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Spring 2010 Courses

Spring 2010 Courses

MALS 70100  Narratives of New York: Literature and the Visual Arts

Mondays, 6:30-8:30 pm, 3 credits, Robert Singer [10714]

Stephen Crane, Edith Wharton, Weegee, Diane Arbus, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, and Tony Kushner … this course will explore the work of these artists, among others, as each envisions critically significant representations of New York City–its people, places, and history–in various narrative forms. Particular attention will be given to evaluating the manner in which literature interrelates with film and other visual media and how each venue reflects cultural and historical ideologies. For example, what makes a text a “New York” narrative? Do literary and visual narratives mirror the city’s psyche, or serve to analyze it in penetrating ways?
This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to reading texts and works of art critically, from a variety of perspectives, as well as to relevant theoretical discourses.

MALS 70500  Medieval Culture

The High and Late Medieval Dream Vision

Thursdays, 11:45 am-1:45 pm, 3 credits, Glenn Burger and Steven Kruger [10715]

Cross listed with English 80700

Medieval theorists conceived the dream as potentially revealing or commenting on individual psychology, the social and the political, and cosmic truth, all at the same time. Perhaps this capacious definition of dreams helps account for the extraordinary popularity, from the twelfth century to the sixteenth, of the literary genre of dream vision. Many of the major European writers of the period – Alain de Lille, Boccaccio, Petrarch, Machaut, Chaucer, Shakespeare – produced works that are in conversation with the tradition of dream literature, and dream poetry is central to the high and late medieval English literary tradition.
In this course, we will examine a wide range of medieval dream visions, thinking about how these works engage, in complex ways, with questions about the individual psyche, sociality, and the metaphysical. We will read works selected from among the following authors and texts: Boethius, Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun (The Romance of the Rose), Guillaume de Deguileville, Jean Froissart, Geoffrey Chaucer, William Langland (Piers Plowman), Pearl, John Lydgate, Robert Henryson, James I of Scotland, The Assembly of Ladies, Lancelot of the Laik, The Court of Sapience, John Skelton, and Stephen Hawes. In considering such works, we will attend to the ways in which the dream vision was used to explore the experience and ideology of courtly love; its involvements with theological and devotional discourses; its navigation of the complexities of medieval gender and sexuality, and of such social institutions as marriage, the family, the court, and pilgrimage. We will consider, throughout, how historicist approaches to medieval material might be useful, as well as what kinds of critical theoretical approach (psychoanalytic? Deleuzoguattarian? queer? postcolonial?) might be particularly fruitful in the reading of such medieval texts.
Students will be expected to prepare two oral presentations in the course of the semester, and to write a 20-page seminar paper.

MALS 70800 Transformations of Modernity, 1914 to the Present
Thursdays, 4:15-6:15 pm, 3 credits, Sean O’Toole [10405]

In this seminar, we will examine aspects of cultural change in the twentieth century through a comparative global approach to the novel. Inspired by David Damrosch’s call to expand the literary “field” of modernism, we will surround canonical works such as Joyce’s Dubliners, Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, and Proust’s Swann’s Way with readings in important precursors, contemporaries, and successors. We will begin by exploring some of ways that realism was dealing with issues of gender and empire in the 1890s as Joyce approached the period of writing Dubliners: first, in reading Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, which Joyce knew intimately, and then by discussing stories by two writers who were unknown to him, but who shared important common precursors in Ibsen and Zola: Rabindranath Tagore and Higuchi Ichiyō. We will also consider some important successors: fiction by Russian-Jewish Brazilian modernist Clarice Lispector, British prize-winner Pat Barker, gay American novelists James Baldwin and Michael Cunningham, Turkish cause célèbre Orhan Pamuk, and Japanese wunderkind Haruki Murakami. Social themes, formal issues, stylistic concerns, and intertextuality (the incorporation of Irish songs and Japanese street theater, for instance) will form the primary basis of our discussions. Depending on student interest, films such as John Huston’s The Dead, Tadashi Imai’s Nigorie, and Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali may also provide related topics for writing and discussion. Weekly one-page reader-responses, two papers, and an oral presentation are required.

Zola, from Terese Raquin / L’assommoir (excerpts)
Ibsen, A Doll’s House
Joyce, Dubliners
Tagore, Selected Short Stories, esp. “Punishment”
Ichiyo, In the Shade of Spring Leaves (trans. Danly), esp. “Child’s Play”
Lispector, Family Ties, esp. “The Daydreams of a Drunk Woman”
Proust, Swann’s Way
Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
Barker, Regeneration
Cunningham, The Hours
Baldwin, Another Country
Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Pamuk, The Black Book

MALS 71000 Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir II
Wednesdays, 4:15-6:15 pm, 3 credits, Wendy Fairey [10406]

We will engage in a comparative study of biography, autobiography, autobiographical fiction, and memoir as forms of life-writing and look, too, at issues of craft that cut across these different genres of creative nonfiction: uses of memory, shaping of narrative, building of characters, uses of dialogue, and expression of viewpoint, among other concerns. Readings will be drawn primarily (though not entirely) from twentieth (and twenty-first) century works with selections from such writers as Dickens, Freud, Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Geoffrey and Tobias Wolff, Jamaica Kincaid, Eva Hoffman, Phyllis Rose, Ariel Dorfman, Marjane Satrapi, Edwige Danticat, and Mary Karr. Students will write weekly response papers for most of the semester, make a class presentation, and write one longer paper that can be either a comparative study of texts or a creative exercise in one of the genres of the course.

Although the course serves as the second part of the Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir sequence in M.A.L.S., students do not need to have taken the fall semester course in order to participate in this one.

MALS 71500 Critical Issues in International Studies: Global Political Economy
Mondays, 6:30-8:30 pm, 3 credits, Tomohisa Hattori [10407]

The main purpose of this course is to understand the nature of global political economy by examining and understanding the current economic crisis. While reading about events leading to the economic crisis helps students understand the context of this crisis, the course also examines various theoretical explanations of crises in capitalist political economy in general. Students will assess the plausibility and adequacy of various explanations by not only looking at theories but also applying a theory to a particular historical and geographical context. This analysis of economic crises will gradually help students understand the hidden nature of capitalist political economy.

MALS 73200  American Social Institutions
Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 pm, 3 credits, Joseph Entin[10408]

This course serves as an introduction to the histories, theories, and methods of American Studies as an interdisciplinary field. We will begin by examining the origins of the field and some early American Studies approaches, especially the “American character” and “myth and symbol” schools that dominated work in the field during the 1950s and 1960s. Then, and for the bulk of the semester, we will attend to more recent American Studies scholarship, which draws from a range of disciplines, including social and cultural history, literary criticism, sociology, and cultural studies. Topics will include subcultures and popular culture; working-class culture; the cultural production of race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender; border zones and diasporas; transnationalism and empire. Our reading will be guided by several questions, including: why and for what purposes was American Studies created and institutionalized? How has the field developed and why? What are the major conceptual conflicts that drive and disrupt the field? What constitutes an American Studies approach? What are the theoretical, political, and practical stakes of such an approach?

MALS 74300  Bioethics: Policies and Cases

Medicine and Social Justice

Tuesdays, 5:00-7:00 pm, 3 credits, Rosamond Rhodes and Ian Holzman [10409]

At Mount Sinai School of Medicine

This course will begin with a review of some of the classical (Aristotle) and contemporary (John Rawls) work on justice and a review of some theoretical work by authors who focus their attention on justice in medicine (e.g., Norman Daniels, Paul Menzel). We will then examine some of the foundational issues that lie at the heart of justice in medicine: the right to health and health care, aggregation and utility, personal responsibility, and prioritarianism. We will also develop some understanding of how medical resources are actually distributed in various societies in today’s world. With that much as background, and so as to appreciate the complexity of any scheme for the just distribution of resources, we will go on to consider some of the problems that become apparent when you attend to the special needs of social groups (e.g., the poor, children, women, the elderly, African Americans). We will conclude the course with a close examination of dilemmas and conflicts that are raised by genetic testing, the treatment of premature and compromised neonates, the allocation of transplant organs, and the allocation of resources to alternative medicine.
1. The Nicomachean Ethics , Aristotle (any translator; any edition) suggested version: WD Ross translation, Oxford World’s Classics, ISBN 019283407X
2. Political Liberalism, John Rawls, 1993, New York, Columbia University Press, ISBN 0231052499
3. Medicine and Social Justice: Essays on the Distribution of Health Care, Rosamond Rhodes, Margaret P. Battin & Anita Silvers, editors, 2002, Oxford University Press, ISBN 019514354X
Course readings will be supplemented by papers for a new collection.

MALS 77300 – History of Cinema II
Thursdays, 11:45 am-3:15 pm, 3 credits, William Boddy, [10410] Cross listed with FSCP 81000

This course will explore major developments in US and global film culture from the introduction of sound to the advent of the “blockbuster” era in Hollywood in the mid-1970s.

We will analyze works from a number of national cinemas, artistic movements, and creative auteurs, including Fritz Lang, Jean Renoir, Howard Hawks, Roberto Rossellini, Abe Polonksy, Jean-Luc Godard, and Martin Scorsese.

Topics addressed include the problem of film authorship, the development of film genres and aesthetic styles, and the relationship of the classical Hollywood studio system to alternative models of film production in the United States and elsewhere. Emphasis will be placed on the historical, aesthetic, and ideological contexts of the films examined.

Required Text: David Cook, A History of Narrative Film fourth edition (New York: Norton, 2004)

Course Requirements: In addition to participation in seminar discussion, each student will prepare brief response papers to the films and readings each week, and will write a 15-18 page research paper on a topic approved by the instructor.

Topics and tentative screenings:

Early sound film: M/Blue Angel; Hollywood genre film of the 1930s: Scarface, Bringing Up Baby

Inter-War political documentary: Land Without Bread, Spanish Earth

French poetic realism: Crime of M. Lange, Rules of the Game

Neorealism: Rome, Open City

Hollywood melodrama: Written on the Wind

Hollywood Noir: Big Combo/Out of the Past/Touch of Evil/Gun Crazy/Detour/Big
Heat/Criss Cross/Force of Evil

Hollywood Western: Man from Laramie/Ranch Notorious/Johnny Guitar

French New Wave: Breathless, A Married Woman/Two or Three Things/Hiroshima Mon Amour/Night and Fog

Cinema Novo: Antonio das Mortes

European art cinema: Red Desert/Blow Up/Innocence Unprotected

New German Cinema: American Friend/Maria Braun

New Hollywood: Chinatown/Mean Streets/Badlands/Night Moves

US avant-garde film: Meshes of the Afternoon, Scorpio Rising/Riddle of Lumen