FALL 2015 COURSES
FALL15 MALS Course Schedule – TENTATIVE
In some cases, MALS core courses will be cross-listed with other programs. Students who would like to have these courses satisfy the core course requirement for their chosen tracks must register for the MALS course number. Please keep this in mind as you register.
MALS 70000 Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies
Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Rachel Brownstein, 3 credits, Room TBA
Graduate students write papers: response papers, seminar papers, term papers, research papers, and eventually a thesis. This course will prepare students to imagine and to write the kinds of papers they want to write, first of all by reading essays, articles, and other pieces of prose, secondly by analyzing and discussing them, and finally--most importantly--by writing and rewriting their own work. Students registering for this section of Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies should purchase and bring to class Phillip Lopate's bulky but rich anthology, "The Art of the Essay," which will be the text for the first portion of the semester. In the second part, each student will locate, photocopy, and introduce to other students an exemplary article by a scholar in a chosen field or discipline. The final section of the semester will be devoted to conceiving of, outlining, drafting, editing, and revising a ten-page paper.
MALS 70000 Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies
Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Eugenia Paulicelli, 3 credits, Room TBA
Starting with Dziga Vertov’s The Man with the Movie Camera (1929) and continuing with directors such as Fritz Lang, Luchino Visconti, Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean Luc Godard, Federico Fellini, Wim Wenders, Woody Allen, Ridley Scott, Wong Kar Wai, and Paolo Sorrentino, the course will focus on the relationship between cinema and the city. In particular, the course will pose a series of critical and research questions on how the city is mediated through film and is cast as the protagonist in film. How is a city represented? How are the continuous transformations of urban space documented in fiction films? How does film tell a story of contested space in urban settings? How and why are certain cities cinematically significant and chosen by directors? What are the cultural, political and economic reasons that create a city as a “film capital”? Rome (Cinecittà) and New York, both case studies of cities that have become film capitals, will be examined in depth. The course will also include field trips to the Museum of the Moving Image, Museum of Modern Art and elsewhere.
MALS 70000 Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies: Women, Gender and Fascism in 20th Century Europe
Mondays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Aránzazu Borrachero, 3 credits, Room TBA
Inspired by Foucault’s theories of discursive formation, we will examine the gender discourses that 20th century Spanish, Italian and German fascist dictatorships developed, and their important role within the nation-building plans of those regimes. What can we learn by looking at these discourses from a gender-studies perspective? What comparisons can we make with contemporary gender discourses in the Western world? We will read current scholarship from various disciplines on women, gender and fascism and we will interpret related art, political propaganda, commercial advertising and film. We will begin studying Francoist Spain (1936-1975) and its National Catholicism ideology, a repressive system that predicated the natural subordination of women to men, and pervaded all aspects of women’s lives: education, sexuality, marriage, labor, and citizenship. We will analyze textual, visual and audio-visual representations of Spanish women created by social agents such as the Catholic Church, fascist women organizations, and economic interests. The analysis of gender practices in Spain will prepare students to conduct their own intellectual inquiry of the Italian and German fascist gender agendas. This will be done through independent reading, class discussions, short presentations, journal writing, and a final project. Each student’s research will contribute to the whole group’s compilation of a bibliography for the study of gender discourses and representations under the Italian and German dictatorships. Class readings will be in English, but students will be encouraged to conduct research in Spanish, German and Italian if they know any of those languages.
MALS 70000 Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies: Demystifying Technological Environments
Tuesdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Joan Greenbaum, 3 credits, Room TBA
Why does the media make it seem like technology drives change? In particular, social media and social justice are often linked as if new forms of media create social justice. Can big data solve unequal distribution of resources? This course critically examines technologies in their environmental context including social and political frameworks. Who uses what, for which purposes and why? In reflecting on historical interactions of technology and social/political contexts we will draw on a mix of readings, images and methods, including: environmental psychology; social history; and sociological and economic studies of technologies. We will look at examples of corporate and governmental surveillance; actions for social justice; issues around environmental justice, immigrant and workplace struggles, racial injustices, and, of course, the central issue of economic inequality.
Technologies don't drop from the sky, or get invented out of thin air. We will look at their origin stories and how they get created and what actions people really take in shaping their own lives.
MALS 70000 Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies:
Studies of the US in the World, 1898 to the Present
Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Karen Miller, 3 credits, Room TBA
Is the United States an empire? If so, what might that mean? If not, what other metaphors can we use to explain U.S. global relations? This course examines transformations of U.S. global power and international relations from the end of the nineteenth century to the present.
Clearly, the United States does not hold political sovereignty over a broad range of colonies. Aside from the 50 United States, the U.S. holds Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands of the United States, the Northern Marianas, and American Samoa. But, the U.S. has the largest military in the world, sustains the world*s biggest economy, and has unparalleled political power. That power is constantly shifting, under continuous challenge, and never as complete as U.S. leaders would like. Our task in this class is to interrogate that power, to understand how it emerged and changed over time, to explore the dynamics and contradictions that animate it, to examine limits, and to consider its challengers. We will also explore how global engagements have transformed the United
States* domestic terrain: just as the U.S. helps shape the world, the world also changes the United States. Our interdisciplinary study of these questions will be organized both chronologically and thematically.
Students will be asked to write frequently and to produce a final paper.
MALS 70600 Enlightenment and Critique: The Morality of Inequality
Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Stefan Baumrin, 3 credits, Room TBA
Cross-listed with PHIL 77700
The principal aim of Enlightenment theory was to establish human equality as the goal of civilisation, for examples universal suffrage, universal education.
The principal route to economic success, individual and collective, is to amass capital through savings; so the economic theories of Adam Smith and Thomas Malthus focus on saving and the elimination of waste.
A legacy of the Enlightenment passed on to us is the clash between the morality of equality and the morality of inequality. That is what this seminar will be about.
MALS 70700 The Shaping of Modernity
Mondays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor David Gordon, 3 credits, Room TBA
In 1800 the rhythm of Western life had barely changed since ancient days. Then, suddenly a new world began to be born. Industrialization and urbanization transformed the lives of millions. A transportation revolution promised to annihilate distance. Traditional beliefs were exploded by the work of Darwin, Einstein and others. Democratic, revolutionary ideologies began to turn the world upside down. Whole populations were suddenly faced with the need to adjust to unprecedented and terrifying economic, political and social change. How they were able to do this is largely the story of the nineteenth century, and a salutary (and necessary) tale for our own time. It is a lesson that can be learned in MALS 70700 The Shaping of Modernity, 1789-1914.
MALS 70900 Approaches to Life Writing: The Biographical Narrative
Day/time TBA, Professor Brenda Wineapple, 3 credits, Room TBA
"Biography first convinces us of the fleeing of the Biographied," Emily Dickinson once wrote. But biography and the biographical narrative are all around us, whether in books as dense as bricks or in the few, quick sentences of a daily obit.
What makes a good biography? Character, among other things, and to the extent that biography depends on character, this course looks closely at how such characters are created from real people: how a living, breathing person seems to arise out of a mass of sometimes contradictory “facts”; how characters are made to change, that is, if they do; how characters can make a story move; and of course how or if traditional biography can be liberated from its brick-like borders. These are a few of the topics we'll investigate by investigating various biographical narratives, especially those that raise questions about the meaning, aims, ethics, pitfalls, and possibilities of the genre. Writers/books may include Plutarch, Suetonius, Lytton Strachey, Natalie Zemon Davis (The Return of Martin Guerre), Virginia Woolf (Orlando), Richard Holmes (Footsteps), Janet Malcolm (on Sylvia Plath biographies), Candace Millard on the assassination of James Garfield (Destiny of the Republic), Henry James, The Aspern Papers, Adam Phillips on Freud and biography, Julia Blackburn and her biographical inventions about Daiy Bates, Rebecca Solnit on Eadward Muybridge (River of Shadows), and/or Stephan Zweig on Magellan.
MALS 71300 The Business of Fashion: Culture, Technology, Design
Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Veronica Manlow, 3 credits, Room TBA
The Business of Fashion course explores the complexity of the global fashion industry in a world of rapidly advancing technology, reduced lead times, and increasing availability and dissemination both of fashion products and discourse about fashion. Fashion occupies a pivotal role in consumer society, as an economic force and a system through which identities are formulated in response to individual and collective considerations. Brands themselves have become signifiers of certain aesthetics and lifestyles, and skillfully use a variety of means to communicate their distinctive merits. Referring to classical and contemporary theoretical readings and applied research, as well as to data relating to fashion in practice (from blogs to catwalks, to films, and in stores, etc.) we will consider the full scope of the industry from concept to marketing and communication. Topics covered include sourcing of fibers/textiles, research, design, manufacturing, labor, distribution, retail, merchandising, marketing, and consumer behavior. From disposable fast fashion to luxury, with many intersections along the way, this course will analyze the structure and the implications of fashion design, branding, merchandising, retailing, marketing and consumer behavior, and will address issues of technology, sustainability and ethics.
MALS 71700 Psychology of Work & Family: An Introduction
Mondays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Kristen Shockley, 3 credits, Room TBA
This course is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of the intersection of work and family from a primarily psychological perspective. The course will introduce the student to concepts that are central to understanding gender and work-family relations, prominent theories and models in the literature, and the consequences of work-family management for the individual and organization.
MALS 74400 From Alexander to Mohammed: Introduction to the Cultures of the Ancient Mediterranean. Early Islamic Art and Architecture
Tuesdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis, 3 credits, Room TBA
Cross-listed with MES 78000 and ART 74000
Since the emergence of Islam in seventh-century Arabia, the world of Islam, which spans continents and centuries, has produced art and architecture that is as remarkable as it is diverse. How to define Islamic art, however, is more complex. Unlike Christian, Jewish or Buddhist art, the art produced in the lands where Islam was a dominant religious, political or cultural force is commonly referred to as “Islamic Art”. This course aims to introduce students to the Islamic art and architecture by framing the emergence of Islamic visual and material culture in Late Antiquity to better understand the monuments, art and architecture produced during first centuries of Islam. The course also introduces the major theoretical and methodological issues involved in the study of Islamic art and architecture, while also focusing on the development of critical visual skills. This course will present an overview of a specific period, dynasty, or region in Islamic art and then focus on an extended discussion of a monument or object in each class. Visits to the MET and other museums will also be planned.
MALS 75400 Introduction to the Digital Humanities
Mondays, 4:15-6:15 PM, Professors Matthew Gold & Lucas Waltzer, 3 credits, Room TBA
MALS 75600 Sustainability and Human Ecodynamics
Thursdays, 4:15-6:15, Professor Sophia Perdikaris, 3 credits, Room TBA
Sustainability for environments, economies, and societies (the triple bottom line) has become a central objective that unites disciplines in sciences, arts, and humanities; engages educators, activists, policy makers, NGO’s and indigenous rights organizations; and is prioritized by multiple international organizations. However, the term and concept have acquired a range of interpretations and understandings–some mutually incompatible–and there is an ongoing need to provide a common knowledge base and vocabulary, and to effectively connect education and activism for sustainability with cutting-edge method and theory in resilience, robustness, vulnerability. This course will provide a grounding in the basic literature and vocabulary of sustainability science and education, expose students to a range of interdisciplinary case studies, and engage them directly with cutting edge resilience and sustainability scholars and ongoing field research and cross-disciplinary integration.
The intensive course will provide students with multi-disciplinary perspective on sustainability (on a variety of temporal and spatial scales), tools for assessing resilience and vulnerabilities in linked social-ecological systems (SES), an extensive set of readings/on-line resources on different aspects of sustainability research and introduce them to scholars and organizations engaged in sustainability science and education. The course will present case studies in interdisciplinary human ecodynamics research as focal points for readings and discussion, and will include interactions (live or virtual) with scholars directly involved in the case studies, NGO representatives, and active field researchers. This course establishes a common vocabulary and knowledge base, bibliography, and scholarly contacts for further work and specialization by students intending to pursue studies focusing on sustainability approaches in biosciences, geosciences, social sciences, environmental history, policy and development studies, environmental activism, and education for sustainability.
MALS 77200 History of Cinema I
Thursdays, 11:45 AM – 1:45 PM, Professor Marc Dolan, 3 credits, Room TBA
Cross-listed with FSCP 81000
This is a course in the history and historiography of the silent cinema, from the zoopraxiscope experiments of Eadweard Muybridge to the reluctant conversion of industries, artists, and audiences to fully synchronized sound. Much of the course will explore how the foundations of modern filmmaking evolved out of the rudimentary work of the earliest filmmakers--how the Edison and Lumiere “actuality” films led to the explicitly labeled “documentary,” the cinematic tricks of Georges Melies to the fantastic action/adventure film, the early melodramas of Porter, Guy-Blache, and Griffith to the so-called “classical” narrative style, etc. However, the course will not employ an exclusively auteurist approach. We will also consider the developments of specific national film industries, particular genres, and the points of intersection between those two sets of developments (e.g., American slapstick, Italian historical epics, Swedish naturalism, German expressionism, Soviet montage). Moreover, the play between identifiable national cinemas and the syncretic medium of international cinema will be a central theme of the course, especially since the idea of film as a potentially universal language was one of the most powerful dreams of the silent era. Students will view on reserve and in class individual examples of all these types of films. Three classes during the term will be devoted to reconstructed programs (including short subjects, newsreels, cartoons, etc.) of what a typical audience might have seen when they went to the movies in 1907, 1912, and 1927. Readings will primarily be drawn from David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson’s Film History: An Introduction and Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen’s anthology Film Theory and Criticism, but other readings will be put on reserve to reflect the specific interests of registered students.
MALS 77400 International Migration
Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Pyong Gap Min, 3 credits, Room TBA
Cross-listed with SOC 82800
We have ushered into the global migration period since the early 1990s. Not only traditionally immigrant-accepting countries, including the U.S. and three former British colonies in the “New World” (Canada, Australia and New Zealand), but also Western European countries and Asian countries have annually received large numbers of formal immigrants or migrant workers/brides over the last two decades. In particular, the U.S. has received the largest number of immigrants annually since the late 1960s, more immigrants than all European countries have received. The influx of immigrants to the U.S. over the last 50 years has changed the face of the U.S., impacting neighborhoods, the economy, the school systems, cuisines, politics, healthcare, and sports.
This course, focusing on international migration, has three main objectives. First, it will provide an overview information about immigration patterns in three areas for students: (1) the U.S., (2) Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and (3) Europe. Immigration patterns include immigration policies, the annual number of immigrants, their national and regional origins, and religious and socioeconomic background. Second, it will compare two mass migration periods in the U.S. (the classical and contemporary periods) in immigration patterns and immigrants’ adaptations. Third, it will help students to learn about U.S. immigrants’ and their children’s adaptations (settlement patterns, socioeconomic adaptations and racialization) and theories of adaptations, especially regarding second-generation immigrants’ adaptations. To summarize the main objectives, this course aims to provide general information about global migration patterns, but focuses on the U.S. context in examining immigrants’ and their children’s adaptations with special attention the differences between turn-of-the-century white immigrant and contemporary immigrant groups.
Click here to find a detailed course description.
MALS 78100 Issues in Urban Education
Wednesdays, 4:15-6:15 PM, Professor Susan Semel, 3 credits, Room TBA
MALS 78800 Introduction to Childhood and Youth Studies
Wednesdays, 4:15-6:15 PM, Professor Roger Hart, 3 credits, Room TBA
Cross-listed with PSYC 80103
MALS 71500 Critical Issues in International Studies
Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Chiseche Mibenge, 3 credits, Room TBA
This course examines the origin of contemporary human rights standards and more specifically, how this impacts the interpretation and enforcement of norms at an international, regional and domestic level. This inquiry will raise questions about the universality of human rights and how particular traditions interpret the adoption and implementation of instruments. The inquiry will be guided by the major critiques of the human rights movement(s) and will be framed by political, justice and security preoccupations of the day, including: counter-terrorism measures post 9/11; the criminal justice processes of international tribunals; and the ‘mainstreaming’ of ‘marginal’ subjects, for example transgender, indigenous and disabled populations.
MALS 73100 American Culture and Values
Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor David Humphries, 3 credits, Room TBA
Cross-listed with ASCP 81000
Drawing on the interdisciplinary methodologies of American Studies, this course will look at diverse groupings of texts that enact, represent, and interrogate American cultures and values and how they are formulated, understood, and contested. Among the authors that enact or address these issues directly, we will consider Crèvecoeur, Jefferson, de Tocqueville, Emerson, Douglass, Adams, and other more recent commentators, such as Janice Radway; among authors that represent American culture and values, we will look at works by Hawthorne, Cather, Hurston, Mailer, and Alice Walker; among texts that reflect on how culture and values are assessed, we will look at seminal works, such as those by Charles Beard, Leo Marx, and F.O Matthiessen, as well as more recent studies, such as Susan Hegeman’s Patterns for America: Modernism and the Concept of Culture and The Cultural Return and Siobhan B. Somerville’s Queering the Color Line: Race and the Invention of Homosexuality in American Culture. In defining culture and how the term is “valued” in American studies today, we also consider its appeal and limits. One way to do this – and to incorporate more popular culture and multimedia texts – is to focus on the idea of “an American Icon,” an individual who is said to encapsulate a certain era or set of values, and we will have short units on such figures as Billy the Kid, Annie Oakley, Lucille Ball, and Jimi Hendrix.
MALS 78500 Practical Criticism
Mondays, 4:15-6:15 PM, Professor Greil Marcus, 3 credits, Room TBA
Cross-listed with ASCP 82000
With a grounding in critical classics (Herman Melville, D. H. Lawrence, Constance Rourke), this seminar focuses on criticism actually practiced by people writing regularly about popular or everyday culture—movies, music, restaurants, books, political speech, the media (including Pauline Kael, Manny Farber, Dave Hickey, A. O. Scott, Sarah Vowell, Edmund Wilson, Lester Bangs)—and moves into imaginative, even fictional criticism, where the limits of what criticism might be are tested if not torn up altogether (Geoff Dyer, David Thomson).
The course will take up criticism as a vocation—with the premise that intellectual engagement with culture constitutes a form of discourse that leads people to achieve both a sense of history and a sense of the peculiarity of their own time and place. At the same time, practical criticism—most often addressing cultural artifacts or events that people actually care about, but which are presumed even by their enthusiasts to be of transitory significance at best and, much of the time, no significance at all—raises questions of inventing a language, creating a career, identifying an audience, and discovering the possibilities and limits of a shared sensibility as intensely as anything else in the domain of contemporary writing. “Criticism is exciting just because there is no formula to apply—just because you must use everything you are and everything you know,” Pauline Kael wrote in 1963. That is a manifesto about democratic speech, and it can contain both Melville’s 1850 call for a national literature in “Hawthorne and His Mosses” and serial killer Patrick Bateman’s schizophrenic but pitch-perfect critical monologues on the most banal varieties of 1980s rock in the 2000 film version of American Psycho.
Extensive reading with short papers at least every other class. With class visits by writers whose work is part of the course.
MALS 78500 Music and Democratic Speech
Wednesdays, 4:15-6:15 PM, Professor Greil Marcus, 3 credits, Room TBA
Cross-listed with MUS 82600
“Poor boy, long way from home” . . . “The cuckoo, she’s a pretty bird, she warbles, as she flies/ And she never, hollers cuckoo, til the fourth day, of July” . . . “Sun gonna shine in my back door, someday/ Wind gonna rise up, blow my blues away”—those lyric fragments and thousands like them are part of a pool of floating lines and verses, melodies and cadences, that form the raw material of the commonplace, commonly-held American song.
Throughout American history people excluded from or ignored by the story the country teaches itself have seized on music to make money, escape work, attract women or men, and to make symbolic statements about the nature of the singer, the country, and life itself. These are big words for ordinary, anonymous songs like “The Cuckoo Bird” or “John Henry”—but it is in songs that seem to have emerged out of nowhere, and in songs that are self-consciously made to reclaim that nowhere, where much of the American story resides.
This course examines commonplace, authorless songs as elemental, founding documents of American identity. These songs can be heard as a form of speech that, with a deep foundation, is always in flux—especially in the work of Bob Dylan across the last fifty years. In that work, a single performer can be seen to have taken the whole of this tradition and translated it into a language of his own.
Extensive reading, with Dylan’s memoir Chronicles, Michael Lesy’s photo-history Wisconsin Death Trip, critical essays from the anthology The Rose & the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in the American Ballad, and, read in full, novels including Colson Whitehead’s John Henry Days, Lee Smith’s The Devil’s Dream, and Percival Everett’s Erasure, with short papers at least every other week.
MALS 77400 International Migration
Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Professor Pyong Gap Min, 3 credits, Room TBA
Cross-listed with SOC 82800