|LBST 502 The Frontier in American Literature
In this course the American West—a geography often imagined as a repository of frontier mythology—is investigated as “rhizomatic” space, which is to say it is a space that might very well be at odds with myth. We will investigate the assumptions underlying ideologies of the "frontier" in American literature and culture from the Early National Period to the present as we study many different manifestations of the frontier in cultural artifacts such as literature, film, television, politics, photography, national parks, and painting. Three credits.
LBST 505 Hume and Austen: Understanding, Passion, and Morality
The main goal for this course is to evaluate the theory that the novels of Jane Austen provide illustrations, support, and even demonstrations of various aspects of David Hume’s moral theory (as well as aspects of his theories in aesthetics and epistemology). We will first discuss Hume with a special emphasis on his views about the passions and moral theory. We will then discuss the notion of thought experiments, their usefulness in philosophy, and the legitimacy of using literature generally as thought experiments. At that point we will be in a position to discuss Austen’snovels with an eye toward determining whether they embody a Humean perspective on human nature and morality, and if they do, whether they can be seen to offer anything like demonstrations of Hume’s theories. Three credits.
LBST 506 The Morality of Politics
Emerging from the rise of the New Right in the mid-1970s, morality continues to characterize politics in the United States despite its identification as a liberal democracy. This particular ideological location grounded in the social contract tradition posits a separation between religion and politics as a means of framing public life in terms of natural and human, rather than divine, law. In short, the separation of church and state ideally permitted a bad man to be a good citizen. This course, particularly in light of the shifting moral landscape of contemporary politics, turns close attention to the intersection of morality and politics. Theoretical approaches are brought to bear on popular conceptualizations of “family values” and “culture wars.” We will explore the role of virtue and vice, responsibility, care, justice, and cosmopolitanism as moral and ethical frameworks for engaging with contemporary politics in the U.S. and abroad. Three credits.
LBST 507 Philosophical Perspectives on Women in Classical Literature
Ancient Greek and Latin literature presented its audience with a cast of characters who continue to enjoy social, political and cultural currency. Antigone and Oedipus, Helen and Paris, Cassandra and Prometheus have all had a hand in shaping western thought about the natures of beauty and freedom, the limits of human knowledge, and the role of law. The prominence and frequency with which ancient Greek and Latin cultures presented in text and on stage aspects of the lives of the very characters—women, ‘barbarians’ and slaves—who were marginalized in those same societies is striking. In this course we will focus specifically upon the literary characterizations of women found throughout the ancient Greek and Latin worlds. Three credits.
LBST 509 Rome in the Cultural Imagination
A center of artistic, cultural, religious, and political power, Rome has attracted legions of artists, religious pilgrims, politicians, and entrepreneurs over its long history. Both the home of the Catholic Church and a center of licentiousness, Rome is a paradox whose contrasting charms captivate our imagination. This course will examine the foundation myths of the city recounted in the works of Virgil and Livy as well as the cultural mores of antiquity in Ovid; the riches of Renaissance and Baroque Rome, especially as regards the Papal court; Rome’s centrality in the world of art; its representation in the films of Rossellini, Fellini and Ozpetek and in an opera by Puccini; and the political importance of Rome from its inception in antiquity up to present day. Three credits.
LBST 515 Inventing Themselves: African American Women’s History
At the intersection of race, gender and class, African-American women often challenged the codification of blackness and femaleness as well as limited conceptions of class-consciousness. From the diaspora to the present, they created forms of resistance, devised survival strategies and transmitted cultural knowledge while defying racial/gendered stereotypes. The multiple roles assumed by Black women during their struggle from slaves to citizens in the United States represent a complex study of the relational nature of difference and identity. This course focuses on African- American women as subjects and agents of pivotal importance within the family, community, church and labor force. Three credits.
LBST 516 Sex, Money and Power in the Ancient World
Generally, this course is a graduate-level seminar designed to give non-historians an introduction to the historical craft. Specifically, it introduces students to some of the major historiographical debates on Greek and Roman civilization. What was the nature of Greco-Roman sexuality? How did the ancient economy work? How did social and economic class systems shape the power structures of antiquity? The semester is divided into four parts. The first three parts will focus on major readings related to the fields of ancient sexuality, economics and social structures. The final part of the semester will focus on in-depth critique of student research and writing. Three credits.
LBST 520 England under the Stuarts
This course provides an indepth look at a series of turningpoints that were crucial to the later development of Britain and the USA as representative democracies. Only Britain and the Netherlands resisted the absolutist tide in the 17th century, and these two nations also led Europe in religious toleration and other basic human rights. Why were the English (and the Englishspeaking world) so lucky? Or was it luck? We will focus on political, religious, and social developments in England during the period 1603-1689, also taking into consideration events in Scotland and Ireland. Three credits.
LBST 522 Philosophy and Economic Anthropology
This course examines “the economy” from philosophical and anthropological perspectives. We will investigate why people produce and exchange things, why they seek to amass things in some circumstances and give them away in others, and how our modern understandings of value, debt, and rationality emerged. Three credits.
LBST 523 The Rise of China in Historical Perspective
China’s recent rapid rise has caught the world’s attention. How did China manage to transform itself from being one of the poorest countries in the world to the second largest world economy in the past three decades? Using a historical perspective, this course examines the ideas and institutions that shaped China and its people and the internal and external dynamics that contributed to China’s rise from the 1800s to the present. In this seminar students will learn historical approach and methods and engage in critical analysis of historical and secondary sources published in English language. Three credits.
LBST 524 Music of Black Americans
This course is a musical and historical survey of African-American music and its essential contributions to American culture. African heritage, slave songs, and the colonial era will be studied followed by the role of black Americans in the music and culture of the Revolutionary and Civil War periods. The evolution of the spirituals, minstrel songs, and ragtime as it relates to dance forms will be examined along with the role of blacks as performers in classical music and theatre. The final section will look at racism and issues of gender in America, and how musicians of diverse backgrounds have collaborated and contributed to the evolution of American culture despite adversity. Three credits.
LBST 525 The Encounter of China and the West
This course examines the relationship between China and the West throughout the centuries. Drawing upon a diversely rich body of historical and fictional texts and images, the course emphasizes the intellectual and artistic aspects of the encounter in modern times. We discuss both the West’s experience and views of China and China’s response to the West. The materials, which include fiction, films, non-fictional essays as well as theoretical articles, are arranged based on key historical figures, events, and issues. Students are expected to not only develop a framework knowledge about China-and-the-West intercultural experience and representations but also cultivate critical skills to think about and analyze the relationships between fiction and history, between art and life, and between self and society. All texts are in English. Films have subtitles. Three credits.