Cogut Institute for the Humanities

Graduate Collaborative Humanities

Fall 2018 | HMAN 2400G | It’s About Time: Temporalities of Waiting in Theory, Literature, and Film
Adi Ophir (Cogut Institute and Middle East Studies) and Peter Szendy (Humanities Scholar: Cogut Institute and Comparative Literature)
This is a seminar on four forms of temporality: suspension, rupture, heterochronia, and coming to an end. These forms will be explored as pertaining to politics, theology, and experience. Agamben’s reading of Paul (The Time That Remains) provides us with a conceptual grid, and “waiting for the Messiah” will be one of the modes of temporalization examined. Kafka’s staging of delay in The Castle, Fritz Lang’s invention of the filmic countdown, and the “checkpoint” in occupied Palestine will constitute major counterpoints. Students will work on collaborative assignments defined collectively and focusing on a specific event, text, or film.

Fall 2018 | HMAN 2400H | Art History from the South: Circulations, Simulations, Transfigurations
Tapati Guha-Thakurta (Humanities) and Vazira Zamindar (History)
Addressing history and art history, this collaborative seminar will look at the colonial and postcolonial circuits of movement, transaction and replication that have shaped not just the destinies of art, archaeological and architectural objects but equally the structures of institutions and disciplines that govern these object-worlds. This will involve thinking through critiques of a Eurocentric aesthetics and art history and engaging with practices such as theft, fugitivity, replication, mimicry, and free adaptations. While drawing on South Asia for its primary lines of enquiry, the “south” of South Asia in this seminar will serve more broadly as an epistemic pull.

Fall 2018 | HMAN 2400J | Archives: Imperial and Non-Imperial Histories, and Theories
Ariella Azoulay (Comparative Literature and Modern Culture and Media) and Laura Wexler (Yale University)
The seminar explores some theoretical, historical, material, practical, methodological and curatorial aspects of archives. Special attention will be given to archives’ modes of operation in dis/placing people and objects, and the roles “documents” play in the co-constitution of “well-documented-objects” and “un-documented people.” Students will be asked to work collaboratively in and with archives as sources and tools, and to experiment with creating archives of their own. The seminar involves one trip to Yale and some irregular hours, which are noted in the syllabus.

Fall 2018 | HMAN 2400L | Religion and Internationalism
Nathaniel Berman (International Affairs, Law, and Modern Culture and Religious Studies) and Thomas A. Lewis (Religious Studies)
Scholarly debates across many disciplines and political upheavals around the globe demonstrate the continued urgency of the struggle between the “secular” and the “religious.” This collaborative seminar traces the intertwined genealogies of the three key terms in this conundrum: religion, secularity, and the international. These terms have been continually subject to theoretical and practical contestation and reconfiguration, from early modern Europe, through the histories of colonialism and anti-colonialism, to post-Cold War turmoil. Readings include judicial decisions from the United States, Europe, and India, as well as authors such as Saba Mahmood, Ashis Nandi, J.Z.Smith, Dipesh Chakrabarty, and Winnifred Sullivan.

Spring 2019 | HMAN 2400I | Environmental Humanities
Mark Cladis (Humanities and Religious Studies) and Sharon Krause (Political Science)
We live in an age of immense, intersecting environmental problems that pose deep challenges to democratic life. How are we to respond to ecological crises that interweave race, class, ethnicity, and gender/sexuality; humans and the non-human; and politics, economy, religion, and culture? This collaborative seminar explores a range of contemporary and historical work in environmental humanities, with a focus on radical imaginaries of ecological democracy. The readings reflect a diversity of normative commitments and methodological approaches, and include such authors as Wollstencraft, Emerson, Thoreau, Du Bois, Silko, Wendell Berry, Jane Bennett, Donna Haraway, Jacques Derrida, Rob Nixon, and Glenn Coulthard.

Spring 2019 | HMAN 2400K /ENGL 2761N | Theories of Affect: Poetics of Expression Through and Beyond Identity
Daniel Kim (English and American Studies) and Ada Smailbegović (English)
Drawing on the tools of affect theory and critical race studies this collaborative seminar examines how poetic works can simultaneously be engaged in audacious formal and conceptual experimentation while remaining committed to imagining how subjectivity might be experienced both through and beyond structures of gender, race and sexuality. Readings include: Theresa Cha, Myung Mi Kim, Fred Moten, Claudia Rankine, Sara Ahmed, Gilles Deleuze, Baruch Spinoza.

Spring 2019 | HMAN 2400M | Philosophy and Architecture
Paul Guyer (Humanities Scholar: Cogut Institute and Philosophy) and Dietrich Neumann (History of Art and Architecture, Urban Studies, and Italian Studies)
One of the most ancient human practices, answering to the need for shelter, architecture also counts as a fine art in modern times. Is there tension between the functionality of architecture and the disinterested contemplation seen as the hallmark of aesthetic experience? Taught by a philosopher and an architectural historian, the course is interdisciplinary and collaborative. Students work in multi-disciplinary teams to prepare seminar presentations and papers. Case studies will draw on texts and buildings from a diversity of sources, historical periods, and geographical regions.

Spring 2019 | HMAN 2400N | Care of the World, Between Politics and Theology
Bonnie Honig (Political Science and Modern Culture and Media) and Adi Ophir (Cogut Institute and Middle East Studies)
Arendt’s “care for the world,” inspired by Augustine, resonates with Foucault’s “care for the self.” Both are secularized versions of theological ideas. This seminar explores “care for the world,” at the intersection of politics and theology, in Arendt and Foucault, with texts from the Bible, Mishna, Marx, Fanon, Augustine, Winnicott, and Houria Bouteldja. Attending to genre—Arendt’s and Foucault’s essays (on refugees) and journalism (the Eichmann trial and the Iranian revolution)—we will work collaboratively through a series of exemplary figures—the revolutionary, journalist, activist, environmentalist, therapist—to ask what care for the world means in theory and practice.

Spring 2019 | HMAN 2500 | Project Development Workshop
Amanda Anderson (Cogut Institute and English) and Tamara Chin (Comparative Literature and East Asian Studies)
In this capstone course, students completing the Doctoral Certificate in Collaborative Humanities pursue individual or collaborative projects, such as a dissertation prospectus, a dissertation chapter, or a methodological/theoretical exercise relating to their field of interest. Weekly sessions are devoted to work-in-progress and discussion of key texts addressing method and theory in and beyond the humanities. At the end of the semester, participants present in a Collaborative Public Workshop. Admission to the seminar requires a formal application process and the completion of two HMAN 2400 seminars.

Faculty Fellows

Fall 2018 | HMAN 1973K | Bureaucracy: A Modern History
Lukas Rieppel (History)
How did the office emerge as the quintessentially modern workspace? This seminar will explore the material history of the office, especially paperwork and other information technologies, as well as office management and design. We will also examine how bureaucratic forms of authority were enacted and put into practice, using the material history of the office as a means to ask broader questions about managerial oversight, governmentality, and institutional control, all in an attempt to understand how modern ideas about rationality and efficiency were leveraged to govern what seemed like an unruly world.

Fall 2018 | HMAN 1973L | After Blackness: Framing Contemporary African American Literature
Rolland Murray (English)
It is no exaggeration to say that there has been a renaissance in African American literary art since the 1980s. This seminar assesses the remarkable range of black writing during this era in relation to influential theoretical and historical accounts that address such frameworks as post-nationalism, postmodernism, post-segregation, and post-soul. By staging the interplay between these scholarly accounts and literature the course offers a broad overview of thought about contemporary black culture. Includes literary works by Colson Whitehead, Paul Beatty, Suzan-Lori-Parks, and Claudia Rankine. (DIAP)

Fall 2018 | HMAN 1973M | Art, Secrecy, and Invisibility in Ancient Egypt
Laurel Bestock (Archaeology and the Ancient World, Egyptology and Assyriology, and History of Art and Architecture)
Ancient Egypt is well known for having produced large and eminently visible art and architecture. But a persistent theme in Egyptian visual culture is that of invisibility, of art made and then deliberately hidden or destroyed. The range of examples is vast and varied, suggesting a complex relationship between visibility and meaning. This seminar will explore how unseeable art intersects with themes of audience, agency, and time in ancient Egypt, utilizing examples from other cultures—including our own - to examine the meanings of the invisible.

Fall 2018 | HMAN 1973Q | Geoaesthetics and the Environmental Humanities
Jeffrey Moser (History of Art and Architecture)
This seminar critically examines the ecological turn in the humanities. Proceeding from close examination of historically-specific artistic practices, it excavates the predispositions and assumptions embodied in particular “geoaesthetics,” and situates these aesthetics in the long history of human efforts to make sense of the earth. Moving from the immanent rocks of Tiantai Buddhism and the thinking forests of the Amazonian Runa to the nature writing of Emerson and the formation of modern geological science, it considers the challenge of a deep history of geo-thinking to recent theorizations of hyperobjects, Gaia, and the Anthropocene.

Spring 2019 | HMAN 1973N | Islam in America: A Global History
Faiz Ahmed (History)
This course explores the history of Muslims in the United States—and American discourses about Islam—from colonial times to the present. Organized chronologically and thematically, we follow major questions and debates in American relations with the so-called “Muslim world”—from Columbus’s fateful 1492 voyage to Morocco’s recognition of the United States in 1777; and Muslim slaves and migrants in the Antebellum South to President Obama’s historic Cairo speech. As a broadly conceived transregional history, the seminar explores the diverse social, political, and economic processes connecting Africa, the Mideast, South Asia, and North America from the fifteenth to twenty-first centuries.

Spring 2019 | HMAN 1973P | Neurodiversity: Science, Politics, Culture
Leon Hilton (Theatre Arts and Performance Studies)
This interdisciplinary seminar will investigate the emerging concepts of neurodiversity and neurodivergence—terms originally developed by autistic activists and self-advocates seeking to depathologize autism and other forms of neurological, mental, and cognitive difference. Course materials will incorporate perspectives from disability studies, the history of science, cultural studies, and feminist and queer theory. We will consider how neurodivergence enters aesthetic representation by examining cultural texts including novels, memoirs, films, and performance and visual art. We will also ask how social movements such as neurodiversity and mad pride have contested and reformulated dominant representations of mental disability and difference.

Spring 2019 | HMAN 1973R | Is That A Fact? On the Function of Interpretation at the Present Time
Ellen Rooney (English and Modern Culture and Media)
The status of the fact seems threatened. We argue: “you are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts” to distinguish facts from merely personal, subjective or partisan views. Yet debates rage over the “factuality” of deficit projections, scientific observations, and historical legacies. In the university, questions of academic freedom, First Amendment rights, constructing canons, and the fact’s relation to belief are increasingly fraught. This course examines theories of interpretation and critique alongside popular accounts of reading, interpretative authority, and spin, to illuminate the processes of mediation that establish, confirm, dispute, and constitute facts.

Spring 2019 | HMAN 1973S | God’s Law: Religion, Spirituality, and Legality
Nathaniel Berman (International Affairs, Law, and Modern Culture and Religious Studies) and Michael Satlow (Judaic Studies and Religious Studies)
Many people today think that religion and law are, or should be, concerned with distinct dimensions of human experience: religion with subjective faith, law with social regulation. Many religious traditions around the world, however, have elaborated complex legal systems concerned with every aspect of life: personal and collective relationships to God, as well as social, economic, and political relationships. This class will focus on how Jews and Christians (with some attention to Muslims and Hindus) have discussed, justified, and theorized the purpose of religious law.

Spring 2019 | HMAN 1973V | How to Do Things with Maps: Cartography, Power, and Political Imagination, from Gilgamesh to Google
Parker VanValkenburgh (Anthropology)
Maps do not merely represent reality; they both create and exceed it. This course critically examines the history and future of cartography, devoting particular attention to the role that maps and mapmaking have played in the emergence and persistence of social power and political imagination. Among other topics, we consider how maps have shaped property and class relations; state sovereignty and royal authority; colonialism and imperialism; national and ethnic identities; migration and citizenship; and the relationship between humankind and nature, earth and the cosmos. Classes include visits to historic map collections and experimentation with critical mapping techniques. Creative final project.

Affiliated and Visiting Faculty

Fall 2018 | HMAN 1971S | Introduction to iPhone/iPad Moviemaking Using 3-D and 360 VR Comparisons
Theodore Bogosian (Cogut Institute)
Mobile Devices are democratizing movie-making by lowering barriers to entry, enabling students to become full-fledged members of the film industry virtually overnight. This pioneering course provides the basic tools for students to create and distribute no- and low-budget live-action motion pictures with professional production values utilizing only their personal smartphones. Students will acquire the skills to plan, capture and edit short motion pictures through hands-on instruction and experimentation with low-cost accessories, including selfie-sticks, lens adapters, directional microphones and iPhone apps like Filmic Pro, Vizzywig and iMovie.

Spring 2019 | HMAN 1000B | The Cogut Institute for the Humanities Research Seminar
Amanda Anderson (Cogut Institute and English)
This seminar involves reading and discussing in-progress research by the annual fellows of the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, an interdisciplinary group of faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduates engaged in extended research on a major project or honors thesis. Students read a wide range of works-in-progress, prepare questions and participate in seminar discussions, intervene as first questioners for specific sessions assigned to them in advance, and present their own work twice during the year. Admission to the course requires that students have received the Cogut Institute Undergraduate Fellowship for the year in which they enroll.

Spring 2019 | HMAN 1971S | Introduction to iPhone/iPad Moviemaking Using 3-D and 360 VR Comparisons
Theodore Bogosian (Cogut Institute)
Mobile Devices are democratizing movie-making by lowering barriers to entry, enabling students to become full-fledged members of the film industry virtually overnight. This pioneering course provides the basic tools for students to create and distribute no- and low-budget live-action motion pictures with professional production values utilizing only their personal smartphones. Students will acquire the skills to plan, capture and edit short motion pictures through hands-on instruction and experimentation with low-cost accessories, including selfie-sticks, lens adapters, directional microphones and iPhone apps like Filmic Pro, Vizzywig and iMovie

Spring 2019 | HMAN 2970Q / LATN 2080F | Latin in America
Andrew Laird (Humanities Scholar: Cogut Institute, Classics, and Hispanic Studies)
Exploration of some of the rich and extensive ‘neo-Latin’ writing from colonial Spanish America, with particular emphasis on poetry and literary prose from sixteenth-century Mexico, much of which has never been studied or translated. Latin satires, epigrams, bucolic poems, literary epistles and dialogues will be examined in relation to their classical models and influences–and in the context of the multicultural environment in which they were produced. As well as opening a new world of Latin, this course will familiarize you with the format of some early modern books and manuscripts, and offer a unique perspective on traditional classical literature.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Fall 2018 | PHIL 0203 | Introduction to Islamic Philosophy
Lidia Gocheva, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (Philosophy and Middle East Studies)
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the major thinkers, schools, themes, and concepts of Islamic philosophy. We will begin with the translation movement from Greek into Arabic and the influence of the Koran, then look at texts by and about al-Kindi, Farabi, Avicenna, Averroes, Suhrawardi, and Mulla Sadra, among others. Students are required to read the assigned texts, to submit weekly reading response, and to write three 4-page papers or one 12-page paper on a chosen topic. While all assigned texts are in English, interested students can attend meetings devoted to reading sources in Arabic.

Fall 2018 | ARCH 0317 | Heritage in the Metropolis: Remembering and Preserving the Urban Past
Lauren Yapp, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (Archaeology and the Ancient World)
Urban heritage–from archaeological sites and historic architecture to longstanding cultural practices–is increasingly threatened by the exponential growth of cities around the globe. Most critically, the complex histories and lived experiences of the diverse communities who have inhabited and shaped cities are often in danger of being erased and forgotten today. This course examines how we might remember and preserve this urban past–and the tangible sites and artifacts that attest to it–in light of the social and political dynamics of cities in the present. (CBLR, DIAP)

Fall 2018 | RELS 0415 | Ancient Christian Culture
Dora Ivanišević, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities (Religious Studies and Classics)
How did the Jesus movement that originated in a backwater of the Roman Empire become the Empire’s dominant religion? What was it like to be a Christian in a world full of religions, cults, and philosophical traditions, and of diverse social and cultural identities? An introduction to the history of early Christianity, and to the ancient Christian culture through the exploration of selected topics by means of textual, material, and epigraphic evidence. Multiple Christianities; literacy and orality; visual culture; the episcopal authority; wealth and poverty; asceticism and monasticism; hagiography and the cult of saints; sacred landscape and pilgrimage; women and gender; burial.

Fall 2018 | HISP 0750R | Mexico: An Introduction to Its History and Culture
Luis Miguel Estrada Orozco, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities (Hispanic Studies)
This course will take an interdisciplinary approach to studying the rich history of Mexico and its diverse populations. We will examine both how Mexico has constructed its own identity from within (for example, 20th-century explorations of “lo mexicano”). In addition, we will study how Mexico has been constructed from without, especially from the English-speaking world (for instance, American diplomat Joel Poinsett’s 19th-century views). Course materials will range from both Mexican and European chronicles of conquest to modern reflections and representations by historians, philosophers, filmmakers, musicians, writers, and artists, among others.

Fall 2018 | ANTH 0800 | Sound and Symbol: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology
Lynette Arnold, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (Anthropology)
This introduction to the study of language and culture considers how language not only reflects social reality but also creates it. We’ll examine specific cases of broad current relevance, in the process learning how an analytical anthropological approach to language use lays bare its often hidden power. We’ll consider how language creates and reinforces social inequality and difference, how language promotes and resists globalization, and how language is used creatively in performance, literature, film, advertising, and mass media. We will also consider how language does important social work in specific contexts, such as classrooms, courtrooms, medical settings, and political campaigns.

Fall 2018 | HMAN 1973A / AFRI 1060Z | Race, Sexuality, and Mental Disability History
Nic Ramos, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice and Hispanic Studies)
This seminar investigates the fraught entanglement of mental disability with race and homosexuality beginning with late 19th-century ideas of scientific racism and the invention of the homosexual body in African American communities. By tracking changes in Psychiatry and Psychology through the 1960s and 1970s, the course examines the impact of the Civil Rights and Gay Rights movements on sustaining contemporary mental health diagnosis of “gender dysphoria” associated with Trans people. The course will further examine several approaches to queer, trans, and gay history from the fields of color critique, black feminism, and disability studies. (DIAP)

Fall 2018 | HMAN 1973T / MCM 1204D | The Politics of Chinese Cinemas
Hongwei Thorn Chen, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities (Modern Culture and Media)
Focusing on films produced since 1949, this course explores how “Chinese cinema” delimits a field of political contest, a global arena for antagonism over the meaning of revolution, the definition of art, the reach of propaganda, the articulation of gender, and the boundaries of culture. We begin with an examination of cinema in the Maoist PRC, moving on to a discussion of China’s international Cold War presence, and finally to contemporary themes of independent film production, women’s and queer cinema, and the place of Hong Kong and Taiwan in the shadow of the PRC’s “rise.”

Fall 2018 | HMAN 1973U / ENGL 1711J | Art for an Undivided Earth: Transnational Approaches to Indigenous Art and Activism
Theresa Warburton, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (American Studies and English)
The tension between indigenous literary nationalism and methodologies of cosmopolitanism and transnationalism have animated contemporary Native literary studies. At stake is the very meaning of indigeneity itself—how does indigeneity function on a global scale? How do hemispheric approaches to indigeneity transform our understanding of histories of colonialism? How have artists made connections across space without flattening the specificity of their locations? (DIAP, WRIT)

Fall 2018 | HMAN 1973W / POLS 1820I | Indigenous Politics in Hawai’i: Resurgence and Decolonization
Mary Baker, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (Political Science)
Because kinship relationships to land and all existents of that land are fundamental to Indigenous Peoples, resurgence and decolonization must be studied in the context of specific Indigenous Peoples and the ways they resist colonial violence and build resurgent practices. This course then focuses on these issues with respect to Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians). We will read works from Kanaka Maoli scholar/activists in order to understand the genealogy of Kanaka Maoli resistance and resurgent practices. We also engage with critical Indigenous thinkers in order to understand Indigenous political praxis that is shared across difference and those that are not.

Spring 2019 | AFRI 0550 | African American Health Activism from Emancipation to AIDS
Nic Ramos, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (Africana Studies and Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice)
This historical survey course examines African American activism and social movements from Emancipation to the contemporary period through the lens of African American access to health resources. By paying close attention to how social and cultural aspects of medicine impact access and quality of care by race, gender, and sexuality, the course examines how segregation, poverty, incarceration, and policing shaped activism and healthcare. The course develops a sense of how African American activists crafted responses to different historical crises including Reconstruction, Jim Crow, Civil Rights, and the War on Drugs by the demands they made for specific resources. (DIAP, FYS, WRIT)

Spring 2019 | ANTH 0805 | Language and Migration
Lynette Arnold, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (Anthropology)
This course is part of the Engaged Scholars Program and explores the interconnections between language and migration. We will examine talk about migration–in the form of immigration policy and media representations–as well as talk in contexts of migration including experiences such as border crossing, settlement, and schooling. Given the current context of increasing anti-immigrant rhetoric and an escalation of immigration enforcement, this course raises the timely and important question of how experiences of migration and the politics of mobility are shaped by language. Our investigation will combine engaged anthropological approaches with linguistic anthropological theories and methods. (CBLR)

Spring 2019 | POLS 0920B | Introduction to Indigenous Politics with Pacific Islander Focus
Mary Baker, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (Political Science)
This introductory course in Indigenous political thought engages with critical Indigenous thinkers in order to understand Indigenous political praxis, resurgence and decolonization. Because Indigenous study is place-based and kinship relationships to land and all existents of that land are fundamental to understanding Indigenous political thought, Indigenous politics must be studied in the context of particular indigenous peoples. To that end this course focuses on political movements of contemporary Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian). In addition to developing a fuller understanding of Indigenous political thought, this class also explores what it means to move beyond colonial relationships with the State. (DIAP, SOPH, WRIT)

Spring 2019 | MCM 1505S | Cinema and Imperialism
Hongwei Thorn Chen, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities (Modern Culture and Media)
This seminar examines how cinema has been utilized in the service of and in opposition to imperial projects from the twentieth century to the present. We will consider the close kinship between the capture of moving images and practices of imperial war and domination. We will also explore how movements such as Third Cinema have sought to create oppositional space within global culture industries. Films we will discuss include non-fiction such as U.S. Information Agency shorts and the work of Harun Farocki, as well as narrative features such as Apocalypse Now, Zero Dark Thirty, Battle of Algiers, and Perfumed Nightmare.(DIAP, WRIT)

Spring 2019 | HISP 1700B | Rhythm and Silence: A Creative Writing Workshop
Luis Miguel Estrada Orozco, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities (Hispanic Studies)
The course focuses on learning the craft of creative writing in Spanish across genres. We will study underlying principles of writing through lectures, readings, discussions, and exercises. As we reflect upon the creative process, we will examine the relationship between author and text and explore narrative techniques used to construct complex characters, dialogue, and imagery. The object will be to expand our creative writing skills and discuss the works of influential contemporary Latin American authors such as Juan José Arreola, Eduardo Halfon, Juan Carlos Onetti, Juan José Saer and Mario Vargas Llosa. (DIAP, WRIT)

Spring 2019 | LATN 1930B | Ammianus Marcellinus
Dora Ivanišević, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Studies(Classics and Religious Studies)
In brilliant if idiosyncratic language, Ammianus Marcellinus, last of the major Latin historians, records the exciting and fateful events of his own times, the fourth century A.D., including therein his personal and dramatic involvement in events. We will chiefly read his famous account of the deeds of the emperor Julian (“the Apostate”). The course is intended for advanced students.