MALS Course Descriptions
- The Theory and Practice of Globalization
Half course for one semester. This course is an introduction from an anthropological perspective to recent theories and debates about the nature of “globalization.” What is it, why has the term become so prevalent in recent social theory and popular discourse, and what competing worldviews and political economic visions does it encompass? Beginning with the influential “world systems theory” models in the 1970s, we move quickly to consider the criticisms and alternatives offered by a variety of social theorists since the late 1980s. We will consider some of the most pressing and conflicted issues facing humankind today such as: What is the nature of capitalism in a so-called “postcolonial” age? How are new forms of economic development and exploitation connecting different regions of the world? What are the roles of both national states and transnational organizations and associations in these changes? How are forms of ethnic and gender difference constructed through these processes? Conference. Offered fall 2006.
- Picasso's Cubism
Half course for one semester. This course will examine Cubism, thought by many to be the most important artistic formation of the 20th century. The specific focus will be the work of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso between 1907 and 1914. We will analyze and discuss Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon, the series of hermetic “analytical” paintings made by Braque and Picasso between 1909 and 1912, and their experimentation with collage from 1912 to 1914. The seminar will engage with formalist, semiotic, Marxist, and feminist interpretations of these pictures and, to a lesser extent, three-dimensional constructions. Several key questions of recent art historical research will be considered: To what extent did the aesthetically radical art of the Cubist avant-garde reinscribe conservative ideologies of gender and ethnicity? How do we describe the relationship between avant-garde art and modern mass culture? What are the social functions of the notions of originality and genius? Conference. Offered fall 2006.
Liberal Studies 512
- The Black Radical Tradition
Half course for one semester. Throughout the history of Black people as a colonized people in the West, there has been an ongoing debate about the proper relationship or stance the colonized should have toward the colonizer. The less radical position is the one that has received the most attention, both public and scholarly. This course will examine the work of three representative figures of the Black radical tradition in the twentieth century: W.E.B. DuBois (USA), C.L.R. James (Trinidad), and Richard Wright (USA). In particular, we will examine their relationship to Marxism as a means to the solution of the problem of the colonized. Conference. Offered spring 2007.
Liberal Studies 553
- Literary and Visual Culture in Eighteenth Century Britain
Half course for one semester. This course is designed to introduce students to the literary and visual cultures of eighteenth-century Britain and their interconnections. We will read prose by Defoe, Johnson Walpole, and Austen, drama by Gay, poetry by Pope, Swift, Gray, Goldsmith, Collier and Duck, and discussions of aesthetics by Burke and Reynolds. We also will look in some depth at the work of the artists Hogarth, Stubbs, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Kauffman and Wright of Derby, as well as at the role of patrons such as Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Through these readings and viewings the class will investigate topics including the growth of early tourism and its literature; the diverse meanings and representations of the rural landscape in poetry, painting and philosophy; the aesthetics of the sublime; and the development of a national English/ imperial British identity in the period. Conference.
Offered fall 2006.
Liberal Studies 583
- Engendering History: Historiography of Masculinity and Femininity
Full course for one semester. One of the most exciting changes in the way American history has been written over the past thirty years has been the recognition of the importance of past ideas and practices concerning gender. Beginning with the advent of women’s history in the 1970s, American historians have uncovered women’s work, probed prescriptions for “true womanhood,” and explored the negative gender traits that native-born whites assigned to African American and immigrant women. The study of middle-class white women revealed gaps in historians’ knowledge of their so-called sisters across class and color lines. And examination of constructions of womanhood and femininity has led in turn to explorations of men’s gender roles. The main goal of this course is to trace the evolution of this history of gender, using key theoretical essays and selected historical case studies. We will read texts on both nineteenth and twentieth century American history. Conference. Offered summer 2007.
Half course for one semester. Existential philosophy is perhaps the chief twentieth-century form of the romantic tradition in philosophy and its protest against the rationalization of modern life. It began in the nineteenth century, as does this course, with Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, followed by the chief figures of the last century, Heidegger and his follower, Sartre. Readings will be selections from among Kierkegaard's Either/Or, Fear and Trembling, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, and Sickness unto Death; Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy and Genealogy of Morals; Heidegger's Being and Time; and Sartre's Being and Nothingness, along with his novella Nausea and play No Exit. Conference. Offered spring 2007.
- Stereotyping and Prejudice
Half course for one semester. This course provides an analysis of theory and empirical research on stereotyping and prejudice. We will explore a number of themes: the development and causes of intergroup perceptions and antagonism; reasons for the persistence and prevalence of stereotypes and prejudice; ways in which feelings and beliefs about groups influence social perception and interaction; and possible ways to change group stereotypes or reduce prejudice. In examining these issues, we will consider both the ways that individuals perceive themselves as members of groups and the ways that they perceive other groups. This course aims to provide students not only with insights into basic scientific questions about how we categorize others and ourselves but also insights into questions with implications for their own perceptions, interactions, and relationships. Conference. Offered summer 2007.
- Hidden Divinity: in search of Christian mysticism
Half course for one semester. What is of the essence in the Christian mystical tradition? Circumambulating the question, this course will focus on the ways in which the writings of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite were interpreted in medieval Europe. Pseudo-Dionysius’ surviving body of work is the product of a fifth-century theologian whose influence on medieval understandings of the world were perhaps second only to that of St. Augustine. The expressions of those understandings were not limited to theological works but would play themselves out in many areas of medieval life. By looking to the ways in which the interpretations of a pseudonymous text came to dominate the ‘shared delusions’ of Christian Europe up to the fifteenth-century, students will have the opportunity to reflect on the interplay among texts, domains of knowledge (art, architecture, theology, optics, politics) and cultural monuments (the cathedral, the monastery, the school, the village church) in the period. Conference. Offered spring 2007.
- Degree Paper
Full course for one semester.
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