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SPRING 2011 COURSE OFFERINGS

The Society annually awards fellowships for research in the humanities. The fellows offer, in line with their research, informal seminars intended to be exploratory or interdisciplinary. These seminars are open to graduate students, suitably qualified undergraduates, and interested auditors. Students who want credit for a seminar should formally register in their own college. Persons other than those officially enrolled may attend as visitors with permission of the fellow.

COURSE LIST QUICK JUMP
(or you can scroll down the page):
SHUM 4951 Photography and Decolonial Imagination
(also ARTH 4951, ASRC 4951, COML 4067, HIST 4951, VISST 4951)
SHUM 4952 Exotic Scents: Cross-Cultural Aesthetics of Smell
(also ASIAN 4495)
SHUM 4953 The Political Lives of Things
(also ANTHR 4153, ARKEO 4153, ARTH 4953, CLASS 4602)
SHUM 4954 Yellowface
(also AAS 4954, COML 4068, ENGL 4077, FILM 4954)
SHUM 4955 Sensation + Indigenous Intent
(also AMST 4955, ARCH 3308, ART 4955, ARTH 4955, VISST 4955)
SHUM 4956 Transatlantic Decadence
(also COML 4069, FREN 4956, SPAN 4956)

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SHUM 4951 Photography and Decolonial Imagination
(also ARTH 4951, ASRC 4951, COML 4067, HIST 4951, VISST 4951)

Spring.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students. 
J. Bajorek 
M 12:20 - 2:15

This seminar will examine the role played by photography – historically and in the present – in the complex and layered visual, public, and political spaces of several modern West African polities. We will draw on recent work in art history, visual anthropology, urban sociology, and African studies, while also attending to the social, cultural, and political dimensions of aesthetic and philosophical approaches to photography. Historical data will be considered in light of broader theoretical questions, including questions about photography’s power to foster investments by non-state actors in official and state-sponsored practices of the image and its power, alternatively, to produce visual publics with non-state investments; the aesthetics of anti-colonial and independence movements; the relationship between popular and state-sponsored photographic practices; broader questions about cultural and political dimensions, as well as technical or technological dimensions, of memory regimes. Specific topics to be addressed include African exceptionalisms in photography theory (Okwui Enwezor, Angelo Micheli, Erika Nimis, Olu Oguibe, Christopher Pinney, Stephen Sprague); the relationship between theories of photography and theories of technology or, conversely, theories of perception and of imagination (Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin, Henri Bergson, Liam Buckley, Elizabeth Edwards, Jean-Paul Sartre); Ariella Azoulay’s theory of the ‘civil contract’ and possibilities for its application in diverse geographic and cultural spaces; specific problems confronting photographic archives in postcolonial contexts and spaces; the explosion of ‘African photography’ on the international art market; the place of photographic archives in multi-layered discourses, emergent both on and off the continent, about modernity, self-fashioning, and national and cultural memory.

Jennifer Bajorek is Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London. Previously, she was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at the University of California, Berkeley, having completed her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine. She has written and published on a broad array of topics in comparative literature, philosophy, and critical and social theory, and on photography and photography theory. Her publications include Counterfeit Capital: Poetic Labor and Revolutionary Irony (Stanford, 2009); with Eric Trudel and Charlotte Mandell, an edition and translation of the literary theory and political writings of Jean Paulhan, On Poetry and Politics (Illinois, 2008); essays in Critical Inquiry, Diacritics, and History of Photography; and translations of Sarah Kofman, Bernard Stiegler, and Jacques Derrida. Her current research is on aesthetic and political dimensions of photography, with special interest in practices and conceptions of photography that go beyond the image or the field of the visual and in the emergence and disintegration of photographic visual publics. In a series of linked writing and teaching projects, she is exploring the significance of non-European photographic traditions for our understanding of the aesthetic dimensions of political phenomena such as nationalism and democracy. She has ongoing projects with photographers and photographers’ archives, personal and family collections, and cultural institutions in Senegal and Benin.

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SHUM 4952 Exotic Scents: Cross-Cultural Aesthetics of Smell
(also ASIAN 4495)
Spring.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students. 
J. McHugh
T 10:10 - 12:05

This course is a cross-cultural exploration of the aesthetics of smell, the technologies of affecting smell (i.e. perfumery), and the demand for exotic aromatics. We will consider the theory of the aesthetics of smell in a variety of regions and periods including, for example, the work of Kant, early South Asian sources, as well as more recent studies by perfumers, philosophers, and anthropologists. We also explore the long-globalized art of perfumery and the important international demand for exotic aromatics such as musk and sandalwood. Students will pursue individual research projects, and they are highly encouraged to bring their own area-expertise to the seminar.

How does the aesthetics of smell differ from other sensory modalities? Within Western aesthetics, we shall consider how Kant dismissed smells and perfumes, before looking to more recent work by scholars such as the historian Alain Corbin, the perfumer Roudnitska, and the philosopher Clare Batty. Moving beyond these Western intellectual contexts, we will also explore the understanding of smell in medieval South Asia, as well as through the important anthropological studies of Howes and Classen. Here, we will also examine the complex theories of smell and odors in the late-antique Mediterranean (Ashbrook-Harvey). Ideally, in our examination of the aesthetics of smell, we will take a short smelling-class with a perfumer to introduce students to the issues involved in thinking with actual smells.

Not only does the seminar take a cross-cultural perspective on the aesthetics of smell, but we will also focus on the importance of exotic aromatics and perfumes in global olfactory material culture. From the writings of Theophrastus to Jacques Guerlain’s perfume Shalimar, European olfactory aesthetics has long gained prestige from acknowledging the Eastern origins and exotic Oriental aura of key materials, such as spikenard and sandalwood. Medieval South Asians, on the other hand, celebrated the Western regions as the fragrant lands of frankincense and coral. We will consider discourses and practices involving exotic perfumes in several areas, including Medieval Europe (Paul Freedman), China (Edward Schafer), as well as the history of musk in Islam (Anya King). What is the connection between the exotic and the aesthetic in perfumery? How do such non-Western discourses of luxurious foreign lands complicate our notions of a Western Orientalist point of view?

As the study of many of these questions is still quite neglected, this course provides students in a number of disciplines opportunities to make original and important contributions to their fields.

James McHugh is Assistant Professor of South Asian Religions at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. James’ teaching and research interests include the material culture of South Asian religions, the senses and religion, as well as Sanskrit religious and technical texts. Currently he is producing a monograph on the sense of smell and the use of aromatics in early and medieval South Asia. James is also interested in gemstones and minerals, as well as the theme of old age as represented and theorized in Sanskrit texts.

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SHUM 4953 The Political Lives of Things
(also ANTHR 4153, ARKEO 4153, ARTH 4953, CLASS 4602)

Spring.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students. 
A. Smith
W 2:30 - 4:25

Our political lives are rife with objects (red tape, rubber stamps, etc.). Yet we rarely inquire as to how these things have shaped our sense of authority and our attachment to the polity. This seminar explores the materiality of political life by drawing broadly on contemporary works in art history, social thought, media studies, archaeology, socio-cultural anthropology, and literary theory to piece together a sense of the political lives of things. The goal of the course is to juxtapose the sense, sensibility, and sentiments of objects with the production and reproduction of authority. In so doing, the course opens an interdisciplinary dialogue on both the nature of our relationship with things and our ties to our political communities.

Each week of the seminar will open with an introduction to a single “critical assemblage”, a group of objects that will serve as a focal point for discussion. These critical assemblages will be drawn broadly from an array of sources, prehistoric and modern, instrumental and representational. The goal of this pedagogical technique is to encourage students to not only establish a conceptual vocabulary for theorizing things, but also a methodology for engaging with them. As a result, students will emerge from the class not only knowing how to read about things, but to read them directly and thus frame the formal and aesthetic features of the world around them. This is, in effect, training students to be archaeologists of the everyday, to note the histories and sociologies embedded in the vast material world that suffuses their lives.

Adam T. Smith (PhD U Arizona 1996) is currently Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago (http://home.uchicago.edu/~atsmith). He is an archaeologist specializing in the Bronze and Iron Ages of the South Caucasus and central Eurasia, with a particular focus on the role of landscapes and material culture in the production of complex polities. He is co-director of the joint American-Armenian Project for the Archaeology and Geography of Ancient Transcaucasian Societies (http://www.aragats.net), a long term archaeological field project centered in Armenia. His teaching interests include courses on archaeological theory, landscapes, material culture, and the prehistory of Eurasia. His recent publications include:

2009 The Archaeology and Geography of Ancient Transcaucasian Societies I: The Foundations of Research and Regional Survey in the Tsaghkahovit Plain, Armenia (with R. Badalyan and P. Avetisyan). Oriental Institute Press, Chicago.

2005 Prometheus Unbound: Southern Caucasia in Prehistory. Journal of World Prehistory 19(4): 229-279.

2004 The End of the Essential Archaeological Subject. Archaeological Dialogues 11(1): 1-20.

2003 The Political Landscape: Constellations of Authority in Early Complex Polities. The University of California Press, Berkeley.

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SHUM 4954 Yellowface
(also AAS 4954, COML 4068, ENGL 4077, FILM 4954)

Spring.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students.  
Y. Huang
T 2:30 - 4:25

This seminar is a study of the cross-cultural flows between China and the West via literature, translation, and cinema. It focuses on yellowface as racial ventriloquism performed by writers, translators, actors, directors, and other cultural go-betweens. The most notable yellowface performance is obviously in Hollywood films (Charlie Chan, Fu Manchu, and David Carradine’s “Kung Fu” series), but it is also increasingly evident in the self-representations by contemporary Chinese filmmakers. We will also examine poetic translations, wisdom products (philosophy, aphorisms, and fortune cookies), and other areas of culture, high and low, elite and popular.

Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Yunte Huang is the author of “Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History” (W. W. Norton, 2010), “Transpacific Imaginations” (Harvard University Press, 2008), “CRIBS” (Tinfish Press, 2005), and “Transpacific Displacement” (University of California Press, 2002). He teaches American modernism, Asian American Literature, and Transpacific literature

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SHUM 4955 Sensation + Indigenous Intent
(also AMST 4955, ARCH 4308, ART 4955, ARTH 4955, VISST 4955)

Spring.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students.  
J. Rickard
R 10:10 - 12:05

How does the sensory hierarchy of a culture relate to its social order? This class will consider the multitude of ways in which vision is linked to the other senses by virtue of being embedded in complex cultural processes. Reading across recent critiques in anthropology, art history, performance studies, philosophy, Indigenous studies and visual theory this class will explore an intercultural analysis of the senses demonstrated through performance art, new media and expressive culture.

Encounter / counter visual expressive Indigenous cultures as part of a global aesthetic of repossession. Indigeneity today is about youth culture, up from the street but not main-street. Throat singers meet hip-hop, Maori moko confronts colonialism, Kayapo viral media subverts dispossession and all through the visual mark, spoken word or performative act. Embedded in Indigenous cultures globally are radical challenges to the west's imaginary of itself and others. The rise of experimental films, performances and expressive acts based on observations of the physical and a speculative world reveal content impacted by colonial narratives, yet anticipatory of an unexpected future. Emergent theories on Indigeneity will be connected to current theoretical concerns.

A history of the senses will be established (C. Classen, D. Howes, S. Pink) while deconstructing of the centrality of vision (R. Chow, E. Edwards, M. Merleau-Ponty, T. Smith) to rethink artistic agency as embodied gestures or sensation (C. Fusco, C. Jones, C. Noland). Performance and new media artists; Rebecca Belmore, James Luna, Kent Monkman, Skeena Reece and more will discussed.

Jolene Rickard, Ph.D., is a visual historian, artist, and curator interested in the issues of Indigeneity within a global context. Recent projects include; Banff Residency for the Painter House Conversations (Canada), Te Tihi Scholar/Artist Gathering (New Zealand), curator for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian – NMAI (Washington, D.C.), exhibitions at the of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, (Canada), Barbican Art Center, (London), Museum der Weltkulturen, (Frankfurt), essays included in; Hide: Skin as Material and Metaphor, NMAI: DC, 2010, Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics 52, Fall 2007, Rebecca Belmore: Fountain, Jolene Rickard and Jessica Bradley, (Canadian entrant for the Venice Biennale 2005,) co-published by the Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery and Kamloops Art Gallery (Canada). Rickard is currently a recipient of a Ford Foundation Research Grant and is conducting research in the Americas, Europe, New Zealand and Australia culminating in a new journal on Indigenous aesthetics and has a forthcoming book on Visual Sovereignty.

She is an associate professor in the History of Art Department, served as Interim Chair for the Art Department 2009-2010 and is an affiliated faculty member in the American Indian Program at Cornell University.



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SHUM 4956 Transatlantic Decadence
(also COML 4069, FREN 4956, SPAN 4956)

Spring.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students. 
B. Bosteels
R 12:20 - 2:15

In this course we will revisit the periodization of the turn of the century in terms of decadence and dandyism in Europe and Latin America. The working hypothesis is that European decadence cannot be understood apart from the dynamics of colonial expansion and interimperial warfare, echoes of which resonate even in as aestheticized and seemingly hermetic a universe as the house-museum of Des Esseintes in Joris-Karl Huysmans’s definitive A rebours, often described as the “Bible” of decadence. Conversely, the periodization of decadence in Latin America cannot be limited to the problem of epigonism, which according to some early critics would have produced a kind of decadence to the second degree: a decadent imitation of decadence. Instead, imitation is already a central concern of European phenomena surrounding the period of decadence more largely speaking, but this in turn becomes particularly evident only from the vantage point of the obsessive themes of dependence, autochthony, and universality that are unavoidable in the Latin American context. Thus, we will read canonical statements from Baudelaire, Barbey d’Aurevilly, Marx, and Nietzsche side by side with essays and novels from across the Atlantic, including the Cuban José Martí, the Colombian José Asunción Silva, the Venezuelan Manual Díaz Rodríguez, and the Uruguayans José Enrique Rodó, Delmira Agustini and Roberto de las Carreras. Theoretical texts informing our underlying framework include Georg Simmel, Carl Schmitt, Fredric Jameson, Angel Rama, Julio Ramos, Sylvia Molloy and Rita Felski.

Bruno Bosteels is Associate Professor of Romance Studies at Cornell University. Before coming to Cornell, he held positions as an assistant professor at Harvard University and at Columbia University. He is the author of Badiou o el recomienzo del materialismo dialéctico (Palinodia, 2007), Alain Badiou, une trajectoire polémique (La Fabrique, 2009), Badiou and Politics (Duke UP, 2011), and Marx and Freud in Latin America (Columbia UP, 2011). He is currently preparing a manuscript entitled, After Borges: Literature and Antiphilosophy as well as finishing a short book on Marx’s correspondance with Arnold Ruge, La Révolution de la honte (La Fabrique, 2010). He is also the translator of several books by Alain Badiou: Theory of the Subject (Continuum, 2009), Can Politics Be Thought? followed by An Obscure Disaster: On the End of the Truth of State, and What Is Antiphilosophy? Writings on Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Lacan (both for Duke University Press).

He is the author of dozens of articles on modern Latin American literature and culture, and on contemporary European philosophy and political theory. His research interests further include the crossovers between art, literature, theory, and cartography; the radical movements of the 1960s and 1970s; decadence, dandyism, and anarchy at the turn between the 19th and 20th centuries; the communist hypothesis; cultural studies and critical theory; and the reception of Marx and Freud in Latin America. He currently serves as the general editor of diacritics.


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FALL 2010 COURSE OFFERINGS

The Society annually awards fellowships for research in the humanities. The fellows offer, in line with their research, informal seminars intended to be exploratory or interdisciplinary. These seminars are open to graduate students, suitably qualified undergraduates, and interested auditors. Students who want credit for a seminar should formally register in their own college. Persons other than those officially enrolled may attend as visitors with permission of the fellow.

Download a .pdf of the full 2010-2011 course catalog.

COURSE LIST QUICK JUMP
(or you can scroll down the page):
SHUM 4841 The Poetics of Capital
(also ENGL 4076)
SHUM 4842 Political Ecology of Imagination
(also ANTHR 4082, GOVT 4842, STS 4842)
SHUM 4843 Musical Avant-Gardes  
(also MUSIC 4843)
SHUM 4844 Strategies in "World Cinema"
(also FILM 4844)
SHUM 4845 Secularism and its Discontents
(also ENGL 4075, GOVT 4845, RELST 4845)
SHUM 4846 Classical Indian Poetry and Comparative Politics
(also ASIAN 4446)
SHUM 6341 Aesthetic of Excess: Psycho-Philosophical Approaches to Technology
(also COML 6341, ENGL 6341, FREN 6341, VISST 6341)

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SHUM 4841 The Poetics of Capital
(also ENGL 4076)

Fall.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students. 
J. Clover 
T 12:20 - 2:15

POETICS OF CAPITAL: MARXISM AND FORM, AGAIN
Money is a kind of poetry — Wallace Stevens.
Everything can be summed up in aesthetics and political economy — Stephane Mallarme

This course focuses both on the apparatus of Marxian literary theory as it develops across the 20th century, and on the archive of 20th century American poetry. To a lesser degree it extends these studies both into other literatures and into the 21st century. Major poetic figures range from canonical modernists such as Ezra Pound and William Carlos Willams through mid-century figures including John Ashbery and Amiri Baraka to contemporary authors such as Juliana Spahr and Kevin Davies. The major literary theorists run from Volosinov through the Frankfurt School to Jameson and after.

The fortunes of both Marxian literary theory/analysis and of poetry in the west confronted roughly congruent stories of decline in the 20th century. Paradoxically, this does not indicate that they were indexed to each other; indeed, the object of the former has mostly been the novel, while poetry has served as lead object of study for other discourses, most notably deconstruction.

However, this course pursues the critically articulated and possible relationship between the two. In a sense, it starts at the end, with the suggestion that poetry may indeed be better suited to grasp the contours of an increasingly non-representational and non-narrative economic world, a world of hyperabstraction and dematerialization. In turn, it suggests that such a grasp of political-economic development in the west may go a long in coordinating the changes through which poetry has gone. In short and with variations, the course looks at 20th century American poetry and critiques of political economy dialectically, each offering an aperture into a more nuanced understanding of the other.

Required poetry texts: Arthur Rimbaud, Illuminations; William Carlos Williams, Paterson; John Ashbery, The Double Dream of Spring; Juliana Spahr, This Connection of Everyone With Lungs; Kevin Davies, The Golden Age of Paraphernalia; Lisa Robertson, R’s Boat. There will also be a digital reader of poems.

Required critical texts: Marx, Capital Vol. 1; David Harvey, A Companion to Marx’s Capital; Fredric Jameson, The Political Unconscious & Marxism and Form; Kristen Ross, The Emergence of Social Space: Rimbaud and the Paris Commune. There will also be some articles available via online resources, etc.

Recommended texts: Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle. Fine and Saad-Filho, Marx’s Capital; Volosinov, Marxism and Philosophy of Language; Walter Benjamin, The Writer of Modern Life: Essays on Charles Baudelaire.

Joshua Clover is an Associate Professor of Poetry and Poetics at the University of California Davis; publications include two books of poetry, as well as a book each on film and music from the perspective of cultural history. Current work focuses on the poetry and poetics of late capitalism, including the essays “Point de capital,” “Stock Footage,” and “Autumn of the System: Poetry and Finance Capital.”

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SHUM 4842 Political Ecology of Imagination
(also ANTHR 4082, GOVT 4842, STS 4842)
Fall.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students. 
T. Heatherington
M 12:20 - 2:15

The world warms, and global environmental imaginaries evolve. Epistemic shifts supplant the natural richness of biodiversity with the artificial wealth of neoliberal economies, and overwrite traditional forms of cultural inhabitation with naïve fictions of wilderness. Changing representations of culture and environment have compelling implications for human rights and indigenous sovereignties over land, water and natural resources. This course will consider how visions and aesthetics of landscape in the twenty-first century are engaged with transforming frameworks of environmental security, governance and power. We begin with theoretical foundations and key issues in political ecology. We will explore the stakes of environmentalism for nation-states, transnational assemblages and global institutions. We will address new research concerns related to the ways that ecological governance continues to transform in response to technological innovations and the politics of climate and environmental security, exploring the social dialectics of power and resistance. We will discuss new dimensions and aesthetics of landscape embedded in the Internet and information systems, and embodied in ecological science fiction. Blending literary and ethnographic perspectives with media studies and critical social theory, we will develop a series of cases to reflect upon relevant cultural approaches to political ecology in different national and transnational contexts.

Tracey Heatherington is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She earned a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from Harvard University in 2000, where she was a Merit Fellow of the Graduate School of Arts and Science, a Research Fellow of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, and a Graduate Associate of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. She has completed extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Italy and held faculty positions at the Queen’s University of Belfast and the University of Western Ontario. In 2003 she was a contributing author to the UNDP Global Drylands Initiative Challenge Papers, and from 2006-8 she worked with natural and applied scientists on environment and development projects in Romania. Her scholarship reflects a humanistic approach to the field of sustainable development; she is particularly interested in the cultural politics and post-national contexts of biodiversity conservation. She has published Wild Sardinia: Indigeneity and the Global Dreamtimes of Environmentalism (2010) with the University of Washington Press “Culture, Place and Nature” Series. Her current research explores the virtual storyscapes related to climate change, extinctions and environmental security in the Mediterranean Sea.

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SHUM 4843 Musical Avant-Gardes
(also MUSIC 4843)
Fall.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students. 
A. McGraw
W 2:30 - 4:25

This course will be a critical discussion concerning the history and development of musical experimentalism, broadly defined, as we identify its emergence in world cultures beginning in the early 20th century. We will interrogate a variety of discourses which have developed around the notion of ‘experimental,’ ‘avant-garde,’ ‘new,’ ‘contemporary’ (etc.) musics, noting that while all expressions are localized, nearly all self-consciously experimental musics worldwide are linked through an engagement with modernity, colonization/post-coloniality, antagonism, urbanization and ‘the other.’ Likewise, most avant-gardes are linked by an activist tendency, to imagine difference by articulating alternative visions of human possibility. Experimentalism often represents a tactic in the effort to deal with the problems of culture, hegemony and inequity. Through an examination of local experiments we will theorize issues of musical meaning, change, influence, appropriation, dialogue, interculturalism and misunderstanding. We will identify large-scale trends and links without forcing lines of congruence or rigid taxonomies upon the great variety of experimental musics around the world.

These musics embody emerging global aesthetic networks marked by the development of new technologies, philanthropic investment, government control, western (and other forms of) imperialism and new disciplinary formations. As well, new aesthetic discourses have had profound influences upon performers, composers and improvisers. As an interdisciplinary seminar, we will draw upon a wide range of ethnographic, critical, journalistic and historical sources from a variety of disciplines: historical musicology, ethnomusicology, art history, critical studies, anthropology, cultural studies, performance studies and theater.

Experimentalism as a concept and as a self-conscious mode of creation emerges in many kinds of music genres worldwide; its keywords are found in discourses surrounding Western pop, classical, contemporary and jazz and is found over and again in non-Western “world musics” from bossa to maqam to gamelan. Often, borrowings and conceptual migrations between each of these genres act the catalysts and materials for local experiments. Ultimately we ask questions connected to issues of power: Who gets to be experimental? Who is the experimental subject? How are categories of race, gender, sexuality, class and nationality connected to experimentation? What are the consequences for being experimental? How is the relationship between experimentation and tradition imagined? How are global aesthetics locally inflected? How are they resisted?

Andrew McGraw is an ethnomusicologist, composer, performer and Assistant Professor in the Music Department at the University of Richmond. He has published extensively on traditional and experimental music in Southeast Asia in various volumes including: Ethnomusicology, Asian Music, Asian Cinema, The Yearbook for Traditional Music, Empirical Musicology, and Indonesia and the Malay World among others. He received his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University in 2005. As a student and performer of Indonesian musics he has studied with the leading traditional performers of Bali and Central Java during five years of research in Indonesia with funding from the Indonesian government (Dharmasiswa), the Fulbright-Hayes program, Arts International, the VFIC foundation, and grants from the University of Richmond. He directs Indonesian ensembles in New York City and Richmond VA. As a performer and composer he has appeared on Tzadik and Porter record labels.

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SHUM 4844 Strategies in "World Cinema"
(also FILM 4844)

Fall.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students.  
K. Dickinson
T 10:10 - 12:05

Examining films produced within the majority world/non-G-8 countries of Latin America, Africa and Asia, this course adopts an inquisitive and critical stance on how “world cinema” is defined. This film material and the consumer cultures that circulate around it will be addressed according to three guiding themes: global(ised) economies, activism and populism. The analyses will be driven by a range of inter-disciplinary debates on how different forms of colonisation are absorbed into and interrogated by such movies’ fluctuating national, transnational, industrial, institutional, distributional and aesthetic contexts.

The early weeks will concentrate on how mobile, transnational capital shapes “world cinema”, paying particular attention to overseas funding stipulations, trade protectionism, the role of film festivals, the tactics employed by break-through hits, and the ways in which cinema interconnects with other industries, such as tourism.

After that, there will be sessions devoted to branches of cinema that forthrightly aim to thwart some of the inequalities set in motion by trade liberalism and (neo-)colonialism. Here the emphasis will be on the perceived scope for revolutionary praxis, the role intellectuals and filmmakers might play in overturning social injustice and the various movements to “indigenize” movie production.

Lastly, the seminar will interrogate notions of “the popular” by thinking through what it means for Latin American, African and Asian films to appeal to a broad fan base, either in their countries of production or overseas. Here “the popular” often becomes a complex fusion of economic, political and even mythic concerns.

Readings for this course will be drawn mostly from a work by thinkers who situate themselves within the majority/non-G-8 world, either as film theorists and practitioners, or, more generally, as postcolonial philosophers and activists.

Kay Dickinson is a lecturer within the Media and Communications department of Goldsmiths College, University of London. She is currently developing a book-length study entitled Arab Cinema Travels, which grows out of previous research published in the journals Screen and Camera Obscura, as well as her co-edited anthology The Arab Avant-Garde (Wesleyan University Press, forthcoming). She is the author of Off Key: When Film and Music Won’t Work Together (Oxford University Press, 2008) and the editor of Movie Music, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002) and, with Glyn Davis, Teen TV (BFI, 2003).

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SHUM 4845 Secularism and its Discontents
(also ENGL 4075, GOVT 4845, RELST 4845)

Fall.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students.  
E. Anker
R 12:20 - 2:15

Global modernity is typically conceived as fundamentally secular in its values and orientation. Yet this premise has increasingly come under attack, in particular when political institutions and practices are examined from a global perspective. This seminar focuses on how contemporary literature intervenes within debates about legal and cultural dimensions of secularism, thereby exploring the limits of dominant understandings of the secular. We will confront a number of interrelated questions: can indigenous epistemologies and phenomena like ritual be explained in terms of secular humanism? Do structures of collective belonging more fully comport with secularism’s descriptive arsenal, or instead with that of political theology? Are the narratives of history and progress that support secularism as an ideology in fact religious in their underpinnings? How do certain images, like the veil, crystallize conflicts between theological and secular? And can attention to aesthetics enable us to theorize religion as well as secularism, including their mutual imbrications? In sum, how do literature and art map and renegotiate the shifting terrain separating the liberal public sphere from fidelities and aspects of selfhood better understood as spiritual or religious? While many of our readings will be theoretical (Connolly, Mahmood, Pecora, Taylor, Asad, Viswanathan), we’ll also investigate literature and film. Texts will likely include Danticat’s Krik?Krak!, Wa Thiong’o’s A Grain of Wheat, Pamuk’s Snow, and Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello, as well as Malick’s The Thin Red Line and the HBO production of Kushner’s Angels in America.

Elizbabeth S. Anker is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Cornell. Her first book, The Human Rights Paradox: The Postcolonial Novel and the Claims of Theory, examines a series of challenges to human rights through the lens of contemporary postcolonial fiction. Her current project is tentatively entitled Constitutional Imaginaries: Literary Aesthetics and the Politics of the New Global Constitutionalism. She is also working on essays on phenomenology and animal rights, nostalgia and masculinity in the “9/11 novel,” and secularism and embodiment in humanitarian witnessing.

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SHUM 4846 Classical Indian Poetry and Comparative Poetics
(also ASIAN 4446)

Fall.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students. 
L. McCrea
M 2:30 - 4:25

The classical Sanskrit literary canon of India is unusual in that it comprises not only a vast body of poetry, but a sophisticated tradition of literary theory and criticism as well. This course will treat the classical Indian tradition as a case study in comparative poetics. We will read works of Sanskrit poetry in translation, along with selections from the works of both Sanskrit and early modern and contemporary Western literary and aesthetic theorists. We will look at the way contemporary developments in aesthetics have shaped the reception of Sanskrit poetry and poetic theory over the past two centuries, as well as using parallel readings in classical Indian and contemporary theory to explore the broader normative question of how theoretical resources should be deployed in the interpretation of other, particularly classical, literatures. Is Sanskrit poetry best viewed through the lens of the theoretical tradition that grew up alongside it, or should the claims and approaches of modern theory be given equal or greater weight? Is poetics best seen as a universal, cross-culturally applicable body of theory, or as one or more sets of specific interpretive techniques, varying appropriately with time and place, in parallel with variations in the literatures with which they are expected to deal?

Lawrence McCrea is Assistant Professor of Sanskrit Studies in the Department of Asian Studies at Cornell University. His research interests include classical Indian poetry, poetic theory, hermeneutics and philosophy of language. He is the author of The Teleology of Poetics in Medieval Kashmir (Harvard University Press, 2008), and co-author of Buddhist Philosophy of Language in India: Jñ?na?r?mitra’s Monograph on Exclusion (Columbia University Press 2010). Among his current projects is Reader on M?m?ms?: An Historical Sourcebook in Indian Hermeneutical Theory, part of the series “Historical Sourcebooks of Classical Indian Thought” currently under preparation for Columbia University Press.

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SHUM 6341 Aesthetic of Excess: Psycho-Philosophical Approaches to Technology
(also COML 6341, ENGL 6341, FREN 6341, VISST 6341)

Fall.  4 credits. 
Limited to 15 students. 
T. Murray
T 2:30 - 4:25

The rise of cinema and mechanized representational technologies has provided an informative backdrop for a century long reflection on aesthetics and the excesses of affect, sentiment, and corporeality in relation to modern/postmodern formulations of subjectivity, community, politics, race, and sexuality. Emphasizing French Psycho-Philosophical approaches to cinematic technologies, the course will rehearse the intellectual backdrop for understanding this Aesthetics of Excess with readings in Freud, Bergson, Artaud, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty in order to frame discussion of later twentieth and twenty-first century reflections on the balance between aesthetics and cinematic and new media technologies. In dialogue with a range of films and digital artworks, we will analyze texts to be chosen from Fanon, Barthes, Simondon, Lyotard, Deleuze, Derrrida, Kristeva, Laplanche, Stiegler, Duguet, Bellour, Nancy, and Rancière.

Timothy Murray is Director of The Society for the Humanities and Professor of Comparative Literature and English. His areas of research include new media, film and video, and visual studies, as well as seventeenth-century studies and literary theory, with strong interests in philosophy and psychoanalysis. He is the founding Curator of The Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art in the Cornell Library, the Co-Curator of CTHEORY Multimedia, and curated the traveling exhibition, “Contact Zones: The Art of CD-Rom.” He is the author of Digital Baroque: New Media Art and Cinematic Folds (2008); Zonas de Contacto: el arte en CD-Rom (1999); Drama Trauma: Specters of Race and Sexuality in Performance, Video, Art (1997); Like a Film: Ideological Fantasy on Screen, Camera, and Canvas (1993); Theatrical Legitimation: Allegories of Genius In XVIIth-Century England and France (1987). He is editor of Mimesis, Masochism & Mime: The Politics of Theatricality in Contemporary French Thought (1997) and, with Alan Smith, Repossessions: Psychoanalysis and the Phantasms of Early-Modern Culture (1997).


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