Spring 2022 seminars
Global Perceptions of Race, Religion, and Gender AAI
Monday & Wednesday 9:35am-10:55am
This course entails a comparative study of modern texts from various cultures, Anglo-American, European, African, Indian and Islamic. We will look at a variety of genres, and our study will be informed by various theoretical perspectives impinging on feminism, religion, colonialism, and international political developments in the modern era. The texts in this course will be examined in their historical contexts, with due emphasis upon their interrelations. The themes and issues to be pursued include: (1) race and imperialism, including Western views of the “Orient” and Africa; (2) the problems of identity: definition of self, world, and other; (3) revolutions in literary form and theme; (4) notions of exile, hybridity, migration, nation and cultural schizophrenia; (5) the problematic status of language; (6) the treatment of gender and feminist revaluations of mainstream philosophical assumptions.
Short Stories AAI
Tuesday & Thursday 11:10am-12:30pm
A study of the short story as a literary form through an examination of important writers from the nineteenth century to the present. The course will be conducted in two parts of relatively equal weight. First, we will survey the many genres in which short fiction has been written, including not only realist writing but also fantasy, detective fiction, horror, and science fiction. Second, we will take a closer look at collections of stories by more recent individual authors, including writers of the twenty-first century. Among writers under consideration for this closer look are Indian writer Bharati Mukherjee, South African Nadine Gordimer, and the Irish William Trevor. Time permitting, we will include two or three examples of the novella, the “long” short story–like Kafka’s Metamorphosis, James Joyce’s “The Dead,” and Henry James’s Daisy Miller–that begins to exploit the potential of the novel. Assignments will include short response papers suitable for both majors and non-majors, a couple of take-home tests, and a term project to be determined.
Intro to Latin American Studies HAC – FULL
This course enables students to acquire an in-depth, interdisciplinary understanding of the cultural history of Latin America (Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America), which may include topics such as society, politics, literature, religion, music, dance, and sports.
Biomedical Ethics EAV – FULL
This class will examine moral issues in medicine using the application of various moral theories and philosophical concepts. Topics to be covered include abortion, end of life decisions, physical-patient relationship, human enhancement, cloning, and others
Human, Non-Human AAI
Tuesday & Thursday 2:00pm-3:20pm
What makes us human? To answer this question, we examine literature and other media about humans in relationship with one another and with their counterparts, such as animals, monsters, ghosts, zombies, forms of artificial intelligence, and other embodiments of the non-human, or the abject. From Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein and its film versions, to Warm Bodies, to today’s veganism, robotics, and embrace of pets as support animals, we explore connections and hierarchies among these groups. We also work with theories of affect and power to better understand the interplay of care and justice. Assignments include short writings and oral presentations, with a final project on a topic and in a medium of your choice.
Monday & Wednesday 12:30pm – 1:50pm
We do it every day and depend upon it in order to survive. Consumption. We eat food and use commodities. It is our main task as part of the American middle class, our raison d’être in this society. Everything bends towards making us want to consume more and more. There are serious side effects to this all-consuming urge. Obesity and its related health effects are an American epidemic, trapping us in bodies that only want more. Credit card debt and poor saving practices trap middle class lives in financial constraint, unable to achieve the American Dream. Also, and as seriously if not more, our consumption practices have global effects: political & economic exploitation of the Global South, cultural exchange (& appropriation), environmental devastation. Consumption also has historical legacies that intertwine world cultures & complicate easy narratives of “Western civilization” and “New World Orders” and so on.
You may be what you eat, but did you know you were so many things by doing so?
Despite these rich tapestries of connection & ancestry & power & knowledge (or because of them), the idea of Consumption tends to be under-theorized in most economic models. Even if we are conceived of as consuming agents, how and why we consume what we do is only superficially studied, as if too much attention would expose as inadequate the cherished mythology of the liberated, democratic consumer, a romantic hero or heroine who confronts and conquers the wilderness of the free market. De gustibus non disputandum (about taste there is no argument), social theories often concede, refusing to argue the problem of consumer appetite.
But taste and desire are not forces beyond discourse—if they were there would be no purpose in advertising. Rather, these fundamental aspects of social identity are thoroughly constructed, products of conscious choice and unconscious manipulation, pervaded by discourse, subject to power. The business of this seminar will be to attempt to collect, engage, and understand various ideas about consumption, using both literary and theoretical texts to draw it out as a legitimate area of study.
To do so, we will have to venture beyond standard social presumptions and explanations, past what the Powers that Be want us to know. Be prepared to have your default ideas of life and society challenged.
Religion and Human Rights GCM
Mondays 6:00pm-8:50 p.m.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 was born in response to the genocide of over six million Jews in Nazi Germany. And yet, its values were conceived hundreds of years prior by religious communities that, in their own geographic and cultural contexts, advocated for protections for human’s inalienable rights.
In this Global Communities course, students will use both legal studies and religious studies to examine the origins, developments, effects, and critiques of four legal frameworks: freedom of religion, freedom for religion, freedom from religion, and freedom within religion. By studying international case studies, students will cultivate their cross-cultural, inter-religious, and intra-religious understanding about how the rule of law can be used to promote and protect the human right to “freedom of religion or belief” for people of all religions and none. Special attention will be given to the critical examination of the limitations of human-rights frameworks and the limitations of rule-of-law responses to human rights abuses.
Why is this such an urgent subject? Over three quarters of the world’s population lives in countries with high levels of government restrictions on religious people; these restrictions corelate with increased levels of social hostilities and violence. The legal framework of human rights has been a proven, albeit limited, remedy in deescalating such conflicts, demonstrating that the promotion of peaceful coexistence can be an effective security strategy.
Attachment Disorder PLS – FULL
Monday & Wednesday 9:35am-10:55am
Developmental Attachment extends beyond a warm bond between a mother and child. Attachment representations are complex, adaptive systems designed to seek proximity and elicit emotional needs from critical caregivers. Attachment Disorganization is a severe, developmental pathology stemming from a child’s inability to develop a coherent attachment representation. This course provides a comprehensive view into attachment representations and disorganized attachments, the historical development of Attachment Disorganization, precursors and sequelae of childhood Attachment Disorganization, adulthood attachment dissociation, and a general overview of clinical interventions for treating disorganized attachments.