Fall 2016 Course Offerings
EPS 302/ECS 302 Landmarks of European Identity
This course aims at giving a broad and interdisciplinary perspective on some of the very diverse cultural and historical roots of European identity. It examines contemporary debates over contested identity in the light of long historical trajectories in which identities were continually (re)defined. It is conceived as an introduction to many of the courses in Princeton dealing with European issues. The landmarks are mostly, but not exclusively, written texts. They include Machiavelli, Marx and Adam Smith, but also Dante, Beethoven and Claude Monet. It serves as the core course for the Program in European Cultural Studies (ECS) and the Program in Contemporary European Politics and Society (EPS).
We examine visions of the future produced in areas that underwent processes of decolonization in the 20th century. Focusing on Africa and Asia, we look at how prospects for societies after decolonization were imagined by those struggling against imperialism. What was envisaged for the younger generations? How would alternative states be made? New kinds of international connections? Communities and relations between races, sexes and classes? Themes include Pan-Africanism, Socialism, nationalism, class, caste, gender, and race. Readings in theory, criticism, literature; political statements and documents of a period of independence movements.
Daniel L. Hoffman-Schwartz
Counter to received wisdom, it is in the Romantic period, not the 20th century, that war assumes its modern form as "total war." We will examine how literary, philosophical, and artistic Romanticisms grapple with this new phenomenon. Subtopics include: war, media, technology; landscape, spectatorship, and the sublime; cosmopolitanism, nationalism, and the concept of Europe. Readings from Kant, Hegel, Coleridge, Charlotte Smith, Fichte, Clausewitz, Kleist, Stendhal, Austen, de Quincey, and Hazlitt, along with recent scholarship on this topic (Bell, Favret, Mieszkowski), and relevant critical theory (Freud, Butler).
Topic: Hobbes and Spinoza on Religion and Politics-- Hobbes began a revolution in our understanding of the material world, human beings and society, and Spinoza extended it in even more radical directions. In this course, we will examine the interconnections between politics and religion in these two original and highly influential thinkers, and how their metaphysics and natural philosophy contributed to their vision of the world.
ECS 342/COM 342/ENG 363 Literature & Photography
Eduardo L. Cadava
Since its advent in the 19th century, photography has been a privileged figure in literature's efforts to reflect upon its own modes of representation. This seminar will trace the history of the rapport between literature and photography by looking closely at a number of literary and theoretical texts that differently address questions central to both literature and photography: questions about the nature of representation, reproduction, memory and forgetting, history, images, perception, and knowledge.
The seminar will analyze the way totalitarian oppression was represented and resisted in literature of the second part of East-Central European 20th century. We will look through the lens of literature at the main political and historical issues that afflicted Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and other countries of the region. We will study texts (essays, memoirs, novels, short stories, plays, and poems) which offered various ways to resist moral and political oppression. The authors will include George Orwell, Franz Kafka (as a precursor), Hannah Arendt, Vaclav Havel, Tadeusz Borowski, Bertolt Brecht, Herta Muller.
Froma I. Zeitlin
This course examines the gendered experiences of childhood & adolescence under the Nazis in World War II as witnessed, remembered, and represented in texts and images through a variety of genres and different nationalities. We include historical studies, diaries, testimonies, memoirs, fiction (semi-autobiographical or otherwise), photos, and film (documentary and feature) of 1st and 2d generations. While we focus on the fate of Jewish youth, who were specific targets of genocidal policy, not just unintended victims, we will also attend to others in the occupied countries. In final projects, students may elect to study other theaters of war.
Kant's response to the question, "What is Enlightenment?", posed in the Berlin Monthly in 1783, continued to arouse debate, as Foucault's late return to Kant made plain. We will examine many of the formative texts of modern political and moral philosophy written during an era when the very concept of "the human" was interrogated as never before. In that they presume no extra-human foundation, these works turn out to be fundamentally interdisciplinary in reach, and include theories of government, knowledge, language, property, contractual and transnational rights. Locke, Hume, Rousseau, and Kant are among the authors we read.
This course explores the politics of money through a series of foundational and topical texts. At least since the introduction of coinage into the ancient world, money was not just regarded as an economic tool of convenience but also as an institution of societal value. Key figures in the history of political thought thus considered currency as a constitutive political institution analogous to law and speech. This course recovers these debates across a range of canonical and less canonical texts, asks how they were forgotten, and traces the politics of money into the present. The course begins with Aristotle and ends with digital currencies.