Show The Graduate Center Menu

Fall 2009 Courses

Fall 2009 Courses

MALS 70700 Shaping Modernity, 1789-1914
T, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Brownstein, [96970]

We will begin with works—by, e.g., Burke, Paine, Wollstonecraft, and Rousseau—written before it began, but our focus will be on the sense of the new that developed in the nineteenth century, the idea of difference from the past. We will read poems and prose by Blake, Byron, and Wordsworth, Austen’s Persuasion and Dickens’s Great Expectations, and stories by Hawthorne, Melville, and Henry James, with special attention to such themes as the growth of cities and the sense of personal freedom. In class presentations and (perhaps) their final papers, students will discuss a work by one of the writers studied that is not on the syllabus.

MALS 70900 Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir I
T, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Levin, [96971]

We will make a comparative study of biography, autobiography, and memoir, beginning with an analysis of newspaper obituaries and moving on to Profiles from The New Yorker. After a glance at early forms of life writing such as Plutarch in ancient times or Vasari in the late Renaissance, we will concentrate on work produced during the twentieth century. We will also contrast how biography works in documentaries with the process of adapting biographies for Hollywood feature films. We will also examine collective, group, or couples’ biographies. The selection of texts to be studied will stretch across many disciplines and styles from the lucid 1995 memoir by Barack Obama to, earlier in the century, the more abstract style of Gertrude Stein. We will examine each author’s method and manner, asking what makes a work succeed and become a classic. Students will write weekly response papers for most of the semester and submit a longer paper before the final class.

MALS 71400 Introduction to International Studies
R, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Ungar, [96972]

This course studies international relations by comparing the field’s major theoretical frameworks and applying them to contemporary global issues. We will examine the historical development of the modern international system, the relevance of international organizations such as the United Nations and international financial institutions, the effectiveness of international law, the different dimensions of globalization, the gap between rich and poor countries, and international cooperation on issues such as armed conflict, poverty, health, human rights, the environment, and terrorism.

MALS 72100 Introduction to Women’s Studies
W, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Profs. Cooper/O’Malley, [96973] Cross listed with WSCP 81001

This course provides a broad overview of the issues and methods of Women’s Studies. The instructors will use an interdisciplinary approach to consider some of the themes, questions, methodologies and findings of women’s studies scholarship. The course will introduce students to a selection of feminist texts, taken from both literary and social science sources, and also to classic and contemporary theoretical works. In addition, students will explore the ways in which the field of Women’s Studies has raised new questions and brought new perspectives to those areas where the humanities and social and behavioral sciences intersect, with material which is interdisciplinary in nature and frequently poses a challenge to conventional disciplinary boundaries.

MALS 73100 American Culture and Values
R, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Singer, [96974]

In this course, we will focus on a variety of literary and film titles as we explore complex eruptions and erasures of American identity as it is revealed, or rather manufactured, in varieties of narrative forms. From the early captivity narratives, to Emily Dickinson, and up to Kathy Acker, this course will present perspectives on the complex issue of national identity. Particular attention will be given to evaluating the manner in which literature interrelates with other media and how each venue reflects cultural and historical ideologies. For example, what makes a text “American”? How does literature from the past comment on the present? Are literary and film narratives mirrors or x-rays into the nation’s psyche?

Course requirements include active participation in discussions, an oral presentation, and two papers (8 -10 pages) which critically interpret the assignments.

MALS 74300 Research Ethics
M, 5:30-7:00 p.m., Mount Sinai School of Medicine (100th St. and Fifth Ave.), Annenberg 5 Felt Conference Room, 3 credits, Prof. Rhodes, [96975] Course meets 9/8 through 12/15

Seminar participants will include CUNY students and MSSM medical students as well as students from Masters programs in Genetics Counseling, Clinical Research, and Public Health.

This seminar will explore the complex issues raised by human subject research. The seminar will begin with a review of some of the landmark cases of unethical use of human subjects in research, the policies that shape our current understanding of the ethical conduct of research, and the mechanisms for research oversight that have been instituted. Then, through reading a broad selection of seminal articles and papers from the recent literature, seminar presentations and discussions, we shall engage in a conceptual analysis of a number of controversial and pressing issues. We shall be discussing the moral and public policy aspects of topics such as research design, risk-benefit assessment, informed consent, the use of “vulnerable” subjects, research without consent, confidentiality, inducements, conflicts of interests, disclosure of research findings, tissue use, vaccine development, international research. In addition to exploring the moral landscape of this rich and provocative domain, the seminar should clarify and inform participants’ understanding of basic moral concepts such as autonomy and justice. It will also serve as a model for approaching other issues in applied ethics.

MALS 77100 Aesthetics of Film
M, 4:15-8:15 p.m., Rm. C419, 3 credits, Prof. Chris, [96976] Cross listed with ART 79400, THEA 71400 & FSCP 81000

This course introduces students to the art of cinema, through examination of the qualities, history, and analysis of cinematic form. Approaching aspects of film aesthetics in a variety of genres and forms (for example, melodrama, film noir, the Western, and the musical, as well as documentary, animated, and experimental films), the course will provide students with opportunities to master the fundamental vocabulary of film analysis, including mise-en-scène, shot composition, montage, continuity editing, and camera movement, and other concepts.

The course will consider relationships among the aesthetics of film, television, and new digital and interactive media, as well as aesthetic adaptations to changing technologies and industrial formations, from the Kinetoscope to the nickelodeon to the movie palace and multiplex; and from theater to television screens, home theaters, and small format mobile devices. Interrogating relationships between sound and image, style and meaning, production and reception, we will seek to understand the sensory and narrative pleasures of film art: aesthetics is, after all, the philosophy of beauty.

Required Text: Film Art: An Introduction by David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson

Excerpts from: Film as Art by Rudolf Arnheim, What Is Cinema? by Andre Bazin, Film Form and/or Film Sense by Sergei Eisenstein, Film Language: A Semiotics of Cinema by Christian Metz, The Society of the Spectacle by Guy DeBord, Window Shopping: Cinema and the Postmodern by Anne Friedberg, Silent Cinema and/or The Death of Cinema: History, Cultural Memory and the Digital Dark Age by Paolo Cherchi Usai, Death 24x a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image by Laura Mulvey, The Skin of the Film by Laura U. Marks, The Cinema of Attractions Reloaded by Wanda Strauven (editor), Film Sound by Rick Altman, Visible Fictions by John Ellis, “Video: The Distinct Features of the Medium” by David Antin, Beyond the Multiplex by Barbara Klinger, Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins

Screenings (full-length films and clips): Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory and The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station (both Auguste and Louis Lumière, 1895), Life of an American Fireman and The Great Train Robbery (both Edwin S. Porter, 1903), Where Are My Children? (Lois Weber, 1916), Salomé (Charles Bryant, 1923), Man With a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929), M (Fritz Lang, 1931), Bambi (David Hand, 1942), Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944), Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954), Marty (Delbert Mann, television and film versions, 1953/1955) Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Jacques Demy, 1964), Wavelength (Michael Snow, 1967), Sympathy for the Devil (Jean-Luc Godard, 1968), McCabe and Mrs. Miller (Robert Altman, 1971), Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Chantal Akerman, 1975), She’s Gotta Have It (Spike Lee, 1986), Blue (Derek Jarman, 1989), Chunking Express (Wong Kar Wai, 1994), The Matrix (Andy and Larry Wachowski, 1999), Run Lola Run (Tom Twyker, 1999), Wall-E (Andrew Stanton, 2008)

Assignments: Students will produce weekly “response papers” to readings; participate in class discussions of the readings and screenings; take turns leading discussions on assigned texts; propose a research paper topic in a short essay; and write a final research paper (approximately 15 pages) on some aspect of film aesthetics that demonstrates their capacity to apply course concepts to an original analysis of a film of their own choosing

Enrollment is limited. No permits, non-matrics, auditors.

MALS 77200 History of Cinema I
M, 11:45 a.m.-3:45 p.m., Rm. C419, 3 credits, Prof. Wong, [96977] Cross listed with ART 89600, THEA 71500 & FSCP 81000

1930 seems to be a meaningful date separating early silent cinema from synchronized sound films.

The decades preceding witnessed important social and political changes that included fin-de-siècle developments, the Progressive era, World War I, the Weimar Republic, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Meiji, Taisho, and Showa eras in Japan. Cinema, the first electric mass medium, was born and forged under these exciting periods of monumental changes. Hence we can understand it best as part and parcel of the modernist movement both in art, culture and society.

This course will examine cinema not only as texts, but also as social practices. The class explores cinema of the US and Hollywood amid the variety of international cinemas, from France, Italy, Germany, the Soviet Union, and Japan, as well as the globalization of cinema at this early stage.

Topics will include pre-cinema, emergence of cinema, cinema of attraction, development of narrative cinema, changing social meanings of cinema, industrialization of cinema, national cinemas, exhibition and reception of cinema of the period.

The course will also investigate the practices and methods of the cinematic historiography.

Students will write a 15+ page seminar paper on a research topic of their choosing that has been approved by the professor and will conduct a smaller-scale historical research project making use of archival resources. In addition, students need to contribute weekly to online discussion on Blackboard.

MALS 78100 Issues in Urban Education
T, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Rogers, [96978]

This interdisciplinary course draws on both scholarship and experiential learning to analyze the roots of the “crisis” in urban education and its current forms and issues. Integrating texts and perspectives from history, sociology, urban politics and education, the course aims to create a foundation for research and practice in urban education. While the course itself is organized around several primary themes, it also means to support students in developing their own research interests and questions.

The course begins by considering the history of urban New York City and its schools, with the idea that coherent analysis of the issues in urban education requires an understanding of the complex factors that have contributed over time to contemporary challenges. The next phase of the course puts students in direct touch with schools and their neighborhoods. Assignments engage students in getting to know well one school of their choosing, through observations, research, an oral history project, and the creation of a school “portrait.” (The course supports students’ development of oral history and “portraiture” research methods). At the same time, as the third key aspect of the course, students are immersed in relevant scholarly research and readings that help them to contextualize, question, and make sense of what they are seeing in their real world observations. Readings address factors of race, ethnicity, gender, inclusion, and poverty, as well as the roles of neighborhoods, teachers and students in urban schools. Both readings and discussions will focus on New York City when possible and, supplemented by the field activities in the virtual laboratory of New York City and its schools, aim to provide a complex living example of urban schooling in the 21st century.