Fall 2022 Courses
Theorizing Public Humanities: Ecologies of Emotion
Instructors: Dipti Khera & Wendy Lee
How did ecologies of emotion create publics and humanistic knowledge in the past, and how do they shape “public humanities” work in the present? This seminar begins with an understanding of publics and the human sciences as structured by histories of colonialism, enslavement, and enlightenment. What emerges from these entanglements are affective ecologies: swirls of pain and pleasure, belonging and unbelonging, play and consumption that continue to push the stakes and boundaries of meaning-making and cultural production. Invested in questions concerning embodiment, material culture, and environment, art historian Dipti Khera and literary scholar Wendy Lee engage in a collaborative and experimental inquiry with seminar participants to explore how we work with emotions through different immersive practices. Organized around specific projects/sites, we open up a live conversation about how theories become practice in the public arts today. Concurrent projects—an exhibition A Splendid Land (Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, National Museum of Asian Art) co-curated by Prof Khera and an interdisciplinary Consent Lab (NYU Center for the Humanities) co-directed by Prof Lee—will feature alongside curatorial, digital, and urban initiatives that center emotional and sensory experiences.
Practicing Public Humanities: Data, Data Publics, and Decolonization
Instructors: Jane Anderson and Lisa Gitelman
The public has never been of one kind, yet it is often misconstrued as such. The collapsing of the public into a homogenous unit has significant consequences for those who can participate in, and who are considered to be audiences for the ‘public’ and those who are not. In the contemporary present there is an urgent need to address who and how a public is constructed and conveyed and for what purpose. This course asks students to consider how we understand public scholarship in the humanities, both as a way of knowing and doing in the world and as a practice of holding that pronoun “we” open to question. In addition to delving into one or two selective episodes in the history of the public humanities, the course will focus on themes related to data, data publics, and decolonization. The course will benefit from the contributions of guest interlocutors who have mobilized humanities training beyond the academy and in collaboration with others, whether in museums or other nonprofits, for funders or as consultants, in the arts or as community organizers. This course is deeply concerned with creating a critical dialogue about the humanities and the public in practice.
Expanding Your Perspective: Additional Fall 2022 Courses
These courses take learning beyond the core curriculum, providing students with the opportunity to explore the field of Public Humanities in a variety of relevant departments.
THE VISUAL CULTURE OF THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR
(This course originates in the Institute of Fine Arts)
Instructors: Jordana Mendelson and Robert Lubar
Images from the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) — from propaganda posters and anarchist films to Picasso’s Guernica — have long shaped how we perceive the conflict. Not only iconic images of the War itself, but its dominant visual languages — photomontage, abstraction mobilized to convey political messages, folk art imbued with ideological meanings, film stills recycled on posters — have informed how fratricidal conflicts in other parts of the world are viewed today. Indeed, the Spanish Civil War was the one of the first wars in history that was seen in the press as well as on the screen. To date, there is a rich and varied corpus of work focusing on the paintings, sculptures, photographs, posters, films, printed propaganda campaigns, and artistic events in Spain and beyond that document the ways in which the War was perceived at home and abroad. Written alongside this vast visual culture of war, are the chronicles, memoirs, poems, novels, and history books that have served as a compliment to these visual images. This seminar will consider how these images and visual technologies did not merely represent the conflict through documentary and visual evidence, but also helped to create communities able to perceive the events of the War through specific ideological, social, and political lenses. While this seminar takes the Spanish Civil War as its frame, the different visual technologies that were introduced in the 1930s extend well beyond this specific national conflict. These tools of meaning-making transformed how the War was seen and received in Spain and abroad. Students from a range of disciplines – Art History, History, Anthropology, Cinema Studies, Spanish and Portuguese, etc. – are invited to enroll in this seminar. Over the course of the semester students will identify a specific area of research and, whenever possible, make use of area collections to design original projects related to the visual (and material) culture of the Spanish Civil War.
The seminar will be taught in English, however knowledge of Spanish will be extremely helpful.
RETHINKING IDENTITARIANISM, CIVILIZATIONISM, AND ETHNONATIONALISM
Instructor: Aslı Iğsız
Tuesdays: 2:00pm - 4:30pm
Instructor: Caitlin Zaloom
This class is for those interested in practicing public scholarship as future academics, journalists, editors, curators, podcasters, and cultural programmers. Readings will introduce students to writing that makes academic ideas available to a broad readership. Through weekly seminar discussions, assignments, and workshops, as well as visits with leading public scholars and editorial professionals, students will learn how to develop, pitch, draft, revise, and publish long-form review essays that make rigorous scholarship engaging and accessible.
Genres to be analyzed include the profile, the personal essay, the critique, and, of course, the review. Topics span both the humanities and social sciences and include digital economies; visual culture; contemporary film and television; and technologies of the self. Models and resources will be drawn from publications such as The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, The Conversation, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Public Books, a digital magazine of ideas, art, and scholarship.
MUSIC-GA 2198.004 Music and Sound Archives
This seminar introduces the study of music and sound archives with the aim of preparing students for independent research projects. Over the course of the seminar, we will interrogate the many ways we continually retrieve, lose, and transform the past through informal daily habits and more systematic methods of preserving memory. We will pay special attention to the silences that dwell in archives and define their limits as repositories of knowledge. We will also address technical and ethical dilemmas that surround archival sound collection and preservation in the digital age. Working in the special collections at NYU and at the New York Public Library, students will gain a practical footing in a variety of music and sound archives and the larger questions of memory they raise. Special attention will be paid to sound and music archives in their relation to the nation-state, empire, genocide memorialization, labor, protest, and social justice.