Courses

Fall 2020

Criticism and Theory: Spatial Theory: Towards a Dialectic of Space
Space is the place. What does it mean to talk about space? What's to the idea of "belonging" to a place or "feeling" out of place? Why does an event "take place"? This course develops a dialectical materialism of the built environment from several disciplines, reworking the older temporal logics of the dialectic into spatial ones, and performing a thought experiment whereby we exclude the usual terms like time, diachrony, language, history, subjectivity, and desire, in favor of ones that help us think space, place, and matter together--generating new contradictions, even new insolubilia and paradoxes, to reorient our perception of the world.
Instructors: Andrew Cole
Criticism and Theory: Spatial Theory: Towards a Dialectic of Space
Space is the place. What does it mean to talk about space? What's to the idea of "belonging" to a place or "feeling" out of place? Why does an event "take place"? This course develops a dialectical materialism of the built environment from several disciplines, reworking the older temporal logics of the dialectic into spatial ones, and performing a thought experiment whereby we exclude the usual terms like time, diachrony, language, history, subjectivity, and desire, in favor of ones that help us think space, place, and matter together--generating new contradictions, even new insolubilia and paradoxes, to reorient our perception of the world.
Instructors: Andrew Cole
East Asian Humanities I: The Classical Foundations
An introduction to the literature, art, religion and philosophy of China, Japan and Korea from antiquity to ca. 1400. Readings focus on primary texts in translation and are complemented by museum visits and supplementary materials on the course website. The course aims to allow students to explore the unique aspects of East Asian civilizations and the connections between them through an interactive web-based platform, in which assignments are integrated with the texts and media on the website. No prior knowledge of East Asia or experience working with digital media is required.
Instructors: Martin Kern, Brian R. Steininger
East Asian Humanities I: The Classical Foundations
An introduction to the literature, art, religion and philosophy of China, Japan and Korea from antiquity to ca. 1400. Readings focus on primary texts in translation and are complemented by museum visits and supplementary materials on the course website. The course aims to allow students to explore the unique aspects of East Asian civilizations and the connections between them through an interactive web-based platform, in which assignments are integrated with the texts and media on the website. No prior knowledge of East Asia or experience working with digital media is required.
Instructors: Martin Kern, Brian R. Steininger
Ethics and Politics of Pedagogy
Theory and philosophy of formal educational practice with specific attention to ethical questions and political implications. How have ideals and practices of education changed over time, especially with the unprecedented emergence of common or universal public education in the last two centuries? How is learning braided with power and desire; with nations and subjectivities; with class, race and gender; with colonial structures; with the reproduction of norms, and challenges to them? This course is not a survey of all educational philosophies, but a selection of critical writings that we will study intensively in the classroom.
Instructors: Benjamin Conisbee Baer
Ethics and Politics of Pedagogy
Theory and philosophy of formal educational practice with specific attention to ethical questions and political implications. How have ideals and practices of education changed over time, especially with the unprecedented emergence of common or universal public education in the last two centuries? How is learning braided with power and desire; with nations and subjectivities; with class, race and gender; with colonial structures; with the reproduction of norms, and challenges to them? This course is not a survey of all educational philosophies, but a selection of critical writings that we will study intensively in the classroom.
Instructors: Benjamin Conisbee Baer
Great Books from Little Languages
For historical reasons most books that come into English are translated from just a few languages, creating a misleading impression of the spread of literature itself. This course provides an opportunity to discover literary works from languages with small reading populations which rarely attract academic attention in the USA. It also offers tools to reflect critically on the networks of selection that determine which books reach English-language readers; the role of literature in the maintenance of national identities; the role of translation; and the concept of "world literature" in Comparative Literary Studies.
Instructors: David Michael Bellos
Great Books from Little Languages
For historical reasons most books that come into English are translated from just a few languages, creating a misleading impression of the spread of literature itself. This course provides an opportunity to discover literary works from languages with small reading populations which rarely attract academic attention in the USA. It also offers tools to reflect critically on the networks of selection that determine which books reach English-language readers; the role of literature in the maintenance of national identities; the role of translation; and the concept of "world literature" in Comparative Literary Studies.
Instructors: David Michael Bellos
Introduction to African Literature and Film
African literature and films have been a vital (but often unacknowledged) stream in and stimulant to the global traffic in invention. Nigerian literature is one of the great literatures of the twentieth century. Ethiopian literature is one of the oldest literatures in the world. South Africans have won more Noble Prizes for Literature in the past forty years than authors from almost any other country. Senegalese films include some of the finest films ever made. In this course, we will study the richness and diversity of foundational African texts (some in translation), while foregrounding questions of aesthetics, style, humor, epistemology.
Instructors: Wendy Laura Belcher
Introduction to African Literature and Film
African literature and films have been a vital (but often unacknowledged) stream in and stimulant to the global traffic in invention. Nigerian literature is one of the great literatures of the twentieth century. Ethiopian literature is one of the oldest literatures in the world. South Africans have won more Noble Prizes for Literature in the past forty years than authors from almost any other country. Senegalese films include some of the finest films ever made. In this course, we will study the richness and diversity of foundational African texts (some in translation), while foregrounding questions of aesthetics, style, humor, epistemology.
Instructors: Wendy Laura Belcher

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