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Spring 2007 Courses

Spring 2007 Courses

MALS 70500
Classical Culture
Mondays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 3 credits
Professor Marie Marianetti

The course will be a survey of selected pieces of ancient literature and legend that have subsequently influenced Western civilization. The chosen literary works will be analyzed from an interdisciplinary perspective, combining literature, history, archaeology, religion, culture, politics and philosophy. Certain universal issues will be considered as they are conveyed through the literary genres. The class will concentrate upon a thorough examination and discussion of the following primary sources: The Epic of Gilgamesh, Hesiod’s Theogony, Homer’s Odyssey, Aeschylus’ Oresteia, Sophocles’ Oedipus Cycle (the Theban plays), Euripides’ Bacchae and Iphigeneia in Aulis, Aristophanes’ The Clouds, Plato’s Apology andSymposium, and Vergil’s Aeneid.     

MALS 70800
Transformations of Modernity, 1914-present
Thursdays, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits
Professor Rachel M. Brownstein


In this seminar, we will read and discuss modernity and its fictions, considering aspects of cultural change in the twentieth century through the lens of the novel.  The themes of the course include war, modernism, memory, and nostalgia.  Among the texts are essays (e.g., James’s “The Art of Fiction,” Lawrence’s “Why the Novel Matters,” Benjamin’s “The Storyteller,” Virginia Woolf’s “Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown,” and some chapters from Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory), some poems, and short works by Joyce, Borges, Baldwin, Alice Munro and Grace Paley.  Most of the reading will be novels: among others, Woolf’sMrs. Dalloway, Pat Barker’s Regeneration, Proust’s Swann’s Way, Coetzee’s Disgrace, W.G. Sebald’s The Emigrants, Lore Segal’s Her First American, and Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss.   

MALS 71500
Critical Issues in International Studies
Thursdays, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., 3 credits
Professor Mark Ungar

This course examines the world’s response to human rights abuse by analyzing the historical development of different rights, the effectiveness of international and regional protections, the conflict between rights and other issues such as security and democratization, the functioning of governmental and non-governmental organizations, the relationship between human rights and internal politics, and patterns of violations against different ethnic, racial, religious, gender and other groups.

MALS 72200
Contemporary Feminist Thought
Wednesdays, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits
(Cross-listed with WSCP 80802)

Professor Susan FarrellContemporary Feminist Thought provides an introduction to themes, issues and conflicts in contemporary feminist theory. The course pays particular attention to sexuality, the body, and the engagement with religious discourses on these issues. Readings and discussion will also address the conflicts within feminism in debates about the category of woman, the politics of difference, performances of gender, the stability of sex, gender, and sexual identities and feminist engagements with mainstream politics. The course takes an interdisciplinary and transnational approach to feminist thought and brings these theories to bear upon literature, film, and scenes of everyday life.

MALS 73100
American Culture and Values
Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 3 credits
Professor Robert Singer

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, one oral presentation, and three papers (5—7 pages) which critically interpret the assignments.

MALS 74300
Bioethics, Policies and Cases: Justice and Medicine
Tuesdays, 5:00-7:00 p.m., 3 credits
Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
(Cross-listed with PHIL 77700)
Professor Rosamond Rhodes

Justice is a major concern in theoretical ethics and political philosophy, and a huge literature is devoted to trying to explain what justice entails.  In this course our aim will be to review and critique an array of philosophical views on justice.  In light of that literature, we shall also examine a broad spectrum of issues in medicine, medical research, and public health that raise questions about justice.  Throughout the seminar we shall be engaged in two activities: (1) We shall draw on the theoretical material to inform us about justice in medical contexts that call for decisions about the distribution of benefits and burdens, and (2) we shall use clinical dilemmas and health policies as touchstones for the critique of proffered theories and for the refinement of our understanding of the concept of justice.  By going from theory to practice and from practice back again to theory we shall advance our understanding of the theoretical literature as well as the requirements of justice in medicine and other areas of the social world.

The primary text for the course will be Medicine and Social Justice: Essays on the Distribution of Health Care, edited by Rhodes R, Battin MP, and Silvers (Oxford University Press: New York, 2002).  We shall also read selections from the classic and contemporary literature on justice by authors from Aristotle to Rawls and Sen as well as selected articles from the contemporary bioethics literature.

MALS 77200
History of Cinema II: 1930 to the present
Thursdays, 2:00-6:00 p.m., 3 credits
Professor Joe McElhaney

In the broadest political and social sense, the course begins with cinema in relation to the rise of Nazism in the early 1930s and ends with cinema in relation to the age of terrorism. In between these two extremes, the films being discussed in the class cover a broad spectrum of documentary and fiction, of the avant-garde and Hollywood, of the cinemas of not only North America and Europe but also Asia and Africa.

Almost invariably, the films discussed address moments of major social and political weight: the Depression, the Spanish Civil War and the rise of fascism, World War II and the Holocaust, post-war recovery, Vietnam and the rise of the counter-culture, the age of Reagan and the emergence of new technologies.

In a stylistic and formal sense, the course begins with a film in which the cinema first begins to talk and ends with a film in which the cinema attempts to rediscover the act of speaking itself in an age in which civilized discourse is threatened with extinction.

Language, in fact, is one of several threads running through the films being screened as it assumes a significant role in post-war cinema: language differences, accents, the act of speaking and narrating, and the implications of these in terms of various modes of storytelling.

Additional topics addressed throughout the semester will include the emergence of new concepts of sexuality and the body, shifting ideas of realism, the unreliability of the image to signify, and the relationship between landscape, culture and history.

Required texts:

Film History by Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell

M by Anton Kaes

Sansh Day by Dudley Andrew and Carole Cavanaugh

WR: Mysteries of the Organism by Raymond Durgnat

In addition, students are required to purchase a packet of photocopied essays.

Course Requirements: Each student is required to write a long paper, approximately 15 to 20 pages, touching upon the historical issues raised by the class. The student may choose to either explore a topic already raised in class in a more in-depth manner; or they may choose to engage in independent research on a topic of relevance to the concerns of the class. In either case, the paper topics must first be approved by me, first verbally and then through a formal paper proposal, due mid-way through the semester, as indicated in the syllabus.

In addition, students are required to attend all classes and participate in discussions.

Syllabus available in Certificate Program Office/Room 5109.

Practicum in Translation
Mondays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 3 credits

Professor Marilyn Hacker

FREN 78200
Literary Translation: Theories and Practice
Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 3 credits
Professor Peter Consenstein