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Fall Sections

Please note that this information is subject to change. You should consult the online schedule of classes on Ask Banner for up-to-date information.

Africana Studies 109a Modern Arabic Literature

This course introduces students to modern and contemporary literature emanating from North Africa and the Middle East. The authors we read write in Arabic, French, and English. However, all the course readings are in English translation.

The themes we examine range from the seemingly unresolved tension between tradition and modernity in postcolonial MENA (Middle East and North Africa) societies to the role orientalism and islamophobia play in obstructing productive and much-needed East-West dialogues in today’s, some would call it, neocolonial and globalized world. We also zero in on the interplay between gender, religion, and politics in the MENA region as we discuss the condition of women and sexual minorities caught between the seemingly irreconcilable discourses of Islamic law and international human rights legal frameworks. In the last part of the course, we read two recent first-person narratives. The first depicts the ongoing crisis of illegal immigration from Africa and the MENA region into “Fortress Europe” and attending human cost. The second narrative is an intimate portrayal of the sectarian strife and human rights abuses promulgated in the prisons of the dictatorial regime in Syria.

Students taking this course gain an understanding of some of the salient social, political, and broadly cultural complexities of MENA societies. They also begin to appreciate the complex historical and geopolitical roots of widespread yet, sometimes, little examined propositions, like the incompatibility of Islam and Western modernity and democratic rule, and the need to liberate Muslim women from their cultures.

This course satisfies the college requirement for the First-Year Writing Seminar. As such, it is a writing-intensive course. Therefore, as we explore the themes and issues noted above orally in our class discussions; you also hone your skills in finding, using and citing evidence; building persuasive arguments; using language effectively; organizing sentences and paragraphs clearly; and developing your own prose style. Writing workshops are an integral part of the course, and you work on commenting on and revising both your own and other people’s drafts.

AFRS 109.01 TR 1:30–2:45pm Mootacem Mhiri

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Africana Studies 175a Race, Resistance, and Renaissance in South Africa

(Same as History 175a)

This course critically explores the history and politics of South Africa in the twentieth century through the prism of the life, politics, and experiences of one of its most iconic figures, Nelson Mandela. After almost three decades of incarceration for resisting Apartheid, Mandela became the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa in 1994. It was an inspirational moment in the global movement and the internal struggle to dismantle Apartheid and to transform South Africa into a democratic, non-racial, and just society. Using Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, as our point of departure, the course discusses some of the complex ideas, people, and developments that shaped South Africa and Mandela’s life in the twentieth century, including: indigenous culture, religion, and institutions; colonialism, race, and ethnicity; nationalism, mass resistance, and freedom; and human rights, social justice, and post-conflict reconstruction.

AFRS 175.01 MW 12:00–1:15pm Ismail Rashid

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Anthropology 170a Anthropology in the Anthropocene

The ‘Anthropocene’ is a widely used term to denote the present geological epoch when the Earth has been profoundly altered by human activity. Such human activity has intensified significantly since the onset of industrialization and has become a geological force by itself. This course explores the nature of this human activity through readings a from an anthropological angle. Anthropology is the discipline that has explored human “relatedness” in the greatest empirical and theoretical detail. How does that archive help us to grasp the depth of the “human” problem in relating to the world? What kind of alternate “futures” and “reconnections” can we imagine with the help of this knowledge? Students read a range of authors, genres and sources, including ethnographies, scientific reports, environmental/ activist scholarship, indigenous narratives, poetry, critical essays and philosophy. Topics and questions include: What are the modes in which industrial society brings about the devastating changes to the Earth System? How is that different from non-modern ways of being a human in the world? What does the history of race, colonialism, and conquest of other “humans” and that of “Nature” tell us about the phenomenon of the Anthropocene? How do we wrench ecology away from the domain of “experts” and start moving towards a democratic form of ecological life? Since this is a writing course, it focuses on nurturing the writer in each of us. Students “use” the crisis of the “Anthropocene” to develop a portfolio of “ecological” writings. The aim is to help each other develop one’s own style as a writer and intellectually prepare to explore contemporary lives under the sign of environmental devastation or “climate change.”

ANTH 170.01 TR 3:10-4:25pm Kaushik Ghosh

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Anthropology 170a Topics in Anthropology: Language Facts, Language Fictions

True or false: women talk too much and men refuse to listen; Italian is beautiful, while German is ugly; double negatives are illogical; television is ruining the English language; there are primitive languages that have no grammar; southerners speak more slowly than northerners; everybody has an accent except where I grew up; language is used primarily to communicate factual information about the world; Eskimos have 17 words for ‘snow’; men interrupt more than women; girls imitate how their mothers talk, while boys imitate how their fathers talk; everyone in Boston says, ‘cah’ instead of ‘car’; if you grow up speaking two languages, you’ll never speak either one perfectly. These statements represent the kinds of judgments we all tend to make about languages and everyday speech. Even as the course provides a solid grounding in linguistic analysis, it explores and explodes such judgments by asking students to assess critically their own ideas and ideologies about language.

ANTH 170.02 TR 10:30–11:45am Thomas Porcello

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Anthropology 170a Topics in Anthropology: Written In Bone: Using Skeletons to Understand the Ancient Past

Since the earliest days of archaeology, scholars, and the general public, have been fascinated by skeletons recovered from ancient sites. However, human remains are more than a physical bridge between the present and a romanticized past—they also encode valuable information about the identities and daily lives of past peoples. Bioarchaeology is the study of human skeletal remains from archaeological sites. This course will draw upon bioarchaeological case studies from multiple regions and time periods to explore the ways in which researchers use skeletal data to deepen our understanding of ancient lives, while also critically evaluating how such discoveries are portrayed in the popular media. In class discussions and written assignments, students will engage with debates about how past peoples treated their dead, conceived of personhood, experienced violence and disease, and organized their communities. Over the course of the seminar, students will learn how to formulate clear arguments, draw upon scientific evidence, and develop strategies for writing and revising research papers. Class time will also be devoted to developing key writing and research skills, such as structuring academic papers, identifying appropriate sources, and interpreting and responding to feedback. Overall, this course will introduce students to the ways in which bioarchaeologists collect evidence from human skeletons to better understand the lived experiences of past individuals and communities.

ANTH 170.03 MW 10:30-11:45 am Jess Beck

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Art 130a Art and Science in the Age of Leonardo and Galileo

Art and science were closely intertwined in early modern Europe (1400-1700). Famous figures such as Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo Galilei simultaneously created breathtaking artworks and life-altering inventions. In this first-year writing seminar, we explore relationships between art, science, and invention during the Renaissance. Focusing on Leonardo and Galileo, we study the sometimes-seamless, sometimes complex connections between visual expression and scientific experimentation. We also examine the “science of art,” or the materials and techniques of art-making, in order to track developments that permitted painters like Leonardo to produce innovate objects for visual consumption.

To enhance our experience and understanding in this class, we visit the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center and the Archives & Special Collection Library to examine Renaissance paintings and illuminated manuscripts at first hand. In addition, a trip to the Warthin Museum of Geology & Natural History provides the opportunity to consider the rare minerals and other ingredients artists used to make colors and scientists manipulated to make lenses.

ART 130.01 MW 1:30-2:45 am Christopher Platts

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Earth Science 109a Hot Topics in Earth Science and the Media

From fracking to mountaintop removal, BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill, invasive species and their impacts on native ecology, and global warming, geology and related ecologic processes have been major topics in the news lately. This course examines the science behind different natural processes and phenomena (e.g. How do coal beds from? What makes a particular stratigraphic level potentially valuable for hydraulic fracturing? What do we know about responding to oil spills? What does the paleontological record tell us about species invasions?) and also examines media portrayals of these hot-topic issues. Students gain a deeper understanding of the scientific community’s knowledge on these issues and develop the ability to assess whether or not media coverage is fair and accurate. We also discuss how science itself is portrayed in the media and the importance of accurate and accessible scientific communication.

ESCI 109.01 TR 9:00–10:15am John Fronimos

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Education 162a Education and Opportunity in the U.S.

In this course, students identify, explore, and question prevailing assumptions about education in the United States. The objectives of the course are for students to develop both a deeper understanding of the system’s historical, structural, and philosophical features and to look at schools with a critical eye. We examine issues of power and control at various levels of the education system. Participants are encouraged to connect class readings and discussions to personal schooling experiences to gain new insights into their own educational foundations. Among the questions that are highlighted are: How should schools be organized and operated? What information and values should be emphasized? Whose interests do schools serve? The course is open to both students interested in becoming certified to teach and those who are not yet certain about their future plans but are interested in educational issues.

EDUC 162.01 TR 10:30–11:45am Christopher Bjork

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English 101a Beneath the Apocalyptic Landscape

This course will explore characters caught in the dreamscape of violence and apocalyptic visions that is perhaps unique to American history and culture, from slavery to skinheads to school shootings. We’ll examine the concept – coined by rock critic Greil Marcus – of Old Weird America, a folkloric history that has spawned murder ballads, the music of Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, and a wide range of literary work, including poetry by Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams, Lucille Clifton, and Etheridge Knight; stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Joyce Carol Oates, Flannery O’Connor, Christine Schutt, and Denis Johnson. Longer works may include novels by William Faulkner, Gayle Jones, Robert Stone, William Vollmann, Hunter Thompson, and the graphic artist, Lynda Barry.

ENGL 101.01 TR 12:00–1:15pm David Means

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English 101a Disability and Identity

In this course we will use a multidisciplinary lens to examine the social, cultural, and institutional structures that shape the experiences of disabled people, and examine how societal understandings of disability produce inequalities in society. Throughout the course we will pay particular attention to the intersections of disability with other categories of identity including race, gender, class, and sexuality. We will also explore the work of disabled writers, artists and activists who have challenged stereotypes and stigma, reclaiming disability as a source of identity and pride. Texts will be drawn from a range of literary forms and media, including fiction, poetry, memoir, visual arts, and film.

ENGL 101.02 TR 3:10–4:25pm Leslie Dunn

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English 101a The Essay Form

The high-school essay trapped in the Darth Vader facemask called the topic sentence. And the immobile drapery of the five-paragraph costume armor. This is an exaggeration, of course, but to write in more imaginative ways let us examine the experiments in prose undertaken by essayists of the past hundred years or so: George Orwell writing about shooting an elephant, James Baldwin on his father’s death and race riots, Jorge Luis Borges on his “modest blindness,” Susan Sontag looking at photographs, Joan Didion bidding goodbye to New York, Adrienne Rich recalling the strands that make up her identity. Also, Geoff Dyer on sex and hotels, Lydia Davis on “Foucault and pencil,” David Shields on the lyric essay, Jenny Boully on the body, Eliot Weinberger on what he heard about Iraq, and David Foster Wallace on anything. We will write brief essays (one to two pages) for each class and two longer essays (about eight pages in length).

ENGL 101.03 MW 9:00–10:15am Amitava Kumar

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English 101a Deception: Some Truths About Lies

Narratives told by someone who can’t be trusted invite readers to explore the ambiguous border between truths and lies. An author’s perceptions may differ from those of the first-person narrator—the “I”—who tells the story, and that discrepancy opens up intriguing psychological space. “Good readers read the lines, better readers read the spaces,” the novelist John Barth has written. This section of English 101 will analyze both words and spaces—both what is said and what is unspoken or unspeakable. We’ll investigate a rogues’ gallery of unreliable narrators who bring varying degrees of mendacity, self-aggrandizement, and self-deception to the stories they tell. Then, from both literary and neuroscience perspectives, we’ll think about memory, the mind, and the brain. We’ll ask: Are memories always fallible? Are they ever-evolving stories we tell ourselves? Is remembering an act of creation rather than straightforward retrieval of the past? Are we all unreliable narrators? Authors may include Alison Bechdel, James Baldwin, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Lydia Davis, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Ralph Ellison, Kazuo Ishiguro, Jamaica Kincaid, Tim O’Brien, Michael Ondaatje, George Orwell, Oliver Sacks, George Saunders, Charles Simic, Zadie Smith, and Oscar Wilde.

ENGL 101.04 WF 1:30–2:45pm M Mark

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English 101a How Did Christianity Happen

In the years after Jesus’ execution, his followers, mostly in Asia Minor, the Middle East and North Africa, produced dozens if not hundreds of documents in an attempt to come to terms with the exhilarating strangeness of his teachings. These took the form of gospels, letters, visions and other tracts. Extending roughly from the time of Paul’s letters, circa 50-64 CE (the earliest extant Christian literature), through Athanasius’ promulgation, in 367 CE, of a group of twenty seven texts that would eventually become known as the New Testament, this course focuses on a tumultuous three centuries in which early Christians struggled to establish a set of orthodox beliefs against a bewildering and fecund array of counter-beliefs. In addition to a representative sample of the canonical gospels and Paul’s letters (both authentic and forged), the course explores a range of other texts that did not, in the end, merit inclusion in the New Testament (though some came close). Among these are The Didache, The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Mary, The Secret Book of John, The Proto-Gospel of James, The Apocalypse of Peter, The Shepherd of Hermas, and The Letter of Barnabas. Particular attention is paid to Ebionite (pro-Jewish) and Marcionite (anti-Jewish) Christianities, as well as the various strands of Gnosticism.

ENGL 101.05 MW 10:30–11:45am Paul Russell

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English 101a The Ends of Black Autobiography

Autobiographical writing has been and remains a preeminent mode of African American expression. It was one of the first intellectual gestures that the formerly enslaved made when they gained literacy. It has fed music practices like the blues and hip-hop. It also may have created the circumstances by which the US could elect its first black president. Over the last three centuries, blacks have used this mode to insinuate themselves into literary modernity and register the often unacknowledged dynamism of their emotional and intellectual lives. This course will explore the aesthetics of black autobiographical narrative – its codes, tropes, and investments – from its beginnings in the eighteenth century to its most present iterations. If black autobiographical writing involves not only telling a story about a black subject, but also proffering a certain version of black life to its reading audiences, it is important to ascertain the nature of the cultural work that these stories (seek to) accomplish. Among the artists featured in this Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, W.E.B. Dubois, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Gloria Naylor, Barack Obama, Jasmyn Ward, Chris Rock, Oprah Winfrey, and MK Asante.

ENGL 101.06 MW 10:30–11:45am Tyrone Simpson

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English 101a Jane Eyres

Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre tells the story of a heated romance between a “poor, obscure, plain” governess and a Byronic landowner with a Gothic past. Published pseudonymously in 1847, the novel was a literary sensation as well as a bestseller, even though Brontë’s rebellious heroine upended nineteenth-century notions of propriety and femininity. While popular in its day, Jane Eyre has also had a hypnotic hold on subsequent generations of writers, who have revised and re-imagined Brontë’s text in order to contest its representations of love, madness, colonialism, Englishness, feminism, and education. In this first-year seminar, we will explore Jane Eyre’s complicated relationship with its literary descendants and ask fundamental questions about literary influence, canon formation, narration, and women’s writing. In addition to Jane Eyre, readings may include Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, and Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions. We will also screen different film adaptations of Jane Eyre in addition to Hitchcock’s Rebecca.

ENGL 101.07 MWF 10:30–11:20am Susan Zlotnick

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English 101a Reading and Writing About Poetry

One of the most important lessons poetry teaches us is that language can do more than just explain things. Language can cast spells, perform ceremonies, make music; it can establish lines of communication with the dead, the divine and the nonhuman. Our work in this course is to tune into the many registers in which lyrical language can mean. To do so we will need to cultivate two different reading faculties: first, the intuitive skill of responding to poetic language, and feeling with it; and second, the critical skill of identifying and analyzing poetic devices and forms. Our goal is not to become perfect readers of poetry—after all, the best poems pull you in but also withhold, inviting you to pursue ambiguities and let their richness proliferate. We will push back against the tired idea that poetry is “inaccessible,” re-training ourselves to see all the ways in which obscurity can be productive.

This course satisfies the college requirement for the First-Year Writing Seminar, and is therefore reading- and writing-intensive. Over the course of the semester we will read and discuss a great deal of poetry in English (and some in translation), from the Early Modern period up until our current moment; we will contextualize a range of poetic forms within literary history, from the sonnet sequence to contemporary free verse poetics; we will memorize and recite poems for each other; and we will write thoughtfully and often.

ENGL 101.08 TR 3:10–4:25pm Katie Gemmill

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English 101a Monstrous Bodies

When the creature in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein first opens its “watery eyes,” his creator, Victor Frankenstein, immediately “rushe[s] out of the room,” terrified of the monster to whom he has just given life. Yet this so-called “wretch” becomes the most eloquent, sensitive, and considerate voice of the novel. What, then, makes something a “monster”? Is it in the nature of the being itself or in the way others perceive and respond to it? This central question will inform our encounters with madness, murder, and mayhem in literature and film. Students will write frequent analytical papers as we consider the ways monstrosity has been constructed, both as material creations and as textual and cognitive phenomena, exploring the elements of gender, race, and class that shape these physical and psychological dimensions. Texts may include Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Shelley’s Frankenstein, Poe’s “Murders in the Rue Morgue,” Rossetti’s “Goblin Market,” Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, James’s Turn of the Screw, Kafka’s “Metamorphosis,” Carter’s “Bloody Chamber,” Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, and Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

ENGL 101.09 MW12:00–1:15pm Talia Vestri

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English 101a Maladies and Medicines

What does it mean to characterize the experience of illness as being a body under attack by elves and shielded by language (as the early medieval English did)? What can we understand about literature if we understand humoral theory (one of the most long-lasting theories of health in the western world)? Why is smallpox an important topic of Lady Mary Wortley Montague’s eighteenth century poetry? In what ways are spiritual and physical health imagined as relating to one another in texts ranging from descriptions of the experiences of medieval religious women to Anne Brontë’s representations of debauchery? In this multidisciplinary, cross-temporal course, we will explore medical categories such as health (mental, physical, and spiritual), illness, healing, pain, and embodiment in both practical and literary texts, attending to the ways medicine appears in literature and literature in medicine. Engaging with critical theories such as medical humanities, disabilities studies, posthumanisms, and science studies, we will consider the ways in which medical ideas are dependent upon the cultures and languages from which they emerge. By the end of this course, you will be able to close-read both literary and pragmatic texts, attend closely to the history of representations of health and medicine (in terms of both language and culture), investigate the bases of textual categorization (such as literary v pragmatic), engage in academic research, and develop sophisticated literary and cultural analyses using primary and secondary sources.

ENGL 101.10 MW 9:00–10:15am Erin Sweany

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English 101a The Fiction of Faith

Some of the more controversial novels of the past century have depicted striking attitudes of religious belief. A faith in God (or the crucial lack of it) can trouble a novel’s protagonist, drive the plot, and reveal the broader cultural norms of its readership. This course will investigate the ways in which works of fiction are uniquely capable of exploring questions of faith—and how, in turn, religious standpoints can be encountered, and sometimes publicly challenged, by particular fictional treatments. Selected texts and their respective spiritual frameworks will include: Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Safak (Islam), The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Aranduhati Roy (Hinduism), Brighton Rock by Graham Greene (Catholicism), Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (Protestantism), Only Yesterday by S.Y. Agnon (Judaism), The Temple of the Wild Geese by Tsutomo Mizukami (Buddhism), Native Son by Richard Wright (Existentialism), and Quarantine by Jim Crace (Atheism).

ENGL 101.11 TR 3:10–4:25pm Rob Smith

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Environmental Studies 177a A Prehistoric Perspective on Climate Change

This course situates current climate change in the context of that which shaped the human species, from evolutionary and social perspectives. The course opens by reviewing how the Earth’s climate has changed over the past century, and the ecological consequences of this. We then review the history of climate change since our species’ origin, and how such instances have impacted the environments in which we evolved. We transition from this evolutionary perspective to a social one, asking, ‘at what point did human intelligence and technology mitigate the evolutionary consequences of climate change? At what points was climate change more than civilizations could handle?’ The latter half of the class examine archaeological and historical evidence of how human societies have handled environmental hardships resulting from climate change. We end by examining the parallels between past and present and asking what environmental, ecological, and biological consequences might await our still short-lived species in the present climatic conundrum.

ENST 177.01 TR 3:10–4:25pm Zachary Cofran

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French and Francophone Studies 180a Paris in the 1920s

The 1920s in Paris have been dubbed “Les Années Folles” or the “Crazy Years.” A postwar beacon for artistic talent where ingenuity and imagination shone with unparalleled brilliance, Paris was an intellectual destination and a refuge, a place for experimentation in lost causes and new beginnings. What made the 1920s so memorable and creative a time for the many young idealists and iconoclasts who lived together in Paris, intent on reinventing themselves and the world around them? In the writing seminar we explore major cultural and literary facets of the decade, from cabarets to cafés, and from surrealist poetry to the modernist novel, sifting fact from fiction, politics from poetry, glitter from grit, and trauma from nostalgia. Works read in whole or in part are selected from such authors as Djuna Barnes, Sylvia Beach, Gwendolyn Bennett, André Breton, Jean Cocteau, Paul Eluard, Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, James Joyce, George Orwell, Jean Rhys, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, and Tristan Tzara. English works are read in the original, other works in English translation.

FFS 180.01 TR 3:10–4:25pm Mark Andrews

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German Studies 101a Sex Before, During, and After the Nazis

This course offers an introduction to Germany’s unique position in the history of sexuality. As early as the late nineteenth century, Germany and Austria were a hotbed for new thinking about sexuality and sexual freedom, including the foundation of psychoanalysis and the world’s first homosexual emancipation movement. National Socialism, however, forever changed the way that Germans and non-Germans viewed every aspect of Germany’s history and culture, including its sexual politics. This course examines some of Germany’s most salient debates about sex from the late nineteenth century to the Nazi era and beyond, including the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. Materials include autobiographies, fictional works, plays, films, political tracts, and sexual case studies, as well as secondary texts representing a variety of disciplinary approaches.

GERM 101.01 TR 9:00–10:15am Eric Trump

GERM 101.02 MWF 9:00–10:15am Jeffrey Schneider

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History 117a High Middle Ages, 950-1300

(Same as Medieval and Renaissance Studies 117a)

This course examines medieval Europe at both its cultural and political height. Topics of study include: the first universities; government from feudal lordships to national monarchies; courtly and popular culture; manorial life and town life; the rise of papal monarchy; new religious orders and spirituality among the laity. Relations with religious outsiders are explored in topics on European Jewry, heretics, and the Crusades.

HIST 117.01 MW 10:30–11:45am Nancy Bisaha
(Note: HIST 117.02 is not a First-year writing seminar))

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History 125a Infamy on Trial: Famous Trials in Early Modern Europe

This course examines several of the most famous trials of Europe’s early modern period (1500-1700). Each trial allows us to explore how communities and individuals responded to the changing nature of European society during this period of upheaval. Through cases involving all sorts of people—men and women, peasants and kings, we have access to conflicting understandings of authority, family, religion, and gender. The trial of Galileo challenged contemporary understandings of what it meant to be a Christian while the execution of King Charles I raised questions about kingship. By studying criminal cases, we engage with a rich selection of primary sources, such as trial records, contemporary accounts, and private papers. Through these readings, the class investigates how early modern people interpreted crime and justice during moments of crisis.

HIST 125.01 MW 9:00–10:15am Sumita Choudhury

(Note: HIST 125.02 is not a First-year Writing Seminar.)

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History 160a Rediscovering U.S. History

This is not your parents’—or your high school teacher’s— American history course. No textbook: instead we read memoirs, novels, newspaper articles, letters, speeches, photographs, and films composed by a colorful, diverse cast of characters—famous and forgotten, slaves and masters, workers and bosses. No survey: instead we pause to look at several illuminating “moments” from the colonial era through the Civil War to civil rights and the Cold War. Traveling from the Great Awakening to the “awakening” that was the 1960s, from an anti-colonial rebellion that Americans won (1776) to another that they lost (Vietnam), the course challenges assumptions about America’s past—and perhaps also a few about America’s present and future.

HIST 160.01 TR 9:00–10:15am James Merrell

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History 175a Race, Resistance, and Renaissance in South Africa

(Same as Africana Studies 175a)

This course critically explores the history and politics of South Africa in the twentieth century through the prism of the life, politics, and experiences of one of its most iconic figures, Nelson Mandela. After almost three decades of incarceration for resisting Apartheid, Mandela became the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa in 1994. It was an inspirational moment in the global movement and the internal struggle to dismantle Apartheid and to transform South Africa into a democratic, non-racial, and just society. Using Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, as our point of departure, the course discusses some of the complex ideas, people, and developments that shaped South Africa and Mandela’s life in the twentieth century, including: indigenous culture, religion, and institutions; colonialism, race, and ethnicity; nationalism, mass resistance, and freedom; and human rights, social justice, and post-conflict reconstruction.

HIST 175.01 MW 12:00–1:15pm Ismail Rashid

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History 179a Climate Change and International Security

Climate change presents a serious threat to the security of states and peoples around the globe. This First-Year Writing Seminar explores the global response to potential consequences of climate change—natural and humanitarian disaster, political violence, undermining weak governments—from its origins in the nineteenth century to today’s climate security agreements.

HIST 179.01 MW 1:30–2:45pm Robert Brigham

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International Studies 183a A Lexicon of Forced Migration

Every minute, 20 people are forced to leave their homes due to conflict or persecution, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Given the unresolved (and interrelated) challenges of climate change, global inequality, technological innovation, and war, forced migration will continue to increase. This course will help us prepare for the implications of these challenges, which will dominate global politics and domestic discussion for years to come. This process demands that we interrogate our terms, conscious of how much is at stake in excavating the underground meanings of the words we use to describe political realities. Global in scope and interdisciplinary in methodology, the course will be focused around the four thematic anchors of time, space, and movement; home, belonging and hospitality; discourse, representation, and memory; and law, ethics, and policy. Students should be ready to work collaboratively and creatively on a digital Lexicon of Forced Migration.

INTL 183.01 TR 10:30–11:45am TBA

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Latin American and Latino/a Studies 106a Dynamic Women

How do issues of inequality, social justice, representation, popular culture, migration, environmental justice and globalization look when women’s voices and gender analysis are at the center? This multidisciplinary course examines writing by and about women in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latino/a USA. We read and write about a range of genres—from testimonio, film and fiction to social science. The goal is to develop an appreciation and understanding of the varied lives and struggles of Latinas and Caribbean women, the transnational politics of gender, key moments in the history of the hemisphere, and contemporary issues across the Americas.

LALS 106.01 TR 10:30–11:45am Light Carruyo

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Media Studies 184a Star Wars: Resistance, Rebellion, and Death

According to Fred Botting, author of Gothic, “Postmodernism, emerging as a global aesthetic style at the end of the 1970s and associated with the wider transformations of modernity, seemed particularly hospitable to the resuscitation of gothic forms and figures.” The theatrical release of Star Wars in 1977 marked one such occasion. The film’s revolutionary blend of science fiction and fantasy is built upon a foundation of gothic tropes and devices from the dysfunctional families and Mephistophelean tempters of the 18th century to the Inquisition prisons and revolutionary anxieties of the 19th century. How might our contemporary understanding of the Star Wars canon develop if we view it through this critical lens that highlights psychological violence, transgression, and excess as a way of unbalancing the hierarchies of good and evil, free will and predestination, tyranny and liberty?

Together we will examine the gothic elements of Star Wars across representational media (including films, storyboards, comics, propaganda posters, short stories, and toys) in order to better understand the ways in which Star Wars engages with the experience of (neo)Imperialism. The Skywalker saga projects a particularly gothic sense of loss and dislocation (of history, culture, identity, and autonomy) by displaying the terrors and traumas of colonization: subjugation, banishment, enforced assimilation, slavery, and genocide. As a paragon of political resistance to the patterns of retributive violence, Star Wars invites us to consider gothic fiction as a crucible for self-knowledge and deliberate action. Matthew Schultz.

Open only to first-year students; satisfies the college requirement for a First-Year Writing Seminar

MEDS 184.01 TR 10:30–11:45am Matthew Schultz

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Medieval and Renaissance Studies 117a High Middle Ages, 950-1300

(Same as History 117a)

This course examines medieval Europe at both its cultural and political height. Topics of study include: the first universities; government from feudal lordships to national monarchies; courtly and popular culture; manorial life and town life; the rise of papal monarchy; new religious orders and spirituality among the laity. Relations with religious outsiders are explored in topics on European Jewry, heretics, and the Crusades.

MRST 117.01 MW 10:30–11:45am Nancy Bisaha

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Philosophy 104a Tragedy and Philosophy: Ancient and Modern Perspectives

Since Greek antiquity, philosophers have puzzled over the meaning, value, and purpose of tragedy. This course traces their conversation from ancient Athens (Plato and Aristotle) to German Romanticism (Hegel and Nietzsche) to the present (Stanley Cavell and Martha Nussbaum). Along the way we read or watch several tragedies that have inspired the philosophical imagination, such as works by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Shakespeare, Richard Wagner, and Edward Albee. Students learn to write carefully argued analyses of challenging texts, and to reflect on broader issues of literary interpretation, canonization and genre, and the ethical significance of art. On September 29th the class will attend a performance of Sophocles’ Antigone at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City.

PHIL 104.01 TR 1:30–2:45pm Christopher Raymond

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Philosophy 106a Critique on the Border

(Same as URBS 106a)

Critique is a fundamental philosophical activity. This course focuses on critique as a practice related to the border via specific readings. Thus, the course simultaneously focuses on various instances of critique, or critical readings, as well as how the border plays a factor in such readings. Critique, defined by Kant, as the determination of limits and boundaries, requires a certain freedom of movement (even if just a freedom of thought to enjoy speculative flights of fancy). The person engaging in critique, then, is able to move and maneuver within and between various areas, disciplines, and regimes. At the same time, however, this person is able to determine who or what belongs in certain areas or disciplines. Here, the person engaged in critique becomes a border agent. The course thus assesses how one simultaneously evaluates certain philosophical, ethical, and political circumstances, while also situating individuals and groups within their areas. Borders examined include: the (in)violability of the body, the sanctity of the holy, the familiarity of home, and national boundaries, more generally.

PHIL 106.01 TR 3:10–4:25pm Osman Nemli

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Psychological Science 108a Growing Up Poor In America

Poverty can have profound effects on the psychological development of children. In this course, we will explore scientific and anecdotal accounts of those effects. Specific topics we will explore include stress, relationships, racism and resilience. Readings will include articles on the science of child development, including brain development, as well as memoirs and accounts of children’s experiences. Writing focuses on reporting scientific findings and on relating that science to everyday life.

PSYC 108.01 TR 9:00–10:15am Nicholas de Leeuw

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Religion 184a Seeing God in Art

Religious traditions and philosophies across world history have faced the question of how to represent or picture the sacred. This means addressing whether divinity or holiness can be visible at all, or whether truth must keep out of sight, accessible only through language or inner experience. For this course, we read broadly across sources from classical philosophy, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism in order to compare the different justifications for or prohibitions against making divinity visible or tactile. Doing so prepares us to consider the power of images in contemporary mass media and question the relationship between beauty and deception.

RELI 184.01 MW 10:30–11:45am Klaus Yoder

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Russian Studies 171a Russia and the Short Story (in English)

In this course we read and discuss a number of classic short stories by such Russian masters of the genre as Gogol, Turgenev, Chekhov, Babel, and Olesha.


RUSS 171.01 TR 12:00–1:15pm Charles Arndt III

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Sociology 180a The House is on Fire!: Climate Change, Society and Environment

This course focuses on the challenges of global climate change in the 21st century. Our central aim is to examine the foundations of the discourse on society and environment in order to explore two questions: how do social thinkers approach the construction of the future, and how has this construction informed the present debates on societal challenges and the environment in the age of climate change? Thus, we examine how social thought informs different articulations of policy, the limits of praxis, and its contemporary construction of alternative futures. Our focus is on the policy making process as influenced by the commodities, production and consumption, and risks related to climate change.

SOCI 180.01 MW 9:00–10:15am Pinar Batur

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