Graduate Courses Fall 2024


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

Last updated 4/18/24
Please note that this list may change as courses are added.
AFAM 510 / ENGL 938 (11990)
Black Geographic Thought
Elleza Kelley
M 1:30-3:20pm
This seminar focuses on classic and recent scholarship that constitute the interdisciplinary subfield of “black geographies.” Bearing in mind that black studies is not merely the study of black people but, as Alexander Weheliye puts it, “a substantial critique of Western modernity and a sizable archive of social, political, and cultural alternatives,” this seminar explores the critiques and alternatives that black studies brings to bear on the feeling, knowledge, representation, and politics of space and place. While we study scholarship across discipline (by geographers, architectural theorists, historians, etc.), we pay particular attention to how cultural production, like literature and visual art, articulates black geographic and spatial thought and how it might engage with, challenge, and enrich the fields of critical and literary geographies. Along the way, our study of literature is transformed by careful attention to the geographic, architectural, and ecological. We read the work of scholars like Katherine McKittrick, Clyde Woods, and AbdouMaliq Simone alongside creative works by poets, novelists, artists, filmmakers, architects, and more, from Toni Morrison and Dionne Brand to Torkwase Dyson and Mati Diop.
AFST 889 / ENGL 889 / CPLT 889 (12366)
Postcolonial Ecologies
Cajetan Iheka
T 1:30-3:20pm
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 three recent monographs focused on postcolonial ecocriticism.
AFST 969 / FREN 969 / CPLT 985 (11106)
Islands, Oceans, Deserts
Jill Jarvis
T 1:30-3:20pm
This seminar brings together literary and theoretical works that chart planetary relations and connections beyond the paradigm of francophonie. Comparative focus on the poetics and politics of spaces shaped by intersecting routes of colonization and forced migrations: islands (Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Martinique), oceans (Indian, Mediterranean, Atlantic), and deserts (Sahara, Sonoran). Prerequisite: reading knowledge of French; knowledge of Arabic and Spanish invited. Conducted in English.
AMST 805 / HSAR 720 / RLST 699 / WGSS 799 (12427)
Sensational Materialities: Sensory Cultures in History, Theory, and Method
Salley Promey
W 1:30pm-3:20pm
This interdisciplinary seminar explores the sensory and material histories of (often religious) images, objects, buildings, and performances as well as the potential for the senses to spark contention in material practice. With a focus on American things and religions, the course also considers broader geographical and categorical parameters so as to invite intellectual engagement with the most challenging and decisive developments in relevant fields, including recent literatures on material agencies. The goal is to investigate possibilities for scholarly examination of a robust human sensorium of sound, taste, touch, scent, and sight—and even “sixth senses”—the points where the senses meet material things (and vice versa) in life and practice. Topics include the cultural construction of the senses and sensory hierarchies; investigation of the sensory capacities of things; and specific episodes of sensory contention in and among various religious traditions. In addition, the course invites thinking beyond the “Western” five senses to other locations and historical possibilities for identifying the dynamics of sensing human bodies in religious practices, experience, and ideas. The Sensory Cultures of Religion Research Group meets approximately once per month at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays; class participants are strongly encouraged, but not required, to attend. Enrollment is by permission of the instructor; qualified undergraduates are not only welcome but encouraged to join us. There are no set prerequisites, but, assuming available seats, permission will be granted on the basis of response to three questions: Why do you wish to take this course? What relevant educational or professional background/experience do you bring to the course? How does the course help you to meet your own intellectual, artistic, or career aspirations?
AMST 839/HIST 743/HSHM 744 (10389)
Readings in Environmental History
Sunil Amrith, Paul Sabin 
M 1:30pm-3:20pm
Readings and discussion of key works in environmental history. The course explores major forces shaping human-environment relationships, such as markets, politics, and ecological dynamics, and compares different approaches to writing about social and environmental change.
ANTH 541 / ENV 836 / HIST 965 / PLSC 779 / SOCY 617 (11648)
Agrarian Societies: Culture, Society, History, and Development
Elisabeth Wood, Jonathan Wyrtzen
W 1:30pm-3:20pm
An interdisciplinary examination of agrarian societies, contemporary and historical, Western and non-Western. Use of major analytical perspectives from anthropology, economics, history, political science, and environmental studies to develop a grounded account of rural society’s transformations.
ANTH 963 / HIST 963 / HSAR 841 / HSHM 691 (10417)
Topics in the Environmental Humanities
Sunil Amrith, Paul Sabin 
M 11:30am-1:20pm
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. This course does not count toward the coursework requirement in history. Open only to students pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Environmental Humanities.
CLSS 846 / HSAR 639 (11704)
Approaching Sacred Space: Places, Buildings, and Bodies in Ancient Italy
Alexander Ekserdjian
Th 9:25am-11:15am
CLSS 847 / HIST 508 (11161)
Climate, Environment, and Ancient History
Joseph Manning
T 9:25am-11:15am
An overview of recent work in paleoclimatology with an emphasis on new climate proxy records and how they are or can be used in historical analysis. We examine in detail several recent case studies at the nexus of climate and history. Attention is paid to critiques of recent work as well as trends in the field. This graduate-level seminar approaches sacred space in ancient Italy (ca. 500 BCE–100 CE) from several evidential and methodological perspectives. The class probes how different kinds of sacred artifacts (places, buildings, and bodies) textured ritual space, forming its recognizable character then and now. While assessing the available evidence (material, literary, epigraphic) for each of these categories, we devote time to untangling the ways that modern scholars and Roman authors have written about ancient holy places. The emphasis on “approach” also provides an avenue to begin to reconstruct the lived experiences of sacred space, moving from the realia of locations, structures, and objects to the possible responses of ancient people.
F&ES 520a / ANTH 581a
Power, Knowledge, and the Environment
Michael R. Dove
M 1:00-3:50pm
Introductory graduate course on the social science of contemporary environmental and natural resource challenges, paying special attention to issues involving power and knowledge. Section I,  disasters and environmental perturbation: pandemics, and the social dimensions of disaster. Section II, power and politics: river restoration in Nepal; the conceptual boundaries of resource systems, and the political ecology of water in Mumbai. Section III, methods: the dynamics of working within development projects; and a multi-sited study of irrigation in Egypt. Section IV, local communities: representing the poor, development discourse, and indigenous peoples and knowledge. The goal of the course is to develop analytic distance from current conservation and development debates and discourses.
HIST 844 (10394)
Human and Non-Human in African History
Daniel Magaziner
Th 3:30pm-5:20pm
This graduate reading seminar surveys recent scholarship on human interactions with non-humans in African history. Topics to be considered include human/animal interactions, histories of technology across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, histories of urbanization (encompassing histories of popular and mechanical culture as well as histories of human/pathogen interactions), and how human beings have responded to their circumstances through mediation with non-human objects, whether as “fetish,” as “art,” or as “technology.”
REL 619
Eco-Futures: Theology, Ethics, Imagination
Ryan Darr
T 1:30-3:20pm
The looming dangers of climate change, especially given the inadequacy of the global political response, are now evident. Many of those who are paying attention find themselves feeling overwhelmed, powerless, and hopeless in the face of increasing natural disasters, rapidly disappearing species, and compounding environmental injustices. This class begins from these challenges. It asks: Can we sustain hope in a just and sustainable ecological future? Should we sustain such a hope? If so, what would such a future look like? Can we imagine a future beyond fossils fuels, beyond exploitative and extractivist relations among humans and between humans and the more-than-human world? Can we imagine a decolonial future, a future of multispecies justice? How do these hopes and visions interact with ultimate religious hopes? How should these hopes and visions shape our actions and emotions in this moment? We approach these issues by reading theological and ethical works together with future-oriented speculative fiction: sci-fi, Afrofuturism, Indigenous futurism, solarpunk, hopepunk. We assess the speculative futures theologically and ethically while also allowing these speculative futures to shape our theological and ethical visions.
RSEE 610 (10713)
Eurasian Ecomedia
Claire Roosien
T 1:30pm-3:20pm
This course explores the relationship between Eurasian environments and popular media (film, photography, television, literature, and other media). Conversations about environmental humanities and ecomedia have thus far centered capital as the operative category; this course asks what we might gain from considering state socialism and postsocialism in conversation with that broader scholarship. The goal is to tell the environmental and cultural history of Eurasia as part of the connected history of the Anthropocene. Questions for discussion include: how do Eurasian publics engage with the mass media and how does that engagement shape environmental subjectivities in the region? How can we think about media histories in dialogue with material histories? How do narratives of the environment and ecological catastrophe correlate with broader Eurasian political discourses (socialist construction, collapse, post-Soviet nation-building)? Discussions comprise close analysis of cultural artifacts alongside relevant theory and scholarship about environmental and cultural histories of the region. Case studies focus on Central Asia, with transregional engagement with Siberia, the Caucasus, and Eastern Europe, focusing on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Major assignments include a translation/curatorial project and a final, polished conference-style presentation. Knowledge of Russian or another Eurasian language is required.