Please note that this schedule is subject to change.
Due to pandemic, in Fall 2021, certain courses will be hybrid (in-person and online) while the majority of courses will be offered solely online. This website (and CUNYFirst) will be updated when those decisions have been made. At present all courses are listed as hybrid in CUNYFirst, although the majority will be solely online.
For hybrid classes, students should be prepared to attend approximately seven meetings in person (socially distanced, masked, following CDC guidelines), while the rest will be online. The in-person meetings will not streamed or available via zoom. As CDC guidelines change, there may be modifications to the schedule.
In some cases, MALS core courses will be cross-listed with other programs. Students who would like to have these courses satisfy the core course requirement for their chosen concentration must register for the MALS course number. Please keep this in mind as you register.
FALL 2021 COURSE DESCRIPTION
*All Hybrid courses are subject to change
MALS 70000 - Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies
Thursday, 4:15 – 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis (Emacaulay_lewis@gc.cuny.edu)
All the World’s a Fair: Culture, Politics, Economics, Art, and Architecture at America’s World’s Fairs
This course takes its title from Robert Rydell’s book on World’s Fairs in the United States from Centennial Exposition of 1876 in Philadelphia to the expositions in San Francisco and San Diego in 1915. The unexpected success of the “Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations,” in 1851 in London, established World’s Fairs, or International Expositions, as a major type of cultural event in Western Europe and later in the United States. Hosting a Fair or Exposition was a physical way that a nation and later specific cities could proclaim their innovations, economic development, technological advancements, artistic and architectural achievements, and cultural standing, as well as construct and articulate their history, as well as its current and future standing. But World’s Fairs were far more than the nineteenth-century equivalent of a trade show, they were spaces where imperial aspirations; tensions over race and gender; and questions of historical inclusion and exclusion played out. This course will take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of World’s Fairs, starting with the early European Fairs and then primarily focusing on specific World’s Fairs and Expositions in the United States. While the Columbian Exposition of 1893 is undoubtedly the most famous of all of the American fairs, it was one of many; cities such as St. Louis and Buffalo held such fairs. Using the fairs, this course will introduce students to graduate-level research, reading, and writing. Students will learn how to write (and demonstrate competency) in different academic genres, including the book review, annotated bibliography, and seminar paper. They will also learn how to investigate and use archival materials and primary sources. Contributions to the course website, discussion forum, and/or other digital platforms will serve as venues where students can exchange their ideas and engage in a reflective, writing process.
MALS 70000 – Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies
Wednesday, 4:15 – 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Anna Akasoy (Aakasoy@gc.cuny.edu)
This seminar will introduce students to a range of methods, theories and concepts in humanistic scholarship and public debate. The seminar will focus on questions of cultural ownership and identity, in particular in contexts of cultural contact in both past and present times. Historians of the premodern world increasingly acknowledge the hybridity of cultures and critique stable and homogeneous notions of cultural identity and authenticity. They disaggregate conventional concepts such as ‘the West’, ‘Europe’, the ‘Middle East’ or ‘Asia’ and construct new, emphatically hybrid spaces such as the Mediterranean as analytical alternatives. Recent scholarship has shed light on the transmission of knowledge across cultures, on shared cultural traditions across linguistic, religious and political borders, and on individuals who embodied this hybridity. In contemporary public debates, on the other hand, concerns are frequently voiced about cultural ownership, representation and authenticity, especially about cultural appropriation. Many of these contributions, academic, academic public-facing and public, are animated by similar efforts to challenge hegemonic concepts and narratives of cultural identity and ownership.
In this seminar, we will explore key concepts, theories and approaches in this field, using the example of the Arabian Nights. A literary tradition with roots in India and Persia, the Arabian Nights in its preserved written form dates back to ninth-century Iraq. The text evolved over centuries in Arabic and assumed a global dimension after its translation into French in early eighteenth-century Paris. The translator, Antoine Galland, combined stories preserved in an Arabic manuscript with material presented to him orally by Hanna Diyab, a Syrian traveler. Subsequent to the French translation, Arabic manuscripts reproduced the Arabian Nights in more extensive versions, responding to the interest of Orientalists. The global spread of the Arabian Nights stories is accompanied by a rich tradition of illustrations and adaptations on screen and stage. As the seminar explores the various examples of the evolution of the Arabian Nights corpus, we will be discussing concepts such as canon, world literature and Orientalism, and ask throughout the semester how concepts of cultural ownership and authenticity can be applied to this global literary tradition and how, conversely, the example of the Arabian Nights complicates these concepts. In addition to a selection of Arabian Nights stories and scholarship, we will be considering illustrations, literary adaptations, and cinematic representations such as the 1992 and 2019 Disney versions of Aladdin.
MALS 70000 – Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies
Tuesday, 6:30 - 8:30 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Libby Garland (Libby.Garland@kbcc.cuny.edu)
Refuge: Seeking Haven and Creating Sanctuary in the United States
What cultural and political work has the idea of “refuge” done in the United States over time? When has the nation served as a refuge, and to whom, and how has it failed? How have the forces of oppression and political or cultural upheavals within the nation, meanwhile, spurred its residents to seek out, create, or define new forms of haven, whether literal or metaphorical? Who has been forced to seek refuge, and who has had the luxury of creating protected bubbles within to seal themselves off from others’ troubles? What can we learn from the fears, visions, and approaches of those who have sought to build or define sanctuary and refuge in new ways? What sorts of refuge have been ephemeral, and which have proved more enduring? In this course, students will explore these questions, and questions that they themselves generate, by engaging with the work of historians, sociologists, geographers, anthropologists, and others. Through close reading, discussion, weekly writing and a longer research project, students will develop skills, knowledge and critical approaches that will serve as a foundation for their further interdisciplinary graduate studies.
MALS 70200 - Metropolis: A Political, Historical, and Sociological Profile of New York
Tuesday, 4:15 – 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Darrel Holnes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
MALS 70400- Interdisciplinary Topics in Law
Thursday, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Miryam Segal (email@example.com)
This course is about law and literature in these senses: how literature-as-a-discipline and law (especially as a practice) employ in parallel and at cross-purposes, similar, overlapping and distinct methods of reading and interpretation; how literature and law each give meaning to the other within a legal system.
The intellectual history of law and humanities in the United States as it has so far been written, includes a chapter on the so-called law and literature movement. Its chronology: sprouting and growth in the 1970s, branches and applications in 1980s, slow-down and dissipation in the nineties. This neat proto-history is of course oblivious to the schools of thought, scholars, institutions that continue to engage questions of law, interpretation and meaning with the help of literary fields, especially in Western Europe. This blind spot of academic history has its Rorschachian reflection in the way some practitioners (lawyers, judges and even legal scholars) approach law and its interpretation, valorizing particular historical methods as eternal truths.
This chronology also reduces law and literature to a fashion of 20th century American academia, denying the lessons of classical writing. Within the “western canon,” rhetoric is an obvious meeting point of law and of literature. There are myriad other examples of the necessity of this relationship in ancient documents we might consider “literary” or “legal” but which are necessarily inter-dependent.
This course will attend to aspects and examples of all these phenomena, as well as turning back to the American legal academic context to examine the contemporary debates over “textualism” and statutory interpretation—both examples of uses if the literary that sometimes betray ignorance of the nuances of these tools, their histories, their utility within and beyond the law, therefore affording them an unwarranted authority and final judgement.
Readings include works by Peter Berger, Cleanth Brooks, Benjamin Cardozo, Robert Cover, Ronald Dworkin, Han-Georg Gadamer, Barbara Johnson, Greta Olson, Quintilian, I.A. Richards, Antonin Scalia, James Boyd White, as well as statutes and judicial decisions in U.S. law, Roman Law and the Bible.
MALS 70500 - Medieval Culture
Monday, 4:15 – 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Nicole Lopez-Jantzen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Cross-listed with MSCP 70100
This course provides an introduction to medieval culture and society, from the fifth to the fourteenth centuries, as well as an introduction to the discipline of Medieval Studies. The course will be interdisciplinary in nature, drawing on approaches from history, literature, art history, and gender studies to explore both scholarly analysis and also the material and textual sources of medieval Europe. We will focus on how scholars have defined the Middle Ages, both temporally and geographically, major people and events in the Middle Ages, as well as emerging fields in medieval studies, such as the study of race. Topics include the end of antiquity, conquest and colonization, and the interaction of Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the Middle Ages.
MALS 70700 - The Shaping of Modernity, 1789-1914
Wednesday, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Susan Smith-Peter (email@example.com)
Making a Modern Self: Modernity and the Individual in Ideas, Art and History
This course explores the challenges and opportunities of modernity from the French Revolution to the outbreak of the First World War by focusing on a series of iconic individuals who transformed our ideas of what it has meant to be modern. Each week will cover the representation of one historical figure through art and ideologies. Exploring the presentation of the self through official and unofficial images and genres ranging from memoirs to manifestos will allow us to see how these people shaped and were shaped by modernity, from Cornwall to Kamchatka. Students will receive guidance on how to write graduate-level research papers, book reviews, annotated bibliographies and more. They will exchange ideas through online discussion sessions and oral presentations as well.
MALS 71200 - The Culture of Fashion: Theories and Practices
Thursday, 4:15 – 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Elizabeth Wissinger (firstname.lastname@example.org)
From labor politics, raced and gendered power struggles, the quest for selfhood, and urgent issues of globalization and sustainability, fashion is a major cultural force that shapes our contemporary world. At the same time, fashion’s history and aesthetics provide a fascinating cultural backdrop within which to examine issues of power, nation building, technology, and meaning making, especially in terms of the impact of modernity on concepts of self, body, and agency within the complex relations of symbols and exchange that make up the fashion system.
Starting with a thorough grounding in theories informing a conceptual approach to fashion and culture, we will explore the politics, technologies, and aesthetics of the fashion system and its histories, by closely reading foundational texts, case studies, and cultural analyses that engage fashion’s ever-changing landscape, especially as it inflects and is inflected by race, class, gender, and power. The course will explore attitudes toward the body as they vary by historical period. We will also consider the technologies of fashion, working through innovation’s impact on fashion’s design and making, from the use of ground up beetles to produce the rarest of reds, through to new developments in biodesign, which employ sea kelp to make fibers woven into clothes, or incorporate living organisms into the clothing’s design.
The course will draw on writings from cultural studies, fashion studies, sociology, feminism, critical theory, media studies and communication scholarship. We will welcome guest speakers, and view and analyze media pertaining to the issues at hand. Off campus site visits will be part of the course. The course will cover the works of Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin, Thorsten Veblen, Pierre Bourdieu, Georg Simmel, Dick Hebdige, Caroline Evans, Anne Hollander, Judith Butler, and Deleuze, among others.
MALS 71400 - Introduction to International Studies
Monday, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Tomohisa Hattori (TOMOHISA.HATTORI@lehman.cuny.edu)
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 72000 - Thesis Writing Course
Friday, 4:15 – 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Christopher Schmidt (email@example.com)
MALS major only
If you would like to sign up for the thesis writing course, permission of the department is required. To express your interest in taking this course, please fill in this form. This is a 3-credit course and it is not a substitute for MALS 79000.
MALS 72300 - Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies
Monday, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. James Wilson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Cross-listed with WSCP 81000
In Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us Kate Bornstein writes, “The first question we usually ask new parents is: ‘Is it a boy or a girl?’” Bornstein recommends the response, “We don’t know; it hasn’t told us yet.” This course explores the ways in which gender and sexuality are pronounced, embodied, and negotiated within specific historical and cultural contexts. Through a close reading of interdisciplinary, foundational, and recent scholarship the class will examine and theorize the ways in which categories of gender and sexuality inform and shape our understanding of the world. Investigating the intersections and collisions of gender and sexuality with race, class, ability, nationality, ethnicity, and age, the class will consider societal and institutional systems of power, privilege, oppression, and marginalization. Course requirements include an oral presentation, two 4-6 page response papers, and a 15-20 page, staged researched essay.
MALS 72700 - The Political Ecology of Social and Environmental Justice
Wednesday, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Tomoaki Imamichi (email@example.com)
Cross-listed with PSYC 79100
MALS 73200 - American Social Institutions
Wednesday, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, 3 Credits, Profs. Karen Miller & Saadia Toor (firstname.lastname@example.org; Saadia.Toor@csi.cuny.edu)
This class will examine American Studies through the lens of social, cultural, political and other kinds of institutions. We will begin by exploring what we mean when we say “institution.” We will think together about why this may be a productive lens for assessing and interrogating the world around us. What does it offer? And what might it elide? How do studies of institutions help expose the myriad ways that power functions in culture, society, and politics? How do institutions, themselves, shape these power relations? And how do different approaches to understanding institutions give us different sorts of answers? American Studies scholars have been asking these questions for decades. We will turn to their texts as sites for exploration.
The texts that we will explore together will put questions about inequality and how it operates at their core. Thus, we will ask how institutions can help amplify or mitigate the often-crushing hierarchies that have been (and continue to be) based on racial, gender, sexual, national, and other forms of difference.
The class will be organized thematically, arranged around a series of inquiries drawn from recent scholarship. Each week, we will take a specific institution as our starting point. These institutions may include (but will not be limited to) the family, the state, courts, race, colonialism, hospitals, prisons, schools, the military, libraries, social networks, media, the corporation, capitalism, etc. We will examine how scholars within a range of American Studies subfields have developed different approaches for exploring institutions. They have used both creative and conventional scholarly tools to explore questions about life, infrastructure, health, race, ethnicity, indigeneity, gender, sexuality, transnationality, borders, architecture, foreign relations, language, politics, economics, literature, art, music, work, social movements, and more. Finally, we will discuss how these institutions may help offer us strategies for imagining new, and possibly better futures.
MALS 73400 - Africana Studies: Introduction
Monday, 4:15 - 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Charles Mills
MALS 74500 Great Digs: Important sites of the Ancient, Late Antique and Islamic worlds
Tuesday, 4:15 – 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Eric Ivison (Eric.Ivison@csi.cuny.edu)
This class introduces students to the archaeology of the era c. 300-650 CE in the eastern half of the Later Roman or Eastern Roman Empire, also called the Byzantine Empire, with a focus on urban sites in modern Turkey: the imperial capital of ancient Constantinople-modern Istanbul and the cities of Asia Minor-Anatolia. This course draws upon the first-hand expertise of your professor, a Byzantine archaeologist and historian who has worked at numerous late Roman and Byzantine sites, and who from 1994-2009 served as the assistant director of the excavations of the important Byzantine city of Amorium in Turkey. After first surveying the modern history of the field, students are introduced to archaeological methods of survey, excavation, site recording, and the interpretation of archaeological evidence, as well as the preparation of archaeological publications. The rest of the course focuses on key urban sites, identifying key questions and issues in late antique and Byzantine urban archaeology, and exploring how cities and urban life changed between the 4th and 7th centuries. Weekly topics include: the imperial capitals of Rome and Constantinople; the evolution of the late antique city; city walls; streets, public space and civic ceremony; ecclesiastical, monastic and pilgrimage archaeology; palaces and palatine archaeology; elite residences and housing; baths, bathing culture and water supply; the archaeology of ports, trade and economy; funerary archaeology and the Justinianic Plague.
MALS 74600 Introduction to Global Early Modern Studies
Wednesday, 6:30 - 8:30 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Anna Akasoy (email@example.com)
Cross-listed with GEMS 72100
The field of global early modern studies operates with the interdependence of two elements, one related to geography, the other to periodization. The period of early modernity gains its distinctive quality by virtue of a new quality of global connections. These connections in turn evoke an interconnected world where regions separated by religion, language and political rule are subject to the same or similar economic, political or cultural processes. A key challenge this field faces is the Eurocentrism potentially inherent in the notion of early modernity and in the legacies of imperialism and colonialism. Related challenges define the concept of the Global Renaissance.
This course will provide an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of global early modern studies. The course will combine two components. Several faculty members of the certificate program in Global Early Modern Studies at the Graduate Center will discuss their research in visits to the course. Students will gain an impression how scholars of different disciplines who focus on different periods, geographical and cultural areas and source material approach the idea of a global early modernity. In a second component we will explore select examples of recent scholarship on Middle Eastern cultural and political history in larger regional, hemispheric or global contexts. These readings will offer insights into different modes of globalization, how global connections were established and how they became manifest. Examples range from similar aesthetic or literary tastes across cultural borders to pandemics. Topics in this component include Ottoman imperial ambitions in the Indian Ocean world, the relationship between the Renaissance and the Islamic world, diplomatic and cultural connections between early modern England and Morocco and different forms of networks (e.g., trade or the pilgrimage). The course does not require any previous familiarity with Middle Eastern history.
MALS 77200 - Film Histories & Historiography
Tuesday, 4:15 – 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Ria Banerjee (Ria.Banerjee@guttman.cuny.edu)
Cross-listed with FSCP 81000
1930-present: “Tradition and the Individual Talent”
This course will engage with the history of cinema from the advent of sound to the present, and take a granular approach to studying particular movements within film history over the last half of the twentieth century. We will pick our way through the diverse and variously situated developments in global film, aiming for geographical breadth in developing our comparative understanding of film history over the almost-century that this course covers. In US cinema, we will study the history of United Artists as an independent production company, and the development of African American cinema from Oscar Michaux and Gordon Parks to Ava DuVernay and Shonda Rhimes. In post-World War II Europe, we will consider how movements like Italian Neorealism, the French New Wave, and New German Cinema overlapped with and departed from each other aesthetically and ideologically. Occurring simultaneously, we will consider the development of arthouse cinema in India in the 1950s-70s and its resistance to the overwhelming influence of the mainstream film industry that has come to be known as Bollywood. Other course modules might consider Dogme 95, US documentary films, and contemporary feminist responses to the New Latin American Cinema.
As we travel through such distinct cinematic terrain, our course will consider the interplay between tradition and individualism, taking the poet T. S. Eliot’s famous essay on the subject as our point of departure. Eliot suggests that there is much porosity between the seeming monolith of “tradition” and individual expressions of aesthetics and ideology, leading us to question the alternate genealogies of film that we will study. We will take a similarly porous approach to our considerations of media beyond the strictly filmic—into photography, web artifacts, and streaming video, for instance.
Students will be asked to contribute weekly discussion questions, to lead one seminar session along specified guidelines, and to produce a final research project developed in consultation with the instructor. While academic writing is welcomed, students will be encouraged to consider culminating responses to the course beyond the 15-20 page research paper, for instance by centering pedagogy in annotated syllabus design, creative projects like video essays, or researched non-academic writing.
MALS 78100 - Issues in Urban Education
MALS 78400 - Introduction to Latin American Studies
Thursday, 4:15 – 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Julie Skurski (JSkurski@gc.cuny.edu)
MALS 78500 - Introduction to Literary Translations
Wednesday, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Esther Allen (Esther.Allen@baruch.cuny.edu, www.estherallen.com)
Cross-listed with FREN 78400, SPAN 78200, Comparative Literature
As a welcome video, you’re invited to explore the 2020 online conference “Translating the Future”: [https://www.centerforthehumanities.org/programming/translating-the-future]
Literature is unimaginable without translation. Yet translation is a disturbing, even paranormal practice, mysteriously conferring xenoglossy upon unwitting or suspicious readers. The literary cultures of English, in particular, have often been resistant to, even contemptuous of translation, or have used it as a tool of colonialism. The problem may lie with prevailing concepts of the original, but translation has often taken the blame. Among the aesthetic, ethical, and political questions it raises — questions increasingly crucial to practitioners of literature worldwide— are: Who translates? Who is translated? What is translated? And—yes—how? Also: what does it mean to think of literature prismatically rather than nationally? What constitutes an anti-colonial translation?
In this seminar, we’ll discuss theoretical and literary readings and engage with the contemporary translation sphere, both in the digital realm and in New York City. We’ll also welcome the perspectives of some notable guest speakers. Students will work towards and workshop a final project, either: 1) a discussion of a specific translation theory or set of theories; 2) an analysis of a specific translation, or comparison of multiple translations, or 3) an original translation into English (of a previously untranslated work) accompanied by a critical introduction and annotation. The class is taught in English, but students should have working knowledge of at least one other language.
MALS 78800 - Introduction to Childhood and Youth Studies
Wednesday, 4:15 – 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Roger Hart (firstname.lastname@example.org)
MALS 78500 - Introduction to Caribbean Studies
Wednesday, 4:15 – 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Nathalie Etoke (Netoke@gc.cuny.edu)
The Caribbean is a geographical and multilinguistic space where the blending of the Indigenous People of the Americas with more recent arrivals -- the colonial heritage (British, French, Dutch, Spanish) and the African and South Asian legacies -- created unique, hybridized and, in short, creolized societies. Marked by the doctrine of discovery, the genocide of indigenous people, settler colonialism, slavery and the making of the post-colonial state, the Caribbean challenges the dichotomy of local versus global. It is a place where foundational violence shifted the geography of reason. This course will provide an overview of the social, cultural, political, and economic history of the Caribbean from 1492 to the present. The course will combine a variety of disciplines such as anthropology, art, economics, literature, music and political sciences. It will emphasize transdisciplinary approaches to historical events and contemporary issues that have shaped the Caribbean as a way to reflect on racial capitalism, domination and freedom.
The learning goals/outcomes may include but are not limited to:
- Discuss how the plantation economy, colonialism and neo-colonialism continue to impact the Caribbean.
- Identify and discuss important events, people, and places in the Caribbean
- Analyze the social and historical processes that have shaped the myriad relationships between the United States and the Caribbean.
- Analyze the social, political, economic and cultural relationships between the Caribbean and Latin America
- Study the cause-and-effect relationship between history and identity making.
- Explore the current challenges facing Caribbean nations.
- Examine how migrations have
MALS 78500 - Mass Violence in Modern Europe
Monday, 2:00 – 4:00 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Elissa Bemporad (Elissa.Bemporad@qc.cuny.edu)
Cross-listed with HIST 70900
This course explores instances of unprecedented mass violence in modern Europe during the twentieth century. It is based on several case studies, including events in German South-West Africa, Germany, Ukraine, the Soviet Union, and Chechnya. By analyzing some of the most recent scholarship on genocide and ethnic cleansing, the course examines the short-term and long-term causes for mass violence, assessing the extent to which, in different contexts, it resulted from political ideologies, colonialism, bureaucratic pressures, or ethnic and religious hatred. The course will also focus on the repercussions of mass violence, including acts of revenge, changes in international law and human rights, and attempts to create sites of memory in those places where atrocities were committed. Finally, this course aims at tracing how such unprecedented violence against civilians was experienced by ordinary citizens of European countries, and how it transformed and affected their everyday lives, political choices, and social attitudes during and after the events.