The MLA Program offers a number of electives during the academic year. The following courses are representative of the courses offered within the program. To see the electives being offered during a specific semester please see the MLA Course Schedule and the Multi-Year Schedule.
450.082 - MLA Capstone: Portfolio
The MLA Portfolio is a zero-credit Capstone option. Students who select the Portfolio option will take 10 courses in the program (one core course and 9 electives), and register for the zero-credit portfolio in their final semester. The portfolio will be completed within the same semester as the 10th course. The portfolio consists of a sampling of the best papers and projects written over the course of the student's graduate career, and it is designed to highlight the intellectual points of convergence in each student's course of study, presenting the student's reflections on knowledge gained and lessons learned.
450.830 - MLA Capstone: Graduate Project
The Graduate Project allows students to conclude the MLA degree by completing a project of their own design on a topic of their choosing. Students complete this project under the guidance of a faculty member. The graduate project is interdisciplinary in scope and reflects an emphasis or interest that a student has discovered through the MLA program. The project provides the opportunity for the student to apply the concepts and knowledge gained through the program to an independent project of his/her design. The project should be thirty to fifty pages and can include a range of multimedia materials. The final project is generally in the form of a research paper, though it may be in a creative format as well (such as a play or visual arts project).
450.850 - MLA Capstone: Internship
A third option in the MLA Capstone is the Internship; students who choose this option take one IC course, 8 electives, and register for a particular internship, which will culminate in a detailed research report, as the their tenth course. Please contact the program director for more information on internship options.
450.600 - Interdisciplinary Graduate Research Methods
This seminar will introduce students to current trends in interdisciplinary research in the liberal arts. It is recommended for any students who plan to complete a thesis as their Capstone Graduate Project. This course will lead students through the process of designing original scholarly research for the MLA Program: from developing a research question to identifying primary sources and defining current debates concerning their chosen topic. In each session, in addition to weekly discussions, students will be guided through a writing exercise or a new step in the research process. In this course, students will learn how to critically examine sources, define a theoretical framework, use standards of logical demonstration, and develop a comprehensive thesis project proposal.
450.601 - Forbidden Knowledge: the "Metaphysical Rebel" in Myth and Literature
But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat" (Gen. 2:17). This interdisciplinary course explores the theme of forbidden knowledge in the various forms it takes in the Bible, the Epic of Gilgamesh, Greek tragedy, folklore and folktale, and in western literary classics ranging from Milton's Paradise Lost through the versions of the Faust story in Marlowe, Goethe, and Thomas Mann, to short stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. What do we make of the parallels between the Greek hero Prometheus and the Biblical Satan? How are we to understand the figure of Dr. Frankenstein as "the Modern Prometheus"? Does Faust's pursuit of conventionally forbidden areas of knowledge anticipate 20th and 21st century quests to unveil the secrets of nuclear power, or of artificial intelligence, or of genetic engineering of the human genome? In addition to our literary readings, we will discuss a variety of operas and other relevant musical works; films from Bride of Frankenstein and Dr. Strangelove, to Hannibal; and transgressive visual imagery from Paleolithic cave art to the work of contemporary performance artists ? in a collective quest to find and define the boundaries of "the forbidden."
450.602 - Markup Languages for Humanities Research
This course aims to train students to mark up (historical) documents by making use of a set of markup languages such as XML and (X)HTML. In addition to learning the basics of these languages, students will be introduced to and work with existing standards such as TEI and will learn to develop their own schema's. Ample time will be devoted to broader questions regarding the conceptualization of primary sources in digital environments, the ways in which these sources can be conceived of as data, the relationship between our scholarly questions and the data sets that we create, and the methods used to make this data available online. Ultimately, this course will provide students with a set of tools and skills necessary for the development of their own DH research projects based on the ability to handle various markup languages as well as a thorough understanding of the ways in which these languages can be used to translate physical documents into digital formats. (Available online)
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 - Art Since 1960
What is contemporary art, and what are the factors that shaped it? This course will attempt to answer those questions through a chronological and thematic investigation of some of the most influential artworks, movements, and theories of the past 60 years. Beginning with a close look at mid-century modernism, we will move into a consideration of Pop, Minimalism, conceptual art, land art, performance art, postmodernism, AIDS activism, and relational aesthetics. Along the way, we will also consider the relevance of feminist and phenomenological theory and of institutional critique and globalization; at the same time, we will explore ways in which art of our own time constitutes both an extension of, and reaction against, some of the historical ideas we encounter. Throughout, students will have a chance to read and discuss both primary and secondary texts, and a range of resources and assignments will offer a variety of analytical angles and interpretive possibilities.
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 âMoral GPS,â 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. Through the work of this course, Students will:
- analyze the principal ethical theories and their relation to each other;
- evaluate their own ethical assumptions and those of others in relation to those ethical theories;
- be able to validate ethical claims in ways compatible with cross-cultural dialog;
- be able to guide ethical dialog toward consensus for effective action
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 Truffaut?s 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 - Renaissance Women: Portraits, Patrons, and Painters
This seminar will explore the artistic experience of women in Renaissance Italy. A large body of recent scholarship has sought to ârecover those women...who have been erased from history in modern literature, rendered invisible or obscured by history or scholarship, as well as those who were overshadowed by male relatives, political accident, or spatial locationâ (Katherine A. McIver, preface to Wives, Widows, Mistresses and Nuns in Early Modern Italy). Drawing upon a consideration of both current research and primary sources, this course will investigate the role women played as the makers, the commissioners, and the subjects of art in Italy during the period from ca. 1250-1600. Among other issues, we will examine the constraints that limited womenâs contribution to the arts in this period when womenâs participation in public life were quite circumscribed, as well as the various means they found to overcome them. We will investigate what types of women were able to become artists. We will learn what categories of women were most likely to commission art, and what kinds of art they generally commissioned. Lastly, we will examine portraits of women, to understand what these representations tell us about the view of women in Renaissance society. Students will develop their own critical positions on the issues through a close reading of both texts and works of art, participation in online discussions, and in several substantial writing assignments.
450.609 - 1900: The Birth of Modernism in Vienna, Paris, and London
The year 1900 was the pivotal fulcrum of the turn of the century, that short but crucial era we call the fin-de-siÃ¨cle, ranging from 1890 to WW I. This explosively creative period of literary and artistic expression witnessed the dramatic transition from the cultural order of old Europe to the new worlds of modernity: Freud's Vienna, Toulouse Lautrec's Paris, and the London of George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde. It was an exciting new era of steam, speed and electrification, of the exhilarating cultural life of world's fairs, crowded boulevards, cafes, music halls, art galleries, and photographer's studios.
New styles of painting by Viennese Secessionists Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Oscar Kokoschka, along with Picasso's Cubist experiments, would change people's ideas of what art could do and even of what art was for. Colorful posters featured a new world of travel and consumerism, of daring cabaret performers and uninhibited night-life, and of "new women" shown smoking cigarettes, riding bicycles, and claiming public space. Radical performances by Diaghilev's innovative company, the Ballets Russes, could provoke controversy, and even rioting in the concert halls. The excitement of Belle Ãpoque Paris is legendary, but London may have felt the most vibrant polarizations of all: on the one hand, the sternly patriarchal imperial and colonialist culture celebrated by Rudyard Kipling, with comic relief provided by Gilbert and Sullivan; and on the other, the subterranean currents of aestheticism and gender-bending decadence explored by Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley, who pushed the boundaries of what Victorian London would tolerate, up to and beyond its limits.
Our interdisciplinary exploration will range from the fine arts and music, through architecture, urban design and city planning, to popular culture and the radical social changes marking this turn of the century epoch.
450.610 - Twice-Told Tales: Classic Texts and their Contemporary Retellings
This course offers a comparative study of classic texts and their modern or contemporary retellingsâin literature and on stage and screenâwith 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 âsecond storiesâ 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 Sophoclesâ 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 Homerâs Odyssey and Margaret Atwoodâs Penelopiad; Sophoclesâ Antigone and Anouilhâs Antigone; Shakespeareâs The Tempest and Frederick Buechnerâs The Storm; and Virginia Woolfâs Mrs. Dalloway and Michael Cunninghamâs The Hours.
450.611 - Social History of Medicine
This course focuses on major developments in modern medicine from the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment to the late 20th century and considers those developments within their social, political, cultural, and economic contexts. The focus is on the growth of scientific/bio medicine. However, the parallel growth of lifestyle choices and holistic medicine is also important. Some of the themes of the course are: the development of the medical profession and institutions; changing concepts of insanity; the impact of industrialization and the linking of dirt with disease; drug discoveries and their consequences; the impact of eugenics theories; gender and medicine; war as a catalyst for medical innovation; growing government involvement in health care provision as well as socialized medicine and its relevance today.
450.612 - Tough Neighborhood: A History of U.S.-Central American Relations
This course examines the tumultuous history of the United Statesâ relationship with Central America, from William Walkerâs filibustering in the 1850s to the recent wave of migration from the Northern Triangle. We will consider how US policymakers, organizations, and individuals have judged the isthmus in economic and national security terms and intervened accordingly, and we will examine how Central Americans have viewed the United States as a model of modernization, an interloper, and a site of refuge, as well as the ways in which they have shaped the North-South relationship despite the asymmetry of political, economic, and military power. Sources will include works of scholarship such as Confronting the American Dream and The Last Colonial Massacre, as well as texts from Central American authors, including the poetry of Roque Dalton, the personal testimony of Rigoberta Menchu, and the reporting of Ãscar MartÃnez.
450.613 - British Victorian Women
This course embraces the broad sweep of primarily British Victorian women's experiences. It analyzes the emergence of the Victorian stereotype of middle and upper class women and compares that stereotype to the reality of individual case studies. It also explores the variety of expectations and demands on working class women - focusing on geographical, industrial and rural factors and the resulting lives of women working and living across the British Isles. In addition, there is an emphasis on Victorian women as agents of change in the fields of literature, medicine, teaching and social work both at home and abroad, as well as in local and national politics.
450.614 - Museum Controversies: Ethical Issues in Museums
Museum directors, curators, and other staffers have faced an array of political and ethical dilemmas in an increasingly contentious environment. This course explores the historical, political, and cultural backgrounds to controversies surrounding exhibitions such as the Smithsonianâs display of the Enola Gay, the Brooklyn Museum of Artâs âSensation,â the British Museumâs Elgin Marbles, and the showing of illegally acquired antiquities at various art museums. Nationalism, religious beliefs, obscenity, and âedutainmentâ are among the issues discussed.
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 - 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
450.617 - The Constitution and the Criminal Justice System
Examines how the Supreme Court establishes and enforces the constitutional rules that govern law enforcement in the United States, including the 4th Amendment's provisions on searches and arrests, the 5th and 6th Amendment protections for individuals charged with a crime, and the 8th Amendment's requirement for bail and its ban on cruel and unusual punishments. We will also examine what it means to have a fair trial, the process of plea bargaining which resolves most criminal cases, and the continuing controversy over criminal sentencing. And we will continually be exploring the meaning and the reality of "justice."
450.618 - DIY or Die: The History, Art and Politics of the Zine
Self-published zines (pronounced ZEENs) â defined by Stephen Duncombe, are ânoncommercial, nonprofessional, small-circulation magazines which their creators produce, publish, and distribute by themselves.â Zines have been a staple of underground culture and subculture for decades, tracing their history to 1930âs science fiction fandom, and encompassing topics from punk rock to critical race studies. This course offers an in-depth look at the origins and proliferation of DIY (do-it-yourself) zine culture and features guest interviews with zine-writers (âzinestersâ). In addition to studying zines through the lens of history, art, critical theory, and cultural studies, students will design and produce zines of their own and share them online in a digital format.
450.619 - Revolutions of the Book: The Transformation of Knowledge in Europe from
This course will explore how intersection of transformations in the technologies and arts of communication with transformations in ideasâa topic of particular relevance today, much as it was long ago. The entire course will be taught directly from original rare book and manuscript materials in the collections of Johns Hopkins University. We will begin with the history of writing, from the cuneiform tablets and papyri in the ancient world, to illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, on to scribal traditions of the Renaissance. We will also explore myths of writing as well, in particular ancient pagan and early Christian mythologies which sought to explain how letters, words, and languages were âinventedâ and âdiscoveredâ through the medium of the newly restored fresco cycle in the Vatican Libraryâs Salone Sistino. We will then proceed to the Printing Revolution of the 15th and 16th centuries, exploring the earliest invention of printing by movable type in the age of Gutenberg and the âincunabulaâ period, one of the most energetic and experimental periods in the history of book making. We will then turn to the advent of the first great libraries of Europe, and to the rapid proliferation of âprint cultureâ during the tumults, conflagrations, and revolutions of the 17th century, and the essential role of the book in promoting both the culture of the Ancient Regime and the Enlightenment. We will explore popular and canonical literary works, and their illustration, imitation, censorship and propagandization during the rise of vernacular (vs. Latinate) print culture, focusing on the publication of plays, poetry, novels and novellas, as well as the most popular verse genre of the period: emblem books.
450.620 - Gender and Media
This course addresses the intersection of communication, culture, and identity through an examination of gender and the U.S. media system. The course will first introduce students to key approaches to studying gender and media, and will subsequently examine: 1) media representations of gender, sexuality, and intersectionality; 2) diversity in media industries and gendered labor markets; 3) gendered audiences and fan cultures; and 4) gender, power, and identity in a digital era of communication. We will explore these topics through literature from communication and media studies, cultural studies, feminist theory, internet/new media studies, and sociology.
450.621 - The Self in Question: Readings in Lit & Psychol
What is a âselfâ and what is its nature? Is the self discovered or invented? Is it synonymous with character, with personality, with soul? Or is the self primarily a storyline? Thinkers throughout the ages have probed the riddle of our human identity and come to distinctly differing conclusions. Buddha considered the self an illusion, while for Plato, the self is a slumbering sage. For Freud, it is an instinctual hunger; for Sartre, a useless passion; for B.F. Skinner, a machine; for Buckminster Fuller, a verb. Modern literature and psychology have further complicated our conceptions of selfhood, challenging traditional notions of the stable ego and expanding our understanding of personal identity to include race, class, gender, and culture. From âselves in the makingâ to âselves under siege,â 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 âtwo 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 Kafka, Thomas Mann, Saul Bellow, Toni Morrison, Milan Kundera, Margaret Atwood, and Z.Z. Packer. Our interdisciplinary focus will enable us to see the ways in which psychology and literature illuminate and enrich each otherâand also where they are in conflict, both in their methodologies and in their basic assumptions about the âknowabilityâ of human nature and behavior.
450.622 - The Shape of Things: Embodiment and Sexuality in American Culture
This course examines theories and experiences of embodiment, sexuality, and bodily difference in contemporary American culture, focusing on understandings, experiences, misconceptions, and marginalizations.
Drawing on feminist-informed gender, fat, disability, and critical race studies, the course introduces phenomenological, poststructuralist, and new materialist perspectives on the body, and interrogates the implications of diverse embodiments for human subjectivity and social life.
Myths and misconceptions of differences that circulate throughout popular and professional cultures, and inform public policies and everyday practices are analyzed. Course readings and audio/visual texts emphasize the problematics of normalcy across the life span and among diverse populations, and reflect on issues of sexual experience, gender, body size, disability and difference, illness and disease, aging and racialized bodies, and sexual variance.
Our bodies and the scrutiny they are under in American culture inform so much of our lived experience. Drawing on a wide range of texts we will examine the scope of sexuality and embodiment in this critical moment.
450.623 - Radical Politics in American History
This course examines the history of radical political movements in the United States and their efforts to alter the political system, social structure, and cultural values of the nation. Though positioned outside the mainstream of US political culture, these groups have made significant contributions to the shape of American society. Taking a broad view of âradicalâ that incorporates groups on the left and right of the political spectrum, this course considers how groups on the political fringes have expanded the boundaries of democracy, citizenship, and social inclusion, or sought to limit them to the exclusion of those individuals and groups they considered outsiders. Topics will include the Sons of Liberty in the colonial era, abolitionism in the years preceding the US Civil War, anarchism and syndicalism during the industrial revolution, left-wing revolutionary movements of the 1960s and â70s, and the anti-government right and antifa movements of recent decades.
450.624 - 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 Marylandâs abolition of slavery in 1864. The course is designed to broaden oneâs 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.
450.625 - 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 - MLA Core: Critical Theory
This course introduces critical theory in the context of struggles for social justice. From Plato to Judith Jack Halberstam, we will trace the history of âCritical Theoryâ by analyzing perspectives from psychoanalysis, Marxism, the Frankfurt School, postcolonial theory, poststructuralism, deconstruction, feminism, critical race theory, and queer theory. We will pay particular attention to how critical theory has been intimately and contentiously linked with politics and social justice. Among the authors studied are: Plato, Aristotle, David Hume, Edmund Burke, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Ferdinand De Saussure, Walter Benjamin, Claude Levi-Strauss, Jacques Lacan, Roland Barthes, Frantz Fanon, Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, Toni Morrison, Monique Wittig, Helene Cixous, Eve Sedgwick, bell hooks, Paul Gilroy, Judith Jack Halberstam.
450.628 - Art in the Age of Giotto
This seminar explores the art and architecture of Late Medieval Italy, from ca. 1250-1400. This seminal period of art history, often referred to as the Trecento (the 1300s), is a time of transition, as the Middle Ages give way to the flowering of the Italian Renaissance. While Italo-Byzantine and Gothic elements remain, there arises at this moment a new interest in naturalism, as well as in Greco-Roman antiquity. The flourishing of new religious orders facilitates a growing interest in engaging the viewersâ emotions. The rising status of the artist in the period is such that, for the first time since antiquity, anonymous artisans are replaced by famous artists, whose skills and reputation became increasingly important to patrons.
Through a consideration of recent and classic scholarship, as well as primary sources, this course will investigate the major artistic and intellectual developments in Trecento Italy. Among other issues, we will examine the rise of humanismâa code of conduct and theory of education based on the study of classical antiquity, and an emulation of Roman civic virtuesâand its effects on the arts. We will investigate the role of the new Mendicant ordersâthe Franciscans and Dominicansâin promoting the new naturalistic art of the Trecento, and the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi as a laboratory fostering artistic development. We will learn about the major artists of the period, including Cimabue, Giotto, Cavallini, Duccio, Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, Simone Martini, and the Lorenzetti brothers, and will discuss artistic competition and stylistic variations between the major political centers. Lastly, we will examine the varied impacts of the Black Death in 1348 on artistic development in Italy. Students will develop their own critical positions on the issues through a close reading of texts and works of art, participation in online discussions, and in several substantial writing assignments.
450.629 - 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 Renaissance and Baroque wunderkammern (German, âhalls of wonderâ), 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 dâart; 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; and popular culture (riot, ritual, and rebellion) in the Renaissance.
450.630 - "Orientalism" vs. "Occidentalism": A Brief History of Two Illusions
This course examines the evolution of regional attitudes that shape national discourses that create global discourse that influence the ways peoples and therefore nations at both ends of the Eurasian continent perceive and deal or do not deal with each other. Primary focus will be upon the sectarian religious, ethnic, social-economic conflicts that frame popular images, upon competitive power groups, international and domestic, that manage and model leadership polities, and upon the domestic and international press that play a significant role in shaping public perceptions. Students will view documentaries and films, read, weigh, consider and discuss a wide range of literary and media sources, including a film based upon Kiplingâs The Man Who Would Be King and other films, essays by world leaders, from the 19th-century father of modern India, Raja Rammohan Ray and Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, to the 20th- and 21st-century writers, such as Kishore Mahbubani (Can Asians Think), Steward Gordon (When Asia Was the World), Edward Said (Orientalism), and Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit (Occidentalism, The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies). (Available online)
450.631 - Western Theatre History: The Dynamic Interplay of Social, Economic and Cultural Forces
Theatre offers unique insight into the development of western civilization by depicting people in their relationships to themselves, to each other, and to society. Theatre history provides a distinctive lens through which to explore the social, economic, cultural, geographical and other forces shaping those relationships over the past 2500 years. Beginning with the inception of theatre in religious ritual up to the present postmodern era, Western Theatre History: The Dynamic Interplay of Social, Economic and Cultural Forces will explore the demographics of audiences, the reasons for attending the theatre, who presented theatre, where theatres were located, what theatre space looked like and why they looked that way in order to track the dynamics of western political and social history. Major works of dramatic literature will serve as the entry point into various periods and as reflections of the historical forces at work. The major periods to be studied are: Classical Greek and Rome, Medieval, Renaissance (Italy, England and Spain), 18th and early 19th centuries, the modern era and the postmodern present.
450.632 - Parallel Stories in the Bible and the Ancient World
This course compares and contrasts parallels stories within the text of the Bible while exploring similar narratives in ancient Near Eastern literature. Prose accounts and their poetic counterparts provide many fruitful opportunities for analysis. Students will consider the historical backgrounds of these stories as well as their enduring power in various retellings.
450.634 - Italian Renaissance Art and Thought
In what sorts of intellectual contexts was Italian Renaissance art produced and received? What, in other words, were the connections among Renaissance art, philosophy, theology, mathematics, rhetoric, and history? This seminar will investigate a number of answers to such questions through a consideration of primary evidence and recent scholarship. Among other things, we will consider Aristotleâs theory of magnificence as it was applied to Renaissance architecture, the development of perspectival systems, the notion of a Renaissance or golden age, and Vasariâs efforts to conceptualize art of the Renaissance in metaphorical terms. Several substantial writing assignments will allow students to develop critical positions of their own, and throughout the term there will be an emphasis upon close reading of both texts and artworks. (Available online)
450.635 - How the War was Remembered: The Film and Literature of the Vietnam War
The Vietnam War continues to be one of the most controversial and deeply divisive events in U.S. history. The seeds for the war began early in the 20th century, intensified within the Cold War emerging in the years after 1945, and tore the country apart when boots hit the ground in 1965 to fight a war with no clear objectives or enemies. The legacy of Vietnam is difficult to understand but it is clear that the lessons of the war have been most ârememberedâ through the films and the powerful perspective of the veteranâs voice in the literature of the war. We will ask how writers and film makers presented the experience of those on the battlefield and the home front; how very public and symbolic battles were fought over how the war should be interpreted and remembered; and how these artifacts help to illustrate the construction of a mediated cultural memory of the war. Particular attention will be paid to the "veteran's voice" and the role of autobiography. The course will consider the war from both liberal and conservative perspectives, and we will add an often-missing voice from the story; that of the Vietnamese. Ken Burn's new documentary series, The Vietnam War will anchor the class. Other films to be considered may include The Quiet American, The Green Berets, Apocalypse Now, Rambo, The Deer Hunter and Platoon, The Little Girl of Hanoi _(_Em bÃ© HÃ Noi) as well as other documentaries including Why Vietnam, Peter Davis' Hearts and Minds, and Four Hours in My Lai. Important literary works by veterans of the war may include those by Michael Herr, Philip Caputo, Bao Ninh, Le Ly Hayslip, Tim OâBrien and Ron Kovic among others. Please note that most of the films are readily available from multiple streaming sources (e.g. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Public Library, etc..). Students will be required to have watched a particular film in advance of class as noted in the syllabus.
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 effects on the culture, the Cold War, the changing role of scientists, and the rise of the suburbs.
450.637 - Native American Art History
This course examines Native American art as both internal and external communication centered in American Indian households, workshops, studios, and communities. Internal communication has met community and Tribal expectations for thousands of years as art has been engaged in ongoing economic, religious, political, and social activities that have created and maintained ethnic identity. External communication has placed art in the relationship between American Indian communities and non-Indian participants in the process of military conquest and colonization; and in galleries, museums, Powwows, and other public events. From the Colonial period to the present day Native American art has been admired and collected and has, in this way, mediated the relationships between Native communities and dominant American culture. We will use powerpoint slides, readings, and in-person consideration of Native American art at the National Museum of the American Indian to look at stylistic characteristics of various regions and time periods, and the messages and relationships embodied in specific examples of art.
450.638 - MLA Core: What is History?
What is history? What makes history, as a field of scholarship and a way of knowing, different from any other discipline? This course will introduce students to a vibrant and evolving field of study, and to the tensions, diversity, debates and controversies that shape it. Themes explored will include an examination of the parameters of the field (such as the relationship between popular and academic history; the tension between description and interpretation; the evaluation of sources; the role of the historian as a public intellectual; the craft of historical writing; and digital history as a new field of study) as well as an analysis of the topics and approaches undertaken by contemporary historians (such as the reframing of dominant narratives; the emergence of dominated voices and of new thematic fields such as sexuality, globalism and popular culture; and ongoing critiques of previously established narratives and theoretical frameworks). Students will read historical scholarship in a wide variety of fields, as well as critical theory, popular literature and documentaries.
450.639 - The American Southwest:Crossroads of Cultures
The course begins at the time when the Southwest was the homeland of the ancient Pueblo people (the âAnasaziâ). Our survey moves from the major archaeological sites such as Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde to the historical communities of the Hopi and Zuni and other Pueblo peoples of New Mexico and Arizona, along with the Navajo and Apache. We then move on to focus on the period of Spanish incursion, when the region became first part of colonial New Spain and then part of independent Mexico. We look at the narratives of the earliest Spanish arrival, and at the long tradition of Spanish colonial art and architecture, culture and religion in the region. We then move on to the incorporation of the region into the U.S. after the Mexican-American war, and with its impact on the Native American and Hispanic populations. The 19th century saw the arrival of the railroads and of an Anglo population of Easterners, and the genesis of the Southwest as a fine art center, sometimes called the Santa Fe-ization of the Southwest. More recently, the area has witnessed the âre-arrivalâ of a Mexican-American, or Chicano, population along with the retrieval and revival of Mexican cultural traditions such as the Day of the Dead and the cult of Guadalupe. Today the region, for all its cultural conflicts, is the site of an ongoing evolution of a modern ulticultural Southwest. The course includes reading and discussion of literary works by such authors as Willa Cather, Leslie Marmon Silko, Gloria AnzaldÃºa, Ed Abbey and Tony Hillerman, and an extensive look at the arts of the Pueblo and Navajo peoples, the paintings of the Taos School and the work of Georgia OâKeeffe, and the contemporary revival of Southwest folk art.
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.
450.642 - Yesterday's Tomorrows: Utopian and Dystopian Futures in Science Fiction Literature
Beginning with Thomas Moreâs seminal work Utopia (1516), this course will engage in an interdisciplinary discussion of the construction of utopian/dystopian-cacotopian worlds in science fiction, or more broadly speculative fiction, and the accompanying philosophical issues and concerns raised in these stories. Weâll draw on novels, history, philosophy, graphic novels, and film to grapple with the meaning and importance of utopian and dystopian thinking and writing across the 20th century. The authors react to and against major historical paradigm shifts caused by, for example, the Industrial Revolution, Modernity, War, the Cyber Revolution, and millennialism, along with the overarching âEnd of Daysâ stories. Some of the authors under consideration are H.G. Wells, Edward Bellamy, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Aldous Huxley, Ursula Le Guin, Philip K. Dick, Margaret Atwood, William Gibson, Octavia Butler, Marge Piercy, and Neil Stephenson. Through these stories the authors project both possible futures and offer incisive commentary on contemporary realities.
450.643 - 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. (Available online)
450.644 - U.S. Environmental History
Environmentalism is a multifaceted phenomenon infused with many different schools of thought about the nature of environmental problems as well as the most appropriate solutions for those problems. This course will examine the major historical influences on the varied approaches to environmentalism and environmental practice. Students will explore the influence of environmental ideas and actions in the US from the 19th century to the present. The goal is to deepen our understanding of contemporary environmental practice â by others and ourselves â by tracing the influence of these historical trends in current debates and actions. Topics include conservationism, preservationism, transcendentalism and green romanticism, toxic construct, the wilderness construct, and sustainability.
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, photojournalism, 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. âLet Us Now Praise Famous Menâ and âMinimata: Words and Photographsâ by Alieen and Eugene Smith. Students will work on a semester-long photo documentary project on a subject of their choice.
450.646 - Religion of Politics, Politics of Religion: Conflict and Convergence in Sacred Authority and Temporal Hierarchies
This course examines patterns of authority in religion and politics by exploring the connection between the sacred and the secular. The class will address questions concerning political power and religious influence in order to better understand the complex relationship between the two. Students will consider societies where religion and politics seem inextricable, societies that attempt to separate the two, and societies that attempt to eliminate religion from the equation. The class will recognize the ways in which nations develop their own civil religions. A variety of religious experiences and political ideologies will be considered. Special attention will be given to the role of religion and politics in social change.
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.
450.651 - Western Political Philosophy
This is intended as a broad survey of Western political thought, particularly as it developed in the European historical context from the classical era to the 20th century. The thinkers we will discuss can be thought of as engaged in what Robert Hutchins called a "great conversation" across the centuries on the central questions of political philosophy. These questions include: What are the purposes of government? What is the best form of government? How are justice and liberty best realized in a political system? What are rights - and where do they come from? What is sovereignty and in whom does it reside? What principles make political authority legitimate? Is disobedience to political authority ever justified? In many ways these questions are perennial ones, as relevant in our own time as in the distant past. Moreover the divergent systems of thought developed to answer these questions continue to shape much of contemporary political life - e.g. democracy, constitutionalism, liberalism, socialism, and conservatism. Among the political philosophers who will be examined are Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Machiavelli, John Locke, Edmund Burke, Thomas Hobbes, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, Hannah Arendt, and Leo Strauss. (Available online)
450.654 - "When the lamps went out”: WWI as history, memory and commemoration
The centenary of the conclusion of World War One is a fitting moment to re-examine the cataclysmic impact that war had on world affairs at both a micro and macro level. The war ended the âlong nineteenth centuryâ and ushered in an era of questioning and doubt for many who survived. It was the first manifestation of total war, made both necessary and possible because of industrialization and advances in transportation and weaponry. The resulting catastrophic loss of life among the military and civilians led to the assumption of new roles. This course looks at the different theaters of war; the social impact of the war on gender and class; the effect the war had on colonies in Africa and Asia; and the overall global political and economic ramifications of the war. There will be scope for students to pursue research on a specialized topic within this framework and within the following themes: World War One and literature, art, gender, medicine, propaganda, music, independence movements.
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 - 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 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 PellÃ©as et MÃ©lisande _(Play by Maurice Maeterlinck; Music by Claude Debussy), _Wozzeck (Play by Georg Buchner; Music by Alban Berg), Salome (Play by Oscar Wilde; Music by Richard Strauss), Peter Grimes (Narrative Poem by George Crabbe; Music by Benjamin Britten), Death in Venice (Novella by Thomas Mann; Music by Benjamin Britten), and The Nose (Short Story by Nikolai Gogol; Music by Dimitri Shostakovich). Lecturer: Douglas Blackstone. Guest Lecturer: Dianne Scheper.
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.
450.665 - Reading Photographs
"A photograph can tell many stories: one the photographer tries to communicate, one through the lens of culture and politics and one through the eyes of the viewer as influenced by his/her own personal history. In this course students will learn to analyze and write critically about photographs. Concurrently they will learn to use their digital cameras and the basics of Photoshop to create a series of images inspired by the photographs they study during the semester."
450.667 - The Bildungsroman as Literary Form-Chronicling Personal Growth in Countries and Cultures
The bildungsroman, often referred to as the Novel of Adolescence or Coming of Age novel, is one of the worldâs most fascinating literary forms because of its manifestations in the literatures of many cultures and countries. The development of the form closely parallels the development of nations, the emergence of philosophical, social, and literary movements which have defined the world from the Eighteenth Century onward. Many major writers of the Romantic, Modern, and Post-modern periods have experimented with the form in compelling works such as Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man, Mrs. Dalloway, Madame Bovary, Great Expectations, Native Son, Catcher in the Rye, and The Famished Road. The illusiveness of the form derives in part from its ubiquitous nature. The classical German bildungsroman differs significantly from its English, French, American, African American, Asian, and African counterparts. This course examines the bildungsroman in several of its manifestations: the rise of the form in Eighteenth Century Germany, its adoption among French and English writers, its adaptation in Joyceâs Ireland, its popularity among American and African American writers, and its unique presentation in Asian and African literatures. Students will read several major bildungsromans and discuss the constructs of the form as well as the ways it differs among countries and cultures, races and ethnicities, and between genders. Some attention will be paid to the social and societal contexts associated with the form, as well as the ways in which it has been shaped by prevailing philosophies. Students will be encouraged to participate in The Bildungsroman Project, a Digital Humanities project designed to catalog and explore the form (http://bildungsromanproject.com/). (Available online)
450.669 - Family in Cross-Cultural Perspective
This course examines the family from various cross-cultural perspectives. Throughout the semester we will examine the family as a social institution through the lenses of race, gender, age, social class, and sexual orientation. First we will explore how the notion of family has changed over time in the United States. Next we will explore the social processes that take place within the context of the family such as dating, courtship, marriage, and parenting. We will also look at other issues that affect families such as immigration policy, work inside and outside the home, poverty, and domestic violence. (Available online)
450.670 - Broadway and Beyond: Contemporary Theatre in New York
This course will combine online work with a one-week âresidencyâ in New York. The online classes prepare the students to negotiate the intricacies of the cityâs theatre scene as well as to more fully appreciate the theatre they will see. There will be 6 online classes before the New York trip and 2 after the students return. Topics to be covered include: The histories of and differences among Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-off-Broadway or Indie theatre; The geography of New York theatre. Where theatres in the above categories are primarily located and why; History and impacts of the recent Disneyfication of Broadway; The business models for and differences between for-profit and nonprofit theatre; Exploring primary sources of up-to-the-minute theatre information, including schedules, ticket deals and reviews; Researching the mission, history and 2016-17 seasons of selected cutting-edge companies currently creating work in New York; Comparing the work of companies that produce new work or pre-existing texts and those that create using an ensemble or devised process; Reading four to five texts (if they have been printed) of plays we will see. After viewing the plays âthe page to stage processâ entailed in bringing those scripts to life will discussed.
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. (Available online)
450.675 - Literary Analysis of the Hebrew Bible
This course focuses on narrative criticism of the Hebrew Bible, comparing it to similar methodologies (poetics, rhetorical criticism, etc.) and contrasting it with other forms of exegesis (historical criticism, deconstruction, etc.). Students will study key literary terms and discuss the elements that work together to form a story. The class will consider the narrator's voice in relation to the text and the reader, examining narrative omniscience, key type scenes, and themes in the Hebrew Bible and ancient Near Eastern (ANE) literature. This course attempts to discern narrative criticismâs place in the history of Biblical interpretation. Long overshadowed by historical criticism and increasingly seeking to find its place in the midst of a number of reader oriented approaches, narrative criticism can be a valuable partner to both. This class examines narrative criticismâs value as a tool for exegesis by studying its roots and the methodologies incorporated by narrative critics of the Hebrew Bible. (Available online)
450.678 - Religions of the Emerging World
The emerging world of the 21st century is globally interconnected: Al peoples are now neighbors. In this world, competing religious claims to unique truth pose a serious threat. Yet abandoning such claims can reduce religions to quaint cultural relics. How can religious believers maintain the vitality of their spiritual heritage while fully appreciating the faith/wisdom traditions of others? This course explores the insights of one man who has sought that balance of religious consciousnessâphilosopher Huston Smithâas he reflects on Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Rather than competing, he found, the worldâs religious traditions can greatly enrich one another. (Available online)
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 incumbentâs 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.
450.683 - The History of the Book from the Ancient World to the Digital Humanities
"What is the future of the book?" This course will tackle that question in two distinct ways. First, we will delve into the distant historical past together and explore the circumstances governing the transmission of knowledge itself, from its origins in Bronze Age cuneiform, hieroglyphic and Semitic-language manuscripts, up to the Greco-Roman period, in the form of inscribed tablets, papyrus rolls, and epigraphic fragments. The next portion of the course will address the medieval âmanuscript revolution,â marking the epochal technological transition to the codex book-form still in use today. Here we will address the progress of paleographyâthe forensic development of Western handwriting over timeâand the proliferation of book illustration and illumination alongside the parallel development of traditional sacred and novel secular textual genres, partly made possible through these same innovations in book production. In the interest of presenting an especially focused study over the final half of the course, we will then move from the late Middle Ages to the âPrinting Revolution,â from the middle of the 15th c. up to the close of the 17th c. We will hone in on the first era of âinformation overloadâ (before our present-day digital revolution) and its broader cultural impact on the cultures of book history and the reception of knowledge over time. (Available Online)
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.
450.687 - 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.
450.688 - 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 itâin 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 groupâs ends? What alternative to violence were there at particular historical moments? Who condemned or supported violence, and for what reasons?
450.689 - Introduction to Digital Humanities in the Liberal Arts
This introductory course in the MLA programâs digital humanities concentration is designed to familiarize students with digital encoding tools, web platforms, assorted search engines and other methodologies directly relevant to a wide range of research agendas in the liberal arts. In the course of the semester, students will receive a comprehensive introduction to selected tools and methodologies, such as the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) and text mining software (e.g. Voyant and Collatex). Assigned text encoding projects will guide students in identifying appropriate textual markup strategies, resolving issues generated through digital research, and finally in selecting appropriate tools for edition making. The semester will conclude with group critiques of these assigned projects from the standpoint of both content and user experience. (Available online)
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.
450.693 - 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.
450.694 - Philosophy of Beauty
Since Plato, "Beauty" has proven to be a crucial topic in Western Philosophy. Philosophers have seen fit to address numerous questions surrounding the topic: what is beauty, what distinguishes and constitutes it, who can create it, who can discern and appreciate it? Is it subjective or objective? We will consider a variety of other critical questions via the prominent thinkers we will read in this class, such as: what is the point in creating art? Who or what is it for? What is its desired or intended impact on the audience? What are the germs of creativity, or what is the critical environment for its emergence? Is creativity and artistic inspiration an individual privilege, or can it be shared broadly in society, or in a community? What is the political role or place of the artist and his/her work? Philosophers read in this class may include Plato, of course, but also Aristotle, Augustin, Aquinas, Hume, Burke, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, among others. If time permits, we will also look at more recent philosophers writing on the topic--and why beauty might no longer be a concern for art and artists.
450.695 - American Political Theory and Practice
Our purpose in this course is not to provide an account of the mechanics of American government, but to examine the principles that underlie those mechanics, and the way in which those principles change over time. In other words, we are going to examine the political philosophy that serves as a basis for the American regime (or regimes, if one is so inclined). This means that in addition to questions of justice and right we will examine how the thinkers of the Founding era understood the human being, and the sort of governmental structures that are built on this understanding. We will also consider the revolution in American politics that occurs in the 20th century. The progressive movement of the 20th century builds on a different view of human nature and metaphysics (originating in, but ultimately transcending, Hegelian Idealism), and therefore finds itself in tension with the principles of the Founding. This tension is one of the animating forces of American political partisanship today, so an understanding of the development of American political theory will help us to better understand political disagreements in our own day. (Available online)
450.697 - All in the Family: Power, Scandal, and Fall
From the Roman Empire through today, ruling families have had a profound effect on the social, political, and cultural lives of their people. It was believed wealth, power, and nobility from birth formed the perfect formula to rule over the lower class. However, the rise of humanistic study, merchants, explorers, revolutions, and colonialism threatened and ultimately destabilized their wealth and power. As a result, the rise of the middle class, emerging political systems, and development of national identities gave way, arguably, to the dissolution of absolute power predominately in the Western world. We will consider the following ruling families: the Julio-Claudian, Ptolemaic, Ming, Hoehnstaufen, Habsburg, Medici, Aragon-Castille, Tutors, Capetian, Romonovs, and current House of Windsor.
450.698 - African American Poetry and Poetics
This course will explore the category, history, and development of African American poetry from Phillis Wheatley to the present. We will focus on poetry and poetics specifically but will consider the general movement of literature produced by African American writers over the course of three centuries. We will read works by the key contributors to this particular American literary tradition with the goal of understanding the aesthetic, cultural, and critical legacy of African American poetry to the American literary and musical sensibility of the twenty-first century. From eighteenth-century odes to the blues, hip hop, and rap tradition, we will examine the role that race, cultural identity, legal status, and the impersonal structures (or shackles) of poetic forms have played in shaping and reshaping African American verse. We will use several Digital Humanities tools (e.g. Voyant Tools and NGram Viewer) to map the evolution of African American poetry from the 18th century to the present. (Available online)
450.699 - Great Books in Great Contexts
What makes a âgreat bookâ great? In this course, which emphasizes deep reading and discussion of some of the influential writings that have shaped the intellectual and cultural heritage of our world, we will begin to try to answer that question. Along our journey, we will explore seminal texts including Homerâs Odyssey, The Song of Roland, Shakespeareâs Henry V, Shelleyâs Frankenstein, and Conradâs Heart of Darkness. In studying these great books and their historical contexts, we will employ elements of literary criticism, identify common and enduring narrative themes, and reflect on the inclusion of each of these texts as part of the Western Canon. Students will select one text on which to write an in-depth research paper (in consultation with the instructor).
450.700 - "The Souls of Black Folk": Evolving Conceptions of Leadership in African American Literature and Culture
Equal parts historical study, sociological investigation, and cultural analysis, W. E. B. Du Bois' classic work, The Souls of Black Folk, exemplifies the type of interdisciplinary and multidimensional approach employed by political and social theorists in their efforts to make sense of the fundamental conditions, contours, and characteristics of political life in modern societies. Paying particular attention to Du Boisâ account of race, the role political leadership, and the relationship between leaders and the masses, we will put Du Boisâ seminal work in conversation with a number of other prominent Afro-American voices, including Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Ralph Ellison, Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin, Cornel West, Barack Obama, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. By attending to Du Boisâ political engagements as well as literary representations of political leadership that have been influenced by him in one way or another, students will have the opportunity to explore the premises and implications of racial politics as well as some of the creative ways in which African Americans have sought to overcome racial domination. What are the appropriate roles and responsibilities of political leaders? What is the nature of their relationship to the community? What are the foundations of legitimate leadership and authority? What form should black politics take in order to overcome white supremacy? How should we understand the relationship between class, gender, race, and sexuality? (Available online)
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.
450.706 - The Bildungsroman as Literary Form: Chronicling Personal Growth in Countries and Cultures
The bildungsroman, often referred to as the Novel of Adolescence or Coming of Age novel, is one of the worldâs most fascinating literary forms because of its manifestations in the literatures of many cultures and countries. The development of the form closely parallels the development of nations, the emergence of philosophical, social, and literary movements which have defined the world from the Eighteenth Century onward. Many major writers of the Romantic , Modern, and Post-modern periods have experimented with the form in compelling works such as Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man, Mrs. Dalloway, Madame Bovary, Great Expectations, Native Son, Catcher in the Rye, and The Famished Road. The illusiveness of the form derives in part from its ubiquitous nature. The classical German bildungsroman differs significantly from its English, French, American, African American, Asian, and African counterparts. This course examines the bildungsroman in several of its manifestations. Students will explore the rise of the form in Eighteenth Century Germany, its adoption among French and English writers, its adaptation in Joyceâs Ireland, its popularity among American and African American writers, and its unique presentation in Asian and African literatures. Students will read several major bildungsromans and discuss the constructs of the form as well as the ways it differs among countries and cultures, races and ethnicities, and between genders. Some attention will be paid to the social and societal contexts associated with the form, as well as the ways in which it has been shaped by prevailing philosophies. Students will be encouraged to participate in The Bildungsroman Project, a Digital Humanities project designed to catalog and explore the form (http://bildungsromanproject.com/).
450.707 - Therapy of the Soul: Philosophy of Ancient Rome
This course will cover some of the most important philosophical texts in the Roman Empire, texts at the nexus of Ancient Greek culture and early Christianity. We will consider Lucretiusâ On the Nature of Things, one of the earliest atheist writings, an evocative poem outlining the philosophy of Epicurean hedonismâthe path to maximizing pleasure, and diminishing fear and anxiety. We will next read from the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca, a significant political actor in Rome, and advisor to the emperors. The most popular philosophy in the Roman Empire, Stoicism, as exemplified by Senecaâs artful writing, lays out a âtherapy of the soulâ that is an impressive precursor and fascinating comparison to Freudian psychoanalysis. An even more impressive political actor, Cicero, is also on the reading list; we will look at his work on moral duties and political corruption, and consider how or why his prescriptions failed in Rome, but endured for later political philosophers. In the latter part of the course, we will consider the emergence of Christianity in later Rome through the writings of St. Augustine. His work provides powerful insight into how ancient Greece and Rome prepared the way for Christianityâand also indicates what was radically new in the Christian narrative and worldview. (Available online)
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 (1452â1519) was one of the most fascinating individuals in history. He is the creator of what are arguably the worldâs 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. (Available online)
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 worldâs 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 worldâs time-honored spiritual traditions can meet. This course is team-taught by a physicist and a religious studies scholar.
450.716 - The Photo Essay, Phyllis Berger
In this photography course, students combine images and text to create a narrative. On fieldtrips to places such as Baltimoreâs old Chinatown and the ghostly shopping district of Howard Street they will learn the art of the interview, elements of composition and camera operation. In the classroom, students will become adept at the art of post-processing images and will gain insight into the art of the photo essay by examining the great practitioners of that art such as Margaret Bourke-White, James Agee and Walker Evans and Cornell Capa.This course has a limit of 10 students. It will be held in the Center for Digital Arts lab., Mattin 204.
450.717 - School and Society: Education Reimagined, Possibilities Disclosed
This course will engage in a discussion of the current realities and challenges present within the United Statesâ PK-12 education system. We will examine a range of perspectives on what does (and doesnât) work in our educational policies and practices. While this endeavor will entail a critical examination of the status quo, it also will invite students to recognize what is possible and inspiring in the work many courageous educators accomplish in the midst of challenging times. The course will address the following questions:
- What are the aims and purposes of education?
- What should be the content of the curriculum?
- What are the implications of structural inequality in schools?
- What are the roles and responsibilities of teachers and students?
- What are the issues that impact 21st century schools?
Instead of seeking tidy answers to these course questions, you should approach this class as an invitation to enter into an ongoing discussion of:
- The factors that characterize the relationship that exists between school and society;
- The principles that underlie the decisions made by those who have the power or capacity to alter that relationship; and
- The challenges faced by those who strive (and usually struggle) to resolve competing demands upon this relationship.
Please note: this course does not require a background in the field of education. Although practicing teachers are welcome to join this course, it has been developed for a wider audience.
450.723 - WWII in Visual and Literary Art
The length and massive scope of World War II make it singular in the history of warfare: never before had the entire globe been involved in such a protracted and technologically sophisticated war. Since the end of World War I, the weapons and machinery of war had become increasingly lethal, culminating in the advent of advanced, long-range aircraft and the successful manufacture of the atomic bomb. Fighting took place on land, at sea, and in the air, and casualties were huge: over 60 million people were killed, including c. 50 million civilians. Predictably, the war generated new forms of literature and art and made particular use of photography, which for the first time enabled a detailed and often horrific visual record of events. In this seminar, students will focus on important novels and films that appeared in response to WWII, as well as on the photographic record of the war. An emphasis will be placed on using these sources to understand the major historical and military events of World War II as well as the efforts made by soldiers and civilians to survive it.
450.724 - Science Fiction Film in the 20th Century
This course provides a survey of Science Fiction Film from the early part of the 20th century and the very beginnings of film, through 2002. 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 origins (A Trip to the Moon, Metropolis), âclassicsâ (The Day the Earth Stood Still, Invasion of the Body Snatchers), cult/fan favorites (Blade Runner) and will conclude with a section focused on the 1990s and the dystopic imagination (The Matrix, Minority Report, 12 Monkeys, Gattaca, Handmaid's Tale, and Dark City among others. The goal is to develop critical analytical skills in understanding the role of science fiction within culture. How is science fiction defined? What is the role of science fiction literature in the creation and development of the formula? What is the âscienceâ that drives the science fiction? What does it mean to be human? What is the view of the future, of technology? How are cultural and social concerns expressed through formula? 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.
450.728 - On the Shoulders of Giants
Since the year 1865 and the passage of the 13th Amendment, America has struggled with its ability to assure the right of all Americans to achieve full participation in our democracy. There have been short periods of advancement, but they have typically been followed by devastating rollbacks of hard fought gains. The new Jim Crow has a chameleon-like character, disguising its true intent and malevolent designs with code words and strategic policies that erode the rights of all citizens, but are detrimental to African Americans and communities of color more than to others.
This course will focus on a number of social justice giants and critical movements or organizations from the 1940s through the present. Key topics will include an examination of certain critical flashpoints in U.S. history that are strikingly similar to the years immediately leading up to, encompassing and following the Obama presidency, with an eye to identifying the social, economic and cultural forces that are at once the precipitants and undoing of these unique movements in time. We will attempt to understand how these forces shaped and were in turn shaped by powerful women like Anna Julia Cooper, Nancy Cunard, and Audre Lord whose life work inspired and provided the intellectual framework for the activism of later generations, led by Angela Davis, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Kimberle Crenshaw. The poet, novelist, playwright, and columnist Langston Hughes, who, along with WEB Dubois, was one of the most committed artists and intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance, provides a bridge from that period to a new vanguard of voices like James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Lorraine Hansberry, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, August Wilson and many others. This period of cultural literacy was also responsible for rediscovery of influential writers like Zora Neal Hurston, who shared the stage with Langston Hughes during the Renaissance. Hugh
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 CopÃ¡n, Tikal, Palenque, Uxmal, and Chichen ItzÃ¡ 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.
450.731 - History of the Papacy: Pope Francis in Context
This course will cover the history of the papacy from Late Antiquity until the present day. It will pay particular attention to the growth of the papacy as an institution, its ideological expression, and the historical roots of todayâs Pope. The acclaimed historian, Thomas F.X. Noble, has noted that the papacy is the âworldâs oldest continuously functioning institution.â Its longevity alone has prompted curiosity and interest, inspired scholarly works and attracted popular attention; to many, it has been the model of tradition for two millennia. But upon closer inspection, another story, one of transformation, also emerges. The approach of most papal histories, beginning with the Liber Pontificalis in the sixth century up to and including many twentieth-century accounts, is to weave a seamless narrative. These histories attempt to reinforce the notion that the papacy was (and still is) moving inexorably toward some preordained end. Most historians today disagree with this approach, and prefer to acknowledge far more contingency: the papacy as an institution has witnessed periods of monumental transformation over its 2000-year history. This course will highlight these developments, place them within their proper historical context, and demonstrate that perhaps no institution has witnessed more change and continuity than the papacy. This course satisfies the interdisciplinary core requirement. (available online)
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 Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.
450.733 - Why Tonality Matters: Symphonic Music and its Practitioners in Western Cultures
Early in the 20th century, composers of the âSecond Viennese School,â believed that tonality and Romanticism in western music had gone far enough, and their answer was âatonality,â music written to avoid any formal relation to a central key. In this course, students will learn why this theory largely failed, and why tonality won out. Through in-class demonstration and listening, students will discover that tonality is likely an unavoidable phenomenon of nature, and that we, as human beings, naturally seek harmonic structure. Important to the discussion will be the study of the harmonic series, a physical reality, and the tempered scale. With assigned readings, there will be on-going discussion about the composers who succeeded where others failed and why. Assignments will include required viewing of Leonard Bernsteinâs six Norton lectures recorded in 1973 at Harvard University, âThe Unanswered Question.â
Listening assignments will feature popular symphonies, operas, and other works by Mozart in the 18th century; Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, Dvorak, Sibelius in the 19th century; and Rachmaninov, Vaughan Williams, Hindemith, and William Walton in the 20th century. Several classes will be devoted to Sonata-Allegro form, the foundation upon which all of the above mentioned composers relied. We will also listen to contemporary examples of the same tonal relationships in music for the stage, for film, and for TV.
By course end, students will become better aware of, and better listeners to, an art form that has influenced western culture for over 200 years. They will also begin to identify tonal relationships between resolving chordal structures in music, and recognize how important the harmonic series and the tempered scale was and remains in the development of western symphonic music to this day. With the knowledge thereof, students will begin to know what to listen for.
450.734 - Rebirth of a Nation:The Harlem Renaissance
This course will examine twentieth century American history through the lens of the Harlem Renaissance, probing the music, literature, theatre, film, and other visual arts of that era for the key themes and messages that would profoundly influence the twentieth century civil rights movement and radically transform the cultural, social, and political landscape of post-slavery America. This course intends to "humanize" American history by exposing students to a uniquely powerful artistic movement through which ordinary people gave expression to their personal experience of key historical events as witnesses, participants, and agents of change. It is anticipated that the integration of cultural material into the analysis of historical facts will awaken students to dimensions of America's racial past not previously explored and provide a platform from which they may engage in critical and constructive analysis of the sociopolitical landscape of twenty-first America.
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.
450.736 - Medieval England: From Beowulf to the Battle of Bosworth
This course traces this history of England from the Anglo-Saxon invasions of the fifth and sixth centuries to the political unrest and economic crises of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Approaching medieval England through the broad lenses of myth-making, nation-building, and identity-creation, we will focus on some of the larger trends and developments that help explain the distinctive liberalism and individualism of English culture, e.g. the breakdown of feudalism, life in the medieval town and on the manor, the origins and evolution of the common law, and the rise of Parliament. Our exploration will take the shape of a multidisciplinary journey and will include in-depth analysis of art and literature as well as religious and political texts.
450.738 - MLA Core: Why Read the Classics?
There are three questions that rest at the heart of this course: What is meant by the term âclassicâ when we refer to works of literature and poetry? Why is it worthwhile to read the classics? and What would you include in your personal library of the classics? We will turn to authors, poets, and philosophers for their wisdom and guidance on the topic, and we will read a number of works to help refine our understanding of what the classics mean to us. In doing so, we will engage in close readings of each text, find ways to bring them into dialogue with one another, contemplate the insights they give into the human experience, and explore their relevance in our everyday lives. Students will be asked to write analytical, creative, and reflective responses to these works and to consider the classics that are meaningful to them.
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. (Available online)
450.740 - Film and Public Memory
Robert Rosenstone has noted that âThe reality of the past â national, familial, personal â does not lie in an assemblage of data but in a field of stories â a place where fact, truth, fiction, invention, forgetting and myth are so entangled that they cannot be separated.â Public Memory then emerges as the beliefs and ideas about the past told through âstoriesâ and shared by a public or culture. This course examines the film as a form of public history; a constructed, mediated version of the events, people, and ideas of history often seamless in presentation and powerful in address. Using the organizing principle of âcollective memory,â we will employ an interdisciplinary perspective to examine how histories are constructed through the filmmaking process. The film, whether feature film or documentary, has tremendous power in shaping public perceptions of key aspects of history and culture. How do filmmakers balance the demands of an accurate historical representation with film as a form of entertainment? How is the history in films judged by academics and audiences?
450.741 - Apocalyptic in the Bible, Religion, and Popular Culture
This course explores primary sources of apocalyptic literature in the Bible, the ancient Near Eastern world, and various religions and cultures. In seeking to define the term âapocalypse,â the class will study the political, social, and economic forces that contribute to the formation of this rich genre of literature. Utilizing this knowledge, students will analyze manifestations of apocalyptic in movies, television shows, comic books, and other media.
450.742 - The Archaeology of Reading: Cultural Communication and the Project of Digital Humanities in the 21st Century
What is a âRenaissance Manâ and, equally important, a âRenaissance Womanâ? This course addresses this question head-on through an exploration of precisely when and how this universal concept was first defined and popularized during the Renaissance of Johannes Gutenberg, NiccolÃ² Machiavelli, and Queen Elizabeth I. All of these remain household names today. Each embodied elements of the history and culture of the Renaissance in different ways and, thereby, permanently encompassed aspects of the ideal of the âRenaissance Womanâ and âRenaissance Manâ even in our contemporary popular imaginations.
âReading the Renaissanceâ works from the premise that in order to understand how these figures came to embody universal elements of ingenious human invention and intellectual achievement, we need to read what they read, absorb the knowledge that they had access to when the personae of the âRenaissance Manâ and âRenaissance Womanâ we first fully formed. We also need to explore their many manifestations: as learned scholars unearthing and preserving newly discovered works of ancient Greece and Rome worlds; as editors, typesetters, proofreaders of Printing Revolution; as firebrand preachers of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations; as pioneers of the telescope and empirical observation of the Scientific Revolution; and enterprising ship-builders, navigators, and explorers of the New World Discovery.
We will excavate the essential reading matter of the Renaissance Woman and the Renaissance Man within a technological vein as well, utilizing resources of our own digital age that help us ask and answer the essential questions of this course through interactive maps, and dynamic visualizations of intellectual networks, crowd-sourced manuscript transcription tools for the era of Shakespeare, on to Hopkinsâs very own âArcheaology of Readingâ digital project, unlocking within the digital realm the marginal reading notes of two
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.
450.745 - Aristotle and Hobbes: Physics, Psychology, Ethics and Politics
This will be a course focused on two goals: clarifying the importance of foundational principles (in this case, the different teachings on physics we find in Aristotle and Hobbes), and clarifying the distinctions between the ancients and the moderns. We will be concerned with questions about nature, matter, motion, the soul, ethics, politics, philosophy, and human life â both as such, and in their complex interrelationships.
To address these questions, we will read the works of two extremely important thinkers â the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, and the 17th century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes. Aristotle, writing at the dawn of what becomes the Western tradition of philosophy and science, investigates everything under the sun, writing foundational works in fields as diverse as rhetoric, psychology, biology, logic, physics, and metaphysics. If one understands Aristotle, one can understand much of what comes after. Thomas Hobbes writes after the modern ârevolutionâ â a revolution accomplished in the thought of diverse thinkers, especially Machiavelli, Bacon, and Descartes. One crucial element of this revolution is the rejection of both Aristotle and Scholasticism (Christian Aristotelianism). In this course, we will engage in close readings of Aristotleâs Nicomachean Ethics, as well as parts of his Physics and his On the Soul, and Hobbesâs Leviathan. Reading these two thinkers in dialogue with one another will allow us to see how their fundamental disagreements about physics and causality give rise to subsequent differences in how they conceive humanity, psychology, ethics, and politics. In attending to these differences, we can more clearly identify the debts that we owe to both Aristotle and Hobbes for our understanding of ourselves and our civilization.
450.746 - Deep Ecology: Environmental Ethic
Today, the concerns of Deep Ecologyâs movement that started in the so-called Ecological Revolution of the 1960s continue to be debated and addressed as âclimate changeâ with a sense of immediate urgency. Deep Ecology asks deep questions and aims to bring about long-range goals in moving away from anthropocentrism to ecocentrism, calling for a major paradigm shift in perception, values, and lifestyles. Planetary and human survival is at stake due to climate change â this is humanityâs global ultimate concern. Scientists, environmental activists, and representatives of humanities agree that we need a new paradigm shift, that it is unsustainable to treat the living earth organism as an infinite resource of âenergy.â Western environmental practices have been based on anthropocentric view of nature where humans occupy the top of the hierarchy in the chain of life. There is an urgent need for a new environmental ethic that will fundamentally reorient humans in their thinking and relating to the natural environment. The course examines cross-cultural perspectives of environmental ethics that are rooted in Western/scientific, Eastern, and Indigenous worldviews and religions. This semesterâs readings include current debates concerning climate change, selections from Deep Ecology movement and indigenous perspectives.
450.748 - The Black Politics of Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson was a global superstar who reached crossover appeal in the late 20th century. More than a mainstream pop performer, Michael Jackson was musician, singer, dancer and visual artist who transformed his artistic heritage, deeply grounded in the African American tradition, to reach a broad audience, in the United States and globally. This course aims at reframing Michael Jacksonâs cultural and social origins to reveal his anchor in the African American musical, philosophical and political traditions. This course will explore the African American historical context of the 1960s, Black vernacular practices, the Chitlin Circuit, the Great Migration, Black Minstrelsy, the intersection of Blackness, Sexuality and Gender in pop culture, Black Globalism, and 1980s Black Hyper-visibility. In this course, students will closely examine Michael Jacksonâs music, videos, writing and performances, Jacksonâs meta-narratives, in addition to theoretical texts on critical race theory, American History, gender studies, performance studies and African American Studies.
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."
450.750 - The Artificial 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.
450.751 - Research Methods in Digital Humanities
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.
450.756 - Navigating the Underworld: Homer's Odyssey, Dante's Inferno, and Milton's Paradise Lost
Long before Socrates and Plato mapped the course of underground rivers as pictured in the Phaedo, poets and philosophers had been fascinated by the metaphorical implications the earthâs mysterious subterranean landscapes. Flowing through this netherworld under various names were rivers that remain familiar today--Acheron, Cocytus, Plegethon, Lethe, and Styx. Our goal in this course will be to follow in detail the course of these rivers through the vastly different landscapes created by three epic poets: the grey world of Shades in the watery depths of Homerâs Odyssey; the elaborately structured geography of punishment in Danteâs Inferno; and, finally, the strangely contiguous landscapes of Hell and Eden in Miltonâs Paradise Lost. Along the way, we will touch briefly on descriptions of the underworld in other Western classics; as a class, we will also investigate parallel stories of subterranean rivers in the literature and mythology of world cultures.
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.
450.758 - American Literature and the Archive
Why are some literary works from the past reprinted, anthologized, and considered worthy of study, but not others? Why are some works âlostâ and some ârediscovered,â while others simply fall out of favor? What is the relationship between the canon and the archive? Focusing on the relationship between authorship and status in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American literary history, we will use rare books and archival materials from JHU libraries and digital collections to investigate the writings, publications, archives, and legacies of authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Stephen Crane, Charles Chesnutt, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, Zora Neale Hurston, and Langston Hughes.
450.761 - Documenting Baltimore Through the Photographic Image
In this course, students will explore and photograph six of Baltimoreâs historic areas:
- Waverly and Greenmount Avenue
- The East Side: Milton at Preston
- Druid Hill Park
- Old Chinatown and Howard Street
- The Northern Arts District
- Stony Run
In the process they will gain proficiency using digital cameras and learn the fundamentals of image processing in Lightroom and Photoshop. There will be a photography field trip and lab each week as well as lectures that concentrate on the documentary image, its history, theory and practice. As the culmination of the course, students will submit a final paper and portfolio of ten images that work together in a series.
Disclaimer 1: This course requires walking distances of up to two miles. If, for any reason, there may be an issue with this requirement, please contact Student Services Coordinator Manal White at 202-663-5956 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer 2: A limited number of cameras are available to be loaned, and registered students should inform the professor as soon as possible if they would like to request one.
450.762 - America's Cultural Diversity: the history of race and ethnicity in the United States
This course examines the historical, cultural, and structural dimensions of race and ethnicity in the United States. We will examine key theories about the ways race and ethnicity are constructed and influence intergroup dynamics; engage in debates regarding definitions of race and ethnicity and forms of prejudice and discrimination; and review and analyze empirical evidence related to racial and ethnic disparities in economic status, educational attainment, health, employment, and the criminal justice system. The course will examine the racial and ethnic experiences of a range of individuals and communities, including intersections with gender and immigration status. We will begin by reviewing a series of key readings in racial and ethnic studies that establish central concepts, theories, and historical contexts. Using a variety of sources, this course will examine the racial diversity of America and the enduring implications of racial and ethnic pluralism. Throughout the course, students will work to expand their critical thinking and reflection skills, make meaningful connections between ideas and everyday experiences, and better understand how the personal experience of race and ethnicity interacts with larger social and historical forces. We will also discuss the ways people work to mitigate and overcome racial and ethnic disparities. (Available online)
450.767 - American Civil War and Reconstruction
The American Civil War and Reconstruction will include an analysis of the origins, interpretations and causes of the conflict, a study of the institution of slavery and its legacy, a review of the ante-bellum culture of the Old South, a comparison of the political leadership in the Confederacy and the Union, a study of the war years, a comparison of military leaders and their strategies, an examination of the outcomes of the war, an introduction to the rise of the new south and a review of the legacy of Reconstruction.
450.778 - Tonality in the Symphonies of Gustav Mahler
Early in the 20th century, composers of the âSecond Viennese School,â led by Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, and Anton Webern, believed that tonality and Romanticism in western music had gone far enough, and their answer was âatonality,â music written to avoid any formal relation to a central key. In this course, students will learn why atonality largely failed, and why the symphonies of Mahler, ârediscoveredâ some 50 years after his death in 1911, aided and abetted that failure. Through in-class demonstration and listening, students will discover what tonality means and why it is likely an unavoidable force of nature, and that we, as human beings, naturally seek harmonic structure. The class will study each symphony in numerical order, and the course will end with a field trip to New York City in May 2018 to hear a performance of Mahlerâs 10th symphony by the London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle conducting.
450.786 - Reading Appalachia: Narratives of America’s Eastern Valleys and Mountains
This course is being crosslisted with the Writing Program and is open for up to 6 MLA students. Based in world-renowned Shenandoah National Park, this special, one-week reading course focuses on Fiction and Nonfiction inspired by or set in the famous, beautiful mountain chain that binds the historical and cultural narrative of the Eastern United States. The June 7-13 course, part of the 2015 Hopkins Conference on Craft, features discussion and analysis of essays, short stories, books, and other works relating to Appalachia. All major reading should be completed in advance, with the week spent exploring the craft behind it. While this course is not a writing workshop, participants will have ample opportunities to write and, optionally, share their work in a conference reading. The course includes six full days and some evenings that include indoor/outdoor class discussion, writing exercises, hikes, film screenings, fireside storytelling, author visits, and nature lectures.
450.789 - Reading the Sea:Narratives of Oceans, Rivers, and Other Waters
Our planetâs waters have long inspired and engaged writers, with a fascination that stretches from rivers and bays to lakes and the deepest oceans. This fiction/nonfiction reading course, to be first offered in 2016 in Annapolis, Maryland, and around the Chesapeake Bay, features essays, short stories, novels, or factual books that, as Norman Mclean wrote, are haunted by waters. Students read, discuss and learn as they also enjoy writing exercises, field trips, and other activities focused on the Chesapeake and its surrounding lands. This intensive one-week course, which requires advance reading of most material, provides a full elective credit for degree students.
450.790 - Six Degrees of Miles Davis
Miles Davis is one of the most important and influential figures in modern music. His innovations as a bandleader, composer, and musician have made an enormous impact on our concept of jazz music as well as our perception of a jazz musician. Following his personal life leads to Picasso, Norman Mailer, Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Cecily Tyson, and many more. This course will examine his contributions to jazz in particular and his impact on society in general through his autobiography, biographies, and documentaries with special emphasis on his recorded works. We will also use the popular âsix degrees of separationâ theory as a starting point in discussing the nature of innovation. (Available online)
450.791 - A Cultural History of New York City II: World's Fair to World Trade Center
This interdisciplinary course begins with a look at what architect Rem Koolhaas has called âDelirious New Yorkâ: 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 1930s 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 NYCâs controversial âmaster builderâ, Robert Moses. The New York Worldâs Fair of 1939 serves as a fitting symbol for what the Fair itself proclaimed as âThe World of Tomorrowâ, 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 âWorld of Tomorrowâ, 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.
450.792 - Inventing the Tudors: Renaissance Art, Power, and Material Culture
This course will explore the simultaneous processes of invention, imitation, and appropriation that defined Englandâs rise in the 16th and early 17th centuries, from the advent of the Tudor dynasty to the age of William Shakespeare, as a culture of the âRenaissance.â This will be conducted through an exploration of works of art in Baltimore and beyond, rare books and manuscripts in the Hopkins Collections, as well as through other forms of material cultural evidence of the period: architecture (from palaces to prisons), music (sacred and secular), fashion (male and female), and so forth.
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.
450.797 - Happiness, Virtue--and Vice: Philosophy in Ancient Rome
In this course, we will study philosophers of the Roman Empire, who were profoundly influenced by their ancient Greek forbears, and reacting to the imperialism, political and cultural crises--surrounding them in Rome. We will work towards texts of the very late Roman Empire, which already usher in the dawn of Christianity, and its particular adoption and adaptation of Greek and Roman thought. The authors we will read include Seneca, Epictetus, Lucretius, Cicero, Marcus Aurelius, Augustine and Boethius. Through these eminent thinkers, we will consider, debate, discuss major philosophical questions from Antiquity, and from all time: what is the good life? What constitutes human happiness? Is happiness even possible? Is there a God, and what might his/her intentions or plan be?
450.799 - A Cultural History of New York City I
In this interdisciplinary course, we will explore the transformations marking the cultural history of New York City from its beginnings through the Roaring 20s. 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. Weâll 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. Weâll 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.
450.800 - MLA Independent Project
450.801 - MLA Independent Study
450.888 - Continuation of Enrollment
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