Undergraduate Fall 2021
Fall 2021 UNDERGRADUATE COURSES
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.
Please Note: Course listings below that lack a faculty name or meeting time indicate an instructor whose teaching appointment was not yet listed in the Yale online course system at the time of compilation. This information will be updated as it becomes available. Check Yale Course Search for the most current and accurate information.
AFAM 017 (12156) /ENGL 006
Black Nature: African American Nature Writing
What stories do we tell about nature? How are the stories we are able to tell about nature informed by race? And how do these stories shape our understanding of what it means to be human? In contrast to a largely white tradition of nature writing that assumes a superior position outside of Nature, this course undertakes a broad survey of African American nature writing. Over the course of the semester, we read broadly across several genres of African American literature, including: slave narrative, fiction, poetry, drama and memoir. In this way, we center the unique environmental perspectives of those, who, once considered no more than livestock, were the nature over which their white masters ruled. Indeed, as those who were drowned in the ocean during the trans-Atlantic slave trade, forced to cultivate the soil on slave plantations, and hung from trees across the Jim Crow South, black Americans are bound up and entangled in nature in incredibly complex and precarious ways. Perhaps for this very reason, however, we may ultimately come to find in these black nature stories the resources for reclaiming a proper relationship to the Earth, and for imagining a sustainable human life in nature, rather than apart from it.
AFAM 196 (10039) /AMST 196/SOCY 190/EVST 196/ER&M 226
Race, Class, and Gender in American Cities
Examination of how racial, gender, and class inequalities have been built, sustained, and challenged in American cities. Focus on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Topics include industrialization and deindustrialization, segregation, gendered public/private split, gentrification, transit equity, environmental justice, food access, and the relationships between public space, democracy, and community wellbeing. Includes field projects in New Haven.
AFAM 213 (10467) /HSHM 481/HIST 383J/AFST 481
Medicine and Race in the Slave Trade
Areas HU, WR
Examination of the interconnected histories of medicine and race in the slave trade. Topics include the medical geography of the slave trade from slave prisons in West Africa to slave ships; slave trade drugs and forced drug consumption; mental and physical illnesses and their treatments; gender and the body; British and West African medicine and medical knowledge in the slave trade; eighteenth-century theories of racial difference and disease; medical violence and medical ethics.
AFAM 459 (10406) /ER&M 402/AMST 479
The Displaced: Migrant and Refugee Narratives of the 20th and 21st Centuries
This course examines a series of transnational literary texts and films that illuminate how the displaced—migrants, exiles, and refugees— remake home away from their native countries. The twentieth and twenty-first centuries have produced massive displacements due to wars, genocides, racial, ethnic and religious conflicts, economic and climate change, among other factors. Our course focuses on several texts that explore questions of home, nation, and self in the context of specific historical events such as the Holocaust, civil rights movements in the U.S., internment, the Indian partition, African decolonization, and Middle Eastern/Arab ethno-religious conflicts and wars. We examine these events alongside the shifting legal and political policies and categories related to asylum, humanitarian parole, refugee, and illegal alien status. Exploring themes such as nostalgia, longing, trauma, and memory, we look at the possibilities and limitations of creating, contesting, and imagining home in the diaspora. Our objective is to debate and develop the ethical, political, geographic, and imaginative articulations of home in an era of mass displacements and geo-political crises. We examine how notions of home are imagined alongside and against categories of race, gender, and sexuality.
AFST 295 (11801) /ENGL 295/LITR 461
MW 11:35am – 12:50pm
Areas HU, WR
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 the 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.
AFST 385 (10057) /HIST 391J/EP&E 350
Pandemics in Africa: From the Spanish Influenza to Covid-19
The overarching aim of the course is to understand the unfolding Covid-19 pandemic in Africa in the context of a century of pandemics, their political and administrative management, the responses of ordinary people, and the lasting changes they wrought. The first eight meetings examine some of the best social science-literature on 20th-century African pandemics before Covid-19. From the Spanish Influenza to cholera to AIDS, to the misdiagnosis of yaws as syphilis, and tuberculosis as hereditary, the social-science literature can be assembled to ask a host of vital questions in political theory: on the limits of coercion, on the connection between political power and scientific expertise, between pandemic disease and political legitimacy, and pervasively, across all modern African epidemics, between infection and the politics of race. The remaining four meetings look at Covid-19. We chronicle the evolving responses of policymakers, scholars, religious leaders, opposition figures, and, to the extent that we can, ordinary people. The idea is to assemble sufficient information to facilitate a real-time study of thinking and deciding in times of radical uncertainty and to examine, too, the consequences of decisions on the course of events. There are of course so many moving parts: health systems, international political economy, finance, policing, and more. We also bring guests into the classroom, among them frontline actors in the current pandemic as well as veterans of previous pandemics well placed to share provisional comparative thinking. This last dimension is especially emphasized: the current period, studied in the light of a century of epidemic disease, affording us the opportunity to see path dependencies and novelties, the old and the new.
AMST 439 (10021) /ER&M 439
Fruits of Empire
Areas HU, SO
Readings, discussions, and research on imperialism and “green gold” and their consequences for the imperial powers and their colonies and neo-colonies. Spatially conceived as a world-system that enmeshes the planet and as earth’s latitudes that divide the temperate from the tropical zones, imperialism as discourse and material relations is this seminar’s focus together with its implantations—an empire of plants. Vast plantations of sugar, cotton, tea, coffee, bananas, and pineapples occupy land cultivated by native and migrant workers, and their fruits move from the tropical to the temperate zones, impoverishing the periphery while profiting the core. Fruits of Empire, thus, implicates power and the social formation of race, gender, sexuality, class, and nation.
ANTH 230 (11354) /WGSS 230
Evolutionary Biology of Women’s Reproductive Lives
Evolutionary and biosocial perspectives on female reproductive lives. Physiological, ecological, and social aspects of women’s development from puberty through menopause and aging, with special attention to reproductive processes such as pregnancy, birth, and lactation. Variation in female life histories in a variety of cultural and ecological settings. Examples from both traditional and modern societies.
ANTH 322 (11356) /SAST 306/EVST 324
Environmental Justice in South Asia
Study of South Asia’s nation building and economic development in the aftermath of war and decolonization in the 20th century. How it generated unprecedented stress on natural environments; increased social disparity; and exposure of the poor and minorities to environmental risks and loss of homes, livelihoods, and cultural resources. Discussion of the rise of environmental justice movements and policies in the region as the world comes to grips with living in the Anthropocene.
ANTH 367 (11358)
Technology and Culture
This class examines how technology matters in our daily lives. How do technologies shape understandings of ourselves, the worlds we inhabit, and each other? How do the values and assumptions of engineers and innovators shape our behaviors? How do technologies change over time and between cultures. Students learn to think about technology and culture as co-constituted. We read and discuss texts from history and anthropology of science, as well as fictional explorations relevant to course topics.
ANTH 409 (11721) /EVST 422/ER&M 394/FE&S 422/GLBL 394
Climate and Society from Past to Present
Areas SO, WR
Discussion of the major currents of thought—both historic and contemporary—regarding climate, climate change, and society; focusing on the politics of knowledge and belief vs disbelief; and drawing on the social sciences and anthropology in particular.
ANTH 414 (11360) /EAST 417
Hubs, Mobilities, and World Cities
Analysis of urban life in historical and contemporary societies. Topics include capitalist and postmodern transformations; class, gender, ethnicity, and migration; and global landscapes of power and citizenship.
ANTH 438 (11361)
Culture, Power, Oil
The production, circulation, and consumption of petroleum as they relate to globalization, empire, cultural performance, natural resource extraction, and the nature of the state. Case studies include the United States, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuela, and the former Soviet Union.
ANTH 473 (11726) /EVST 473/ARCG 473/NELC 473
Climate Change, Societal Collapse, and Resilience
The coincidence of societal collapses throughout history with decadal and century-scale abrupt climate change 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.
ARCG 110 (10524) /HSAR 110
Introduction to the History of Art: Global Decorative Arts
Global history of the decorative arts from antiquity to the present. The materials and techniques of ceramics, textiles, metals, furniture, and glass. Consideration of forms, imagery, decoration, and workmanship. Themes linking geography and time, such as trade and exchange, simulation, identity, and symbolic value.
ARCH 006 (10112)
Architectures of Urbanism: Thinking, Seeing, Writing the Just City
What is architecture, and how is it conceived, relative to notions of the urban – to the broader, deeper, messier web of ideas, forms, and fantasies constituting “the city?” Can architecture play a role in defining the city, as such, or does the city’s political and social construction place it outside the scope of specifically architectural concerns? Likewise, what role can the city play in establishing, interrogating, and extrapolating the limits of architecture, whether as a practice, a discourse, or a physical manifestation of human endeavor in the material environment? This course addresses these and other, related questions, seeking to position art and architecture in their broader urban, social, cultural, political, intellectual, and aesthetic contexts. It explores issues of social justice as they relate to the material spaces of the modern city, and the manner in which those spaces are identified, codified, and made operative in service of aesthetic, social, and political experience.
ARCH 160 (10130) /URBN 160
Introduction to Urban Studies
Areas SO, HU
An introduction to key topics, research methods, and practices in urban studies, an interdisciplinary field of inquiry and action rooted in the experience of cities. As physical artifacts, the advent of large cities have reflected rapid industrialization and advanced capitalism. They are inseparable from the organization of economic life; the flourishing of cultures; and the formation of identities. They are also places where power is concentrated and inequalities are (re)produced. Debates around equity are filtered through urban environments, where struggles over jobs, housing, education, mobility, public health, and public safety are front and center.
ARCH 272 (10523) /HSAR 150/RLST 262
Introduction to the History of Art: Art and Architecture of the Sacred
A wide-ranging, cross-temporal exploration of religious images, objects, and architecture in diverse cultures, from ancient Mesopotamia to modern Manhattan. Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and various polytheistic traditions are represented. Thematic threads include the human body; transformations of nature; death, memory, and afterlife; sacred kingship and other forms of political engagement; practices of concealment and revelation; images as embodiments of the divine; the framing and staging of ritual through architecture.
ARCH 316 (10129) /URBN 416
Revolutionary Cities: Protest, Rebellion and Representation in Modern Urban Space
Cities have always been hotbeds of radical ideas and actions. Their cafes and taverns, drawing rooms and universities have been incubators of new ideas, revolutionary ideologies and debate, while their streets and public spaces have been the sites of demonstrations, protests, and uprisings. Since cities are key nodes in larger networks of trade and cultural exchange, these local events have often had a global audience and impact. This seminar explores the interaction of urban space and event, and the media and technologies of revolutionary representation, through case studies of particular cities at transformational moments in their development. These begin with Boston in the 1760s and 1770s, and may include Paris in 1789, 1830, 1848, 1871 and again in 1968, St. Petersburg in 1917, Beijing in 1949 and again in 1989, Havana in 1959, Prague, Berlin and Johannesburg and other cities in 1989, Cairo in 2011, Hong Kong in 2011-12, 2014 and 2019, and other urban sites of the Occupy and Black Lives Matter movements. Course work in modern history is recommended.
ARCH 327 (10117) /URBN 327
Difference and the City
Four hundred and odd years after colonialism and racial capitalism brought twenty and odd people from Africa to the dispossessed indigenous land that would become the United States, the structures and systems that generate inequality and white supremacy persist. Our cities and their socioeconomic and built environments continue to exemplify difference. From housing and health to mobility and monuments, cities small and large, north and south, continue to demonstrate intractable disparities. The disparate impacts made apparent by the COVID-19 pandemic and the reinvigorated and global Black Lives Matter movement demanding change are remarkable. Change, of course, is another essential indicator of difference in urban environments, exemplified by the phenomena of disinvestment or gentrification. This course explores how issues like climate change and growing income inequality intersect with politics, culture, gender equality, immigration and migration, technology, and other considerations and forms of disruption.
ARCH 353 (10121) /URBN 353
Urban Lab: Urban Field Geography
A methods seminar in urban field geography. Traveling on foot, students engage in on-site study of architecture, urban planning and design, cultural landscapes, and spatial patterns in the city. Learn how to “read” the urban landscape, the intersection of forces that have produced the built environment over time.
ARCH 362 (10122) /URBN 362
Urban Lab: City Making
How architects represent, analyze, construct, and speculate on critical urban conditions as distinct approaches to city making. Investigation of a case study analyzing urban morphologies and the spatial systems of a city through diverse means of representation that address historical, social, political, and environmental issues. Through maps, diagrams, collages and text, students learn to understand spatial problems and project urban interventions.
CSBF 350 (11513)
Technological Innovation and the Future of the American City
Technological innovation shapes the growth of cities and the lives of their inhabitants. This course examines historical technologies that were profoundly revolutionary at their time, such as the electric light and the automobile; the demands those technologies created for new kinds of infrastructure, like our electric grid and national highway system; and how that infrastructure in turn created new forms of urban development. We focus on archetypal U.S. cities whose most significant periods of growth corresponded to different technological innovations: New York City, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, and Phoenix. With that history in mind, the second part of the course explores how emerging technologies like ride hailing, electric scooters, drones, autonomous vehicles, flying cars, and smart infrastructure will impact our urban future.
CSST 350 (11518)
Medicine and the Humanities: Certainty and Unknowing
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). Events permitting, field trips take us to the Yale Medical Historical Library and the Yale Center for British Art.
CSSY 330 (24592)
Manasvi Menon, Matthew Triebner
This course addresses the forces that shape contemporary urban life to help us understand and contextualize the future of cities. We explore different elements of city life, from resiliency to retail, using case studies from Brooklyn to Barcelona. Analyzing cities through these multiple “probes” provides insights into how a city functions as well as the values, needs, and priorities of the people who inhabit them.
ENGL 114 – Section 03 (10314)
Where do you call home? Is your sense of home fixed to specific places, persons, languages, or memories? Must the idea of home always suggest rootedness ? What does it mean to feel at home? In this course, we examine the affective responses elicited by various notions of home, from feelings of nostalgia and familiarity to estrangement, and we consider the ways in which generic and particular spaces enable or constrain individual agency and constitute our positioning and relation to others. Unsettling the easy boundary between the private and the public, we will seek to understand what various imaginings of home reveal about our collective and individual desires and anxieties, and we will examine the social and political forces at play in the making of home. Drawing from multiple disciplines and different modes of argument including essays, poetry, song, and film, we will study how home overlaps with spirituality, language politics, hierarchies of gender and labor, and educational opportunities, and how climate crises, pandemics, global economies, and immigration policies impact home. As we examine the debates and contests over space, we will think about who has the right to belong where and what it means—for instance—to belong at Yale. Informed by various theories and poetics of home, at the end of the course, we will revisit the places that make us.
ENGL 114 - Section 05 (10316)
Black and Indigenous Ecologies
Who gets to define the meaning of ecology, along with the earth we stand on, and how is this definition bound up with the legacies of colonial power, empire, slavery, and other forms of racialized oppression? And what new modes of ecological thought might emerge once we engage with the perspectives of indigenous peoples and communities of color—traditionally excluded from dominant environmentalist discourses—and their alternative ways of thinking and imagining a relation to the earth? Through readings in anthropology, geology, critical race studies, philosophy, literature, and poetry, this course explores the ecologies and counter-ecologies born of anti-imperial opposition, from 1492 to the present. Struggles for liberation, as we will examine, are never separable from struggles for land, food, water, air, and an earth in common. From Standing Rock to Sao Paulo, the Antilles to New Zealand, and Mauna Kea to Lagos, we will engage with anti-colonial and anti-racist attempts to craft an image of the earth no longer made in the ecocidal image of imperialist Western Man (or the anthropos of “Anthropocene”), and to imagine a future to be held and composed in common by all.
ENGL 114 – Section 13 (10324)
What is virtual reality and what can it do for the humanities? Topics will include depictions of virtual reality in books and film, movies created to be viewed in VR, virtual reconstructions of ancient architecture, a performance of Hamlet in virtual reality from the ghost’s perspective, and museums that only exist virtually. We will discuss the uses of VR in education such as virtual reality tools that allow students to engage with Korean and Chinese poetry in three dimensions. We will do some hands-on exploration of Yale’s VR resources, experiment with cardboard gadgets that turn a smartphone into a VR viewer, and learn about what goes into creating virtual environments. We will ask questions such as, what critical tools might we use to interpret this technology, (how) does it help us understand the past of literature and culture, is there a way of reading code as literature, and how we should think about the reality of what happens in virtual spaces.
ENGL 114 – Section 15 (10326)
Into the #Wild
Looking out from the peak of Mount Snowdon one night in 1791, the young hiker William Wordsworth famously saw something “awful and sublime” in the mist-shrouded valleys below. The transcendent power of an authentic encounter with nature—“In that wild place and at the dead of night”—set off a European craze for untamed experience, as nineteenth-century adventurers began flocking to glacial summits en masse. Wilderness was suddenly in vogue. Through contemporary nature writing, ecocriticism, and documentary film, this course examines the conflicted legacies of this wild desire: National Parks, mountaineers, amateur falconry enthusiasts, glampers. What can wilderness writing tell us about the figure of the ‘outdoors type’ or the relationship between environmentalism and adventurism? What tensions emerge between authentic experience and the careful framing, filtering, and marketing of that authenticity? As the wilderness has receded, finding it has become increasingly urgent. But at what cost? Readings may include: William Cronon, “The Trouble with Wilderness”; Robert Macfarlane, Mountains of the Mind; Ramachandra Guha, “Radical Environmentalism and Wilderness Preservation: A Third World Critique”; Free Solo (2018); Rahawa Haile, “Going It Alone”; Dina Gilio-Whitaker, As Long as Grass Grows; Linda Vance, “Ecofeminism and Wilderness”; Justin Farrell, Billionaire Wilderness; Helen MacDonald, H is for Hawk; Christopher Ketcham, “How Instagram Ruined the Great Outdoors.”
ENGL 114 – Section 16 (10327)
How does the environment remember? How does the natural world shape our memories as individuals and as participants in collective histories? In this course, we will think critically about environments — both natural and built — as dynamic sites of memory, where discourses about history, home, and belonging are continually made and remade. Reading work from cultural theorists, critical geographers, environmental historians, activists, and artists, we will consider what it means to remember through and with the multispecies ecologies in which we are embedded. We will examine how place-based memories can productively complicate dominant historical narratives that valorize some memories while erasing or forgetting others. At the same time, we will also consider how such memories can illuminate ways in which ongoing legacies of empire, settler colonialism, and extractive capitalism continue to shape ecologies today. We will examine how patterns of displacement and dispossession can threaten environmental memory, and how, in some cases, it can lapse into dangerous nostalgia. Engaging with a range of cultural objects – critical essays, memoir, film, visual art, and creative mapping projects – we will investigate how writers and artists approach memory as a generative tool with which to imagine decolonial, sustainable paths forward.
ENGL 114 – Section 20 (10331)
What does breakdown make possible? Together we’ll think about decay as a kind of relationship that troubles distinctions between death and life, between destruction and creation, and between the material and the spiritual. Decay appears in many forms: disease, slime mold, zombies, corpses, mushrooms (just to name a few). We’ll pay careful attention to what’s at stake in these examples of collapse–what does it mean to think about the relationship between subject and society in terms of decay? Is rot always a bad thing? How does decay shape the ways we think about life? Our project will be carried out across science studies, poetry, philosophy, religion, fiction, and film. Authors may include Vanessa Agard-Jones, Ling Ma, Thomas Mann, Susan Sontag, and Anna Tsing.
ENGL 114 – Section 29 (10340)
Travelers and Tourists
What lies behind our desire to travel? Do we leave home in search of the foreign and exotic, a glimpse of beauty, a broader knowledge of others, or a deeper knowledge of ourselves? Is a tourist a type of person, a person in a certain set of circumstances, or a person with a certain state of mind? Is there a difference between a traveler and a tourist? What do we gain from becoming travelers and/or tourists? What do we lose? In this course, we will investigate these and other questions through our study of texts about travel and tourism in a variety of disciplines, including sociology, philosophy, history, and literary theory, as well as through cultural artifacts, such as newspaper articles, photographs, and film and television clips. Keeping our own travel and tourism experiences in mind throughout, we will engage with these materials in order to explore the effects of tourism (on both the visitor and the visited), the problems with tourism, and the changing nature of the tourist, including the way current technologies are shaping our travel experiences. We will also investigate a number of constructs within tourism studies, such as exoticism, colonialism, consumerism, and the quests for the authentic and the sublime.
ENGL 114 – Section 30 (10341)
Geographies of Race
What does it mean to say that racial matters are spatial matters? Or, that racism takes place in place, and across numerous spatial scales? What might an anti-racist landscape look and feel like? With a focus on the Black American experience, this course explores how inequalities driven by racism have historically shaped space in the United States: the city-within-a-city, once called “the ghetto”; suburban development and those it excluded; “food deserts”; migratory flows and diasporas. This course asserts that space is not an empty container, but is the context for identity, struggle, and mobility. Space and place are necessarily interdisciplinary, thus we’ll take up writings from a variety of fields as we study inclusion and exclusion across contested terrain: urban anthropology; history; environmental studies; literature; geography. Together we will ask: What are the sets of power relations that unequally shape places, societies, and even everyday experiences? How is mobility unevenly distributed across race and class? How have these processes concentrated poverty, environmental hazards, and lack of access to opportunity? In doing so, we will look to the plantation, the Great Migration, the “inner city” ghetto, and the prison as ways to investigate some iconic spatializations of race in America. Finally—and crucially—we won’t lose sight of our own worlds!
ENGL 114 – Section 33 (10344)
The Real World of Food
This section of English 114 will discuss whether or not our food system is broken and which fixes are politically, environmentally, and economically feasible. Readings from Tom Philpott’s Perilous Bounty and Mark Bittman’s Animal, Vegetable, Junk, as well as other journalists and scholars will inform our discussion of the ins and outs of our agricultural system. Additionally, students will read documents related to practical approaches to change and will view relevant films to take a behind-the-scenes look at what food policy means to each of us and to the health of our nation. Among the topics considered: Has industrial agriculture failed us, contributing to pollution, ruining our soil, and depleting our water supplies? If food in our nation is cheap and plentiful, why are so many Americans hungry and unhealthy? Why doesn’t everyone in the United States have access to nutritious, affordable food?
ENGL 418 11709) /EVST 224
Writing About the Environment
Exploration of ways in which the environment and the natural world can be channeled for literary expression. Reading and discussion of essays, reportage, and book-length works, by scientists and non-scientists alike. Students learn how to create narrative tension while also conveying complex—sometimes highly technical—information; the role of the first person in this type of writing; and where the human environment ends and the non-human one begins
EVST 020 (11706)
Sustainable Development in Haiti
The principles and practice of sustainable development explored in the context of Haiti’s rich history and culture, as well as its current environmental and economic impoverishment.
EVST 030 (12321) /NELC 026/ARCG 031
Origins of Civilization: Egypt and Mesopotamia
Areas HU, SO
The origins of the earliest civilizations in Mesopotamia and Egypt along the Nile and Tigris-Euphrates Rivers explored with archaeological, historical and environmental data for the origins of agriculture, the classes and hierarchies that marked earliest cities, states and empires, the innovative monumental architecture, writing, imperial expansion, and new national ideologies. How and why these civilizational processes occurred with the momentous societal collapses at periods of abrupt climate change.
EVST 040 (11707)
Collections of the Peabody
Exploration of scientific questions through the study and analysis of objects within the Peabody Museum’s collections. Formulating a research question and carrying out a project that addresses it are the core activities of the course.
EVST 127 (10811) /SOCY 127/ER&M 127/WGSS 127
Health and Illness in Social Context
Present-day medicine and health care provide solutions to an ever-increasing array of human problems. Yet the achievement of health can be elusive. This course provides a broad introduction to the domains of health and illness in the U.S., with some coverage of international trends and topics. Students analyze how our personal health and public health are shaped by social structures, political struggles, expert knowledge, and medical markets. Topics include the cultural and social meanings associated with health and illness; inequalities in health and health care access and provision; controversies surrounding healthcare, medical knowledge production, and medical decision-making; and the social institutions of the health care industry.
EVST 228 (12527) /HUMS 228/HIST 459J/LITR 345
Climate Change and the Humanities
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.
EVST 350 (12027)
Writing the World
This is a practical writing course meant to develop the student’s skills as a writer. But its real subject is perception and the writer’s authority—the relationship between what you notice in the world around you and what, culturally speaking, you are allowed to notice. What you write during the term is driven entirely by your own interest and attention. How you write is the question at hand. We explore the overlapping habitats of language—present and past—and the natural environment. And, to a lesser extent, we explore the character of persuasion in environmental themes. Every member of the class writes every week, and we all read what everyone writes every week. It makes no difference whether you are a would-be journalist, scientist, environmental advocate, or policy maker. The goal is to rework your writing and sharpen your perceptions, both sensory and intellectual.
HIST 006 (11266) /HSHM 005
Medicine and Society in American History
Areas HU, WR
Disease and healing in American history from colonial times to the present. The changing role of the physician, alternative healers and therapies, and the social impact of epidemics from smallpox to AIDS.
HIST 225J (11290)
Perfect Worlds? Utopia and Dystopia in Western Cultures
Areas HU, WR
This course explores the history of utopia and the ways in which societies at different times defined and conceived alternative or ideal worlds. It explores the relationship between real historical conditions and the models of utopia that were elaborated. By examining classic texts like Plato and Thomas More, as well as fictional accounts, students discuss the relationship between utopias and dystopias. The course also discusses how the crises of the last century, with WWII, the fall of the Soviet Union, and the difficulties of global capitalism provoked what some people now consider to be a crisis of utopian thought or, a moment of a redefinition of utopias as more pragmatic, inclusive, and egalitarian of societies.
HIST 236 (10475) /HSHM 226
The Scientific Revolution
Ivano Dal Prete
The changing relationship between the natural world and the arts from Leonardo to Newton. Topics include Renaissance anatomy and astronomy, alchemy, natural and geo history.
HIST 289J (10473) /HSHM 407/HUMS 220/HSAR 399
Areas HU, WR
A history of museums before the emergence of the modern museum. Focus on: cabinets of curiosities and Wunderkammern, anatomical theaters and apothecaries’ shops, alchemical workshops and theaters of machines, collections of monsters, rarities, and exotic specimens.
HIST 435J (11314)
Colonial Cities: A Global Seminar
Areas HU, WR
Cities of empire, both imperial capitals and colonial outposts, played crucial roles in the reinforcement of racial hierarchies, the flow of goods, people, and capital, and the representation of imperial power. This course looks at histories of cities around the world in the age of empire, and how they were shaped by these forces. Students gain visual analysis and mapping skills, and learn about the history and theory of imperial, colonial and postcolonial cities, and how they still inform debates over the urban environment today.
HIST 467J (10469) /HSHM 422
Cartography, Territory, and Identity
Areas HU, WR
Exploration of how maps shape assumptions about territory, land, sovereignty, and identity. The relationship between scientific cartography and conquest, the geography of statecraft, religious cartographies, encounters between Western and non-Western cultures, and reactions to cartographic objectivity. Students make their own maps.
HSAR 326 (10135) /ARCH 260
History of Architecture to 1750
Introduction to the history of architecture from antiquity to the dawn of the Enlightenment, focusing on narratives that continue to inform the present. The course begins in Africa and Mesopotamia, follows routes from the Mediterranean into Asia and back to Rome, Byzantium, and the Middle East, and then circulates back to mediaeval Europe, before juxtaposing the indigenous structures of Africa and America with the increasingly global fabrications of the Renaissance and Baroque. Emphasis on challenging preconceptions, developing visual intelligence, and learning to read architecture as a story that can both register and transcend place and time, embodying ideas within material structures that survive across the centuries in often unexpected ways.
HSAR 457 (12130)
Arts and theory of the Japanese garden with emphasis on the role of the anthropogenic landscape from aesthetics to environmental precarity, including the concept of refugium. Case studies of influential Kyoto gardens from the 11th through 15th centuries, and their significance as cultural productions with ecological implications.
HSAR 487 (12651) /ER&M 384
Art in the Anthropocene
There is widespread consensus that we are living in a state of emergency and ecological collapse. This seminar explores how contemporary artists are responding to the Anthropocene, a geological epoch defined by the impacts of human activity on the natural world. The converging crises of our present have revealed how structural inequality has created an uneven distribution of environmental risk along the lines of class, ethnicity, gender, and race. Engaging critical issues in the environmental humanities and focusing on the intersections of environmental and social justice, the course focuses on contemporary art from the 1970s to the present, with attention to how the legacies of colonization, empire, and the transatlantic slave trade shape the present. We consider how art bears witness to ecological crisis while exploring how arts worldmaking potential might help us imagine more just futures. Through a survey of contemporary art in the Anthropocene, we critically examine the interface between art, activism, and knowledge production.
HSHM 217 (10453) /HIST 485/AMST 215/HUMS 219
Biomedical Futures and Michael Crichton’s Monsters
Areas HU, SO
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.
HSHM 406 (10455) /HIST 150J
Healthcare for the Urban Poor
Areas HU, WR
Exploration of the institutions, movements, and policies that have attempted to provide healthcare for the urban poor in America from the late nineteenth century to the present, with emphasis on the ideas (about health, cities, neighborhoods, poverty, race, gender, difference, etc) that shaped them. Topics include hospitals, health centers, public health programs, the medical civil rights movement, the women’s health movement, and national healthcare policies such as Medicare and Medicaid.
HSHM 476 (12519) /HUMS 430/ENGL 248/PHIL 361/LITR 483
Thought Experiments: Connecting Literature, Philosophy and the Natural Sciences
Areas HU, WR
The course looks closely at the intersection of literature, philosophy and natural science through the lens of the thought experiment. Do thought experiments yield new knowledge about the world? What role does narrative or scene setting play in thought experiments? Can works of literary fiction or films function as thought experiments? Readings take up topics such as personal identity, artificial intelligence, meaning and intentionality, free will, time travel, the riddle of induction, “trolley problems” in ethics and the hard problem of consciousness. Authors may include Mary Shelley, Plato, Albert Einstein, Franz Kafka, H.G. Wells, Rene Descartes, Kazuo Ishiguro, Rivka Galchen, Alan Turing, Hilary Putnam, as well as films (The Imitation Game) and television shows (Black Mirror).
SAST 361 (12364)
The Material and Visual Cultures of Religion in South Asia
Areas HU, SO
What do disparate events such as the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan or the construction of statues of B.R. Ambedkar, historical figure of Dalit resistance in India, tell us about the changing relationship between religion, media, and popular culture in South Asia, a region that includes the modern nations of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet and Afghanistan? How can tracking this changing relationship attune us to South Asia’s many ritual and devotional practices as well as the ways they have informed the region’s changing cultural and political formations? How does it illuminate the study of gender, caste, labour, Indigeneity, decolonization, and nationalism in modern South Asia and to the rise of religious majoritarianism today? This seminar explores these and other related questions through a study of objects, images, architecture, and other forms of media from premodern, modern, and contemporary South Asia. Given the geographic and temporal expanse this course covers, ours is a selective investigation of media such as sculpture, architecture, painting, photography, the museum, the graphic novel, cinema and their role in constituting and mediating South Asia’s plural and changing religious practices at different historical stages. It also considers the many cultural conceptions of space and place that the material and visual cultures of religion constitute, which challenge the idea of South Asia as a singular or stable category.
WGSS 260 (10005)
Food, Identity, and Desire
Exploration of how food—ingredients, cooking practices, and appetites—can intersect with gender, ethnicity, class, and national origin to produce profound experiences of identity and desire. Sources include memoir, cookbooks, movies, and fiction.