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FALL 2015


RSCP. 72100 - Introduction to Renaissance Studies: Orientalisms in Early-Modern France  GC:  T, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3/4 credits, Prof.  Stanton, [28593] Cross listed with FREN 73000

This course will focus on Orientalisms in France's relations with the Ottoman  empire in the context of globality. Beginning with 16th-century orientalists such as Postel (long before Said's Orientalism begins to track these figures), we will examine theories of Orientalisms as well as a number of discourses, including cartographic representations and travel narratives and letters; commercial relations (and the European desire for oriental luxury items); pilgrimages; conversion narratives from Christian to Muslim to Christian; phantasms of oriental harems and baths and the gendering of the Orient itself as feminine and effeminate, despite the coincident stereotypy of Turks as militaristic, violent, and cruel.

We will consider closely theatrical works produced in France (Paris and the port city of Rouen) in the period 1600-1680, when openness and "tolerance" of alterity ( Manfray,  La rhodienne (1621), Scudéry, L'amant libéral (1638), Desfontaines, Perside [1644])  seem to close down during the reign of Louis XIV (e.g. Molière, Le bourgeois gentilhomme; Racine, Bajazet), just when the Ottoman threat to Europe is temporarily ended by the European victory at Vienna in l683. 

We will examine the nature of the perceived threat (and desire) of Oriental despotism during the long reign of Louis XIV 

The course will be conducted in English. A reading knowledge of early-modern French is important, but translations, where they exist, will be made available. In addition to close readings of primary as well as historical and theoretical texts, work for the course will include an in-class presentation of one primary reading and a final exam. After consultation with the instructor, those taking the course for four credits will submit a 25-page research paper; those taking it for three credits, will produce a 10-12-page research paper. Those  who wish to take the course for two credits will turn in their class presentation and take the final exam. The research papers can deal with sites other than early-modern France, including ones bordering the Mediterranean or then England and Northern  Europe.  The syllabus for the course will be posted on line by August 15. Readings for the course will appear on Blackboard before the first class.  Please address any questions to domna stanton at


ART 75000 [28565]– Topics in European Art & Architecture 1300-1750:The Quest for the Spiritual in German Painting and Graphics from 1375 to 1550  Mon. 4:15 – 6:15 pm, 3 credits, Prof. Barbara Lane, Rm 3421Office hours: TBA email:

This course will study German painting, woodcut, and engraving from the late Gothic period to the Reformation. The spirituality of these works inspired German artists of the Romantic period and were among the most significant sources of German Expressionism. After investigating how spirituality is expressed in the work of early German painters such as Master Bertram, Master Francke, Witz, Lochner, and Pacher, we shall study the development of early fifteenth-century printmaking by concentrating on Master E.S. and Schongauer.

We shall then focus on Dürer and Grünewald, who produced some of the most spiritual work of the period, and conclude with a review of how the paintings and prints of Cranach, Altdorfer, and Holbein relate to the aims of the Reformation.

Course Requirements: There will be one midterm and a final examination. Students with a good reading knowledge of German and a strong background in Northern Renaissance art may choose to write a term paper instead of taking the final examination.

Preliminary Reading:

Panofsky, Erwin. The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer. Princeton, 1967.

Snyder, James. Northern Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, the Graphic Arts from 1350 to 1575. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. and New York, 1985, Ch. IV, XI, XII, XIV, and XVI-XX. Students who have no background in Northern Renaissance Art may find it helpful to read Ch. V-X. 5 auditors will be accepted.

C L. 80100-Melancholy: Between Illness of the Body and Malady of the Soul: A Comparative Perspective, M, 4:15-6:15 pm, 4 credits, [28679] Prof. Monica Calabritto

This course will analyze ways authors from the Classical period to the eighteenth century have shaped the notion of melancholy in the language and rhetorical strategies of their texts. Since the course intends to give a comparative overview of the development of the notion of melancholy, the texts taken in consideration come from different national literatures—Italian, French, English, and Spanish.

In particular we will study the interconnected notions of melancholy and selfhood from three historical vantage points—Classical period, early modern period and modern period—and according to four generic groups: literary production, and the philosophical, encyclopedic and medical traditions.

The course will address the following questions: How do language, rhetorical strategies, and melancholy shape one another? What is the relationship between the representation of the body—the physical body of the subject affected by melancholy and the metaphorical body of the text—and the notion of melancholy? When does melancholy stop being perceived and diagnosed as a bodily illness and become an illness of the “soul”? Is melancholy gendered and so, in which way? Is there a link between the popularity of melancholy in the early modern period and the social and political context in which it developed? In which way is melancholy articulated in the early modern period with the notion of genius on the one hand and that of spiritual reformation on the other?

ENGL 80700. Karl Steel. Small Things Mondays 2:00PM-4:00PM.Room TBA 2/4 credits. [28556]

Critical animal theory has tended to focus on larger animals, while ecocriticism has tended to focus on systems. What, however, of small, only seemingly inconsequential things? This course will range from Lucretius to Muffet, Hooke and Cavendish to study swarming animals like worms, insects, and other vermin, the basic building materials of existence, and little people, some real, and some legendary (the pygmies of Plinian writings and the Green Children of Woolpit).

The course will focus on medieval texts, but will frequently range into early modern material, particularly in its final weeks.

ENGL 81500. Tanya Pollard. Early Modern Tragic Women and their Classical Models.Thursdays 4:15PM-6:15PM. 2/4 credits. [28548] Cross listed with WSCP 81000 Early moderns identified tragedy explicitly with its origins in the ancient Greek world, and the Greek plays most frequently printed, translated, and staged in the period all featured female protagonists: especially bereaved mothers and self-sacrificing virgins. 

This course will explore the way these female tragic icons haunted the early modern stage. We will read classical tragedies popular in the period, and consider their resonances in early modern plays that engage them directly or indirectly. 

Readings will include Euripides’ Hecuba, Iphigenia, Alcestis, and Medea; Seneca’s Troades and Medea; Lumley’s Iphigenia, Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy, Shakespeare and Peele’s Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Winter’s Tale, and Webster’s Duchess of Malfi.
ENGL 89500. Michael Sargent. Textual Issues: from Manuscript to Print in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Period. Mondays 4:15PM-6:15PM. 2/4 credits. [28553]

In this course, we will explore the change in mentalité –– in attitudes toward textuality, textual variability, uniformity, and authority –– in the period from Chaucer to Shakespeare. At the beginning of this period, “publication” meant giving a book that you wrote personally or had someone copy out for you to other people so that they could make their own handwritten copies from it, with little or no control from you over what those copies might look like. At the end, “publication” meant that a printer got hold of a copy of your book, registered it in his own name in the Stationers’ Register, hired workers to set it up, and printed a number of (supposedly) identical copies, with the profit, in proper capitalist fashion, accruing to the owner of the means of production. And what had been known simply as “publication” in the age before print is now called “coterie publication”.

Critical and theoretical readings for this course will range from Ivan Illich and Bernard Cerquiglini through Elizabeth Eisenstein and William Kuskin to Jennifer Summit, David Greetham and Roger Chartier. Texts under consideration will include, e.g., Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the Sarum rite and the Book of Common Prayer, the Golden Legend and Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, as well as texts that course participants want to bring in as relevant case studies.

Hist. 70900- Science and Religion in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe, R, 6:30- 8:30 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Allison Kavey  [28828]

The period between 1450 and 1700 in Europe is remarkable for its shifts in theological and natural philosophical thought. This seminar will focus on those shifts in their larger cultural context and help produce multiple narratives for framing them and the period.

MUS 86100 -  Seminar in Music History: Reading Late Medieval Song [28896] M, 10:00am-1:00pm, Room 3491,  Prof. Anne Stone, 4 credits. 

At some point in the later Middle Ages people stopped learning music exclusively through oral transmission and started learning it (sometimes) by reading musical notation. Obviously a change like this evolved unevenly over a long period in different social and institutional contexts, in tandem with developments in musical notation, and changes in musical literacy and musical practice. Written music was circulated first in religious contexts, recording Christian plainchant and polyphony, and was used only much later for secular song that circulated in courtly and literate subcultures of France and Italy. What is certain is that by the latter portion of the fourteenth century, there was a musically literate “reading public” for song and a repertory of songs designed to be learned from musical notation. Songs, in turn, began to be composed with their written iterations in mind.

This seminar will offer a view of late medieval song from inside its notation: we will begin by learning the black mensural notation used in the fourteenth century and then use that knowledge to investigate how composers exploited notation to make meaning in their songs. Some of the most spectacular examples of notation-driven songs are Guillaume de Machaut’s canonic Ma fin est mon commencement, whose presentation as upside-down, incomplete notation contributes to the reader’s understanding of its text; Baude Cordier’s Tout par compas, presented in a circular form, and Solage’s Fumeux fume, a dazzling display of chromaticism that pushes the limits of the pitch universe as it was then conceptualized. But many more less well known examples use musical notation in innovative and self-conscious ways to enhance the reading pleasure of their literate audiences, and the focus of the seminar will be to get to know these pieces by reading and interpreting them from their original notation. We will also read primary and secondary literature on medieval reading and court culture, on rhetoric and memory, and on the medieval book.

Seminar requirements include a short midterm paper focusing on the notation of one song, and a longer paper considering some aspect of late medieval lyric in its context.

MUS 87500 – Seminar in Music History:  The “Invention” of Opera [28899] T, 10:00am-1:00pm, Room 3491, Prof. Emily Wilbourne, 3 credits