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Fall 2013 Courses

Fall 2013

MALS 70000 Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies: “Essays in Conversation”
Tuesdays, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Rachel M. Brownstein [22501]
 In this seminar, we will read, discuss, summarize, and analyze a variety of essays--Baldwin to Ginzburg to Hazlitt--and explore various ways of thinking about them. Students should purchase and bring to each meeting Phillip Lopate's rich anthology, "The Art of the Personal Essay"--the textbook for the course. Imitating and arguing with other writers, exploring or exploding their views and values, we will also test the uses of outlines and annotated bibliographies for our own writing, and consider the mysteries of style. Keeping the conversation going, we will trace the ways one thing--one voice--leads to another. Students will write and share with the group a number of short papers; in the last weeks of the term, everyone will compose and polish a complete original essay.

MALS 70000 - Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies: "Natural (and Unnatural) Histories of New York"
M, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. David Humphries, [22087]

Using New York City as a primary text, this course will introduce students to a variety of critical and theoretical methodologies drawn from a number of disciplines and interdisciplinary studies. Looking together at a number of local sites, we will consider how the city is part of the natural environment, how that environment has been shaped and reinvented for various cultural, social, economic, and political purposes, and how the city itself functions as place for imagined and contested versions of modernity and civic representation. Readings will touch on general ways of viewing the city-space as well as topics specific to New York, and writing assignments will include an analytic description of a particular site, a conference proposal, an annotated bibliography, and one longer review or analysis. Students will draw on their own interests in completing these writing assignments. Areas of focus might include: the history of a particular public institution, space or artifact; a consideration of local literary, educational, political, or activist individuals or communities and the traces they have left on the city; or an examination of contested plans for some future development. Likely readings will include Susan Buck-Morss’ Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project, David Harvey’s Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution, Sara Cedar Miller’s Central Park: An American Masterpiece, as well as shorter readings on current topics and selections from Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace’s Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, Robert A. Caro’s The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, and Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

MALS 70000 - Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies: "Is Where You Are Who You Are: An Inquiry into the Relationship Between Identity and Place"
R, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Shifra Sharlin, [22086]

The purpose of this course is to create a community of learners who will conduct an inquiry into the ways that place affects and defines the lives we lead from social interactions to professional opportunities, cultural possibilities, recreation, and family life in order to build an understanding of the ways in which where we live shape who we are. In particular, we will study the differences between life in the provinces and in urban centers. Through reading in a variety of disciplines, we will address the many factors that create the conditions of life in different locations. Course readings will be drawn from memoir, personal essays, and academic articles in history, geography, sociology, and literature.
This class has a strong emphasis on writing with the goal of finding an academic voice. Students will read and comment on one another’s writing almost every week. The writing assignments will be weekly response papers, three ten-page papers, and a brief annotated bibliography.

Required Books.  There will be no scans.    Note that "The City Reader" must be the fifth edition.
"Histories of the Future,"  Daniel Rosenberg and Susan Harding, Editors, Duke University Press, 20005.
"Uncommon Ground: Toward Reinventing Nature,"  William Cronon, Editor,  W.W. Norton & Co., 1995
"The Footnote: A Curious History,"  by Anthony Grafton, Harvard University Press, 1997.
"The City Reader, FIFTH EDITION," Richard T. LeGates and Frederic Stout, Editors, Routedge, 2011.  Must be fifth edition.
"They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing," by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein.  ANY EDITION.  The subtitle is slightly different in some editions: "The Moves That Matter in Persuasive Writing."  

MALS 70000 - Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies: "Modernism: Literature, Painting, Music, 1880-1930"
W, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Richard Kaye, [22085]

This course introduces students to graduate-level study through an interdisciplinary focus on Modernism, a European and American literary and cultural phenomenon that was powerfully related to the energies—scientific, technological, psychologiical, and political—that we associate with modernity.

This class closely explores five  figures who helped to transform literature, music, and painting: Pablo Picasso, Richard Strauss, D.H. Lawrence, T.S. Eliot, and Virginia Woolf.
We will consider Eliot's radical break with nineteenth-century poetry in such works "The Waste Land," Lawrence's boldly erotic fiction such as "Women in Love," and Woolf's experiments in subjective human consciousness in such fiction as "To the Lighthouse."  In addition, we will focus on the modernist spectacle of Strauss's opera "Salome," based on an Oscar Wilde play and also the subject of a work by Picasso. We will consider Picasso's scandal-generating 1907 "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" —like "Salome," a work based on erotically scandalous subject matter (The painting is set in a bordello and its female figures are prostitutes). We will examine, too, how modernist artists rebelled against, but also drew from, their creative precursors Some critics have argued, for example, that "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" was a response to Matisse's "Le Bonheur de Vivre" and "Blue Nude," while advanced photographers struggled both to assimilate and reject the conventions of painting.  The class will consider such manifestos of modernism as Woolf's s attack on the Edwardian novel and Eliot's defense of "impersonality" and "tradition" over "convention" in poetry. Important, as well, will be our class's examination of how new systems of thought (Einstein's advances in physics, Freud's invention of psychoanalysis, and Bergson's philosophical investigations into time and consciousness) shaped modernist works of art.  The class will consider the writings of such critics and theorists as Walter Benjamin, R.P. Blackmur, Meyer Schapiro, Charles Rosen, Erich Auerbach, John Richardson, Walter Benjamin, Rosalind Krauss, and Mary Ann Caws.  

One oral report, a mid-term paper and a final paper.

MALS 70000 - Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies: "Inventing the Self"
W, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Jason Tougaw, [22084]

Four centuries after Descartes’s famous declaration about the self—“I think, therefore I am”—the origins, meaning, and even the definition of selfhood remain mysterious and contested. After much searching—by psychologists, neuroscientists, fiction writers, poets, filmmakers, sociologists, and anthropologists—nobody has found a thing called The Self. In the process of searching, however, contemporary thinkers working in diverse disciplines and genres have invented theories of selfhood that address a common question: Why does the self feel so whole and real if we can’t locate it? Neurologist Antonio Damasio argues the self is the product of “distributed” brain processes that create a feeling of wholeness; philosopher Daniel Dennett has proposed a “multiple drafts” theory to suggest that the self a continuously revised composition; literary critic Nancy K. Miller proposes that the selves we find in autobiography are the product of social relations (and textual ones). Though these theories are diverse, they share the premise that the self anything but static. Many contemporary thinkers share the belief that the self is a dynamic invention—a continuously evolving product physiology, social relations, artistic practice, and technological innovation.

In this course, students will practice graduate level reading, writing, and research through the examination of theories of self-invention from a variety of disciplines and genres. Students will develop research projects that allow them pursue questions about selfhood from the perspectives of their particular disciplinary interests. In most cases, these projects will engage more than a single discipline, giving students the opportunity to practice the methodologies of particular disciplines and the synthesis required to create productive dialogue among disciplines.

MALS 70000 - Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies: "Time, Place, and Technologies"
W, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Joan Greenbaum
In our daily lives we engage with many interactive technologies—everything from cell phones, to ipods to websites, and more. How do we study our involvement in interactive environments?  What places and spaces are we engaged in and how do our interaction on blogs, email, twitter, text messaging and global positioning systems shape these engagements?   And how do we critically analyze the assumptions behind the design and use of these technologies?  These are some of the questions we will examine this semester, through an interdisciplinary lens of readings, sites, imagines and a small field-based empirical project. 
The rush of new digital devices this century has many commentators claiming that technology is driving our lives.  But with a careful analysis of  technological change from the turn of the last century, through now, we can better understand how technologies emerge, and most importantly the political, economic and cultural lives they carry.  We will explore how the artifacts we call technology are embedded, often in contradictory ways, in our political economy, and how we shape their use and design through our daily experiences.  This seminar we will delve into how we understand time and place as mediated through technologies; such as the railroad, the telephone, time tables, watches, health records, computers and of course the internet and social media.   Students will write three short papers and undertake an empirical research project about a specific technology in your everyday life.  The projects can be done collectively or individually and will entail participatory research methods and a group presentation, which will be explained during the course. 
A weekly syllabus will be posted on the course site on the CUNY Academic Commons ( where discussion questions will be posted before each seminar and further postings can continue among students after weekly seminars.  The following lists some of the readings we will be discussing; many shorter pieces will be posted on the site as pdfs and additional and suggested books may be added based on the specific interests of students.
Some of the selected readings include:
            Adas, Machines as the Measure of Men, Introduction and Chap. 1 (pdf)
            Dewey:  Education and Experience (book)
            de Certeau, M.  the practice of everyday life, Univ of Cal, 1984., chap. 4 (pdf)
            Dourish, Chap. 1 , Fundamentals of Embodied Interaction (pdf)
            Fahmi, Waal Salah, 2011, "Bloggers' Street movements and the right to the
             city" (pdf)
            Greenbaum, J. 2004, Windows on the workplace, technology jobs and the
organization of office work,   Monthly Review Press.
Haraway, Donna, "The Cyborg Manifesto", and "Situated Knowledges" (    pdf essays)
Harvey, David., 1993, "From Space to Place and Back Again: Reflections on the Condition of Postmodernity" in Bird, J., et al., eds. Mapping the Futures. Routledge,   (available digitally)
            Manovich, Chap. 1 What is new media +  ch 2 The Interface (website)
            Kern, The Culture of Time and Space, Intro & Chap. 1 (pdf)
            McCarthy and Wright, Technology as Experience,  Chap. 1 & Chap. 3 (pdf)
            Schivelbusch, The Railway Journey  , Chap. 3 (pdf)
            Smith & Marx, Does Technology drive history , chap. 1 (pdf)
            Streeter, Thomas, The Net Effect: Romanticism, Capitalism, and the Internet,
            NYU Press, 2011. 9book)
Tuan, Y.F., Space and Place, The Perspective of Experience, University of Minnesota, 1977  chap. 13 "Time and Place"  (pdf)

MALS 70200 – Metropolis: A Political, Historical, and Sociological Profile of New York
W, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Cindy Lobel, [22089]

This interdisciplinary course will explore New York City’s rise and role as the nation’s metropolis, examining several key themes in the city’s development. In particular, we will look at Gotham as a center of work, culture and residency as well as at the diverse populations that have called the city home through its four-century history. We will examine New York City from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including history, sociology, anthropology, economics, and political science.

MALS 70300 - Law, Politics, and Policy
Rm. TBA, 3 credits, [22090]

Description coming soon

MALS 70600 - The Enlightenment: Problems and Legacies
W, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Sandi Cooper, [22091]

Is the western world fated for decline? From Oswald Spengler in the 1920's to the provocative Niall Ferguson, 2011, predictions of collapse of western civilization periodically grab headlines.

Is the western world the inimical enemy of Islam and do we live in a permanent battle ground of a “clash of cultures”? (Samuel Huntington)

Such assertions suggest that an exploration of what the concept of “western” means, how it evolved to assume its modern guise is in order.

This class will begin the classic sources of “western” thinking == reviewing the legacy of the scientific revolution and the enlightenment assault on traditional thinking. We will then go on to examine what meaning the new thinking of the European intelligentsia had for the popular classes and popular culture.

The second half of the class will explore the legacy of this upheaval – how much did the French Revolution adapt the new thinking to social conflict? What legacies did enlightenment critiques have for further upheavals – i.e., Marxism, feminism, secularism?

MALS 70700 – The Shaping of Modernity, 1789-1914
W, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. David Gordon, [22092]

The modern world has been shaken by enormous political, economic and social changes - wars and revolutions, industrialization and economic decline, the growth of urban life and decline of religious values. Most of these have created enormous threats to personal liberties and freedom - always central to the self-realization of the individual. Most terrible has been the emergence of utopian ideologies - the belief in the final perfectibility of human beings, combined with a merciless determination to bring these beliefs into reality. This course will examine the triumph of individual human resiliency, and the achievement of freedom and self-determination in the face of the transformative movements of the nineteenth century. These include the industrial revolution, the growth of urban civilization, civil war and the emergence of so-called scientific racism. It will pay special attention to the two signal events that mark the beginning and end of the century - the French Revolution, and the First World War. It will end with an examination of the Soviet experiment that began the greatest utopian experiment of the twentieth century. Considering the remarkable economic and social changes going on in America today, the fate of the individual in a maelstrom of enormous social forces in the recent past remains an important cautionary tale.

MALS 70900 - Approaches to Life Writing
R, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Carrie Hintz [22093]

How do writers use narrative to construct their life stories and the lives of others? This course will explore the narrative nature of life writing, with attention to point of view, tone and narrative structure. Throughout the course, we will try to define the main genres of life writing (biography, autobiography, letters and diaries)—with the awareness that the distinction between these forms is anything but clear. Much of the course will be devoted to experiments in life writing forms (from the modernist period forward) and the link between novels and life writing. Secondary readings will include writings by Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson, Linda Anderson, Paul John Eakin, Laura Marcus, Leigh Gilmore and Nigel Hamilton.

MALS 71300 - The Business of Fashion: Culture, Technology, Design
R 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Elizabeth Wissinger

This course will consider the aesthetic markets of fashion, in which value and price are determined by ineffable factors such as taste, mood, and social climate. It will consider fashion across the various sectors of the industry, from production, to branding, to the models who promote the styles and the consumers who buy them. Students will be exposed to a selection of readings across a range of topics including selections from among works by Pierre Bourdieu, Don Slater, Sharon Zukin, Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu, Mimi Nguyen, Nancy Green, Ashley Mears, Joanne Entwistle, Nigel Thrift, Alison Hearn, Thorsten Veblen, and Pietra Rivoli. We will discuss a range of topics, including global labor flows within the garment industry; a select history of fashion production practices; a sociology of shopping; various treatments of consumers and consumption; an ethnography of the modeling industry; critical discussions of branding and luxury markets; technology and innovation; fast fashion; eco fashion; and sustainability. Each student will research and write in one of these areas, culminating in a final project aimed at sharing this research.
This course fulfills the requirement for the track in fashion (MALS), and counts as an elective for the IDS Concentration in Fashion Studies.

MALS 71400 - Introduction to International Studies
W, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Tomohisa Hattori, [22095]

The two main purposes of this course are to introduce you to theoretically informed historical analyses of international relations (IR) and to help you apply one of the theories of IR to an international subject of your choice.  While the historical contexts and theories of IR will help you engage in further studies in IR, your paper will enhance your understanding of how you may gain social scientific knowledge by reviewing relevant theoretical literature, conceptualizing your subject matter, developing research questions, figuring out how to answer them, gathering information about them, organizing the research result as evidence for your answer to the research question, and developing your answer as an argument about a particular phenomenon or relationship on the chosen topic in the context of existing theoretical arguments. 

MALS 71700 - Psychology of Work & Family : An Introduction
M, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Kristen Shockley,
Prof. Karen Lyness [22096]

Psychology of Work & Family: An Introduction emphasizes the psychological aspects of work and family issues as they are experienced by the individual, such as conflicts between work and family roles, and will introduce the student to major work-family (or work-life) theories and research in the psychology literature. In addition, the course covers organizational policies and programs that are designed to help employees manage work and family responsibilities.

MALS 72100, Feminist Texts and Contexts
Mondays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 3 credits, Sarah Chinn [22097]

This is a course about theories of gender and sexuality. We will be analyzing what it means to be a woman, man, or some other kind of gender in the United States and elsewhere, how those categories came to be, and how they have changed over time to include or exclude on the basis of race, class, sexuality, age, national origin, and ability.  Using an interdisciplinary approach, we will explore both the trajectory of thinking about gender and sexuality, and how feminist theory has developed over time: the challenges it has sustained and the ways it has expanded.

MALS 72100, Feminist Texts and Contexts
W, 11:45-1:45 p.m., Room TBA , 3 credits, Prof. Victoria Pitts-Taylor [22500]
Cross listed with WSCP 81001
This course provides a broad overview of the issues and texts of feminist theory. The instructor will use an interdisciplinary approach to consider some of the themes, questions, methodologies, and findings of contemporary scholarship. The course will cover a selection of feminist texts, taken from both literary and social sciences sources, and also classic and contemporary theoretical works. In addition, students will explore the ways in which the field of gender 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 72600 - Social Impacts of Science and Technology: Case Studies
T, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Joseph Dauben, [22098]

This course will study some of the great discoveries of science and inventions of technology that have changed the course of human history, with a view to assessing their origins, impact, and eventual consequences, both foreseen and unintended. Through individual case studies, from the invention of the wheel or the arch to atomic energy and space technology, using selected case studies across time and in particular parts of the world, or the contributions of individuals like Pasteur or Edison, or by genres including film and fiction, this course will survey major scientific discoveries and technological inventions that have changed human history in significant ways. Reading assignments are given for every class, and students will make weekly seminar reports. There will be either a series of short essays and/or a final research paper (approximately 15-20 pages) due at the end of the semester.
This second course in the Science and Technology Studies concentration will expose students to major examples across time of different technologies and scientific discoveries that have in turn changed the course of human history, often with unintended consequences. In the spirit of the Graduate Center’s recently-established Committee for Interdisciplinary Science Studies, this course will also introduce students to one in-depth case study of a particular culture and its response to science and technology, or of science and technology as viewed through different genres or reflected in a specific science or technology. In the first example described above, China, it has a long history of science and technology, but one that interacted with western science in ways that have also changed and reshaped its destiny, as well as the rest of the world with which China co-exists. This second required core course—Social Impacts of Science and Technology: Case Studies—will draw upon the full resources of science studies to the analysis of how science and technology have shaped the modern world.

Learning Goals and Outcomes: Upon successful completion of this course, students will possess a basic understanding of the methods, concepts, and theories employed by scholars concerned with science and technology studies, who approach their subjects from diverse perspectives. Student progress will be measured on the basis of their class participation, oral presentations, and written essay assignments.

MALS 73100 - American Culture & Values
R, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Joseph Entin, [22099] Cross listed with ASCP 81000.

George Lipsitz and Barbara Tomlinson open the March 2013 issue of American Quarterly with the assertion that this is “no ordinary time for American studies. It has never been more difficult—yet never more important—to explain how the abstract idea of ‘America’ works in the world, to analyze the social relations it both enables and inhibits, to examine both the bright promises and the bitter betrayals of egalitarian and democratic aspirations that are voiced in its name. At this moment of danger, scholars in the field are asking, where does American studies stand and what do we do now?” What is American studies? What is its object, and what kinds of study does it enable? What can it do, and where does it “stand” in the contemporary intellectual, cultural, and political landscape? This course will explore these questions by considering the histories, theories, and practices of American studies as an interdisciplinary field, from its inception as an academic discipline in the 1930s and 1940s, into an institutionalized scholarly field represented by one of the largest and most widely recognized annual academic conferences in the United States. Generally organized as a program and not a department, American studies resides somewhere between (or, perhaps, outside) normative disciplinary boundaries and in sometimes productive, sometimes uneasy relations to the other “studies” that have been created in part on its model. During this semester we will consider the complexity inherent in this model, as we trace the influence of both foundational and emerging work in American studies. We will also consider the different meanings that American studies has (and has had) for different disciplines, and attempt to take stock of its current position in the academy, in the wider world, and in our own work.

MALS 73400 Africana Studies: An Introduction
W, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Megan Vaughan [22124]
Cross listed with HIST 70300, Colonial Africa
Colonial rule was a relatively brief episode in the longer history of the African continent. How significant was this ‘moment’? Is Fred Cooper correct to argue that ‘colonialism’ itself is an over-determining word that obscures more than it illuminates? In this course we will begin by examining theories of colonialism in Africa – both scholarly theories  (from within and outside the continent) and those formulated by the architects of colonial rule. We will then go on to examine in some detail the variety of practices that characterised colonial rule in Africa, exploring the differences between the European colonial powers and between different colonial political economies.  We’ll study colonial economies and labour regimes, legal and administrative systems, ideologies of race, gender and sexuality, religious change, colonial ‘intermediaries’, the developmental state, nationalisms, colonial violence and the ending of colonial rule. Throughout the course our emphasis will be on the lived experience of colonialism and the complex and uneven impact of colonial rule on African societies.  In studying the literature on the colonial Africa we will also address some key questions around the creation of knowledge, historiography and its political contexts, source materials and methods. We’ll ask who creates the colonial archive and whether the Africanist historian’s practice of going to the ‘field’ liberates us from its constraints or just presents us with another set of knotty political problems.

MALS 74300 - Bioethics: Policies and Cases
Mount Sinai, 3 credits, Tuesday 5:30-7:00 PM
Annenberg 10-70 - Levy Library (enter from the 11th floor)
September 3 – December 10, 2013
Prof. Rosamond Rhodes, PhD
By the end of this course participants should be able to:
 - Refer to the historical evolution of research ethics and the development of protections for human subjects.
 - Identify and employ the guiding principles of research ethics.
 - Evaluate clinical studies in terms of ethical considerations.
 - Review the research ethics literature and use it in addressing questions related to clinical research.
 - Justify decisions about the ethical conduct of research in terms of reasons that other reasonable scientists should accept.
Seminar participants will include students from The Graduate Center, CUNY, and students from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai: medical school, MS & PhD in Clinical Research, MS in Genetics Counseling, and MPH programs.
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 discuss 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, and international research.  In addition to exploring the moral landscape of this rich and provocative domain, the seminar will 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 74500 - Topics in Roman Art and Archaeology
The City of Rome: The Archaeology, History, and Topography of an Imperial City
T, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis, [22101] Cross listed with CLAS 74400 & ART 82000.

Rome was the pre-imminent political, economic, social and cultural heart of the Mediterranean, much of Europe, and large swaths of the Near East from the first century BCE until the early fourth century CE when Constantinople was established. In order to understand many aspects of the Roman Empire’s history, economy, cultural mores, literary output and artistic developments, it is essential to understand the capital. Thus, this seminar explores the city of Rome from 753 BCE to 410 CE primarily through an in-depth investigation of the art, architecture and archaeology of the capital itself. Much of the art and architecture associated with the Roman Empire originated in Rome (e.g., imperial portraiture system and historical reliefs), or had its most impressive examples here (e.g., the Colosseum). Students will be introduced to recent archaeological discoveries and how these have reshaped our understanding of ancient Rome. The seminar will provide a chronological and topographical overview of the city’s development, while focusing on certain aspects of the ancient city each week, including the artistic and architectural programs of the Imperial Fora, public entertainment buildings, and the nature of the capital’s economy. The class will visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Numismatic Society in order to gain a fuller appreciation of the role that material culture has to play in our understanding of ancient Rome. Although this course focuses primarily on the material culture of the City of Rome, students will be required to engage with other classes of evidence, including epigraphy, poetry, historical sources, legal texts and numismatics. This interdisciplinary approach enables scholars and students to interpret and analyze Rome, its artistic production, history and topography more fully. Thus, this course should provide students interested in the history, literature and arts of the Late Republic and/or the Empire with a firm foundation in the historical debates over art and architecture, as well as a nuanced understanding of the city’s topography, urban development, infrastructure and history.

Tentative Outline


  1. Introduction
  2. Historiography, Evidence and Approaches to the Topography of Rome
  3. Foundation and Ritual: evidence for early Roman topography, occupation and the boundaries of the city
  4. The Republican City: Topographies and power dynamics
  5. Augustan Rome: Urban development, image and ideology
  6. Infrastructure: Aqueducts, streets, and neighborhoods
  7. To Live and die like an Emperor: Imperial residences and tombs
  8. The Imperial Fora and Public Parks
  9. Historical Reliefs
  10. The Economics of Empire: Tiber, Monte Testaccio, Ostia and Portus
  11. Entertainment and public spectacle: the Colosseum and the Imperial Thermae
  12. The Horti, tombs and the nature of the suburban space
  13. Severan Roman: a second Renaissance and the Severan marble plan
  14. Late Antique Rome


Preliminary Readings:

  1. Coulston, J. C., and Hazel Dodge. 2000. Ancient Rome: the archaeology of the eternal city. Oxford: Oxford University School of Archaeology.
  2. Claridge, Amanda. 2010. Rome. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


One or two auditors may be permitted; however, permission of the instructor is required. Please email me ( if you wish to audit the course.

MALS 75400 - Introduction to Digital Humanities: Digital Praxis Seminar
M, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Profs. Matthew Gold/Stephen Brier, [22102]
Cross listed with IDS 81649 

The dramatic growth of the Digital Humanities (DH) over the past half dozen years has helped scholars re-imagine the very nature and forms of academic research and teaching across a range of scholarly disciplines, encompassing the arts, the interpretive social sciences, and traditional humanities subject areas. This course will explore the history of the digital humanities, focusing especially on the diverse pioneering projects and core texts that ground this innovative methodological and conceptual approach to scholarly inquiry and teaching.  It will also emphasize ongoing debates in the digital humanities, such as the problem of defining the digital humanities, the question of whether DH has (or needs) theoretical grounding, controversies over new models of peer review for digital scholarship, issues related to collaborative labor on digital projects, and the problematic questions surrounding research involving “big data.” The course will also emphasize the ways in which DH has helped transform the nature of academic teaching and pedagogy in the contemporary university with its emphasis on collaborative, student-centered and digital learning environments and approaches. Along the way, we will discuss broad social, legal and ethical questions and concerns surrounding digital media and contemporary culture, including privacy, intellectual property, and open/public access to knowledge and scholarship. Students will be expected to participate actively in class discussions and online postings (including on blogs and wikis) and to research and write a final multimedia presentation on a key topic in the digital humanities. Students completing the course will gain broad knowledge about and understanding of the emerging role of the digital humanities across several academic disciplines and will begin to learn some of the fundamental skills used often in digital humanities projects.

Note: this course is part of an innovative "Digital Praxis Seminar," a two-semester long introduction to digital tools and methods that will be open to all students in the Graduate Center. The goal of the course is to introduce graduate students to various ways in which they can incorporate digital research into their work.

MALS 75600 Sustainability and Human Ecodynamics
R, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Sophia Perdikaris [22513]
Cross listed with ANTH 75600
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 76100 - Traditional Patterns of Jewish Behavior and Thought
Introduction to Modern European Jewish History
M, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. David Sorkin, [22103] Cross listed with HIST 79000.

This course aims to introduce students to the major issues of modern European Jewish history (1648-1950). Through extensive reading in the scholarship students will learn the history and the historiography. In seminar we will discuss both the events, developments and trends of the period and the categories and concepts we use to think about them.

MALS 77200 - History of Cinema I: 1895-1930
R, 11:45 a.m.-2:45 p.m., Rm. C-419, 3 credits, Prof. Marc Dolan, [22104] Cross listed with THEA 71500, ART 79500 & 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 78100 - Issues in Urban Education
W, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Susan Semel [22106]

This course provides an overview of major issues and controversies in urban education in the United States. Through a historical, sociological, philosophical and political analysis of educational problems, the course explores a variety of progressive and traditional approaches to improving urban education in the 20th century. The course focuses on current neoliberal reforms to reduce educational inequality, including curriculum and common core learning standards, teacher education reform, school choice, tuition vouchers, charter schools, privatization, whole school reform, small schools, and value added models of teacher evaluation. Finally, the course examines the limits and possibilities of these reforms in improving urban education and reducing racial, ethnic and social class based educational inequalities.

MALS 78500 - Colonial Latin American History from the Pre-Colombian Period to Independence
R, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Laird Bergad, [22107] Cross listed with HIST 76900.

This course will examine the historiography of Latin America and the Caribbean during the colonial period of Latin American history. Its emphasis will be on how historical research methods used to work with primary source documentation have changed from the 1940s to the present, and how thematic focal points have shifted as research methodologies have been transformed. It will also consider the major themes of colonial Latin American history.

MALS 79600 - Thesis Workshop
W, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 1 credit, Prof. Shifra Sharlin, [22109]

The Thesis Workshop is designed to offer practical and psychological support for students working on a MALS thesis by creating a community of other writers. The workshop creates a structure of accountability and support to meet your thesis-writing goals. Research shows that successful academics talk about their writing and that talk contributes to its success. Every week workshop participants will read and discuss one another’s writing. In addition, every week we will discuss topics of shared interest such as managing your time, organizing your project, setting realistic goals, working with an advisor, making an argument, bibliography, and format.
The workshop is intended for people advanced enough in the thesis writing process that they can write at least five pages a week. Participants must commit to attending every week.

MALS 77400 - International Migration
W, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Mehdi Bozorgmehr, [22105] Cross listed with SOC 82800.

This course offers a comprehensive and interdisciplinary overview of the key current topics and issues in the burgeoning field of international migration. The field is unique in its interdisciplinary nature, stretching from history, anthropology, demography and economics, through political science, geography and sociology. Methodologically, it is also very eclectic, ranging from the use of quantitative data to ethnography and oral history of migrants. While the course will aspire to incorporate the experiences of major immigrant receiving countries around the world, the main comparative focus will be on Europe and North America, where the major theories and key concepts are most fully developed. The emphasis is on exploring both the theoretical debates in the field and the empirical data and case studies on which these debates hinge. Attention will be paid to detailed discussions of “classic” issues of immigration, such as theories and mechanisms of international migration, diaspora and transnationalism, models of assimilation, ethnic identities and group boundaries, ethnic entrepreneurship, and comparative immigration in Europe and America. Throughout, the course will take into account the way in which global cities, as contexts of reception, affect the immigrant experience, and in turn, are transformed by immigrants.

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