Graduate Spring 2018



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HIST 742 01 (22214) /HSHM732

Readings in the Environmental Humanities

Paul Sabin

W 1.30-3.20

Spring 2018

An interdisciplinary seminar to explore the emerging field of the environmental humanities. This reading course examines how humanities disciplines can best contribute to a broad scholarly and societal conversation about humanity and the fate of the planet. We consider how environmental problems and questions might reshape humanities teaching and research, and what humanities scholars can learn through greater collaboration with social and nature scientists. This seminar draws on faculty expertise from a range of humanities disciplines and engages students in defining the field, including designing possible future courses in the environmental humanities.

ANTH 473 01 (20304) /NELC588/ARCG773/ARCG473/EVST473/ANTH773/F&ES793

Abrupt Climate Change and Societal Collapse

Harvey Weiss

Th 3.30-5.20

Spring 2018

Areas Hu, So

Permission of instructor required

YC Anthropology: Sociocultural

The coincidence of societal collapses throughout history with decadal and century-scale drought events. Challenges to anthropological and historical paradigms of cultural adaptation and resilience. Examination of archaeological and historical records and high-resolution sets of paleoclimate proxies.

ENGL 717 01 (22187) 

Loves of the Plants: Imagining Flora, 1735–1835

Jill Campbell

W 1.30-3.20

Spring 2018

Study of literary treatments of plant life between Carl Linneaus and Charles Darwin. Special focus on botany and gender; new systems of classification; the aesthetics of flowers in poetry and the decorative arts; the movement of plants around the globe through imperial trade and settler colonialism; medicinal and commercial uses of plants; and nascent environmentalism. Readings include poems by William Cowper, Erasmus Darwin, William Wordsworth, and Charlotte Smith; prose fiction by Daniel Defoe, Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, and Johann Wyss; and samples of reference works and treatises. Opportunities for students to explore related topics through independent research.

REL 510 01 (20161) 

Bible & the Environment

Judith Gundry


Spring 2018

Areas DI (1)

No course description available yet.

This course explores the theme of the environment in the Bible against a broad backdrop of scholarly research on religion and science/ecology. Students are oriented to the subject matter through readings and lectures by experts in the biological sciences, environmental studies, and at the intersection of biblical studies/theology/ethics/religion and science/ecology. Students then read a variety of biblical texts and traditions that deal with the environment, exploring the history of their interpretation and application in different periods and contexts. The research paper focuses on one such biblical text/tradition. Area I.

HIST 537 01 (22210) /MDVL612

The Mediterranean in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages

Paul Freedman

T 1.30-3.20

Spring 2018

This course looks at the Mediterranean in late antiquity and the Middle Ages. How unified or diverse was this area in terms of climate, cultures, and populations? Historiography of the Mediterranean includes works by Braudel, Abulafia, McNeil, Horden, and Purcell.

RLST 544 01 (23016) 

Animals in Indian Religions

Phyllis Granoff

T 1.30-3.20

Spring 2018

Students read Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain texts dealing with animals. We examine divergent beliefs about the place of animals in the hierarchy of living beings. Readings include stories of the Buddha’s births as an animal, the Ramayana on the monkey god Hanuman, and Jain rebirth narratives. Philosophical readings on animal sacrifice culminate in a consideration of recent debates against sacrifice in the Indian supreme court.

ANTH 736 01 (20322) /ARCG736

Advanced Topics in Asian Archaeology

William Honeychurch

F 9.25-11.15

Spring 2018

This seminar reviews the archaeology of Asia of the Pleistocene and Holocene epochs with emphasis on East, Southeast, and South Asia. Asian archaeology remains little known to most Western researchers, although some of the earliest hominid remains and some of the most powerful states are found in that part of the world. The course emphasizes the particularities of Asian cultural sequences, while illustrating how processes in these sequences compare to those found elsewhere in the world. The diverse Asian record provides a basis for refining key concepts in anthropological archaeology, including domestication, inequality and hierarchy, heterarchy, and complexity. Topics to be covered include history and theory in Asian archaeology; the Pleistocene and paleolithic record of Asia; origins of plant and animal domestication; early farming communities; models of complexity; and early states and empires.

HSAR 811 01 (22216) 

Cartographic Japan in the Age of Exploration

Mimi Yiengpruksawan

Seth Jacobowitz

W 1.30-3.20

Spring 2018

It has been well noted that maps and more broadly the cartographic sciences constitute the very core of a voracious desire to know and consume the world that is intimately tied to the European expansion of the 1500s. The existence of Theatrum orbis terrarum and Civitates orbis terrarum virtually insure that the story is typically told from the European perspective. In this seminar we take up the East Asian perspective with emphasis on the ways in which cultural entanglement “east to west” brought about cultural productions in China, Korea, and Japan whose analysis yields insights into the interplay of local and translocal at the heart of the early modern world system.

EALL 210 01 (20692) /EALL510/LITR172

Man and Nature in Chinese Literature

Kang-i Sun Chang

TTh 1.00-2.15

Spring 2018

Areas Hu

Readings in translation

An exploration of man and nature in traditional Chinese literature, with special attention to aesthetic and cultural meanings. Topics include the concept of nature and literature; neo-Taoist self-cultivation; poetry and Zen (Chan) Buddhism; travel in literature; loss, lament, and self-reflection in song lyrics; nature and the supernatural in classical tales; love and allusions to nature; religious pilgrimage and allegory.

All readings in translation; no knowledge of Chinese required. Some Chinese texts provided for students who read Chinese. Formerly CHNS 200.

HSAR 827 01 (22218) 

Lacquer in a World Context

Edward Cooke

Denise Leidy

F 1.30-3.20

Spring 2018

Taking advantage of the Art Gallery’s recent acquisition of a ca. 1600 lacquered namban writing cabinet and the accessibility of collections from the Art Gallery and the Peabody Museum on West Campus, this seminar offers students a global perspective on lacquer. The use of plant-based materials to provide a durable and decorative surface on wood has a long history, but different cultures drew on different types of materials and different techniques of application, and as a result developed their own aesthetic. This course draws on firsthand examination of and readings on East Asian, South Asian, Anglo-Dutch-American, and New Spain examples to understand the way in which the language of lacquer was shared throughout the world during the age of expansion from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century.

ENGL 922 01 (23052) /FILM802

Studies in Sound and Voice

John Peters

W 9.25-11.15

Spring 2018

Since the late nineteenth century, human and nonhuman voices have been technically amplified, recorded, distorted, enhanced, synthesized, and measured for purposes of art, science, and politics. This class explores classic and recent books and essays on the media of sound and culture, with a particular focus on the voice. We are guided by two fundamental questions: How do voices get into bodies and bodies into voices? How do media capture something whose existence amounts to vibrations and whose essence involves disappearance? The voice is a key but conflicted site for defining what it means to be a human being. This complex organ or apparatus depends on lungs, brain, vocal tract, emotion, training, and culture. The voice implicates physics and music, communication and culture, anatomy and art. It raises questions about beauty, identity, power, religion, art, poetry, style, culture, race, gender, and age. Animals and machines have voices; so may the stars.

RLST 686 01 (22854) /REL718

Religion in the American West

Tisa Wenger

Th 3.30-5.20

Spring 2018

This course investigates the histories of religious encounter and the formation of diverse religious identities in the American West, placing them in broader contexts of Atlantic world, Pacific world, hemispheric, and national histories. The West has played multiple roles in the nation’s imagination: a place to be conquered and controlled, a place for new beginnings (religious or otherwise), a place of perils and of opportunities. Over the course of the term we ponder the religious dimensions of each of these constructed meanings and examine their very real impact on the people and landscapes of the West.

HIST 893 01 (21281) 

History of China’s Republican Period

Denise Ho

Th 1.30-3.20

Spring 2018

This reading seminar examines recent English-language scholarship on China’s Republican period (1912–1949) covering themes from state and economy to society and culture. Weekly topics include state institutions and law, nationalism, politics and political movements, the development of cities, media and publication, public health, education, labor, and rural reconstruction.

E&EB 713 01 (20769) 

Spatial and Environmental Data Analysis in Conservation and Biodiversity Science

Walter Jetz


Spring 2018

The course provides an introduction and hands-on exposure to computational and statistical approaches for the analysis of biodiversity data in a geographical, environmental, and conservation context. After a general overview of relevant hot topics and questions in conservation and ecology and their associated methodologies and data sources, we introduce a set of example questions that we then address with a variety of datasets and methods. A particular focus is the analysis of species distributions and abundances in changing landscapes using remotely sensed environmental information. Beyond broadly available data and methods, students explore new biodiversity-relevant remote-sensing products under development with NASA and prototype tools available through the Yale-based Map of Life project and its partnership with the Google Earth Engine team. Participants gain hands-on experience in spatial analysis and modeling relevant for biodiversity and conservation science and learn about key associated concepts and potential pitfalls. Case studies from forestry, species distribution modeling, biodiversity, and remote sensing data processing. The course meets weekly for 2–3 hours, day and time to be determined. The first organizational meeting takes place on January 20 at 2 pm in OML 201; if you are interested in the course but unable to attend the organizational meeting, please contact the instructor at

Prerequisite: open to advanced undergraduates and graduate students (postdocs also welcome) with an interest in advancing their data analysis and modeling skill set and at least some experience in GIS and statistical analysis in R (or willingness to acquire it).

HIST 724 01 (23083) /AMST767

Research Seminar in U.S. Urban History

Mary Lui

Th 9.25-11.15

Spring 2018

Students conduct archival research to write an original, article-length essay on any aspect of U.S. urban history in any century. The first half of the seminar consists of weekly readings and discussions while the latter half consists of article workshop meetings focused on student writing.

HIST 939 01 (22223) /HSHM750

Approaches to the History of Technology

Paola Bertucci

Th 1.30-3.20

Spring 2018

An introduction to the history of technology, with a focus on classic and recent works in the field. Students discuss theoretical problems and case studies from the Middle Ages to the present. Topics include technological determinism, technology transfer, the Industrial Revolution, the social construction of technology, thing theory, the human-machine relationship.

HIST 931 01 (21189) /HSHM702

Problems in the History of Science

Deborah Coen

T 1.30-3.20

Spring 2018

Close study of recent secondary literature in the history of the physical and life sciences. An inclusive overview of the emergence and diversity of scientific ways of knowing, major scientific theories and methods, and the role of science in politics, capitalism, war, and everyday life. Discussions focus on historians’ different analytic and interpretive approaches.

HIST 943 01 (21191) /HSHM736/WGSS730

Health Politics, Body Politics

Naomi Rogers

W 1.30-3.20


Spring 2018

A reading seminar on struggles to control, pathologize, and normalize human bodies, with a particular focus on science, medicine, and the state, both in North America and in a broader global health context. Topics include disease, race, and politics; repression and regulation of birth control; the politics of adoption; domestic and global population control; feminist health movements; and the pathologizing and identity politics of disabled people.