Gender, Empire and the Nation in the Middle East
Shiva Balaghi, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities
Examines the histories of colonialism and nationalism in the modern Middle East through a gendered lens. The ruptures of colonialism recast gender relations, while the alchemy of race, gender, and ethnicity figured prominently in the formation of anti-colonial nationalisms. Colonialism and nationalism, then, were processes that informed and were shaped by highly gendered notions of civilization and citizenship. Since 9/11, gender and Islam have become central tropes in the U.S.'s securitization narrative. We will examine a variety of genres (film, art, fiction, political speeches, memoirs) and a range of scholarly writings to examine the relationship of knowledge production and power.
Betsey Biggs, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities
Focuses on the creation of multimedia chamber performances incorporating live music and video. The class will explore issues such as instrumentation and color, structural relationships, the dynamic between performers and video, and the practicalities of performance. Class meetings will consisting of viewing and analyzing exemplary chamber video works and workshopping collaborative student projects, and the course will culminate with a performance of student projects at the end of the semester.
Senior Seminar in Science and Society
Catherine Bliss, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
This is an advanced seminar that uses a Problem Based Learning style pedagogy to explore real-world problems in Science and Technology Studies. To solve assigned problems students will want to explore critical scholarship in areas such as laboratory studies, feminist science and technology studies, the rhetoric and discourse of science and technology, expertise and the public understanding of science.
Collective Struggles and Cultural Politics in the Global South
Ipek Celik, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities
Traces the historical and ideological mapping of the North-South axis and the regional mythologies informed by racism, empire and nationalism. We will examine the ways in which imagined geographical hierarchies continue to shape cultural and political struggles and the vectors of globalization. Along with readings on imperial histories, liberal and neoliberal political economies, and postcolonialism this class seeks to establish connections between resistant narratives and collective struggles in the Global South. We will discuss political philosophies of Marx, Gramsci, Arendt, Fanon, Harvey and Schwarz, as well as the works of Achebe, Hurston, Kincaid, Rushdie, Roy, Sembene, and Wright.
Global Media/Global War
Stephen Groening, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
The 20th Century has been called the age of total war. Alongside the globalized military conflicts of the past 100 years is a corresponding globalization of visual media technologies. This course is a study of the links between the technologies, strategies, tactics and technologies of the military and those of various media industries. Topics include "target markets"; flight simulators; Google Earth; "the logistics of military perception;" the bombing of television and radio stations in Serbia and Iraq; the global presence of U.S. military bases and their role in the Americanization of global culture; and Michael Bay's Pentagon contracts.
Astrology, Magic and Science
Maud Kozodoy, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
What did the universe look like before modern science? How did Christians, Muslims, and Jews imagine the natural world and humanity's place in it? Did anyone think the earth was flat? Astrology, magic, and science played important roles in medieval attempts to explain the origins of the universe and the forces that govern the world. They sometimes challenged religious authority by competing with it as sources of truth. We will examine the interrelationship of astrology, magic, science, and religion in Western culture from the medieval to the early modern period and the permeable boundaries among them.
This course will examine how the visual modalities of power operate to ascribe, authenticate, and contest meaning within the Afro-Americas, understood here to include Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latin American and African-American cultures. We will query the complex histories and technologies that constitute the social life of vision in the Afro-Americas, while cognizant of the fact that the field of visuality cannot be understood from single point of view. We will consider images made of and images made by peoples of African descent throughout the Americas as we attend to the reception, interpretation and reproduction of images, as well fields of invisibility.
The Architecture and Urbanism of Modern Istanbul
Ipek Tureli, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
This seminar will survey the architecture and urbanism of modern Istanbul paying particular attention to the historiographic frameworks that have shaped the study of the city. The course will first analyze the perspectives offered by contemporary works of architectural urban history on the late Ottoman period. It will then look at recent architectural histories of the Republican era of nation building, and sociological studies on the post-war era of rapid urbanization, and post-1980s globalization.
This seminar surveys spaces of consumption that are organized around themes such as theme parks. Miniaturization, in particular, is a prevalent spatial strategy used in themed environments that range in form from historical quarters of cities that are reconfigured as miniature museum-cities to the culturally-themed hyperreal representations that emerge in multi-user virtual environments such as Second Life. What are the different kinds of experience these spaces offer to visitors immersed in their exhibitions? What are the appeals of themed environments and virtual reality technologies they employ? Posing such questions, this seminar explores theming and virtuality both historically and globally.
This course draws on film, news media, scientific discourse, and social theory to engage biomedicine's most controversial investigations of race and the social scientific questions they have provoked. The course asks: How is contemporary science imagining, constructing, and producing knowledge about race? What are the social, political, and cultural implications of this knowledge? Students will be introduced to important science studies methods that we will apply to historical and contemporary research agendas. No prior knowledge of science or racial theory is required.
Jean Baudrillard and Paul Virilio are generally regarded as two of media studies most notorious pessimists and hyperbolists. Yet they are also theorists who treat the media as technological systems that transcend the traditionally held boundaries of the cultural, economic, social and political. This course will place Baudrillard and Virilio in a context of media theory and technology studies rooted in the work of Harold Innis and Marshall McLuhan while demonstrating important differences between these figures. We will engage in close readings of Baudrillard's and Virilio's major works as well as some of the writings of their interlocutors.
Considered by many to be the most influential Jewish thinker of all time, Moses Maimonides inspired passionate followers and changed Judaism forever. Others denounced him as a heretic and some even burned his books. As a refugee from the twelfth-century Berber invasion of Muslim Spain, the young Maimonides settled in Cairo, Egypt. Students will learn about the Islamic Mediterranean world where this rabbinic scholar, philosopher, and physician developed his views on the messiah and the afterlife, his approach to ethical issues, and his ideas about how to know and love God, how to read the Bible, and more.
Will explore the art of contemporary Africa and its diaspora with an eye towards understanding the political and economic context in which it is produced and consumed. Our approach will be interdisciplinary, putting key theoretical texts from anthropology on the political economy of Africa in dialog with the works of contemporary artists. However, the intent here is not to reduce creativity to an economic activity alone, though we will be addressing the topic of art markets. Rather, we will explore artistic practices that surmount "the tyranny of the 'already,'" as Malian writers Konate and Savane have eloquently said. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors, seniors, and graduate students.
This course provides an introduction to cultural anthropology, surveying its defining questions, methods, and findings. We will examine the history and utility of anthropology's hallmark method, ethnography, the long-term immersion of the researcher in the culture under study. We will compare cultural anthropology's findings and comportment in other cultures to its conclusions and conduct in our own.
Psychogeography loosely describes a cluster of art practices that explore the effects of the geographical environment on the emotions and behaviors of individuals. How can sound, uniquely powerful in triggering memory and connecting us to the present moment, be used in psychogeographical work? Traveling, mapping, walking, and otherwise getting around both urban and rural landscapes will inspire class projects: audio collages, video works, headphone tours, interactive installations, public interventions. Come prepared to walk, to read, to listen, to look, and to make. Some experience with sound or video editing required.
Explores the historical trajectory of realism from its origins in relation to urbanization and emerging consumer cultures in the nineteenth century to its contemporary flourishing across different media (literature, film, television) distinguishing itself by an extensive preoccupation with poverty, migration, crime and urban violence. We will explore 1) the political, economic, social and cultural conditions that make realism a still relevant and thriving representation mode; 2) the historical and geographical coordinates that shape our vision of "reality" as a shifting category whose construction depends on class, race, gender, and ethnicity.