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Program in European Cultural Studies

Director

Brigid Doherty

Acting Director

Efthymia Rentzou (fall/spring)

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

Jan-Werner Mueller, Politics

Serguei A. Oushakine, Anthropology, Slavic Languages and Literatures

Spyridon Papapetros, Architecture

Anson G. Rabinbach, History

Eileen A. Reeves, Comparative Literature

Efthymia Rentzou, French and Italian

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 306 Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz (see PHI 303)

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 329 Balzac: The Invention of the 19th Century (also COM 384/FRE 329)   LA

The Nineteenth Century as we know it is largely an invention of Balzac's, said Oscar Wilde. The seminar will focus on Balzac's understanding and dramatization of a new era, its growing cities, its increasingly mobile population, its dynamic forces, its intellectual self-reflections, through a reading of his novels, and some related materials by Baudelaire, Flaubert, Henry James. Novels may be read in French original or in translation; some knowldge of French helpful though not required. P. Brooks

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 Topics in Germanic Literatures (see GER 324)

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 355 Art & Nationalism in Modern Italy (also ART 340/ARC 355/HUM 355)   Fall LA

Following Italian unification Massimo d'Azaglio remarked, "Italy has been made; now it remains to make Italians." This course examines the art and architectural movements of the roughly 100 years between the1848 uprising and the beginning of the World War II, a critical period for defining italianità. Topics include the paintings of the Macchiaioli, reactions to the 1848 uprisings and the Italian Independendence Wars, the politics of 19th Century architectural restoration in Italy, the re-urbanization of Italy's new capital Rome, Fascist architecture and urbanism, and the architecture of Italy's African colonies. Staff

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

ECS 371 The Age of Discovery: History and Literature from the Renaissance to the French Revolution (see HUM 370)

ECS 373 Barbarians at the Gates of Hollywood (also COM 365)   Fall HA

The course examines the "classic versus barbarian" dialectics as the characteristic dynamics between Hollywood and European Art Cinema using Erich Auerbach's comparative method. Students will not only learn about important milestones of European Cinema, but also become familiar with the method of historicism/perspectivism/comparativism as developed by Vico, Nietzsche and Auerbach. E. Kiss

ECS 385 Afterlives of the Artists (also COM 364)   Spring LA

We will examine the ways in which Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists<\i> have morphed into modern and postmodern literature, focusing on the novelistic and lyric subversions of the original model. Adjustments to the standard narrative include biographies of wretched artists, artsy dealers, and aesthetically inclined criminals; texts set within the imagined world of a painting; tales privileging the instrument or materials over the artist; and dramatically rewritten or unwritten lives of the usual suspects. At stake here is less the figure of the artist than his or her disfiguration in the service of contemporary literature. E. Reeves

ECS 395 Crises of European Subjectivity, 1945-1961 (also COM 373/GER 395)   Spring EM

This course examines the crisis of European subjectivity in the wake of WWII and the Holocaust. Such a crisis implicates not merely the concepts of Europe and the subject, but the very concept of the concept and thus entails a transformation of thought itself. Topics include crises of the subject and the human; the question of technology; the Franco-German relation; the Cold War; decolonization; exile and emigration; essay, aphorism, and lecture as anti-systematic modes. We will do intensive readings of texts from seven authors: Theodor Adorno, Hannah Arendt, Maurice Blanchot, Paul Celan, Franz Fanon, Martin Heidegger, and Jacques Lacan. D. Hoffman-Schwartz

ECS 458 Seminar. Modern Architecture (see ART 458)