Courses

Core Courses

  • GBST 101Democracy and the State: A Comparative Study

    Last offered Fall 2017

    This introductory course examines major western political theories and ideologies, such as Liberalism and Marxism, and then examines their application in selected regional case studies. The social contract theories of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau form the basis of the course. [ more ]

    GBST 101(F)The Modern Middle East

    This survey course addresses the main economic, religious, political and cultural trends in the modern Middle East. Topics to be covered include the cultural diversity of the Middle East, relations with Great Powers, the impact of imperialism, the challenge of modernity, the creation of nation states and nationalist ideologies, the discovery of oil, radical religious groups, and war and peace. Throughout the course these significant changes will be evaluated in light of their impact on the lives of a variety of individuals in the region and especially how they have grappled differently with increasing Western political and economic domination. [ more ]

    GBST 101America and the World

    Last offered Spring 2017

    This course will help students understand the US role in the world. US wealth and military power force its leaders to make choices that no other leaders in the world confront. Students will learn to evaluate the decisions that US leaders have made on a wide range of difficult foreign policy issues, including: rising Chinese power; Russian moves in Ukraine; nuclear proliferation to Iran; terrorist threats; humanitarian disasters in Syria and Libya; and long-term challenges like climate change. We will not only describe American involvement in various international issues but also seek to understand the reasons why the US perhaps should or should not be involved, and we will see why such careful reasoning only sometimes gains traction in actual US foreign policy debates. Finally, we will assess whether US foreign policy decisions are coherent - that is, whether the US can be said to follow a "grand strategy." By the end of the course, students will develop their ability to think about foreign policy issues, improving their ability to participate in public life as engaged citizens. [ more ]

    GBST 117(S)Bombay/Mumbai: Making of a Modern Metropolis

    Bombay or Mumbai is India's foremost urban center and is well known today as a truly global city. It is the heart of India's commercial life comparable in vibrancy and multiculturalism with the world's emerging cities like Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sao Paulo. What are the historical elements that contributed to the making of India's most modern and global metropolis? What are the antecedents of the modernity, the vibrant culture, dark underbelly and economic diversity that characterize Bombay today? What does the history of Bombay tell us about modernity in India and the emerging countries of the third world in general? This seminar will help students to answer these questions through historical materials on Bombay as well a wide range of multimedia sources including cinema, photography and literature. With a focus on the 19th and 20th centuries, we will explore themes like the commercial culture of a colonial port city, the modern public sphere, theatre and film, labor migration, public health and prostitution to understand what went into the making of this modern metropolis. The primary objective of this course is to introduce students to a wide range of historical sources and ways of interpreting them. The other objective is facilitating their understanding of the history of modern India through the history of its most important city. [ more ]

    GBST 141Bandits and Warlords

    Last offered Spring 2016

    A leading scholar once quipped that political communities "qualify as our largest examples of organized crime." He wasn't far off: governments are meant to protect their citizenry, but as the #bringbackoursgirls or the KONY 2012 campaigns reveal, sometimes they fail. Bandits emerge, racketeers flourish, and warlords replace governments. By looking at Boko Haram, Seleka rebels, Al-Shabaab, Somali pirates and the Lords Resistance Army, this course explores the conditions that lead to the collapse of government protection and its replacement by bandits and warlords. We will then use this understanding to examine prominent examples of banditry and warlordism in Latin America, the Middle East and Europe. [ more ]

    GBST 210The Challenge of ISIS

    Last offered Spring 2017

    What is ISIS and what does it want? Using historical and anthropological sources and perspectives, the course considers the origins, ideology and organization of the Islamic State. Beginning with an examination of early radical movements, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Afghan mujahidin and Taliban, and al-Qaeda, the course will go on to investigate how ISIS derives important aspects of its ideology and organization from these earlier movements and how it deviates from them. We will look at unique aspects of the movement, such as its use of social media, its extensive destruction of ancient historical sites, its staging of spectacles of violence, and its recruitment of Muslims from Europe and North America. We will also examine the ideological constitution of the movement, including its attitude toward and treatment of non-Muslims, its conceptualization of itself as a modern incarnation of the original Islamic caliphate, the ways in which it justifies its use of violence, and its apocalyptic vision of the present-day as End Time. Finally, we will evaluate current responses to ISIS, in the West and among Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere, in terms of their effectiveness and strategic coherence. [ more ]

    GBST 211Transitions to Democracy

    Last offered Spring 2018

    Under what circumstances do authoritarian regimes democratize and what is required to sustain the liberalization of the political system? This comparative course looks at a sample of societies characterized by strong ethnic, religious or racial cleavages. [ more ]

    GBST 212(F)Foundations of China

    This course examines the foundational period of Chinese civilization, from the earliest evidence of human activity in the geographical region we now call China, through the end of the Han dynasty in the early third-century CE. This is the period that saw the creation and spread of the Chinese script (a writing system that would be the dominant one in East Asia for thousands of years), the teachings of Confucius (whose ideas continue to play a role in the lives of billions of people today), the construction of the Great Wall (which is not, as it turns out, visible from space), and the creation of the imperial bureaucratic system (that was, in essence, the progenitor of the modern bureaucratic state). We will proceed chronologically but focus on a set of thematic topics, including language and writing, religion and philosophy, art and architecture, politics and economics, and science and technology. While this course is entitled "Foundations of China," we will take a critical perspective on narratives, both Chinese and Western, that see Chinese history as an unbroken history of a single "civilization." [ more ]

    GBST 213(F)From Putin to Pussy Riot: Discourses of Post-Soviet Gender

    Before 1991, Russians typically appeared in the Western media as macho villains in the nuclear arms race or a James Bond film. Today, however, news from the Former Soviet Union often sounds like a bizarrely gendered media stunt. Russian president Vladimir Putin has been photographed topless while fishing on vacation in Siberia, while the feminist punk-rock collective Pussy Riot protested Putin's regime by performing in day-glo balaclavas in Russia's largest cathedral. This course examines related post-Soviet media spectacles in the attempt to understand the Western press's fascination with Russia, as well as key social trends defining the post-Soviet era. We will focus on the ways in which gender and sexuality have come to mark post-Soviet culture and discourse as different from those in the West. In addition to Vladimir Putin and Pussy Riot, we will consider the so-called crisis of masculinity in post-Soviet Russia, the trafficking of women from the Former Soviet Union, the Ukrainian feminist collective Femen, the Eurovision Song Contest, and the 2013 legislation in the Russian Federation banning homosexual propaganda among minors. We will try to understand how concepts, such as feminism, tolerance of sexual minorities, and performed gender, have been deemed dangerous in the post-Soviet East at the very time they have attained normative status in the West. All readings will be in English, and all films with have English subtitles. [ more ]

    GBST 214Contemporary Russian Culture and Politics

    Last offered Spring 2016

    This course explores select aspects of contemporary Russian society and politics through literary works and films of post Soviet Russia. We will study the social and political settings of particular plots and opportunities not only in fiction and film but as they emerge in the lived reality of Russians since 1991. In addition to novels and short stories by some of the best contemporary Russian authors, we will read scholarly materials explaining the social and political trends characteristic of Russia's post-socialist transformation under Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin's leadership. Analysis of the political and social processes will be framed in a comparative approach, drawing on parallels and differences with countries of Eastern Europe. All course readings will be in English. Knowledge of Russian is not required. [ more ]

    GBST 215(S)Asian-American Identities in Motion: Global Approaches to Dance

    The course aims to explore dance and movement-based performances as mediums through which identities in Asian-American (including South Asian) diasporas are cultivated, expressed, and contested. We will examine theories related to nationalism, post-colonialism and diasporic identity-formation, and learn about the socio-historical contexts in which performances are used to maintain cultural continuity. We will explore how diasporic artists use performances to enforce or resist traditional practices and ideologies. Throughout the course, we will investigate issues of race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, tradition/innovation, agency/resistance, and borrowing/appropriation among other topics. This is primarily a discussion-based seminar course but will also include attendance at live performances in the area, film screenings, and discussion and workshops with guest artists. No previous dance experience required. [ more ]

    GBST 215(F)Performance Ethnography: Global Approaches to Dance

    The course aims to explore the theory, practice, and ethics of ethnographic research with a focus on dance, movement and performance ethnography. Traditionally considered to be a method of research in anthropology, ethnography is the descriptive and analytical study of a particular community through fieldwork, where the researcher immerses herself in the culture of the people that she researches. In this course students will be introduced to (i) critical theory that grounds ethnography as a research methodology, (ii) will read ethnographic studies of dance and performance practices from different parts of the world, and (iii) will do field research in the local community for their own ethnographic projects. This is primarily a discussion-based seminar course and will include fieldwork, attendance at live performances, film screenings, workshop with guest artists etc. No previous dance experience required. [ more ]

    GBST 216 TUrbanism in the Ancient World

    Last offered Spring 2018

    This is a course on cities in the ancient world, which will examine four major ancient urban centers (Nineveh and Nimrud, Iraq; Teotihuacan, Mexico; and Angkor, Cambodia) and end with a sustained, in-depth exploration of urbanism in prehispanic Maya civilization. As more and more people move into cities across the world, human societies are becoming forever transformed. This transformation into an urban globalized world has ancient roots at the beginning of the first civilizations in Euroasia and the Americas. We will delve into the nature of the urban transformation by first exploring sociological and anthropological definitions of urbanism, and recent studies of modern urbanism. We will look at Nineveh, Nimrud, Teotihuacan, and Angkor to consider how ancient urbanism was distinct from modern cities, while at the same time, ancient urbanites had to deal with similar issues as residents of modern cities. We will then examine in more depth the cities of prehispanic Maya civilization, answering such questions as: how different were Maya cities from other premodern ones? Is there one type of Maya city or many? How different was life in Maya cities from life in Maya villages? What were the power structures of Maya cities? How common were immigrants and slaves in these ancient cities? [ more ]

    GBST 220World War II in Russian Culture

    Last offered Spring 2017

    This course traces the development of state-sponsored collective memory of the Great Patriotic War, as the Eastern front of World War II is called in Russia, and its counter-narratives. The veritable cult of the war, as it was shaped by the late Soviet period, took decades to coalesce and went through multiple stages. The relative disregard in the immediate post-war years under Stalin was followed by the striking re-enactments in literature and film of the period of Khruschev's Thaw. The memory of the war for new generations was further defined in state-sponsored memorials, museums and public events under Brezhnev. While Soviet ideology was discredited in the wake of the USSR's collapse, ordinary Russians and politicians alike continue to this day to see Russia's victory over Nazi Germany with pride and as part of their national identity. This course explores the contradictory elements that make up the images and narratives of the war -- in novels, short stories, feature films, and oral histories -- which bring together state violence and individual freedom, patriotism and oppression, remembrance and forgetting. After an initial acquaintance with the colossal human cost of the war, we will examine the artistic, cultural and political traditions of addressing the national trauma that have evolved in the official and unofficial discourses of the war. The search for a "usable past" of the war continues in contemporary Russia, breaching previously suppressed topics yet also obfuscating public attempts to critically examine people's experiences of the war beyond the inherited Soviet myths. [ more ]

    GBST 221(F)The Making of Modern South Asia: 1750-1950 CE

    This course focuses on the history of South Asia with the aim of providing an overview of the political and social landscape of the region from the end of the Mughal Empire through British colonial rule and the Partition of India and Pakistan. We will explore a range of themes including the rise of colonialism, nationalism, religion, caste, gender relations, and the emergence of modern social and political institutions on the subcontinent. In addition to reading key texts and historical primary sources on the specific themes, we will also work with a variety of multimedia sources including films, short stories and website content. One objective of this course is to introduce students to the different political and social processes that led to the creation of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh; another is to teach students to think critically about the significance of history and history writing in the making of the subcontinent. [ more ]

    GBST 230Who was Muhammad?

    Last offered Fall 2016

    Considered the Messenger of God, Muhammad is a central character of the Islamic tradition and has been the object of love and devotion for centuries. Recent outbursts sparked by controversial cartoons depicting Muhammad have made clear that he remains a revered and controversial figure even today. This course takes a critical historical perspective to the biographies of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Rather than focus on the "facts" of his life, we will think about the ways in which historical context, political interests, and shifting conceptions of religion have influenced the way in which Muhammad has been imagined and remembered. We will also consider the ways in which Muslim and non-Muslims biographies of Muhammad are intertwined and interdependent, often developing in tandem with one another. By exploring Muslim and non-Muslim, pre-modern and modern accounts of Muhammad's life, we will think about the many ways in which Muhammad's life has been told and re-told over the centuries. In this course we will consider some of the following depictions of Muhammad: Muhammad as the object of ritual devotion; Muhammad as statesman and military leader; Muhammad's polygynous marriages and his young wife, Aisha; Muhammad as social reformer and revolutionary. Course readings will include pre-modern biographies (in translation) as well as contemporary Muslim and non-Muslim biographies. [ more ]

    GBST 234(F)What is Islam?

    This course introduces students to Islam as a varied and contested historical tradition. The course will trace the historical development of Islam, focusing on religious and intellectual thought, political developments, and the practices and lived lives of Muslims. We will begin with situating the rise of Islam within the context of late antiquity, followed by an examination of the life of Muhammad, and the rise of Muslim empires. These developments will form the framework through which we investigate the theological, philosophical, legal, mystical, and literary writings of Muslims from the classical to the early modern periods of Islamic history. The main aim of the course is to develop a framework for understanding the historical developments through which Muslims have constructed ideas about normativity, authority, and orthodoxy in debates around Islam. Sources will include pre-modern historical and religious texts (in translation). [ more ]

    GBST 236Reading the Qur'an

    Last offered Spring 2018

    In the nearly 1500 years of Islamic history, the Qur'an has been a central source of spiritual insight, ethical and legal guidance, sacred stories, and theological principles. Considered the divine word of God, the Qur'an is central to devotional life. This course will explore the Qur'an as a text that is always in a state of production. We will focus significantly on close readings of the text of the Qur'an, in addition to pre-modern and modern Qur'anic exegesis. The course will begin with a historical account of the revelation and collection of the Qur'an, placing the form and content of the text in the context of 7th century Arab society and the life of the Prophet. We will then study Qur'anic commentaries to discuss how Muslims have drawn theological, legal, philosophical, and mystical meaning from the Qur'an. We will pose some of the following questions: What do the different exegetical methods tell us about the intertextual nature of the Qur'an? How have these shifting notions affected the meaning made from Qur'anic verses and passages? What role do interpretive communities play in determining what the Qur'an says? Lastly, through an exploration of the art of Qur'an recitation, calligraphy, and Qur'an manuscripts, we will explore the ways in which the Qur'an is also an object of devotion in Muslim life. [ more ]

    GBST 241History of Sexuality

    Last offered Spring 2018

    Is sexuality an immutable aspect of who we are or is it socially constructed? How have people understood sex and sexuality throughout history? Why does religion have any say in the sexual lives of individuals and society? What are sexual transgressions and why are they punished? Is sex a commodity that can be exchanged for money? Is sex political? This course will explore these questions through a historical approach, focusing in particular on the shifting understanding of sex and sexuality across historical time and different geographical regions. In investigating the category of sexuality, this course will push us to consider three key questions: 1) Is sexuality a useful category for historical analysis, 2) how have our assumptions regarding sexuality and sexual ethics taken shape and changed over time and 3) how do social, cultural, political, and economic conditions affect changing meanings of sexuality. Historical studies will be read in conjunction with different theoretical frameworks about sexuality. Reading historical accounts of sexuality alongside theoretical pieces will allow us to consider how historians construct an argument and the influence of theoretical frameworks in shaping scholarship. Some of the theorists we will read in the course include: Michel Foucault, David Halperin, Afsaneh Najmabadi, Valerie Traub, and Carla Freccero. [ more ]

    GBST 244(S)Mediterranean Journeys

    Though European border management today seeks to limit and control movement, the Mediterranean region is a historical site of mediation between cultural differences and religious views. This course centers primarily on the works of the so-called "migrant intellectuals and artists" who have emerged from the Mediterranean region to become a significant part of the new voice of Europe. Borrowing from Deleuze and Guattari's definition of "minor literature" as a literature that a "minority constructs within a major language" and in which "language is affected with a high coefficient of deterritorialization," we explore the political, cultural and anthropological effects of such literature in today's European public discourse. Behind the medium of a national language, new cultures and identities are claiming inclusion into the core of the social fabric by speaking out from a marginal position. We read both literary works (Ali Farah, Guene, Lakhous, Scego) and critical theory (Cassano, Chambers, Fanon, Hall, Theo Goldberg); we also analyze films and documentaries (Carpignano, Crialese, Godard). [ more ]

    GBST 247 T(F)Altering States: Post-Soviet Paradoxes of Identity and Difference

    Critics and apologists of Soviet-style socialism alike agree that the Soviet ideology was deeply egalitarian. Putting aside for a moment the very reasonable doubts about how justified this perception actually was, it is still worth asking, how did people who lived in the world in which differences in rank, class, gender or ethnicity were not supposed to matter, make sense of their postsocialist condition, one in which new forms of difference emerged, and old ones assumed greater prominence? And how do these encounters with difference impact current events, such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict or the persistent tensions between East and West Germans? This tutorial will examine new dilemmas through ethnographic studies and documentary films that aim to capture in real time the process of articulating and grappling with newly discovered divides. We will focus especially closely on Russia, but will also read studies on East Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland and Ukraine. This course fulfills the DPE requirement by exploring comparatively the ways in which people in different countries made sense of the social, cultural and political heterogeneity of the postsocialist condition. [ more ]

    GBST 303A History of Islam in Africa

    Last offered Fall 2016

    This course examines the history of Islam in Africa from the seventh century to the present. We will start off by looking at the spread of Islam in different parts of Africa. We will then analyze the social, political, economic, and cultural impact of Islam on African societies, the interaction between Islam and indigenous African institutions, the Islamic revolutions in the nineteenth century, the impact of European colonial rule on Muslim societies, and the development of Islam in the post-independence period. We will also examine how African Muslims reconstructed and asserted their religious identities by localizing Islamic intellectual traditions, healing practices, music, arts, cultural norms, and formal and informal religious festivals. By the end of the semester students should be able to appreciate Islam's common framework as well as its diversity and dynamics within that larger framework and over time. [ more ]

    GBST 312(F)The Mughal Empire: Power, Art, and Religion in India

    Established in the early 1500s, the Mughal Empire was one of the grandest and the longest to rule the Indian subcontinent for over three hundred years. Commanding unprecedented resources and administering a population of 100 to 150 million at its zenith--much larger than any European empire in the early modern world--the Mughals established a centralized administration, with a vast complex of personnel, money, and information networks. Mughal emperors were also political and cultural innovators of global repute. Moreover, while the Mughal dynasty was brought to an end with British colonial rule over India in 1857, the Mughal administrative structures and cultural influences continued to have a lasting impact on the British and later Indian states that followed. Centered around the intersection of the themes of power, patronage of art and architecture and religion, this course will ask: What factors contributed to the durability of the Mughal Empire for three centuries? How did global trade and innovations in taxation contribute to its wealth and stability? How did this dynasty of Muslim monarchs rule over diverse, and largely non-Muslim populations? How did they combine Persian cultural elements with regional ones to establish an empire that was truly Indian in nature? How were the Mughals viewed in their contemporary world of gunpowder empires like the Safavids of Persia and the Ottomans of Turkey? Readings will include the best of the recent scholarship on this vastly influential empire and a rich collection of primary sources, including emperor's memoirs, accounts of European travelers, and racy biographies, which will allow students make their own analysis. They will also have the opportunity to interpret paintings (some of which are held in the WCMA collections) and architecture. They will also discuss how the Mughals are remembered in South Asian film and music. [ more ]

    GBST 315(S)Globalization

    This course will examine the causes and consequences of globalization. This includes studying topics such as trade, immigration, foreign direct investment, and offshoring. The impact of these forms of globalization on welfare, wages, employment, and inequality will be a focal point. Throughout we will rely on economic principles, models, and empirical tools to explain and examine these contentious issues. [ more ]

    GBST 322Trash

    Last offered Fall 2017

    What is waste? What is filth? Why do titles or categories of sanitation workers--"garbage man," for instance--bear such charged social and sometimes moral significance in many societies? In this seminar we will critically examine the production of waste and its role in the production of value, meaning, hierarchy, and the environment. Readings will be of three types. First we will consider theoretical inquiries into the relations between filth and culture. Second, we will examine studies of the political and environmental consequences of systems of waste management historically and in the present, with a focus on South Asia and the United States. Third, we will read ethnographies of sanitation labor and social hierarchy with the same regional focus - work on Dhaka and Delhi, Chicago and New York. There is also a fieldwork component to this class. In groups, students will conduct ethnographic micro-studies of elements of the systems of waste production and management in Berkshire County (e.g., cafeterias, retail outlets, homes, dorms, recycling facilities, sewage treatment plants). Students will post field notes to a class blog, and each group will present its findings in the form of a short film, multimedia presentation, or paper. [ more ]

    GBST 326(S)Security in Africa

    Africa is the world's second largest and second most-populous continent. This course will explore this diverse region through the lens of human security which takes a broader understanding of security challenges and how they affect different individuals. We will begin by placing security challenges in Africa in the context of a colonial legacy and the changing nature of warfare. We will then examine specific security challenges including governance issues, gender relationships, and resource challenges, through the use of case studies. We will conclude by examining responses by the U.S. and UN to perceived security challenges in Africa. [ more ]

    Taught by: Phoebe Donnelly

    Catalog details

    GBST 340African Diaspora Religions in the Americas and the Caribbean

    Last offered Spring 2017

    Over the last century, historians, social scientists, and religionists have labored to discover the meaning of African dispersal beyond the African continent and its accompanying spiritual lineages. What did it mean to move from the African continent (as opposed to the Australian continent, for example)? What theories of encounter sufficiently adjudicate the synthetic religious cultures of African descended persons in North America, South America, and the Caribbean? What are the cross-disciplinary methodologies that scholars utilize to understand African religious cultures in the Western hemisphere? Firstly, this course will consider a brief historiography of Africana Religious Studies. This background will inform the second and primary objective of the course: privileging knowledge, place, and performance as central lenses for thematizing and exploring West and Central African religious traditions housed in the Americas. We will cover diverse African diasporic religious traditions including Conjure, Dagara, Kumina, New Orleans Voodoo, Spiritual Baptist, Winti, and Yoruba (Candomble, Ifa, Lucumi, and "Orisha-Vodu"). We will also explore other African diasporic religious sensibilities that transgress regional and institutional boundaries. [ more ]

    GBST 341Caste, Race, Hierarchy

    Last offered Spring 2017

    Caste in India looms large in global social thought as a kind of benchmark against which hierarchical social systems across the world are measured. This prominence has much to do with British colonial ideologies of rule, but it also has a deeper and different history: the Buddha compared caste to Greek slavery, early modern Jesuits related it to the system of European estates, and since the nineteenth century, anti-caste radicals from Dalit, or "untouchable," backgrounds have drawn a sustained comparison between the forms of oppression they face and those with which African Americans contend in the United States. Reciprocally, thinkers from W.E.B. DuBois to Toni Morrison have deployed the category of caste in their writings on race. What can the study of caste in postcolonial South Asia contribute to global debates over the persistence of "traditional" forms of social hierarchy? What are the stakes of bringing caste and race into the same conversation, and what are the implications of refusing to do so? In this seminar we will acquire a thorough grounding in the anthropological literature on caste and then investigate the politics of the caste-race comparison over the last hundred years. Assignments include weekly postings of 1-page critical response papers and either a research paper or an interview-based, ethnographic final project examining "caste" in one's own community. [ more ]

    GBST 351(S)The New Left and Neoliberalism in Latin America

    Recent years have seen a resurgence of the political left in Latin America. This course seeks to understand the origins of this new left, the ideas and character of its protagonists, the neoliberal philosophy it opposes, and the arena of democratic politics it inhabits today. We first read polemics from both sides, before stepping back to consider Latin American political economy, including the twentieth-century left, from a more historical and analytical perspective. With this preparation, we then look more closely at major contemporary figures and movements in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, and other countries. After considering explanations of the rise of the left and assessments of its performance in power, we end our common readings by asking what it might mean today to be on the left in Latin America--or anywhere--both in policy and political terms. [ more ]

    GBST 352(F)Politics in Mexico

    Geographical fate has decreed that the futures of Mexico and the United States will be tightly bound. Yet Mexico enters this future with a very different past, a distinctive political system, and mixed feelings about the U.S. This course has four parts differing in content and format. The first is historical and mostly lecture. It considers several themes, including the slow emergence of a stable national state and the interplay between politics and economic change. In the second section, we consider politics and cultural policies around Mexican national identity in the twentieth century; rapid urbanization, especially in the valley of Mexico; the impact of migration and the rapid development of the northern border region; and the conflict between an emerging civil society and political corruption. After a brief review of recent elections and other political events, we turn to a seminar-style discussion of student research projects. [ more ]

    GBST 356The Myth of Venice and its Modern Aftermath

    Last offered Spring 2018

    The Republic of Venice existed for over a millennium, during which time its historical image came to be enmeshed with mythical representations, such as the image of the city rising out of the waters of the lagoon, or the personification of the city itself as a Queen of the Adriatic. This course begins in the year 1797, at the end of the Republic, and the emergence of an extensive body of literature centered on Venice and its mythical facets. Readings will include Romantic views of Venice and the 20th century reshaping of the literary myth surrounding the city. A journey into this fascinating tradition will shed light on how the literary and visual representation of Venice, rather than the focus on a nostalgic evocation of the death of the Republic, became a premise of exploration for literary modernity. Toward the end of the course we will leave the lagoon to explore the postmodern recreations of Venice around the world (from Los Angeles and Las Vegas, to Macao, Yongin, and beyond) Readings will include excerpts from Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, John Ruskin's Stones of Venice, as well as full readings of Thomas Mann's Death in Venice, Marinetti's Futurist manifestos, Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, and more. We will also examine movies, such as Luchino Visconti's Senso and Death in Venice and Nicholas Roeg's Don't Look Now. This course is offered in English; all texts are provided in translation. [ more ]

    GBST 358(S)Religion and Law

    This course explores the concept of "law" through an investigation of the complex relationship between law, ethics, and religion. In doing so, we will look at legal theoretical texts as well as legal anthropological studies to pose critical questions about the nature of law, the functioning logic of law, the relationship between law and lived experience, and the legal construction of categories and facts. In the course, we will consider two intersections of religion and law: the particularities of religious legal traditions and the relationship between religion and secular law. Topics will include the secular legal construction of religion, the relationship between law and ethics, the nature of legal hermeneutics, and the racial, gender, and sexual politics of legal interpretation. [ more ]

    GBST 369Indigenous Narratives: From the Fourth World to the Global South

    Last offered Spring 2018

    In the late 20th century, world literature has witnessed a "boom" in indigenous literature. Many critics and historians describe this global re-emergence of the subaltern and the indigenous in terms of literary justice fostered by post-colonial studies and the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, by the UN General Assembly on December 18, 1992. In this course, we will investigate this "indigenous boom" by reading novels and short stories from the Americas, the Middle East and North Africa from the 1970s to the present. Through these trans-regional and trans-historical peregrinations, our principal goal will be to examine and compare narratives about conquest, settler colonialism, colonial nationalism, indigeneity, sovereignty, indigenous epistemology and philosophy. At the same time, we will consider the following questions: How did pioneering indigenous women writers, such as the Laguna Pueblo Leslie Marmon Silko in the US and the Mayan playwrights of La Fomma in Chiapas, Mexico lead the feminist front of the indigenous literary renaissance? How did Palestinian folktales, Tashelhiyt Berber tales in Morocco, and Mayan dream narratives in Mexico and Guatemala produce narratives of decolonial history? What does the aesthetics of magical realism in Arabic, Quechua and Spanish, respectively, as evident in the works of the Kurdish writer Salim Barakat (Syria) and the mestizo writer Jose Maria Arguedas (Peru) tell us about the intersection of race, ethnicity, and indigenous epistemology? Ultimately, our goal is to trace how these texts contributed to global indigenous literature and the trans-historical and trans-geographical connections between them. [ more ]

    GBST 391(S)When India was the World: Trade, Travel and History in the Indian Ocean

    What do Ibrahim Ben Yiju, a Jewish merchant from 11th century Yemen, Ibn Batutah, a Muslim scholar from 15th century Morocco and Captain Kidd, a 17th century English pirate have in common? All three men travelled and lived in the Indian Ocean region! This course explores the history of one of the world's oldest maritime highways that has connected the diverse cultures of Asia, Africa and Europe for millennia, thus making it a vital element in the birth of globalization. Moving away from conventional land-centric histories, we will focus instead on understanding the human past through oceanic interactions. South Asian ports and port cities remained the fulcrum of the Indian Ocean world throughout its history; traders, travellers, nobles, scholars, pilgrims and pirates from all over the world travelled to the Indian coast in search of adventure, spices, knowledge and wealth. Thus we will primarily focus on India's role in the Indian Ocean roughly from the rise of Islam in the seventh century CE through the expansion of various European communities in the region and the subsequent rise of the global economy and colonialism in the nineteenth century. Rather than following a strict temporal chronology we will concentrate on themes such as travel and adventure; trade and exchange; trust and friendship; religion and society; pilgrimage; piracy; the culture of port cities; and food across time. [ more ]

    GBST 402A History of Family in Africa

    Last offered Spring 2017

    The family is the center of private life, but it has also been a topic of constant discussion and contention in Africa. In this class we will examine how political upheavals and economic pressures have changed the concept of the family and the role it plays in various African societies. We will also consider the changing views of gender, race, age, class, and sexuality on the idea of family. [ more ]

    GBST 420(S)Architecture and Sustainability in a Global World

    What does it mean to create a sustainable built environment? What do such environments look like? Do they look the same for different people across different times and spaces? This course takes these questions as starting points in exploring the concept of architectural sustainability, defined as "minimizing the negative impact of built form on the surrounding landscape," and how this concept can be interpreted not only from an environmental point of view, but from cultural, political, and social perspectives as well. Over the course of the class, students will explore different conceptualizations of sustainability and how these conceptualizations take form in built environments in response to the cultural identities, political agendas, social norms, gender roles, and religious values circulating in society at any given moment. Students will also travel to South Africa during Spring Break to participate in a township sustainability project. In recognizing the relationship between the way things are constructed (technique of assembly, technology, materials, process) and the deeper meanings behind the structural languages deployed, students will come to understand sustainability as a fundamentally context-specific ideal, and its manifestation within the architectural environment as a mode of producing dialogues about the anticipated futures of both cultural and architectural worlds. [ more ]

    GBST 480 T(F)Interpretations of the Israeli Palestinian Conflict

    This tutorial addresses the powerful, competing, and bitterly contested historical narratives that underpin the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both Israelis and Palestinians appeal to history to legitimize their territorial claims and to justify contemporary action. Special attention will be paid to the interpretations of key historical moments, especially the 1948 and 1967 wars, and on the contrasting views of some of the core issues of the conflict (Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, terrorism). [ more ]

    GBST 488 TGandhi: Nationalism, Philosophy, and Legacy

    Last offered Spring 2018

    This course studies the work and ideas of M.K. Gandhi (1869-1948, one of the most influential thinkers of the non-western world. Gandhi is well known today for his philosophy of non-violent resistance and its application in India's freedom struggle as well as his influence on the work of leaders like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. Hailed as the `father of the Indian nation', however, Gandhi is not only known for his political ideas but also for his deep engagement with aspect of everyday human behavior and morality: truth, vegetarianism, sex and celibacy, to name just a few of his obsessions which contributed to making his broader philosophy. It is this commitment to a morally pure life that earned him the title of `Mahatma' or Great Soul in India. The tutorial will focus on three key aspects of Gandhi: his ideas of peaceful protest as means of social and political change, his contemplations on moral philosophy, and on his legacy in modern India and the world. Students will read a combination of Gandhi's own writings as well as journal articles, monographs and films. The course will probe questions such as: What was the nature of Gandhian nationalism? Did it help to integrate the Indian nation? How, if at all, was shaped by Gandhi's engagements with moral philosophy and human behavior? Was Gandhi truly a Great Soul, a saint or a shrewd politician? In what ways is Gandhi received and remembered by the Indian nation today? How does understanding a figure like Gandhi facilitate our understanding of modern nationalism, citizenship and political action? [ more ]

Area Tracks

  • HIST 104 / AFR 104Travel Narratives and African History

    Last offered Spring 2015

    In a way, all historical thinking and writing deals with travel accounts given that, as many scholars have noted, the past can be likened to a foreign country and the historian can be viewed as a traveler in foreign places. Nevertheless, actual travel narratives--narratives about the actual physical visits of writers to distant lands--call for careful and critical analysis because they can be seductive, and they can shape the ways we think about the present--and the past--of distant lands and cultures. This course discusses Arab, Indian, European, African and African American travel narratives about various regions of Africa since the 14th century. We will mine the travel accounts for descriptions of local contexts. We will also explore what travel writing says about the author's perceptions of self, home, and "other." Ultimately, we will investigate the authors' biases and how the narratives influence both our perception of Africa and the writing of African history. This course is highly interdisciplinary and draws heavily on literary, anthropological, geographical, and historical methodologies. [ more ]

    MUS 120 / AFR 113(S)Musics of Africa

    This course introduces a selection of musical cultures from the geographical breadth of Africa. Following an introductory exploration of the fundamental aesthetic and social parameters governing African musical practice, we will engage in a series of case studies considering a diverse array of musical practices and related social and political issues in specific locales. Featured countries include Ghana, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Algeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This course samples a wide range of musical practices from the Ghanaian dance craze, azonto, to Ethiopian liturgical chants, to Shona mbira music in Zimbabwe. Performance analysis and critical reading and listing assignments are combined with a number of hands-on workshops and musical exercises. [ more ]

    BIOL 134 / ENVI 134The Tropics: Biology and Social Issues

    Last offered Spring 2018

    Intended for the non-scientist, this course explores the biological dimensions of social issues in tropical societies, and focuses on specifically on the peoples and cultures of tropical regions in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceanea, and the Caribbean. Tropical issues have become prominent on a global scale, and many social issues in the tropics are inextricably bound to human ecology, evolution, and physiology. The course begins with a survey of the tropical environment of humans, including major climatic and habitat features. The next section focuses on human population biology, and emphasizes demography and the role of disease particularly malaria and AIDS. The final part of the course covers the place of human societies in local and global ecosystems including the challenges of tropical food production, the importance of organic diversity, and the interaction of humans with their supporting ecological environment. [ more ]

    AFR 200(F, S)Introduction to Africana Studies

    This course introduces students to the content and contours of Africana Studies as a vibrant field of knowledge. Through exploration of the genealogy, disciplinary diversity, and evolution of the field, we will examine the depth and range of experiences of African-descended peoples throughout the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa. We will also give some attention to how members of the Diaspora remember and encounter Africa, as well as their diverse responses to the history of enslavement, colonialism, apartheid, racism, and globalization. Through materials that embrace both historical and contemporary perspectives, we seek to help students develop critical frameworks for understanding African diasporic experience while simultaneously illumining disjunctures and challenges for the field. This course features two pedagogical strategies: 1) a rotational, interdisciplinary approach that includes the expertise, methods, and specializations of Africana faculty; and 2) the incorporation of aesthetic materials--film, photography, music, dance, performance, and artwork--to enhance student ability to draw ongoing connections between visual and textual sources covered in the course. Close textual analysis, vibrant debate, and engaging discourse are expected. [ more ]

    DANC 202 / AFR 206 / MUS 221African Dance and Percussion

    Last offered Spring 2018

    Course continues the investigation of selected music and dance from the African continent. Advancing dance and music skills, deepening understanding of history and context of the material are focus of readings, discussions and projects throughout the semester. Questions we will address include the impact of religion, colonialism, travel, immigration, media tradition and the continued emergence of new forms. Material may include Gum Boots (Isicathulo) from Southern Africa, Juju in Nigeria or Hip Hop in several nations. This course can be taken for academic and/or PE credit. [ more ]

    HIST 203 / AFR 203Modern African History

    Last offered Fall 2016

    This course surveys the history of 19th and 20th century Africa. The first section of the course focuses on the European conquest of Africa and the dynamics of colonial rule--especially its socio-economic and cultural consequences. The second section looks at how the rising tide of African nationalism, in the form of labor strikes and guerrilla wars, ushered out colonialism. The third section examines the postcolonial states, focusing on the politics of development, recent civil wars in countries like Rwanda and Liberia, and the growing AIDS epidemics. The last section surveys the history of Apartheid in South Africa up to 1994.Course materials include fiction, poetry, memoirs, videos, newspaper articles, and outstanding recent scholarship. The course is structured around discussions. [ more ]

    RLFR 203 / AFR 204 / COMP 282Introduction to Francophone Literatures

    Last offered Fall 2016

    What is the Francophone world comprised of? Who speaks French today and why? What does the idea of Francophonie really mean? Is this term really relevant? Why, how, and by whom is this idea being criticized? How does the litterature-monde manifesto fit within these interrogations? Is the French-speaking world merely a linguistic community or is it also a political, cultural, and economic project? Last but not least, why is the idea of Francophonie so important for France? We will answer these questions through the lens of literary and cinematic texts from Quebec, Senegal, Vietnam, France (l'hexagone), and Haiti among others. [ more ]

    ECON 204 / ENVI 234(F)Economics of Developing Countries

    The leaders of poor countries almost universally proclaim "economic development" to be their eventual destination, but it is not easy to visualize the journey. Is rapid economic growth sufficient to generate development, or do governments need to pro-actively invest in health and education? Can agriculture support incomes and provide jobs, or is urban industrial development a prerequisite? How do households in poor countries insure themselves against adverse outcomes? Can policies enable entrepreneurship and innovation in such economies? Is it true that corruption is major obstacle? Has the climate crisis upended our traditional models to the point where we need to rethink the notion of development? The class will introduce these and other issues, as analyzed by economists. [ more ]

    MUS 220 / AFR 201 / DANC 201(F)African Dance and Percussion

    This course focuses on selected dance and music forms from the African continent for example, Kpanlogo from Ghana, Lamban from Guinea, Senegal and Mali or Bira from Zimbabwe. We will examine their origins (people, history and cultures) and influence beyond geographic perimeter to more fully understand the function of these forms in contemporary times. Students will study movement and percussion and are evaluated on the quality of progress with the selected forms throughout the semester. Forms may not be the same every semester. This course can be taken for academic and/or PE credit [ more ]

    MUS 222 / AFR 223Politics of Performance/Performing Politics in Contemporary Africa

    Last offered Spring 2016

    Using select examples from throughout Africa, this course highlights genres, artists, and works that engage with social and ideological change. Students practice critical listening and performance analysis, while also considering the social contexts that render these performances meaningful and provocative. Topics include: challenges to mass mediated stereotypes of African populations, the social and economic impact of cultural tourism, music as a form of social critique, changing attitudes toward women and the LGBTQ community, music and global aid organizations, issues of migration and displacement, and the changing roles of traditional musical occupations. Popular genres--among them Afrobeat, kwaito, soukous, rai, mbalax, Chimurenga music, and a variety of rap and hip-hop styles--are discussed alongside numerous traditional and ceremonial genres, national/political anthems, and concert pieces. Active participation in class discussion is an important component of this course. [ more ]

    ECON 225 TGlobal Financial Crisis and African Economic Development

    Last offered Spring 2011

    Will the global financial crunch create a development crisis for Africa? Just two years ago the International Monetary Fund published the most optimistic growth projections for Africa in decades, predicting rapid growth driven by higher commodity prices, stronger agricultural output and the dividends of years of difficult economic reforms. Today, economic analysts are downgrading African growth forecasts in the face of growing poverty and macroeconomic challenges. Food prices have more than doubled in some countries--increasing hunger for the most vulnerable groups. Fuel costs--and subsidy policies in some countries--are creating macroeconomic imbalances, and the global financial crisis is depressing demand for Africa's exports. Private capital flows, which reached record levels until 2007, are expected to decline by $300-400 billion over the next two years, with bank lending falling, portfolio investment declining, and foreign direct investment decreasing. This triple-F crisis--food, fuel and financial--is posing renewed challenges to African leaders trying to tackle the imperatives of economic development and pro-poor and inclusive economic growth. This crisis is raising the costs of reforms in countries reliant on exports and international capital for growth. Successful strategies must combine policies more efficiently than ever--to balance the necessary reforms with initiatives that offset the costs for the most vulnerable. This tutorial will analyze critical questions posed by the emerging crisis: Which countries will be hit the hardest, and how deeply and for how long? Through which channels does the contagion afflict national economies? And perhaps most importantly, what coordinated strategies can African nations develop in order to foster effective responses? This tutorial will explore how policy-makers in Africa are working to build successful inclusive growth strategies, with fiscal, monetary, industrial, trade and labor market policies reinforcing each other rather than working at cross purposes. [ more ]

    PSCI 243 / AFR 256Politics of Africa

    Last offered Spring 2017

    This course provides an introduction to the politics of contemporary Africa, emphasizing the diversity of African politics. It seeks to challenge the widespread image of African politics as universally and inexplicably lawless, violent, and anarchic. We begin by examining the colonization of Africa, nationalist movements, and patterns of rule in the first 30 years of independence. From there, we analyze the causes, achievements and limitations of the recent wave of political liberalization across Africa. We then consider patterns of economic development in Africa. Finally, we examine China's growing expansion into Africa and ask whether this is a new colonialism. [ more ]

    PSCI 249 / INST 249From Beetroot to Zero Grazing: Comparative Response to AIDS in Africa

    Last offered Fall 2014

    As AIDS in African countries grew from a few cases in the mid-1980s to more generalized levels by the mid-1990s, government policy varied widely. Consider that while Kenyan medical officials denied the existence of AIDS (insisting that the four deaths reported in the press were due to skin cancer), in Senegal, President Diouf openly acknowledged AIDS and launched a national prevention and control program. South African President Mbeki and his health minister questioned whether HIV causes AIDS and suggested a garlic, beetroot, and lemon concoction as treatment, while in Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni developed a successful home-grown `Zero Grazing' campaign. Why did some African governments respond early and aggressively to AIDS, while others did essentially the opposite? What has worked and what hasn't in the fight against AIDS in African countries? Has political liberalization improved the responsiveness of African governments to AIDS? In this course we aim to better understand how politics and social factors shaped African countries' responses to AIDS. [ more ]

    ARTH 259 / AFR 259 / ARAB 259Bilad al-Sudan and Beyond: Arts of the Afro-Islamic World

    Last offered Spring 2017

    From the Swahili stone houses of East Africa to the massive earth and timber mosques of the Sahel, the story of Islam in Africa is one of cultural and spiritual hybridity expressed through material form. In this course, students will explore how artistic forms and traditions in Africa have functioned as vehicles of access and integration for Islam, enabling it to assimilate itself with numerous African contexts towards becoming the dominant religious force on the continent. In addition, students will investigate how the forms, functions, and meanings of Afro-Islamic objects across the continent reflect not just one African Islam, but many different iterations, each shaped by the specific frameworks of its cultural context. The contemporary component of the course will examine how modernity in the form of globalization, technology, and Westernization has affected Afro-Islamic artistic traditions, and how these shifts reflect larger evolutions within understandings of Islam in Africa in the contemporary period. [ more ]

    REL 303 / AFR 303 / ARAB 303 / GBST 303 / HIST 303A History of Islam in Africa

    Last offered Fall 2016

    This course examines the history of Islam in Africa from the seventh century to the present. We will start off by looking at the spread of Islam in different parts of Africa. We will then analyze the social, political, economic, and cultural impact of Islam on African societies, the interaction between Islam and indigenous African institutions, the Islamic revolutions in the nineteenth century, the impact of European colonial rule on Muslim societies, and the development of Islam in the post-independence period. We will also examine how African Muslims reconstructed and asserted their religious identities by localizing Islamic intellectual traditions, healing practices, music, arts, cultural norms, and formal and informal religious festivals. By the end of the semester students should be able to appreciate Islam's common framework as well as its diversity and dynamics within that larger framework and over time. [ more ]

    HIST 304 / AFR 304South Africa and Apartheid

    Last offered Spring 2017

    This course introduces students to the spatial, legal, economic, social and political structures that created Apartheid in South Africa, and to the factors that led to the collapse of the racist order. We will examine the many forms of black oppression and, also, the various forms of resistance to Apartheid. Some of the themes we will explore include industrialization and the formation of the black working classes, the constructions of race, ethnicities and sexualities, land alienation and rural struggles, township poverty and violence, Black education, and the Black Consciousness Movement. [ more ]

    RLFR 309 / AFR 307Contemporary Short Stories from North Africa

    Last offered Fall 2017

    Short stories are the vibrant center of the literary landscape in North Africa today. Written in French, Arabic and sometimes Amazigh languages, short stories provide timely interventions in political and social discourse. In this course, we will read short stories that use humor and satire to address the effects of globalization on local communities, that experiment with language to portray war and revolution, and that seek to create a new space for the discussion of gender. We will also analyze films, sociological texts and Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian online newspapers in order to explore contemporary transformations of life in North Africa. Readings by Maissa Bey, Abdelfattah Kilito, Zeina Tabi, Mohamed Zafzaf, Ahmed Bouzfour, Soumaya Zahy and Fouad Laroui among others. Conducted in French. [ more ]

    HIST 402 / WGSS 400 / AFR 402 / GBST 402A History of Family in Africa

    Last offered Spring 2017

    The family is the center of private life, but it has also been a topic of constant discussion and contention in Africa. In this class we will examine how political upheavals and economic pressures have changed the concept of the family and the role it plays in various African societies. We will also consider the changing views of gender, race, age, class, and sexuality on the idea of family. [ more ]

    ENVI 419 / AFR 419 / ARTH 419Going to Ground: Considering Earth in the Arts of Africa

    Last offered Fall 2015

    Drawing its inspiration from the landmark exhibition Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa (National Museum of African Art, 2013), this seminar explores how earth has been conceptualized and integrated into African artistic thought as material, metaphor, geography, environment, and intervention, and how this interpretive flexibility has allowed it to become a symbol of power and presence in African art-making from prehistory to the present. The seminar will also focus on the ways in which earth has been used in contemporary art towards addressing the growing problems of pollution, unsustainable development, and the widespread depletion of earth-based natural resources in Africa. Over the course of this seminar, students will develop a knowledge base of earth-related issues that have been addressed in African artistic production, and engage with various cross-disciplinary methodologies to critically analyze the conceptual and aesthetic strategies deployed in these works. Students will also have the opportunity to interact with specialists from diverse disciplines and fields towards fleshing out their knowledge base. [ more ]

  • ARTH 103 / ASST 103(F)By Land and Sea: Art, Culture and Religion Along the Trade Routes of Asia

    This undergraduate Asian art and architecture survey course will focus on artistic, religious, and cultural exchange along the two major trading networks connecting Asia: the Silk Road and the South East Asian sea routes. Following the spread of religious ideas across these routes, the survey will examine art forms including textiles, manuscripts, paintings, luxury items and sculpture, as well as architectural examples. The three major religions and their artistic expressions that will be explored in class are Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. An underlying theme in class will be to study the spread and evolution of artistic styles and iconography across Asia, while also highlighting the continuation of local traditions that persisted despite outside influences. [ more ]

    Taught by: Murad Mumtaz

    Catalog details

    MUS 112 / ASST 126Musics of Asia

    Last offered Spring 2016

    This course offers an introduction to the great diversity of Asian music. Our survey will span from East Asia (China, Korea, and Japan) to Southeast Asia (Thailand and Indonesia) to the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia (Tibet and Afghanistan), to the Middle East (Iran and the Arabian peninsula), and will end with the extension of Asian music across North Africa and into Eastern Europe. Within this broad survey, we will focus on selected and representative musical cultures and genres. In each section of the course, aspects of cultural context (including music's function in religious life and its relationship to the other arts), will be emphasized. While our focus will be on the traditional and classical musics of these cultures, we will also briefly consider the current musical scene. Encounters with this music will include attendance at live performances when possible. [ more ]

    HIST 115 / ASST 115The World of the Mongol Empire

    Last offered Spring 2018

    By the middle of the thirteenth century, Mongol armies led by Genghis Khan had conquered an enormous swath of territory, extending from China westward to Eastern Europe. Further expanded by Genghis's descendants, the Mongol Empire incorporated a vast range of different peoples and cultures, enhancing communications, trade, and exchange among them. In this course we will examine the "world order" of the Mongol Empire from its origins on the Asian steppe through its expansion, consolidation, disintegration, and legacies for later periods. From a wide range of primary and secondary sources, including travelers' accounts, chronicles, art, and literature, we will investigate the diverse experiences of the Mongol world in different places, such as China, Russia, Persia, and Central Asia. [ more ]

    HIST 121 T / ASST 121(F)The Two Koreas

    The two Koreas--North and South--were born in the aftermath of World War II, when the United States and the Soviet Union arbitrarily divided the peninsula into two zones of occupation at the 38th parallel. Today, over six decades later, the split endures as what has been called "the Cold War's last divide." This tutorial examines the history of the two Koreas from their creation in 1945 to the present. We will explore the historical and ideological origins of the division; how tensions between North and South led to the outbreak of the Korean War; why the paths of the two Koreas have differed so markedly; how each country has been shaped by its political leaders and their ideologies; and what recent developments in North Korea, including its nuclear program, have meant for relations on the peninsula and beyond. Course material will include primary and secondary sources of various kinds, including political documents, intellectual treatises, films, and short stories. [ more ]

    HIST 212 / ASST 212Transforming the "Middle Kingdom": China, 2000 BCE-1600

    Last offered Fall 2016

    China expanded from scattered Neolithic settlements to become one of the world's most complex and sophisticated civilizations. During this process, it experienced dramatic transformation as well as remarkable institutional and cultural continuities. This course will examine Chinese history from prehistoric times to the "early modern" seventeenth century. It will address topics such as the creation and transformation of dynastic authority, the reinterpretation of Confucian thought, the transmission of Buddhism, the conquest of China proper by "barbarian" peoples, the composition of elites, and change in daily life, popular culture and China's place in the East Asian and world systems. [ more ]

    HIST 213 / ASST 213Modern China, 1600-Present

    Last offered Spring 2018

    Observers may be struck by the apparent contradictions of contemporary China: market reforms undertaken by a nominally Communist government, extremes of urban wealth and rural poverty, increasing participation in the international community and intensifying nationalist rhetoric. This course will examine China's historical engagement with the modern world in order to gain perspective on our current views. It will cover the Qing (1644-1911) dynastic order, encounters with Western and Japanese imperialism, the rise of Chinese nationalism, Republican and Communist revolutions, the "other Chinas" of Taiwan and Hong Kong, economic liberalization, and globalization. [ more ]

    HIST 217 / ASST 217Early Modern Japan

    Last offered Spring 2018

    Over a century of constant warfare came to an end in the late 1500s, ushering in more than two hundred years of relative peace in a Japan that was ruled by a military government. This course will take up the extraordinary changes and enduring continuities of the period between the establishment of the Tokugawa government in the early 1600s and its eventual collapse in 1868, an era characterized by societal order and tensions, economic growth and stagnation, the development of cities and towns, the flourishing of urban culture, the spread of new and different ideas, and the decline of the samurai. We will focus on the political, social, and cultural history of early modern Japan, including topics such as the establishment of the Tokugawa order, the nature of the political system, foreign relations, urbanization, popular culture, material culture, the quality of life, the legal order, gender and sexuality, and the fall of the Tokugawa government. Assigned materials will include government documents, intellectual treatises, autobiographies, literature, and films. [ more ]

    Taught by: TBA

    Catalog details

    HIST 218 / ASST 218(S)Modern Japan

    Stunning revolutions, the construction and collapse of an empire, the waging of wars, devastating defeat and occupation by a foreign power, and postwar economic ups and downs have marked Japan's modern experience. This course will explore how various Japanese from politicians and intellectuals to factory workers and farmers have understood, instigated, and lived the upheavals of the past century and a half. We will ask why a modernizing revolution emerged out of the ashes of the early modern order; how Japan's encounters with "the West" have shaped the country's political and cultural life; what democracy and its failures have wrought; how world war was experienced and what legacies it left in its wake; how national identity has been constructed and reconstructed; and how postwar Japan has struggled with the successes and costs of affluence. Materials will include anthropological studies, government documents, intellectual tracts, fiction, films, and oral histories. [ more ]

    PSCI 247(S)Political Power in Contemporary China

    The People's Republic of China presents us with two grand political narratives: socialism and democracy. In the Maoist era, a distinctive understanding of socialism, which claimed to be a more genuine democracy, brought hope and, ultimately, tragedy to hundreds of millions of people. In the post-Mao era, Chinese politics has been driven by the need to redefine socialism in the wake of the world-historic calamities of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution and, more recently, the end of the Cold War. The state cannot simply give up the socialist myth because without it the rationale for Communist Party hegemony evaporates. But China's rulers cannot avoid political reform, both ideological and institutional, because to do so heightens the legitimacy crisis born of Maoist failures. Within this context has emerged the contemporary Chinese democracy movement which, in all of its complexity, looks to both socialist discourse and Western practice to create a new politics that checks tyrannical abuses of state power and engenders a civil society. What is Chinese democracy now? What are its prospects and what is its relationship to the ideas of socialism? [ more ]

    REL 250 / ASST 250Scholars, Saints and Immortals: Virtue Ethics in East Asia

    Last offered Fall 2017

    In East Asian cultures, as in the United States, popular conceptions of morality typically take their shape, not from explicit rules, but from moral paragons--stylized figures that are said to embody a distinctive cluster of virtues. For example, American Christians invoke not only Jesus, but also a pantheon of "secular saints" as diverse as Martin Luther King Jr. and General Patton, George Washington and Cesar Chavez. This course will explore the cultural functions of moral paragons and philosophies of virtue in East Asia by introducing students to examples from Chinese and Japanese history, ranging from Confucian articulations of the ideal scholar-bureaucrat to Buddhist conceptions of the Bodhisattva to Taoist immortals. It will also address the history of ethical thought in East Asia, focusing particular attention on conceptions of "Virtue Ethics." This approach has come to be seen by some contemporary analytic philosophers as a way out of the impasse produced by ethical relativism and the loss of theological rationales for moral action. Readings will include Euro-American philosophers such as Nietzsche and MacIntyre as well as primary texts in translation by Chuang-tzu, Confucius, Shantideva and others. [ more ]

    REL 251 / ASST 251Zen Buddhism: History and Historiography

    Last offered Fall 2012

    Because mystifying references to Zen are strewn throughout American popular culture-from episodes of the Simpsons to names of perfumes and snack foods-most Americans have an image of Zen Buddhism that is disconnected from anything actually practiced in East Asia. This course offers a corrective to this image by familiarizing students with both the history of Zen and the historiographical roots of these popular perceptions. This course will examine the origins of Zen (Ch'an) in China, trace its transmission to Japan, and cover its development in both cultural contexts. It will conclude with an examination of Zen's unique role in American popular culture. The course will enrich the conventional image of Zen by addressing its involvement with power and governance, gods and demons, mummies and sacred sites, sex and violence, nationalism and scholarship. Texts will include selections from primary works in translation (The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, The Gateless Barrier, The Lancet of Seated Meditation) as well as selections from secondary literature including Suzuki, Zen and Japanese Culture, Victoria, Zen at War, and Faure, The Rhetoric of Immediacy. [ more ]

    COMP 255 / ASST 253Love and Death in Modern Japanese Literature

    Last offered Spring 2018

    One thing that surprises many first-time readers of modern Japanese fiction is its striking similarity to Western fiction. But equally surprising are the intriguing differences that lie concealed within that sameness. This course investigates Japanese culture and compares it with our own by reading Japanese fiction about two universal human experiences--love and death--and asking what inflections Japanese writers give these ideas in their work. The course begins with tales of doomed lovers that were popular in the eighteenth-century kabuki and puppet theaters, and that still feature prominently in Japanese popular culture, from comics to TV dramas. From there we move on to novels and films that examine a range of other relationships between love and death, including parental love and sacrifice, martyrdom and love of country, sex and the occult, and romance at an advanced age. We will read novels and short stories by canonical modern authors like Tanizaki, Kawabata, and Mishima as well as more contemporary fiction by writers like Murakami Haruki; we will also look at some visual literature, including puppet theater, comics, animation, and Japanese New Wave film. The class and the readings are in English. [ more ]

    WGSS 256 / ANTH 256 / ASST 256 / REL 256(F)Buddhism, Sex, & Gender: #MeToo Then and Now

    This course considers the feminist voices that have been part and parcel of Buddhist practices, texts, and institutions for most of its 2500-year history. We will conduct a historical genealogy of Buddhist voices that illustrate the fluid and disruptive role of sex, gender, caste, and class in relation to individual behavior and social relations. How did the Buddha's inner revolution produce a set of practices that both reject and reinforce existing binaries and social hierarchies of sex and gender, and with what effects? We will trace a feminist voice that decries harassment, assault, and systemic sexism within Buddhist communities from the first female disciples (Theri) of the Buddha to the current #MeToo era of embattled toxic masculinity. Along the way, we explore a literary canon that contains misogyny and 'she devils' alongside a rich tapestry of female divinities, transgender fluidity, and female liberation. We pursue and intersectional analysis of Buddhist traditions and texts by considering the multiple forms of social hierarchy--gender, sexuality, race, and class--that Buddhism has attempted to transcend. We begin by considering three women in the Buddha's life-his mother (Maya), his stepmother/aunt (Gotami), and his wife (Yashodhara)--as well as the tales of the first enlightened Buddhist women whose topics include prostitution, patriarchy, sexism, and pathetic husbands, as well as their own decaying bodies and beauty. Our next theme is the myriad ways that gender is both produced and deconstructed in Buddhist discourses on enlightenment and the human body. Our final theme considers a range of monastic memoirs, including a Buddhist black nun who left Harvard to take ordination in Thailand, and a Dutchman who studied Zen Japan. We close by examining the current debates in the U.S. and Asia that seek to combat systemic racism, sexism, and casteism in Buddhist traditions. [ more ]

    JAPN 260 / COMP 262 / THEA 262(F)Japanese Theatre and its Contemporary Context

    Japan's rich and varied performance traditions, old and new, born of different historical settings, coexist to this day and compete for the attention of audiences, domestically and abroad. The forms to be considered (nohgaku, kabuki, bunraku, shingeki, butoh, and Takarazuka all female revue among others) are all dynamic. Each has transformed itself in response to evolving social conditions. This course examines these performance traditions, considers how each reflects the social, cultural, and political context of its birth, and poses the question, "of what relevance is each to a contemporary audience?" Some of the other questions we will explore are: How have these performing traditions transformed themselves throughout history, including after 3.11? What do we mean by traditional? contemporary? How are traditional and contemporary performance genres interacting with each other? How have the central themes of these works evolved? All readings and discussion will be in English. [ more ]

    COMP 264 / ASST 254(S)The End of the World in Japanese Literature and Visual Culture

    From the endemic warfare of the medieval era to the atomic bombing and the violent explosion of technology in the last century, the end of the world is an idea which has occupied a central place in almost every generation of Japanese literature. Paradoxically, the spectacle of destruction has given birth to some of the most beautiful, most moving, and most powerfully thrilling literature in the Japanese tradition. Texts may be drawn from medieval war narratives like The Tale of the Heike; World War II fiction and films by Ibuse Masuji, Imamura Shohei, and Ichikawa Kon; fantasy and science fiction novels by Abe Kobo, Murakami Haruki and Murakami Ryu; and apocalyptic comics and animation by Oshii Mamoru, Otomo Katsuhiro, and others. The class and the readings are in English; no familiarity with Japanese language or culture is required. [ more ]

    COMP 266 / ASST 266Confession and Deception in Japanese Literature

    Last offered Fall 2017

    Situated at the origins of Japanese literature are the beautiful and revealing diaries of ladies in waiting at the tenth-and eleventh-century court. Yet one of the most famous of these women turned out to be a man. For the next thousand years, Japanese literary tradition would place a premium on confessional writing, but the distortions and concealments of these narrators (and the authors hiding behind them) would always prove at least as interesting as the revelations. This course examines several centuries of Japanese literature to ask whether you can ever put your true self into writing; along the way I will ask you what you reveal, conceal, discover, or reinvent about yourself when you write about literature for a class like this. Texts will range from classical and medieval court literature by Sei Shonagon and Lady Nijo, through autobiographical and confessional novels by Soseki, Tanizaki, Mishima, and Abe Kobo, to documentary and subculture films like The New God and Kamikaze Girls. The class and the readings are in English; no familiarity with Japanese language or culture is required. [ more ]

    ARTH 270 / ASST 270Japanese Art and Culture

    Last offered Spring 2018

    This course is a survey of traditional Japanese painting, sculpture, architecture, woodblock prints, and decorative arts. Special attention will be paid to the developments in artistic style and subject matter in the contexts of contemporary cultural phenomena. Through visual analysis students learn the aesthetic, religious, and political ideals and cultural meanings conveyed in the works of art. Course highlights include the transmission of Buddhism and its art to Japan; Zen Buddhism and its art (dry gardens; temples; and tea ceremony related art forms) in the context of samurai culture; the sex industry and kabuki theater, their art, and censorship; and the Western influences on Japanese art and culture and vice versa, (Japanese woodblock prints' impact on Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, for example). [ more ]

    ARTH 274 / ARTS 274 / ASST 274(S)Chinese Calligraphy: Theory and Practice

    Beginning in the fourth century, Chinese calligraphy has remained one of the highest art forms in China and in East Asia generally, practiced by the literati, or highly erudite scholars. This course has two components: art history and studio practice. The first offers students an opportunity to acquire an understanding of theoretical and aesthetic principles of Chinese calligraphy. It also examines the religious, social, and political functions of Chinese calligraphy in ancient and contemporary China. Students will also have an opportunity to investigate contemporary artists, both Eastern and Western, whose works are either inspired or influenced by Chinese calligraphy, and those whose works are akin to Chinese calligraphy in their abstraction. Studio practice allows students to apply theories to creating beautiful writing, or calligraphy (from Greek kallos "beauty" + graphe "writing"). This course can be taken as either an Art History or a Studio Art course. [ more ]

    JAPN 276 / COMP 278Premodern Japanese Literature and Performance

    Last offered Spring 2017

    Some of Japan's performance traditions, which developed in different historical settings, have survived to this day and continue to coexist and compete for the attention of audiences both domestically and abroad. This course examines the Japanese literature of three major periods in Japan's history, focusing on how literary and performance traditions have been interrelated in the unfolding of Japanese literary history. We will begin by looking into the Heian period (794-1185), when the work of female authors occupied center stage and some of the canonical texts of the Japanese literary and cultural tradition were born. Next we will consider the medieval period (1185-1600), which saw the rise of the samurai class and the consequent shift in the domain of artistic creation. Then we will look at the Edo period (1600-1867), when a new bourgeois culture flourished and audiences were greatly transformed. We will also explore the continuing force of premodern literary traditions in contemporary performing arts. All readings and discussions will be in English. [ more ]

    Taught by: TBA

    Catalog details

    WGSS 319 / ASST 319 / HIST 319Gender and the Family in Chinese History

    Last offered Fall 2017

    Although sometimes claimed as part of a set of immutable "Asian values," the Chinese family has not remained fixed or stable over time. In this course, we will use the framework of "family" to gain insight into gender, generational, and sexual roles in different historical periods. Beginning in the late imperial period (16th-18th Centuries), we will examine the religious, marital, sexual, and childrearing practices associated with the "orthodox" Confucian family. We will then explore the wide variety of "heterodox" practices in imperial China, debates over and critiques of the family system in the twentieth century, and configurations of gender and family in contemporary China. [ more ]

    HIST 321 / ASST 321History of U.S.-Japan Relations

    Last offered Fall 2017

    An unabating tension between conflict and cooperation has been an undercurrent of U.S.-Japan relations for over 150 years, at times erupting into clashes reaching the scale of world war and at times allowing for measured collaboration. We will explore the U.S.-Japan relationship from the perspectives of both countries with a focus on how culture, domestic concerns, economic and political aims, international contexts, and race have helped shape its course and nature. Topics will include early U.S.-Japan encounters; the rise of both countries as imperial powers; the road to, and experience of, World War II; the politics and social history of the postwar American occupation of Japan; the U.S.-Japan security alliance; trade relations; and popular culture. Contemporary topics will also be discussed. [ more ]

    PSCI 345(S)Cosmology and Rulership in Ancient Chinese Political Thought

    This class will involve students in close reading of, and exegetical writing about, core texts of ancient Chinese political thought. The purpose is to gain an understanding of a number of different perspectives on politics and leadership, especially Confucianism, Legalism and Taoism. While the primary focus will be on the meaning of the texts in the context of their own times, contemporary applications of core concepts will also be considered. The class will begin with background readings, since no prior work in Chinese philosophy or history is assumed. Then the class will read significant portions of the following canonical works: The Analects, Mencius, the Daodejing, Zhuangzi, and Han Feizi. [ more ]

    PSCI 354 T / ASST 245 / HIST 318Nationalism in East Asia

    Last offered Spring 2017

    This tutorial examines the theoretical literature on nationalism, and then uses insights from those readings to study of the emergence and development of modern nationalist movements and national identities in China, Japan, Korea -- both South and North -- and Taiwan. [ more ]

  • MUS 125 / DANC 125Music and Social Dance in Latin America

    Last offered Fall 2014

    This course offers a full-spectrum introduction to the sounds, movements, and social characteristics of a number of Latin American social dance forms, including samba, salsa, tango, and the Afro-Surinamese genre, awasa. Through critical listening and viewing assignments, performance workshops, and readings from disciplines spanning ethnomusicology, anthropology, dance studies, Latin American studies and history, students will combine a technical understanding of the musical and choreographic features of these genres with a consideration of their social impact. Among the questions that will drive class discussions are the following: How do sound and movement interrelate? What aspects of gender, sexuality, class, race and ethnicity arise in the performance and consumption of Latin American genres of social dance? How do high political, economic, and personal stakes emerge through activities more commonly associated with play and leisure? No prior music or dance training is necessary, however this course does require regular engagement in interactive and performance-based assignments and workshops. [ more ]

    MUS 126Cuban Popular Music and Culture

    Last offered Fall 2014

    This class will cover genres of Cuban folk, and popular music and the impact that Cuban history has had on Cuban music, art, and culture in general. Topics to be discussed will include the African influence on Cuban music between the 15th and 16th centuries, the contemporary coexistence of old African musical practices with new musical manifestations now purely Cuban, and the Spanish influence on the Punto Cubano or Punto Guajiro that flourished at the end of the 18th century as a family-neighborhood activity. We will also discuss the connection between folk music and the utilization of European techniques that gave as a result the danzon, the mambo, the cha cha cha, the Cuban son, as well as multiple genres of the Cuban cancion (song). Other topics of discussion will include the strong bonds between Cuban music and North American music during the 20th century, and how the combination of folk music/professional music imparts a dynamic to Afro-Cuban jazz, and salsa. We will also discuss more recent developments of Afro-Cuban music such as timba cubana, Cuban hip hop, and the social issues represented in their lyrics. A good understanding of Cuban music requires the understanding of Cuban people and their culture. We will discuss how Cuban music is and has been for centuries an expression and part of the religious and political systems of belief of the Cuban people. We will also see how Cuban music is an important part of Cuban identity and their heritage. Class examples will also demonstrate how Cuban music is a force that unifies all Cubans regardless of their social class or political view. [ more ]

    RLSP 203From Modernismo to El Boom de la Novela

    Last offered Fall 2017

    A survey of some of the leading imaginative writers of Ibero America. Readings will begin with the modernista poets and go on to include fiction of Mexico by Rulfo, a wide sampling of verse by Pablo Neruda, and narratives of the "Boom" period by authors such as Borges, Cortazar, Lispector, and Garcia Marquez. Conducted in Spanish. [ more ]

    RLSP 205 / COMP 205(F)The Latin-American Novel in Translation

    A course specifically designed to enable students who have no knowledge of Spanish to read and discover those Latin-American authors who, in the twentieth century, have attracted world-wide attention. Among the texts to be discussed: Borges, Labyrinths; Cortazar, Blow-up and Hopscotch; Lispector, the Hour of the Star lesser works by Fuentes and Puig; and by Nobel Prize-winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude. Conducted in English [ more ]

    HIST 242Latin America From Conquest to Independence

    Last offered Fall 2017

    This course will examine the processes commonly referred to as the creation of "Latin America" and will do so from numerous perspectives. Starting with the construction of indigenous societies, from small and decentralized groupings to huge imperial polities-, before 1492, to the invasion of Europeans from that date forward, we will take up the question of the Iberian "conquest," looking at the often violent encounters that made up that event and analyzing its success, limits, and results. We will then study the imposition of Iberian rule from the point of view of would-be colonizers and the peoples they treated as objects of colonization, stressing the multiple and conflicting character of European, indigenous, and African perspectives. Thus looking at the Americas from both the outside-in and inside-out, we will focus on the unequal relations of power that came to define cultural, political, and economic life in the colonies, always with an eye on the gendered and racialized nature of those relations. We will also not only compare very different regions of the Iberian Americas but also see how the grand shifts of history intervened in--and perhaps consisted of--the most normal elements of daily life in northern Mexico, the central Andes, coastal Brazil, and other parts of colonial Latin America. Visual as well as more traditional written primary materials, along with secondary texts and films, will serve as the basis for our discussions throughout the semester. [ more ]

    HIST 243Modern Latin America, 1822 to the Present

    Last offered Fall 2016

    This course will examine salient issues in the history of the independent nations of Latin America. The first two sections of the course will focus on the turbulent formation of nation-states over the course of the "long nineteenth century," from the crises of the Spanish and Portuguese colonial empires in the late eighteenth century to the heyday of liberal political economies at the turn of the twentieth century. In this regard the course will analyze the social and economic changes of the period up to World War I and the possibilities they offered for both political order and disorder. Key topics addressed will include caudillismo, the role of the Church in politics, economic dependency and development, and the place of indigenous and African Latin-American peoples in new nations, and industrialization and urbanization. The latter two sections will examine the trend toward state-led national development in the twentieth century, considering the diverse forms it took and conflicts it generated in different nations and periods. Here we will take up questions the emergence of workers' and women's movements and the rise of mass politics; militarism, democracy, and authoritarian governments; the influence of the U.S. in the region; and the life and possibly death of revolutionary options. Within this chronological framework of national and regional political economy, we will consider the ways that various Latin American social actors shaped their own lives and collective histories, sometimes challenging and sometimes accommodating the ideals of national elites. General regional trends will be illustrated by selected national cases, including Mexico, Brazil, Agentina, Cuba, Chile, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. [ more ]

    AFR 248 / HIST 248The Caribbean: From Slavery to Independence

    Last offered Spring 2018

    This class will begin with and foreground the current crisis in Puerto Rico, an island emblematic of the history of colonialism, racism, environmental destruction, and economic exploitation of the region. But as the Caribbean has suffered, so has it resisted. From the Haitian Revolution to the Manley `Revolt' in Jamaica, the Puerto Rican Independence Movement, the Cuban Revolution, and the Grenadian Revolution, the Caribbean has been at the forefront of radical change in the New World. Pioneering slave emancipation, independence from European empires, and unique experiments in socialism, communism, and Black Power, these small islands have been world leaders. But their innovative social and political experimentation--expressed in vivid artistic and musical forms--have all too often met with disdain and repression by their more powerful neighbors or former colonial rulers. This course will examine the audacious experiments of the Caribbean people from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries as well as the repression they have faced from abroad. We will pay attention to the rich cultural diversity of the region, using film, music, literature and art to examine diverse phenomenon, including voodoo, Santeria, and Rastafarianism. We will also explore the prospects for continuing change in the contemporary Caribbean, paying special attention to the environmental challenges they face amidst rising sea levels, drought, heat waves, and the effect of two hundred years of environmental destruction at the hands of rapacious foreigners, from slaveowners to cruise ship lines to bauxite and oil producers. [ more ]

    PSCI 266(S)The United States and Latin America

    This course examines the most important political and diplomatic divide in the Western Hemisphere. The first half is a historical survey of U.S.-Latin American foreign relations from the early Spanish American independence movements through the end of the Cold War, with some emphasis on the latter. We consider how this history confirms or undermines influential views about U.S. foreign relations and about international relations generally. We also compare historical U.S. foreign policy toward the hemisphere to current policy globally. The second half covers the most important current issues in hemispheric relations: the rise of leftist governments in Latin America; the war on drugs; immigration and border security; and competition with China for influence. At the end we briefly reconsider current U.S. policies, in view of the economic and political evolution of Latin America, in historical perspective. [ more ]

    RLSP 308The Subject of Empire: Race, Gender and Power in the Colonial Era

    Last offered Spring 2018

    This class studies Latin American literature of the colonial era (1492-1898) from the perspective of the constitution of the subject: the autobiographical 'yo' that is both the subject of discourse and the object of sovereign power. Our readings will include the most outstanding texts of the group collectively known as the Chronicles of the Conquest--the letters of Christopher Columbus and Hernan Cortes and Bernal Diaz del Castillo's True History of the Conquest of New Spain, among others--whose authors endeavor to establish their historical authority and legitimate their actions before the Spanish king. We will also read later works in which racially and sexually marginalized subjects struggle to contest the identities and the conditions imposed on them by a distant sovereign through far-reaching institutional networks: the mestizo historian known as El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, the cross-dressed soldier Catalina de Erauso, the poet Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, and the slave Juan Francisco Manzano. [ more ]

    HIST 347Democracy and Dictatorship in Latin America

    Last offered Spring 2018

    The inability--or failure--of Latin American countries to establish stable and democratic governments has frustrated observers across the region and beyond for almost 200 years. This course will examine the historical creation of both democratic and anti-democratic regimes in different national cases, seeking to identify the conditions that have fostered the apparent persistence of dictatorial tendencies in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, and the countries of Central America. In this regard we will look at the social and economic forces as well as the political actors and ideologies that have contributed to distinct, if often parallel, outcomes. At the same time, we will also question the criteria we use to label regimes "democratic" or "dictatorial"--and the implications of our choice of criteria. [ more ]

    PSCI 349 TCuba and the United States

    Last offered Spring 2018

    With the passing of the Castro brothers' regime on the horizon, we examine the long and deeply felt history of dependence and conflict between Cuba and its colossal neighbor to the north. It begins with the political economy of the colony, then covers the Cuba- US relationship from Jose Marti and 1898 through the Cold War to the present, emphasizing the revolutionary period. Tutorial topics include: sovereignty and the Platt Amendment; culture and politics; race and national identity; policies on gender and sexual orientation; social programs; political institutions; the post-Soviet "Special Period"; the evolution of the Cuban exile community in the US; and the fraught agenda of reform and generational transition. Materials include journalism, official publications, biographies, travel accounts, polemics, policy statements of the US government, and a wide range of academic works. [ more ]

    PSCI 351 / GBST 351(S)The New Left and Neoliberalism in Latin America

    Recent years have seen a resurgence of the political left in Latin America. This course seeks to understand the origins of this new left, the ideas and character of its protagonists, the neoliberal philosophy it opposes, and the arena of democratic politics it inhabits today. We first read polemics from both sides, before stepping back to consider Latin American political economy, including the twentieth-century left, from a more historical and analytical perspective. With this preparation, we then look more closely at major contemporary figures and movements in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, and other countries. After considering explanations of the rise of the left and assessments of its performance in power, we end our common readings by asking what it might mean today to be on the left in Latin America--or anywhere--both in policy and political terms. [ more ]

  • LEAD 150 / ARAB 111 / HIST 111Movers and Shakers in the Middle East

    Last offered Fall 2017

    This course examines the careers, ideas, and impact of leading politicians, religious leaders, intellectuals, and artists in the Middle East in the twentieth century. Utilizing biographical studies and the general literature on the political and cultural history of the period, this course will analyze how these individuals achieved prominence in Middle Eastern society and how they addressed the pertinent problems of their day, such as war and peace, relations with Western powers, the role of religion in society, and the status of women. A range of significant individuals will be studied, including Gamal Abd al-Nasser, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Ayatollah Khomeini, Muhammad Mussadiq, Umm Khulthum, Sayyid Qutb, Anwar Sadat, Naghuib Mahfouz, and Huda Shaarawi. [ more ]

    HIST 209The Origins of Islam: God, Empire and Apocalypse

    Last offered Spring 2014

    Both Muslim and non-Muslim historians usually see the rise of Islam in the seventh century C.E. as a total break with the past. This course will challenge that assumption by placing the rise of Islam in the context of the history of late antiquity (c. 250-700 C.E.). The first portion of the course will examine the impact of Judeo-Christian monotheism in the ancient world, the rise of confessional empires, articulation of new ideas about holiness and its relation to sexuality and the transformations undergone by Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism. We shall examine the conversation of these traditions with classical paganism and philosophy, the internal struggle within traditions to define rules of interpretation, the impact of ascetic, iconoclastic and apocalyptic ideas and, finally, polemics among the traditions. We will then examine the career of Muhammad (PBUH) in the context of Arabia, the spread of the Islamic empire into Christian and Iranian worlds, the impact of apocalyptic expectations, the fixation of religious decision making within the tradition, the process of conversion, the encounter with the Late Antique heritage and religious diversity within the commonwealth of Islam. The course will end with the end of the Abbasid Caliphate in 1258. [ more ]

    ANTH 210 / ARAB 210 / GBST 210 / HIST 210 / REL 240The Challenge of ISIS

    Last offered Spring 2017

    What is ISIS and what does it want? Using historical and anthropological sources and perspectives, the course considers the origins, ideology and organization of the Islamic State. Beginning with an examination of early radical movements, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Afghan mujahidin and Taliban, and al-Qaeda, the course will go on to investigate how ISIS derives important aspects of its ideology and organization from these earlier movements and how it deviates from them. We will look at unique aspects of the movement, such as its use of social media, its extensive destruction of ancient historical sites, its staging of spectacles of violence, and its recruitment of Muslims from Europe and North America. We will also examine the ideological constitution of the movement, including its attitude toward and treatment of non-Muslims, its conceptualization of itself as a modern incarnation of the original Islamic caliphate, the ways in which it justifies its use of violence, and its apocalyptic vision of the present-day as End Time. Finally, we will evaluate current responses to ISIS, in the West and among Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere, in terms of their effectiveness and strategic coherence. [ more ]

    HIST 212 / ASST 212Transforming the "Middle Kingdom": China, 2000 BCE-1600

    Last offered Fall 2016

    China expanded from scattered Neolithic settlements to become one of the world's most complex and sophisticated civilizations. During this process, it experienced dramatic transformation as well as remarkable institutional and cultural continuities. This course will examine Chinese history from prehistoric times to the "early modern" seventeenth century. It will address topics such as the creation and transformation of dynastic authority, the reinterpretation of Confucian thought, the transmission of Buddhism, the conquest of China proper by "barbarian" peoples, the composition of elites, and change in daily life, popular culture and China's place in the East Asian and world systems. [ more ]

    REL 239 / GBST 101 / ARAB 207 / HIST 207 / LEAD 207 / JWST 217(F)The Modern Middle East

    This survey course addresses the main economic, religious, political and cultural trends in the modern Middle East. Topics to be covered include the cultural diversity of the Middle East, relations with Great Powers, the impact of imperialism, the challenge of modernity, the creation of nation states and nationalist ideologies, the discovery of oil, radical religious groups, and war and peace. Throughout the course these significant changes will be evaluated in light of their impact on the lives of a variety of individuals in the region and especially how they have grappled differently with increasing Western political and economic domination. [ more ]

    COMP 252 / WGSS 251 / ARAB 252Arab Women Memoirs: Writing Feminist History

    Last offered Fall 2015

    This course reviews selected autobiographical writings by Arab women writers from the wave of independence in the 20th century to the contemporary Arab uprisings, passing through all the transformations that globalization and the technosphere have instigated. We will examine the role that first-voice narrative plays in shaping literature, history and thought, while providing a space to reclaim cultural, social and political agency. Focusing on the different articulations of self-representation, our discussion will address how these women reflect on the shifting discourses of identities, gender, nationalism, religion, feminism, sexuality, politics, borders and their histories. Questions we will address include: How did these memoirs contribute to the development of Arab feminist consciousness? In addition to the memoirs, we will look at women's blogs and watch films that focus on first-person narrative to discuss related topics, such as, visual testimonies, virtual political participation and feminist resistance in the technosphere. Required texts may include: Fadwa Tuqan (A Mountainous Journey: An Autobiography), Fatima Mernissi (Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood), Leila Ahmed (A Border Passage: From Cairo to America--a Woman's Journey), Fadia Faqir and Shirley Eber (In the House of Silence: Autobiographical Essays by Arab Women Writers), and Jumanah Haddad (I Killed Scheherazade: Confessions of an Angry Arab Woman), as well as critical essays and selections from autobiographical writings that reflect the diversity of Arab women in the Middle East and the diaspora. [ more ]

    ARAB 256 / COMP 256 / ENGL 284Arab and Anglophone: Narratives Beyond Nation and Diaspora

    Last offered Spring 2015

    This course takes a close look at contemporary Anglophone Arab writings. The objective is to familiarize students with major Arab writers, and/or writers of Arab descent who live in the Anglo-Saxon diaspora, especially the UK, North America and Australia. We will investigate the work of these writers with special attention to the history of Arab migration to these geographies, and the emergence of hyphenated Arab identities and literatures. At the heart of this course is a desire to not only shed light on what it means to be an Arab or an immigrant producing English literature, but also to understand the multiple ways in which we conceptualize and seek to define what transnational literature means. Texts for this course may include novels by the following writers: Rabih Alameddine (Lebanon/USA), Mohja Kahf (Syria/USA), Leila Aboulela (Sudan/UK), Hisham Matar (Libya/UK), and Randa Abdel-Fattah (Palestine-Egypt/Australia). There will also be a course reader that includes critical essays, poems, as well as a number of films and selections of music that shed light on the different articulations of being Arab and Anglophone. [ more ]

    PSCI 268Israeli Politics

    Last offered Spring 2018

    This is an introductory course on Israeli politics. Approaching questions historically, it discusses the evolution of Zionism before and after the founding of Israel, the immigration and assimilation of Jews from Arab states, and the changes in Israeli politics and society introduced by the acquisition of the West Bank and the ensuing occupation and settlements. The course also will address Israel's foreign policies, including its relationship with the USA, and the conflict with Palestinians. [ more ]

    ARTH 278 / ARAB 278The Golden Road to Samarqand

    Last offered Fall 2016

    The region stretching from present day Iran to India figures prominently in contemporary global culture but it also has a rich and complex history--an amalgamation of Persian, Turkish and Islamic influences. Home to Genghis Khan and Timur (Tamerlane), Akbar the Great and Shah Jahan, it has generated some of the most renowned monuments (e.g. the Taj Mahal and the blue tiled mosques of Isfahan) and refined manuscript painting ever known. We will cover a broad swath of time--from the 10th to the 20th century--concentrating on important centers of artistic production such as Timurid Central Asia and Mughal India. Students will have the opportunity to study original works of art in the college museum collections. [ more ]

    HIST 310 / ARAB 310Iraq and Iran in the Twentieth Century

    Last offered Spring 2017

    Despite being neighbors, the historical experience of Iran and Iraq has been drastically different. In this course we will begin by exploring the creation of Iraq in 1921 and the Pahlavi government in Iran. We will evaluate the revolutions of 1958 and 1978-9 and compare the lives and careers of Saddam Hussein and Ayatollah Khomeini. The tragic Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88 will also be discussed. Finally, the political future of these countries will be assessed. [ more ]

    HIST 311 / ARAB 311The United States and the Middle East

    Last offered Spring 2014

    At the turn of the twentieth century, the United States was considered a benign superpower in the Middle East. Americans were known as "innocents abroad" for their educational and philanthropic work. From a distance, American society was admired for its affluence and freedom, and Middle Eastern politicians eagerly sought American advice and assistance. Today, however, the situation could hardly be more different. This course will examine the remarkable transformation of American involvement in the Middle East. Significant cultural and political encounters of the latter half of the twentieth century will be assessed in order to identify how the United States has approached the region and consider the multifaceted and sometimes ambivalent reactions of people in the Middle East to increasing U.S. presence. It will also explore the difficulty the United States has experienced in balancing diverse, and sometimes conflicting, foreign policy interests, and will evaluate what may account for the increasing level of antagonism and mistrust on both sides. [ more ]

    ARAB 331 / COMP 332(F)Popular Culture in the Arab World: Youth, Populism, and Politics

    Since the uprisings in the Arab world in 2011 and the counter-revolutions that followed, much attention has been paid to the significant role of the "popular" in creating social and political transformations. The voice of the youth and "the street," in particular, emerged as massive sources and sites for political mobilization. But, are these categories identical? Does youth culture equal popular culture? This survey course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the different layers that constitute popular culture in the Arab world since the decolonization of Arab states in the 1950s. Questions that we will ask include: What constitutes "popular culture" in the Arab world? How is it different than folk culture, mass culture, or "high" culture? Who are the key players in the creation and dissemination of "popular" culture? Besides globalization, for example, what other social, political and economic dynamics engulf the definition of the "popular"? What are modes of self-fashioning and representation of Arab identity that characterize this culture? To answer these questions we will examine original sources (with English translation) that include a graphic novel, political cartoon and graffiti, documentaries, TV shows, soap operas, video clips, music, comedy, blogs, news and social media. A selection of essays from anthropology, Arab culture studies, political science, journalism, and online videos will be used to provide historical and critical context for the material discussed in class. [ more ]

    ARAB 368 / COMP 368 / WGSS 368Arab Women Writers: Remapping Urban Narratives

    Last offered Fall 2017

    In "The Lover of Blue Writing above the Sea," (1995) a poem written to console a lover after the death of his beloved, Syrian poet, Ghada al-Samman, pens: "If you are sad and burn the edge of my book/I shall come to you/like the genie in my grandmother's Damascene stories..." As these lines imply, the fantastic grandmother's Damascene stories have the power to equally amend broken hearts and restore memories of loss. In this course, we will adopt "the grandmother's Damascene stories" as a conceptual metaphor that guides our line inquiry into the intersection of Arab women's narrative and the city. We will read novels and short stories by Arab women writers about cities and capitals in the Arab world and the diaspora. The goal of this course is not only to familiarize students with prominent Arab women novelists, such as Hoda Barakat, Radwa Ashur, Liana Badr, Raja'a Alem, Alia Mamdouh, and Ahlam Mosteghanemi, among others, but also to introduce them to the literary and visual cartography of Beirut, Granada (via Cairo), Ramallah, Mecca, Baghdad, and Constantine, respectively. We will also read short stories about other cities in the world, such as New York, Paris, London, Buenos Aires and Tokyo among other world metropolis. Questions we will address include: How does the city appear as a protagonist? How do Arab women novelists represent nationhood, modernity, memory, love, war, sexuality and religion, among other themes, in their construction of urban narratives? How do these narratives map an Arab feminist metropolis? How do Arab women writers represent cities beyond the Arab world? To answer these questions, we will also look at Arab women's blogs and watch films that focus on the city as a site for spatial articulation of national histories, popular revolutions, and feminist public spheres. [ more ]

    INST 409 / ARAB 409 / HIST 409Crescent, Cross, and Star. Religion and Politics in the Middle East

    Last offered Fall 2013

    Is religion the most powerful force in the Middle East? Is religion becoming more prominent in the political sphere and what impact will that have on religious minorities and the status of women in the Middle East? Using a case study and historical approach, this course will consider the development of religiously inspired political ideologies in the Middle East in the 19th and 20th century. We will explore the experience of Iran, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan and evaluate role of religious actors, institutions, and ideologies in constructing national identities, policymaking, state-building, regime change, conflict, and war. [ more ]

    JWST 480 T / ARAB 480 / GBST 480 / HIST 480(F)Interpretations of the Israeli Palestinian Conflict

    This tutorial addresses the powerful, competing, and bitterly contested historical narratives that underpin the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both Israelis and Palestinians appeal to history to legitimize their territorial claims and to justify contemporary action. Special attention will be paid to the interpretations of key historical moments, especially the 1948 and 1967 wars, and on the contrasting views of some of the core issues of the conflict (Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, terrorism). [ more ]

  • RUSS 203 / COMP 203Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature: Rebels and Rebellion

    Last offered Fall 2017

    "God save us from seeing a Russian revolt, senseless and merciless," famously proclaimed Alexander Pushkin. But is revolt always senseless? And if it's not, what is the meaning behind it? Throughout the nineteenth century, Russian literature gave different answers to these questions. In this course, students will familiarize themselves with the masterpieces of the Golden Age of Russian literature with a particular focus on rebellion understood in its broadest sense: philosophical, psychological, social, sexual, and aesthetic. We will examine the confrontation of the archetypal figure of Russian literature, the "superfluous man," with his milieu in Pushkin, Lermontov, Turgenev, and Goncharov. The social and psychological revolt of another key figure--the "little man"--will be addressed in the works of Pushkin and Gogol. We will then discuss woman's sexual rebellion in Nikolai Leskov and the forms of spiritual rebellion in Leo Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Finally, we will examine the aesthetic revolution of Chekhov's plays, which challenged the principles of the old theater and marked the turn to new modernist drama. All readings are in English. [ more ]

    RUSS 204 / COMP 204(S)Russia's Long Revolution: a Survey of Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Russian Culture

    With the one-hundredth anniversary of Russia's October Revolution just behind us and the uncertain future of post-Soviet Russia unfolding before us, we can now take stock of the long century of revolutions in art, politics, and society that has brought Russia to Putin. This course takes a comprehensive look at twentieth- and twenty-first-century Russian culture, focusing on the literature, film, theater, and visual art that defined this transformative period in Russia's modern history. Students will explore the radical aesthetic and political ideas that motivated this change, especially the utopian visions of the Russian avant-garde and early-Soviet Marxists, as well as key works that examine the tragic consequences of the failures of these revolutionary experiments for those who, willing or not, became their active participants. As we move on to the late-Soviet years, we will consider the emergence of a new, "conceptualist" avant-garde, which attempted to dismantle Soviet ideology and the totalitarian logic they attributed to the historical avant-garde using postmodern aesthetics. We will conclude the course by surveying literature, film, and performance that capture the traumatic experience of Russia's transition to market capitalism in the 1990s and its slide into authoritarian "stability" under Putin. Readings include works by Babel, Bulgakov, Platonov, Pasternak, Nabokov, Solzhenitsyn, Prigov, Pelevin, Sorokin, and recent Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich. Films screenings include the cinema of avant-garde masters Eisenstein and Vertov. All readings are in English. [ more ]

    Taught by: Jason Cieply

    Catalog details

    COMP 257 / GBST 213 / RUSS 213 / WGSS 214(F)From Putin to Pussy Riot: Discourses of Post-Soviet Gender

    Before 1991, Russians typically appeared in the Western media as macho villains in the nuclear arms race or a James Bond film. Today, however, news from the Former Soviet Union often sounds like a bizarrely gendered media stunt. Russian president Vladimir Putin has been photographed topless while fishing on vacation in Siberia, while the feminist punk-rock collective Pussy Riot protested Putin's regime by performing in day-glo balaclavas in Russia's largest cathedral. This course examines related post-Soviet media spectacles in the attempt to understand the Western press's fascination with Russia, as well as key social trends defining the post-Soviet era. We will focus on the ways in which gender and sexuality have come to mark post-Soviet culture and discourse as different from those in the West. In addition to Vladimir Putin and Pussy Riot, we will consider the so-called crisis of masculinity in post-Soviet Russia, the trafficking of women from the Former Soviet Union, the Ukrainian feminist collective Femen, the Eurovision Song Contest, and the 2013 legislation in the Russian Federation banning homosexual propaganda among minors. We will try to understand how concepts, such as feminism, tolerance of sexual minorities, and performed gender, have been deemed dangerous in the post-Soviet East at the very time they have attained normative status in the West. All readings will be in English, and all films with have English subtitles. [ more ]

    COMP 285 / GBST 220 / RUSS 220World War II in Russian Culture

    Last offered Spring 2017

    This course traces the development of state-sponsored collective memory of the Great Patriotic War, as the Eastern front of World War II is called in Russia, and its counter-narratives. The veritable cult of the war, as it was shaped by the late Soviet period, took decades to coalesce and went through multiple stages. The relative disregard in the immediate post-war years under Stalin was followed by the striking re-enactments in literature and film of the period of Khruschev's Thaw. The memory of the war for new generations was further defined in state-sponsored memorials, museums and public events under Brezhnev. While Soviet ideology was discredited in the wake of the USSR's collapse, ordinary Russians and politicians alike continue to this day to see Russia's victory over Nazi Germany with pride and as part of their national identity. This course explores the contradictory elements that make up the images and narratives of the war -- in novels, short stories, feature films, and oral histories -- which bring together state violence and individual freedom, patriotism and oppression, remembrance and forgetting. After an initial acquaintance with the colossal human cost of the war, we will examine the artistic, cultural and political traditions of addressing the national trauma that have evolved in the official and unofficial discourses of the war. The search for a "usable past" of the war continues in contemporary Russia, breaching previously suppressed topics yet also obfuscating public attempts to critically examine people's experiences of the war beyond the inherited Soviet myths. [ more ]

    RUSS 306 / COMP 306Rise and Shine with Tolstoy

    Last offered Spring 2018

    Prepare to alternately fall in love and lock horns with this illustrious nineteenth-century Russian author. He is worth it! This course will examine the life and major works of Leo Tolstoy in the context of Western intellectual history. Readings will include his two great novels, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, as well as a number of shorter works, such as The Cossacks and Hadji Murad. We will also consider some of Tolstoy's aesthetic and didactic works as we examine his broad, rich, and sometimes unexpected development as an artist and thinker. [ more ]

    RUSS 343 / COMP 343 / INST 343 / JWST 343Spectacles on His Nose and Autumn on his Heart: The Oeuvre of Isaac Babel

    Last offered Fall 2013

    Known alternately as "master of the short story" and "Russian Maupassant," Isaac Babel was not only one of the most celebrated and intriguing authors of early Soviet Russia, but also a cultural figure of profound national and international significance. For a number of reasons (political, aesthetic, professional, ethical) Babel was not prolific and this will allow us to read almost all of his creative output, something we rarely get to do in the course of a single semester. Babel's writing is extremely varied--it includes sketches, journalistic prose, short stories, plays, movie scripts, one unfinished novel--and richly intertextual. This will afford us the opportunity to read the work of some of his contemporaries and predecessors, from both Russia and abroad, with whom he fashioned brilliant literary conversations, among them Guy de Maupassant, Anton Chekhov, Sholem Aleichem, and Ivan Turgenev. All course readings will be in translation, but students are highly encouraged to read in the original (Russian, French, Yiddish) whenever possible. [ more ]

  • HIST 117 / ASST 117 / GBST 117(S)Bombay/Mumbai: Making of a Modern Metropolis

    Bombay or Mumbai is India's foremost urban center and is well known today as a truly global city. It is the heart of India's commercial life comparable in vibrancy and multiculturalism with the world's emerging cities like Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sao Paulo. What are the historical elements that contributed to the making of India's most modern and global metropolis? What are the antecedents of the modernity, the vibrant culture, dark underbelly and economic diversity that characterize Bombay today? What does the history of Bombay tell us about modernity in India and the emerging countries of the third world in general? This seminar will help students to answer these questions through historical materials on Bombay as well a wide range of multimedia sources including cinema, photography and literature. With a focus on the 19th and 20th centuries, we will explore themes like the commercial culture of a colonial port city, the modern public sphere, theatre and film, labor migration, public health and prostitution to understand what went into the making of this modern metropolis. The primary objective of this course is to introduce students to a wide range of historical sources and ways of interpreting them. The other objective is facilitating their understanding of the history of modern India through the history of its most important city. [ more ]

    HIST 220 / ASST 222History and Society in India and South Asia: c. 2000 to 1700s CE

    Last offered Spring 2018

    This course is an introduction to the history of India and South Asia from prehistoric times to the emergence of early modernity. During these centuries, the subcontinent emerged as one of the most diverse and complex regions of the world, as it continues to be even today. The course will cover the period between the rise of the Indus Valley civilization to the end of the Mughal Empire and will address topics such the as the "discovery of India", the coming of the "Aryans", society and culture in the great epics like the Ramayana, the beginnings of Jain and Buddhist thought, politics and patronage under Islamic polities, the formation of Mughal imperial authority through art, architecture and literature, among others. Through the study of social processes, the course will focus on the diversity and connectedness that have defined the subcontinent throughout its history. It will also consider the role of history in the region and how a number of events from the past continue to inform its present. [ more ]

    HIST 221 / ASST 221 / GBST 221(F)The Making of Modern South Asia: 1750-1950 CE

    This course focuses on the history of South Asia with the aim of providing an overview of the political and social landscape of the region from the end of the Mughal Empire through British colonial rule and the Partition of India and Pakistan. We will explore a range of themes including the rise of colonialism, nationalism, religion, caste, gender relations, and the emergence of modern social and political institutions on the subcontinent. In addition to reading key texts and historical primary sources on the specific themes, we will also work with a variety of multimedia sources including films, short stories and website content. One objective of this course is to introduce students to the different political and social processes that led to the creation of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh; another is to teach students to think critically about the significance of history and history writing in the making of the subcontinent. [ more ]

    ANTH 233 / ASST 233 / REL 253(S)Spiritual Crossroads: Religious Life in Southeast Asia

    No region of the world presents a richer tapestry of religious beliefs, practices, and institutions than Southeast Asia. Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam are all to be found and all of them interpenetrate and contend with each other and with a deep undergirding of animism, shamanism, and mystical folk belief systems. This course will survey these religious traditions through time and space, looking in particular at the growing tension between religion and the state as fundamentalism and religious militancy have spread into the region in recent times. All of Southeast Asia will be covered, but particular attention will be devoted to Indonesia, where religious blending and the growth of new fundamentalism are both especially marked. [ more ]

    ECON 240 T(F)Colonialism and Underdevelopment in South Asia

    British colonial rule in South Asia shaped economy and society in fundamental ways. As resistance to colonial rule emerged in the late nineteenth century, "nationalist" writers developed a critique of its economic impact via taxation, fiscal policy, trade, and many other policies. In their turn, supporters of British rule, "apologists," argued that British rule had laid the foundations of economic growth by securing property rights, enforcing contracts, and developing infrastructure. The debate between "nationalists" and "apologists" has never quite ended, but after the recent growth of the Indian economy it has lost some of its emotional charge. We will use this opportunity to revisit the controversy. [ more ]

    REL 245 / ASST 247Tibetan Civilization

    Last offered Spring 2014

    Often depicted as Shangrila, a mythical and ideal country, Tibet has had the dubious privilege of being a focus of Western fantasies. One cannot but wonder about the motives and sources of this mythology. Although this course examines these representations, its main focus is an immersion in the cultural and historical aspects of Tibetan civilization, which give students the tools with which to understand Tibetan culture from the inside. As such this course is part of the Exploring Diversity Initiative. We first consider the early history of Tibet, the introduction of Buddhism, the relations between Buddhism and the indigenous religion, and some of the stages in the development of Tibetan Buddhism. We also examine the historical developments that led to the development of the institutions (such as the Dalai-Lama) unique to Tibet and some of the aspects of the culture that these institutions helped to create (such as gender roles, family structure and social stratification). Finally, we consider the more recent tragic events and examine the profound transformations that they have brought. Throughout the course, we consider the central role of the complex interaction between Buddhism and politics in Tibetan history, both in the pre-modern period and in more recent times, when the Tibetan people have faced the challenge of how to use their institutions and culture to resist oppression. In this way, we get a footing in the Tibetan world, and the indispensable assessment of Western representations of Tibet becomes not just an exercise in self-reflection but also a gate to a better understanding of a remarkable but tragically threatened civilization. [ more ]

    WGSS 246 T / ANTH 246 / ASST 246 / REL 246India's Identities: Reproducing the Nation,Community and Individual

    Last offered Fall 2017

    This course considers India's contradictory legacy as a booming Asian democracy and fragile society built upon deep and enduring divisions. Why is India's growing population so often described in terms of multiple identities or fragmenting oppositions -- Hindu/Muslim, rich/poor, high caste/outcaste, male/female? What are the historic roots and ongoing causes that produce structural violence around these axes of difference? We pay particular attention to key moments (Partition, communal riots in Gujarat in 2003, Hyderabad in 1990, Delhi in 1984), and places (Punjab, Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir) for our analysis of how religion, gender, and caste intersect to produce a landscape of communal violence, social hierarchy, and fragmented subjectivity in India today. We are as interested in discourses and practices that shore up these binaries as well as the third terms that attempt to transcend or diffuse them. For instance, we look at how Buddhism is and is not a middle path between Hindu/Muslim conflict in Indian Kashmir. Our course readings include ethnographic, sociological, and historical analyses, as well as oral histories and popular media. [ more ]

    WGSS 249 / ANTH 248 / ASST 248 / INST 248 / REL 248Body Politics in South Asia: Gender, Sex, Religion, and Nation

    Last offered Spring 2015

    This course examines the relationship between body, gender, sex, and society in South Asia, using three countries and religions---India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, and Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam---as its foil. The course uses the body as a lens by which to unpack South Asian discourses that link body and sexuality with nation, community, and population. In particular, it explores a South Asian sociology that links individual and social bodies in ways that occasion solidarity as well as social suffering, violence as well as communal cohesion. How do bodies come to signify the purity or prosperity of the nation or community and with what social or discursive effects? We begin by unpacking foundational theories of the body as proposed by Mauss, Foucault, Douglas, and Bourdieu in order to better understand how local discourses of the body help produce gender and other social hierarchies in South Asia. By considering how the human body can serve as a map for society and vice versa, we examine both classical discourses and modern institutional practices of the body including the temple, the monastery, the mosque, and the mendicant, as well as bodily practices such as yoga, celibacy, sex work, and new reproductive technologies. We also analyze how the body has served as a symbol of nation, community, and social health. Throughout, we are interested in the cross-cutting effects of gender and sex in perpetuating structural hierarchies and social suffering around the body in South Asia. [ more ]

    REL 255 / ANTH 255 / ASST 255(S)Buddhism: Ideas and Practices

    This course introduces students to Buddhism by examining its ideas and practices as they have taken place in actual social contexts rather than as disembodied textual objects. After examining the main ideas and narratives of the tradition, we turn our attention to Thailand where we examine how these ideas and narratives have shaped a whole range of practices, from meditation to shamanistic rituals. We then consider the transformations that Buddhism is undergoing in contemporary society, examining the rise of meditation movement, the changing role of monks and laity, the resurgence of the nun order, the rise of Buddhist social activism and the development of new Buddhist social philosophies. We ask questions such as: How can Buddhism adapt to a modern global consumerist society? What are the transformations involved in this process and the role that Buddhism can play in such a global society? Should Buddhists take advantage of the opportunities of this new global culture or should they adopt a critical stance toward its consumerist values? [ more ]

    ANTH 269 T / ASST 269 / REL 269(S)Mindsight: Mindfulness and Medicine

    This course offers a social analysis and historical genealogy of mindfulness meditations from its roots as a Buddhist practice through its modern applications in a variety of social settings including hospitals, clinics, schools, communities, and even prisons to improve health and other social outcomes. We explore the scientific evidence including clinical research and other qualitative studies that have shown how mindfulness can alter human experience, behavior, and well-being. We begin by considering how mindfulness and meditation practices were first taught the Buddha two millennia ago in monastic and lay settings before turning to the modern studies and applications of mindfulness training. How has research on mindfulness exploded since 2000 and how does this relate to better models of the human brain and behavior? We critically examine the models developed by clinical psychiatry, neuroscience, and biomedicine, including brain imaging technologies like the fMRI, that have improved our understanding of the relationship between the brain, behavior, and emotions. We consider research on mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) within clinical medicine, the rise of the `kindness curriculum? in schools, and other areas of applied research on mindfulness that have generated a `science of personal transformation?. Last but not least, we ask how mindfulness has been used to improve the interpersonal skills and training of doctors, teachers, and social workers to help improve social and learning outcomes as well as enhance patient/provider encounters. Students will be expected to engage in a mindfulness practice during the semester. [ more ]

    ANTH 272 / WGSS 272Sex and the Reproduction of Society

    Last offered Fall 2014

    Why is reproduction such a controversial subject in society today, especially in areas of medicine, culture, and religion? And why is the reproductive body subject to such highly ideological and yet contradictory types of practices and discourses across the globe? This course seeks to examine the myriad ways that societies police the range of practices surrounding reproduction--including fertility, conception, pregnancy, birth, abortion, and motherhood. We will pursue a comparative analysis of reproduction across major societies and cultures, through an in-depth look at specialized topics such as the new reproductive technologies, the medicalization and ritualization of obstetrics in America, the continuing controversies over abortion across the globe, and the ongoing debates about the rise of women and the 'End of Men'. Throughout the course, we remain focused on the cultural, social, and medical construction of birth and reproduction more generally. To this end, we explore the varying ritual and medical practices that surround reproduction in different cultural contexts, from high tech to low tech settings and societies. We will deconstruct the process of human reproduction through readings culled from a variety of cultures and disciplines including anthropology, medicine, religious studies, sociology, and gender and sexuality studies. [ more ]

    HIST 388Decolonization and the Cold War

    Last offered Fall 2014

    The second half of the twentieth century came to be defined by two distinct, yet overlapping and intertwined phenomena: the Cold War and decolonization. In the two decades that followed the end of WWII, forty new nation-states were born amidst the bipolar struggle for global supremacy between the Soviet Union and the United States. Those new nations were swept up in the Cold War competition in ways that profoundly influenced their paths to independence and their postcolonial orders, but they often had transformative effects on the Soviet-American rivalry as well. In this course, students will focus on two related questions: How did decolonization influence the Cold War and the international behavior and priorities of the two superpowers? And what impact did the Cold War exert on the developing states and societies of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America? Course materials will consist of scholarly texts, primary sources, memoirs, films, and fiction. [ more ]

    HIST 391 / ASST 391 / GBST 391(S)When India was the World: Trade, Travel and History in the Indian Ocean

    What do Ibrahim Ben Yiju, a Jewish merchant from 11th century Yemen, Ibn Batutah, a Muslim scholar from 15th century Morocco and Captain Kidd, a 17th century English pirate have in common? All three men travelled and lived in the Indian Ocean region! This course explores the history of one of the world's oldest maritime highways that has connected the diverse cultures of Asia, Africa and Europe for millennia, thus making it a vital element in the birth of globalization. Moving away from conventional land-centric histories, we will focus instead on understanding the human past through oceanic interactions. South Asian ports and port cities remained the fulcrum of the Indian Ocean world throughout its history; traders, travellers, nobles, scholars, pilgrims and pirates from all over the world travelled to the Indian coast in search of adventure, spices, knowledge and wealth. Thus we will primarily focus on India's role in the Indian Ocean roughly from the rise of Islam in the seventh century CE through the expansion of various European communities in the region and the subsequent rise of the global economy and colonialism in the nineteenth century. Rather than following a strict temporal chronology we will concentrate on themes such as travel and adventure; trade and exchange; trust and friendship; religion and society; pilgrimage; piracy; the culture of port cities; and food across time. [ more ]

    HIST 415 / ASST 415 / COMP 415Gods and Kings: Historical Narratives from India

    Last offered Spring 2016

    India's long history with earliest written records going back to 2000 B.C presents multiple challenges that are unique among the ancient civilizations. The critical challenge is conceptual: how do we recognize the historical sense of societies whose past is recorded in ways that are different from European conventions? British rulers claimed that India had no sense of history before the colonial period. And this view has persisted despite recent scholarship that has undermined the factual and conceptual basis of this theory. The purpose of this course is two fold: first, to discuss the analytical methods one could apply to understand the 'history' contained in the diverse body of classical Indian literature; second, to study a representative set of primary sources that belong to the distinct historical traditions of India. Students will learn to apply these methods to gain new insights and debate the limitations of the approach. The course will begin with an exploration of the epic tradition and continue with in-depth readings of narratives from other important genres including popular bardic accounts, royal biographies and court dramas ranging from c. 1000 BCE to 1500 CE. [ more ]

    HIST 488 T / REL 388 / ASST 488 / GBST 488Gandhi: Nationalism, Philosophy, and Legacy

    Last offered Spring 2018

    This course studies the work and ideas of M.K. Gandhi (1869-1948, one of the most influential thinkers of the non-western world. Gandhi is well known today for his philosophy of non-violent resistance and its application in India's freedom struggle as well as his influence on the work of leaders like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. Hailed as the `father of the Indian nation', however, Gandhi is not only known for his political ideas but also for his deep engagement with aspect of everyday human behavior and morality: truth, vegetarianism, sex and celibacy, to name just a few of his obsessions which contributed to making his broader philosophy. It is this commitment to a morally pure life that earned him the title of `Mahatma' or Great Soul in India. The tutorial will focus on three key aspects of Gandhi: his ideas of peaceful protest as means of social and political change, his contemplations on moral philosophy, and on his legacy in modern India and the world. Students will read a combination of Gandhi's own writings as well as journal articles, monographs and films. The course will probe questions such as: What was the nature of Gandhian nationalism? Did it help to integrate the Indian nation? How, if at all, was shaped by Gandhi's engagements with moral philosophy and human behavior? Was Gandhi truly a Great Soul, a saint or a shrewd politician? In what ways is Gandhi received and remembered by the Indian nation today? How does understanding a figure like Gandhi facilitate our understanding of modern nationalism, citizenship and political action? [ more ]

Thematic Tracks

  • RLFR 203 / AFR 204 / COMP 282Introduction to Francophone Literatures

    Last offered Fall 2016

    What is the Francophone world comprised of? Who speaks French today and why? What does the idea of Francophonie really mean? Is this term really relevant? Why, how, and by whom is this idea being criticized? How does the litterature-monde manifesto fit within these interrogations? Is the French-speaking world merely a linguistic community or is it also a political, cultural, and economic project? Last but not least, why is the idea of Francophonie so important for France? We will answer these questions through the lens of literary and cinematic texts from Quebec, Senegal, Vietnam, France (l'hexagone), and Haiti among others. [ more ]

    AMST 205 / ARTH 203 / LATS 203 / WGSS 203(F)Chicana/o Film and Video

    Hollywood cinema has long been fascinated with the border between the United States and Mexico. This course will examine representations of the U.S.-Mexico border, Mexican Americans, and Chicana/os in both Hollywood film and independent media. We will consider how positions on nationalism, race, gender, identity, migration, and history are represented and negotiated through film. We will begin by analyzing Hollywood "border" and gang films before approaching Chicana/o-produced features, independent narratives, and experimental work. This course will explore issues of film and ideology, genre and representation, nationalist resistance and feminist critiques, queer theory and the performative aspects of identity.Through a focus on Chicana/o representation, the course explores a wide spectrum of film history (from the silent era to the present) and considers numerous genres. [ more ]

    PSCI 225 / LEAD 225(F)International Security

    This course deals with basic questions about war and peace. What are the major causes of war? Why do leaders choose to use violence in the pursuit of political objectives? How does the threat of war shape international politics and diplomatic outcomes? How are wars fought? What are their consequences? And why do states sometimes seek to cooperate to achieve their objectives and other times settle disputes through force or the threat of force? To address these questions, this course covers a number of specific topics: the causes, conduct, and consequences of the two world wars; the origins, course, and end of the Cold War; the influence of nuclear weapons on international security; regional conflicts and rivalries; regime type and international conflict; alliances and patron-client relationships; diplomacy; crisis decision-making; asymmetric conflicts; and great power politics, grand strategy, and international order. [ more ]

    ENGL 250 / AMST 242 / COMP 242(S)Americans Abroad

    This course will explore some of the many incarnations of American experiences abroad between the end of the 19th century and the present day. Materials will be drawn from novels, short stories, films, and nonfiction about Americans in Europe in times of war and peace. We will compare and contrast the experiences of novelists, soldiers, students, war correspondents, jazz musicians, and adventurers. What has drawn so many Americans to Europe? What is the difference between a tourist, an expat, and an emigre? What are the profound, and often comic, gaps between the traveler's expectations and the reality of living in, say, Paris or a rural village in Spain? What are the misadventures and unexpected rewards of living, working, writing, or even falling in love in translation? Authors may include: Edith Wharton, Henry James, Langston Hughes, Martha Gellhorn, Ernest Hemingway, Elaine Dundy, Richard Wright, and Ben Lerner. Additional reading will be drawn from historical and critical works. All readings will be in English. This comparative course is designed to highlight the challenges and benefits of cultural immersion abroad. It will focus on the linguistic, emotional, intellectual, and social adaptation skills that are required to understand others, and oneself, in new contexts. Many of the authors chose, or were forced to, leave oppressive situations in the United States where their futures were limited due to factors related to politics, gender, race or class (and combinations thereof). We will study their dislocation, and freedom, and struggles to reshape their concept of "home" into something that reflected their individual identity, and not one imposed by any national culture--American or foreign. [ more ]

    COMP 253 / ARAB 253Narratives of Placement and "Dis-placement" from the Global South

    Last offered Spring 2014

    This seminar deals with the theme of placement and "dis-placement" in literature from different sites in the Global South in the late 20th century. Situating the question of placement and uprootedness within multiple historical and cultural contexts in different sites in the Southern hemisphere, the location of much of the "developing world," including the Middle East and North-Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, the African Diaspora and the US-Mexico borderland, we will address the following questions: What distinguishes exile from Diaspora? What constitutes "dis-placement"? How do the experiences of up-rootedness and forced migration among Palestinian refugees and Mexican migrant workers (within Mexico and the US; with or without documents) inform our notion of home and belonging? How do the legacy of French colonialism in North Africa and the rise of globalization in Latin America, for example, shed light on the ongoing massive immigration of subjects from the Global South to the North? Our emphasis will be on working together to find avenues for expressing yourselves in writing and other media, such as creating your own blog entries about these topics. In addition to a course reader with selected stories, poems, and critical essays, readings will include: Benyamin's Goat Days, Aime Cesaire's Return to My Native Land, Ghassan Kanafani's Men in the Sun, Mamud Darwish's Journal of an Ordinary Grief, and Laila Lalami's Hope & Other Dangerous Pursuits. [ more ]

    ARAB 256 / COMP 256 / ENGL 284Arab and Anglophone: Narratives Beyond Nation and Diaspora

    Last offered Spring 2015

    This course takes a close look at contemporary Anglophone Arab writings. The objective is to familiarize students with major Arab writers, and/or writers of Arab descent who live in the Anglo-Saxon diaspora, especially the UK, North America and Australia. We will investigate the work of these writers with special attention to the history of Arab migration to these geographies, and the emergence of hyphenated Arab identities and literatures. At the heart of this course is a desire to not only shed light on what it means to be an Arab or an immigrant producing English literature, but also to understand the multiple ways in which we conceptualize and seek to define what transnational literature means. Texts for this course may include novels by the following writers: Rabih Alameddine (Lebanon/USA), Mohja Kahf (Syria/USA), Leila Aboulela (Sudan/UK), Hisham Matar (Libya/UK), and Randa Abdel-Fattah (Palestine-Egypt/Australia). There will also be a course reader that includes critical essays, poems, as well as a number of films and selections of music that shed light on the different articulations of being Arab and Anglophone. [ more ]

    GERM 316(S)"Wer ist wir?": Recent Debates over Multiculture in Germany

    German chancellor Angela Merkel controversially claimed in 2010: "Multikulti ist gescheitert." (Multiculturalism has failed in Germany). We will investigate different perspectives on Germany's integration of minorities. In the 1960s, government labor contracts brought large numbers of foreign workers into the country and facilitated the "economic miracle." How did the newcomers adapt to life in Germany and what did they hold on to from their home cultures? How did subsequent generations experience life in Germany? What were the major political shifts that took place regarding citizenship and participation in the public sphere? How do popular media portray minorities? How do members of minority groups portray themselves? We will read texts by: Zafer Senocak, Hatice Akyun, Yoko Tawada, Marica Bodrozic, Navid Kermani, Wladimir Kaminer, view feature films and documentaries, and discuss a wide range of social commentary and analyses across the political spectrum from right wing populists to left liberals: Thilo Sarrazin, Kirsten Heisig, Astrid Geisler and Christoph Schultheis, Wilhelm Heitmeyer, Alexander Hausler, Freya Klier, Mark Terkessidids, Rita Sussmuth and others. [ more ]

    LATS 338 / WGSS 338 / AMST 339(S)Latina/o Musical Cultures: Sounding out Gender, Race, and Sexuality

    In this class we will investigate a wide variety of Latina/o popular musical and dance forms, with particular emphasis on questions of gender, sexuality, and ethno-racial identity. Employing interdisciplinary materials and approaches, this course focuses on the sonic and visual analysis of contemporary Latina/o popular music and the identities of its producers, performers, and audiences. We will focus on the following questions, among others: How are the various facets of Latina/o identities expressed through popular music and dance? In what ways do gender, sexuality, and ethno-racial identity inform the performance and interpretation of particular Latina/o musical forms? What unique role does sound play in our understanding of popular music and identity? [ more ]

    COMP 352 / JWST 352 / RLSP 352Writing after the Disaster: The Literature of Exile

    Last offered Fall 2012

    This course will consider different kinds of works (poetry, memoirs, fiction, essay) written by authors forced to live in exile as a consequence of political and/or religious persecution. Our point of departure will be the paradigmatic expulsion and subsequent diaspora of the Jews of Spain and Portugal. Most assignments, however, will be drawn from twentieth century texts written during, or in the wake of, the massive destruction and displacements brought about by the Spanish Civil War and World War II. How is the life lost portrayed? How are the concepts of home and the past intertwined? What kind of life or literature are possible for the deracinated survivor? We will discuss the role of writing and remembrance in relation to political history, as well as in the context of individual survival. Readings might include works by Nu?ez de Reinoso, Leon, Cernuda, Semprun, Benjamin, Nancy, and Blanchot. [ more ]

    GBST 369 / HIST 306 / ARAB 369 / COMP 369Indigenous Narratives: From the Fourth World to the Global South

    Last offered Spring 2018

    In the late 20th century, world literature has witnessed a "boom" in indigenous literature. Many critics and historians describe this global re-emergence of the subaltern and the indigenous in terms of literary justice fostered by post-colonial studies and the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, by the UN General Assembly on December 18, 1992. In this course, we will investigate this "indigenous boom" by reading novels and short stories from the Americas, the Middle East and North Africa from the 1970s to the present. Through these trans-regional and trans-historical peregrinations, our principal goal will be to examine and compare narratives about conquest, settler colonialism, colonial nationalism, indigeneity, sovereignty, indigenous epistemology and philosophy. At the same time, we will consider the following questions: How did pioneering indigenous women writers, such as the Laguna Pueblo Leslie Marmon Silko in the US and the Mayan playwrights of La Fomma in Chiapas, Mexico lead the feminist front of the indigenous literary renaissance? How did Palestinian folktales, Tashelhiyt Berber tales in Morocco, and Mayan dream narratives in Mexico and Guatemala produce narratives of decolonial history? What does the aesthetics of magical realism in Arabic, Quechua and Spanish, respectively, as evident in the works of the Kurdish writer Salim Barakat (Syria) and the mestizo writer Jose Maria Arguedas (Peru) tell us about the intersection of race, ethnicity, and indigenous epistemology? Ultimately, our goal is to trace how these texts contributed to global indigenous literature and the trans-historical and trans-geographical connections between them. [ more ]

    HIST 380(F)Comparative American Immigration History

    This course covers the history of immigration to the U.S. from the 1800s to the present. It compares the experiences of immigrants from Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. [ more ]

    WGSS 386 / HIST 386 / LATS 386Latinas in the Global Economy: Work, Migration, and Households

    Last offered Fall 2017

    An increasingly global economy, from 1945 to the present, has affected Latinas in their home countries and in the United States. The garment industry, one of the first industries to go global, has relied extensively on Latina workers in their home countries and in the United States. Domestic work, a traditional field of women's work, also crosses borders. Challenging the myth that labor migration is a male phenomenon and that women simply follow the men, this course explores how the global economy makes Latinas labor migrants. What impact has the global economy and economic development had on Latinas' work and their households in their home countries? How have economic changes and government policies shaped Latinas' migrations and their incorporation in the changing U.S. economy? How have Puerto Rican, Mexican, Cuban, Dominican, Salvadoran, and Guatemalan women confronted the challenges created by a globalizing economy and balanced demands to meet their households' needs? [ more ]

    LATS 409 / WGSS 409 / AMST 411Transnationalism and Difference: Comparative Perspectives

    Last offered Fall 2016

    In the age of satellite television, e-mail, and mobile applications such as WhatsApp and Skype, transnational living has rapidly emerged as the norm as opposed to the exception. However, what does it really mean to "be transnational"? How are the lived experiences of transnational individuals and communities shaped by categories of difference such as gender, ethno-racial identity, sexuality, and class? What impacts do the growing number of transnational citizens and residents in the U.S. have on our understanding of "American" identity in the local, national, and global contexts? In this interdisciplinary, comparative course we will analyze recent theories regarding the origins and impacts of transnationalism. Particular attention will be paid throughout the semester to the interplay of gender, ethno-racial identity, sexuality, and class in connection with everyday transnational dynamics. The broad range of case studies examined includes China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Middle East. [ more ]

    LATS 471 / HIST 471(S)Comparative Latina/o Migrations

    Since the 1970s, policymakers, scholars, the media, and popular discourses have used the umbrella terms "Hispanic" and "Latina/o" to refer to Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans and more recent immigrants from Central and South American countries. As a form of racial/ethnic categorization, however, these umbrella terms can mask widely divergent migration histories and experiences in the United States. In this course, we develop theoretical perspectives and comparative analyses to untangle a complicated web of similarities and differences among Latino groups. How important were their time of arrival and region of settlement? How do we explain differences in socioeconomic status? How fruitful and appropriate are comparative analyses with other racial/ethnic groups, such as African Americans or European immigrants? Along the way, we explore the emergence of Latina/o Studies as an interdisciplinary and comparative field of study, as well as methods used in Latino and Latina history, specifically oral histories, government documents, newspapers, and interdisciplinary approaches. [ more ]

  • ECON 204 / ENVI 234(F)Economics of Developing Countries

    The leaders of poor countries almost universally proclaim "economic development" to be their eventual destination, but it is not easy to visualize the journey. Is rapid economic growth sufficient to generate development, or do governments need to pro-actively invest in health and education? Can agriculture support incomes and provide jobs, or is urban industrial development a prerequisite? How do households in poor countries insure themselves against adverse outcomes? Can policies enable entrepreneurship and innovation in such economies? Is it true that corruption is major obstacle? Has the climate crisis upended our traditional models to the point where we need to rethink the notion of development? The class will introduce these and other issues, as analyzed by economists. [ more ]

    WGSS 211 / ECON 211Gender in the Global Economy

    Last offered Fall 2011

    This course will present a feminist economic analysis of the global economy, and some of the urgent issues facing women in poor countries. The course will start by developing theoretical resources: these will include feminist critiques of economics theory, work on care labor and the shifting boundaries between markets, governments and households, theories of household bargaining, and discussions of intersectionality and difference. Then we will discuss a series of interlinked issues which may include the contradictory effects of structural adjustment and its successors; the informal sector and the 'invisible assembly line'; the economics of sex work and global sex trafficking; microcredit; the economics of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. We will finish by looking at community-based activism, non-governmental organizations, and the possibilities for first-world/third-world alliances. [ more ]

    ECON 215 / GBST 315(S)Globalization

    This course will examine the causes and consequences of globalization. This includes studying topics such as trade, immigration, foreign direct investment, and offshoring. The impact of these forms of globalization on welfare, wages, employment, and inequality will be a focal point. Throughout we will rely on economic principles, models, and empirical tools to explain and examine these contentious issues. [ more ]

    ECON 219 TGlobal Economic History

    Last offered Fall 2016

    Why did Western Europe--and not China, India, or the Middle East--first experience the Industrial Revolution? Why did Latin America fall behind in the 20th century, while Japan and eventually China boomed? What explains the historical success of the US economy? And why has African economic growth been relatively slow for so long? These and other questions will guide our exploration of global economic development over the past several millennia. We will draw on micro and macroeconomic theory to help explain and interpret the historical roots of the modern global economy. Our focus will be broadly comparative across space and time, with an emphasis on how institutions, resource endowments, culture, technology, and market developments help explain economic differences and change around the world. Throughout the course, we will draw on micro and macroeconomic theories and concepts to help explain and interpret the historical roots of modern global economy. [ more ]

    ECON 225 TGlobal Financial Crisis and African Economic Development

    Last offered Spring 2011

    Will the global financial crunch create a development crisis for Africa? Just two years ago the International Monetary Fund published the most optimistic growth projections for Africa in decades, predicting rapid growth driven by higher commodity prices, stronger agricultural output and the dividends of years of difficult economic reforms. Today, economic analysts are downgrading African growth forecasts in the face of growing poverty and macroeconomic challenges. Food prices have more than doubled in some countries--increasing hunger for the most vulnerable groups. Fuel costs--and subsidy policies in some countries--are creating macroeconomic imbalances, and the global financial crisis is depressing demand for Africa's exports. Private capital flows, which reached record levels until 2007, are expected to decline by $300-400 billion over the next two years, with bank lending falling, portfolio investment declining, and foreign direct investment decreasing. This triple-F crisis--food, fuel and financial--is posing renewed challenges to African leaders trying to tackle the imperatives of economic development and pro-poor and inclusive economic growth. This crisis is raising the costs of reforms in countries reliant on exports and international capital for growth. Successful strategies must combine policies more efficiently than ever--to balance the necessary reforms with initiatives that offset the costs for the most vulnerable. This tutorial will analyze critical questions posed by the emerging crisis: Which countries will be hit the hardest, and how deeply and for how long? Through which channels does the contagion afflict national economies? And perhaps most importantly, what coordinated strategies can African nations develop in order to foster effective responses? This tutorial will explore how policy-makers in Africa are working to build successful inclusive growth strategies, with fiscal, monetary, industrial, trade and labor market policies reinforcing each other rather than working at cross purposes. [ more ]

    PSCI 229(F)Global Political Economy

    Thirty years ago the production, distribution, consumption and accumulation of goods, services and capital were predominantly national, organized by nation-states and within national territories. Today they all are increasingly global in scope, and nation-states find themselves more and more the subjects than the masters of mobile transnational corporations, international trade tribunals, global currency markets and natural resources cartels. All of these developments have direct and far-reaching effects on the power of states, the wealth of societies, and the life chances of billions of people around the world. This course offers a broad introduction to contemporary global capitalism, emphasizing the inherent and inseparable intertwining of politics and economics, power and wealth, the state and the market. The core of the course is made up of a broad analysis of global trade, global finance, development, and migration, with special attention to subjects such as free trade, foreign aid, industrial policy, currency wars, and refugee crises. We conclude the course with a close look at current global financial instabilities and the implications for the future of global capitalism. [ more ]

    ECON 235Urban Centers and Urban Systems

    Last offered Spring 2001

    Cities, systems of cities, and the interactions between cities are the outcome of human decisions and reflect their social structure and desire for interaction. The form of these urban areas is determined by the choices made by the people who reside in, work in, and travel between cities. Economic forces influence and constrain these choices, and economic models of decision-making can help us to explain and predict the patterns that result. These models help us to comprehend the structure of urban areas. This course will introduce the ideas and some of the analytic tools that assist in understanding the economic foundations of urban centers and urban systems. Topics addressed in the course will include the determinants of land use, location of firms, choice of transportation mode, flows of capital investment into real estate, housing prices and housing availability and regulation of housing markets, movement of population from one city to another, and public policies designed to deal with urban problems. [ more ]

    REL 287 / ENVI 287The Dynamics of Globalization: Society, Religion and the Environment

    Last offered Spring 2010

    This course offers a theoretical reflection on the social, cultural and environmental dynamics of globalization and their consequences for the nature and place of religion. Rather than argue for or against globalization, we first examine the nature of this new configuration and its relation to (post)modernity, asking questions such as: What are the cultural and social dynamics of globalization? What are the effects on the nature of the state and the political practices that take place in the global world? What are its environmental consequences? We then shift to examining the role of religion, arguing that its renewed relevance is a function of the socio-cultural transformations that globalization brings about, particularly the loss of community and the increasing atomization of individuals. We conclude by examining some of the perspectives created by the new religious expressions that attempt to respond to this situation, from personal spiritual quests as manifested in interest in Buddhism, ecology or mountain climbing, to various forms of fundamentalism, such as Evangelicalism, the fastest growing religious movement in the Americas, and the most radical forms of Islamicism. Reading list: Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity; Castells, The Rise of the Network Society; Bauman, Globalization; Kivisto, Multiculturalism in a Global Society; Casanova, Public Religions in the Modern World; Ortner, Life and Death on Mt. Everest; Matthews, Global Cultura/ Individual Identity; Shuck, Mark of the Beast; Roy, Globalized Islam. [ more ]

    PSCI 341Modern Midas? Resource Abundance and Development

    Last offered Spring 2015

    Many academics, international nongovernmental organizations, international financial institutions, and the media assert that natural resource endowments--oil, gas, and diamonds--are like the touch of Midas. Yet consider that while mineral abundance promises to give countries a platform for prosperity, equity, and political stability, it often produces poor economic performance, poor populations, weak authoritarian states, and widespread conflict. Is there a resource curse, or is it possible for mineral rich countries to escape the modern counterparts of Midas? In this research seminar we revisit the debate on the relationship between mineral wealth and development, focusing on the factors and conditions that lead some resource rich countries to fail and others to succeed. [ more ]

    ECON 352(S)Financial Development and Regulation

    This course focuses on the financial system and its role in economic development. The first part explores the functions of finance, how it contributes to growth and income inequality, examining what can be done to increase financial inclusion. It will examine experiences with financial sector repression and subsequent liberalization, and investigate the causes and impact of financial crises. Then it will study how to make finance effective and how to prevent or minimize crises, analyzing government's role as regulator, supervisor, standard setter, contract enforcer, and owner. In this final part, attention will be devoted to the role of institutions (laws, norms, culture) and incentives in financial sector development. [ more ]

    ECON 359(S)Developing Country Macroeconomics II: Institutions and Policy Regimes

    Developing countries do not find it difficult to initiate rapid growth, but do find it difficult to sustain it. Growth spurts are often derailed by macroeconomic shocks. As developing countries become increasingly open to trade and financial interactions with the rest of the world, such shocks may become more frequent, and potentially more severe. This course examines the types of macroeconomic institutions and policy regimes that can help developing countries withstand such shocks and sustain economic growth. We will examine fiscal rules, policies toward the domestic financial sector, central bank independence, the design of monetary and exchange rate regimes, and capital account regimes. We will also consider how shortcomings in institutions and policy regimes have contributed to macroeconomic crises in developing countries . [ more ]

    ECON 360(S)Monetary Economics

    This course covers a range of theoretical and applied issues bearing on monetary policy as conducted in the U.S. and abroad. Topics to be discussed include: What causes inflation? What are the channels through which monetary policy affects the economy? Why should central banks commit to policy rules? How do exchange rates respond to monetary policy? How did the gold standard work? And will cryptocurrencies replace the dollar? In addition, we will develop and learn how to simulate the "New Keynesian" macroeconomic model, which has become the standard framework for monetary policy analysis for central banks around the world. [ more ]

    ECON 362(S)Global Competitive Strategies

    This course maintains an IO perspective, acknowledging the centrality of large, multinational firms in determining the pattern and success of a nation's international economic activities (which include, but are not limited to, a wide range of licensing, trade, and diverse configurations of foreign direct investment activities, and their implications for employment, profitability, and social welfare at home and abroad.) In this sense, we depart from international economic approaches that focus foremost on the ways in which a country's factor endowments, domestic market characteristics, and government policies promote or impede such activities, although in our treatment we do not neglect these factors, but treat them as constraints upon, or resources supporting, the optimizing behaviors of large firms. During and following a case-based module in which we learn and simulate the strategic decision processes used by executives of multinationals, we examine the actual trade and investment decisions of those firms, compare them to the predictions of international trade and multinational IO theories, and seek to explain divergences where they are identified. Throughout, competitive strategies of domestic and foreign rivals in markets around the world are explored. As well, the types and efficacy of various government policies in promoting the competitiveness of industries in regional and global markets -- and how they are linked to recent work in growth theory -- are examined. Further, substantial recent shifts in the nature of globalized economic activity, including the changing relative mobility and power of capital and labor, are examined. Finally, welfare propositions and policy ideas for addressing welfare impacts are advanced and discussed. Written cases, class participation, a mid-term exam, and a final paper or exam are expected. [ more ]

    ECON 366(S)International Trade and Development

    This course will examine the causes and consequences of globalization and its implications for less-developed countries. We will study the classic models of international trade and discuss the empirical relevance of these theories. In addition, we will focus on other dimensions of globalization that are of particular importance to developing countries such as trade and education, emigration, brain drain, remittances, foreign direct investment, trade policies, infant industry protection, trade and growth, the resource course, and trade agreements. [ more ]

    POEC 401(F)Contemporary Problems in Political Economy

    This course examines contemporary problems in political economy in the United States and across the developed world. Using both Economics and Political Science methods of analysis, students study the exercise of power and the accumulation of wealth in the world today as well as central public policy debates around those processes. We begin with a discussion of the philosophical foundations of economic policy-making. We then discuss welfare states in comparative perspective with special attention to the development of the American welfare regime. The remainder of the course is dedicated to particular issue areas of contemporary concern: pensions, health insurance, education, family policy, and immigration. The goal of this course is to build upon theoretical debates encountered in POEC 250 as well as to prepare students for the public policy projects they will do in POEC 402. [ more ]

    ECON 467 TDevelopment Successes

    Last offered Spring 2012

    Although living standards in most of the worlds poor countries have increasingly fallen behind those of the rich industrial countries, a relatively small number of countries that were quite poor in the middle of the last century have achieved dramatic improvements in their incomes since then. These development successes include countries such as Japan, the four dragons (Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan), the MIT economies (Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand), the Asian giants of China and India, as well as non-Asian economies as diverse as Botswana, Chile, and Turkey. This tutorial will explore why these countries have apparently succeeded where many other poor countries have failed. A particular focus of the course will be on extracting insights from the experiences of these success cases about the broad development strategies that have been advocated over the past 50 years by scholars as well as by the international financial institutions. [ more ]

    ECON 501(F)Economic Growth and Development

    This course introduces some of the major theories and ideas about economic growth and development. Motivated by a number of stylized facts from cross-country data, we will begin by posing a series of questions: Why are some countries rich and others poor? Why have some countries grown at high rates over extended periods of time, while others have experienced little or no growth? Do all economies face comparable challenges to achieving sustained economic growth? Will poor countries catch up to rich countries or are they doomed to stagnate in a poverty trap? To answer these "big" questions, we will explore the underlying mechanisms of economic growth. What role is played by savings and investment (i.e., the accumulation of physical capital)? What is the influence of population growth? How important are investments in human capital (i.e., education and population health)? How important are technological differences across countries? How much significance should we ascribe to differences across countries in geographical characteristics? How much should we ascribe to differences in the quality of institutions? For each question, we will explore different theoretical and empirical strategies developed by economists to answer the question, ranging from formal models to historical and anecdotal evidence to cross-country growth and development regressions. We will evaluate the usefulness of the different approaches to each question for informing development-promoting and poverty-alleviation policies, and we will also discuss the reasons why so many important questions about economic growth continue to remain difficult to answer. [ more ]

    ECON 502Institutions and Governance

    Last offered Spring 2012

    Over the last two decades economists have become increasingly aware of the importance of the "social infrastructure" at various levels of economic activity: capable and honest government officials must be available to formulate and implement policies, markets must be supported by suitable institutional frameworks, property rights must be secure, and contracts reliably enforced. Even the structure of the household, the smallest institution analyzed by economists, has been shown to have an important influence on economic development. This course will survey the growing literature on institutions and governance. [ more ]

    ECON 504(F)Public Economics in Developing Countries

    This class is about microeconomic and empirical analysis of government expenditure programs in developing and transitional countries. It provides tools for understanding the effects of government policies, as well as a useful conceptual framework for analyzing normative questions such as "what role should government play in the economy" and "what is a good policy?" The course begins by considering the efficiency of market economies, and rationales for government intervention in the market, such as public goods, externalities, information-based market failures, imperfect competition, and equity. We also consider ways that human behavior might deviate from perfect rationality, and what that might imply for policy. Along the way, we apply these concepts to various examples of policy issues, including, among other things, the environment, education, health, infrastructure, security, social insurance, and aid to the poor. We then turn to the general question of how to make the government work better, addressing questions such as the following. When is it better to have the government own and produce things, and when is it better to privatize? What are the incentives of politicians and government employees, and how does the design of political and budgetary institutions affect the degree to which they serve the public interest? How should responsibilities be divided up between the central government and local governments, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of "decentralization?" What can be done to improve the delivery of basic services? For example, how might one address problems of corruption and absenteeism? Throughout the course, we consider examples of empirical research, and to facilitate this, we will occasionally introduce econometric tools that are particularly useful for microeconomic policy evaluation. [ more ]

    ECON 505(F)Developing Country Macroeconomics I: Theory

    The macroeconomic structures of developing countries tend to be very different from those in high-income countries, and their macroeconomic policy environments also differ in important ways from those in rich countries. This course is intended to introduce students to a set of models that is particularly suitable for analyzing macroeconomic performance in developing countries, as well as to some analytical tools that help us understand why such countries have often experienced a variety of macroeconomic crises, including sovereign debt, currency, and banking crises. [ more ]

    ECON 535 TInternational Financial Institutions

    Last offered Spring 2018

    This tutorial will explore the role of official international financial institutions in the global economic and financial system, their relations with members, proposals for how they might be reformed, and issues that they face. The focus will be principally on the International Monetary Fund, and to a lesser extent the World Bank, the Bank for International Settlements and Financial Stability Board. Topics and readings will focus on such issues as: the roles and governance reform of the IMF and World Bank; lessons from their performance in international crises; initiatives of the Fund and Bank; the global adjustment process; financial system stability; governance reform; lending programs; the management of international reserves; and provision of advice to members. Participants will meet in pairs with the faculty member. Each week, one student will prepare a policy paper and submit the paper to the professor and to the other student in advance of the meeting. During the meeting, the student who has written the paper will present an argument, evidence, and conclusions. The other student will provide a critique of the paper based on concepts and evidence from the readings and his own research and experience. The professor will participate in the discussion after each participant has presented and ask questions that highlight or illustrate critical points. [ more ]

    ECON 537 T(S)Developing Money and Capital Markets

    This tutorial will explore ways to create or enhance money and capital markets so that they can better perform their roles in channelling savings to their most productive uses and in serving as transmission mechanisms for monetary policy. [ more ]

    Taught by: Eli Remolona

    Catalog details
  • ENVI 101(F)Nature and Society: An Introduction to Environmental Studies

    Environment and society interact on scales from the local to the global. This course explores these interactions and introduces students to the interdisciplinary methods of environmental studies. We will investigate the historical development of environmental problems -- including pollution, land grabbing, and species extinction -- and their possible solutions. We will survey policy-making and activism in a variety of contexts and will examine art, literature, film, music, maps, advertisements, and other cultural objects. Throughout the course, we will ask how unequal distributions of power affect people and environments. Case studies, readings, discussions, and field exercises will help students develop their understanding how natural systems influence and are influenced by human activities. [ more ]

    HIST 136Before the Deluge: Paris and Berlin in the Interwar Years

    Last offered Fall 2012

    Paris and Berlin were the two poles of Europe in the 1920s, rival capital cities of two historically hostile nations that had only just put an end to the carnage of World War I. Paris was the grande dame; Berlin the upstart. In the 1920s, these two pulsating metropolises became the sites of political and cultural movements that would leave a lasting imprint on European society until the present day. This course focuses on the politics, society, and culture of these two cities in their heyday in the 1920s. We will also consider their fate in the 1930s, first as depression set in, and then as the Nazis came to power. Devoting half the semester to Paris and the other half to Berlin, we will examine a range of parallel topics in both contexts, including the impact of World War I, the growing popularity of right-wing political movements and the increase in political violence, shifting gender norms and sexual mores, and new developments in the realms of art, film, theatre, cabaret, and literature. [ more ]

    GERM 202 / INST 202Vienna 1900-2000 and Beyond

    Last offered Spring 2013

    Once the center of a vast empire, Austria has tended to be overlooked since the demise of that empire. In fact, though, its trajectory can usefully serve as a guide to the complex developments in Europe before, during, and after the Second World War. Contemporary Austria is indeed a laboratory of post-Cold War Europe: Its population is remarkably multicultural, in spite of resistances; its language is rich and dynamic, yet increasingly dominated by its more powerful neighbor to the north; its political attitudes encompass extreme nationalism, pan-Europeanism, and much in between. Austria's capital, Vienna, will form the lens through which we examine the origins and quirks of this fascinating, sometimes paradoxical, culture. The course will employ a variety of written, video, audio, and cyber-materials to explore some of the issues facing contemporary Austria, and to continue the development of advanced reading, writing, and speaking skills begun in German 201. Conducted in German. [ more ]

    ANTH 216 T / GBST 216Urbanism in the Ancient World

    Last offered Spring 2018

    This is a course on cities in the ancient world, which will examine four major ancient urban centers (Nineveh and Nimrud, Iraq; Teotihuacan, Mexico; and Angkor, Cambodia) and end with a sustained, in-depth exploration of urbanism in prehispanic Maya civilization. As more and more people move into cities across the world, human societies are becoming forever transformed. This transformation into an urban globalized world has ancient roots at the beginning of the first civilizations in Euroasia and the Americas. We will delve into the nature of the urban transformation by first exploring sociological and anthropological definitions of urbanism, and recent studies of modern urbanism. We will look at Nineveh, Nimrud, Teotihuacan, and Angkor to consider how ancient urbanism was distinct from modern cities, while at the same time, ancient urbanites had to deal with similar issues as residents of modern cities. We will then examine in more depth the cities of prehispanic Maya civilization, answering such questions as: how different were Maya cities from other premodern ones? Is there one type of Maya city or many? How different was life in Maya cities from life in Maya villages? What were the power structures of Maya cities? How common were immigrants and slaves in these ancient cities? [ more ]

    SOC 216(F)The City

    Modern humans have moved to the city, a site with concentrated powers of various kinds, this move has effected irreversible change in human life. We will examine these forces through readings in urban theories as well as ethnographic studies. We will address themes such as the organization of urban life, the political economy of cities, housing and homelessness, and urban planning. The city is also the chief site of cultural production and meaning, and our scope of interest will range from studying subcultures, to reading graffiti, to analyzing monuments. Bearing in mind the inexorable social change of past decades, we will reconsider some classical thought on urban life in the context of postmodern discourse, conceptualize the post-industrial and global city, and conclude with an examination of the problems faced by cities in developing countries. This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive introduction to urban studies. Students will become familiarized with both classical and modern urban theories, and in reading ethnographies they will have an opportunity to understand some fundamental methodological approaches to the study of the city. [ more ]

    LATS 220 / AMST 221 / ENVI 221Introduction to Urban Studies: Shaping and Living the City

    Last offered Fall 2017

    Generally, cities have been described either as vibrant commercial and cultural centers or as violent and decaying urban slums. In an effort to begin to think more critically about cities, this course introduces important topics in the interdisciplinary field of Urban Studies. Specifically, we will discuss concepts and theories used to examine the peoples and structures that make up cities: In what ways do socio-cultural, economic, and political factors affect urban life and development? How are cities planned and used by various stakeholders (politicians, developers, businesses, and residents)? How do people make meaning of the places they inhabit? We will pay particular attention to the roles of race, ethnicity, class, and gender in understanding and interpreting urban communities. Texts include works by anthropologists, historians, sociologists, cultural critics, cultural geographers, and literary writers. [ more ]

    ECON 235Urban Centers and Urban Systems

    Last offered Spring 2001

    Cities, systems of cities, and the interactions between cities are the outcome of human decisions and reflect their social structure and desire for interaction. The form of these urban areas is determined by the choices made by the people who reside in, work in, and travel between cities. Economic forces influence and constrain these choices, and economic models of decision-making can help us to explain and predict the patterns that result. These models help us to comprehend the structure of urban areas. This course will introduce the ideas and some of the analytic tools that assist in understanding the economic foundations of urban centers and urban systems. Topics addressed in the course will include the determinants of land use, location of firms, choice of transportation mode, flows of capital investment into real estate, housing prices and housing availability and regulation of housing markets, movement of population from one city to another, and public policies designed to deal with urban problems. [ more ]

    COMP 243 / WGSS 252Modern Women Writers and the City

    Last offered Fall 2015

    Ambivalence has always been a vital part of literary responses to city life. Whether they praise the city or blame it, women writers react to the urban environment in a significantly different way from men. While male writers have often emphasized alienation and strangeness, women writers have celebrated the mobility and public life of the city as liberating. We will look at issues of women's work, class politics, sexual freedom or restriction, rituals of consumption, the conservation of memory by architecture, and community-building in cities like London, New York, Berlin, Paris. We will examine novels and short stories about the modern city by writers as diverse as Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, Anzia Yezierska, Ann Petry, Jean Rhys, Marguerite Duras, Margaret Drabble, Ntozake Shange, Verena Stefan and Jhumpa Lahiri and Edwidge Danticat. We will consider theoretical approaches to urban spaces by feminists (Beatriz Colomina, Elizabeth Wilson), architectural historians (Christine Boyer) and anthropologists and sociologists (Janet Abu-Lughod, David Sibley, Michael Sorkin). Several contemporary films will be discussed. All readings in English. [ more ]

    ENVI 313 / AMST 312 / LATS 312Chicago

    Last offered Spring 2018

    "The city of big shoulders has plenty of room for diversity," reads the official visitor's website for the City of Chicago. Focusing on this claim, this course asks students to think critically about what kind room has been made for diversity--social, spatial, and ideological. Additionally we examine the ways in which diverse social actors have shouldered their way into the imagined and physical landscape of the city. Working with ethnography, history, literature, critical essays, and popular culture, we will explore the material and discursive constructions of Chi-Town and urban life among its residents. Appreciating these constructions we also consider how Chicago has served as a key site for understandings of urbanity within a broader national and global context. [ more ]

    SOC 315Culture, Consumption and Modernity

    Last offered Fall 2017

    How do lifestyles, fashions and trends appear and evolve? Are we authors of our own taste? What structures our choices of goods and activities? What is it that gives meaning to objects and makes them desirable? Are there non-consumer societies in the modern world? How has globalization changed the ways people consume in different parts of the globe? This course will explore consumption and consumer practices as products of modernity and will analyze the political, cultural and social agendas that have transformed consumption over time. Politics of consumption (the way in which seemingly free and independent consumption choices aggregate into the existing system of global capitalism) will be treated alongside its symbolic element: the role of consumer practices in creating and articulating identities, building relationships and creating solidarities. We will look at fashion, advertising, arts and shopping in places as varied as nineteenth-century France, socialist Russia, and in contemporary United States, tracing both the mechanisms that structure patterns of consumption, and the consequences that these patterns have for the larger social order. [ more ]

    RLFR 316 / WGSS 315Paris on Fire: Incendiary Voices from the City of Light (1830-2015)

    Last offered Spring 2018

    During the 1830s, Balzac described Paris as a "surprising assemblage of movements, machines, and ideas, a city of one hundred thousand novels, the head of the world," but also characterized the French capital as a "land of contrasts," a "monstrous wonder," a "moral sewer." Similarly, writers from Hugo to Zola have simultaneously celebrated Parisian elegance and condemned the appalling misery of Paris's urban poor. Since 1889, Paris has been feted as the "City of Light" for its Enlightenment legacy, its Eiffel Tower modernity, and its luminous urban energy, captured in countless paintings, photographs, and film. However, Paris is also the historical site of revolution, resistance, and riots. From revolutionary revolt (1830, 1848, 1871), to wartime resistance (1870, 1914-18, 1940-44), to reformist and race riots (1968 and 2005), Paris has repetitively sparked with incendiary passion and political protest. As fires raged during the riots in 2005, many heard the echo of Hitler's ominous 1944 question, "Is Paris burning?" and asked: why was Paris burning again at the dawn of the twenty-first century? And following the recent terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015, many wonder what lies ahead for the City of Light. To answer these questions, we will examine the social, political, and literary landscape of Paris during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from urbanization and modernization, to occupation and liberation, to immigration and globalization. Readings to include poetry, short stories, and novels by Hugo, Balzac, Baudelaire, Maupassant, Verne, Zola, Apollinaire, Colette, Duras, Perec, Rochefort, and Charef. Films to include works by Clair, Truffaut, Godard, Minnelli, Clement, Lelouch, Luhrmann, Kassovitz, Besson, and Jeunet.Conducted in French. [ more ]

    ECON 383Cities, Regions and the Economy

    Last offered Fall 2014

    Cities and urbanization can have significant impacts on the economy. In many developed economies, a process of regional decline is associated with older, industrial cities. In developing countries, the process of economic growth is generally associated with increasing urbanization. Urbanization, with its increasing concentration of population and production, puts particular pressure on markets to allocate resources for provision of land, housing, transportation, labor and public goods. Urbanization can alter the productivity of land, labor, and capital in ways that can improve the welfare of residents and the performance of the broader economy. In this course we will examine these conflicting economic forces and examine some recent research that contributes to our understanding of the difference between regional growth and decline, and the role that the urban structure plays in these processes. We will examine the function of land, housing, transportation, and labor markets in the urban context, and the scope for public policies to improve the performance of the regional economy. [ more ]

    ECON 388 / ENVI 388Urbanization and Development

    Last offered Spring 2014

    At current rates of growth, the combined population of urban areas in developing countries will double in the next 30 years. The land area devoted to urban use is expected to double even more quickly. The costs of providing housing and infrastructure to accommodate this growth are enormous, but the costs of failing to accommodate urban development may be even larger. The decisions made in response to these challenges will affect the economic performance of these countries and the health and welfare of the urban residents. By affecting global patterns of energy use, these decisions will have broader impacts on the entire planet. This course will focus on these challenges. What are the economic forces that drive the process of urbanization, and how does the level of urbanization affect economic development? How are policies towards housing, transportation, public finance and development affected by urbanization? What policy choices are available, and which are most likely to succeed in dealing with the challenges of urban growth? [ more ]

See also Public Health