AAS 490: Critical Ethnic Studies

Professor: Junaid Rana
Meets: Wednesdays, 4:00-6:50pm

Advanced seminar that examines the formation of the emergent field of Critical Ethnic Studies and the key concepts of settler colonialism, racial capitalism, white supremacy, indigeniety, heteropatriarchy, decolonization, genocide, blackness, liberation, among others. 


ANTH 499: Political & Legal Anthropology

Professor: Jeffrey T. Martin
Meets: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 11:00AM - 12:20PM

How should we understand the political qualities of human life? Many people have addressed this question over the years, yet we still seem far from any final answer. This class is an introduction to the ways the question is being explored in contemporary anthropology. It is an introductory class in that it has no prerequisites for entry. But it is an ambitious introduction. Its purpose is to teach you how to swim on your own through the ocean of political thought, using a style of reasoning that is recognizably informed by the discipline of anthropology. Over the semester, we will read contemporary anthropology in combination with its precedents, stretching back through the history of the discipline into the classical foundations of political thought. Through our rigorous schedule of reading, writing and talking, you will become a political anthropologist.

The class is titled “Political and Legal Anthropology.” One of things that distinguishes anthropology from philosophy is its empirical foundation in ethnographic methods. An introduction to political anthropology cannot be organized as general, philosophical engagement with the category of “The Political” per se. It needs an empirical referent. In this class, our empirical referent is law. Law is an institution with a privileged place in the modern political imagination. It seems to be a chronically necessary (if equally chronically insufficient) prerequisite for every practical plan that aspires to realize peace, justice, prosperity, or some other such political value. Our curriculum focuses on the diverse ways that ethnographers have attempted to account for the complex political significance of law in different times and places. While recognizing the limitations of this topic (namely, its elision of the vast political space that exists outside the law), I believe that by the end of the semester you will be confident that law is an apt topic through which to get a handle on the range of concerns driving contemporary political anthropology.


ANTH 503: Seminar on States & Governance

Professor: Gilberto Rosas
Meets: Tuesdays, 5:00PM - 7:50PM

Explores theories of the state and governance through an anthropological perspective. Theoretical issues covered will include political economy, sovereignty, biopolitics, and empire across a range of social settings will attend to issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality.


CMN 538: Seminar in Rhetorical Theory: Rhetoric, Democracy, & Citizenship

Professor: J. David Cisneros
Meets: Tuesdays, 2:00PM - 4:50PM, 4007 Lincoln Hall

Advanced seminar that examines the formation of the emergent field of Critical Ethnic Studies and the key concepts of settler colonialism, racial capitalism, white supremacy, indigeniety, heteropatriarchy, decolonization, genocide, blackness, liberation, among others. 


EALC 550: The Anthropology of Modern China

Professor: Jeffrey T. Martin
Meets: Monday, 2:00PM - 4:00PM

This graduate seminar explores the proposition that modern China is culturally different from other modern societies. Arguments about cultural difference are politically contentious. Those who have championed the cause of Chinese (or Asian) exceptionalism range from the imperialist architects of “Orientalism,” to autocratic advocates of “Asian Values,” to progressive practitioners of a postcolonial “Asia as Method.” As well, standing in a slightly more detached position but no less implicated in the debate, is the discipline of cultural anthropology, with its foundational interest in cultural difference. This graduate seminar combines readings from all sides of this conversation about Chinese culture into a curriculum that is designed to achieve two goals. The first goal is substantive: By the end of this class, every student will have learned enough about the debate to take a well-informed position on the relationship between Chinese culture and Chinese modernity. You will demonstrate this in a paper you write, arguing for the validity of your position by reference to some body of empirical facts. The second goal of the course is methodological. Here we are interested in how the spectrum of political relativisms, generated in the historical process by which China makes its way in the modern world, relates to the culturalrelativism that founds ethnography as an empirical (even “scientific”) method. We will pursue this goal by paying close attention to evidence, and reflecting on the qualities that make a given piece of evidence solid ground for building arguments for or against cultural difference. We will focus in particular on value attached to specifically ethnographic data (broadly understood as empathetic testimonials about qualitative aspects of human life), and think critically about the pretense to political detachment that allows anthropologists to present their work as scientifically disinterested observation of the human condition. Again, the skills you acquire with this kind of reflexive critical treatment of data will be evidenced in the way you construct your final paper. 


ENGL 553: American Fiction in the 1920s & 1930s

Professor: Robert Dale Parker
Meets: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 9:30-10:45am

This course, deliberately organized more by time-period than by any particular argument about the time-period, will study a wide range of novels and stories and their varying refractions of formal, historical, and social interests, including Modernism and stream-of-consciousness; race, ethnicity, and indigeneity; poverty; region; and literary and social value. We will also address questions about gender, agency, representation, narrative form, literary history, and close reading that I might bring to almost any course. We will read canonical works as well as works that rarely appear on a syllabus, and we will read a modest assortment of related materials: works by the same or related writers, contemporary magazines, contemporary responses, history, criticism, etc. Prospective seminar members may find it particularly helpful to have the chance to read or reread The Sound and the Fury in the context of a class. This seminar will work by discussion. If you do not like to participate in discussion, then do not sign up for this seminar. Registered students can expect an emailed reading assignment for the first class approximately a week before classes begin. 


Reading list (highly tentative): Selections from Ernest Hemingway, The Short Stories; William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury; Anita Loos, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; Nella Larsen, Passing; Dorothy Parker, selections from Complete Stories; Tess Slesinger, The Unpossessed; Tom Kromer, Waiting for Nothing;John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath; D’Arcy McNickle, The Surrounded; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Carson McCullers, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter; and selections from The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty.


ENGL 578/CWL 571: What is World Literature?

Professor: Waïl S. Hassan
Meets: Mondays, 3:00-4:50

This seminar examines the concept of “world literature,” from Goethe’s coinage of the term “Weltliteratur” to the current academic industry, which has boomed since the end of the Cold War, producing conferences, workshops, monographs, and anthologies. What are the theoretical underpinnings of “world literature” in its various articulations and paradigms? What is considered “world literature” and what is not? The role of translation, transnational mobility, literary prizes, publishing houses, and the star system will be examined, along with the multiple afterlives of older classics such as The Arabian Nights and Shakespeare. Various practical aspects of the teaching of world literature—survey and theme-based formats, anthologies, constructing syllabi—will be central to our discussions in the latter part of the course. The seminar should appeal to students with interest in globalization and transnational studies, and those who would like to acquire a foundation for teaching world literature courses at the college level. 

Readings include:
Theo D’haen, The Routledge Concise History of World Literature
--- et al. World Literature: A Reader
David Damrosch, What is World Literature?
---, ed. Teaching World Literature
Pascale Casanova, The World Republic of Letters
Emily Apter, Against World Literature
Additional articles and literary selections


EPS 590/MEDIA 570: Pro-Seminar in Postcolonial Theory & Methodology

Professor: Cameron McCarthy
Meets: Thursdays, 12:00-1:50

Within the past decade and a half or so, there has been a steady expansion of scholarship calling attention to the rethinking of center-periphery relations between the third world and the first world. This body of scholarship--most often identified with literature studies, but which has expanded well beyond to other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences-- has come to be known as postcolonial theory. Proponents of postcolonial theory have sought to address a wide range of topics related to the historical and contemporary relationship between metropolitan and periphery countries as well as the spatio-temporal impact of colonial and neo-colonial relations on dominant and subordinated groups in the metropolitan countries themselves. These topics include the historical and geographical evolution of colonial relations and post-independence developments in countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean; patterns of identity formation, cultural representation, translation and cross-cultural connection between the metropole and the periphery in disciplinary areas such as literature, popular culture, music and art; and, concerns bearing upon the redefinition of the nation state in the light of globalization or the intensification and rapid movement of cultural and economic capital across national borders. Postcolonial scholars have also foraged into the area of methodology insisting on interdisciplinarity and the critical integration of scholarly methods across social science and humanities paradigms.

This course is intended as an overview of the major currents of thought in this emergent body of scholarly work.  After considering some preliminary issues of the history, definition and terms of reference of postcolonial theory, we will explore the major themes and substantive theoretical and methodological claims and interventions of postcolonial theorists.  This course should have broad appeal to students pursuing critical studies in the humanities, social sciences, education, the communications fields and in the emerging field of globalization theory.  Every effort will be made in the course to explore interdisciplinary connections between postcolonial theory and other related bodies of thought such a cultural studies, postmodernism, globalization studies, feminist theory, and research in the areas of development and dependency theory and modernization studies.


GEOG 496:Climate and Social Vulnerability

Professor: Jesse Ribot
Meets: Thursdays, 2:00-4:50

Existing climate variability and change call for and justify policies to protect vulnerable people. Why, however, are these people vulnerable in the first place? Who is vulnerable and how did they become exposed and sensitive. How was their fragility produced? Rather than needing protection from storms and droughts, vulnerable people need protection from the social and political-economic processes that generate their vulnerability – forces within society that push them to the brink of disaster. Without vulnerability, natural events are mere nuisances. With vulnerability, they become ‘hazards’ and can be implicated in disasters. This course focuses on the social production and reduction of vulnerability. The course will explore: 1) causes of climate-related vulnerability; and 2) practices and policies designed to reduce economic loss, hunger, famine and dislocation in the face of climate trends and events. It will focus on multiple policy scales affecting poor and marginal populations, who are disproportionately vulnerable when facing climate stress, drawing on case examples primarily from the developing world. The course will provide students with a critical theoretical base and policy-analytic skills applicable to increasing security and wellbeing of the poor.


HIST 502B: Global Sexualities (Problems in Comparative History)

Professors: Tamara Chaplin & Kevin Mumford
Meets: Tuesdays, 3:00-4:50

In The History of Sexuality: Volume I, Michel Foucault posited a distinction between what he called scientia sexualis and ars erotica in order to articulate a difference between Western and Eastern discourses of desire. This team-taught graduate course on Global Sexualities will explore this hypothesis and attempt to come to grips with how sexuality has been theorized, practiced, regulated, and contested around the world. Since the eighteenth century, the social regulation of sexual practices has become increasingly central to politics, economies, and identities. Empire, race, and disease have likewise shaped sexual discourses and laws. Advocates of secularization have battled the faithful to wrest control of sexual behavior from religion, and sexual desire has become a motor of the worldwide consumer economy. Sexuality has been medicalized, psychologized, normalized, and demonized as people from around the world have debated the parameters and meanings of the sexual realm. The purpose of this course is to read, discuss, and write about the history of sexuality in global perspective.


LAW 656: International Law

Professor: Francis A. Boyle
Meets: TBA

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 US Foreign Affairs

Professor: Francis A. Boyle
Meets: TBA

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.

Sequence and Prerequisites: None.


RLST 494: Indigenous Traditions

Professor: James Treat
Meets: Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30am-10:50am

This is an interdisciplinary seminar on indigenous religious traditions, focusing especially on the study of native North American religions. Assigned readings are drawn from representative texts covering important perspectives in the relevant fields. Research projects allow each participant to supplement our collective effort by exploring an individual interest in greater detail.Students have the opportunity to gain a basic understanding of indigenous traditions; to conduct focused research on a related topic, theme, or issue; and to develop critical skills for use in educational, professional, and personal settings.

Joel W. Martin, The Land Looks After Us: A History of Native American Religion(Oxford University Press, 1999).
Dennis Tedlock and Barbara Tedlock (eds.), Teachings from the American Earth: Indian Religion and Philosophy (Liveright, 1975).
Lee Irwin (ed.), Native American Spirituality: A Critical Reader (University of Nebraska Press, 2000).
Jacob K. Olupona (ed.), Beyond Primitivism: Indigenous Religious Traditions and Modernity (Routledge, 2004).



For more information on course affiliation, please contact Susan Koshy (skoshy@illinois.edu).