Program Seminars 2015-2016
Non-Specialists and the Arts | Scott Burnham (Musicology) and Barbara White (Music Composition). An exploration of 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.
Natural History/History of Nature: The Concept of Nature in Classical Antiquity | Brooke Holmes (Classics). An inquiry into the concept of nature in Greco-Roman antiquity, ranging over texts from natural history, cosmology, medicine, and poetry to chart the emergence of a complex lexeme with a strong hold on the present.
Spinoza’s Intellectual World | Anthony Grafton (History) and Russ Leo (English). This seminar locates Spinoza and the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670) at the crossroads of seventeenth-century philosophy, theology, biblical scholarship and exegesis in Golden Age Holland.
Conflict Shoreline I/Amazonia: A Botanical Archaeology of Genocide | Eduardo L. Cadava (English), Paulo Carvalho Ravares (PLAS) and Eyal Weizman (Architecture). This course explores the relations among colonial history, contemporary conflicts, and climate change by examining the political, legal, epistemic, and aesthetic challenges this kind of violence initiates.
Intro to Critical Theory: Phenomenology | Gayle Salamon (English). An introduction to phenomenology, the philosophy of continual introductions, ranging from Edmund Husserl to contemporary phenomenological approaches to gender and sexuality, race, environmental justice, and mass incarceration.
Program Seminars 2014-2015
Unpacking Derrida's Library: Secrets of the Archive | Eduardo Cadava (English) and Avital Ronell (NYU). This course revisits Derrida’s library in order to suggest that his texts remain, still today, one of our greatest resources—for thinking, for acting, for living.
Drawing and the Line in Literature and the Visual Arts | Susan Stewart (English) and Eve Aschheim (Lewis Center for the Arts). A study of the relations between perceiving, describing, and knowing in the humanities and art practice.
Interpretation - Experience | D. Graham Burnett (History of Science), Jeff Dolven (English). A genealogy and a practicum, considering the varieties of experience from Montaigne and Bacon to Dewey and Agamben, with attention to epistemology and aesthetics, science and religion.
Novelty Historicized | Daniel Garber (Philosophy) and Eileen Reeves (Comparative Literature). Early modern debates over novelty and tradition in religion, science, philosophy, the arts and literature; readings also include contemporary critical theories of the new.
Program Seminars 2013-2014
Benjamin’s “Artwork Essay” or, Cultural History as the Rigorous Study of Art & Media | Brigid Doherty (ART and GER) & Michael Jennings (GER). This seminar explores W. Benjamin's "Artwork Essay" as an experiment in and a critique of modernist cultural history.
Contemporary Art and the Amateur | Joe Scanlan (Visual Arts). How has the "lover of things" influenced visual art? The class will investigate how the amateur embodied aesthetic ambition or political rights, and engage in amateur art-making, from drawing to faux research.
Observing the World | Leonard Barkan (COM) & Daniel Garber (PHI). This seminar we will consider the different modalities of observation in the pre- and early modern world, including artistic, literary, philosophical, and scientific.
Program Seminars 2012-2013
On the Persistence of of Cultural Forms | Devin Fore (German) and Hal Foster (Art and Archeology). Not long ago critical theory thrilled to rupture; today one sees a preoccupation with stories of “survival.” A seminar on this renewed interest in cultural transmission.
Matters of Attention | D. Graham Burnett (HIS) and Sal Randolph (IHUM Fellow). Attention lies at the nexus of perception and action, aesthetics and ethics. This course moves from a history of ideas, through current theory and research, and on to seeing and experiencing.
Job, Literature and Modernity | Esther Schor (English) and Leong Seow (PTS). The question of human suffering in philosophy (Hegel, Kierkegaard), poetry (Milton, Hopkins, Ravikovitch), fiction (Melville, Kafka, Spark), film, painting, music.
Style and Rule | Jeff Dolven (English) and Joshua Katz (Classics). The problem of style from linguistic and literary perspectives, with some attention to the other arts. Theoretical readings and practical experiments in imitation, impersonation, forgery.
Other Courses of Interest 2012-2013
Translation in Theory and Practice (COM 585) Sandra Berman (COM) and C. K. Williams (CWR). How do the theory and practice of translation inform the art of writing? Readings (St. Jerome to Paz, Derrida, Spivak, Cheung) and guided practice in literary translation.
Media in Film (GER 525) Thomas Y. Levin (GER) and Joseph Vogl (Humboldt U). How different technical and symbolic media appear in film; what that representation discovers about them and about the conditions and structure of cinematic representation as such.
Program Seminars 2011-2012
Critique and Its Discontents | D. Graham Burnett (History of Science) and Jeff Dolven (English). A genealogy of critique as an auspice for criticism, and some experiments in its alternatives, including imitation, forgery, praise, repetition, performance.