This course explores the innovative narrative strategies that have ushered in a new Golden Age of TV. Careful visual and textual analysis of episodes is complemented by critical readings and comparisons to literature and cinema.
Do visual representations of political principles have a peculiar power to produce, reproduce, and disturb political relations? An examination of art and metaphorical thinking in the socio-political realm from Plato to the modern state.
Why does the state kill its own? Why did “barbaric” practices not end with enlightenment? Answers come from texts in political theory, philosophy, history, and the social sciences.
Aristotle called statecraft one of the practical arts and cited athletics as a case in point: if you can grasp the interesting complexities of a sport, you’ll be prepared to live life at its best. Baseball stands out in this quest.
Mystical verse plays a vital role in both Judaism and Islam. This class looks at key works from both of these bodies of verse and examines the cultural and historical matrices that gave rise to poetry.
War has supplied humanity’s symbols and similes, and figures in all of the liberal arts. Wars of Athens and Rome, Thirty Years’ War, Louis XIV to Napoleon, and exceptional American wartime experiences.
How does beauty matter to who we aspire to be and how we desire to live together? We read several dialogues of Plato—including the Symposium and Phaedrus, Aristotle, Stoics, virtue ethics, feminist aesthetics, and critical race theory.
A close examination of key works by three of the art’s greatest directors: Fritz Lang, Jean Renoir, Ingmar Bergman. Analysis of cinema’s relation to social history and other arts and the theory and practice of film criticism.
The representation of the human body in law and literature. Bodies as physical structures that inhabit multiple realms, including material, cultural, historical, and symbolic. Sources include film, television, and journalism.
Is the demise of the trial at hand? The trial as cultural achievement, considered as the epitome of humanistic inquiry, where all is brought to bear on a crucial matter in an uncertain context. Inquires into character, doubt, and diagnosis.
The role of intellectuals in politics, with a focus on social, cultural, and political upheavals in Europe during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Modern answers to the question of why ideas and intellectuals matter.
Examination of the origins of human modernity in the light of evolutionary and archaeological evidence; merging evolutionary reasoning with humanistic theory to understand the impact of human culture on natural selection across the last 250,000 years.
International security as humanity’s primary problem. America’s unique place for and against world order seen in classical literature and intellectual forays into Japan, Africa, Palestine, Persia, etc. Kissinger Papers at Yale provide case studies.
The non-symbolic use of familiar objects in 20th and 21st century poetry. Alternating weeks in the Beinecke library archives and the Yale Art Gallery and scheduled readings and discussions with contemporary poets.
Exploration of the histories and theories of resistance in the modern world. How liberation movements, guerrillas, and oppressed groups appeal to resistance as an organizational strategy and as moral justification.
This course analyzes antisemitism in the United States between the colonial period and the present.