Skip over navigation
Brown Home Brown Home Brown University Cogut Center for the Humanities Brown Home Brown Home Brown University

HMAN Courses for Fall 2012


HMAN1970M                              M Hour (M 3:00 - 5:20pm)

Living in End Times
Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Faculty Fellow

Doomsday predictions and apocalyptic themes have become commonplace, as have a number of millenarian ideas about transcendence. Between “End of History” theses, Mayan Calendar predictions, posthumanist theories, the Rapture, and environmental and/or financial collapse, it seems we are living in what many people believe to be End Times. In this course we explore this cultural landscape, by examining some of the principal clusters of ideas around finality: posthumanism/singularity, environmental collapse, patriot survivalism, and post-politics. We will look at a number of cultural products: traditional fiction and non-fiction, blogs and podcasts, and films. The investigation will be interdisciplinary, and we will ignore boundaries between types of cultural objects; the one premise of the course comes from the sociology of science, which maintains that we can learn something distinctive by practicing strict agnosticism about the eventual truth-value of these ideas. That is, it will be less important to us to establish whether the Mayan calendar calculations are accurate than seeing the connections between those claims and the claims of survivalists and Rapture theorists. Thus, the course asks: taken together, what do all these claims about the End it say about this moment in history? What does it mean to live in End Times?

Students will be required to read/watch/surf the assigned materials and actively participate in the seminar. They will be required to carry out a group project that explores and maps a particular cluster of ideas within this realm not already covered in the syllabus to be negotiated with the instructor. There will also be a final paper that explores some specific dimension of End Times thought. This final paper will be due on December 21st 2012.


HMAN2970F                               N Hour (W 3:00 - 5:20pm)

Nationalism, Colonialism, Religion, and International Law
Nathaniel Berman, Faculty Fellow

This seminar explores the internationalism of the past century in terms of its relationship to separatist nationalism, anti-colonialism, and religious radicalism. It takes as its point of departure the dramatic political, cultural, and intellectual transformations that followed in the wake of World War I. A guiding hypothesis of the seminar is that internationalism cannot be understood apart from its complex relationship to "identity" broadly conceived – identity of local/transnational groups as well as the identity of internationalists themselves. Readings will be drawn from law, cultural studies, politics, and postcolonial theory. Enrollment limited to 20 graduate students. Advanced juniors/seniors by permission only.


HMAN1970L                               Q Hour (Th 4:00 - 6:20pm)

History of Aesthetics: Eighteenth Century
Paul Guyer, Faculty Fellow

Modern aesthetics emerged in the eighteenth century at the intersection of different disciplines, discourses, cultures, and European nations. Contributors to the new field came not only from academic philosophy but also from the arts, literature, history, theology, and other fields. Aesthetics was thus and remains primary among interdisciplinary disciplines. Readings for this course will be drawn from British, German, and French authors such as Shaftesbury, Du Bos, Addison, Hutcheson, Hume, Burke, Kames, Diderot, Mendelssohn, Lessing, Kant, Schiller, and Herder. Enrollment limited to 25 juniors and seniors.


HMAN1970D                               O Hour (F 3:00 - 5:20pm)

Places of Healing: Memory, Miracle, and Storytelling
Ömür Harmanşah, Faculty Fellow

From antiquity to our day, therapeutic landscapes such as: mineral and thermal springs; shrines and churches built at sacred springs; volcanic ash mud baths; rocky landscapes emitting odorous gasses; and ponds filled with medicinal leeches, attract health pilgrims who search for healing. Storytelling transformed these into places of memory and pilgrimage. This seminar investigates places of bodily healing and miracle from a cultural studies perspective. The case studies will be drawn from the Mediterranean world and Western Asia (including Lourdes in France, Hierapolis in Southeastern Turkey and the Agiasma churches of Byzantine Istanbul). Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors.


HMAN1970E                               N Hour (W 3:00 - 5:20pm)

The Precarious University
Eng-Beng Lim, Faculty Fellow

The intensification of student protest-occupy movements across the country particularly in California, and the proliferation the OWS movements across the world have rejuvenated social movements against cutbacks for the people and kickbacks for the wealthy. In this seminar, we will address the epistemic shifts and intellectual costs of these ongoing upheavals, particularly the fight against the U.S. university’s neoliberalization. We will imagine the kind of progressive university that is sustainable for the arts and humanities, and how the precarious work of artists and humanists are fundamental to 21st century global universities. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors.


HMAN 1970F                                              (M 3:30 - 5:50pm)

Pain in Polish and Russian Twentieth-Century Literature
Michal Oklot, Faculty Fellow

Does reflection on pain teach us something about ourselves, the world, our relation to it? This seminar examines the meaning of pain in Russian and Polish literature and literary theory of the 20th century. Our main concern is with pain’s resistance to language and representation, but also with the attempts of modernist writers to push up against this resistance. The works analyzed offer a variety of responses to the problem of pain as it appears in theology, experimental medicine, discussions of materialism, and the philosophy of Schopenhauer. We take as our point of departure the dramatization of pain in Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, tracing its transformations forward to modernist approaches. The aesthetic and philosophical challenges thrown up by pain also form the ground on which Russian and Polish literature meet. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors.


HMAN 1970N                               P Hour (T 4:00 - 6:20pm)

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in the Global Scene
Linda Quiquivix, Postdoctoral Fellow in Global Humanities

Dominant narratives of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians often obscure influential forces taking place outside the boundaries of Israel/Palestine, presenting us with a story we too frequently believe is unique or historically peculiar. In this course, we will see how marginalized groups worldwide have been inspired by as well as have inspired both peoples’ struggles for survival and self-determination. Throughout the semester, we will situate the conflict within global networks by examining case studies revealing connectivity and reciprocity. These include Zionism’s inspiration for Garvey’s back-to-Africa movement in the US; the adoption of Fanonian, Maoist, and Guevarian thought in the Middle East; the Black Panther Party’s support for the Palestinians as well as their endorsement of an Israeli Black Panther Party in the 1970s; South Africa and Latin America’s economic and military ties to Israel; and the recent Palestinian call for international Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS). In linking these movements, we will critically examine how struggles for self-determination negotiate between seeking territorially bounded independence or globally networked liberation, both in the region and beyond.


Courses for Spring 2013


HMAN 1970K                              Q Hour (Th 4:00 - 6:20pm)

Law and Religion
Nathaniel A. Berman
Rahel Varnhagen Professor of International Affairs, Law, and Modern Culture, Cogut Center for the Humanities

In an arguably "post-secular" age, conflicts over the relationship between religion and law have again moved to the forefront of international debate. In our multicultural and globalized world, such conflicts often provoke contestation over the very possibility of universal definitions of either "religion" or "law," let alone their proper relationship. Our interdisciplinary inquiries on these questions will include concrete legal disputes in domestic and international courts; theoretical debates over the construction of "religion" in fields such as anthropology, religious studies, and philosophy; and historiographical controversies about the relationship between "secularization" and sovereignty, particularly in light of the legacy of colonialism. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors.


HMAN2970I                               M Hour (M 3:00 - 5:20pm)

Habits of Living: Affect and New Media
Wendy H. Chun
Professor of Modern Culture and Media

and

Kelly Dobson
Associate Professor in Digital and Media
Rhode Island School of Design

How have we become habituated to and inhabitants of new media, and what are the effects of this voluntary and involuntary habituation? Focusing on the relationship between new media and affects—environmentally-provoked, non-conscious responses, central to the formation of individual / group perception—this course investigates new media networks as structures created through constant human and non-human actions. Enrollment limited to 20. This course is for Graduates only. Upperclass undergraduates require instructor's permission. Students must register for the primary meeting and the film screening. This course is by permission of the instructor only.


HMAN1970G                              Q Hour (Th 4:00 - 6:20pm)

International Perspectives on NGOs, Public Health, and Health Care Inequalities
Linda Cook and Ann Dill
Faculty Fellows

Non-governmental and other non-state organizations play an expanding role in the provision of health care across much of the globe. Growth and internationalization of the non-governmental sector, contraction of post-socialist and advanced industrial welfare states, and sub-contracting of state-funded services have all contributed. The seminar focuses on this expansion, critically assessing texts on NGOs and health and drawing comprehensively from sources across disciplinary and interdisciplinary boundaries. We will address issues of human welfare, political citizenship and identity, replacement and displacement of states, new forms of health care inequalities, and the self-concepts, missions, and roles of non-profit sector workers around the globe. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors.


HMAN2970H                                N Hour (W 3:00 - 5:20pm)

Realism, Idealism, and Modernity I: From Early Modernity through German Idealism
Paul D. Guyer
Jonathan Nelson Professor of Humanities and Philosophy, Department of Philosophy

Debates between realism and idealism are central to modernity. The opposition between them might seem straightforward, realism being the philosophy of the scientific worldview, idealism the philosophy of more traditional religion and morality. But sometimes idealism has been the philosophical basis for modern science and moral autonomy, and realism the basis for more traditional worldviews. The philosophical debate between realism and idealism is thus part of the larger struggle over science, religion, morality and politics in modern culture. This course will begin a two-semester study of this complex dialectic from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. Enrollment limited to 20.


HMAN1970I                                N Hour (W 3:00 - 5:20pm)

Imposing Orthodoxy: "Jew," "Pagans" and "Heretics" when Constantinian Christianity Won
Ross S. Kraemer
Faculty Fellow

What happens when a particular 'orthodoxy' becomes able to impose itself on others? This course examines the imposition of post-Constantinian catholicism on Jews, Samaritans, other Christians (Arians, Miaphysites, etc.) and the remaining ancient Mediterranean populace (4th-7th centuries) to consider a larger cultural phenomenon. We'll draw on ancient authors and legal sources (in translation), archaeological data, and contemporary studies. Half the course entails communal exploration of the late antique Mediterranean. Student research presentations, including studies of comparable situations from other cultural and historical contexts, comprise the second half. Useful prior coursework includes: RELS 400, RELS 410, CLAS 600, CLAS 660, CLAS 1320. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors.


HMAN2970G                               P Hour (T 4:00 - 6:20pm)

Space and Capital
Linda Quiquivix
Postdoctoral Fellow in Global Humanities, Cogut Center for the Humanities

This course examines various ways Western/non-Western societies have conceptualized space, with a specific focus on the tension between capitalist/common space. We adopt the map as a lens into this question, focusing on the cadastral survey’s rise in the Modern era and on its role in parceling space into strictly bounded, individual property. Throughout the semester, we undergo an enquiry into the map’s uncritical reception in the contemporary era, understanding this development as linked to the Scientific Revolution; the role of linear perspective; the Age of Discovery’s world-as-picture; as well as to the processes of primitive accumulation, colonialism, and the nation-state.


HMAN1970J                              M Hour (M 3:00 - 5:20pm)

Miniature: An Introduction to Cognitive Cultural Studies
Melinda A. Rabb
Faculty Fellow

Why do we take pleasure in small-scale objects? What is their history and what purposes do they serve? How do the technology and the aesthetics of the small contribute to human cognition? To find answers to these and other questions, the seminar explores the cultural, literary and cognitive significance of miniatures. We will explore productive relationships between three areas of research: imaginative texts produced during the eighteenth century, the period's prolific but insufficiently studied production of small-scale versions of everyday objects, and recent developments in cognitive theory about the role of size-perception in the developing brain. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors.



Related Courses for Fall 2012


SCSO1000                               Time: To Be Arranged

Gender, Science and Society
Catherine A. Bliss, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities

This seminar introduces students to interdisciplinary approaches to the role of gender in science and society. It uses an integrated natural and social scientific Problem-Based Learning pedagogy to explore real-world problems like validating knowledge about sexual difference, the relationship between politics and science, and the characterization of biomedical disorders like hormone imbalance and depression. The class will be broken into groups that evenly consist of natural and social science concentrators in order to approach problems from natural and social scientific perspectives. Students will learn critical scholarship including gender studies, feminist theory, and science and technology studies. Enrollment limited to 40.


MCM1201I                               K Hour (Th 2:30 - 3:50pm)

Warriors, Gangsters, and Misanthropes: Violence and Sociality in Asian Genre Cinemas
Michelle Cho, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities

By analyzing films from a variety of popular genres, from war to horror, gangster, action-thriller, and disaster films, we will consider the problem-solving function, visual pleasure, visceral thrills, and ethical stakes of multiple forms of film violence, including state violence, gendered violence, heroic and anti-heroic violence, and spectacular, extreme, or fantasmatic violence. Further, we will ask what forms of sociality or intersubjective relations these differing modes of violence posit or problematize, to gain insight into broader questions concerning the anti-sociality of violence and the prevalence of film violence in the social, cultural, and historical contexts of contemporary East Asia. Prerequisite: MCM 0110, 0230, 0240, 0250, 0260, or 1110. Enrollment limited to 50 sophomores, juniors, and seniors.


GRMN0990E                              E Hour (MWF 12:00 - 12:50pm)

The Rhine River: An Aesthetic, Environmental, and Political History
Kevin D. Goldberg, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities

From Hölderlin to Hugo, cannonballs to canalization, this course examines representations of Europe's most important waterway in the modern period. Although it has long been seen as a "natural" border between France and Germany, the Rhine River has been anything but undisputed. Both the French and German nationalist movements claimed the river as their own, spawning a bi-lingual catalogue of songs, poems, and historical legends. We will approach the Rhine from an interdisciplinary perspective, with readings from economists, environmentalists, historians, and cultural studies scholars. We will be aided by a vast array of primary source material. Taught in English.


ENGL1761Y                              P Hour (T 4:00 - 6:20pm)

Issues in World Literature
Madhumita Lahiri, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow

What is world literature? How does it relate to fields like comparative literature and postcolonial studies? We will read fiction and drama usually featured in this canon, including works by Achebe, Coetzee, Homer, Kafka, Rushdie, Shikibu, and Walcott. We will also attend to the critical paradigms that constitute the field, from Goethe's Weltliteratur to more recent theorizations by Casanova, Damrosch, Deleuze, Moretti, Spivak, etc. Enrollment limited to 20. Not open to first-year students.


ENVS2700B                              P Hour (T 4:00 - 6:20pm)

Sociology of Natural Resources, Community Conflict, and Social Movements
Stephanie A. Malin, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow

Examining a variety of natural resources – including water, uranium, and oil/gas – this course examines sociology of natural resource-related issues, related community conflicts and social movements. This seminar challenges students to analyze conditions that encourage or prohibit social movements related to natural resource controversies, while inviting application of a political-economic theoretical frameworks. We will discuss US and global cases, and a global development perspective permeates the course. Ethical debates in natural resource development decisions will be examined in the context of theories of development. As a seminar, students will shape class discussions and add their own interests to the mix. Enrollment limited to 10 graduate students.


FREN1100I                             K Hour (Th 2:30 - 3:50pm)

Hostages and Prisoners of War in Medieval French Literature
John Moreau, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow

In the Middle Ages, being taking as a hostage or prisoner of war was a relatively common occurrence, depicted often in literature of the period. Through this theme, the course will examine some of the great works of the French Middle

Ages, from Chrétien de Troyes's Lancelot to the lyric poetry of Charles d'Orléans. The representation of captivity will allow us to investigate the era's historical and political realities, its cultural and linguistic conflicts, and its conceptions of personal identity. The course will include instruction in reading medieval French.


HIST1491                             E Hour (MWF 12:00 - 12:50pm)

History of Medicine II: The Development of Scientific Medicine in Europe and the World
Richard Parks, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow

From the 18th century onward, Western medicine has claimed universal validity due to its scientific foundations, relegating other kinds of medicine to the status of "alternative" practices. The course therefore examines the development of scientific medicine in Europe and elsewhere up to the late 20th century, and its relationships with other medical ideas, practices, and traditions. Students with a knowledge of languages and the social and natural sciences are welcome but no prerequisites are required. Not open to first year students.


TAPS1281R                                             (T 3:00 - 5:50pm)

mujeres ARRIBA! Feminist Playwrights in Spanish Theater
Alejandra Prieto, Adjunct Lecturer

How have contemporary women playwrights contributed to socio-political movements in Spain? This seminar introduces students to some of the most celebrated (and often silenced) Spanish women dramatists of the 20th and 21st centuries. We will look at the historical, cultural and political context surrounding selected plays, to understand the dramaturgical, revolutionary and historical significance of each theater text. Identity, gender, sexuality, patriarchal values, feminist, political thought will be central to discussion. The class will be taught in English. The writings are in Spanish so the students should be bilingual or able to read in Spanish.


Related Courses for Spring 2013


EAST1950U                            P Hour (T 4:00 - 6:20pm)  

South Korean Cinema: From Golden Age to Korean Wave
Michelle H. Cho
Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities
East Asian Studies

This seminar explores the cinema of South Korea, proceeding chronologically and thematically, interrogating the key problematics of gender and genre. We will think about cinema's role—as a medium for visual storytelling and as a site for producing cultural norms and values—in assessing the consequences of historical events and in helping to construct official histories. Across films from Korean cinema's "golden age" (1950's and 60') to post-authoritarian realist cinema to the contemporary era of globalized, transnational genre films, we will map the questions, themes, and debates on the formation and effects of South Korea's cinematic imaginary of nation. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors.


GRMN0999M                            E Hour (MWF 12:00 - 12:50pm)

Marx and Money in Modern Germany
Kevin D. Goldberg
Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities
German Studies

No critique of capitalism has been more enduring than Karl Marx's nineteenth-century account of European finance and industry. We will engage Marx's work alongside a close reading of the societies Marx sought to critique. We will also contextualize the work of Marx's contemporaries and successors, including Engels, Simmel, Sombart, as well as look at the continuation of the "capitalism debate" in Weimar and Nazi Germany. Our focus on the societies in which these writings emerged, allows for a less obstructed view onto these economic and social ideas. Issues of religion, gender, politics, militarism, and globalism will be considered. In English.


ENGL0800I                            P Hour (T 4:00 - 6:20pm)  

Global South Asia
Madhumita Lahiri
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
English

This course provides an introduction to contemporary fiction by South Asia and its diaspora. We will read novels written in North America, the Caribbean, Australia, Africa, the United Kingdom, and of course South Asia, paying particular attention to issues of identity, ethnicity, and transnational circulation. Authors include Adiga, Hanif, Lahiri, Meeran, Mistry, Naipaul, Roy, Rushdie, Selvadurai, and Sinha.


BIOL2840I                            P Hour (T 4:00 - 6:20pm)

Human Health, the Environment, and Public Policy
Stephanie A. Malin
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
Center for Environmental Sciences/Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
 

This course examines intersections between human health, collective action for environmental justice, and responses from public policy and professional institutions charged with protecting human and environmental health. We focus on case studies, including: uranium contamination, human health outcomes, and institutional response in the American Southwest; and outcomes in Libby, Montana, site of prolonged asbestos exposure and the nation’s first declared 'public health emergency.' Throughout, we analyze the Environmental Protection Agency and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry responses. This course takes a critical sociological approach to related intersections. Organized as a seminar, students have an opportunity to shape class discussions. Expected course background to include physiology or cell biology. Enrollment limited to 20.


COLT1813H                            L Hour (T/Th 6:30 - 7:50pm)

God, Sex and Grammar: Literary Ethics in Medieval Europe
Jason M. Moreau
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
Comparative Literature/French Studies

What does it mean to read and write ethically? While modern culture values intellectual property, many medieval texts celebrated what we call plagiarism. On the other hand, medieval thinkers saw serious consequences in literature, which could lead authors and readers to heaven or hell. But then as now, ethics were rarely clear-cut, subject to forces as diverse as religion, sexual desire, capitalism, and even language itself. Reading some of the great authors of the period, as well as modern critical reflections, we will explore the ethical dimension of literary production in the medieval world and in our own society.


HIST1978C                                              (M 3:30 - 5:50pm)

Health and Healing in Colonial and Post Colonial Africa
Richard C. Parks
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
History

Reading-intensive seminar that examines health, healing, and the (post-) colonial "mission" in Africa in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will study the effects of Western biomedical and scientific intervention through the prisms of imperial control, public health crusades, urbanization, reproduction, and four specific maladies: sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis,) leprosy, mental illness, and AIDS. The examination of these topics and maladies provides a window into the nature of colonial rule and the politics of race and cultural difference. Western Europe's "rational" medical theories, treatments, and preventive regimes were often shaped by preconceived notions of the colonial environment and racialized bodies. Enrollment limited to 20.