ANTH 508: Feminist Theory in Anthropology

Professor: Alma Gottlieb
Meets: T 2:30-5:20pm, Davenport Hall 209A

What is feminist anthropology, how does it enrich other realms of anthropology, and how does it relate to broader feminist theory? Can feminism and cultural relativity engage in a productive dialogue? What is feminist ethnography, and is/can/should it be written "differently"? In this graduate seminar we will take a roughly chronological look at how a range of authors, from founding mothers to contemporary scholars, have reshaped the subdiscipline of cultural anthropology by reminding us that we are all gendered. We explore a range of theoretical perspectives, from political economy to postcolonial to literary. Although we’ll mostly focus on writings by cultural anthropologists, we’ll also look at relations between feminist anthropology and some other disciplines. Weekly reading notes and a final research paper are the major writings you’ll produce for the course. 


ARTH 550: American Art and the Commercial Imagination

Professor: Jennifer Greenhill
Meets: M 3:00-5:50pm, Art + Design 114

This seminar examines the fraught relation between art and commerce, and seeks to put a finer point on the limit conditions and possibilities of art produced within a commercial matrix in the U.S. between the late 19- and mid 20th century. We will focus, in particular, on mass-market illustration—a field of cultural production marked by exceptional innovation in this period—and ask how illustrators complicated the clarity and conventionality that art directors, audiences, and the makers of products often expected of them. The course considers the work of Maxfield Parrish, Coles Phillips, Elizabeth Shippen Green, E. Simms Campbell, J. C. Leyendecker, and Norman Rockwell, among many others, and explores the concepts of commodity fetishism, kitsch, the avant-garde, propaganda, the cute and the quaint, and so on. Thinkers to be consulted include Karl Marx, W. E. B. Du Bois, Henry James, Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Clement Greenberg, Andreas Huyssen, J. Hillis Miller, Michael Camille, Benjamin Buchloh, and Noël Carroll.


ARTH 546: Practicing Utopias

Professor: Irene Small
Meets: M 6:00-8:50pm, Art + Design 114

This class explores the recurring theme of utopia in modern and contemporary art, from the laboratories of the Russian avant-garde to works made in the wake of Arab Spring. While we will consider the aims and content of various utopias and dystopias, our emphasis will be on how utopias are practiced, which is to say constructed, contested, negotiated, and re-worked. Topics to be treated include the role of abstraction and narrative in envisioning utopia, notions of rupture and recuperation, embodiment and materiality, the temporal and spatial framing of utopias, and the porousness of boundaries. Artists and theorists to be considered include: El Lissitzky, Joseph Beuys, Paul Chan, Tania Bruguera, Sharon Hayes, Anri Sala, Marquis de Sade, Fredric Jameson, Giorgio Agamben, Michael Hardt. Discussions will be integrated with seminars leading up to the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory’s spring 2011 conference “Beyond Utopias?”


CWL 502: Cross Cultural Comparison

Professor: Nancy Blake
Meets: W 2:00-4:20pm, FLB 3032

This seminar is an introduction to the comparative method of study of cultural production. The focus will be more specifically on questions of alterity, cultural worldviews and cross-cultural encounters. The discipline is informed by philosophical, historical, anthropological and psychoanalytic perspectives which will each be examined during the course of the semester. Members of the group will engage in close reading exercises as the formative for comparative interpretation, scholarship and pedagogy.


ENGL 563: Queer Color Critique

Professor: Richard Rodriguez
Meets: Th 3:00-4:50pm, English 123

In this seminar we will examine recent work directly or indirectly contributing to an emergent interdisciplinary enterprise known as “queer of color critique.”  Beginning with José Esteban Muñoz’s Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics and Roderick Ferguson’s Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique, our first item of business will be to distinguish the central critical tenets of such texts (the linkage of racial/ethnic matters to queer theory, the dislodging of the term “queer” from specifically (white) LGBT concerns, etc.) and the social and political antecedents (civil rights and racial/ethnic empowerment movements in the U.S., women of color feminism, etc.) that have guaranteed their publication. We will then turn to the work of scholars like M. Jacqui Alexander, Martin Manalansan, Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley, Kathryn Bond Stockton, Karen Tongson, Michael Hames-García, Ernesto J. Martínez, and Chandan Reddy to ascertain the ongoing struggle to put queer theory in dialog with race/ethnic studies but also to consider how queer theoretical projects attentive to interlocking forms of difference assist in troubling traditional disciplines, discourses, and social spaces.  The course will conclude with Sharon P. Holland’s The Erotic Life of Racism in order to ponder the relevance of queer of color critique in the face of quotidian manifestations of inequality and exploitation.


ENGL 581: Posthumanism

Professor: Robert Markley
Meets: Tu 1:00-2:50pm, English 123

This seminar examines a rich, evolving, and the controversial literature that, since c. 1980, has critiqued “humanism” and its concerns with individual consciousness, theories of language and representation, social contract theory, and the discourses of political and civil rights. In different ways, Posthumanism argues that the traditional disciplines of the humanities either neglect or misinterpret the profound challenges posed by science and technology studies, animal studies, disability studies, science fiction, and systems theory to its seemingly core values and assumptions. During this seminar, then, we will read a number of articles and sections of books that both extend and critique much of the theoretical work of the 1970s-1990s with which you may be familiar. Taken as a whole, Posthumanism challenges the anthropocentricism of much that we take for granted in the western philosophical and literary tradition. Over the course of the semester we will read texts by both theorists who define themselves as posthumanists, including Donna Haraway, Cary Wolfe, Bruno Latour, Katherine Hayles, Jacques Derrida (the late work that isn’t in the anthologies), and Freidrich Kittler, as well as work by recent critics such as Stacy Alaimo, Bruce Clarke, John Johnston, Lisa Yaszek, Mark Hansen, Susan Squier, and others.  Because science fiction has played such a powerful role in reshaping what we imagine as the “human,” and the always incomplete and always ongoing “evolution” to the posthuman, we read some key works of recent science fiction by William Gibson, Margaret Atwood, Richard Powers, and Octavia Butler.


GWS 560/MDIA 560: Feminist Media Studies

Professors: Co-taught by ICR Professors: C.L. Cole, Isabel Molina Guzmán, Sarah Projansky, Paula Treichler, and Angharad Valdivia
Meets: T 9:00-11:50am, Location TBA

The course examines a range of film, television, popular music, and “new” media along with contemporary critical approaches to feminist media studies, multicultural, transnational, queer theory, audience and interpretation, critical ethnic and race studies, disability, Girls Studies, health, science & medicine, and post colonial approaches


GWS 590/MDIA 590: Feminist Girls Media Studies

Professor: Sarah Projansky
Meets: Th 2:00-4:50pm, 102 911 S. Sixth Street

What is a girl? How do girls' experiences redefine culture and society? What kinds ofcultural knowledge do narratives about girls produce? How are girls regulated? How do girls define themselves? Course provides an overview of recent work in Girls' Studies, an emerging interdisciplinary area of study, and conceptualizes a feminist approach to the study of girls and the media. Topics include: cultural production of girlhood in multiple media forms; girls' media production; and girl audiences, as fans, interactive users, consumers, and spectators. Course asks what theoretical assumptions and methodological approaches emerge in these scholarly contexts, and it considers what areas of feminist studies and media studies that have not yet engaged girls' studiesmight profit from doing so.


HIST 502: Global and World History

Professor: David Prochaska
Meets: Th 3:00-4:50pm, Gregory 318

How we got from the Big Bang to Obama, with a few whistle stops in between. We concern ourselves with how to read, conceptualize, and teach global and world history. We read wide-angle overviews (David Christian, Kenneth Pomeranz) and focus down on single locales. We sample some old wine (Eric Wolf, Immanuel Wallerstein) as well as several newer vintages. We expand our purview beyond the discipline of history to encompass other disciplines and perspectives. 

Themes new to the 2012 edition: The history of the national security state since 1945, from the wartime OSS-become-CIA to our more than 19 spy agencies today, or why it is no longer paranoid to think somebody is after you. The history of the "war on terrorism," including right-wing terrorism, and why it is as American as Oklahoma City. Why Cold War-era films such as Godzilla, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers tell us as much about history as the McCarthy documentary Point of Order. Why the remake of The Manchurian Candidate could not boldly go where the original had for fear of scaring the audience. From Ronald Reagan the movie to George Bush the horrorshow, from the radical Right then to now. We end with the history of the future: how the war in Afghanistan ends, how the 2012 elections play out, the next 100 years, and other inconvenient truths. Expect enormous changes at the last minute: the Arab Spring-become-Fall 2011; Web 1.0, 2.0, 3.0; #OWS.


LAW 657: International Human Rights Law

Professor: Francis Boyle
Meets: MT 3:00-4:15pm, Location TBA

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. 


LAW 687: Jurisprudence

Professor: Francis Boyle
Meets: MT 4:30-5:45pm, Location TBA

In recent years this course has surveyed the principal schools of legal and political philosophy in Western civilizations. Topics include the nature and role of the state, the nature and role of law, and the position of the individual in the state. The principal writers surveyed are Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Bentham, and J.S. Mill.


MACS 496: Cinematic Special Effects

Professor: Julie Turnock
Meets: Tu/Th 2:00-3:20pm, Armory 147

Moving from early trick films to current digital effects, this course explores the technology, history and aesthetics of special effects, with a focus on representational strategies of film. Previous attention to special effects has addressed genre (especially science fiction) and theories of "the digital." This course adds to these foci by drawing on a historical perspective to question various binaries common in discussions of special effects, especially optical vs. digital, and realism vs. fantasy. The course examines how films mobilize specific technologies, and the aesthetic frameworks they bring into play. Students will apply "close viewing”\" strategies in assignments, specifically to understand how special effects techniques function in specific instances, both technologically and discursively. 

MACS 504: Theories of Cinema

Professor: Kent A. Ono
Meets: Tu 2:00-4:50pm, Gregory 336

Seminar on influential theories and accompanying debates about the textual/extra-textual mechanisms and cultural/political impact of cinema and related screen media. This semester the course begins with a review of basic and formative film theory, understood within the historical context in which it was and is written and received. Building on this groundwork, the course then moves on to consider rhetorical aspects of film theory and askswhat theories film scholars can use to address the relationships among film, politics, and society.

PHIL441: Existential Philosophy

Professor: Richard Schacht
Meets: Tu/Th 2:00-3:20pm, Henry 156

What was existentialism all about? What was it? And what about the kind of philosophical enterprise that prepared the way for it, launched by Martin Heidegger in Being and Time (1927), that has come to be known as "existential philosophy" or (in German) "Existenzphilosophie" (the philosophical analysis of Existenz, human “existing”)? The year 2012 is the 50th anniversary year of the publication of the first English-language translation of Heidegger’s classic pioneering text, shifting the focus of existential philosophy in the English-speaking world from the French existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus (whose writings were already available in the 1950s) to the German original that had been its inspiration. This anniversary is an especially timely occasion for a consideration of the questions posed above – and of the significance of these once-revolutionary and ground-shaking philosophical developments for philosophy and human self-understanding today. That is what we will be undertaking in this course. We will begin with a splash, in the form of several literary and popular-philosophical works by Camus and Sartre that helped to make “existential,” “existentialism” and “existentialist” catch-words of mid-20th-century intellectual and cultural radical anti-establishmentarianism. We then will step back and take a brief look at four post-Kantian 19th-century philosophers who themselves set the stage for the emergence of Existenzphilosophie and existentialism in the second quarter of the 20th century: Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche. With the table set in these ways, we then will devote most of the rest of the semester to a consideration of the two primary texts of (German) Existenzphilosophie and (French) existentialism: Heidegger’s Being and Time and Sartre’s Being and Nothingness. We will conclude with a brief look at several alternatives to them within what may now be called the “existential-philosophical tradition.”