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Program in European Cultural Studies

Director

Brigid Doherty

Executive Committee

David A. Bell, History

Sandra L. Bermann, Comparative Literature

Eduardo L. Cadava, English

Brigid Doherty, German, Art and Archaeology

Denis C. Feeney, Classics, ex officio

Rubén Gallo, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures

Daniel Garber, Philosophy

Anthony T. Grafton, History

Wendy Heller, Music

Michael W. Jennings, German

Serguei A. Oushakine, Anthropology, Slavic Languages and Literatures

Spyridon Papapetros, Architecture

Anson G. Rabinbach, History

Eileen A. Reeves, Comparative Literature

Thomas A. Trezise, French and Italian

Sits with Committee

Irena G. Gross, Slavic Languages and Literatures


The Program in European Cultural Studies was established in 1975 on the joint initiative of a number of faculty members in History, Comparative Literature, Romance Languages and Literatures, Politics, and Architecture and Urban Planning, under the leadership of Professor Carl Schorske. Its first certificate class was in 1979.

The program has two purposes: to deepen students understanding of European civilization, and to strengthen their command of cultural interpretation. The Program in European and Cultural Studies (ECS) brings together faculty and undergraduates from a number of departments in the humanities and the social sciences in a common inquiry. Their focus is, broadly stated, the ways in which European societies, past and present, order reality, make sense of life, and communicate meaning. In recent years, the program has expanded its curriculum with courses that situate European societies and cultures in historically specific global contexts. In order to frame the wide-ranging intellectual problems in precise, productive, and engaging ways, the program offers seminars on specific topics in European history, literature, art, architecture, music, and philosophy, often pursuing an interdisciplinary approach to cultural analysis across a range of fields.

Admission to the Program

Students from many departments, including the sciences, choose to complete a certificate in European cultural studies. The program's courses involve interdisciplinary approaches to the interpretation of the products of European culture, from novels, operas, and paintings to cityscapes and land-use patterns. There are no pre-requisites for admission to the ECS certificate program. However, ECS/EPS 301, ECS/EPS 302, and the HUM 216-219 sequence are each recognized as excellent gateway courses that also count towards fulfillment of the ECS certificate program requirements.

Students normally apply to join the program by the fall of their junior year. Early concentrators, late-comers, and students with further questions about the certificate are urged to contact Brigid Doherty, Director, for additional information.

Program of Study

All students must complete either HUM 216-219 or ECS/EPS 301 or 302. In addition, they must also take two 300-level ECS seminars, and they are encouraged to enroll in a 400-level ECS seminar. The majority of these seminars are cross-listed with other departments in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

The program has three final requirements. In their junior year, students will take part in a full-day excursion to a cultural event or exhibition in New York, and will also participate in the visit of the program's annual distinguished Faber lecturer. The ECS Junior Excursion is typically scheduled on a weekend and always includes a festive group meal. For the annual ECS Faber Lecture, juniors participate in a mealtime discussion with the speaker on a topic related to the lecture.

In their senior year, ECS students participate in the Senior Thesis Colloquium supervised by the program director. Although ECS certificate students complete their theses under the direction of their home departments, in late winter and early spring of the senior year they join the ECS director to meet one day a week, over a meal, to address common challenges of research, conceptualization, organization, and writing. Each student submits a chapter to the group for feedback and discussion four days in advance of the weekly meeting. Though most ECS students address European topics in their theses, this is not a requirement of the program; for the purposes of the workshop, certificate students from the sciences or engineering may substitute a paper written for a 300-level ECS course for circulation and discussion.

Certificate of Proficiency

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


Courses


ECS 302 Landmarks of European Identity (see EPS 302)

ECS 305 Imagined Languages (see TRA 305)

ECS 319 The Modern Period (see COM 318)

ECS 320 Cultural Systems   Not offered this year

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. Staff

ECS 321 Cultural Systems (also SPA 333/COM 389)   Not offered this year 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. Staff

ECS 330 Communication and the Arts   Not offered this year 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 HIS 430/HLS 332)   Not offered this year 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 332 Special Topics in Performance History and Theory (see THR 331)

ECS 340 Literature and Photography (also COM 340)   Spring 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 348 The Literary Fantastic (also COM 390)   Fall LA

A study of the fantastic in nineteenth- and twentieth-century fiction and in a selection of theoretical texts. Issues to be discussed include the relation of the fantastic to neighboring genres such as magical realism, the cognitive challenges it poses, thematic preoccupations such as the double and altered sensory states, the importance of reception, and interdisciplinary approaches drawing on philosophy, psychoanalysis, and literary theory. T. Trezise

ECS 352 The Enlightenment and the Interpretation of Pain (also FRE 356)   Fall EM

When the sum of our pains surpasses that of our pleasures, non-existence becomes preferable to existence. This argument became ubiquitous in Enlightenment philosophical debates. Many used it to discuss the rationality of suicide, God's creation, religious faith, as well as the metaphysical grounds of human existence and the idea of progress. Some criticized the quantitative premises of the argument and questioned the idea that pain could change the positive value of human existence into a negative one. We will examine those debates in philosophical and literary texts and discuss their later and contemporary echoes in ethics. C. Litwin

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

ECS 458 Seminar. Modern Architecture (see ART 458)