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Program in European Cultural Studies

Director

Eileen A. Reeves

Executive Committee

Sandra L. Bermann, Comparative Literature

Eduardo L. Cadava, English  

Brigid Doherty, German, Art and Archaeology

Rubén Gallo, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures

Anthony T. Grafton, History

Michael W. Jennings, German

Anson G. Rabinbach, History

Eileen A. Reeves, Comparative Literature

Gideon A. Rosen, Philosophy, ex officio

Maurizio Viroli, Politics

Sits with Committee

Irena G. Gross, Slavic Languages and Literatures


The Program in European Cultural Studies has two purposes: to deepen students' understanding of European civilization and to strengthen their command of cultural interpretation. It brings together faculty and undergraduates from several departments in a common inquiry into the way people order reality, make sense of life, and communicate meaning. In order to reduce those problems to manageable proportions, they are studied in seminars on specific themes in European history, literature, art, and philosophy.

Admission to the Program

Students from many of Princeton's established departments choose to take a certificate in European cultural studies. Those who do so normally enjoy trying interdisciplinary approaches to the interpretation of the products of European culture, from novels and paintings to cityscapes and land-use patterns. Most of them read one or more European languages comfortably. To enter the program, students should take either the Humanistic Studies 216-219 sequence or ECS 209. From 2008 onward, ECS 301 and 302 will take the place of ECS 209. In the course of the spring term of the sophomore year, they should submit a formal application to join the program.

Program of Study

All students must have completed HUM 216-219 or taken ECS 209, 301, or 302. In addition, students must also take two 300-level seminars, and they are encouraged to enroll in a 400-level seminar. Most seminars are taught by professors from two different departments.

The program has two final requirements. In their junior year students will attend a colloquium and participate in a work group on a specific topic. The work group will bring the juniors together for discussion of a theme, a problem, or a work of art under the guidance of a distinguished visiting scholar. Recent topics have included: "Translating Tradition: Pope and Homer," "Reading Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell," and "Visual Representation in the 18th Century."

In their senior year students will participate in a thesis writers' colloquium. Although they write their thesis under the direction of their home departments, they will meet together at regular intervals in the early spring to discuss common problems of research, conceptualization, organization, and writing. Each student will make a work-in-progress report and submit a chapter to the group for criticism.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill all the requirements will receive a certificate upon graduation.


Courses


ECS 301 Turning Points in European Culture (also EPS 301)   Fall HA

Seminar draws on expertise of guest faculty from Princeton and elsewhere to provide a broad, multidisciplinary perspective on turning points in European culture from the late middle ages to the present. Gateway course for ECS and Contemporary European Politics and Society. Topics in literature, art, music, philosophy, political theory, history of science. One three-hour seminar. A. Rabinbach

ECS 302 Landmarks of European Identity (see EPS 302)

ECS 312 Murder and the Media (also GER 313)   LA

What is the relationship between the modern media and violent crime? Murder is certainly a favorite topic of yellow journalism, but some would also argue that the media provoke criminal behavior through the very act of depicting it. By looking at how murder is "composed" in a number of popular media ranging from detective literature to crime scene photography, this seminar investigates the feedback loop between crime and its representation in modern life. While the course covers a variety of texts from the 19th century to the postwar period, the historical focus of the seminar will be the crime-obsessed culture of Weimar Germany. D. Fore

ECS 317 Transnational Modernism (also COM 317)   Fall LA

How did modernist writers around the world imagine and represent other worlds in relation to their own? How were tangled lines of connection and disjuncture, locality, inter- and outer-nationality, movement and stasis, given form in different places and situations? Does this have anything to do with the specificity of what we call "modernism" in literature? Can modernism sabotage a globalizing modernity? We trace lines of (dis)connection--from Harlem to Paris to a wider black diaspora encompassing Africa and the Caribbean; from England to the Americas; below the nation in colonial India; and from the Antilles to Algeria to France. B. Conisbee Baer

ECS 320 Cultural Systems   Spring

Symbolic systems and social life in specific historical eras. Topics will vary. Recent courses include, for example, magic, art, and science in Renaissance culture, political discourse and nationalism, culture and inequality, history of technology, and the rhetoric of new media. R. Gallo

ECS 321 Cultural Systems   Fall LA

Symbolic systems and social life in specific historical eras. Topics will vary. Recent courses include, for example, magic, art, and science in Renaissance culture, political discourse and nationalism, culture and inequality, history of technology, and the rhetoric of new media. R. Gallo

ECS 330 Communication and the Arts (also COM 321)   Spring LA

The arts and the media in different cultures. Topics will vary, for example, history of the book, art/architecture and society, opera and nationalism, literature and photography, theater and politics. Staff

ECS 331 Communication and the Arts (also GER 331)   Spring HA

The arts and the media in different cultures. Topics will vary, for example, history of the book, art/architecture and society, opera and nationalism, literature and photography, theater and politics. Staff

ECS 340 Literature and Photography (also COM 340)   Not offered this year LA

A survey of the history of the rapport between literature and photography, 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. One three-hour seminar. E. Cadava

ECS 350 Books and Their Readers   LA

This course will offer an intensive introduction to the history of the making, distribution and reading of books in the West, from ancient Greece to modern America. By examining a series of case studies, we will see how writers, producers, and readers of books have interacted, and how the conditions of production and consumption have changed over time. A. Grafton

ECS 370 Weimar Germany: Painting, Photography, Film (see GER 370)

ECS 450 Seminar. 19th-Century European Art (see ART 450)

ECS 458 Seminar. Modern Architecture (see ART 458)