Humanities (HUMS)

* HUMS 020a / ITAL 020a, Six Pretty Good DogsSimona Lorenzini

We all have heard the phrase “Dogs are man’s best friends.” For thousands and thousands of years there has been an indissoluble friendship between man and dog, an unwritten covenant, a symbiotic relationship that has no equal in the animal world. Why do we consider them our ‘best friends’? And is this always true? If not, why do we sometimes fear dogs? What role have dogs played in our understanding of being human? This course explores images of dogs in 20th-21st Italian literature through six main categories: a man and his dog; dogs and inhumanity; dogs and exile; dogs and children; dogs and folktales; dogs and modern bestiary. We discuss and close read a variety of texts, which are representative of different strategies for reflecting on the self and on the ‘other’ by unpacking the unstable relationship between anthropomorphism, personification, and humanization. Hopefully, these texts impel us to understand how profoundly the animal is involved in the human and the human in the animal. This course is part of the "Six Pretty Good Ideas" program. All readings in English. Enrollment limited to first-year students. Preregistration required; see under First-Year Seminar Program.  WR, HU1½ Course cr
MW 9am-10:15am, F 1pm-4pm

* HUMS 021a / NELC 007a, Six Pretty Good HeroesKathryn Slanski

Focusing on the figure of the hero through different eras, cultures, and media, this course provides first-year students with a reading-and writing-intensive introduction to studying the humanities at Yale. The course is anchored around six transcultural models of the hero that similarly transcend boundaries of time and place: the warrior, the sage, the political leader, the proponent of justice, the poet/singer, and the unsung. Our sources range widely across genres, media, periods, and geographies: from the ancient Near Eastern, Epic of Gilgamesh (1500 BCE) to the Southeast Asian Ramayana, to the Icelandic-Ukrainian climate activism film, Woman at War (2018). As part of the Six Pretty Good suite, we explore Yale's special collections and art galleries to broaden our perspectives on hierarchies of value and to sharpen our skills of observation and working with evidence. Six Pretty Good Heroes is a 1.5 credit course, devoting sustained attention students’ academic writing and is an excellent foundation for the next seven semesters at Yale. Required Friday sessions are reserved for writing labs and visits to Yale collections, as well as one-on-one and small-group meetings with the writing instruction staff.  WR, HU0 Course cr
TTh 9am-10:15am, F 1pm-4pm

* HUMS 029a or b / LITR 028a or b, Medicine and the Humanities: Certainty and UnknowingMatthew Morrison

Sherwin Nuland often referred to medicine as “the Uncertain Art.” In this course, we address the role of uncertainty in medicine, and the role that narrative plays in capturing that uncertainty. We focus our efforts on major authors and texts that define the modern medical humanities, with primary readings by Mikhail Bulgakov, Henry Marsh, Atul Gawande, and Lisa Sanders. Other topics include the philosophy of science (with a focus on Karl Popper), rationalism and romanticism (William James), and epistemology and scientism (Wittgenstein). Enrollment limited to first-year students. Preregistration required; see under First-Year Seminar Program.  HU

* HUMS 033a / ITAL 030a, Six Pretty Good KnightsAlessandro Giammei

What do Batman (the Dark Knight) and Orlando (Charlemagne’s wise paladin) have in common? What is the thread that connects the Jedi knights of Star Wars and those that sat around king Arthur’s round table? How did medieval history and Renaissance poetry inform the expanded universes of superhero movies and fantasy literature, along with the inexhaustible fan-fiction that further extends and queers them? Chivalry, as a code of conduct and a network of symbols, inspired some of the most entertaining stories of the so-called Western canon, blurring the divide between high and popular culture. It offered storytellers (and nerds) of all ages a set of norms to question, bend, and break—especially in terms of gender. It challenged the very format of books, re-defining for good concepts like literary irony, seriality, and inter-mediality. This seminar proposes six pretty good trans-historical archetipes of fictional knights, combining iconic figures such as Marvel’s Iron Man and Italo Calvino’s Agilulfo, Ludovico Ariosto’s Bradamante and Game of Thrones’ Brienne of Tarth, Don Quixote and the Mandalorian. By analyzing together their oaths, weapons, armors, and destinies we aim to develop reading and writing skills to tackle any text, from epic and scholarship to TV-shows and comic-books. Enrollment limited to first-year students. Preregistration required; see under First-Year Seminar Program.  WR, HU0 Course cr
F 1pm-4pm, TTh 4pm-5:15pm

* HUMS 037a / LITR 037a, The Limits of the HumanSteven Shoemaker

As we navigate the demands of the 21st century, an onslaught of new technologies, from artificial intelligence to genetic engineering, has pushed us to question the boundaries between the human and the nonhuman. At the same time, scientific findings about animal, and even plant intelligence, have troubled these boundaries in similar fashion. In this course, we examine works of literature and film that can help us imagine our way into these “limit cases'' and explore what happens as we approach the limits of our own imaginative and empathetic capacities. We read works of literature by Mary Shelley, Kazuo Ishiguro, Richard Powers, Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, and Jennifer Egan, and watch the movies Blade Runner, Ex Machina, Arrival, Avatar, and Her. Enrollment limited to first-year students. Preregistration required; see under First-Year Seminar Program.  HU
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* HUMS 060a, Novel NovelsBrianne Bilsky

Stream of consciousness. Metafiction. Intertextuality. Typographic experimentation. These are some of the innovative narrative techniques that authors have used to push the boundaries of fiction over time. Why does literary innovation happen? How has the development of fiction been influenced by developments in other fields such as psychology, art, philosophy, or physics? What does it mean to say that a novel is novel? This course addresses such questions by taking an interdisciplinary approach to looking closely at several innovative novels from the early twentieth century to the present. As we move from modernism to postmodernism and on to the present moment, we not only explore the ways that novels may engage creatively with other fields but also how they are in dialogue with literary history itself. Enrollment limited to first-year students. Preregistration required; see under First-Year Seminar Program.  WR, HU
MW 9am-10:15am

* HUMS 061a / CLCV 051a / LITR 029a / MUSI 054a / THST 051a, Performing AntiquityPauline LeVen

This seminar introduces students to some of the most influential texts of Greco-Roman Antiquity and investigates the meaning of their “performance” in different ways: 1) how they were musically and dramatically performed in their original context in Antiquity (what were the rhythms, the harmonies, the dance-steps, the props used, etc.); 2) what the performance meant, in socio-cultural and political terms, for the people involved in performing or watching it, and how performance takes place beyond the stage; 3) how these texts are performed in modern times (what it means for us to translate and stage ancient plays with masks, a chorus, etc.; to reenact some ancient institutions; to reconstruct ancient instruments or compose “new ancient music”); 4) in what ways modern poems, plays, songs, ballets constitute forms of interpretation, appropriation, or contestation of ancient texts; 5) in what ways creative and embodied practice can be a form of scholarship. Besides reading ancient Greek and Latin texts in translation, students read and watch performances of modern works of reception: poems, drama, ballet, and instrumental music. A few sessions are devoted to practical activities (reenactment of a symposium, composition of ancient music, etc.). Enrollment limited to first-year students. Preregistration required; see under First-Year Seminar Program.  WR, HU
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* HUMS 065a / EDST 065a, Education and the Life Worth LivingMatthew Croasmun

Consideration of education and what it has to do with real life—not just any life, but a life worth living. Engagement with three visions of different traditions of imagining the good life and of imagining education: Confucianism, Christianity, and Modernism. Students will be asked to challenge the fundamental question of the good life and to put that question at the heart of their college education. Enrollment limited to first-year students. Preregistration required; see under First-Year Seminar Program.  HU
MW 9am-10:15am

* HUMS 067b / AMST 070b / ENGL 067b, The Road in Literature and FilmSteven Shoemaker

Stories about journeys are at the heart of some of the most powerful works of art and literature that humankind has produced, from the time of Homer’s Odyssey onward, and the trope of the journey has played an especially prominent role in American literature and film. In this course, we look at modern and contemporary examples of books and films that explore “the road” both as a path to freedom and discovery and as a site of hardship and precarity. Along the way, we examine quests for personal enlightenment, flights from economic and political oppression, and attempts to locate some “elsewhere” that’s more exciting than home. Works of literature are likely to include Walt Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road,” Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Muriel Rukeyser’s U.S. 1, Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing, and Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad. Films are likely to include Sullivan’s Travels, It Happened One Night, Easy Rider, Thelma and Louise, and Into the Wild.  WR, HU
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* HUMS 073a, Classical Storytelling in the Modern WorldBrian Price

In his seminal work Poetics, Aristotle first identified the observable patterns and recurring elements that existed in the successful tragedies and epic poems of his time, as he posed the existential query: Why do we tell stories?  And his illuminating analysis and conclusions are still just as meaningful and relevant today in our contemporary dramatic narratives, our movies, plays, and Netflix binges-of-the-week. In this seminar, we examine Aristotle’s observations and conclusions and relate them to the contemporary stories we consume and enjoy today. By doing so, we identify the universal principles that all good stories share, investigate how these principles connect us all despite cultural, ethnic, and geographical differences, learn how to incorporate Aristotle’s precepts into our own creative expression and communicationsand most importantly, explore the vital function of storytelling, why we tell them, what makes a good one, and how to best tell one effectively.  Enrollment limited to first-year students. Preregistration required; see under First-Year Seminar Program.  HU
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

* HUMS 096a, Collecting History: "Treasures" of YaleAnna Franz

This course considers the concept of “treasure” by visiting nearly all of Yale’s galleries, museums, and library special collections. We explore questions around how these objects and materials were created, how they came to be at Yale, and the considerations and compromises that make up collections of cultural heritage materials. We learn what these objects say about themselves, their creators, their users, and their collectors. Enrollment limited to first-year students. Preregistration required; see under First-Year Seminar Program.  HU
W 1pm-4pm

* HUMS 127a or b / ENGL 129a or b / LITR 168a or b / THST 129a or b, Tragedy in the European Literary TraditionStaff

The genre of tragedy from its origins in ancient Greece and Rome through the European Renaissance to the present day. Themes of justice, religion, free will, family, gender, race, and dramaturgy. Works might include Aristotle's Poetics or Homer's Iliad and plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca, Hrotsvitha, Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, Calderon, Racine, Büchner, Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov, Wedekind, Synge, Lorca, Brecht, Beckett, Soyinka, Tarell Alvin McCraney, and Lynn Nottage. Focus on textual analysis and on developing the craft of persuasive argument through writing.  WR, HU

* HUMS 128a / LITR 200a / NELC 128a, From Gilgamesh to Persepolis: Introduction to Near Eastern LiteraturesSamuel Hodgkin

This course is an introduction to Near Eastern civilization through its rich and diverse literary cultures. We read and discuss ancient works, such as the Epic of GilgameshGenesis, and “The Song of Songs,” medieval works, such as A Thousand and One Nights, selections from the Qur’an, and Shah-nama: The Book of Kings, and modern works of Israeli, Turkish, and Iranian novelists and Palestianian poets. Students complement classroom studies with visits to the Yale Babylonian Collection and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, as well as with film screenings and guest speakers. Students also learn fundamentals of Near Eastern writing systems, and consider questions of tradition, transmission, and translation. All readings are in translation. Permission from the instructor required.  WR, HU
MW 1pm-2:15pm

* HUMS 130a / GMAN 200a / LITR 130a, How to ReadRudiger Campe and Hannan Hever

Introduction to techniques, strategies, and practices of reading through study of lyric poems, narrative texts, plays and performances, films, new and old, from a range of times and places. Emphasis on practical strategies of discerning and making meaning, as well as theories of literature, and contextualizing particular readings. Topics include form and genre, literary voice and the book as a material object, evaluating translations, and how literary strategies can be extended to read film, mass media, and popular culture. Junior seminar; preference given to juniors and majors.   HU
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

HUMS 134a / ENGL 154a / FREN 216a / LITR 194a, The Multicultural Middle AgesStaff

Introduction to medieval English literature and culture in its European and Mediterranean context, before it became monolingual, canonical, or author-bound. Genres include travel writing, epic, dream visions, mysticism, the lyric, and autobiography, from the Crusades to the Hundred Years War, from the troubadours to Dante, from the Chanson de Roland to Chaucer. Formerly ENGL 189.  WR, HU0 Course cr

HUMS 138a / LITR 428a / MMES 138a / NELC 131a / RLST 165a, The QuranTravis Zadeh

Introduction to the study of the Quran. Topics include: the literary, historical, and theological reception of the Quran; its collection and redaction; the scriptural milieu of late antiquity; education and religious authority; ritual performance and calligraphic expression; the diversity of Muslim exegesis.  HU
TTh 11:35am-12:25pm

* HUMS 139a / MUSI 137a, Western Philosophy in Four Operas 1600-1900Gary Tomlinson

This course intensively study\ies four operas central to the western repertory, spanning the years from the early 17th to the late 19th century: Monteverdi's Orfeo, Mozart's Don Giovanni, Wagner's Die Walküre (from The Ring of the Nibelungs), and Verdi's Simon Boccanegra. The course explores the expression in these works of philosophical stances of their times on the human subject and human society, bringing to bear writings contemporary to them as well as from more recent times. Readings include works of Ficino, Descartes, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Douglass, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and Adorno. We discover that the expression of changing philosophical stances can be found not only in dramatic themes and the words sung, but in the changing natures of the musical styles deployed.  HU
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

HUMS 140b / NELC 121b, The Hero in the Ancient Near EastKathryn Slanski

Exploration of the interaction of religion, history, and literature in the ancient Near East through study of its heroes, including comparison with heroes, heroic narratives, and hero cults in the Bible and from classical Greece.  WR, HU0 Course cr
TTh 10:30am-11:20am

HUMS 144a / CLCV 206a / HIST 217a, The Roman RepublicStaff

The origins, development, and expansion of Rome from the earliest times to the deaths of Caesar and Cicero. Cultural identity and interaction; slavery, class, and the family; politics, rhetoric, and propaganda; religion; imperialism; monumentality and memory; and the perception and writing of history. Application of literary and archaeological evidence.  HU0 Course cr

* HUMS 145a / CLCV 345a, Ancient Greek and Roman Novels in ContextStaff

A thorough examination of ancient novels as ancestors to the modern novel. Focus on seven surviving Greek and Roman novels, with particular emphasis on questions of interpretation, literary criticism, and literary theory, as well as cultural issues raised by the novels, including questions of gender and sexuality, ethnicity, cultural identity, religion, and intellectual culture of the first centuries A.D.  WR, HU

* HUMS 177a / CLCV 377a / PLSC 306a, Tragedy and PoliticsDaniel Schillinger

The canonical Greek tragedians—Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides—dramatize fundamental and discomfiting questions that are often sidelined by the philosophical tradition. In this seminar, we read plays about death, war, revenge, madness, impossible choices, calamitous errors, and the destruction of whole peoples. Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides were also piercing observers of political life. No less than Plato and Aristotle, the Attic tragedians write to elicit reflection on the basic patterns of politics: democracy and tyranny, war and peace, the family and the city, the rule of law and violence. Finally, we also approach Greek tragedy through its reception. Aristophanes, Plato, Aristotle, and Nietzsche: all these thinkers responded to tragedy. Texts include Aeschylus, Oresteia; Aristophanes, Frogs and Lysistrata; Euripides, BacchaeHeracles, and Trojan Women; Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy; Plato, Symposium; and Sophocles, AntigonePhiloctetes, and Oedipus Tyrannus. Previous work in political theory, classics, or philosophy is recommended.   HU
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

* HUMS 179b / ENGL 337b, Shakespeare's Political PlaysDavid Bromwich

Reading and interpretation of selected histories and tragedies from Richard II to The Tempest with emphasis on the tension between individual freedom and political obligation.  WR, HU
TTh 9am-10:15am

HUMS 180a / ITAL 310a / LITR 183a, Dante in TranslationStaff

A critical reading of Dante's Divine Comedy and selections from the minor works, with an attempt to place Dante's work in the intellectual and social context of the late Middle Ages by relating literature to philosophical, theological, and political concerns. No knowledge of Italian required. Course conducted in English.  HU0 Course cr

* HUMS 182a, The Work of Art in the Age of RevoltTimothy Kreiner

Modernity inarguably names the growth of markets and civil liberties. Yet every society that took root in the modern period is riddled with ongoing struggles for freedom from the miseries of race, gender, class, and so on. How do we explain that fact? And what part do works of art play in the struggles of the variously dominated and dispossessed today? This course poses those questions by placing major works of literature in conversation with influential works of political theory from the sixteenth through the twenty-first centuries. Along the way we ask also how the work of art came to be seen as part and parcel of workers’ movements alongside struggles for women’s suffrage and the abolition of slavery in the nineteenth century; and why it became crucial, in the eyes of many observers, to the novel liberation movements that circled the globe after 1945. Work by writers and militants such as Thomas Nashe, Martin Luther, Thomas Müntzer, Gerrard Winstanley, Silvia Federici, Frederick Douglass, Toussaint Louverture, Djuna Barnes, Alexandra Kollontai, Marx and Engels, Peter Weiss, V. I. Lenin, Rosa Luxembourg, Aimee Cesaire, Frantz Fanon, Gwendolyn Brooks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, James and Grace Lee Boggs, Marge Piercy, Mariarosa Dalla Costa, Toni Cade Bambara, Combahee River Collective, Asef Bayat.  HU
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HUMS 183a / EP&E 223a / RLST 162a, Tradition and Modernity: Ethics, Religion, Politics, Law, & CultureAndrew Forsyth

This seminar is about “tradition”—what it is and what it does—and how reflecting on tradition can help us better understand ethics, religion, politics, law, and culture. We ask: for whom and in what ways (if any) are the beliefs and practices transmitted from one generation to another persuasive or even authoritative? And how do appeals to tradition work today? We traverse a series of cases studies in different domains. Looking to ethics, we ask if rational argument means rejecting or inhabiting tradition. Next, we look at religions as traditions and traditions as one source of authority within religions. We consider appeals to tradition in conservative and progressive politics. And how the law uses decisions on past events to guide present actions. Finally, we turn to tradition in civic and popular culture with attention to “invented traditions,” the May 2023 British Coronation, and Beyoncé’s 2019 concert film “Homecoming.”   HU
M 9:25am-11:15am

* HUMS 185a / ENGL 419a / HSAR 460a, Writing about Contemporary Figurative ArtMargaret Spillane

A workshop on journalistic strategies for looking at and writing about contemporary paintings of the human figure. Practitioners and theorists of figurative painting; controversies, partisans, and opponents. Includes field trips to museums and galleries in New York City. Formerly ENGL 247.  WR, HU
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

* HUMS 186a / FILM 369a / RSEE 244a / RUSS 222a, War GamesMarijeta Bozovic

Dismissed, mocked, feared or loved for decades, video games have become a staple of contemporary media, art, and popular culture, studied alongside traditional print media and film. They eclipse the global yearly revenue of both film and music industries combined, leaving their financial significance undeniable. What remains understudied, however, is the political and cultural significance of the medium. War Games is a seminar dedicated to the intersection of video games and political violence (both real and imaginary) in a global and particularly post-Cold War context. Students learn to recognize patterns of ideological communication in video games while developing close reading skills of literature and digital media alike. We combine the study of video games with broader inquires into the media that circulate through the game mediaverse, including literature, social and news media, and film. Playing games and reading books, we pose the following questions: How do players “perform” war in games, and how might they resist or subvert expected performances? How indeed are we as readers and players affected by the type of media we consume? What is an adaptation? How do adaptations influence or potentially reshape our relationships with the source material? What themes and ideas are revealed effectively through one medium versus another? Why do certain literary traditions (such as classical Russian literature) provide such fruitful ground for video game adaptation? What are the political implications for the ideologies present in a video game given the globalized position of the medium? Assigned readings include novels, short stories, news media, and internet forums alongside a range of secondary materials, including film and media theory, intellectual and media histories, digital anthropology, reception studies, and interviews.  HU
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* HUMS 191a / ITAL 340a / LITR 347a / WGSS 362a, Dangerous Women: Sirens, Singers, Poets and Singers from Sappho to Elena FerranteJane Tylus

Was Sappho a feminist? This course tries to answer that question by analyzing how women’s voices have been appropriated by the literary and cultural canon of the west–and how in turn women writers and readers have reappropriated those voices. Students read a generous amount of literary (and in some cases, musical) works, along with a variety of contemporary theoretical approaches so as to engage in conversation about authorship, classical reception, and materiality. Following an introduction to Greek and Roman texts key for problematic female figures such as sirens and sibyls, we turn to two later historical moments to explore how women artists have both broken out of and used the western canon, redefining genre, content, and style in literary creation writ large. How did Renaissance women such as Laura Cereta, Gaspara Stampa, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz fashion themselves as authors in light of the classical sources they had at hand? And once we arrive in the 20th and 21st centuries, how do Sibilla Aleramo, Elsa Morante, Anna Maria Ortese, and Elena Ferrante forge a new, feminist writing via classical, queer and/or animal viewpoints?  HU
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

* HUMS 200a / ENGL 205a / LITR 195a / MUSI 462a, Medieval SonglinesArdis Butterfield

Introduction to medieval song in England via modern poetic theory, material culture, affect theory, and sound studies. Song is studied through foregrounding music as well as words, words as well as music.  WR, HU
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

HUMS 201b / FREN 240b / LITR 214b, The Modern French NovelStaff

A survey of major French novels, considering style and story, literary and intellectual movements, and historical contexts. Writers include Balzac, Flaubert, Proust, Camus, and Sartre. Readings in translation. One section conducted in French.  HUTr0 Course cr
TTh 1:30pm-2:20pm

HUMS 219a / AMST 215a / HIST 485a / HSHM 217a, Biomedical Futures and Michael Crichton's MonstersStaff

What forms of life have been produced by modern science? The literal life-changing technologies that began to emerge after the Second World War also provoked new anxieties. They expressed themselves in the speculative fiction of Michael Crichton in terms of monsters: the virus in The Andromeda Strain, the androids in Westworld, the velociraptors of Jurassic Park, and even the patients maimed by gunshot wounds in ER. Crichton wrote thrilling stories that also asked his readers to consider what monsters humans could make if they didn’t stop to consider whether or not they should. This course examines the emergence of modern life science to consider what it would take to produce more life-sustaining futures.  HU, SO0 Course cr

* HUMS 224b / HIST 210Jb, Hobbes and Galileo: Materialism and the Emergence of ModernityWilliam Klein

Hobbes considered himself a disciple of Galileo, but as a systematic philosopher and ideologue during a period of civil unrest in England, he no doubt produced something that Galileo, a Tuscan astrophysicist and impassioned literary critic, was not entirely responsible for: an absolutist theory of the modern state situated within an eschatological time frame. In this course we will reflect on the relation between Galileo’s anti-Aristotelian physics and Hobbes’ system by reading key texts by Galileo and Hobbes along with an array of interpretations and criticisms of Hobbes that will serve to situate Hobbes in early modern currents of thought in science, religion and politics, while at the same time situating us in contemporary ideological debates about the origins of modernity.    HU
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

* HUMS 228a / EVST 228a / HIST 459a / LITR 345a, Climate Change and the HumanitiesKatja Lindskog

What can the Humanities tell us about climate change? The Humanities help us to better understand the relationship between everyday individual experience, and our rapidly changing natural world. To that end, students read literary, political, historical, and religious texts to better understand how individuals both depend on, and struggle against, the natural environment in order to survive.  HU
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

* HUMS 237b / ENGL 292b, Past and Present in Fiction since 1789Katja Lindskog

Drawing on English-language literature, art, and history-writing since 1800, this class explores how the past can illuminate and complicate the ways we perceive the present. We begin with the geopolitical and social revolutions of the 1800s as seen through essays and fictions by Charles Dickens, Alice Meynell, and Thomas Carlyle, and end with the memoir-as-history of Hazel Carby's Imperial Intimacies (2019). Along the way, we explore a variety of approaches to making the past come alive in the present; through the “what if” posed by alternate history speculations, through didactic history in fact and fiction imagined for children, the use of the past as a site of romance, and through visual media like paintings and cinema. Throughout the course, we address questions like: how does fiction work to interpret the past? How does our interpretation of the past reflect and help us process present day concerns? Is the past best imagined as a foreign country full of exotic difference to the present, as a mirror to ourselves?  HUTr
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

* HUMS 244a, Love, Marriage, Family: A Psychological Study through the ArtsEllen Handler Spitz and R Howard Bloch

A psychological study of love, marriage, and family through literature, visual arts, and music, from the ancient world to mid-century America. An over-arching theme is the protean human potential for adaptation, innovation, and creativity by which couples and families struggle to thrive in the face of opposing forces, both internal and external. In this seminar, we study these themes not only as they have been treated in different parts of the world at different times, but also the means offered by each of the arts for their portrayal.   HU
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* HUMS 247a / SOCY 352a, Material Culture and Iconic ConsciousnessJeffrey Alexander

How and why contemporary societies continue to symbolize sacred and profane meanings, investing these meanings with materiality and shaping them aesthetically. Exploration of "iconic consciousness" in theoretical terms (philosophy, sociology, semiotics) and further exploration of compelling empirical studies about food and bodies, nature, fashion, celebrities, popular culture, art, architecture, branding, and politics.  HU, SO
W 4pm-5:50pm

* HUMS 252a / AMST 346a / ENGL 235a, Poetry and ObjectsKarin Roffman

This course on 20th and 21st century poetry studies the non-symbolic use of familiar objects in poems. We meet alternating weeks in the Beinecke library archives and the Yale Art Gallery objects study classroom to discover literary, material, and biographical histories of poems and objects. Additionally, there are scheduled readings and discussions with contemporary poets. Assignments include both analytical essays and the creation of online exhibitions.  WR, HU
Th 12pm-3pm

* HUMS 254b / ENGL 268b / LITR 463b / PHIL 227b, Literature and Philosophy, Revolution to RomanticismJonathan Kramnick

This is a course on the interrelations between philosophical and literary writing beginning with the English Revolution and ending with the beginnings of Romanticism. We read major works in empiricism, political philosophy, and ethics alongside poetry and fiction in several genres. Topics include the mind/body problem, political ideology, subjectivity and gender, and aesthetic experience as they take philosophical and literary form during a long moment of historical change.  WR, HU

* HUMS 262b / ENGL 269b / LITR 204b, Modernism and DomesticityKatie Trumpener

Exploration of turn-of-the-century European attempts to craft modernist lives: how new ideas of women’s roles, childhood, and the family shaped modernist literature and art—even as modernist designers tried to change people’s experience of daily surroundings. Topics include a range of New Woman novels, modernist design, fashion, and stage sets, exemplary artists’ houses (Carl and Karen Larson, Vanessa and Duncan Grant), reform fashions, portraits and family portraits, experimental fiction, memoirs (Andrej Bely, Walter Benjamin, Joyce, Woolf), and children’s books as designs for living. Students will have the opportunity to research in modernist periodicals or contribute to the upcoming Beinecke Text/Textile exhibit.  WR, HU

* HUMS 269b / EALL 230b / EAST 242b / LITR 238b, Poetry and Ethics Amidst Imperial CollapseLucas Bender

Du Fu has for the last millennium been considered China’s greatest poet. Close study of nearly one-sixth of his complete works, contextualized by selections from the tradition that defined the art in his age. Exploration of the roles literature plays in interpreting human lives and the ways different traditional forms shape different ethical orientation. Poetry as a vehicle for moral reflection. All readings are in English.  WR, HU
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

HUMS 270a / CHNS 200a / EALL 200a / EAST 240a, The Chinese TraditionStaff

An introduction to the literature, culture, and thought of premodern China, from the beginnings of the written record to the turn of the twentieth century. Close study of textual and visual primary sources, with attention to their historical and cultural backdrops. Students enrolled in CHNS 200 join a weekly Mandarin-language discussion section. No knowledge of Chinese required for students enrolled in EALL 200. Students enrolled in CHNS 200 must have L5 proficiency in Mandarin or permission of the course instructor.  HUTr0 Course cr

* HUMS 275a / AMST 308a / ENGL 335a, Literatures of the PlagueJames Berger

In a new era of pandemic, we have seen how widespread medical crisis has profound effects on individual life and consciousness, and on political and economic institutions and practices. Our material and psychic supply chains grow tenuous. All of life changes even as we try to preserve what we deem most valuable. We must rethink what we consider to be “essential.” Yet this is far from being a new condition. Infectious disease has been part of the human social world probably since the beginnings of urban life. The Bible describes plagues sent by God as punishment. The earliest historical depiction was by Thucydides shortly after the plague in Athens in 430 BCE. At each occasion, people have tried to witness and to understand these “visitations,” as Daniel Defoe called them. The Plague is always a medical, political, economic and an interpretive crisis. It is also a moral crisis, as people must not only try to understand but also determine how to act. This course studies accounts of pandemics, from Thucydides in Athens up to our ongoing Coronavirus outbreaks. We trace the histories of understanding that accompanied pandemics: religious, scientific, philosophical, ethical, literary. It seems to be the case that these vast, horrifying penetrations of death into the fabric of life have inspired some of our fragile and resilient species’ most strange and profound meditations.
Th 9:25am-11:15am

HUMS 277b / HIST 231b, European Intellectual History from Renaissance to RevolutionIsaac Nakhimovsky

A survey of eighteenth-century European intellectual life, considered in its social and cultural contexts and with attention to its historical legacies, focusing on responses to emerging global networks of trade, finance, and empire.  HUTr0 Course cr
TTh 1:30pm-2:20pm

* HUMS 294a / EVST 294a / RSEE 355a / RUSS 355a, Ecology and Russian CultureMolly Brunson

Interdisciplinary study of Russian literature, film, and art from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries, organized into four units—forest, farm, labor, and disaster. Topics include: perception and representation of nature; deforestation and human habitation; politics and culture of land-ownership; leisure, labor, and forced labor; modernity and industrialization; and nuclear technologies and disasters. Analysis of short stories, novels, and supplementary readings on ecocriticism and environmental humanities, as well as films, paintings, and visual materials. Several course meetings take place at the Yale Farm. Readings and discussions in English.  HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HUMS 303a / EDST 281a / HIST 404a / PLSC 281a, What is the University?Mordechai Levy-Eichel

The University is one of the most influential—and underexamined—kinds of corporations in the modern world. It is responsible both for mass higher education and for elite training. It aims to produce and disseminate knowledge, and to prepare graduates for work in all different kinds of fields. It functions both as a symbol and repository of learning, if not ideally wisdom, and functions as one of the most important sites of networking, patronage, and socialization today. It is, in short, one of the most alluring and abused institutions in our culture today, often idolized as a savior or a scapegoat. And while the first universities were not founded in the service of research, today’s most prestigious schools claim to be centrally dedicated to it. But what is research? Where does our notion of research and the supposed ability to routinely produce it come from? This seminar is a high-level historical and structural examination of the rise of the research university. We cover both the origins and the modern practices of the university, from the late medieval world to the modern day, with an eye toward critically examining the development of the customs, practices, culture, and work around us, and with a strong comparative perspective. Topics include: tenure, endowments, the committee system, the growth of degrees, the aims of research, peer-review, the nature of disciplinary divisions, as well as a host of other issues.  HU, SOTr
Th 9:25am-11:15am

* HUMS 313b / HIST 212Jb, Philosophy of Dissent in Central and Eastern EuropeMarci Shore

This is a seminar in the field of European intellectual history, based on primary sources. It focuses on how philosophers, novelists, sociologists, and other thinkers developed and articulated a philosophy of dissent under communism. More specific topics include the relationships between temporality and subjectivity and between truth and lies, and the role that existentialism played in formulating philosophical critiques of repression. Readings consist of a mixture of philosophical and literary works from the Soviet Union, East Germany and the lands in-between. Potential authors include Merab Mamardashvili, Danilo Kiš, Józef Tischner, Adam Michnik, Jacek Kuroń, Ladislav Hejdanek, Václav Havel, Jan Patočka, Leszek Kołakowski, Gajo Petrović, Norman Manea, Lev Kopelev, Igor Pomerantsev, Tomas Venclova.   HU
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HUMS 323a / HIST 236Ja, Truth and SeditionWilliam Klein

The truth can set you free, but of course it can also get you into trouble. How do the constraints on the pursuit and expression of “truth” change with the nature of the censoring regime, from the family to the church to the modern nation-state? What causes regimes to protect perceived vulnerabilities in the systems of knowledge they privilege? What happens when conflict between regimes implicates modes of knowing? Are there types of truth that any regime would—or should—find dangerous? What are the possible motives and pathways for self-censorship?  We begin with the revolt of the Hebrews against polytheistic Egypt and the Socratic questioning of democracy, and end with various contemporary cases of censorship within and between regimes. We consider these events and texts, and their reverberations and reversals in history, in relation to select analyses of the relations between truth and power, including Hobbes, Locke, Kant, Brecht, Leo Strauss, Foucault, Chomsky, Waldron, Zizek, and Xu Zhongrun.  WR, HU
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

HUMS 339a / HIST 271a / RSEE 271a, European Intellectual History since NietzscheStaff

Major currents in European intellectual history from the late nineteenth century through the twentieth. Topics include Marxism-Leninism, psychoanalysis, expressionism, structuralism, phenomenology, existentialism, antipolitics, and deconstruction.  HU0 Course cr

* HUMS 344a / FILM 318a / GMAN 355a, German Film from 1945 to the PresentFatima Naqvi

Trauma, gender, media, transnationalism, terrorism, migration, precarity, neoliberalism, and environmental ethics are the issues we study in films from the German-speaking world. We begin in the immediate post-war period: How does the Second World War and its aftermath inflect these films? How does gender play an increasingly important role in the fiction films under discussion? What new collective identities do films articulate in the course of the politicized period from the late 1960s into the late 1970s, when home-grown terrorism contests the category of the West German nation? How do the predominant concerns shift with the passage of time and with the changing media formats? What is the role of genre in representing transnational problems like migration after 2000? How do economic issues come to the fore in the precarious economic conditions shown? When does violence seem like an  answer to political, economic, and social pressures and the legacies of colonialism? Particular attention is paid to film aesthetics. Films include those by Julian Radlmaier, Hubert Sauper, Sudabeh Mortezai, Fatih Akin, Wolfgang Staudte, Alexander Kluge, Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Schroeter, Harun Farocki, Michael Haneke, Christian Petzold, Jessica Hausner, Mara Mattuschka, Ulrich Seidl, Nikolaus Geyrhalter, among others. Visiting directors Julian Radlmaier and Hubert Sauper will be integrated into the course. This class will have an optional German section (50 minutes a week) for students interested in counting this class for the Advanced Language Certificate. A minimum of three students is required for the section to run.  HU
Th 9:25am-11:15am, W 6pm-8pm

* HUMS 347a / ENGL 245a, Land, Liberty, and Slavery from Hobbes to DefoeFeisal Mohamed

This course considers together several phenomena often considered separately: the conversion of arable land to pasture; the central place of property in seventeenth-century English formulations of political liberty; and the increasing racialization of forced labor in the period. We read seminal works of political theory produced in England’s tumultuous seventeenth century, namely those of Hobbes and Locke. We also explore how transformations of labor and property necessarily exert influence in literature, focusing on Andrew Marvell, Aphra Behn, John Dryden, and Daniel Defoe.  WR, HU
M 9:25am-11:15am

* HUMS 348a / FILM 432a / GMAN 432 / LITR 432a, World War II: Homefront Literature and FilmKatie Trumpener

Taking a pan-European perspective, this course examines quotidian, civilian experiences of war, during a conflict of unusual scope and duration. Considering key works of wartime and postwar fiction and film alongside verbal and visual diaries, memoirs, documentaries, and video testimonies, we will explore the kinds of literary and filmic reflection war occasioned, how civilians experienced the relationship between history and everyday life (both during and after the war), women’s and children's experience of war, and the ways that home front, occupation and Holocaust memories shaped postwar avant-garde aesthetics.  HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HUMS 351a / PLSC 314a, The American Imagination: From the Puritans to the Civil WarPaul Grimstad and Mordechai Levy-Eichel

Interdisciplinary examination of the uniqueness of the American experience from the time of the Puritans to the Civil War. Readings draw on major works of political theory, philosophy, and literature.  HU
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

* HUMS 366a / FREN 330a, The World of Victor Hugo's "Les Misérables"Maurice Samuels

Considered one of the greatest novels of all time, Victor Hugo's Les Misérables (1862) offers more than a thrilling story, unforgettable characters, and powerful writing. It offers a window into history. Working from a new translation, this seminar studies Hugo's epic masterpiece in all its unabridged glory, but also uses it as a lens to explore the world of nineteenth-century France—including issues such as the criminal justice system, religion, poverty, social welfare, war, prostitution, industrialization, and revolution. Students gain the tools to work both as close readers and as cultural historians in order to illuminate the ways in which Hugo's text intersects with its context. Attention is also paid to famous stage and screen adaptations of the novel: what do they get right and what do they get wrong? Taught in English, no knowledge of French is required.   HU0 Course cr
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HUMS 380a / ENGL 395a / LITR 154a, The Bible as a LiteratureLeslie Brisman

Study of the Bible as a literature—a collection of works exhibiting a variety of attitudes toward the conflicting claims of tradition and originality, historicity and literariness.  WR, HURP
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

* HUMS 387a / SPAN 291a, Introduction to Digital Humanities I: Architectures of KnowledgeAlexander Gil Fuentes

The cultural record of humanity is undergoing a massive and epochal transformation into shared analog and digital realities. While we are vaguely familiar with the history and realities of the analog record—libraries, archives, historical artifacts—the digital cultural record remains largely unexamined and relatively mysterious to humanities scholars. In this course you will be introduced to the broad field of Digital Humanities, theory and practice, through a stepwise exploration of the new architectures and genres of scholarly and humanistic production and reproduction in the 21st century. The course combines a seminar, preceded by a brief lecture, and a digital studio. Every week we will move through our discussions in tandem with hands-on exercises that will serve to illuminate our readings and help you gain a measure of computational proficiency useful in humanities scholarship. You will learn about the basics of plain text, file and operating systems, data structures and internet infrastructure. You will also learn to understand, produce and evaluate a few popular genres of Digital Humanities, including, digital editions of literary or historical texts, collections and exhibits of primary sources and interactive maps. Finally, and perhaps the most important lesson of the semester, you will learn to collaborate with each other on a common research project. No prior experience is required.  HU
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HUMS 392a, Form and Content in Digital and Analog Arts and SciencesSayan Bhattacharyya

In this interdisciplinary and multimodal seminar, we look at examples drawn from literature, visual arts, music, film and virtual and augmented reality, focusing on the relationships between form and content in them. We look at the special challenges that digital and computational perspectives present in the context of these relationships, and how humanistic understanding of unifying metaphors drawn from fields such as physics, neuroscience, and AI can help make sense of humans as individuals and as a species with a shared legacy and future. The course consists of discussions of readings in various media of imaginative works of fiction and non-fiction.  HU
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HUMS 393b / EP&E 228b / PLSC 207b, Persuasion and Its DiscontentsNorma Thompson

Aristotle argues in his Rhetoric that knowledge in its exact form will sometimes not be enough to persuade certain audiences. What then? What strategies are available to us for disarming fierce resistance to good arguments? We consider the psychology of willful blindness and defense mechanisms, from Greek tragedy through Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Freud. We seek to apprehend how real-life figures and literary characters alike learn to overcome belief in the constructs of their own imaginations. Debates in several politically-charged moments are analyzed: Plato and the Sophists; Burke and Hastings; the Federalists and Anti-Federalists; 19th century abolitionists in America; Churchill on Hitler, and multiple authors on Holocaust denial.  HU
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

* HUMS 394a / LITR 161a, Imagining Global LyricAyesha Ramachandran

What is lyric? And what might a multi-dimensional, expansive study of the lyric across cultures, languages, and media look like? This course investigates the possibility of studying lyric poetry in cross-cultural and transmedial ways by combining traditional humanistic approaches with new methods opened by the digital humanities. We begin by examining the lyric poem’s privileged position within a Western literary canon and exploring other conceptions of “lyric” in non-Western literary traditions. We then take an anthropological approach and trace the pervasiveness of lyric poetry in the world by focusing on four key questions: (a) what is lyric and how is it related to various literary genres? (b) what is the relationship between lyric and the visual image; (c) can lyric be translated across forms and languages? (d) how does lyric uniquely articulate our relationship to the natural world? Participants engage with primary texts in Yale’s special collections and contribute to a digital project to compile an exhibit of lyric poetry across the world—a project that highlights the importance and challenges of defining just what a lyric poem is. This is a Franke Seminar in the Humanities.  HU
MW 1pm-2:15pm

* HUMS 397a / PHIL 493a / RLST 428a, Neighbors and OthersNancy Levene

This course is an interdisciplinary investigation of concepts and stories of family, community, borders, ethics, love, and antagonism. Otherwise put, it concerns the struggles of life with others – the logic, art, and psychology of those struggles. The starting point is a complex of ideas at the center of religions, which are given to differentiating "us" from "them" while also identifying values such as the love of the neighbor that are to override all differences. But religion is only one avenue into the motif of the neighbor, a fraught term of both proximity and distance, a contested term and practice trailing in its wake lovers, enemies, kin, gods, and strangers. Who is my neighbor? What is this to ask and what does the question ask of us? Course material includes philosophy, literature, psychology, and film.  WR, HUTr
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HUMS 403a / FREN 423a / LITR 410a, Interpretations: Simone WeilGreg Ellermann

Intensive study of the life and work of Simone Weil, one of the twentieth century’s most important thinkers. We read the iconic works that shaped Weil’s posthumous reputation as “the patron saint of all outsiders,” including the mystical aphorisms Gravity and Grace and the utopian program for a new Europe The Need for Roots. But we also examine in detail the lesser-known writings Weil published in her lifetime–writings that powerfully intervene in some of the most pressing debates of her day. Reading Weil alongside contemporaries such as Trotsky, Heidegger, Arendt, Levinas, and Césaire, we see how her thought engages key philosophical, ethical, and aesthetic problems of the twentieth century: the relation between dictatorship and democracy; empire and the critique of colonialism; the ethics of attention and affliction; modern science, technology, and the human point of view; the responsibility of the writer in times of war; beauty and the possibility of transcendence; the practice of philosophy as a way of life.  HU
W 9:25am-11:15am

* HUMS 405a / ENGL 306a, Interpretations Seminar: William BlakeRiley Soles

This course explores the world of William Blake’s poetry, with an emphasis on the longer prophetic poems, in conversation with his artistic output. We locate Blake in his historical moment, responding in his poetry and art to a variety of political, philosophical, and aesthetic movements in England and elsewhere. We also see Blake as part of an evolving literary tradition, paying particular attention to his relationship with his poetic precursor John Milton, and to Romantic contemporaries such as William Wordsworth. Trips to the Beinecke Library and the Yale Center for British Art allow us to see firsthand and to think deeply about the materiality of Blake’s works, as well as the complex relationships in them between text and image. Finally, we consider Blake as a radical religious thinker and innovator by analyzing his poetry’s connections to modes of Biblical vision, prophecy, and apocalypse.  HU
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HUMS 409b / FREN 403b / LITR 224b, Proust Interpretations: Reading Remembrance of Things PastPierre Saint-Amand and R Howard Bloch

A close reading (in English) of Marcel Proust’s masterpiece, Remembrance of Things Past, with emphasis upon major themes: time and memory, desire and jealousy, social life and artistic experience, sexual identity and personal authenticity, class and nation. Portions from Swann’s Way, Within a Budding Grove, Cities of the Plain, Time Regained considered from biographical, psychological/psychoanalytic, gender, sociological, historical, and philosophical perspectives.  WR, HU
M 3:30pm-5:20pm

* HUMS 410a / ENGL 262a, Modernities: Nineteenth-Century Historical NarrativesStefanie Markovits and Stuart Semmel

British historical narratives in the nineteenth century, an age often cited as the crucible of modern historical consciousness. How a period of industrialization and democratization grounded itself in imagined pasts—whether recent or distant, domestic or foreign—in both historical novels and works by historians who presented programmatic statements about the nature of historical development.  WR, HU
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

* HUMS 411b, Life Worth LivingStaff

Comparative exploration of the shape of the life advocated by several of the world's normative traditions, both religious and nonreligious. Concrete instantiations of these traditions explored through contemporary exemplars drawn from outside the professional religious or philosophical spheres. Readings from the founding texts of Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Marxism, and utilitarianism.  HU

HUMS 416a / GLBL 452a / HIST 149a, The Crisis of LiberalismStaff

Is there a “crisis of liberalism” occurring in the United States and around the world? What is liberalism? If it is in crisis, what are the features of the disorder and what are possible responses? Is it possible to believe in the further progress of liberal societies, or have they fallen into a decadent condition?  SO0 Course cr

HUMS 417a, Thinking Digitally about the HumanitiesSayan Bhattacharyya

This is an introduction to Digital Humanities, a field of study that has emerged in the past two decades, which consists of humanists and their associates from computational disciplines seeking to apply digital methods, broadly understood, to the kinds of questions that tend to be of interest in the humanities. We look at how methods drawn from information science, such as data analytics and artifical intelligence, are being applied to humanistic disciplines, especially textual understanding and analysis.   HU0 Course cr
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

* HUMS 418a / AMST 328a / ER&M 357a / HIST 112a, "None Dare Call It Conspiracy:" Paranoia and Conspiracy Theories in 20th and 21st C. AmericaStaff

In this course we examine the development and growth of conspiracy theories in American politics and culture in the 20th and 21st centuries. We look at texts from a variety of different analytical and political traditions to develop an understanding of how and why conspiracy theories develop, their structural dynamics, and how they function as a narrative. We examine a variety of different conspiracy theories and conspiratorial groups from across the political spectrum, but we pay particular attention to anti-Semitism as a foundational form of conspiracy theorizing, as well as the particular role of conspiracy theories in far-right politics, ranging from the John Birch Society in the 1960s to the Tea Party, QAnon, and beyond in the 21st century. We also look at how real conspiracies shape and reinforce conspiracy theorizing as a mode of thought, and formulate ethical answers on how to address conspiracy as a mode of politics.  HUTr
MW 9am-10:15am

* HUMS 419a / GMAN 366a / LITR 393a / PHIL 346a, The Short Spring of German TheoryKirk Wetters

Reconsideration of the intellectual microclimate of German academia 1945-1968. A German prelude to the internationalization effected by French theory, often in dialogue with German sources. Following Philipp Felsch's The Summer of Theory (English 2022): Theory as hybrid and successor to philosophy and sociology. Theory as the genre of the philosophy of history and grand narratives (e.g. "secularization"). Theory as the basis of academic interdisciplinarity and cultural-political practice. The canonization and aging of theoretical classics. Critical reflection on academia now and then. Legacies of the inter-War period and the Nazi past: M. Weber, Heidegger, Husserl, Benjamin, Kracauer, Adorno, Jaspers. New voices of the 1950s and 1960s: Arendt, Blumenberg, Gadamer, Habermas, Jauss, Koselleck, Szondi, Taubes.  German reading and some prior familiarity with European intellectual history is helpful but not essential.  HU
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

* HUMS 421b, The End of the WorldMatthew Croasmun and John Pittard

A philosophical investigation of present-day apocalyptic fears, utopian dreams, and possible ways that the world (as we know it) might end. Topics to be examined include the potential implications of artificial superintelligence, the assumptions dividing climate alarmists and their critics, the promises and perils of life in virtual worlds, competing views on whether we should seek to avert humanity’s extinction or welcome it, and contrasts between secular and religious ways of relating to the end. Engagement with these topics provides the occasion to engage with questions of enduring philosophical and existential importance: what is most valuable, how should we live, and for what should we hope?  HU
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

* HUMS 425a / HSAR 350a / LITR 399a / RLST 431a, Reality and the RealisticNoreen Khawaja and Joanna Fiduccia

A multidisciplinary exploration of the concept of reality in Euro-American culture. What do we mean when we say something is "real" or "realistic?" From what is it being differentiated−the imaginary, the surreal, the speculative? Can we approach a meaningful concept of the unreal? This course wagers that representational norms do not simply reflect existing notions of reality; they also shape our idea of reality itself. We study the dynamics of realism and its counterparts across a range of examples from modern art, literature, philosophy, and religion. Readings may include: Aimé Cesaire, Mircea Eliade, Karen Barad, Gustave Flaubert, Sigmund Freud, Renee Gladman, Saidiya Hartman, Arthur Schopenhauer. Our goal is to understand how practices of representation reveal something about our understanding of reality, shedding light on the ways we use this most basic, yet most elusive concept.   HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

HUMS 426b / FILM 403b, Scared to Death: Fear of and in MediaFrancesco Casetti

Fear is a dominant political, cultural, social, and economic force today. However, its importance is often overlooked, especially in film and media studies. While recent work has looked at our positive affective relationships with media, including fandom and cinephilia, the fear of media has been largely ignored. Yet, media also elicit, amplify, quell, and otherwise respond to cultural anxieties. They convey frightening content; they provide biased information; they produce addiction; they allegedly harm our physical and mental health; they expose our private selves to a public gaze; they seem to expropriate our identities; and so on. Current debates on “fake news,” the increasing role of “conspiracy theories,” and the polarization of sources of information are all elements that further increase the idea of media as a terrifying reality. This lecture course considers how media and fear intersect, asking both how technology mediates fear and how fear shapes our engagement with media. To this end, we have broken the course into two main units. In the first, “Mediating Fears,” we analyze how fear has historically circulated and how media have conveyed and transformed this emotion. In the second, “Fearing Media,” we look at media as objects of fear, due their nature as technological, modern, ephemeral, unfamiliar, attractive, and pervasive objects. In order to better explore fear as a concept and as an object of experience, every week we present a theoretical framework (first meeting) and a case study (second meeting). Readings include academic papers, literary works, op-eds, and articles in both print and digital publications.  HU

* HUMS 427b / ENGL 456b / JDST 316b / LITR 348b, The Practice of Literary TranslationPeter Cole

This course combines a seminar on the history and theory of translation (Tuesdays) with a hands-on workshop (Thursdays). The readings lead us through a series of case studies comparing, on the one hand, multiple translations of given literary works and, on the other, classic statements about translation—by translators themselves and prominent theorists. We consider both poetry and prose from the Bible, selections from Chinese, Greek, and Latin verse, classical Arabic and Persian literature, prose by Cervantes, Borges, and others, and modern European poetry (including Pushkin, Baudelaire, and Rilke). Students are expected to prepare short class presentations, participate in a weekly workshop, try their hand at a series of translation exercises, and undertake an intensive, semester-long translation project. Proficiency in a foreign language is required.  HU
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

* HUMS 429a / FREN 340a / GMAN 232a / JDST 286a / LITR 232a, Paul CelanThomas Connolly

An undergraduate seminar in English exploring the life and work of Paul Celan (1920-1970), survivor of the Shoah, and one of the foremost European poets of the second half of the twentieth century. We will read from his early poems in both Romanian and German, and his published collections including Der Sand aus den Urnen, Mohn und Gedächtnis, Von Schelle zu Schelle, Sprachgitter, Die Niemandsrose, Atemwende, Fadensonnen, Lichtzwang, and Schneepart. We will also read from his rare pieces in prose and his correspondence with family, friends, and other intellectuals and poets including Bachmann, Sachs, Heidegger, Char, du Bouchet, Michaux, Ungaretti. A special focus on his poetic translations from French, but also Russian, English, American, Italian, Romanian, Portuguese, and Hebrew. Critical readings draw from Szondi, Adorno, Derrida, Agamben, and others. Readings in English translation or in the original languages, as the student desires. Discussions in English. None.  WR, HU
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HUMS 432a / PLSC 302a, Rousseau's EmileBryan Garsten

A close reading of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s masterpiece, Emile. Though the book poses as a guide to education, it has much grander aspirations; it offers a whole vision of the human condition. Rousseau called it his “best and worthiest work” and said he believed it would spark a revolution in the way that human beings understand themselves. Many historians of thought believe that the book has done just that, and that we live in the world it helped to create – a claim we consider and evaluate. Presented as a private tutor’s account of how he would arrange the education of a boy named Emile from infancy through young adulthood, the book raises fundamental questions about human nature and malleability, how we learn to be free, whether we can view ourselves scientifically and still maintain a belief in free will, whether we are need of some sort of religious faith to act morally, how adults and children, and men and women, ought to relate to one another, how the demands of social life and citizenship affect our happiness – and more. Ultimately the question at issue is whether human beings can find a way to live happily and flourish in modern societies. Prerequisite: One course in political thought, intellectual history or philosophy.   HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HUMS 435a / FILM 321a / LAST 359a / LITR 379a, Radical Cinemas in the Global SixtiesMoira Fradinger and Lorenz Hegel

“1968” has become a cipher for a moment of global turmoil, social transformation and cultural revolution. This class explores the “long global sixties” through cinema produced across continents. At the height of the Cold War between two blocks in the “East” and the “West,” the “Third World” emerged as a radical political project alternative to a world order shaped by centuries of colonialism, imperialism, slavery, and capitalist exploitation. Liberation, emancipation, independence, anticolonialism, decolonization, and revolution became key words in the global political discourse. Leaders from Africa, Asia, and Latin America created a new international platform, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) that challenged the Cold War bi-polarity. Radical filmmakers who belong in this period experimented with strategies of storytelling and of capturing reality, calling into question rigid distinctions between “documentary” and “fiction” and “art and politics.” The goal was not to “show” reality, but to change it. We study a world-wide range of examples that involve filmmakers’ collaborations across The Americas, Western Europe, North Africa, South and South-East Asia. Taught in English; films aresubtitled but knowledge of other languages may be useful.  HU
M 7pm-10pm, W 7pm-8:50pm

* HUMS 443a / HIST 232Ja / JDST 270a / MMES 342a / RLST 201a, Medieval Jews, Christians, and Muslims In ConversationIvan Marcus

How members of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities thought of and interacted with members of the other two cultures during the Middle Ages. Cultural grids and expectations each imposed on the other; the rhetoric of otherness—humans or devils, purity or impurity, and animal imagery; and models of religious community and power in dealing with the other when confronted with cultural differences. Counts toward either European or Middle Eastern distributional credit within the History major, upon application to the director of undergraduate studies.  WR, HURP
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HUMS 480a / GMAN 288a / LITR 482a / PHIL 469a, The Mortality of the Soul: From Aristotle to HeideggerMartin Hagglund

This course explores fundamental philosophical questions of the relation between matter and form, life and spirit, necessity and freedom, by proceeding from Aristotle's analysis of the soul in De Anima and his notion of practical agency in the Nicomachean Ethics. We study Aristotle in conjunction with seminal works by contemporary neo-Aristotelian philosophers (Korsgaard, Nussbaum, Brague, and McDowell). We in turn pursue the implications of Aristotle's notion of life by engaging with contemporary philosophical discussions of death that take their point of departure in Epicurus (Nagel, Williams, Scheffler). We conclude by analyzing Heidegger's notion of constitutive mortality, in order to make explicit what is implicit in the form of the soul in Aristotle.   HU
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* HUMS 491a, The Senior EssayPaul Grimstad

Independent library-based research under faculty supervision. To register, students must consult the director of undergraduate studies no later than the end of registration period in the previous term. A written plan of study approved by a faculty adviser must be submitted to the director of undergraduate studies by November 16, 2021, if the essay is to be submitted during the spring term.  The final essay is due at noon on April 8, 2022 for spring-term essays. For essays to be completed in the fall term, a rough draft is due October 25, 2021, and the final essay due November 29, 2021.  RP