SPRING 2019 GRADUATE COURSE LISTINGS
- ALL COURSES ARE RESTRICTED AND REQUIRE AN ACCESS CODE TO REGISTER.
- If you are NOT an SCA graduate student, but wish to enroll in a course, you must FIRST contact the professor requesting permission to enroll and then the graduate program coordinator: email@example.com.
- SCA graduate courses (unless otherwise noted) are located at 20 Cooper Square, 4th Floor.
SCA Pro-Seminar: The Art of Research
Mondays 2:00 – 4:45pm
Seminar Room – 485
(Requirement for 1st year AFRICANA & SCA MA students)
This course circles around the questions, (1) what is critique and (2) what can critical writing be and do? Over the course of the semester, we will read a wide range of texts that self-consciously ask how to write about what we are thinking and writing about while we are thinking and writing. Our readings will be drawn from a number of disciplines and interdisciplines, but we will also range beyond the university “proper” to engage -- and also practice -- more public forms of communicating scholarly research. This workshop-style class offers students a chance to reflect on the kinds of critical writing that speaks to them and also affords a chance to develop their own writerly voices in tandem with their research interests.
Topics in American History: The Ends of Capitalism
Nikhil Pal Singh
Wednesdays 9:30-12:15 pm
Seminar Room – 485
In this intensive, reading seminar we will explore a number of historical and theoretical debates and controversies that consider a question recently posed by German sociologist, Wolfgang Streeck: “How will capitalism end?” Our considerations on the limits of capitalism include explorations of concepts, antinomies and contradictions central to the history of capitalism (revolution, class struggle, state and party formation, labor and capital accumulation, gender and slavery), as well as analysis of contemporary ecological, social and political crises and struggles that have come to the fore in the era of the recognized emergence of capitalism as a global or “world system." Much of our reading will center on contemporary writers engaged with Marx and the Marxist intellectual tradition, though part of our concern will also be with impasses of Marxism broadly understood, when it comes to thinking about capitalism’s limit(ing) conditions. Among the authors from whose work we will reading closely are: Daniel Bensaid, Jennifer Morgan, Daina Raimey Berry, Joshua Clover, Barbara Ransby, Andreas Malm, Jason Moore, Wolfgang Streeck, Melinda Cooper, Angela Mitropoulos, Kristin Ross, Chantal Mouffe, Quinn Slobodian, Aziz Rana, Stuart Hall, Peter Stallybrass, Randy Martin, Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, Aaron Benanev, Robert Brenner, Geoff Mann, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Anna Tsing, Jasper Bernes, Fred Block, Michael Burawoy, Barbara Fields, Giovanni Arrighi, Stuart Hall, Adom Getachew, Nancy Fraser, Jodi Dean, Enzo Traverso, James Livingston, Brenna Bhandar, and Glen Coulthard.
*A syllabus will be available in December.
Topics in Urban Studies: Making Black Urbanisms
Seminar Room – 485
Making black urbanism investigates the modes of inhabiting, imagining and making cities through the critical lens of race. We ask whether notions of “blackness” or difference can offer new and perhaps overlooked understandings of the form and function of the contemporary city. Black urbanism is interrogated through a multitude of approaches ranging from the sociological imagination to popular culture.
Topics in Critical Theory: Art, Activism, Academia: Social Urgencies and the Critical University
Josefina Saldaña-Portillo & Marisa Belausteguigoitia
Seminar Room - 485
Dispossession and disappearance, due to organized crime, state violence, and capital and market expansion, multiply in México and the U.S. This course focuses on the relationship between academia and the prison system as a form of dispossession and disappearance. Prisons and universities as institutions are meant to remain radically apart in the interest of security, modernity, and proper citizenship. In contrast, this course begins with the presumption that critical thinking emerges from the junction (contact, empathy, friction) of prisons and universities, and this proximity enables a radical intervention in the disciplinary thinking of the academia, and in disciplinary practices as punishment inside the prison system. We will take a transnational view of the critical university as a potential site of resistance/reparation in societies with escalating violence along racial, gender, and sexual divisions. The course examines prisons and universities as disciplinary institutions; prison education programs; female prisoners as political actors constructing new visions of leadership and political imaginaries; and the artistic, political and juridical initiatives that emanate from the university-prison conjuncture as a site of critical thinking. Authors include: Sophocles; Foucault; Nicole Fleetwood; Ruben Miller; Luisa Valenzuela; Diana Taylor; Sergio Gonzalez; Slavoj Zizek; Catherine Walsh; Boaventura de Sousa Santos; Micol Seigel; Christina Sharpe; David Kazanjian; Subcomandante Marcos; Aida Hernández Castillo; María Elena Martínez; Didier Fassin; Avery Gordon; Angela Davis; and others. While fluency in Spanish is not required, reading comprehension is recommended.
Topics: Blood & Money
Tuesdays 2 -4:45pm
Seminar Room – 485
Blood and Money will develop a feminist economic perspective by examining capitalism as a process of separating commodified relations from those assigned value outside the marketplace. We’ll begin the class by examining key theoretical works on the relation between market and extra-market values, reading classics like Aristotle, Marx, and Polanyi and contemporary scholars like Nancy Fraser, Viviana Zelizer, and Jane Guyer. The class will then dissect key points of conflict between market and extra-market value in readings from across disciplines, including the social study of quantification, the history of dispossession, and contemporary household economies.
Seminar American Studies: Prisons, Hospitals, Factories, Malls -- Landscapes of Institutionalized Life
Thuy Linh Tu & Julie Livingston
Thursdays 2 -4:45 pm
Seminar Room - 485
Much of contemporary life is organized by and brokered through institutions. This course looks closely at such to better understand their workings and the interplay between bureaucratic forms, spatial and material organization, and modes of discipline, control, and remediation. Among other questions we will ask: Why and how do institutions with putatively different functions come to share a “family resemblance” in their design and operations? How does institutional power take shape and come to bear on contemporary social and political life? How is this power organized, displayed, deployed, and disputed, and what are the limits and contradictions inherent in these efforts? Our readings will draw from a range of contexts and disciplines to consider the relationship between the built environment and institutional life. We will examine spaces of labor, consumption, care, and containment, among others, and will consider how these social practices are shaped by but also exceed their institutionalized forms.
Topics: Ziggyology: On David Bowie
Thursdays 9:30 – 12:15 pm
Conference Room - 471
"David Bowie is dada dandy...
David Bowie is thinking ways for us to become what we should have been but never were...
David Bowie is who knows...
David Bowie is just the ghost of a story."
Working class refusenik, plastic soulboy, Afrofuturist, poseur, postmodernist, bisexual, alien, semiotician....
Major Tom, Ziggy Stardust, Thin White Duke, Aladdin Sane, The Goblin King....
Who was David Bowie? What could he be?
This class looks at David Bowie, around David Bowie, with David Bowie. It treats Bowie as an alternative art school, as a space of queer para-academia, as offering a toolkit for how to dream and create and live. We will read books, watch films and converse with visiting speakers about topics such as medieval heretics, Sun Ra, Krautrock, cultural tranvestism, the importance of pretentiousness, the art of dressing up, the uses of failure.
"Critics I don't understand. They get too intellectual." (David Bowie)
Topics: Critical Development Studies
Seminar Room - 485
This course centers on the theories, histories, practices, and politics of development. It will critically examine the trajectories, ideologies, and epistemologies of "development," as a Western endeavor of aid, as a framing device, as a post-colonial mode of imperialism, as a multinational governance mechanism, and as a capitalist project of expansion. It will explore themes around colonialism and imperialism, orientalism, morality and discipline, aid, entrepreneurialism, and new frontiers of capital. Key authors will include Escobar, Tsing, Roy, Ferguson, and Mitchell, among others. Students will engage with emergent debates from development studies and learn to think critically about historically and geographically situated processes of modernization.
Topics in Caribbean Lit: The Caribbean as Inaugural Imaginary: Comparison and Contingency
COLIT-GA 2651.001 | AMST-GA 2304.002 (2 SPOTS)
19 University Place, room 229
“The Caribbean,” as David Scott has argued, “is not merely modern…. it is modern in a fundamentally inaugural way.” What does it mean to think of the Caribbean as an inaugural imaginary? And what does the Caribbean mean in a post-colonial, post-socialist, post-revolutionary age? A long host of thinkers, writers and artists of the nineteenth and twentieth century have insisted on the centrality of the Caribbean as root and rhizome in our understanding of modernity and its elements: enlightenment and capital, race and empire, sovereignty and simulation, culture and nation, and, most romantically, or tragically, revolution. But to think the Caribbean adequately one has to think beyond the dialectics of roots and rhizome, beyond the poetics of relation, archipelago and diaspora. This demands too that we read beyond the tragic and monumental tropes of the Caribbean and read instead minor forms and minor keys. Thinking and reading the Caribbean requires not only linguistic and theoretical fluencies, but a capacity to read deep contexts and contingencies within apparent economies of cultural and material scarcity. It requires the capacity to engage the master paradigms of modernity and simultaneously engage the more slippery problems of temporality, contingency, misunderstanding, as well as the violent and demoralizing mechanisms of domination, transaction and subordination.
This course considers key texts and works of the Caribbean archipelago and reads them comparatively and sometimes against the grain of their national, regional and postcolonial inscriptions. We will read major cultural works and lesser-known expressions, major literary works and alongside minor or forgotten forms. We will consider how the cultural monuments of the Caribbean have occluded collective politics, aesthetic experiments, insurgent movements and ephemeral forms. We counter pose the monumentality of literature to the epistemologies and historical consciousness of other cultural practices, aiming both for the contrapuntal and the counterintuitive. How, for example, have we come to understand the Haitian Revolution or the Cuban Revolution within grand narratives and what would it mean to read in them not epic, tragic destinies but more banal parables about modernity —destinies consonant with other forms of communal politics, other orders of transaction and betrayal, from Paris, to Prague, from Berlin to Grenada? Comparative questions abound: What does it mean to read a history of revolution and civil rights in the Caribbean nineteenth century? What is the specificity of Caribbean race theory? What is the distance between a history of literature and a history of print culture in the Caribbean? How does literature compete with visual aesthetics? How do we “read” Aponte’s lost book or desacralize Walcott’s Omeros? How does Patrick Chamoiseau destroy the postcolonial novel? How does Dulce María Loynaz precede Sebald by half a century? Why is Virgilio Piñera like Franz Kafka? We will also ask about discursive notions of the Caribbean: what and whether the reparative poetics of relation and antillanité hold. We will engage the divisions between Francophone, Anglophone, and Hispanophone Caribbean studies and trace cultural and theoretical genealogies and segregations, asking if the Caribbean has a common culture beyond the major tropic/al conceits that artists and scholars have used to bind literary production. We will ask, in the tradition of Edward Said, whether, like the East, “Caribbeanism” becomes a career, what the field might mean, and how it exists. What is the place of the Caribbean in the conceptions and political destinies of the American hemisphere or the Global South?
The syllabus is will include selections from major canonical Caribbean texts (Casal, Hostos, James, Métraux, Césaire, Price Mars, Mañach, Marinello, Ortiz, Cabrera, Walcott, Brathwaite, Lamming), theorists and historians of the Caribbean (James, Cesaire, Glissant, Moreno Fraginals, Benítez Rojo, Trouillot, Scott), twentieth century literature (Carpentier, Burgos, Loynaz, Lezama, Rodríguez Juliá, Piñera, Walcott) through to the post-colonial Caribbean Anglophone corpus and onto contemporary writers from Rita Indiana Hernández to Marlon James. We will pay special attention to breaking postcolonial linguistic segregations, but also be mindful of the operations and problem of genre, print culture, journal, performance, and the pedagogies of civil society. We will consider the formation of Caribbean Studies as a field and think of the ways that journals from Orígenes and Tropiques, to Callaloo and Small Axe transform critical, artistic and activist interventions on the Caribbean, and translate to intellectual practices in the academy.
Topics in Black Literature: Current Trends in African-Americanist Criticism
ENGL-GA 2902.001 | AMST-GA 3213.002 (4 SPOTS)
Phil Brian Harper
Location: GSAS Dean's office
In this course we will review a selection of recent book-length works of African-Americanist literary and cultural criticism in conjunction with a number of the key primary texts they address. Our objective will be to identify some of the overarching concerns and motivations that currently characterize the field, while simultaneously sketching a working history of African American literature from the early twentieth century to the present.
We will consider the following scholarly volumes: Darieck Scott, Extravagant Abjection (2010); Erica Edwards, Charisma and the Fictions of Black Leadership (2012); Kevin Quashie, The Sovereignty of Quiet (2012); Aida Levy-Hussen, How to Read African American Literature (2016); and Stephen Best, None Like Us (2018). Among our literary readings will be works by James Weldon Johnson, Marita Bonner, W. E. B. Du Bois, George Schuyler, Gwendolyn Brooks, William Melvin Kelley, James Baldwin, Gayl Jones, Octavia Butler, Charles Johnson, Toni Morrison, and Samuel R. Delany.
PERF-GT 2745.001 (limited seats)
Ann Pellegrini, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursdays, 3:30 pm – 6:10 pm, 4 points
721 Broadway, Room 613
Foucault and more Foucault, closely read and critically engaged. But, why Foucault? And, which Foucault? Through close readings of Foucault’s major works and selected published interviews, we will seek to understand Foucault’s overall project. How did his project shift over time? What was his own understanding, or representation, of it? Along the way, we will be especially interested to “track” some keywords: truth, power, biopolitics, resistance, discourse, freedom. What do these terms mean within or for Foucault’s project (or, is that, projects)? How might we supplement, critique, reorient, reanimate Foucault in light of our own research interests, political and intellectual commitments, and /or historico-political moment? Throughout the semester, we will ask, with Foucault and against him, what does it mean to practice criticism?
*Limited enrollment: This class is writing intensive, and permission of the instructor is required for ALL to enroll.