Courses: Spring 2012
Afram 320 - Black Women in Drama
BCULST 593/BPOLST 593A - Rethinking Marxism
Comp Lit 302 - Theory of Film: Critical Concepts
Comp Lit 303 - Theory of Film: Genre
Comp Lit 596 D - Kant and Criticism
Dance 490 - West Meets East
Dance 515 - Dance Research Methods
Drama 494 - Theatre and Social Change
Drama 583 - The Historical Avant-Garde
English 522 A - The Matter of Fact and the Age of Shakespeare
History 485 - Comparative Colonialism
History 494 - History and Memory
History 590 - Foucault and History
History 598 - Methods of Historical Research
History of the Americas 365 - Film, Politics, and Culture in Twentieth Century America
Humanities 597 A - Performance Theory, Methods, and Politics: A Microseminar with Diana Taylor
Afram 320 - T/Th, 12:30-2:20, 5 credits
This class will explore the politics of performance in various plays by black women playwrights, from the Harlem Renaissance to the present. Throughout the quarter, we will pursue a number of questions: how do these playwrights invoke and transform genre to dramatize particular experiences, stories and questions? Within these plays, who carries the burden of embodiment in the public sphere? If some people are designated as hyper-visible, who and what remains "neutral," unseen? How is the private sphere constructed in relation to gender, race, class and sexuality? How do particular modes of performance and genre affirm or call into question conventional notions of citizenship and the nation? Many of these plays open up new avenues for envisioning black identity as it intersects with gender, sexuality and class; alternative conceptions of community; and fresh ways of narrating individual and collective histories. As we read, we will delineate the intertwined aesthetic and political aspects of this dramatic tradition. Possible playwrights include Zora Neale Hurston, Marita Boner, Alice Childress, Lorraine Hansberry, Adrienne Kennedy, Ntozake Shange, Suzi Lori Parks, Anna Deveare Smith, Lynn Nottage, Deal Orlandersmith, Charlynne Woodward and Lisa Thompson.
BCulSt 593/BPolSt 593, Wed, 5:45-10:00pm, Bothell
S. Charusheela (Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Bothell)
This course approaches Marxism as it is constituted through diverse knowledge projects that self-consciously identify the writings of Karl Marx as a source. We will spend the first two-thirds of the quarter reading Marx's writings, starting with young Marx and working our way through to the later Marx of Capital. Along the way, we will pick out key themes in Marx's writings that have become central to contemporary scholarship in a variety of fields, as a way to ground the different traditions of Marxian thought. The last third of the quarter will provide an introduction to key scholarly trajectories within contemporary Marxian thought. Through a combination of seminar discussion and writing, along with intensive out-of-class mentoring, students will develop facility with the approaches and vocabularies of Marxian scholarly traditions and evolve their own research agendas. No background is necessary, just a willingness to read extensively, ask questions, and critically engage with the course materials. In Autumn 2012, the University of Washington will host a conference with the editorial board of Rethinking Marxism. Because the instructor currently serves as the journal's editor, students will have the opportunity to develop their course papers for conference presentation with support from editorial board members.
Comp Lit 302, Mon-Th, 3:30-5:20, 5 credits
Queer Theory considers the discussion of 'female' and 'male' bodies as visual text from the 1980s to present. What do gender and sexuality mean? What has gender to do with representations of sexuality? When and where do we begin to consider a transitioning body? Students will look at moments of intersection between race/ class/ gender and sexuality as they complicate political agendas and blur binaries between male and female, gay and straight. We will look at the emergence of queer theory as it becomes central to feminist theory and queer cinema as it begins to form its own directions in the context of international independent queer and feminist narrative and documentary film.
Comp Lit 303, Mon-Th, 3:30-5:20, 5 credits
Black American Cinema: In this class we will look at a broad range of contemporary African American filmmakers from 1970s to the present, some of whom were born in the US, some of whom were trained in the US and share citizenship elsewhere. If post-Obama does not mean post-racial, then what does it mean? And what does it mean to an American public who see black faces more frequently on screens than ever before, screens where black men are allowed to kiss white women and black men are allowed to kiss each other. We will look at the challenges of black film authorship and ask just as Yale Professor Terri Francis: "What is at stake in African American cinema? What is the visceral, gut-level function of motion pictures which 'perform blackness' in the African American community? Can we speak of a distinctive practice given the diverse experiences and variable conditions that affect African American lives? What do motion pictures mean for people whose sense of home has been dislocated by migrations and fraught with attacks on their citizen ship and humanity, largely through visual representation? Together through film watching and interactive discussion, we will explore our present moment and ask ourselves if black citizenship is still in question in America?
Comp Lit 596 D, T/Th, 3:30-5:30, 5 credits
Kant and Criticism: This seminar will focus intensively on major works by Immanuel Kant, with particular emphasis on the central role Kant (and Kant studies) have played in the development of modern and contemporary critical theory. We will start with the recognition that Kant, more than any single figure, gave shape to the idea of the Critique as a particular form and project essential to the idea of "criticism"? as a principled and focused intellectual activity. But the seminar will be grounded in what should qualify, by any reasonable standards, as a contemporary revolution in Kant studies. (Instructor Course Description)
West Meets East: Asian influences on Western artists. In this course we will explore the origin, beliefs and practices of selected Eastern philosophies, and how these philosophies and art forms have had an impact on contemporary dance in the U.S. These concepts will be examined through lecture, video, practicum and guest speakers.
Dance 515, M/F, 10:30-12:20
Dance Research Methods. This course will introduce students to a range of research methodologies currently used in dance scholarship. Because methodologies are informed by theoretical perspectives, we will to a certain extent invoke discussion of different theories out of which they developed. However, the focus of the course will be on the specific tools researcher use in dance research, the what and how of dance research if you will, rather than on the why of it.
Drama 494, 5 credits
Theatre and Social Change: Does theatre have the power to change society? This course explores the innovative approaches and outcomes of theatre makers who passionately believe/d theatre can affect political, social, individual, and/or community change. We will examine twentieth to twenty-first century theatre in a global arena including Bertolt Brecht’s Epic Theatre, August Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, New Disability Theatre, and Verbatim (or Documentary) Theatre, focusing on new performance practices, theories, plays, performance spaces, and target audiences as theatre redefines and situates itself during crucial moments in history.
Drama 583, M/W, 2:30-4:50, 5 credits
This course examines the historical avant-garde, focusing on three major media: the manifesto, performance (including theatre and cabaret), and film. Case studies include the Dadaist Cabaret Voltaire, Meyerhold’s biomechanics, Dziga Vertov’s The Man with the Movie Camera, and Fernand Léger and Dudly Murphy’s Ballet Méchanique among others. We will start by examining the major early scholarship about the avant-garde: by José Ortega y Gaset (1925), Renato Pogiolli (1962), Peter Buerger (1974), and Matei Calinescu (1977). These theorists are largely responsible for the most enduring narrative about the historical avant-garde: a culturally marginal movement unified by artists’ radical critique of the past and uncompromising commitment to social change the values of a utopian future. We will also read the alternative narratives of more recent historians who searched the archives in order to establish the actual reception of avant-garde film and performance.
From its beginning, the avant-garde was an international movement and its major figures were often in direct contact with one another, working and exchanging ideas. This international aspect was reinforced by the rise of Stalinism in Russia and Nazism in Germany, which forced many avant-garde artists into exile. A large part of the course is dedicated to understanding how avant-garde ideas, performance, and film circulated among the three major cultural centers of Moscow, Berlin, and Paris. We will also be looking at how the political movements of anarchism, fascism, an communism informed not only avant-garde aesthetics, but also its production and reception.
English 522A, T/Th, 1:30-3:20
The Matter of Fact and the Age of Shakespeare: This course provides an introduction to the historical turn in what is being called literary studies’ “post-theoretical moment.” (“Post-theoretical” not because we have dispensed with theory, but because we have internalized its lessons.) Rooted initially in Shakespearean bibliography in the 90s, literary-critical approaches to material texts and objects have flourished over the last decade under many names: book history, new materialism, new textualism, thing theory, queer philology, surface reading. Particularly in scholarship of the English Renaissance, the materiality and historicity of texts have become vital points of reference for some of the most exciting work on gender, sexuality, the environment, and recently, performance. We will survey these developments, taking up canonical texts from the age of Shakespeare as artifacts situated in time. We will focus not only or primarily on meaning, but on the conditions of meaning in the production, circulation, and reception of works. In addition to key secondary readings on materiality and factualism, we will explore three plays (Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, Beaumont’s Knight of the Burning Pestle) and three works of poetry (Spenser’s Shepheardes Calender, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, and Lucrece). The course is designed to be narrow enough to introduce those in early-period fields to the “material text” in Shakespeare’s time but broad enough to engage anyone, from any period or field of literary study, who is interested in the theory and practice of historical work. Assignments will include an informal presentation, a close analysis of a book or document in Special Collections, and a conference-length paper to be delivered at a mock-symposium at the end of the term.
History 485, T/Th, 1:30-3:20, 5 credits
Comparative Colonialism: What is colonialism and how does it historically come about as an integral aspect of the formation of the West after 1500? How does a study of colonial practices and imperial regimes allow us to critically approach the ways by which Western encounters with non-Western peoples produce relations of power and inequality? What are the various ways by which colonized peoples comprehend and respond to the demands of colonial rule? What role does nationalism play in determining the limits and possibilities of colonial rule and native responses? In addressing these questions, this course will examine a variety of historical, literary, and cinematic productions set in colonial contexts ranging from the Americas to Asia and Africa, including the recent US "war on terror." In doing so, the course will treat colonialism as a world historical event whose effects are still at work and whose power continue to hold sway.
History 494, Th, 1:30-3:20, 5 credits
History and Memory: This seminar will focus on the problem of collective memory as viewed from the perspective of its social, political and cultural functions, as well as its institutional and cultural expressions. We shall explore the process by which societies construct and make sense of their past through the examination of different forms of commemoration (celebrations, monuments, museums, archives). Special attention will be paid to the relationship between memory and national identity. The case studies will focus on Russia and will be analyzed in comparison with examples from other countries. Finally, we shall discuss the analytical potential of the concept of social memory for historians and other scholars.
History 590, M, 1:30-3:20, 5 credits
Foucault and History: In this seminar we will ask about the usefulness of Foucault for thinking about history and thinking historically. Much of our discussion will focus on a set of the lectures he gave on war, security, and biopolitics in the 1970s. Alongside Foucault, we will also read other works that help to contextualize as well as engage some of his broader claims about power, subjectivity, sovereignty and the conduct of others. These include shorter works by Heidegger, Derrida, Hardt and Negri, Deleuze and others. Requirements include a term paper on a topic related to the course.
History 598, Th, 3:30-5:20
Methods of Historical Research: The course this quarter will investigate questions of psychoanalysis, trauma, and colonialism through the work of Ranjana Khanna, S. Freud, Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok, F. Fanon, Jean Laplanche, Ayu Utami, J. Lacan, J. Derrida, G. Agamben, and Maria Dermout. We will look at questions of history and memory, trauma and archives, and memory and subjectivity. Examples will be drawn from experiences of colonialism in North Africa and postcolonial Indonesia. The course looks at the body as one site of archives for pain and trauma.
Writing includes four 2-3 page papers and one 10 page paper that will be a
research proposal for a future project using one of the
theories/methodologies introduced in the class. Short papers allow for a lot
of creativity and can be written as short scenes from plays. History grad students period I.
History of the Americas 365, T/Th 1:30-2:50, W 1:30-4:20, plus quiz
How did Americans experience the transition to modernity in the first decades of the twentieth century? How did they make sense of the slide from l920s prosperity to the economic, social, and political crisis of the Great Depression? What were the ideological and political ramifications of World War II and the Cold War? And how did films both interpret and participate in these historical upheavals? This course examines the relationship between film and American cultural, social, and political history from the l920s to the 1950s, a period when film was considered a central aspect of the nation’s cultural apparatus and a key transmitter of social values and political ideology. We will ask what films of this era reveal about the fantasies, preoccupations, and conditions of the time in which they were produced and explore their contributions to social and historical consciousness. The films we will watch in this course have in common their engagement with questions of national identity and national belonging. We will ask about how these films challenged or reinforced traditional values and understandings of “Americanness,” including ideas about success and upward mobility, class, race, and ethnic relations, power, politics, and political leadership, as well as their commentaries on the role of the individual in mass society and the significance of sexuality and gender in upholding or undermining the social order. Students are expected to attend all lectures,in-class film screenings, and discussion sections.
A Microseminar with Diana Taylor (1 credit, C/CN) Instructors: Cynthia Steele (Comparative Literature) and Diana Taylor (Performance Studies and Spanish, New York University).
Course Meeting Dates and Times: Tuesday, May 8, 3:30-5:30 pm, Communications 202 Monday, May 14, 3:30-5:30 pm, Communications 202 Tuesday, May 15, 7:00 pm, Kane 220 Wednesday, May 16, 3:30-5:30 pm, Communications 202 Tuesday, May 22, 3:30-5:30 pm Communications 202
Working at the intersection of scholarship, artistic expression, and politics, performance explores embodied practice as a vehicle for the creation of new meaning and the transmission of cultural values, memory, and identity. How would our disciplines and methodologies change if we took seriously the idea that bodies (and not only books and documents) produce, store, and transfer knowledge? This microseminar, held in conjunction with Diana Taylor's week-long residency as Katz Distinguished Lecturer, will explore methodologies for studying performance and its intersection with contemporary politics, examining performance as a site for conceptualizing and critiquing cultural practices, modernity, citizenship, and democracy.
Participants will read from Taylor's seminal work and current research, participate in a two-part workshop, and attend her Katz lecture, "Taking to the Streets: Arts and Activism in the Americas," as part of the seminar sequence.
Diana Taylor is University Professor and Professor of Performance Studies and Spanish at New York University. She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from the University of Washington. Taylor is the author of The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas (2003), Disappearing Acts: Spectacles of Gender and Nationalism in Argentina's "Dirty War" (1997), and Theatre of Crisis: Drama and Politics in Latin America (1991). She is also founding Director of NYU's Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, a collaborative, multilingual and interdisciplinary network of institutions, artists, scholars, and activists throughout the Americas.