Fall 2014 Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars
- Genocide in Comparative Historical Perspective
- Stories of the Self
- Homer's Odyssey: Myth, Psychology and Politics
- Meaning & Morality: Questions About Who We Are How People Act And What We Should Believe About Good And Evil
- Writing Italian Women's Lives
- One Mind, Two Languages
- European Languages: History and Theory
- Immigrants in the Americas
- Gender, Sexuality, and Narrative Theory
- Can Grandma Survive Entitlement Reform? How Will Changes in Social Security, Medicare and Other Programs Affect You and Your Family?
- Art, Archeology, and Chemistry
- Paradoxes of Zionism
- Migration, Globalization, and Education
- Anti-Apartheid and Civil Rights Movements: King and Mandela, Lessons in Leadership Seminar
- Understanding War: Will the Second Horseman Ride Forever?
- The Cartographic Impulse
- Does Anything Matter?
- What About Love? Marriage and Family in Cross-Cultural Perspective
NO SPECIAL PERMISSION NUMBERS WILL BE GIVEN OUT DURING PRE-REGISTRATION FOR CLOSED SECTIONS. PLEASE CONTINUE TO CHECK THE SCHEDULE OF CLASSES FROM NOW UNTIL ADD/DROP PERIOD IN THE FALL SEMESTER.
This seminar focuses upon a comparison of four twentieth-century genocides: the Turkish Genocide of the Armenians (1915-1917), the Holocaust (1933-1945), the Pol Pot "auto-genocide" in Cambodia (1976-1979), and the Rwandan Genocide (1994). Our aim will be to understand the historical roots, immediate causes, implementation and aftermath of these four acts of collective state-sponsored violence and then to attempt to make comparisons among them.
We will begin with an overview of genocide, including the definitional and theoretical problems it raises, as well an examination of the general history of genocides in the 20th and 21st centuries. We will then turn to an intensive study of the genocides of the Armenians, the Jews, the Cambodians, and the Tutsi (in Rwanda). Our focus will upon understanding the origins of violence on this scale as well as its consequences for those who survive it.
The course will make use of secondary sources, as well as of memoirs, testimonies, film, and video created by perpetrators and victims. Our main aim is both to comprehend genocidal violence as a particularly vicious form of state policy and also as a human and personal experience of terror and murder. To do so, we will have to confront not only killers and their victims, but bystanders and survivors.
The course will be writing-intensive, including a series of very brief papers as well as a longer final exercise. Each student will take responsibility for organizing one of our discussions and all students will be expected not only to do the weekly assignments (which will include multimedia sources as well as texts). The course will also include several outside speakers with particular expertise on one of the genocides we will be considering and at least one field trip.
Formerly Executive Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, DOUGLAS GREENBERG is Professor of History in the School of Arts and Sciences. He graduated from Rutgers in 1969 and holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University. Prior to coming to Rutgers, he was Executive Director of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute and Professor of History at USC. He has also been a museum director and a foundation executive and taught history Princeton and Lawrence Universities.
Stories of the Self [WCd]
Emily Van Buskirk, SAS-German,Russian & Eastern European Languages & Literatures
35 College Avenue Room 302
College Ave Campus
*This seminar will count as elective credit in the Comparative Literature major and minor and as a literature elective in the Russian major as well as for the minors in Russian literature, and in Russian language and literature.
We often tell stories in an effort to better understand ourselves. Different cultures and historical epochs have given rise to radically different concepts of the self. For example, personal identities have been understood as relatively fixed or as extremely fluid; as dependent on external, social factors or internal, spiritual ones; as attached to the body or to the mind; to the conscious or unconscious. Meanwhile, diverse concepts of the self have gone hand-in-hand with equally diverse narrative techniques and styles.
In this seminar we will think together about self-concepts and storytelling, as we examine how writers have explored changing notions of the self. What do literary characters (fictional and non-fictional) tell us about different notions of identity and personality? How have models for understanding the self traveled from literature and film to life?
Our texts will include short stories, excerpts from novels, autobiographies, confessions, essays, as well as psychological case studies. Readings will be selected from writers such as Montaigne, Rousseau, Proust, Sarraute, Sartre, Beckett, Kafka, Freud, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Kharms, Nabokov, Shalamov, and Lydia Ginzburg. We will compare written imaginings of the self to visual self-portraiture (for example at the Zimmerli Museum) and filmic autobiography (e.g. Tarkovsky’s Mirror). We will inquire about contemporary models of the self, explored through new electronic and social media (blogs, Facebook, Twitter). We will look here at the dynamics of public and private, of confession and self-exposure. Finally, we will ask what happens when the self becomes a data point – does it defy narrative understanding?
EMILY VAN BUSKIRK is an assistant professor in the Department of German, Russian, and East European Languages and Literatures, and a member of Core Faculty in Comparative Literature. She earned her PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Harvard University, and her BA from Princeton. She specializes, broadly speaking, in Russian and Czech prose of the twentieth century. Her current research on the fragmentary writings of scholar-writer Lydia Ginzburg (1902-1990) focuses on the relationship between literary experimentation and attempts to describe the psychology, behavior, and ethics of a post-individualist, twentieth-century self. Van Buskirk is the co-editor of two recent books on Ginzburg, and has just completed her first book manuscript, called Reality in Search of Literature: Lydia Ginzburg’s In-between Prose. Van Buskirk first began studying Russian language and literature in college, having been inspired by a short cultural exchange trip she took as a teenager. In her spare time, she enjoys music (playing violin, singing) and being outdoors.
Homer's Odyssey: Myth, Psychology and Politics [WCd]
Steven Walker, SAS- Asian Language & Cultures
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Ave Campus
*This seminar will count as elective credit in the Comparative Literature major and minor.
Many students may have already read Homer’s Odyssey or parts thereof, but this is one of those books that really are worth rereading and rethinking. There are 24 chapters in the Odyssey, and we will be reading and discussing 2-3 of them each week in the translation by Robert Fitzgerald. We will be using a recent commentary (Frederick Ahl and Hanna M. Roisman, The Odyssey Re-Formed) for initial inspiration and stimulation. But the bulk of our seminar work together will simply be letting our minds and imaginations work on the text through close reading and discussion, and seeing what we come up with. Homer can mean many different things to many different people, as we will surely discover.
The mythological side of the Odyssey is one of the things that have made it fascinating for each new generation of readers. We will look carefully at the rich mythological world of the Odyssey with a special eye for psychological meaning and insight, especially as regards the initiation process of a young man (Telemachus), a young woman (Nausicaa), an older man (Odysseus), and an older woman (Penelope). But there has also been a perennial fascination with the historical subtext: did Odysseus (or someone like him) really exist? Does what Homer tells us about him, his island Ithaca and his society actually correspond to history? The now classic study The World of Odysseus by Moses Finley will give us a look at some of what lay behind the heroic legends of this epic of seafaring and adventure. Finally, the Odyssey turns out to have an special relevance for the discussion and the resolution of one major problem our society is facing today, and it is Jonathan Shay’s book Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming that will lead us from the world of ancient heroic epic to the problems of modern war.
STEVEN F. WALKER, Professor of Comparative Literature, majored in Greek as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin, and continued to study ancient Greek literature in his work for a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Harvard. The Odyssey has long been one of his favorite books, but, oddly enough, although he has thought about it a lot, he hasn’t written or published much on it—perhaps he wished to keep it a book mainly for pleasure reading and not for academic analysis? In all events, it is his pleasure with the text that he would like most to share with you.
Meaning & Morality: Questions About Who We Are How People Act And What We Should Believe About Good And Evil [WCd]
Larry Temkin, SAS - Philosophy
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Ave Campus
*This seminar will count as elective credit in the Philosophy major and minor.
This seminar will explore some of the most profound questions humans have addressed. Of special concern will be questions about good and evil, justice and equality, freedom and autonomy, and the meaning of human existence. This seminar will be taught by a moral philosopher, and special emphasis will be laid on approaching these questions philosophically. But the seminar aims to combine literary, philosophical, and historical insights and perspectives in addressing these profound issues.
Readings may include Pascal’s Pensees, Kant’s Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave, Nietzsche’s Geneology of Morals, Glover’s Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century, selected stories by Kafka, Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz, Spiegelman’s Maus, and selections from Martin Luther King Jr., including Letter from a Birmingham Jail. All these readings are absolutely first-rate, and some are amongst the most important and influential writings in the history of western thought.
The seminar will require significant amounts of reading and writing, regular attendance, and frequent participation in classroom discussion. It will emphasize critical thinking, careful writing, thoughtful expression, and deep reflection on fundamentally important issues. Students will be required to do regular short homework assignments and two papers (~ 7 - 9 pages and ~ 9 - 12 pages). Papers will be expected to combine rigor, analysis, and arguments with originality, insight, and depth.
This seminar should be one of the most interesting and important classes that you ever take. With your help, it should also be a great deal of fun.
LARRY TEMKIN is Professor II of Philosophy. A specialist in ethics and social and political philosophy, Temkin is one of the world’s foremost experts on equality and the nature of the good. Professor Temkin graduated number one from the University of Wisconsin at Madison with a B.A.-Honors Degree, and received his Ph.D. from Princeton University. Professor Temkin has received numerous honors and awards, including Fellowships from the Danforth Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the National Humanities Center, Harvard University’s Program in Ethics and the Professions, All Souls College Oxford University, the National Institutes of Health, the Australian National University, and Princeton University as the Laurance S Rockefeller Visiting Professor of Distinguished Teaching. Before coming to Rutgers, Professor Temkin taught at Rice University, where he won seven major teaching awards, including each of Rice’s highest teaching awards, as voted on by peers, current students, and former students. In addition, Temkin received Rutgers’s 2008 School of Arts and Sciences Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education. Temkin is also acutely aware that none of this means diddly-squat to current students! Nor should it.
Writing Italian Women's Lives [WCd]
Andrea Baldi, SAS - Italian
35 College Avenue Room 302
College Ave Campus
*This seminar will count as elective credit in the Italian Studies major and minor.
The seminar aims at introducing students to some of the foremost issues concerning contemporary women’s writing in the Italian context. The works we will consider testify to women’s struggle toward economic and social freedom as well as access to education, from the end of the 19th century to the present. Some of these texts also illustrate original models of political engagement and address migration issues. While analyzing short stories and novels, we will also take a look at women’s everyday lives, confronting the hardships they had to overcome on the road to emancipation. For a long time patriarchal culture has silenced and erased these voices and concerns, excluding them from the literary canon. Only in recent years the specificity and significance of these testimonies have been recognized, thus provoking insightful and thorough critical inquiries.
The seminar will focus on the features of works that react against women’s marginalization, fashioning forms of resistance to patriarchal culture and defining new models of agency. Through the discussion of readings and forms of visual representation we will examine the historical, cultural, social, and economic conflicts that these works reflect and denounce.
ANDREA BALDI is a Professor in the Department of Italian. He received his Laurea degree from the University of Florence and his Ph.D. from UCLA. He has worked extensively on contemporary Italian literature, publishing a monograph on Anna Maria Ortese’s works (2010) and editing her Iguana (Adelphi, 2005). He has also authored essays on women writers and the cinematic adaptation of literary texts. His current project examines how contemporary narratives represent the urban environment, weaving together collective and individual memories. He looks forward to engaging Honors students in his research.
One Mind, Two Languages [WCd]
Nuria Sagarra, SAS - Spanish & Portuguese
LLB Room 110
College Ave Campus
*This seminar will count as elective credit in the Spanish major and minor.
How do bilinguals handle having multiple languages in a single mind? Why do adults have difficulty achieving native-like competence in a foreign language? Why do some people learn foreign languages more easily than others? This course introduces undergraduate students to psycholinguistic theories of bilingualism and cognitive factors that modulate how humans acquire foreign languages. The course combines lectures with discussion of empirical studies. In addition, students will have the unique opportunity to visit laboratories using cutting-edge methodologies in cognitive science, including the Bilingual Processing Laboratory, which has an eye tracker. Finally, the course straddles the domains of psycholinguistics, second language acquisition, and bilingualism, and is recommended for students with interests in cognitive psychology, linguistics, or language acquisition, but students from other disciplines are also welcome.
NURIA SAGARRA is Associate Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Rutgers University. Her research straddles the domains of cognitive science, linguistics, and second language acquisition, seeking to identify what factors explain adults’ difficulty learning morphosyntax in a foreign language, with the aim of informing linguistic and cognitive models, as well as instructional practices. She investigates these topics using self-paced reading, eyetracking, and more recently, event-related potentials. She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation grant, and has published in notable journals, including Applied Psycholinguistics, Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Language Learning, Lingua, and Studies in Second Language Acquisition.
European Languages: History and Theory [WCd]
Alexander Pichugin, SAS-German,Russian & Eastern European Languages & Literatures
Scott Hall Room 205
College Ave Campus
*This seminar will count as English-language credits in German, whether for the 3 credits a student may count toward the Lang & Lit degree, or toward any reasonably related concentration declared by a student doing German Studies.
What are European languages? Who speaks them? What is a language and what is a dialect? What is a thriphtong? Why is Italian so easy to sing? How come German has cases? Who speaks Romansh? Why does French have nasal sounds? Why does Yiddish use right-to-left writing? These and many other questions will be addressed in this interdisciplinary honors seminar, which is designed to engage students in the discussion and development of writing skills focusing on the connections between history, culture, and linguistics. It is intended for all students interested in European languages, including those offered at Rutgers (English, German, Yiddish, Russian, Polish, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, as well as Latin and Greek), but is also open to anyone interested in languages, their structure, as well as their history and their present state. The seminar will begin with an exploration of some general theoretical questions about the nature of language, including questions of what language is, how it relates to cognition, how it is acquired by children and adults. We will examine Saussure’s structural approach to language, Skinner’s behaviorist theory, as well as Chomsky’s Universal Grammar in application to European Languages as well as discuss some linguistic universalia. In the second part of the seminar we will trace the history of modern European languages from their Proto-Indo-European ancestor to the present day and see how and why they have developed to what they look like now. Here, we will approach the European languages comparatively. In this part we will also look into different writing systems in these languages. In the third part of the seminar we will examine the demographical and political questions around the language in the post-colonial world to the present. We will be studying the language landscape of Europe as well as the world where European languages are spoken.
As a learning outcome of the seminar, students will develop their abilities to approach language both analytically and synthetically, exploring the connection between structure, history, and politics in critical and creative ways. As a practical outcome, the students will develop important skills in working with language facts by practicing oral and written interpretation, which will advance their ability to speak and write in general.The seminar has no pre-requisites. It is designed to satisfy the Core Curriculum goal “Writing and Communication in the Discipline [WCd]” in all three of its aspects: Effective communication in modes appropriate to the area of inquiry (WCd-t), critical evaluation and assessment of the sources and correct use of conventions of attribution and citation (WCd-u), as well as analysis and synthesis of information and ideas from multiple sources to generate new insights (WD-v).
All readings for the seminar will be available on Sakai.
DR. ALEXANDER E. PICHUGIN is the Director of German Language and Culture Studies at Rutgers and lecturer in German and Information Science (ITI & MLIS). He holds degrees from Saratov State University, Russia (Diploma in Germanic Philology), Rutgers University (M.Ed.), and University of Pennsylvania (M.A. and Ph.D. in German). He has taught a variety of courses in European languages (German, English, French, Italian, Latin), information science, as well as worked as business translator / interpreter. His academic interests in languages include general linguistics, cultural aspects of language learning, cultural knowledge, and heritage languages. In his spare time, he enjoys visiting the zoos and aquaria.
- *This seminar will count as elective credit in the Latin American Studies major or minor.
- *This seminar will count as elective credit in the Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies major or minor.
- *This seminar will count as elective credit in the Comparative and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CCRES) minor.
Most of us are familiar with the Chinese laborers in gold mines and on the transcontinental railroad in the American West during the mid-nineteenth century, the Irish and Italians who settled New York City, and the more recent immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean to the United States. But some Chinese headed for “Gold Mountain” in California ended up toiling on Cuban sugar plantations or Peruvian guano pits. Half a million people from India settled in the British Caribbean, eventually making roti the ultimate fast food in places like Trinidad. And today well over one million people of Japanese descent live in Brazil. Immigration to the United States has been equally as complex, with Jewish Cubans among those arriving in Miami and Union City after the Cuban Revolution.
In this seminar we will trace global migrations to the Americas from the nineteenth century to the present. We take a hemispheric approach, recognizing the circulation of people and linked discourses about immigrants throughout the Americas, with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. Through our readings of the histories and literatures of immigrant diasporas in the region we will engage with broader themes in global history: the extent to which Asian indentured laborers in the Caribbean represented a continuation of African slavery or the beginning of a system of free wage labor; women and transpacific families; official exclusion and immigration laws; Japanese internment during World War II; stereotypes and “model minorities”; cross-ethnic alliances; second-generation immigrant children and multiracial identities; and cultural production and foodways.
Throughout the semester, we will read and analyze scholarly works, primary documents, testimony, memoirs, novels, film, television series, music, and images. A central question will be how works of history and literature, when critically analyzed together, represent the cultural landscapes of immigrants in the Americas.
Kathleen López is an Assistant Professor of Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies (LHCS) and History. She earned a B.A. in History from the University of Virginia, an M.A. in Asian Studies from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan. She is the author of Chinese Cubans: A Transnational History (University of North Carolina Press, 2013) and co-editor of a special issue on “Afro-Asia” of the Afro-Hispanic Review 27.1 (2008). Her research and teaching focus on the historical intersections between Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, postemancipation Caribbean societies, race and ethnicity in the Americas, and international migration.
*This seminar will count as elective credit in the Comparative Literature major and minor.
How do we use narrative forms to account for genders and sexualities? This course presents an examination of literary, visual and theoretical works to understand the putting into motion of different narrative elements (storytelling, plot, motivation, structure, time, discourse, and desire, among others) to shape gender and sexual identities. Particular attention will be given to questions of subject formation in the context of three theoretical approaches: 1) psychoanalysis, 2) performativity, and 3) cybercultures. We will examine how psychoanalytic discourse and theories of performativity serve to understand narratives of subjectivity, gender and sexuality, as well as explore how virtuality transforms how we conceptualize the “body” in relationship to gender and sexual discourse. Discussions will include topics such as bodies, heteronormativity, narcissism, cybersexuality, race, and transgendered identities.
Literary works include: Fannie Hurst’s Imitation of Life, Nella Larsen’s Passing, James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, Manuel Puig’s Heartbreak Tango, Sonia Rivera-Valdés’s The Forbidden Stories of Marta Veneranda, and other texts. Films include Douglass Sirk’s Imitation of Life, Jane Campion’s The Piano, and music videos by 50 Cent and Lil’ Kim. Theoretical works include selections from Freud’s Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble, Judith Roof’s Come as You Are, Eve K. Sedgwick’s The Epistemology of the Closet, and Jacques Lacan’s Écrits.
Professor BEN. SIFUENTES-JÁUREGUI teaches in the Department of American Studies as well as in the Program in Comparative Literature. His research interests include Latino/a Literature and Culture, XXth-Century Latin American Literature and Cultural Studies, gender theory and sexuality studies, and psychoanalysis. He is author of Transvestism, Masculinity, and Latin American Literature (2002), and The Avowal of Difference: Queer Latino American Narratives (forthcoming 2014). He has also published articles on sexuality, queer identities in Latino/a America, and melodrama. Prof. Sifuentes-Jáuregui teaches a variety of undergraduate courses on American, specifically on U.S. Latino/a literature, film, performance theory, and cultural practices, as well as Latin American literature and culture. His courses include topics such as history of sexuality; interrogating critical concepts in gender and queer theory as they relate to a broad American context; melodrama as hegemonic discourse in Latin American cultures; deconstruction and master narratives; representations of race, sexuality and gender in the cultural production of the nation; also, U.S. Latino/a identities and postcolonial theory. His next two research project deals with the relationship between of melodrama and masochism in a series of Latino American novels, performances, films, and essays, as well as another project on the intersection between Latino literature and psychoanalysis.
Can Grandma Survive Entitlement Reform? How Will Changes in Social Security, Medicare and Other Programs Affect You and Your Family? [WCd]
Jeffrey Rubin, SAS - Economics
Lucy Stone Hall Room A215
*This seminar will count as a lower level elective in the Economics major and minor. Note: Students who complete this Honors Seminar cannot also take Economics of Social Welfare Programs (01:220:348).
With the baby boom population reaching the age where they will qualify for Social Security benefits and Medicare coverage the country faces some difficult challenges. In this course we will begin by explaining the structure and function of the key programs including Social Security retirement and disability benefits, Medicare, unemployment insurance and workers compensation. A special focus will be on the use of the tax code to provide benefits to people through special deductions for things like state and local taxes and mortgage payments and through tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. We will evaluate the status of the existing key entitlement programs and then review and evaluate many of proposals for reform. Among the options under consideration are changing the age of eligibility, decreasing benefits for everyone or only for those who are well-to-do by the time they reach 65 and finding alternative ways to pay for medical care that encourage people to consume less care. A particular focus in this course will be on the potential value of viewing some entitlement programs as an alternative to having younger families support their parents and grandparents. Students will be asked to prepare several policy papers that are designed to have them evaluate and analyze information from multiple sources and to be able to make a presentation to the class regarding the particular issue they are addressing.
JEFFREY RUBIN (Ph.D., Duke, 1975), professor of Economics, has published research on the economics of disability, the costs of mental illness, the economic aspects of mental health litigation and the economic consequences of spinal cord injury. He is the author of Economics, Mental Health and the Law (1978). He co-edited Reform and Regulation in Long Term Care (1979); and edited Alternatives in Rehabilitating the Handicapped: A Policy Analysis (1982). His current research is on Medicare policy. He is also interested in assessing measures of economic loss in malpractice cases and other types of personal injury litigation.
Art, Archeology, and Chemistry [WCd]
Kuang Yu Chen, SAS - Chemistry & Chemical Biology
Allison Road Classroom Room 203
Chemistry as a discipline has a great potential to vastly expand the landscape of archaeology and art history. Considerable progress in nanotechnology, spectroscopic and imaging techniques, have made it possible to perform non-invasive study of archeological artifacts and art work at molecular level. For example, multi-spectral analysis revealed the fingerprint of Leonardo da Vinci on a painting previously thought to be not authentic, boosting its market value from $19,000 to over $150 million; the synchrotron radiation based X-ray fluorescence elemental mapping uncovered another layer of painting underneath Vincent van Gogh's famous painting "Patch of Grass"; and the atomic absorption spectroscopy allows detection of huge amount of mercury inside the Mausoleum of the First Emperor Qin Shihuang (r. 246-210 BCE) confirming the literature record that mercury was used to simulate rivers and seas in an empire model. The amazing progress in DNA sequencing and bioinformatics has now allowed scientists to peek into the genome of Neanderthals who roamed in Southern Europe more than 20,000 years ago and opens up fascinating stories on human evolution and paleoanthropology.The seminar course will use these stories to illustrate how the chemistry is used to enhance our understanding of art history and to advance the field of archeology. The goal is to deepen the appreciation of the tremendous synergy that chemistry can bring to the field of social sciences and humanity.
KUANG YU CHEN is Professor II of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. His research group has been interested in the function of polyamines and eIF5A protein, particularly their role in cancer. His lab has also done research in the area of nutraceutical and disease prevention. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, where his research interest is in Early China (2000-500 BCE), with particular focus on oracle bone inscription and Shang civilization.
Paradoxes of Zionism [WCd]
Uri Eisenzweig, SAS - French
35 College Avenue Room 302
College Ave Campus
*This seminar will count as an elective for those Comparative Literature majors who are doing an interdisciplinary focus on the Middle East, Jewish Studies, or nationalism, and as an elective for the Comparative Literature minor.
The creation of the State of Israel, in 1948, was the result of almost seventy years of efforts by European Jews to create a political entity that would be a haven for persecuted Jews around the world. This effort was mainly led by the Zionist organization, officially created in 1897, but whose political philosophy emerged several years earlier.
One of the peculiar aspects of early Zionist discourse was a relative uncertainty as to which territory would be best for a future autonomous Jewish society. The debate was heated and ended only in 1905, when a decision was made to focus exclusively on Palestine.
The seminar will begin with a general survey of the events surrounding the rise of Zionism. We will then proceed with a careful reading of major texts traditionally associated with early Zionism, from Pinsker's Autoemancipation (1882) to Herzl's Jewish State (1896). This will allow us to examine the logic behind early Zionsm’s hesitations with respect to the dreamed of territory. We will then discuss the role of these hesitations in the evolving image of Palestine in Zionist discourse and practices until the 1948 creation of the State of Israel.
URI EISENZWEIG is Distinguished Professor of French and Comparative Literature. He graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy and French Literature from Tel-Aviv University, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Paris 8. A 1997 Guggenheim Fellow, he has taught in Israel, France, and the U.S. Most of his books and articles focus on the literary form of political discourse. His latest book, published by le Seuil, Paris, in 2013, is Naissance littéraire du fascisme.
Globalization and mass migration are reconfiguring the modern world and reshaping the contours of nation-states. New technologies that facilitate the movement of information, goods, and people across borders have made it easier for people to remain culturally, politically, economically and socially connected to the places from which they migrated. This seminar focuses on the experiences of the youngest members of these global migration patterns—children and youth—and asks: What do these global flows mean for educating young people to be members of the multiple communities to which they belong?
This seminar will explore the following questions: What is globalization and why is it leading to new patterns of migration? How do children and youth experience disjunctures and continuities across contexts of migration? How do language policies affect young people’s capacity to be educated in a new land? What does it mean to forge a sense of belonging and citizenship in a “glocalized” world, and how does this challenge our models of national citizenship? Drawing on fiction, autobiography, and anthropological and sociological research this class will explore these questions from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. In addition, we will partner with local, newcomer high school students in order to learn about their experiences of migration and education and help us reflect on the literature we will be reading.
THEA RENDA ABU EL-HAJ is an educational anthropologist and an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Education. Her recent research explores questions about youth citizenship raised by globalization, transnational migration, and the “war on terror.” She has just completed a book manuscript, Unsettled Belonging: Educating Palestinian American youth in an age of empire—an ethnographic study that explores how Palestinian American Muslim youth from an immigrant community grappled with questions of belonging and citizenship in the wake of September 11, 2001. She is currently working on a new research project about the education of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. Professor Abu El-Haj also co-directs the Graduate School of Education’s Urban Teaching Fellows program.
Anti-Apartheid and Civil Rights Movements: King and Mandela, Lessons in Leadership Seminar [WCd]
Ronald Quincy, School of Social Work
35 College Avenue Room 302
College Avenue Campus
This seminar will examine the strategic ways in which leaders have sought to institutionalize their activism and public dissent. The class will utilize an interactive discussion format. On a macro-level, the focus will include founders of civil and human rights organizations and other social change pressure groups. On a micro-level, we will contrast leadership roles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his co-founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Nelson Mandela and his leadership role in the African National Congress (ANC).
Students will explore a combination of readings of great social movement thinkers such as David Thoreau and draw from original case studies to provide comparative and contrasting ideas of King and Mandela, along with other influencers. The important role of interracial and interfaith groups during these time periods will be explored along with issues pertaining to self-sacrifice and the ethics of movement leadership will also be addressed. Students will conduct as a group an original social scientific research project on aspects of leadership, consisting of on-line survey research, interviews or focus groups.
Utilizing real world interactions with former ANC and civil rights activists, the instructor will facilitate student-led interactions with selected leaders. Students will form in-class role-play debate teams. The Students will develop a comprehensive annotated leadership chronology; and leadership decision analysis matrix for a selected historical figure, or of the students. Students will prepare mock contemporary conversations between Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela as they reflect on their historical figure’s political and social change best practices and leadership lessons learned.
RONALD L. QUINCY, PhD (Michigan State University) is currently Director, Center for Nonprofit Management and Governance, and Lecturer (Professor), School of Social Work, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Dr. Quincy teaches courses in the nonprofit and management concentration. His research interests are organizational leadership, governance, community empowerment, and diversity in the human services sector. Dr. Quincy is formerly an associate vice president at Harvard University, where he also served as assistant to the president of Harvard. Dr. Quincy has served two governors as a state cabinet officer in Michigan, Special Assistant to the Secretary, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Executive Director, Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, President of the White House Fellows Foundation, Executive Director/President Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Foreign Affairs Advisor, US State Department, and Director of the Office of Human Resource Policy, State of Michigan. Ron has served on special advisory boards for a number of institutions including MIT, Harvard, and Michigan State. He also served on the governing board of Egleston Children's Hospital (Emory University), Michigan Criminal Justice Commission, Governor's Task Force on School Violence and Vandalism, among others public service agencies. Earlier in his career, Dr. Quincy served as a White House Fellow.
Understanding War: Will the Second Horseman Ride Forever? [WCd]
Jack Levy, SAS - Political Science
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Ave Campus
*This seminar will count towards the Political Science major (either as a required PS 395 seminar or as an elective) or for the minor
War has been a persistent pattern in the relationships among tribes, states and other politically-organized groups since the dawn of human civilization. Will war, in one form or another, always be with us? To invoke the powerful cultural symbol of the Second Horseman, who was given a "great sword" and "the power ... to take peace from the earth": will the Second Horseman ride forever, and with what ferocity and in what direction? We cannot think seriously about answering this question – or about how to eliminate war or mitigate its severity – unless we understand what causes war. Despite the enormous intellectual firepower directed to this question – by philosophers, theologians, historians, literary figures, political scientists, sociologists, economists, psychologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, primatologists, biologists, and others –a consensus has yet to emerge on the critical question of what causes war.
This seminar takes an interdisciplinary approach to the question of the causes of war and the conditions for peace. We assume that a better understanding of war and its causes requires an understanding and integration of perspectives, knowledge, and methodologies from multiple disciplines. We begin by examining contemporary debates about whether war is declining. We analyze Clausewitz’s argument that “war is a continuation of politics,” and then turn to debates about whether war is somehow “natural” or whether it is socially “constructed” or learned. In the process we examine evolutionary theories, studies of primate behavior, and anthropological theories and archaeological evidence of the origins of war in early human civilization. After developing a conceptual framework for analyzing the causes of war, we undertake a detailed survey of theories of the causes of interstate wars, from the Peloponnesian War to the Iraq War. We then turn to civil wars, asymmetric wars, and terrorism, and engage debates about the respects in which “new wars” are different from “old wars.” This is a writing-intensive seminar in which students will undertake a major research project.
JACK S. LEVY is Board of Governors’ Professor of Political Science. He is a past president of the International Studies Association (2007-08) and of the Peace Science Society International (2005-06). Levy’s teaching and research interests focus on international relations, with an emphasis on the causes of interstate war and on decision-making at the individual, organizational, and government levels. His books include War in the Modern Great Power System, 1495-1975 (1983), Explaining War and Peace: Case Studies and Necessary Condition Counterfactuals (co-edited with Gary Goertz, 2007), Causes of War (with William R. Thompson, 2010), The Arc of War: Origins, Escalation, and Transformation (with William R. Thompson, 2011), The Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology, 2nd ed. (edited with Leonie Huddy and David O. Sears, 2013), and The Outbreak of the First World War: Structure, Politics, and Decision-Making (2014, edited with John A. Vasquez). He has published over 100 articles and book chapters. Levy is currently working on book projects on balance of power theory, on the theory and history of preventive war, and on the strategic dynamics of the 1930s. For more on Professor Levy see his website at http://fas-polisci.rutgers.edu/levy/.
*This seminar will count as elective credit in the AMESALL: African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures major and minor AND as elective credit in the Comparative Literature major and minor.
There is a notion of scientific facticity and impersonal knowledge gathering in the use of maps in the modern world. People use maps as a way to prove the “reality” of a space, to locate a material space, to reach a goal. But maps have been regularly used to consolidate colonial power as well as to subvert imperial designs. The aim of this course is to show that maps are authored projects, that they are not “factual” but are always selective in their depiction of material spaces. Geographers have known this for a long time now, and as Harley states, maps reflect “values, such as those of ethnicity, politics, religion or social class.” We will take this reading of maps into the interpretations of colonial and postcolonial texts to see how cartography can be variously utilized as a trope to structure the colonial argument for power or the postcolonial reversal of oppressive systems.
The course travels across British, Irish, Indian, and African literature. It examines the political skirmishes between Ireland and Great Britain, India and Pakistan, besides the colonization of Asia and Africa by various European countries. Besides a detailed look at different kinds of maps over the ages and across spaces, the course looks at the reflection of this in the genres of poetry, drama and fiction as well as in artworks from these spaces.
The course starts by defining what maps are and looking at various projections used in the making of maps, then moves into an inquiry of this scheme of knowledge gathering and its connection to the imperial project, and then looks at the possible ways in which the colonial tools can be used to subvert the power of the colonial gaze. The course is interdisciplinary and involves looking at maps, exploring art works and reading literatures from different genres, periods and spaces. Some of the writers studied in the course include Lewis Carroll, Nuruddin Farah, Amitav Ghosh, Arun Kolatkar and Brian Friel.
ANJALI NERLEKAR’S research is in the intersections of literature, urban spaces and multilingual experiences. She is working on a book titled Bombay Modern: Arun Kolatkar’s Bilingual Materialisms and her other areas of study include South Asian poetry with a focus on post-independence Indian poetry, South Asian literature, Indo-Caribbean literature, Translation studies, postcolonial book history, and world Anglophone literature. She is Assistant Professor in the department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures.
*This seminar will count as a 200 level course towards the Philosophy major and minor as satisfaction of one of the 'value theory' courses required for the major.
In this course, we examine whether anything matters. Common beliefs about the nature of reasons and the role of desire in living the rational life are investigated, and the challenge they pose to things mattering is explored. Our focus, in particular, will be on the nature of 'shouldness' or 'ought-to-be-doneness' -- what philosophers call 'normativity'. What does 'shouldness' amount to? If what we should do is just a matter of what we happen to want or what social conventions require of us, can anything truly matter? We examine some of the leading views about normativity and delve deeply into intricate arguments for and against competing views.
RUTH CHANG has her Ph.D. from Oxford University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. She has won a teaching award at Harvard and has been known to work her students very hard.
Marriage is the union of two consenting adults in love, and a family consists of a married conjugal couple and their children. Right? Many would argue “yes.” Yet, the idea of marrying for love is a relatively recent one and the nuclear family is not so traditional at all. A look at societies in different historical periods and regions of the world demonstrates that while marriage and family have both been foundational institutions worldwide, the ideals and realities, and laws and customs of marital and familial life have varied considerably.
So when did love conquer marriage, and why? Are romantic love, freedom to marry, and the nuclear family viewed everywhere as normal ways to organize private life and intimate relations? Why are some family forms and marriage practices outlawed or stigmatized, while others are deemed legitimate?
This seminar offers a cross-cultural and multi-century investigation into how ideas and practices surrounding marriage and family have been formed and transformed. Using a wide array of archival, literary, and visual sources that include records of civil court cases, investigative news reports, cartoons, and films, it explores marital dramas and family scandals in a variety of contexts, from 16th century France to present-day Indonesia. It examines the world’s most resilient matrilineal society of the Minangkabau as well as the world’s largest mail-order bride industry in South Korea. It considers past and present controversies, such as anti-miscegenation laws in 19th and 20th century US, transnational/transracial adoption during the Cold War, and the emergence of international “polygamy clubs” in the 21st century. In so doing, the seminar will ask students to think critically about the role of marriage and family in the production and reproduction of political power, economic wealth, labor systems, and social difference.
CHIE IKEYA is Assistant Professor in the Department of History. Before joining the history department at Rutgers University, she taught in the Department of Southeast Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore. Ikeya received her Ph.D. in modern Southeast Asian history from Cornell University and maintains an active interest in the related fields of women’s and gender history, Asian studies, race, gender and sexuality studies, and colonial and postcolonial studies. Her recent publications include Refiguring Women, Colonialism, and Modernity in Burma (University of Hawai’i Press, 2011) and “Colonial Intimacies in Comparative Perspective: Intermarriage, law, and cultural difference in British Burma” (Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 14.1, Spring 2013). She is currently working on a book on the history of intra-Asian transcultural families and intimacies in colonial Southeast Asia that challenges the historiography of the intimacies of empire.