The College is one of the most diverse communities anywhere–an exciting, sophisticated center in one of the most exciting and cosmopolitan cities in the world. Our mission is to prepare students to be thought leaders and successful global citizens. We do this by creating unique academic opportunities for student and faculty engagement that emphasize research and scholarly communication. Part of the College’s Honors Program, the Advanced Honors Seminars place students in small classes with distinguished faculty to study topics that have the potential to change how we think and how we work. As such, they are ideal gateways for the intellectually stimulating discussions we aim to foster. They challenge students and faculty to engage intensively within and beyond their fields of study, and they inspire intellectual responsibility towards the scholarly community and the wider world.
In spring 2005, the College of Arts and Science launched the Advanced Honors Seminar program, which extends the basic principles behind the Freshman Honors Seminars to upper-level courses (open to sophomores, juniors, and, if space allows, seniors). 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, teach these small classes. In many instances, the seminars are cross-listed with departments and students may count the classes toward their majors or minors; in some cases, the classes will count only as electives.
Advanced Honors Seminars have three central goals: to create close mentoring relationships between exceptional faculty and students; to challenge students intellectually through honors-level work in critical thinking, writing, and conversing; and to strengthen students’ interest in and aptitude for conducting independent research (e.g. a DURF grant or a Senior Honors Thesis). They are designed to foster scholarly insight and debate and to nurture the intellectual passions of students and faculty alike. We encourage you to try one this year!
G. Gabrielle Starr
Seryl Kushner Dean of the College of Arts and Science
Director of College Honors Programs
The Making of an Iconic Image
Instructor: Deborah Willis
Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Iconic images are pictures that become rooted in our personal memory and are stored away for future reference through our experiences with them. Often, the power of an iconic image extends beyond the meaning of its original purpose and takes on another form socially and historically. This seminar explores the range of ideas and methods used by photographers, artists, historians, filmmakers, and critical thinkers in addressing the notion of iconic images within photography, video, and film. It combines historical, contemporary, and theoretical approaches to identity politics and visual culture, and addresses how images are constructed through art, media, advertising, political campaigns, war and disaster, beauty, and popular culture. Class discussions highlight the trends and transformations that have characterized the evolution of the iconic image. Using a series of case studies, we explore the construction of beauty and style, gendered images, race, and pop culture. We also consider issues of representation, display, and reception, as well as the wider social context in which art, music, and culture are experienced in private and public spaces. In addition to classes held on campus, field trips are taken to archives, museums and galleries. Each week students discuss a photograph of their own choice. Cross-listed with Photography and Imaging of the Tisch School of the Arts as PHTI-UT 1120, section 004.
Deborah Willis, Ph.D, is University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and has an affiliated appointment with the College of Arts and Science, Africana Studies. She was a 2005 Guggenheim Fellow and Fletcher Fellow, and a 2000 MacArthur Fellow, as well as the 1996 recipient of the Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation award. She has pursued a dual professional career as an art photographer and as one of the nation's leading historians of African American photography and curator of African American culture. Professor Willis has just received the honored educator award at the Society for Photographic Education.
The NYU Mediation Lab: Course-of-the-Future/Make Your MOOC Edition
Instructor: Clifford Siskin
Tuesday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
MIT has its famous Media Lab (media.mit.edu) for “envisioning the impact of emerging technologies.” Here at NYU we use the more inclusive term, “mediation,” to invite students from every discipline of FAS to participate in the making of new knowledge. For this fourth edition of the Lab, we’ll take our cue from what the NYT insists is “the educational happening of the moment”: Massive Open Online Courses. MOOCs exploded after 150,000 students signed up for an Artificial Intelligence course offered by a Stanford professor. He’s now left the university to start one of many new companies competing to sign up universities anxious to not miss the boat. Yes, it’s new to them, but what about you? Just as in your flesh and blood classrooms, these virtual courses are primarily being designed and taught by faculty. If this form is the future of education—if it’s really going to be NEW and not (in the worst case) just the same faculty you already have acting out in front of the camera—shouldn’t students be in on the act? Bring your experiences, knowledge, and ambitions from your disciplinary homes to the Lab where, together, we will research, write, design, invent—and possibly produce—the course of the future. Cross-listed with English as ENGL-UA 800, section 001.
Clifford Siskin is the Henry W. and Alfred A. Berg Professor of English and American Literature and the Director of The Re:Enlightenment Project. His subject is the interrelations of literary, social, and technological change. Links between past and present inform all of his work, from his sequencing of the genres of subjectivity (The Historicity of Romantic Discourse) to his recovery of literature’s role in the formation of the modern disciplines (The Work of Writing). He is also co-editor, with William Warner, of This Is Enlightenment, and a forthcoming monograph that asks when and how the central genre of Enlightenment became the thing that we now love to blame: the SYSTEM.
Art Meets Brain
Instructor: Wendy Suzuki
Tuesday, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
What makes us creative? What is the brain basis of our creativity? This class will explore the intersection of creative art in a wide range of formats on the one hand and neuroscience on the other. Guests artists will include: Julie Burstein, best-selling author, journalist and expert on creativity; Craig D’Amico, actor and acting coach; Baba Brinkman, science rapper; Patrick Terry, magician; Matthew Wilson, professional clown; Erika Shannon, dancer and dance instructor; and Jody Oberfelder, choreographer. Students will first explore each of these different art forms through direct participation (i.e., all students should be ready to dance, act, rap etc.). We will then discuss the latest neuroscience and cognitive psychology underlying the each of these unique creative arts. Small teams of students will then research and present questions and discussion topics related to the topic. Strong collaboration, participation, and interaction as well as little sweat are all requirements for class sessions.
Wendy Suzuki is a Professor of Neural Science and Psychology in the Center for Neural Science at NYU. She runs a research lab that examines the parts of the brain important for long-term memory and the effects of exercise on learning, memory and cognition in humans. She is also a group fitness instructor, and teaches a course called “Can Exercise Change your Brain?” that combines physical workouts in class with lecture and discussion on the neuroscience behind how exercise can change your brain. In addition, she co-directs a program at NYU called Empowering New Scientists.
Making Art in the Anthropocene: A Creative Research Project on Ecology, Species, and Vibrant Matter
Instructor: Una Chaudhuri and Fritz Ertl
Monday, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
“Either stop writing, or write like a rat!” In one of the most provocative texts in contemporary animal philosophy, the French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari famously propose “becoming animal” as a liberating artistic practice. This workshop-cum-seminar will engage with key themes in recent “post-humanist” discourse by applying and testing them in our own creative practice. We will read recent theories of species, ecology, and matter (by writers like Jacques Derrida, Donna Haraway, Elizabeth Grosz, Jane Bennett, and Timothy Morton) and we will study a variety of literary, cinematic and visual art works that seem to resonate with key themes of that discourse (works like Wallace Shawn’s Grasses of a Thousand Colors, Cesar Aira’s An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter, Marina Zurkow’s “Slurb,” Marian Engel’s Bear, and Robinson Devor’s Zoo). Our seminar-style investigations of these texts and artworks will regularly be applied in workshop sessions where we will use space, objects, movement, sound, imagery, and writing to explore the aesthetic implications of these theoretical ideas. A main interest of this course is to experiment with “creative research,” a way of doing intellectual work in which art-making is regarded as—and systematically used as—a mode of knowledge and inquiry, and in which ideas are developed by doing and making as well as by thinking/writing/speaking. Prior artistic training/practice is welcomed but not required; however, all students must be willing to and interested in exploring their "inner artist." Cross-listed with Animal Studies as ANST-UA 393, section 001; with English as ENGL-UA 800, section 002; with Environmental Studies as ENVST-UA 593, section 001; with Dramatic Literature as DRLIT-UA 971, section 002; and with the Department of Drama in the Tisch School of the Arts as THEA-UT 801, section 004.
Una Chaudhuri, Collegiate Professor and Professor of English, of Drama, and of Environmental Studies, has served as Chair of both the Department of English in the Faculty of Arts and Science and of the Department of Drama at the Tisch School of the Arts. 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 critical anthology Land/Scape/Theater. Her current work explores the intersections of performance studies and the emerging field of animal studies, on which she just guest-edited a special issue of TDR: The Journal of Performance Studies. She has won both the College’s Golden Dozen Award for Teaching Excellence and the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award.
Fritz Ertl is an adjunct instructor in the Department of Drama in the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. He has produced or directed world premieres of plays by Steven Drukman, Erik Ehn, and Paula Vogel, and has worked at theatres such as Berkshire Theatre Festival, BACA Downtown, HERE, and Incubator Arts Project. He has directed plays at NYU such as PENTECOST, by David Edgar; THE PAINS OF YOUTH, by Ferdinand Brukner; and MAD FOREST, by Caryl Churchill. In recent years, he has been working on a series of new plays exploring the catastrophic consequences of globalization: YOUTH IN ASIA: A TECHNO FANTASIA (aka the resistance project); FOXHOLLOW (aka the animal project); THERE WAS AND THERE WASN‘T: AN OLD IRAQI FOLK TALE (aka the queeraq project); and CARLA AND LEWIS (aka the ecocide project). He has been teaching at NYU since 1990, and is the former Managing Director of the Drama Department at Tisch. In 2005-06 he was the program director of the Tisch Acting Conservatory in Dublin. Currently he is the head of acting at Playwrights Horizon Theater School and a member of the adjunct faculty at the Meisner Studio.
Realism and How To Get Rid of It
Instructor: Thomas Bishop
Wednesday, 3:30-6:00 p.m.
Realism (with a capital r) was a nineteenth-century school in literature, theater, and art that sought to portray reality as objectively as possible. The twentieth century saw various reactions against Realism, such as the stream-of-consciousness novel, surrealism, Brechtian epic theater, theater of the absurd, the first-person singular narrative, postmodernism, and abstract expressionism. Though they were very different from each other, all had more subjective, idiosyncratic ways of understanding and representing reality. We start with icons of Realism (e.g., Balzac, James, Ibsen) and continue through twentieth-century masterpieces of anti-realism, from novels by Camus, Robbe-Grillet and Paul Auster, to plays by Pirandello, Brecht, Ionesco, Beckett and Pinter, concentrating on form, language, and conventions, and the relationship of the work to the reader or spectator. In addition to literature, we contrast “traditional” narrative cinema with nonlinear cinema, and Realism in painting with contemporary non-realistic art. Throughout, we examine critical texts related aesthetics of Realism and anti-realism. Cross-listed with Comparative Literature as COLIT-UA 181, section 001.
Tom Bishop is the Florence Gould Professor of French Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature, and Director of the Center for French Civilization and Culture at NYU. He chaired the Department of French for 33 years. He has written extensively on European and American theater and on contemporary French fiction and civilization. His books include studies of Beckett, Sartre, 20th-century theater, and French cultural and political life. His most recent book is From the Left Bank: Reflections on Contemporary French Theater and Fiction. He has organized many literary conferences and festivals in New York and Paris, and was the Artistic Director of the six-month long “Beckett 100” centennial event in Paris. He has received numerous decorations from the French government as well as the Grand Prize of the Académie Française. He earned an OBIE award for achievement in Off-Broadway Theatre.
Staging the Self: Biography, Autobiography & Performance
Instructor: Carol Martin
Wednesday, 11:00 a.m.-1:45 p.m.
In this course we examine the representation of personal experience in its biographical and autobiographical forms in the arts, with a focus on performance. Particular attention is paid to the ways in which personhood is aesthetically, psychologically, and politically theorized in different contexts. What does an individual’s experience represent in specific works of art? How is the relationship of individual experience to collective experience reconstructed in different works? Can individual experience portray collective historical reality? Should we understand an artist’s oeuvre in relation to his or her personal life? In what ways do individual works bestow human experience with specific epistemologies and with social and historical realities? Are Irving Goffman’s ideas about the performance of self in everyday life relevant to the personal identities represented in museums, in documentary film, in architecture, and on theatrical stages? Can the individual lives represented in art accurately represent abstract social relations? Texts for the course include works by Irving Goffman, Errol Morris, Erik Erikson, Joseph Roach, Freddie Rokem, Deirdre Heddon, and selected plays, films and museum displays.
Carol Martin is Professor of Drama at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She writes on documentary theatre, contemporary American and Japanese performance, as well as on performance and globalization. Her essays and interviews have appeared in academic journals in the U.S. and abroad and in the New York Times and have been translated into French, Polish, Chinese, and Japanese. Her most recent book is Dramaturgy of the Real on the World Stage.
Seeing the City
Instructor: Richard Sennett
Tuesday, 3:30-6:00 p.m.
This seminar explores how the buildings, streets, and public spaces of a city relate to its economic, social, and political life. The seminar thus bridges visual studies and the social sciences. The seminar is pro-active. In addition to classroom readings and discussions, you will work in small teams to photograph and film particular conditions in the city. Your term project will take you into one of the Marron Institute's urban design projects. The course aims to sensitize you to the urban environment, as well as introduce you to the skills urbanists use in their work.
Richard Sennett is a Professor of Sociology at NYU and at the London School of Economics, where he is also chair of The Cities Programme. He has executed design projects for New York City, Berlin, Beirut, and other cities and also headed UNESCO's Committee on Cities and World Heritage. Professor Sennett's work explores how individuals and groups make social and cultural sense of material facts (their urban environments, what they do for a living, etc.). His research entails ethnography, history, and social theory, continuing the pragmatist tradition pioneered by William James and John Dewey. His first books, The Uses of Disorder and The Hidden Injuries of Class, examined the formation of personal and working-class identity in the modern city and society. Since the 1990s he has charted the personal consequences for workers of the work-world of modern capitalism in such studies as The Corrosion of Character, Respect in a World of Inequality, and The Culture of the New Capitalism. Professor Sennett Richard is assisted in the seminar by Dom Bagnato, a film maker and researcher at the Marron Institute.
The Picture of Dorian Gray: A Case Study in Literary Research
Instructor: Marvin Taylor
Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Winter Session runs January 7-25, 2013
Oscar Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, is a cultural lightning rod. When it was first published in England, a firestorm of criticism hit the newspapers and literary magazines, decrying the work as “morbid” and “unhealthy”—coded language that suggested homosexuality to the late-Victorian public. The novel has a complicated publication history. It survives in two versions: the first was published in the U. S., six months before it appeared in England. Wilde’s novel provides a perfect case study in how to approach a literary text in its historical context. This three-week course will focus on the novel’s various manuscript and print versions, Wilde’s correspondence about the work, and critical responses to the text. Various themes of the work will be addressed, such as Wilde’s London, yellow journalism, British jurisprudence, the Labouchere Amendment, the language of flowers, opium dens, Aesthetic Movement philosophy, East End theater, 1890s fashion, “inversion,” late-Victorian portraiture, bibliophilia, book design, Victorian ghost stories, and French decadence. Students will be required to do in-depth research with the Fales Library’s holdings exploring these topics and their relevance to our understanding of the novel. The goal will be to allow students to do primary research and to see how vital original sources are for the study of literary texts. Cross-listed with English as ENGL-UA 252.001.
Marvin Taylor is Director of the Fales Library and Special Collections at NYU. He holds degrees from Indiana University in Comparative Literature and Library Science, and in English Literature from NYU. He has held positions at the Lilly Library, Indiana University and the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the Health Sciences Library at Columbia University before coming to NYU. Taylor has taught literary methodology, queer theory, Victorian literature, and contemporary art history all from the perspective of primary research in archives. His research about, and interest in, Oscar Wilde led to his inclusion in the dramatis personae of Moises Kaufman’s play, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde.
A History of Disbelief
Instructor: Mitchell Stephens
Thursday, 11:00 a.m.-1:30 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 with references to anthropology, the Hebrews and India, before discussing the skeptics and the development of disbelief in Greece and Rome. The course then will follow the uneven progress of this idea and its consequences in 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 allied with 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. Readings may include selections from the Bible, as well as work by Cicero, Hume, Mill, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Woolf, and Derrida, among others.
Mitchell Stephens is Professor of Journalism. He is the author of, among other books, the rise of the image the fall of the word and A History of News. His articles on media issues, philosophy, anthropology, physics, and other subjects have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and other publications. He is currently writing books on the future of journalism and on the history of disbelief.
Abortion: Examining the Issues
Instructor: Evelyn Birge Vitz
Thursday, 9:30 a.m.–12:15 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. This course counts towards the major in Gender and Sexuality Studies.
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 many aspects of medieval literature and culture. She has also been researching and writing about abortion for several years, and has held workshops of a dramatic script about abortion in New York and Washington, D.C.
“Varieties of Religious Experience” Revisited
Instructor: James Gilligan
Monday, 3:30-6:00 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, racism, totalitarianism, apocalyptic fundamentalism) as attempts to reject or distort modernity (the worldview of modern science), 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. Cross-listed with Religious Studies as RELST-UA 140.001. Please note that this course does not satisfy the advanced seminar requirement for Religious Studies majors.
James Gilligan, Collegiate Professor, headed the Institute of Law and Psychiatry at NYU and directed mental health programs for the Massachusetts prison system while on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry. He has also served as President of the International Association for Forensic Psychotherapy, and as Chair of the Committee on prevention, which was part of President Clinton’s National Campaign against Youth Violence. His books include Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic, and Preventing Violence: An Agenda for the Coming Century. He has been a consultant to the World Health Organization’s Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Law Lords of the House of Lords, and other groups and individuals throughout the world.
The 14th Century—When Europe Was Transformed
Instructor: Jill N. Claster
Thursday, 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 21st 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 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 21st. Cross-listed with History as HIST-UA 105.001. Please note that this course does not satisfy the advanced research seminar requirement for the history major.
Jill N. Claster is Professor of History Emerita with a specialty in the Middle Ages. She has taught and studied the Crusader era extensively and, among her other books, is the author of the recently published book, Sacred Violence: The European Crusades to the Middle East, 1095–1396 (2009). She 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.
Metapatterns from Quarks to Culture
Instructor: Tyler Volk
Monday and Wednesday, 3:30-4:45 p.m.
This class will allow you to develop projects along areas of interest that could aid your career as well as expand your mind. The instructor will introduce the concept of metapatterns: structural/functional patterns in systems, which occur across the levels of the universe, as it built in a series of steps of “combigenesis” from quarks to culture (about 12 main-path steps, including the emergence of atoms, simplest cells, animal societies, agriculture, the state). Examining these steps, we will explore themes such as binaries, borders, centers, and alphabetic holarchies. You will apply these and more (such as complexity theory, networks, positive and negative feedbacks) to topics that interest you, from the environment to, say, music, language, biological or cultural evolution, levels in politics, or just the overall nature of reality (your imagination is the only limit). For a flavor of the material, see the instructor’s book “Metapatterns Across Space, Time, and Mind,” or the instructor’s papers about metapatterns available from this website (http://metapatterns.wikidot.com/members:tylervolk), or the instructor’s 3 (so far, maybe you will make the next in this course) youtube videos on metapatterns (search “professortylevolk” and “metapatterns”). Cross-listed with Environmental Studies as ENVST-UA 254.001. This course will count towards the major in Environmental Studies.
Tyler Volk is Professor of Biology, Director of Science for the Environmental Studies Program, and a recipient of the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award. He is the author of "Metapatterns across Space, Time, and Mind" and of papers that provide reasons for the generation of common functional principles at different scales. Several relevant papers can be accessed at http://metapatterns.wikidot.com/members:tylervolk. Volk conducts research on the global carbon cycle and Earth’s future and has written books on death-and-life as a scale-transcending pattern and on the integrated systems of our biosphere. He plays lead guitar for The Amygdaloids (http://www.amygdaloids.com).
Power, Domination, and Resistance
Instructor: Steven Lukes
Thursday, 3:30-6:00 p.m.
This course will introduce students to the complexities of conceptualizing and studying power. How do we determine where it lies? Who has more and who less? How do we study its mechanisms and effects, above all in view of the intuition that it is at its most effective when least observable by both agents and observers? Is power at its most effective when most imperceptible, and, if so, how are we to study it? What are the relations between the concept of “power” and such related concepts as “authority,” “influence,” “manipulation,” “coercion,” “force,” and “violence”? What is the relationship between so-called “hard” and “soft” power? We will look at some classical writings (from Thomas Hobbes to Max Weber), at modern writers (such as Hannah Arendt, Pierre Bourdieu, and Michel Foucault), and at work by contemporary political scientists and sociologists. Abstract discussion will be leavened throughout by case studies exemplifying the conceptual discussion. Cross-listed with Sociology as SOC-UA 938.001. This course will count towards the major in Sociology as an advanced seminar or elective.
Steven Lukes is Professor of Sociology. He studied philosophy, politics, and economics at Oxford, where he obtained his doctorate, writing a thesis on Durkheim under the supervision of the anthropologist E. E. Evans-Prichard. He has previously held posts in Politics and Sociology at Balliol College, Oxford; in Political and Social Theory at the European University Institute in Florence; in Moral Philosophy at the University of Siena; and in Sociology at the London School of Economics. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and an editor of the European Journal of Sociology. His writing and teaching have ranged over political science, political and moral philosophy, sociology, anthropology, and the philosophy of the social sciences. His published works include Emile Durkheim: His Life and Work; Individualism, Marxism, and Morality; Liberals and Cannibals: The Implications of Diversity; The Curious Enlightenment of Professor Caritat: A Comedy of Ideas (a novel soon to be reissued); and Power: A Radical View, which recently appeared in a much-expanded second edition. He is also co-editor of Rationality and Relativism and The Category of the Person: Anthropology, Philosophy, History. His most recent book is Moral Relativism.
Political Cinema and Representation of the ‘Other’
Instructor: Shimon Dotan
Monday, 6:20-8:50 p.m.
In contemporary war, the ‘Other’ is viewed not only as an enemy to be fought but, often, as one to be eliminated. How do filmmakers fight against or, alternatively, reinforce, such deadly representations? This seminar will focus primarily, though not exclusively, on one of the world’s most conflict-ridden regions—the Middle East—though it will also explore films from Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, France and the United States. Through selected readings and film screenings, we will explore how the ‘Other’ is constructed politically, aesthetically and ethically. This class is designed for anyone interested in filmmaking and film criticism, in contemporary politics and history, especially those of the Middle East, in cinema of conflict and violence, and the ethical questions associated with them.
Shimon Dotan, a Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU, is an award-winning filmmaker with thirteen 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 and film studies at Tel Aviv University in Israel and at Concordia University in Montreal, and is a member of the Directors and Writers Guilds of America.
Diplomacy in the 21st Century: Contemporary Challenges to an Ancient Profession
Instructor: Ambassador François Barras
Monday, 9:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Diplomacy, one of the prime methods by which mankind manages relations between politically organized groups, has undergone a profound transformation in recent decades due (among other factors) to the information revolution, globalization, and the increased relevance of new non-state actors in international affairs. How do diplomats and governments react to these changes? Does traditional diplomacy still matter in today’s world? What skills are required to be a competent diplomat in the 21st century? This seminar aims to answer these questions by exploring the many dimensions of contemporary diplomacy. We will begin with an historical perspective and then explore the different types of diplomatic activities, such as political, commercial, cultural, and scientific; bilateral and multilateral; soft and hard; secret, discreet, and public. We will also focus on current challenges facing diplomacy. Topics will be addressed through selected readings, discussions with the instructor, guest speakers, and visits to diplomatic missions in New York.
Ambassador François Barras is Consul General of Switzerland in New York. He was appointed to this post in 2010, having previously served as Ambassador of Switzerland to Lebanon (2006–2010), Swiss General Consul to Hong Kong and Macao (2003–2006), and Ambassador of Switzerland to the United Arab Emirates (1999–2003). Prior to this, he held several positions within the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs in Berne, Tel Aviv, Washington, and Mexico City. Ambassador Barras received a Ph.D. in Legal Anthropology from University of London, SOAS, in 1983, a Masters Degree in Anthropology from University of Virginia in 1976, and a Law Degree from the University of Geneva in 1974.
History of Medicine and Dentistry
Instructor: Andrew I. Spielman
Wednesday, 4:55–7:25 p.m.
Adqui consilium futuri ex praeterito venit. “We gain advice for the future from the past,” said Seneca in 69 A.D. Understanding the history of major medical and dental discoveries leads to a better appreciation of what we have today. This seminar deals with important topics in the history of medicine and dentistry, with an emphasis on the last 500 years. Topics include: the origins of “an eye for an eye” and “a tooth for a tooth”; the real DaVinci Code; three weasels, a coat-of-arms, and the rise of anatomy; how the dark secret of the Sun King changed surgeons forever; how laughing gas is no laughing matter in medicine; and the stories of Jenner, Pasteur and Koch, and other giants in the field of medicine. Additionally, the course explores the history of the modern dental and medical professions. Assignments include a short, in-class context presentation, active class participation and a final class video project that links the major medical discoveries across centuries and their dependence on each other.
Andrew I. Spielman is Professor of Basic Sciences at NYU College of Dentistry, and was recently honored with the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award. He is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and former chair of the Department of Basic Sciences and Craniofacial Biology at the dental school. In addition to a dental degree, he has a certificate in maxillofacial surgery and a Ph.D. in biochemistry. For over two decades, his research interests focused on the molecular mechanisms of bitter and sour taste. During the past decade his research and educational interests have also included the history of dentistry and medicine. He is currently working on the history of the NYU College of Dentistry.
The Consolation of Philosophy: Boethius and Boethian Literature in the Middle Ages
Instructor: Haruko Momma
Monday, 9:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is Fortune so cruel? Is our fate predetermined? If so, is there any point in exercising our free will? How can we ever be happy? Can philosophy help us get through difficult times? These are questions raised in The Consolation of Philosophy, a dialogue written by the Roman philosopher Boethius (c.480-524/6), while staying in prison and waiting for King Theodoric’s order for his execution. Boethius’s Consolation touched the hearts of many readers in the Middle Ages (and beyond) and influenced the work of numerous writers and philosophers from this period. In the Divine Comedy, for example, Dante places Boethius in the Fifth Heaven. His Consolation was translated by, among others, King Alfred (848/9–899), Chaucer (c.1340–1400), and Queen Elizabeth I (1533–1603). In our course, we will consider many of questions raised by Boethius by reading The Consolation of Philosophy and (mostly) medieval adaptations of and responses to Boethius and Boethian themes, including Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, the Death of King Arthur; and The Seafarer and other Old English elegies. We will also consult philosophical works that influenced Boethius: e.g. Plato, Aristotle, and St. Augustine. Cross-listed with English as ENGL-UA 252.001 and with Medieval and Renaissance Studies as MEDI-UA 182.001. This course will count as a "pre-1800 course" towards the English major.
Haruko Momma is Professor of English. She teaches medieval literature, the language and culture of Anglo-Saxon England, and language-conscious literature of all ages. She has written, among others, From Philology to English Studies: Language and Culture in the Nineteenth Century and The Composition of Old English, and co-edited the Companion to the History of the English Language. Her current project concerns the power of prayer and its role in early societies.
Civil Rights and Civil Wrongs: The Fight for Equality in the United States
Instructor: K. Kevyne Baar
Tuesday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
Shortly after graduating from Oberlin College in 1847, abolitionist and women’s rights advocate Lucy Stone remarked, “I expect to plead not for the slave only, but for suffering humanity everywhere. Especially do I mean to labor for the elevation of my sex.” Three years later, 1850 found her on a national stage at a conference on women’s rights that included noted abolitionists. Stone understood the necessity of a fight that brings rights to all peoples. There were those who felt she and some of the other women present were dupes of the abolitionists. History would unfortunately prove this correct, for when African-American men were given the vote through the 15th Amendment, the abolitionists felt their work was done. It would take another 50 years before women would be granted the right to vote. Recognizing, as Lucy Stone did, that the fight for human rights does not exist in a vacuum, this course will look at the intersection of the three major American movements for African-American rights, women’s rights, and gay rights. Looking back over 160 years of history, we will compare and contrast the three movements. We will also examine how events in the United States and around the world informed and changed the dialogue on civil rights as so many fight even today to keep the conversation alive. Cross-listed with History as HIST-UA 830.001. Please note that this course does not satisfy the advanced research seminar requirement for the history major.
Kevyne Baar has for the past ten years been an archivist at the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives here at NYU. Her collection experiences range from the Records of Actors’ Equity Association to the Social Service Employees Union Local 371, leading the archives to play an important role in her classes. She entered academic life after a long career in theatre and union organizing. A self-described non-traditional scholar, she brings a wealth of personal experience to bear on the subjects she teaches. As an adjunct in the History Department, she has regularly taught seminars and lecture courses. She is the recipient of the College of Arts and Science Outstanding Teaching Award for 2012 for her course “Women, the Entertainment Industry and the Blacklist Era.”
The Medieval Indian Ocean World: Mobility & Encounters
Instructor: Tamer el-Leithy
Tuesday, 4:55–7:35 p.m.
In recent years, the Indian Ocean has become an exciting field of historical scholarship, contributing to new understandings of world history and demonstrating some of the limits to traditional land-centered and single-region studies. In this course, we will be reading about and discussing various forms of mobility and exchange—including trade and travel, conquest and religious conversion, different diaspora communities and migrations—across a large area that extends from East Africa to the islands of Southeast Asia, from Yemen and Arabia to the Indian subcontinent. Our temporal focus will be the Middle Ages; we conclude with the beginnings of the Age of Discovery (16th century) and discuss how significant changes in technology, politics, and conquest challenged older patterns of mercantile mobility and cultural exchange. The purpose of this seminar will be to understand this complex and integrated commercial and cultural system, by considering the movements of goods and peoples across the Indian Ocean world. Cross-listed with Medieval and Renaissance Studies as MEDI-UA 184.001 and with Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies as MEIS-UA 722.001. This course will count as either a history or topics course towards the MEIS major.
Tamer el-Leithy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at NYU. He holds his Ph.D. in Near East Studies (History) from Princeton University (2005) and was awarded the Bruce Craig Award for best dissertation on a Mamluk topic, as well as the Cleveland Dodge Award for Distinguished Dissertation. His research explores the Social and Cultural History of the Medieval Middle East and Mediterranean Religion, specifically how religious identity structured people’s lived experience and how their social practices challenge and complicate the picture of inter-religious relations. His publications include Living Documents, Dying Archives: Towards a Historical Anthropology of Medieval Arabic Archives, and Sufis, Copts, and the Politics of Piety: Moral Regulation in 14th-century Upper Egypt.
Enlightenment and Ideology: Ireland in the Digital Archive
Instructor: John Waters
Monday and Wednesday, 11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
This course will investigate the problems of difference, progress and development that confronted those who sought to improve the condition of Ireland through the application of new ideas that gained currency in the 18th century Enlightenment. Although an integral part of the British Empire, Ireland was notoriously economically under-developed, culturally distinct, socially turbulent and religiously diverse. Consequently Ireland was the subject of a vast literary and political debate about how the society should be transformed, how its culture should evolve, its language adapt, and its people change their ways. At the end of the 18th century, the movement of the United Irishmen attempted to put in practice a vision of Enlightenment philosophy, first through cultural politics, then through revolutionary activity, finally through a failed military rebellion. To put these events in context, we will attempt to chart the history of ideas about society as they were applied to Ireland through two distinct approaches. We will read signal works of British and Irish Enlightenment philosophy and applied social analysis, by famous writers including Jonathan Swift, Adam Smith, Bishop Berkeley, Edmund Burke, and Maria Edgeworth, as well as works by lesser known writers who sought earnestly to solve what was known as the Irish Problem. Alongside this reading, we will conduct an experimental Digital analysis of a large corpus of works written about Ireland in the period. The course will be conducted as a research seminar with a weekly Digital Laboratory component in which students will work to contribute to the corpus of digitized books, as well as to the effort to analyze the corpus through custom-designed analytical tools. Cross-listed with English as ENGL-UA 761.002 and with Irish Studies as IRISH-UA 761.002.
John Waters is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of Graduate and Undergraduate Irish Studies and is the inaugural Director of the Masters in Irish and Irish-American Studies at NYU. He has done research at Johns Hopkins (B.A.), Trinity College Dublin (M. Phil.), and Duke University (M.A. and PhD). Other areas of interest include Eighteenth Century British and Irish Culture and British Romantic literature. He edited a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly on “Ireland and Irish Cultural Studies;” more recently, he has edited two volumes which are currently in preparation: The African Traveller: A Radical’s Tale of Ireland in the Year of the Great Irish Rebellion and Gertrude of Wyoming (1809): A Hypertext Edition. He joined the faculty of New York University in 2000, after teaching at Wake Forest University, Notre Dame, and Louisiana State University.
Narrating Poverty in Brazilian Literature and Film
Instructor: Marta Peixoto
Monday and Wednesday, 2:00–3:15 p.m.
This course, CONDUCTED IN ENGLISH, examines literary works in various genres (novels, autobiography, short stories), and Brazilian films (Cinema Novo and after, including documentaries), that attempt to narrate the experience of poverty. We will discuss texts by Graciliano Ramos, Carolina Maria de Jesus, Clarice Lispector, Rubem Fonseca, and Patricia Melo and view films (Barren Lives, The Scavengers, The Hour of the Star, Pixote, Bus 174, City of God, Babilônia 2000 and Black Orpheus), in light of key questions. How do these texts reflect on the nature of representation and on the investments of author and reader in images of deprivation? How do they present the connections of poverty with violence, stigmatization, and citizenship rights? How do they frame the ethical responsibilities of the writer or film-maker, as well as of readers and spectators? What are the patterns of consumption and circulation of these texts? Cross-listed with Portuguese as PORT-UA 704.001.
Marta Peixoto is Associate Professor of Brazilian literature and culture in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. She has worked primarily on twentieth-century Brazilian literature, having published one book on a major poet, João Cabral de Melo Neto (Poesia com coisas) and another on an internationally renowned novelist, Clarice Lispector (Passionate Fictions: Narrative, Gender, and Violence in Clarice Lispector). She has also published articles on women’s autobiographical writing, on the major nineteenth-century novelist Machado de Assis, among other topics and writers. Three of her recent articles center on questions of urban crisis and artistic representation in literature and film: “Fatos são pedras duras: Urban Poverty in Clarice Lispector,” “Rio’s Favelas in Recent Fiction and Film: Commonplaces of Urban Segregation,” and “Urban Violence and the Politics of Representation in Recent Brazilian Film.” Her research and teaching interests also include lyric poetry, Brazilian music, and documentary film.
Memory and Forgetting
Instructor: Martha Rust and Suzanne England
Wednesday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
The questions “What is memory?” and “What is forgetting?” have intrigued thinkers for millennia. Thanks to the written records that serve as our cultural memory, we know that memory has been a topic of inquiry at least since those records began. Today’s philosophers, psychologists, and literary scholars are continuing to hone the concept of the self as it was understood by John Locke, David Hume, and Ralph Waldo Emerson among others, as a dynamic tension between memory and consciousness. Together this work pursues such questions as “How is memory embodied?” How and why do we forget? What is the connection between memory and the self—and with language and story-telling—and with moral and ethical reasoning? What events are best forgotten and how do we go about forgetting them? The proliferation of memorials of war and conflict today has led some cultural critics to wonder if so much remembering gums up the salve of forgetting so necessary for the healing process of forgiving. The course is structured around six units: Life Memories, The Idea of Memory, The Science of Memory, The Art of Memory, Cultural Memory, and Forgetting. Readings represent the full spectrum of western thinking about memory, from Plato to the Pew Research Center’s report on memory and the internet. It is hoped that in addition to learning a great deal about memory and forgetting as academic topics, students will come away from the course having gained new insights into the workings of their own memories and having developed a personal practice of memory that will serve their growth as individuals long after their memories of the course itself have dimmed. Cross-listed with English as ENGL-UA 800.004 and with the Silver School of Social Work as UNDSW-US 79.001. This course will count as an advanced elective towards the English major.
Martha Dana Rust is Associate Professor of English at NYU. She is the author of Imaginary Worlds in Medieval Books: Exploring the Manuscript Matrix and, most recently, “The Architecture of the Infinite Library: Teaching Intertextuality and Bibliography with The Name of the Rose,” in Postscript to the Middle Ages: Teaching Medieval Studies Through Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. She is currently at work on a book project, “Item: Lists and the Poetics of Reckoning in Late-Medieval England,” which concerns, among other things, the medieval arts of memory.
Suzanne England is a Professor at the Silver School of Social Work at NYU. She holds degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Illinois Chicago, and Tulane University. She was Dean of the Silver School at NYU from 2001 to 2009 and Dean at the Tulane Graduate School of Social Work from 1994 to 2001. Professor England’s teaching includes methods of human inquiry, social policy and politics, narrative approaches to policy and advocacy, management and organizational practice, and ethical leadership. Her current research is on narratives--literary, dramatic, autobiographical, and popular culture representations of aging, old age, memory, caregiving and domestic space. This research is at the nexus of moral philosophy and memory studies as she seeks to develop frameworks for examining memory and forgetting in moral performances, and the expressions of meta-narratives and archetypes of aging, old age and age-related dementias in contemporary literature and popular culture.
Instructor: William Klein
Wednesday, 3:30–6:00 p.m.
This is an exploration of the type of conflict that results not simply from the clash of incompatible interests but from the shattering of a shared vision—even if that vision may come to seem deluded. Can we find some connections between the type of concept that unites people, and the type of conflict that divides them? Can we distinguish between what people say about these things and deeper or truer realities? Do people sometimes act as though they have a concept that governs their union, even if they are not aware of it? How strong are the analogies between voluntary associations, where the unifying concept may be clearly codified and affirmed, and political associations? Is the knowledge system that informs these concepts and provides ancillary support a historic artifact? Do conceptual unions based on indoctrination face special challenges? We will explore these and other questions using a wide mix of materials from Greek tragedy to political theory to divorce narratives. One aim will be to draw on the diverse disciplinary perspectives that students bring to the table. The final project may, accordingly, take various forms, from a work of fiction, to sustained philosophical or literary analysis, to historical research.
William Klein studied the history of political theory under J.G.A. Pocock at Johns Hopkins and, as a Fulbright Scholar, under Quentin Skinner at Cambridge. He specializes in legal and political theory, and has served on the editorial review board of the Journal of the History of Philosophy. At NYU, he teaches the history of political discourse in Liberal Studies, and conducts seminars on a variety of topics for the honors program in CAS. He is currently writing a study on the history and theory of sedition. In previous lives he worked as a ghost writer, an editor and a carpenter (hence the title of a recent piece on one of Italy’s great artists, Franca Ghitti: “Naive Notes on Franca’s Nails by a Former Carpenter”). In 2011-12 he taught for NYU in Florence.
The Future of Normal
Instructor: Bob Vorlicky
Thursday, 11:00 a.m.–1:45 p.m.
This course explores historical and current notions of normalcy and non-normalcy as they influence and determine what is or is not visible—what is or is not embodied—in live theatrical representation. While the course focuses on the theatricalization of “non-normative” bodies in staged representation, it also queries the absence or invisibility of other non-normative bodies. A significant goal of the course is to explore the relationship between non-normativity and invisibility on the U.S. stage. Through the study of drama, performance, and a variety of theoretical texts from different disciplines, the course surveys the kinds of theatre (originating in western cultures) that focus on the material body that challenges “normative” ideologies, practices, conditions, and technologies of sexuality and gender as they relate to staged corporeality. We acknowledge the foundations of gender-bending in, for instance, the works of Euripides, Shakespeare, and Jonson, and explore more recent solo works by Kate Bornstein (M to F), Ron Athey (live body piercing and branding) and Greg Wallace (born with cerebral palsy). Intentionally, the course explores the complicated relationships that exist among bodies, identities, culture, science, and technology—both on- and offstage—with special attention paid to a glaringly invisible community from U.S. stage representation: the intersexed. Cross-listed with Dramatic Literature as DRLIT-UA 971.005; with Social and Cultural Analysis as SCA-UA 721.001; and with the Department of Drama in the Tisch School of the Arts as THEA-UT 801.002. This course will count towards the major in Gender and Sexuality Studies.
Bob Vorlicky is an Associate Professor of Drama and Director of Theatre Studies in the Department of Drama in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is the author of Act Like a Man: Challenging Masculinities in American Drama (winner of the CHOICE Award for Outstanding Academic Publication); Tony Kushner in Conversation; and From Inner Worlds to Outer Space: The Multimedia Performances of Dan Kwong (all published by the University of Michigan Press). With Professor Una Chaudhuri (English/Drama/Environmental Studies, NYU), he co-edits the Critical Performances series at Michigan. He is the former president of the International American Theatre and Drama Society. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Foundation (senior professorship at the University of Zagreb), Karolyi Foundation in Creative Writing, and the Wisconsin Arts Board. While at NYU, he has also been a visiting professor at Yale.