History

The history curriculum covers the globe. Most courses focus on particular regions or nations, but offerings also include courses that transcend geographical boundaries to examine subjects such as African diasporas, Islamic radicalism, or European influences on US intellectual history. Some courses are surveys—of colonial Latin America, for example, or Europe since World War II. Others zero in on more specific topics, such as medieval Christianity, the Cuban revolution, urban poverty and public policy in the United States, or feminist movements and theories. While history seminars center on reading and discussion, many also train students in aspects of the historian’s craft, including archival research, historiographic analysis, and oral history.

2017-2018 Courses

History

First-Year Studies: Inventing America: Cultural Encounters and American Identity, 1607–1877

Open , FYS—Year

“The past is a foreign country,” T.H. Hartley once declared, and perhaps the past of one’s own country is doubly so. The present, after all, always seems inevitable. Surely the United States of 2017 is but the flowering of the seeds planted so many centuries ago. This course seeks to challenge this assertion, as we consider not only how Americans in the period from 1607 to 1877 differed from us but also how much they differed from one another. How did the early and diverse European colonists themselves deal with unfamiliar cultures at a time when the very concept of newness was alien to them? We must not forget that Columbus believed that he had simply discovered a new route to India. As different as they were from each other, neither the Native Americans who lived in North America, nor the Europeans who colonized that region, nor the Africans whom the colonists imported as slaves had any intention of establishing a new nation. Consequently, in examining American history from the early 17th century to the Civil War, the question should not be why the US divided during the Civil War but, rather, why Americans were able to unify as a nation at all. In our consideration of this question, we will focus on two interrelated themes: how these different cultures interacted with and affected one another and how Americans defined their identity. Who was considered American, and what did it mean to be an American? What was the relationship between American identity and other forms of social identity, such as gender, class, race, and culture? We will address these questions by examining major political, social, cultural, and intellectual developments in American history from the colonial period to the Civil War and Reconstruction. Specific topics to be studied will include the European colonization of North America, relations between European settlers and Native Americans, the relationship between the colonies and Britain, the causes and effects of the American Revolution, the shift to a capitalist economy and the advent of the Industrial Revolution, the character and development of slavery, and the causes and consequences of the Civil War. We will use both primary and secondary sources, but the course will place particular emphasis on primary documents as part of an effort to view history from the perspectives of historical actors themselves.

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First-Year Studies: In the Tradition: An Introduction to African American History

Open , FYS—Year

African American history is an important window into the history of the United States and the rise of the modern world. This course explores classic narratives and examines major developments. The classic narratives are stories of self-emancipation and self-determination. The major developments range from the Atlantic Slave Trade to the Black Renaissance. On the one hand, students examine the dynamics of modern racism; on the other hand, students explore the contours of African American social, cultural, and intellectual history.

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First-Year Studies: The Urban Century: How Cities Shaped and Were Shaped by Modern European History

Open , FYS—Year

In the middle of the 20th century, only 16 percent of Europeans lived in cities. On the eve of World War I, this number had roughly doubled. In Western Europe, already half of the population was urban. Though many of these cities were small, with fewer than 20,000 inhabitants, the European metropoles grew, too. By 1920 in Germany, for example, 21 percent lived in cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, up from only five percent in 1871. Berlin, Paris, London, St Petersburg, and Vienna all had several million citizens. This urbanization shaped, and was shaped by, European history. Industrialization and advances in agriculture, sanitation, and transportation played a vital role in this process. Wars and Europe’s changing borders also shaped the cities’ fate. Much of what we today think of as modern originated in cities. Cities often set political and cultural trends. The “Roaring Twenties” and the student movements of 1968 were fundamentally urban phenomena. Yet precisely for this reason, cities also inspired vitriol and opposition—from nationalist back-to-nature advocates afraid of the negative consequences of their “cosmopolitan nature” to health-care professionals worried by the detrimental effects of the cities on their inhabitants’ health. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s chief propagandist, railed against “Jewish Berlin.” To this day, conservative French politicians extol “la France profonde,” the true France found in its provincial towns rather than in Paris, Lyon, or Marseille. Through the lens of the city, this course investigates major developments in modern European history, from the birth of mass politics and the effects of the World War I and World War II to the emergence of modernist art and environmentalism. Students will be introduced not only to European history but also to the historian’s craft. They will work with a variety of primary sources: from government documents to literature, from movies to propaganda speeches, from city maps to diary entries. In addition, they will learn to read secondary sources and analyze historiographical arguments.

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The Making of Black America

Open , Lecture—Year

The rise of black America transformed American society, economy, and polity, as well as religion and culture. Most school books, however, erase an epic that W.E.B. DuBois called, "the most magnificent drama in the last thousand years of human history." This lecture is an introduction to that hidden drama, including stories of tragedy and triumph. Discover: how the grassroots organized the Underground Railroad during bondage; the Union Leagues during Reconstruction; black populism during racial peonage; the Niagara Movement during white terror; the anti-lynching crusade during mob violence; the Universal Negro Improvement Association during the Red Summer of 1919; the Chicago Black Renaissance during the Great Depression; and the Negro Baseball Leagues during the age of Jim Crow.

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Becoming Modern: Europe from 1760 to 1914

Open , Lecture—Year

What are the distinctive features of our “modern” civilization? A partial list would include representative democracy, political parties, nationalism, religious pluralism and secularization, mass production, rapid technological change, consumerism, free markets, a global economy, and unceasing artistic experimentation. All these characteristically modern things became established in the 19th century, and most of them were pioneered by Europeans. Yet in Europe, with its ancient institutions and deeply rooted traditions, this new form of civilization encountered greater resistance than it did in that other center of innovation, the United States. The resulting tensions between old and new in Europe set the stage for the devastating world wars and revolutions of the 20th century. In this course, we will examine various aspects of the epochal transformation in ways of making, thinking, and living that occurred in Europe during what historians call the “long 19th century” (1789–1914). We will also survey the political history of the period and consider how the development of modern civilization in Europe was shaped by the resistance it encountered from the defenders of older ways. Group conference readings will include novels, plays, political programs, philosophical and scientific writing, and recent studies on the history of 19th-century art.

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International Law

Open , Lecture—Fall

In a global landscape pocked by genocide, wars of choice, piracy, and international terrorism, what good is international law? Can it mean anything without a global police force and a universal judiciary? Is “might makes right” the only law that works? Or is it true that “most states comply with most of their obligations most of the time”? These essential questions frame the contemporary practice of law across borders. This lecture provides an overview of international law—its doctrine, theory, and practice. It addresses a wide range of issues, including the bases and norms of international law, the law of war, human-rights claims, domestic implementation of international norms, treaty interpretation, and state formation/succession.

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Human Rights

Open , Lecture—Spring

History is replete with rabid pogroms, merciless religious wars, tragic show trials, and even genocide. For as long as people have congregated, they have defined themselves, in part, as against an other—and have persecuted that other. But history has also yielded systems of constraints. So how can we hope to achieve a meaningful understanding of the human experience without examining both the wrongs and the rights? Should the human story be left to so-called realists, who claim that power wins out over ideals every time? Or is there a logic of mutual respect that offers better solutions? This lecture examines the history of international human rights. It focuses on the claims that individuals and groups make against states in which they live.

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The Political and Cultural Work of Women Writers in the United States, 1790-1990

Open , Seminar—Year

"This is what I want you to do,” novelist Rebecca Harding Davis wrote in 1861. “I want you to hide your disgust, take no heed to your clean clothes, and come right down with me—here, into the thickest of the fog and mud and foul effluvia. I want you to hear this story. There is a secret down here, in this nightmare fog, that has laid dumb for centuries: I want to make it a real thing to you." Using the literary and expository writing of US women, we will explore American stories and secrets, what these writers are working to make “a real thing to you.” Readings will include autobiography, novels, stories, and cultural criticism. Rather than just following canonical literary or intellectual history, we will investigate less well-known and popular fictions alongside classics. Major themes will include questions of politics, race, class, and regional conflict; womanhood, manhood, and sexuality; American identity and nationalism; and immigration. Course work will focus on literary and print culture, but students may explore other media in conference. Particular emphasis will be placed on careful research of the historical context when analyzing primary documents from the period. A working knowledge of the political history of the time is necessary; students who need refreshing will be expected to consult a textbook regularly.

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The Emergence of the Modern Middle East

Open , Seminar—Year

This course provides a broad introduction to the political, social, cultural, and intellectual history of the Middle East from the late 18th century to the present. After a brief conceptual overview, the course draws upon a wide array of primary and secondary sources to illuminate the manifold transformations and processes that have contributed over time to shaping what has meant to be “modern” in this remarkably diverse and dynamic region. Particular attention will be paid to the following themes: the question of modernization and reform within the Ottoman and Qajar empires; the experience of different forms of European imperialism in the Middle East; the integration of the Middle East into the world economy; World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire; state-building in both colonial and post-colonial contexts; transformations in religious thought; changing family norms and gender roles and the genesis of Middle Eastern women’s movements; nationalism; class politics, social movements, and revolution; Zionism and the Israel-Palestine conflict; post-WWII geopolitics and the Cold War in the Middle East; Nasserism and pan-Arabism; the role of US power in the Middle East; the origins and spread of political Islam; the political economy of oil; globalization and neoliberalism; and the impact of various new cultural forms and media on the formation of identities across the region.

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Latin America’s Cold War

Open , Seminar—Fall

The Cold War was a global struggle that was waged with particular intensity and with violent consequences for the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America. The Cuban revolution and missile crisis brought Latin America’s Cold War and its potentially catastrophic consequences to the attention of the world. Though nuclear war was avoided, the second half of the 20th century was full of violent political struggle, revolution, and counter-revolution fueled by the ideologies and strategic interests of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union. Though Cuba marked an important episode in the heating up of superpower conflicts in the region, the Cold War had much deeper roots and consequences for the region. This course seeks to understand the Cold War and what it meant for Latin American societies and inter-American relations. It explores to what extent the Cold War is a useful concept to help understand Latin American politics and people and their relationship to the outside world in the 20th century. The course is divided into two distinct sections. The first section deals with the Cold War and ideas of empire or hegemony. It focuses on case studies of outside interventions and influences on Latin America, centered on Cold War ideology and geostrategy. It also builds on more recent scholarship that seeks to de-center or reconceptualize the Cold War in our understanding of the history of the region. The second section explores revolutions, coups, and political struggles from a Latin American perspective, while also considering alternative frameworks for understanding the historical experience of Latin America and its governments, citizens, and institutions. The course will examine the Cold War legacies still being played out in regional politics and movements for truth and reconciliation, while also examining the extent to which the Cold War left its imprint on the rise of neoliberal institutions and ideologies of development, the creation and impact of a discourse of human rights, and increased cross-border flows of people and goods, both licit and illicit.

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The American Revolution: From British to American Nationalism

Open , Seminar—Fall

Some background in history is helpful but not required.

It may be comforting to know that historians agree that an American Revolution did, indeed, occur. Less comforting but more intriguing may be the realization that historians do not agree on when it commenced and when it ended, much less on the full meaning of what exactly took place beyond the mere facts of the Revolution. Certainly, the question was profound enough to move John Adams to ask, “What do we mean by the Revolution?” The course will look at the many different answers that revolutionary Americans gave to Adams’s question by examining the political, intellectual, social, and cultural dimensions of this event. Was the Revolution simply a struggle for political independence, or was it also a social conflict over who would “rule at home”? Was the American Revolution a transformation in the “hearts and minds” of the people, as Adams believed, or was the War of Independence integral to the meaning and character of the Revolution? Did the Revolution end with the close of the war, or was the war “but the first act of the great drama,” to use Benjamin Rush’s words? What was the relationship between the Constitution and the Revolution? Was the Constitution a conservative reaction to the radicalism of the Revolution, or did the Constitution extend and solidify what the Revolution had achieved? While the emphasis of the course will be on what the Revolution meant for those who participated in it, we also look more broadly at the long-term legacy and memory of the Revolution. Through this examination, the course ultimately seeks to address the question: What was the basis for and nature of American national identity?

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The Russian Revolution

Open , Seminar—Fall

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the two Russian revolutions of 1917: the February Revolution that overthrew the tsar and the October Revolution, nine months later, that put the Communist Party of Vladimir Lenin in control of the world’s largest country. Arguably, the seizure of power by Lenin’s party was the decisive political event of the 20th century. If that hadn’t occurred, there would probably have been no turn toward fascism in Europe, no Hitler, and no World War II. A large part of the world’s population would not have found itself, after 1945, under the rule of Marxist dictatorships. Students in the course will read and discuss a variety of texts that discuss the causes of the 1917 revolutions, the nature of the regime that Lenin and his followers instituted following their conquest of power, and the global repercussions of their success in establishing what they claimed to be the world’s first “Workers’ State.” The course will therefore serve not only as an introduction to the history of modern Russia but also to the history of world communism and anti-communism in the four decades after 1917. Students may choose to pursue conference research devoted to events in Russia but also will be encouraged to develop projects dealing with the reverberations of the Russian Revolution in other parts of the globe.

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Latin American Revolutions: 1910-2017

Open , Seminar—Spring

During the 20th century, revolutions brought ambitious and often wrenching changes to Latin American societies. Economic upheaval, political polarization, and competing visions of freedom and justice shaped the struggles to transform these societies and reactions against the forces of revolution. The course will examine revolutionary projects in three key locations: Central America, the Andes, and Mexico. What conditions caused revolution in these places? What explains their successes and failures? How have historians’ understanding of their legacy changed over time? These polarizing political projects and visions of a just and prosperous society and of race and gender relations continue to shape Latin America and are still contested to this day. From the protests of Chilean students and Venezuelan workers to indigenous Bolivian communities and the Cuban political elite, Latin Americans continue to grapple with the legacy of revolutionary movements and histories that continue to inspire, threaten, and provoke devotion and resistance to their notions of justice, distribution of resources, and the exercise of power. The course will look at personal and historical narratives, film, music, and political treatises to examine efforts to bring revolutionary change to Latin America.

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War in the American Imagination

Open , Seminar—Spring

Some background in history helpful but not required.

Americans often like to think of the United States as a nation founded on ideals, but the United States also was, as one historian has put it, a nation "founded in blood." Valley Forge was once our Statue of Liberty. After all, the American Revolution was not just a struggle for the ideals of liberty and equality that Jefferson so eloquently expounded in the Declaration of Independence; it was also a war of independence from Britain, an international conflict that included France and Spain and, let us not forget, a bitter and cruel civil war amongst Americans themselves. In effect, we were birthed as a nation divided. How did this legacy of bloodshed shape American identity? To what extent did Americans sacralize bloodshed and thus conflate it with idealism? We remember the Alamo, but can anyone recall the basis of our claim to that territory? Are we not here going further and actually equating bloodshed with idealism? To what extent did Americans see their later wars as an extension of the Revolutionary War? Was the Civil War a second American Revolution, or was the American Revolution the nation's first civil war? The course will examine these questions by looking at how Americans perceived and remembered the wars in which they fought from the Revolution to World War II. Among the other wars to be considered are the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, and World War I. In effect, the course offers an exploration of how we may "see things not as they are but as we are."

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Spiritual Autobiography

Open , Seminar—Spring

Around 398, Christian bishop and theologian Augustine of Hippo produced one of the most influential books of all time: his Confessions—a lengthy meditation on events during the first 33 years of Augustine’s life, undertaken in an effort to comprehend how God acted through those events to transform an ambitious but confused young Roman, attracted by the exotic Asian cult of the Persian prophet Mani, into a dedicated Christian. Augustine’s book is arguably the first real autobiography ever written, and the author’s profound exploration of his own motivations and feelings led William James to term Augustine the “first modern man.” The Confessions also served as the model for hundreds of other spiritual autobiographies written over the course of the next 1,600 years, including masterworks such as The Life of St. Teresa of Ávila, William Wordsworth’s Prelude, John Henry Newman’s Apologia pro Vita Sua, Leo Tolstoy’s Confession, and Thomas Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain. In this course, students will read and discuss these and other classics of Christian autobiography. They will also be invited to examine a number of comparable works by writers standing outside the Christian tradition, including the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius and M. K. Gandhi’s Story of My Experiments With Truth. These readings are gripping, because they attempt a uniquely challenging feat: to capture the history of an individual soul’s relations with the Infinite through the language that we use to describe our everyday experience. We will combine detailed literary analysis of the autobiographies, with an examination of their content in the light of recent writing on the phenomenology of religion. Conference projects may address a wide range of topics in the general area of the history of religion and religious expression.

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Good to Think With: The Culture of Food

Open , Seminar—Spring

Drawing on perspectives from the historical past and the present day, this course will focus on the social and cultural aspects of how we grow and consume food. We will explore issues such as how food production and presentation have changed over time and how different consumption patterns have affected identity and sociability. An example of this would be the rivalry between wheat and corn that dogged world civilization for centuries, influencing issues such as how bread was made, what constituted the best diet for convicts, and of what material communion wafers should be made. We will look at how authors shape narratives about food, social change, conflict, and accommodation. Subjects of study will include the early modern trade in coffee, tea, and spices; the voyages to the New World and the attendant disruptions of various populations; the effects of the French Revolution; the Irish potato famine; and Hitler’s and Stalin’s policies of imposing famine on conquered peoples. We will examine the role of science and modernity in creating the agricultural systems that provide us with our food. This will include a look at agribusiness, its friends and enemies, and various possible alternatives to it. The problem posed by the overabundance of food and food wastage will be addressed.

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Gender and History in China: Beyond Eunuchs and Concubines

Sophomore and above , Seminar—Year

Open to sophomores and above. (First-year students may register with permission of the instructor.)

This seminar is a sustained historical exploration of gender in the Chinese context, which is not only significant in its own right but also serves to complicate some of the common Euro-American assumptions about family dynamics, emotional life, and gender hierarchies. We will treat female and male as historically constructed categories, examining how both have been tied to modes of power (familial, social, economic, and political). In other words, how men and women have been imagined and portrayed, made and mobilized, at different times. We will confront, head on, stereotypes about the passive Chinese woman and the Confucian family, asking where do we find and how do we understand women’s agency within the permutations of the traditional Chinese family? We will interrogate Imperial Era family conflicts and the practice of footbinding to highlight female agency within, and complicity with, the gender hierarchy. The appearance of feminism in the early 20th century and its subsequent fate will provide a window on how gender shaped revolution and how gender was, in turn, shaped by it. And rather than leave masculinity as an assumed constant, we will examine historical and cultural constructions of what it meant to be a man in China. Located between the poles of the scholar and the warrior, Chinese manliness exhibits unfamiliar contours and traits. The course also covers same-sex desire in both traditional and modern China. For example, in the late Imperial Era, we will look at homoeroticism among fashionable elite men and at female “marriage resisters” who dared to form all-women communities in a society where marriage was virtually universal. Class readings consist primarily of historical scholarship; however, (translated) primary sources pepper the course and include ritual prescriptions, (auto)biographies, essays, drama, and fiction that ground our inquiries into the authenticity of Chinese voices. Due to its reading load, this seminar is listed as “intermediate” but requires no prior knowledge of Chinese history.
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Ideas of Africa: Africa Writes Back

Sophomore and above , Seminar—Fall

The continent of Africa has variously been described as the birthplace of humanity, the “Motherland,” a country, a continent, “Mother Africa,” and a “heart of darkness.” All of these descriptions reflect representations of Africa, but how accurately do they reflect reality? The goal of this class is to study the intellectual history of what we know—or think we know—about modern Africa. Why is it that some of the most prominent images of Africa today are either negative (e.g., Africa as a diseased, hungry, war-ravaged continent) or romanticized (e.g., Africa as a mother figure, birthplace of civilization, or lush nature preserve)? A central theme of our discussions will be that ideas have a history that is as powerful as radioactive isotopes. In other words, ideas maintain a shelf life even when their origins have long become obscured. Unfortunately, this has profound implications for Africa’s place in a modern, globalized world where image can be as important as reality. Through the use of historical documents, political manifestos, philosophical treatises, travel narratives, current news sources, and blogs, we will study how the image of Africa has changed over time. We will trace the “heart of darkness” narrative and analyze why it has become such an enduring trope of modern Africa. Ultimately, our purpose will be to interrogate various descriptions of Africa over time and analyze where they originated from, why they exist, and whether they are accurate.

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Pluralism and Its Discontents: Lessons From German History

Sophomore and above , Seminar—Fall
If Angela Merkel is hailed today by The New York Times as the last leader of the liberal world, this amounts, at the very least, to an ironic turn of events. For much of the 19th and 20th centuries, Germany had a contentious relationship with liberalism—and, by extension, democracy. The very meaning of liberalism and democracy were disputed. Even more so than the history of the Third Reich, the periods preceding and following Nazism are illuminating for politics today. German politicians, constitutional theorists, journalists, and citizens discussed what “government by the people” actually meant; what place, if any, the opposition had in a constitutional structure; and how elections, parliament, and government related to each other. With an eye on current debates, this course will provide a rigorous history of German democratic theory and practice from the late 19th century until today. We will read primary sources such as constitutional theory, political speeches, and autobiographical accounts of parliamentarians, as well as secondary literature on the development of parties, voting behavior, and political propaganda, among others. Prior knowledge of German history is helpful but not necessary; however, in preparation for the course, it is highly recommended to familiarize yourself with the basic outlines of German modern history. Select survey literature on modern German history will be on reserve at the library.
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"We Refugees": A History of Displacement in Modern Europe

Sophomore and above , Seminar—Spring
In 1922, in response to a wave of refugees from civil war Russia, the League of Nations created a passport for stateless people: The Nansen Passport. It was one of several measures to deal with the massive displacement occasioned by the results of World War I and the revolutions and redrawing of boundaries that followed. Migration, for economic or political reason, was not new to 20th-century Europe. Yet the (re)emergence of strict border regimes, the rise of international law but also of fascism and communism, and the sheer numbers of people on the move within Europe as a result of two world wars fundamentally changed the conditions, as well as the experience, of displacement. This course investigates the events that forced (or motivated) Europeans to move in the 20th century. It traces the development of law, language and institutions dealing with migration that arose in response to it. Yet, it also gives voice to the individual experience of refugees, be it the German-Jewish intellectual Hannah Arendt who wrote “We Refugees” in her New York exile in 1942 or a Ukrainian forced laborer stranded in Germany following World War II. The course will primarily focus on mid-century Europe, when the structures emerged that regulate today’s refugee-related politics. We will consider the history of terms such as stateless people, refugees, displaced persons, and asylum seekers and the way in which these terms influenced both politics and experience. Toward the end of the semester, we will discuss current events in Europe in light of this history.
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Propaganda: A History of Spin

Intermediate , Joint seminar—Spring

This seminar provides an interdisciplinary analysis of the phenomenon of mass persuasion in modern society. How does propaganda “work”? How should we characterize the individuals and institutions that shape and disseminate it? What are the specific languages and visual symbols that propagandists have typically used to affect mass audiences? How have both “democratic” and “authoritarian” societies sought to generate consent. And how, in turn, have individuals and social groups drawn the line between what is truth and what is propaganda? Although the manipulation of information for political ends has been intrinsic to human societies across history, this course focuses on the so-called “axial age of propaganda,” beginning with World War I, which saw the emergence of tightly organized, large-scale, government-sponsored propaganda efforts across Europe and the United States. The course will place special emphasis on the interwar period, when—amid the onset of totalitarian regimes in Europe—the very nature of “public opinion” and mass society were hotly debated by intellectuals and interpretive experts. This course will utilize a variety of case studies to explore the symbolic content of specific kinds of propaganda and the institutional milieux that produce it, paying attention both to propaganda that seeks to overthrow social structures as well as to maintain them. Finally, the course will consider the ubiquity of propaganda in contemporary society, focusing on the role of image-making professionals working in the spheres of political campaigning, advertising, and public relations. Specific case studies may include: The U.S. Committee on Public Information during World War I, the Nazi Ministry of Propaganda, Stalinism and the Soviet Union, state control of culture under the Deutsche Demoktratische Republik (East Germany), McCarthyism and the Hollywood blacklist, ISIL, and Breitbart News and Trumpism.

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Revolutionary Lives: Biographical Perspectives on the Black Freedom Movement

Intermediate , Seminar—Spring

Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors.

The Black Freedom Movement that erupted after World War II rallied African American communities across the country, set the stage for a host of kindred movements in the United States, and inspired many millions around the world. This course explores the Freedom Movement’s history through the life stories of women and men who mobilized under its banners, through organizations including civil rights groups like the NAACP and Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Marxist parties of various sorts, and nationalist formations such as the Black Panther Party, the Revolutionary Action Movement, and the Republic of New Africa. Readings include works of biography, autobiography, and memoir that tell the riveting stories of both high-profile figures—Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, and others—and foot soldiers whose names were never widely known outside the movement or have since been forgotten. Their personal histories offer uncommon perspectives on the Freedom Movement by illuminating its international connections, for example, and by challenging the conventional wisdom that civil rights and Black Power activists were fundamentally at odds. These histories also invite us to ponder timeless questions about personal responsibility and the power of individuals to change the world. The course is a reading-intensive seminar.

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Gender, Race, and Media: Historicizing Visual Culture

Advanced , Seminar—Year

In this course, we will engage with the field of visual culture in order to develop a critical framework through which we may understand visual perception as a set of practices that inform and are informed by structures of power. Throughout the semester and the year, we will consider the following questions: What does it mean, from an historical perspective, to live in a society that seemingly privileges visual perception? How does power figure into past and contemporary viewing practices? How have visual technologies been leveraged to situate alternative practices of looking more squarely within Western publics’ fields of vision? We will accomplish this by focusing on the rich scholarship of visual culture theory, media and communication scholarship that foregrounds gender and racial analysis, and the excellent work that bridges media/visual studies and women’s history. We will work with a variety of texts, such as art, advertising, print magazines, television programming, film, and social media. Readings roughly span the 19th century through the contemporary era. Through our readings, we will observe the ways in which the 19th-century production and circulation of images of the “other” and a gendered gaze began to take on a particular potency in the United States and Europe with the growth of industrialization, commercial advertising, and immigration. Twentieth-century scholarship will focus on, among other things, the rise of a global media landscape in which the lines between producers and consumers of media become increasingly blurred. An examination of contemporary viewing practices will enable us to consider some of the implications of a radically fractured “mediascape” and its attendant struggles over ownership of meaning, as media technologies enable visual processes of signification to spin out wildly in unpredictable and surprising directions.

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Diversity and Equity in Education: Issues of Gender, Race, and Class

Advanced , Seminar—Year

The education system is a central institution in the socialization of young people and the maintenance of the modern nation-state. Schools support meritocratic models of society by providing opportunities for social mobility. Paradoxically, schools also reproduce gender, racial, and class inequality. In this course, we will examine the roles that schools play in the transmission of culture, formation of identity, and reproduction of social structures. Paying special attention to gender and its intersection with other social categories, we will look at practices and policies that shape students' performance as they strive for competence, achievement, and acceptance. We will also analyze the larger political and economic contexts that shape both schools and the communities in which they are situated.

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The Art of Democracy: A Cultural History of the United States

Advanced , Seminar—Year

Open to juniors and above; permission of the instructor is required.

The story most typically told of America focuses on the path taken, the victors and the nature of their victory, the dreamers whose dreams were realized, and central figures in a largely political narrative. In this course, we will revisit the United States through the art and lives of those more on the margins—dreamers and doers who faced heavier odds or who dreamed of a world that never arrived. Through short stories, novels, memoirs, and cultural criticism, we will revisit the story of the idea and reality of America as it has unfolded. Themes will include gender and sexuality, race and prejudice, class and class struggle, region and religion, and immigration and national identity. Readings will include primary sources from the time period, as well as historical articles and books. In the spring, we will add film. As we read and watch, we will also write; this will be a course that emphasizes the synthesis of historical research and expository writing. A working knowledge of the political history of the time is necessary. Students who need refreshing will be expected to consult a textbook regularly.

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Middle Eastern Nationalisms

Advanced , Seminar—Fall

Students are expected to have completed previous coursework in either Middle East Studies or modern history, though exceptions can be made with permission of the instructor.

This course provides an intensive theoretical and historical inquiry into the phenomenon of nationalism as it has played out in the Middle East since the late 19th century. What is a nation? How are nation-states built and sustained? How did the nation form first take shape in the Middle East, and what are the broad challenges and historical mechanisms that have governed its evolution across a variety of specific contexts? The course will be broken into two main sections. Part I will examine the current theoretical literature on the origins and spread of nationalism, introducing students to key scholarly debates and innovations that transcend Middle Eastern historiography. Part II will develop and apply the themes and theoretical concepts from Part I by exploring specific Middle East case studies, focusing both on state-sponsored nationalism as well as on popular practices and experiences of nationhood and national identity. Brief attention will also be paid to professional history-writing in the Middle East since the 1930s, specifically the role of nationalist historiography in partitioning the Middle Eastern past.

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First-Year Studies: Art and History

Open , FYS—Year

The visual arts and architecture constitute a central part of human expression and experience, and both grow from and influence our lives in profound ways that we might not consciously acknowledge. In this course, we will explore intersections between the visual arts and cultural, political, and social history. We will ask in what ways works of art can be used as documents for understanding history and will seek to understand how different approaches to the interpretation of art can be used to reveal different kinds of understanding of the conditions and concerns of the people who created them and of their audiences. What meaning did these works originally convey, and how did they communicate—both consciously and unconsciously? We will also discuss a number of issues of contemporary concern; for instance, the destruction of art, free speech and respect of religion, and the art market and the museum. Our work will include analysis of images and readings from the works of art historians, historians, social scientists, philosophers, and theorists. We will endeavor to understand the work from the point of view of its creators and patrons, as well as its changing reception by audiences throughout time. To accomplish this, we will need to be able to understand some of the languages of art. The course, then, is also a course in visual literacy, the craft of reading and interpreting visual images on their own terms. Students need to be able to schedule time on some Saturdays to take the college van to Manhattan to do assignments or attend the occasional class at various museums in New York City.

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Romanesque and Gothic: Art and Architecture at the Birth of Europe

Open , Lecture—Spring

This course explores the powerful architecture, sculpture, and painting styles that lie at the heart of the creation of Europe and the idea of the West. We will use a number of strategies to explore how monumental architecture and expressive narrative painting and sculpture were engaged in the formation of a common European identity and uncover, as well, the architectural vestiges of diverse groups and cultures that challenge that uniform vision. These are arts that chronicle deep social struggles between classes, intense devotion through pilgrimage, and the rise of cities and universities that could both advocate genocide and nurture enormous creativity, in styles both flamboyant and austere, growing from places as diverse as rural monasteries to Gothic cathedrals. The course will explore those aspects of expressive visual language that link the buildings to social history, the history of ideas, and political ideology.

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The Age of Arthur: Post-Roman Britain in History and Legend

Open , Seminar—Fall

The fate of the western Roman provinces during and after the collapse of the imperial center in the fifth century remains a major concern for historians of Late Antiquity, yet no single former Roman province has proven to be as obscure and resistant to serious historical study as Britain. Through much of the 20th century, a substantial body of historical research was devoted toward developing the figure of Arthur, a Post-Roman ruler or warlord who strove to preserve something of Roman imperial order and culture while stemming Germanic or Anglo-Saxon settlement. More recently, however, the tide of scholarship has turned against a historical Arthur. The fact remains that Arthur is unattested in any historical sources of the late antique or early medieval periods. Nor is there much evidence that Anglo-Saxon settlement was effectively shaped or contained by native Romano-British resistance. Consequently, the course will examine the origins of Arthur as a figure of legend rather than history, and we will examine the factors that led to Arthur being accorded historical status—first in the early medieval period and then in modern scholarship. At the same time, we will attempt to establish the basis for a genuine dynastic and political history of Britain from the fifth to the seventh centuries.

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The Greeks and their Neighbors: The Hellenization of the Mediterranean From the Homeric Age to Augustus

Open , Seminar—Fall

Although the Romans come to mind most immediately as the people who absorbed and passed on the achievements of Greek civilization to the Western world, the transmission of Greek culture to Western posterity was a far more complex process involving various other peoples. Already during the early first millennium BC, Greek culture began to affect the neighboring peoples to the east, such as the Phrygians, Lydians, and Lycians, as well as the Greeks’ western neighbors in Italy: the Etruscans and Romans. In time, the Phoenicians and their western colony of Carthage and the western regions of the great Persian Empire would increasingly come to adopt many aspects of Greek material culture, art, and religion—even before the Asiatic conquests of Alexander the Great and his successors. It was this long and varied process that the Romans gradually inherited and fused into a pan-Mediterranean Greco-Roman Pax Romana, beginning with Augustus. The course will examine this process from the perspective of artistic monuments and literary or historical sources, as well.

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Landscapes in Translation: Cartographies, Visions, and Interventions

Intermediate , Seminar—Fall

Background in humanities, social sciences or arts preferred. Advanced, open to students with developed skills in critical thinking and analysis of texts.

This course investigates the multiple ways in which landscapes have been imagined, interpreted, physically shaped, and controlled in a variety of historical and contemporary sites. The first section, Cartographies, explores ideas of landscape in Euro-America, Southeast Asia, and colonial-era Africa. The literatures of critical geography and political ecology provide theory and cases illuminating connections between the position of the cartographer and presuppositions about the nature of the territory being mapped and managed. We examine how landscapes on a variety of scales, from “bioregions” to nations, are imagined, codified, and transformed through representational processes and material moves. The second section, Visions, investigates how landscapes are embodied in fine arts and literature, as well as in garden and urban design. Readings draw on examples of landscape design in colonial New England and Indonesia and on contemporary examples of landscape design in response to climate change. We also study reworkings of the urban landscape to integrate more productive, biologically diverse “fringes,” as well as rooftop farms and apiaries. The third section, Control: Emerging Security-Scapes, investigates the rise of militarized “security-scapes” or “surveillance-scapes,” dating from slavery in the United States to the Department of Homeland Security in the post-9/11 era. We analyze the visual surround and landscapes seen by remote drone “pilots” scanning Los Angeles and Somalia and surveillance of the occupied Palestinian landscapes; we draw upon websites, advertisements, and new scholarship in security studies, media studies, and social theory.

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First-Year Studies: Introduction to Development Studies: The Political Ecology of Development

Open , FYS—Year

Some experience in the social sciences is desired but not required.

In this yearlong seminar, we will begin by examining competing paradigms and approaches to understanding “development” and the “Third World.” We will set the stage by answering the question: What did the world look like 500 years ago? The purpose of this part of the course is to acquaint us with and to analyze the historical origins and evolutions of a world political economy, of which the Third World is an intrinsic component. We will thus study the transition from feudalism to capitalism, the rise of merchant and finance capital, and the colonization of the world by European powers. We will analyze case studies of colonial "development" to understand the evolving meaning of this term. These case studies will help us assess the varied legacies of colonialism apparent in the emergence of new nations through the fitful and uneven process of decolonization that followed. The next part of the course will look at the United Nations and the role some of its associated institutions have played in the post-World War II global political economy, one marked by persistent and intensifying socioeconomic inequalities, as well as frequent outbreaks of political violence across the globe. By examining the development institutions that have emerged and evolved since 1945, we will attempt to unravel the paradoxes of development in different eras. We will deconstruct the measures of development through a thematic exploration of population, resource use, poverty, access to food, the environment, agricultural productivity, and different development strategies adopted by Third World nation states. We will then examine globalization; and its relation to emergent international institutions, transnational corporations, the role of the state, and civil society will provide the backdrop for the final focus of the class—the emergence of regional coalitions for self-reliance, environmental and social justice, and sustainable development. Our analysis of development in practice will draw upon case studies primarily from Africa but also from Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the United States. Conference work will be closely integrated with the themes of the course, with a two-stage substantive research project in the fall semester to be completed in the spring. Project presentations will incorporate a range of formats, from traditional papers to multimedia visual productions. Where possible and feasible, students will be encouraged to do primary research during fall study days and winter and spring breaks.

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The Geography of Contemporary China: A Political Ecology of Reform, Global Integration, and Rise to Superpower

Intermediate , Seminar—Year

Some experience in the social sciences desired but not required.

Despite widespread daily reporting on China’s rise to superpower status—and both its challenge to and its necessary partnership with the United States—what do we really know about the country? In this seminar, we will explore China’s evolving place in the world through political-economic integration and globalization processes. We will consistently focus our efforts on reframing debates, both academic and in mass media, to enable new insights and analyses. We will begin with an overview of contemporary China, discussing the unique aspects of China’s modern history and the changes and continuities from one era to the next. We will explore Revolutionary China and the subsequent socialist period to ground the seminar’s focus: post-1978 reform and transformation to the present day. Rooted in the questions of agrarian change and rural development, we will also study seismic shifts in urban and industrial form and China’s emergence as a global superpower on its way to becoming the world’s largest economy. We will analyze the complex intertwining of the environmental, political-economic, and sociocultural aspects of these processes as we interpret the geography of contemporary China. Using a variety of theoretical perspectives, we will analyze a series of contemporary global debates: Is there a fundamental conflict between the environment and rapid development? What is the role of the peasantry in the modern world? What is the impact of different forms of state power and practice? How does globalization shape China’s regional transformation? And, on the other hand, how does China’s global integration impact development in every other country and region of the world? Modern China provides immense opportunities for exploring key theoretical and substantive questions of our time. A product first and foremost of its own complex history, other nation states and international actors and institutions—such as the World Bank, transnational corporations, and civil society—have also heavily influenced China. The “China model” of rapid growth is widely debated in terms of its efficacy as a development pathway, and yet it defies simple understandings and labels. Termed everything from neoliberalism to market socialism to authoritarian Keynesian capitalism, it is a model full of paradoxes and contradictions. Not least of these is its impact on global climate change. Other challenges include changing gender relations, rapid urbanization, and massive internal migration. In China today, contentious debates continue on land reform, the pros and cons of global market integration, the role of popular culture and the arts in society, how to define ethical behavior, the roots of China’s social movements—from Tian’anmen to current widespread social unrest and discontent amongst workers, peasants, students, and intellectuals—and the meaning and potential resolution of minority conflicts in China’s hinterlands. Land and resource grabs in China and abroad are central to China’s rapid growth and its role as an industrial platform for the world. But resulting social inequality and environmental degradation challenge the legitimacy of China’s leadership like never before. As China borders many of the most volatile places in the contemporary world and increasingly projects its power to the far corners of the planet, we will conclude our seminar with a discussion of security issues, geopolitics, and potential scenarios for China’s future. Throughout the seminar, there will be comparisons with other areas of the world within the context of the broader theoretical and thematic questions mentioned above. Weekly selected readings, films, mass media, and books will be used to inform debate and discussion. A structured conference project will integrate closely with one of the diverse topics of the seminar.

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Perverts in Groups: The Social Life of Homosexuals

Open , Seminar—Fall

Contradictory assumptions about the relations of homosexuals to groups have dominated accounts of modern LGBT life. In Western Europe and the United States from the late 19th century onwards, queers have been presented as profoundly isolated persons, burdened by the conviction that they are the only ones ever to have had such feelings, when they first realize their deviant desires and are immediately separated by those desires from the families and cultures into which they were born. Yet, at the same time, these isolated individuals have been seen as inseparable from one another, part of a worldwide network always able to recognize their peers by means of mysterious signs decipherable only by other group members. Homosexuals were denounced as persons who did not contribute to society; homosexuality was presented as the hedonistic choice of reckless, self-indulgent individualism over sober social good. Nevertheless, all homosexuals were implicated in a nefarious conspiracy, stealthily working through their web of connections to one another to take over the world—or the political establishment of the United States, for example, its art world, theatre, or film industries. Such contradictions can still be seen in the battles that have raged since the 1970s, when queers began seeking public recognition of their lives within existing social institutions from the military to marriage. LGBT persons are routinely attacked as threats (whether to unit cohesion or the family), intent on destroying the groups that they are working to openly join. In this class, we will use these contradictions as a framework for studying the complex social roles that queers have occupied and some of the complex social worlds that they have created—at different times and places and shaped by different understandings of gender, race, class, ethnicity, and nationality—within the United States over the past century and a half. Our sources will include histories, sociological and anthropological studies, the writings of political activists, fiction, and film.

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First-Year Studies: From Homer to Plato

Open , FYS—Year

The habit of asking questions, which constitutes Western thought, has its primary origin in Greece. In this class, we will read Greek epics, tragedies, histories, comedies, and works of philosophy in order to think about how our thinking got started.

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Philosophy and Conflict: The Idea of War

Open , Seminar—Spring

Plato is the first philosopher to describe war in terms of an art (in the Republic). He does so in a context in which the strongest warriors turn out to be philosophers with special training in gymnastics, geometry, and dialectic. The suggestion seems to be that solving geometrical proofs, resolving philosophical contradictions, and fighting enemies are related pursuits. This appears to be especially true of Thucydides, for whom philosophy and history coincide in one exemplary event: the Peloponnesian War. Since that war was between Greeks and Greeks, Thucydides’ interest is in opposition arising from similarity. We will read his History of the Peloponnesian War, followed by Machiavelli’s The Prince. Machiavelli, too, contemplates potential war within sameness, especially conspiracies on the inside of cities (among which is Machiavelli’s book). The idea that the inside might contain the possibility of further insides suggests that the political problem—a certain tension between “us” and “them”—might be a philosophical problem and, conversely, that the philosophical tension exhibited by contradictions might be somehow political.

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Thinkers on the Right

Intermediate , Seminar—Spring

The goal of the seminar is to investigate the development of the "Right" in European political thought after the French Revolution. We will read selections from Joseph de Maistre, Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals, and other things yet to be determined.

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First-Year Studies: The Hebrew Bible

Open , FYS—Year

The Hebrew Bible stands at the foundation of Western culture. Its stories permeate our literature, our art...indeed, our sense of identity. The Hebrew Bible's ideas inform our laws, have given birth to our revolutions and social movements, and have thereby made most of our social institutions possible (as well as the movements to remove them). What is this book? How was it written? Who wrote it? Who preserved it for us? Why has all or part of this body of literature been considered holy to the practitioners of Judaism and Christianity? Four thousand years ago, various groups from small tribe-wandering nomads would get together and tell stories. These stories were not preserved on stone tombs but in the hearts and memories of the people to whom they belonged. We will read the collection of traditions in a book called Genesis and compare these stories with other texts (written in mud and stone) such as The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Babylonian Creation Epic, which were contemporary with biblical traditions. We will read the biblical epic of liberation, Exodus; the historical books that weave theology into a history of a nation; and the oracles of the great Hebrew prophets of Israel, those reformers, judges, priests, mystics, and poets to whom modern culture owes its grasp of justice. We will trace the social, intellectual, and political history of the people formed by these traditions from the Late Bronze until the Roman age.

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The Holocaust

Open , Seminar—Spring

The Holocaust raises fundamental questions about the nature of our civilization. How could a policy of genocide be carried out by one of the most advanced and sophisticated countries of Europe? In this course, we will examine how these appalling events took place, beginning with anti-Semitic ideology and policy. At the same time, we will confront a surprisingly neglected perspective of the victims, whose perspective—how they chose to respond to the impending catastrophe (through art, diary-writing, mysticism, violence, hiding, etc.)—has not been integrated into an overall history of the Holocaust. Finally, we will attempt to come to grips with the crucial but neglected phenomenon of bystanders—non-Jews who stood by while their neighbors were methodically annihilated, rescued Jews, or became perpetrators themselves. We shall inevitably be compelled to make moral judgments. But these will be of value if they are informed and based on a fuller understanding of the perspectives of the various actors in this dark chapter of European history.

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Jewish Mysticism From Antiquity to the Present

Sophomore and above , Seminar—Spring

This course examines a vibrant countertrend within Judaism known as mysticism. We begin with the biblical and ancient “Chariot” mysticism, proceed to ascetic medieval German pietism, and dwell at length on the erotically-charged “Kabbalah” that emerged in medieval Spain and Southern France—observing its unique conceptions of God, evil, demonology, sin, death, sexuality, and magic. We then follow the emergence of circles of mystics in 16th-century Safed (Land of Israel) that eventually sparked a mass messianic movement around the figure of Shabbetai Tzvi. In the second semester, we delve into the most popular and enduring Jewish mystical movement, Hasidism. Founded on the teachings of the Ba’al Shem Tov (The Besht) in 18th-century Eastern Europe, Hasidism was forged into a mass movement by charismatic miracle-workers called “tzaddikim” and spread by means of oral and written tales. We follow the emergence of Hasidic dynasties, gauge Hasidic responses to modern phenomena like Zionism and the Holocaust, and follow the movement’s continued flourishing today in tight-knit communities from Brooklyn to Jerusalem. Finally, we will examine popular contemporary neo-Kabbalah. Throughout, we strive to appreciate different manifestations of Jewish mysticism within their changing historical contexts.

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Readings in Christian Mysticism: Late Antiquity

Intermediate/Advanced , Seminar—Year

Permission of the instructor is required.

This course will focus on the intersection of Jewish theology and Greco-Roman philosophy in the early Christian texts commonly seen to contain "mystical elements." We will define these elements as texts that have to do with the desire on the part of the reader to "know," experience, or "be with" God and with the author's attempt to properly demarcate the boundaries within which these desires can be fulfilled. Christian mysticism is perhaps best thought of as erotic theology—theology that involves the desire for God. Recognizing this, we must also acknowledge that inherent to this theology is a profound paradox. What is desired must be conceived. It must be held in the grasp of one's understanding in order to be attained. While this is fine for an orange, or even wealth and power, it is much more problematic when the object of desire is God, the creator of the universe. Theologians in the early church developed a language of desire and specific sets of practices involving one's lifestyle and prayer in order to resolve this paradox and fulfill their desire. They began to ponder this paradox with a synthesis of a biblical theology of divine revelation (i.e., the revelation of God as preserved in the biblical canon, symbolized in both the revelation of YHWH on Mt. Sinai and in the incarnation of the Divine Logos as Jesus of Nazareth) and Platonic expression of a desire for the ultimate good, truth, or beauty. In order to better grasp these ideas, we will read parts of the Hebrew Bible, the Gospels, and contemplate the anthropology of desire set forth by Plato in the Symposium and the Phaedrus. Educated in the Hellenistic world, the early church fathers took these ideas for granted and attempted to find common ground with their Christian inheritance. We will study the phenomenon of Gnostic Christianity, an early attempt at synthesis of biblical material and Greek philosophy. We will then move on to encounter the great early Christian writers—such as Origen and Athanasius of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa, Psuedo-Dionysius, and Ambrose of Milan—and conclude our study with a lengthy look at what, for Western culture, is the seminal work of Augustine of Hippo.

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Both Public and Private: The Social Construction of Family Life

Open , Seminar—Fall

Many of us take for granted the dichotomy between public and private life. The former is frequently understood as abstract, distant, and a key site of power; the latter, as the site of warmth, intimacy, and emotional sustenance. In this seminar, we will critically examine the assumptions underlying such idealized distinctions between public and private domains. Through such revisioning, it is hoped that we will better understand the public and private dimensions of the family, its complexity, and its historical variability. In particular, our analysis will enable us to critically examine notions that posit the inevitability of the nuclear, heterosexual family as a universal and “natural” institution. Relying primarily on the writings of Stephanie Coontz on the topic of the family, supplemented by relevant additional materials, we will take apart myths of the family to better understand both its discursive production and material reality across time and space. Specifically, we will look at the myriad ways in which personal and social reproduction occur; the relationship between distinct family forms and different systems of social organization and social movements; and the expression of gender, racial, and sexual relations in diverse historical settings. Throughout, we will be attentive to shifting boundaries between the private domain (often erroneously and transhistorically understood in familial terms) and public institutions and practices—from which, again erroneously, the latter is often set apart. Furthermore, the “private” domain of the family will be problematized as a site for the construction of identity and caring and, simultaneously, as a location that engenders compulsion and violence. In this latter context, we will examine how relations of domination and subordination are produced through the institution of the “family” and how resistance is generated to such dominant relations and constructions. The course will conclude with an examination of family forms in contemporary societies—single parent-, same sex-, and fictive kin-based—and of public struggles over these various forms.

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Gender and Nationalism(s)

Advanced , Seminar—Year

Open only to juniors, seniors, and graduate students.

Nationalism can be understood as a project simultaneously involving construction(s) of memory, history, and identity. In this seminar, we will identify the multiple and shifting dimensions of nationalism as a world historical phenomenon. Central to our focus will be the centrality and particular constructions of gender in different national projects. Attention will be paid to nationalism in its colonial and contemporary trajectories. Questions to be addressed include the following: What is the relationship between nationalism and identity? Which symbols/languages are called upon to produce a sense of self and collective identity? What are the various inclusions, exclusions, and silences that particular historically-constituted nationalisms involve? Is nationalism necessarily a positive force? If not, under what circumstances, in what ways, and for whom does it pose problems? What is the relationship of nationalism(s) to minorities and socially/politically marginalized groups? How is pluralism and difference constructed and treated? How do the same positions (e.g., issues of cultural authenticity and identity) take on a different meaning at diverse historical moments? How does the insider/outsider relationship alter in different periods and conceptualizations? Women have been interpellated and have participated within nationalist movements in a variety of ways. The dynamics and contradictions of such involvement will be analyzed closely. We will strive to explore the implications of these processes for women's sense of self, citizenship, and belonging at specific periods and over time. In the spring semester, we will turn our attention more specifically to performances of nationalism through institutional and popular cultural arrangements. Under the former category, we will look at issues of migration, immigration, and exile; public policy and international relations; war and conflict. In the arena of popular culture, we will examine the production of nationalism(s) through the mass media, sports, film, museums and exhibitions, and tourism. Conference work may include an examination of a specific nationalist movement, theoretical issues pertaining to nationalism(s), memory, identity, performances of nationalism(s) in popular culture and the mass media, and the interplay between institutional and everyday constructions of nationalism in specific settings.

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First-Year Studies in Theatre: History and Histrionics: A History of Western Theatre

Open , FYS—Year

This course explores 2,500 years of Western drama and how dramaturgical ideas can be traced from their origins in fifth-century Greece to 20th-century Nigeria, with many stops in between. We will try to understand how a play is constructed, rather than simply written, and how how each succeeding epoch has both embraced and rejected what has come before it in order to create its own unique identity. We will study the major genres of Western drama, including the idea of a classically structured play, Elizabethan drama, neoclassicism, realism, naturalism, expressionism, comedy, musical theatre, theatre of cruelty, and existentialism. And we will look at the social, cultural, architectural, and biographical context for the plays in question to better understand how and why they were written as they were. Classroom discussion will focus on a new play each week, while conference work will be devoted mostly to the students writing about them.

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