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.
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.
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.
Do visual representations of political principles produce, reproduce, and disturb political relations? An examination of art and metaphorical thinking in politics from Plato to the 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.
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.
Antisemitism in the United States between the colonial period and the present. Examining anti-Jewish practices and discourses, students learn to analyze anti-semitism in comparison with racism and xenophobia
Aristotle called statecraft one of the practical arts and cited athletics as a case in point: if you can grasp the 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.
Every major era in history can only fully be understood by investigating the war or wars that lie at its core. Wars of Athens and Rome, Thirty Years’ War, Louis XIV to Napoleon, and American wartime experiences.
How does beauty matter to how we aspire to live? We read the Plato’s Symposium and Phaedrus, Aristotle, Stoics, virtue ethics, feminist aesthetics, and critical race theory.