Fall 2022 Course Offerings

SOC 563 Global Social Movements

Prof: Asef Bayat

Meets: Mondays 3:00-6:20 pm

Why do people rebel when they do? Why do some succeed and others fail? And how do such collective actions change people’s lives and their societies? The course navigates through the ‘everyday resistance’, ‘social movements’, and ‘social revolutions’, human endeavors that have fundamentally transformed our modern societies. Going beyond the Eurocentric perspectives, the course takes a global outlook both conceptually and geographically to engage critically and productively with the sociology of resistance.


GWS 540 Intersectional Pedagogies

Professor: Toby Beauchamp

Meets: Tuesdays 10:00AM-12:50PM in 1020 Lincoln Hall

This interdisciplinary graduate seminar examines pedagogical theories and practices, focusing on interventions developed in feminist, queer, trans, disability, and ethnic studies. The course is not designed as a “how-to” for teaching, but rather as a collective inquiry into the institutional and political conditions under which we teach, the relationships between pedagogy and theory, and the pedagogical approaches that might best nurture liberatory thought and practices. To structure this type of study, the reading material includes a number of theoretical works that provide deeper context and framing for scholarship focused more specifically on pedagogy. The class is organized in three interconnected units. We begin by examining the university as an institution that commodifies and manages minoritarian knowledge production. The second section takes up a range of critiques of inclusion, diversity, and access in higher education. Finally, we consider some specific conditions of teaching, including affective labor.


GER 575 Fascism: Its Aesthetics, Its Critics, Then and Now

Professor: Anna Hunt

Meets: Thursdays 3-4:50 PM in Davenport Hall (Room 215)

On returning to Europe in 1948, Brecht observed that “The rapid decline of artistic methods under the Nazis seems to have taken place almost unnoticed. The damage done to theatre buildings is far more conspicuous than that done to the style of acting. This is partly because the former took place with the fall of the Nazi regime, but the latter during its rise. Even today people will speak of the ‘brilliant’ technique of the Goering-style theatre, as if such a technique could be taken over without bothering what direction its brilliance took. A technique which served to hide the causality at work in society can hardly be used to show it up.” Brecht’s point? To voice an unease that what is so worrisomely pernicious about Fascist aesthetics is much more than the ideological content. It is the way Fascism taught its audience to see, which is to say not to see: to look away. That Fascist works were extremely successful at directing – or (trans)fixing the eye and taught its audience to expect this of art is a large part of the problem. The question remains, as Brecht says, how to “show it up:” Fascist aesthetics have had troubling staying power (their influence particularly felt in Hollywood) and tackling these aesthetics has been immensely difficult. This class investigates Fascist aesthetics, contemporary critiques of the same, and subsequent critiques of spectacle. We will focus on Fascism’s elevation of beauty, spectacle and the visual register, monotony, cliché, and sentimentality. We will probe the works of artists and critics determined to liberate art from these narrow confines and find, through the liberation of the imagination, a means of effectively uprooting the remnants of Fascism deeply imbedded in our ways of seeing. Works by: Brecht, Benn, Celan, Riefenstahl, Adorno, Arendt, Benjamin, Sontag, Lommel, Debord, Sebald, Ayim, Lorde, Moten, Hartman. Class taught in English. Reading knowledge of German is encouraged but not required.


AIS 503 Decolonial Love in Indigenous Literature and Theory

Professor: Deena Rymhs

Meets: TBA

Drawing on the writing of such authors as Leanne Simpson, annie ross, Billy-Ray Belcourt, Tommy Pico, Tanya Tagaq, Marie Clements, and Tanaya Winder, this seminar explores representations of "decolonial love" in Indigenous literary and scholarly texts. In the archive assembled for the course, decolonial love may describe intimate bonds between people; it may also involve the embracing of two-spirit or Indigiqueer identity, or the claiming of kinship connections that defy the privatization of intimacy and forms of social reproduction characterizing settler-colonial life. Decolonial love not only describes love between people but also love of place, lands, and more-than-human worlds. These expansions to Junot Diaz’s original iteration of decolonial love will serve as a centerpiece of the seminar, which further asks what kinds of reparative relationships is academic dialogue capable of building.

Check back later for the link to Course Explorer. 


AAS 501 Theories and Methods for Asian American Studies

Professor: Maryam Kashani

Meets: Tuesdays 10 AM-12:20 PM

Foundational gateway course for graduate study in Asian American Studies, examining the political, historical, epistemological, and cultural bases of the field through an intensive reading of canonical works and study of core concepts in the field. Also highlights the problems of interdisciplinary research and scholarship and adopts an intersectional and coalitional approach to Asian American Studies as it assumes the necessary linkages between other areas in ethic/racial and gender/sexuality studies.


GWS 575 Transnational Feminisms

Professor: Maryam Kashani

Meets: Wednesdays 2-4:50 PM

Study of the terms, methodologies and theoretical interventions of transnational feminist studies. Transnational is a term that calls attention to circuits of political, economic, and social phenomena across the boundaries of nation-states. Emerging as a response to the shortcomings of overarching, economic theorizations of globalization as well as Western versions of "global feminism," transnational feminist studies is an interdisciplinary critical field that draws from the vocabularies of postcolonial studies, poststructuralism, Third World feminisms, race and ethnic studies feminism in self-reflexive and context-specific ways. Examines recent reconceptualizations of relations between woman and nation; gender and globalization; feminist theory and practice.


ENGL 500: Introduction to Criticism and Research

Professor: Robert Dale Parker

Meets: Mondays and Wednesdays 1:00-2:15 PM in the English Building (Room 307)

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, race studies (including critical race theory), postcolonial studies, reader response, environmental criticism, and disability studies. Students will also have the opportunity to 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 your graduate studies and academic progress intellectually and administratively. Attendance, inquisitiveness, and vocal participation in class discussion are crucial. 


ENGL 547 Genres of the Nineteenth-Century American Novel

Professor: Justine Murison

Meets: Tuesdays 12:30-2:50 PM in English (Room 125)

This course is designed as an introduction to novel theory, genre theory, and the history of the novel in English, and to serve as a survey of the nineteenth-century US novel. We will consider both the continuities between genres often considered distinct (such as the sentimental novel and the realist novel) and we will look into the reception of these novels in their own day and discuss their influence and prominence (or lack thereof) in our own. Our objectives will be twofold: first, to build a deeper and more varied understanding of the types of novels published and read in the United States across the long nineteenth century; and second, the ability to research, write about, and teach novels with an attention to the connections between form, genre, and history. Writers may include Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Fanny Fern, Frank J. Webb, Louisa May Alcott, Charles Chesnutt, Edith Wharton, Henry James, and Pauline Hopkins.


LA 506: Landscape and Vision

Professor: D. Fairchild Ruggles

Meets: TBA

A study of the major 20th-century texts on vision, perception, and perspective as applied to architecture and landscape.


GWS 550: Feminist Theories & Methods

Professor: Emma Velez

Meets: Thursdays from 2:00-4:50 PM in Lincoln Hall (Room 1068)

Feminist theory has two aims; the first is to critique existing knowledge practices, theoretical paradigms, and conceptual systems in a wide range of disciplines for embedded biases and exclusions of gender-related issues and experiences, and the second is to propose new theoretical approaches, new concepts, and new attunements that better reflect the manifold experiences related to gender as well as transforming unjust institutions, practices, and beliefs.

This course provides a graduate level introduction to some of the key theoretical trends and debates in feminist theory today, including: (1) feminist epistemologies; (2) debates about intersectionality or how to theorize with attention to difference; (3) feminist attention to the role of the body including issues of affect and racialization; (4) anti- and decolonial critiques of western feminism and the attempt to create feminist transnational, anticolonial, and anti-racist coalitions and worlds of sense.

Participants in the seminar will be urged to draw upon their own disciplinary backgrounds and interests to produce multi- faceted analyses of how feminist theory may be used critically and imaginatively to open their fields of study in complex and dynamic ways.


MACS 503: Historiography of Cinema

Professor: Julie Turnock

Meets: Thursdays 1-4:50 pm in Gregory Hall (Room 336)

While the title of this course is “Historiography of Cinema,” it is designed to help you research and incorporate issues of moving image culture more broadly into your research agendas. Cinema studies provides the longest and most thorough discourse on moving image culture, and therefore this course introduces methodology and theory beneficial to students working on topics in television, video art, advertising, and digital media-making, and more. The aim of this class is to introduce and train students in research methods and approaches in moving image studies and discuss how the long tradition of cinematic scholarly discourse can impact research in other areas of media and various periods of technological emergence. The texts will model various approaches to historical research, and just as importantly, the priority given to different kinds of evidence and the interpretation of that evidence. As part of the course time, there will be a screening (usually about 90min-2h) of a film appropriate to the following week’s reading.  


CWL 581: Memory of Objects

Professor: Brett Kaplan

Meets: Mondays 3-4:50 pm (in person)

How do material things carry memory? Evoke memory? How are objects of/and memory represented in literary texts? How do the objects of looted art—whether the Benin Bronzes, the Elgin Marbles, or the untold number of objects looted by the Nazi regime—reconceive memories at familial, personal, national levels? This course will explore these and other questions through a wide range of literary, historical, and cinematic texts. This course will count as the Introduction to Holocaust, Genocide, Memory Studies seminar. This class is cross listed as Jewish Studies 502.


HIST 591: History and Social Theory

Professor: Tamara Chaplin 

Meets: Wednesdays 1:00-2:50 pm (in person)

“Theory”—love it or hate it, social theory provides the epistemological framework through which historians, sociologists and other scholars in the humanistic and social science disciplines conceptualize our world.  But what is social theory?  How does it relate to historical practices?  Are history and social theory fundamentally incompatible?  How might social theory bolster historical work?  Our goal will be to develop a “theoretical toolbox” that is both available and useful to us as historians, scholars, and educators. We will examine canonical 19th and 20th century social theory, as well as postmodern, feminist, postcolonial and queer critical approaches to this area of intellectual inquiry. Our readings will draw on the scholarship of scholars like Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Freud, Gramsci, Adorno, Habermas, Geertz, Goffman, Bourdieu, Althusser, Kuhn, Foucault, Lyotard, Scott, Butler, Fanon, Bhabha, Halberstam and Ahmed. Work includes producing short critical responses, leading discussion, and writing one longer paper. 


SOC 596: Law and Society

Professor: Jose Atiles

Meets: Thursdays 3:30-6:30pm (in person)

This course discusses major issues and debates in the fields of law and society and socio-legal studies. This course covers the theory and practice of legal and political institutions in performing several major functions at the local, national, and transnational levels, such as: allocating authority, enabling social control, defining relationships, resolving conflict, adapting to social change, and fostering social solidarity. In examining these functions, the course will assess the nature and limits of law, consider alternative perspectives on law, and discuss various ways to structure legal processes.


PS 521: Philosophical Bases of Political Inquiry

Professor: Sam Frost

Meets: Wednesdays 1:00-3:20pm in David Kinley Hall, Room 404

This course examines a range of debates in the philosophy of social science as the latter pertains to the question of how to study politics. We will be particularly attentive to the entanglement of ideas about ontology, epistemology, and methodology. Topics examined include positivism, methodological individualism, historicism, hermeneutics, complexity theory, social practice theory, rational choice theory, pragmatism, ordinary language philosophy, post-structuralism, and comparative political theory, scrutinizing in each instance how analytic categories such as gender, race, and colonialism shape our sense of what it is possible to ask and what it is possible to know about politics. Thus, the course surveys the politics of inquiry itself as much as it considers the parameters for the study of politics. Students who are not in the Department of Political Science are welcome to join the class with permission from the instructor (frost@illinois.edu).


LAW 657: International Human Rights Law

Professor: Francis A. Boyle

Meets: Mondays & Tuesdays 3-4:15 pm (online)

Based primarily on a series of contemporary “real world” problems, the course introduces the student to the established and developing legal rules and procedures governing the protection of international human rights. Its thesis is that there exists a substantial body of substantive and procedural International Human Rights Law, and that lawyers, government officials, and concerned citizens should be familiar with the policies underlying this law and its enforcement, as well as with the potential it offers for improving the basic lot of human beings everywhere. Additionally, the course presupposes that the meaning of “human rights” is undergoing fundamental expansion, and therefore explores Marxist and Third World conceptions of human rights as well as those derived from the liberal West.

Sequence and Prerequisites: Restricted to students in the Law department and to Unit Affiliated Students who request permission from Prof. Boyle.

Evaluation: Paper.