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Spring 2015

CL. 78200 - Fictions of the Psyche, GC: T, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 4 credits, Prof. André Aciman
 
CL. 80100 - On Book Reviewing, GC: T, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 4 credits, Prof. André Aciman
 
CL. 80100 - Translation, Adaptation, GC: W, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Mary Ann Caws
 
CL. 80100 - Novel Theory, GC: W, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 4 credits, Prof. John Brenkman
 
CL. 80100 - Mapping the Futures of Higher Education, GC: T, 4:15pm-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 4 credits, Profs. Cathy Davidson and William Kelly, cross listed with IDS. 70200
 
CL. 80100 - Adventures in Marxism:  From the Communist Manifesto to Alain Badiou, GC: M, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Rm. TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Richard Wolin, cross listed with HIST. 72400 

CL. 88300 - Machiavelli and the Problem of Evil, GC: M, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Paul Oppenheimer
 
CL. 88300 - Ideology, Education, and Nation Building:  Reading and Writing in Post-Unification Italy, GC: W, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Morena Corradi
 
CTCP. 71088 - Critical Theory: Foundations and Practices, GC: Th, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Bettina Lerner
 
CL. 89200 - History of Literary Theory and Criticism II, GC: M, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Charity Scribner

CL 86500 - The Ancient World Through Modern Eyes, GC: W, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Rm. TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Rhonda Garelick, cross listed with IDS. 81630

CL. 90000 - Dissertation Supervision, GC: 1 credit, Staff

 
Course Descriptions
 
CL. 78200  Fictions of the Psyche
Prof. André Aciman

With its intricate and beguiling analysis of human motivation, psychological fiction has a long history and is known for its penetrating focus on desire, deceit and tangled web of human emotions.  The course seeks to examine how literature has portrayed the psyche, how it narrates interiority, and how language seeks to unravel the paradoxes implicit to any treatment of love. The course will also establish a typology of the genre and a vocabulary with which to investigate what the French call the roman d'analyse. Readings will include Ovid, Tristan,Boccaccio, Marguerite de Navarre, LaFayette, Cervantes, Sterne, Austen, Stendhal, Wharton, Svevo, and Proust.
 
CL. 80100  On Book Reviewing
Prof. André Aciman

This course is dedicated to the craft of the book review.  Book reviewing has not only become an essential tool that every scholar in the academy needs to master, but it is also the easiest way to break into print.  Book reviewing is also a way for scholars to reach a highly educated and discerning reading public that is not necessarily affiliated to an academic institution.  This course will be offered on Tuesdays at 6:30p.m.  Editors from The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, Time magazine, and the Times Sunday Book Review will be invited as well as some writers and academics who write book reviews.  Readings will consist of weekly selections mostly from The New York Review, The London Review, and TLS, but also from The Nation and The New Republic. Assignments will comprise one short review in the style of the Sunday Book Review and a longer New York Review-style review at the end of the term.
 
CL. 80100  Translation, Adaptation 
Prof. Mary Ann Caws

Roger Fry would frequently request that his painter friends “translate” some work of art into another, of their own creation.  We want to work with this notion of visual translation alongside the more usual linguistic one of transporting a text into a different language. Such experimentation entails a certain delight in adaptation, in reconfiguring various givens into some other construction, altering structure, style, and profile. The subjects will, in the best of moments, set up a positive interference, as the elements are configured in ways sometimes predictable, sometimes unexpected. For beginning examples: how the baroque and the surrealist impulse coincide in art and text, how an enlightenment figure can become sublimely modernist, how the translation of a poem in diverse epochs and languages may change its impact, how one story or novel can be presented in several films or plays with massive differences between them. The presentations, readings, and viewings and the periods, genres, and languages concerned will depend to a large extent on the visual and verbal interests of the participants. We are open to experiments.  
 
CL. 80100  Mapping the Futures of Higher Education
Profs. Cathy Davidson and William Kelly

Mapping the Futures of Higher Education² is the first course
being offered as part of the Graduate Center and CUNY¹s new Futures
Initiative, designed to prepare the next generation of college
professors.  The class will be student-led and one aim is to experiment
with a range of pedagogical forms while also engaging in thoughtful
conversation about the nature, purpose, and state of higher education
today. This course will be team-taught by Professor Cathy Davidson, director of the Futures Initiative, and former GC President William Kelly.  The course is designed especially for second, third, or fourth year students who are teaching during S 2015 at one of CUNY¹s colleges or community colleges.  Our focus will be on working together to design innovative peer-to-peer pedagogies that engage students, spark creativity, span disciplines and technologies, and offer meaningful public engagement.
 
CL. 80100  Adventures in Marxism:  From the Communist Manifesto to Alain Badiou
Prof. Richard Wolin
                                                                                “Je ne suis pas Marxiste!”
                                                                       Karl Marx, cited by Engels, 1882
 
In his “Theses on Feuerbach” (1846) Marx, seeking to free himself from Hegel’s tutelage, famously declared that, “Heretofore, philosophers have only interpreted the world; however, the point is to change it!” At the time, little did Marx realize the immense historical influence his ideas and doctrines would have. For decades to come, Marx’s theories would inspire intellectuals and political activists in Europe, Latin America, and Asia – although, often in ways that would have undoubtedly astonished Marx himself. After all, the first “successful” communist revolution occurred not in a highly industrialized society, as Marx had prophesied, but instead in Tsarist Russia: a nation that had only recently freed its serfs and that was still largely agrarian. Although as late as 1956, Jean-Paul Sartre could still refer to Marxism optimistically as, “The unsurpassable philosophy of our time,” following World War II, with the rising tide of decolonization, the torch of World Revolution had clearly passed (in the words of Franz Fanon) to the “wretched of the earth” – to the denizens of the so-called “Third World.” To add to this litany of well-known paradoxes: in contemporary China, one of the few remaining communist nations, Marxism has paradoxically become the reigning ideology of a society that is unabashedly oriented toward exponential economic growth and conspicuous consumption. (Or, as Deng Xiaoping proclaimed during the early 1980s: “To get rich is glorious!”) Looking back from 1989 – the watershed year in which the Marxist regimes of Eastern Europe unraveled with breathtaking rapidity – intellectuals and pundits openly wondered whether the time had finally come to write Marxism’s epitaph. However, in light of the rise of neo-liberalism and the prodigious rise of social inequality, forecasts concerning Marxism’s demise would seem premature.
 
Our primary focus will be the legacy of Marxist thought. As such, we will begin by examining the way in which Marx’s youthful confrontation with Hegel prepared the ground for the development of his notion of “historical materialism.” But very quickly, under the tutelage of the later Engels and the Second International, this conception congealed into a dogmatic body of received truths, precipitating what some have called the “crisis of Marxism.” At the time, one of the main responses to Marxism-in-crisis was “Leninism”: the idea that, since the European proletariat seemed increasingly lethargic, a vanguard party was required in order to focus its attention on the long-term goal of world revolution.
 
Under the guise of a “return to Hegel,” and as an antidote to Soviet Marxism, the interwar period witnessed an efflorescence of philosophical Marxism. Among the highlights of this movement were Lukács’ History and Class Consciousness as well as the work of Walter Benjamin and the Frankfurt School – a renewal Marxist thought that has been largely responsible for the postwar renaissance of “critical Marxism.” More recently, in books such as Revolution at the Gates, Slavoj Zizek has encouraged a “return to Lenin.” Similarly, the French Maoist, Alain Badiou, in part inspired by Sartre, has sought to resurrect Marx’s theory of the “subject.” Insisting that, as a critique of capitalism, Marxism has lost none of its historical relevance, Badiou claims that, by learning from its past defeats, Marxism can be resurrected.

CL. 80100  Novel Theory
Prof. John Brenkman

A hundred years ago Georg Lukács inaugurated a new field of study with The Theory of the Novel. Since then, novel theory has emerged as a distinctive form of reflection on literature—whether grappling with the history of the novel or new novelistic forms, whether debating periodization or the scope of realism, whether establishing traditions or contesting canons, whether criticizing society or affirming democracy or postulating utopia. Novel theory also sustains a creative strife with formalism and narrative theory. And since the novel is a genre without clear or fixed genre boundaries, novel theorists inevitably must draw a line between novel and non-novel: Lukács says Dostoevsky does not write novels, while Bahktin takes Dostoevesky as the defining instance of the novelistic. In the seminar, we will survey this rich century of novel theory and its conflicting protagonists: Lukács and Bahktin, Auerbach and Barthes, Jameson and Kundera, and so on. During the seminar, we will take Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov as a benchmark, and each participant will be asked to make a presentation on a novel of his or her choosing in relation to a problem in novel theory.
TEXTS: Georg Lukács, The Theory of the Novel; Mikhail Bahktin, The Dialogical Imagination; Roland Barthes, S/Z; Milan Kundera, Testaments Betrayed; Franco Moretti (ed.), Novel, Volume 2; Michael McKeon (ed.), Theory of the Novel; Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.
 
CL. 88300  Machiavelli and the Problem of Evil 
Prof. Paul Oppenheimer

Niccolò di Machiavelli (1469-1527) is not only recognized as the first modern political scientist, distinguished by his empirical approach to political and historical questions, but as the first and possibly foremost investigator of the role of treachery in politics as well as the problem of evil. This course examines along these lines his ideas about politics, history, Fortuna, destiny and chance, together with his influence on the history of drama (through his Mandragola), considering especially his The Prince, The Discourses, and assorted selections from other works. Machiavelli’s influence on philosophy, fiction, drama, and film will be taken up in terms of Shakespeare’s Richard III, Nietzsche, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author, Riefenstahl’s film Triumph of the Will, and Orwell’s Animal Farm. The instructor’s biography, Machiavelli: A Life Beyond Ideology, is recommended but not required, as is his Evil and the Demonic: A New Theory of Monstrous Behavior. — One research paper, plus a brief in-class presentation.  
 
CL. 88300 – Ideology, Education, and Nation Building:  Reading and Writing in Post-Unification Italy
Prof. Morena Corradi

This course will address the issue of nation building and its unfolding in post-unification Italy through the analysis of seminal literary works as well as articles from political and popular papers and journals of the 1860s, 70s, and 80s. The focus of the course will revolve around the idea of “making Italians” understood as a political project as well as an educational one. In this respect we will look at the politics of and dominant ideas on education as portrayed in fiction as well as newspaper articles and commentaries. Analyzing the unfolding of approaches to education in this period will prove useful in order to better understand the nation-building process and its ideological foundations as well as its contradictions.
Besides the reading of some canonical works by Nievo, Collodi, De Amicis, which helped shape the imaginary in and of post-unification Italy, the course will look at narratives and articles appeared in major post-unification journals, published by Sonzogno and Treves, in which mainstream ideological positions were countered by contributions and editorials offering different perspectives on the nation-building process and educational needs of the newly unified State. The material we will read is representative of the complex cultural and ideological scenario which characterized the unification period and which has been brought to the foreground by recent historiography. The study both of popular literature and paper articles and editorials is meant to help us address the relatively new readings of the Risorgimento and post-Risorgimento period which have been greatly enhanced by an investigation of culture and society.  Course material will include secondary literature tackling the political and philosophical background to the central issues of the course as well as material shedding light on issues such as editorial policies, post-unification readership, and printed media accessibility.
 
 
CTCP. 71088  Critical Theory: Foundations and Practices
Prof. Bettina Lerner

This course will explore both the historical formation of philosophical critique and contemporary developments in critical theory in a global context. We will engage with literary, sociological, psychological, political, and philosophical dimensions of critical theory as it seeks to describe and evaluate modern and post-modern society and cultural production. Through presentations, short written assignments and a final paper, students will be encouraged to question and develop these approaches within and across their own fields. Readings may be drawn from a variety of sources including Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Benjamin, Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, Habermas, Althusser, Lacan, Foucault, Deleuze, Derrida, Bhabha, Spivak, Butler, Nancy, Rancière, Laclau, Latour and Mouffe.
 
CL. 89200 – History of Literary Theory and Criticism II
Prof. Charity Scribner

A study of the thought about literature as it developed from the eighteenth century to the present. Readings from Kant, Schiller, Hegel, Marx, Baudelaire, Arnold, Freud, Saussure, Du Bois, Hurston, Woolf, Bakhtin, Horkheimer, and Adorno. This course will examine both the evolution of modern aesthetics as well as current critical methodology.

CL. 86500  The Ancient World Through Modern Eyes
Prof. Rhonda Garelick 

  
This interdisciplinary course traces the interpretations of ancient myth in a series of genres, with a strong emphasis on the neo-Hellenist movement of the modernist period. We shall study texts by Plato, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, as well as the New Testament and Freud, in conjunction with plays by Oscar Wilde, Tennessee Williams, Jean Anouilh, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Jean Cocteau, plus contemporary works by Caridad Svich, Sarah Ruhl, and Rita Dove. We shall also study the mythic reinterpretations of modern dance, including units on Isadora Duncan, Loie Fuller, Martha Graham, and the Ballets Russes.  All aspects of performance will be considered, with a special focus on fashion, costume design (works by Bakst, Chanel, Madame Gres, and more), and stage lighting.
 
Students will take field trips to theater and dance events, and museums. Requirements include performance reviews, journal, class presentation, and final paper.