Fall 2014 First-Year Writing Seminars
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APPLIED ECONOMICS & MANAGEMENT 1106
Food Systems in the Developing World: Health, Poverty, Opportunity
What is it like to be a subsistence farmer in the developing world? What choices and challenges do they face—how do they balance priorities and pursue opportunities in order to maximize the health and happiness of their families? This seminar explores smallholder food systems and household welfare in sub-Saharan Africa, employing an interactive farmer-simulation game, diverse readings, and writing assignments from a farmer's perspective. Throughout the semester, each student will seek to maximize the welfare of a given farming family by making planting and investment decisions, allocating family labor, and dealing with crises of weather or health. Writing assignments will include some research, and will often take the form of farmer reports to the United Nations, assessing the effectiveness of “development” policy recommendations.
SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Leah Bevis 17621 Kathy Berggren
AMERICAN STUDIES 1144
American Cities in the Global Economy: Market, People, Place
Why do cities like New York continue to thrive during a recession? Was the auto industry bailout really a bailout of the Detroit metropolitan area? Using cities as a lens, we’ll examine the global economy and how it helps shape the way we live today. Drawing on readings from both the popular press and the academy, we will investigate a range of places and industries—from international manufacturers and regional home builders to chain stores and investment banks—from small, single-industry towns to large, urban regions. In class and through written assignments, you will learn to analyze, explain, and debate the economic geography of U.S. cities, all the while learning the writing skills you’ll need at Cornell and in the wider world.
SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Peter Wissoker 17448 Sabine Haenni
ANTHROPOLOGY 1135 Anthropology of Sport
Long overlooked by anthropologists, sport and recreation are increasingly recognized as important windows into culture. Sport can be approached from a number of directions—interpreted as a ritual; viewed as a spectacle of ethnic, regional, or national identity; seen as a “metaphor” for life; understood as a major industry. This course will consider these and other approaches to sport, encouraging students to bring their own involvement in sport to reflect not only upon sport itself, but also upon how such reflection can illuminate cultural, psychological, and political issues in broader social context. Why, for example, do we take sport (and other forms of recreation) so seriously? Why do many of us apparently invest more of our passion in such pursuits than to life’s more “serious” activities? Readings will draw from popular literature and media as well as academic writing from a variety of disciplines (psychology, sociology, history) in addition to anthropology.
SEM 101 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. P. Steven Sangren 17449
ANTHROPOLOGY 1150 Perspectives on the World Economy
The recent recession and financial crisis across the world have brought into sharp focus the fact that economies across the globe are highly interconnected. This course explores the historical development of an interconnected, global economy, focusing on the historical trajectory of capitalism and its attendant social relations. We will pay special attention to the development of capitalism in the non-Western world. Readings will draw from history, anthropology, and sociology; including the work of Eric Wolf, Sidney Mintz, Marx, and Immanuel Wallerstein. We will also read blogs and journal and newspaper articles. Writing assignments will clarify and build upon the reading and include reading responses, summaries, critiques, analytical and argumentative essays.
SEM 101 MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Nidhi Mahajan 17457 Stacey Langwick
The Politics of Protest: Theory and Practice
Focusing on the study of protest and activism, this seminar explores the complex relationship between individuals and their society. What is the role of individuals in both maintaining and challenging their socio-political world? How do people imagine change? What might enable and motivate them to act? How can we analyze the effects of activism? We will explore these questions in relation to key political concepts such as hegemony, solidarity, and resistance, as well as through an analysis of contemporary protests. Readings will include texts by H. Arendt, F. Fanon, D. Graeber, and A. Gramsci, as well as newspaper articles and blogs. Writing assignments such as reading responses, argumentative essays, and an analytical research paper will enable students to critically examine socio-political notions and processes.
SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Adi Grabiner Keinan 17458 Stacey Langwick
ANTHROPOLOGY 1179 Diaspora, Exile, and Migration
What distinguishes an exile from a refugee? Why are some people identified as belonging, while others are designated outsiders? The accelerated movement and displacement of people worldwide, as a result of political upheaval, environmental catastrophe and global capitalism has made dislocation central to the modern condition. This course examines the experience of diaspora, migration, and exile in Western and non-Western contexts, through literary, historical and ethnographic texts, including authors such as Edward Said, Homer, and Arjun Appadurai. We will consider how home, community, and belonging are (re)configured as a result of forced or voluntary migration, and the affective, cultural, and political dimensions of transnational mobility. Writing exercises include response papers, reviews, and creative exercises that engage the related themes of home and homelessness from an anthropological perspective.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Diana Allan 17461
Food Values: The Economics and Ethics of Eating Well
From a high-end sushi restaurant to organic produce at a farmers’ market to fast-food from a drive-thru window, what we eat reflects our values about who we are and how we relate to the world. What does it mean to eat well? How does this relate to the idea of eating ethically? In this course, we will consider the compromises that arise in producing and consuming food. We will examine the trade-offs between economic value and other values, such as aesthetics, taste, health concerns, ecological impact, and social justice. Readings will include work by anthropologists Sidney Mintz and Nancy Scheper-Hughes, as well as popular writers like Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver. Writing assignments will focus on developing strong analytical arguments and practice crafting ethnographic narratives.
SEM 101 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Hayden Kantor 17460 Stacey Langwick
Global Weirding: Climate Change and Culture
Superstorms in New York, floods in the Middle East, rain at the Winter Olympics. Humans used to be subject to the weather, but these days we weird the weather. Yet how do we know what we know about climate change? What are the cultural dimensions of our sense of its reality? In this course, we will examine the ongoing transformation of climate change from a remote and abstract artifact of scientific knowledge into a pervasive imaginary resource of contemporary thinking on planetary crisis. Readings will range from the history of climate modeling, anthropological studies of carbon trading to Nathaniel Rich’s fictional account of a near-future Manhattan reclaimed by the sea. Writing assignments will include responses to readings, personal narratives, and argumentative essays.
SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Alexander Gordon 17445 Stacey Langwick
Limits of the Human: Aliens, Apes, and Artificial Intelligence
How do scientific advances, alien worlds, gendered cyborgs, and Neanderthal culture challenge how we think about being human? We seem to be entering a post-human age that causes us to question our assumptions about what humans are and can be. In this course, students will write essays on such topics as: What would it be like to meet an alien? Will gender difference matter in the future? Does language constrain our thoughts? Is there a difference between animals and people? Will machines be able to think and, if so, are we in trouble? Readings will draw from Marx and Freud, feminist critique, science fiction, futurist speculation, and accounts of phenomena ranging from custom-designed life forms to virtual worlds.
SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Zachary Howlett 17443 Stacey Langwick
Ethics, Theory, and Language: A Course in Discovery
“Nature Loves to Hide” (Heraclitus). Knowledge about the world, and consequently the nature of theory itself, consistently turn out to be capricious animals. For that reason, the search for knowledge requires an intellectual ethics which is as rewarding as it is demanding. To stimulate this engagement, our seminar will assess the proposition that learning, knowing, and the production of theory, emerge from a special process—a multifaceted kind of attentive dialogue. We hope thereby to develop the discipline required for the discovery of fruitful argumentation, and solidify a relationship to knowledge that moves us away from the capricious, and nearer to the capacious. Readings will be selected from a broad range of authors—some classical, most modern—to include: Aristotle, Durkheim, Heidegger, Lévi-Strauss, and Foucault.
SEM 101 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Jason Blaesing 17660 Stacey Langwick
ART HISTORY 1148
Writing the Object: Rembrandt’s Golden Age at the Johnson Museum
This seminar capitalizes on the extraordinary loan of seventeenth-century Dutch paintings to the Johnson Museum for 2014-15. We will progressively incorporate methods of art-historical research and writing, based on looking closely at paintings and prints. Writing assignments will ask students to analyze the form and iconography of visual artifacts, as well as to examine critically some methods and arguments in the field. A central question of art history—the vexed relationship between words and images—runs through the course as we review and build upon the Collection’s archival records. Artists include Pieter Breughel the Younger, Rembrandt, and Jan Steen, with subject matter ranging from history painting (biblical and mythological stories) and scenes of everyday life, to self-portraiture and experiments in still life. We will often meet in the Museum to study firsthand the encounter between objects and language.
SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Lisa Pincus 17442
ART HISTORY 1149
The Politicized Image in East and Southeast Asia
This course will introduce students to objects of Asian art and visual culture that have been produced in tandem with political agendas or have themselves sparked contentious debate. The sociopolitical arena we discuss is shaped by discourses of nationalism and citizenship, by how we represent borders between bodies and genders or between self and Other, as well as by how we memorialize the past. Students will learn how to engage with these topics through the lens of the visual, with careful attention to the ways in which aesthetic gestures can arouse political tensions. We focus mostly on modern and contemporary case studies in East and Southeast Asia, ranging from artistic responses to the cult of Mao to the use of photography to produce national subjects in Indonesia. Assignments will not only involve interpretative analysis and critical argumentation, but also encourage an aptitude for different styles of writing.
SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Pamela Corey 17436 Maria Fernandez
ART HISTORY 1150
Art and Patronage in Medieval Sicily and Southern Italy
The Cathedral of Palermo (built 1185) has a complex history: it was constructed on the site of the Great Mosque, which itself re-used elements of a former Byzantine church. Such layering and recycling will form two large themes of this course on writing about Italian art—a category unexpectedly difficult to define. Focusing on medieval art in southern Italy and the island of Sicily, we will investigate a variety of artifacts to understand the construction of kingdoms, communes, and religious authority in selected Mediterranean cities. Readings will touch aspects of other disciplines such as Archaeology and Romance Studies. Students will gain a general grasp of Western European art by developing—through writing assignments and by encountering Cornell's remarkable archival resources—the skills of formal analysis, synthesis, and research.
SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Kristen Streahle 17437 Maria Fernandez
ASIAN STUDIES 1100 Religion, Resistance, Revolution
What do Gandhi and Bob Marley have in common? How can sex, drugs, food, and music function as tools of social, political, and ideological resistance? We will explore these questions and others regarding the ways in which religious discourse can challenge dominant cultural norms, thereby affecting social change. Readings will include source material drawn from various geographic regions and cultural contexts as we examine religious movements including Rastafari, Hare Krishna, Obeah, and Falun Gong. Texts from anthropology, history, and social theory will help us critically examine our subject matter. Through response papers, short essays, and a research paper, students will practice marshaling evidence in support of an argument, as well as cultivating critical thinking skills, personal voice, and stylistic control.
SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Vincent Burgess 17441 Daniel Gold
ASIAN STUDIES 1102
Narrative, Memory, and Representation of the Past
Do we look for or expect to find narrative in life? Looking back on our own past, do we emplot our memories into stories? What is at stake in the ways that individuals and communities remember their past and transmit that memory to future generations? In this class, we will look at how narrative and memory interact and are used in all sorts of writing (fiction and non-fiction), then reflect on the implications of this for academic writing. Readings include short stories from Japan and China, historical materials, the novel This Boy’s Life, and several scholarly articles from different academic fields. Class assignments will range from analysis of these readings to creative pieces that involve storytelling.
SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Robin McNeal 17450
ASIAN STUDIES 1105
Colonialism, War, and Gender in Vietnamese Literature
This course will introduce students to academic writing through reading and writing about Vietnamese literary traditions, in particular focusing on the legacies of colonialism and war. We will read poetry, short stories, and novels in translation from the eleventh through the twentieth century, alongside historical narratives about the specific cultural, social, and political contexts depicted in these texts. We will explore the literary influences from China and France to see how they shaped and inspired new genres in Vietnam. We will focus on themes of anti-colonialism, nationalism, socio-economic issues, and the changing gender roles in Vietnam throughout the centuries. In our writing assignments, we will emphasize critical analysis, organization, tone and style, and persuasive argument.
SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Eileen Vo 17622 Keith Taylor
AFRICANA STUDIES AND RESEARCH CENTER 1819 Literature and Sport
In this course, we will explore the “literariness” of sports writing. By reading and writing about a number of texts, “autobiographies,” novels, historical memoirs, and short stories, we will consider how difficult it is to categorize sports writing. We will read about sports codes, such as cricket, that, by themselves introduce new modes of thinking and writing about sport. We will also read two texts about football (improperly called “soccer” in the US) that will challenge us to think about sport and literature, sport and politics, and the very form of sports writing.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Grant Farred 17447
AFRICANA STUDIES AND RESEARCH CENTER 1825 Educational Innovations in Africa and the African Diaspora
This course deals with educational innovations geared to promoting equal opportunity based on gender, race, and class, in Africa and the African Diaspora. After an introduction of the concepts and theories of education and innovations and the stages of innovation as planned change, the course will focus on concrete cases and different types of educational innovations. The selected case studies, in the United States, include the creation and expansion of historically black institutions with a focus on Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), Lincoln University, Spelman College, and the Westside Preparatory School in Chicago. The African cases to be studied include African languages for instruction in Nigeria, science education also in Nigeria, Ujamaa and education for self-reliance in Tanzania, classroom action research in Lesotho, Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in African higher education with a focus on African Virtual Universities (AVU), the application of the Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) in Côte d’Ivoire, and OnLine learning at the University of South Africa (UNISA).
SEM 101 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. N’Dri Assie-Lumumba 17456
ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY 1640 Cooperative Breeding: It’s Not Just for the Birds
Ever wonder why menopause exists? Or what a honeybee really gets out of living with all those other bees? We will explore these and other puzzles of how and why creatures both great and small (and even humans!) raise their young in extended families. We will read scientific articles, beginning with Darwin himself, and learn to translate scientific prose into everyday writings your grandmother would understand and enjoy. We will also practice more academic forms of writing by crafting a grant proposal and a scientific article based on your own research.
SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Esther Cline 17459 Irby Lovette
NEUROBIOLOGY & BEHAVIOR 1220
Sex and the Wild: How Animals Find a Mate
Why are male spiders cannibalized by the female during sex? How do male anglerfish find a female in the deep ocean? And does a lone swan really mourn when its mate perishes? To understand the basis of mating decisions, we will tackle topics such as male and female sexual strategies, monogamy, polygamy, and promiscuity, and survey the animal kingdom for bizarre ways of finding and keeping a mate. Readings will be drawn primarily from biology but prior knowledge is not required. Writing assignments and class discussions will focus on communicating science effectively to multiple audiences, building well-supported critiques of the topics presented, and proposing a research study.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Marija Modanu 17462 H. Kern Reeve
NEUROBIOLOGY & BEHAVIOR 1220
Addiction Unwoven: Exploring Drugs, the Brain, and Behavior
What makes an addict’s brain different from a non-addict’s brain? How quickly can you become addicted? To address these questions, this course will explore modern society’s view of addiction and will introduce students to the neurobiological basis of addictive behaviors. We will explore the history of addiction in society, discuss the various models of addiction and examine the neural, behavioral and cognitive processes of the drug user. Using movies, books, scientific research articles, and personal narratives, this course will seek to encourage students to develop a deeper understanding of how psychoactive drugs alter human behavior and cognition. Through reflective exercises and formal essays, students will engage in effective writing strategies and become better practitioners of written communication.
SEM 102 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Erin Johnson 17463 Christiane Linster
CLASSICS 1531 Greek Myth
The course will focus on the stories about the gods and heroes of the Greeks as they appear in the works of ancient Greek literature. We will read a selection from Greek authors, inquiring into the relationship between myths and cultural, religious, and political realia of the society in which they were shaped and perpetuated. Alongside the primary texts, we will read a number of recent scholarly works on the subject. We will start by discussing myths in general terms (theories, basic concepts) and will proceed toward the analysis of individual stories and cycles. This fascinating material will serve as a vehicle for improving students’ written communication skills. Assignments will include preparatory writing and six essays focusing on our readings and discussions in class.
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1109 Writing Across Cultures: Seeing Cities
The “city”—as place or idea—has haunted the human imagination across time and across the world. But what is so haunting about a city? Why and how can cities inspire both freedom and fear? In an attempt to answer these and other questions, we will look at the ways in which four cities have been “seen” by different writers, musicians and artists. In so doing, we will learn how to structure sharp, coherent essay responses to these portrayals, using different styles of writing: expository, evaluative, comparative, and argumentative. In this class, we will “see” Paris, New York, London, and Cairo through readings, films, and songs, including: Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris; Paul Simon’s and Alicia Keys’ lyrics; and the writings of Dickens and Mahfouz.
SEM 101 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Kholoud Hussein 17487 Tom McEnaney
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1109 Writing Across Cultures: Sensing Place
When we meet people for the first time, it is common to be asked about our names and where we are from. This course will explore what it entails to identify ourselves and others with place. What does it mean to belong to a place? What is the relationship between place and our bodies, values, thoughts, and worldviews? Does place construct who we are, or is it the other way around? How are place and identity represented in literature and film? We will attempt to examine these questions in a variety of literary texts and films. Authors and films may include Orwell, Kafka, Camus, Dostoyevsky, Mahfouz, Alien, Blade Runner, Inception. Writing assignments will encourage students to write with style, formulate complex arguments, and produce coherent essays.
SEM 102 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Ahmad Alswaid 17488 Tom McEnaney
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1109
Writing Across Cultures: Really Difficult Books
Often the books that are the hardest to read are also the ones that are most important to us. Rather than balk at the arduousness of texts, in this course we will take their difficulty as our object of study. We will explore how books can be narratively complex, formally unsettling, linguistically opaque, emotionally taxing, morally shocking, or intellectually demanding, and why we nonetheless keep returning to them. Once we identify the way in which a book is challenging, we have something to write about it. Reading texts as diverse as James Joyce’sFinnegans Wake, Patrick Chamoiseau’s Texaco and Hergé’s Tintin in the Congo, we will learn how to tarry with difficulty in order to spur thinking and writing—a useful skill for our academic careers and beyond.
SEM 103 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Jan Steyn 17489 Tom McEnaney
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1109
Writing Across Cultures: From Occupation to Occupy—Politics and Literature
What is "occupation"? How did a term that refers to oppressive colonial and military regimes also become associated with progressive protests like Occupy Wall Street? Are occupations of texts in any way similar to occupations of spaces—and how do they work? Through readings of historical and theoretical texts alongside literary works from around the world, this seminar will explore the concept and practice of occupation as transformative as well as oppressive, as political as well as literary. We will examine, for instance, how J. M. Coetzee's Foe and Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea infiltrate and contest the colonialist assumptions of classic novels like Robinson Crusoe and Jane Eyre, and how Middle Eastern literature employs forms of literary occupation to treat and respond to political occupation. Coursework will emphasize reading critically and developing rigorous, argument-based essays.
SEM 104 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Liron Mor 17490 Tom McEnaney
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1109
Writing Across Cultures: Ancients and Moderns
European arts were shaped by imitation of and rivalry with ancient Greek and Roman models. Since the Renaissance, the West has been a mixed culture of Christian values and heathen literature. We will look at modern attempts to inherit and contest ancient texts, such as Romantic emulations of Sappho and Pindar or Nietzsche’s and Wagner’s attempts to revive Greek tragedy, as well as treatments of Greco-Roman mythology in visual culture. We will trace remnants of ancient thinking and unearth a network of forms that stretches back to archaic times, thereby questioning ideas like originality, universality, and the very distinction between antiquity and modernity. Readings, all in English, will include ancient and modern texts read in tandem. While we will emphasize close reading and argumentation in essays, students will also be encouraged to develop their own voices in creative writing.
SEM 105 MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Klas Molde 17491 Tom McEnaney
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1109
Writing Across Cultures: Crimes of Writing in the Americas
In this course, we will examine scenes where the act of writing appears to transgress the law, as well as novels and stories in various detective genres that take crime as their subject matter. Towards the end of the semester we will turn to questions of copyright and the Internet’s role in debates about writing and human rights in Cuba. Students will hone their writing skills and reflect on the process of composition by asking: What constitutes a “criminal” act of writing? When and how does plagiarism become literature? What is the relationship between writing and property? How does writing’s legal and aesthetic status change as it moves away from paper and out into the street or onto the web? Authors: R. Chandler, H. Mullen, R. Bolaño.
SEM 106 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Thomas McEnaney 17492
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1109 Writing Across Cultures: Reading Poetry
Poems are puzzles, and in this class we’ll figure them out by writing about them. We’ll read short poems by Heine, Housman, Emerson, Frost, Pushkin, Lermontov, and Akhmatova, among others (all reading is in English). Beginning with sketches and journal entries and proceeding to analytical essays, we’ll learn how to answer the key question “What is this poem about?...,” and how to explain our conclusions to other readers. The language of poetry may be distinguished from everyday language, but the skills needed for understanding and writing about poetry are broadly useful, for academic and for more practical purposes.
SEM 107 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Nancy Pollak 17493
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1109
Writing Across Cultures: Literature Between Languages
This course explores English-language literature in the past thirty years that incorporates vital elements of other languages. We will be looking at writers who depict the experience of immigrants adapting to new languages, those who dramatize conflicts between people who speak different languages, and those who construct new languages altogether, while keeping their work exciting for English-language readers. Students who know languages other than English are encouraged to explore non-English literature through independent projects. Authors we will study include Junot Diaz, Helen DeWitt, Brian Friel, Cathy Park Hong, Jessica Hagedorn, and Cecilia Vicuña. Writing assignments will emphasize the varied ways in which language can be used to make persuasive arguments, and also introduce students to the language of college essay composition.
SEM 108 MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Meredith Talusan 17494 Tom McEnaney
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1126 Comparative Arts: Haunted Cinema
In the experimental film Ghost Dance (1983), Jacques Derrida says “The cinema is the art of ghosts, a battle of phantoms.” Beyond the visible apparition on the screen, how is the cinematic experience necessarily an encounter with ghosts from the past and the future? Why is the cinema always haunted? Investigating the relation between cinematic time and spectral time that is “out of joint,” we will meet many ghosts—literary, vengeful, philosophical, political—in theoretical and filmic texts from across cultures. Through written and oral assignments, students will be encouraged to develop their critical thinking, reading, and writing abilities. Directors include Stanley Kwan, Nonzee Nimibutr, Joshua Oppenheimer, Edward Yang, Alain Resnais, and Derek Jarman.
SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Elizabeth Wijaya 17532 Tom McEnaney
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1126 Comparative Arts: Style
How do we recognize the style of a novel, a film, or a photograph? Is literary style related to fashion in clothing, architecture, or other experiences? By reading critical accounts of style alongside examples across media, students will apply their research in this course to their own developing writing. Is style “the man himself” (or the woman herself), the expression of a unique individual? Or is it a function more of genre or time period? How do writers create their “own” styles? Assigned readings and films will include works by Alfred Hitchcock, Raymond Carver, Gertrude Stein, and Samuel Beckett (who claimed to write “without style”). Writing assignments will provide opportunities for students to experiment with many strategies for stylistic development.
SEM 102 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Diana Hamilton 17533 Tom McEnaney SEM 103 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Diana Hamilton 17534 Tom McEnaney
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1126 Comparative Arts: Readings the Classics Anew
This course will focus on examining classical texts from Ancient Greece and the way they have been appropriated, interpreted, resurrected, or even distorted in subsequent fictional re-imaginings. For example, looking at Euripides’ “Medea” alongside Toni Morrison’sBeloved or Homer’s Odyssey alongside Derek Walcott’s Omeros, the course aims to think about questions of canon, the limits of interpretation, and the potential value of the Classics themselves. These texts will not only be the subject of students’ writing, but will also offer models for the way in which authors themselves interpret ancient texts.
SEM 104 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Hannah Karmin 17535 Tom McEnaney
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1133
Studies in Literary Theory: Gender and Violence
How did the gender roles that we have in our society originate, and how are they enforced through psychological and physical violence? This course will look at how gender, along with race and sexuality, has been constructed in contemporary Western society, and the ways in which it has been critically examined and reimagined in recent literature and poetry. Some issues discussed will include capitalism and commodification, the colonization of the U.S. through sexual violence, anarcha-feminism, and queer liberation. Assignments will focus on developing strong arguments and close reading skills. Authors may include Shakespeare, Marx, Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, bell hooks, Adrienne Rich, Andrea Smith.
SEM 102 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Tatiana Sverjensky 17439 Tom McEnaney
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1133
Studies in Literary Theory: Writing on the University
From the student revolts of the 1960s to current debates about MOOCs, for nearly four decades, thinkers and commentators have repeatedly heralded the crisis of the university. This writing seminar delves into the idea of the modern university from its early nineteenth-century inception to its twentieth-century crises and twenty-first-century transformations. In the spirit of cultural analysis, students will not only read and write on works of literature (Nabokov, Albee, McCarthy), philosophy (Kant, Althusser, Rancière), sociology (Bourdieu, Parsons), pedagogy (Freire), and criticism. They will also develop techniques for reading critically film, journalism, documents, statistics, and the everyday ‘texts’ of Cornell’s built and lived environments. This transdisciplinary approach asks that students write lucid, persuasive prose in a variety of genres and registers in order to debate the state of the American university.
SEM 103 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Daniel Bret Leraul 17440 Tom McEnaney
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1133
Studies in Literary Theory: Against Society—Mistfits and Violence in Latin American Fiction
Why is violence so extreme in contemporary Latin American fiction and movies? Some assert that Latin American violence is “collective,” perpetrated by gangs or paramilitaries, rather than the twisted loner of the North American imagination. Yet rapid modernization has created ruthless consumerist societies that discard those who do not embrace “progress”—poor or native people, sexual dissidents, mental patients. Today, culture in Central/South America teems with marginalized misfits who bear the burden of institutional violence and yet seem to seek revenge against the social order, like the crusading psychopaths of Rubem Fonseca’s stories. Alongside the testimonies of indigenous activists such as Rigoberta Menchú we will place short fictional accounts of massacre, award-winning films about drug gangs and slum life (e.g. City of God), or a schizophrenic’s autobiography. Students will be asked to write argumentative papers discussing the representation of violence in these texts and will also have a chance to experiment with their own writing in different formats (journal entries, short fiction, book reviews).
SEM 104 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Lilliana Colanzi 17983 Tom McEnaney
DEVELOPMENT SOCIOLOGY 1211 The Cultural Politics of Reproduction
While reproduction is among the most personal and private of human experiences for individuals, it is collectively a deeply social and political activity—from the impact of social norms and expectations on how, when, and who should reproduce, to the ways in which the state regulates reproduction. This course explores how personal experiences of reproduction are informed by and structured through systems of power. Drawing on a variety of sources from scholarly analyses to popular media, we will examine theories of reproduction, the relationship between reproduction and power, and questions of freedom, rights, and reproductive choice. The course aims to foster critical analysis and to help students write convincingly and confidently in the discipline of sociology.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Sara Keene 17444 Philip McMichael
DEVELOPMENT SOCIOLOGY 1212
Precarious Work and Workers in the Global Food System
Do you ever wonder about the working conditions and daily lives of the people who produce our food? This course asks how ethnicity, legal status, gender, and age shape access to basic rights for agricultural workers across the global food system. How do migrant farmworkers cope with anti-immigrant political and social climates? What happens to children who are trafficked to produce food commodities cheaply? Does Fair Trade make a difference for indigenous peasant communities? This course will engage with documentaries, ethnographies, media reports, sociological literature, and historical fiction pieces that address the precarious social life of food. By writing film and book reviews, reading responses, op-ed pieces, and research papers, students will gain skills in close textual analysis and in developing strong arguments.
SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Kathleen Sexsmith 17446 Philip McMichael
Writing and Sexual Politics: Action Heroines
Terminator 2, The Powerpuff Girls, The Hunger Games, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Veronica Mars. Popular culture has provided a steady stream of powerful female lead characters in the form of films, television shows, and young adult fiction. In this course, we will zoom in on these female superheroes to discover what “postfeminism” is and how it deeply informs representations of women in popular culture. Is our culture truly celebratory of strong women, or must they always be done away with or undermined by sexist tropes? Discussion will be based largely on close readings of works (film, television, and fiction) as well as supplemental critical articles. Most papers will be revised with the aid of the instructor and peers.
SEM 102 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Shyla Foster 17452 Elizabeth Anker
Writing and Sexual Politics: (Un)American Beauties
When Nina Davuluri was crowned Miss America 2014, reactions ranged from joy to outrage, but why? What is "American beauty"? How does "beauty" affect how we treat ourselves and others? Reading works by Edith Wharton, Adrian Tomine, Gwendolyn Brooks, Cornell alumna Toni Morrison, and others, we will ponder "beauty" in relation to "Americanness." How have these concepts been shaped by race, class, and gendered expectations? And what is their impact on women's decision-making, socioeconomic prospects, psychological wellbeing, and relationships? Students will develop a series of papers analyzing and comparing literary texts as well as reflecting on their own experiences. By examining how authors’ decisions influence readers, we'll learn to weigh our own decisions as writers, and to value clarity, coherence, and precision.
SEM 103 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Jungmin Kim 17453 Elizabeth Anker
Writing and Sexual Politics: Madwomen
Why do we love the spectacles of profoundly talented yet tragic women such as Amy Winehouse, Sylvia Plath, and Virginia Woolf? Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar wrote about the figure of the “madwoman in the attic” in nineteenth-century literature; in this course, we will look forward from there toward more contemporary figures. Course texts will include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls, and poems from Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, and Anne Sexton. Students will also have an opportunity to complete group research projects on “madwomen” of other mediums, such as pop music and visual art. Students will be expected to invest in their growth as writers through intensive revision and thoughtfully participating in peer-review processes.
SEM 104 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Stevie Edwards 17454 Elizabeth Anker
Writing and Sexual Politics: Friends and Lovers
“Chloe liked Olivia.” While this sentence may not seem revolutionary now, Virginia Woolf described it in 1929 as the harbinger of a new literary possibility: the nuanced description of friendship between women. But does Chloe like Olivia, or does she like Olivia? And how are the two things different? Beginning with writings that emerged from the lesbian literary coteries of the 1920s, this course asks students to think about friendships between queers and what might be queer about friendship itself. Readings may include Djuna Barnes’s Ladies Almanack, Jane Bowles’s Two Serious Ladies, and Richard Bruce Nugent’s Gentleman Jigger. Writing assignments will emphasize close reading skills and the development of complex theses and cohesive arguments.
SEM 105 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Elizabeth Blake 17455 Elizabeth Anker
Writing and Sexual Politics: Hot History and Queer Feelings.
What does it mean to “feel historical?” Frederic Jameson once wrote that “History is what hurts, it is what refuses desire.” This idea speaks to the legacy of oppression that LGBTQ individuals have faced. And yet, it is also true that LGBTQ artists and thinkers have made history hot, taking the past as inspiration for works that are emotionally complex, radically erotic, and surprisingly pleasurable. In this class, we will engage with books and films in which LGBTQ individuals find themselves making history, as well as made by it. Discussing and writing about a diverse range of period films, memoirs, and faux-autobiographies, we will explore how queer individuals have looked both backwards and forwards in order to fashion novel forms of identity, art, and community.
SEM 106 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Kaelin Alexander 17754 Elizabeth Anker
Writing Across Cultures: Fantasy of Asia
I have had to learn how to love Tolkien while trying to find myself in the unmapped lands in the East where the Green and Blue wizards disappeared to. So writes a fantasy enthusiast from India. Western publishers (and
Game of Thrones fans) associate the “fantasy” genre with the European Middle Ages. But non-European cultures have fantasy traditions as well. This course will explore both examples of Asian fantasy (including the classical Chinese narrative Journey to the West and films by Hayao Miyazaki) and the perception of Asia in Western works like Naomi Mitchison's Travel Light. As we go, we will write to learn, approaching the six required essays as a journey of discovery, learning about ourselves as writers as we map out new ideas.
SEM 101 MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Jane Glaubman 17466 Harry Shaw
Writing Across Cultures: Labyrinths
This course will focus on intersections between architecture, mythology, and storytelling. We’ll read fiction from across the Mediterranean and the Americas, looking at labyrinths both constructed and imaginary, physical and mental—there will be mazes in the hills, underground cemeteries, narrators whose very minds are betraying them. “What matters is that both the dwelling and the dweller be monstrous,” writes Jorge Luis Borges; taking this as our motto, we’ll explore novels and stories by Italo Calvino, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Borges, and others, alongside films such as Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, Christopher Nolan’s Inception, and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. Class discussions, a series of short papers, and a variety of in-class writing assignments designed to develop and adapt your skills will accompany the journey.
SEM 102 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Amber Harding 17467 Harry Shaw
Writing Across Cultures: Spy Writers
What is the relationship between professional writers and spies? Do the techniques of espionage hone one’s skills as a reader and writer? We will read works of known spies-turned-writers like Daniel Defoe, W. H. Auden, and John Le Carré, noting that techniques of surveillance and interrogation mirror close-reading and engagement with critical sources and outside research. At their best, spies are careful observers and nuanced writers. Studying the techniques of the best spy writers teaches not only how to write for a particular audience and purpose, but also how a piece of writing can contain the code for its own reading. We will write “intelligence reports” analyzing critics including Auden and Todorov, use question-and-answer formats, and learn to write expository essays with both imagination and accuracy.
SEM 103 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Christina Black 17468 Harry Shaw
Writing Across Cultures: The Rules of the Game—Writing Under Constraint
An entire novel written without ever using the letter “E”; a poem “sculpted” out of Google search results; a play whose characters speak purely in clichés taken from an obsolete etiquette handbook. While we might tend to equate writing with “personal expression,” this class will ask how the “personal” itself changes in a world of Xerox, Facebook, and data mining. We’ll read a tradition of twentieth- and twenty-first-century writing that deals with the mechanical, the mathematical, the programmatic in order to see how games of style might find new substance, where “authenticity” is filtered through self-imposed or socially conditioned restrictions. Like a host of classroom Houdinis, we will place ourselves in shackles and see what magic we can create by escaping our bonds.
SEM 104 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Greg Londe 17469
Writing Across Cultures: The Culture of the “Raj”
Judging from the recent spate of popular novels and movies dealing with the British rule in India, the "Raj" was a time of pageantry and color, adventure and romance. But to what extent is this image historically accurate? How did people live their lives, and how did the colonial rule affect not only Indian society and culture but also contemporary Britain? The Raj did invent many of the modern forms of spectacle and public ceremonial display, but is there anything else that survives to the present day? What do we know about “race” and nationalism, for instance, or literature and imperial ideology, and the various “cultural” ways we understand ourselves—then as much as now? Readings will draw on both literary and historical texts, and include some current films and popular fiction.
SEM 105 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Satya Mohanty 17470
ENGLISH 1134 True Stories
When students write personal essays for college applications, they not infrequently discover just how challenging writing about and presenting themselves to the public can be. In this course, we’ll examine how well-known authors such as Maxine Hong Kingston, Alison Bechdel, Tim O’Brien, and others construct their public, written selves. We’ll consider how an author’s self-presentation affects how readers interpret the experiences, insights, and knowledge presented in each text; we’ll also consider how the style of writing affects how readers understand an author’s personality and motives. Readings will include short essays, possibly some poems, and a few longer works. Together, and writing frequent essays, we’ll explore why and how people write about themselves—for self-exploration, political or social change, purely to practice a form of art, or for other reasons—and we’ll investigate how writing shapes lived experience.
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 Raymond Chandler 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 Memento and Fight Club, and postmodern mystery
parodies such as those of Paul Auster and Jorge Luis Borges. We'll look and fear that drive them, and the secrets they tell—or try to keep hidden.
at the way they hold together, the desire
American Voices: Writing, Memory, and Survival in the Novels of Toni Morrison
How does literature help us retrieve the stories that are not fully remembered in our personal and collective pasts? In what ways does the novel bear witness to, and participate in, the stories of survival that mark our histories? In this course, we will examine and write about these questions in the context of American history and African-American experience as they are intertwined in the novels of Toni Morrison. We will consider individual and collective identity, friendship and love, war and community, and the haunting of intergenerational history. We will also examine the narrative forms Morrison created to tell these stories. Texts includeSula, Beloved, and A Mercy, as well as some of Morrison’s critical writing.
SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Cathy Caruth 17503 Shirley Samuels
American Voices: Black American Theatre
“What is a black play?” asks playwright Suzan-Lori Parks in her essay, “New Black Math.” This will be the question of our class as well. Surveying signal works of African American drama will allow us to consider how theatre can be a powerful medium for negotiating racial, sexual, and historical identities; for remembering and rewriting the past; for representing the present; and for imaging possible futures. We will also explore various frameworks for thinking about black performance as political as well as aesthetic practice. Students will have the opportunity to grapple with these issues of memory and history, difference and identity, and politics and aesthetics, while building critical thinking and writing skills through informal writing assignments as well as multiple drafts of critical essays.
SEM 102 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Jesse Goldberg 17504 Shirley Samuels
American Voices: Apocalypse and the Nuclear Age
On August 6, 1945, the world changed forever. With the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, we realized that humanity had the capacity to bring about its own end. Ever since, the concept of a man-made apocalypse has captured our popular imagination, and this is evident in American fiction of the last half century. In this course, we will consider the connections between history and literature and try to address why Americans like repeatedly to imagine the end of the world in their entertainment by reading novels by George Stewart, Robert Heinlein, Walter Miller, Cormac McCarthy, and Octavia Butler. We will also explore questions about race, gender, sexuality, and class in these apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic scenarios. Writing assignments will encourage critical engagement with primary and secondary texts.
SEM 103 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Ji Hyun Lee 17505 Shirley Samuels
American Voices: Crossing Cultures
Immigrants. Slaves. Indigenous peoples displaced from their land. How do the different cultures that have coincided in this country comprise and define “America”? How have legacies of national atrocities and cultural difference shaped American literature of the last fifty years? What does multicultural literature have to do with questions of socioeconomic class? We will explore these questions through reading African-American, Asian-American, Native American, and Latino/a literatures, including reflections on whiteness. Authors may include Frank Chin, Jhumpa Lahiri, Toni Morrison, John Edgar Wideman, Helena Maria Viramontes, Junot Diaz, Sherman Alexie, and Raymond Carver. Students will develop their capacity for clear, intelligent, and lively writing through the practice of close reading and literary analysis.
SEM 104 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Daniel Sinykin 17506 Shirley Samuels
American Voices: A Place Called Home
How does place shape our identity? How do our attitudes about home impact our relationships with one another and with the land we live on? We will address these questions, and consider home as a geographical, cultural, and personal construct, through fiction and memoir predominantly set in rural places. Writers may include Willa Cather, Leslie Marmon Silko, Janisse Ray, Anthony Doerr, and Annie Proulx. We will refine our writing skills through analytical essays concerning these texts, and through personal essays examining how we identify with the native places we call home and with our new homes here at Cornell.
SEM 105 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Caroline Zeilenga 17507 Shirley Samuels
American Voices: The Eccentric and African American Arts
“They just can’t seem to . . . They should try harder to . . . They ought to be more . . . We all wish they weren’t so . . . They never . . . They always . . .” --from “Elliptical” by Harryette Mullen. What makes a creative work off center, irregular, extravagant? When it comes to creativity, where is the center and who decides? What are the uses of the eccentric? This course will examine works such as Harryette Mullen’sSleeping with the Dictionary, Elizabeth Alexander’s American Sublime, Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist, and Octavia Butler’s Dawn; works populated by aliens, inspectors who intuit elevator malfunctions, and the first Afro-American Esperantist. Students will develop and revise a series of essays.
SEM 106 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon 17508 Shirley Samuels
ENGLISH 1167 Great New Books
Would you be able to identify the Shakespeare or Austen of your time? What are the best books being written today and how do we know they are great? What role do critics, prizes, book clubs and movie adaptations play in establishing the appeal and prestige of new literature? Are there some books that are great in their moment and others that will be considered great for generations to come? These are some of the questions we'll explore as we read, discuss, and write critical essays about several of the most acclaimed books published in the last twenty years. Our readings will include works in a range of genres, from novels and memoirs to poetry and graphic novels.
CLASS CANCELLED - Great New Books
CLASS CANCELLED - Would you be able to identify the Shakespeare or Austen of your time? What are the best books being written today and how do we know they are great? What role do critics, prizes, book clubs and movie adaptations play in establishing the appeal and prestige of new literature? Are there some books that are great in their moment and others that will be considered great for generations to come? These are some of the questions we'll explore as we read, discuss, and write critical essays about several of the most acclaimed books published in the last twenty years. Our readings will include works in a range of genres, from novels and memoirs to poetry and graphic novels.
SEM 107 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Isabelle Gilbert 17524 Rayna Kalas
ENGLISH 1167 Great New Books
Would you be able to identify the Shakespeare or Austen of your time? What are the best books being written today and how do we know they are great? What role do critics, prizes, book clubs and movie adaptations play in establishing the appeal and prestige of new literature? Are there some books that are great in their moment and others that will be considered great for generations to come? These are some of the questions we'll explore as we read, discuss, and write critical essays about several of the most acclaimed books published in the last twenty years. Our readings will include works in a range of genres, from novels and memoirs to poetry and graphic novels.
SEM 108 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Rayna Kalas 17525
Cultural Studies: Remembering the Dead
In this course, we will look not only at who gets mourned in literature, but also how they are mourned. Is it possible to remember the dead, faithfully? Does memory enable or frustrate our grief? Do we experience mourning differently in an age in which technology has changed the way we remember and experience grief? We will address these and other questions as we explore the intersection between mourning and memory within literature. The readings span from Sophocles’Antigone, to Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping, Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, David Chariandy’s Soucouyant, to Kyung Sook Shin’s Please Look After Mom. Drawing upon class discussions of the readings, as well written responses, students will learn to develop focused lines of inquiry for writing papers.
SEM 101 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Mee-Ju Ro 17526 Elisha Cohn
Cultural Studies: Pop Culture Goes Medieval
Get medieval on your class. The middle ages never end in our pop culture representations, rewrites, and rehashes. Hollywood fantasy blockbusters rule the box office, HBO reinvigorates George RR Martin, and World of Warcraft restages the crusades online. This course analyzes contemporary pop culture that plunders the medieval for its themes. Why do (mis)representations of the middle ages fascinate us? What does it mean about our now that we need to return to a then? As we read novels, short stories, and, yes, watch Game of Thrones, we will consider what representing an “other time” does for us. Our short analytical essays will use close reading of various texts (novels to video games) to produce theses with social significance for contemporary culture.
SEM 102 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Matthew McConnell 17527 Elisha Cohn
Cultural Studies: Beyond Good and Evil
In this course, we will be looking at characters who blur the line between good and evil. We will read about monstrous humans and humanoid monsters. Our subjects’ crimes will range from pedophilia to murder and mass murder. We will ponder such questions as: Do the ends ever justify the means? Is it possible to relate to a homicidal narrator? Is there such thing as an objective morality? Throughout the course, students will learn how to think and write critically about the texts, and to articulate clear arguments in their writing. Each student must write six essays over the course of the semester. Possible authors include Mary Shelley, Alan Moore, Albert Camus, Vladimir Nabokov, and Margaret Atwood.
SEM 103 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Karen Elterman 17528 Elisha Cohn
Cultural Studies: Law and Literature
This course will look to fictional and nonfictional literary and cinematic texts to examine a series of issues related to social justice within the American context and internationally. Our topics will include economic equality, human rights, the death penalty and prison system, the international pharmaceutical industry, and gender oppression.
SEM 104 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Elizabeth Anker 17529
Cultural Studies: Finding the “Kid” in Kids’ Popular Culture
How is the figure of the child constructed in popular culture? When and to what degree do children participate in the construction of these representations? This course surveys a variety of contemporary media texts (television, film, and the internet) aimed at children ranging in age from pre-kindergarten to young adults. We explore how these texts seek to construct children as empowered consumers, contesting adult conformity, even as they often
present themselves as teaching children how to “grow up.” Taking a cultural studies approach, the class will
present themselves as teaching children how to “grow up.” Taking a cultural studies approach, the class will consider the connections between the cultural texts and the realms of advertising, toys, and gaming.
SEM 105 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Jane Juffer 17530
Cultural Studies: Fiction into Film
Successfully adapting literary fiction to film is a difficult business. Hundreds of pages of text must be distilled down to ninety minutes of screen time. In doing so, a screenwriter decides which elements of the source material are essential, inessential, and mutable; the result is a new piece of fictional narrative that is sometimes faithful to the book, sometimes wildly different. What changes are inevitable? What has been omitted or added? How does film use its own unique grammar and syntax to communicate ideas from the text? These questions will be central to our work, as we write several critical essays regarding (and even try our own hand adapting) work as disparate as The Big Sleep, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and The Orchid Thief.
SEM 106 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Adam Price 17531 Elisha Cohn
ENGLISH 1170 Short Stories
What is the difference between an anecdote and a short story or a memoir and a short story? How does the short story separate itself from the prose poem, the myth, or the parable? What can a short story do that no other art form can do, including cinematic narrative? This course will focus on the reading and analysis of short stories derived from a range of cultures and time periods, with some emphasis on English-language stories, particularly those from the North American continent. Writers may include but not be limited to: Tobias Wolff, Alice Munroe, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Willa Cather, Edgar Alan Poe, Nikolai Gogol, Eudora Welty, Louise Erdrich, Haruki Murakami, Denis Johnson, Margaret Atwood, Donald Barthelme, Flannery O'Connor, Edith Wharton, Raymond Carver, Joyce Carol Oates, and Anton Chekhov. There will be a research component and some workshop discussion of student work.
British Literature: Medieval Dreaming and the Body
Scientific research has suggested that verbal communication in dreams is often nonsensical—and always illegible when written. Yet cultures from antiquity to the present have supposed that dreams have something to tell us and have struggled to distinguish between dreams of a spiritual origin and mere “body hocus pocus.” This course will explore the relationship between dreams and embodied perception through a crucial genre in medieval literature: the “dream vision.” Readings may include dream visions by Chaucer and his contemporaries, as well as religious visionary accounts, with occasional forays into more contemporary work indebted to this medieval genre. We’ll look to these writers who have made sense of the oblique language of dreams as models for developing a clear and direct authorial voice.
SEM 101 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Adin Lears 17509 Samantha Zacher
British Literature: Epiphanies
Epiphany—the sudden burst of clarity, the realization that hits you like a ton of bricks—what exactly happens to us in these moments? How do we describe them? What do they tell us about ourselves and the world? This seminar will trace the historical and philosophical development of epiphany and the immense literary interest it had for British modernism. Considering different approaches to epiphany in fiction and poetry, we will look at how modern epiphany compares with its (mostly religious) older forms. Through a variety of writing assignments focused on developing coherent and lucid arguments we will explore how discursive writing can help us engage with the elusive experience of epiphany. Possible writers include Ovid, Augustine, Wordsworth, Joyce, Woolf, Hopkins, and Eliot.
SEM 102 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Stephen Thompson 17510 Samantha Zacher
British Literature: Oscar Wilde
“My existence is a scandal,” Oscar Wilde once wrote. With his legendary wit, his exuberant style of perversity and paradox, and his audacious sexual transgressions, his scandals continue to fascinate and delight. Through different approaches to interpretive writing, we will explore his work in a variety of genres, including his brilliant comedy The Importance of Being Earnest, his banned drama Salomé, and his Decadent novel The Picture of Dorian Gray.
SEM 103 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Ellis Hanson 17511 Samantha Zacher
British Literature: Mind-Reading
Whenever we think we know what a movie character is thinking, whenever we feel a poem’s speaker is being evasive, and whenever we form an emotional connection to someone in a novel, we are reading minds where there are none. Why does it seem so natural to do this? Why do we get attached to fictional characters? Is this something we learn how to do, or is the ability innate? In this seminar, we will analyze literature and films and study recent theories from evolutionary psychology and philosophy in order to think about how and why we mind-read fictional works. Students will then use this knowledge in their essay assignments by learning how to anticipate the expectations, biases, and responses of their own readers.
SEM 104 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Matthew Kibbee 17512 Samantha Zacher
British Literature: The Medieval Animal
This course explores the role of “the animal” in medieval literature, art, and jurisdiction. Readings will include animal fables (such as the Reynard cycles and the Lais of Marie de France), travel narratives (such as the Travels of Sir John Mandeville), bestiaries, romances (such as Sir Gowther). We will also explore the bizarre practice of animal trials and executions and consider what these spectacles reveal about attitudes towards animals and the complex relations between humans and non-humans in medieval culture. We will gauge how representations of “the animal” both challenge and uphold the fiction of a stable “human” identity.
SEM 107 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Samantha Zacher 17515 Samantha Zacher
British Literature: Adventure on the High Seas
For centuries, the sea has held a special allure for the British imagination. It was the place of adventure, commerce, and conquest, where men made their fortunes or lost their lives. What challenges and possibilities did the sea present to sailors, explorers, and dreamers on the shore? What did sea travellers bring home to England? We will address these questions by turning to fiction and poetry by Homer, Tennyson, Coleridge, Jane Austen, and Virginia Woolf. Writing assignments will ask you to embark on odysseys exploring the strange magnetism and deadly potential of the sea.
SEM 108 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Mariam Wassif 17516 Samantha Zacher
British Literature: Faith in Doubt
“God is dead,” Friedrich Nietzsche famously proclaimed, adding: “Yet his shadow still looms.” Indeed, Nietzsche’s atheistic writing often employed religious terminology, while that of his religious contemporaries was regularly suffused with a language of doubt. G. K. Chesterton, for instance, provocatively asserted that Christianity was the only “religion in which God seemed for an instant to be an atheist.” In this course, we’ll explore questions raised by this overlap between faith and doubt: Can doubt be a form of faith? Can religious language be reworked for secular ends? How does the interplay of faith and doubt make us “modern”? Readings include Frankenstein, Thus Spake Zarathustra, and contemporary scholarship on secularism and modernity. Writing assignments will train students to make connections between literary works and cultural questions.
SEM 109 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Bernadette Guthrie 17517 Samantha Zacher
British Literature: Fools, Fops, and Idiots
Is there wisdom in apparent folly? Can the fool be the truly wise man? While marginalized and scorned, “fools” sometimes deliberately play a part, enjoy the privilege of acting outside of social norms, and very often present an impossibly pure and candid perspective that can be startling, insightful, and misunderstood. In this course, we will consider the representations and functions of the figure of the fool in various texts. Through in-class discussions and multi-draft expository essays, we will develop skills in close reading and critical thinking. Texts may include William Shakespeare’s King Lear or Twelfth Night, Percy Shelley’s “Julian and Maddalo,” Baroness Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Idiot.
SEM 110 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Jane Kim 17623
Writing About Literature: Doubling, Disguise, and Desire in Drama
Theatre is never more theatrical than when it doubles itself—in strategically paired characters, in plays about playing, in tales of vindictive intrigue, in parallel plotlines, in confusions of gender and identity, in reflections on its own dark or joyous origins. Beginning with Euripides’ The Bacchae, this course will explore such doublings and the frenzies they entail, reading comedies and tragedies by such playwrights as Shakespeare, Thomas Middleton, Oscar Wilde, Bertolt Brecht, Alan Ayckbourn, Jean Genet, and Suzan-Lori Parks, and viewing them, when possible, in live or filmed performance. And we’ll write a lot.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Stuart Davis 17538
Writing About Literature: All Our Favorite Books
In this course, you will suggest and select the books we shall read with the idea of analyzing the category of like, love, or favorite. We shall be interested in aesthetics and taste in literature. What is your favorite book and why? Why are some books called guilty pleasures and others literary reads? To truly love a book, understanding it through analysis is the best expression of that love. In this course, we shall move forward with the understanding that critical analysis does not kill one’s love for a book, it enhances it.
SEM 102 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Mukoma Wa Ngugi 17539
Writing About Literature: Banned Books
In this writing seminar, we will read and respond to literary works that have been banned at various points in history and in different cultures. We will read them for sheer enjoyment and interpretation, but we’ll also talk about the reasons, sometimes quite surprising, for their suppression and look for common threads between them in the way they challenge political or social authority. Readings will include Aristophanes’ play Lysistrata, Lillian Hellman’s play The Children’s Hour, Voltaire’s Candide, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl, and poems by Walt Whitman, Charles Baudelaire, Anna Akhmatova, and Allen Ginsberg.
SEM 103 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. George Hutchinson 17540
Writing About Literature: The Question of Tragedy
The word “tragedy” is used almost daily by the media to describe devastating or catastrophic events. But what does the term actually mean? Does it refer to the particular form of drama Aristotle thought was designed to produce pity and fear? Is there still a connection between our “modern” use of the term ‘tragedy’ and classical theater theory? What exactly is “tragic” drama? Why, for example, did Shakespeare not call Hamlet a tragedy but a “tragicall historie”? What is the relationship between tragedy and history? The course explores these and other questions of tragedy through careful, close readings, discussions, and, above all, critical writings about paradigmatic tragedies of the Western tradition, including plays by Sophocles, Euripides, Shakespeare, Lorca, and Miller.
SEM 104 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Philip Lorenz 17541
FEMINIST, GENDER & SEXUALITY STUDIES 1103 Performances of Gender, Stages of Woman
We enact gender. For the past quarter century, feminist thought has called into question the biological and cultural determinations of gender by thinking about gender through the lens of performance. This course will trace the ways that such performances not only subvert but also produce gender, sex, and sexual identities. We will examine the ways that literature, theatre, film, and feminist thought unsettle identities through disruptive stagings, such as drag. But we will also consider how repetitions of performances give rise to seemingly stable gender identities, identities that remain the target of violence around the world. Through written assignments, in-class performances, and course readings, students will have the opportunity to think through conceptual and political stakes of gender performance.
SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Megan Kruer 17542 Jane Juffer
FEMINIST, GENDER & SEXUALITY STUDIES 1104 The Case of the Female Detective
“Women don’t fit well into a trench coat and slouch hat,” Marilyn Stasio observed, yet female detectives can be found solving crimes and busting bad guys across media. Drawing from TV, film, fiction, and theatre, this course explores the ways in which the female detective radically revises the conventions of the crime narrative in which she functions. Interrogating an inherent tension between gender and genre, we’ll ask how different media construct female detectives and what gets re-visioned when Miss Marple and Clarice Starling fight violence and restore social order. By engaging with course texts, students will develop strategies for attentive reading and thoughtful writing. Assignments ranging from reviews to research papers will focus on critical thinking, preparation, clear prose, and papers structured around well-supported claims.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Aoise Stratford 17624 Jane Juffer
Dissecting the Body in Literature and Medicine (1500–1700)
If you could look inside your own body, would you be puzzled, fascinated, utterly disgusted? When dissection became legal in the Renaissance, scientists and writers set out to explore the intricacies of the human body. This course investigates the ways science influenced literature just as literature helped shape science between 1500 and 1700. What do monstrous bodies tell us about physical norms? What is pain? How do gender and sexuality play into medical and literary representations? We will address these questions by turning to anatomical prints, medical treatises, and English translations of Rabelais and Montaigne. Following in the footsteps of adventurous anatomists, you will dissect bodies of text and learn to analyze, organize, and artfully display your findings. Not for the faint of heart!
SEM 101 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Ophélie Chavaroche 17546 Marilyn Migiel
GERMAN STUDIES 1109
From Fairy Tales to the Uncanny: Exploring the Romantic Consciousness
How did bawdy tales of peasants using magic to climb the social ladder get transformed into moral lessons for children? The answer lies in Romanticism and its appropriation of the imagination as a force for social transformation. As Romantics edited older tales for juvenile consumption they wrote new ones for adults. This new fiction created the matrix for modern pop genres like fantasy, science-fiction, murder mysteries, and gothic horror. To understand this paradigm shift in modern culture, we will read, discuss, and write about a variety of texts the Romantics collected, composed, or inspired, including poetry and film, in addition to classic fairy tales and academic scholarship on the topic.
SEM 101 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Douglas McBride 17626
SEM 102 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Ekaterina Pirozhenko 17586 Douglas Brent McBride
GERMAN STUDIES 1170 Marx, Nietzsche, Freud
A basic understanding of Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud is a prerequisite for participating in critical debates in the humanities and social sciences. Our seminar will explore key terms in the revolutionary models of critical analysis these thinkers pioneered: historical materialism, post-metaphysical philosophy, and psychoanalysis. This will mean articulating points of contrast as well as convergence. Discussions and writing exercises will focus on texts that created the discursive framework for critiquing society and culture today. Our method will proceed from the premise that critical reading, thinking, and writing are inseparable moments in the same operation of critique. The question that guides that method will be: Do alternative ways of thinking exist in opposition to the ones we view as natural, inevitable, or universal?
SEM 101 MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Jordan Thomson 17600 Douglas Brent McBride SEM 102 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Jette Gindner 17601 Douglas Brent McBride
SEM 103 SEM 104 SEM 105
TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m.
Matthew Stoltz Mate Rigo Gustavo Quintero
17602 Douglas Brent McBride 17603 Douglas Brent McBride 17604 Douglas Brent McBride
GOVERNMENT 1101 Power and Politics: Dissent
Do citizens have an obligation to obey unjust laws? This seminar offers students an introduction to political theory by exploring the ways political dissidents, law-breakers, and radicals challenged the perceived injustices of their times. We will study ancient, modern, and contemporary texts of political theory to gain an understanding of basic political concepts such as political authority, freedom, justice and injustice, the rule of law, conscience, and social criticism. Beginning with short single-page response papers and building up to a more substantial argumentative paper by the end of the series, students will engage in a series of revision and rewriting exercises, including submissions of drafts, peer-review, and peer grading exercises.
SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Alexander Livingston 17605
Power and Politics: Representation—Voting and Legislative Responsiveness
This course examines a fundamental relationship in democracies: that between the electors and the elected. When are legislators more or less responsive to public opinion? Whose opinions are best represented? What is the effect of partisan gerrymandering? The course will explore these and other questions, focusing on voting qualifications, including identification requirements; the effects of redistricting, gerrymandering, and majority-minority districts; and legislative responsiveness to constituent and donor opinion. Likely texts include Martin Gilens’ Affluence and Influence and David Lublin’s The Paradox of Representation. Writing assignments will be focused on communicating social scientific research and students will gain experience writing policy briefs, editorials, and long form articles for popular audiences, and field surveys for academic audiences.
SEM 102 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. David Bateman 17606
Power and Politics: Norms in International Politics
Why do states sign on to international human rights treaties? How did the use of nuclear and chemical weapons become taboo? Why do some grounds for discrimination receive greater protection in international politics than others? These questions speak to the role of norms—or shared expectations about what kind of behavior is appropriate—in international relations. In this seminar, we seek to understand how such norms emerge, develop, and spread. The reading material for this class will equip you with different theoretical understandings of norms and an insight into specific case studies. We will explore the politics of norms through a series of writing assignments, including an op-ed piece, a film/documentary review, a research brief, and a comparative case study report.
SEM 103 MWF 03:35–04:25 p.m. Martijn Mos 17607 Matthew Evangelista
Power and Politics: The Politics of Democracy in the Global South
The number of formal democracies continues to grow in the post-colonial world—but they seem to be on different trajectories. Why are some countries reducing inequality and deepening democracy, while others seem mired in violence, political exclusion, and poverty? This course offers an introduction to the contemporary politics of countries like Brazil, Nigeria, and Indonesia—part of the larger “Global South.” Drawing on books like Amartya Sen’s Development as Freedom, articles from Foreign Affairs and The Economist, and influential works of social science, we will consider the meaning of democracy and the role of political institutions, social cleavages, and economic inequality. Students will work on producing clear and coherent writing through policy memos, op-eds,
and a research topic of their choice.
SEM 104 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Sebastian Dettman 17608 Tom Pepinsky
Grassroots to Global: Politics, Media, and the Environment
From Not in My Backyard (NIMBY) movements to global climate change negotiations, environmental issues have become and continue to be relevant to local, national, and international politics. This seminar examines environmental politics from a diverse range of perspectives, including those of academics, journalists, activists, and government officials. Drawing on readings from political scientists, government agencies, and the popular press, students write about environmental issues from these different viewpoints and understand the varying purposes, audiences, and goals of writing on environmental politics. To encourage them to develop their writing skills for Cornell and beyond, students will produce different types of writing samples from popular to professional to academic, including an op-ed, a policy memo, and an academic research paper.
SEM 105 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Elizabeth Plantan 17609 Ron Herring
All Over the Map: Cartography in the Making of Boundaries, Places, and Histories
What’s in a map? Can they obscure as much as they reveal? This course focuses on the way maps, and their boundaries, intrude on the stories we tell. Histories, in particular, typically concern places that fit neatly within boundaries—be they city limits, international borders, or shorelines. Rather than treating these features as naturally occurring, we will ask questions, such as: Can a place be said to have existed before its so-called discovery? Do the names of nations, continents, cities, or even harbors simply refer to places, or can they somehow help bring those very places into being? Seminar discussions and assignments will largely revolve around assigned readings, assigned maps (which we will often consult in conjunction with the readings), and writing exercises.
SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Jacqueline Reynoso 17618 Mary Beth Norton
Centuries of Bloodshed? Violence in the Middle Ages
The supposedly widespread violence of the Middle Ages frequently captures modern attention. Graphic violence is often a selling point for medieval-themed media, such as HBO’sGame of Thrones series. Often, medieval violence seems to be pointless and cruel; a barbaric aspect of a less civilized time. Was violence in the Middle Ages as senseless as it seems to us? How did the denizens of the Middle Ages experience this violence? Were they as appalled or intrigued by it as we seem to be? In this course, we will consider and write about the way medieval authors interpreted and represented violence in a variety of genres including history, law, and literature. Assignments will focus on close readings of assigned texts and on building compelling and cogent arguments based on these readings. Other assignments will ask students to reflect on their own opinions on violence and to consider how these opinions shape the way we study violence in other contexts.
SEM 101 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Maximilian McComb 17536 Oren Falk
The Prize and the Peril: African Nations at Fifty
The recent Jubilee celebrations of fifty years of African independence offer an apt moment to assess the legacy of the nationalist movements that brought about independence and the nations they spawned. One observer has argued that even in countries with “nothing to celebrate,” all jubilee nations eventually featured “some form of official commemoration.” Why were these commemorations so important to Africans? Why does nationalism continue to catalyze such heated debate, in Africa as around the world? What does “independence” mean anyway? This course examines the tension over who gets to define “the nation” in Africa and why. The goal will be to analyze historical debates on “the nation” in Africa and to write persuasive arguments assessing them.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Mark Deets 17625 Sandra Greene
Revolution and Renewal: China’s Modern Transformation
What does the future hold for China? This question increasingly occupies the minds of policy makers, businesspeople, and intellectuals the world over. In this course, students will explore China’s past for insights that will prepare them to think critically about China’s position in the world today and tomorrow. We will examine multiple facets of China’s changing sense of itself and its destiny during the twentieth century, from Chinese conceptions of revolution and political order to the impact of economic development on China’s identity. Readings will include works by Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and other historical figures, as well as writings by influential scholars such as Henry Kissinger and Jonathan Spence. Writing assignments that focus on developing (and rebutting) historical arguments will allow students to consider what China’s past may mean for its future.
SEM 101 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Jason Kelly 17543 Jian Chen
State Surveillance in History
How and why do states watch their citizens? This course explores historical practices of state surveillance from the perspective of both the “watchers” and the “watched.” Special emphasis will be given to twentieth-century Europe, but examples from other parts of the world and the US will also be featured in the readings. Some of the readings will be primary sources: memoirs, diaries, surveillance files. Other sources will include films and short fiction and some scholarly pieces on the workings of state security and secret police organizations. Writing assignments will include reflections, analyses of sources and audiences, book reviews, and imitations of genres such as surveillance reports or agent interviews.
SEM 101 MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Holly Case 17545
Conceived in Liberty: The Coming of Civil War and Black Emancipation
This course examines the American Civil War through the lens of African-Americans in the north and south and through the vision of white radicals who had challenged slavery for a generation. Together, they became the movement that fomented a revolution and changed America forever. Through class discussions and writing assignments, we will read the speeches and other writings of black and white radicals and we will examine the slaves response to the Civil War; we will examine the changing goals of the war; and we will analyze Abraham Lincoln's leadership.
SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Margaret Washington 17627
Post-World War II America: Crisis and Continuity
Why are the years following World War II considered so remarkable in the landscape of American history? Several critical events and debates that rocked the nation from the 1940s onward reverberate today, such as involvement in wars, civil rights, women’s rights, concerns about teenagers, and crises in American cities. Enriched by a variety of primary sources, including films and TV shows, this course analyzes the central events, people, and forces that transformed American society and culture from the years after World War II to the present. The course aims to help students learn how to write persuasively about scholarship and primary sources, while gaining a deeper appreciation for the lasting influence of the major events, crises, and interpretations of post-World War II American history.
SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Kelly King-O’Brien 17547
Rewriting Africa and World War II
What was going on in Africa during World War II? Most of us know that World War II was one of the most transformative periods in the history of the twentieth century. Similarly, most people know that it was fought in multiple regions simultaneously and utilized human and natural resources from across the globe. Yet though numerous histories have been written about the war, and memorials to soldiers and civilians dot the landscape, most accounts of the war marginalize Africa’s role and the consequences of the war for African communities. This course reconsiders Africa’s social, economic and political engagement in the war and introduces students to emerging debates in African historiography and the historiography of World War II. Students will write several short essays, an abstract, annotated bibliography, and a research paper.
SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Judith Byfield 17548
Writing Italy, Writing the Self: Jewish-Italian Literature and the Long Twentieth Century
The Jewish community of Rome is the oldest one in all of Europe, dating back to 200 BCE, and the authors of some of the most important twentieth-century works of Italian literature are Jewish. In this course, we will examine how some of these writers (Moravia, Bassani, Primo Levi, Carlo Levi, Ginzburg, Sereni, Bruck, Loewenthal, Janaczek, Elkann, and Piperno) have articulated the self against the background of the historical events that have shaped the past hundred years: two world wars and different social movements of the pre- and post-WWII eras. The seminar includes two film screenings.
SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Kora von Wittelsbach 17549
JEWISH STUDIES 1913
Writing Italy, Writing the Self: Jewish-Italian Literature and the Long Twentieth Century
The Jewish community of Rome is the oldest one in all of Europe, dating back to 200 BCE, and the authors of some of the most important twentieth-century works of Italian literature are Jewish. In this course, we will examine how some of these writers (Moravia, Bassani, Primo Levi, Carlo Levi, Ginzburg, Sereni, Bruck, Loewenthal, Janaczek, Elkann, and Pipermo) have articulated the self against the background of the historical events that have shaped the past hundred years: two world wars and different social movements of the pre- and post-WWII eras. The seminar includes two film screenings. (To select this seminar, select Italian 1113 on your ballot.)
SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. X-Listed with Ital 1113 17550
Language, Thought, and Reality: The Death of Language
This course will address issues related to language death, including: What does it mean for a language to be endangered? For a language to die? Should we care? Are some languages more viable or valid than others? We will discuss issues such as the role English and other global languages, language as a vehicle for culture, linguistic prejudices, language revival programs, etc. The course will touch on languages and dialects around the world, including Ainu (Japan), Nivkh (Russia), Guaraní (Paraguay), and Ebonics (United States). The main text will be supplemented by primary sources, electronic, and print. Short writing assignments will focus on revision, group discussion, and argumentation.
SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. John Whitman 17590
Language, Thought, and Reality: Words and Pictures
This class explores the collaboration of language and image to create meanings at multiple levels. We will discuss and write about popular culture—caricatures, comics, advertising, and puzzles—along with high culture artifacts like paintings, illuminated manuscripts, and ideographic scripts, examining the interplay and analogies between understanding language and interpreting images. We will discuss phenomena that cut across words and pictures: both may represent reality. A sentence may be true or false—can the same be said of a picture? Both language and visual representation are governed by conventions, and would be impossible without them. Information may be foregrounded and backgrounded in both channels, and can be ambiguous, contradictory, nonsensical, or self-referential.
SEM 102 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Dorit Abusch 17591
Language, Thought, and Reality: Language and the Law
How do language and the law intersect? This course will explore basic linguistic theory relating to speech acts, linguistic fuzziness, and bilingualism, and connect it to legal issues involving language. Topics include language-related power asymmetries in court, the problems of vague and ambiguous language in legal interpretation, laws about language, and the distinction between lying and perjury. We will read important court cases related to language rights, problems, and crimes, as well as excerpts from books such asWordcrime: Solving Crime Through Forensic Linguistics (Olsson 2009). Most importantly, students will learn to write essays in which they construct an argument and then defend it using both readings assigned for the course and relevant outside readings the students find on their own.
SEM 103 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Sarah D’Antonio 17592 John Whitman
Language, Thought, and Reality: From Cuneiform to Cryptography
We will explore the development, implementation, and if relevant, the decipherment of a number of writing systems, including cuneiform, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and Mayan, as well as those used to record several modern languages. We will study the linguistic principles behind different writing systems and compare some of the techniques used in decipherment with those used in cryptography. Writing assignments will help students develop as writers by focusing on the writing process, from how to identify interesting problems to how to present a complete and polished product. No previous exposure to other writing systems is necessary.
SEM 104 MWF 02:30–03:20 p.m. Emily Barth 17593 John Whitman
Language, Thought, and Reality: Metaphors We Live By
We typically think of 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. Assignments for this course will include linguistic analyses of texts on politics, society and popular culture, evaluation of the role metaphor plays in historical language change, and exploration of non-linguistic metaphor in gestures, advertising, and cartoons. We will read and write about selections from the work of linguists, philosophers, and psychologists.
SEM 105 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Naomi Enzinna 17594 John Whitman
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.
SEM 106 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Andrea Hummel 17595 John Whitman
Language, Thought, and Reality: How to Build a Language
In the twenty first century, there has been a resurgence of constructed languages, driven in part by their visibility in Avatar, Game of Thrones, and the film adaptations of Lord of the Rings. However, hundreds of languages have been constructed for reasons as diverse as finding God, uniting nations, aiding the disabled, and communicating with computers. The majority have been deemed failures, either because they were unpopular or lacked linguistic sophistication. We will explore the linguistic tools necessary to compose linguistic systems with the expressive power, systematicity, and limitations of natural languages, from the level of sounds to words to sentences. The ultimate goal is for each student to begin constructing their own language and to justify its linguistic validity and practical or artistic merit.
SEM 107 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Robin Karlin 17596 John Whitman
Language, Thought, and Reality: Creating the Science of Language
What makes a science science? Is it the methodology used or the subject of study? We will consider these questions by exploring the development of linguistics as a science. We will have many questions to write about and discuss concerning science and linguistics as a science: Can the mind be a domain of scientific study? Is our conception of science biased by history or culture? In addition to readings from linguists such as Steven Pinker and Noam Chomsky, we will draw from historical and contemporary sources. We will look at the writings of Galileo and his contemporaries to learn what controversies beset the establishment of physics as a science; to examine current conceptions of science and language, we will turn to sources such as newspaper articles, magazines, and blogs.
SEM 108 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Zach Smith 17597 John Whitman
Language, Thought, and Reality: Myths and Controversies
Some say, “English is from Latin” others, “English is from German.” Both are not true: English is from Old English. As for the present state of the language, regretful comments such as “Young people are ruining the language,” or “French is more logical,” are by no means uncommon. Is there any more merit to these complaints then to the above statements on the origins of English? This course addresses common linguistic misconceptions, and provides students with a basis for evaluating assertions concerning language in the popular press. Writing assignments will take the form of short reaction pieces, critique and research papers. Special attention will be devoted to developing ideas, effective organization, and phrasing. No formal linguistic analysis is involved.
SEM 109 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Kimberly Will 17598 John Whitman
Language, Thought, and Reality: Language: Translation and Writing
Translating seems on the surface like a pretty simple process if one knows how to speak a foreign language, but what is really needed to be able to translate a text or interpret at an international summit? How good does one have to be in a language to be able to translate into it? Is Linguistics knowledge all that is needed to do translations? In this class, we will explore issues in translation processes, ranging from the deep linguistics knowledge needed and issues involving factors beyond Linguistics like technical and cultural knowledge.
SEM 110 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Ekarina Winarto 17599 Abby Cohn
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101
Aspects of Medieval Culture: Reading English Romances in the Middle Ages
When the Green Knight enters King Arthur's court, he challenges any man to strike his head with an axe, if he may be allowed to return the blow a year later. Sir Gawain agrees. “The head was hewn off and fell to the floor; Many found it at their feet, as forth it rolled; The blood gushed from the body, bright on the green, Yet fell not the fellow, nor faltered a whit...” Middle English Romances include love stories, fairy-tales, but also absurd elements: we will strive to appreciate the genre from various angles. By closely examining the literary elements of the narratives that belong to Middle English Romances, we will understand how they effectively entertained their original audiences: that is, what word-choice, rhyme, rhetorical devices, and narrative structure did these authors use? What gives the stories symmetry and unity? All of these literary elements are applicable to students' written work: careful consideration of diction and structure in their own work will be very wholesome for their writing. Readings includeSir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Orfeo, The Knight’s Tale, and Havelok the Dane. Class discussions and a series of papers will encourage clear writing, close reading, and analysis of the texts.
SEM 101 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Edward Currie 17553 Andrew Galloway
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101
Aspects of Medieval Culture: Text, Context, and “Sext” in Chaucer’s Wife of Bath
“In wifehood, I will use my instrument/ As freely as my Maker has sent it.” (Prol. 149-50). So says the Wife of Bath in her famed Prologue. The Wife frequently uses the text to make sexual jokes, or to “sext.” Our seminar will focus not only on those “sexts,” but also on the life of Chaucer and how his experiences appear in the Wife’s Tale. We will learn about late fourteenth-century England and read many of the source texts Chaucer used. Through vigorous class discussion and formal writing exercises, including a creative writing piece, this class will engage you in the world of Chaucer, late medieval sexuality and gender, and a literary tradition stretching back to the fifth century C.E.
SEM 102 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Hannah Byland 17554 Andrew Galloway
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101
Aspects of Medieval Culture: Map Quest—Space, Place, and Movement in Medieval Society
Where are you going? How should you get there? The answers to questions like these, so easily found today, were not nearly so definite or available in medieval societies. This class will look at how medieval people discovered and defined their worlds. We will look at pilgrim and travel itineraries from wanderers such as John Mandeville, William Wey, and Ibn Battuta, to consider how they saw the spaces through which they traveled. We will also look at medieval maps, and discuss how shifts in mapmaking suggest broader changes in how people understood the world. Through class discussions, writing exercises, and papers, students will examine these texts and maps to think about different ways that medieval—and modern!—people define and identify their spaces.
SEM 103 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. John Greenlee 17555 Andrew Galloway
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101
Aspects of Medieval Culture: Heroes and Villains of the Medieval Stage
From Shakespeare’s Macbeth to Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, some of the most beloved and hated character types of the Western stage and screen were born and raised in the drama of the Middle Ages. In this course, we will explore the heroic and the villainous as it appeared in later medieval theater: starting in England and traveling to France, Germany, and the Netherlands, and moving through genres ranging from biblical mystery plays to slapstick-style farces. We will seek, through a series of increasingly complex analytical papers, to answer questions about how these characters were constructed for the stage, why they might have been so enchanting to a medieval audience, and why some of them have endured in various forms into modern entertainment.
SEM 104 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Amanda Lowell 17556 Andrew Galloway
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101
Aspects of Medieval Culture: The Icelandic Family Saga
The Icelandic Family Sagas tell of the lives, loves, fights, and daily struggles of the first settlers, ordinary farmers on a barren, and windswept island in the North Atlantic. We will discuss the unique features of the sagas: gritty realism, intense psychology, and violent feuds, and topics such as law, poetry, women, and exploration. The course will discuss the historical and literary context in which the sagas developed and present the problems inherent in reading texts written more than two hundred years after the events they depict. In the course, we will read the “big three” of Icelandic Sagas:Egils Saga, Laxdæla Saga, and the masterful Njáls Saga, as well as several shorter sagas. These texts as a frame discussion of how to write a solid and compelling argument, using in part the research facilities available at Cornell, including the world-renowned Fiske Icelandic Collection.
SEM 105 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Russell Stepp 17557 Andrew Galloway
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101
Aspects of Medieval Culture: Medieval Modernities and the Modern Middle Ages
No place is so alien as the past, and Hollywood’s depictions of the Middle Ages—with its skin clad barbarians, pillaging Vikings, and blood thirsty crusaders—make that era seem especially so. This class will attempt to dispel this foreignness by focusing on large conceptual ideas, such as speech and community, in both the Middle Ages and today to trace the similarities between these two eras as well as to elucidate the indebtedness of modernity to the Middle Ages. Towards this end, this class will examine a variety of sources, including The Benedictine Rule, Fight Club, Norse myths, and excerpts from the Sandman comics and the television series Firefly. This course will hone students’ writing and analytic skills through class discussion, writing exercises, and formal papers.
SEM 106 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Rae Grabowski 17558 Andrew Galloway
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1102
Literature of Chivalry: Fighting Words—Anglo-Saxon Heroes and their Poetry
“Where now are the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?” These words, familiar from Tolkien’sLord of the Rings, comes from the Old English poem "The Wanderer." A personal lament as well as a communal one, the warrior’s longing for better days reflects Christian and secular heroic traditions. This class offers an introduction to Old English poetry in translation and its modern adaptations and inspirations, including Tolkien’s writings and W. H. Auden’s verse. We will consider how poetic language and form can negotiate multiple sources of knowledge and belief as well as other aspects of cultural identity for the individual and community. Through class discussion, writing exercises (including creative), and formal papers, students will strengthen their writing and critical reasoning.
SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Danielle Wu 17561 Andrew Galloway
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1103
Legend, Fantasy, and Vision: The Evolution of Fairy Tales
Incest, murders, strip teases, single mothers, a soulless protagonist—what else is Disney leaving out? This course will trace popular tales back to disturbingly unfamiliar forms and compare them to current trends in telling fairy tales. We will question what defines a fairy tale and why so many authors have felt compelled to adapt these tales into sanitized, religious, queer, feminist, gory, saccharine, parodic, admonitory, and sexualized retellings. Readings will range from medieval texts and Hans Christian Andersen to Angela Carter and twenty-first-century multimedia. Short responses, analytical essays, and a creative writing assignment will strengthen students’ writing and critical reasoning.
SEM 101 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Anna Waymack 17565 Andrew Galloway
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1103
Legend, Fantasy, and Vision: Shapeshifters and Cybermen—The Almost-Human in Allegory
By reading medieval texts in conversation with modern science fiction and fantasy, we will consider creatures that challenge the border between human and Other. As allegory, the almost-human exposes not only weaknesses of categorization, from the self to sex and the cosmos, but also conflicts between social imperatives like duty, love, and war. We will also investigate the use of medievalisms, as in Attack on Titan’s allusions to early modern grottesche and the iconography of hellmouths. Readings will include supernatural romance, preceded by the medieval belief that lovesickness led to lycanthropy; zombie films and the walking dead of Icelandic sagas; X-Men and King Arthur’s band of super-powered warriors in the Mabinogion; and Marco Polo’s depiction of Islamic automatons and Doctor Who’s crypto-communist Cybermen. Assignments will be creative as well as expository.
SEM 102 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Marybeth Matlack 17566 Andrew Galloway
Sound, Sense, and Ideas: Reality Music Television and the Age of Global Culture
This course critically engages the global phenomenon of “reality” musical television shows, from American Idol to Afghan Star, India’s SaReGaMaPa, and beyond. How are ideas of national and ethnic belonging negotiated on these shows? How does musical performance become a site for navigating between “the global” and “the local”? And how do the ideas of “music” and “performance” differ between shows and cultures? We explore these issues by drawing on foundational works regarding popular culture and music, anthropology of media, and globalization. Through writing assignments, including close visual analysis of reality music show clips, we will hone our critical thinking and writing skills to develop arguments about the relationship between transnational media, global culture, and musical performance.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Anaar Desai-Stephens 17567 Neal Zaslaw
Sound, Sense, and Ideas: Global Hip Hop
Theories of globalization often emphasize the disproportionate economic and cultural influence of the Global North. But increasingly, global hip hop audiences do not just consume hip hop; they also produce it. In the locally specific intersections of transnational networks of people, ideas, and commodities, youth throughout the world increasingly draw on U.S. hip hip to address their own lived experiences of marginality, exploitation, and displacement, localizing the music in ways that potentially complicate dominant models of cultural globalization. Drawing on scholarly articles, musical recordings, documentary films, music videos, interviews, and poetry, students will engage theories of cultural globalization through comparative essays on local hip hop cultures outside of the United States.
SEM 102 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Catherine Appert 17568
NEAR EASTERN STUDIES 1920
Pagans, Jews, Christians, and Muslims: Being Religious in Late Antiquity
This class will explore the ways that people in the late ancient world of the Near East were “religious,” focusing especially upon the ways in which monotheistic religious communities and identities were created and maintained through a variety of religious rhetorics and practices. We will explore the category of “religion,” what was involved in this category in the ancient world, and what it meant to be a pagan, Jew, Christian, and/or Muslim in the late ancient Near Eastern context(s). Our sources will include primary sources from the ancient world, including (amongst many others) the Hebrew Bible, the Greek New Testament, and the Arabic Qur’?n; modern academic research, and theory; as well as archaeological evidence. These tools will allow us to see that “religions” in the late ancient world were complicated, dynamic, interconnected systems: thus providing us a fascinating set of case studies for the exploration of the ever-changing nature of religious definitions and practices. Writing assignments will primarily be essays, and class time will include discussion of the standards for writing about religion in an academic context.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Adam Bursi 17573 Kim Haines-Eitzen
NEAR EASTERN STUDIES 1963
Things the Prophets Never Told You: Archaeology and 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 the Israelite cult.
SEM 101 MWF 02:30–03:20 p.m. Jeffrey R. Zorn 17575
NEAR EASTERN STUDIES 1969 Rebellious Words: Arab Women’s Writing
Women’s active involvement in the protests of the “Arab Spring” contrasted with popular Western assumptions about the role of women in Arab societies. This class aims to investigate forms of rebellion by Arab women. We will reflect on the notion of rebellion broadly defined: rebellion against family expectations, social pressures, artistic conventions, and repressive regimes. We will pay particular attention to writing as an act of rebellion. We will read essays, memoirs, and works of fiction written by women from around the Arab world. Students will be encouraged to tap into their own rebellious natures to question assumptions and think critically. We will practice drawing evidence from close readings of texts. This class will help students construct, refine, and support arguments in their writing.
SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Deborah Starr 17577
NATURAL RESOURCES 1200
Birds, Bats, Butterflies: The Art of Field Biology
For centuries, natural philosophers have sought to understand organisms in their natural environments. Writers, too, have sought meaning in the field. In this course, we will challenge the popular view that environmental science involves only the recitation of facts while writing involves only subjectivity. We will read historical and contemporary scientific articles, essays, short stories, and poems that deal with field biology, including work by Rebecca Solnit, Barry Lopez, and Michael Pollan. Assignments will include interviewing field biologists, writing a close description of a species, and translating a scientific paper for a public audience. Through reading and course assignments students will expand the possibilities of their own writing.
SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Laura Martin 17579 Clifford Kraft
Philosophy in Practice: Moral Minefields
This course will deal with some viciously contested moral issues: abortion, affirmative action, civil disobedience, and euthanasia, amongst others. Public debate on these topics is marked by mutual incomprehension and vilification. (“Baby-killers!” “Bigots!” Sound familiar?) You’ll try to do better. You’ll read philosophers on both sides of these debates, and try to get to the heart of the disagreement between them. You’ll develop the habit of reading a text closely, charitably, and critically, with an eye to extracting its argument and thesis. (How, for instance, does King justify civil disobedience in “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”?) You’ll also learn to write clear, persuasive, argumentative essays in which you defend a position with reasons. These skills will prepare you to contribute effectively to such debates.
SEM 101 MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Shruta Swarup 17581 Ted Sider
Philosophy in Practice: The Ethics of Euthanasia, Animal Rights, and Punishment
Is it ever acceptable to euthanize someone? Is it wrong that animals suffer so that people can routinely eat meat? Do criminals ever deserve punishment? More fundamentally, what does it mean to deserve? What is suffering? What is it about a person, if anything, that obligates us to treat them in certain ways? The purpose of this class is to cultivate your ability to analyze and formulate rationally persuasive arguments regarding these questions. Through constructive in-class discussions and a series of writing assignments, we'll gain some understanding of rather abstract concepts such as well-being, personhood, obligation, and deservingness. We will then use this understanding to grapple with three contemporary ethical issues: euthanasia, animal rights, and punishment.
SEM 102 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Austin Duggan 17582 Ted Sider
Philosophy in Practice: Global Ethics
Without a doubt, global poverty is one of the most pressing issues we face today. In this course, we will examine the moral issues regarding poverty from a global perspective. We will examine questions like the following: What, if anything, do those in rich countries owe to those in need globally? To what extent is global inequality a problem? Are those in developed countries unfairly taking advantage of those in the developing world? We will learn to critically evaluate the arguments made by a number of influential authors and we will examine the moral theories behind those arguments. Through writing a series of papers, you will learn to assess complex arguments and write clearly about difficult issues.
SEM 103 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Nathan Birch 17647 Ted Sider
Philosophical Problems: Early Modern Skepticism
Can we know that that there is a world outside of our minds? Do we have free will? Is there such a thing as cause and effect? Is knowledge possible? A skeptic doesn’t think so. Should we be skeptics too, or can we respond to their arguments? We will look at works from several early modern philosophers who adopted a skeptical approach to certain issues: René Descartes, Elisabeth of Bohemia, Baruch Spinoza, George Berkeley, and David Hume. In addition to learning how to persuasively and clearly formulate, evaluate, defend, and criticize arguments in writing, we will consider the role that style plays in philosophical prose.
SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Ian Hensley 17562 Ted Sider
Philosophical Problems: Human Beings—Morals and Metaphysics
Do we have free will, and what would that amount to anyway? Were you to use a Star Trek transporter, through which you de-materialize in one place and apparently re-materialize in another, would the second person really be you? This writing-intensive course will begin with thinking through metaphysical questions about human beings such as these. We will eventually transition into investigating moral questions, aided by our metaphysical musings. For example, how can we justify, if at all, particular ways of harming others (such as abortion)? Do human beings stand apart from the rest of nature, from a moral point of view? Through explaining and evaluating arguments of contemporary philosophers, and crafting philosophical positions of one’s own, students will develop skills in writing clearly and persuasively.
SEM 102 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Daniel Murphy 17563 Ted Sider
Philosophical Problems: Contemporary Moral Issues
Is abortion morally permissible? Can active euthanasia ever be morally preferable to passive euthanasia? Do animals have moral rights like human beings? Are affluent people morally obligated to help alleviate world hunger and poverty? We will consider these and related questions through readings mainly from contemporary philosophical discussion. We will use the readings as springboard for developing our own critical thinking abilities and analytical writing skills.
SEM 103 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Lu Teng 17564 Ted Sider
Philosophical Problems: Puzzles, Paradoxes, and Incredulous Stares
As a discipline, philosophy is famous for addressing problems that transcend and challenge our commonsensical view of the world. This course is an introduction to that tradition. Our aim is to carefully investigate some of the most intellectually stimulating (and outrageous) puzzles and arguments that philosophy has to offer. For instance, we'll consider questions such as: Am I rational? Can consciousness be scientifically explained? Does the existence of evil prove that God cannot exist? This course is designed to teach clear, cogent writing by first fostering the ability to think clearly about challenging and intriguing issues. To do this, we'll read a variety of largely contemporary sources. There will be several different types of writing assignments: e.g., formal papers, analyses, and reading responses.
SEM 105 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Stephen Mahaffey 17742 Ted Sider
Philosophical Conversations: Persons—Human, Divine, and Other
The notion of a person is important to us. It is commonplace to talk about our personal rights and responsibilities, about having personal time or personal space. The notion is central in legal theory and politics too (e.g., in debates over abortion, or corporate rights). But what is a person? What sort of things can be persons? And what does being a person mean for how one lives one’s life? We will draw mainly from philosophical sources in answering these questions—from Plato, Aquinas, and Hume, for example. But we will draw from other sources too: literary, legal, and psychological, as well as from popular culture. Through it all, we will work on writing in a style aimed at providing sound arguments for one’s views.
SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Nathan Bulthuis 17569 Ted Sider
Philosophical Conversations: Death, Dying, and Killing—The Philosophy of Death
Death concerns us all. But what is death? What is it for a living being in general, and a human being in particular, to die? Whatever death exactly is, most of us think that it is usually a bad thing—not just for the living ones left behind, but also for the person who dies. But is this attitude justified or, as argued by as great thinkers as Epicurus and Lucretius, wholly irrational? Death also raises some profound ethical questions. Is it ever permissible to kill a person for that person’s own sake? Is abortion permissible, and if so, when? Through writing assignments focused on argument analysis, this class will help students improve their critical skills and write about their own thoughts clearly and systematically.
SEM 102 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. David Kovacs 17570 Ted Sider
Philosophical Conversations: Hope, Optimism, and their Opposites
Hope and optimism are high-profile attitudes: politicians invoke them; religious and business leaders promote them; self-help authors champion them; artists explore and express them. The press is interested too: over the past few years, articles in the Washington Post, L.A. Times, Time, and The Atlantic have discussed the nature, sources, risks, and roles of hope and optimism (as well as their opposites—despair and pessimism). In this course, we will begin by looking at some of these popular discussions as well as the empirical work by psychologists and sociologists that they cite. We will then move on to consider some leading accounts of hope, optimism, and their opposites in Leibniz, Voltaire, Kant, Schopenhauer, Ernst Bloch, and some contemporary philosophers. Writing assignments will ask students to critically assess published arguments, as well as to construct arguments of their own.
SEM 103 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Andrew Chignell 17571
PERFORMING & MEDIA ARTS 1115 Riot Acts: Public Performance and Protest
What is the relationship between performance and protest? Just as the world of theatre has a rich legacy of politically inspired plays, social protest movements have historically turned to acts of public spectacle to amplify the voices of the people. This course will study films, plays, and documentation of some of the most compelling contemporary protest performances across the globe. From Brazil to Egypt, the United States, and Nigeria, students will sharpen their own voices as writers through an investigation of revolutionary speeches, demonstrations, and theories. In-class discussions and peer reviews will help students develop their critical and persuasive writing skills while drafting precise, coherent, and well-structured arguments.
SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Honey Crawford 17572 Nick Salvato
PERFORMING & MEDIA ARTS 1119
Horton Foote to Honey Boo Boo: The South in the US Imaginary
What is the South? What does it mean to be from or in the South? How does the southerner appear in U.S. popular culture, academic work, and in everyday interactions? This course will explore the South as it emerges in theatre, performance art, film, television, music, and journalism; and in the everyday performance of self. Students will analyze these and other examples of performance through the lenses of critical texts drawn from the fields of performance studies, theatre studies, gender and sexuality studies, and Black studies and critical race theory. With an emphasis on in-class discussion and peer editing, this class will foster and enhance each student’s ability to produce coherent, concise, persuasive prose in the form of critical arguments.
SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Erin Stoneking 17574 Nick Salvato
PERFORMING & MEDIA ARTS 1120
“You’ve Got Time”: An Introduction to Prison and its Representation
This course focuses on the American penitentiary and “hyper-incarceration,” with a particular emphasis on the writings, performances, and cultural representations of incarcerated people. We will begin by discussing “why we care” about mass incarceration and prison reform, move to close readings of prisoner artworks, and then analyze examples of the prison genre from film, television, and other media. At the same time, students will develop their critical, creative, and persuasive writing skills through peer and instructor review and a multi-draft essay process. From Jack Henry Abbott to Orange is the New Black, from Blood In, Blood Out to Rhodessa Jones and The Medea Project, this course engages with the most profoundly “othered” space in American history and the humans who fall victim to its logics.
SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Nick Fesette 17576 Nick Salvato
PERFORMING & MEDIA ARTS 1121 New Media Art and Technology
New media art lies at the intersection of contemporary art and new technologies. This course explores that exciting intersection through an examination of digital art, virtual reality, performance art, computer animation, information art, robotics, internet art, biotechnology, video games, and interactive art. Students will learn about the theory and practice of various forms of new media art to explore and examine the relationship between art and technology. The goal of the course is to introduce the student to an understanding of the convergence of aesthetics and new technologies and to use this understanding to strengthen critical, analytical, and creative writing and thinking skills.
SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Ozum Hatipoglu 17578 Nick Salvato
PERFORMING & MEDIA ARTS 1122
We Can Be Heroes: Superheroes and their Audiences
Superheroes are a big deal these days. In fact, they have been for a very long time. This course will take a long view of the superhero's presence in popular culture, from early comic culture and radio drama, to camp approaches like the 1960s' Batman television show and The Toxic Avenger, to gritty reboots and revisions like Watchmen and The Dark Knight, and finally to today's billion-dollar blockbusters. We will pay particular attention to the audiences of superhero culture, and the ways in which fans have been encouraged to participate in myth-making—or, have participated despite discouragement. We will also attempt to expand traditional definitions: can we see Harry
Potter and Katniss Everdeen as superheroes? Why or why not? With an emphasis on in-class discussion and peer editing, this course helps students develop the particular skills required to write about performance while fostering the ability to produce coherent, concise, persuasive prose in the form of critical arguments.
SEM 101 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Seth Soulstein 17580 Nick Salvato
PERFORMING & MEDIA ARTS 1123 The Rise of the Director
Since the late nineteenth century, directors have become increasingly essential for shaping not just the performance of plays, but also the interpretation of theatre. Directors now contribute important value to the legacy of plays: they are becoming the new theorists of theatre. In this course, we will explore the role of important directors such as Stanislavsky, Meyerhold, Brecht, and Artaud, who represent the canon of modern Western theatre. We will examine plays that focus on such diverse topics as gender (in)equality, political propaganda, ethics, and mental illness. With an emphasis on in-class discussion and peer editing, this course will help students develop writing skills while fostering the ability to produce concise, persuasive prose and rigorous argumentation
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Maayan Wayn 17583 Nick Salvato
Myths and Mechanisms in the Evolution of Brain and Behavior
Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution—including how our brain came to be. However, the histories of psychology, neuroscience, and animal behavior are littered with debates over conflicting hypotheses about “how” our brain evolved and “why” we behave the way we do. Many of these debates have long been resolved, but there are new questions still unanswered. After an introduction to evolution, we will discuss several topics in behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience, contrasting old debates in the field with modern ones. Topics include: brain development, gene-environment interactions, innateness, brain modularity, and mental disorders as brain disorders. We’ll learn how to analyze and write about evolutionary ideas, including what it means to formulate testable hypotheses and what counts as evidence.
SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Nicole Baran 17537 Elizabeth Regan
Scientific Writing in Learning and Memory
In the age of tweets and hashtags, the development of ideas is fast and collaborative. The demand for writing to be clear, concise, and well-reasoned is high, especially in the sciences. This course will help students gain skills in critically reading published research and constructing written pieces about research, including a paper critique, literature review, and peer-reviewed manuscript. The texts will be student-chosen articles in the psychology of learning and memory in peer-reviewed journals accessible online. All writing will be individual but done in a highly collaborative environment with peers and the instructor.
SEM 102 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Michelle (Tianyi) Tong 17628 Thom Cleland
ROMANCE STUDIES 1102
The Craft of Storytelling: Decameron
All of us tell stories for a variety of reasons—to entertain, to console, to teach, to persuade—to discover and explore both our inner lives and the world we inhabit. Stories are one of the prime ways in which we make sense of a world that is not always propitious. They serve as instruments by which we seek to shape our future. In this seminar, we shall consider how the craft of storytelling helps us face the task of living: the love and the happiness and the community we seek, the virtues we espouse, our talents and our vulnerabilities. Our principal reading (in English translation) will be a masterpiece of European literature, Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron (ca. 1349–51), which showcases one hundred stories told by ten young Florentines fleeing the Black Death of 1348. Students will write both analytic and personal essays.
SEM 101 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Antonio Di Fenza 17629 Marilyn Migiel
ROMANCE STUDIES 1112
The Divine Comedy: Ethics of the Afterlife.
This course proposes to explore Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy as an ethical document designed not merely to describe “the state of souls after death,” but as a means of instructing its readers about the way to behave in the world while they are yet alive. In constructing his panoramic journey through the Christian afterlife, Dante also creates a moral universe in which his readers find themselves implicated, by turns exhorted and condemned. Students will read the poem in translation, and will discuss its rhetoric in both analytic and personal essays. By dissecting the strategies Dante employs to shape our perceptions of his universe, students will be able to evaluate the surprising complexity of its ethical convictions.
SEM 101 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Joel Pastor 17551 Marilyn Migiel
SOCIETY FOR THE HUMANITIES 1110 Reporting from Hell
When you’re being bombed, hunted down or otherwise persecuted, can you objectively report on what’s happening? Is your on-the-spot report on hell superior to testimony you give years later? Is an eyewitness report superior to that of an historian? Is a filmed report superior to a written one? We will address these and related questions through analytic discussion and writing about the legendary Edward R. Murrow's radio broadcasts during the Blitz of London in World War II, written accounts by Jewish children trapped in the Holocaust, and a report smuggled out of a Soviet labor camp for women political prisoners. We will also examine documentary films, oral testimony of Holocaust and Soviet camp survivors, and (if time permits) Internet reports on some recent hells.
SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Sidney Orlov 17552
SOCIETY FOR THE HUMANITIES 1130 Propaganda
How does propaganda work? Does it necessarily involve lies? Is it compatible with humor? What is its curious relationship to religion? We will explore these and other questions in the context of World War II propaganda for domestic consumption in Soviet Russia, the United States, and Nazi Germany. Our wide-ranging course materials will include propaganda posters; speeches by Stalin;Life magazine advertisements; cartoons by Walt Disney and Dr. Seuss; 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. Our essays will be analytic.
SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Sidney Orlov 17559
Latin American Radicals
From Simón Bolivar to Che Guevara, Latin America certainly has seen its share of radicals. Worshipped by some and reviled by others, these are figures who individually or collectively revamped what politics, art, or literature could be about. Presenting us with a wide range of styles and formats, these radicals have a lot to teach us about the art of writing. We will study essays, letters, diaries, manifestos, poems, short stories, and novellas written by or about some of the most illustrious Latin American radicals, including Sor Juana and Emiliano Zapata, as well as collective actors such as the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Between emulation and critique, we will try in our own ways to step in and out of their shadow.
SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Bruno Bosteels 17560
SPANISH 1302 Objects of Culture
What is an object? How do we perceive, relate to, renounce objects? What makes something into a thing, what individualizes it, sets it apart, cultivates it? How do we circulate and exchange “stuff”? These questions about objects and the cultures around them will be addressed through a variety of perspectives, looking at relics, icons, souvenirs, tokens, collectibles, in diverse contexts and via different theoretical perspectives and methodologies. From cult to culture, from collection to aestheticization, and propose typologies of relations to things across a variety of disciplines and different periods of cultures.
SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Simone Pinet 17584
Narcissism to Necrophilia: Spanish Photography and the Body
We often derive pleasure from embodying the “selfies” captured on smartphones; we feel compelled to gaze at taboo or controversial images of corpses or mangled bodies displayed in news outlets. How do we construct meaning and make sense of a photograph? What is the role of the spectator: invited participant or voyeur? Readings will include essays from Ariella Azoulay, Roland Barthes, André Bazin, Walter Benjamin, John Berger, Susan Sontag, and others who write on photography. Considering these texts, students will conduct written analyses of images based on photographic and other visual genres from Spanish and United States culture including advertising, “selfies,” portraiture, post-mortem portraiture, pictorialism, documentary photography, and film.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Edward Curran 17585 Marilyn Migiel
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY STUDIES 1123 Technology and Society: Living in a Technological World
Our daily lives are determined as much by our smartphones and the Internet as they are by the clothes we wear and the infrastructures we use. But where do these technologies come from? How are technologies tailored to our needs and, inversely, how does our usage of technologies influence their design? How do technologies exert influence on both our daily lives and the policies that govern nations (and beyond)? This course will, in short, inform you on the interaction between culture and technology. By using a variety of theoretical and sometimes popular approaches to technology students will investigate how technologies emerge in particular socio-cultural contexts, as well as develop their ability to analyse a broad range of texts and write critically and clearly about them.
SEM 101 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Christopher Hesselbein 17587 Trevor Pinch
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY STUDIES 1126 Science and Society: Drugs and Politics
Drugs can have a dual character as a remedy or a poison. In this class, we will unpack the category “drug,” which is the constellation of distinct chemical substances in use across societies for medicinal, religious, and recreational purposes. By looking at both historical and contemporary cases, we will be treating “drugs” as social constructs of scientific and technological knowledge regulated by various political institutions. We will be reading texts on drug production and consumption in the US and elsewhere, focusing on distinctions between licit and illicit, safe and harmful uses of drugs made by scientific, legal, and political experts. Writing assignments such as newspaper reporting, advertisement copywriting, policy analysis, and research will explore how rhetoric shapes perceptions of drug use.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Mehmet Ekinci 17588 Stephen Hilgartner
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY STUDIES 1126 Science and Society: The Politics of Global Health
International funding for global health projects has rapidly expanded in recent years, and programs in this area now touch the lives of millions of people around the world. This course will examine the complex factors that shape who gets to make decisions in global health, the kinds of interventions deemed appropriate, and how those interventions affect the lives of the people they are intended to help. We will explore academic analyses from development studies and from science and technology studies, along with documentary films and literary fiction, as we prepare for our own critical analysis of global health projects and programs. Writing will be a key tool here: we will use short writing assignments to dig into passages from our readings, and build upon these through exploratory writing exercises and paper drafts in order to develop well-honed writing skills.
SEM 102 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Alexis Walker 17978 Stephen Hilgartner
An Introduction to Writing in the University
This writing seminar is designed for first- and second-year 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 individual students.
Do not request this course on a ballot. Instructor consent is required. Students who believe that they need intensive work on academic writing should first complete the ballot, and then attend the Knight Institute Writing Consultation. Call 255-6349 or visit 174 Rockefeller Hall.
Opening up New Worlds through Research and Rhetoric
Drawing upon personal or academic experiences and interests, students select their own topics and design research portfolios that highlight significant analytic research. To do this, you will step through the Cornell Library gateway and receive a semester-long guided tour through one of the world’s most amazing research libraries––its vast search engines, its abundant print and electronic collections, its precious special collections and archives. This introduction to college research explores using data bases, evaluating information, and engaging both to produce effective academic writing. Study techniques of analysis for converting scholarly information into thesis, synthesizing and acknowledging sources, developing voice and style, crafting technically and rhetorically sophisticated prose. Readings provide models of interdisciplinary scholarship highlighting researched-based writing in the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. This course is especially appropriate for students who feel they have only just begun developing their academic research and writing skills.
SEM 101 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Darlene Evans 17755
First-year students preferred. Those other than first-year students should contact instructor for permission.