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Possible Electives

COURSES OF POSSIBLE INTEREST TO MALS STUDENTS


This list is just a partial sample of courses; to view full course offerings, please visit the websites for the doctoral, master’s, and certificate programs at the Graduate Center. Please also visit the MALS website to view the Spring 2021 course schedule.
 
Please note that courses included in this list are subject to change; please contact the program or faculty members involved for additional details.
 


 
SPAN 82000 - Maurofilia e islamofobia en la temprana modernidad española 1492-1614
Thursdays, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 Credits, Prof. William Childers
 
Exploraremos las tensiones culturales desatadas por la Conquista de Granada en 1492 y la imposición del cristianismo en la Península Ibérica a principios del siglo XVI. Empezaremos con el mudejarismo preexistente, manifestado en los romances fronterizos y en prácticas culturales como la zambra y aspectos artesanales: la seda, la yesería, la carpintería, la cerámica y la jardinería. Luego veremos la evolución de la representación de los musulmanes granadinos y sus descendientes a lo largo del siglo XVI, concentrándonos en el período clave entre la Guerra de las Alpujarras (1568-1571) y la expulsión de los moriscos de la Corona de Castilla (1610). Para este período, plantearemos la “cuestión morisca” con cierta complejidad. Leeremos textos de la boga maurófila en varios géneros: novela (El AbencerrajeGuerras civiles de Granada, Ozmín y Daraja); poesía (romances de Lope, Góngora y Lobo Lasso de la Vega); y teatro (El remedio en la desdicha). Yuxtapondremos con ellos documentos de archivo que reflejan el alcance popular del fenómeno, a la vez que los esfuerzos de la Monarquía y la Inquisición por mantener a la minoría vigilada y controlada. Nos asomaremos a ver algunos ejemplos de la resistencia de los propios moriscos: textos aljamiados, los llamados “libros plúmbeos”, y La historia verdadera del rey don Rodrigo de Miguel de Luna. Hablaremos del tema morisco en ambas partes del Quijote y en otros textos cervantinos, irónicamente contrastados con el discurso apologético en defensa de la expulsión (Aznar Cardona, La expulsión justificada, Gaspar de Aguilar, Expulsion de los moros de España y Jaime Bleda, Crónica de los moros de España). Finalmente haremos algunas calas en la historiografía posterior y la actualidad, viendo como la maurofilia resurge constantemente, pero sigue enfrentada hasta el día de hoy con una islamofobia que también es una dimensión permanente, al parecer, de la huella hispanoárabe en la Península. Nos orientaremos partiendo de conceptos teóricos de Bourdieu, Foucault, Pierre Nora, James C. Scott y Stuart Hall, pasados por el filtro de la teoría postcolonial (Said, Bhabha), del colonialismo interno (Aníbal Quijano), y de la “formación racial” (Omi y Winant). Aprovecharemos también los planteamientos de las generaciones de hispanistas que han estudiado estos temas desde distintos enfoques teóricos y empíricos. Este curso se impartirá en español.
 
 
PHIL 77600 -  Philosophy of Literature
Tuesdays, 11:45-1:45pm, 3 credits, Prof. Noel Carroll
 
In this course, we will canvass major topics in the philosophy of literature including the ontology of literature, the nature of narrative and that of fiction, philosophical ideas regarding the novel (and possibly lyric poetry), the relation of literature to cognition, to emotion, to morality, to society and politics, and issues of the interpretation and evaluation of literature.


P SC 72410 - Power, Resistance, Identities and Social Movements 
Thursdays, 6:30-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Ruth O’Brien
 
This course focuses on individual forms of socially constructed identity (e.g., gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, and humanness or bodies), intersectional forms of identity (e.g., gender and bodies), and collective forms of identity (e.g., citizen, worker or labor, and anarchist collectives or horizontal non- state civil movements, referred to as social movements in American politics). Several social movements will be explored as case studies. First, we will consider the worldwide struggle to end political and social violence against women (including #MeTooism), and if/how it is having global impact. We will examine, for example, the Combahee River Collective -- an organization of Black feminists who attained international reach by coining the term “identity politics” -- and assess the movement’s global impact, as seen for instance in “Women’s Internationalism against Global Patriarchy,” by Dilar Dirik (and PM Press). It explores how identities in American social movements affect power and resistance, as understood by social theorists and contemporary philosophers such as Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, and Judith Butler, who in turn draw upon Gilles Deleuze, Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, Michel Foucault, Antonio Gramsci, Karl Marx, and G. W. F. Hegel, among others.
 
 
ENGL 80700 - Medieval Affect, Feeling, and Emotion
Thursdays, 11:45AM-1:45PM, 2 or 4 credits, Prof. Glenn Burger
 
*MALS Students should make sure to register for 4-credits of this course. Registering for 2-credits will not count towards the MALS degree. *
 
This course will consider various theoretical frameworks—both contemporary and medieval—useful in discussing the production and management of affect and emotion.  It could be said that the Middle Ages invented affective devotion, and the course will begin by focusing on medieval emotional relationships with texts, devotional objects and religious drama concerned with Christ’s passion: for example, “The Wooing of Our Lord,” Richard Rolle’s Meditation, Nicholas Love’s Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ, and lyric laments of The Virgin.  We will track the ways that affect in courtly love poetry provided medieval readers with intimate scripts to put inner and outer states of feeling into contact with one another, particularly as the individual perceives herself in relation to (private) desires and (public) pressures.  We will examine such texts as Guillaume de Lorris’s Romance of the Rose, Machaut’s Dit de la Fonteinne Amoureuse, Chaucer’s Book of the Duchess, and John Lydgate’s Complaynt of the Loveres Lyfe.  We will also examine the crucial role that affect management played in late medieval conduct literature, and we will consider how the production of self-restraint in such texts, particularly within the structures of the married household, helps form emotional communities that allowed emergent social groups new modes of self-identification.  We will examine conduct texts such as The Good Wife’s Guide (Le Menagier de Paris) and The Book of the Knight of La Tour Landry, as well as literary texts such as Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women and The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale, as well as Thomas Hoccleve’s Series, and Boccaccio’s, Petrarch’s, and Chaucer’s versions of the Griselda story.  
 
Each student will be required to deliver an oral presentation and produce a 15-20 page seminar paper. In lieu of the final seminar paper, students in the first year of the PhD program may produce an annotated bibliography of 15 primary and secondary sources and an 8-10 page conference paper.
 
 
ENGL 86800 - Commoning
Fridays, 11:45AM-1:45PM. 2 or 4 credits, Prof. Ashley Dawson
 
*MALS Students should make sure to register for 4-credits of this course. Registering for 2-credits will not count towards the MALS degree. *
 
From Chiapas to Occupy, from the Gezi Park uprising to disaster communism during the pandemic, acts of commoning have been central to new political imaginaries and formations over the last decades. Capitalism was born, Marx famously argued, when peasants were forcibly torn from their means of subsistence and hurled onto urban labor markets as free and “unattached” proletarians. As Marx evocatively put it, “the history of this expropriation is written in the annals of mankind in letters of blood and fire.” Recent theorists of capitalism have asserted that the process of violent dispossession not only has continued unabated for the last five centuries but has been intensifying during the neoliberal age. Indeed, for many, today’s enclosures are the leading edge of contemporary capitalism. We live in a period of violent land grabbing and resource extraction that is pushing planetary systems towards terminal breakdown. 
 
This seminar will explore contemporary processes of – and resistance to - capitalist and neocolonialist enclosure. Our conversations will be oriented around three key theoretical and political interventions. The first is the assertion that enclosure and extraction pertain not just to material things like land and minerals but also to relatively immaterial social resources such as information, culture, and even affect. The commons is thus a social form that is constantly created and recreated. The corollary of this, and the second key theoretical hypothesis of the seminar, is the idea that the commons is not solely a thing but a social practice. The commons, in other words, is the space of social relation created in and through acts of mutual aid and solidarity. Lastly, we will explore the extent to which commoning presents political possibilities beyond the stale opposition between the vampiric free market and top-down state power.
 
The seminar will excavate experiences of commoning, and of capitalist extraction and decomposition, across six key sectors: land, water, cities, social reproduction, social media, and energy. We will track how these contested processes manifest in the letters of blood and fire through which today’s acts of dispossession are recorded. How does commoning affect literary fabulation, and, conversely, how does representation affect struggles over the commons? Does commoning require or catalyze new genres of expression? Is there such a thing as a common or commoning voice or mode of narration? 
 
We will read and discuss work by the following authors, activists, and theorists: Chris Abani, Sarah Brouillette, Octavia Butler, Pierre Dardot & Christian Laval, Bernadine Evaristo, Silvia Federici, Matthew Gandy, Amitav Ghosh, Guerrilla Media Collective, Jennifer Haigh, Mohsin Hamid, Garrett Hardin, Fredric Jameson, Michael Hardt & Toni Negri, Peter Linebaugh & Marcus Rediker, Justin McGuirk, Sandro Mezzadra & Brett Neilson, Timothy Mitchell, Fred Moten & Stefano Harney, José Esteban Muñoz, Elinor Ostrom, Arundhati Roy, Raja Shehadeh, Olivia Sudjic, Latife Tekin, Siva Vaidhyanathan, Alys Weinbaum, Eyal Weizman.
 
 
ENGL 75000 - American Renaissance
Wednesdays, 2:00PM-4:00PM, 2 or 4 credits, Prof. David Reynolds
 
*MALS Students should make sure to register for 4-credits of this course. Registering for 2-credits will not count towards the MALS degree. *
 
Known as the American Renaissance, the decades leading up to the Civil War are generally regarded not only as the peak moment in American cultural expression but also as a watershed of themes reaching back to ancient and early-modern periods and looking forward to modernism.  The American Renaissance saw the innovations in philosophy, ecological awareness, and style on the part of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau; the metaphysical depth and cultural breadth represented by the fiction of Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne; the poetic experimentation of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson; the psychological probing and ground-breaking aesthetics of Edgar Allan Poe; and landmark portraits of race and slavery by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Jacobs, and Frederick Douglass. Urban life and class conflict were dramatized in fiction by George Lippard, and gender issues were vivified in writings by Margaret Fuller and Sara Parton. Lincoln’s speeches crystalized the nation’s enduring political themes. In addition to reading central works of American literature—among them Moby-Dick, “Bartleby,” Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, The Scarlet Letter,  Leaves of Grass, Walden, Poe’s tales, Emerson’s essays, and Dickinson’s poems--we discuss current approaches to American Studies, criticism, and cultural history.
 
 
ENGL 84200 - Romantic Concepts of Nature
Mondays, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 2 or 4 credits, Prof. Alexander Schlutz
 
*MALS Students should make sure to register for 4-credits of this course. Registering for 2-credits will not count towards the MALS degree. *
 
 
The reception of Romantic concepts of nature has played an important role in the development of ecocritical discourse. Since the rise of ecocriticism and green Romanticism it has become commonplace to present Romantic writers as anticipating contemporary environmentalist concerns and to (re)mobilize for contemporary ecological debates the Romantic critique of nascent processes of industrialization and a Cartesian, mechanical, view of the natural world. At the same time, ecologists and environmental writers perceive the “romanticization” of nature – the projection of imaginary, aesthetic and cultural constructs onto a material world fundamentally alien to them – as one of the main obstacles to a fruitful understanding of our relationship to the environment. And more recently, as ecocritics embrace Donna Haraway’s call to “stay with the trouble” of a ravaged planet where natural history and human activity can no longer be clearly kept apart, Romantic desires to draw on a natural world untainted by human influence as a source of healing or resistance have come to be seen as themselves problematic. Consequently, in the contemporary discussion, one can see the Romantics being lauded for writing against the objectification of nature, critiqued for neglecting the difference between the products of the writer’s consciousness and affect and the material Other he or she confronts, or one may see Romantic poetics and concepts of nature discarded altogether as no longer truly of use for avant-garde ecologically-informed literary production.
 
To position ourselves with respect to such conflicting assessments, we will investigate what a variety of Romantic-period concepts of nature – a plurality rather than a single position – looked like concretely. We will examine two of the central philosophical positions on the relationship of the human mind to the natural world Romantic-era writers could draw on, those of Baruch Spinoza and Immanuel Kant, and discuss the writings and philosophical positions of Mary Wollstonecraft, William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and John Clare. Throughout, our goal will be to ascertain the answers the texts of these writers can offer to questions about the place of human beings in the natural world, the relationship of mind and matter, and of human and natural history, central philosophical questions they indeed share with contemporary environmentalist thinkers.
 
Portions of this course can be used to fulfill the requirements for the first-year portfolio exam. (*For English PhD Students)
 
Course requirements: 4 short position papers, including a “conference abstract”; 15-minute conference presentation, to be delivered at the in-class, end-of-semester course conference; final 15-20 page research paper.
 
Course readings:
Spinoza. Ethics. Ed. And Trans. G.H.R. Parkinson. Oxford: OUP, 2000. ISBN: 9780198752141
Kant. Critique of the Power of Judgment. Ed. and Trans. Paul Guyer. Cambridge: CUP, 2001. ISBN: 9780521348928
Mary Wollstonecraft: Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Ed. Ingrid Horrocks. Peterborough: Broadview, 2013. ISBN: 9781551118086
Coleridge's Poetry and Prose. Ed. Nicholas Halmi, Paul Magnuson, and Raimonda Modiano. New York: Norton, 2004. ISBN: 0393979040
William Wordsworth The Major Works. Ed. Stephen Gill. Oxford: OUP, 2008.ISBN: 978-0-19-953686-3.
Dorothy Wordsworth. The Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals. Ed. Pamela Woof. New York: OUP, 2002. ISBN: 978-0-19-953687-0
John Clare. Major Works. Ed. Eric Robinson and David Powell. Oxford: OUP, 2008. ISBN 978-0-19-954979-5
 
Additional primary and secondary readings will be available via the course e-reserve page.
 

ENGL 89000 - Resisting Institutional Methodologies
Mondays, 2:00PM-4:00PM, 2 or 4 credits, Prof. Amy Wan
 
*MALS Students should make sure to register for 4-credits of this course. Registering for 2-credits will not count towards the MALS degree. *
 
In some form, we are all participants in the institution of higher education. This course is an examination of the terms of our participation through a consideration of the institution and our own methodological and intellectual choices. Recent work on decolonial methods, anti-racism, and abolitionist university studies will be centered as we consider how we might make connections between our theoretical goals and our everyday practices. The main goal of the class is to provide a space for students to make connections between scholarship that questions traditional methodologies and their own research and professional goals. Some of the class will be spent exploring the efforts to decolonize universities/the syllabus/institutions in light of work such as Tuck and Yang’s “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor.” This class would be structured in a way that acknowledges that exigency has created fast-paced conversations that aren’t always consistent with decolonial methods. Following this, members of the classroom community would be expected to co-construct knowledge in this class and no one needs to be a specialist about decolonizing methods and theories, anti-racism or abolitionism before entering the classroom.

 
U ED - Special Topics Seminar in Urban Education
How to Incorporate Historical Thinking and Historical Research into Thesis and Dissertation Projects
Mondays, 4:15 - 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Steve Brier


This seminar, organized as a collaborative study group involving and featuring collective conversations as well as presentations by individual participants, focuses on the ways that Urban Education MA and PhD students (along with other Humanities and Social Sciences students who might be interested in signing on) can incorporate historical thinking, analysis, and research into the conceptualization and execution of their theses and dissertations. Issues and approaches emphasized in the seminar will include (but will not be limited to):
 

  • how historical thinking can broaden and enrich traditional social scientific analyses and projects;
  • how and why students should incorporate historical thinking and analysis into their literature reviews for the second exam and/or dissertation proposal;
  • the nature and purposes of oral history interviewing, including how to structure and execute oral interviews;
  • the development and uses of digital history archives (especially relevant in the current pandemic context in which traditional archival research is not possible);

 
The seminar will feature reading and discussion of landmark texts in education history, which will serve as models for how history can and should be incorporated into research and writing.  Class sessions will be structured around group responses and critical feedback to individual student presentations of their own research ideas and topics, and how best to incorporate an historical perspective in ongoing or future scholarly research and writing.  
 
The course is conceived and led by Prof. Steve Brier, who has taught the introductory history core course in the Urban Education program for more than decade and whose own scholarly work focuses on New York City’s rich and contested education history. This is the final course he will teach in the Urban Education program before retiring at the end of the Spring 2021 semester and he hopes to use this seminar to pass on his knowledge and insights into historical thinking to current and continuing graduate students.


PSYC 80103 - Research with Children and Youth: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives
Wednesdays, 4:15 PM - 6:15 PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Roger Hart

This seminar is for students who have identified a research question involving children, childhood, or youth, and who wish to critically explore alternative ways of conceptualizing it and investigating it. It is designed in line with the growing interdisciplinary field of childhood and youth studies. Students from psychology, the social sciences, education, and the humanities may participate. We will rotate discussion around each participant's developing conceptualization of their research and collectively interrogate it from different disciplines. Even when we believe that we have clarity about a research question, there is great value in having a perspective from other fields. It may enrich the research by combining different disciplinary perspectives within a single study or transcend disciplinary knowledge through a new synthesis. Either way, it is likely to deepen our research endeavor. An additional component of the seminar will be to ask how we might differently conceptualize our research given possible alternative audiences or end goals. This could include research that is primarily focused on theory-building, on influencing policy, or on action. Again, we need not limit the study to only one of these orientations.  
 
Throughout the seminar, participants will share regularly revised versions of their proposed research and make written commentaries as they explore alternative perspectives on their research question and alternatives for the study's design. There is no standard required set of readings for this seminar. Each person will be building their own body of relevant literature throughout the semester with the support of all participants. 
 
The latest version of a draft research proposal, a critical review of relevant literature, or a report of data from a preliminary study will be presented at the end of the semester and submitted as the workshop's final project.
 
 

CLAS 82600 - Race, Ethnicity, and Power in the Ancient World 
Thursdays, 4:15 PM - 6:15 PM, 3 credits, Prof. Jennifer Roberts

How did the ancients conceive of race and ethnicity? What degree of difference was required, and of what nature, for Greeks and Romans to classify a group as “other”? Was “other” invariably inferior?  Were men and women separate races, of different descent? Some Greeks thought so.
 
This interdisciplinary course will explore concepts of race and ethnicity in the ancient world through readings in English in both primary and secondary sources, with emphasis on the Greek, Roman, and Hellenistic worlds. No knowledge of Latin or Greek is required, although students who can read either or both of those languages may periodically wish to meet with me for close analysis of a particular text. 
 
Greek and Latin literature is full of references to groups that the authors felt were “not like us.” The Greeks developed the term “barbarians” (people whose incomprehensible speech sounded like bar, bar, bar) for non-Greeks; their feelings about them were mixed, but for the most part they enjoyed articulating their own superiority. In addition, the individual Greek city-states were exclusive about their citizenship, not enfranchising immigrants or the children of immigrants, and a number of them had elaborate myths designed to explain the special characteristics they possessed that set them apart from, and above, others. Matters were more complicated in the later Greek world (the Hellenistic period of 323-30BCE) when the conquests of Alexander had spawned sprawling multi-ethnic empires, and the people we call “the Romans” were a very diverse group faced with a founding legend that painted them as the descendants of criminals and slaves.  The Roman elite was increasingly multi-ethnic as time went on; the emperors Trajan and Hadrian were both from Spain, and reign of the African emperor Septimius Severus—who spoke Latin with an accent--ushered in an era in which emperors came from all over the Mediterranean world. Despite this diversity, Roman authors enjoyed lobbing ethnic slurs at other “nationalities.”
 
Profiting from our own diverse backgrounds and training, we will examine the very complex picture presented by ancient notions of race and ethnicity, and students will pursue projects that grow out of their particular backgrounds and interests.  Readings will include:
 
Herodotus, The Histories (any translation)
Tacitus, Germania (any translation)
Rebecca Futo Kennedy, C. Sydnor Roy, and Max Goldman, Race and Ethnicity in the Classical World: An Anthology of Primary Sources in Translation (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2013)
Denise McCoskey, Race in Antiquity and Its Legacy (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2012)


Hist 77100 – The Latin American Cold War
Mondays, 4:15 - 6:15 PM, 3 credits, Prof. Mila Burns

This course provides an overview of the history of the Cold War in Latin America. It investigates the role of the United States and the Soviet Union in the shaping of democracies and dictatorships in the region. However, it proposes a new interpretation of the scope of such influence, focusing on local politics and regional power disputes. The military, activists, exiles, rural workers, diplomats, businesspeople, and artists are all actors of a period marked by revolutions, violence, and economic crisis. This seminar incorporates debates of gender, arts, and politics, featuring multiple methodological and geographical approaches. The course is relevant not only to students whose primary field of study is Latin America but also to those who can benefit from the comparative analysis. The final project will be a paper on a topic chosen by the student and discussed with the professor. Students are expected to lead discussions and write short comments about the readings.
Syllabus here


IDS 81640 - Cities and Disaster: Past, Present, and Future
Wednesdays, 11:45 AM – 1:45 PM, 3 credits, Profs. Cary Karacas & Robin Kietlinski 
 
This team-taught, interdisciplinary course will focus on disasters faced by major urban centers across a broad span of time and place. Taught by a geographer and a historian who both specialize in the intersection of cities and crisis, the course will offer a unique perspective on critical issues that arise when cities and citizens are forced to endure a catastrophic event. The course will be divided into three thematic and chronological units: 1) PAST: The focus of this unit will be on the historic destruction and subsequent remaking of important urban centers such as Lisbon, Chicago, Chongqing, Dresden, and Tokyo as a result of earthquakes, fires, and wartime bombing; 2) PRESENT: Cities that have recently experienced destruction and reconstruction as a result of worsening climate conditions, with a sustained focus on New York City during and after Hurricane Sandy; and 3) FUTURE: An examination of cities in the Global South that are being and will continue to be impacted by environmental degradation, climate change, and diminishing resources such as water. We will interrogate differences between the concepts of “natural” versus “man-made” disasters, looking at specific case studies as we discuss how and why the line is not always a clear one.
 
Working in conjunction with the Graduate Center’s Teaching & Learning Center, we will have each of our students develop a single lecture that connects general concepts learned in the course to a specific example of a city impacted by disaster that they will research throughout the semester. Ideally, by the end of the semester, each student will have delivered their lecture to an undergraduate class (either an Urban Geography or Introduction to Geography course offered at the College of Staten Island, or a World History survey course at LaGuardia).
 
This course will contribute to diversity at the Graduate Center in a number of ways. Across our team-teaching partnership we will balance our work evenly, and anticipate a good working relationship as we both have prior experience in team teaching. Both instructors have worked in a team-teaching capacity in Japan, and Dr. Kietlinski has team-taught four semesters of World History at LaGCC with a PhD student from Columbia University’s South Asia Institute (in an innovative partnership that she established between LaGCC and Columbia in 2014). Structurally, our class at the Graduate Center will use pedagogical methods that ensure inclusion and equity such as open educational resources (discussed in the below section on pedagogical innovation). We will utilize an online platform to upload course materials in an effort to both offer greater access and to reduce ecological impact. Finally, the course content included in our syllabus will be diverse in terms of challenging a traditional Western canon. The third unit on future challenges to the Global South will be noteworthy in its inclusion of voices of scholars from India and other countries facing the most acute threats.


MES 76900 - The Zionist Body and Its Others 
Wednesday, 6:30-8:30, 3 credits, Professor Miryam Segal 

The two chronologies of this course are historical—the discourse and strategies of Jewish and Hebrew and Israeli nationalist art and writing in the nineteenth to twentieth centuries—and historiographic—the theoretical discourse of power and politics and nation-states through the body. Inspired by the concerns of other fields such literary theory, Comparative Literature, English, anthropology, women’s, gender studies, queer studies and other writing on “the body,” scholarship on Hebrew and Zionist culture has long been concerned with the gendering of ideology, of language and culture, of national identity, with the dynamics between masculine working bodies and the feminization of Diaspora, and with the orientalized woman as providing yet another gendered symbol of nationhood, as well as with the way the gender politics of nationalism plays out in genre, style and authorship. The first half of the course is devoted to these chronologies and exploration our own analyses in the way of that historiography. More recently, scholars of Hebrew and Israeli culture, society and politics have begun to integrate and apply theories of Biopolitics and biopower to our understanding of the workings of their subject. Drawing on the foundational writing of Hannah Arendt, Michel Foucault and those who follow in their wake, we will re-read and re-view literary and artistic work from the first half of the semester, and introduce new artifacts for analysis. The clear-cut goals of the course are familiarizing students with these three corpuses and exercising critical muscles and facility in writing and class discussion. Our more open-ended goal will be to consider if (and if so, to what end) the concepts, arguments and tools of the biopolitics changes, deepens, complicates, reduces our understanding of the artistic works in question, especially in relation to political power and contemporary forms of colonialism. Primary works studied may include essay, film, painting, poetry and prose fiction.


MES 73900 - Imperialism and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East 
Tuesday, 6:30-8:30, 3 credits, Prof. Simon Davis 

This course surveys how interaction with increasingly influential foreign interests, and responses to them, both assimilative and resistant, shaped leading currents in Middle Eastern experience from the late eighteenth century onwards. Themes include imperialism in historical interpretation, perceptions and framings of the region, forms of political, economic, cultural and social change, and in Middle Eastern intra-regional, international and global relations. Each session will feature a discussion on a theme preceded by suggested readings from course texts, related published documents, and specialized scholarly journal articles assigned for discussion. Students will each complete a research essay chosen from a number of given titles and reading lists, a number of smaller critical exercises and a final examination.