Because we cross-list so many courses, it is inevitable that some courses that are advertised on the college catalog will be canceled, moved, altered, and so forth; furthermore, there are always a few grad-level courses offered through the Committee on Social Thought that do not appear in the college catalog at all. These are the courses actively offered for the academic year; it will be updated as the year progresses. To see the projected list of courses to be offered this year, see the catalog.
|FNDL 20200||Dostoyevsky's Brothers Karamazov||S. Meredith||We will read and interpret The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky. Among major themes are the relation to God and religion to the larger society and state; the problem of evil; and the nature of sin and how it enters into religious beliefs; human “freedom,” and what the word might have meant to Dostoevsky; and love.|
|FNDL 20502||Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago and Beyond||K. Taylor||This course looks at Wright's work from multiple angles, examining his architecture, urbanism, relationship to the built environment and socio-cultural context of his lifetime, and legend. We'll take advantage of the Robie House on campus and the rich legacy of Wright's early work in Chicago; we'll also think about his later "Usonian" houses for middle-income clients and the urban framework he imagined for his work ("Broadacre City"), as well as his Wisconsin headquarters (Taliesin), and spectacular works like the Johnson Wax Factory (a required one-day Friday field trip, if funds permit), Fallingwater, and the Guggenheim Museum. By examining on architect's work in context, students will gain experience analyzing buildings and their siting, and interpreting them in light of their complex ingredients and circumstances. The overall goal is to provide an introduction to thinking about architecture and urbanism.|
|FNDL 21414||The Art of Leonardo da Vinci||C. Cohen||The central focus of this course will be on the small, damaged and disputed body of paintings that Leonardo has left to us, the wealth of his drawings that help us make sense of that problematic heritage and provide the most direct route into his creative thinking, and the hundreds of pages of text in the form of notes in mirror-image handwriting that comment on art and so many other subjects. Our structure will be roughly chronological, including his late fifteenth-century Florentine artistic and social context; his two long periods in Milan as a court artist; his triumphant return to Florence and rivalry with the young Michelangelo; his brief and unsatisfying stay in papal Rome; and his final years in France. Among the themes that will be critically examined are: Leonardo’s role in the creation of what is still grandiosely called the High Renaissance; the value and problematic aspects of thinking of him as the quintessential artist-scientist; the significance of the fact that he has been a figure of such obsessive art-historical and broader cultural significance for over 500 years; and the ways in which recent scientific examination and digital imaging have shed surprising amounts of new light on his art. Through the concentrated study of the works of Leonardo and his artistic context, the course will take seriously the attempt to introduce students with little or no background in art history to some of the major avenues for analysis and interpretation in this field.|
|FNDL 21718||Xenophon's Socrates||N. Tarcov||
This course offers an introductory reading of Xenophon's Socratic works,which provide the chief alternative to the account provided by Plato's Socratic dialogues. We will read and discuss Xenophon's Apology of Socrates, Symposium, Oeconomicus, and Memorabilia, make some comparisons to Platonic works, and consider some secondary interpretations. Themes may include piety, teaching and corruption, virtue, justice and law economics, family, friendship, and eros.
Open to undergrads by consent.
|FNDL 21908||Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics||J. Lear & G. Lear||This course will offer a close reading of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, one of the great works of ethics. Among the topics to be considered are: What is a good life? What is ethics? What is the relation between ethics and having a good life? What is it for reason to be practical? What is human excellence? What is the non-rational part of the human psyche like? How does it ever come to listen to reason? What is human happiness? What is the place of thought and of action in the happy life? This course is intended for Philosophy majors and for Fundamentals majors. Otherwise please seek permission to enroll.|
|FNDL 22001||Foucault: History of Sexuality||A. Davidson||This course centers on a close reading of the first volume of Michel Foucault's The History of Sexuality, with some attention to his writings on the history of ancient conceptualizations of sex. How should a history of sexuality take into account scientific theories, social relations of power, and different experiences of the self? We discuss the contrasting descriptions and conceptions of sexual behavior before and after the emergence of a science of sexuality. Other writers influenced by and critical of Foucault are also discussed. One prior philosophy course is strongly recommended.|
|FNDL 22514||Moby-Dick, or The Whale||J. Knight||This course will focus on Moby Dick. Monomania--in its psychological, sexual, aesthetic, religious, epistemological, and political manifestations--will focus much of our inquiry into our texts and into the body of critical discourse surrounding them.|
|FNDL 22629||Nahj al-balagha: Virtue and Piety in the Teachings of Ali||T. Qutbuddin||Through a close reading and analysis of the orations, epistles and words of wisdom attributed to Ali ibn Abi Talib in the Nahj al-balagha, this course will explore an early stage of the development of these three important prose genres of classical Arabic literature, and Ali’s key themes and stylistic features. A main focus of the class will be on themes of virtue and piety.|
|FNDL 23008||Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws||P. Cheney||
From its publication in 1748, The Spirit of the Laws has been interpreted, among other things, as a foundational work of method in historical jurisprudence; a pæan to the English constitution and an inspiration for that of the future United States; a precocious call for penal reform and the abolition of slavery; a monument to the Enlightenment's capacity for cultural relativism that laid the groundwork for the discipline of sociology; an historical treatise on the rise of globalized commerce and its political effects in Europe; and a manifesto for a reactionary feudal aristocracy. We will read The Spirit of the Laws with an attention to these and other possible interpretations. This course is mainly an exercise in close reading, but we will also think about the contexts for the writing and reception of this landmark work of Enlightenment social and political thought.
PQ: Completion of one of these Core sequences: "Classics of Social and Political Thought," "Power, Identity, Resistance" or "Self, Culture, and Society."
|FNDL 23660||Baudelaire et Flaubert: la vie littéraire en l’an 1857||D. Desormeaux||
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) and Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880): two young men from wealthy families, two opponents of bourgeois education, two aborted social callings, two terminal illnesses, two resounding failures before literary institutions, two adventures in love, two satanic fascinations, two notorious literary trials, two conceptions of the craft of writing, two approaches to realism, two criticisms of romantic art, two models of poetic inspiration, two aesthetics of language, two cults of Beauty, all for one and a unique literature. This seminar will be devoted to the literary life of two writers whose canon for more than a century has occupied a central place of importance in contemporary literary criticism. It will be our task to place their work in perspective within the context of the rise of modernism, which is to say, the new status of literature as of the year 1857. We shall endeavor, thus, to discern the authenticity of the creative relationship of each artist with himself and subsequently with others. The point will be to foreground three fundamental principles that will aid in grasping the evolution of the literary world under the Second Empire and under the Third Republic: literary history, writing and the elevation of the writer (Bénichou). Our work will be based on three or four texts by Baudelaire and Flaubert, it being understood that additional works of criticism will illuminate the discussion of these texts.
PQ: FREN 20500 or 20503
Taught in French. Discussions in both French and English.
|FNDL 24406||Heidegger's Being and Time, Division I||R. Moati||We propose a cursive reading of the section I of the masterpiece of Heidegger Being and Time looking for the very connection, as our very leading question, between the idea of being in general and the discovery of the being of human being named by Heidegger – Dasein.|
|FNDL 24500||The Ethics of War: Reading Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations||R. Miller||This course will involve a close reading of Michael Walzer’s classic text on the ethics of war and his constructive account of the just-war tradition. Among the topics to be addressed are: moral relativism, human rights, and the ethics of various cases, e.g., terrorism, interventions, war crimes, blockades, assassinations, guerrilla warfare, reprisals, pre-emptive warfare, and nuclear deterrence. Relevant now no less than when it was first published in 1977, Walzer’s work raises basic questions about the rights of nations and their moral obligations to their citizens and to others during times of war.|
|FNDL 20199||Political Rhetoric: Speeches, Campaigns, and Protests||L. Brammer||
By critically examining historical and contemporary political discourse the class will attempt to elucidate how symbolic action creates meaning and shapes political positions as well as policy decisions. Utilizing rhetorical theory, students will analyze oral, written, and digital public communication aimed at influencing social, political, legal, and religious issues and institutions. It will explore topics such as the role of power and identity in political communication, the ethical dimension of public discourse, and the concept of a free and open public sphere. Through readings, discussions, case studies, and analytical assignments, students will learn to critically examine as well as to produce effective public discourse.
Note: Though not a text course, Fundamentals is cross-listing this because it may fit in very well with many students' programs as a supporting course.
|FNDL 20603||Plato's Republic: Philosophy and Justice||E. J. Ellison||The Republic is Plato’s masterpiece and a foundational work of Western philosophy and political thought. In the course of his quest to discover what justice is, Plato’s Socrates explores the most fundamental questions of our lives. What is a good political community? What is human excellence? What is the nature of our souls or selves? Is the world such that we can satisfy our highest aspirations? What makes knowledge possible? How can we live genuinely good lives when injustice so often prevails? What role can philosophy and the philosophical life play in approaching such problems? In this course, we shall read the Republic closely with attention to these questions.|
|FNDL 20666||Wallace Stevens and the Poetry of Modern Reality||L. Atnip||“After one has abandoned a belief in god, poetry is that essence which takes its place as life’s redemption” – so wrote Wallace Stevens in one of his aphoristic “Adagia.” A giant of modernist English poetry, Stevens grappled deeply and protractedly in both his poetry and prose with the particular character and problems of the modern situation – what he called “modern reality” – particularly the need, as he saw it, for a new “supreme fiction” giving meaning and purpose to human life, a fiction he sought to rediscover or recreate in and through (his) poetry. We will read widely from Stevens’ poems, essays and aphorisms with a view to comprehending and evaluating his poetics of modern reality.|
|FNDL 21211||Don Quixote||T. Pavel & F. De Armas||The course will provide a close reading of Cervantes' Don Quixote and discuss its links with Renaissance art and Early Modern narrative genres. On the one hand, Don Quixote can be viewed in terms of prose fiction, from the ancient Greek romances to the medieval books of knights errant and the Renaissance pastoral novels. On the other hand, Don Quixote exhibits a desire for Italy through the utilization of Renaissance art. Beneath the dusty roads of La Mancha and within Don Quixote’s chivalric fantasies, the careful reader will come to appreciate glimpses of images with Italian designs. Taught in English. Spanish majors will read the text in the original and use Spanish for the course assignments. The course format would be alternating lectures by the two faculty members on Mondays and Wednesdays. Fridays are devoted to discussion of the materials presented on Mondays and Wednesdays.|
|FNDL 21404||Shakespeare II: Tragedies and Comedies||E. MacKay||This course explores Shakespeare’s histories and comedies. Topics for discussion will include: arguments for the social, political, and moral benefits of theater, as well as for its perniciousness; representations of gender, sexuality, family, and friendship; actors’ and spectators’ experiences of performance; and philosophical theories of laughter, pity, and catharsis. Readings are likely to include Richard II, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, Much Ado about Nothing, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night—as well as a play in which comedy veers into tragedy (Othello) and a film adaptation (Orson Welles’s Chimes at Midnight).|
|FNDL 21408||Vico's New Science||R. Rubini||This course offers a close reading of Giambattista Vico's masterpiece, New Science (1744)-a work that sets out to refute "all opinions hitherto held about the principles of humanity." Vico, who is acknowledged as the most resolute scourge of any form of rationalism, breathed new life into rhetoric, imagination, poetry, metaphor, history, and philology in order to promote in his readers that originary "wonder" and "pathos" which sets human beings on the search for truth. However, Vico argues, the truths that are most available and interesting to us are the ones humanity "authored" by means of its culture and history-creating activities. For this reason the study of myth and folklore as well as archeology, anthropology, and ethnology must all play a role in the rediscovery of man. The New Science builds an "alternative philosophy" for a new age and reads like a "novel of formation" recounting the (hi)story of the entire human race and our divine ancestors. In Vico, a prophetic spirit, one recognizes the fulfillment of the Renaissance, the spokesperson of a particular Enlightenment, the precursor of the Kantian revolution, and the forefather of the philosophy of history (Herder, Hegel, and Marx). The New Science remained a strong source of inspiration in the twentieth century (Cassirer, Gadamer, Berlin, Joyce, Beckett, etc.) and may prove relevant in disclosing our own responsibilities in postmodernity.|
|FNDL 21719||The Federalist Papers and Anti-Federalist Writings||N. Tarcov||This course examines the debate over the ratification of the Constitution through a reading of The Federalist Papers and selected Anti-Federalist writings as works of continuing relevance to current practical and theoretical debates. Issues include war and peace, interests and the problem of faction, commerce, justice and the common good as ends of government, human nature, federalism, republican government, representation, separation of powers, executive power, the need for energy and stability, the need for a bill of rights, and constitutionalism.|
|FNDL 21780||Thucydides||N. Tarcov||This course offers an introductory reading of Thucydides’s history of the Peloponnesian War, one of the classic guides to politics, both domestic and international. Themes may include: progress and decline; justice, necessity, and expediency; fear, honor, and gain as motives of political action; the strengths and weaknesses of democracies and oligarchies in domestic and foreign policy; stability and revolution; strategy, statesmanship, and prudence; the causes and effects of war; relations between stronger and weaker powers; imperialism, isolationism, and alliances; and piety, chance, and the limits of rationality. We will conclude by reading the first books of Xenophon’s Hellenica to see how the war ended.|
|FNDL 21804||Dante's Divine Comedy-3: Paradiso||J. Steinberg||An in-depth study of the third cantica of Dante's masterpiece, considered the most difficult but in many ways also the most innovative. Read alongside his scientific treatise the Convivio and his political manifesto the Monarchia. Completion of the previous courses in the sequence not required, but students should familiarize themselves with the Inferno and the Purgatorio before the first day of class. Taught in English.|
|FNDL 21855||The Literary Hebrew Bible: An Introduction||C. Blackshear||What does it mean for a biblical character to be "fraught with background," in Erich Auerbach's evocative phrase? How can we approach the Bible's dense, terse, paratactic prose as literary interpreters? What are the conventions and restrictions of biblical poetry, and how does the text move within these rules? In this course, students will read key narrative and poetic texts from the Hebrew Bible, de-familiarize traditional stories, acquire tools of literary analysis particular to biblical poetics, and ask questions about the literary legacy of this complicated, messy collection. Along the way, we will treat important comparative literary issues the Hebrew Bible highlights, including distinctions between history and fiction, literary genre, biblical translation, and notions of canon and tradition. Though our primary focus will be on the biblical text itself, our reading will be aided by foundational texts on biblical poetics (including works by Auerbach, Alter, Sternberg and Kawashima) and more recent examples of feminist, queer-theoretical, postmodern and postcolonial biblical criticism.|
|FNDL 22630||Balagha Seminar: Jurjani’s Asrar al-Balagha & Dala’il al-I’jaz||T. Qutbuddin||This course on classical Arabic literary theory will focus on close reading of sections from the seminal works of Abd al-Qahir al-Jurjani: Asrar al-balagha and Dala'il al-Ijaz.|
|FNDL 23107||Introduction to Ethics||A. Vogler||In this course, we will read, write, and think about philosophical work meant to provide a systematic and foundational account of ethics. We will focus on close reading of two books, Immanuel Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism, along with a handful of more recent essays. Throughout, our aim will be to engage in serious thought about good and bad in our lives.|
|FNDL 24011||Virginia Woolf||L. Rudick||Along with a number of Woolf’s major works, students read theoretical and critical texts that give a sense of the range of contemporary approaches to Woolf.|
|FNDL 24106||Rdg: Maimonides' Guide to the Perplexed||J. Robinson||A careful study of select passages in Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed, focusing on the method of the work and its major philosophical-theological themes, including: divine attributes, creation vs. eternity, prophecy, the problem of evil and divine providence, law and ethics, the final aim of human existence.|
|FNDL 24505||Bayle in Translation||R. Lerner||
This course will focus on the political and religious thought of one of the major figures of the Enlightenment, Pierre Bayle. We will study Various Thoughts on the Occasion of a Comet (1683) and selected articles from his Historical and Critical Dictionary (1697, 1702).
|FNDL 24718||Longinus' On the Sublime||E. Asmis||Composed around the first or second century C.E., Longinus’ On the Sublime marks a new direction in ancient aesthetics and later had a profound influence on the aesthetics of the Romantic period and afterward. It was a watershed between viewing art as imitation and viewing it as self-expression. Great literature was now seen as producing ecstasy, not instruction; and the hearer was thought to share in the creativity of the author. We will read most of this text in Greek, with a view to understanding what is so innovative about it. Prerequisite: 2 years of Greek.|
|FNDL 25001||Molière||L. Norman||
Molière crafted a new form of satirical comedy that revolutionized European theater, though it encountered strong opposition from powerful institutions. We will read the plays in the context of the literary and dramatic traditions that Molière reworked (farce, commedia dell'arte, Latin comedy, Spanish Golden Age theater, satiric poetry, the novel), while considering the relationship of laughter to social norms, as well as the performance practices and life of theater in Molière's day.
Note: Taught in French
PQ: FREN 20500 or 20503
|FNDL 25105||Readings in Ibn Tufayl's Haqq b. Yaqzan||J. Robinson||A study of Ibn Tufayl's twelfth-century philosophical/mystical romance about a boy spontaneously generated on a desert island who achieves knowledge of God through empirical study of nature. The many themes in Hayy ibn Yaqzan will be studied in relation to the philosophical literature that formed it and in light of recent modern scholarship about it.|
|FNDL 25700||Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales||M. Miller||This course is an examination of Chaucer's art as revealed in selections from The Canterbury Tales. Our primary emphasis is on a close reading of individual tales, with particular attention to the intersection of literary form with problems in ethics, politics, gender and sexuality.|
|FNDL 27301||Weimar Political Theology: Schmitt and Strauss||J. McCormick||This course is devoted to the idea of “political theology” that developed during the interwar period in 20th century Central Europe, specifically Germany’s Weimar Republic. The course’s agenda is set by Carl Schmitt, who claimed that both serious intellectual endeavors and political authority require extra-rational and transcendent foundations. Along with Schmitt’s works from the period, such as Political Theology and the Concept of the Political, we will read and discuss the related writings of perhaps his greatest interlocutor, Leo Strauss, such as Philosophy and Law and The Political Philosophy of Thomas Hobbes|
|FNDL 27950||The Declaration of Independence||E. Slauter||This course explores important intellectual, political, philosophical, legal, economic, social, and religious contexts for the Declaration of Independence. We begin with a consideration of the English Revolution, investigating the texts of the Declaration of Rights of 1689 and Locke’s Second Treatise and their meanings to American revolutionaries. We then consider imperial debates over taxation in the 1760s and 1770s, returning Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography to its original context. Reading Paine’s Common Sense and the letters of Abigail Adams and John Adams we look at the multiple meanings of independence. We study Jefferson’s drafting process, read the Declaration over the shoulders of people on both sides of the Atlantic, and consider clues to contemporary meanings beyond the intentions of Congress. Finally, we briefly engage the post-revolutionary history of the place and meaning of the Declaration in American life.|
|FNDL 28202||Introduction to the New Testament||M. Mitchell||
An immersion in the texts of the New Testament with the following goals: 1. Through careful reading to come to know well some representative pieces of this literature; 2. to gain useful knowledge of the historical, geographical, social, religious, cultural and political contexts of these texts and the events they relate; 3. to learn the major literary genres represented in the canon ("gospels," "acts," "letters," and "apocalypses") and strategies for reading them; 4. to comprehend the various theological visions and cultural worldviews to which these texts give expression; 5. to situate oneself and one's prevailing questions about this material in the history of research, and to reflect on the goals and methods of interpretation; 6. to raise questions for further study.
PQ: Interest in this literature, and willingness to enter into conversation with like- and non-like-minded others on the texts and the issues involved in their interpretation.
|FNDL 28401||Pasolini||A. Maggi||This course examines each aspect of Pasolini's artistic production according to the most recent literary and cultural theories, including Gender Studies. We shall analyze his poetry (in particular "Le Ceneri di Gramsci" and "Poesie informa di rosa"), some of his novels ("Ragazzi di vita," "Una vita violenta," "Teorema," "Petrolio"), and his numerous essays on the relationship between standard Italian and dialects, semiotics and cinema, and the role of intellectuals in contemporary Western culture. We shall also discuss the following films: "Accattone," "La ricotta," "Edipo Re," "Teorema," and "Salo."|
|FNDL 29601||H.P. Lovecraft & Cosmic Horror||M. Payne||This class will analyze the recent spike in critical attention to the work of H.P. Lovecraft. We will read a representative selection of Lovecraft's fiction, focusing on the works of cosmic horror, along with Lovecraft's own theoretical writings. In addition, we will read a range of contemporary critical engagements with this work - ecological, ontological, and social-theoretical.|
|FNDL 21201||Milton||J. Scodel||A study of Milton's major writings in lyric, epic, tragedy, and political prose, with emphasis upon his evolving sense of his poetic vocation and career in relation to his vision of literary, political, and cosmic history. Graduate students will be expected to do additional secondary reading.|
|FNDL 21215||Hamlet: Adventures of a Text||J. Redfield||
After a lifetime with Hamlet, I've become increasingly interested by the fluidity of the text: not only is there much too much of it, but there are also significant differences between the 2nd Quarto and the Folio—to say nothing of the 1st quarto. Nevertheless, there is (in my mind at least) no question that we have Hamlet! I intend with this class to explore the play in quest (as it were) of the essential Hamlet, reflecting on its contradictions, shifting perspectives, puzzles. For instance: why doesn't Hamlet go back to Wittenburg—is it his ambition, his mother, his sense that he has to deal with his uncle, or is it something else? Is Hamlet mad or feigning or something in between? Is he changed by his adventure with the pirates? Etc.
We will use both volumes of the Arden 3rd edition. First, we'll spend some weeks going through the Folio text scene by scene, then we'll tackle the 1st Quarto, inquiring into Shakespeare's creative process and his relation to actual production. Some attention will be given also to the history of the reception of Hamlet. Instruction by discussion; final paper preceded by required submission of a project and opportunity to submit a draft for comments.
|FNDL 21300||Ulysses||S. Meredith||This course considers themes that include the problems of exile, homelessness, and nationality; the mysteries of paternity and maternity; the meaning of the Return; Joyce's epistemology and his use of dream, fantasy, and hallucinations; and Joyce's experimentation with and use of language.|
|FNDL 21812||Pascal & Simone Weil||T. Pavel||
Blaise Pascal in the 17th century and Simone Weil in the 20th formulated a compelling vision of the human condition torn between greatness and misery. They showed how human imperfection coexists with the noblest callings, how attention struggles with distraction and how individuals can be rescued from their usual reliance on public opinion and customary beliefs. Both thinkers point to the religious dimension of human experience and suggest unorthodox ways of approaching it. We will also study an important text by Gabriel Marcel emphasizing human coexistence and cooperation.
The course will be taught in English. For French undergraduates and graduates, we will hold a bi-weekly one-hour meeting to study the original French texts.
|FNDL 22610||Lacan: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychology||M. Sternstein||The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis is indispensable for any discussion of Lacan—clearly for work that postdates the 1973 publication of the seminar, but also, and, perhaps more importantly, Lacan's work that predates the seminar. While Lacan's thinking changes over his career, grounded, either in correction or in what should be corrected, are the notions in this seminar of the gaze, the Other, the object, jouissance, transference, and drive.|
|FNDL 23405||Boethius Consolation of Philosophy||P. White||
The Consolation of Philosophy, which Boethius wrote in prison after a life of study and public service, offers a view on Roman politics and culture after Rome ceased to be an imperial capital. The Consolation is also a poignant testament from a man divided between Christianity and philosophy. About 70 pages of the text are read in Latin, and all of it in English. Secondary readings provide historical and religious context for the early sixth century AD.
PQ: LATN 20300 or equivalent
|FNDL 23810||Memory and Identity in French Literature: From Proust to the Present||A. James||How does a book about the search for the past continue to resonate in the present? How is a classic work of literature reinterpreted and re-created in the light of contemporary concerns? Marcel Proust’s monumental novel In Search of Lost Time (1913–1927) can be read historically as a product and portrait of fin-de-siècle upper-class French society, but it is also subject to infinite variations and re-readings that have given it a central place in contemporary culture. Proust’s masterpiece is not only a model for other authors; it has provided a test case for narrative theory and queer theory, and serves as a privileged object for interdisciplinary inquiry into the value and uses of literature. This course offers an introduction to Proust by reading key excerpts alongside recent work that takes up Proust’s legacy via reinterpretation, re-creation, and appropriation. In particular, we will examine film adaptations, Proustian echoes in contemporary literature’s treatment of memory, neuroscience research on the phenomenon of “Proustian memory,” queer and feminist readings, and philosophical interpretations of Proust’s novel. Finally, we will consider Proust’s presence as both a cliché and a mobile signifier in popular culture—from his appearance in self-help guides to allusions in films, cartoons and even recipes—in the light of Proust’s own reflections on the relationship between art and life. The course may be counted toward the French major or minor: students taking the course for French credit will do appropriate readings in French and participate in a weekly French discussion section.|
|FNDL 24405||Brecht & Beyond||L. Krueger||Brecht is indisputably the most influential playwright in the 20th century, but his influence on film theory and practice and on cultural theory generally is also considerable. In this course we will explore the range and variety of Brecht's own theatre, from the anarchic plays of the 1920's to the agitprop Lehrstück and film esp Kühle Wampe) to the classical parable plays, as well as the work of his heirs in German theatre (Heiner Müller, Peter Weiss) and film (RW Fassbinder, Alexander Kluge), in French film (Jean-Luc Godard) and cultural theory (the Situationists and May 68), film and theatre in Britain (such as Caryl Churchill or Mike Leigh), theatre and film in Africa, from South Africa to Senegal, and if possible a film or play from the US that engages with Brechtian theory and/or practice.|
|FNDL 24599||Introduction to Frege||B. Callard||Gottlob Frege is often called the father of analytic philosophy, but the real reason to study him is not his historical significance, but, rather, that in his work one encounters a philosophical intelligence of the very first order. This course is an introductory survey of his most important ideas, in philosophy of mathematics, logic, philosophy of language, and metaphysics. To help us in our project of understanding and assessing these ideas we will read discussions of Frege by Michael Dummett, Tyler Burge, Joan Weiner, Nathan Salmon, Michael Resnik, Danielle Macbeth, Hans Sluga, Patricia Blanchette, John Searle, Crispin Wright, and others.|
|FNDL 24918||Early Traveling Writing: Pausanias in Roman Greece||C. Kearns||Through a close reading of Pausanias, who wrote a Description of Greece during the Roman imperial period, this course explores ancient forms of travel writing and associated interests in the places, peoples, myths, ruins, and material objects of the Mediterranean world. Moving from the apparent ethnographic lens of earlier Greek literature to Roman imperialist expeditions, readings and discussions will examine the sociopolitical contexts out of which Pausanias emerged as a literary author, and his legacies on and relationship to the wide array of genres of modern travel writing, from Lewis and Clark to John Steinbeck. Key topics will include: movement through space, tourism, nature, landscape, town and country, sites and spectacles, myth, ritual, and acts of remembering and forgetting.|
|FNDL 25006||Can We Be Sure of God's Existence? Anselm's Proslogion||A. Pop||The prelate and philosopher Anselm of Canterbury is famous among other things for the brief Proslogion, whose even briefer logical argument for the existence of God has been ridiculed for centuries as bad metaphysics. But its twentieth-century reappraisal, together with the text’s eloquent prayer form and Anselm’s appealing statement of his rational method of “faith seeking understanding” (fides quaerens intellectum) suggest it deserves our attention. We will read and reread the original (in Latin, if desired), as well as important philosophical discussions of it.|
|FNDL 25220||Pour une sociologie de Rabelais||P. Desan||
Nous aborderons l’œuvre de Rabelais à partir d’une lecture contextuelle de Gargantua et Pantagruel (les deux romans que nous lirons dans ce sours). Le but de ce cours est de présenter le contexte social, politique, économique et religieux de la première moitié du XVIe siècle en reliant les thèmes choisis (guerre, genre, utopie, éducation, amitié, écocomie, etc.), à des problèmes plus modernes. Car Rabelais nous permet aussi d’adresser les grands thèmes de la société française et occidentale contemporaine. Nous étudierons ainsi l’écriture du corps, l’organisation sociale de l’Ancien régime, les premières théories économiques, la découverte du Nouveau Monde et l’exploration de l’altérité. Nous lirons deux romans de Rabelais: Gargantua et Pantagruel.
PQ: FREN 20300
|FNDL 25331||Simone de Beauvoir: Second Sex||K. Culp||In 1949, Simone de Beauvoir’s Le Deuxième Sexe took up the old question of sexual difference; it was never the same question again. This course will engage a close reading of The Second Sex in English translation and with reference to the original French text. Her attention to the situation and “situatedness” of women resulted in new ways of thinking about freedom, reciprocity, desire, and subjectivity; it brought literature, autobiography, and cultural studies into philosophical reflection; and it contributed significantly to the transformation of women's social, political, and cultural situations. We will give special attention to her discussion of narcissism and mysticism.|
|FNDL 27321||Leo Strauss: Natural Right and History||H. Meier||
I shall present a new reading of NATURAL RIGHT AND HISTORY, focusing on the first 4 chapters, discussing the philosophical intention and the political impact of this seminal book that laid the foundation of the "Straussian School."
Open to undergrads with consent.
|FNDL 28006||Philosophical Fiction: Proust’s In Search of Lost Time||R. Pippin & J. Landy||
We will discuss all seven volumes of Proust’s magisterial novel, In Search of Lost Time (1913-1927). In order to be able to do so in a ten week quarter, students must announce their intention to register for the course before the end of the Spring quarter of 2018, and pledge to have read the entire novel before the March, 2019 beginning of the seminar. (They can do so by emailing Robert Pippin at email@example.com.)
The novel is well known for its treatment of a large number of philosophical issues: including self-identity over time, the nature of memory, social competition and snobbery, the nature of love, both romantic and familial, the role of fantasy in human life, the nature and prevalence of jealousy, the nature and value of art, the chief characteristics of bourgeois society, and the nature of lived temporality. Our interest will be not only in these issues but also in what could be meant by the notion of a novelistic “treatment” of the issues, and how such a treatment might bear on philosophy as traditionally understood.
We shall use the Modern Library boxed set of seven volumes for the English translation, and for those students with French, we will use the Folio Collection paperbacks of the seven volumes.
|FNDL 28102||Machiavelli's Political Thought||J. McCormick||This course is devoted to the political writings of Niccolo Machiavelli. Readings include The Prince, Discourses on Livy, Florentine Histories and the "Discourses on Florentine Affairs." Themes to be explored include: the relationship between the person and the polity; the compatibility of moral and political virtue; the utility of class conflict; the advantages of mixed institutions; the principles of self-government, deliberation, and participation; the meaning of liberty and the question of military conquest.|
|FNDL 28505||Beowulf||B. Saltzman||In this course, we will read and translate Beowulf from Old English, attending closely to language, paleography, and textual cruxes. We also will examine the history of scholarship on the poem and a variety of approaches to its interpretation, guided by student interest. Over the course of the term, each student will produce a piece original scholarly research that engages with the poem and its critical tradition. (Pre-1650, Poetry); (Med/Ren) This course is the second in a two quarter Medieval Research sequence.|
|FNDL 29020||The Shadows of Living Things: The Writings of Mikhail Bulgakov||A. Illieva||
What would your good do if evil did not exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared? After all, shadows are cast by things and people…. Do you want to strip the earth of all the trees and living things just because of your fantasy of enjoying naked light?” asks the Devil.
Mikhail Bulgakov worked on his novel The Master and Margarita throughout most of his writing career, in Stalin’s Moscow. Bulgakov destroyed his manuscript, re-created it from memory, and reworked it feverishly even as his body was failing him in his battle with death. The result is an intense contemplation on the nature of good and evil, on the role of art and the ethical duty of the artist, but also a dazzling world of magic, witches, and romantic love, and an irresistible seduction into the comedic. Laughter, as shadow and light, as subversive weapon but also as power’s whip, grounds human relation to both good and evil. Brief excursions to other texts that help us better understand Master and Margarita.
|FNDL 29131||Tyranny Ancient and Modern||R. Lerner & P. Rahe||This class will test a hypothesis – that the appearance of Machiavelli’s Prince marks a watershed in the history of tyranny. It will have as its focus Machiavelli’s claim in the eleventh chapter of The Prince that “only” ecclesiastical principalities “are secure and prosperous.” It will explore what Machiavelli learned from his study of what came to be called priestcraft, and it will examine what his subsequent admirers did with what he learned. The reading will include work by Alfarabi and those among his successors whose account of the relationship between philosophy and religion influenced Machiavelli as well as selections from the writings of Mario Vargas Llosa, Herodotus, Plato, Xenophon, Tacitus, Suetonius, Savonarola, Sir Francis Bacon, David Hume, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, among others.|