Courses for First Year Seminar

Unify Course Listings

Reinventing Literary History

Sections of Reinventing Literary History are grouped in four clusters: Seminars on the Legacy of the Mediterranean feature classic texts representing key intellectual moments that have shaped Western culture, as well as excursions to the opera, the theatre, and museums. Offering revisionist responses to the constraints of canonicity, seminars on the Americas, Women and Culture, and Global Literature cross national boundaries, exploring the literary history of the Americas, the role of women in other cultures, and various approaches to global literature.

FYSB BC 1168x Legacy of the Mediterranean I

This course investigates key intellectual moments in the rich literary history that originated in classical Greece and Rome and continues to inspire some of the world's greatest masterpieces. Close readings of works reveal how psychological and ideological paradigms, including the self and civilization, shift over time, while the historical trajectory of the course invites inquiry into the myth of progress at the heart on canonicity. Texts include Euripides, The Bacchae; the Homeric Hymn to Demeter; Homer, Odyssey; Vergil, Aeneid; Dante, Inferno; Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales; Margery Kempe, The Book of Margery Kempe; Shakespeare [selection depends on NYC theatre offerings]; Madame de Lafayette, La Princesse de Cleves.
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2015 :: FYSB BC1168
FYSB
1168
03082
001
TuTh 1:10p - 2:25p
TBA
S. Pedatella 0 [ More Info ]
FYSB
1168
05747
002
TuTh 8:40a - 9:55a
TBA
L. Ciolkowski 0 [ More Info ]
FYSB
1168
01997
003
MW 2:40p - 3:55p
TBA
B. Breyer 0 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1170y Legacy of the Mediterranean II

This course investigates key intellectual moments in the rich literary history that originated in classical Greece and Rome and continues to inspire some of the world's greatest masterpieces. Trips to museums and the opera situate the works in an interdisciplinary context available only in New York City. Works include Milton, Paradise Lost; Voltaire, Candide; Puccini, LaBohème[excursion to the Metropolitan Opera]; William Wordsworth (selected poetry); Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Darwin, Marx, and Freud (selected essays); Joseph Conrad; Heart of Darkness; T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land; Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse; Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead.
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Spring 2015 :: FYSB BC1170
FYSB
1170
08904
001
MW 10:10a - 11:25a
403 BARNARD HALL
S. Sastry 15 [ More Info ]
FYSB
1170
07388
002
MW 11:40a - 12:55p
404 BARNARD HALL
A. Lynn 16 [ More Info ]
FYSB
1170
02188
003
MW 8:40a - 9:55a
405 BARNARD HALL
A. Schneider 15 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1269x The Americas I

Transcends the traditional and arbitrary distinction that separates North and South American literatures. The Americas emerge not as a passive colonial object but as an active historical and aesthetic agent. Emanating from what might be called the geographical site of modernity, American literature is characterized by unprecedented diversity and innovation. In addition to classic American novels, short stories, and poetry, the multicultural curriculum features genres ranging from creation myths and slave narratives to Gothicism and magic realism. Texts include: Popul Vuh; Shakespeare, The Tempest; Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Anne Bradstreet, and Phillis Wheatley, selected poetry; Madre Marïa de San Josï, Vida; Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Huntly; Toussaint L'Ouverture, selected letters; Leonora Sansay, Secret History; Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano; William Apess, A Sonof the Forest; Esteban Echeverrïa, "The Slaughterhouse"; Herman Melville, "Benito Cereno."
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2015 :: FYSB BC1269
FYSB
1269
00801
001
TuTh 11:40a - 12:55p
TBA
L. Mehta 0 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1270y Americas II

This course transcends traditional distinctions separating Caribbean, North, South, and Central American literatures. Emanating from what might be called the geographical site of modernity, the Americas generate literary works of unprecedented innovation and diversity, including: José Martí, "Our America"; Machado de Assis, Dom Casmurro; Jean Toomer, Langston Hughes, Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, selected poetry; William Faulkner, "The Bear"; T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land; Pablo Neruda, The Heights of Macchu Picchu; Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude; Don DeLillo, White Noise; Jhumpa Lahiri, selected stories.
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Spring 2015 :: FYSB BC1270
FYSB
1270
07198
001
TuTh 11:40a - 12:55p
404 BARNARD HALL
L. Mehta 16 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1330x Women and Culture I

This course investigates key intellectual moments in the rich literary history that originated in classical Greece and Rome and continues to inspire some the the world's greatest masterpieces. Close readings of works reveal how psychological and ideological paradigms, including the self and civilization, shift over time, while the historical trajectory of the course invites inquiry into the myth of progress at the heart of canonicity. Texts include: Aeschylus, Oresteia; Hymn to Demeter; Ovid, Metamorphoses; Sei Shonagon, The Pillow Book; Marie de France, Lais; Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales; Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, selected poetry; Shakespeare, As You Like It; Aphra Behn, Oroonoko; and Lady Hyegyong, The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2015 :: FYSB BC1330
FYSB
1330
06183
001
TuTh 2:40p - 3:55p
TBA
R. Abramowitz 0 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1333y Women and Culture II

This course examines constraints on canonicity, especially as they pertain to the portrayal of women in literature and culture. The curriculum explores a diverse range of intellectual and experiential possibilities for women, and it challenges traditional dichotomies--culture/nature, logos/pathos, mind/body--that cast gender as an essential attribute rather than a cultural construction. Readings include Milton, Paradise Lost; The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong; Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman; Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights; Emily Dickinson, selected poetry; Sigmund Freud, selected essays; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Gertrude Stein, Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights; Luisa Valenzuela, selected stories; Yvette Christiansë, Castaway.
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Spring 2015 :: FYSB BC1333
FYSB
1333
02667
001
TuTh 11:40a - 12:55p
407 BARNARD HALL
G. Barlow 15 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1594y Global Literature: Tradition and Modernity: Gandhi, India, and the West

Much of the history of the last hundred years can be told as the experience of non-Western nations achieving independence from Western colonizers. At the cultural level, these conflicts are often taken as a struggle between "modernity" and "tradition." This course will examine these issues closely by taking the decolonization of British India as an exemplary instance of this conflict between the West and the non-West. No figure in this conflict more dramatically embodies "traditional" Indian culture than Mohandas Gandhi. Through our readings, we will complicate the modern-traditional divide by focusing on the wide global range of influences (British, Russian, South African, and Indian, among others) that constituted the Gandhian persona and philosophy, and by examining a wide range of Indian voices that sometimes stood in opposition to him. While our focus will be on the Indian case, in discussions and assignments students will be encouraged to apply their insights to other cultural arenas where "tradition" and "modernity" are placed at odds. - S. Singh
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Spring 2015 :: FYSB BC1594
FYSB
1594
02952
001
MW 1:10p - 2:25p
403 BARNARD HALL
S. Singh 16 [ More Info ]

Reacting to the Past

In these seminars, students play complex historical role-playing games informed by classic texts. After an initial set-up phase, class sessions are run by students. These seminars are speaking- and writing-intensive, as students pursue their assigned roles' objectives by convincing classmates of their views.

Each seminar will work with three of the following four games: 1) The Threshold of Democracy: Athens in 403 B.C. explores a pivotal moment following the defeat of Athens in the Peloponnesian War, when democrats sought to restore democracy while critics, including the supporters of Socrates, proposed alternatives. The key text is Plato's Republic. 2) Confucianism and the Succession Crisis of the Wanli Emperor examines a dispute between Confucian purists and pragmatists within the Hanlin Academy, the highest echelon of the Ming bureaucracy, taking Analects of Confucius as the central text. 3) The Trial of Anne Hutchinson revisits a conflict that pitted Puritan dissenter Anne Hutchinson and her supporters against Massachusetts Governor John Winthrop and the orthodox ministers of New England. Students work with testimony from Hutchinson's trial as well as the Bible and other texts. 4) Greenwich Village, 1913: Suffrage, Labor and the New Woman investigates the struggle between radical labor activists and woman suffragists for the hearts and minds of "Bohemians," drawing on foundational works by Marx, Freud, Mary Wollstonecraft, and others.

FYSB BC 1601x Reacting to the Past
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Spring 2015 :: FYSB BC1601
FYSB
1601
07174
001
MW 2:40p - 3:55p
214 MILBANK HALL
P. Nadasen 16 [ More Info ]
FYSB
1601
05694
002
TuTh 1:10p - 2:25p
302 BARNARD HALL
D. Kempf 16 [ More Info ]
Autumn 2015 :: FYSB BC1601
FYSB
1601
08198
001
MW 1:10p - 2:25p
TBA
M. Carnes 0 [ More Info ]
FYSB
1601
05045
002
TuTh 2:40p - 3:55p
TBA
P. Stokes 0 [ More Info ]

Special Topics

FYSB BC 1166y The Art of Being Oneself

Transparency in writing is a creation. It conveys the sense that the writer is putting all of his or her cards on the table, that the voice is candid and reasonable, that the person writing is knowable in an essential respect. Although in recent decades such a prose style has not been especially cherished in literature, it has characterized works that endure and that survive translation. Great artists in whatever medium tend to write clearly, vividly, concisely, and memorably about such complicated subjects as aesthetics, technique, political identity, the workings of society, and the shadings of emotion that galvanize human action. This course will look at examples ranging across time, space, and literary medium: the essay, the lecture, the autobiography, the journal, the letter, and the short story. Readings in the past have included Phillip Lopate, The Personal Essay; Eugene Delacroix, The Journals; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Letter; Chinua Achebe, Home and Exile; Paul Taylor, Private Domain; and Eudora Welty, One Writer's Beginnings. - M. Aloff
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Spring 2015 :: FYSB BC1166
FYSB
1166
04846
001
TuTh 1:10p - 2:25p
405 BARNARD HALL
M. Aloff 16 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1189x Enchanted Imagination

A survey of fantasy works that examines the transformative role of the Imagination in aesthetic and creative experience, challenges accepted boundaries between the imagined and the real, and celebrates Otherness and Magicality in a disenchanted world. Readings will be selected from fairy tales, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest; Romantic poetry by Blake, Coleridge, Keats, and Dickinson; Romantic art by Friedrich, Waterhouse, and Dore; Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Lewis Carroll's Alice books, Tennyson's Idylls of the King, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings; Magical Realist works by Borges, Garcia Marquez, and Allende; Sondheim & Lapine's Into the Woods, Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories. - J. Pagano
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2015 :: FYSB BC1189
FYSB
1189
04339
001
MW 10:10a - 11:25a
TBA
J. Pagano 0 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1216y Revolution: Locke to Luxemburg

Close reading of revolutionary and counterrevolutionary texts from the 18th through the 20th century. Examination of revolutions as debates among competing points of views, with emphasis on the ways in which the language of revolution is challenged and transformed in the course of these debates. Readings include: selections from Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War; selections from, Paine, Common Sense and Rights of Man; Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France; Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Women; Conrad, The SecretAgent, Lenin, What Is to Be Done?; Luxemburg, "Leninism or Marxism?"; Kollontai, "Women and the Revolution." Films include "Battleship Potemkin" (S. Eisenstein) and "Rosa Luxemburg" (M. von Trotta). - H. Sloan
3 points

FYSB BC 1228x Ethnicity and Social Transformation

Novels, memoirs, films and fieldwork based on the American experience of immigration during the twentieth centure. Readings will include works by Bernard Malamud, Philip Roth, Christina Garcia, Julia Alvarez, Fae Ng, Gish Jen, Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, and Malcolm X. - P. Ellsberg
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2015 :: FYSB BC1228
FYSB
1228
02334
001
MW 1:10p - 2:25p
TBA
M. Ellsberg 0 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1278x Economic Life and Human Character

Governing authority can be defined as the relationship between ruler and ruled in which the framing of issues, the myths and narrative history of the state, and the reasoned elaboration of the government's decision are accepted by the citizens of subjects of the state. The crisis of authority occurs when this relationship is disrupted. In this seminar we will examine such crises in Ancient Greece, Renaissance Western Europe, Twentieth Century United State, and post-communist Eastern Europe, through the writings of such authors as Plate, Machiavelli, Milton, Mill, de Tocqueville, King, and Michnik. - A. Burgstaller
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2015 :: FYSB BC1278
FYSB
1278
03247
001
TuTh 6:10p - 7:25p
TBA
A. Burgstaller 0 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1286x Culture, Ethics and Economics

What if humans were only capable of caring for their own interests? What kind of economic world could we expect to find? One in which the common good would be attained by market forces, or one in which many would be left behind? This course uses a diversity of sources to examine the interplay of culture, ethics and economics. The starting point is Adam Smith's work. Economists and policy makers have focused on one side of Adam Smith's work represented by self-regarding behavior and the supremacy of the invisible hand in market functioning. However, Adam Smith also pointed out that one of humans' central emotions is "sympathy", a natural tendency to care about the well-being of others. In light of the recent events as well as research this other side of Adam Smith's work appears now more relevant. We analyze evidence of cooperative versus self-regarding behaviors and its relationship with the economy, human evolution and cultural values in a variety of settings. Readings include works from Adam Smith, Milton Freedman, Charles Dickens, David Rockefeller and Chris Gardner. - S. Pereira
3 points

FYSB BC 1289y Violence and Justice

What is the relationship between violence and justice? Are these mutually exclusive terms or do they at times overlap? Is violent disobedience of law unjustifiable at all times? How about violence used by to draw attention to questions of injustice? This first year seminar aims to inquire into these challenging questions by studying the theoretical debates on the relationship between violence, politics, and justice (e.g. Sorel, Fanon, Arendt, Zizek), analyzing different conceptions of civil disobedience (e.g. Plato, Thoreau, Marcuse, Rawls, Habermas), looking at examples of political struggles (e.g. civil rights movement, student protests of late 60s, labor movement, anti-colonial struggle, anti-globalization protests, suffragettes), and grappling with the question of how representations of violence affect our judgment about its legitimacy (e.g. Conrad's Secret Agent). - A. Gundogdu
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Spring 2015 :: FYSB BC1289
FYSB
1289
05994
001
TuTh 4:10p - 5:25p
201 LEHMAN HALL
A. Gundogdu 16 [ More Info ]
Autumn 2015 :: FYSB BC1289
FYSB
1289
06400
001
TuTh 10:10a - 11:25a
TBA
A. Gundogdu 0 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1291x Utopias

In his 1516 work Utopia, Englishman Thomas More created a name for a perfect society from Greek roots meaning either no-place or the good place (eutopia). More's vision of an ideal alternative world reflected his worries about social problems in England as well as the possibilities he imagined in America, which offered a real new world for most Europeans in the early 1500s. More was neither the first nor last person to imagine an alternate world, and this class will examine the ways writers, politicians, social critics, and revolutionaries have constructed eutopias (or good societies) as well as dystopias (bad societies) in fiction and in real life. We will ask how utopian fiction has developed as a distinctive genre, and we will also ask how utopian thought is a product of its particular time. What motivates writers and thinkers to come up with alternative models of society? What has made utopian fiction and science fiction so interesting to so many different kinds of writers? Additionally, what is the relationship between people who have written fictional visions of the future and those people who have tried to create real utopian societies? Can one person's eutopia become another's dystopia? Readings in the class will range from Plato's Republic through modern science fiction and studies of surbubia. Texts include More's Utopia, Columbus's journals, Shakespeare's The Tempest, the Communist Manifesto, Gilman's Herland, and Hopkins's Of One Blood. We will also examine attempts to create utopias, including several American experimental communes from the early 1800s, nationalist racial dystopias such as Nazi Germany, and master-planned communities in the modern United States.
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2015 :: FYSB BC1291
FYSB
1291
04046
001
MW 2:40p - 3:55p
TBA
G. Kenny 0 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1294y Art, Sex and American Culture

Sex is the ultimate forbidden public topic and yet from the New England Puritans' sermons to Bill Clinton's (in)famous affair, sex has often been publicly staged in dramatic, literary, religious, political, legal and social forums. In this seminar, we will explore how issues of sex and sexuality have insinuated themselves into the formation of American identity. We will examine texts from the seventeenth century to the present with a particular emphasis on the arts, politics and sex. Texts include Puritan sermons, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suzan-Lori Parks's Venus, photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe, literature from Margaret Sanger's birth control movement, and theoretical works by Michel Foucault, Laura Mulvey and Judith Butler. - P. Cobrin
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Spring 2015 :: FYSB BC1294
FYSB
1294
06018
001
TuTh 1:10p - 2:25p
404 BARNARD HALL
P. Cobrin 16 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1295y Envisioning Equality Between the Sexes

What constitutes equality between the sexes? By studying visions of equality between the sexes offered in law, politics, international development, religion, literature, psychology, anthropology, and the writings of activists, we will explore what such equality must or might look like. Focusing on western authors, we will consider issues such as rights, equality and difference, reproductive roles, violence, and language. Texts will include Elizabeth Cady Stanton, A Woman's Bible; the U.N.'s "Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women"; Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time; Catherine MacKinnon, Only Words; and Rebecca Walker, "Becoming the Third Wave." - C. Ullman
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Spring 2015 :: FYSB BC1295
FYSB
1295
02886
001
MW 2:40p - 3:55p
407 BARNARD HALL
C. Ullman 16 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1296x and y The Hudson: America's River

Called "America's River," the Hudson not only runs right behind our campus, but right through American history. Throughout American history the Hudson River has been a complex social and cultural entity, simultaneously a commercial conduit, a historic place at the center of the American Revolution, an industrial resource, and a privileged site for aesthetic experiences and the as birthplace of modern environmentalism. In this course you will explore the Hudson in relationship to the varied historical communities which have made meaning with it, identifying its contributions to discourses of nation and nature, but also race, gender, art and science. Readings will include literary works by Washington Irving and James Fenimore Cooper as well as essays and poems on subjects from fairies to trees to architecture to railroad travel. Close analysis of works of architecture, landscape design, and the iconic paintings of the Hudson River School will be accompanied by an exploration of the various methods for "reading" these objects and paintings. Visits to Museum collections and to sites along the river will be an important part of the curriculum. - E. Hutchinson
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2015 :: FYSB BC1296
FYSB
1296
06492
001
TuTh 10:10a - 11:25a
TBA
E. Hutchinson 0 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1298y The Middle Class

The focus on the "middle class" in American politics is not new. Indeed, the size and (seeming) success of the American middle class has long been treated as a mark of American exceptionalism. Why is the "middle class" so important in American politics? What does its much-reported decline mean? What, for that matter, is the middle class-a subdivision of American income? Personal rank? Status? If the middle class is such an important site of economic, social and political aspiration, why is it also so often a site for scathing criticism and cutting satire about the challenges of modern (suburban) life? What do we think about when we think about the middle class? - M. Smith
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2015 :: FYSB BC1298
FYSB
1298
02129
001
MW 11:40a - 12:55p
TBA
M. Smith 0 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1455y Literature and Justice

In this seminar, we will examine a series of texts from the Western literary tradition--along with a few seminal works of classic and contemporary cinema--to consider how and why they thematize characters' quests for justice. From the ties of kinship to the bonds of citizenship, from the articulation to the deconstruction of transcendental moral codes, from the traumatic demands of law to the (often equally traumatic) exigencies of revenge, we will explore the many intricacies of "justice" as both an ubiquitous literary topos and an abiding ethical issue. Authors studied will include Aeschylus, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Molière, the Marquis de Sade, Heinrich von Kleist, Franz Kafka, Jean Anouilh, Jean-Paul Sartre, W.H. Auden and Martin Amis. Secondary readings will be drawn primarily from philosophical and psychoanalytic sources, such as G.W.F. Hegel, Heinz Kohut, and Jacques Lacan. Along with filmed adaptations of our primary literary works, we will view and discuss the movies Claude Lanzmann's "Shoah" and Joel Schumacher's "Falling Down." - C. Weber
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Spring 2015 :: FYSB BC1455
FYSB
1455
01543
001
TuTh 4:10p - 5:25p
318 MILBANK HALL
C. Weber 16 [ More Info ]
Autumn 2015 :: FYSB BC1455
FYSB
1455
07430
001
TuTh 11:40a - 12:55p
TBA
C. Weber 0 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1457x The Beautiful Sea

Consideration of mostly American texts that--and writers who--share a central engagement with the sea, seafaring and coastal life. Particular attention to the sea as workplace and as escape. Texts include Homer, The Odyssey; the Book of Jonah; St. Brendan, Navigations; Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation; Mather, "Surprising Sea Deliverances"; Franklin, "Maritime Observations"; Dana, Two Years Before the Mast; Melville, Moby-Dick, or The Whale; Thoreau, Cape Cod; Twain, Life on the Mississippi; Chopin, The Awakening; Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs; Slocum, Sailing Alone Around the World; Beston, The Outermost House; Carson, Under the Sea Wind; Rich, "Diving into the Wreck"; Casey, Spartina. - R. McCaughey
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2015 :: FYSB BC1457
FYSB
1457
01273
001
MW 10:10a - 11:25a
TBA
R. McCaughey 0 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1465x On Dreams and Nightmares

In the dead of night it is not uncommon for even the most socially staid of individuals to fly, to ride an elephant at breakneck speed, to visit with the dead, or to expose themselves in public. Ancient Egyptians struggled to understand how and why we dream, as have countless individuals in other times and cultures. Some thinkers, ancient and modern, have dismissed dreams as essentially meaningless byproducts of natural processes. Others have taken dreams seriously as a primary means of access to an ordinarily imperceivable world in which one can commune with spirits and deities and receive from them valuable information about future events or even one's own health. The implications of this belief have led to vigorous theological debates as to whose dreams may be trusted (and, alternatively, whose need to be actively suppressed). From Freud onward, many have felt that dreams offer the key not to other worlds but to the complicated realm of the psyche. Over the course of our semester we will look at how scientists, philosophers, hypochondriacs, pious pagans and monotheists, opium addicts, psychologists, playwrights, novelists, artists, and film directors have understood dreams and been inspired by them. Authors whose works we will read include Aristotle, Cicero, Chung Tzu, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Andre Breton, H.P. Lovecraft, Jorge Borges, Ursula Le Guin, Neil Gaimon, and many others. Special attention will likewise be paid to the phenomenon of lucid dreaming and to the immense influence this practice has had on the creative output of both writers and filmmakers.
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2015 :: FYSB BC1465
FYSB
1465
02644
001
MW 11:40a - 12:55p
TBA
E. Morris 0 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1467y Activism and Social Change

Frederick Douglass famously stated, 'if there is no struggle, there is no progress.' This quote captures the essence of activism, which is the struggle between that which is and that which ought to be. This course will trace the many ways in which activism has been defined over time, situating them within different historical social movements. We will also explore contemporary debates about the re-conceptualization of activism in the age of social media and the internet. Readings include texts from such canonical authors as Plato, Mary Wollstonecraft and Martin Luther King, as well as more contemporary works by Clay Shirky, Malcolm Gladwell and Alissa Quart. Questions that this class will examine include: what are the different ways in which activism has been defined, practiced and justified? To what degree do new forms of activism expand on or refute more traditional forms of activism? How do social movements define, shape and challenge activists? What are some inherent problems within activist groups, and what are some of the challenges facing activists today? - D. Kato
3 points

FYSB BC 1469y Liberation

Liberation can be defined as freedom from limits on thought or behavior. More specifically, it can be defined as setting someone (or oneself) free from imprisonment, slavery, or oppression. This seminar examines political, philosophical, aesthetic, and theological traditions and movements for liberation, with an emphasis on collective liberation.
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Spring 2015 :: FYSB BC1469
FYSB
1469
03370
001
TuTh 2:40p - 3:55p
405 BARNARD HALL
M. Vimalassery 15 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1566y Exploring the Poles

Experience the Arctic and Antarctic from the perspective of the early polar explorers: Nansen, Scott and Amundsen, Shackelton. Study the effect of extreme environmental conditions on expedition planning and implementation. Consider the relative importance of luck and skill in ultimate outcomes. Read classic works and journal accounts, including Nansen's Farthest North, Lansing's Endurance. Explore the dynamics of expeditions and the role of varying environmental conditions through role play. Use a web-based exploration tool to follow varying polar conditions during the expeditions and discuss emerging issues. Course web site: http://www.phys.barnard.edu/~kay/exp/. - S. Pfirman
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Spring 2015 :: FYSB BC1566
FYSB
1566
06672
001
TuTh 10:10a - 11:25a
308 Diana Center
S. Pfirman 16 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1572x Animals in Text and Society

Interdisciplinary examination of the intimate and fraught connections between animals and humans in literature, philosophy and culture. We will consider topics such as the historical constructions of species boundaries and of the multiple meanings and uses of animals in human life; animal and human identity; emotions evoked by animals; and conceptualizations of animals as colonized "others." Readings include Aesop, Edward Albee, Angela Carter, John Coetzee, Geoffrey Chaucer, Gustave Flaubert, Jean LeFontaine, Marie de France, Michael Pollan, Ovid, selections from Genesis (in the Hebrew Bible), and Virginia Woolf. - T. Szell
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2015 :: FYSB BC1572
FYSB
1572
01446
001
TuTh 4:10p - 5:25p
TBA
T. Szell 0 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1597x Taboo and Transgression

This seminar explores taboo and transgression within a range of mythic, scientific, anthropological, psychoanalytical, feminist, and literary work. Topics include the treatment of the corpse during the Paleolithic, the centrality of the incest taboo in kinship studies, and the equation of secular modernity with the successive breaking of taboos.
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2015 :: FYSB BC1597
FYSB
1597
05266
001
MW 8:40a - 9:55a
TBA
S. Fowles 0 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1708y Creativity

Exploring a diverse array of sources from literature, psychology, and philosophy, we will consider questions such as: Can anything general be said about the structure of the creative process? What is the nature of the creative experience, and what significance does it have for finding happiness and meaning in life? Is there really a link between madness and creative genius? Can creativity be measured and explained? Can it be learned and taught? Through a varied series of assignments, students will be expected to think and write clearly, critically - and creatively! - about creativity. Authors include, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Kay Jamison, Plato, Walt Whitman.
3 points

FYSB BC 1711x Madness

Why is madness such a pervasive theme in literature, art, film and social theory? Using texts from ancient Greece, nineteenth-century Russia, modern China and post-war America, this seminar explores how madness has been used to define social normalcy, determine gender relations, and investigate the nature of individualism, subjectivity and creativity. - E. Tyerman
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2015 :: FYSB BC1711
FYSB
1711
06543
001
MW 4:10p - 5:25p
TBA
E. Tyerman 0 [ More Info ]

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