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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

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

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

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

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

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

FYSB BC 1586x Global Literature: Thinking Latin America: How to Read about Globalization from the Margins

This course explores how Spanish America emerged as a laboratory of aesthetic, philosophical and political thought by questioning the ideological foundations of western global and technological expansion. In this course we will explore the writings of writers who examined the conditions of possibility of violence of Iberian imperial expansion from the sixteenth century to the present. It will provide a literary and historical genealogy of the modern and postmodern views on nature, ecology, animal and human bodies. We will be especially interested in the analysis of dichotomies that lay the foundations of the Iberian political and scientific views on nature as well as the modern technical administration of human life through interpretative analysis and close readings of texts. We will examine how dichotomies truth/falsity, civilization/barbarism, male/female, raw material/commodities, nature/technology, developed/underdeveloped countries, while taken for granted by the imperial project, were questioned from the periphery. The field of study will range from the 15th to the 20th century, as authors include Bartolomé de Las Casas, Ginés de Sepúlveda, José de Acosta, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Simón Bolivar, Doming Faustino Sarmiento, José Martí, Enrique Dusell, José Enrique Rodó, Domitila Barrios de Chungara, Rigoberta Menchú, Jorge Luis Borges. - O. Bentancor
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: FYSB BC1586
FYSB
1586
04970
001
TuTh 2:40p - 3:55p
227 MILBANK HALL
O. Bentancor 15 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1594x 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

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

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

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 2014 :: FYSB BC1189
FYSB
1189
04339
001
MW 10:10a - 11:25a
102 SULZBERGER ANNEX
J. Pagano 16 [ More Info ]

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 2014 :: FYSB BC1228
FYSB
1228
02334
001
MW 1:10p - 2:25p
404 BARNARD HALL
M. Ellsberg 16 [ 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 2014 :: FYSB BC1278
FYSB
1278
03247
001
TuTh 6:10p - 7:25p
201 LEHMAN HALL
A. Burgstaller 16 [ 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

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: FYSB BC1286
FYSB
1286
00801
001
MW 11:40a - 12:55p
201 LEHMAN HALL
S. Pereira 14 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1288y Race, Democracy, and Education

In this seminar we will explore historical and contemporary ideas about education, race and democracy. Drawing on multiple disciplinary frameworks, we will examine conceptions of the role of education in a democracy and the tensions between ideals of democracy, the exclusionary treatment of particular groups, and their struggles for inclusion in the democratic polity at different points in our history as a nation. We will consider the ways public education reproduces as well as challenges inequality and discuss its potential to provide skills and dispositions for democratic citizenship in our increasingly diverse society - L. Bell
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

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

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

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 2014 :: FYSB BC1296
FYSB
1296
06492
001
TuTh 10:10a - 11:25a
405 BARNARD HALL
E. Hutchinson 14 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1297xy Capitalism, Liberalism and Freedom

The authors of the Declaration of Independence held as self-evident that "all men are created equal… endowed with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The meaning of these words, especially their relationship to the economy and the state, has evolved since the words were penned. Today they are the subject of a passionate political struggle. This course examines the thinking about capitalism and freedom from the classical liberals, including Locke, Smith and Tocqueville, through to today's conservative movement and its opponents. Readings contrast selections from the "conservative cannon," including Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, with several liberal or progressive counterparts. We will read Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed; Michael Lewis, Liar's Poker; and conclude by examining the landmark Supreme Court case, Citizens United.- A. Dye
3 points

FYSB BC 1298y The American 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

FYSB BC 1453y Einstein's Dreams

The seminar Einstein's Dreams and Time Machines will be based on literary fiction influenced by the big scientific ideas that have permeated culture. Discussion will be fostered between students of all backgrounds--both those that identify themselves as not particularly scientific in their outlook and those that identify themselves as having a scientific bent. The emphasis of the seminar will be on novels and plays that deal either directly, or even only tangentially, with scientific themes such as Einstein's Relativity, Quantum Theory, Reality and Objectivity, Technology and Machines, Entropy and Time, Consciousness. Readings include: Einstein's Dreams, Alan Lightman; Frankenstein, Mary Shelley; White Noise, Don DeLillo; Time's Arrow, Martin Amis - J. Levin
3 points

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 2014 :: FYSB BC1457
FYSB
1457
01273
001
MW 10:10a - 11:25a
201 LEHMAN HALL
R. McCaughey 15 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1462y Science, Literature and Culture

At Barnard, it's not uncommon to hear a student say, "I'm a literature person, not a science person," or "I'm a science person, not a literature person." Are science and literature two separate "cultures" in this was--appealing to different manners of thought, different types of questions, different modes of expression? Or can we find points of connection in the way they interpret and explain human experience? In this seminar, we'll ponder the intersections of science, literature and culture by considering pieces of creative writing (novels, plays, poems, short stories) alongside pieces of scientific writing (articles, essays, treatises). Some of the topics or themes that we will consider will be the "proper" purposes and aims of scientific and literary pursuits; the possibilities of reproducing life and intelligence and humanity through literary or scientific means; and the possible effects of major scientific developments--in areas as diverse as geology, biology, psychology, anthropology, and physics--on depictions of humans, their relationships to one another, and their place in the universe. Readings will include works by C.P. Snow, Plato, Galileo, Francis Bacon, Réne Descartes, Isaac Newton, Alexander Pope, Mary Shelley, Charles Lyell, Lord Tennyson, Thomas Huxley, Matthew Arnold, Charles Darwin, George Bernard Shaw, Sigmund Freud, Bertrand Russell, Virginia Woolf, Franz Boas, Zora Neale Hurston, Thomas Pynchon, James Gleick, Tom Stoppard and Kazuo Ishiguro. - L. Hollibaugh
3 points

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

FYSB BC 1466y Sustainability

Sustainability is being hailed as the solution that is going to link activists, citizens, and corporations to solve the world's environmental problems. However, there are many ways to define the term and assess the longterm effects of so-called "sustainable" measures. In this course, we will examine current and historical writings about human interactions with the environment in order to understand and identify our most profound environmental challenges and the most appropriate responses. Responding critically to the ideas of the past, we will also ask how our views have changed over time and what it might take to tackle the current large scale environmental issues facing society. Projects for the course include a critical essay, a political opinion piece, and a survey of environmental attitudes which is informed by the data studied and collected in class. - B. Mailloux
3 points

FYSB BC 1467x 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

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: FYSB BC1467
FYSB
1467
06183
001
MW 11:40a - 12:55p
404 BARNARD HALL
D. Kato 16 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1468y Liberation
3 points

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

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 2014 :: FYSB BC1572
FYSB
1572
01446
001
TuTh 4:10p - 5:25p
404 BARNARD HALL
T. Szell 15 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1582y Fire and Ice: Exploring Energy and Climate

Using books, articles, and essays from the 19th century to today, we will explore relationships among the history, economics, and biogeochemistry of energy and climate change. We will discuss how we have reached our current global climate over both human and geologic timescales, and we will examine what lies before us in the twenty-first century and beyond. What are the economic, social, scientific, and technological challenges? What are the implications of inaction? Readings will include works by Svante Arrhenius, Rachel Carson, Sylvia Earle, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Friedman, David Goodstein, Charles Lyell, John McPhee, Donella Meadows, and Noel Perrin. - J. Magyar
3 points

FYSB BC 1586x Global Literature: Thinking Latin America: How to Read about Globalization from the Margins

This course explores how Spanish America emerged as a laboratory of aesthetic, philosophical and political thought by questioning the ideological foundations of western global and technological expansion. In this course we will explore the writings of writers who examined the conditions of possibility of violence of Iberian imperial expansion from the sixteenth century to the present. It will provide a literary and historical genealogy of the modern and postmodern views on nature, ecology, animal and human bodies. We will be especially interested in the analysis of dichotomies that lay the foundations of the Iberian political and scientific views on nature as well as the modern technical administration of human life through interpretative analysis and close readings of texts. We will examine how dichotomies truth/falsity, civilization/barbarism, male/female, raw material/commodities, nature/technology, developed/underdeveloped countries, while taken for granted by the imperial project, were questioned from the periphery. The field of study will range from the 15th to the 20th century, as authors include Bartolomé de Las Casas, Ginés de Sepúlveda, José de Acosta, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Simón Bolivar, Doming Faustino Sarmiento, José Martí, Enrique Dusell, José Enrique Rodó, Domitila Barrios de Chungara, Rigoberta Menchú, Jorge Luis Borges. - O. Bentancor
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: FYSB BC1586
FYSB
1586
04970
001
TuTh 2:40p - 3:55p
227 MILBANK HALL
O. Bentancor 15 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1591xy Genes, Stem Cells and Society

Using scientific, popular and artistic sources we will explore the growing knowledge in genetics (particularly human genetics), our ability to manipulate the genes of various organisms and the social and ethical implications of these changes. In addition, we will explore the science and implications of advances in stem cell technology and cloning. Some of the approach in this course will be based on science; we will explore what technological advances have been made recently and what can be expected to occur in the near future. In other parts of the course we will examine works of fiction that explore genetics and its technological uses. Finally, other sections will involve readings about the ethical implications and possible social impact of recent scientific advances in genetics. - B. Morton
3 points

FYSB BC 1594 The Idea of Africa
3 points

FYSB BC 1596y New World Encounters

After Europeans arrived in the Americas, cultural clashing and blending created new worlds on both sides of the Atlantic. Focusing on Mexico and elsewhere, we examine indigenous American and European perspectives on these encounters. We also explore responses in contemporary art and literature, considering especially race, gender, and identity, from Hernán Cortés to Gloria Anzaldúa. - M. O'Neil
3 points

FYSB BC 1707x Confession

This seminar explores the notion of "confession" in many manifestations (autobiography, memoir, sacrament/ritual, political/judicial performance, public spectacle/confessional culture) and from a variety of disciplinary perspectives (history, literature, psychoanalysis, theology, cultural studies). Readings include: Augustine, Confessions; Foucault, History of Sexuality,vol. 1; Ginzberg, The Cheese and the Worms; Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground; Miranda v. Arizona; Gillian Slovo, Red Dust; Jackson, The Politics of Storytelling; Bauer, The Art of the Public Grovel; Cole, The Torture Memos; Asad, Genealogies of Religion; "The Lives of Others" (film; 2006, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarch). - E. Castelli
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: FYSB BC1707
FYSB
1707
08198
001
MW 1:10p - 2:25p
318 MILBANK HALL
E. Castelli 15 [ More Info ]

FYSB BC 1710x Classics Through Time

Artists constantly look to the past to find material to examine, criticize, take up as their own, and make new. We will spend time thinking deeply about five different groups of artists and the work they made in answer to a "classic." We will examine the source material as well as different permutations of the original. We will encounter playwrights, choreographers, filmmakers, visual artists, novelists and poets, and the critics who grappled with sometimes shocking new work woven from old threads. We will read the work of Euripides, Racine, Woolf, Shakespeare, and Auden, among other less well known writers. We will view performances and films by George Balanchine, Martha Graham, The Wooster Group, SITI Company, and Peter Greenaway. Along the way we will constantly ask how formal choices in art create meaning. We will work consistenly on our own viewing discipline, and hone our ability to articulate our thoughts about art in speech and writing. The final project will be an academic/creative hybrid; students will develop and pitch their own contemporary version of The Tempest.- A. Reagan
3 points

Course
Number
Call Number/
Section
Days & Times/
Location
Instructor Enrollment
Autumn 2014 :: FYSB BC1710
FYSB
1710
05045
001
TuTh 10:10a - 11:25a
404 BARNARD HALL
A. Reagan 16 [ More Info ]

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 2014 :: FYSB BC1711
FYSB
1711
06543
001
MW 2:40p - 3:55p
306 MILBANK HALL
E. Tyerman 15 [ More Info ]

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