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Fall 2023 Courses

Submitted by jmde278 on Wed, 04/05/2023 - 02:40 pm

The following courses are approved courses for FA23 for those pursuing a graduate certificate in Social Theory: 


ST 500: Introduction to Social Theory (3 credits)

Instructor: Tad Mutersbaugh

Day & Time: Thursdays from 4:30-7 pm 

Location: Whitehall Classroom Building Room 305

Course Description: Multidisciplinary introduction to social theory for advanced undergraduate and graduate students. Overall goal is to substantiate the idea that social theory comprises a set of ontological and epistemological issues about human coexistence which are nondisciplinary-specific. The course will (1) examine what different social fields take as their central theoretical issues and concerns, and (2) conduct multidisciplinary explorations of key problem areas in contemporary social thought such as the nature of objectivity, the construction of gender, the role of space and time in social life, and modernity and postmodernity.


ST 610: disClosure Social Theory Journal Collective (1 credit)

Instructor: Shui-yin Sharon Yam 

Day & Time: TBA (determined by participants)

Location: TBA (determined by participants)

Course Description: The disClosure journal publishes a topical issue each year that draws upon the ST 600 seminar from the previous year (in this case the SP 23 ‘Debilities/& After/Alter-lives’ seminar). The issue is comprised of seminar interviews and peer-reviewed articles and arts (visual and creative writing) submitted in response to a call for proposals (CFP) written collaborative by the graduate student collective (with input offered by 'Debilities/& After/Alter-lives' seminar faculty). *Note: this is a required course for the graduate certificate in Social Theory*


ANT 733: Symbols and Meaning (3 credits) 

Instructor: Monica Udvardy

Day & Time: Mondays from 5-7:30 pm

Location: Lafferty Hall Room 108

Course Description: ANT 733 explores anthropological approaches to the meaning and interpretation of sociocultural phenomena. Arranged chronologically, the participant gains a comprehensive overview of anthropological approaches to symbols and meaning in human behavior, emphasizing their creation through action. This semester, we examine and critique the structuralist approaches of such theorists as Mary Douglas, Victor Turner, Edmund Leach, and Clifford Geertz, followed by the post-structural interpretations of Bourdieu and Foucault.  Finally, post-structuralist approaches are examined in the context of an area of focus revealing the limitations and utility of each.  This fall, we will be examining the meanings of material culture and materiality.  We will draw primarily, but not exclusively, upon anthropological theories to explore the relationship of material culture to art, personhood, the global economy, and the construction of hierarchy and difference. Students from cultural anthropology, archaeology, sociology, education policy and evaluation studies, political science, gender and women’s studies, art history, landscape architecture have taken the course in the past.


GEO 722: Social Geography: Geography and Coloniality (3 credits)

Instructor: Patricia Erkhamp 

Day & Time: Mondays from 2-4:30 pm 

Location: Miller Hall 6

Course Description: This seminar examines geography’s relationship to colonialism and coloniality, examining questions of race, racism, and slavery; empire; humanity; biopolitics and necropolitics; sovereignty; as well as the role of gender and sexuality in these processes. Our goal in the seminar is to think about the afterlives of colonialism and coloniality, and to put anti-colonial, post-colonial, and decolonial writing in conversation. Additional readings are drawn from Black studies, Black Feminism, Indigenous studies, feminist, and queer theory. We will be reading some ‘classic’ texts on colonialism and then current/recent works on biopolitics, necropolitics, Blackness, indigeneity, and ongoing colonialities to see how they may inform one another and contemporary geographic scholarship.


GWS 600: Feminist Affect Theory (3 credits)

Instructor: Anastasia Todd

Day & Time: Tuesdays from 3:30-6 pm 

Location: Whitehall Classroom Building Room 333

Course Description: This graduate-level seminar explores the affective turn in the humanities and social sciences. There is no one definition of affect, but this course takes feminist and queer approaches to affect as its point of departure. We will consider how affect—as the intersubjective glue that creates, holds, and transverses relations between bodies—intersects with race, disability, gender, and sexuality. From Lauren Berlant’s theorization of “cruel optimism,” to Sara Ahmed’s concept of “stickiness,” to Jin Haritaworn’s mobilization of “queer regeneration,” we will trace how feminist and queer theorists have taken up affect and affectivity. We will also explore the critical debates around affective labor (both online and off), affective capitalism, and the intersection of biopolitics, necropolitics, and affect. Ephemeral, ordinary, mobile…affect is difficult to capture. We will ultimately ask ourselves: How can an engagement with affect enrich our understanding of contemporary systems of power? How can an engagement with affect help us transform our world? How can we harness the methodological and epistemological richness of affect in our own work? And lastly, what is a “well-dressed love machine”?


HIS/AAS 600: The Intellectual History of African Americans (3 credits)

Instructor: Anastasia Curwood

Day & Time: Thursdays from 1:30-4 pm

Location: Patterson Office Tower Room 1745

Course Description: This course introduces the ideas and ideologies of US- based Black Americans from the Middle Passage to the present. We will examine key concepts that include abolitionism, feminism, Black nationalism, Black conservatism, Black Marxism, anticolonialism, liberationism, assimilationism,  integrationism, antiracism, and others; we will discuss the connections of historical contexts and historical actors to the ideas that they produce.


HIS 650-002: War and Memory (3 credits)

Instructor: Akiko Takenaka

Day & Time: Tuesdays from 3:30-6 pm 

Location: Patterson Office Tower Room 1745

Course Description: This course explores how war is remembered both by the individuals who lived through them and those who have come after them. Central to our inquiry are representation and transmission of memory, and how memory is shaped and reshaped over time. The forms of memorialization we investigate include: testimonies, oral history narratives, memoirs, popular media, visual and material culture, museum exhibits, and daily life. We will study various categories of memory such as collective memory, official memory, counter memory, and postmemory. We will investigate the impact of trauma on memory. We will discuss the relationship between memory and history. The course focuses on wars and catastrophes in the modern period drawing case studies from around the world.  



HIS 650-001 Empires in World History (3 credits)

Instructor: Emily Mokoros

Day & Time: Tuesdays from 1-3:30 pm

Location: Patterson Office Tower Room 1745

Before, during, and since the advent of nation-states, empires have been dominant features of global geopolitics. Can studying and teaching world history from the perspective of empires allows us to move away from national histories, Eurocentrism, and the myth of American exceptionalism? Can it, on the flip side, improve our understanding of our national past? In this course, we will discuss empires past and present with two main intentions: first, to understand the major historiographical traditions associated with pre-modern global empires, and second, to think practically about teaching world history at the secondary and college levels. Students and faculty in this course will work collaboratively in evaluating scholarship and teaching resources and in working towards a syllabus for a pilot course on empires in world history. The course does not require expertise in any historical period, region, or empire—just curiosity and initiative. As courses in world and global history are increasingly common, it will be of benefit to any student in the program anticipating a teaching career. 


LAS 601: Interdisciplinary Seminar in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino/a Studies (3 credits)

Instructor: Francie Chassen-López

Day & Time: Thursdays from 5-7:30 pm    

Location: Whitehall Classroom Building Room 341

Course Description: This interdisciplinary seminar engages with a variety of the fundamental issues and methods in Latin American, Caribbean and Latinx Studies. For Fall 2023, the Haitian Revolution, decoloniality, anti-racism in Cuba, the memory turn and the Dirty War in the Southern Cone, Brazilian politics and society, and the border/immigration to the U.S. in fiction and non-fiction will be some of the topics covered. The seminar will host guest appearances by LACLS affiliated faculty providing the opportunity to read and discuss their latest research.  Since participants in LAS 601 come from various disciplinary backgrounds, we have the unique opportunity to actively engage with and learn from each other. 


PHI 680: What is Philosophy? (3 credits) 

Instructor: Natalie Nenadic

Day & Time: Thursdays from 4:00-6:30pm 

Location: Patterson Office Tower 1445

Course Description: The insights and conceptual breakthroughs of major figures in the history of philosophy -- across traditions (e.g., Western philosophy and Eastern philosophy) and including figures in an ever evolving and diverse canon -- enact philosophy that variously reflects on human existence and navigates a meaningful life. Such philosophical reflection is inevitably spurred by worldly and life concerns. To an unprecedented extent, in the late 19th and 20th centuries, Western philosophy began moving away from life concerns. That turn culminated in a path aimed at reducing philosophy to logic, in a development that has since governed much academic philosophy. This turn precipitated a response by canonical thinkers and others that existentially questioned what we even understand philosophy to be, with the aim of consciously re-grounding it in life. More recently, this response has challenged philosophy’s marginalization from addressing major contemporary problems in profound and relevant ways. 

In this seminar, we will attain a “bigger picture” historical understanding of this development. This perspective will help us grapple with pressing questions today about the nature and task of philosophy, which remain shaped and constrained by this development, as we reflect on how we might philosophically address current crises in original and relevant ways. Such crises include, for instance: artificial intelligence (AI), social media technology, and freedom; authoritarianism and threats to democracy; racial injustice; widespread sexual objectification and violence against women and girls, pornography, and #MeToo; and war and genocide.  

Some key topics that we will treat are: philosophy’s relation to and distinction from science; epistemology and ontology; philosophy’s source in contemporary life concerns, its inextricable relation with other disciplines, and the generative nature of philosophy’s relation with its living past; differences between “applying” past concepts to contemporary problems, which covers up those problems in the name of addressing them, and coming up with the original ideas and concepts that these crises demand; and some distinctions and tensions that have existed across history between philosophy understood as delivering new frameworks or paradigms and some of the activities of academic philosophy. Subjects that we may cover include Daoist philosophy, Dilthey, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Charles Taylor, and Richard Rorty. Some readings that we may cover include selections from Robert C. Scharff’s How History Matters to Philosophy: Reconsidering Philosophy’s Past After Positivism, Nietzsche’s On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life, and excerpts from Heidegger’s The Phenomenology of Religious Life and from his other early writings. 


PHI 650 (3 credits)

Instructor: Julia Bursten

Day & Time: Mondays from 4-6:30 pm 

Location: Patterson Office Tower Room 1445

Course Description: Kinds and categories play essential roles in our reasoning and figure into philosophical dialectics across metaphysics, philosophy of language, logic, and philosophy of science. In this seminar, we examine kinds, categories, and classification from the lens of contemporary philosophy of science, focusing on the many roles of kinds and classification in scientific reasoning. The course will begin with a historical introduction to the problem of scientific classification in 21st century philosophy of science as it has evolved from the problem of natural and unnatural kinds in 20th century analytic philosophy. After that, seminar participants will contribute to the selection of contemporary topics across select areas of scientific interest. Particular attention will be given to the relationship between scientific classification and scientific modeling practices.