require synthesis of readings and inspire the development of a coherent and clear writing style to convincingly make arguments. Assignments will include a personal reflection, an op-ed piece, and a letter to a politician regarding sustainability.
TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Ingrid Biedron 12988 Clark, Christopher
NEUROBIOLOGY & BEHAVIOR 1220.102
Imagining the Brain
For a machine composed of mostly fat and salt water, it is difficult to imagine how the brain is both flesh and the great cathedral of humanity, a source of creativity unrivaled by any other machine. While these features are traditionally regarded by neurobiologists as “curiosities” of a complex system, this seminar will evaluate how such “curiosities” may themselves be tools to understanding the brain. Through analysis of many different media, such as the paintings of schizophrenics, the poetry of Walt Whitman, and clinical interviews of Dr. Oliver Sacks, students will explore through reading, writing, and attendance at local cultural events, major contributions to understanding the brain gained through subjective exploration, while pursuing a term project on a relevant subject of their own interest.
TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Jason Gallant 12989 Hopkins, Carl
This course examines the central myths of ancient Greece, including the exploits of the gods, such as the wise but womanizing Zeus, his jealous wife Hera, Aphrodite, goddess of sex, and Dionysus, god of wine, as well as those of the heroes Herakles, Theseus, the Trojan warriors, and the women that impact their lives, focusing on the femme fatale Helen, and the axe-murderer Klytaimnestra. We will also discuss the reception of myth in literature, including Homer’s monumental epics, Athenian tragedy, and Lucian’s provocative satires. In discussion and writing assignments, we will consider the interpretation of myth, how myths from neighboring cultures in the Near East influenced Greece, and the relation between Greek myths and those of the more distant Indians, Vikings, and Celts.
MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. John McDonald 12939 Bowes, Kimberly
Violence in the Ancient World
Is modern society particularly “violent”? How has violence been perceived and used in past societies? This course examines the expressions and functions of violence in the Greco-Roman world. By reading texts such as the Iliad, Suetonius’s The Lives of the Caesars, even Saint Augustine, and looking at archaeological evidence from Greek vases to the Roman amphitheatre, we’ll look at various forms of violence—war, political strife, even violence in families. We’ll ask how violence functioned to create the ideals of the hero and the corrupt politician, the relationship between violence and entertainment, and the role of violence in religion. Writing assignments will ask you to compare your modern experience and ancient lives, and to assume the viewpoint of ancient persons, from gladiators to monks.
TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Kimberly Bowes 12941
Socrates: What is the Good Life?
What is the good life? Socrates posed this question in various forms to people famous for wisdom. No one could answer him. This approach to philosophy called traditional values into question and left several people humiliated. An Athenian jury eventually put Socrates to death for undermining conventional morality. So, what did Socrates have to say about the good life—and its manifestation in art, religion, love, and politics? We will attempt to identify Socrates’s views by close readings of his students Plato and Xenophon, whose works depict conversations between Socrates and various individuals. We will discuss and write about literary, historical, and philosophical problems posed by these texts, setting them against the more “popular” views of Socrates presented by the comic playwright Aristophanes.
MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Erik Kenyon 12953 Bowes, Kimberly
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1103.101
Inner/Outer/Other Worlds: Friendship, Love, Community—Relations after Facebook
Conventional wisdom assumes that a community consists of people who share certain beliefs and cultures and whose personal relationships are securely grounded in friendship and love. But what happens when the private desires of love contradict the building of a community? Are there limits to friendship and love? This course will ask what conditions foster or limit community, and whether there is any use in calling for future communities, e.g., international communities, digital communities, and radical communities constituted by human-nonhuman relations. Readings will cover materials from popular culture (Napster c. 1990s, Facebook, Gwen Stefani), literature (Chuang Tzu, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Herman Melville, Isaac Asimov), and philosophy (Plato, Marx, Nietzsche, Derrida). Writing assignments will include short critical essays and peer revision.
MWF 08:00–08:50 a.m. Irving Goh 13403 Banerjee, Anindita
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1103.102
Inner/Outer/Other Worlds: Violence, Memory, and Truth in Contemporary Latin American Narratives
Contemporary Latin American narratives have been privileged places to represent totalitarian violence. The stories often hinge on the contradictions between official democratic discourses and the actual despotic practices that they hide. Traces of the repressed, obscene truth of such regimes coalesce with the writer’s daily life as a private person, his or her literary activity, and his or her political relevance. As we explore stories by contemporary Latin American writers such as Fernando Vallejo, Daniel Alarcón, Mario Vargas Llosa, García Márquez, and Zoé Valdéz, we will see how these writers tackle problems about memory, truth, violence, and secrecy. Students will be expected to contribute fully through class discussion and frequent writing assignments.
TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Ricardo Arribas 14016 Banerjee, Anindita
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1103.103
Inner/Outer/Other Worlds: The Antichrist—Reason, Writing, Revolution
Writers in the Western tradition have described the “antichrist” as the embodiment of evil on earth who denies the ultimate embodiment of good, which is Christ. But making an absolute distinction between good and evil is not so simple. As Nietzsche writes, in encountering evil we also “give a name to good.” In a sense, the very possibility of evil relies on the definition of good. To understand how this seeming contradiction operates in the Western imaginary, we will trace occurrence of the antichrist in selections from the Bible, three canonical English works (Milton’s Paradise Lost, Shelley’s Frankenstein, Langland’s Piers Plowman) and Nietzsche’s The Antichrist. This course aims to develop critical reading and writing skills alongside thoughtful argumentation.
TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Juan Sierra 14017 Banerjee, Anindita
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1108
Language and Politics: Peeling Back the Onion—Politics and Truth in Social Realism
As a genre, Social Realism seeks to lay bare the truths of everyday life, peeling back the layers that gild our image of reality in order to expose the darker ties between people and their environments. But if realism allegedly mirrors life, what happens when its “objectivity” comes with a political imperative? Can a political view also be objective? In this class, we will look to literature, film, and other visual arts from around the world in an attempt to answer those questions. Possible texts range from short pieces by Bertolt Brecht and Maxim Gorky to a novel by Upton Sinclair and films by Ken Loach. Assignments will be devoted to every step of the writing process, including brainstorming, informal journal entries, and formal essays.
MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Sarah Pickle 13413 Banerjee, Anindita
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1109
Writing Across Cultures: Jungle Fever—The Dynamics of Race and Desire
What are the rules of (interracial) attraction? Does sexual desire across racial, ethnic, and cultural lines always indicate a desire for the exotic? Does society easily accept such desire? Amorous encounters may appear to transcend prejudice, but they may also be based in erotic stereotyping. This course will explore representations of racially “transgressive” desire through literature, film, and cultural iconography. We will study Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever, analyze Josephine Baker’s role as an iconic and sexualized African American in Paris, and read such texts as How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired by Dany Laferrière, Heremakhonon by Maryse Condé, and Sarah Phillips by Andrea Lee. Students will develop writing through short critical responses as well as formal essays and constant revision.
MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Kavita Singh 13420 Banerjee, Anindita
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1114
Multiple Voices: The Fatal Allure of Narcissism
Narcissism, or the obsession with one’s own image, can importantly shape the way people participate in their social and cultural worlds. This course will examine the role played by narcissism in the formation of identity and in the ways we approach literature and art. Readings will include Freud’s essay On Narcissism, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, and Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, as well as encounters with contemporary art and film. Students will develop critical faculties and writing skills through writing essays analyzing their own personal responses to a variety of texts.
MWF 08:00–08:50 a.m. Yoon Oh 13421 Banerjee, Anindita
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1120
Cultural Crossings: Revolution and Tradition in the Twentieth Century
Is history, as James Joyce wrote, just a “nightmare” from which we need to awaken? Or is history a source of new ideas, new creations? To answer these questions, we will look at modern artistic movements that try to escape the past (Futurist manifestos, Soviet Montage films), re-imaginings of classic literary texts (poetry and criticism by Charles Baudelaire, T. S. Eliot, and others), and revolutionary writings on history (selections from writings by Karl Marx, Walter Benjamin, and others). Assignments will include critical essays, shorter response papers, and a group presentation.
MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Robert Lehman 15012 Banerjee, Anindita
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1123.101
Mapping Literary Spaces: Going Back and Beyond—Literature, Time, and Travel
“Going up that river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world.” In Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness, the narrator places Africa in the past, creating an evolutionary scale of cultures in which the European traveler inhabits the up-to-date present. Travel writers try to make sense of the culturally different by comparing it to what they already know. In the process, they often evoke both their search for identity and their version of world history. This seminar explores how works by Conrad, W. G. Sebald, V. S.Naipaul, and others situate places and cultures temporally. We will read the literary strategies of these texts through themes like historical progress, globalization, and belonging. Writing exercises will focus on close textual analysis and effective argumentation
MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Kaisa Kaakinen 13422 Banerjee, Anindita
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1123.102
Mapping Literary Spaces: Parables of the Grotesque and Fantastic
A clerk wakes up to discover himself transformed into a gigantic insect. A traveler attends a dinner party for wealthy cannibals. A man who can never forget slowly goes insane. These grotesque tales suggest the changing nature of the literary parable amid the increasingly distorted, violent, and chaotic world of the first half of the twentieth century. This seminar will examine reflections of this world in texts by Franz Kafka, Jorges Luis Borges, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Samuel Beckett. We will examine the surreal, vulgar, and obscene elements that make these works perverse parables, ones without moral or redemption. Student writing will trace the connections between these works, with an emphasis on interpreting texts that elude the very task of interpretation.
TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Paul Flaig 13423 Banerjee, Anindita
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1123.103
Mapping Literary Spaces: Art and Politics from Marx to the Millennium
The early-twentieth century was a time of revolutions, a time of unprecedented artistic experimentation and violent political change. In this class, we will study the intersections between art and revolutionary politics during this tumultuous period. Although we will read selections from the writings of Marx himself, our goal will be to trace the development of twentieth-century Marxism alongside transformations in literature, film, and philosophy. Writers to be discussed may include Karl Marx, Charles Baudelaire, Virginia Woolf, Sergei Eisenstein, and Alain Badiou. Assignments will include critical essays, shorter response papers, and a group presentation.
MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Robert Lehman 15022 Banerjee, Anindita
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1123.104
Mapping Literary Spaces: Literature, Medicine, and the Body
This course explores the rich interplay between the disciplines of literature and medicine, considering representations of illness, disease, and disability in a number of texts from diverse traditions, genres, and periods. What might the critical discourse of each discipline mean for how we read the body? What is the relationship between the practice of medicine and narrative? What might the plurality of ethical issues surrounding modern medicine and care mean when looked at through a literary and critical lens? And what, in turn, do issues such as illness, death, and survival suggest about the way in which we write? Through readings from Plato, Sontag, Camus, Kafka, and others, we will approach the issues at stake in imagining medicine and the body outside of traditional contexts.
TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Allison Weiner 15023
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1123.105
Mapping Literary Spaces: “Are we all Americans?”—Encounters between France and the U.S. The views that the French and Americans have about each other often consist, as the scholar John Engle writes, of “finely honed complexes of superiority and inferiority.” How have these “complexes” been honed by writers’ and filmmakers’ encounters with one another’s culture? To what extent are these encounters shaped by a need to define the self or by a desire to discover the French or American “Other”? Why do France and the U.S. consistently function as points of reference in each other’s cultural projects? Through critical analysis of texts and films (such as Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, and Godard’s Breathless), students will discover the complex and fruitful role that the two countries play for one another.
MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Carissa Sims 15024 Banerjee, Anindita
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1124
From Crisis to Composition: Life as We Know It—Shock, Disaster, and Rubbish
Can we learn something from trash? From disaster and shock? What do these phenomena say about the way in which we are choosing to live our lives today? In this class, through reading, discussion, and critical writing assignments, we will ponder various media coming from different disciplines in an attempt to turn apocalyptic narratives, garbage dumps, natural disasters, and market “shock therapy” into avenues for reflection and knowledge. We will make interdisciplinary connections among the Bible, contemporary fiction and poetry by Cormac MacCarthy and Federico García Lorca, contemporary non-fiction and journalism by Roberto Saviano and Naomi Klein, and sociological accounts on the history of trash in both written texts and documentary films.
TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Marcela Romero Rivera 13424 Banerjee, Anindita
CITY AND REGIONAL PLANNING 1109.101
Cities and Regions: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles—Urban Transportation in the United States
How do people get from place to place in cities and metropolitan regions? How do cities and transportation systems shape each other? What can we do about urban sprawl, global climate change, and other problems often associated with automobiles? In this writing seminar, we’ll look at how cities and transportation systems have evolved together. Topics will include transportation problems, potential solutions, transportation planning, and how government and civic society influence public investment in transportation. Students will write assessments of the readings articulating their own perspectives and examinations of familiar places through the lens of transportation.
MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Catherine Lowe 13425 Goldsmith, William
CITY AND REGIONAL PLANNING 1109.102
Cities and Regions:Social Movements and Collective Action in the Age of Globalization
Globalization processes have had profound economic, social, and cultural consequences on the peoples of both developed and developing countries. The last decade has been marked by what the media has referred to as a rising tide of “anti-globalization protests.” Who are these protesters and what are they protesting against? In this course, we will examine responses by social movements to globalization processes and explore how movements channel grievances into collective action by considering the protests of neighborhood, women’s, indigenous, and environmental movements, among others. We will also investigate how social movements have scaled up mobilization to the global level, and assess whether movements have taken advantage of the opportunities created by globalization. Students will reflect on these issues in short response papers and critical essays.
TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. David Driskell 13426 Goldsmith, William
Gender and Writing: Queer New York—Literature, Art, Sexuality, and the City
How did sexuality play out in mid-century New York City culture and the queer literature and art it produced—or that produced it? Focusing on influential New York writers and artists during an era of heightened suspicion, but also possibility, surrounding identity and sexuality, this course will engage with a series of texts that ask what queerness looks like—in a body, in a city, in a work of art? As we examine the complex interactions among art, sexuality, gender, race, and urban spaces in work by figures such as James Baldwin, Truman Capote, Patricia Highsmith, Audre Lorde, Frank O’Hara, Andy Warhol, and Tennessee Williams, we will develop critical reading skills and, through extensive and varied writing practice, sharpen techniques of argument and expression.
MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Chad Bennett 13209 Brown, Laura
Gender and Writing: Sex, Cyborgs, and Space Aliens—The Erotics of Sci-Fi
Do androids dream of electric supermodels? The relationship between sexuality and technology has long been the province of science fiction; thus there is a rich history of feminist, gay, queer, and transgender writing within the genre. This course will explore the ways in which conceptions of parenthood, bodies, gender, and sexuality can be “queered”—made strange, disturbed, and eroticized—by sci-fi. We’ll investigate, and write about, the queer potential in sci-fi tropes such as sexy robots, alien desires, asexual reproduction, and bodyswapping. Our readings may include texts by Russ, LeGuin, Delany, and Shelley; our watchings may include Star Trek, Torchwood, Stargate, and Farscape. Finally, we will consider authors who rewrite and eroticize existing sci-fi texts, such as cybertext author Shelley Jackson and various authors of sci-fi fanfiction.
MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Megan Graham 13211 Brown, Laura
Gender and Writing: Women at Home—Wives, Mothers, Social Crusaders?
Can a wife and mother effect social change from within the home? Nineteenth-century British writers including Sarah Lewis, Sarah Ellis, and John Ruskin made extravagant claims for the power of domestic women—women who managed a home and family—to shape culture and politics by influencing the morality of husbands, sons, and neighbors. Skeptics like Marion Reid and J. S. Mill argued that such indirect influence was no substitute for direct political participation. In discussions and essays, we’ll evaluate these arguments and consider novels in which women raise children, manage households, throw parties, and nurse the sick. In what ways might these activities serve the world outside the home? Texts will include Bleak House (excerpts), The Secret Garden, and Return of the Soldier, among others.
MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Kathleen Croghan 13212 Brown, Laura
Gender and Writing: Eros and Education—Sex and Desire in School Narratives
Why did boys have erotic relationships with their male teachers in ancient Greece? How did Victorian schoolgirls’ crushes make them better students? What does current panic over school sex scandals teach us about how gender and sexuality affect education? How does love make learning impossible? Using queer theory to analyze texts such as Plato’s Symposium, Sade’s Philosophy in the Bedroom, and Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, we will compare and contrast how cultures at different times relate erotic desire to learning. Writing assignments include short response papers and longer critical essays.
MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Peter Bailey 13282 Brown, Laura
Gender and Writing: Gender Across Cultures in Fiction and Film
Do sexual and gender identity shift according to different races, classes, cultures, and times? How do everyday ideas about sex, gender, and sexuality become normalized in different societies? We will use cross-cultural comparisons to explore issues of gender and sexual stereotyping, such as the idea that females are more emotionally sensitive than males or that certain sexual orientations are more natural than others. We will consider the effect such ideas have on daily life, as well as the ways in which such ideas are either enforced or disrupted. We will explore, and write about these questions through a wide range of literary texts and films including Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre with Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, Kimberley Peirce’s film Boys Don’t Cry, and Deepa Mehta’s film Fire.
TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Mukti Lakhi 13283 Brown, Laura
Gender and Writing: The Fiction of Jane Austen
This course examines two kinds of Austenian fictions: the fiction Jane Austen wrote and the “fiction” that her literary celebrity continues to generate. Besides thinking about Austen’s complicated engagement with the gender politics of her time, we will consider how modern audiences have responded to her characters, her plots, and her “feminine” writing style. As we investigate the many types of pride and prejudice that have secured her place in the university classroom and contributed to her box-office success, we will chart her recent transformations in the popular imagination, from spinster writer to feminist icon to romantic heroine. Readings will include Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma, along with assorted critical essays and reviews from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century.
MWF 02:30–03:20 p.m. Noelle Chao 14156
Gender and Writing: Haunted and Gendered Spaces
In this course, we will examine gender, the supernatural, and the domestic space. What role does gender play in the portrayal of domestic spaces? Of haunted spaces? In what different ways does the supernatural infiltrate the home? In critical discussion and writing, we will explore traditional gender roles and how they are supported, maintained, or critiqued in literature. We will also expose the meanings behind ghosts, curses, and other supernatural literary devices, and explore the psychology of haunting. Reading selections may include Coleridge, Tennyson, Poe’s short stories, Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, and Brontë’s Jane Eyre.
TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Jolene Zigarovich 14576
Writing About Film
A writing course that focuses on film, particularly on Hollywood classics, past and current. How is a film put together so that it will manipulate and move its audience? What are the roles of editing, camera movement, soundtrack, and image? What does a film tell us about its culture and our cultures? About the relations between women and men, between filmer and filmed? We explore such questions as we analyze six films. We read about film history, techniques, and analysis. Students write both short exercises designed to sharpen attention to details of each film and regularly scheduled essays on a wide range of topics, such as relations between men and women as represented in these films, the appeal of movie stars, ways of identifying a director’s characteristic style, and the tension between the soundtrack and the visual composition in a particular scene.
MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. James Cecil 13190 Bogel, Lynda
MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Ryan Dirks 13191 Bogel, Lynda
MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Justin Souza 13192 Bogel, Lynda
TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Lynda Bogel 13193
TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Lynda Bogel 13195
TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Dana Koster 13196 Bogel, Lynda
TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Douglas Mitchell 13197 Bogel, Lynda
Students must be free to attend screenings on Mondays at 6:30 and Thursdays at 4:45. Choose another writing seminar if your schedule conflicts with these screenings.
Thinking Across Cultures: Who Writes Human Rights?
Human rights, often taken for granted as timeless and natural truths, did not exist on paper until 1948. This course will investigate in writing and in class discussion, the written history of human rights, paying close attention to how the human is framed as a national rather than universal subject. Reading both literary and legal texts—importantly, the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (1789), and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)—our class will speculate: Are human rights fictions? Who is included and excluded in their rhetoric? Can rights be claimed from outside the borders of the nation-state? In addition to philosophical articles and legal case studies, literary texts may include: Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Melville’s Benito Cereno, and Shelley’s Frankenstein.
MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Stephanie DeGooyer 13323 Parker, Reeve
Thinking Across Cultures: Literary Innovation and Cultural Renewal
What is a renaissance in literature? This course will consider how moments of cultural rejuvenation occur and how they are subsequently understood. Attention will be given to literature of the European Renaissance of the sixteenth century and the Harlem Renaissance of the early twentieth century. The course will examine new forms of writing that emerged during these periods, and use these developments to draw attention to devices and strategies available for writing now. Texts to be studied include Machiavelli’s The Prince, More’s Utopia, Montaigne’s Essays, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and selections from Harlem Renaissance writers. Secondary readings will address the historical development of the idea of “renaissance,” and will include Vasari and Burckhardt.
MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Douglas McQueen-Thomson 13324 Parker, Reeve
Thinking Across Cultures: Good Taste—Food and Writing
What do our tastes say about us, our families, and our countries? Can meals separate or unite individuals? How do we even write about the ineffable experience of eating? In this seminar, we will use food, the most literal object of taste, to inspire and direct student writing on aesthetics and ethics. Beginning with a brief history of food criticism, we will read philosophies of taste from the eighteenth through the twenty-first centuries. We will also draw from a spectrum of gastronomical essays, placing such works in their larger cultural, social, and economic contexts. Shared tastings will be mandatory, and writing assignments will include restaurant reviews, description exercises, and longer essays on timely ethnographic and political issues such as ecological sustainability, globalization, prohibitive costs, and obesity.
MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Sarah Cote 13326 Parker, Reeve
MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Sarah Cote 15245 Parker, Reeve
Thinking Across Cultures: Life, Death, and Desire in Nineteenth-Century Literature
In this course, we will consider figures of life, death, and desire in major works of European literature from the nineteenth century to see how artistic and cultural practices develop across and against national and linguistic borders. We will study the migration of ideas and attitudes in selected novels, poetry, and philosophy—alongside music and art—from Germany, England, France, and Russia. Discussion and writing will respond to influential works by authors such as Goethe (The Sorrows of Young Werther), Flaubert (A Sentimental Education), Dostoevsky (Notes from Underground), Wordsworth (Tintern Abbey), Percy Shelley (Mont Blanc), Emily Brontë, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Hopkins, Baudelaire, and Swinburne.
MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Alan Young-Bryant 13327 Parker, Reeve
Thinking Across Cultures: Prisoners of Conscience/Writing to Change the World
Changing the world is not blue-eyed idealism; at a basic level, it is precisely what language is for. From exchanges of essential information to declarations of love, sentences aim to do something. In this course, we will read people who felt compelled to write in order to produce change in their worlds or in themselves. We will examine structures of persuasion as well as the relationship between an author’s intent and a piece’s public impact. “Prison” can mean political imprisonment or religious ideas of the body as prison, or the structure of sonnets as a self-imposed prison. Readings will range from Anne Frank’s diaries to Julian of Norwich’s devotional writing to columns by Nicholas Kristof. Students will write letters, analyses, reflections, satires, and more.
TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Stephanie Gehring 13328 Parker, Reeve
Thinking Across Cultures: Globalization and Culture
Globalization may be the defining feature of the contemporary world and yet no one seems to agree on exactly what it means. In discussion and writing, we’ll investigate how globalization is debated in scholarly texts from across the humanities, at the same time as we interpret how various cultural texts re-configure our understandings of globalization. We’ll read novels such as Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things and Chris Abani’s Graceland, view films such as Aladdin and Dirty Pretty Things, examine global advertising, listen to world music, and consume ethnic food, all the while creating a lively, on-going debate over the dialectical relation between globalization and culture.
TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Omaar Hena 13329
Thinking Across Cultures: Inscribing Culture
What is culture? What counts as culture? Are we produced by or producers of culture? What do we value and why? How do we interpret culture and cultural practices and what do interpretations of culture reveal concerning larger structures of power, economics, and identity? Reading and writing about a wide range of theories of culture, we will consider how the word “culture” has been debated. At the same time, we will also learn how to decode culture as a text in an array of media. I have called this course “Inscribing Culture” because whenever we interpret culture we “write on” it as an object of study; but culture also “writes on us,” showing a great deal about one’s own cultural values and identities.
TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Omaar Hena 13330
This seminar provides a unique opportunity for students to work very closely with just a few of Shakespeare’s plays: a total of four or five over the course of the semester. We will use these texts as a source and motivation for our own reading, writing, and critical analysis, but we will be attentive also to the plays as performances. Film screenings, performances, and historical materials related to the plays in production will be included in each seminar, though the particulars will vary according to the instructor. Course work will involve extensive writing—both formal and informal—and drafting.
MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Christopher Kempf 13284 Kalas, Rayna
MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Brad Zukovic 13285 Kalas, Rayna
MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Jon Katz 13286 Kalas, Rayna
MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Rayna Kalas 13287
Memoir and Memory
In this course, we will examine how authors construct their public, written selves. Since the self is, at best, a difficult and multi-faceted concept, we will consider a variety of texts in our endeavor to understand an author’s choices of literary techniques in his or her narration of the remembered, created self. While book-length memoirs such as Kincaid’s My Brother or Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life will figure in our investigation of methods of self-exploration and presentation, other readings will be drawn from non-fiction profiles, reflective essays, plays (e.g., The Laramie Project), poems, and visual renderings (e.g., Maus). Through reading and the frequent writing of essays we will explore how and why people write about themselves, while always asking, “How does writing shape lived experience?”
MWF 08:00–08:50 a.m. Benjamin McCormick 13288 Jefferis, Sarah
MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Sarah Scoles 13289 Jefferis, Sarah
MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Jennifer Ray 13290 Jefferis, Sarah
MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Christine Suwendy 13291 Jefferis, Sarah
MWF 02:30–03:20 p.m. Jennifer Cragun 13292 Jefferis, Sarah
MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Sarah Jefferis 13294
Common Ground: Cornell and Ithaca in Collaboration
Would you like to experience Cornell as something more than campus? This course offers students a meaningful community interaction as part of their writing experience. Specifically, students in this seminar will meet at regular intervals (during the normal class time) with a class of Ithaca High School juniors and/or seniors to engage in critical discussions about our community and American cultural values as they relate to shared readings (e.g., Franklin, Baldwin, Anzaldúa, Trask, Leguin, Ehrenreich, Madison, Reich). Writing assignments as well as projects relating to local issues will challenge student views in connection to various types of diversity, which may include class, gender, and ethnicity. Ideally, students will broaden their perspectives while developing a greater comprehension of textual material, as well as verbal and written skill in considering that material rhetorically.
TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Darlene Evans 14019
The commute to Ithaca High School will require that students make available an additional twenty-five minutes before the scheduled class time.
The Mystery in the Story
What makes a story, and what makes it a mystery story? In this course, we’ll study and write about the nature of narratives, taking the classic mystery tale written by such writers as Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and Dashiell Hammett as typical of intricately-plotted stories of suspense and disclosure that have been written and filmed in many genres: Greek tragedy, horror tales by Poe and Shirley Jackson, psychological thrillers by Ruth Rendell and Patricia Highsmith, neo-noir films such as The Usual Suspects and Memento, and postmodern mystery parodies such as those of Paul Auster and Jorge Luis Borges. We’ll look at the way they hang together, the desire and fear that drive them, and the secrets they tell—or try to keep hidden.
MWF 08:00–08:50 a.m. Sang Yin Wu 13295 Davis, Stuart
MWF 08:00–08:50 a.m. Alex Gonzales 13296 Davis, Stuart
MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Steven Pinkerton 13297 Davis, Stuart
MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Alan Young-Bryant 13298 Davis, Stuart
TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Douglas Mitchell 13299 Davis, Stuart
TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Tea Bajraktarevic 13300 Davis, Stuart
TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Stephanie Gehring 13301 Davis, Stuart
MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Joshua Nelson 14018 Davis, Stuart
American Literature and Culture: Creativity and Community
What does it mean to create work together? What is the status of meaning when the act of creation is a communal one? This class in discussion and writing, will consider these and other questions from a variety of literary and artistic perspectives. We will move from silent partnerships such as those of editors with authors to troubling forms of “collaboration” such as plagiarism to more traditional acts of productive cooperation. Among the works considered will be the films of Joel and Ethan Coen, the graphic novels of Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neil, and the collaborations of the poet Marilyn Hacker with the novelist Samuel R. Delany.
MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Jacob Brogan 13302 Woubshet, Dag
American Literature and Culture: The Power of the Page—Message and Media
Do Benjamin Franklin and Paris Hilton have anything in common? This course argues that yes, both knew how to manipulate the power of the media to achieve their goals. American writers have been taking advantage of the ability to broadcast ideas around the country and the world since colonists began sending descriptions of the “new world” back to Europe. How did the ability to reach an audience of readers for poems, novels, and historical records affect the history of revolution, slavery, and rights in the U.S.? Today, when you comment on a blog, or “broadcast yourself” on YouTube, how does it affect how people perceive you and your ideas? In this course, we will explore and write about these relationships between American writers and the media that carry their words.
MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Jonathon Senchyne 13303 Woubshet, Dag
American Literature and Culture: Blue Collar and Blues
What is music’s relation to literature? What is literature’s relation to class? In this course, we will examine the uniquely American phenomena that is “The Blues,” a creative and social movement, which springs from our nation’s long-standing issues with poverty, gender, and race. “Blue Collar and Blues” is a wonderful opportunity for students to analyze the art of the “barely getting by” and the “down and out.” In discussion and critical writing, we will be tackling such works as the poetry of Langston Hughes and James Wright, “Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich, the fiction of John Steinbeck and Raymond Carver, and the music and lyrics of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and Billie Holiday.
MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Jared Harel 13305 Woubshet, Dag
American Literature and Culture: Race and Urban Culture in New York City
How does race shape the literature of the city? How does fashion complicate our understanding of art? This course will use the perspective of New York City to explore the interactions of race, art, and fashion in American culture. The assigned reading will focus on novels written by New York writers such as Toni Morrison’s Jazz, Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy, Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and Jonathan Lethem’s Fortress of Solitude. Additional readings will be drawn from The New Yorker magazine, Newsweek, short stories, interviews, and cultural criticism. Topics for discussion and critical writing will include fashion, architecture, and urban gentrification and their relation to race, class, and gender.
MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Marcus Braham 13306 Woubshet, Dag
American Literature and Culture: Hooking Up—Literary Collaboration
“Collaboration” means to work together as a team and to conspire treasonously with an enemy. In this course, we will explore literary collaborations from both sides of this definition, seeking to understand the merits and limits of team writing. We will also pose questions about what it means to be a writer within a community. What are the effects of cross-discipline and cross-cultural collaborations? How do new technologies—Facebook, blogs, and hypertexts—reshape our definition of teamwork? What are the causes for problematic collaborations such as plagiarism? Readings will include excerpts from collaborative siblings (Alice, Henry, and William James), collaborative couples (Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein), and editor-author collaborations (Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot). Assignments will include pastiche exercises, group presentations, and critical essays.
TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Cecily Swanson 13307 Woubshet, Dag
American Literature and Culture: Introduction to African American Literature
This course will introduce students to the African American literary tradition. Through aesthetic and contextual approaches, we will consider how African American life and culture has helped to define the United States of America. From slave narratives to hip-hop music, we will trace the range of artistic conventions and cultural movements while paying close attention to broader historical shifts in American life over the past three centuries. In discussion and critical writing, we will ask: How do authors create and define a tradition? What are some of the recurring themes and motifs within this tradition? Authors will include: David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, W. E. B. DuBois, Zora Neal Hurston, Amiri Baraka, James Baldwin, Adrienne Kennedy, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious F.
TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Dagmawi Woubshet 13309
American Literature and Culture: American in Fact, American in Fiction
This course investigates how fictions and non-fictions by a single author complicate each other. Does the non-fiction compel us to read the novel or story in a particular light? Does the fictional text transform our approach to the non-fiction? In discussion and writing assignments, we will consider what political and social situations engage each author, what makes those situations American, and how each author’s choices to fictionalize (or not) affect her arguments. In this way, we’ll test various portraits of American culture and the different claims of texts that do and do not purport to be about actual people and events. Readings include Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley in Search of America and Updike’s Of the Farm. We may also read works by Twain, Kincaid, Roth, and Agee.
TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Ezra Feldman 13310 Woubshet, Dag
American Literature and Culture: Capes and Capers—The Anti-Hero in Literature and Film
What makes a hero? What makes a villain? How do we define the characters that inhabit the space in-between? From the scoundrels and vigilantes to the cowards and madmen, this course will explore the emerging role of the anti-hero in American literature and film. Through class discussion, essay composition, and creative assignments we will develop our own way of defining and understanding the anti-hero and the role (s)he plays. Texts will include John Gardner’s Grendel, William Goldman’s The Princess Bride, Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, and a selection of critical essays on topics such as feminism, heroism, and justice. We will screen five films, including Batman Begins and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Students may watch at home or come to class screenings.
TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Dana Koster 13311 Woubshet, Dag
From TV news to rock lyrics, from ads to political speeches to productions of Shakespeare, the forms of culture surround us at every moment. In addition to entertaining us or enticing us, they carry implied messages about who we are, what world we live in, and what we should value. This course is built on the assumption that learning to decode these messages is a survival skill in today’s media-saturated world and also excellent training for reading literature. We will analyze and write about cultural forms as texts to be read for what they tell us about men and women, wealth and power, race, nation, and technology. Readings may include fiction, films, advertisements, television shows, and essays on the theory of cultural studies.
MWF 08:00–08:50 a.m. Lily Cui 13312 Faulkner, David
MWF 08:00–08:50 a.m. Seth Perlow 13313 Faulkner, David
MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Virginia Heatter 13314 Faulkner, David
TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Brigitte Fielder 13315 Faulkner, David
TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Patrick Foran 13316 Faulkner, David
We will investigate a number of short fiction collections that concern a defining incident or trace the development of a character (or characters) over a period of time and/or geographical space. When these stories are read together as a collection, they can define a world. This course, then, in discussion and frequent writing, explores some of the finest achievements of modern short fiction that share a common setting, characters, or an overarching plot. Texts may include works by the following authors: Sherwood Anderson, Raymond Carver, Edwidge Danticat, Junot Diaz, Louise Erdrich, Denis Johnson, James Joyce, Alice Munro, Gloria Naylor, Tim O’Brien, and Flannery O’Connor.
MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Allison Barrett 13318 Carlacio, Jami
MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Estella Gonzalez 13319 Carlacio, Jami
MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Jacqueline Reitzes 13320 Carlacio, Jami
MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Matthew Grice 13321 Carlacio, Jami
TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Ezra Feldman 13322 Carlacio, Jami
Writing About Literature: The Wanderer and the Wilderness—Travel and Nature Narrative
From fictional stories of ship voyages to personal accounts of wilderness survival, writers have shaped the way we think about the world and our natural surroundings across the centuries. In this class, we will explore the overlaps between two popular genres of writing: travel and nature narrative. The course will discuss such topics as the dialogue between nature and the imagination, memory and perception, the natural and the supernatural. Authors may include Daniel Defoe, William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Henry David Thoreau, Jack London, and Barry Lopez. While the course will seek to develop critical writing skills, assignments may include some creative writing as well as a screening of Sean Penn’s recent film, Into the Wild, and an optional outdoors trip.
MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Sarah Eron 13333 Galloway, Andrew
Writing About Literature: Thwack! Heroes and Culture Clashes They Embody
Why should we, in a world where it can take an entire day’s wages to fill our gas tank, care about grown men in tights? This course, in writing and in class discussion, will explore how (super)heroes come to embody the cultural conflicts (and the “ideologies” involved in them) that occur in societies medieval and modern. We will examine heroes such as Beowulf, a figure in whom pagan and Christian ideals intermingle; King Arthur, whose legends have been used to portray different conceptions of chivalry and courtly love; and Batman, who in his 70 years of existence has represented brooding modernism, American wartime patriotism, and 1960s’ camp.
MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Matthew Spears 13334 Galloway, Andrew
Writing About Literature: Utopia and Its Discontents
A utopia is an ideal state—but from whose point of view? People rarely agree on politics, and therefore utopias often differ drastically from one another. This course features literature about a variety of imaginary and “real” societies that are divided into factions with competing ideals, interests, and points of view. In our reading, discussion, and writing, we will consider themes such as political authority, corruption, and rebellion, and we will explore the following questions: What makes a government legitimate? How do rebels justify their actions? Can a utopia ever be established by utopian means? Featured texts will include excerpts from the King James Bible; selected plays, poems, and/or short stories; and two recent novels: Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere.
MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Bryan Alkemeyer 13335 Galloway, Andrew
Writing About Literature: Shakespeare in Film and Fiction
Shakespeare has long been a fixture of highbrow culture, but his works are also continually being reinvented in global popular culture—evident most recently in an explosion of comic book, film, and television adaptations. What does it mean to be “Shakespearean” in this context? In answering this question, this course will investigate how three plays have been adapted and performed since the seventeenth century: The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, and The Tempest. In addition to studying each play, we will analyze theatrical appropriations such as Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Aimé Césaire’s A Tempest, as well as film adaptations such as Kiss Me Kate, Michael Almereyda’s Hamlet, and the sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet.
MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Jenny Mann 13336
Writing About Literature: Journals, Diaries, Notebooks—Form and Fire
How have authors transformed their sometimes humdrum lives into works of exciting literature? Where does the biographical person end and the literary persona begin? To what extent do journals exhibit the raw materials of the writing process and to what extent can they represent a finished—if often fragmentary—form? We will explore questions about the tensions of life versus art, public versus private, fact versus artifice, and process versus product. In addition to formal essays, students will be expected to write their own journals appropriating the techniques and styles of the authors we study. Readings will include selections from: The Diaries of Samuel Pepys, Dorothy Wordsworth’s The Grasmere Journals, Lichtenberg’s The Waste Book, Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet, and Roethke’s Straw for the Fire.
MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. William Cordeiro 13337 Galloway, Andrew
Writing About Literature: After the Apocalypse—Zombies and the End of History
How do we imagine the end of the world? Will it come in a violent apocalypse of flesh-eating zombies, as a catastrophic meteor from the depths of space, or through global warming? If not with a bang, will the world end with a whimper? With readings and a number of critical writing assignments we will explore the concepts of history and apocalypse. Our texts will include contemporary science fiction such as Kurt Vonnegut’s Galapagos and Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake as well as films such as 28 Weeks Later.
MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Daniel Wilson 13338 Galloway, Andrew
MWF 02:30–03:20 p.m. Daniel Wilson 13339 Galloway, Andrew
Writing About Literature: Laughter and the Limits of the Human
“No animal laughs save man,” writes Aristotle. What is it about comedy that makes us human? Conversely, how do humor and satire challenge our conceptions about what it means to be human? As we will see, even though comedy may define the human, it also takes an interest in the limits and excesses of humanity: the grotesque, the fool, the automaton, and the animal. We will read about hack poets who are more machines than men, a race of super-intelligent horses bent on committing genocide, as well as a litany of drunkenness, abuse, insult, idiocy, and barbarity. Authors and texts for discussion and critical writing assignments, will include Erasmus, Rabelais, Shakespeare, Swift, Pope, Sterne, Beckett, DeLillo, and The Simpsons.
TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Jess Keiser 13340 Galloway, Andrew
Writing About Literature: Serious Comics—Graphic Novels from Caped Crusaders to Coming Out
During the 1950s, comic books were considered dangerous enough to youth to warrant censorship. Today, with a slightly different name—graphic novels—they can be serious literature: Maus won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 and Alison Bechdal’s Fun Home was Time Magazine’s Best Book for 2006. In discussion and critical writing assignments, we will explore how graphic novels combine visual storytelling with traditional literary techniques to create compelling contemporary fiction and non-fiction. We will also dismantle the traditional superhero comics with Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s Watchmen while addressing larger issues of gender, race, class, religion, and sexuality in texts such as Fun Home and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. Possible texts, among others, include Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, Daniel Clowes’s Ghost World, Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, Howard Cruse’s Stuck Rubber Baby, and Gilbert Hernandez’s Palomar.
TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Alexi Zentner 13341 Galloway, Andrew
Writing About Literature: Literature and the Laboratory
How do we use literature to convey the complexities of science? How do ideas of scientific progress affect our imaginative writings and our views of human nature? This course will examine how authors and scientists construct the written world. Starting with C. P. Snow’s The Two Cultures we will consider a variety of texts to understand the indelible interconnection and disconnections between science and literature. While book-length texts such as Shelley’s Frankenstein and Sacks’s Awakenings will figure in our investigation of methods of delivering the human condition, other readings will be drawn from case-studies, non-fiction essays, poetry, plays, and visual renderings. Through the writing of critical essays we will explore how/why authors use science as a literary device and scientists use literature to relay their discoveries.
TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Cori Winrock 13342 Galloway, Andrew
Writing About Literature: Gone to the Dogs—The Canine in Literature and Culture
This interdisciplinary seminar will introduce students to behavioral, ethological, philosophical, historical, and literary perspectives on dogs. It will also emphasize how thinking about the dog-human relationship has changed profoundly over the past several decades. Mark Derr’s A Dog’s History of America, Virginia Woolf’s Flush, Donna Haraway’s The Companion Species Manifesto, Jack London’s The Call of the Wild, and Raymond and Lorna Coppinger’s Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior, and Evolution are some of the possible course readings. Writing assignments will include short essays, a revised longer essay, and in-class critical thinking exercises. The mode of the class will be discussion. Students will have the opportunity to take several voluntary off-campus field trips during the semester.
TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Laura Donaldson 13343
Writing About Literature: Rights and Fictions
Starting out from the premise that both human rights and fiction are under threat, this course will explore the close relationships among rights, narrative, and the power and innocence of fiction. Why might a political philosopher turn to a work of fiction in order to make an argument about human rights? Can literature raise questions about the concept of rights which history or political philosophy cannot address? That is the hypothesis we shall explore in reading works of fiction by nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers including Herman Melville and the South African novelist J. M. Coetze, among others, together with texts on revolution, rights, and violence by the philosopher Hannah Arendt. Both Melville and Arendt take the French Revolution as a key reference point. Their “stories” on it seem to agree. In this course, we will find ways to describe the differences created by stories claiming the right to be fiction, like Melville’s Billy Budd, Sailor.
TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Cynthia Chase 13779
Writing About Literature: Shakespeare’s History Plays
Let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the deaths of kings, and then get up and act them out, and write about the experience afterwards! We’ll consider how we understand Shakespeare’s plays about England’s medieval kings as independent literary creations and as a sequence with linked themes; how our understanding of language, character, and action is informed by performing the text and studying performances on film; what it meant to put the crises of a kingdom on stage in Shakespeare’s time and what it has meant in more recent times. Our written work will be devoted in equal measure to analysis of the texts of the plays and to reflections on the experience of engaging the plays as actors and audience.
MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Carin Ruff 13344
Writing About Literature: By the Book—Reading Biblical Stories
In this course, we will read and write about biblical narratives from the Old and New Testaments and the Apocrypha. We will examine versions of the same story as they are told in different books and compare their literary and theological implications. The narratives in question were preserved in different writing systems and on different material surfaces (e.g., cuneiform, scroll, tablet); we will closely examine the processes of inscription, preservation, and compilation as well as theories of authorship concerning the texts we read and ask how they conceive of the writing process. Related texts will include the Gilgamesh epic, the Dead-Sea Scrolls, and selections from the Nag Hammadi texts.
TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Samantha Zacher 13345
Writing About Literature: Vegetable Love—Natural History Then and Now
In the study of nature, what counts as science? What counts as art? In this class, we will explore natural history essays, poems, and films that challenge easy distinctions between art and science, fiction and non-fiction, natural and supernatural. We will visit the archives at Cornell’s rare books room to view Audubon’s birds, explore the Cornell plantations, and read and write critically about forms of natural history old, like Erasmus Darwin’s The Loves of the Plants and new, including Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire. In six essays and our own natural history journals, we will trace the connections between naturalist-artists as diverse as Henry David Thoreau and Vladmir Nabokov. Expect to think anew about anthropomorphism, vegetarianism, and how to tell a story.
TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Sarah Weiger 13346 Galloway, Andrew
Writing About Literature: Death and the Modern Novel
This course will examine the ways in which the modern Western world experienced and interpreted death at the turn of the century. While the Victorian sense of mourning was public and highly ritualized, the birth of the modern era saw a deterioration of these rituals. Elements of the supernatural, conflicting identities, and the monstrous will be explored as we discover, through critical reading, writing, and discussion, the imposing sense of disconnection and destructiveness that followed the industrial revolution. Late nineteenth-century texts may include Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Jolene Zigarovich 14573
Great Books? Exploring the Literary Tradition
What do Beowulf and Virginia Woolf have in common? In this course, we will examine and question some of the major works of English literature across various genres and periods. Authors may include Chaucer, Shakespeare, Swift, Austen, Woolf, and Joyce. Touching upon such themes as sex and satire, romance and reason, and travel and colonialism, we will ask what makes these works “great” literature, why we continue to read them, and how they have generated traditions of readership over the ages. Writing assignments will focus on introducing and developing skills in close reading and literary interpretation.
MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Owen Boynton 13347 Faulkner, David
MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Katie Compton 13348 Faulkner, David
MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Matthew Fellion 13349 Faulkner, David
The Reading of Fiction
This course examines modern fiction, with an emphasis on the short story and novella. Students will write critical essays on authors who flourished between 1870 and the present, such as James, Joyce, Woolf, Hurston, Lawrence, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, Rhys, Welty, Salinger, and Morrison. Reading lists vary from section to section, and some may include a novel, but close, attentive, imaginative reading and writing are central to all.
MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Ernesto Quinonez 13427
TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Kevin Attell 13429
TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. John Lennon 13430
TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Randi Saloman 14551
First-year students may enroll only if they have taken one First-Year Writing Seminar, scored a “4” or “5” on the Princeton AP examination, or received a “700” or better on the English Composition or CEEB tests.
The Reading of Poetry
What can reading poetry teach us about writing critical essays? How can we become more perceptive and critical readers of poetry, and also better prose writers? This course deals with a rich variety of poems, including sonnets, odes, sestinas, villanelles, and songs. By engaging in discussions and working with varied writing assignments, we will explore major modes and genres of English poetry, learn about versification techniques, rhetorical strategies, and thematic and topical concerns. In the process, we will expand the possibilities of our own writing.
TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Roger Gilbert 13432
First-year students may enroll only if they have taken one First-Year Writing Seminar, scored a “4” or “5” on the Princeton AP examination, or received a “700” or better on the English Composition or CEEB tests.
The Reading of Drama
In this course, we will study and write critically about plays, older and newer, in a variety of dramatic idioms and cultural traditions. We will practice close, interpretive reading of texts and pay attention to their possibilities for live and filmed performance. Readings will include works by such playwrights as Sophocles and Shakespeare, Arthur Miller and Caryl Churchill, Ntosake Shange and Tony Kushner, and some drama criticism and performance theory. Attendance at screenings and at live productions by the Theatre Department may be required.
MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Noelle Chao 13434
TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Stuart Davis 13435
First-year students may enroll only if they have taken one First-Year Writing Seminar, scored a “4” or “5” on the Princeton AP examination, or received a “700” or better on the English Composition or CEEB tests.
ENGLISH FOR LATER BILINGUALS 1115
English for Academic Purposes
This course is designed to strengthen the writing skills of students from non-English speaking countries who have studied for at least one year in American high schools and whose language in the home is not English. Intensive work in written English is offered with emphasis on sentence and paragraph structure, organization, vocabulary expansion, grammatical structure, and maturity of style. Individual conferences on papers supplement class work.
MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Deborah Campbell 13436
Placement by test. This seminar is not suitable for students whose schooling has been entirely in English-medium schools. Do not request this course on a ballot: register with the instructor, Deborah Campbell, in 301 White Hall.
This course will place the history of the “woman’s film”—from classical Hollywood “weepies” to contemporary “chick flicks”—in dialogue with the broader category of “women’s cinema.” We will discuss the value of the term “women’s cinema” with respect to the production, distribution, exhibition, and reception of commercial and independent media. Through an examination of the work of women as directors, writers, stars, executives, critics, scholars, and fans, we’ll explore the artistic, industrial, and political practices “women’s cinema” describes. Writing assignments will emphasize the comparative analysis of media from a range of national and international production contexts, including films directed by Liliana Cavani, Sofia Coppola, Mary Harron, Deepa Mehta, and Leni Riefenstahl.
MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Lisa Patti 13177
Techniques of Interpretation: An Introduction to Semiotics
In its broadest meaning semiotics is the study of signs that carry information: roadside signs, fashions, advertisements, publicity posters, literary modes. This course, which does not presuppose prior technical knowledge, will introduce the students to a critical reading of signs: the signifier (the concrete expression of the sign) and the signified (the message) and their various interactions. Exercises will be essays on how to analyze various signs taken from practical experience, such as advertisements from magazines or TV or from cultural phenomena (fashion codes, artistic modes).
TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Rhoda Possen 13169
TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Rhoda Possen 13170
The Reign of Terror
In addition to “liberty, equality, fraternity,” the Declaration of the Rights of Man, and the Declaration of the Rights of Women, the French Revolution also unleashed the Terror. How did the Terror and the Revolution interrelate? Was the Terror inherent within the movement of the Revolution or rather its unchecked excesses? This interdisciplinary seminar seeks to explore the intellectual and social movements that engaged with these questions. Primary material may include speeches from Robespierre, Danton, Marat, Saint Just, and Sieyès; orders issued from the Committee of Public Safety; reflections on the Terror from Benjamin Constant, Madame de Staël, Michelet, and Marx; a novel by Victor Hugo, which explores the relationship between “literary terror” and “literary revolution.” Students will engage critically with what others have written about a controversial subject and with what they themselves write.
TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Cory Browning 13171 Long, Kathleen
GERMAN STUDIES 1109
From Fairy Tales to the Uncanny: Exploring the Romantic Consciousness
As cultural productions, literary texts not only reflect certain values of the culture that produces them, but also reinforce and perpetuate these values, influencing the reader/listener to judge and respond to the world in certain ways. As educative texts with implicit or explicit lessons, fairy tales have been a primary expression of such cultural values and thus a primary tool in shaping cultural identity. Beginning with selections from the Brothers Grimm, we will examine the features and functions of fairy tales and the persistence of fairy-tale elements beyond their ninteenth-century beginnings. We will pay particular attention to their transformation during German Romanticism, with its fascination with the paranormal, the supernatural and the uncanny. The emphasis of the course is on improving writing skills.
MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Bonnie Buettner 13068
MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Douglas McBride 13069
MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Stanka Radovic 13070 Buettner, Bonnie
GERMAN STUDIES 1130
Metropolis, Modernity, and Mass Culture: The Roaring Twenties, German-Style
The German Twenties, located at political, social, and visual crossroads, proved an intense laboratory for the generation of new writing systems, new sonic effects, new visibilities, and new identities. This course will highlight the creational effervescence of the avant-gardes, the rise of the metropolis and material culture, the “new woman” identity, and the efficacy of gesture. We will consider the transition from silent to sound cinema associated with many German film myths (Caligari, M, The Blue Angel) as well as the later sonic, visual and theoretical impact of the ‘20s (e.g., the ‘60s’ tribute to the avant-gardes). Students will enhance their analytical skills and improve their composition style through the analysis of primary and theoretical texts.
TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Arina Rotaru 13071 Buettner, Bonnie
Students who enroll in this course must be free to attend film screenings on Wednesdays from 7:30-9:30 p.m.
GERMAN STUDIES 1170
Marx, Nietzsche, Freud
To understand—and criticize—contemporary discourses in the core disciplines of the social sciences, the humanities, and even the natural sciences, it is necessary to have a basic grasp of Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. This seminar introduces: (1) these three revolutionaries who have exerted a tremendous influence on modern and postmodern thought and practice; and (2) key terms and analytic models of political economy, philosophy, and psychoanalysis, including differences and intersection points. Discussion and writing assignments focus on short texts and short passages from longer texts essential to understanding their work and to producing a critical analysis of contemporary world society, politics and culture. The core problem: Do alternative ways of thinking and acting exist in opposition to how we already think and act?
MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Leila Ibrahim 13072 Buettner, Bonnie
MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Gizem Arslan 13073 Buettner, Bonnie
Power and Politics: Individual Liberty and the U.S. Constitution
This course is designed to introduce students to topics of constitutional liberty through writing. The main part of the course will consist of reading court decisions that explore the liberties of individual citizens as established within the Constitution. Substantive topics will include freedom of speech and association, the freedom of the press, the religious establishment and free exercise clauses, the right to bear arms, and the right to privacy. Students will be required to write a series of essays interacting with, and reacting to, the various decisions read in the course, with each written assignment taking on a unique perspective. The final section of the course will introduce students to some basic skills with respect to writing in the legal discipline.
TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Christopher Casillas 13082 Lowi, Theodore
Power and Politics: Managing Political Campaigns
In this course, taught by a former federal political consultant, students will consider the communications, politics, financing, and strategy required to run political campaigns in the United States. Students will assume the role of a simulated campaign manager, and will navigate the politics of real districts as they construct a winning plan. Along the way, we will consider broader issues in American politics: namely, the relationships between legislators and their constituents, money and votes, and incumbents and challengers. This course is applied in nature, and should provide a window into the way “real” politics are waged.
MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Michael Miller 13083 Bensel, Richard
Power and Politics: Manifest Destiny
This course aims to examine the concept of “manifest destiny” within American political culture. Beginning with the claims to be a “city upon a hill” at the outset of the colonial period and concluding with the contemporary arguments for the “New American Century,” the course will survey the importance of this revived and reincarnated notion within U.S. political thought. In addition to colonial and contemporary America, the course will seek to consider the idea within other significant periods, including those of the Founding Era, Jacksonian America, the Civil War, and the early Cold War. Students will encounter a variety of writing styles and rhetorical devices which can inform their own writing, as well as enabling them to deconstruct the arguments of others.
TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Simon Gilhooley 13085 Kramnick, Isaac
Power and Politics: Islam and Development in the Comparative Perspective
Students in this class will undertake an in-depth survey of economic development and political power in the Muslim world. The world contains well over one billion Muslims, and the majority of them live under authoritarian regimes, in conditions of economic hardship if not abject poverty. Yet this underdevelopment exists alongside glimpses of prosperity in Dubai and Kuala Lumpur, amidst astounding natural resource wealth, and despite widespread popular dissatisfaction with incumbent governments. In discussion, readings, and writing, we will study the political economy of the Muslim world in order to understand the varying development trajectories of Muslim-majority countries.
TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Thomas Pepinsky 13155
Power and Politics: Debating Modernity—Critical Thinking in Political Philosophy
We live our lives relying on certain values and biases of which we are often unconscious. This course seeks to bring them to our attention and engage with them. In a sense, it is possible to say that those values and biases have one and the same root—“modernity.” This is an obscure term, but we will unpack it throughout the course by reading a wide range of thinkers such as John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, Virginia Woolf, Michel Foucault, Edward Said, Max Horkheimer, and Charles Taylor. In so doing, students will be able to develop their own independent and critical thinking. Students will write multiple papers with different focuses, which lead to their final project.
TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Kyong-Min Son 13156 Hendrix, Burke
A Few Good Men: The American Soldier in the Popular Imagination
“Old soldiers never die, they just fade away,” Douglas MacArthur once famously remarked. But soldiers, whether young or old, have never faded from the American popular imagination. The men and women who serve in the military appear everywhere, from the blockbuster films Americans flock to see, to political advertisements, to patriotic songs, and even to music videos. In this course, we will examine and write about the various ways in which soldiers, from the colonial period to the present, have appeared in popular culture. We will look at how the media portrays soldiers, and how soldiers present themselves, in order to understand both the place of the military and the importance of the warrior in American society.
TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Karen Thomas 13442 Logevall, Fred
The Problem of Violence in Western Political Thought, 1776–2001
This class will put current debates about terrorism in historical perspective by examining how major European and American thinkers have responded to the use of violence as a political tool from the age of the French and American revolutions to the present. Students will analyze and write a series of critical essays on classic historical responses to questions such as: Can the use of violence for a political purpose ever be justified? Is there such a thing as a “just war” or a legitimate revolution? Can significant social change be accomplished peacefully? When does violence become “terror”? Authors to be considered include Thomas Jefferson, Edmund Burke, Karl Marx, Hannah Arendt, Jean-Paul Sartre, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X, among others.
TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Emma Kuby 13444 LaCapra, Dominick
Science and the Entwined Histories of Gender and Race
Are race and sex biologically determined? What makes a person black or white, male or female? How have scientific ideas regarding race and gender changed over time? And in what ways are these ideas historically linked? Examining the works of scientists, philosophers, and explorers in various historical eras, this course will explore evolving concepts of race and gender and demonstrate the ways that they are deeply connected. Assigned readings will include works by Ovid, John Mandeville, Christopher Columbus, Immanuel Kant, Charles Darwin, and W. E. B. Du Bois, among others, as well as articles by historians. In-class writing exercises will provide students with the skills necessary to develop longer analytical essays.
MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Rebecca Tally 13446 Roldan, Mary
I Want My Mommy! Motherhood and Womanhood in the Italian Renaissance
What does it mean to be a mother? What expectations, fears, desires, and beliefs does this term entail? What is the relation between ideological, idealized perceptions of motherhood and motherhood performed in practice? These questions were vigorously examined during the period known as the Italian Renaissance. We will inquire into Renaissance perceptions of motherhood, family, and gender by examining a wide variety of Renaissance texts and cultural products, such as theatrical plays, medical treatises, household-management books, personal diaries, religious texts, sculptures, and paintings. This course will encourage the development of analytical, academic writing skills by strengthening the student’s ability to offer a critical reading of texts. In addition, students will learn how to incorporate materials drawn from different academic disciplines into one, coherent, original argument.
MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Yael Nadav-Manes 13447 Najemy, John
The African American Experience Through History and Literature
What has been the African American experience in the United States? We will explore the complexities of this subject by studying texts from a range of periods—Slavery, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Movement, the Post Cold War era—and written by various African American historical figures, authors, and scholars. Among texts we may discuss are David Walker’s Appeal to End Slavery, selections from Langston Hughes’s The Ways of White Folks, and writings from Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. Students will strengthen their writing skills through a series of writing assignments based on the assigned readings and classroom discussions. Cross-listed; please choose AMST 1140 on your ballot.
TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. x-listed w/ AMST 1142 14120
Political Violence in Medieval and Renaissance Italy
The events of 9/11 and their aftermath have led many to reconsider how violence is employed, by states and individuals, for political ends. In medieval and Renaissance Italy—where factional violence, vendettas, revolts, and assassinations were infamously commonplace—theologians, lawyers, and humanists grappled with the same issues. In this course, we will read first-hand accounts of factional strife (Dino Compagni’s Chronicle) and working-class revolution (in the edited volume Popular Protest in Late Medieval Europe), legal treatises (like Bartolus of Sassoferrato’s On the Tyrant) and theological opinions (like Thomas Aquinas’s questions On Obedience), as well as a recent best-seller on conspiracy (Lauro Martines’s April Blood). In their papers, students will grapple with the relevance of these ideas and events in their historical context and for today.
MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Robert Fredona 15082 Hyams, Paul
An American Childhood: History of Children and Families in the United States
This course will explore the nature of childhood in the American context. We will address such questions as: How have conceptions of childhood changed over time? What does it mean to be the girl next door or an all-American boy? How have institutions like schools and churches worked to recreate childhood and adolescence? How have consumer objects distinguished the world of children from that of adults? We will be reading Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Joan Jacobs Brumberg’s The Body Project. We will also learn to analyze primary sources and historical articles, and there will be a strong emphasis on learning to acknowledge other sources while defining your own authorial voice. The final project will be a research paper based on outside sources.
MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Heather Furnas 15083 Salvatore, Nick
From Lagos to New Orleans
The course offers a comparative study of Third World urban history. It begins around 1500 CE, but focuses primarily on the production of the Third World in urban spaces during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Students will theorize, analyze, and write about their spatial environments, while studying urban experience elsewhere. Subjects include pre-Columbian cities in the “New World,” Indian, and South American cities and especially, the trajectories of urban life in the African diaspora.
TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Daniel Magaziner 11507
JEWISH STUDIES 1963
Things the Prophets Never Told You: Archaeology and the Religion of Ancient Israel
A casual reading of the Hebrew Scriptures might lead one to believe that the normative religion of the Israelites was that spelled out in the Torah and Prophets. However, a more critical appraisal of the Biblical texts, along with an analysis of extra-Biblical texts and archaeological materials, demonstrates that the Israelites were often closer to their pagan neighbors than to modern Judaism or Christianity. Students will explore these similarities and differences in their essays. Topics may include cult prostitution, magic, funerary rites, temple ritual, and Hebrew mythology. Readings will be from the Hebrew Bible, translations of extra-Biblical texts, articles on archaeology, and modern synthetic treatments of Israelite cult. Cross-listed; please choose NES 1963 on your ballot.
TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. x-listed w/ NES 1963 13065
Language, Thought, and Reality: Metaphors We Live By
We typically think of a metaphor as a purely literary phenomenon, a rarefied figurative device. This course aims to uncover the pervasive “hidden metaphors” we use in everyday speech and what they reveal about the way we conceptualize ideas, perceptions, emotions, and other abstract categories (for example, He demolished my argument: AN ARGUMENT IS A BUILDING). Assignments for this course will include linguistic analyses of texts on politics and society, evaluation of the role metaphor plays in historical language change, and exploration of non-linguistic metaphor in art and advertising. We will read selections from the work of linguists, philosophers, psychologists, and art historians.
MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Joanne Johnson 14022 Bowers, John
Language, Thought, and Reality: How to Build a Language
Hundreds of languages have been created for practical or artistic purposes, from existing material or from whole cloth. But to be legitimate they must be speakable, or at least believable. We will explore the linguistic tools necessary to compose a language, from sounds to words to sentences and full texts. We will also examine the history of constructed languages—which have succeeded, which have failed, and why? The ultimate goal will be for each student to begin constructing a new language of their own and to justify its linguistic validity and its practical or artistic merit.
MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Ed Cormany 13079 Bowers, John
Language, Thought, and Reality: Language and Gender
A significant number of our daily interactions are accomplished through language and experienced through the lens of gender. Through readings, discussion, and critical writing assignments, we will examine the connection between language and gender. How does gender shape our communications, how our words are perceived, and how we perceive the language used by others? What type of language do we use to talk about gender? To consider these questions, we will draw on the academic literatures of both gender studies and linguistics, as well as primary sources from the media for examples of “talking about gender.” We will also examine the psychological literature on the results of experiments on gender and language use and cognition.
MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Sarah Courtney 13080 Bowers, John
Language, Thought, and Reality: We Are What We Speak
Do you think you have an accent? Do you and your friends have ways of speaking—slang and special terminology—that set you apart from other groups? Do you sometimes find yourself adapting your speech in certain settings or with certain other people? This course explores how ways of speaking link to age group, social status, ethnic background, and other features of social identity. We will write about the concept of a “standard” language and its relation to “dialects,” as well as recent debates over the place of Ebonics in school, the English Only Movement, and issues of language, gender, and class.
TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Gabriel Arana 14154 Bowers, John
Language, Thought, and Reality: Eskimo Snow and Other Linguistic Tall Tales
Has anyone ever tried to convince you that the Eskimo have 20—or is it 50? or 100?—different words for snow? Or that women talk more than men? Or that technology is destroying the English language? In this class, we’ll look at the reasons that language myths like these are so pervasive, despite the fact that they are also entirely unfounded. Using examples from essays, blogs, newspapers, and academic journals, we will examine the types of evidence writers draw upon when making arguments about human language. Class assignments will emphasize both the development of sound arguments and the mechanics of writing.
MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Johanna Brugman 13081 Bowers, John
Language, Thought, and Reality: Holy Words—Problems in Linguistics and Religion
This course will concentrate on the linguistic forms of the world’s great religious writings. Though we will study the scriptures of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism (and possibly other religions), the content of those scriptures will not concern us for the most part. Neither religious background nor spiritual experience will be required. We will examine and write about the origins of sacred language, its importance in religion, and its transmission across generations and cultures. We will concentrate on modern views of ancient texts, especially as they reveal current attitudes about language in general. Topics to be covered include: understanding cross-cultural differences in world-views, principles of translation, gender-inclusive language, the semantics of religious language, and principles of interpretation.
MWF 02:30–03:20 p.m. Eugene DeLazero 14155 Bowers, John
Language, Thought, and Reality: From Cuneiform to Cryptography
When ancient writings are discovered we are faced with a challenge: how can we decipher an unknown script or an unknown language? Such puzzles have bedeviled scholars for centuries, and are not unlike the challenges a cryptanalyst faces when trying to break a code. In exploring the techniques behind the decipherment of such scripts as Egyptian Hieroglyphics and Linear B, this class will also address the nature of writing systems from Cuneiform, Chinese, and Meso-American to the modern day. Writing assignments will vary from formal descriptions of writing systems to analyses of decipherment techniques. No previous exposure to other writing systems is necessary.
TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Teresa Galloway 15244 Bowers, John
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101.101
Aspects of Medieval Culture: Questioning Spanish Medieval Art 700–1492
Recent world events highlight the importance of understanding differing religious and cultural perspectives, but these issues are not unique to the modern world. For eight hundred years significant populations of Christians, Jews, and Muslims coexisted in Medieval Spain. This course will introduce students to the art and architecture of all three groups with an emphasis on art produced within a “multicultural” context. By considering works such as the Mosque of Cordoba, the Cantigas de Santa Maria, and Toledan Synagogues, students will learn to use observation, description, and historical context to more fully understand how coexistence among those religious groups are reflected in the objects. Writing assignments will initially stress formal analysis (including a field trip to the Johnson Museum) and later center on the readings.
MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Jessica Streit 13158 Robinson, Cynthia
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101.102
Aspects of Medieval Culture: Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxon World
In this class, we will look at Beowulf as a mirror of the Anglo-Saxon world. Using the poem as our point of departure we will consider Anglo-Saxon material culture, history, social mores, and religion, among other things, via a variety of other primary material. This class will give us the chance to read, think, and write about one of the greatest monuments of English literature. We will focus significantly on writing—short weekly response papers will be required, as well as a series of longer essays designed to hone some of the basic skills of academic writing: close reading, use of evidence, argumentation, and use of secondary writing.
TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Ben Weber 13159 Ruff, Carin
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101.103
Aspects of Medieval Culture: Martyrs, Mystics, and Madmen—Making the Medieval Saint
Medieval hagiography offers a wealth of literary material originally intended as much for entertainment as for edification. The holy men and women depicted in the lives of saints serve simultaneously as moral exempla and as sources of enjoyment for the reader. Still, who exactly are these saints we read about? Martyrs? Mystics? Miracle workers? Often yes. But, would you believe prostitutes and cross-dressers, madmen and visionaries? In this seminar, we will explore the diverse representations of sanctity in the hagiographical tradition of the Middle Ages, addressing both the literary and the historical questions which are raised therein. Close reading of the primary texts in translation will be supplemented by in-class discussion and regular exercises in critical writing.
MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Zachary Yuzwa 13160 Rebillard, Eric
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101.104
Aspects of Medieval Culture: Medieval Heresy
Heresy, and the often violent attempts to suppress it, played a significant role in the shaping of Western culture and remains a major part of popular views of the Middle Ages. This course will seek to understand and develop skills for writing about the types of people who became attracted to heresy in Europe between 1000 and 1500, and to pursue the social and other factors motivating their involvement in such unorthodox religious movements. We will also explore why the church and secular governments viewed certain forms of religious expression as dangerous, and how they responded to those threats, real or imagined. Writing assignments will include careful analyses of primary sources, a series of short papers responding to readings, and a longer research paper.
TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Eliza Buhrer 13161 Hyams, Paul
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101.105
Aspects of Medieval Culture: You Have the Right! The Birth of Individual Rights
Individual rights seem truly modern and American; however, the principle actually emerges from medieval legal developments. The doctrines from which these rights developed result from universal natural rights defined by canon lawyers in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. This course will examine the formation of natural rights, and then consider specific rights surrounding marriage, property ownership, poverty, and the modern conception of due process. To explore the concept of natural rights, we will first consider the primary source for canon law, the Bible, then investigate a range of texts and documents, to include Gratian’s Treatise on Law, Justinian’s Digest, and Magna Carta. Written assignments will be based upon an analysis of the texts and will include response papers and formal essays.
TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Deborah Marcum 13162 Galloway, Andy
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1103.101
Legends, Fantasy, and Vision: Irish Myths and Legends—The Hero and the Goddess
Old Irish literature is filled with heroism, romance, tragedy, bawdy humor, and outrageous inebriation. In this course, we will examine some of the famous adventures (and misadventures) of the heroes of ancient Ireland against their mythological and social backgrounds. We will particularly focus on the presence of the Otherworld and the relations of kings and heroes to the goddess figure. We will also look at how these tales are re-imagined in modern Irish culture, from poetry to punk rock. Writing will include formal papers, weekly journals, exercises, and some creative assignments. Readings will be from the Tain Bo Cualinge, the stories of Fin MacCumaill, and excerpts from Yeats, Synge, and Joyce.
TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Danielle Cudmore 13163 Hill, Thomas
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1103.102
Legends, Fantasy, and Vision: Exile and Estrangement, Medieval to Renaissance
The heroes of medieval and Renaissance verse continually battle loneliness and mortality, lovesickness and loss, but the expressions of individual hardship and sadness in this early poetry often serve as a vehicle for broader commentary—and do so with a dazzling technical and conceptual brilliance that shines through even in translation. This course will range from the fireside stories of wandering Germanic tribes to ironic expressions of lovesickness in later authors, looking at both action-packed courtly romance and the quiet desolation of elegy and lament. All along we’ll notice the intricacy of early poetry and how carefully we must read it, aiming to sharpen and refine our prose. The course will focus throughout the term on the careful analysis of texts, helping students to craft a number of sturdy and insightful essays on that foundation.
MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Leigh Harrison 13166 Galloway, Andy
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1103.103
Legends, Fantasy, and Vision: Viking Sagas—The Old Norse Epic
More mysterious than you could imagine; as immediate as a modern novel—this is the paradox of the Icelandic saga. These sagas, some of the world’s greatest literature, are also some of the most unknown and enigmatic. They challenge all the stereotyped ideas of “Viking” culture and seem closer in genre to modern realistic novels than ancient myth. But yet, they are the products of a medieval culture far different from our own. In this course, we will read and write about all of the major Icelandic sagas. You will learn about Thor, Odin, Freyja, and the other gods of the Norse pantheon, as well as the great heroes and heroines of Norse legend—Egil, Njall, Siegfried, Brunhild, Gudrun, and others. A final unit will examine the sagas’ influence on modern culture, taking into account post-reformation Scandinavian folklore, Teutonic nationalism, film portrayals of Viking culture, and the work of J. R. R. Tolkein and other twentieth-century authors.
MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Sarah Harlan-Haughey 13167 Hill, Thomas
Sound, Sense, and Ideas: Music and Meaning from Virtue to Violence
This seminar will examine historical moments when Western music was particularly influenced by ideas in other artistic or cultural spheres, and the ways these influences “played out” within the music. Topics include virtue/virtuosity in Renaissance Italy; the eighteenth-century cult of sensibility; twentieth-century Expressionism and the tortured musical subject; and funk music’s role in the Black Power Movement. We will examine visual art, read primary sources (Castiglione, Sterne, Freud, Baraka), and discuss music ranging from the earliest opera to clavichord fantasias, from Pierrot Lunaire to Funkadelic. In shorter assignments, we will aim to develop clarity and coherent summarization. Through essay writing we will discuss issues of scholarly style, personal voice, and the development of a thesis.
MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Ellen Lockhart 12972 Webster, James
Sound, Sense, and Ideas: Women, Music, and Sound in Classic Hollywood Cinema
This course will explore the relationship between women, music, and sound in classical Hollywood cinema. Through an analysis of ten films produced during the classical Hollywood period—from early sound films such as Blackmail, Rain, and Blonde Venus, to the later genres of film noir and the woman’s film—we will consider the extent to which representations of women in classic Hollywood cinema are the result of male anxieties about female sexuality. Focusing particular attention on the connections between women, music, and sound technology, the writing assignments for this course will grapple with questions such as whether the female subject can ever be said to “speak” within classical Hollywood cinema, or if her voice is merely the product of patriarchal ventriloquism?
MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Rachel Lewis 15007 Webster, James
NEAR EASTERN STUDIES 1963
Things the Prophets Never Told You: Archaeology and the Religion of Ancient Israel
A casual reading of the Hebrew Scriptures might lead one to believe that the normative religion of the Israelites was that spelled out in the Torah and Prophets. However, a more critical appraisal of the Biblical texts, along with an analysis of extra-Biblical texts and archaeological materials, demonstrates that the Israelites were often closer to their pagan neighbors than to modern Judaism or Christianity. Students will explore these similarities and differences in their essays. Topics may include cult prostitution, magic, funerary rites, temple ritual, and Hebrew mythology. Readings will be from the Hebrew Bible, translations of extra-Biblical texts, articles on archaeology, and modern synthetic treatments of Israelite cult.
TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Jeffrey Zorn 12978
Philosophy in Practice: Equal Opportunity, Education, and the Family
Nearly everyone supports the ideal of equal opportunity. But what do we actually mean by it? Do we only mean that race, gender, and religion shouldn’t prevent us from getting ahead? Or do we mean that everyone should start off with equal resources or at least the same education? Should wealthy parents be allowed to give their children advantages other parents cannot? In this course, we will examine why we value opportunities in the first place and what we should be promoting when we endorse equal opportunity. We’ll then consider problems that emerge with implementing this ideal, focusing particularly on parental autonomy and education policy. Readings will be drawn from contemporary authors, and essay assignments will focus on developing both writing and critical thinking skills.
MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Vincent Baltazar 13180 Miller, Richard
Philosophy in Practice: Ethical Issues in Assisted Reproductive Technologies
Should we be able to design our offspring? Modern advances in assisted reproductive technologies, such as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, have outpaced our ability to regulate them. Currently, these technologies have been used not only to select embryos free of debilitating genetic diseases, but also to create children who can be tissue donors for existing family members. This course explores the possible moral ramifications of such technologies, as well as some of the possible justifications for their regulation. Readings will be drawn from contemporary work on these issues, and students’ assignments will focus on developing the ability to identify and explain ethical problems, as well as the ability to advance, defend, and critique philosophical positions.
MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Erin Taylor 13181
Philosophy in Practice: The Ethics of War and Espionage
A hostile nation is building weapons of mass destruction. Can this justify a “preemptive strike” against the nation? An individual has information regarding an imminent terrorist attack. Would it be permissible to torture the individual to extract the information? This seminar develops in two parts. In the first part, we will read, discuss, and write about the moral justifications for war. In particular, we’ll consider such views as pacifism, just war theory, and realism. For this part of the course, we will consult a variety of articles and Walzer’s book, Just and Unjust Wars. In the second part, we will examine the moral dilemmas of espionage, especially such issues as manipulation, deceit, treason, assassination, torture, and extraordinary rendition. Jim Olsen’s Fair Pair and Goldman’s anthology Ethics of Spying will be the main texts for this part of the course.
MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. David Jehle 13182 Miller, Richard
Philosophical Problems: The Nature of Reality
This course introduces students to metaphysics. Metaphysics is concerned with questions about the most fundamental aspects of reality; questions about the nature of persons, free will, God, causation, existence, mind and matter, space and time. We will discuss and write about such issues in a clear and precise way, drawing from both classic and contemporary philosophical texts.
MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Raul Saucedo 13183 Miller, Richard
Philosophical Problems: Knowledge and Objectivity
Science is fundamentally social in many ways. For instance, scientific theories are produced by a process of collaboration that includes scientists, technicians, politicians, administrators, and members of the public. In this course, we will use the social nature of science to inspire philosophical reflection on questions such as: What does it mean to think of scientific theories as socially constructed? Does it imply that they cannot be objective? But then, what is scientific objectivity? Must scientific theories have it? Can scientific theories be objective if they reflect social values? Because it is easier to explore and write about questions like these when we have concrete examples before us, we will study some of the controversial history of IQ testing as well as the debate about teaching intelligent design in high school.
TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Mark Fedyk 13184 Miller, Richard
Philosophical Problems: Science and Objectivity
By examining the writings of feminists, philosophers, scientists, and sociologists, we will address and develop answers through discussion and writing assignments to some of the following questions: Is objectivity a characteristic of individual researchers, methods of inquiry, or knowledge? Does science consist of objective truths about the world or is it the product of cultural traditions? What separates good science from bad science? What are the effects of gender on science? Is objectivity necessarily opposed to subjectivity? Is there a unique standpoint which can provide objective knowledge?
TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Neelam Sethi 13185
Philosophical Problems: Free Will and Moral Responsibility
Under what conditions are we free? What is the connection between being free and being morally responsible? What does being a person have to do with being free and morally responsible? How do things such as ignorance, addiction, and even luck undermine our responsibility? In this course, we will examine these issues by reading essays and fictions by philosophers, and possibly by viewing some film excerpts. We will write with an eye towards analyzing and critically evaluating some of the key ideas and arguments in these works. The main text for the course will be Gary Watson’s Free Will. Students may need to schedule time for viewing films.
TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Patrick Mayer 13186 Miller, Richard
Philosophical Problems: The Problem of Free Will
What is free will? Do we have it? Is free will compatible with the idea that everything is determined? Are we ever really morally responsible for our actions? In this course, we will examine such questions. We will look at arguments put forward by philosophers such as Peter van Inwagen and Harry Frankfurt on the nature of free will and responsibility. Our aim is to make clear both in discussion and in writing what such philosophers are claiming and assess their arguments. In such a contentious subject, clarity of thought and language are a must.
MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Stephen Kearns 15074
Philosophical Conversations: Descartes’ Meditations—Escaping the Evil Deceiver
How do I know that I exist? How do I know that I am reading this course description? Descartes recognizes that it is possible to doubt much of what we take ourselves to know. In the Meditations on First Philosophy (1641), one of the most important works in the history of philosophy, Descartes sets out to provide a secure foundation for philosophical, scientific, and everyday knowledge. We will follow Descartes’ project through a close reading of his text. Highlights include the method of doubt (including the evil deceiver hypothesis), the cogito (“I think therefore I am”), and proofs for the existence of God. Students will be encouraged to understand, articulate, and evaluate Descartes’ arguments. One essay will be assigned for each of the six meditations.
TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Saul Rosenthal 13187 Miller, Richard
Philosophical Conversation: Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy
In this course, we will focus on a short but profound philosophical text: Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy. We may supplement this text with selections from Descartes’ Principles of Philosophy and Passions of the Soul, and with commentaries and responses by contemporary philosophers. Descartes (1596–1650) is often called the founder of modern philosophy, and his Meditations are considered by many to be his definitive work. Our emphasis will be on a close reading of the text, encouraging students to develop their abilities to comprehend, articulate, and criticize philosophical arguments. Classroom discussion and student essays are integral to this process; students will write an essay on each of the six meditations.
TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Lawrence Bruce-Robertson 15025 Miller, Richard
PLANT PATHOLOGY 1100
Liaisons With Friends and Foes: Symbiotic Associations in Nature
Observations of one group of organisms living on or in another organism were once considered nothing more than a biological oddity. However, we now recognize these symbioses to be an essential part of all life on Earth and a driving force in evolution. In this class, we will explore the types, coevolution, and mechanisms underlying a broad range of symbiotic relationships in nature. Students will learn to write using some of the different writing styles common in science, and will enhance each other’s writing through cooperative peer review. Classes will consist of writing exercises, conceptual discussions, writing discussions and critique, and in-class demonstrations of interesting symbiotic interactions. We will utilize a broad range of reading materials reflecting the many writing styles in scientific communication.
MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Eric Nelson 12991
ROMANCE STUDIES 1104
Violence and Humanity in Spanish and Latin American Fiction
Writers in Spain and Latin America have always engaged with complex political and social issues. In this course, we will focus on how novels have addressed themes such as personal responsibility and the survival of the human condition in the midst of political instability and repression. Specifically through a series of discussions and essay assignments, we will examine how humans cope in the face of brutality, whether through complicity, resistance, humor, or madness. Works to be studied include: Javier Cercas’s The Soldiers of Salamis (Spain), Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao (Dominican Republic/USA), Laura Restrepo’s Delirium (Colombia), and Roberto Bolaño’s By Night in Chile.
TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Tamra Paz-Soldán 13172
ROMANCE STUDIES 1106.101/102
Going South: Latin American Short Stories in Translation
How many novels did Jorge Luis Borges write? If you answered zero, then you are correct. Latin American literature has always had a strong short story tradition, so much so that the most influential Latin American writer of the twentieth century wrote fiction only in this genre. The stories selected for this course span 200 years of Latin American history and culture. Themes to be explored include the clash of modernity and traditional societies, and the plight of the dispossessed. We will read works from a wide variety of authors such as: Cristina Peri Rossi, Borges, Garcia Marquez, and Cortazar. Students will write essays on a particular aspect of their choosing from the readings, culminating in a research paper at the semester’s end.
TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Tamra Paz-Soldán 13173
TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Tamra Paz-Soldán 13174
SOCIETY FOR THE HUMANITIES 1130
How does propaganda work? Does it necessarily involve lies? Why is so much of it kitsch? What is its curious relationship to religion? We will explore these questions in the context of propaganda in Soviet Russia, the United States, and Nazi Germany, especially World War II propaganda for domestic consumption. Our wide-ranging materials will include scholarly writing on propaganda; propaganda posters; speeches by Stalin; Life magazine advertisements; films from Frank Capra’s famous series Why We Fight; propaganda advice from Hitler and his Minister for Propaganda; and Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will—sometimes called the greatest propaganda film ever made. If time permits, we will look at some current American propaganda and anti-propaganda legislation submitted to Congress. Our essays will be analytic.
TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Sidney Orlov 12992
SOCIETY FOR THE HUMANITIES 1290
David and Goliath: Case Studies in the Rhetoric of Scale
Drawing on large-scale and small-scale works of art, architecture, and literature, we will investigate the relation between a work’s scale and its subject, purpose, and intended audience; its political and cultural context; and its aesthetic impact. Works that play with scale will be of particular interest. Throughout, we will exploit parallels with our own work: mostly small-scale (3–4 page) analytic essays. Course materials will range from solemn to virtuoso to silly uses of scale (some supplied by students’ field work on campus), and include the most famous satirical exploitation of scale, Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. We will also read scholarly discussions bearing on our subject.
TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Sidney Orlov 13207
Social Order and the Law
In contemporary popular culture, “law” is often associated with social “order.” This simple observation provokes the following fundamental questions that are asked by social scientists and legal philosophers alike: what is “law,” and how exactly does it relate to social order? The purpose of this course will be to explore these deep and persistent questions through a combination of reading, writing, and discussion. The primary text that we will rely upon to stimulate thought and discussion is one that integrates sociological insight with classical erudition: The Spirit of the Laws by Montesquieu. Through a series of essays and in-class discussions, students will be asked to articulate and defend an argument about the nature of law and its relationship to social order.
TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Laura Ford 12994 Swedberg, Richard
Copy: Left or Right?
The concept of Intellectual Property (IP) has become a contested ground in this age of digital technology and globalization. What are the stakes of debate? Who is the author, and what are her rights? This multidisciplinary seminar proposes to investigate the ideas of authorship, plagiarism, copyright, and IP through literature, music, and art. Readings may include authorial responses to plagiarism (Shakespeare, Cervantes, Borges, Piglia), legal decisions of historical significance (from the Statue of Anne to the Grokster case), theoretical inquiries into the nature of authorship and property (Kant, Proudhon, Benjamin, Foucault), and alternative models to copyright (Lessig, Vaidhyanathan, GNU-FDL). We will use these diverse and engaging works as entrance points for in-depth critical study, personal reflection, and written analysis.
TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Zac Zimmer 13175 Lawless, Cecelia
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY STUDIES 1123
Technology and Society: Practices of Art and Science
What is science? What is art? Are they two separate worlds? Or two cultures in the same world? Do they divide up this world? Is there anything outside of these two comprehensive realms? To get a grasp on these big issues, we will read art and science theory. Then we will take on specific case studies, including NASA images, Harvard’s glass flowers, design noir, and tactical media. By focusing on liminal objects, things that appear to occupy spaces in both art and science or which seem to move between these two worlds over time, we will look for answers to our larger questions. We will explore these issues through a series of papers which will culminate in a portfolio at the end of the term.
MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Hannah Rogers 13448 Reppy, Judith
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY STUDIES 1126.101
Science and Society: Science and Nazism
From eugenics and human experimentation to conventional and atomic weapons development, many scholars argue that the National Socialists manipulated science for their own ends. Did the Nazis “corrupt” science, or is the notion of pure, disinterested science a myth? In this seminar, we will explore the relationships between science and politics in Weimar Germany and under Hitler, as well as in the United States and the Soviet Union. Texts will include papers by Albert Einstein, histories of the “hidden” German atom bomb project, debates over the roots of modern genetics in Dr. Josef Mengele’s twin studies at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and Michael Frayn’s play Copenhagen. Writing assignments will help students construct well-supported, nuanced arguments and will foster critical thinking skills.
TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Robert Schombs 13449 Seth, Suman
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY STUDIES 1126.102
Science and Society: Idea of Race in Science, Medicine, and Technology
How is race socially constructed? How does race relate to science, medicine, and technology? How do science, medicine, and technology intersect with peoples’ colonial histories, including indigenous and enslaved peoples in the U.S.? This course will introduce students to different theories about race, particularly with respect to recent debates about popular and scientific uses of DNA. By analyzing primary literature, scholarly material, and documentary films, we will explore how the idea of race emerged historically, and continues to persist contemporaneously with regard to science, medicine, and technology. Writing assignments will include reading responses, journals, and analytic essays.
TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Darla Thompson 13450 Seth, Suman
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY STUDIES 1126.103
Science and Society: The Public Images of Nanotechnologies
Government bureaucracies such as the National Nanotechnology Initiative have funneled billions of dollars into what is termed nanotechnology research. The science that falls under this heading, however, is diverse. Nevertheless, what most all the research has in common is the presence of and dependence on images to validate and produce results. Who and what give validity to an image in “nano”? How does the use of images as data change scientific practices and expectations? Students will examine and write about the uses and roles of images in science generally and in nano specifically. The goal will be to gain a better understanding of the societal and ethical implications of images in nano as they move from the domains of the laboratory to domains of the public.
MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Kathryn Vignone 14092 Lewenstein, Bruce
THEATRE, FILM & DANCE 1240
Virtual Bodies, Living Machines: The Role of Technology in Live Performance
What is the role of technology in live performance? How does technology interact with performers and vice versa? This course explores the consequences of mediating art through technology and the significance of an onstage encounter between body and machine. To examine the relationship between technology and performance is to examine perspectives on power and unrest in society. Discussions and assignments will engage with plays, operas, films, visual art, poetry, and cultural theory. Works considered may include Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis; a “factory play” by the controversial GDR dramatist, Heiner Mueller; and the twentieth-century American opera, Nixon in China. Writing assignments will focus on close, critical readings of literary and dramatic elements of the creative works and will include research and creative writing opportunities.
TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Jennifer Williams 13178 Haenni, Sabine
THEATRE, FILM & DANCE 1250
Classical Greek Theatre: Myth, Text, and Theatricality
Do all tragedies end in catastrophe? Do all tragic heroes have a tragic flaw? And what is hubris anyway? From Aristotle to Freud, Greek drama has been profoundly influential for Western literature and culture, but its fame has also created widespread misconceptions and generalizations. In this course, we will attempt to forget everything we think we know about ancient Greek tragedy and comedy and instead let the texts speak for themselves. We will read at least one play by each playwright whose work survives: Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes. We will think and write about how the plays might fit into their original social and historical context, as well as what they mean to us today.
MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Sarah Powers 13179 Haenni, Sabine
An Introduction to Writing in the University
This writing seminar is designed for students who need more focused attention in order to master the expectations of academic writing. The course emphasizes the analytic and argumentative writing and critical reading essential for university-level work. With small classes and with weekly student/teacher conferences, each section is shaped to respond to the needs of students in that particular class.
MW 10:10–11:00 a.m. Barbara LeGendre 14163
MW 02:30–03:20 p.m. Judy Pierpont 14164
TR 10:10–11:00 a.m. David Faulkner 14165
TR 11:15–12:05 p.m. Joe Martin 14166
TR 12:20–01:10 p.m. Joe Martin 14167
TR 01:25–02:15 p.m. Elliot Shapiro 14168
MW 11:15–12:05 p.m. Janine Nieroda 14169
Do not request this course on a ballot. Students who believe they need this kind of intensive work should either call 255-6349 or come to 174 Rockefeller Hall to make an appointment with a member of the Workshop staff. “S/U” grades only. Hours to be arranged.
Common Ground: Cornell and Ithaca in Collaboration
Would you like to experience Cornell as something more than campus? This course offers students a meaningful community interaction as part of their writing experience. Specifically, students in this seminar will meet at regular intervals (during the normal class time) with a class of Ithaca High School juniors and/or seniors to engage in critical discussions about our community and American cultural values as they relate to shared readings (e.g., Franklin, Baldwin, Anzaldúa, Trask, Leguin, Ehrenreich, Madison, Reich). Writing assignments as well as projects relating to local issues will challenge student views in connection to various types of diversity, which may include class, gender, and ethnicity. Ideally, students will broaden their perspectives while developing a greater comprehension of textual material, as well as verbal and written skill in considering that material rhetorically. Cross-listed; please choose ENGL 1140 on your ballot.
TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. x-listed w/ ENGL 1140 & AMST 1140 14021
The commute to Ithaca High School will require that students make available an additional twenty-five minutes before the scheduled class time.
Writing and Research in the University
An introduction to college research that emphasizes use of new media and information databases such as the library catalog, print and electronic indexes, and the worldwide web. Students will learn how to convert information into an argument, synthesize and acknowledge research sources, find their own voice in academic writing, and share their findings with their peers. Short written assignments will culminate in a research paper on a topic that draws upon students’ own background and experiences, such as urban and rural environments, education and health, poverty and social opportunity, popular media, immigration and ethnicity. No previous experience with new research media is required. This seminar is taught collaboratively by a writing instructor, a research librarian, and a team of peer mentors.
MW 01:25–02:15 p.m. Darlene Evans 15072
MW 12:20–01:10 p.m. Tracy Carrick 15073
Student will be required to meet with a peer tutor for an additional 1 hour each week.