A central mission of the College of Arts and Science, within the premier research institution that is New York University, is to put its undergraduates into direct contact with great ideas and great thinkers. One way the College has done so is through its Seminar program, which gives students the opportunity to participate in small, intellectually stimulating classes on important topics taught by distinguished professors drawn not only from the College's faculty but also from NYU's professional schools and from among New York's professional, cultural, and governmental leaders.
In spring 2005, the College of Arts and Science launched the Advanced Honors Seminar 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.
Advanced 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 Advanced 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 # 72742)
Instructor: J. H. H. Weiler
Friday, 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. The seminar is taught at the Law School to law school standards — rigorous but academically and intellectually rewarding. 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 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.
Political Cinema and Representation of the Other
(V28.0107; call # 75393)
Instructor: Shimon Dotan
Friday, 9:30 a.m. - 12:00noon
Representation of the Other is a variation of the search for self-identity. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its political cinema exhibit a clear pattern in which the parties attribute to the Other qualities and traits that reflect their own distress and aspirations. But how does the concept of representation connect meaning to a sequence of successive images? Which of the following accounts (in a variation on Stuart Hall) will apply to a cinematic work? The reflective — does film reflect a meaning, which already exists in the real world? The intentional — does film express only what the filmmaker intends to express? The constructionist — is meaning constructed in and through the process of filmmaking? Each class consists of a screening followed by a discussion concentrating on representation in the context of the political conflict, variations in use of film language to achieve a subjective portrayal and modalities of representation and self-critique. Screenings include films such as The Battle of Algiers, by Bruno Pontecorvo; Divine Intervention, by Elia Suleiman; Fog of War, by Earl Morris; Final Cup, by Eran Riklis; and The Smile of the Lamb, by Shimon Dotan.
Shimon Dotan, a Fellow of the New York Institute of the Humanities at NYU, is an award-winning filmmaker with ten feature films to his credit. His films have been the recipients of the Silver Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival (The Smile of the Lamb), numerous Israeli Academy Awards, including Best Film and Best Director (Repeat Dive; The Smile of the Lamb), and Best Film at the Newport Beach Film Festival (You Can Thank Me Later). His film Hot House won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance in 2007. Dotan has taught filmmaking at Tel Aviv University in Israel and at Concordia University in Montreal.
Cinema and Society in Europe since 1945
(V28.0112; call # 75329)
Instructor: Tony Judt
Tuesday, 3:30 - 6:00 p.m., and Thursday, 3:30 - 4:45 p.m.
This seminar addresses aspects of the history of European history since World War II through postwar European cinema. The seminar will pay attention to the films themselves, as art and as entertainment; but we shall also and above all be concerned with their subject matter, their contemporary setting, and their impact (at the time and since). Participants will meet twice weekly: once to see that week's film, once for discussion. In addition to watching the films, students will be required to read assigned works of history dealing with the period. Among the themes to be addressed — in the films, the readings, the class discussion, and, eventually, the final papers — are the following: war and civil war as represented and remembered in the postwar decades; the Cold War; decolonization; the European "economic miracle" and its attendant social impact; the "sixties"; different generations of migration, both into Europe and within and between countries; national identities and the attached stereotypes; the Yugoslav Wars; remembering (and forgetting) Communism; and the Holocaust in postwar European consciousness. A final paper will require students to choose one theme and then, with instructor's assistance, identify a body of related films to see and discuss.
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 the NewRepublic. 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.
The History of Disbelief
(V28.0113; call # 75328)
Instructor: Mitchell Stephens
Wednesday, 2:00 - 4:30 p.m.
This seminar will take up an extended history of atheism and doubt (in the context of a history of religion). It will begin in Greece and then move on to a brief discussion of anthropological perspectives on belief, before returning to Greece, the Hebrews and Rome, to India and Baghdad, and then back to Europe during the Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, and the Romantic period. Time will be spent in England and America in the 19th century, when disbelief was being tied to radical politics, before moving on to the connection between disbelief and realism, modernism and postmodernism. The main arguments for and against the existence of God will be considered. However, the main purpose of this course will be to force students to confront and grapple with some of the most sophisticated and profound human expressions of disbelief. Authors whose works will be read may include Cicero, Hume, Holbach, Paine, Shelley, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Woolf, and Freud, among others.
Mitchell Stephens is Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication. He is the author of, among other books, the rise of the image the fall of the word and A History of News. Articles by him on media issues, philosophy, anthropology, physics, and other subjects have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, FEED, and other publications. He has recorded radio commentaries for Marketplace and On the Media, and serves as history consultant to the Newseum in Washington, D.C. In 2001 he completed a trip around the world, during which he reported for public radio and a number of websites on cultural homogenization. He is also director of the Russian-American Journalism Institute in Rostov-on-Don.
Current Political and Moral Conflicts and the U.S. Constitution
(V28.0116; call # 72746)
Instructor: Alan J. Pomerantz
Wednesday, 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 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 and symbolic speech; and racial and ethnic profiling. Participants read the relevant Supreme Court cases, news reports, and political and legal commentary from across the political spectrum, and are expected to apply critical thinking to the topics.
Alan J. Pomerantz, Esq., is a practicing lawyer and partner of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, 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 has participated in important and controversial matters affecting individual rights, including death penalty appeals, rights of public artistic expression, right of privacy for acts of consenting adults, and numerous free speech cases.
The Security Council and Peacekeeping Operations in the 21st Century
(V28.0120; call # 72748)
Instructor: Elisabeth Lindenmayer
Friday, 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 held substantive responsibilities relating to peacekeeping operations dealing with the crises in Iraq-Kuwait, Somalia, Rwanda, and the Great Lakes region. Born in West Africa, she has lived and worked in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, (then) French Indochina, Cote d'Ivoire, and Senegal. She has also taught at Columbia University, where she is currently Acting Director of the United Nations Studies Program. In 2006 she was awarded the Legion d'Honneur by the President of France.
(V28.0121; call # 72749)
Instructor: William Klein
Wednesday, 12:30 - 3:00 p.m.
Machiavelli's high literary talent, keen historical insight, and deep experience in politics congealed into a body of work — and one work in particular — that has become a difficult-to-dismiss touchstone of reflections on politics in the widest sense. His relentless study of the role of ruthlessness in public life has implications for fields as wide apart as Conflict Strategy and Ethics, while his hard-nosed study of republican institutions had great influence in the shaping of republican revolutions. After studying Machiavelli's main works, we will move on to an analysis of his first early modern disciples and detractors, and then on to modern works in, for example, ethics (Nagel), sociobiology (de Waal), and economic theory (Frank).
William Klein teaches social foundations 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. Before coming to NYU, he was at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he taught the history of Western social thought. He writes on a range of topics, from Renaissance political thought to constitutional history and (under a pen name) modern crime.
The Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan
(V28.0124; call # 72750)
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 their 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 coauthoring the forthcoming Franz Liszt Thematic Catalogue. In 2003, she was a recipient of the College's Golden Dozen Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Origins of World War I
(V28.0128; call # 72753)
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, Rome and the Reich: German-Vatican Relations during the Kaiserreich, 1870 - 1919.
The Being of Character: Making Modern Subjects
(V28.0141; call # 75327)
Instructor: Elaine Freedgood
Thursday, 2:00 - 4:30 p.m.
This seminar examines how concepts of gender, sexuality, and race; mind and soul; true and false selves — all of these apparently "natural" categories and concepts — have been constructed, arranged, and rearranged in the past two hundred years. We will read, discuss, and write about film, cultural criticism, travel literature, fiction, psychoanalytic theory, and theories of gender performativity and racial passing in order to consider what it means to be, to seem to be, to try to be, to want to be, a given kind of self or character. The course will be based on rigorous analysis of textual material (including two films). Each student will prepare a formal oral presentation and lead 15 minutes of class discussion based on it. Final projects will emerge from early short papers that focus on research — in primary texts, in theoretical texts, in historical works, in unlikely locations and archives — and on how to use them effectively to write original, scholarly criticism.
Elaine Freedgood is an associate professor of English at NYU, where she teaches Victorian literature and critical theory. Before coming to NYU, she taught at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of two books: Victorian Writing about Risk: Imagining a Safe England in a Dangerous World (2000) and The Ideas in Things: Fugitive Meaning in the Victorian Novel (2006). She is interested in texts of all kinds: found, filmed, forgotten, forged, farfetched, and so on with other letters of the alphabet.
Abortion: Examining the Issues
(V28.0142; call # 75332)
Instructor: Evelyn Birge Vitz
Tuesday and Thursday, 2:00 - 3:15 p.m.
This multidisciplinary course takes as its purpose a careful and thought-provoking examination of many issues surrounding abortion today. In a seminar setting, we will read about and discuss legal, medical, historical, psychological, political, religious, ethical, and gender questions in a balanced manner, considering both — indeed, sometimes several — sides of the issues involved. We will also look at the representation of and attitudes toward abortion in contemporary literature and popular culture. This seminar will provide a forum for civil, informed, and open discussion of this difficult issue.
Evelyn (Timmie) Birge Vitz is Professor of French, and Affiliated Professor of Comparative Literature, Religious Studies, and Medieval and Renaissance Studies. She has published widely on both narrative and performance, as well as on many other aspects of medieval literature and culture. Recent books are Orality and Performance in Early French Romance (1999) and Performing Medieval Narrative, coedited with two NYU colleagues, Nancy Regalado and Marilyn Lawrence (2005). She has been researching and writing about abortion for several years, and has held workshops of a dramatic script about abortion, entitled "Voices," in New York and Washington, D.C.
My Space: Writing Modern Selves, from the Diary to the Internet
(V28.0143; call # 75326)
Instructor: Thomas Augst
Monday, 2:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Why do people write diaries, and how should we read them? What kind of evidence do journals or blogs offer about the historical and social contexts from which they emerge? What can they tell us about the physical and virtual spaces in which people come to recognize themselves as individuals, and about cultural meanings and forms of individuality in general? This course explores the meaning and practice of diary-writing as it has evolved with technologies of manuscript, print, and digital computing. It has two major objectives. First, we will seek to situate contemporary internet sites of self-presentation such as Facebook, My Space, You Tube, and blogs in historical and literary perspective; we will consider how the diary has been shaped by religious traditions of self-examination, changing concepts of time, and the expansion of literacy, and define its relation to other literary genres such as the chronicle, autobiography, the novel, and the essay. Second, we will seek to develop a set of concepts to guide us in the interpretation and practice of self-representation across various media. Reading both celebrated and obscure examples of the diary, and conducting group research on contemporary digital culture, students will develop cross-cultural perspectives on literary practices of self-creation and the experiences of isolation, sincerity, narcissism, theatricality, privacy, and networking that inform them.
Thomas Augst is Associate Professor of English. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University and also taught there and at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of The Clerk's Tale: Young Men and Moral Life in 19th Century America, which explores how young businessmen used their diaries as tools for self-creation. He has also coedited two books on the history of libraries: Institutions of Reading: The Social Life of Librarians in the United States and Libraries as Agencies of Culture. He is currently writing a book about temperance, mass culture, and ethics in modern liberalism.
"Varieties of Religious Experience" Revisited
(V28.0144; call # 75390)
Instructor: James Gilligan
Tuesday, 2:00 - 4:30 p.m.
This seminar will utilize but also update William James's pioneering approach to interpreting and understanding religion in psychological rather than theological terms. We will examine how the term "religion" is more confusing than helpful when it fails to differentiate between a wide variety of utterly incompatible beliefs and practices at different stages of cognitive and emotional development. We will discuss the phenomenon of "political religions" (nationalism, totalitarianism, apocalyptic fundamentalism) as attempts to reject modernity (the modern scientific mentality), in order to fill the vacuum that Sartre called "the God-shaped hole in the soul of modern man" that resulted when the traditional sources of moral, legal, and political authority (God, religion, pure reason) lost their credibility as sources of knowledge. We will consider the political religions as resulting from psychological regression, and contrast them with the current moment in the evolution of religious consciousness, in which the challenge is to find progressive forms of religious expression, understanding and experience that are consistent with the modern scientific mentality, while not being reducible to it. The seminar will conclude by examining whether this is the context in which the next major step in the evolution of both culture and personality will need to occur.
James Gilligan, Collegiate Professor, 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 Director of the Center for the Study of Violence and as a member of President Clinton's National Commission on Youth Violence. His books include Violence: Our Deadly Epidemic and Its Causes, Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic, and Preventing Violence: An Agenda for the Coming Century. He has been a consultant to the Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention at the World Health Organization, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and numerous other organizations.
Women's Writing in Renaissance Italy
(V50.0145; call # 75330)
Instructor: Virginia Cox
Tuesday, 3:30 - 6:00 p.m.
The 15th, 16th, and early 17th centuries in Italy saw an extraordinary flowering of women's writing, whose extent has only very recently begun to be fully recognized by critics. Some 200 published women writers have been recorded for the 16th century alone, active in genres as diverse as pastoral drama, chivalric romance, and philosophical dialogue, as well as letters, love poetry, and religious verse. This seminar studies the tradition of women's writing in Italy in this period within its social and cultural context. It embraces both celebrated figures such as Vittoria Colonna, Gaspara Stampa, and Veronica Franco, and lesser known or more recently rediscovered writers, some not yet translated into English or available in modern editions. Besides the chance to study a series of compelling and challenging literary texts, the course offers the opportunity to engage with broader historical issues, notably the questions of what contextual factors enabled the emergence of this strong and precocious tradition of women's writing, and what factors led to its eclipse in the 17th century. Attention is also given to women's activity in other creative fields in this same period, notably the visual arts and music. The seminar is open to students without a reading knowledge of Italian, as translations will be supplied for all texts studied.
Virginia Cox, Professor of Italian, came to NYU in 2003 after teaching at the University of Edinburgh, University College London, and the University of Cambridge. Her chief research interests are early modern Italian literary and intellectual history, history of rhetoric, and early modern women's writing. She is the author of The Renaissance Dialogue: Literary Dialogue in Its Social and Political Contexts, Castiglione to Galileo (1993) and of Women's Writing in Italy, 1400 - 1650 (forthcoming 2008), as well as coeditor, with John Ward, of The Rhetoric of Cicero in Its Medieval and Early Modern Commentary Tradition (2006). She has also edited and translated two early modern texts by Italian women: Moderata Fonte's dialogue The Worth of Women (1997) and Maddalena Campiglia's drama Flori (2004, coedited with Lisa Sampson).
Before Democracy: The Politics of Plurality in Ancient Iraq
(V28.0146; call # 75549)
Instructor: Daniel Fleming
Tuesday, 12:30 - 3:00 p.m.
This seminar will explore the alternative political tradition of group decision-making in ancient Iraq and its neighborhood. Democracy was born in Athens, and it came to the modern world through Europe and its American offspring. The Middle East is considered instead the home of empire and autocracy. Saddam Hussein cast himself as the heir of Babylon's rulers. This view has roots in ancient Greece itself, where Athenian democracy was set against Persian imperial power. In fact, the ancient Middle East was home to various forms of collective governance, from elders to assemblies, sometimes on a large scale. The ancestors of Greek democracy shared common ground with these practices from regions just to the east. Based on evidence ranging from 4,000-year-old letters to Homer's epic poetry, we will examine the early politics of plurality in both Mesopotamia and early Greece. By reconsidering the past, we can also rethink the prospects for democracy in modern Iraq and beyond, where traditional political life is often understood only as a barrier to changes encouraged by the United States.
Daniel Fleming is Professor of Assyriology and Hebrew Bible in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. His latest book, Democracy's Ancient Ancestors: Mari and Early Collective Governance (2004), addresses the issues raised in this seminar, and he has also worked recently with Kurt Raaflaub to evaluate the relationship between Greek and Mesopotamian traditions before the democracy of Athens. In general, he specializes in the society and religion of ancient Syria and Israel, as these regions stood at the intersection of contacts across the Middle East, before Greece and Rome.
The 14th Century — When Europe Was Transformed
(V28.0147; call # 75331)
Instructor: Jill N. Claster
Wednesday, 2:00 - 4:30 p.m.
The century covered in this course saw disasters of many kinds, some all too familiar to us in the 20th century. It was a time of the Black Death and the decimation of the population on an enormous scale; a time of recession that changed the pattern of prosperity that had existed in the preceding two centuries; a time when the papacy and the Roman Church were faced with the rise of heresy and challenges to religious authority; a time of wars and of rebellions. Yet, in the same era, there was a march forward — toward new ideas, new political forms, vernacular languages, a reawakening that brought changes of immense consequence for all of Europe . . . and for our own culture. Through the darkest periods, the great and beautiful changes that are the beginnings of the Italian Renaissance emerged. This was the age of Petrarch and Boccaccio, among many others, and the great Italian painters who transformed the nature and conception of literature and art and who informed our own worldview. Overall we will study a century that many historians have understood as the most creative and the most terrible of all the centuries before the 20th.
Jill N. Claster is Professor of History Emerita with a specialty in the Middle Ages. She has served as Dean of the College of Arts and Science and as Director of the Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies. She has been the recipient of a Fulbright grant and was honored with the Great Teacher Award by the Alumni Association of NYU. She is currently working on a book about the Crusades.
The Making of Iconic Images
(V28.0148; call # 75391)
Instructor: Deborah Willis
Wednesday, 6:20 - 8:50 p.m.
This interdisciplinary seminar explores the range of ideas and methods used by photographers, artists, historians, and critical thinkers in addressing the notion of iconic images. Iconic images are pictures that become rooted in our personal memory, pictures that are stored away for future reference through our experiences with them. How do icons emerge from the billions of images that surround us? What makes an image iconic? How are icons viewed cross-culturally and over time? Why do some help end wars, and why are other, very similar images ignored? To what extent can an image-maker aim at creating an icon, or is there no way of approaching the goal? How is it done in advertising, where a Nike swoosh can be made into an icon? Why do we have such extraordinarily powerful responses toward the images and pictures we see in everyday life? Why do we behave as if pictures were alive, possessing the power to influence us, to demand things from us, to persuade us, seduce us, or even lead us astray? In examining the salient features of the iconic image, the class will take comparative approaches to the diverse types of imagery.
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 MacArthur 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.
Reading The Dream of the Red Chamber
(V28.0149; call # 75550)
Instructor: Jing Wang
Thursday, 4:55 - 7:25 p.m.
The Dream of the Red Chamber is a classic work produced by Cao Xueqin in the middle of the 18th century. Following the traditional form of Chinese fiction, known as "the chaptered novel," it covers a vast terrain of Chinese culture and social life and is widely regarded as the culmination of the vernacular novel of imperial China and a synthesis of Chinese aesthetic and philosophical traditions. Originally titled The Story of the Stone, the novel tells the story of a sentient stone thrown into the everyday world in its human reincarnation. With reference to the Goddess Nuwa repairing the sky, the novel raises a series of questions concerning the relationship between heaven, earth, human beings, and things; the origin of what it is to be human; its spiritual nature; the relationship between emotion and talent; and the development, suppression, and waste of talent. At the center of all this is the true meaning of human emotion and affection (qing), and their relationship to the moral order and social-cultural convention (li). What constitutes the "story" is thus a narrative account of the stone's worldly experiences, tragic fate, and reflections on a heartless world. Its intricate structure, coupled with its dazzling array of characters, makes this one of the most complex and colorful novels of all time. All readings in the seminar are in English.
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.
Soundscapes of Contemporary War
(V28.0150; call # 75392)
Instructor: Suzanne G. Cusick
Tuesday and Thursday, 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
What are the sounds of contemporary war? How have military planners, strategists, and commanders used sound (including music) to expedite battle? How have ordinary soldiers used sound (including music)? How have both kinds of military use interacted with civilian aural culture? This seminar will explore these questions with reference to major wars of the "American century" — World Wars I and II, the "Cold War," the Vietnam conflict — so as to understand better the acoustical practices of U.S. forces in the current "global war on terror" (especially the widespread use of "loud music" in detention camps). The course work will include readings, films, listening, discussion, individual research projects, and contribution toward a class website.
Suzanne G. Cusick, Associate Professorof Music, joined the NYU faculty in 2003 after ten years at the University of Virginia, where she was awarded the Alumni Board of Trustees Teaching Prize (for junior faculty) in 1995. She has published widely on music in relation to gender, sexuality, and embodiment; on the musical culture of early 17th-century Italy; and, most recently, on the use of music as a medium of torture in the "global war on terror." Her monograph on the work of the singer, teacher, and composer Francesca Caccini (1587 - c1646) at the Medici court will be published by the University of Chicago Press in 2008. In 2006 - 07, she was a Fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University, participating in the yearlong workshop "Cultural Reverberations of Modern War"; her research during that workshop forms the basis for this seminar.
Hispanic Cities: New York
(V28.0151; call # 75471)
Instructor: Lourdes Davila
Monday, 11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
What exactly is a city? What makes a city "Hispanic"? How does it become visible? What frontiers exist within the city's borders? How does a cosmopolitan city integrate the "Hispanic Other" into its fabric? On what terms? How does the presence of the Hispanic population permanently change the face of the city? This course traces the Hispanic cultural presence in New York from the end of the 19th century to the present, including responses by artists and writers to the terrorist attack of 9/11. Divided into modules, the course explores representation of and exchanges with the city in authors from Jose Marti to Pedro Pietri to Ernesto Quinonez, dancers like Jose Limon, Lourdes Lopez or Paloma Herrera, music from Bomba to Hip-Hop, visual art from Diego Rivera to James de la Vega, and film, from West Side Story to Raising Victor Vargas. Students will participate in cultural activities around NYC, and will be able to talk to several artists currently working here. Criticism will include authors like Gaston Bachelard, de Certeau, and Walter Benjamin.
Lourdes Davila, a member of the faculty of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, has been actively involved in arts as a professional dancer in NYC since 1989. Her first book, The Image Arrives on a Verbal Shore, considers the use of visual language in the Argentinean author Julio Cortazar. She is currently working on a book on photography and literature in Latin America. Lourdes has worked as a translator for the Guggenheim Foundation and now has two book translation projects: Corner of the Dead (English to Spanish), a short novel by the award winner Lynn Lurie about the Shining Path in Peru, and Julio Cortazar's Silvalandia (Spanish to English). She has been a recipient of the College's Golden Dozen Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Muhammad and the Quran
(V28.0152; call # 75836)
Instructor: Francis E. Peters
Wednesday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
The Quran is one of the primary texts of world history: the faith of millions of believers is rooted in it and in the conviction that the man who pronounced it in Arabia in the seventh century A.D. spoke with the voice of God. But the Quran-the Quran in the hands of Muslims and non-Muslims alike-is also a document, and its original recitation came forth from a mortal man. Both, then, are the subject of historical inquiry. Muslims made those inquiries from the beginning, but in the West it was not until the 19th century that Muhammad and the Quran became the object of serious historiographical investigation. The objective of this course is to introduce undergraduate students into both "the Quest for the Historical Muhammad" and the current state of research on the making of our Quran by inviting them to address the very same questions the current researchers are. The manner will be that of a seminar, in which every student, every week, will be asked to make an active (and generally written) contribution on one of the research issues.
Francis E. Peters is Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies as well as History and Religious Studies. During his career at NYU he has taught courses ranging from Homer, Aristotle, and Plotinus through the Gospels, Muhammad, and Near Eastern urbanism to Islamic philosophy and theology. He taught a previous Advanced Honors Seminar titled "Jesus and Muhammad." His numerous books include Muhammad and the Origins of Islam and The Voice, the Word, the Books: The Sacred Scriptures of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims, commissioned by the British Library. He is currently finishing a book on the Quran.
Collegiate Honors Seminar Abroad
NYU in London
European Integration and the European Union as a Political System
Instructor: Eiko R. Thielemann
Tuesday, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
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 Senior Lectureship in European Politics and Policy at the London School of Economics. He completed his 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; migration; and state aid.
Departmental Honors Seminar
Open to Qualified Non-Majors
Unearthing the Lost History of Greek Priestesses: Curating an Exhibition
(V43.0150, sec 002; call # 75475; V27.0150, sec 002; call # 75557)
Instructor: Joan Breton Connelly
Tuesday, 9:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Prerequisite: V43.0001 or V43.0100 and instructor's permission
In March 2007, Joan Breton Connelly published the first comprehensive cultural history of Greek priestesses, brought to life through a pioneering examination of literary sources, inscriptions, sculpture, and vase painting. The book will soon be brought to life in a traveling exhibition of objects and images brought together from some of the world's greatest museums. This seminar gives undergraduate students the unique opportunity to participate in the early planning stages of a major art exhibition. Following weeks of lectures on a broad range of topics to be explored in the Greek Priestess Show, students will develop and present their own plans for displays within the exhibition: object lists, installation designs, didactic information, and creative educational materials that include interactive technologies, film and print media, and relevant scientific content. This course will expose students to new subject matter, challenge their creativity, and develop their practical skills in managing a project.
Joan Breton Connelly is Professor of Art History and Classics and Director of the NYU Yeronisos Island Excavations and Field School in Cyprus. Her scholarship focuses on Greek art and archaeology, mythology, and religion. She is the author of Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece and Votive Sculpture of Hellenistic Cyprus. A MacArthur Fellow, she has pushed the boundaries of our understanding of the Parthenon with the publication of "Parthenon and Parthenoi: A Mythological Interpretation of the Parthenon Frieze" in the American Journal of Archaeology. From 2002 to 2004 she held the Lillian Vernon Chair for Teaching Excellence at NYU, having earlier won the College's Golden Dozen Award for Excellence in Teaching.