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Fall 2020 Course Schedule

FALL 2020 COURSE SCHEDULE

 

Please note that this schedule is subject to change.

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.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic all fall courses will be offered online.


FALL 2020 COURSE DESCRIPTION
 

 

MALS 70000 – Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies (ONLINE COURSE)
Thursdays, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. David Humphries (dhumphries@qcc.cuny.edu)

Online Teaching Model: Synchronous (with asynchronous components)
Syllabus

This course will introduce students to graduate level research, reading, and writing, with a loose theme around the idea of “parallax,” or the ways in which different perspectives can seem to change the very position and values of our objects of study.  The course will be organized into three broad units: The first unit will include various foundational texts from critical theory, more recent writings on aesthetics and institutional politics, and an application case study to one or more cultural texts.  The second unit will look at how fascist and anti-fascists movements in the United States have been defined in relation to international reference points and how these definitions can limit our understanding of the dangers and possibilities inherent in domestic politics.  The third unit will be based on critical university studies and include current analyses of the ways in which higher education reproduces both aspirations for social mobility and the reality of social class structures.  In addition to our normal class sessions, students will be asked to attend one or more events at the Graduate Center and at least one other cultural institution in New York City.  By the end of the term, students will be able to define key critical concepts, apply them to various texts, and acknowledge and consider multiple critical frameworks and perspectives.  Students will be able to consider how academic disciplines define knowledge and topics and modes for further research.  Students will also demonstrate the ability to write in different genres, from life writing, to a review, to an annotated bibliography, to self-reflection and self-evaluation, and in the culminating writing for the term, they will demonstrate the ability to incorporate additional sources which they have identified and evaluated using the university library.  In addition, students will also choose and select an approved text to present to the class as a work relevant to their planned studies and chosen concentration, as a first step towards mapping their next steps in the program.
 
 
MALS 70000 – Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies (ONLINE COURSE)
Tuesdays, 4:15 - 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis (emacaulay_lewis@gc.cuny.edu

Online Teaching Model: Students may select a synchronous or an asynchronous option, or a combination thereof. The instructor will be in touch with enrolled students about the different options before the course starts. For more details on the options, see the course website.

Course Website 
Course Welcome Video


All the World’s A Fair: Culture, Politics, Economics, Art, and Architecture at America’s World's Fair
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,” better known as the Crystal Palace or the Great Exposition of 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 nation’s or city’s history, as well as its current and future positions. 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 American fairs, it was one of many; cities from St. Louis to 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 (ONLINE COURSE)        
Wednesdays, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Annette Saddik (ASADDIK@CITYTECH.CUNY.EDU)

Online Teaching Model: Synchronous
 
The Politics of Excess, Ambiguity, and Laughter in 20th Century Culture
Laughter can serve as a powerful social commentary, particularly the kind of ambivalent laughter associated with grotesque, tragicomic, or black humor--what Frances K. Barasch has called "ludicrous-horror"--which breaks through imposed social limitations, destabilizes fixed boundaries, and juxtaposes contradictions in order to challenge what is considered stable or acceptable.  
 
In this course we will be studying works that embrace a subversive politics of excess and laughter in order to celebrate the irrational and the undefinable, often employing exaggeration, distortion of reality, and irony for the purpose of social resistance.  These works highlight the ambiguities and inconsistencies of living in the world--the excesses that leak out of closed systems of meaning, that seep through the cracks of the rational, the stable, the complete, and point toward the essence of the real.   
 
Objects of study will include literature, theatre, painting, philosophical texts, and subversive performance culture such as circus aesthetics, "freak shows," burlesque, and cabaret.  

 

MALS 70100 - Narratives of New York: Literature and the Visual Arts (ONLINE COURSE)
Tuesdays, 4:15-6:15 pm, 3 Credits, Prof. Prathibha Kanakamedala (prathibha.kanakamedala@bcc.cuny.edu)


Online Teaching Model: Narratives of New York will be a combination - Synchronous sessions (Sep 1, Sep 15, Oct 6, Oct 20, Nov 3, Nov 17, Dec 8, Dec 15), all other sessions asynchronous.
Course Video

New York has had many lives. In this seminar, we will examine the city’s transformation from indigenous lands to a metropolis at the center of a global public health crisis through literature (fiction and non-fiction), the visual arts, and public history. Through an interdisciplinary approach, and drawing upon 400 years of New York City’s history, we will explore the work of writers, artists, and cultural producers who have portrayed this city in its multiplicity. We will look at archives, including oral history collections, from New York Public Library, Museum of the City of New York, Brooklyn Historical Society, Weeksville Heritage Center, South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA), Interference Archive, and The Laundromat Project. Students will be introduced to graduate-level archival research, reading, and writing about the city. We will engage with archival collections and cultural sites virtually, and complete a physical fieldtrip, if possible. Students will participate in weekly online discussion forums, produce reflections to various readings and archival collections, and complete a final project that draws upon the cultural histories and public history methodologies explored in this seminar. 


 
MALS 70500 – Renaissance Culture: Global Renaissance (ONLINE COURSE)
Wednesdays, 4:15 – 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Anna Akasoy (Aakasoy@gc.cuny.edu)

Online Teaching Model: Primarily synchronous with some asynchronous activities
 
This course focuses on two historical periods and phenomena which are considered key to the formation of the modern West: the Renaissance and the Reformation. The Renaissance has been considered the period in which Europe or the West more generally came into its own. Having recovered the classical Greek heritage from its Arab custodians after the ‘dark ages’, Europe, led by Italian humanists, prepared itself for Enlightenment, secularization and modernization. Complementing this, the Reformation is associated with the profound transformation of religious culture and the confining of religion to the private sphere, eventually allowing for the rise of the secular state.
 
In this course, both Renaissance and Reformation will be analyzed critically as concepts considered unique to Western history and essential to modernity. To contrast these narratives, we will explore parallels primarily in Islamic history, especially against the backdrop of arguments that a ‘Renaissance’ or a ‘Reformation’ are ‘lacking’ in Islamic culture. Furthermore, we will consider both phenomena in larger geographical and diverse cultural settings and explore to what extent they developed in emerging global contexts. In particular we will be considering to what extent developments in western European intellectual and cultural history unfolded against the backdrop of a competition and exchanges with the Ottoman Empire and Morocco under the Saadi dynasty.
 
Literature discussed in this class includes:
Jack Goody, Renaissances. The One or the Many?
Charles Homer Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century
Joel Kraemer, Humanism in the Renaissance of Islam
Margaret Meserve, Empires of Islam in Renaissance Historical Thought
The Renaissance and the Ottoman World, edited by Anna Contadini and Claire Norton
Natalie Zemon Davis, Trickster Travels: A Sixteenth-Century Muslim Between Worlds
María Antonia Garcés, Cervantes in Algiers. A Captive’s Tale
Giancarlo Casale, The Ottoman Age of Exploration
Natalie Rothman, Brokering Empire. Trans-Imperial Subjects between Venice and Istanbul
Deborah Howard, Venice and the East. The Impact of the Islamic World on Venetian Architecture 1100-1500
Early Modern England and Islamic Worlds, edited by Linda McJannet and Bernadette Andrea
Jerry Brotton, This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World
Noel Malcolm, Useful Enemies: Islam and The Ottoman Empire in Western Political Thought, 1450-1750
Nabil Matar, Europe through Arab Eyes, 1578-1727
Stephen Cory, Reviving the Islamic Caliphate in Early Modern Morocco
 
  
MALS 70700 – The Shaping of Modernity 1789-1914 (ONLINE COURSE)
Wednesday, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. David Gordon (dmgordon@mindspring.com)

Online Teaching Model: Synchronous
Syllabus
 
In 1800 the rhythm of rural European life, ruled by the movement of the seasons, had barely changed since ancient days. Yet within a hundred years, a new world was born.  Industrialization and urbanization transformed the lives of millions.  A transportation revolution promised to annihilate distance.  Traditional beliefs, already weakened by eighteenth century science, were exploded by the work of Darwin and others in the nineteenth.  A crisis of belief, combined with an emergence of democratic, revolutionary ideologies, had begun to turn the world upside down.   A whole continent was suddenly faced with the need to adjust to this unprecedented and terrifying economic, political and social change.  How millions were able to do this is largely the story of the nineteenth century, and a salutary (and necessary) tale for our own time.  It is a lesson that can be learned in MALS 70700 The Shaping of Modernity, 1789-1914. 
 
 
MALS 71200 – The Culture of Fashion (ONLINE COURSE)
Thursdays, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, Room TBA, 3 Credits, Prof. Elizabeth Wissenger (betsywissinger@gmail.com


Online Teaching Model: Synchronous (with asynchronous components)
 

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. 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 (ONLINE COURSE)
Mondays, 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 a causal argument about a particular phenomenon or relationship on the chosen topic in the context of existing theoretical arguments.
 
 
MALS 72000 – Thesis Writing Course (ONLINE COURSE)
Tuesdays, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. George Fragopoulos (gfragopoulos@gc.cuny.edu)
 
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.

As anyone who has ever attempted it knows, writing is difficult. Aside from the terror of the blank page, it can often feel like an isolating and confounding process. As such, Thesis Workshop is designed to help MALS students complete their final thesis or capstone projects. The primary goals of the course are to provide students with the time, space, and tools needed to write, and to write with purpose. As with all workshops, the class will primarily revolve around the sharing of writing and commenting on the work of others. Writing is, fundamentally, a social exercise, even if it doesn’t often feel that way. This class will also help to provide a community of like-minded writers and thinkers for those who might be struggling to find others to share their work with. Class time will also be devoted to considerations and discussions regarding the nature of academic discourses, how to establish productive writing habits, and the importance of disciplinary requirements. Students will be expected to write every week and to respond, in one way or another, to the readings assigned. The class is open to students at all stages of the writing process and to all MALS concentrations.   
 
Readings for the class may include but are not limited to: Eric Hayot’s The Elements of Academic Style, Wendy Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks, Helen Sword’s Stylish Academic Writing, and Joan Bolker’s Writing Your Dissertation in 15 Minutes a Day.
 
Please email gfragopoulos@gc.cuny.edu if you have any questions. 
 

MALS 72300 – Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies (ONLINE COURSE)
Mondays, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. James Wilson (jwilson1@gc.cuny.edu)

Online Teaching Model: This online course will use a synchronous teaching model, but students may select an asynchronous option upon consultation with the instructor.

Syllabus (Subject to modification)
 
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, cultural, and theoretical 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. A sampling of the writers will include, but is in no way limited to, Sara Ahmed, Judith Butler, Simone de Beauvoir, Eli Clare, Patricia Hill Collins, Angela Y. Davis, John D’Emilo, Michel Foucault, Jack Halberstam, bell hooks, Luce Irigaray, Audre Lorde, José Estaban Muñoz, Jasbir Puar, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Dean Spade. Course requirements include an oral presentation with class discussion facilitation; two 4-6 page response papers based on course topics and readings; and a 15-20 page, staged researched essay related to current developments in gender and sexuality studies as they pertain to the student’s own academic and/or professional pursuits.  ​

 
MALS 72700 – The Political Ecology of Social and Environmental Justice (ONLINE COURSE)
Wednesdays, 6:30 - 8:30 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Tomoaki Imamichi (imamichi@gmail.com)

Online Teaching Model: A combination of synchronous and asynchronous

This seminar introduces students to the multidisciplinary theoretical bases and substantive concerns of Environmental Social Science. Environmental Psychology grew out of a desire among scholars and practitioners to work across disciplines on real world problems of people and the environment. From the start, research was conducted in naturalistic settings and often with an applied orientation. CUNY’s program, which was founded in the late 1960s, has been interdisciplinary in orientation since its inception and, for that reason, we introduce the field within a larger context than psychology alone, hence the designation “Environmental Social Science”. The term is meant to embrace a wide field of study that addresses and seeks to understand the nature of the complex relationships between people and the physical environment, and the links to health and well being, environmental justice, and sustainability. As such we will survey a range of disciplines that comprise the field.

 
MALS 73100 – American Culture and Values (ONLINE COURSE)
Thursdays, 4:15 – 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Karen Miller (kamiller@lagcc.cuny.edu)

Online Teaching Model: This course will hold synchronous online meetings via Zoom videoconferencing during our scheduled meeting times—from 4:15 to 6:15 on Thursdays. All of the course materials will be available digitally. All of the assignments, including writing reflections and papers will be submitted via Blackboard. Please contact me if you have any questions about the course or its format.

Course Video
 
This class will serve as a graduate level introduction to the field of American Studies. We will examine how scholars within a range of subfields 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. The class will be organized thematically, arranged around a series of inquiries drawn from recent scholarship. Each week, we will examine a narrow set of questions that scholars have posed within a specific subfield. We will explore parts of two books that are thematically related and consider how authors’ approaches have invited different kinds of studies and produced different sorts of questions. We will consider texts that engage directly with other American Studies scholars, as well as studies that we may consider American Studies, but whose self-conscious target audiences are elsewhere in the academy. Students will be asked to write at least one book review, one “keyword” study, and one research paper.
 
 
MALS 73400 – Africana Studies: Introduction (ONLINE COURSE)
Monday, 2:00-4:00 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Juan Battle (JBattle@gc.cuny.edu)

Online Teaching Method: Synchronous
 
This course will serve as a broad, historical survey of the Black experience (mainly) within the United States. Because students will be exposed to (and contribute from) a wide variety of perspectives on the subject, this course is appropriate for students in the traditional social sciences (e.g. sociology, anthropology, psychology, urban education, and history) as well as more contemporary ones (e.g. women’s studies, race studies, American studies, cultural studies, lesbian and gay studies).   
 
 
MALS 74500 – Great Digs: Important Sites of the Ancient, Late Antique, and Islamic Worlds (ONLINE COURSE)
Mondays, 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. 300-900 CE in the lands of the Later Roman Empire, and its Eastern Roman half, also called the Byzantine Empire, with a particular focus on urban sites in modern Turkey, ancient Asia Minor or 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 is focuses on key urban sites, including Rome, Constantinople, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Sardis, and Amorium, identifying key questions and issues in late antique and Byzantine urban archaeology, and exploring how cities and urban life changed between the 4th and 9th centuries. Classes will be a combination of lecture and seminar discussions (exact class format subject to change if classes are transferred on-line). 
 

MALS 74600 – Global Early Modern Studies (ONLINE COURSE)
Wednesdays, 4:15 – 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Anna Akasoy (aakasoy@gc.cuny.edu)

Online Teaching Model: Primarily synchronous with some asynchronous activities
 
This course focuses on two historical periods and phenomena which are considered key to the formation of the modern West: the Renaissance and the Reformation. The Renaissance has been considered the period in which Europe or the West more generally came into its own. Having recovered the classical Greek heritage from its Arab custodians after the ‘dark ages’, Europe, led by Italian humanists, prepared itself for Enlightenment, secularization and modernization. Complementing this, the Reformation is associated with the profound transformation of religious culture and the confining of religion to the private sphere, eventually allowing for the rise of the secular state.
 
In this course, both Renaissance and Reformation will be analyzed critically as concepts considered unique to Western history and essential to modernity. To contrast these narratives, we will explore parallels primarily in Islamic history, especially against the backdrop of arguments that a ‘Renaissance’ or a ‘Reformation’ are ‘lacking’ in Islamic culture. Furthermore, we will consider both phenomena in larger geographical and diverse cultural settings and explore to what extent they developed in emerging global contexts. In particular we will be considering to what extent developments in western European intellectual and cultural history unfolded against the backdrop of a competition and exchanges with the Ottoman Empire and Morocco under the Saadi dynasty.
 
Literature discussed in this class includes:
Jack Goody, Renaissances. The One or the Many?
Charles Homer Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century
Joel Kraemer, Humanism in the Renaissance of Islam
Margaret Meserve, Empires of Islam in Renaissance Historical Thought
The Renaissance and the Ottoman World, edited by Anna Contadini and Claire Norton
Natalie Zemon Davis, Trickster Travels: A Sixteenth-Century Muslim Between Worlds
María Antonia Garcés, Cervantes in Algiers. A Captive’s Tale
Giancarlo Casale, The Ottoman Age of Exploration
Natalie Rothman, Brokering Empire. Trans-Imperial Subjects between Venice and Istanbul
Deborah Howard, Venice and the East. The Impact of the Islamic World on Venetian Architecture 1100-1500
Early Modern England and Islamic Worlds, edited by Linda McJannet and Bernadette Andrea
Jerry Brotton, This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World
Noel Malcolm, Useful Enemies: Islam and The Ottoman Empire in Western Political Thought, 1450-1750
Nabil Matar, Europe through Arab Eyes, 1578-1727
Stephen Cory, Reviving the Islamic Caliphate in Early Modern Morocco
 
 
MALS 77200 – Film Histories & Historiography (ONLINE COURSE)
Tuesdays, 4:15 – 8:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Leah Anderst (landerst@qcc.cuny.edu)

Online Teaching Model: Synchronous (with asynchronous components)
CUNY Commons Page
 
 Film Histories & Historiography surveys the cinematic medium from its inception to the present day with a focus on major historical, cultural, technological, and industrial developments. These may include: the growth of international silent cinema, Hollywood and the industrialization of film in relation to Bollywood, Nollywood, and the development of other sites of film production, nonfiction and nontheatrical traditions, European New Waves, Third Cinema, independent film movements, and the rise of television, digital, and streaming cinema. The course will also cover different strategies and theories of historiography that reflect the research interests of the students in the class and may include a unit linked to a local archive under the auspices of the New York Public Library’s research divisions. The semester will include instruction on research methods taught in conjunction with the Mina Rees Library staff.
 
 
MALS 78400 - Introduction to Latin American Studies (ONLINE COURSE)
Tuesdays, 4:15 – 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Julie Skurski (JSkurski@gc.cuny.edu)

Online Teaching Model: Synchronous

This seminar examines the emergence of Latin America since the conquest and colonization of the Americas. It highlights key moments in the making of the region and its contemporary nations, with a focus on interactions among contending international, national, and local powers and social sectors in the making of new, heterogeneous societies.  It includes the discussion of race and ethnicity as central categories in the making of Latin America, ranging from processes of dispossession, displacement, and enslavement, to emancipatory struggles for freedom, land, and rights. The course discusses key theoretical frameworks and debates that have shaped the study of Latin America and of its sub-regions, and draws on works from various fields, including anthropology, history, literary studies, and political science.  Students will have the opportunity to undertake brief research projects. ​

 

MALS 78500 - Comparative Revolutions: from the English Revolution of 1688 to the Arab Spring (ONLINE COURSE)
Mondays, 4:15 – 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Helena Rosenblatt (HRosenblatt@gc.cuny.edu)
 
What makes a revolution a revolution? Scholarship has recently moved away from social-scientific, Marxist-inspired explanations to approaches that explore how revolutionaries themselves understood what they were doing, how they interpreted their contexts, and how their ideas shaped their actions. With such questions in mind, we will look at and compare a number of revolutions, including the so-called “Glorious Revolution” of 1688,  the American, French and Haitian Revolutions, the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the recent Arab Spring. In the eyes of their participants, what characteristics did these revolutions share? What might they have learned and borrowed from each other? Is there something we can call a revolutionary “script”?
 
 
MALS 78800 - Introduction to Childhood and Youth Studies (ONLINE COURSE)
Wednesday, 4:15 – 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Roger Hart (roghart@gmail.com)

The interdisciplinary study of childhood has emerged over the past three decades, primarily as a reaction to the past failure of the social sciences to take seriously the study of children and childhood and leaving the study of children and youth largely to the field of psychology. Some also say that the impetus for what is sometimes called the “new sociology/anthropology of childhood” can be traced to the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been adopted by all countries except the United States: ‘The interlocking Articles of the Convention offer children an internationally recognized set of rights that they can hold in independence of the interests and activities of the adults that directly surround them’ (Lee 2001, 92). But whatever the combination of forces was for the burgeoning of this interdisciplinary activity, it has become an important complement to the field of psychology. It often called “critical” childhood study because of a felt need to distance itself from the taken-for-granted, universalizing, views of childhood that have been dominant in the past, through a perspective of critique.
 
The seminar begins with an introduction to the social construction of childhood and to changing concepts of childhood and adolescence from a variety of historical periods, asking what we mean by “childhood” or “youth” and what is at stake in these definitions?  We examine various historical models of childhood and how they survive in different degrees and combinations today, including the romantic child, the sinful child, the sacred child, the child as miniature adult and the developing child.  As we do so, we will examine how our shifting—and often contradictory—conceptions of childhood both align and clash with the way children actually live. 
 
We will also look at the ways in which age intersects with other dimensions of social experience:  sex/gender, race, class, nation, and religion.  In addition, we consider what young people do, how they live their lives and imagine their futures. In doing so we will discuss alternative theories to what has been called the “socialization” of children in order to recognize that children participate actively in society, not only constrained by the existing social structures and processes whereby society is reproduced but also contributing to it and changing it.
 
Finally, we will look at some childhood experiences that challenge the historically recent notion of a “protected” and “innocent” childhood, including child labor, child sex, and child criminals. We will examine how different institutions, discourses and systems shape how childhood is experienced: including family, school, media and consumer culture.  While attending to the force of structural inequalities in cultural and economic arrangements, we will give equal attention to the methodological strategies used by various researchers and practitioners for working with rather than on or about children.