This seminar focuses on the six poets (one recently rediscovered) who most defined English Romanticism in poetry and verse drama between 1798 and 1824. It emphasizes their philosophical, emotional, and stylistic tugs-of-war, despite their quite different politics: first, between proposals for revolutions in social organization and how individuals relate to the wider world (they all knew the American and French revolutions of the 1770s-90s), and second, retrogressive longings for earlier orders of being and poetic styles whose revivals promised a better world than the emerging one of rapid social changes and aggressive industrialism. Each class examines their most progressive and simultaneously regressive tendencies, the special paradoxes that still make these poets so revealing about the post-Enlightenment dawning of the modern world. The six poets are: Wordsworth, Coleridge, Mary Robinson, Byron, Keats, and Shelley.
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Robinson, Mary. Selected Poems. Ed. Judith Pascoe. Ontario, Canada: Broadview Press, 1999. ISBN-10: 1551112019; ISBN-13: 978-1551112015.
The Longman Anthology of British Literature, Volume 2A: The Romantics and Their Contemporaries. Ed. David Damrosch et al. 5th ed. Pearson, 2011. ISBN-10: 0205223168; ISBN-13: 978-0205223169.
Biology has well-supported insights into how animals make decisions and why they behave the way they do, in contexts from foraging to cooperation. This knowledge is grounded in theory as well as empirical evidence. Generally these insights also apply to humans: humans evolved, and thus their brain as well as their preferences, capabilities, and learning abilities are all the result of natural selection, as they are for any other animal. What consequences does this have for our understanding of how people behave when shopping, budgeting time, parenting, loving, or hating? In this course, we will cover how biologists arrived at their conclusions about animals and discuss how they apply to humans. We will also talk about psychological research and controversies in this area, and what, if anything, differentiates humans from other animals (intelligence, cultural evolution, free will?). Do any of these research findings change our conclusions?
This course explores Islam and Muslim societies in the contemporary period. It begins by focusing on the fundamentals of Islam, such as the life of Muhammad, the Qur’an, law, and theology. The topics we will discuss include opportunities for Muslims in the United States, Islamic spirituality (including Sufism), and successful Muslim-majority countries, such as Indonesia. The primary challenges we will address include political authoritarianism, sectarianism, and religious extremism. The objective of this seminar is to provide accurate information about the religion of Islam and to demystify Muslim cultures that frequently are portrayed in the media as violent and irrationally hostile to the West. Seminarians are encouraged to bring their questions regarding Islam and Muslims to this class.
Allen Roger and Shawkat M. Toorawa, eds. Islam: A Short Guide to the Faith. Eerdmans, 2011. ISBN-10: 080286600X; ISBN-13: 978-0802866004.
Devji, Faisal. Landscapes of the Jihad. Cornell UP, 2017. ISBN-10: 1849047200; ISBN-13: 978-1849047203.
Kahf, Mohia. The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf: A Novel. New York: Carroll and Graf Publishers, 2006. ISBN-10: 0786715197; ISBN-13: 978-0786715190.
U.S. intervention in underdeveloped countries raises many basic issues of international relations and foreign policy. The main purpose of this class is to provide students with an ability to examine such issues critically and in a historical context. Among the general areas we will look at are: the historical background that led to the emergence of the USA as a major power, beginning at the end of the 1940s; the role of covert operations during the Cold War; the Vietnam War and its long-term effects; the end of the Cold War; and the War on Terror. The course lectures will emphasize the remarkable continuity of U.S. policy from the Cold War through the period after it.
This course is a repeat of the class given in Spring 2016.
Layne, Christopher. The Peace of Illusions: American Grand Strategy from 1940 to the Present. New York: Cornell University Press, 2007. ISBN-10: 0801474116.
Dante’s 700-year-old masterpiece the Divine Comedy still attracts great attention. For centuries readers have been drawn to his vivid description of the afterlife. This course will explore the first portion of the Divine Comedy, Inferno, in its entirety. The class will focus on the organization of his hell, from lesser to greater sins, the numerous historical personages and references in it, and its implicit theology. We will also look at Dante’s narrative, discussing how the actions of his characters and their respective punishments depict the true nature of the sins.
The purpose of Dante’s voyage is not about merely observing the torments of the damned, but rather about gaining knowledge of the true nature of evil. While many contemporary readers might disagree with the categories of Dante’s sins, the question of evil is as relevant today as it was in the fourteenth century.
Alighieri, Dante. The Inferno. Trans. Jean and Robert Hollander. New York: Random House, 2002. ISBN: 978-0385496988.
This seminar examines the relations between culture and power in nineteenth-century France through the study of masterpieces of realist fiction. The realist novel is a cultural artefact specific to the nineteenth century, a genre born with the modern democratic nation-state at a time when (relative) freedom of expression allowed for the emergence of a public sphere. The four novels studied in this course also have in common that they are romans d’éducation (or Bildungsroman) thematically focused on young men’s struggles to succeed in a democratized society, i.e., to reap the revolutionary promise of freedom, fraternity, and equality. By giving voice and shape to the sociopolitical aspirations of the French people, the novel responded to the needs of an increasingly large reading public that faced the same dilemmas and recognized itself in it.
Stendhal (Henri Beyle). The Red and the Black. (1830). Ed. and Trans. Roger Gard. Penguin Classics, 2004. ISBN-10: 0140447644. ISBN-13: 978-0140447644.
Balzac, Honoré de. Lost Illusions. (1836). Trans. Herbert J. Hunt. Penguin Classics, 1976. ISBN-10: 0140442510. ISBN-13: 978-0140442519.
In the 1920s and 1930s the soulful rhythms of blues and jazz signaled an explosion of African American creativity. During this period, known as the New Negro Movement and later as the Harlem Renaissance, musicians, dancers, visual artists, writers, and scholars sought to define their African heritage in American culture. From just after World War I until just after the stock market crash in 1929, the vibrancy of the newly discovered African American art, music, and literature was celebrated in cities such as Harlem, Chicago, Washington, New York, and even as far away as Paris. In this course we will explore the Harlem Renaissance, which is considered the first important movement of black artists and writers in the United States.
Lewis, David Levering. The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader. New York: The Penguin Group, 1995. ISBN-10: 0140170367; ISBN-13: 978-0140170368.
Lewis, David Levering. When Harlem was in Vogue. New York: The Penguin Group, 1997. ISBN-10: 0140263349; ISBN-13: 978-0140263343.
Since the formation of the current U.S.-Mexico border resulting from the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsden Purchase, immigration (both legal and unauthorized) across this border has been a hotly debated political issue. That debate continues today as seen in the rhetoric of last year’s presidential election and the various issues pertaining to the border, including “The Wall,” the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and immigration. This seminar will explore various immigration issues across the U.S.-Mexico border through historical, humanistic, and sociological lenses. It focuses on the human drama that has played out, and continues to do so today, as people from Latin America attempt to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, the most frequently crossed in the world. Some of the questions addressed include: What is the border? Who crosses it? Why do they cross? Can the issue of immigration be resolved?
Rubio-Goldsmith, Raquel; Celestino Fernández, Jessie K. Finch and Araceli Masterson-Algar, Eds. Migrant Deaths in the Arizona Desert: La Vida No Vale Nada. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 2016. ISBN-10: 0816532524; ISBN-13: 978-0816532520.
Ferguson, Kathryn. The Haunting of the Mexican Border: A Woman’s Journey. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2015. ISBN-10: 082634058X; ISBN-13: 978-0826340580.
Urrea, Luís Alberto. The Devil’s Highway: A True Story. New York: Back Bay Books, 2005. ISBN-10: 0316010804; ISBN-13: 978-0316010801.
This course surveys the music of Ludwig van Beethoven from the perspectives of different professors at the Fred Fox School of Music. Jay Rosenblatt begins with an overview of Beethoven’s life: his youth in Bonn, the reasons for his move to Vienna, and the outline of his early, middle, and late style periods. He will also introduce the stylistic characteristics of Beethoven’s music. Subsequent sessions will be led by Bruce Chamberlain, Director of Choral Activities, who will consider Beethoven’s sacred music, particularly the Missa Solemnis; Thomas Cockrell, Director of Orchestral Activities, who will discuss Beethoven’s symphonies; John Milbauer, Professor of Piano, who will focus on Beethoven’s late piano work; and Tim Kantor, Assistant Professor of Violin, who will examine Beethoven’s chamber music from the perspective of a professional string quartet member.
The Beethoven Compendium: A Guide to Beethoven's Life and Music. Ed. Barry Cooper. Thames and Hudson, 2010. ISBN-10: 0500278717. ISBN-13: 978-0500278710.