The MLA Program offers a number of electives during the academic year. The following courses are representative of the the type of courses offered. To see the electives for a specific semester please see the MLA Course Schedule page.
450.509 - Beneath the Veneer: Film Culture of the 1950s
Pleasantville (1998) provides a look back at the cultural memory we have regarding the 1950s. We will then examine three films which focus on different aspects of the blacklist: High Noon (Screenplay written by the blacklisted Carl Foreman), On the Waterfront (Directed by informer Elia Kazan), and Salt of the Earth (Written, directed and produced by members of the original "Hollywood Ten,"). A study of two musicals, By the Light of the Silver Moon and Gentlemen Prefer Blonds will examine the competing cultural icons of Doris Day and Marilyn Monroe represented within the context of the fifties musical. Other themes explored include the rise of youth culture and concerns over juvenile delinquency (Rebel Without a Cause, The Wild Ones, Blackboard Jungle); war, both cold and hot, with a comparison of The Bridges of Toko Ri (Korean War) to Forbidden Planet's use of science fiction to comment on the cold war; a focus on film auteur Alfred Hitchcock (Strangers on a Train, Vertigo, and North by Northwest); and a closer look at changes in the western genre (a revisit of High Noon, Johnny Guitar and The Searchers). The course will conclude with an analysis of the New York City film scene of the late 1950s with a focus on John Cassavette's Shadows (1959).The 1950s currently occupy a mythical realm steeped in nostalgia and an ennobling of the past. For Hugh Pearson, a 63-year-old retired builder from California, "I grew up in the '50s. That was a wonderful time. But it was 'Ozzie and Harriet' days, 'Leave It to Beaver'-type stuff." Conservative Newt Gingrich agrees and looks to the fifties for a type of foundational national identity and a clear sense of American identity represented in “the Norman Rockwell paintings of the 1940s and 1950s.” From the perspective of the left these very same images symbolize bland conformity, homogeneity, exclusivity, and conservatism. Both perspectives provide a veneer covering a far more complex cultural landscape. This cour
450.610 - Twice-Told Tales: Classic Texts and their Contemporary Retellings (IC)
This course offers a comparative study of classic texts and their modern or contemporary retellings –in literature and on stage and screen—with a focus on how these ancient stories, which have endured through the ages and helped define our sense of what it means to be human, have been refashioned to reflect modern realities. Examining ‘second stories' provides the pleasure of seeing the familiar from a fresh and surprising perspective (e.g., the wanderings of Odysseus seen through the eyes of his stay-at-home wife, Penelope) and also allows us to study the cultural content of the tales through a bifocal lens. How does the political protest of Sophocles' Antigone change its thrust when it is retold by a 20th century French existentialist writing during the Nazi occupation of France? Our twice-told pairings are Homer's Odyssey and Margaret Atwood's Penelopiad; Sophocles'Antigone and Anouilh's Antigone; Shakespeare's The Tempest and Frederick Buechner's The Storm; Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and Michael Cunningham's The Hours.Note: This course satisfies the Interdisciplinary Core requirement.
450.621 - The Self in Question:Readings in Lit & Psychol
This is an interdisciplinary core. What is the nature of the self? For Plato, the self is a sleeping giant; for Buddha, it is an illusion; for Freud, it is instinctual hunger; for Schopenhauer, irrational will; for B. F. Skinner, it is a machine; for Buckminster Fuller, it is a verb; for Sartre, it is a useless passion. Thinkers throughout the ages have probed the riddle of our human identity, and today, the dimensions of this age-old quest have been expanded to include the formative roles of gender, class, race and culture. From selves in the making to selves under siege, from the lonely, existential self to the transpersonal, communal self, in this class we explore questions of selfhood from the perspectives of literature and psychology two key disciplines devoted to understanding the perplexities of human nature. We consider the approaches of Freudian, Jungian, feminist, Buddhist, Marxist, and existential psychologists, and we read literary selections by Thomas Mann, Kafka, Saul Bellow, James Baldwin, Adrienne Rich, Toni Morrison, and Margaret Atwood. Our interdisciplinary focus will enable us to see the ways in which psychology and literature illuminate and enrich each otherand also where they are in conflict, both in their methodologies and in their basic assumptions about the knowability of human nature and behavior.
450.636 - Cultural Eras:1950s
This course examines the idea of being "American" within the context of the fifties when "un-American" activities and associations clearly placed individuals and groups on the outside of the mainstream. American national identity is considered through the dynamic that emerges between national security and civil rights and liberties; between conformity and conflict.; between inside and outside. Through the significant and enduring cultural shifts that took place in American life between 1945 and 1960 basic images and ideas closely associated with the '50s are challenged as the course considers a variety of topics from Ike to Elvis to McCarthy, the Beats, the Korean War, the Montgomery bus boycott and the Nation of Islam, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, advertising, the Kinsey Report, the promise of technology and the concern over its affects on the culture, the Cold War, the changing role of scientists, and the rise of the suburbs.
450.684 - Nature and the American Imagination(IC)
This course offers an interdisciplinary study of the American landscape and the role it has played in shaping American identity. We anchor our study by looking at the way the idea of the land has been constructed throughout our history ~~as a kindred spirit by Native Americans, as a "howling wilderness" by the early colonists, as a school for spirit by the New England Transcendentalists, as a precious inheritance in need of preservation by 19th century conservationists such as John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt, and in keeping with Manifest Destiny, as a rich resource that was ours for the taking. Philosophically, we explore the influence on early colonists of Biblical and Enlightenment thought, the moral ambiguities of the slave experience of the American land, the ideas of Romanticism that gave rise to Emersonian Transcendentalism (America's first homegrown philosophy), the competing theories behind the national park movement, and more recently the revival of Native American holistic values in ecological paradigms. Beginning with Thoreau, who "went to the woods to learn to live deliberately" we read primary texts of American nature writing, arguably one of America's finest contributions to world literature, and we experiment with keeping nature journals. Finally, we discuss the bridging of the two cultures, science and art, in the writings of paleontologist Loren Eiseley and conservationists Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, and Al Gore.Our expanded bi-weekly class sessions will allow time to incorporate film clips into our discussions and to welcome visiting lecturers from the field of art history, herbal medicine, and earth science. During the intervening weeks between class sessions, students will stay in touch by posting responses to their readings on the class Blackboard site.
450.704 - Poetry and the Visual Arts
This seminar will explore relationships between the languages of poems and those of the visual arts, including painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography. We will begin by discussing theoretical essays contrasting verbal and visual artistic expression, and go on to consider, for example, poems based on paintings (Auden's "des Beaux Arts" and Breughel's "Fall of Icarus"); poetic images that make use of a pictorial tradition (Chinese ink painting in Li-Young Lee's "Persimmons"); reciprocal tensions in the poetry and visual art of a single artist (Derek Wolcott); the use of similar techniques, such as the symbolic coding of color, in poems (Wallace Stevens) and in painting (Marc Chagall); and the individual responses of several poets to the same work. The class will use a blog for the posting of visual images and other class-related materials. Requirements will include short papers/commentaries, and one long paper.
450.713 - Shakespeare & The Film (IC)
This seminar will examine Indian, Chinese, and Japanese film adaptations of four tragedies by Shakespeare. The plays and their directors are as follows: Macbeth (Maqbool by Vishal Bharadwaj, and Throne of Blood by Akira Kurosawa); Othello (Omkara by Vishal Bharadwaj); Hamlet (The Banquet by Feng Xiaogang); and King Lear (Ran by Akira Kurosawa). Students will discuss each play prior to viewing its film adaptation(s); the seminar will also make use of a blog for weekly postings of related materials. Seminar requirements include a paper and oral report concerning the influence of an Asian native tradition on one of the films under study, such as that of Noh theater on Kurosawa's Throne of Blood, or Peking opera on Feng Xiogang's The Banquet.
450.721 - Metamorph of Violence
This seminar will examine changing concepts of violence in medieval and Renaissance Christianity as manifested in Western traditions of visual and dramatic art. We will first examine Catholic paintings and plays, considering differences between northern European and Mediterranean countries in their depictions of the crucifixion of Christ, the martyrdom and mutilation of the saints, the suffering dead in purgatory, hell, and the Last Judgment, as well as in their approaches to epidemic disease, the corpse, and burial rites. We will then consider the radical changes in these traditions, especially in northern European, in the wake of the Protestant Reformation. Such plays as Titus Andronicus, for example, Shakespeares bloodiest tragedy, can be viewed as a newly secular mode for transforming the representation of religious violence in drama. The course will make use of late medieval/early Renaissance visual art from public and private venues (churches, prayer books, illuminated manuscripts, funerary sculpture, anatomical treatises, etc.); of texts from medieval mystery play cycles; of post-Reformation painting and plays.
450.740 - Film and Public Memory (IC)
This course fulfills Interdisciplinary Core requirements for the MLA Program. The course is currently being revised. General Description: This course considers the complex interaction between the feature film and culture through a consideration of how films have presented history and science. How accurate are "Historical films" in their construction and presentation? Certainly there are no mediating forces in place to challenge the historical presentation. For the length of the movie the audience exists in a closed world being addressed with a particular set of truths. Studies clearly show that movies do teach and inaccuracies in the movies are more likely to be accepted as truthful even when the presentation is challenged by a scholarly perspective on the subject. This course examines the film as a form of public history; a constructed, mediated version of history often seamless in presentation and powerful in address. We will not be judging the history or science embedded in these films. Rather we will try to understand the larger cultural imperatives that influence the presentation. Filmmakers hail their films as "realistic", "accurate" and "truthful" while employing a documentary style of filmmaking and extra-textual materials to address the audience and audiences gauge the success of a film on how well it lived up to expectations. How do historians and scientists respond to the sheer power of these films in defining complex issues for a mass audience?
450.749 - Exploring the Liberal Arts
What do we mean by the "liberal arts" and why are they more important today than ever before? How do the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and arts compare and contrast in terms of their methods of acquiring, analyzing, and conveying knowledge? Are the "ways of knowing" for each discipline incremental or sudden and why or when? The course is taught using a thematic approach. Previous versions of the class have included a focus on "The DaVinci Code," "Time," "The American landscape and the American Imagination," "Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Fifties," "Seeing." "Memory," and "Nature and the American Imagination."
450.791 - A Cultural History of New York City: World's Fair to World Trade Center
This interdisciplinary course begins with a look at what architect Rem Koolhaas has called “Delirious New York”: the competitive mania of the skyscraper wars, and the rambunctious and over the top worlds of Coney Island, Times Square and Broadway theater in the early 20th century. We then turn to the decisive turning point of the 1930's when, in the face of the Great Depression, New York City witnessed some of its greatest building projects: the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center and the monumental projects overseen by NYC's controversial "Master Builder", Robert Moses. The New York World's Fair of 1939 serves as a fitting symbol for what the Fair itself proclaimed as "The World of Tomorrow", the world of middle class consumerism, the automobile, the highway and the suburb. A major focus of our study is the unfolding and increasingly controversial career of Robert Moses in attempting to implement this "World of Tomorrow", and the gathering forces of opposition galvanized by the book The Death and Life of Great American Cities written by the Greenwich Village activist Jane Jacobs. In the years following WW II, New York City became a world cultural capital with the New York School of art and poetry, personified in the abstract expressionism of Jackson Pollack, the advent of the Beat writers, the Black Arts movement, the East Village phenomenon, and the multiple cross currents of New York jazz, rock and Latin music from the 1950's to the present.The course will survey how New York City has been represented in literature, photography and film over the last half century, and how New York City itself has responded to the changed economic, political and social realities of the late 20th and early 21st centuries – the new waves of immigration, the economic crisis of the 70's, the tensions over gentrification, and in particular the catastrophic events of September 11th. The course concludes with an invitation to re-assess the cultural history -- and
450.082 - MLA Portfolio
The Liberal Arts Portfolio is a non-credit option within the MLA Capstone. Students who select the Portfolio option will take 10 courses in the program. The portfolio will be completed within the same semester as the 10th course, and for students not selecting a graduate project or thesis, the portfolio is a degree requirement. The associate chair serves as the portfolio adviser. The portfolio consists of a sampling of the best papers and projects written over the course of the student's graduate career. It is not simply a collection of papers but designed to help students see the intellectual point of convergence in their studies. It is also provides a travel log chronicling the student's journey toward their own "way of knowing."
450.830 - MLA Graduate Project
The graduate project is part of the MLA capstone. You will need permission from the program director to register for this option. Most students enrolled in the Master of Liberal Arts program conclude their degree requirements by writing an independent project under the direction of a faculty sponsor. The graduate project is interdisciplinary in scope and reflects an emphasis or interest that the student has discovered in the MLA program. Before registering for the graduate project, a student must receive proposal approval from the faculty sponsor and the MLA Program Director.
450.850 - Internship
The internship is part of the MLA capstone. Please contact the internship director for more information on internship options.
450.502 - Baltimore City in Television, Film, and Literature
The images of Baltimore that have been created in television, film, and literature are, in large measure, the product of Baltimoreans themselves. David Simon, Barry Levinson, and John Waters grew up in Baltimore; Anne Tyler moved to Baltimore as an adult and continues to spend her creative life in the City. Their work includes a panoply of characters that, inevitably, embody the life experience of their creators and the nature of (some of) the residents of the City.Both the Baltimore Learys of The Accidental Tourist and the Iranian Yazdans and Hakimis of Digging to America come from Anne Tyler. Similarly, Barry Levinson's Diner and Liberty Heights give, respectively, yet another insider and outsider view of Baltimoreans. In The Wire, however, David Simon parses Baltimore differently: police vs drug dealers, perhaps, or personal ambition vs. ghetto hopelessness, maybe even morality vs survival. And if that's not enough, Baltimore has John Waters. To me, bad taste is what entertainment is all about. . . . But one must remember that there is such a thing as good bad taste and bad bad taste.
450.504 - Halls of Wonder: Art, Science, & Material Culture, 1400-1750
This course will address the cultural fascination in Europe with sources and objects of wonder and popular imagination. At its core, this exploration will focus on material culture across the academic disciplines (disciplines that were not recognized as separate areas of knowledge at the time) from art, science and technology, literature, religion and beyond. Through our focus, in particular, on collecting material objects, we will also be exploring in great detail the origin of museums, first as private Renaissane and Baroque wunderkammern (German, halls of wonder), and then ultimately as the first national museums of the Enlightenment period. Major themes will include: socio-economic change and the emergence of new commercial and professional classes; the rise and consolidation of centralized states; the invention of printing by moveable type; literacy and evidence of historical reading practices; patronage of the arts; collectors and the collecting of books and objets dart; revolutions in the graphic arts; arts and press censorship; the advent and progress of Renaissance humanist interest in the ancient Greco-Roman world; the Protestant and Catholic Reformations; the Scientific Revolution; the production and circulation of literary texts; popular culture (riot, ritual, and rebellion) in the Renaissance. This class will be hands-on throughout, dealing with original artifacts, rare books, and manuscripts at every stage. Classes will convene at the Milton Eisenhower Library on the Homewood Campus (Rare Books & Manuscripts, A-level), with field trips to the George Peabody Library, the Evergreen Museum & Library, and the Walters Art Museum. Final papers due at the end of the term will be based on original artifacts from the collections of JHU and the wider Baltimore area.
450.505 - Counter-Reformation:Culture of Roman Catholicism from Late MIddle Ages to Early Maryland
This course will explore one of the most dramatic and revolutionary transformations in the history of the Westthe advent of the Protestant Reformation, and the historic shattering of a millenium-old unified Roman Catholic Church, beginning in the late Middle Ages and extending to the period of the early Enlightenment. This course will present students with an inherently interdisciplinary excavation of the many cultural transformations wrought by the so-called Roman Catholic "Counter-Reformation," including: its impact on religious practice and identity; church-state relations and the "wars of religion;" the religious arts and architecture, particularly in Rome and the Vatican; the relationship between religion and the empirical sciences; cross-confessional conversion and "religious imperialism" in Africa, Asia, and the New World; Catholic print culture and the Renaissance "Printing Revolution;" Renaissance humanism and the rebirth of ancient Greco-Roman paganism in the Catholic world; religious festivals, public spectacles, and popular religious practice; Catholic literature and theater; and other related topics. This course will also be very much hands-on, a great deal of it taught directly from rare books and manuscripts in the collections of JHU, and from the world-class art collection of the Walters Art Museum. The course will also consider Baltimore's and Maryland's historic role as a center for religious toleration, and one of early Americas leading population centers of Roman Catholic immigrants from Europe. Students will produce detailed and lively classroom presentations, and produce a mid-term research paper that will be edited and much extended into a final essay for the course. Considerable emphasis is placed on classroom preparation and active classroom discussion.
450.510 - Leadership and the Classics
This course explores constants and changes in leadership over time through a selection of readings that ranges from ancient philosophy to 20th-century fiction, including works by Confucius, Plato, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Machiavelli, Hannah Arendt, Martin Luther King, Jr., Anne Tyler, and others. Through directed reading and discussion, students gain valuable insights into how leaders can foster creative initiatives and responses to change.A historical perspective enables students to understand and appreciate the challenge of leadership in the 21st-century multicultural world. They can then develop a framework for interpreting and evaluating responses to that challenge.
450.517 - Music & Literature: Opera in the 20th Century
The vast and varied repertoire of 20th-century opera offers a rewarding context for the study of the always rich and complex relationship between music and text. In this course, we will study a select group of 20th-century operas and the source texts (plays, short stories, and poems) upon which they are based. We will consider the changes that occur in translating the texts from one genre to the other along with ways in which each opera influences our understanding of the source, and vice versa. As part of this focused study, we will also gain a broader familiarity with the styles of some of the most important composers of the last century. Works to be studied include Pelleas et Melisande (Maeterlinck & Debussy), Wozzeck (Buchner & Berg), Salome (Wilde & Strauss), Peter Grimes (Crabbe & Britten), Death in Venice (Mann & Britten), and The Tempest (Shakespeare & Ades).
450.519 - Hinduism
This course will, quite comprehensively, look at one of the oldest continuous major living religious traditions of the world. It is the religion of almost a billion people that is vibrant as ever among its adherents. The course will begin with the origins of this religion as a blend of Aryan (Indo-European), Dravidian and aboriginal beliefs. The fundamental twin doctrines of karma and reincarnation will be closely examined referencing the Hindu scriptures. Next, the course will look at the important Hindu rites of passage such as initiation, wedding and funerary rites. Then, the massive Hindu epics of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata will be studied in detail both from the believer's perspective as well as from an academic anthropological perspective as repositories of ancient Indo-European tradition whose peoples stretched from Ireland in the west to northern India in the east. Next the course will look at the gods of classical Hinduism such as Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, the Mother-Goddess Durga, the meaning and significance of the Hindu temple cultic rites, the Hindu festivals and holy days and the cult of the saints with their enormous powers of blessing. After this, the course will delve into the origins and practice of Yoga. Then the course will examine in detail the doctrines of the three major philosophical schools of classical Hinduism in conjunction with their respective and differing interpretations of the Hindu scriptures. Further, it will look at how Hinduism has reacted and interacted with Buddhism, Islam and Christianity as also with Zoroastrianism and Judaism. The course will finally conclude with looking at political Hinduism and its implications.
450.520 - Religions of the East
This course explores the history, doctrines and practices of the Religions of the East. The eight religions of the East that will be studied are: Hinduism (Vedic and Classical), Zoroastrianism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Daoism, Confucianism and Shinto. Primarily through narrated power-point slides and secondarily through directed reading and online discussion, students gain valuable insights into how these eight religions emerged, evolved and endured over the millennia to be the principal sources of creed and conduct for the peoples of South Asia and East Asia.
450.521 - Pilgrims, Crusaders, and Explorers
The calling to undertake a pilgrimage has been heard in polytheistic, monotheistic, and secular cultures throughout history. Pilgrimage links the divine/metaphysical with a particular object or place, allowing individuals to make contact with the divine/the departed through the tangible stuff that is infused with spiritual energy. We will begin with a broad anthropological and sociological survey of pilgrimage before focusing on the western monotheistic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. We will also explore why all three traditions venerated Jerusalem (albeit for different reasons) by 700CE, yet began to fight over it only after 1100. Our chronological sweep will end with Christopher Columbus, who sought to launch a crusade yet inadvertently inspired an era of exploration that continues in the age of space flight. We will carefully read the accounts of medieval pilgrims and crusaders to get a sense of their historical, theological, and political world-views, as well as what they found miraculous or mundane. We will also delve into the cult of saints and relics in the three monotheistic traditions, making use of the rich collection of medieval Christian reliquaries at The Walters Art Museum. We also will watch films that explore pilgrimage/crusading in the contemporary imagination. Students will write papers comparing different sites, traditions, and conflicts concerning pilgrimage and present discussions on specific objects or places of veneration and/or violence.
450.527 - Liturature and the Healing Arts
This course focuses on the relationship between people, disease, and the practice of medicine. Through a selection of 19th and 20th century literary texts, our readings chronicle the complexities of lives disrupted by illness and offer cross-cultural perspectives on suffering, healing, and the human condition. Through readings in medical and social history, students explore the ways in which illness is represented in literatures from different cultures, how the practice of medicine reflects cultural beliefs, and how these beliefs have changed over time. Since illness is a "call for stories", we pay special attention to the ways in which story uncovers the personal, familial, and social dimensions of illness - and even participates in the rituals of recovery.
450.533 - Voices of Slavery in American Literature & History
This seminar will explore the literary legacy of American slavery through first-hand accounts, through major American novels, through historical records (including photographs), and through music, especially spirituals. Readings will include selections from the WPA interviews of former slaves recorded and transcribed in the 1960s; short fiction authored by former slaves (Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, Harriett E. Wilson); and modern novels by black and white authors, including Mark Twain (Huck Finn); William Styron (The Confessions of Nat Turner); and Toni Morrison (Beloved, A Mercy). At each seminar, students will provide short reports accompanied by visual images (we will use a blog) on such subjects as the documentary record of the Turner rebellion, the practices of slaveowners, black militia in the Civil War, and the underground railroad. Writing will include in-class exercises, blog entries, and a short research paper.
450.539 - 1900 in Perspective: Fin-de-Siecle Culture
1900 was a pivotal fulcrum of that short but crucial era from 1890 to WW I which marked a decisive transition from the cultural landscape of the old order to the wrenching changes signified by modernism and expressionism in the arts, and the strident politics of turn-of-the-century Europe and America.. The rich interregnum between the lingering sunset of the old world and the about-to-dawn new world we call the fin-de-siecle, a brief but explosively creative age of unprecedented literary and artistic expression. It was the age of Sigmund Freud, Gustav Klimt and Toulouse Lautrec, and the boulevard life of the cafes and cabarets of Vienna and Belle Epoque Paris. It was the age of posters that featured daring cabaret performers, revolutionary concerts, and women smoking cigarettes and riding bicycles. It was the age of French-inspired art nouveau design that spread from Budapest to Chicago, and of Viennese craft design that spread from Glasgow to Frank Lloyd Wright's Oak Park. It was the age of self-conscious decadence, as seen in writers such as Huysmans and Oscar Wilde. Students will embark on an interdisciplinary exploration that ranges through art and architecture, urban design and city planning, music, literature and popular culture, focusing on Vienna, Paris and London, with glances toward other locales for comparison.
450.565 - The American Southwest:Crossroads of Cultures
"American southwest" is a study of the art, culture and history of the U. S. Southwest, from ancient Indian homeland to contemporary center of art and culture. We begin with a look at the ancient Pueblo people (the Anasazi) at major archaeological sites such as Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde. We then turn to the historical communities of the Hopi, the Zuni and other contemporary Pueblo peoples of New Mexico and Arizona, as well as the Navajo and Apache. We read the narratives of the earliest Spanish arrivals, and examine the long tradition of Spanish colonial art and architecture in the Southwest. Following the Mexican-American war, the 19th century saw the arrival of the railroads and an Anglo population of Easterners, and the "Santa Fe-ization" of the Southwest. More recently, the area has witnessed the “re-arrival” of a Mexican-American, or Chicano, population along with the revival of Mexican cultural traditions such as the Day of the Dead and the cult of Guadalupe. The course includes reading and discussion of authors as Willa Cather,Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Rudolfo Anaya, and an extensive look at the arts of the Pueblo and Navajo peoples, the paintings of the Taos School and the work of Georgia O'Keeffe.
450.580 - Follow the North Star:Hist,Stories of Slaves Escaping MD
The course examines the many ways in which slaves sought or were able to escape from slavery by 'running away,' or by assistance from nature. Included will be an examination of the ads for runaway slaves that appeared in newspapers, the stories of the ship Pearl and the brig Enterprise, the fate of slaves who fled to the British during the War of 1812, and the path to freedom followed by slaves who enlisted in the Union Army prior to Maryland's abolition of slavery in 1864. The course is designed to broaden one's understanding of the choices and paths enslaved Maryland residents were able to follow to freedom, from the Declaration of Independence to the case of Elizabeth Turner decided by Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase after the Civil War.
450.581 - The American Revolution
This course will explore the roots of the American Revolution, comparing the perspectives of England with the colonies on the causes, comparing the positions of Loyalists and Patriots within the colonies, exploring the role of diplomacy during the revolutionary years, reviewing the war years, studying the legacy of the revolutionary experience on the social, religious, economic and political fabric of the new nation and the resulting Constitution for the United States.
450.600 - Intro Grad Research Methods
This course will explore automated/electronic methods of note taking, capturing and managing source material from many sources including the web, and effectively communicating the results in a web-based environment. The course will focus on one day in the life of the City of Baltimore (a day in February 1861) and its importance, asking how much we can know, where we can find it, and how we can organize what we find into a convincing, coherent, possibly even inspiring, historical narrative. The question we will attempt to answer as we learn to seek out and cope with the surviving evidence is: Was there a plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln in Baltimore in February 1861.
450.602 - Opera: Drama Thru Music
How does opera work dramatically? How does the text prefigure the music, and the music reflect that text? This seminar explores a varied group of operas from the point of view of their dramatic construction. Four of the operas are based upon prior literary sources: Donizetti's Lucia di Lammer moor (1835, Sir Walter Scott), Bizet's Carmen (1875), Verdi's Otello (1887, Shakespeare), and Britten's The Turn of the Screw (1954, Henry James). A fifth opera, Mozart's Così fan tutte (1790), will be studied for comparison, as an example of an opera without specific literary antecedent.
450.603 - Baltimore and the Environment
From its earliest development, Baltimore as a corporate entity has struggled to improve the health of the city and the surrounding country side by improving the quantity and quality of the water supply, fighting and preventing fires, and disposing of human and industrial waste. This course will trace the history of these efforts in the context of their impact on the environment and the communities involved, examining such issues as the impact of ground rents on urban expansion and growth, the use of eminent domain (the taking of property by a public agency for public purposes) to return the Gunpowder River from an industrial sewage conduit to its natural beauty and fresh water supply for the city, the disaster of a devastating fire (1904) that led to a state of the art[ public sewer system, and the balancing of industrial pollution (Sparrow's Point) with waste treatment run off (Back River Treatment Plant) that was intended to neutralize any pollution of the Chesapeake Bay by both. Students will learn of the pioneering efforts of the City to face the problems of public health from its earliest days, and examine some of the consequences of industrial decline, both intended and unintended, on those efforts. As their paper/project assignments, students will be expected to research and write a concise biographical study of a lawyer who either worked for the city , or against the city in its efforts to implement such public policy decisions as segregating and containing neighborhoods, the obliteration of the village of Warren in the city's quest for pure water, the creation of the Back River Sewage disposal plant (which had the intended or unintended effect of driving out a red light district in Baltimore County), and the revitalization of the harbor area following the Great Fire.
450.604 - Heaven on Earth: History, Art, and the Material Culture of St. Peter's and the Vatican
This course will explore the spectacular historical, cultural, and artistic spaces that comprise the Vatican in Rome, in particular St. Peter's Piazza and Basilica, the Papal Palace, and the Vatican Library and Museum. Our central concern will be to examine the material culture of the Vatican; meaning its physical and visual manifestation through architecture, sculpture, painting, decorative arts, books, manuscripts; and to explore this unique effort to manifest the most heavenly and spiritual spaces on earth. While greatest emphasis will be placed on the Renaissance and Baroque periods, ca. 1475-1650, this course will also include an overview of the history of the Christianity (and, by extension, the history of the papacy) from its early Christian origins in ancient Rome, through the Protestant Reformation, and onwards to the foundation of the Vatican Museum during the Enlightenment. This is also very much a hands-on course as well, and will therefore involve regular interaction with medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Enlightenment-era rare books and manuscripts directly related to the Vatican in the collections of the Sheridan Libraries (in the newly built Brody Learning Commons on the Homewood Campus), in addition to a special visit to the Walters Art Museum.
450.605 - Religion and 20th Century Drama
A study of selected twentieth-century European and American plays representing a broad range of religious and philosophical points of view, oriented toward gaining critical perspective on the spiritual world of that time. Students will read and discuss several plays, some explicitly religious, some anti-religious, and some touching issues and themes of religious/spiritual importance. Plays to be be studies will include: Robert Bolt, A Man for all Seasons; T.S. Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral; Jean Anouilh, Becket; Jean-Paul Sartre, The Flies; Arthur Miller, The Crucible; Eugene Ionesco,Rhinoceros; Berthold Brecht, Galileo; John Millington Synge, Riders to the Sea; Federico Garcia Lorca, Blood Wedding; Edward Albee, Who's Afraid of Virgina Wolf; and Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot, among others.
450.606 - Ethics for a Multicultural World
This is a course in applied philosophy, a practical approach to ethical thinking based principally on the Discourse Ethic of Jurgen Habermas. Using a Moral GPS, the course works through the basic steps of a discernment and decision process that takes into account the particular ethical challenges of the 21st-century multicultural world.
450.607 - Through a Glass, Darkly: American Film Noir
The term film noir, French for "black film," was first applied to Hollywood films by French critic Nino Frank in 1946. Unrecognized by the American film industry as a distinct formula during the classic period of Hollywood (1930-1960), Cinema historians and critics defined the category retrospectively to describe the distinctive style look and feel of many American films made during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. The course examines the cultural origins, unique elements, underlying values, and major auteurs of both American noir and international noir filmmakers. Film noir was defined through the general themes of alienation, existentialism, loneliness, cynicism, pessimism, despair, paranoia and entrapment, coupled with a gritty and distinctive visual style and mood. We will screen and discuss select noir films and develop skills of viewing and analyzing them closely. Topics include the emerging field of film theory and criticism in the early 1960s, literary origins and style; male and female roles; film and society in the years after WWII; German expressionism and Nazism in Germany as major influences on early Noir; early gangster films; and the role of the "auteur" in the definition of the form. Among the films considered are Fritz Lang's M (Germany-1931), John Huston's The Maltese Falcon (U.S. - 1941), Orson Welle's Citizen Kane (U.S.- 1941) and Touch of Evil (U.S. - 1958), Robert Aldrich's Kiss Me Deadly (U.S.- 1955), and Francois Truffauts Shoot the Piano Player (France - 1960). The course will conclude with analysis of neo-noir films like Sam Fuller's Underworld U.S.A. (U.S.- 1961) and John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate (U.S. - 1962) among many others.
450.608 - Judaism,Christnty,Islam
Despite over a thousand years of conflict both external and internal, Judaism, Christianity and Islam share doctrines and practices. Students will examine the essential teachings of the three great Abrahamic religion concerning revelation, scripture, sacred geography, worship, prophecy, holy war, divine justice and judgment, blasphemy (including sacrilegious humor), and the afterlife. Readings will include selections from the Bible, Qur'an, St. Augustine's The City of God, Moses Maimonides' The Guide for the Perplexed, The Alchemy of Happiness by Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazzali, as well as the contemporary classics What Do Jews Believe? by Rabbi David Ariel, Introduction to Christianity by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), and The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity by Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Visits to a synagogue, church, and mosque for a service of worship will be required.
450.609 - Amer Art/Lit 19th Cent
Ever since the Mayflower docked at Plymouth, Americans have measured themselves against the yardstick of European civilization; whether rejecting it altogether, clarifying their distinctness from it, or striving to become part of it. Students follow the evolution of American cultural identity in discussions of Hawthorne's The Marble Faun, Twain's Innocents Abroad, and James' The American, as well as paintings by the Peales, Cole, Homer, Eakins, Whistler, and Sargent. In doing so they note how the optimistic, independent, and self-confident Yankee gave way to the introspective, critical, certainly sadder, and perhaps wiser Cosmopolitan.
450.612 - Great Ethical Philosphrs
Are there absolute moral laws that dictate how one ought to behave, or is correct behavior relative to ever-varying circumstances? Is there a type of life that is best for all human beings? Ought one to promote solely one's own self-interest, or does one have a duty to sacrifice for others? Students discuss how these and other ethical questions have been addressed by Plato in the fourth century B.C., Kant in the 18th century, and Nietzsche in the 19th century.
450.615 - Ann Tyler's Baltimore
Anne Tyler moved to Baltimore in 1967. Over the past 40 years, she has published 15 novels set mostly in and around Baltimore City. Her characters may be "traditional," perhaps "provincial," or simply "odd." In an interview shortly after her latest novel was published, Tyler said "nothing in my books comes from real life." Yet she writes about the decaying area of east Baltimore and the affluence of Roland Park in the west. Her protagonists may shop at Lexington Market or at Eddie's. Anne Tyler's novels are but one resource that shall be studied to develop a portrait and appreciation of Baltimore. The visions of Barry Levinson and John Waters will also be considered, along with those of local publications like Baltimore and Urbanite and articles from The Baltimore Sun and The Afro-American. Our discussions may include business and railroads, immigration and race, education and medicine, politics and religion, weather, sports, and food. Anne Tyler is clearly part of the culture she portrays in her work, but we must ask whether her Baltimoreans are stereotypes, archetypes, or merely "novel?"
450.616 - Modern Irish Literature
Though geographically small, economically depressed, and politically troubled, Ireland has produced four Nobel Prize winners. This class examines three representative works of each literary genre, including poetry by W.B. Yeats, Thomas Kinsella, and Seamus Heaney. We discuss George Bernard Shaw's little-known (and only “Irish” play) John Bull's Other Island and Brian Friel's recent Broadway hit, Translations. For their papers, students analyze an Irish play by another dramatist (e.g., O'Casey, Synge, Wilde, Beckett, or McDonagh) and compare stories in James Joyce's Dubliners with those by his Anglo-Irish contemporary, Elizabeth Bowen, and the current writer William Trevor.
450.620 - Art:Burgundy 1364-1477
The court established by the Valois Dukes of Burgundy (1364-1477) was one of the wealthiest and most politically ambitious courts in the history of Europe. This seminar explores the opulence and diversity of art works commissioned by and for the Valois dukes, and by members of their court circle. Topics include: painting, sculpture, manuscripts, and architecture; daily life and devotional practice; portraiture; and the emergence of a distinctive Burgundian style. With a format combining illustrated lectures, student-led discussions, and gallery visits, this course will be taught at the Walters Art Museum, and will draw from the collections of the Walters and of other museums. A general background in Medieval art and/or history is recommended. Reading knowledge of French will be beneficial.
450.622 - History On Stage
450.623 - The Theater of Revolt: Makers of Modern Drama
In this course we study the playwrights whose intellectual brilliance and moral passions created a revolution in traditional theater, unleashing energies that continue to drive theater a century later. We will read major plays of Ibsen, Chekhov, Pirandello, Shaw, Brecht, and O'Neill in the context of their social/historical settings to understand how shifting philosophical, cultural, and scientific views required new ways of staging human stories, prompting innovations in both subject matter and technical form. Because drama is primarily a performance art, we will spend time comparing versions of the ‘play on the page' with ‘the play on the stage.' Our alternate-weekly, extended-class format will afford us the opportunity to analyze scenes from distinguished theater performances that have been captured on film.
450.624 - Contemporary American Playwrights
This course offers a study of five contemporary American playwrights whose works further the tradition of 19th century realism while at the same time employing the experimental forms of 20th century absurdist theater. In the spirit of Ibsen, Shaw, and Brecht, these playwrights stage the social problems of our time; racism, homophobia, sexual politics, violence, and the culture wars—and offer us fresh perspectives on these pressing issues. The featured playwrights are August Wilson, David Mamet, Sam Shepard, Wendy Wasserstein, and Tony Kushner. This course also includes one day at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, where students will attend plays and meet with the CATF directors and actors. This is a required field trip for this class and students will be required to pay a $50 activity fee to cover the cost of seeing three plays. Please note that we are getting a special JHU student rate.
450.625 - Bioethics
This course draws upon key concepts in philosophical analysis, particularly ethical theory, to address the myriad of complex moral issues that arise in the biomedical field. Assigned reading includes relevant works in philosophy by Aristotle, Kant, and Mill, as well as those by contemporary bioethicists. In this context students discuss such issues as death and dying, in vitro fertilization, human cloning, physician-assisted suicide, and experimentation with humans and animals.
450.626 - Physics of the Universe
What was happening before the Big Bang? Does the universe have a bound, and if so, what lies beyond? Objects are made of atoms, which in turn are made of elementary particles, but what exactly is an elementary particle? That is, what is it made of? In this course, which has no textbook, we answer the above questions. For us to arrive at answers that mean anything requires the use of some mathematics—luckily, only high school algebra and geometry. (Don't worry if you only half-remember your high school math; the needed facts will be explained clearly in class.) We will follow the progress of human understanding from Copernicus through Einstein's theory of relativity to the most important human intellectual discovery ever, quantum mechanics. Remarkably, we will discover that some ancient Greek philosophers understood the nature of reality better than many professional scientists do today.
450.627 - Cooper,Twain:Frontier
James Fenimore Cooper wrote the five Leather-Stocking Tales between 1823 and 1841 (The Last of the Mohicans is the best known of the novels). Cooper created Natty Bumppo (Hawkeye), friendly and unfriendly Indians, and settlers, including women (Cooper liked to call them "females"), to tell his version of the country's expansion west. Cooper's portrayal of Indians and women has been challenged, but this first American novelist was widely read and has left an enduring (though not necessarily accurate) image of life on the frontier. Mark Twain published The Gilded Age in 1873 when the frontier was disappearing and a less rural America began to emerge. Arguably the greatest of all American humorists, not withstanding the huge achievement of Huck Finn (1885), Twain wrote novels, short stories, and nonfiction and was given to such sentiments as "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society" and "Familiarity breeds contempt—and children." And Twain's critique of Cooper was a masterpiece.
450.628 - The Harlem Renaissance
The Harlem Renaissance; the first major intellectual movement of African-Americans; flourished in Harlem and the mid-Atlantic region between 1900 and 1930. It originated from the now-famous debate about whether the African-American's best hope for success was a liberal arts education as W.E.B. DuBois argued, or manual training as Booker T. Washington urged. Though the main focus of the Harlem Renaissance was on literature (e.g.,Toomer's Cane, Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, and poetry by Hughes, McKay, and Cullen), students also examine parallel developments in music and art.
450.632 - Landscpe Paintng, the 19th Century
Before the 19th century western artists viewed nature as little more than a setting for human events, but after 1800 painters of nearly all western countries turned their attention to the intrinsic qualities of the land. They sought, in the infinite variety of its forms, an understanding of their world and themselves. Students will study works by both European and American artists in order to appreciate the extraordinary range of subject matter and style used by 19th century artists and to discover the meanings contained in each artist's distinctive view of nature.
450.633 - Evolution & Creation
This course will explore texts central to an evolutionary understanding of life, to a Judeo-Christian understanding of creation, and to the variety of ways that the two have been understood in relation to one another.
450.635 - Modern English Literature
This course investigates a wide range of twentieth-century English works in all genres of imaginative literature. In regard to poetry, students discuss selections from Thomas Hardy, W.H. Auden, and Stevie Smith to Carol Ann Duffy, England's first woman Poet Laureate, appointed last spring. Then they analyze three novels: E.M. Forster's Howard's End, Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, and Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange. The syllabus concludes with the plays The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter, Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, and Top Girls by Caryl Churchill.
450.637 - Modern American Poetry: From Robert Frost to Natasha Trethewey
The clichéd era of effete poetry by dead white males read by little old ladies in sewing circles has long passed. The current U.S. poet laureate is Natasha Trethewey, an African-American woman from Mississippi. Barack Obama's 2013 presidential Inauguration featured a poem by Richard Blanco, the son of Cuban exiles and an openly gay, former engineer. Four years earlier, President Obama asked Elizabeth Alexander, an African-American professor from Yale University, to read her "Praise Song for the Day". Bill Clinton's presidential inaugural poets were Maya Angelou (1993) and Miller Williams (1997). As diverse as these poets are, they nevertheless follow artistic forms established by one of the early founders of modern American poetry, Robert Frost, selected in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy as the first U.S. Inaugural poet. This course will explore American 20th- and 21st-century poetry from early modernist luminaries like William Carlos Williams and Elizabeth Bishop through U.S. poet laureates still writing today, such as Rita Dove and Philip Levine.
450.638 - What is History?
How do historians evaluate evidence and draw conclusions about the past? How persuasive is the thesis of Simon Schama's Dead Certainties that "the asking of questions and the relating of narratives need not be mutually exclusive forms of historical representation," and that history ultimately must be "a work of the imagination"? After probing these and other issues, and writing their own "histories" based upon the document packets, students focus on Allen Weinstein's Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case to discuss whether historians can ever determine "the truth" no matter how rich the evidence. This course is intended to be an introduction to the resources and tools for history available on the Internet and the World Wide Web, as well as a reflective exercise on the meaning of history.
450.640 - Inventing Modern Amer
From the end of Reconstruction (1877) to the beginning of the Great Depression (1929), American society was characterized by major paradoxes like the emergence of a powerful national identity beset by searing conflicts of race, gender, and class. This course explores the development of such cornerstones of modern political culture as industrial corporations, state and Federal bureaucracies, overseas imperialism, widespread migration and immigration, the labor movement, women's suffrage, and civil rights movements. Students review several films (e.g., Birth of a Nation and Hester Street) and discuss both secondary and primary documents, including works by Theodore Roosevelt, Chief Joseph, Booker T. Washington, Julia Ward Howe, John Dewey, and George Santayana.
450.641 - Food and Politics
Food is central to our daily lives, yet few of us consider the political implications of what we eat. In fact, numerous political struggles take place over the production and consumption of food. These range from global conflicts over agricultural subsidies or genetically modified foods to more local concerns about food safety or the rising incidence of obesity among children and adults. Over the course of the semester, we will address these debates with two goals in mind. On the one hand, we will consider what is special or unique about food and agriculture as a distinct area of policy. On the other hand, we will attempt to draw larger lessons from the politics of food about the character and operation of political institutions and the public policy process.
450.643 - Reading Photographs
A photograph can tell many stories: one the photographer aims to communicate, one through the lens of culture and one through the eyes of the viewer as influenced by his or her own personal history. Students will learn the basics of photographic criticism as they address the ethics, aesthetics and politics of image-making. Class discussions will consider images as varied as Sandy Skogland's bathroom fill with eggs, nudes and snakes to Barbara Krugers provocative advertising inspired image and text, to the symbolic nature of photographs taken in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Students will have the opportunity to discuss the artistic process with visiting guest artists who will display their work. They will also view and discuss several films: La Jette by Chris Marker, a science fiction story told in still photographs, Eloquent Nude: The Love and Legacy of Edward Weston and Charis Wilson and El Dia Que Me Quieras: (The Day You'll Love Me) a meditation on the death photograph of Che Guevara. Through informed discourse, students will interpret, evaluate and theorize about photographs culminating in a semester-long research presentation on a photo-related subject of their choice.
450.645 - Documentary Photography
Documentary photographs inform, entertain, and enlighten us on subjects as diverse as civil war battlefields, Alabama sharecroppers, and outer space. We will explore different genres of documentary photography including: the fine art document, photo-journalism, social documentary photography, the photo essay and photography of propaganda. We will look at the relationship of image and text in the works of Walker Evans and James Agee. "Let us Now Praise Famous Men" and "Minimata" by Alieen and Eugene Smith. Students will work on a semester-long photo-documentary project on a subject of their choice.
450.647 - The Impressionist Era
In 1874 a group of young painters defied the official Salon in Paris and organized an exhibition of their own. Reacting against the rigid standards of the French Academy and the emotionalism of Romanticism, the Impressionists (as they came to be called) displayed a realistic attitude to subject matter and an innovative approach to the representation of color and light. This course traces the aesthetic and historical roots of Impressionism and studies the works of its principal artists including Manet, Monet, Renior, Pissaro, Sisley, Degas, Caillebotte, Cassatt and Morisot.
450.649 - Languages of the World
This course begins with an investigation into the origins and growth of language. It then proceeds to systematically look at the fifteen major ethno-linguistic families of the world such as the Indo-European, Sino-Tibetan, Hamito-Semitic, Ural-Altaic, Niger-Congo and others in terms of their origins and as to how the various languages of the world are classified under them. It will then make a comprehensive survey of at least one language in each family. It also looks into the distinction between language and dialect. The linguistic theories of certain important scholars will also be enunciated. The course will then proceed to look at the Indo-European family in particular to which belong languages like English, Spanish, German, Greek, Russian and Sanskrit among others. It will explore the origins of the English language and look into the structure of its vocabulary from Greek, Latin, Norman French, Anglo-Saxon and Celtic. It will then look at the various types of English spoken around the world created by the British Empire. The course will comparatively look at some interesting grammatical facts in several Indo-European languages. Students will attempt to learn the scripts of several languages, both ancient and modern, and then try to read and write elementary words and passages in these languages. It will also look at certain esoteric meanings of the alphabets in certain languages.
450.650 - Cultural Eras:The 1960s
The Sixties. A collage of events, people, sights, sounds, and ideas immediately come to mind. These powerful visual representations in many ways define the history of the '60s. In this course we will consider the images, memories, history, and legacy of the '60s through an interdisciplinary exploration using literature, art, history, politics, music, and film. Cultural identity located within defining events provide the focus. Black, white, Vietnamese, astronaut, protestor, gay, journalist, soldier, woman, man, young, old. How do people see themselves within the context of larger cultural events and changes that many have labeled revolutionary? We will examine the major themes through a focus on some of the major social dramas of the period and the cultural rhetoric employed to articulate meaning including: landing on the moon, the assassination of Malcolm X, the Tet Offensive and My Lai, Woodstock, and the 1969 Stonewall Riots.
450.652 - Understanding Modern Art
Paintings, prints, and sculptures represent the world as their makers see it. Some artists depict a world that is harmonious and beautiful; some depict a chaotic world; and some show a world that seems unrecognizable. No matter how the world is shown, every artist is attempting to convey complex messages. For millennia, artists communicated using the artistic vocabulary of realism. Then, a little over a hundred years ago, realism was replaced by a plethora of new artistic vocabularies and Modern Art was born. Understanding Modern Art is not a simple process. In the first place, the word "modern" doesn't mean contemporary. In fact, Modern Art ended in the last decades of the 20th century, when the art world entered the Post-Modern period. In addition, not all artists working in the Modern period created Modern Art (which by definition must be characterized by innovation and social comment). Some artists moved in and out of modernist phases in their work. For example, the paradigmatic 20th century artist, Pablo Picasso, worked in five distinctly different styles, only some of which are modernist. A final complication is that Modern Art encompasses a series of distinct art movements which seem to have little in common with one another. This course surveys the phenomenon of Modern Art, beginning with its immediate 19th century precursors and ending with a quick look at what followed the Modern period. Among the movements to be studied are Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism, Dada and Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Super-realism, and Post-modernism.
450.653 - Revolution in Modern World Drama
The masterpieces of modern theatre are the "canon" of works in which all students of theatre should be immersed to be able to make a contribution to the art form. In scarcely more than one century theatre has undergone several esthetic revolutions. We will look at the contending ideas of Stanislavski, Bertolt Brecht and Antonin Artaud during the 20th century, in light of works for the stage by Ibsen, Chekhov Strindberg (his late preexpressionist works), irandello, Brecht, Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Jean Genet, Samuel Beckett (Endgame and later plays), Sam Shepard, Wole Soyinka, and Caryl Churchill and Brian Friel. The course concludes with group presentations, and "model books" for proposed productions.
450.654 - Science Fiction Film in the 20th Century
Interdisciplinary Core - This course provides a survey of Science Fiction Film from the early part of the 20th century through 2001. We will look at influential filmmakers including George Melies, Fritz Lang, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg and will analyze the basic components of the genre through science fiction “classics” like A Trip to the Moon, Metropolis, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, A Clockwork Orange, Dr. Strangelove, Star Wars, Blade Runner, and The Matrix among many others. The goal is to develop critical analytical skills in understanding the role of science fiction within culture. What is the “science” that drives the science fiction and what does it mean to be human? What is the view of the future, of technology? How are cultural and social concerns expressed through genre? The films and filmmakers are placed within a larger historical, cultural, and social context as we explore film as an industry, as a technology, as a form of communication, and as an artifact of culture.
450.655 - Amer Experience:Europe
Beginning in 1759 when Benjamin West left Philadelphia in frustration at the paucity of artistic opportunity in his native land, art was what brought the colonists back to Europe. And it was art that continued to lure American artists, writers and tourists in ever increasing numbers throughout the 19th and into the 20th century. Using DC museums as classroom and the real and fictional experiences of American writers Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Henry James and Edith Wharton as guide, this course explores the American experience of Europe -- the "Grand Tour", the European academies and museums, the communities of expatriate artists and writers, the acquisition of European masterworks by wealthy Americans -- and studies its profound impact on American culture.
450.657 - Intro World Religions
This course surveys the 11 traditional historical religions of the world [Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto, Judaism, Christianity and Islam] in terms of history, doctrine and practice. The course begins with the classification of the religions of the world into certain families and looks into the ethno-linguistic composition of the world.
450.660 - Extreme America:Political Extremism in the U.S., 1870-1920
For many of us, politics seem especially polarized at present. But in the half century between 1870 and 1920, socialism, anarchism, and communism were real presences in American life, not just smear words. On the right, racism was open and openly defended, respectable figures argued that there was too much democracy and that the "unfit" (including many of our ancestors) shouldn't be allowed to reproduce. This course will examine political extremism in this extraordinary period with an eye toward understanding the causes and consequences of a political culture of extremism.
450.661 - History of Russia
This course will first address the issue of Geography, which more than history dominated the thinking of the Eurasian Steppe, a centrifugal plain which caused the people to adopt centripetal institutions; it will include study of the region of Siberia--the land of the Shaman east of the sun; the constant stream of foreign invasions throughout Russian history and their indelible marks on the character and culture of the people; the periodization of important leaders (Peter the Great, Ivan the Terrible, Catherine the Great, etc) of Russian History;the enormous contribution of its 19th century literature (Pushkin, Dosteovsky, Tolstoy, Chekov, etc); the spiritual influence of the Russian Orthodox Church; the causes and effects of the Russian Revolution in 1917--and arguably the most important world event in the 20th Century; Stalin, Khrushchev and the age of the Cold War; and the Post-Communist search for identity (Gorbachev, Yeltsen, Putin, and Dimitry Medvedev).
450.664 - Ideas of Justice
This would deal with conflicting ideas about justice, as they have come down to us in political philosophy, often as influenced by religious thought. We will focus on ideas of what philosophers call distributive justice, that is, ideas as to what ways of distributing wealth and other advantages in society are just (e.g., can it be just for society to allow there to be sizable inequalities among its members?). Connected with this are ideas as to property rights, and as to the nature of rights in general. In discussing these matters it would be important to notice the differing ways in which thinkers have tried to argue for the views they advocate, and to ask whether there is a correct way of arguing about such views. Readings could be from Plato, Aquinas, Hobbes, Locke, Mandeville, Rousseau, Smith, Mill, Rawls, Nozick, and others.
450.668 - Afghanistan and Pakistan: Struggling Societies-Foundling Democracies
Afghanistan and Pakistan are at crossroad today-two contemporary societies struggling to define basic human values, two polities uncertain about their constitutional roots. The stakes are not only high for the peoples of these nation states but also for the global community which has, true to convention, intervened. While the Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights is reflected in broad principle in the current constitutions of Afghanistan and Pakistan violations of the most basic human rights are endemic. This tragedy is at the root of the problem of governance in both states. Students will examine the continuing social, cultural and consequent constitutional crises in these two Silk Road hub-Great Game battleground territories through study of the historical religious, literary-artistic, geographic, environmental, natural resources, ethnographic, economic, social institutional, regional-international relational, and current constitutional contexts. Special attention will be given to the 2008 Pakistan and 2009 Afghanistan national and regional assembly election outcomes.
450.672 - Down to the Sea in Ships: Intro to Underwater Archeology
This course provides an introduction to underwater archaeology at the graduate level. Students will learn the history of the sub-discipline and a basic understanding of the steps involved in researching, locating, recording, interpreting and conserving artifacts, and protecting submerged cultural remains. No diving is required for this class. There will be a field trip to the USS Constellation in Baltimore's Inner Harbor to learn more about ship.
450.673 - Monstrosity & Metamorphosis:Imagining Animals in Early Art & Literature
From man's earliest artistic expressions on the walls of caves, animals have figured centrally in the human imagination. One can argue, in fact, that much of early art and literature does not differentiate fully between the human and the animal, that human self-awareness evolved, in part, through interactions with animals, and through the imaginative fusion of human and animal forms. This seminar will study the representation of animals, and human/animal hybrids, in cave painting, in Sumerian art, in Egyptian mythology, in classical mythology (Crete and the Minotaur, tales from The Odyssey, tales from Ovid's Metamorphoses), in the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf, in a selection from Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, and in the monstrous creatures that decorate the margins of medieval manuscripts in the Christian West. The seminar will use a blog for the posting of texts and images, and will require a research paper.
450.674 - Mod Amer Fict:Identity
By the late 20th century, American fiction had liberated itself from English and European models in both subject and form. Rather than writing about just white, middleclass men, American novelists began to create working-class and marginalized characters. Students explore how our search for identity in a changing world is reflected in such original novels as Doctorow's Ragtime, Dos Passos' The Big Money, Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and Morrison's Song of Solomon, and considers their impact on current social and cultural issues.
450.677 - Place & Vision in Contemporary World Literature
We all have places we call home, places we love, places we fear. In this course, we explore the human experience of "place" in contemporary world literature. Drawing on contemporary theories of place relations, we look at the ingredients that give a place its identity -the intersections of geography and culture, the ties of memory and desire, the deep-rooted claims of community. We examine the ways writers inscribe 'place' as a shaping force of character, situation, and personal vision. Finally, we examine the psychic landscape of "placelessness" in narratives of dislocation and war. Writers include Barbara Kingsolver, Jean Rhys, Bobbie Ann Mason, James Agee, Wole Soyinka, Manil Suri, Carlos Fuentes, Louise Erdrich, Tim O'Brien, Cormac McCarthy.
450.678 - Religions of the Emerging World
As former "third world" nations rise in global importance, it is important to understand their religious traditions. This course explores the Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, Taoist and Islamic traditions “at their best,” probing the essential spirit of each tradition—key insights into what is of ultimate importance, what the highest human good is, and how human persons should set the basic direction of their lives.
450.680 - From Jerusalem to Graceland
A familiar but puzzling phenomenon of American popular culture is the secular "canonization" of Elvis Presley. This seminar will explore the belief, ritual, and art associated with all those people, places, and things that have been revered as holy, from the earliest centuries of Christianity. And from this historical probing will be extracted a religious/anthropological "model" by which to deconstruct Elvis and Elvis-like examples of secular "sanctification" in contemporary life. Students will come to understand the significance of pilgrimage, relics, votives, sacred souvenirs, miraculous healing, and supernatural apparitions, as well as devotional images (icons), sacred time, and the literary genre of the "Saint's Life." After drawing this all together in the lives and sacred places of the early saints of the Church, and then seeing many of its essential elements replicated in Elvis and at Graceland, students will be challenged to extend their new-found understanding and analytical skills to other "holy" people and places of our times, from Princess Diana to Ground Zero.
450.681 - Religions of India, China, and Japan
This course will commence by looking at the religious atmosphere in India prior to the advent of Buddhism in the 6th century BCE. It will particularly look at Vedic Hinduism which has Indo-European connections, and then look at Jainism, a non-theistic religious tradition deeply committed to the ethics of nonviolence closely akin to Buddhism. After this, the course will study the advent and the evolution of Buddhism in India, its spread into Southeast Asia, and then its further dissemination into the nations of Northeast Asia. Then, it will look at the metaphysical traditions of post-Buddhistic Classical Hinduism in terms of their doctrines of knowledge, reality, God, Universe, Man and Salvation. The next segment of the course will focus on Taoism and Confucianism, the native religions of China. It will look at both the religious as well as the philosophical side of these traditions. On the religious side, the course will layout the structure of the Taoist cosmos, the types of Taoism, the rituals and sects within the tradition etc. It will also look at certain aspects and concepts of the philosophies of Lao-Tzu and Chuang-Tzu. The course will then proceed to investigate Confucianism first in its religious aspect and then move on to look at the three main stages of development of Confucian philosophy, i.e. vintage, classical and Neo-Confucianism. The last segment of the course will look at Shinto, the native religion of Japan both in its pre-Buddhist and post-Buddhist phases. The course will look at important aspects of Shinto mythology, Shinto scriptures, structure of the Shinto clergy, and conclude with the survey of the various types of Shintoism such as State Shinto, Shrine Shinto, Sectarian Shinto etc.
450.682 - The American Presidency
This course is an introduction to the study of the presidency. Part one of the course examines how the office of the presidency became the central focus of the American political system and how the presidency developed various resources beyond the formal constitutional powers of the office such as party leadership, control of the executive, and relations with the public. Part two explores how presidents engage the broader political system and its relations with Congress, the press, the broader public, and the bureaucracy. Part three questions the sources of successful presidential leadership and examines whether presidential leadership hinges on personal skill, particular electoral or political circumstances, or an incumbent's position within a larger partisan context of American politics. The class concludes with a consideration of presidential "greatness" and asks whether such a goal is attainable (or desirable) given the complex environment of contemporary American politics.
450.685 - Arts of the Islamic World: Politics, Display, & the Museum
This class engages the student with Islamic art by focusing on collecting patterns and display in American and European museums from the nineteenth century to today. Collections and installations of Islamic art at such museums as the Walters Art Museum, the Freer Gallery and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Textile Museum, and London's Victoria and Albert Museum will be addressed against the background of past and contemporary engagements with Asia. Special emphasis will be placed on re-installation and traveling exhibitions in Europe and America in the post 9/11 context. At the end of term, the student will be asked to design galleries that address the need for greater understanding of Muslim societies. [Background in Islamic art not needed for this class.
450.686 - Modern Sculpture
Paintings, prints and sculptures represent the world as their makers see it. Some artists depict a world that is harmonious and beautiful; some depict a chaotic world; and some show a world that seems unrecognizable. But no matter how the world is shown, every artist is attempting to convey complex messages. For millennia, artists communicated using the artistic vocabulary of realism. Then, a little over a hundred years ago, realism was replaced by a plethora of new artistic vocabularies and Modern Art was born. When we consider the art of the hundred years, we tend to concentrate on painting. Painters were the first modernists, after all, and led most of the innovations in subsequent art styles. But sculpture slowly became equally as important, and over the past 20 years it has surpassed painting as the most innovative medium.In this course, we'll trace the development of sculpture over the past century, from the last years of the 19th century the beginning of the 21st. We'll look at works from the Expressionist, Cubist, Dadaist and Surrealist, Abstract Expressionist, Pop Art, Super-realist, Conceptualist, and Public Art movements. So that you learn to recognize the various movements visually, we'll look at lots of sculptures, but we'll concentrate most of our time in class on a few important examples of each movement. Although it is not a prerequisite, the course will elaborate on ideas discussed in Introduction to Modern Art.
450.687 - Art And Mythology
The subject of Greek art is Greek mythology. Images of Achilles and Athena, Herakles and Aphrodite, amazons and centaurs are common in vase painting, mosaics and sculpture. None of these figures was obscure to the ancient Greeks: everyone knew the stories that made up their astonishingly complex body of myths. In one sense Greek myths had the same cultural function as the books of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible. They described the creation of the universe and the establishment of the Olympian pantheon, explained how humans came to exist and how various groups were related to one another, and addressed moral issues such as honesty, pride and jealousy.But there is one significant difference. In the Judeo-Christian world, artistic depictions of Bible stories (when allowed) reinforce spiritual and ethical concepts. When the Greeks illustrated their myths, however, they were communicating social and political norms. When Classical Greeks visited great monuments they read messages in the choice and placement of the sculpture on the buildings. Similarly, when a Greek man chose a decorated wine cup, he was intentionally communicating more than a simple appreciation of the painting. In this course we'll explore the multifaceted purposes and meanings of Greek myth in Classical Greek society. Students will read and discuss the major Greek myths and legends, and will study selected works of art that illustrate them.
450.688 - Violence to End Violence:Slavery, Anti-Slavery and the Coming of the Civil War
The period between 1828 and 1865 was one of the most tumultuous eras in American history. At the center of this turmoil were slavery, a new, more militant antislavery movement, and an extraordinary amount of violence that each generated. This course looks at that violence-and at alternatives to itin order to examine a number of questions of contemporary, as well as historical, significance. Some of them are: When and why do men and women resort to violence to achieve group goals? What are the consequences, intended and unintended, of using violent means to achieve a groups ends? What alternative to violence were there at particular historical moments? Who condemned or supported violence, and for what reasons?
450.690 - Literature of Existentialism: An Interdisciplinary Exploration
An important current of thought in mid-20th-century European and American culture focused not on abstract ideas but on actual living in the world with others. Human existence was the proper subject of thought—in all its messiness and in all its beauty. The proper method of thought required the personal engagement, in contrast with the “objectivity” of rationalism. Unfettered by conventional philosophic structures, Existentialism expressed itself in novel and drama as well as philosophic essay. Free from system or orthodoxy, Existentialism ranged from religious to atheistic and reached insights as deep as any in the history of philosophy. This course is not a survey. Rather it encounters selected 20th-century Existentialist writings, inviting participants not only to gain knowledge but also to experience a powerful mode of thought. Writers studied include Karl Jaspers, Martin Buber, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Simone de Beauvoir, Eugene Ionesco, Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, and others.
450.691 - Introduction to Northern Renaissance Art
This seminar explores the development of art and architecture in Northern Europe ca.1400-1600 and addresses the concept of the “Renaissance” in the North against a backdrop of changing social, political, and cultural history. Topics include: artistic media and techniques, devotional practice, the emergence of realism, and portraiture. Special emphasis will be given to the 15th-century founders of Early Netherlandish Painting. With a format combining lectures, discussions, and gallery visits, this course will be taught at the Walters Art Museum, and will draw from the collection of the Walters and other museums.
450.692 - Shakespeare:Tragedies,Histories
This class involves close and careful reading of selected tragedies and plays about English history by the world's greatest playwright. We'll also look at source documents from which Shakespeare drew his plots to learn something about the magic of creativity. Moreover, we'll examine selected contemporary accounts of the English or Roman history and sample the current criticism of this body of work. The goal is to understand why people consider Shakespeare the greatest playwright ever – what is it that makes Shakespeare Shakespeare. A related goal is to reflect on the many ways in which these plays, written as the sixteenth century turned into the seventeenth, resonate in our culture as we struggle to get a handle on the twenty-first century. To do this, we'll discuss film adaptations of Shakespeare's work, and students will have an opportunity to write about a film version of a play of their choice. Assignments include reading about ten plays, weekly blogging, a final exam, a brief paper on film, and a research-based analysis. The most important thing, however, is close reading and reflective conversation. Works considered include: Richard III, Richard II, Henry IV (part one), Henry V, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth.
450.693 - A Comparative Look at the Manuscript Book
Drawing upon the world famous collection of illustrated manuscripts at The Walters Art Museum, Curators Amy Landau and William Noel will discuss the manuscript book from Paris to Persia. For one thousand years the manuscript was the principle vehicle for the dissemination of ideas and artistic tastes throughout Europe and Asia. In this class, accessing original works of art, students will discover how books were made, used, and valued in their respective cultures. Topics to be addressed include: the materials and methods of book production; the significance and development of the book in religious and non-religious contexts; styles of scripts and illustration; as well as later responses to the manuscript, including the re-visitation of codices, circulation of books as commodities and diplomatic gifts, and the manuscript book's preservation and adoration in public and private collections. Discussing such topics, we shall explore both similarities and differences in approaches to the manuscript book in the western and Islamic traditions. This class offers students the unique opportunity to study manuscripts first hand.
450.701 - Theories of Ethics
Are there correct answers to ethical questions about what behavior is right and what is wrong? Or is no one's opinion about ethics any more correct than anyone else's? In other words, are ethical judgments capable of being true, or are we being deceived by an illusion if we suppose so? Here is a basic and vexed problem, which has concerned many thinkers. Philosophers, ancient and moderns, such as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Hobbes, Kant, and Nietzsche have put forward treatments of this problem, and theologians, psychologists, anthropologists, and political theorists also have written about it. A variety of these viewpoints will be considered and appraised, in search of a resolution to the problem.
450.702 - Hist,Book In The West
This course explores the development of the book from its inception in the Late Roman Empire (the fourth and fifth centuries) to the dawn of printing with Gutenberg's invention of movable type at Mainz in 1450. Students consider the book as a product of "new" technologies (e.g., the invention of movable type), changing economic and social conditions (e.g., the rise of vernacular texts for a literate nobility), and religious and secular practices (e.g., books for monasteries, universities, and private houses).Through this course, students gain an appreciation of objects that are both key historical documents and very often, consummate works of art. Note: Since this course draws upon the resources of the Department of Manuscripts at The Walters Art Museum, some class sessions are held at the museum.
450.703 - Philosophy, Faith and Fiction in Tolstoy and Dostoevsky
This course offers an intensive study of two authors acknowledged to be among the world's greatest novelists. Tolstoy and Dostoevsky are not only literary giants, but also existential thinkers and spiritual seekers who wrestled in their private lives and in their fictions with the mystery of what it means to be fully human. We will combine a close reading of selected texts with a cultural exploration of the powerful cross-currents of 19th century Russian thought, and we will also pay attention to the dramatic life stories that helped to shape these authors' passionate but unconventional religious beliefs. Readings by Dostoevsky are: The Brothers Karamazov and two short classics "The Double", and "Notes from Underground". Readings by Tolstoy are Anna Karenina and two short classics "The Death of Ivan Ilych" and "Master and Man".
450.705 - Art Collectors and Collections
Using the museums of the Washington/Baltimore area as classroom, this course traces a dual path through the history of art (particularly Renaissance to Modern painting) and the history of art collecting in the United States. The National Gallery will provide an overview of art history and the Corcoran, Clarke, Phillips, Freer, Hirshhorn, Walters and Cone collections will provide case studies. Issues of taste, who and what influence it, and the impact of private collections and the art museums that became their legacy on the development of American culture will be addressed. Particular attention will be paid to the choices made by individual collectors exploring the meaning and relevance of the works of art they selected to their own lives and also to the larger picture of American history during their lifetimes.
450.709 - World of Dante
As distant as late 20th-century America may seem from 14th-century Europe, the work of Italy's greatest poet reveals universal insights into an individual's political and moral obligations with respect to both the human city and the “City of God." These and other issues are explored within the historical context of early Renaissance Italy, as well as the classical and religious traditions (e.g.,Virgil and Augustine) upon which Dante drew. Student discussion focuses on the social and cultural dimensions of Dante's major works: The Divine Comedy (sections from Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise), The New Life (Dante's account of his love for Beatrice), and On Monarchy (Dante's political philosophy).
450.710 - The Mind of Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was one of the most fascinating individuals in history. He is the creator of what are arguably the world's two most famous paintings: the Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. He was also a brilliant scientist and engineer; he made dozens of original anatomical discoveries (for example, he injected hot wax into an ox brain to demonstrate the shape of the ventricles), and he invented hundreds of devices (from ball bearings to a steam cannon). He was well known as a musician, court entertainer, and even as a practical joker. Who was Leonardo? What do we know of his personal life, including his thoughts on religion, sexuality, or politics? What personal traits shaped his genius? This course explores his thousands of pages of manuscripts; his paintings and other artistic projects; his scientific projects (including anatomy, physiology, botany, and geology); and his civil and military engineering projects.
450.711 - Romanesque & Gothic Art
Variously described as the "Dark Ages." The "Age of Faith," and the "Age of Cathedrals," the so-called Middle Ages have inspired the curiosity of students, scholars, and laypeople for centuries. This seminar explores the development of Medieval art and architecture in Western Europe from the turn of the first millennium to the full flowering of the Renaissance in the 15th century, against a backdrop of changing social, political, and cultural history. Topics include: relics, the cult of saints, pilgrimage, cathedrals, the crusades, and various artistic media and techniques. Special emphasis will be given to art of the Romanesque, Gothic, "International Style," and Late Gothic periods in the North. Using a combination of lectures, discussions, and gallery visits, this course will be taught at the Walters Art Museum, and will draw from the Walters renowned collection of Medieval art and artifacts.
450.712 - Cosmos & Consciousness:Perspectives from Modern Physics & Religion
What does the culture of mass-energy, space-time, the big bang and black holes have to say to the culture of myth, ritual, contemplation and prayer? And vice-versa? In this course, students are introduced to the profoundly strange realities unveiled by modern physics, and they explore the impact of quantum theory and relativity on our understanding of questions which have traditionally been the province of the world's great spiritual traditions: What is the origin of the cosmos and where, if anywhere, is it headed? Does the universe have meaning? What is the relation between time and eternity, between mind and matter? Who are we and how did we get here? In exploring these questions, students examine the problems and possibilities of finding common ground where modern science and the world's time-honored spiritual traditions can meet. This course is team-taught by a physicist and a religious studies scholar.
450.714 - Progress & Amer Envr
Free-flowing rivers, bountiful wildlife, and sublime vistas of distant mountains? Or unlimited energy, tidy neighborhoods, and economic prosperity? Unrestricted in what we can do with our own land or inhibited by regulations designed to protect the common good? This course examines American cultural attitudes toward wilderness and nature as they have evolved through history and are expressed today in social and political decision making.
450.715 - Evil in Modern Literature
Writers of all literary genres in Western culture have been fascinated by evil and its definitions, motives, and consequences, as well as artistic strategies for handling it. To pre-modern portraits of evil (e.g., Medea and Moby-Dick), our own age has added distinctive themes and techniques. This course begins with literary works that concern institutionalized forms of evil; Elie Wiesel's memoir Night, Toni Morrison's novel Beloved, and Arthur Miller's play The Crucible. Students then discuss domestic evil in Lillian Hellman's play The Children's Hour, Faulkner's novel Sanctuary, and short stories by Shirley Jackson and Josephine Jacobsen. Finally they explore the allegorical treatment of evil in Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness, Par Lagerkvist's novel The Dwarf, and Franz Kafka's parable In the Penal Colony.
450.718 - Faulkner's Fiction: Beyond the Southern Mystique
William Faulkner is justly praised as the foremost chronicler of the American South, particularly with regard to his portrayal of the racial, sexual, socio-economic, and familial conflicts underlying the stereotypic facade of gracious hospitality. The legacy of this 1949 winner of the Nobel prize for literature extends, however, beyond the South, for Faulkner has been cited as the most important American writer of the twentieth century and ranked with Conrad, Joyce, even Shakespeare. This course explores the development of Faulkner's psychological themes and innovative techniques in representative short stories, The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Sanctuary, Light in August, Absalom, Absalom!, The Hamlet, and Go Down, Moses. During Spring Break, students will have the option of visiting Oxford and other areas of Mississippi that served as sources for many of Faulkner's fictional settings.
450.719 - American Short Story
The distinguished tradition of the American short story has continued into the twenty-first century with recent collections by two alumni of Johns Hopkins University; John Barth (also professor emeritus from its School of Arts and Sciences) and Louise Erdrich (a descendent of the Chippewa Indians about whom she often writes). After discussing representative fiction by founders of the genre—Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe; students explore stories by a diverse group of writers including Ernest Hemingway, Zora Neale Hurston, Joyce Carol Oates, and John Updike (whose sixty-year writing career ended with his death in 2009).
450.722 - Southern Women Writers
Is it true that there still is—or ever was—a distinctive literature by Southerners? Even more pertinent to this course: How—if at all—do Southern women poets, playwrights, and fiction writers differ from their male counterparts in terms of themes and techniques of setting, characterization, style, and point of view? Such issues will be explored with regard to all three literary genres, beginning with representative poems by two black women, Margaret Walker of Alabama and Nikki Giovanni of Tennessee, and two white women with Baltimore roots, Josephine Jacobsen and Adrienne Rich. Students then examine Lillian Hellman's play Another Part of the Forest, set in 1880s Alabama, Carson McCullers' own dramatic adaptation of her novel The Member of the Wedding about a mid-20th-century family in Georgia, and Beth Henley's Crimes of the Heart, a contemporary play about three Mississippi sisters, which was revived on Broadway in 2008. Finally, we discuss stories by women born in Georgia, Texas, and Mississippi, respectively, Flannery O'Connor, Katherine Anne Porter, and Eudora Welty.
450.725 - Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln, whose bicentennial arrives in 2009, rivets our attention as the most important, successful, and wonderfully human president in our history. This course examines his life and times as America expanded, changed, nearly disintegrated in the nation's bloodiest war, and finally emerged reunited under Lincoln's singular leadership.
450.726 - Lost Books of the Bible
After centuries of agreement about which texts constituted the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, modern archaeological discoveries have rekindled the profound ancient controversies about which books should be considered sacred and authoritative. The Dead Sea scrolls, for example, predate the time when the limits of the Hebrew Bible were set, and the Gnostic writings found at Nag Hammadi include forgotten gospels that once rivaled those preserved in the New Testament. In this seminar students compare the processes of inclusion and exclusion that produced the Jewish and Christian Bibles — giving special attention to the light shed by recent manuscript discoveries. Special Topic for Fall 2011: The Lost Books of the New Testament, giving special attention to The Gospel of Mary (Magdalene) and the recently discovered Gospel of Judas.
450.729 - Maya Worlds: Ancient and Modern
This course will survey the Pre-Columbian Maya cultures of Mexico and Central America, in light of ongoing archaeological excavation work and the current project of glyph decipherment that has now established that the Maya of the Classic era (third to ninth centuries, CE) were a fully literate Native American civilization. Slide lectures on such important sites as Copán, Tikal, Palenque, Uxmal, and Chichen Itzá will explore basic urban layout, the design of ceremonial centers, and the symbolism and iconography of Maya art and architecture, and what these can tell us about the social, political and religious life of the ancient Maya. The course moves on to study the period of European contact, of prolonged struggle, and of colonial and national hegemony, along with continued Maya strategies of cultural survival through accommodation and resistance. Topics will include the crises of the Caste Wars in the Yucatan; the neo-liberal "reforms" of the late nineteenth century that appropriated indigenous communal lands; and the genocidal repression of the 1980's in Guatemala. Special attention will be devoted to the subject of religious "syncretism," the blending of Maya traditionalism with distinctively Maya forms of Catholicism, and other religious practices.
450.732 - Literature of Oppression
This seminar will examine the novels of Erdrich and Morrison in terms of their depictions of the experiences of Native Americans and of black Americans, respectively. In each novel, we will consider oppression, first, from a social and historical perspective; and second, in terms of the tensions among individual characters. Novels will include Erdrich's Love Medicine and Tracks, and Morrison's Beloved, Mercy, and Tar Baby. The seminar will feature weekly discussions on a class blog; several short in-class writings on assigned research topics; and a research paper, accompanied by a short oral presentation. If possible, there will be a class excursion to the National Musuem of the American Indian in Washington, DC.
450.735 - Text & Image:Material Culture of Renaissance Europe 1400-1650
This course will address the history of cultural objects and artifacts in early modern Europe—from the close of the Middle Ages to the height of the Renaissance in Italy, northern Europe, and the British Isles—and their transformative, even revolutionary, impact on European culture and the history of ideas. We will interrogate and assess, in an inherently interdisciplinary way, each of the major technological and artistic innovations, socio-economic transformations, and cultural revolutions that fundamentally distinguished the Renaissance from former eras.Major themes will include: the invention of printing by moveable type; the advent and progress of Renaissance humanism; the emergence of the new commercial and professional classes; the Protestant and Catholic Reformations; the Scientific Revolution; the production and circulation of literary texts; patronage of the arts; revolutions in the graphic arts; collectors and collecting books and objets d'art; literacy and evidence of historical reading practices; popular culture; riot, ritual, and rebellion in the Renaissance; the rise and consolidation of centralized states; underground printing, book smuggling, and the culture of dissidents and minorities; and arts and press censorship.
450.737 - Indian Philosophy
This course deals with Indian Philosophy in its three major phases, i.e. the Vedic Period [3000-500 BCE], the Heterodox Period [500 BCE to 500 CE] and the Orthodox Period [100-1400 CE]. In the Vedic Period phase, the course looks at the origins of philosophy in the Indian context and its peculiarities in that cultural setting. It will delve in great detail into the doctrines of Karma, Reincarnation [punarjanma] and Salvation [moksha].In the Heterodox Period phase, the course delves into the two great religio-philosophical traditions of Jainism and Buddhism. In the case of Buddhism, the course traces the origins of the tradition from the life of the Buddha [563-483 BCE], to expounding the core teachings of Buddhism such as the three signata of existence, the twelve-fold wheel of causality, the four noble truths and the nobleeightfold path to its historical spread in India and eventually to all of the lands of both Southeast Asia [Sri-Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam] as well as Northeast Asia [China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Tibet, Bhutan and Mongolia]. The course will also rigorously look into the various schools of philosophical Buddhism.In the Orthodox Period phase, the course looks into the Classical Hindu philosophical systems of the Nyaya-Vaiseshika, the Sankhya-Yoga, the Mimamsa and the three major schools of Vedanta of the philosophers Sankara [788-820 CE], Ramanuja [1017-1137 CE] and Madhva [1238-1317 CE] in a systematic way through the six-fold method of metaphysical analysis of epistemology [doctrine of Knowledge], ontology [doctrine of Reality], theology [doctrine of God], cosmology [doctrine of the Universe], psychology [doctrine of the soul] and soteriology [doctrine of Salvation].
450.739 - Race and Jazz
The music known as jazz has been celebrated and performed by peoples throughout the world. This course will examine the music itself as well as the role that race has played in the creation of jazz, the perception of its history, and the perceived authenticity of present-day jazz. We will examine the music from a historical perspective through the study of the music and lives of its creators and practitioners beginning with precursors in ragtime and minstrelsy and continuing into the modern era. Students will learn to make aesthetic judgments, identify various jazz styles and discuss their relevance to their time and to the present. Classes are planned to include guest artists from the Baltimore jazz scene, examples in various media and live performances by the instructor.
450.743 - Idea of Freedom
Since the time of the Greeks, Western thinkers have been deeply concerned with the issue of whether human beings are merely cogs in an impersonal cosmic machine over which they have no influence, or whether they can control their individual destinies in some way. Students consider this perennial conflict between determinism and free will by examining philosophical, theological, literary, and psychological writings by such thinkers as Sophocles, Aristotle, Augustine, Luther, Descartes, Spinoza, Hegel, Gide, and Skinner.
450.744 - Murder and Espionnage in Maryland
The course will look in depth at one significant spy case (Alger Hiss vs. Whittaker Chambers) and three famous Maryland Murder cases, Van Swearingen, Wharton, and Grammer (1820s, 1870s, 1950s. The earliest murder case is about the death of a Sheriff's wife by the hand of the Sheriff, the second about the murder of a civil war officer by the widow of one of his soldiers, and the third is about the murder of the wife of a WWII special forces enlisted man by her husband, in whose defense a letter of commendation was introduced, signed by General Dwight David Eisenhower. Only the woman got off. The men were executed. Except for the first murder case, there will site visits to the scene of the spying and the crimes. Students will become modern day jurors for each case. Papers will be written about the people associated with the trials, placing them in the historical context of their time and place.
450.745 - King Arthur in Legend & Literature
After reviewing early evidence for King Arthur, students discuss the "Matter of Britain," the stories and legends surrounding Arthurian figures that appear in Welsh tradition and French romance. In addition to reading the romances of Chrétien de Troyes and Malory's "Morte d'Arthur", students investigate the appropriation of the Arthurian story in subsequent literature, including works by Tennyson, T.H. White, and recent writers.
450.750 - The Artifical Human
Plato defined man as a "featherless biped" and thought the matter resolved, until Diogenes threw a plucked chicken over the wall of the Academy in Athens. With the help of modern writers (Anne Rice) and filmmakers (Ridley Scott), as well as a few scientists (James Watson) and philosophers (John Searle), we will enter the fray. We shall not, however, try to define "human," but rather gain an understanding of what it means to be human, from the perspectives of popular literature (fiction and non-fiction) and film. In the process, we shall look at everything from animated characters (cartoons) and vampires, to aliens, androids, and computers. We shall see that many of these "life forms" have something "human" about them, whether they are evolved or engineered, organic or inorganic, real or imagined. Metaphorical chickens may be plucked.
450.752 - Spies,Code-Breaking in WW II
Even though it is common knowledge that the Allied generals and admirals won the Second World War on the battlefields and the high seas, it remains almost unknown and opaque to the general public as to how much information the espionage agents, the deciphering of the Axis codes, the resistance fighters, etc. were able to provide in contributing to the ultimate Allied victory over Nazi Germany and Militarist Japan. Texts for the course include: Spyglass: An Autobiography of a French Female Spy, Cast No Shadow: The Story of an American Female Spy, Agent Zigzag: The True Story of Nazi Espionage, Escape from Davao: The Forgotten Story of the Most Daring p\Prison Break of the Pacific War, and Codebreakers: The Inside Story of Bletchley Park, among others.
450.753 - Idea of the South in American Literature
The American South continues to cast a powerful mystique, though its meaning can vary considerably. Whose version of the South is recorded? How do we even define "the South"? What racial, sexual, and cultural tensions lie behind the fabled magnolia trees, white-pillared mansions, and mint juleps? Since literature has always captured the complex realities beneath deceptive appearances, this seminar explores such questions in works by Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, William Faulkner, Lillian Hellman, Katherine Anne Porter, Robert Penn Warren, Toni Morrison, and others.
450.754 - Alienation & Deviance
Sometimes we see more deeply into our culture when we view it from the outside in, as through the eyes of those defined as deviant by American society or those profoundly alienated from it. Drawing upon history and literature, this course looks at such outsiders as "lunatics" in nineteenth-century America, Richard Wright growing up in segregated Mississippi, gay men in New York before World War II, an over-privileged prep school flunk out, and a schizophrenic young woman from a wildly dysfunctional family. To paraphrase the insight of one of our authors, the broken parts say a great deal about the machine itself.
450.755 - Evil:Greek Trag To Gothc
Writers of all genres and periods have been fascinated by the motives and manifestations of evil, as well as individual strategies for combating it and artistic implications of expressing it. In reading representative works from Greek tragedies to Gothic tales, we will consider the definition, nature, and operation of evil; the causes or enabling factors of evil (personal and historical); the consequences of evil (e.g., suffering, revenge, personal growth); the strategies for charactersand readersto handle evil and the implications of writing about evil for literary form (e.g., positive and negative effects on characterization, structure, and rone). Works for discussion include Euripides' Medea, Shakespeare's Macbeth, Bronte's Wuthering Heights, and short fiction by Poe, Hawthorne, and James.
450.756 - What is History?
How do historians evaluate evidence and draw conclusions about the past? How persuasive is the thesis of Simon Schama's Dead Certainties that "the asking of questions and the relating of narratives need not be mutually exclusive forms of historical representation," and that history ultimately must be "a work of the imagination"? After probing these and other issues, and writing their own "histories" based upon the document packets, students focus on Allen Weinstein's Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case to discuss whether historians can ever determine “the truth" no matter how rich the evidence. This course is intended to be an introduction to the resources and tools for history available on the Internet and the World Wide Web, as well as a reflective exercise on the meaning of history.
450.757 - Music & Literature:Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus
One of the most celebrated and complex works of twentieth-century fiction, Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus might be described most concisely as a novel about music-its expressive power, its role in shaping culture, its aesthetic values, and its potential dangers. In narrating the life of the fictional composer, Adrian Leverk, Mann invokes a vast network of musical references that enrich our understanding of Leverkühn's creative personality and his place in music history. In the shadow of World War II, Leverk creative struggles run parallel to the disastrous moral collapse of the German nation in the 1930s and 40s. The touchstone work of German exile culture in America, Doctor Faustus provides unique insights into German cultural history while also commenting upon the condition of artists and intellectuals in times of crisis. In this course, we will supplement our study of Mann's novel through a detailed examination of the many works of music mentioned in the text. In studying pieces of Beethoven, Brahms, Bach, Wagner, Schoenberg, and others, we will sketch out an historical and aesthetic context essential to an understanding of the book. The ability to read music, while certainly helpful, is not required. All course readings and discussion will be conducted in English.
450.763 - Myths:Development and Significance
Myths provide profound insight into the human condition because they contain the collective wisdom of many generations. Although most modern studies concur that myths are important, there is little agreement about the best way to explain their origin and sources of power. This course explores the many modern methods employed in the study of myths and applies these methods to stories selected from African, Biblical, Greek, Japanese, Mesopotamian, Native-American, Southeast-Asian, and other mythologies.
450.764 - Medicine in the Ancient Near Eastern & Classical Worlds
This seminar examines the practices of medicine in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Israel, as well as classical Greece and Rome. The primary emphasis is on early ideas about health and disease. Students discuss such issues as the practice of surgery, methods of hygiene, knowledge of contagion, definitions of illness, and concepts of ritual purity. Readings include primary texts surviving from ancient Near Eastern documents (e.g., Egyptian papyri and Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets), as well as the Hippocratic treatises and other medical literature from the Greco-Roman World.
450.765 - Politics/Cult Holocaust
This course examines genocide through a study of the Holocaust, both as a paradigm of state-supported mass destruction and as a unique catastrophe that continues to generate prodigious amounts of literature in such fields as sociology, philosophy, psychology, fiction, and theology. To understand better a writers dilemma in trying to communicate horrors that defy imagination and reason, students discuss Wiesels Night, Levis Survival in Auschwitz, Finks A Scrap of Time, Kosinskis The Painted Bird, and other works. The class also analyzes films such as Imsdorf's Indelible Shadows and the video of the Wannsee Conference.
450.769 - Dead Sea Scrolls
The recovery of a massive ancient library from caves near Khirbet Qumran in the Judaean Desert has been described as one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in modern times. Seminar participants read the scrolls themselves in English translation to learn more about the Jewish apocalyptic in the Greco Roman period. Jewish apocalyptic is important not only as a lost chapter in the history of Judaism but also as the spiritual and intellectual context out of which Christianity emerged. Topics include the circumstances of the scrolls' discovery, theories of their origins, their historical context, and the ongoing controversy over publication rights.
450.770 - The New South
Born in defeat, despair, defiance and devastation, the post-Civil War South accomplished remarkable feats of physical and psychological rehabilitation. At once a distillation of America and yet also a thing apart, the "New South" embodied some of the best and worst of this nation, and spun off a vibrant cultural heritage. As we ask whether "the South" still really exists today, we will trace the regional past from Appomattox Court House to something called the Sun Belt. Readings, discussion, and a research paper.
450.775 - The History of Cosmology from Babylon to the Big Bang
The basic ideas of Cosmology -- the origin and structure of the Universe -- are many millennia old. Religion, literature, philosophy and empiricism have all had something to say. Which ideas have taken root and grown in time, shaped by cultural and intellectual forces, and how they have in turn influenced the same, is a story of epic proportion and universal scope. To some extent this story, like many, is one of progressively more detailed and accurate theories sweeping aside their archaic forebears. To some extent, this story is one of evolving mindsets and value systems, with healthy portions of happenstance, forgetfulness, brilliant insight, stubbornness, and human error caught up in the mix. Time marches on, and so does understanding… or so we hope!As universal as our quest may be, tracing the path of discovery and error that has led to our modern view of the Universe -- its components, structure, history, and future -- is a task largely grounded in physical science, to wit, physics and astronomy. These disciplines share a common language (drum roll, please): mathematics. For our purposes, a willingness to appreciate the precision, value, and at times profundity of simple mathematical expressions should suffice. A modest amount of math will appear in lecture, but extensive calculations will not be required of students.The course will feature regular readings from several sources including a standard astronomy text. Coursework will be a mixture of semi-regular assignments, a paper, one or two exams (possibly take-home), and class discussions. As circumstances permit, there may be some optional extracurricular activities, such as stargazing.
450.776 - American West:Image & Reality
The American West has always exerted a profound influence on American life and thought. This course examines the importance of the frontier in 19th-century history, as well as Americans' changing perceptions of how the West was settled. Topics include the conflict between whites and native Americans, the role of women on the frontier, the development of "civilizing" institutions like churches and schools, law-and-order justice, and the timeless distinctiveness of the West. Readings include Frederick Jackson Turner's essay about the importance of the frontier, Julie Jeffrey's Frontier Women, Owen Wister's The Virginian, and Walter Van Tilburg Clark's Ox-Bow Incident.
450.779 - Euripides:Tragic Playwrt
Why did Aristotle's Poetics praise Euripides (485-406 B.C.) as the best interpreter of the tragic genre in Greece? How did his tragedies differ from those of Aeschylus and Sophocles? Why are they, despite their cynical and often brutal subjects, among the most often performed plays today? Students address these and related questions by examining how Euripides constructed his plots and characters around myth and politics, psychology and sexuality, and reason and religion. Plays under discussion include the Bacchae, Helena, Iphigenia in Aulis, The Trojan Women, Hippolytus, and Medea.
450.787 - Angst, Alienation
No single intellectual or cultural movement has had more of an impact on the 20th century than existentialism, with its emphasis on angst, alienation, and absolute freedom. After exploring its philosophical basis in the works of Sartre, Camus, de Beauvoir, and Heidegger, students discuss the following literature: Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground, Kafka's The Trial, Hesse's Steppenwolf, Camus' The Stranger, Sartre's No Exit, and Ellison's The Invisible Man.
450.795 - Reading Paris
The years between the Revolution of 1848, which installed a short-lived republic, and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, which toppled the empire of Napoleon III, witnessed great changes - socially, economically, and culturally - in Paris. The city we visit today was in large part created by the urban renewal projects of Baron Haussmann in the 1850s and 60s, while the innovations in fiction, poetry, and painting that instituted Modernism date from this period. We shall be studying these developments in the novels of Gustave Flaubert and Emile Zola, in the poetry of Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud, and in the painting of Gustave Courbet and Edouard Manet. We shall also read accounts of the 1848 Revolution by Alexis de Tocqueville, Victor Hugo, and Karl Marx, and of the Commune of 1871 by various participants, observers and more recent historians. The class will meet on the Homewood campus for the month of September and part of October, and then during the second week of October, we will reconvene in Paris, where a series of lectures, museum tours and urban walks will serve to supplement and illustrate our readings and discussions.
450.796 - Civility & Civilization
Is civility necessary to civilization? What do philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists, and psychologists say about both? This course examines the refinement of manners in selected societies - ancient and modern - and the ideological debates underlying that process. Students focus on the relationship between democracy and civility in the United States from its post-revolutionary years to the present. Readings include Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents, Elias' The Civilizing Process, and Kasson's Rudeness and Civility: Manners in Nineteenth Century Urban America.
450.799 - New York City: a Cultural History
In this interdisciplinary course we will explore the transformations marking the cultural history of New York City from its beginnings through the ‘Roaring Twenties.' Starting out as “Mannahatta,” a bountiful Native American hunting, fishing and camping ground, the island at the mouth of the Hudson River has gone from the small commercial venture of Dutch New Amsterdam to the rough and tumble politics of British colonial New York, and its brief role as federal capital of the United States, to its more enduring role as capital of "The Empire State" and the "capital of capitalism". We'll look closely at Five Points and "The Gangs of New York," the Draft Riots, the era of Ellis Island and immigration, the culture of Irish New York, Yiddish New York, and Italian New York, at Greenwich Village when it really was bohemian, Black Harlem when it really was in vogue. We'll focus on the artists, writers, musicians and architects who have given shape and expression to the city, spending time with such figures as Edith Wharton, Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, and E. L. Doctorow. Two overnight field trips to New York City will be programmed into the course.The actual weekends will be posted soon for the overnight field trips.
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