Freshman Honors Seminars: Fall 2005
Baseball and American Culture
(V50.0206; call # 72748)
Instructor: Carl E. Prince
Wednesday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
Baseball is neither a metaphor for life nor a perfect explanation for the uniqueness of American culture or American character. But sport—and, for some cogent reasons, baseball in particular—does provide a way into an examination of major contemporary historical questions in the areas of race, gender, and class. The Brooklyn Dodgers' pioneering role in American racial integration in the years after World War II, for example, and the Yankees' early failure to follow suit provide useful laboratories for a study of race. The strongly macho character of baseball reveals basic gender aspirations and prejudices more subtly evoked in other areas of American life. To the extent that baseball is indeed a working-class game, fan involvement reveals much about the nature of urban class values and tensions in the 20th century. The course involves a good deal of writing, including two major papers; several small reaction papers intended to provoke discussion are required as well.
Carl E. Prince is Professor of History Emeritus and past president of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. He has published four books and numerous articles on early American political culture and edited the five-volume Papers of William Livingston. A former baseball player and lifelong fan, he is also the author of Brooklyn's Dodgers: The Bums, the Borough, and the Best of Baseball (1996), which opened for him a new academic field.
(V50.0207; call # 72749)
Instructor: Charles S. Peskin
Monday and Wednesday, 2:00-3:15 p.m.
Prerequisites: AP calculus and physics
Since the starting point for any computer simulation is a mathematical model (i.e., a collection of equations that describe the phenomenon to be simulated), the true prerequisite for this seminar is a love of mathematics, especially calculus. Computer simulation is one way that mathematics gets applied to the real world. In this hands-on course students learn how to program computers to simulate physical and biological processes. Examples include the orbits of planets, moons, comets, and spacecraft; the spread of epidemic and endemic diseases in a population, including the evolution of a population in response to an endemic disease; the production of sound by musical instruments; the flow of traffic on a highway or in a city; and the electrical activity of nerves. The seminar meets alternately in a classroom and in a computer laboratory setting. The techniques needed to perform computer simulations, and to present the results in terms of elementary graphics, animations, and sounds, are taught in class and then applied in the laboratory by students working individually or in teams. Topics for student projects may be drawn from those discussed in class as listed above, but students are also free to do other projects that reflect their own interests.
Charles S. Peskin is Silver Professor of Mathematics and Neural Science. His field of research is mathematical modeling and computer simulation applied to biology and medicine. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a former MacArthur Fellow, and a recipient of the Mayor's Award for Excellence in Science and Technology, as well as the Great Teacher Award of the NYU Alumni Association.
(V50.0209; call # 72751)
Instructor: David Lehman
Wednesday, 12:30-3:00 p.m.
The aim of this course is to change your life. We will read a selection of the greatest poems in the English language and consider what makes them great. We will discuss what distinguishes American from British poetry, and we will give some attention to questions of poetic influence and methods of composition. But the primary focus will be on reading, interpreting, and evaluating the poems themselves. The poets under consideration will include Shakespeare, Donne, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Byron, Whitman, Dickinson, Yeats, Eliot, Frost, Stevens, Auden, and Bishop. The course will conclude with some examples of contemporary American poetry.
David Lehman is a poet, critic, and editor. In 1988 he initiated "The Best American Poetry," and he continues as the general editor of this distinguished anthology series. In 1991 he published a critique of deconstruction entitled Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man. His recent books include When a Woman Loves a Man and The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets. His gathering of Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present appeared in 2003. He is now preparing a new edition of The Oxford Book of American Poetry. He has taught the "Great Poems" seminar since 1997. He has also taught at Columbia University, New School University, and Bennington College.
Language and Reality in 20th-Century Science and Literature
(V50.0210; call # 72752)
Instructor: Friedrich Ulfers
Tuesday and Thursday, 2:00-3:15 p.m.
The course explores the possibility that there exists a common ground between the so-called two cultures of science and the humanities. It posits the hypothesis of a correlation between postclassical science (e.g., quantum theory) and "postmodern" literature and philosophy. Among the key notions examined are Heisenberg's "uncertainty principle" and the "undecidability" of deconstructive theory. The discussion of these notions and of their implications in literary works revolves around their effect on classical logic, the referential function of language, and the traditional goal of a complete explanation/description of reality. Readings include selections from the works of Borges, Kundera, Pirsig, and Pynchon and from nontechnical texts on quantum and chaos theories.
Friedrich Ulfers is Associate Professor of German and Director of Deutsches Haus. Winner of the College's Golden Dozen Award for Excellence in Teaching, the University's Distinguished Teaching Medal, and its Great Teacher Award, he has taught not only in the German Department but also in the Draper Interdisciplinary Master's Program, offering courses on, among others, Nietzsche and Kafka that engage his interdisciplinary interests (literary theory, psychology, philosophy). He has written widely on 20th-century German authors and is at present preparing a study of Nietzsche as a postmodernist.
The Supreme Court and the Religion Clauses: Religion and State in America
(V50.0218; call # 72754)
Instructor: John E. Sexton
Monday, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Should members of the Native American Church be allowed to smoke peyote at religious ceremonies? Can a public high school invite a rabbi to give a benediction and convocation at graduation? Should a state legislator rely on his or her religious convictions in forming a view about the legality of capital punishment or abortion? The course divides these questions into three subject areas: religious liberty; separation of Church and State; and the role of religion in public and political life. It focuses on how the Supreme Court has dealt with these areas and, more important, invites students to construct anew a vision of the proper relationship between religion, state, and society in a 21st-century liberal constitutional democracy.
John E. Sexton, President of New York University, was the Dean of the NYU Law School from 1988 to 2002. He has taught courses on the Constitution and the courts and has led seminars on the intersection of religion and the law. Before he came to NYU, he served as law clerk for Chief Justice Warren Burger of the U.S. Supreme Court, and he has testified frequently before the U.S. Congress. In addition to his law degree, he holds a doctorate in the history of American religion.
Freedom, Classical Liberal Principles, and 21st-Century Problems
(V50.0227; call # 72755)
Instructor: Mario J. Rizzo
Monday, 4:55-7:25 p.m.
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the principles of classical liberalism through the discussion of theoretical and empirical issues in economics, law, and ethics. "Classical liberalism" is the political, economic, social, and moral philosophy that is severely skeptical of the power of the state and seeks to reduce its power over the citizen. It advances the view that society, under the rule of law, is largely self-regulating, and so government intervention, whether in economic or in social affairs, is either unnecessary or simply makes problems worse. Sometimes classical liberalism is called "19th-century liberalism," but its development has roots in ancient Roman thought and in the 18th-century Scottish Enlightenment, as well as in many strains of 20th-century philosophy and economics. Its leading thinkers have included Adam Smith, F. A. Hayek, and Milton Friedman. The course considers philosophical principles and empirical issues in the context of such contemporary problems as free trade, property rights, income distribution, and social-religious toleration.
Mario J. Rizzo is Associate Professor of Economics, as well as co-director of the Austrian Economics Program. His fields of research lie at the interface of a number of academic subjects, including the economic analysis of law, ethics and economics, and the methodology and philosophy of economics. He also has a long-standing interest in political philosophy. He is the author (with Gerald O'Driscoll) of The Economics of Time and Ignorance, many articles in law journals, and philosophically oriented articles on economic theory.
First Amendment Freedom of Expression
(V50.0235; call # 75446)
Instructor: Stephen D. Solomon
Tuesday and Thursday, 2:00-3:15 p.m.
Conflicts over freedom of speech erupt into public debate almost every week. Congress passes a law to purge indecency from online communications. A tobacco company sues a major television network for libel. Press disclosures threaten the fair-trial rights of defendants in major criminal trials. Although the First Amendment appears on its face to prohibit any governmental restrictions on speech, the Supreme Court in fact balances free and open expression against other vital interests of society. This course begins by examining the struggle against seditious libel (the crime of criticizing government or its officials) that was not won in this country until the landmark decision in New York Times v. Sullivan in 1964. Students examine freedom of speech through the prism of a rich variety of contemporary conflicts, including libel of public and private persons; political dissent that advocates overthrow of the government; prior restraints against publication; obscenity and pornography; flag burning; free press versus fair trial; and inflictions of emotional distress. Students read and analyze important decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Stephen D. Solomon is Associate Professor of Journalism and Director of the Program in Business and Economic Reporting. He teaches courses on First Amendment law in which he focuses on freedom of speech and freedom of the press. He is coauthor of Building 6: The Tragedy of Bridesburg, an investigation of cancer deaths at a chemical company, and is currently working on a book about the First Amendment religion case Abington School District v. Schempp, in which the Supreme Court prohibited prayer and Bible reading in the public schools. The book will be published in 2006.
In Search of Lost Time
(V50.0240; call # 72757)
Instructor: Marcelle Clements
Wednesday, 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
We will read Proust (in translation) as he should be read: hedonistically—with respect and admiration but also with delectation. A prodigious novel, 4,500 pages long, In Search of Lost Time addresses literature's richest theme: desire—its remembrance, transformation, perversion, defeat, and final resurgence in the form of art. More than 100 years old, often said to be the first modern novel, it remains a dazzling social history of the French beau monde and, even more, of the power and elegance of its author's sensibility. It is still unparalleled in how it combines self-examination with social history, extraordinary psychological acuity with the study of glamour and decadence, how it merges an audacious explosion of form with explorations of memory, attachment, deception, lust, jealousy, ambition, disappointment, and ennui. It is also one of the most pleasurable and elating reads. However, although Marcel Proust (1871-1922) is usually assumed to be France's greatest novelist, his prose is so layered and brilliant that, unfortunately, many readers begin at the beginning and never move past the first 50 pages, reading the same gorgeous sentences again and again. But while In Search of Lost Time's prose style (playing on association, evocation, magnification, punning, rhythm) may have been its most radical contribution to the art of the novel, it cannot be understood until it has been read once in its entirety. In this seminar, we will keep moving at a brisk pace through the work, merely glancing at its riches on our way, until we arrive at the uniquely euphoric experience of reading the final volume, Time Regained. Required reading: an average of 350 pages per week.
Marcelle Clements is a Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU. Her articles and essays on the arts, culture, and politics have appeared in many national publications. She is the author of a collection of essays, The Dog Is Us and Other Observations; a novel, Rock Me; and a book of nonfiction, The Improvised Woman: Single Women Reinventing Single Life. Her most recent book is a novel, Midsummer.
Rethinking Who We Are: Interpersonal Approaches to the Person
(V50.0247; call # 75447)
Instructor: Michael Westerman
Monday, 3:30-6:00 p.m.
There are unresolved tensions in the field of psychology between individual-centered models of the person and interpersonal ones. The seminar is based on the belief that in order to make progress on these unresolved issues we need to recognize that they refer to a long-standing fundamental question philosophers began wondering about centuries before the discipline of psychology came into existence—What place do our relationships with other people have in our lives? Moreover, we need to engage in an inquiry that involves a dynamic interplay between psychological considerations and philosophical ones. Participants in the seminar learn about work in several specific areas where these tensions appear, including models of child development, approaches to psychopathology, and basic questions about psychotherapy. We also consider more "interpersonal" versus more individual-centered ways in which psychologists think about interpersonal interaction itself. The final topic concerns the philosophy of the social sciences. We look at recent contributions by psychologists and philosophers suggesting that we replace traditional concepts of the process of psychological research with a social view of that process. Throughout the seminar, we refer to classic philosophical texts and contributions by historians of ideas to explore critically the ways in which contemporary efforts by psychologists reflect concepts of the person from our philosophical tradition.
Michael A. Westerman is Associate Professor of Psychology and a member of the faculty in the clinical psychology doctoral training program. He has conducted research on several topics concerning interpersonal relationships, including studies of mother-child interaction, family systems, and the patient-therapist relationship in psychotherapy. His publications also include articles on issues in philosophical psychology. He is currently involved in a program of research based on an interpersonal reconceptualization of psychological defenses he has developed that is called the theory of interpersonal defense.
New Media Law and Content Creation
(V50.0253; call # 72760)
Instructor: Karl P. Kilb
Monday, 6:20-8:50 p.m.
This course explores the legal and journalistic issues surrounding the creation and distribution of content in the "Electronic Information Age." Content is a commodity that is packaged in many forms, known as "media." We are all consumers of content, which is tailored by each media organization to target specific audiences. Consumers base their content choices on the type of information, as well as on the method of delivery. The traditional print and broadcast media have found a powerful, relatively inexpensive new means of distribution: the Internet. The rapid packaging of content by means of new technology has forced content creators and distributors to develop new interpretations of fundamental intellectual property issues, including copyright law. The seminar will promote active research and discussions with leaders in the media and legal professions, and explore how legislation and industry practices are responding to new technology.
Karl P. Kilb, Esq., is the General Counsel of Bloomberg LP, managing a global Legal/Contracts Department. Before becoming an attorney in 1995, he was a broadcast journalist at FNN, CNBC, 1010 WINS Radio, Bloomberg, and various other networks and stations in New York for twelve years, having graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in broadcast journalism from NYU. He frequently lectures at universities and industry organizations about media and intellectual property law.
School and Society: NYU in the Sixties and Seventies
(V50.0255; call # 72761)
Instructor: Arthur Tannenbaum
Tuesday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
The decades of the 1960s and 1970s brought profound changes in American society, changes mirrored in the history of the nation, academe, and New York University. It was a time that witnessed the struggle for civil rights, assassinations, war abroad and riots at home, and a youth-led revolution in music, dress, and values. This course aims to develop an appreciation of those years by examining the events and the reactions as they affected campuses and students across America. Students will prepare reports on different aspects of the era. In addition, through shared background reading, class members will work on group projects. In both cases, and in the spirit of the times, the topics will be self-chosen with the approval of the group and the seminar leader.
Arthur Tannenbaum is an Associate Curator in the Bobst Library and has taught in the English Department of the Faculty of Arts and Science. He is currently the librarian for education in the Social Sciences Department. First as a student and then as faculty, he has been at NYU for more than thirty years. In 1992 he received the University Distinguished Teaching Medal in recognition for his work with students.
The Serotonin System: The Master Regulator of the Brain
(V50.0258; call # 74603)
Instructor: Efrain Azmitia
Tuesday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
The human brain, one of the most fascinating and challenging frontiers in modern science, contains hundreds of individual chemical systems that form interacting networks adapted for the survival of the organism and the species. This course focuses on the cells that release a small amino-acid derivative called serotonin. Serotonin has been implicated in a vast array of functions, ranging from aggression, sexual behavior, sleeping, and learning to regulation of hormone release, eating, and neurotrophic factor secretion. Many mind-altering drugs (LSD, psilocybin, ecstasy, cocaine, alcohol, etc.) act on serotonin neurons. In humans, serotonin dysfunction is associated with such mental disorders as bulimia, depression, autism, Down's syndrome, and Alzheimer's disease. The course assumes no prior knowledge of neuroscience. Its interdisciplinary approach crosses traditional fields like biology, chemistry, psychology, anthropology, pharmacology, anatomy, neurology, and psychiatry. Readings and discussions are complemented by laboratory visits, demonstrations, and films.
Efrain Azmitia is head of NYU's Laboratory of Molecular Neuroplasticity in the Department of Biology, member of the Center for Neural Science, Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the NYU Medical Center, and a National Institute of Mental Health Career Scientist awardee. He has held appointments in Great Britain, France, Japan, and Israel, as well as in the United States. He has written over 200 articles, edited four books, organized over 20 international meetings, and lectured throughout the world. He is on the editorial board of Brain Research, Synapse, Neuroscience-Net (www.neuroscience.com), and other professional journals.
The Cultural Nature of Language
(V50.0262; call # 74873)
Instructor: Bambi Schieffelin
Monday and Wednesday, 9:30-10:45 a.m.
From accents, pronouns, swearing, and spelling, how one uses language is never value-free. In this seminar we examine language-using as a social practice, and analyze how speakers and their language(s) are evaluated and regulated across a range of contexts and cultures. Starting with how children learn to talk, or don't (e.g., feral children), we examine speech and silence across a range of societies. We look at popular attitudes toward language and the practices by which people regulate its use in the media (e.g., political correctness), in legal and educational institutions (e.g., "English Only"), and in multilingual cities (e.g., Barcelona, Montreal) in order to understand how ideas about language are often recruited to non-linguistic concerns, such as who should be included and who excluded. In thinking about the cultural nature of language in this way, we critically explore issues of identity and authority.
Bambi Schieffelin, Professor of Anthropology, is a linguistic anthropologist who has studied speech practices among Haitians (Queens, N.Y.), lawyers and litigants in lower Manhattan's Small Claims Court, and Bosavi people (Papua New Guinea). Her current book project focuses on the impact of evangelical Christianity on the language and social life of Bosavi people over the past 25 years.
Terrorism, Nihilism, and Modernity
(V50.0267; call # 72763)
Instructor: James Gilligan
Wednesday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
The past century has witnessed violence the character and scale of which are so unique and unprecedented that we have had to create a new vocabulary to describe it (genocide, terrorism) and the ideologies that underlie it (totalitarianism, fundamentalism). To understand modern violence, we will examine the origin of the modern mind in the 17th century, when science, based on universal doubt, ended the Age of Faith, and the traditional sources of moral, legal, and political authority lost credibility. Nietzsche called this the "death of God" (and the Devil); it could also be called the death of Good and Evil, leading to another set of new words (nihilism, agnosticism, anomie, anarchy). We will study the origins and implications of these developments by reading Shakespeare and John Donne, Nietzsche and Dostoevsky, Beckett and Wittgenstein, Simone Weil and Hannah Arendt, as well as modern mass murderers from Hitler to bin Laden. Finally, we will ask whether the modern human sciences can help us understand how to reverse or at least limit this escalation of violence.
James Gilligan 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 is now an Adjunct Professor at NYU, Director of the Center for the Study of Violence, a member of President Clinton's National Commission on Youth Violence, and author of 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.
The Art of the Enemy
(V50.0270; call # 72764)
Instructor: Hector Feliciano
Wednesday, 3:30-6:00 p.m.
The destruction of the art of the enemy, or cultural looting, has almost always been one of the staple by-products of international, civil, or religious strife. From ancient or biblical times to the recent wars in the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, art plunder and the willful destruction of cultural patrimony—from palaces, museums, libraries, churches, mosques, and synagogues to paintings, statues, icons, and books—have been used by the victors as a supplementary means to conquer, annihilate, and humiliate the enemy. By studying some examples of destruction and looting, we will explore the enemies' fascinating political, aesthetic, or religious justifications for these acts. We will also consider why some enemies destroy while others simply take along, sell, or abandon; we will describe the positive and negative role of museums in some of these events, and learn how the "values of collecting" and the creation of museums may have helped to preserve art destined to be destroyed or looted by others. Above all, we will constantly be redefining what art is and what it means—to us and to our enemies. There will be guest speakers and field trips to museums.
Hector Feliciano is a Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU. Formerly cultural writer for the Paris bureaus of the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, he is the author of The Lost Museum: The Nazi Conspiracy to Steal the World's Greatest Works (1997); first published in French, this work has since been translated into several other languages. He served on the Panel of Experts of the Presidential Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States. He is the organizer of the First International Symposium on Cultural Property and Patrimony (Columbia University, 1999) and of a panel discussion entitled "The Art of the Enemy" (School of Visual Arts in New York City, 2002).
Performing Homer: The Iliad and the Odyssey
(V50.0272; call # 75547)
Instructor: Peter Meineck
Tuesday and Thursday, 3:30-4:45 p.m.
The Iliad and the Odyssey stand as two of the greatest works of world literature, and yet these hugely influential texts are actually a record of a performance event filled with action and drama and punctuated with the visceral energy of a live presentation. It is in the context of performance that this course examines the works of the Homeric tradition and their subsequent influence on drama, literature, and culture. Using Homer's Iliad and Odyssey as central texts, we explore the following questions: Who was Homer? What is truth and what is fiction in these great stories—did the Trojan War actually happen? Who were the Mycenaeans, and how did the modern world "discover" them? Who were the audience of the Iliad and the Odyssey and what kind of society did they live in? We also discuss the main themes found in Homer—such as war, the code of the warrior, religion, the family, politics, the effects of rage and reconciliation. Finally, this course traces the influence of Homer on the Greek dramatists, the Roman poets, the literature of the Renaissance, Shakespeare, modern drama, and contemporary movies.
Peter Meineck is Artistic Director of the Aquila Theatre Company, which has performed the Iliad at Lincoln Center and regularly produces classical plays in New York and on national tours. He is also Clinical Assistant Professor both in Classics and in Drama at NYU and Artist in Residence at NYU's Center for Ancient Studies. He has published several translations of Greek plays.
What Makes a Great Leader?: Perspectives from Government, Law, and Business
(V50.0275; call # 72765)
Instructor: Diane C. Yu
Monday, 6:30-9:00 p.m.
Machiavelli wrote in 1532, "There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." This seminar explores some of the ways in which leaders, particularly over the past two centuries, have arisen in a number of settings. How do we define greatness in leadership? Have the standards remained static, or have they changed over time? How have leaders overcome the obstacles in their paths? What, if any, traits do they have in common? Do leaders make the times in which they serve, or do the times dictate the leaders who emerge? Are leadership skills innate, or can they be learned and developed? The seminar will stimulate thinking through readings and discussion about notable figures from politics and government, such as the Founding Fathers, Lincoln, Mandela, Gandhi, and Churchill, while looking at contemporary examples drawn from the business and legal world as well. Readings include selections from biography, Confucius, Shakespeare, analysis and commentary, history, and autobiography. The seminar also features sessions with prominent figures from the business, media, and political worlds who will discuss their views and firsthand observations about leadership.
Diane C. Yu, esq., is Chief of Staff and Deputy to the President of NYU. She has been a high-ranking executive at a Fortune 250 company, California judicial officer, general counsel for a California public corporation, and appointed by the President as a White House Fellow. Her B.A. is from Oberlin and her J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. A national bar leader, she serves on numerous boards, has won awards for her service to the legal profession, and was the first woman of color to chair the American Bar Association's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which accredits American law schools. She currently chairs the ABA's Commission on Women in the Profession.
The Biology of Infectious Diseases
(V50.0276; call # 72766)
Instructors: Martin Blaser and Joel Ernst
Wednesday, 4:55-7:25 p.m.
Infectious diseases have shaped human biology, genes, culture, and imagination. After the advent of antibiotics, we thought that we could win the "war" on infectious diseases. Antibiotic resistance and AIDS, among other events, have taught us that the war is not winnable. Rather, we must understand our place in the microbial world and learn to adapt strategies that minimize infectious disease impact, and maximize our symbiosis with indigenous organisms. After introductory discussions, the course is conducted as a series of seminars by students on topics that provide greater understanding of the underlying biological issues. Topics that may be discussed include genetic susceptibility to diseases such as malaria, problems involved in antibiotic resistance, the evolution of HIV, good microbes vs. bad, and infectious diseases in the postmodern world.
Martin Blaser is the Frederick H. King Professor of Internal Medicine and Chairman of the Department of Medicine, and Professor of Microbiology at the NYU School of Medicine. A practicing physician and specialist in Infectious Diseases, he has progressively become a biologist. His research interests have spanned clinical medicine, epidemiology, molecular biology and genetics, evolutionary biology, mathematics, and history. The recipient of numerous honors and awards, he is founder and publisher of the Bellevue Literary Review.
Joel Ernst is the Jeffrey Bergstein Professor of Medicine, Director of Infectious Diseases, and Professor of Microbiology at the NYU School of Medicine. A clinician and specialist in infectious diseases, he directs his immunology research at discovery of mechanisms used by microbial pathogens to evade the immune system. He is a frequently sought speaker at international meetings on infectious diseases and immunology.
Ethics, Pointillism, Epidemiology, and Epistemology: EPEE Dueling with Scientific Health Information
(V50.0278; call # 72767)
Instructor: Ralph V. Katz
Monday, 3:30-6:00 p.m.
The common citizen is well challenged—if not overly challenged—trying to deal with the flood of scientific health information as presented in the media. "Scientific" health findings of this week seem routinely to conflict with the "scientific" health findings of last week. As the movie theme song asked so poignantly 35 years ago, "What's it all about, Alfie?" This course explores that question as it relates to scientific health information as used both by individuals to make personal life decisions about health behaviors and by society to protect its citizens via court decisions and governmental regulations. Concepts from the fields of ethics, art, and science are central to readings and discussions focused on how to make sense of it all. Beginning with the history and foundation concepts of bioethics and epidemiology, the course provides a framework for understanding this flood of scientific health information, i.e., what are the strengths and limitations (and misuses) of this free flow of scientific health findings in our democratic "instant, electronic news" world. Textbooks and videos cover background on the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, polar bears, and rubbish. As the major course assignment, each student writes a newspaper-style "op-ed" article, backed up by an annotated bibliography.
Ralph V. Katz is Professor of Epidemiology and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion in the NYU College of Dentistry. He is Director of the NYU Oral Cancer RAAHP (Research on Adolescent and Adult Health Promotion) Center and leads a current study investigating whether minorities are less willing to participate in biomedical studies as research subjects and, if so, why. Having served on the National Tuskegee Legacy Committee, he was a Presidential Invitee to the White House for President Clinton's 1997 apology to the African-American community. His epidemiologic research has ranged from oral disease studies to the development of epidemiologic research methods. In addition to his dental degree, he holds a master's degree in public health and a Ph.D. in epidemiology.
From the Rise of Christianity to Bowling Alone: A Sociological Perspective on Two Millennia
(V50.0282; call # 72769)
Instructor: Edward W. Lehman
Wednesday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
The new millennium has dawned with growing disenchantment with traditional left-right cleavages and with the claim that the United States is increasingly a nation of isolated individualists whose disregard for collective responsibilities is eroding civic virtues and its democratic institutions. Our aim is to assess the trajectory of our culture using the dimensions of autonomy versus order and freedom versus determinism. This seminar begins by probing these diagnoses in the broader context of moral and social transformations in the West over the last two thousand years. We examine social-science analyses of pivotal changes that have occurred in that period. We consider the sociologist Rodney Stark's highly acclaimed The Rise of Christianity, which focuses on developments during the first four centuries of the first millennium of the common era. Our final reading is the political scientist Robert Putnam's controversial Bowling Alone, which is currently the most publicized critique of contemporary American civic life.
Edward W. Lehman is a Professor of Sociology. His research interests include political sociology, cultural sociology, and sociological theory. He is the author of Coordinating Health Care: Explorations in Interorganizational Relations, Political Society: A Macrosociology of Politics, and The Viable Polity. He is coeditor of A Sociological Reader in Complex Organizations. He has edited and published Autonomy and Order: A Communitarian Anthology, a collection of original essays by 15 authors that explores how the fraying of shared moral understandings and the erosion of communal bonds affect our capacity to balance individual rights and collective responsibilities.
Waiting for Beckett
(V50.0285; call # 74601)
Instructor: Tom Bishop
Monday, 3:30-6:00 p.m.
From the tramps of Waiting for Godot to the terminal characters of Endgame, to the frenzied narrators of his fictions, Beckett's major works will be studied as powerful contemporary expressions of the human condition and as a fundamental calling into question of language itself. Beckett's forceful images will be viewed as metaphors of existence, and the tenacity of the Beckettian narrator to continue to speak/write despite all odds points to a positive affirmation. This "obligation to express" will be seen as one of the major constants in Beckett's work—a dialectic of speech and silence, memorably reflected in the final words of The Unnamable: ". . . you must go on, I can't go on, I'll go on." Beckett will also be studied as one of the 20th century's key innovators through the narrative strategies of his fiction and the theatrical conventions underlying his dramatic works. The seminar will concentrate on the period of Beckett's greatest creativity, between 1946 and 1955, and on the late works, from 1970 until his death in 1989. Videotapes of performances and television productions will be used to complement readings, as will Beckett's one cinematic venture, Film.
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. 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, From the Left Bank: Reflections on Contemporary French Theater and Fiction, appeared in 1997. He has received numerous decorations from the French government and was awarded the Grand Prize of the Academie Francaise.
The Representation of "the Other" in the Israeli-Palestinian Cinema
(V50.0286; call # 72770)
Instructor: Shimon Dotan
Friday, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 noon
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. This pattern is examined in a series of contemporary films (1980 to the present). Each class consists of a screening followed by a discussion concentrating on representation in the context of the political conflict, variations in the use of film language to achieve a subjective portrayal, and modalities of representation and self-critique. Screenings include Divine Intervention, by Elia Suleiman; Beyond the Walls, by Uri Barabash; Close, Closed, Closure, by Ram Loevi; Wedding in the Galilee, by Michel Khleifi; 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). Dotan has taught filmmaking at Tel Aviv University in Israel and Concordia University in Montreal.
Communications and Human Values
(V50.0291; call # 72771)
Instructor: Richard D. Heffner
Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 noon
This seminar is not a practicum, a how-to course about film and television. Rather, its purpose is to analyze how much our sense of what it means to be an American at the dawn of the 21st century has been molded by the media, with particular reference to their socializing and value-legitimating content. To deal appropriately and reasonably with such media power, students are asked first to identify their own respective approaches to the power of the state and its proper relationship to the individual through discussion both of such readings as Walter Lippmann's Public Opinion, Robert Merton's Mass Persuasion, J. S. Mill's On Liberty, Herman Melville's Billy Budd, and Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death, and of such films as Birth of a Nation, 12 Angry Men, Hearts and Minds, and JFK. Finally, class emphasis is on such contemporary media issues as a Fairness Doctrine (the real or imagined "chilling effect" of a requirement for media fairness and balance); cameras in the courts (do televised trials enhance justice, or instead create a "mobocracy" with trial by a new jury of public opinion?); media self-regulation (can there in fact be meaningful voluntary self-discipline in a free market, free speech, mass media-driven society?).
Richard D. Heffner is Producer/Moderator of the weekly public television series The Open Mind, which he began nearly a half century ago. Earlier a broadcaster and executive at ABC, NBC, and CBS, in 1962 he became the Founding General Manager of New York's pioneering Channel 13. Trained as an American historian, he is the author of A Documentary History of the United States (1952) and the editor of Tocqueville's Democracy in America (1956). His newest books are a collaboration entitled Conversations with Elie Wiesel (2001) and his paperback edition of As They Saw It . . . A Half Century of Conversations from The Open Mind. From 1974 to 1994 Mr. Heffner served as Chairman of the film industry's voluntary classification and rating system in Hollywood, commuting from Rutgers, where he has been University Professor of Communications and Public Policy since 1964.
The Crusades and Their Legacy
(V50.0296; call # 72773)
Instructor: Jill N. Claster
Tuesday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
In the history of the interactions among Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, the Crusades, which began at the end of the 11th century, form one of the most important chapters, if not the most important chapter. The Crusades began as religious wars to recover the holy places venerated by Christians in the city of Jerusalem. For two hundred years the Crusaders managed to hold on to their possessions, losing more of them with every passing decade, until at last the Muslims triumphed and the kingdom in the East was lost to Western Christendom. This seminar covers the Crusades themselves, but focuses on the relations among the three great religions and how it came about that they all claim Jerusalem for their own. We study the differences among the religions as well as their many similarities. Most of all, we address some of the problems that are crucial to an understanding of the world we live in: the nature of a holy war; the issue of whether the Crusades were the first manifestation of European imperialism in the Middle East; and the legacy of the crusading era. Readings include Muslim, Jewish, and Christian writings of the era, in translation, as well as secondary works.
Jill N. Claster is Professor of History Emerita with a specialty in the Middle Ages; she has taught and studied the Crusader era extensively. 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.
Behind Government: How Politics, Media, and Money Shape Policies
(V50.0298; call # 72774)
Instructor: Mark Green
Wednesday, 12:30-3:00 p.m.
To read Congressional Records and State of the Union addresses, one might think that all policy emanated from facts, logic, and merit. And when Karl Rove, President Bush's top strategic adviser, said that the President doesn't consider politics when determining policy, it was a pleasant fiction no one was expected to believe. This seminar looks at the hidden aspects that drive government by focusing on five recent public leaders—President Bush (43), President Clinton, Mayor Giuliani, Ralph Nader, and former Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson. How did their varying styles, values, intellects, and personalities affect their offices or campaigns? Are there particular approaches that can best accomplish great goals? How do media and money affect the success of these powerful people? How much does the public actually know about those who govern them?
Mark Green was the Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at NYU Law School in 2002. The author/editor of 18 books (including Who Runs Congress?), he was the Consumer Affairs Commissioner of New York City (1990-93), the elected Public Advocate of New York City (1994-2001), and the Democratic nominee for Mayor (2001). He appears weekly on NY1's Wiseguys with Ed Koch and Al D'Amato.
Europe in Africa and Africa in Europe: Interaction and Rupture in History
(V50.0303; call # 74903)
Instructor: David Levering Lewis
Tuesday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
This seminar explores pivotal moments of confrontation and exchange in which the course of economic, cultural, and political development in the European and African experiences are reciprocally and significantly altered. The proposition—that what others have made us applies at the most profound levels equally to conqueror and conquered, exploiter and exploited, superordinates and subordinates alike—is to be tested in this seminar through an exploration of five turning-point interactions: (1) Islam's first European century (viz., the 8th-century Muslim conquest of Iberia); (2) capitalism and slavery, 1400s to 1850; (3) African resistance in the scramble for Africa; (4) bohemian Paris and Renaissance Harlem; (5) literatures and politics of rupture (Wells-Barnett, Du Bois, and Maran to Fanon, Baldwin, et al.; Ghana and the Congo). Five essays keyed to the five topics and based on seminar discussions, required readings, and independent research are to be presented serially.
David Levering Lewis is Julius Silver University Professor and Professor of History. President in 2002-03 of the Society of American Historians, he has held a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. His books include King: A Biography, When Harlem Was in Vogue, and The Race to Fashoda: European Colonialism and African Resistance in the Scramble for Africa. His W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919 (1993) and W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century, 1919-1963 (2000) each won a Pulitzer Prize in biography, among many other awards. The Invention of Europe: Islam in the 8th Century is to appear in late 2005.
Latin America at the Start of the 21st Century: Coming of Age or Continuing Chaos?
(V50.0306; call # 72777)
Instructor: Jorge G. Castaneda
Friday, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 noon
This seminar focuses on several aspects of Latin America's problems in the past and their possible solutions today. It takes up such topics as the absence of orderly, peaceful, and steady democratic rule during the first 160 or 170 years of independence from colonial rule and the consolidation of representative democracy today; the absence of economic growth during the last 20 years and the possibility of a new economic takeoff today; the widespread persistence of violence in Latin America and the growing respect for human rights today; and the weakness of civil society in Latin America in the past and the growing strength and vigor of civil society today. For each topic, there are readings dealing with its political, economic, and cultural dimensions in both past and present.
Jorge G. Castaneda returned to NYU in fall 2003 as Global Distinguished Professor of Politics and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico since 1979, he has also been a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley, Princeton, and Dartmouth. A principal strategist in the election campaign of President Vicente Fox in 2000, he served as Mexico's Foreign Minister from late 2000 until early 2003. He is the author of eight books, including, in English, Utopia Unarmed: The Latin American Left after the Cold War, Companero: The Life and Death of Che Guerva, and Perpetuating Power. He has also written articles for many newspapers and magazines in Mexico, the United States, and other countries.
How We See
(V50.0307; call # 74905)
Instructor: Peter Lennie
Tuesday, 4:55-7:25 p.m.
The ease with which we comprehend the visual world, and recognize objects and events, makes it easy to take our perceptual capabilities for granted. Only when we try to build machines that can see, or when we encounter people who have lost some specific visual capability—for example, persons who can no longer recognize faces, or for whom the world no longer appears in color—do we realize how extraordinary and intricate is the machinery of sight. This course looks at what we know about how we see. We know quite a lot about it from multiple scientific perspectives: perceptual psychology tells us about the process of seeing, and provides important pointers to the workings of visual mechanisms; neurology provides further insight by showing us what happens to perception when these mechanisms malfunction; computer science helps us understand design principles that are important in making machines that can see; neuroscience tells us about the working details at the level of cells and neural systems. In this course we explore what these various disciplines together tell us about how we see.
Peter Lennie is Professor of Neural Science, as well as Dean for Science in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Before joining NYU, in 1999, he was at the University of Rochester for 16 years. His scientific research has dealt with several fundamental questions about the operation of the human visual system; most recently, it has focused on the organization and specialization of the visual cortex, exploring the degree to which different regions of the cortex are specialized for different functions.
A Real Play of Identities
(V50.0308; call # 75539)
Instructor: Anna Deavere Smith
Monday, 12:30-3:00 p.m.
In this course students will perform roles from dramatic literature, film, television, and real life. The idea is to portray characters whom they identify as "unlike" themselves. This is not an acting class or a performance course per se. No previous performance experience is required. Performance is used here as a way of knowing rather than as a mode of entertainment. The relationship of language and gesture to identity will be explored. The final "exam" for the class is a performance to which others are invited. Students are responsible for meeting a diverse group of people in and around the NYU community as a part of developing an audience for the final performance.
Note: Students interested in enrolling in this seminar must submit a one-page biography that indicates where they grew up, and with whom, and that gives a vivid description of how they have been educated so far. They also must submit a paragraph which explains their interest in the course. These items should by June 13 be mailed to 100 Washington Square East, Room 908, New York, NY 10003; faxed to 212-995-4811; or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anna Deavere Smith is a University Professor and Professor of Performance Studies in the Tisch School of the Arts, as well as an Affiliate of the NYU Law School. She is the Founder and Director of the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue. Her publications include Twilight—Los Angeles, 1992, Talk to Me: Listening between the Lines, and Fires in the Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and Other Identities. Her acting credits include the films The American President, Dave, and Philadelphia and the television series Presidio Med, The West Wing, and The Practice. A recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, she has also received two Tony Award nominations and been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Current Political and Moral Conflicts and the U.S. Constitution
(V50.0311; call # 72779)
Instructor: Alan J. Pomerantz
Tuesday, 4:55-7:25 p.m.
The U.S. political and moral debate has moved steadily into the realm of the Supreme Court. Some have strongly argued that the Court's interpretation and application of the Constitution, and the Court's new, self-defined role, have adversely affected our fundamental rights, usurped powers from other branches of government, disregarded all notions of federalism, upset the separation of powers necessary for a stable democracy, and created an "Imperial Judiciary." Others have argued as strongly that the Court has acted properly to protect fundamental freedoms and individual rights in the face of unprecedented political and governmental efforts to limit them, and in doing so has fulfilled the role envisioned for the Court by the Constitution. Conducted by the Socratic method, the seminar examines current controversial political issues that have a constitutional basis, the Court's participation in the debate, and the effect that nine people appointed for life (the justices) have on how we live. Topics include abortion, euthanasia, medical life support, and capital punishment; gay rights, gay marriage, and acts in private among consenting adults; affirmative action; college speech codes, including "hate" speech, verbal sexual harassment, group liable and symbolic speech; prayer in school and students' right of privacy; and racial and ethnic profiling, government's right to detain accused terrorists, and the USA PATRIOT Act. Participants read the relevant Supreme Court cases, news reports, and political and legal commentary from across the political spectrum.
Alan J. Pomerantz, Esq., is a practicing lawyer and partner of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP, a major international law firm. A graduate of the NYU School of Law, he also studied in Chile and received an advanced legal degree from the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands). He has lectured and taught widely, including at the NYU School of Law, the University of Amsterdam, Columbia Graduate School, the University of Concepcion (Chile), the School of Visual Arts, and Hunter College High School. He has published numerous articles and contributed to several treatises on legal topics and is recognized in the International Who's Who—Lawyers. Mr. Pomerantz and Weil, Gotshal have participated in important and controversial matters affecting individual rights, including death penalty appeals, rights of public artistic expression, political asylum applications, voting rights, right of privacy for acts of consenting adults, equal access laws for disabled persons, and numerous free speech cases.
German Romantic Music, 1815-1850
(V50.0313; call # 72781)
Instructor: Robert Bailey
Monday and Wednesday, 2:00-3:15 p.m.
Many artists of this period revolted against prevailing artistic, and even social and political, institutions. They reacted against both the current cult of the virtuoso and the increasingly commercial climate dominated by music publishers. They withdrew into a private artistic world, and the Artist became the typical Romantic hero. The Wanderer in turn became the ideal symbolic projection of an artist alienated from a society uninterested in his work and in his welfare. This withdrawal led artists to participate in a private symbolic system accessible to themselves, but only partly accessible to middle-class audiences. German artists often restructured traditional relationships and affinities among the musical, poetic, and visual arts. Unable to find fulfillment in the troublesome present, they frequently sought vindication for their artistic ideals in the past. Hence, their interest in folksong, which inspired a large body of new poetry appropriate for musical setting. Such poetry provided the foundation for a flowering of song publications, which flourished alongside popular publications of actual folksongs. Opera, the song cycle, and the multi-movement piano cycle are the genres that most fully project the intricate system of interlocking and closely aligned musical, poetic, and visual imagery. The works in these genres by Weber, Schubert, Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Schumann, and Wagner are of central concern to the seminar.
Robert Bailey is the Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Music in the Faculty of Arts and Science. As an undergraduate at Dartmouth, he majored in music and German. He then studied piano at the Academy of Music in Munich. He did his graduate work in musicology at Princeton, where his principal mentors were Oliver Strunk and Milton Babbitt. He also continued piano study with Edward Steuermann, who was on the faculty of the Juilliard School. Before joining the faculty of NYU in 1986, he taught at Yale and at the Eastman School of Music.
Recycling Music: From Classical to Broadway, Film, and Pop
(V50.0319; call # 75190)
Instructor: Rena Charnin Mueller
Tuesday and Thursday, 2:00-3:15 p.m.
In 1953, the Russian symphonist Alexander Borodin, who had been dead for 66 years, was named co-recipient of a Broadway Tony Award for the use of his compositions in the musical Kismet. Two well-known musical-comedy writers had reworked several movements from Borodin's oeuvre to construct the score. This is one of many instances in which musicians and composers of the 20th century have reached back into the past for inspiration, whether of direct musical content, instrumental forces, or literary material, not only for the Broadway stage or the movie screen but also for dance and the popular idiom. This class examines representative examples of these borrowings in several media: the Broadway stage (Kismet, Anya, Rent, Aida), ballet (Le Spectre de la Rose and any number of Chopin favorites), film (Fantasia, Brief Encounter, Elvira Madigan; Warner Brothers cartoons), and popular music (Eric Carmen, "All by Myself," "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again"). After a brief introduction to the concepts of musical transference and parody in music, classes compare original "classical" compositions with their subsequent reinterpretations on Broadway or in popular music, and examine the kinds of changes that went into the transference from the original medium to the later incarnation. Also considered is the cross-over between classical composers/conductors and the popular music scene.
Rena Charnin Mueller, Clinical Associate Professor of Music, specializes in 19th-century music. Her work on Liszt's compositional aesthetic has appeared in various journals. Her most recent publication is an essay on the Liszt lieder in the Cambridge Companion to the Lied (2004). She has published new editions of Les Preludes (1997), Trois Etudes de Concert (1996) and the two Ballades (1996); and her edition of the newly discovered Liszt Walse was published in 1996. With Maria Eckhardt, she is the author of the Franz Liszt "List of Works" for The New Grove 2000, and they are also co-authoring the new Franz Liszt Thematischer Verzeichnis (forthcoming). In 2003 she was a winner of the College's Outstanding Teaching Award.
Before Cleopatra: Royal Women of Ancient Egypt
(V50.0323; call # 72791)
Instructor: Ann Macy Roth
Tuesday, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 noon
Long before Cleopatra, the royal women of ancient Egypt often had a great deal of influence on world events. Some even became pharaohs in their own right, and were depicted with a beard and a male body or wearing the ceremonial dress of a king over the modest traditional dress of a woman. Others exercised religious authority in priestly offices or as the ceremonial wife of a god. This course examines the lives and roles of these women, as reflected in the art, archaeology, and texts of their own times, and often in their own words. Questions examined include the assumptions about gender and sex underlying Egyptian culture, the practical and symbolic roles of queens, the character of women's monuments, the destruction of some monuments of powerful women by later generations, and changes in the roles of elite women over almost three millennia of Egyptian history. Through their culturally anomalous position, we come to understand some important principles of gender and power in Egypt, and perhaps elsewhere as well. In addition, we examine the views of these women taken by Western scholars and popular media, and how such understandings of their roles reflect the evolution of our own cultural attitudes.
Ann Macy Roth is Clinical Associate Professor in the Departments of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and Fine Arts. Her research focuses mainly on the earlier periods of ancient Egyptian culture, particularly mortuary traditions and the roles of gender and sexuality in Egyptian society. She is director of the Giza Cemetery Project, and since 1987 has conducted archaeological research in the officials' tombs to the west of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Her publications include Egyptian Phyles of the Old Kingdom: The Evolution of a System of Social Organization, A Cemetery of Palace Attendants at Giza, and numerous articles. She has been invited to write three essays for Daughter of Re: Hatshepsut, King of Egypt, the catalogue of an exhibition opening in spring 2006 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Making Choices in Contemporary America: Dedication, Deal, and Deception
(V50.0324; call # 72792)
Instructor: Frederick G. More
Tuesday, 4:55-7:25 p.m.
Have you ever done what you thought was the right thing only do find yourself feeling that your right choice left you at a disadvantage? Do you ever wonder why others do the things they do and what drives them to do it? This course takes a case-study approach to reflect on issues in bioethics and contemporary life. It employs multimedia as a vehicle to explore cases such as that of Erin Brockovich, whose work in a law office led to the discovery of injustices suffered by citizens in a California city; a family that wanted to remove its daughter from life support, after years in a persistent vegetative state, only to become the focus of a legal controversy that reached the Supreme Court; the research project where for 40 years U.S. Public Health Service researchers deprived 600 Black men with syphilis of their right to health care; the Reagan administration's denial of the HIV epidemic in the U.S.; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommendations about nutrition that resulted from an intensely partisan process and deal-making. The course uses movies, books, articles, and self-study as vehicles for reflection about the personal values that one can employ for decision-making and for exploration of ethical dilemmas posed in our daily lives.
Frederick G. More is Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion and the Department of Pediatric Dentistry in the NYU College of Dentistry. He was formerly associate dean for academic affairs in the College, where he developed and implemented the present dental curriculum. He now teaches courses in ethics in each year of the dentistry curriculum, bioethics courses for graduate students in clinical research, and bioethical issues in children's health for residents in pediatric dentistry. Dr. More serves on the NYU School of Medicine Institutional Board of Research Associates.
Charity, Philanthropy, and the Nonprofit Sector
(V50.0328; call # 72796)
Instructors: Harvey P. Dale and Jill S. Manny
Wednesday, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
This course explores the nonprofit sector and its role in society, from a perspective that touches on legal, economic, policy, and other realms. After a look at the history and scope of the nonprofit sector, we discuss the burdens and benefits of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. We consider how charities derive resources and how they expend them to further their charitable purposes. We examine the distinction between public charities and private foundations, and invite leaders of both sorts of charities to join us in class for a discussion. We discuss governance of charities, both by federal and state regulators and by officers, directors, and trustees. We focus on the things that the nonprofit sector does well, and some of its performance failures, as we consider recent publicized scandals and abuses within the sector and estimate their impact on the sector. We analyze relevant legal concepts and theories, including the rules for tax exemption and tax deductions, and consider why these benefits are offered to certain organizations. We also consider those who donate their time and resources, examining both donor motivation and donor intent. Finally, we discuss nonprofit speech viewed through the lens of legal restrictions on lobbying and political campaign activities by nonprofits.
Harvey P. Dale is University Professor of Philanthropy and the Law at NYU. Since 1988 he has been Director of the National Center on Philanthropy and the Law at NYU. The Founding President of The Atlantic Philanthropies, he has also served as board member of or consultant to a wide range of other nonprofit organizations and institutions. He is the author of numerous publications on philanthropy and the law.
Jill S. Manny joined the faculty at NYU School of Law in 1993, where she teaches courses on Nonprofit Law, Tax-Exempt Organizations, and Tax Aspects of Charitable Giving. In 1995 she assumed there the additional position of Executive Director of the National Center on Philanthropy and the Law. She also teaches Nonprofit Law at NYU's Wagner School of Public Service.
Zooesis: Animal Acts for Changing Times
(V50.0330; call # 74787)
Instructor: Una Chaudhuri
Wednesday, 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
The emerging field of animal studies explores the cultural meaning of human animal practices. These include not only literary representations of animals (from Aesop's fables to Will Self's Great Apes), not only dramatic representations of animals (from Aristophanes' The Frogs to Shaeffer's Equus to Albee's The Goat), not only animal performances in circuses and on the stage, but also such ubiquitous or isolated social practices as pet-keeping, cock-fighting, dog shows, equestrian displays, rodeos, bullfighting, animal sacrifice, hunting, animal slaughter, and meat-eating. Animal studies has already generated neologisms in various fields: "anthrozoology" (culture studies), "zoopolis" (urban social theory), and "zoontology" (literature and philosophy). To these the field of theater and performance studies proposes an addition—"zooesis," the representational practices anchored by the figure of the animal and the notion of animality. In this course we will study plays, films, and other performance forms that attend to the ways our interaction with animals shapes our accounts of the human, the "Other" (including the racial and ethnic Other), and the world.
Una Chaudhuri is Professor of English and Drama at New York University. 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 coeditor, with Elinor Fuchs, of the recently published critical anthology Land/Scape/Theater. She is currently working on a project that explores the intersections of theater and performance with the emerging field known as critical animal studies.
Lives in Contexts
(V50.0331; call # 74786)
Instructor: Caroline Hodges Persell
Tuesday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
What are social contexts? How do social contexts influence who we are? How do we develop ways of analyzing those contexts so we can become more aware of them and their influences on us and become less likely to be determined by them? Some of the social contexts we will explore in this seminar are families, peers, race/ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, markets, organizations, cooperation and competition, opportunity structures, prevailing rules, historical epochs, nations, and demography. Students will become familiar with these social science concepts and processes by analyzing their own lives in their respective social contexts, as well as reflecting about the types of contexts where they might like to live and work in the future. They will also be introduced to the concept of framing, i.e., the way social situations are set up for analysis and discussion.
Caroline Hodges Persell, Professor of Sociology, is currently Vice President of the American Sociological Association. She has published scores of articles in scholarly journals; nine books, including Preparing for Power: America's Elite Boarding Schools (with Peter Cookson), Education and Inequality, and How Sampling Works (with Richard Maisel); and several leading textbooks, including Understanding Society: An Introduction to Sociology. Her current areas of research include the relationship between race/ethnicity and educational achievement, how collaborative learning groups may increase quantitative reasoning skills, and how films may enhance the learning of sociological concepts and processes. At NYU she has served at various times as Director of Undergraduate Studies, Director of Graduate Studies, and Chair of the Department of Sociology, and has won the College's Golden Dozen Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Engineering Design of Major Architecture
(V50.0332; call # 74605)
Instructor: Richard L. Tomasetti
Tuesday, 3:30-6:00 p.m.
One of the major areas where engineering has made a significant contribution to the built environment is architecture. The nature and process of this contribution has changed over time, as is manifested by the evolution of the master builder into a collaborative team of specialists. The study of the structural engineering design of major buildings, as well as the role of mechanical, electrical, geotechnical, and construction engineering, provides an important understanding of contemporary engineering—an understanding much needed in a society that is demanding higher levels of technological literacy. This course includes lectures on history, engineering design, and materials technology and its interface with architecture. Examples include New York City skyscrapers, the tallest buildings in the world (in Asia), and major sports facilities. Studies are enhanced by visits to a construction site, an engineering office, the Center for Architecture, and the Skyscraper Museum, with relevant discussions with guest curators. Student teams develop case studies on the engineering of major buildings and make oral and written presentations. Assignments include introductory engineering problems.
Richard L. Tomasetti, P.E., Hon. A.I.A., is Chairman of the Thornton-Tomasetti Group, a major international engineering firm, which provided structural engineering for the two tallest buildings in the world—Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Taipei 101 in Taiwan. He received his B.C.E. degree and an honorary doctorate from Manhattan College, and his M.S.C.E. degree from NYU. Mr. Tomasetti has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, is an active author, lecturer, and recognized investigator of structures in distress, and has co-authored the book Exposed Structures in Building Design. He has been Chairman of the American Society of Civil Engineers' Committee on Tall Buildings and a member of New York City's Seismic Code Advisory Board. He and his firm were commissioned by New York City to lead the engineering efforts required for the search, rescue, and cleanup at the World Trade Center disaster site.
New York's Writing Women: Reading and Writing Communities in Early 20th-Century New York City
(V50.0334; call # 75260)
Instructor: Deborah Lindsay Williams
Friday, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 noon
This course examines the women writers who helped to shape the overlapping cultural phenomena of the Harlem Renaissance and Greenwich Village's Bohemia. We will discuss both fiction and nonfiction from this period, and we will explore these neighborhoods ourselves, on walking tours and on archival expeditions to the New York Historical Society, the New York Public Library, and the special collections in the Fales Library and the Tamiment Center at NYU. Through our reading and exploration, we will consider such issues as the struggle for female suffrage; the often interlocked influences of race and gender; the culture wars of the early 20th century; and the linking together of politics and art. We will be reading such authors as Willa Cather, Jessie Fauset, Zora Neale Hurston, Fannie Hurst, and Nella Larsen.
Note: Priority for enrollment in this seminar will go to students in the Explorations community "Arts and Activism in Early 20th-Century New York City."
Deborah Lindsay Williams is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the English Department and a Faculty Fellow in Residence at University Hall. She is also Director of the Honors Program at Iona College and Associate Professor of English. Her scholarly interests include the writing and political activism of the early 20th century, women's studies, and postcolonial literature. She has published books and articles on a number of women writers, including Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, and Virginia Woolf.
Randomness and Chaos in Science and Daily Life
(V50.0335; call # 75326)
Instructor: Mark Nelkin
Tuesday and Thursday, 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
In daily life we are bombarded with statistics about test scores, financial markets, diseases, and voting patterns. In science the only reasonable description is often statistical. For example, the increase of entropy is a statistical phenomenon. The turbulent flow of fluids is inherently statistical. Often we need statistics because our information is incomplete. In situations such as weather prediction, a very small uncertainty in our knowledge at one time grows exponentially so that longtime behavior is inherently unpredictable. The mathematics needed to describe these phenomena is contained in probability theory, the theory of random walks, and chaos theory. This seminar presents these ideas in a way that emphasizes the underlying statistical concepts. We will apply them to physics and other phenomena. In most cases we will use only algebra and simple computation. We will discuss, but not emphasize, calculus-based extensions. Our goal is to understand qualitatively how statistical behavior arises. There are good inexpensive books to guide us, and we will learn much by using the computer in a transparent and uncomplicated way.
Mark Nelkin is Professor Emeritus of Applied Physics at Cornell University, where he taught for 30 years. He is currently a visiting scholar in the Department of Physics at NYU. Since receiving his Ph.D. in physics, he has worked on a variety of problems in statistical physics, including neutron transport, the statistical mechanics of liquids, noise and fluctuations in solids, and the theory of turbulent fluid flow. His current research interests are primarily in the theory of turbulent fluid flow. In this seminar, he hopes to unify the underlying statistical concepts in a way that is accessible to bright and curious students with an enthusiasm for mathematics and science.
Biblical Narrative and the Western Literary Tradition
(V50.0336; call # 75325)
Instructor: Robert Kawashima
Thursday, 12:30-3:00 p.m.
The Bible, as part of the sacred scripture of three great religions, has exerted a decisive influence on Western civilization and, by extension, the world. What is sometimes lost in the theological shuffle is its significance as a work—more accurately, a collection of works—of literature, and the imaginative spell it has cast over the subsequent literary tradition of the West. In this class we will explore this literary dimension of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and its influence, dividing our time between a close, critical reading of key foundational narratives—e.g., the Patriarchs, the Exodus, and King David—and an engagement of important modern responses to these stories: Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, Franz Kafka's Amerika, and William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! We will pay particular attention to allusion and the constitutive role it plays within the literary tradition as such.
Robert Kawashima is Dorot Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. He was awarded the Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of California at Berkeley, where he taught before coming to NYU. His research and teaching interests include the Bible, Homer, the novel, and literary theory. His book, Biblical Narrative and the Death of the Rhapsode, was recently published by Indiana University Press.
Do Words Have Power? Debates and Speeches in American Politics, 1960-2004
(V50.0337; call # 75328)
Instructor: Robert Shrum
Thursday, 12:30-3:00 p.m.
The year 1960 saw the first general election presidential debates in American history. But for the next three elections, as incumbents or front-runners saw all risk and no advantage in debating, there were no such exchanges. As the country grew increasingly divided, speeches actually became defining moments in ways few commentators had predicted: from Barry Goldwater's "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice"; to Richard Nixon's retooling of his image with his 1968 acceptance speech; to George McGovern's call to "come home, America" in 1972. But four years later, running far behind, the incumbent Gerald Ford challenged Jimmy Carter to debate, and debates have been a staple of presidential campaigns ever since. Drawing on primary as well as secondary materials, this course examines the impact of the debates and the continuing relevance of rhetoric and speeches in the race for the White House. How can debates establish a less experienced candidate's credentials? Can mistakes or moments in a debate decide an election? How do candidates plan and prepare for such "moments"? How is it possible to "win" the debates and lose the election? Is the importance of debates overstated and that of speeches and rhetoric understated? Have speeches survived the sound-bite culture, and how has it changed them? When do debates really matter in presidential primaries where multiple candidates may be onstage? Finally, how have debates influenced some of the most critical nonpresidential races?
Robert Shrum is a Senior Fellow at the Wagner School of Public Service. He was senior strategist in the Gore and Kerry presidential campaigns. As a political consultant, he has been responsible for strategy and advertising in 26 winning Senate campaigns, in numerous statewide and national campaigns, and in campaigns overseas, ranging from that of the British Labour Party to that of Ehud Barak in Israel. For 35 years, Mr. Shrum has written speeches for leading Democrats like Edward Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Al Gore and prepared candidates for presidential and nonpresidential debates.
Martin, Malcolm, and Muhammad
(V50.0338; call # 75354)
Instructor: Jeff Goodwin
Tuesday, 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Muhammad Ali rank among the great heroes and icons of the 1960s. At the time, however, they were vilified by the media and persecuted by the U.S. government. Why were these men considered dangerous then but are not today? How have they become such anodyne figures in our collective memory? Are their ideas more acceptable today, or have we somehow forgotten (or ignored) what they stood for? What was, in fact, their message to America and the world? Why have important truths about them been replaced by myths? This seminar will address these questions through an examination of autobiographies, speeches, and film, including Spike Lee's Malcolm X and Michael Mann's Ali. The seminar will try to separate fact from fiction and reality from myth, but participants will also ponder how and why fictions and myths about historical figures are created and perpetuated.
Jeff Goodwin, Professor of Sociology, is the author of No Other Way Out: States and Revolutionary Movements, 1945-1991 and coeditor of Passionate Politics: Emotions and Social Movements and The Social Movements Reader. He has taught courses on social movements and revolutions at NYU since 1991. His interests also include social theory and the African-American tradition in sociology, including the works of Du Bois, Charles S. Johnson, E. Franklin Frazier, St. Claire Drake, and Oliver Cromwell Cox.
Education Policy: Issues and Debates
(V50.0339; call # 75327)
Instructor: Lisa M. Stulberg
Tuesday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
This seminar provides an introduction to the study of American education policy. The course draws on the literature in sociology, history, and political science to investigate some of the most pressing education policy issues of the past fifty years, with particular attention to current policy debates. The issues to be examined include affirmative action, the achievement gap, school choice reforms, and urban education reform. Also relevant to these debates will be the current accountability movement and No Child Left Behind. The first aim of the course is to provide a solid, introductory grounding in these policy debates. The second goal is to furnish students with the historical grounding and analytical tools they need to examine the education policy issues of particular interest to them.
Lisa M. Stulberg is Assistant Professor of Educational Sociology in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences in the Professions at NYU's Steinhardt School of Education. In 2001 she completed a doctoral dissertation in sociology at UC-Berkeley, on African American alternative school-building since the 1950s. She is currently working on a manuscript on African American school choice politics that is based on this work. Her interest in school choice also comes from her involvement as a member of the founding team of a charter middle school in Oakland, California. She is coeditor (with Eric Rofes) of The Emancipatory Promise of Charter Schools: Toward a Progressive Politics of School Choice (2004).
Infinity Goes Up on Trial
(V50.0341; call # 75373)
Instructor: Melvin Hausner
Prerequisite: AP calculus
Thursday, 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
"Infinity" is a word that has different meanings, depending on the background of the user. It appears relatively early in human history; for example it is implicit in Zeno's paradoxes and is often mentioned as a part of various religions and mystical visions. Its common usage in mathematics, familiar to most students, is for infinite series, taking limits "as n goes to infinity," writing 1/0 = ∞ and the statement that "parallel lines meet at infinity." This course discusses the various usages of the term, but will concentrate on its mathematical aspects. Since the 19th century, despite warnings from some of the greatest mathematicians of the time, infinity has taken on many forms. Developed in the late 19th century by Georg Cantor, the theory of transfinite cardinals and ordinals has proved to be an invaluable new and controversial tool for mathematicians. It has yielded many wonderful insights and has developed its own set of paradoxes and unsolved problems. In 1965 Abraham Robinson developed nonstandard analysis, giving yet another view of infinite numbers. Infinity also shows up in geometry as the point (or points) at infinity, and in the theory of complex numbers as a point on a sphere. We shall develop some of the theory and discuss some of the implications of these various mathematical approaches to infinity. We shall also consider, with the help of students and guests, some of the philosophical, religious, and literary uses of infinity.
Melvin Hausner is Professor of Mathematics, having been at NYU since 1964. He has taught a full range of mathematics courses including Quantitative Reasoning, Games of Chance, Calculus, Logic, Number Theory, Senior Honors, and graduate courses in Linear Algebra and Real Analysis. In cooperation with the Spanish Department, he co-taught a seminar analyzing the works of Jorge Luis Borges. He has been Director of Undergraduate Studies and Chairman of the Mathematics Department. In 2000, he was a recipient of the NYU Distinguished Teacher Award. He has written four texts and published several articles on combinatorics, nonstandard analysis, geometry, and linear algebra. When not in his office, he can be seen playing tennis at Coles.
The Media and the Modern American Corporation
(V50.0342; call # 75352)
Instructor: Kenneth Lerer
Wednesday, 4:55-7:25 p.m.
This course examines the relationship between the media and the modern American corporation. It provides an overview of the issues that face corporate leaders, who must manage in a media world that now treats big business as it does politics, sports, or entertainment. The course looks at how the new media landscape has changed the way corporations are managed. Through readings, case studies, and discussions, the course explores the implications of these changes for business, media, and the larger U.S. society. It begins with a panoramic history of the development of American media, to the rise of the mass press, telecommunications, and broadcasting to the present. The class then moves forward and examines how the media have also become a center of power in their own right, redefining the role of the press in a democracy, and significantly altering the worlds of business and politics along the way. The course tracks one or two significant breaking business stories throughout the semester and concludes with a case study on the implosion of Enron and an examination of the media's role throughout the saga.
Kenneth Lerer is Chairman of Kenneth Lerer Associates and Chairman of the Board of the Public Theater in New York City. He is a member of Pilot Group LLC, a private investment firm. Mr. Lerer served as Executive Vice President, Office of the Chief Executive Officer at AOL Time Warner, and as Senior Vice President at America Online, Inc. He was a founding Partner and President of Robinson, Lerer & Montgomery, a leading crisis and corporate communications consulting firm. His background also includes extensive experience in political consulting and journalism. He serves on the boards of directors of several nonprofit organizations, including the Bank Street College of Education, The Trinity School, Doctors of the World, and Eyebeam. He has taught a similar course at the University of Pennsylvania.
Literature and Change
(V50.0343; call # 75344)
Instructor: Ulrich Baer
Tuesday, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Much of modern literature impels us to change: to change ourselves or to change our lives. Such change might require radical breaks and major adjustments, or it may involve a kind of existential calibration on the micro-levels of psychic and physical existence. But life, as the same literature also attests unfailingly, is nothing but change: we are, after all, beings in time. How is it that we are at once encouraged to change, and why is change difficult, daunting, or exhilarating, if change is also the only option we have in any case? We will consider works of poetry, existentialist philosophy, and film to address the notion of change in and of one's life. Readings will include works by Rainer Maria Rilke, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Gautama Buddha, Franz Kafka, Martin Heidegger, Sigmund Freud, Wallace Stevens, Emily Dickinson, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Hannah Arendt, Hermann Hesse, Carol Gilligan, Henrik Ibsen, Stanley Cavell, and Hollywood cinema of the 1940s and 1950s.
Ulrich Baer, Associate Professor of German and Comparative Literature, Chair of the German Department, was awarded the College's Golden Dozen Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1998 and 2004. He is the author of Remnants of Song: Trauma and the Experience of Modernity in Charles Baudelaire and Paul Celan and Spectral Evidence: The Photography of Trauma, editor of the literary anthology 110 Stories: New York Writes after September 11, and editor and translator of The Poet's Guide to Life: The Wisdom of Rainer Maria Rilke.
Versailles, Palace of the Sun King
(V50.0344; call # 75353)
Instructor: Guy Walton
Tuesday and Thursday, 12:30-1:45 p.m.
The huge Palace of Versailles, near Paris, is an icon of the upscale royal lifestyle, and one of the most visited historical monuments of Europe. Currently, more than three million people visit this historic site each year. The course examines some of the reasons for Versailles' immense popularity, particularly the fascinating royals, royal mistresses, and members of the Court who lived there, and, equally important, the artists and architects for whom and by whom it was built. The extraordinary lifestyle of the 17th- and 18th-century French kings and queens, and important historical events that took place at the palace from the time of Louis XIV to the French Revolution, will be discussed in detail. We will look at the surviving buildings, gardens, and early drawings and prints of Versailles and examine the coded and overt political messages that the royal artists intended for residents and visitors alike. The course readings concentrate on the memoirs of contemporaries, such as Mme de Sevigne and the Duc de Saint-Simon, biographies of those who lived and worked at the palace, and selected art-historical publications.
Guy Walton is Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts at the College of Arts and Science. He received his Ph.D. from NYU's Institute of Fine Arts and is well known for his publications on the royal courts of Europe, particularly those of France, Sweden, and Russia. He is the author of Louis XIV's Versailles. In 1985 he was organizer and co-chair of the Colloque de Versailles at the palace.
From Convicts to Kangaroos: Rethinking Representations of Australia
(V50.0345; # 75495)
Instructor: Michael E. Pippenger
Monday and Wednesday, 3:30-4:45 p.m.
When Americans think of Australia, they imagine sand and surf, koalas and kangaroos; most rarely conceive of it as an intellectual space. Who made us think this way? This seminar explores how the legacies of imperial power continue to dictate how peoples define themselves and are defined by others. For Australia, what is the legacy of its having been founded as a penal colony? What are the ramifications of legal and political practices that facilitated genocide against the Aborigines? How does an immigrant/settler colony define itself and its culture as something different from the imperial center? How does it affect immigration and Australia's position in Asia and the rest of the world today? We will seek to answer these questions by discussing literary texts by Charles Dickens, Patrick White (Australia's only Nobel laureate), and Peter Carey; scientific narratives by Charles Darwin and Captain James Cook; memoirs by political and educational activists such as Roberta Sykes and Jill Ker Conway; historical analyses by Robert Hughes and various postcolonial theorists; and, finally, contemporary film and Aboriginal artwork and oral tradition.
Michael E. Pippenger is Director of Scholarship Programs in the College of Arts and Science, where he works with students applying for national and international prestigious scholarships. Before that, he managed the Fulbright Scholarship Program for Asia and the Pacific at the Institute of International Education. He was also a Fulbright Scholar to Australia, where he conducted research on Australian literature, culture, and history. He received his Ph.D. from Indiana University, in English literature with a focus on Victorian studies.
Scientific Thinking and Speculation: Atoms, Populations, Planets, and Horizons
(V50.0346; call # 75562)
Instructor: Steven Soter
Thursday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
This course explores a range of topics chosen to illustrate the nature of scientific thinking and speculation. What determines the sizes and shapes of atoms, animals, mountains, and galaxies? How many cells are in your body, sand grains on Earth, and planets in the universe? How many humans have ever lived? What lies beyond our cosmic horizon? The intellectual tool kit of science allows us to answer or at least think intelligently about such questions. A few basic concepts explain unrelated phenomena spanning an enormous range of size and time scales. For example, the ratio of surface area to volume is key to understanding nuclear chain reactions, why Earth has a liquid core, and why we stir hot soup to cool it. Scientific thinking allows us to distinguish plausible hypotheses from wrong ones, often using only simple order-of-magnitude estimates. Science is a self-correcting enterprise of collective intelligence, which owes its success to the powerful combination of openness to imaginative new ideas and subjection of those ideas to the most critical scrutiny. The history of science suggests that much of what we think today will turn out to be wrong, or at least in need of revision. So we keep an open mind and ask skeptical questions.
Steven Soter is a Scientist-in-Residence at NYU's Center for Ancient Studies and a Research Associate in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History. He co-directs an interdisciplinary scientific team excavating the Early Bronze Age, Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman settlements at Helike, a coastal site on the Gulf of Corinth in Greece. He was coauthor with Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan of the Cosmos television series and coauthor of the two Hayden Planetarium space shows.
(V50.0347; call # 75571)
Instructor: Deborah Willis
Wednesday, 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
This seminar explores the problematics of beauty—a subject that is contested in art, in the media, and in everyday culture. It looks at the ways in which our contemporary understanding of aesthetic pleasure is informed by and constructed from visual culture in museums, photography, advertising, film, and music. From the moment that photography was invented in 1839, people began to have their portraits made. These images offered a framework in which to imagine the history behind the photographic surface and to explore the notion of transformation. Class discussions will focus on how beauty has been imagined and realized. Using a series of case studies, we will consider the political image, race, class, and gender. The aim is to enable students to think critically about the notion of aesthetic pleasure and to consider the consequences of their views. The emphasis will be on reading, interpreting, and evaluating racialized, sexualized, and objectified images of men and women. We will look at the works of a broad range of photographic artists—in fashion, narrative films, exhibitions, family images, and zine culture—to examine viewers' responses.
Deborah Willis is University Professor and Professor of Photography and Imaging in the Tisch School of the Arts. In 2005-06 she is also Director of the Africana Studies Program. 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 a Culture, and, most recently, Family History Memory: Recording African American Life.
Latin American Nobel Prize Winners
(V95.0250; call # 75099)
Instructor: Mary Louise Pratt
Wednesday, 2:00-4:40 p.m.
Prerequisite: ability to understand spoken and written Spanish
This course is aimed at students who have a strong background in Spanish and enjoy studying literature. We will study the lives and works of the five writers who have won the Nobel Prize in Literature: the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral (1942), the Guatemalan novelist Miguel Angel Asturias (1967), the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (1971), the Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1982), and the Mexican poet Octavio Paz (1990). In addition, we will look at the work of three writer-activists who have won the Nobel Peace Prize: the Costa Rican Oscar Arias (1987), the Argentine Adolfo Perez Esquivel (1980), and the Guatemalan Rigoberta Menchu (1992).We will study these writers in their Latin American context, and consider what it was about them that drew international attention. Reading their acceptance speeches, we will ask how they sought to negotiate the place of Latin America in the international imagination, and how their work was received at home and abroad. At the textual level, especially with poetic texts, we will compare different translations, as a way of exploring the use of language. Class and readings will be mainly in Spanish; class participation and written work may be in Spanish or English. The course will count toward the Spanish or Latin American Studies major.
Mary Louise Pratt, Silver Professor of Latin American Literature and Culture, is an eminent scholar in the field of Latin American culture. During the year 2003, she served as President of the Modern Language Association. She is the author of, among many other titles, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation, "I Rigoberta Menchu and the Culture Wars," and "Apocalypse in the Andes: Contact Zones and the Struggles for Interpretive Power."