Program Seminars 2015-2016
IHUM sponsors several Program Seminars each year, all with an interdisciplinary agenda, many team-taught. A list of this year’s courses follows on this page; click on the titles for more detailed information. Program seminars are open to all graduate students.
Non-Specialists and the Arts | Scott Burnham (Musicology) and Barbara White (Music Composition). Exploring how the arts are portrayed in fiction, poetry, criticism, film, and public discourse. Myths of the artist, questions of expertise, and blurring of disciplinary boundaries.
Intro to Critical Theory: Phenomenology | Gayle Salamon (English) Phenomenology is a tradition concerned with how the world gives itself to appearances. it is also a method, committed to perpetual beginning as a way of apprehending the world and our place in it. This course is an introduction to this philosophy of continual introductions. We begin with Edmund Husserl, then consider how phenomenology transforms as it is articulated by Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger and Levinas. We will explore the treatment of language and literature in this tradition, and in the latter half of the course read contemporary phenomenology engaging questions of gender and sexuality, race, environmental justice and mass incarceration.
Cosmopoiesis: Worldmaking from the Presocrates to Deleuze | Brooke Holmes (Classics) and Andrew Cole (English) What is a world? What does it mean to make, unmake, and remake a world? This course on Cosmopoesis seeks to answer these questions in its study of early forms of premodern worldmaking in Greco-Roman natural philosophy and their afterlives in medieval, early modern, and modern philosophy. In this course we will think the cosmos at every possible scale, from the infinitesimally small to the infinitely large, and reflect on the ethical stakes of such a practice. We will also attend to the problems of mereology, teleology, dialectics, and figuration, and seek to rethink the philosophical and historical grounds of “theory.”
Spinoza's Intellectual World | Anthony Grafton (History) and Russell Leo (English) In this seminar we will locate Spinoza and the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670) in the exciting currents of seventeenth-century philosophy, theology, biblical scholarship and exegesis. Resituating Spinoza in Golden Age Holland we will examine the resources and relevant controversies that shaped the Tractatus, with an eye to common concerns and traditions: the legacies of humanism and Reformation in the Netherlands, for instance, the larger worlds of his friends, as well as the vibrant Jewish community in Golden Age Amsterdam and the varieties of Christian lay piety that fall broadly under the banner of “the Radical Reformation.”