Core Courses

Fall 2011

Critical Social Thought 100 (01) First-Year Seminar: War and Memory
(Speaking- and writing-intensive; taught in English; cross-listed as German Studies 100) How do nations, groups, and individuals remember war? We explore the conflicting narratives of war that emerge at memorial sites, in museums, in film and other visual media, and in oral testimony. With an emphasis on case studies of actual national and transnational controversies arising out of competing versions of the past by the multiple participants in war, we investigate the impact of war in the last century up to the present for defining national, ethnic, gender, and racial identities; for establishing responsibility and rendering justice; and for remembering the dead. Cases focus on the remembrance of WW II and its legacies in Germany, Japan, and the USA.
K. Remmler

Critical Social Thought 100 (02) First-year seminar: Self and Political Thought
(Writing-intensive course) What is the relationship between personal experience and political thought? How do political thinkers grasp and convey the connections between self and political order? Our first-year seminar will probe the links between heart and mind in political philosophy by exploring the lives and writings of illustrative figures who together span the history of political thought. Texts will include memoirs and fiction as well as abstract theoretical works

J. Cocks

Critical Social Thought 100 (03) First-year seminar: What Is Performance?
(Writing-intensive; cross-listed as Theatre Arts 150 (02)) What's the difference between acting and being, and how does the idea of "performance" structure this difference? How do we "perform" our own identities, and how do we interpret the performances of others? This seminar offers a basic introduction to performance studies, an exciting new discipline through which everyday life, ritual behaviors, and artistic practices are studied. Perspectives from the arts, humanities, and social sciences will be explored using both textual and performative approaches. This is a speaking-, reading-, and writing-intensive class that includes innovative individual and group exercises.

E. Rundle

Critical Social Thought 100 (04) First-Year Seminar: Goodbye, Conventional Wisdom
(Speaking- and writing-intensive; cross-listed as European Studies 100 (01)) One of the hallmarks of a liberal arts education is to draw on a broad base of knowledge in order to interrogate common assumptions. No one exemplifies this critical approach better than French philosopher Michel Foucault. One of the most influential thinkers of recent times, Foucault revolutionized several academic disciplines and even questioned the very notion of a discipline itself. He did so by revealing the history and transformations of ideas now viewed as self-evident. This first-year seminar invites students to develop similar analytical skills. Following Foucault's lead, the course pays special attention to preconceptions about government, freedom, identity, and sexuality.

J. Crumbaugh

Critical Social Thought 250 (01) Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion
An introduction to some of the great critical voices of the nineteenth century. We will explore the ideas of such mutinous thinkers as Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, focusing on the style as well as the substance of their works and the circumstances that provoked them to write and/or that their writings helped provoke. The course will highlight the tension between appearance and reality, the dialectic of domination and subordination, and the place of reason and irrationality in social life.

J. Grayson

Critical Social Thought 252 (01) Art and Politics: Histories of Performance I
A survey of world performance history, including: the evolution of human language and consciousness; the rise of oral, ritual, and shamanic performance; religious and civic festivals; and imperial theatre practices that position the stage at the dangerous intersection of religious worship, public taste, royal patronage, and government censure. Understanding performance as both artistic practice and social institution, this course emphasizes the role performance has played in changing audiences and as a cultural and political force in various societies. We explore not only how performances were created--in terms of design, dramaturgy, architecture, and acting--but also for whom, and why.

E. Rundle

Critical Social Thought 350 (01) Seminar in Critical Social Thought
(Speaking- and writing-intensive) A seminar for CST seniors in which they present their independent research, respond critically to one another's work, and lead discussion. In support of that research, this course will explore the history of critical method, from the Enlightenment through 20th-century critical theory and post-colonial studies. Every student will produce a substantial essay on a question in the broad field of social thought. Students will present their work publicly and cultivate agility in speaking, arguing, and writing.

L. Wilson