Fall 2017 Course Offerings
ECS 301/EPS 301
Turning Points in European Culture
Spyros Papapetros/Eileen A. Reeves
Co-taught by Professors Spyros Papapetros (Architecture) and Eileen Reeves (Comparative Literature), and drawing on the expertise of distinguished Princeton faculty and visitors, this seminar aims to provide a broad, multidisciplinary perspective on turning points in European culture from the early modern period to the present. It serves as the core course for the Program in European Cultural Studies (ECS) and the Program in Contemporary European Politics and Society (EPS).
GER 308/ECS 307
Topics in German Film History and Theory: Regimes of Spectacle in Weimar Cinema
Thomas Y. Levin
An introduction to the interdisciplinary study of film history and theory through a careful consideration of selected key works of expressionist, documentary, proletarian, avant-garde, queer, horror, and paranoid-thriller cinema (both silent and sound) produced during the Weimar Republic. Films and texts will be subjected to close readings, situated in their socio-political, media-historical and cultural context, and examined in the light of the reigning debates in film criticism and aesthetics.
ECS 311/FRE 316/COM 399
From Black Bile to Digital Depression: Melancholy in Theory, Art, and Media
Thomas A. Trezise
The seminar explores concepts and representations of melancholy in ancient and pre-modern medicine, medieval theology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis, European art since the Romantic ear (painting, literature, and film), critical theory, social media, and ethnography. Course material has been chosen both for contextualization of melancholy (or depressive) condition in the history of European culture and for variety of interpretive approaches. Among major issues to be considered are the human experience of loss and the situation of the person in society.
ITA 322/GSS 339/JDS 327/ECS 332
Black, Queer, Jewish Italy
This seminar approaches the two most studied phases of Italian history, the Renaissance and the 20th Century, by placing otherness at the center of the picture rather than at its margins. We will look at pivotal events and phenomena (the rise of Humanism, the rise of fascism, courtly culture, the two World Wars, 16th century art, the avant-garde) from the point of view of non-white, non-Christian, non-heterosexual witnesses, authors and fictional characters. We will adopt a trans-historical, intersectional, and interdisciplinary perspective: themes will be analyzed at the crossing of the two historical phases and of the three topics in exam.
COM 341/ECS 341/HUM 341
What is Vernacular Filmmaking? – Rhetoric for Cinema Studies
Erika A. Kiss
We will study arthouse films that address global audiences while rooted in particular, local, vernacular sources of artistic creation and persuasion. We will contrast the formulaic (echo-chamber) rhetoric of Hollywood with the heuristic rhetoric of Italian Neorealism, the Danish Dogma ’95 and French, Turkish, and Iranian New Wave films. Our focus will be on the concept of physiognomic figuration viewed as the cinematic articulation of enthymemes (rhetorical arguments). This seminar invites a widely interdisciplinary approach.
COM 362/CHV 362/ECS 362
Stolen Years: Youth Under the Nazis in World War II
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 & feature) of 1st and 2nd generations. While we focus on the fact of Jewish youth, who were deliberate 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.
HIS 364/FRE 374/ECS 364
France and its Empire from the Renaissance to Napoleon, 1500-1815
David A. Bell
A survey of France and its colonial empire during centuries in which this country dominated the Western world. Major topics include the sixteenth-century Wars of Religion, the absolute monarchy, colonization and slavery in North American and the Caribbean, the Enlightenment, eighteenth-century social and cultural change, the French Revolution and the Terror, the Haitian Revolution, and the Napoleonic empire.
COM 370/HUM371/ECS 377/ART 361
Topics in Comparative Literature: Collecting: Anatomy of an Obsession
Why do people collect objects? What desires motivate this obsession across cultures? How does a collection reflect and shape our relationship with objects? It is no accident that many writers are fascinated by the collector: Balzac, Eco, James, Pamuk and Proust all devoted significant creative energy to this figure. In this course, we will consider collecting as a serious mode of thinking. Analysis of key literary works will be combined with hands-on study of museum collections in Princeton and beyond. You will develop your own approach to the humanities that combines methodologies in archaeology, art, literature, intellectual history.
GER 475/ART 475/ECS 475
The Work of Art and the Problem of Experience in Rilke
This seminar focuses on Rainer Maria Rilke’s literary work around a central question in modernist cultural production. If the conditions of human existence in modernity have rendered the category of experience itself problematic, what possibilities remain for the production and reception of works of art? Close study of the work of visual artists whose practices informed Rilke’s writing (Rodin, Cézanne), as well as readings in philosophy (Simmel, Heidegger) address questions concerning the phenomena of modernity and modern culture and the ways in which artists, writers, and philosophers attempted to come to terms with them in twentieth-century Europe.