Fall 2011 Course Offerings

ARTH 593: Theory and Methodology

Professor: Jennifer Greenhill 
Meets: T 3:30-6:20, 210A Architecture

Investigation of the theory and practice of art history as a discipline. Discussions address historiographical and methodological issues and include both traditional and recent approaches to the discipline. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.


ANTH 515: Social Theory

Professors: Ellen Moodie & Matti Bunzl 
Meets: M 2:00-4:50, 109A Davenport

This graduate seminar, the first of a two-semester sequence, seeks to provide training in the theories that shape sociocultural anthropology as an academic discipline. Our emphasis will be on ideas and debates, focusing on the historical and philosophical foundations of particular orientations within the discipline and on their significance for the social sciences in general. We will take seriously the intellectual genealogies out of which, or against which, contemporary thought has emerged. We will also carefully attend to relationships between situated modes of knowledge and power. By the end of the term, students should be able to understand and critique dominant (often North Atlantic) ideas about humans, cultures and societies; critically read ethnography in relation to theory; become adept at understanding and using specialized concepts and terminologies; and begin thinking of their own intellectual projects in the contexts of enduring questions in anthropology.


CWL 581: Psychoanalytic Interpretation of the Arts: Sacrifice

Professor: Nancy Blake 
Meets: M3:00- 4:50, G30 FLB

Among various origin myths, one stands out for its depiction of the unspeakable transgression of all human values. Yet this story comes to us from ancient Greece and innumerable scholars have identified the presence of early Greek culture in our Western tradition, strongly influencing our political values and our private dreams. In this story, a god, Dionysos , assumes the form of a child, is murdered and devoured by the Titans, who act unanimously. The child is dismembered and the flesh is cooked and consumed down to the heart when Zeus with his the lightning bolts, arriving too late to stop the crime, contents himself with punishing it by reducing the Titans to dust and ashes. From these ashes, the human race is created. The murder of Dionysos, according to the myth, would be the model of the first sacrifice. What is at stake, for human society and for individual equilibrium, in this model? How have philosophers, anthropologists and psychoanalysts seen sacrifice and what does contemporary neuroscience contribute to our understanding of it? In what ways could the notion of sacrifice define what it means to be human?


ENGL 578: The Neuroscientific Turn: Humanities Scholarship and the Emergent Neurodsiciplines

Professor: Melissa Littlefield 
Meets: Th 1:00-2:50, 113 English

Are we in the midst of a neurorevolution? a neuroscientific turn? What is "brainhood"? How are the emergent neurodiscipliens being constructed? How can we--as humanists--have a say in the potential neurosociety to come? Over the past two decades, neuroscience has become an important player in humanities scholarship. Emergent neurodisciplines (from neuroaesthetics to neurohistory to the neuro-humanities) have adopted neuroscience for fact finding and theory building. But is there any rhyme or reason to representations and uses of neuroscience? What canwe learn from neuroscience and what can neuroscience learn from a discipline such as English? In this course, we will read historical, popular, scientific, and literary material from journalists, scientists and authors such as Richard Powers, Jonah Lehrer, and Mark Haddon. Students will learn about the basics of neuroscience, critical neuroscience, and literature and science scholarship. Assignments will include response papers, a book review, and a final research project. 

**NOTE: students DO NOT need to have a scientific background to take this course. All are welcome!


GEOG 595/390: Climate and Social Vulnerability: 
Concepts and Policy Approaches

Professor: Jesse C. Ribot 
Meets: Th 2:00-4:50

Over the coming decades, the United Nations, World Bank and a multitude of development agencies will spend billions of dollars to support measures for climate change ‘mitigation’ and ‘adaptation’. Mitigation aims to slow anthropogenic climate change. Adaptation aims to reduce climate-related vulnerabilities of populations and ecosystems at risk. International and national climate-change negotiations have focused mostly on mitigation. But, the political splash of the 2006 Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change of the British government and the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 4th Assessment Report have made clear the inevitability of change and need for policies to protect vulnerable people with limited assets eking out livelihoods in a changing environment.

This course explores how policy can produce or reduce vulnerability. The course will examine:
1. Causes of climate-related stress and disaster.
2. Theories of vulnerability and adaptation.
3. Practices and policies designed to reduce economic loss, hunger, famine and dislocation in the face of climate trends and events. The course will focus on multiple policy scales affecting poor and marginal populations, who are disproportionately vulnerable when facing climate stress. It will draw on case examples primarily from the developing world.

As course assignments, graduate students will be asked to 1) provide comments on the weekly readings, and 2) write and present a twelve-page research proposal. Undergraduate students will be expected to 1) provide comments on the weekly readings, and 2) write a ten-page policy brief concerning a specific vulnerability reduction issue in a particular place. The assignments are described in detail at the end of this syllabus.
The course will provide students with a theoretical base and policy-analytic skills applicable to increasing security and wellbeing of the poor.


GER 570: Inside/Outside Discoures of the Body

Professor: Laurie Johnson 
Meets: W 3:00-4:50, 3114 FLB

Historical survey of the foundational thinkers, texts, and schools that orient contemporary work in the humanities, from Kant and Hegel to Cultural Studies, Queer Theory, and Postcolonial Theory. The course will include significant discussion of figures that include: Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Adorno, Barthes, Lacan, Derrida, Foucault, Said, Spivak, Zizek, and Butler. Among the topics we will address are: history, the subject, aesthetics, value, power, language, ideology, materiality, gender, sexuality, and race. Prerequisites: None.


GWS 590: Inside/Outside Discoures of the Body

Professor: Chantal Nadeau 
Meets: M 3:00-5:50

Critical theorists have identified the body as a site of competing and multiple discourses. This course examines some of the ways in which different bodies have been constructed in public discourses and how these ways both constrain and provide latitude for the expression and regulation of identities. A central area of inquiry is the context of the historical, political, cultural, and social terrain that informs the expression and categorization of these identities. One of the leading questions for this seminar concerns how the body, outside of its visible evidence, is also predicated by its unmarked boundaries. The approach for this course is resolutely interdisciplinary and draws from philosophical, cultural, queer, and legal methodologies.


JS 501: Introduction to Graduate Jewish Studies

Professor: Bruce Rosenstock 
Meets: TBD

This course will cover a specific topic, "Carl Schmitt and his Jewish Enemies," as its introduction to graduate Jewish Studies: We will start with Marx On the Jewish Question, read secondary materials about 19th century German history, and begin an in-depth reading of Schmitt. Our focus will be on texts from the 30s (The Leviathan in the State Theory of Thomas Hobbes), 40s (Land und Meer, but that short book will be for German readers only), and 50s (The Nomos of the Earth). We will then read Leo Strauss (his book on Hobbes), Arendt (Origins of Totalitarianism, Human Condition); Hans Morgenthau (Scientific Man versus Power Politics); Jacob Taubes (Poltical Theology of Paul); Hans Blumenberg (The Legitimacy of the Modern World); and Derrida (The Politics of Friendship). 


LA 506: Vision

Professor: D. Fairchild Ruggles
Meets: TBD

"Vision" is a seminar for studying texts about perspective, perception, mapping, semiotics, mimesis, illusion, framing, visual institutions, surveillance, and the cultural, technological, and physiological basis for vision. These are difficult texts but fundamental to understanding theories of vision and how our eyes perceive and our minds understand the space that is the visual field. The procedure in class is to outline the structure of the argument of each reading and then discuss its implications for the study of built space. 


LA 587: Knowing Cities

Professor: Dianne Harris
Meets: Wed 5 - 6:50

How do we know cities? Aside from the embodied, daily experience that allows us to know and understand the cities in which we live or that we frequently visit, what kinds of information helps us to understand the spaces and complex delineations that comprise urban experience and urban knowledge? What mediated forms and representations give us a sense of the city, its inhabitants, its political, economic, social, and cultural life? How do we learn to navigate (both literally and metaphorically) the spaces of the city? What kinds of cultural work do visual and textual representations of the city perform, and how do they impact both present realities and future possibilities for urban life and urban form? How do they tell us who belongs in specific urban spaces and who does not? How do they inform us about the past, present, and possible futures of cities and city spaces? In this course we will examine film, photography, journalism, literature, urban history, and urban theory to understand the ways we have come to know, and therefore to act on and inhabit, cities in the United States, India, China, South America, and Europe. We will largely focus on 20th-and 21st-century cities, but the course will take a broadly inclusive approach to this topic. I welcome graduate students from all disciplines who have an interest in urban history, urban design, and urban studies. 


LAW 656: International Law

Professor: Francis A. Boyle
Meets: M, Tu 3:00-4:15

The International Law course examines the variety of roles played by law and lawyer in ordering the relations between states and the nationals of states. The course utilizes a number of specialized contexts as a basis for exploring these roles. The contexts include, among others, the status of international law in domestic courts; the efficacy of judicial review by the International Court of Justice; the effort to subsume international economic relations under the fabric of bilateral and multilateral treaties; and the application -- or misapplication -- of law to political controversies that entail the threat of actual use of force. The course proceeds through an examination of problems selected to illuminate the operation of law within each of these contexts.


LAW 792: The Constitutional Law of U.S. Foreign Affairs

Professor: Francis A. Boyle
Meets: M 4:30-6:10

The purpose of this seminar will be to analyze the constitutional framework surrounding the conduct of foreign relations by the United States government. One of the major themes of the course will be that the Executive Branch of the federal government must come to understand that the constitutionally mandated separation-of-powers system, together with its concomitant rule of law, must be accepted as an historical fact to be dealt with on its own terms, rather than subverted, ignored, or expressly violated. If the Executive Branch wishes to design and execute a coherent and consistent foreign policy, it must take into account and cooperate with the Congress, and to a lesser extent the Courts, in the formulation of American foreign policy. The much vaunted goal of developing a truly bipartisan approach to foreign affairs cannot be achieved unless and until the President is willing to recognize the facts that the Congress is an independent and co-equal branch of government as well as that the President is subject to the rule of law in the area of foreign policy as well as domestic affairs.

The course will focus upon specific problem areas within which these issues have already been historically addressed: the right to foreign travel; intelligence operations and secrecy; the war powers controversy and military operations abroad; treaties and other international agreements, particularly with respect to human rights and arms control; the relationship between the federal government and the states of the union in foreign affairs; citizenship, immigration, deportation, and exclusion; the rights of aliens; international criminal jurisdiction of U.S. courts and international terrorism; foreign sovereign immunity; the act of state doctrine; and the political question doctrine in the foreign affairs area.


PS 571: Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Machiavelli: Foucault, Arendt, MacIntyre, Ranciere

Professor: Melissa A. Orlie
Meets: M 1:30 - 3:50

The objectives of the course are twofold. First, to offer an advanced introduction to certain watershed texts of the Western political tradition. Second, to explore significant contemporary lines of thinking and debate as they emerge from the interpretation of these classic turning points. The writings of Foucault, Arendt, MacIntyre (After Virtue; Rational, Dependent Animals), and Ranciere articulate lines of inheritance as well as significant differentiation from these texts. Students should conclude the seminar with a surer grasp of the critical turns enacted by Plato, Aristotle, Augustine and Machiavelli as well as a richer sense of these contemporary thinkers as a result of greater knowledge of their classical interlocutors. 


RLST 494: Animism and Modernity

Professor: James Treat 
Meets: W 6:00-8:30, 1030 FLB

This is an interdisciplinary seminar exploring “animism” and “modernity” in the Anthropocene, an age of ecological crisis. What are the relations between indigenous traditions and Western innovations, and how are they related to contemporary environmental concerns? Assigned readings are drawn from representative texts covering important theories and methods in the relevant fields. Class discussions are supplemented by audiovisual materials, guest speakers, campus events, and web-based assignments. Students have the opportunity to gain a basic understanding of animism, modernity, and ecological crisis; to conduct focused research on a relevant topic, theme, or issue; and to develop their critical skills for use in educational, professional, and personal settings.

Syllabus available at http://am11f.wordpress.com/


SOC 470: Social Movements

Professor: Markus Schulz 
Meets: Tu, Th 12:30-1:50, 245 Wohlers

This seminar provides an introduction to the sociological study of social movements. We consider a wide range of empirical cases across time and space and probe the heuristic merits of different theoretical perspectives and concepts. We explore the conditions under which social movements emerge, voice demands, struggle with opponents, and succeed or fail. We discuss movement tactics and strategies, adaptation and innovation. Particular attention is paid to the interactive shaping of collective identities, changing structures of opportunities, organizational strength, resources mobilization, network capacities, repertoires of contention, strategic framing, communicative practices, old and new media, music, images, and relation between dynamics on the local, regional, national, and global levels.


SLAV 576: Introduction to Formalism, Roman Jakobson, Mikhail Bakhtin, and Semiotics

Professor: Harriet Murav 
Meets: Tu 2:30-5:20, G30 FLB

An introduction to Formalism, Roman Jakobson, Mikhail Bakhtin, and semiotics, the goal of this course is to provide knowledge of these fundamental 20th century critical texts in their historic context. Familiarity with this body of work provides a foundation for the study of Lacan, "new materialism," "new Formalism," and post-colonial theory (Homi Bhabha, for example, uses Bakhtin's concept of "hybridity" in his own model of the colonial subject). Russian is not required. By the end of the semester, students should be able to do a Formalist, Jakobsonian, Bakhtinian, or semiotic analysis of a text (or cultural phenomenon). The writing requirements (4 brief essays) are aimed at this goal.