AAS 490: Critical Ethnic Studies
Professor: Junaid Rana
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, indigeneity, heteropatriarchy, decolonization, genocide, blackness, liberation, among others.
ANTH 515: The Anthropology of Home: The Cultural Politics and Social Architecture of Intimacies, Domesticities and Dwellings
Professor: Martin Manalansan
As we are fast becoming aware of and increasingly being affected by the disturbing realities of a rapidly deteriorating world, the destructive forces of neoliberal fantasies, the forging of fraught global entanglements, and the deadly politics of climatic shifts in the Anthropocene era, age-old enduring questions about intimacy, dwelling and survival have and continue to be amplified and rendered necessary. The course responds (albeit in its limited way) to mounting world-weariness, palpable trepidations and longings for something beyond the now – looking to horizons and distant futures. Can home still be the refuge we imagined it to be? Is home somewhere? Or has it ever been?
This course is a meditation on and a confrontation with the ideas of home and dwelling as they are implicated in space and time, history and culture, proximity and distance, power and powerlessness. Focusing on the complexities and messiness of actual and imagined houses, apartments and other forms and scales of domiciles, the readings and discussion will focus on the exploration of world-(un)making and habitation within and outside four (or more) walls and/or other territorial and imaginary borders.
This interdisciplinary seminar brings together theories and concepts from philosophy, cultural studies, critical theory, affect studies, architectural theory, ethnography, feminism , diaspora studies, queer studies, material culture, new materialism, postcolonial studies, critical race studies, and cultural geography among others in order to limn and trace the messy itineraries and cartographies of various interiorities and ecologies that make up ordinariness, erotics, normativity, queerness, discomfort, precarity, refuge, hopefulness, pessimism, privacy, death, aliveness, privacy, publics, happiness and pathos.
Readings will include but are not limited to Ahmed, Bachelard, Bahloul, Baudrillard, Benjamin, Berlant, Bhabha, Bourdieu, Chauduri, Douglas, Duggan, Elias, Fuss, Gopinath, Hall, Heidegger, Ingold, Lefebvre. Lowe, Marx, Mercer, Munoz, Rybczinski and Stewart.
CWL 501: Theory of Literature
Professor: Brett Ashley Kaplan
This seminar is designed to introduce critical theory and to ensure that incoming graduate students have a rigorous and historically structured sense of the path to the contemporary theory that is the true north of much scholarship in the humanities. Moving through such key thinkers as Kant, Nietzsche, Freud, Foucault, Derrida, Levinas, Fanon, Butler, and others, the course offers close readings of many of the central works of these theorists. Final papers should both draw upon these theories and advance each student’s own research agenda. Each student will prepare one short presentation on a work of his/her choice
CWL 571: Seminar in Literary Relations
Professor: Harriet Murav
At the beginning of the 20th century moderns and modernists announced their break with the past and launched various artistic , philosophical, political, and social experiments that claimed to construct society and the individual anew. The machine, speed, technology, and the future were the watchwords of Futurists and other modernist groups. Revolutionary transformation on all fronts was the way forward. In the same period advances in science and technology radically changed the horizon of possibility. Yet other important artists and thinkers offered the contrasting view that the past remains alive in the present—both in individuals and in human cultures. Memory was key to the future. CWL 571 explores the role of slow time, memory, and impeded perception in modernism by reading theoretical and artistic work by Henri Bergson, Viktor Shklovsky, Walter Benjamin, Gilles Deleuze, David Bergelson, Virginia Woolf, and Osip Mandelshtam. No Russian required. Selected secondary literature supplements these readings.
CWL 581: Psychoanalytic Theory Then and Now
Professor: Nancy Blake
This seminar proposes an extensive examination of some foundational texts of Freudian and Lacanian theory accompanied by recent readings/ rereadings of their premises. We will continually attempt to evaluate the weight of ideological frameworks, including medicine and the sciences, in their elaborations.
ENGL 500: Introduction to Criticism and Research
Professor: Robert Dale Parker
This course is a survey-introduction to the concepts and methods of recent critical theory. In short, it is a ticket to engaged fluency in the dialogues and opportunities of contemporary criticism, designed for newer English graduate students (and more experienced graduate students) who do not already have a broad background in critical theory. We will proceed through a series of cumulative, overlapping units on new criticism, structuralism, deconstruction and poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, feminism, queer studies, Marxism, historicism, cultural studies, critical race theory, postcolonial studies, reader response, ecocriticism, and disability studies. We will also participate in the Modern Critical Theory Tuesday evening lecture series sponsored by the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory and including parallel graduate seminars from other departments. Depending on scheduling and student interests, we may devote sessions to such practical concerns for graduate study in English as research methods, graduate writing, and organizing and planning one's graduate studies and academic progress intellectually and administratively. Attendance, inquisitiveness, and active participation in class discussion are crucial. (Students who prefer to be seen but not heard should not enroll.)
ENGL 583: Disability Pedagogy
Professor: Catherine Prendergast
Although much scholarly ink has been spilt considering the impact of race, class, and gender on pedagogy, academics are only recently grappling with the notion of ability. In this course we will look at this recent turn toward considering ableism’s pervasive influence on pedagogy, particularly as it touches on areas of education in writing, literature, and language. Topics include accommodation, disclosure, access, inclusion, discrimination, universal design, and neurodiversity. The course will take advantage of the extensive archives of the University of Illinois’ own history as an institution that has attempted to remodel itself over the years to accommodate students with disabilities.
Texts include: Sequenzia and Grace: Typed Words, Loud Voices; Price: Mad at School; Saks: The Center Cannot Hold; Davis: Enforcing Normalcy; Garland-Thomson: Staring: How we Look.
GEOG 520: Political Ecology
Professor: Trevor Birkenholtz
This course examines the relationship between people and nature through the broadly defined lens of Political Ecology. Political Ecology is a multi-disciplinary approach, spanning Geography, Anthropology, Sociology and Political Science (among other cognate fields), to the study of access to and control over natural resources. The field involves an analysis of the social institutions and environmental conditions through which access to resources is mediated. As an evolving field, it frames resource systems within complex networks of processes – political institutions, political economy, globalization, gender/race relations, socially produced discourses/knowledges, and nonhuman agents – to understand the ways that these multiple processes impact the interaction of humans with the nonhuman world.
Historically the framework has been advanced and deployed in the Global South to understand development processes and livelihood systems. More recently however, the approach is being employed by researchers in the Global North to address questions of conservation, environmental degradation, urbanization, and environmental justice and governance. Therefore, it is a very dynamic field.
This course explores the fields' origins and will apply its analytical tools to a collection of case studies drawn from both the Global North and Global South.
HIST 502: Wars and Their Legacies
Professor: Leslie J. Reagan
In the past few years, a growing interest in the history of war has become visible among historians whose research specialties have been neither military nor foreign policy history. For instance, the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics and Gender and History have sponsored special issues on war and its multifaceted histories. This new interest, including my own interest in war's influence on daily life and the body, has undoubtedly grown out of the last fifteen years of the "war on terror" and the wars in which the United States has engaged. It is evident that war permeates national policies, civil rights, public discourse, law, popular entertainment, and people's general outlook on the world, to name a few things.
Wars have often been thought of (and taught) as discrete events that occurred during specific dates: the Civil War, 1860-65, the Spanish-American War in 1898, and so on, and the times in between may be treated as times of peace or normality. These seemingly obvious demarcations provide one opening point for interrogation. What marks a war's end (or it's start)? There may be more than one "ending." Historians have, of course, long considered the short-term and long- term consequences of war in terms of military knowledge, global power, foreign policy, and national economies and politics. This graduate reading course will take as its subject the history of wars and their myriad legacies. The legacies of war include the environmental and health impact of bombing and chemical warfare; the trauma of mass deaths, torture, and sexual assaults; the economic impact of waging war, destruction, and remaking societies; wounds, disabilities and social responses to veterans; new policies and agencies; war crime trials and peace and reconciliation projects, and much more. In this course we will explore how historians have analyzed wars through a wide range of questions, methods, and theories and consider what we find most useful for understanding the long history of collective violence and its consequences. We will consider too what the goals of historical research have been in this area.
Students should come away with some "traditional" knowledge of war, will choose war(s) to study in depth, and will also be able to develop their knowledge in specific fields, such as disability, gender, race, and/or environmental history among others. For examples of some of the topics and books that the course is likely to include: The (U.S.) Civil War, Jim Downs, Sick From Freedom and Drew Faust, The Republic of Suffering; World War I, Linker, War's Waste: Rehabilitation in World War I America; Bourke, Dismembering the Male; World War II, the dropping of the atomic bomb, the holocaust; Vietnam War, Agent Orange, environmental and health effects; veterans' movements; "The Other 9/11: Chile, 1973,"Radical History Review; military and human experimentation.
LA 505: Fields of Vision
Professor: D. Fairchild Ruggles
This advanced seminar explores visual theory and three-dimensional space. The format consist of a discussion of prepared texts on vision, perspective, perception, semiotics, mimesis, framing, and the cultural and/or 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 will be to outline the structure of the argument of each book or essay in writing prior to class, to discuss its implications for the study of landscape and the built environment in class, and then to revise and polish it for delivery of the rewritten summary to me the following week.
LLS 596: Representation, Inequality and the Media
Professor: Isabel Molina-Guzmán
This seminar engages the literature in feminist critical media studies to explore the politics of contemporary representations in news and entertainment. Using an intersectional empirical and theoretical lens participants engage readings that 1) trouble how race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and indigeneity work together in mainstream media to produce hyper-visibility and invisibility; 2) question how contemporary representations of difference in the mainstream media contribute to structural inequalities; and 3) the ways in which alternative, independent and digital media potential disrupt representational and structural inequality.
MUS 523A: Music, Gender, and Sexuality
Professor: Michael Silvers
In this seminar, we will examine how practices of music-making, listening, and fandom participate in the construction of gender and sexual identities, the ways gender and sexuality are encoded in sound and musical gesture, and relationships between music, bodies, and desire. Literature will concern musics and identity formations from a range of cultural perspectives. We will also read relevant feminist and queer scholarship from outside the music disciplines.