Graduate Courses Fall 2022
Classes are listed alphabetically according to their first department listing. For the most up-to-date listings, check the Yale Course Search website. To add or remove a course from this list, email email@example.com.
AFAM 530 (10013) / ENGL 913
Black Elsewhere(s): Race and Space
The spatial resume of blackness is extensive, spanning land, sea, and outer space. Yet for every where the African Diaspora has been, the stunning witness of an important thread of black study argues that blackness is nowhere at all, defined most unflinchingly as a fundamental exclusion from the world. But where else, if not “the world,” is blackness? Are such black elsewhere(s) livable? And, given environmentalism’s increasingly apocalyptic forecasts about “the world,” how might the careful study of the life of blackness elsewhere yield a viable way out? Guided by these questions, this course takes up the precarious spatial resume of blackness as an opportunity to think about and through long held questions around space: What is space? What is its relation to place? And to what extent are either given or constructed? Along with these questions, we also consider how our experience of space is further informed by race. In three units centered on the ocean, land, and outer space, respectively, we trace a genealogy of black spatiality as that spatial practice comes to be elaborated in literature, theory, and history. Ultimately, through our exploration of black elsewhere(s), we will weigh whether the space and place of blackness, if excluded from the world, discloses a more robust and ecological vision of what we might alternatively call the Earth.
AFST 836 (12120) / HIST 836
Histories of Postcolonial Africa: Themes, Genres, and the Phantoms of the Archive
This course is both historiographic and methodological. It is meant as an introduction to the major themes that have dominated the study of postcolonial Africa in recent years, and the material circumstances in which they were produced. We pay close attention to the kinds of sources and archives that scholars have employed in their works, and how they addressed the challenges of writing contemporary histories in Africa. We center our weekly meetings around one key text and one or two supplementary readings. We engage with works on politics, detention, violence, environment and technology, women and gender, affect, fashion, leisure, and popular culture.
AFST 839 (10447) / HIST 839
Environmental History of Africa
An examination of the interaction between people and their environment in Africa and the ways in which this interaction has affected or shaped the course of African history.
AFST 889 (12453) / ENGL 889 / CPLT 889
This seminar examines the intersections of postcolonialism and ecocriticism as well as the tensions between these conceptual nodes, with readings drawn from across the global South. Topics of discussion include colonialism, development, resource extraction, globalization, ecological degradation, nonhuman agency, and indigenous cosmologies. The course is concerned with the narrative strategies affording the illumination of environmental ideas. We begin by engaging with the questions of postcolonial and world literature and return to these throughout the semester as we read primary texts, drawn from Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia. We consider African ecologies in their complexity from colonial through post-colonial times. In the unit on the Caribbean, we take up the transformations of the landscape from slavery, through colonialism, and the contemporary era. Turning to Asian spaces, the seminar explores changes brought about by modernity and globalization as well as the effects on both humans and nonhumans. Readings include the writings of Zakes Mda, Aminatta Forna, Helon Habila, Derek Walcott, Jamaica Kincaid, Ishimure Michiko, and Amitav Ghosh. The course prepares students to respond to key issues in postcolonial ecocriticism and the environmental humanities, analyze the work of the major thinkers in the fields, and examine literary texts and other cultural productions from a postcolonial perspective. Course participants have the option of selecting from a variety of final projects. Students can craft an original essay that analyzes primary text from a postcolonial and/or ecocritical perspective. Such work should aim at producing new insight on a theoretical concept and/or the cultural text. They can also produce an undergraduate syllabus for a course at the intersection of postcolonialism and environmentalism or write a review essay discussing two recent monographs focused on postcolonial ecocriticism.
AMST 741 (11356) / HIST 752
Indians and Empires
Ned Blackhawk, Marcela Echeverri Munoz, and Stuart Schwartz
This course explores recent scholarship on Indian-imperial relations throughout North American colonial spheres from roughly 1500 to 1900. It examines indigenous responses to Spanish, Dutch, French, English, and lastly American and Canadian colonialism and interrogates commonplace periodization and geographic and conceptual approaches to American historiography. It concludes with an examination of American Indian political history, contextualizing it within larger assessments of Indian-imperial and Indian-state relations.
ANTH 541 (11264) / PLSC 779 / HIST 965 / ENV 836
Agrarian Societies: Culture, Society, History, and Development
Louisa Lombard and Elisabeth Wood
An interdisciplinary examination of agrarian societies, contemporary and historical, Western and non-Western. Major analytical perspectives from anthropology, economics, history, political science, and environmental studies are used to develop a meaning-centered and historically grounded account of the transformations of rural society. Team-taught.
ANTH 581 (11259)
Power, Knowledge, and the Environment: Social Science Theory and Method
Course on the social scientific contributions to environmental and natural resource issues, emphasizing equity, politics, and knowledge. Section I, introduction to the course. Section II, disaster and environmental perturbation: the social science of emerging diseases; and the social origins of disaster. Section III, boundaries: cost and benefit in the Green Revolution; riverine restoration; and aspirational infrastructure. Section IV, methods: working within development projects, and rapid appraisal and consultancies. Section V, local communities, resources, and (under)development: representing the poor, development discourse, and indigenous peoples and knowledge. This is a core M.E.M. specialization course in YSE and a core course in the combined YSE/Anthropology doctoral degree program. Enrollment capped..
ANTH 963 (10510) /HIST 963/HSHM 691/HSAR 841
Topics in the Environmental Humanities
Paul Sabin, Hannah Cole
This is the required workshop for the Graduate Certificate in Environmental Humanities. The workshop meets six times per term to explore concepts, methods, and pedagogy in the environmental humanities, and to share student and faculty research. Each student pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Environmental Humanities must complete both a fall term and a spring term of the workshop, but the two terms of student participation need not be consecutive. The fall term each year emphasizes key concepts and major intellectual currents. The spring term each year emphasizes pedagogy, methods, and public practice. Specific topics vary each year. Students who have previously enrolled in the course may audit the course in a subsequent year.
Fall Architecture courses will be included when available.
ENGL 631 (13230) / HIST 958
Land, Labour, and Slavery from Hobbes to Defoe
This course considers together several phenomena often considered separately: the conversion of arable land to pasture, which imposed unprecedented hardships on tenant farmers in early modern England; the central place of property in seventeenth-century English formulations of political liberty; the increasing racialization of forced labor in the period; and the tension in the English political imaginary between a mythos of land and of sea. Taken together, these radically refigure the relationship between power, space, and subjectivity. We read foundational works of political theory produced in England’s tumultuous seventeenth century, those of Hobbes, Harrington, Filmer, and Locke. We also explore how transformations of labor and property necessarily exert influence in literature, not only at the level of content but also at that of genre and mode. Along the way, we essay a detailed accounting of England’s efforts to expand its mercantilist activity to the West and East, goaded by rivalry with other European powers, especially Spain and the Netherlands.
Social Science Foundations for Environmental Managers
The environmental social sciences shed light on how humans define, perceive, understand, manage and otherwise influence the environment. Insights into the cultural, institutional, political-economic, and historic drivers of human actions are needed to describe and understand human-environment interactions as well as to move towards long-lasting and flexible responses to socioenvironmental change. This basic knowledge course is designed to introduce students to a range of social science disciplines that are engaged in understanding the relationships between nature and society. Explicit focus will be in on how to mobilize the insights gained from environmental social sciences for natural resource management.
Anthropology of Smallholder Agriculture in Developing Countries
The premise of this course is that small-scale agriculture, its distinctive economic character, and its ecology shape each other in important ways. This course will explore smallholder farming in the developing world through ethnographies. It is often said that small-scale agriculture provides half of the contemporary global food supply (see for example Graeub et al 2016); in fact there are no good global statistics on small farm production, especially in the developing world (in which many nations just don’t have statistics on food production and farm size, Ricciardi et al 2018). I argue simply that small-scale agricultural food production is important to both livelihoods and food security. If this is so, then the inter-linkages between farms, economies, and ecologies are important. These inter-linkages are also complex.
Sociology of Sacred Values: Modernity, Ecology, and Policy
This course equips students to understand how moral culture shapes all environmental issues and management, driving even the most basic decisions that on the surface may appear to be entirely obvious, rational, or scientific. Modern people and modern institutions are propelled toward certain ends and possibilities that are inescapably rooted in questions of human culture about who we are, what we should do, and why it all matters. The first half of the course draws on theoretical readings from sociology, philosophy, and religious studies to understand the ubiquity of sacred codes and how they work, with an emphasis on late-modernity, rationality, capitalism, and the sacred/profane. The second half of the course introduces recent case studies to see in practice how moral values are embedded in environmental work, including policymaking, advocacy, the free market, scientific research, race and class, death and extinction, ecotourism, and more. Cultivating a lens to see culture and moral values in all things will improve students’ applied work in all sectors.
ENV 793a / EVST 473 / ANTH 773
Climate Change, Societal Collapse, and Resilience
Collapse documented in the archaeological and early historical records of the Old and New Worlds, including Mesopotamia, Mesoamerica, the Andes, and Europe. Analysis of politicoeconomic vulnerabilities, resiliencies, and adaptations in the face of abrupt climate change, anthropogenic environmental degradation, resource depletion, “barbarian” incursions, or class conflict.
Social Justice in the Global Food System Capstone
This course explores social justice dimensions of today’s globalized food system, considering justice in terms of sociopolitical and environmental dynamics. We connect theory and practice through work with community-based organizations working at the nexus of food, agriculture, and social justice. The capstone project work is grounded in food and social justice concepts examined through course materials and seminar discussions: We examine how governmental environmental strategies affect social equity in the food system at multiple scales. We discuss how land grabbing or food insecurity are connected to relative power on the global stage. We consider how phenomena such as structural violence and neoliberalization surface within the food system, and what this means for sustainability and justice – in urban and rural settings. We examine and debate concepts and practices including food sovereignty, agroecology, Black agrarianism, and The Right to Food used to advance positive change. Through the capstone project, students will have the opportunity to deepen learning and contribute to the work of community groups forging pathways for equity and justice in the food system, particularly among communities historically marginalized from mainstream economies and policy making. Project work will include meetings with organizational leaders to understand context and co-develop appropriate project approaches. Students will work in groups to conduct in-depth research, analysis, and engage in additional professional and educational activities connected to the project. Student groups will prepare a final presentation and report to be shared with the partner organizations. The course provides opportunities to develop competencies in analyzing global food systems phenomena through social justice frameworks; and working within diverse settings on food and social justice issues, as practice for management, policymaking, other professional roles.
HIST 897 (10438) / HSHM 762
Environment, Medicine, and Science in South and Southeast Asia
This graduate seminar explores the cutting edge of scholarship in histories of environment, medicine, and science in South and Southeast Asia. The course draws examples from both South and Southeast Asia–among our aims is to examine who in their field has challenged or reimagined the conventional boundaries of area studies. The class is designed to serve as preparation for qualifying examinations across a range of fields and as a starting point for students who envisage dissertation projects that engage with these areas of scholarship. Our focus, throughout, is on archives, approaches, and methodologies (including new approaches to research that have been necessitated by the pandemic). Readings and topics are tailored to the interests of the students in the class. Students have the choice of writing a historiographical paper or producing an original research paper.
HIST 931 (10060) / HSHM 702
Problems in the History of Science
Surveys current methodologies through key theoretical and critical works. Students encounter major twentieth-century methodological moments that have left lasting imprints on the field: positivism and anti-positivism, the sociology of knowledge, actor-network theory, and historical epistemology, as well as newer approaches focusing on space, infrastructure, translation, and exchange. We also consider central conceptual problems for the field, such as the demarcation of science from pseudoscience; the definition of modernity and the narrative of the Scientific Revolution; vernacular science, the colonial archive, and non-textual sources.
HSAR 565 (11827)
The Media of Architecture and the Architecture of Media
Architecture’s capacity to represent a world and to intervene in the world has historically depended on techniques of visualization. This seminar draws on a range of media theoretical approaches to examine the complex and historically layered repertoire of visual techniques within which architecture operates. We approach architecture not as an autonomous entity reproduced by media, but as a cultural practice advanced and debated through media and mediations of various kinds (visual, social, material, and financial). If questions of media have played a key role in architectural theory and history over the past three decades, recent scholarship in the field of media theory has insisted on the architectural, infrastructural, and environmental dimensions of media. The seminar is organized around nine operations whose technical and historical status will be examined through concrete examples. To do so, the seminar presents a range of differing approaches to media and reflects on their implications for architectural and spatial practices today. Key authors include Giuliana Bruno, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Beatriz Colomina, Robin Evans, Friedrich Kittler, Bruno Latour, Reinhold Martin, Shannon Mattern, Marshall McLuhan, Felicity Scott, and Bernhard Siegert, among others.
PHIL 658 (12071) / PHIL 458
Morality and Evolution
Ever since Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species, the question of evolutionary theory’s implications for our understanding of morality and of ourselves as moral beings has been pressing. In recent years, several philosophers have argued that evolution undermines the possibility of moral knowledge and, perhaps, there being facts of moral right and wrong. In this course, we investigate evolutionary theory’s implications for morality. We begin with questions about the nature of morality (as we ordinarily understand it) and the fundamentals of evolutionary theory. The focus then shifts to philosophers who have argued for moral skepticism and forms of moral anti-realism on evolutionary grounds. Our third focus is on evolutionary theories that show a deep compatibility between evolution and morality. We finish with a metaethical account of morality that fits with one of these evolutionary theories to see if it provides a plausible way of responding to the evolutionary critique.
Land, Ecology, and Religion in U.S. History
This course explores the varied intersections among land, ecology, and religion in U.S. history and situates American religion within a broader history of the Anthropocene. How have religious ideologies and institutions worked to shape American spaces, places, and landscapes? In an age of accelerating ecological crisis, how have diverse religious groups interacted with, participated in, or reacted against the environmental movement? How have race, gender, settler colonialism, and other intersectional social formations shaped these histories? How are the social formations we call religions implicated in and reinvented by the climactic transformations of the Anthropocene?
Preaching for Creation
In this course, we consider ways to bear witness to the inherent value of Earth as a living and interconnected community that teaches us profound theological and ethical truths. In discussions and preaching structured around mutual witness and deep listening, we explore such issues as: ways in which Scripture passages testify to the intricate glories and stark vulnerabilities of creation as a site of God’s transforming work; the beauty, giftedness, intelligence, and relational sophistication of nonhuman creatures; human sin as a major vector for harms that cause untold suffering in creation; and grace as the divine intention not just for humanity but for all living beings, Earth, and the cosmos. Engaging contemporary homiletical theory and studying sermons from expert preachers, students develop their homiletical skills and capacity to imagine, honor, and advocate for the whole community of Earth and its flourishing. Together we listen for the Gospel in sermons focused on creation; we explore the potential of micro-homilies to build the capacity of faith communities for ecotheological reflection and creation care; and we attend to poetry and memoir writing as sources of wisdom. There is no prerequisite; those for whom this will be their first homiletics course are welcome.