In spring 2005, the College of Arts and Science launched the Collegiate Honors Seminars program, which extends the basic principles behind the very successful Freshman Honors Seminars, offered since 1992, to upper-level courses. These small classes are taught by faculty from across the University and from the wider New York community. In some instances students may count the classes toward their major or minor, if the departments consider this appropriate; other classes will count simply as electives.
Collegiate Honors Seminars have as their goals to put undergraduates into contact with leading thinkers, to introduce them to important subjects, to challenge them intellectually through demanding standards of analysis and oral and written argumentation, and to prepare them to conduct their own research. In sum, these courses are meant to foster an environment in which learning is an exciting experience for students and faculty alike.
Sophomores and juniors have priority in registering for most of the Collegiate Honors Seminars. If seats remain after the end of early registration, seniors may also enroll.
Home of the Brave: Legal Aspects of American Use of Force since World War II
(V28.0103; call # 75346)
Instructor: J. H. H. Weiler
Wednesday, 8:00-10:30 a.m.
The creation of the United Nations ushered in a new era in the international legal regulation of the use of force by states. Under the UN regime, states may use force in well-circumscribed circumstances, notably in self-defense against an armed attack or pursuant to a decision of the UN Security Council, to bring about a termination of a breach of the peace or a threat to the peace of the international community. The United States, both during and after the Cold War, has not shied away from the use of its considerable force, often provoking national and international controversy. Some instances, such as the Cuban missile crisis or the Vietnam War, have had profound effects on the self-understanding of the polity. The "War on Terrorism" has ushered in yet a new challenge in this area. This seminar first examines the international legal framework and then surveys the principal instances of American use of force, from Korea to Iraq. At issue are both the legality of past and present American practices and the adequacy of controlling international law and institutions. Junior and senior prelaw students will have priority in registering for this seminar.
J. H. H. Weiler is University Professor and European Union Jean Monnet Chair at NYU Law School. He serves as Chairman of the NYU Global Law School Program and is also Director of the Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law and Justice. He was previously Professor of Law at the Michigan Law School and then the Manley Hudson Professor of Law and Jean Monnet Chair at the Harvard Law School. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as a World Trade Organization Panel Member. He is a founding editor of the European Journal of International Law, of the European Law Journal, and of the World Trade Review. His recent publications include The European Court of Justice (with G. de Burca), The EU, the WTO and the NAFTA, The Constitution of Europe, and a novella, Der Fall Steinmann.
Collective Urban Violence in America
(V28.0105; call # 72296)
Instructor: Daniel J. Walkowitz
Wednesday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
This seminar examines the urban origins, character, and changing patterns of violence in American cities. It focuses on collective violence rather than on individual acts of violence, regardless of how many victims an individual may have claimed. One part of the course considers the extent to which American culture and political institutions encourage, sanctify, or militate against aggressive behavior and create a climate for or against violence. In that context, some of our concerns must be comparative, cross-cultural, and transnational. In addition, we address broad interdisciplinary conceptual questions that anthropologists, psychologists, and sociologists, in particular, ask about human nature, gender conditioning in Western cultures, and "deviant" subcultures. In creating a typology for the analysis of violence in American cities over time, we distinguish between forms of violence, the direction of changes sought, and the social and material characteristics of the antagonists -- is the conflict generated, for example, by a privileged elite seeking to protect authority it feels jeopardized by aspiring newcomers, or is it rooted in efforts by the dispossessed struggling to gain some notion of a fair share?
Daniel J. Walkowitz is Professor of History and Director of College Honors. A specialist in labor and working-class history, he has written numerous articles and co-edited or authored five books, including Working with Class: Social Workers and the Politics of Middle-Class Identity and Memory and the Impact of Political Transformation in Public Space. In addition, as co-founder and co-director of NYU's Graduate Program in Public History, he has pioneered efforts to bring America's past to broad general audiences through film and video. The subjects of his documentary projects have ranged from iron and cotton worker protests in Troy, New York, to a miners' strike in Donetsk, Ukraine.
20th-Century Europe in Literature and Memory
(V28.0109; call # 75345)
Instructor: Tony Judt
Monday, 3:30-6:15 p.m.
This seminar addresses aspects of the history of Europe in the years 1914-1989 through the medium of literature: novels, essays, memoirs. The seminar will pay close attention to the books themselves. But we shall also be concerned with the world of their authors, with their subject matter, with their contemporary setting, and with their cultural impact (then and since). Among the themes to be addressed -- in the readings, the class discussion, and, eventually, the final papers -- are the following: the impact of the First World War, at the front and at home; the consequences of post-World War I imperial collapse and the lost culture of Central Europe; Italian society under Fascism; the Spanish Civil War; the show trials and the Stalinist terror; the Holocaust in literature and memory; life in post-Stalinist Eastern Europe; the origins of the Yugoslav catastrophe; literature, memory, and memoirs as historical sources for extreme experience. For their final paper, students will select a theme or topic from the period covered by this course and then, with the instructor's assistance, identify additional works of European fiction or memoir literature for discussion and analysis.
Tony Judt is Erich Maria Remarque Professor of European Studies and Director of the Remarque Institute at NYU. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he has written widely on modern French and Central European history, as well as on contemporary affairs in Europe and the United States. He is a regular contributor to the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, and theNewRepublic. He directed a long-term international collaborative research project called "Rethinking World War II and Its Aftermath in Europe." His book Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945 was published in 2005.
Geology and Antiquity in the Mediterranean
(V28.0114; call # 75524)
Instructor: Steven Soter
Thursday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
Over timescales of centuries and millennia, geological forces have worked profound changes on the landscape of the Mediterranean. Gradual processes of silting, erosion, and local sea level change, as well as infrequent but catastrophic natural disasters -- earthquakes and tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and major floods -- have all left their marks. Many ancient sites are now deeply buried, while others lie exposed to the elements. Great ancient seaports now lie stranded miles inland from the nearest shore, while thepalace of Cleopatra is submerged. The oracle of Delphi, the legendary Atlantis, and the one-eyed giants of the Odyssey have origins in geological phenomena. This course explores the impact of geological forces on the natural and human environments of the ancient Mediterranean world. Special attention is given to the site of Helike -- a Greek city destroyed and submerged in the Early Bronze Age and again in Classical times -- which the instructor has been exploring.
Steven Soter is a Scientist-in-Residence at NYU's Center for Ancient Studies and a Research Associate in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History. He co-directs an interdisciplinary scientific team excavating the Early Bronze Age, Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman settlements at Helike, a coastal site on the Gulf of Corinth in Greece. He was co-author with Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan of the Cosmos television series and co-author of the two Hayden Planetarium space shows.
Current Political and Moral Conflicts and the U.S. Constitution
(V28.0116; call # 75332)
Instructor: Alan J. Pomerantz
Tuesday, 4:55-7:25 p.m.
The U.S. political and moral debate has moved steadily into the realm of the Supreme Court. Some have strongly argued that the Court's interpretation and application of the Constitution, and the Court's new, self-defined role, have adversely affected our fundamental rights, usurped powers from other branches of government, disregarded all notions of federalism, upset the separation of powers necessary for a stable democracy, and created an "Imperial Judiciary." Others have argued as strongly that the Court has acted properly to protect fundamental freedoms and individual rights in the face of unprecedented political and governmental efforts to limit them, and in doing so has fulfilled the role envisioned for the Court by the Constitution. Conducted by the Socratic method, the seminar examines current controversial political issues that have a constitutional basis, the Court's participation in the debate, and the effect that nine people appointed for life (the justices) have on how we live. Topics include abortion, euthanasia, medical life support, and capital punishment; gay rights, gay marriage, and acts in private among consenting adults; affirmative action; college speech codes, including "hate" speech, verbal sexual harassment, group liable and symbolic speech; prayer in school and students' right of privacy; and racial and ethnic profiling, government's right to detain accused terrorists, and the USA PATRIOT Act. Participants read the relevant Supreme Court cases, news reports, and political and legal commentary from across the political spectrum.
Alan J. Pomerantz, Esq., is a practicing lawyer and partner of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP, a major international law firm. A graduate of the NYU School of Law, he also studied in Chile and received an advanced legal degree from the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands). He has lectured and taught widely, including at the NYU School of Law, the University of Amsterdam, Columbia Graduate School, the University of Concepcion (Chile), the School of Visual Arts, and Hunter College High School. He has published numerous articles and contributed to several treatises on legal topics and is recognized in the International Who's Who -- Lawyers. Mr. Pomerantz and Weil, Gotshal have participated in important and controversial matters affecting individual rights, including death penalty appeals, rights of public artistic expression, political asylum applications, voting rights, right of privacy for acts of consenting adults, equal access laws for disabled persons, and numerous free speech cases.
The Port of New York
(V28.0117; call # 72304)
Instructor: Bryan Waterman
Wednesday, 3:30-6:00 p.m.
This course offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of New York City cultures through the prism of its waterfront and harbor, a source not only of the city's economic development but also of its multicultural and polyglot character. From a "home base" meeting location at NYU's Broome Street residence hall, the seminar seeks to make the city itself the classroom: at least half of the seminar is conducted out of doors or in cultural institutions downtown and elsewhere, including the South Street Seaport Museum, the Museum of Chinese in the Americas, Ellis Island Immigration Museum, the New-York Historical Society, and others. Incorporating discussions from the disciplines of architectural history, archaeology, literary studies, and history, the seminar foregrounds problems of discipline and method in the study of the city's cultures and therefore seeks participation from the range of disciplines and departments that make up CAS. Topics include the founding of New Amsterdam, slavery in British Manhattan and the early American Republic, immigration's perpetual reshaping of city cultures, the emergence of popular forms such as blackface minstrelsy, the "destruction" of lower Manhattan in the 20th century, the decline of the port and its marketplaces, the development of the World Trade Center, and the ongoing effects of the 9/11 attacks.
Bryan Waterman, Assistant Professor of English, received his Ph.D. from Boston University in American Studies; since 2001 he has been a member of NYU's English department, where he teaches courses in early American literature and "Writing New York" (with Professor Cyrus Patell). He is the author of articles on late 18th-century New York City's literary and intellectual cultures, as well as Republic of Intellect: The Friendly Club of New York City and the Enlightenment Origins of American Literature (forthcoming). He is a Faculty Fellow in Residence at Broome Street and is currently at work on a book about seduction narratives in the era of the American and French Revolutions.
The Security Council and Peacekeeping Operations in the 21st Century
(V28.0120; call # 72308)
Instructor: Elisabeth Lindenmayer
Thursday, 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
This course focuses on the role of the Security Council of the United Nations as a decision-making body in the maintenance of international peace and security. It examines the evolution of the Security Council since the end of the Cold War and reviews how its decisions have deeply affected international relations. It also reviews the evolution of peacekeeping operations through a selective examination of the literature and case studies, some of which will be based on the instructor's experience. The course explores some of the major successes and setbacks of the Security Council and the many lessons learned. It focuses on the varying responses of the international community to humanitarian crises. We will ask the question "Whose responsibility is it to protect?" Finally, the course seeks to demonstrate the need for reforms to address the unprecedented challenges of the 21st century, including the reform of the Security Council. Students who have taken V50.0363 may not register for this course.
Elisabeth Lindenmayer has had a long career with the United Nations, where she served as the Deputy Chef de Cabinet and as the Executive Assistant to the current Secretary General, Kofi Annan. In addition, she carried substantive responsibilities relating to peacekeeping operations dealing with the crises in Iraq-Kuwait,Somalia,Rwanda, and the Great Lakes region. She has also taught at Columbia University.
(V28.0121; call # 72309)
Instructor: William Klein
Wednesday, 12:30-3:00 p.m.
How influential can a writer be? Do people hear what they aren't prepared by history to hear? Can readers in one set of circumstances do anything but distort or misunderstand or ironically overturn what was written in another set of circumstances? It is one thing to ask these sorts of questions about the influence of an original literary mind on others, but perhaps another when the writer experiments not only with literary forms but with social, moral, religious, political, or military ones as well. Machiavelli was a writer whose wake caused disturbances in all of these areas -- so much so that to study it, in all of its complexity and ambiguity, is to study the emergence of modernity itself. In our readings, we will look for areas in which the early modern world seemed to be ready for Machiavelli's recovery of the ancient Greek awareness of the agony of political life. We will also look for those areas in which the readiness may not have been anticipated by Machiavelli himself (such as in moral attitudes toward the growth of capitalism). We will look for areas where people professed not to be ready, and at those where apparent readiness competed with deep unease (as may have been the case with Shakespeare). These historical explorations would be of limited interest if they did not push us to ask what our own era (of multinational corporations and unmanned war machines and feminism and pornography...) can make of Machiavelli. Have we outgrown him, or are we still engaged? If the latter, would that be a good thing?
William Klein teaches the history of political discourse in NYU's General Studies Program. In the College of Arts and Science he has also taught in both the Morse Academic Plan and the Freshman Honors Seminar Program. He writes on a range of topics, from Renaissance political thought to constitutional history and to modern crime.
The Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan
(V28.0124; call # 75344)
Instructor: Rena Charnin Mueller
Tuesday, Thursday, 2:00-3:15 p.m.
The operas of Gilbert and Sullivan were composed during a period of intense change in the world of symphonic music and opera in the 19th century. This seminar examines nine of the major works and their historical, cultural, and musical contexts. It also examines the lives of the composer and the librettist and their respective milieux -- Sullivan as one of the few English composers of the century to achieve international recognition, and Gilbert in terms of the various literary movements to which he belonged and which he parodied. In addition, it considers the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company and its activities; the singers, scenic designers, choreographers, and costumers who functioned with the company; and the principal sources for the music, a majority of which are housed currently in New York City's J. Pierpont Morgan Library, along with numerous artifacts from the productions.
Rena Charnin Mueller, Clinical Associate Professor of Music, specializes in 19th-century music, in particular, the compositional aesthetic of Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner. Her most recent publications include an essay for the volume Liszt and His World, in conjunction with the 2006 Bard Festival, and an article on performances of Liszt and Wagner in New York between 1840 and 1890. Her work on the Liszt Lieder appears in the Cambridge Companion to the Lied (2004). She has published new editions of Les Preludes (1997), the Trois Etudes de Concert (1996), and the two Ballades (1996). With Maria Eckhardt, she is the author of the Franz Liszt "List of Works" for The New Grove 2000, and they are also co-authoring the forthcoming Franz Liszt Thematic Catalogue. In 2003, she was a recipient of the College's Golden Dozen Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Introduction to Cognitive Science
(V28.0125; call # 75343)
Instructor: Bob Rehder
Wednesday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
Cognitive science is the study of cognition or intelligent behavior -- of its nature, characteristics, and processes. It is a multidisciplinary approach to the study of cognition and intelligent systems that incorporates elements of psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, anthropology, linguistics, and computer science. It claims to provide answers to controversies such as the nature of mind, the role of the brain in cognitive processes, the possibility of artificial intelligence, and the relation of the mind/brain to culture and the outside world. Because cognitive science is intimately tied to issues in philosophy of mind and science, the course also discusses cognitive science's philosophical aspects and its historical development. The class addresses some of the traditional challenges to cognitive science (e.g., the problems of intentionality and consciousness), as well as a number of more recent challenges (e.g., connectionism, neuroscience, and situated action and culture). No prior knowledge of cognitive science is required.
Bob Rehder received a B.S. in computer science and B.A. in physics from Washington University at St. Louis, an M.S. in artificial intelligence from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has been a member of NYU's Psychology Department since 2001. His work has been published in a number of scholarly journals, including the Journal of Experimental Psychology and the Journal of Educational Psychology.
(V28.0127; call # 75342)
Instructor: Deborah Willis
Monday, 12:30-3:00 p.m.
This seminar explores the problematics of beauty -- a subject that is contested in art, in the media, and in everyday culture. It looks at the ways in which our contemporary understanding of aesthetic pleasure is informed by and constructed from visual culture in museums, photography, advertising, film, and music. From the moment that photography was invented in 1839, people began to have their portraits made. These images offered a framework in which to imagine the history behind the photographic surface and to explore the notion of transformation. Class discussions will focus on how beauty has been imagined and realized. Using a series of case studies, we will consider the political image, race, class, and gender. The aim is to enable students to think critically about the notion of aesthetic pleasure and to consider the consequences of their views. The emphasis will be on reading, interpreting, and evaluating racialized, sexualized, and objectified images of men and women. We will look at the works of a broad range of photographic artists -- in fashion, narrative films, exhibitions, family images, and zine culture -- to examine viewers' responses. Open to TSOA students (priority to Photography students) and CAS students. TSOA students should contact Irene Cho in the Photography department to register.
Deborah Willis is University Professor and Professor of Photography and Imaging in the Tisch School of the Arts. Her many awards include a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, an Alfonse Fletcher, Jr. Fellowship, a Mac Arthur Fellowship, an Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation Award, and an International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Writing on Photography. As a former curator of exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution's Center for African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., and as the curator of photography and prints at the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, she has organized exhibitions and lectured extensively on African American photography. She is the author of Picturing Us: African American Identity in Photography, Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers, 1840 to the Present, The Black Female Body: A Photographic History (with Carla Williams), Black: A Celebration of Culture, and, most recently, Family History Memory: Recording African American Life.
Origins of World War I
(V28.0128; call # 75341)
Instructor: Stewart A. Stehlin
Tuesday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
The course explores the instability of the European state system in the pre-1914 era and the causes and responsibility for the war by examining the contributions of each of the major European states to the outbreak of war. It considers the Bismarckian system of European diplomacy and the balance of power as it existed before the war, the various diplomatic crises before 1914, the interrelation of internal events in the various countries to their foreign policy, and the various interpretations of the causes of the war. Topics include the Moroccan crises, the weaknesses of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Anglo-German naval and economic rivalries, the Balkan struggles for independence, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo, the personal responsibility of the individual statesmen, the ever-widening conflict, and the attempts to contain it.
Stewart A. Stehlin is Professor Emeritus of History. His areas of teaching have been the development of the modern European state system in the 19th and 20th centuries, the history of modern Germany, and European diplomatic history of the 19th and 20th centuries. His research has centered on European cultural history, diplomatic history, and German history, especially German-Vatican affairs. Among his publications are Bismarck and the Guelph Movement, 1866-1890, a translation of Friedrich Ratzel's Sketches of Urban and Cultural Life in North America, andWeimar and the Vatican, German-Vatican Diplomatic Relations between the Wars, 1919-1933. He is currently working on a book,Romeand the Reich: German-Vatican Relations during the Kaiserreich, 1870-1919.
Rethinking Who We Are: Interpersonal Approaches to the Person
(V28.0129; call # 75340)
Instructor: Michael Westerman
Thursday, 3:30-6:00 p.m.
There are unresolved tensions in the field of psychology between individual-centered models of the person and interpersonal ones. The seminar is based on the belief that in order to make progress on these unresolved issues we need to recognize that they refer to a long-standing fundamental question philosophers began wondering about centuries before the discipline of psychology came into existence -- What place do our relationships with other people have in our lives? Moreover, we need to engage in an inquiry that involves a dynamic interplay between psychological considerations and philosophical ones. Participants in the seminar learn about work in several specific areas where these tensions appear, including models of child development, approaches to psychopathology, and basic questions about psychotherapy. We also consider more "interpersonal" versus more individual-centered ways in which psychologists think about interpersonal interaction itself. The final topic concerns the philosophy of the social sciences. We look at recent contributions by psychologists and philosophers suggesting that we replace traditional concepts of the process of psychological research with a social view of that process. Throughout the seminar, we refer to classic philosophical texts and contributions by historians of ideas to explore critically the ways in which contemporary efforts by psychologists reflect concepts of the person from our philosophical tradition. Students who have taken V50.0247 may not register for this seminar.
Michael A. Westerman is Associate Professor of Psychology. His area is clinical psychology. He has conducted research on several topics concerning interpersonal relationships, including studies of mother-child interaction, family systems, and the patient-therapist relationship in psychotherapy. His publications also include articles on issues in philosophical psychology. He is currently involved in a program of research based on an interpersonal reconceptualization of psychological defenses he has developed that is called the theory of interpersonal defense.
Representing Animals: The Discourse of Species in Contemporary Art and Media
(V28.0130; call # 75339)
Instructor: Una Chaudhuri
Friday, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 noon
Claude Levi-Strauss said that animals feature so prominently in myth and ritual "not because they are 'good to eat' but because they are 'good to think.'" The history of art and literature suggests that they are also good to paint, sculpt, photograph, film, and write about. A new interdisciplinary field of study has begun to move the animal out of its niche in science and insert it into fields that have, perhaps, constituted themselves in (unconscious) opposition to it: the "humanities." Animal studies explores the meaning of cultural animal practices, ranging from literary genres like fables and fairy-tales to animal acts in circuses and fairs, to social practices like pet-keeping, cock-fighting, dog shows, equestrian displays, rodeos, bullfighting, hunting, fur-wearing, and meat-eating. These and other animal practices constitute an ever-changing and vastly complicated "discourse of species," which in turn informs our accounts of the human, the "Other" (including the racial and ethnic Other), and the world. We will study a range of contemporary representations of animals -- in fiction, poetry, film, television, fashion, and popular culture -- with a view to understanding the current state of the discourse of species. How does the imagery of mass culture shape our attitudes to animals? How do artists, activists, and ordinary people disrupt those attitudes? How are we feeling about, imagining, living with, and "thinking" animals today?Readings will also include works of philosophy (Nietzsche, Derrida, Deleuze and Guattari, Singer) and recent animal studies books such as Steven Baker's The Postmodern Animal, Akira Lippit's The Electric Animal, Donna Haraway's A Companion Species Manifesto, and the Animal Studies Group's Killing Animals.
Una Chaudhuri is Professor of English and Drama. She is the author of No Man's Stage: A Semiotic Study of Jean Genet's Plays and Staging Place: The Geography of Modern Drama, editor of Rachel's Brain and Other Storms: The Performance Scripts of Rachel Rosenthal, and co-editor, with Elinor Fuchs, of the recently published critical anthology Land/Scape/Theater. She is currently working on a project that explores the intersections of theater and performance with the emerging field of animal studies.
Jews and Germans: Old Memories and New Beginnings in Postwar Germany
(V28.0131; call # 75337)
Instructor: Marion Kaplan
Wednesday, 12:30-3:00 p.m.
This course explores the interactions of Jews and Germans after World War II, noting their interlocking histories and memories even after the Holocaust. Students learn about the immediate postwar turmoil, the displaced persons, Allied occupation, and "denazification." They analyze how Germans -- East and West -- did or did not come to terms with the Nazi past. They read Jewish perspectives on their lives in West and East Germany, why they remained, how they experienced their citizenship, how they interacted with Germans, and how re-unification (in 1990) affected them.Readings analyze conflicting German and Jewish historical memories, including the silence about the Holocaust of the early postwar years, the student rebellion of 1968, the viewing of the American TV series Holocaust, the Historians' Debate of the 1980s and 1990s, and the building of museums and monuments about Jewish history and the Holocaust. The seminar entails advanced work in research and conceptual skills. Thus, students not only learn about the history of postwar Germany but also discuss debates surrounding this history.
Marion Kaplan is Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History. She is the author of The Jewish Feminist Movement in Germany: The Campaigns of the Judischer Frauenbund, l904-l938 (1979), The Making of the Jewish Middle Class: Women, Family, and Identity in Imperial Germany (1991), and Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany (1998). The last two won the National Jewish Book Award in their respective years. She has edited books on European women's history: When Biology Became Destiny: Women in Weimar and Nazi Germany and The Marriage Bargain: Dowries in European History. Her most recent books are Jewish Daily Life in Germany, 1618-1945 andJudische Welten: Juden in Deutschland vom 18. Jahrhundert bis in die Gegenwart (a co-edited volume).
Readings in Modern Chinese Social Thought
(V28.0132; call # 75335)
Prerequisite: Completion of intermediate Chinese or equivalent
Instructor: Jing Wang
Monday, Wednesday 4:55-6:10 p.m.
This seminar introduces students with post-intermediate knowledge of Chinese to the major texts by leading writers and intellectuals of modern China. The goal is threefold: (1) to help students interested in modern China develop linguistic competence through intensive readings in cultural and intellectual discourses; (2) to prepare those who already have advanced language skills for a more in-depth encounter with the canon in modern Chinese culture; and (3) to familiarize students with the central arguments and stylistic mannerisms of the leading figures in modern Chinese culture and society through systematic interpretative-translational practice.Readings consist of foundational texts by canonic authors over the country's tumultuous modern period. Texts are selected either in full or in abridged form, with grammatical points and content-based annotations arranged in a way that allows close reading and interpretation. Under the broad rubric of social change and its intellectual reflections, specific topics include the Chinese Enlightenment, vernacular cultural revolution, women's rights and women's liberation, socialism and mass democracy, the attraction and problems of Westernization, the economic reform and new social liberty, the autonomy or "subjectivity" of Chinese culture, and the national debate on university reform. Authors include such modern classical writers as Liang Qichao, Hu Shi, Lu Xun, and Mao Zedong, as well as influential contemporary writers and intellectuals like Li Zehou, Gan Yang, Liu Xiaofeng, and Wang Anyi.
Jing Wang is Assistant Research Scholar in the College of Arts and Science and the Department of East Asian Studies, where, from 1999 to 2006, she was Lecturer in Chinese. She is the editor and translator of Anthology of Short Stories by American Women Writers in the 1990's (2002). In 2000, she was the featured columnist/translator on foreign literature for the literary magazine Shanghai Literature. Her teaching and research interests include women writers in China and the West, literary translation, modern Chinese social thought, and comparative studies of cities and urban culture. In addition to literary translations, she also publishes personal essays.
Literature and Science: Pathways and Intersections
(V28.0133; call # 75738)
Instructors: Daniel Malamud and Martha Rust
Tuesday, 5:00-7:30 p.m.
In 1959 C. P. Snow lectured on "the two cultures," arguing that the life of the mind in Western culture was suffering from an increasing rift between two opposing factions: "literary intellectuals at one pole -- at the other scientists . . . between the two a gulf of mutual incomprehension." This seminar analyzes the relationship between literature and science, asking if these are indeed two cultures or if, instead, they are two distinct yet related disciplines that interact synergistically -- as if they were on opposite sides of a semi-permeable membrane. The beauty of a semi-permeable membrane resides in the sheer elegance of a design that assures a regulated, bidirectional transfer of materials, which, in turn, supports the metabolism of living things. Something similar could be said of a metaphor, which transfers the meaning of a word from one conceptual realm to another, enabling "fluid" reasoning and bold "leaps" of imagination. This course explores another vital interface: the mutually informative matrix of connections between literature and science. It focuses on a series of topics that highlight the polarity between scientists and "literary intellectuals" : aesthetics, sex and gender, nature and nurture, life and death, health and disease, to name a few. In examining the diverse approaches that literature and science adopt in studying these topics and in disseminating their findings, we also seek to bring into view the productive interface the two disciplines share. In turn, we will discover some of the ways that Snow's "two cultures" might be influenced by and learn from the other.Readings are wide ranging: from Camus' The Plague to poetry by William Carlos Williams and Sharon Olds, to works by Sigmund Freud and Susan Sontag, to articles in scientific journals such as Nature and Science.
Daniel Malamud, Professor of Basic Sciences at the NYU College of Dentistry, is a biochemist working on pathogenesis and novel diagnostics for HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. Prior to joining the NYU faculty in 2005, he taught courses in Literature and Science and the Literature of AIDS at the University of Pennsylvania.
Martha Rust, Assistant Professor of English, brings a background in health sciences to her career as a medievalist and teaches courses on both medieval English literature and medicine in literature in NYU's English department. Her first book, Imaginary Worlds in Medieval Books: Exploring the Manuscript Matrix, is forthcoming spring 2007, and she is at work on a second, entitled Item: Lists and the Poetics of Reckoning in Late-Medieval England.
Past and Present in Irish Archaeology
(V28.0134; call # 75523)
Instructor: Pam Crabtree
Tuesday, Thursday, 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Ireland has a rich archaeological heritage that includes hunter-gatherers of the Mesolithic Period, Megalithic tombs at Knowth and Newgrange, the Hill of Tara, early Christian monasteries such as Clonmacnoise, and the Viking settlements in Dublin itself. This course will consider how the Irish past has been constructed and what role that this construction of the Irish past has played in the modern world. We will review the archaeology of Ireland from its initial settlement in the Mesolithic through the British colonization of Northern Ireland in the early Modern Era. The course will also examine the impact of rapid economic development on Ireland's archaeological resources, including the current debate surrounding the site of Tara.
Pam Crabtree, Associate Professor of Anthropology, is a zooarchaeologist whose research interests center broadly on the uses of faunal remains to study past animal husbandry patterns, hunting practices, and diet. She is also interested in the use of archaeologically recovered animal remains to study trade, social status, ethnicity, and prehistoric ritual. Her primary area of interest is later prehistoric and early medieval Europe, but she has also worked on Natufian settlement and subsistence in the Southern Levant and 18th- and 19th-century sites in eastern North America. Crabtree is currently a member of an archaeological team that is surveying the Irish royal site of Dun Ailinne in Ireland. Her work has been published in a number of edited volumes and journals, including the Journal of Field Archaeology and World Archaeology. She and her co-author Bradley Adams recently completed a forthcoming book entitled Comparative Skeletal Morphology.
The Birth of the Mind: Genes, Evolution, and Human Nature
(V28.0135; call # 75522)
Instructor: Gary Marcus
Tuesday, 6:20-8:50 p.m.
This course explores the origins of the human mind from two perspectives: the origins of our species (a question about evolution) and the development of individuals, from conception to birth to educated adult. Questions that we will address include: What is the relation between nature and nurture? Has evolution played an important role in shaping the mind? Are we merely "drifts in the currents" of our genes? Are human beings optimal thinkers "noble in reason," or is the mind better thought of as a jury-rigged Swiss-army knife of haphazard cognitive tools? Our approach will be interdisciplinary, drawing on fields ranging from genetics and developmental biology to psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience.Readings will include articles from the primary literature and four books written for the educated lay reader -- Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct (1994) and How the Mind Works (1997), and the instructor's own The Birth of the Mind (2004) and Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind (forthcoming).
Gary Marcus is Professor of Psychology and Director of the NYU Infant Language Learning Center. He is the author of two books about the origins and nature of the mind and editor of a third. His research on developmental cognitive neuroscience has been published in over 40 articles in leading journals such as Science, Nature, Cognition, Cognitive Psychology, and the Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development. In 1996 he won the Robert L. Fantz award for new investigators in cognitive development, and in 2002-03 he was a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in Social and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford.
Pharmaceutical Drugs, Ethics, and Culture
(V28.0136; call # 75521)
Instructors: David A. Scicchitano and Andrea McKenzie
Wednesday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
This seminar is designed to introduce students to contemporary issues in the realm of pharmaceuticals, focusing on drug design, safety, and distribution. Early in the seminar, students are introduced to the basic concepts of drug research and testing, with an emphasis on the Food and Drug Administration rules for bringing a drug to the clinic and eventually to the marketplace. This leads to the complex issues related to drug distribution inside and outside the United States, the societal implications associated with new therapeutic regimens, and the economic factors and laws that come into play. The seminar also develops students' writing, critical thinking, and presentation skills, with emphasis placed on researching, evaluating, and presenting evidence. Students who have taken V23.0005 may not register for this seminar.
David A. Scicchitano is Professor of Biology and also the CAS Director of Undergraduate Science Initiatives. His research interests include the way environmental agents, particularly chemicals, interact with and damage DNA, interfering with fundamental cellular process, and triggering pathology. His work is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health.
Andrea McKenzie is the Director of Writing in the Disciplines with the Expository Writing Program. She collaborates with professors from a wide range of disciplines to incorporate writing and public speaking as active learning strategies in subject-specific courses. She has performed curriculum design work and taught graduate and undergraduate courses in writing and public speaking at NYU, MIT, and the University of Waterloo (Canada).
American Mythology and Its Biblical Sources
(V28.0137; call # 75520)
Instructor: Christopher Collins
Tuesday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
Especially in times of crisis, Americans tend to rally around leaders who reassure them that God has blessed theirs above all other nations -- given her a mission to feed, clothe, and enlighten the less fortunate, to liberate the world from tyranny and crime, and eventually to inaugurate an era of universal peace. This seminar will examine the biblical sources of this political mythology and the historical instances of its cynical use, for example, in representing North America as a Promised Land reserved for a new Chosen People, in identifying Indians and Africans as cursed races, and in regarding American foreign policy as divinely ordained and therefore exempt from international law. The Machiavellian exploitation of American religion is important to expose, but it is, of course, an old story. While this course will tell that story, in doing so it will keep as its major focus the credulity of the many, rather than the mendacity of the few. Unlike other contemporary critiques, this text-centered historical survey of American "truthiness" will raise that one, crucial, but seldom asked question: why is it that so many of us believe the lies we are told?
Christopher Collins is Professor of English and author of a number of books on the psychology and rhetoric of literature, including Reading the Written Image: Verbal Play, Interpretation, and the Roots of Iconophobia; The Poetics of the Mind's Eye: Literature and the Psychology of Imagination; and Authority Figures: Metaphors of Mastery from the Iliad to the Apocalypse. His latest book, Homeland Mythology: Biblical Narratives in American Culture, will be published in 2007.
Socrates and His Critics
(V28.0138; call # 75739)
Instructor: Vincent Renzi
Tuesday, Thursday, 2:00-3:15 p.m.
Despite writing nothing himself, Socrates is, perhaps, the most influential philosopher in the Western tradition. With him, philosophy first moves from natural history to an explicit concern for human affairs. So great is this change that we continue to term those earlier thinkers "pre-Socratic philosophers." So too, his name is given to a distinctive form of philosophical literature, the Socratic dialogue, and to an approach to philosophical inquiry and instruction, the Socratic method. In antiquity, his thought inspired Plato, Xenophon, the Stoics, the Skeptics, and the Cynics, beyond them to influence in Rome and Judea . . . and four centuries before Jesus, he already suffered martyrdom for his idiosyncratic political, philosophical, and religious views. In modernity, he both fascinates and repels Kierkegaard and Nietzsche; already in his own time, he endured criticisms of his way of life, notably from the comedian Aristophanes. Given the evidence, we can look only to the history of the reception of his thought to recover any sense of the "historical Socrates." We must likewise ask whether he does not exert a greater influence as a result of his reputation than for his actual intellectual contributions. In short, had Socrates not existed, wouldn't the tradition essentially have had to create him, in its move from its origins to ethics and political philosophy? Even given that he did actually live, is what we have of him really just such a necessary fiction?
Vincent Renzi is Associate Director of the Morse Academic Plan for the Foundations of Contemporary Culture, where he regularly offers Conversations of the West: Antiquity and the 19th Century, in both regular and writing-intensive versions. He taught previously at Columbia University. In addition to his specialization in ancient Greek philosophy, he maintains interests in 19th- and 20th-century Continental philosophy, ancient studies, history of philosophy, and aesthetics.
Theater of War: Ancient Warfare in Ancient Drama
(V28.0139; call # 75758)
Instructor: Peter Meineck
Wednesday, 3:30-6:00 p.m.
This seminar will examine ancient attitudes to war and its effects on society in ancient Greece as conveyed primarily in drama but also in art and literature. Why do we fight? Why is war still the most pervasive political force on the planet? What are the origins of attitudes to warfare in Western culture? The class will study ancient texts in translation and discuss vase painting, architecture, and sculpture to understand the cultural forces that created the Greek way of war and how military innovations and organization had a profound influence on the development of political and social institutions. We will read selections from Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Plato, and Demosthenes. We will also examine pre-classical military structures, such as those in the ancient Near East, and look at the impact of Greek warfare on the Hellenistic period, on Rome, and on some of the military philosophies that prevail today.
Peter Meineck is Artistic Director of the Aquila Theatre Company, which has performed the Iliad at Lincoln Center and regularly produces classical plays in New York and on national tours. He is also Clinical Assistant Professor both in Classics and in Drama at NYU and Artist in Residence at NYU's Center for Ancient Studies. He has published several translations of Greek plays.
Writing in the Information Age
(V28.0140; call # 75861)
Instructor: Natalie Jeremijenko
Monday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.; lab, Wednesday, 2:00-3:15 p.m.
Take a moment to ask yourself if there is any product you use, live with, or can see about which you could say how, by whom, or where it was made. Given that the manufacturing sector is the most poisonous of all sectors of all global human activities, is our collective ignorance defensible in an information society? The opportunity for change that new information technologies present could conceivably be an opportunity to promote innovation, sustainable manufacturing, transparent labor conditions, and environmental accountability. Likewise, it could promote a closed information context of trade secrets, nondisclosures, IP portfolios, labeling strategies, and closed doors. In this course we will lift the veil between production and consumption, each student taking on a case study to ask how and if open information context can promote innovation, and what structure of accountability will best facilitate this. Writing a visual essay for a wiki-based visual encyclopedia [howstuffismade.org], students will themselves learn standards of evidence and accountability involved in the production of information for the information commons, exploring their own responsibility and capacity for developing and proposing some of these changes.
Natalie Jeremijenko is a Global Distinguished Professor at NYU. An artist/experimenter and information engineer, she is one of the founders of the field of tangible media (also known as physical computing). Her work centers on structures of participation in the information age and the political and social possibilities (and limitations) of information technologies -- mostly through large-scale public experiments. In this vein, her work spans a range of media from statistical indices (such as the Despondency Index, which linked the Dow Jones to the suicide rate at San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge) to biological substrates (such as the installations of cloned trees in pairs in various urban micro-climates) to robotics (such as the development of feral robotic dog packs to investigate environmental hazards). Her graduate work at Stanford and the University of Queensland was in the fields of design engineering and information science. Previous faculty positions have included appointments in Yale University's Department of Mechanical Engineering, in the Department of Visual Art at the University of California at San Diego, and as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Michigan State University.
Collegiate Honors Seminars Abroad
NYU in London
Builders of Britain
(V28.9501; call # 75529)
Instructor: Timothy Brittain-Catlin
This seminar presents the physical landscape of modern Britain, and particularly of London, through its buildings and through the working lives of the people who influenced it: the engineers, the builders, the visionaries. Students learn the basic tools of architectural and urban criticism by studying key structures, events, and personalities, and have the opportunity to demonstrate those tools through a series of different types of written and research assignments. By taking a number of central figures and presenting them and their biographies, students can not only build up historical knowledge of the major monuments of the city but also develop a useful contextual knowledge of the personalities and the period concerned. The course thus uses the architectural, urban, and engineering history of the capital as a way of introducing students to the cultural landscape of the country. Some of the characters featured in the course are architects; others are engineers, planners, or politicians. By presenting their life's work not only in the form of the built evidence but also in a biographical way, the course seeks to create a link between the many different sources of information and history, including literature and other artistic processes.
Timothy Brittain-Catlin is Intermediate General Studies Tutor at the Architectural Association in London, an architect, and a regular contributor to the Architectural Review. After working for ten years in urban design, he completed his doctorate at Cambridge University on AWN Pugin's houses. He is writing a book about English parsonages.
European Integration and the European Union as a Political System
(V28.9502; call # 75709)
Instructor: Eiko R. Thielemann
The European Union constitutes a uniquely ambitious project of international cooperation and governance beyond the state. This course explores the origins, development, institutions, major policies, policy-making, current problems, and matters of controversy of the European Community/Union. Students are also introduced to the major approaches applied to explain the complex system of EU policy-making. Among other things, we address questions such as why the Commission, Court, and Parliament have gained new powers, why market deregulation has proceeded faster than social and environmental protection, and why European elections do not work. Knowledge about the institutions and policy processes of the EU will help students to critically assess various questions that are facing Europe's citizens and leaders today: How should the single currency work? How can the EU's institutions be made more democratic? How far and how fast should the EU be enlarged? Should Europe develop into a federal (super) state?
Eiko R. Thielemann holds a Lectureship in European Politics and Policy at the London School of Economics. He completed the Ph.D. at Cambridge University. His research interests are in the areas of multilevel policy-making in the European Union; comparative analysis of public policy and institutions; new institutional theories; migrations; and state aid.