The College of Arts and Science wishes to thank alumna Constance Milstein (WSC ‘69) and the CJM Foundation for providing generous funding to create the Collegiate Seminar Program.
In the fall 2007 semester, the College of Arts and Science launched its new Collegiate Seminar Program for entering freshmen. These Collegiate Seminars have several distinctive features. Offered only to freshmen in the College of Art and Science, they are taught exclusively by distinguished senior Arts and Science faculty whose excellence as scholars and teachers has been recognized by their appointment as Collegiate Professors. These faculty not only teach these courses but also serve as the students’ mentors throughout their entire undergraduate careers at NYU. During the semester in which the seminar is offered and in subsequent semesters, the faculty work with their students to create special enrichment and reunion activities, which might include a visit with a renowned scholar; a museum, theater, concert, or film outing; a dinner discussion on a book or poem; or just a purely social evening.
Like other seminars, these small classes are meant to introduce students to important subjects and to challenge them intellectually through rigorous standards of analysis and oral and written argumentation. To that end, they stress demanding readings and writing assignments that introduce students to an essential research skill—such as a literature review, quantitative reasoning, critical use of primary sources, the identification of a research problem, critical analysis of texts, or confrontations with works of art. In addition to participating actively in class discussions, students are expected to give oral presentations in class. A final paper will typically, though not always, have gone through one or more revisions, perhaps revised with the benefit of in-class comments. In other seminars the focus may be on individual or group projects.
In applying and registering for one of these seminars, students are expected to commit themselves to doing honors-level academic work and to participating actively in co-curricular and mentoring activities beyond the semester-long course.
The Cultural Nature of Language
(V70.0101; call # 76778)
Instructor: Bambi Schieffelin
Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30–10:45 a.m.
From accents, pronouns, swearing, and spelling, how one uses language is never value-free. In this seminar we examine language-using as a social practice, and analyze how speakers and their language(s) are evaluated and regulated across a range of contexts and cultures. Starting with how children learn to talk, or don’t (e.g.,feral children), we examine speech and silence across a range of societies. We look at popular attitudes toward language and the practices by which people regulate its use in the media (e.g., political correctness), in legal and educational institutions (e.g., “English Only”), and in multilingual cities (e.g., Barcelona, Montreal) in order to understand how ideas about language are often recruited to non-linguistic concerns, such as who should be included and who excluded. In thinking about the cultural nature of language in this way, we critically explore issues of identity and authority.
BAMBI SCHIEFFELIN, Collegiate Professor and Professor of Anthropology, is a linguistic anthropologist who has studied speech practices among Haitians (Queens, N.Y.), lawyers and litigants in lower Manhattan’s Small Claims Court, college students and their use of IM, and Bosavi people (Papua New Guinea). She is the author of The Give and Take of Everyday Life: Language Socialization of Kaluli Children. She is coeditor of, among other books, The Acquisition of Literacy: Ethnographic Perspectives, Language Ideologies: Practice and Theory and Consequences of Contact. She has also published articles in preeminent journals of her field, including Current Anthropology and Annual Review of Anthropology. She is completing a book on the impact of Christianity on the language and social life of Bosavi people over the past 25 years, and continues research on linguistic creativity and change as evidenced in computer-mediated communication.
Terrorism, Nihilism, and Modernity
(V70.0102; call # 74666)
Instructor: James Gilligan
Tuesday, 3:30–6:10 p.m.
The past century has witnessed violence the character and scale of which are so unique and unprecedented that we have had to create a new vocabulary to describe it (genocide, terrorism) and the ideologies that underlie it (totalitarianism, fundamentalism). To understand modern violence, we will examine the origin of the modern mind in the 17th century, when science, based on universal doubt, ended the Age of Faith, and the traditional sources of moral, legal, and political authority lost credibility. Nietzsche called this the “death of God” (and the Devil); it could also be called the death of Good and Evil, leading to another set of new words (nihilism, agnosticism, anomie, anarchy). We will study the origins and implications of these developments by reading Shakespeare and John Donne, Nietzsche and Dostoevsky, Beckett and Wittgenstein, Simone Weil and Hannah Arendt, as well as modern mass murderers from Hitler to bin Laden. Finally, we will ask whether the modern human sciences can help us understand how to reverse or at least limit this escalation of violence.
JAMES GILLIGAN is a Collegiate Professor in the College of Arts and Science, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine, and Adjunct Professor in the School of Law. He headed the Institute of Law and Psychiatry and directed mental health programs for the Massachusetts prison system while on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry. He has also served as President of the International Association for Forensic Psychotherapy, and as Chair of the Committee on Prevention in President Clinton’s National Campaign Against Youth Violence. His books include Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic and Preventing Violence: An Agenda for the Coming Century. He has been a consultant on violence prevention to the World Health Organization’s Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention, the World Court’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and other governmental and non-governmental organizations and officials.
In Search of Lost Time
(V70.0104; call # 74668)
Instructor: Marcelle Clements
Thursday, 2:00–4:30 p.m.
We will read Proust (in translation) as he should be read: hedonistically—with respect and admiration but also with delectation. A prodigious novel, 4,500 pages long, In Search of Lost Time is one of literature’s most challenging and deeply pleasurable reads. It addresses literature’s richest theme: desire—its remembrance, transformation, perversion, defeat, and final resurgence in the form of art. Often said to be the first modern novel, it is still unparalleled in how it combines finesse and wit with raw emotion, self-examination with social history, extraordinary psychological acuity with a dazzling portrait of the French beau monde at the outset of modernity, how it merges an audacious explosion of literary form with explorations of memory, attachment, deception, lust, jealousy, ambition, and disappointment. Although Marcel Proust (1871–1922) is often cited as France’s greatest novelist (and the novelist’s novelist), his prose is so layered and brilliant that, unfortunately, many readers begin at the beginning and never move past the first fifty pages, reading the same gorgeous sentences again and again. But while In Search of Lost Time’s prose style may have been its most radical contribution to the art of the novel, its vast, thrilling architecture cannot be understood until it has been read once in its entirety. In this seminar, we will keep moving at a brisk pace through the work, merely glancing at its riches on our way, until we arrive at the uniquely euphoric experience of reading the final volume, when we begin to understand the extraordinarily intimate relationship Proust creates with his reader. Weekly creative writing exercises are designed to help with the reading and to expand our expressive, personal response. Required reading: an average of 350 pages per week.
MARCELLE CLEMENTS is Collegiate Professor and a Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU. She is the author of a collection of essays, The Dog Is Us and Other Observations, a book of nonfiction, The Improvised Woman, and two novels, Rock Me and, most recently, Midsummer. Her articles and essays on the arts, culture, and politics have appeared in many national publications.
American Wars, Past and Present: Vietnam, Iraq (I and II), Afghanistan
(V70.0106; call # 74670)
Instructor: Marilyn B. Young
Wednesday, 9:45 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
The course will consider the last two major wars of the 20th century and the first two wars of the 21st century. It will begin with the history, memory, and subsequent political uses of the Vietnam War. We will then move on to examine the Gulf War I (Operation Desert Storm), which was shaped by the way the administration of President George H.W. Bush understood the Vietnam War. The subsequent war in Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom) can be understood in part in terms of what some policymakers believed to be the unfinished business of Gulf War I. Yet it too was fought in the shadow of Vietnam analogies. Finally, the war in Afghanistan, launched in response to 9/11, in terms of tactics and goals, has been shaped by all three of the preceding wars. We shall examine these wars through primary documents and secondary sources as well as the abundance of documentary and fiction film in which they have all been represented. The overarching concern of the seminar is the ongoing haunting of American politics—military and civilian—by a war fought over three decades ago. There are two connected questions: Can history teach? What does it teach?
MARILYN B YOUNG, Collegiate Professor and Professor of History, is a former Chair of the History Department. Her teaching and her writing focus on U.S. foreign policy. Her books include The Vietnam Wars, 1945–1990, The Rhetoric of Empire: American China Policy, 1895–1901, Transforming Russia and China: Revolutionary Struggle in the 20th Century, with William Rosenberg, and Human Rights and Revolutions, with Lynn Hunt and Jeffrey Wasserstrom. She has also edited several collections of essays on the recent wars in Iraq and, most recently, Bombing Civilians: A 20th-Century History. She was Director of the Project on the Cold War as a Global Conflict at NYU’s International Center for Advanced Study in 2001–2004. She has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and of an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship. Twice she has won the College’s Golden Dozen Award for Teaching Excellence, and she is currently co-director of the Tamiment Center on the Cold War. She is currently president-elect of the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations.
Matter, Dark Matter, and Dark Energy
(V70.0108; call # 74672)
Instructor: Glennys Farrar
Monday and Wednesday, 3:30–4:45 p.m.
The past several decades have seen tremendous advances in observational cosmology. As a result we understand in remarkable detail many aspects of the evolution and the contents of the universe. This course will focus on three of the most puzzling facts about the universe: Why was there a slight excess of matter over antimatter after the Big Bang? (Otherwise, after matter–antimatter annihilation was complete, no matter would have been left.) What is dark matter? (Although on average in the universe it is five times more abundant than normal matter, we know that it is something not found on Earth or, so far, observed in our laboratories.) What is the so-called dark energy? (The expansion rate of the universe is actually accelerating, rather than slowing down as was expected, a finding that is attributed to some new component of the universe known as dark energy.) Students enrolling in the seminar should either have had AP Physics, be enrolled in Physics I (V85.0091), or have permission of the instructor.
GLENNYS FARRAR, Collegiate Professor and Professor of Physics, founded NYU’s Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics. Before coming to NYU in 1998 as Chair of the Physics Department, she was on the faculties of the California Institute of Technology and Rutgers University, and a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Her current work focuses mainly on problems at the intersection of astrophysics, cosmology, and particle physics, including ultra-high energy cosmic rays, the nature of dark matter and dark energy, and the origin of the asymmetry between matter and antimatter. Her research is supported by the National Science Foundation and NASA and includes both fundamental theoretical research and observations using the Chandra X-ray telescope and the Pierre Auger Observatory. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is a recipient of Alfred P. Sloan and Guggenheim Fellowships, among other honors.
How We See
(V70.0109; call # 74673)
Instructor: Marisa Carrasco
Thursday, 9:30 a.m.–12:00 noon
Do we see the world the way we do because we are the way we are or because the world is the way it is? The ease with which we comprehend the visual world, and recognize objects and events, makes it tempting to think that the world is just the way we see it and to take our perceptual capabilities for granted. But when we comprehend that we cannot process all the information available in the environment, when we try to build machines that can see, or when we encounter people who have lost some specific visual capability—for example, persons who can no longer recognize faces—we realize how extraordinary and intricate are the machinery and mechanisms of sight. This course looks at what we know about vision from multiple scientific perspectives: perceptual psychology tells us about the process of seeing, and provides important insights into the workings of visual mechanisms; neuropsychology shows us what happens to perception when these mechanisms malfunction; neuroscience tells us about processes at the level of cells and neural systems. We will also discuss modes and techniques of scientific inquiry from these different perspectives. How do vision scientists learn? What kinds of experiments do they conduct? How has the development of new neuroimaging techniques (fMRI, for example) shaped the field?
MARISA CARRASCO is Collegiate Professor and Professor of Psychology and Neural Science, as well as a former Chair of the Psychology Department. Born and raised in Mexico City, she received her licentiate in psychology from the National University of Mexico and her Ph.D. in psychology (cognition and perception) from Princeton University. She conducts research in cognitive neuroscience, exploring the relation between the psychological and neural mechanisms involved in visual perception and attention. She has published many papers in the most prominent scientific journals in perception, in particular, and in science, in general. Her accomplishments have been recognized by prestigious awards and fellowships throughout her career, such as an American Association of University Women Fellowship, a National Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation, a Cattell Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Great Science, Fabulous Science, and Voodoo Science
(V70.0111; call # 74675)
Instructor: Allen Mincer
Monday and Wednesday, 9:30–10:45 a.m.
Prerequisites: high school chemistry, physics, and calculus.
Science is often portrayed as following a very clearly defined set of procedures: start with a hypothesis, do an experiment, and, based on the results, reject the hypothesis or adopt it as a working assumption. The actual process, however, is rarely so straightforward. In addition, the stories as usually told or recorded may differ from what really happened. We will study some famous and infamous experiments, mainly in the physical sciences, selected to illustrate intellectual tours de force, cases of error, cases of fraud, and the murky boundaries between them. Along the way, issues such as the discarding of “faulty data,” theoretical bias, and probabilistic tools for hypothesis acceptance and rejection will be discussed.
ALLEN MINCER, Collegiate Professor and Professor of Physics at NYU, specializes in experimental particle physics and particle astrophysics. He is currently also a member of the ATLAS collaboration, which is studying the nature of the elementary building blocks of matter at the CERN Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. His research at NYU has a long, continuous history of generous support by grants from the National Science Foundation. He is co-author of approximately 200 scientific publications, including the discovery of the top quark with the D-Zero collaboration. His interests include education, and in addition to teaching in the Physics Department, he has taught in the Steinhardt School’s Department of Teaching and Learning, been involved in research in physics education, and has twice been awarded the College’s Golden Dozen Award for Teaching Excellence.
Daily Life in China, 1750–1950
(V70.0112; call # 74676)
Instructor: Joanna Waley-Cohen
Wednesday, 3:30–6:00 p.m.
Historians of the West often draw a link between the development of a consumer society and the onset of modernity, examining patterns of daily life in such centers as London and Paris from no later than the 18th century or even earlier. This seminar examines such patterns in the context of China from the high imperial era through the first half of the 20th century. The goal is to give students a range of knowledge sufficient to use as a basis for comparison, and an understanding of the analytical issues involved. Using a combination of primary documents, fiction, and secondary sources, we will explore such questions as: What was distinctive about the experience of urban Chinese in late imperial and early modern times? What was the shape of an ordinary day? How did architecture and daily life reflect gender norms and how did people transcend these? What was the composition of a typical household and how did its members interact? What were educational expectations? What forms did social life take? What was the role of religion in daily life? How did people acquire necessities such as clothing, or luxuries such as antiques?
JOANNA WALEY-COHEN, Collegiate Professor and Professor of History, has taught the history of China at NYU since 1992. She received her B.A. and M.A. degrees in Chinese studies from Cambridge University and her Ph.D. degree in history from Yale University. She is currently Chair of the Department of History. Her books include The Sextants of Beijing: Global Currents in Chinese History and The Culture of War: Empire and the Military under the Qing Dynasty. At present she is working on two related projects. The first is a culinary history of early modern China, including cooks and cooking, dietary practice, restaurants, food writing, and imperial dining practices. The second is a study of daily life in China around 1800, and will cover such topics as family life, urban architecture, domestic servants, education, shopping, gender distinctions, and religion and ritual.
Making Sense of Monsters and Masks
(V70.0113; call # 74677)
Instructor: Judith G. Miller
Monday and Wednesday, 11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Among the more significant activities of human beings is that of giving shape to fears and desires through art. All cultures participate in this form of emotional exteriorization, including creating through myth and literature “monsters” and sculpting in textures and words various types of “masks.” In this seminar, we will concentrate on monsters and masks in several cultures for whom the French language is a major expressive form. We will thus chart the meaning and impact of the archetypal masked figures of the commedia dell’arte in French theater, the obsessive concern with grotesque persona (the monstrous mask) in French romanticism, zombification and carnival figures in Caribbean cultural forms, and raptor masks and transformative guérisseurs or healers in Francophone West African works. We will build a repertory of approaches to interpreting and uncovering the many layers of masking and monstrousness by reading in anthropology, psychoanalysis, aesthetics, and literary theory: For as interesting as the masks and monsters “peopling” the world are the ways in which humans at various points in time have attempted to understand what making masks and monsters means. (All readings will be in English.)
JUDITH G. MILLER, Collegiate Professor and Professor of French, is a former Chair of NYU’s French Department. Before coming to New York in 2003, she ran NYU’s center in Paris. She was also for many years on the faculty of the Department of French and Italian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was awarded the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Her books include Theater and Revolution in France since 1968, Françoise Sagan, Plays by French and Francophone Women Writers: A Critical Anthology, and Ariane Mnouchkine. She was also responsible for bringing out the French edition of a collection of works by African women: Des femmes écrivent l’Afrique: L’Afrique de l’Ouest et le Sahel. She has translated over a dozen plays and for her work on promoting French theater in the United States has received awards from the French Ministry of Culture. In 2004, she was named a Chevalier dans l’ordre des Palmes Académiques.
Finding New York City
(V70.0114; call # 74678)
Instructor: William Serrin
Thursday, 2:00–4:30 p.m.
Note: Please reserve the first two Sundays of the semester for walking tours of New York City.
In this seminar students explore, read and write about, and develop a deep understanding of New York City, from diverse perspectives and by means of various media. They will venture into different neighborhoods, ethnic areas, all five boroughs, out on the Hudson and East River, restaurants, parks, and the like. They will examine New York history, and how the city has changed over the decades, writing several pieces on what they see, what they read, and what people tell them. In the end all should have an understanding of how New York City began, how it has changed over time, what remains from the old days, what new things are happening, and what the future might be. It is, in short, a course in urban America that takes New York City as its laboratory. The seminar will turn to reading the splendid books or sections from the splendid books that deal with important aspects of the history and life of New York City, among them The Island at the Center of the World; Divided Loyalties; Forgotten Patriots; The Devil’s Own Work: The Civil War Draft Riots and the Fight to Reconstruct America; Five Points; Positively 4th Street; and A Freewheelin’ Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties. It will also consider how the image of New York City in the movies has changed over the decades, drawing, in part, on the book Celluloid Skyline. In addition, it will use parts of the Ken Burns PBS documentary series New York City. Students will write two major pieces, one in the first half of the semester and one in the second: A research project on a NYC subject approved by the professor, and a personal essay on New York City and what the student has seen and heard and learned in his or her travels about the city. Also, one reading assignment will be on fiction of New York City.
WILLIAM SERRIN is Collegiate Professor and Associate Professor of Journalism. Before joining NYU, he was for eight years the labor and workplace correspondent for the New York Times. He has written for numerous magazines, including Newsweek, Atlantic Monthly, American Heritage, and the Nation, as well as the Columbia Journalism Review and the Village Voice. He is the author of Homestead: The Glory and Tragedy of an American Steel Town; The Company; and The Union: The “Civilized Relationship” of the General Motors Corporation and the United Automobile Workers. He is the editor of The Business of Journalism: 10 Leading Reporters and Editors on the Perils and Pitfalls of the Press and co-editor, with Judith Bruhn Serrin, of Muckraking!: The Journalism That Changed America. He was a recipient of the Alicia Patterson Award, for study of American farm and food policies. He also won the Sidney Hillman Foundation Award for outstanding labor coverage, and he was a member the Detroit Free Press team of reporters who won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 1967 Detroit riots. In addition, he was a recipient of the George Polk Award for reporting on the Kent State killings in 1970. He is currently working on two new books: one a memoir of growing up in his hometown, an industrial town (Saginaw, Michigan), the other an examination of how, as industries emerge and grow in America, communities grow up and expand around them, then when the industries move or collapse, the communities that have served its citizens and country so well are often left to collapse and die.
(V70.0118; call # 74681)
Instructor: Jonathan Safran Foer
Wednesday, 1:30–4:00 p.m.
As with any art, literature’s form determines what is possible. In this class, we will challenge the boundaries of the form through a series of “impossible” exercises—that is, pieces of writing that are asked to do what writing cannot do. For example, one assignment challenges literature’s unique portability by generating “site-specific” stories around campus. Another assignment focuses on the lack of explicit tonality and atmosphere in writing by generating oral stories. In our discussions about the work produced, we will explore the ways that these radical techniques can be brought into more traditional writing. This class will focus on the production of work, and students will be expected to produce a piece of writing every week, usually between two paragraphs and four pages.
JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER is a Collegiate Professor who joined NYU in 2008. He received the B.A. degree from Princeton University, where the adviser for his creative writing thesis was Joyce Carol Oates. His first novel, Everything Is Illuminated, won many awards, including the Guardian First Book Award and the National Jewish Book Award; it was translated into 35 languages, and served as the basis of a film directed by Liev Schreiber. His second novel, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, appeared in 2005 and won the Literature for Life Award, the Victoria and Albert Museum Award, and was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Award. His most recent book, Eating Animals, appeared in 2009. He is the editor of A Convergence of Birds: Original Fiction and Poetry Inspired by Joseph Cornell and co-editor of The Future Dictionary of America. His short stories have appeared in the Paris Review, the New Yorker, and other publications. He also teaches in the Creative Writing Program at NYU, having previously taught at Yale.
Facing Fascism: The Spanish Civil War and U.S. Culture
(V70.0119; call # 74682)
Instructor: James D. Fernández
Wednesday, 2:00–4:30 p.m.
The Great Depression. Liberal democracy in crisis. On the rise: a spectrum of ideologies ranging from anarchism to fascism, offering solutions to the afflictions of people all over the planet. July 1936: a right-wing military coup attempts to overthrow a democratically elected left-wing coalition government. All eyes turn toward Spain. This seminar will be centered on NYU’s Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA), a vast collection of materials that chronicle the lives of the 2,800 Americans who, between 1936 and 1939, volunteered to fight fascism in Spain. We will explore the place occupied by Spain and the Spanish Civil War in American culture from the 1930s forward, how journalists, writers, artists, and citizens reacted to the war in Spain, and how the legacy of the war has affected U.S. culture over the last seventy years. Each student will complete a major research project based on the holdings of ALBA.
JAMES D. FERNÁNDEZ is Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. His research interests include the literature, history, and culture of modern Spain; autobiography; cultural relations between Spain and Latin America; and visions of Spain in the United States. He served as the inaugural director of NYU’s King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center from 1995 to 2007, and as Chair of his department from 2003 to 2007. He is the Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives, and co-editor of the collection of essays Facing Fascism: New York and the Spanish Civil War. He is the author of Apology to Apostrophe: Autobiography and the Rhetoric of Self-Representation in Spain.
Utopia and Apocalypse
(V70.0120; call # 75936)
Instructor: Eliot Borenstein
Tuesday and Thursday, 11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
The utopian impulse is the drive to create the perfect world; the apocalypse is the global cataclysm that is often considered utopia’s prerequisite. In this seminar, we will examine the development of the utopian tradition, as both literary genre and philosophical thought experiment. Among the questions to be considered: What is the relationship between utopia and the novel? How do we get from “here” (the imperfect world) to “there” (the perfect one), and how is this journey enacted in fiction? Why are the family, gender, and sexuality so central to the utopian tradition? What is the utopian conception of pleasure? Utopia is often seen as the culmination of historical progress, the goal toward which humanity has been striving. Later utopian (and anti-utopian) fictions often place their “perfect” societies in a post-apocalyptic framework, adding particular moral and temporal dimensions to utopia: not only does utopia become the endpoint of history, but the perfection of the coming world can be invoked to justify the cataclysm that precedes it. Course materials will consist of fiction, scripture, philosophy, film, and graphic novels, including the works of Bacon, Campanella, Dostoevsky, LeGuin, Marx and Engels, More, Moore and Gibbons, and Plato.
ELIOT BORENSTEIN, Collegiate Professor and Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies, has served as Chair of Russian and Slavic Studies and as Director of the Morse Academic Plan. Before coming to NYU in 1995, he directed the Fulbright Program in the Russian Federation and taught at the University of Virginia. His first book, Men without Women: Masculinity and Revolution in Russian Fiction, 1917–1919, won the AATSEEL award for best work in literary scholarship in 2000. In 2007, he published Overkill: Sex and Violence in Contemporary Russian Popular Culture, which received the AWSS award for best book in Slavic Gender Studies in 2008. Recently, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to finish the companion volume, Catastrophe of the Week: Apocalyptic Entertainment in Post-Soviet Russia. He is a two-time recipient of the College’s Golden Dozen Award for Teaching Excellence.
Moral Dilemmas of Work and Care in the 21st Century
(V70.0121; call # 76649)
Instructor: Kathleen Gerson
Monday, 2:00–4:30 p.m.
Modern societies have long sought to reconcile the conflict between self-development and caring for others by dividing women and men into different moral categories. Structural arrangements (such as the separation of home and work) and cultural pressures (such as the norms of intensive motherhood and good-providing fatherhood) expect women to find personal fulfillment in caring for others and men to care for others by sharing the rewards of their independent pursuits. Yet the rise of fluid families and post-industrial workplaces has severely undermined this gender division of “moral labor.” As women take on increasing economic responsibilities and men face a dwindling pool of stable jobs, rigid moral categories have given way to new moral dilemmas. In crafting an identity, how do women and men balance work commitments with a personal life? In forming adult relationships, how do they weigh the need for autonomy with the desire for enduring commitment? In caring for children, how do they trade off earning a living with family time? This course will examine the link between blurring gender boundaries and the rise of new moral dilemmas of work and care. We will examine the institutional roots of these dilemmas, explore the new strategies people are developing to resolve them, and consider the social and political consequences of these revolutionary shifts.
KATHLEEN GERSON, Collegiate Professor and Professor of Sociology, has held visiting positions at the Russell Sage Foundation (New York City) and the Center for the Study of Status Passages and Risks in the Life Course (Bremen, Germany) and has served as President of the Eastern Sociological Society and Chair of the Family Section of the American Sociological Association. In addition to receiving the Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research, the Distinguished Feminist Lectureship on Women and Social Change, and the Charles Phelps Taft Lectureship, she has contributed to many research and policy initiatives on work, family, and gender issues, including the Council on Contemporary Families, the Ford Foundation Project on Integrating Work, Family, and Community, and the Sloan Foundation Research Network on Work-Family Issues. Her books include The Unfinished Revolution: How a New Generation Is Reshaping Family, Work, and Gender in America, The Time Divide: Family, Work, and Gender Inequality (with Jerry A. Jacobs), No Man’s Land: Men’s Changing Commitments to Family and Work, and Hard Choices: How Women Decide about Work, Career, and Motherhood.
Exploring the Mysteries of Behavior
(V70.0122; call # 77123)
Instructor: Lynne Kiorpes
Tuesday and Thursday, 12:30–1:45 p.m.
Have you ever wondered how whales navigate flawlessly over thousands of miles? Why songbirds sing? This course provides an in-depth look at a variety of organisms that have evolved particular, special behavioral adaptations as solutions to environmental challenges. Each neural system to be studied highlights a unique combination of behavioral skill and environmental problem to be solved. For example, echolocation in bats is a navigation device and an adaptive hunting system that allows them to successfully hunt on the wing; infrared sensing in snakes is an effective prey localization and defense mechanism, enhancing their survival in the absence of limbs. Students will learn basic principles of sensory, motor, and cognitive neuroscience and will study the mechanisms underlying the natural behavior of organisms. They will independently identify unique, species-specific behavioral adaptations and explore the neural mechanisms related to those adaptations. The resulting investigation will form the basis for a term paper and an oral presentation to the class. A high degree of student participation is expected. A textbook as well as primary research articles will comprise the readings. Some background in biology or psychology will be helpful.
LYNNE KIORPES, Collegiate Professor and Professor of Neural Science and Psychology, completed her Ph.D. in Physiological Psychology at the University of Washington and has been on the NYU faculty since 1985. Her research is focused on the development of vision and cognition and has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the James S. McDonnell Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. Her numerous scientific articles have appeared in the Journal of Neuroscience, Current Opinion in Neurobiology, Visual Neuroscience, Vision Research, and Science, among other publications, and as book chapters. She currently directs the College’s Women in Science program. She has served both as Director of Undergraduate Studies and as Director of Graduate Studies in NYU’s distinguished Center for Neural Science. She is one of only a very few faculty who have received both the College’s Golden Dozen Award for Excellence in Teaching and the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award.
Christmas Music in Theory and Practice
(V70.0123; call # 77239)
Instructor: Michael Beckerman
Monday, 12:30–3:15 p.m.
There is only one time of the year when Gregorian chant is mixed with Elvis, and songs in Spanish are followed by tunes composed by Handel and Mendelssohn. Featuring performers from Frank Sinatra to Twisted Sister, the standard American Christmas repertoire offers astonishing variety and juxtapositions. The first part of the course uses readings and audio examples, to trace the development of this tradition from the 17th century onward. Starting in November, as the holiday approaches, we will shift gears; first by focusing on Christmas music of the Central European Baroque and then by preparing our own seasonal concert. Our efforts will be assisted by a group of Czech musician-teachers coming over specially for the occasion at the beginning of December. The course will culminate on December 12 with the American premiere of Georgius Zrunek’s Harmonia Pastoralis of 1766, a mass in Czech, Slovak, and Latin, performed at the beautifully reconstructed Bohemian National Hall on 73rd Street. Members of the class, which does not presuppose musical experience, will do everything from working with publicists to learning the music. Students will write a final paper on a topic related to the concert.
MICHAEL BECKERMAN is the Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Music and Collegiate Professor and Professor of Music as well as Chair of the Department of Music. He has published articles and books on Czech and eastern European music, nationalism, Gypsies, Mozart, Brahms, Gilbert and Sullivan, Schubert, film music, and music in the concentrations camps. His books include Janáček as Theorist and New Worlds of Dvořák: Searching in America for the Composer’s Inner Life. He is the editor of Dvořák and His World and Janáček and His World. He has received grants from the International Research and Exchanges Board, the Fulbright Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. He has been awarded the Janáček Medal from the Czech Republic and in 2000 was the Laureate of the Czech Music Council. He lectures widely, writes often for the New York Times, and has been a regular guest on the PBS series Live from Lincoln Center. He is currently writing a book on the last composition written in the Terezin/Thresienstadt concentration camp, and thinking about middles of musical compositions.
(V70.0124; call # 77146)
Instructor: Tom Gerety
Tuesday, 2:00–4:30 p.m.
This seminar will focus on the experience of war, as reported in poems, novels, history, and films. We will draw on both philosophy, broadly understood, and literature in trying to understand war from the inside; war, that is, from the point of view of the warrior—and the victim. Among other works, we will read Homer’s Iliad and Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War. We will also read Lincoln and Whitman on the Civil War and Britain’s great World War I poets Owen and Sassoon, reading poems as well as (at least some of) Pat Barker’s novel about them. In addition, we will see several films and a play or two on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We will end with poetry and reporting from these wars and the war in Vietnam. Students will be required to write weekly reflections, sometimes as poems or stories, and a final term paper.
TOM GERETY, Collegiate Professor, joined the NYU faculty in 2005, having first come to NYU two years earlier to head the Brennan Center for Justice at the Law School. Before then he served as President of Amherst College from 1994 to 2003 and of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, from 1989 to 1994. From 1986 to 1989 he was the Dean and Nippert Professor at the College of Law of the University of Cincinnati. As a law professor he taught and wrote on constitutional law and political philosophy, with a special emphasis on First Amendment freedoms, including speech, privacy, and religious freedom. With Judy Woodruff, he wrote and narrated a PBS series, Visions of the Constitution, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is the author, most recently, of The Freshman Who Hated Socrates.