Readings in the European Tradition I
Topics in the past have included readings and discussion of a series of related texts from Homer and Genesis to Dante: Homer’s Iliad, selected Greek tragedies, Virgil’s Aeneid, selections from the Bible, and from medieval texts. The theme this year will be "The Journey." Three class hours per week.
Open not only to European Studies majors but also to any student interested in the intellectual and literary development of the West, from antiquity through the Middle Ages. Required of European Studies majors.
Fall semester. Professor Doran.Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2023
Readings in the European Tradition II
In this course, we will discuss writings and art that have contributed in important ways to the sense of what “European” means. The course covers the intellectual and artistic development of Europe from the Renaissance to the 21stcentury. The course will use a chronological and/or thematic template that focuses on dominant and persistent preoccupations of the European imagination. We will study poetry, drama, the novel, the essay, painting, photography, and film. In the past, we have studied works by Cervantes, Shakespeare, Montaigne, Molière, Mann, Swift, Voltaire, Wordsworth, Austen, Marx, Flaubert and Tolstoy. We have looked at art ranging from Velásquez to Picasso, filmmakers from Chaplin to Godard. This course welcomes all students who enjoy studying literature and essays in depth, as well as those interested in the visual arts. Required of European Studies majors.
Spring semester. Professor Rosbottom.Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021
Early Modern Europe
(Offered as HIST 125 [EUP] and EUST 125.) This introductory survey covers Western, Central and Eastern Europe and the European parts of the Ottoman Empire during the period from approximately 1500 to 1800. It looks at the main political developments of the period, with special attention to court culture, rebellions and revolutions, colonial expansion and contraction, and the clash of states and empires. It examines new developments in long-distance trade, agriculture, industry, finance, warfare, media and the arts, and their impact on social life, politics and the environment. It looks at the emergent slave systems of Europe and her colonies as well as the Ottoman Empire. And it analyzes religious conflict and accommodation with respect to Catholics, Protestants, the Eastern Orthodox, Jews, Muslims and “non-believers.” The course aims to uncover the political, ethnic and religious diversity of Early Modern Europe as well as to plumb the roots of present-day conflicts and controversies about the historical definition of “Europe” and “Europeans.” Two class meetings per week.
Omitted 2011-12. Professor Hunt.2023-24: Not offered
Art and Architecture of Europe from 300 to 1500 C.E.
(Offered as ARHA 132 and EUST 132.) By learning how specifically to encounter the transcendent symbolism of the catacombs of Rome, the devotional intensity of monastic book illumination, the grandeur and vision of the first basilica of St. Peter, the Byzantine church of Hagia Sophia, and selected monasteries and cathedrals of France, we will trace the artistic realization of the spiritual idea of Jewish and Christian history from the transformation of the Roman Empire in the fourth century C.E. to the apocalyptic year of 1500 C.E. Several prophetic masterpieces by Albrecht Dürer, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti completed on the very eve of the modern world will reveal a profound “forgotten awareness” crucial to our collective and private well-being but long obscured by the “renaissance” bias that called this period “medieval.” Two class meetings per week.
Omitted 2011-12. Professor Upton.2023-24: Not offered
Europe in the Twentieth Century
(Offered as HIST 132 [EU] and EUST 133.) This course offers a broad survey of European history in the twentieth century. It will cover events such as World War I; the Bolshevik Revolution and the ensuing Soviet experiment; the Spanish Civil War; Nazism, World War II, and the Holocaust; the Cold War in Europe; the collapse of communism; and the Balkan Wars in the 1990s. In addition, the course will focus on the broad themes of twentieth-century European history: the confrontation between liberalism, fascism, and communism; the role of nationalism; the development of the welfare state; the decline of Europe’s role in the world; the movement for European unity; and changing notions of race, class, and gender during the course of the century. Course materials will focus on primary documents, including films, memoirs, novels, political manifestos, and government and other official documents. Three class meetings per week.
Limited to 60 students. Spring semester. Professor Epstein.2023-24: Not offered
Art and Architecture of Europe from 1400 to 1800
(Offered as ARHA 135 and EUST 135.) This course is an introduction to painting, sculpture, and architecture of the early modern period. The goal of the course is to identify artistic innovations that characterize European art from the Renaissance to the French Revolution, and to situate the works of art historically, by examining the intellectual, political, religious, and social currents that contributed to their creation. In addition to tracing stylistic change within the oeuvre of individual artists and understanding its meaning, we will investigate the varied character of art, its interpretation, and its context in different regions, including Italy, France, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.
Limited to 30 students. Spring semester. Professor Courtright.Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2023
The Modern World
(Offered as ARHA 145 and EUST 145.) This course will explore the self-conscious invention of modernism in painting, sculpture and architecture, from the visual clarion calls of the French Revolution to the performance art and earthworks of "art now." As we move from Goya, David, Monet and Picasso to Kahlo, Kiefer and beyond, we will be attentive to changing responses toward a historical past or societal present, the stance toward popular and alien cultures, the radical redefinition of all artistic media, changing representations of nature and gender, as well as the larger problem of mythologies and meaning in the modern period. Study of original objects and a range of primary texts (artists’ letters, diaries, manifestos, contemporary criticism) will be enhanced with readings from recent historical and theoretical secondary sources.
Limited to 75 students. Omitted 2011-12. Professor Staller.2023-24: Not offered
Napoleon Bonaparte’s legacy in French domestic and international politics and military strategy profoundly influenced nineteenth-century Europe. But so did the legends surrounding him, created before his great defeat and exile, and nurtured after his death in 1821. In painting, caricature, and sculpture, literature, music, and film, the legends--positive and negative--of Napoleon have served many ends. The cultural complexity of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Europe becomes clearer when one understands the motives behind and results of these representations of Napoleon.
In this course, we will study painting (e.g., David and Goya), narrative fiction (e.g., Balzac, Stendhal, and Tolstoy), poetry (e.g., Wordsworth and Hugo), music (e.g., Beethoven), urban history and architecture (e.g., of Paris), and the silent and sound films of our century (e.g., Gance). We will examine how different generations and a variety of cultures appropriated the real and imagined images of Napoleon for social, political, and artistic ends, and thereby influenced the creation of modern Europe. Three class hours per week.
Omitted 2011-12. Professor Rosbottom.2023-24: Not offered
World War II in European Literature and Film
This course is designed to introduce students to the impact that World War II (1939-1945) had and continues to have on the society and culture of several European nations. As the last of the generation that lived during the war passes on, their grandchildren persist in raising questions about the reasons and effects of this political cataclysm. During the war, and afterwards with more or less intensity, writers and filmmakers made and have made attempts to analyze and represent the memories, the guilt, and the false histories that the war left behind in every involved nation.
The course will examine the ethics of historical memory, the sincerity of representation, the clever use of history for political purposes. It will also probe and analyze persistent myths of the war as well as discover stories and facts that have been ignored or forgotten. Finally, the course will look at alternative scenarios, that is, “what if” narratives.
Readings might include works by Camus, The Plague, Fallada, Every Man is Alone, Modiano, Dora Bruder, Jünger, On the Marble Cliffs, Semprùn, The Long Journey, De Gaulle’s and Churchill’s memoirs, Némirovsky, La Suite française, and Levi, The Periodic Table. Films might include Rossellini’s Rome: Open City and Germany: Year Zero, Bresson’s Pickpocket, Holland’s Europa, Europa, Clouzot’s Le Corbeau, Reed’s The Third Man, Wyler, Mrs. Miniver, and Peterson, Das Boot.
The class will study how nations too have attempted to make sense of this hecatomb, seeking explanation, expiation, and often excuses. We will also study how the Second World War’s legacy still affects contemporary European culture and politics.
Spring semester. Professor Rosbottom2023-24: Not offered
Cityscapes: Imagining the European City
Cities, the largest human artifact, have been at the center of Europeans’ relationships with nature, gods, and their own kind since their first appearance. With the advent of capitalist energy, the European city went through radical change. The resultant invention, re-invention and growth of major metropolises will be the subject of this course.
We will discuss histories and theories of the city and of the urban imagination in Europe since the 18th century. We will consider Paris, London, Berlin, Rome, and St. Petersburg among others, and the counter-example of New York City. We will study examples of city planning and mapping, urban architecture, film and photography, painting, poetry, fiction, and urban theory. And, we may study Atget, Baudelaire, Benjamin, Calvino, Dickens, Joyce, Rilke, Truffaut, Zola, and others.
Questions addressed will include: To what extent do those who would “improve” a city take into account the intangible qualities of that city? How do the economics of capital compromise with the economics of living? How does the body-healthy and unhealthy-interact with the built environment? How and why does the imagination create an “invisible city” that rivals the “real” geo-political site? Two classes per week.
Omitted 2011-12. Professor Rosbottom.2023-24: Not offered
Digital Constructions: Intermediate Architectural Design Studio
(Offered as EUST 216 and ARHA 216.) In this intermediate architectural design studio we will explore the intellectual and creative process of making and representing architectural space. The focus will be to explore the boundaries of architecture--physically and theoretically, historically and presently--through digital media. Our process will prompt us to dissect 20th-century European architectures and urban spaces and to explore their relationships to contemporary, global issues. The capstone of the course will be a significant design project (TBD) requiring rigorous studio practices, resulting in plans, sections, elevations and digital models. This course will introduce students to various digital diagramming, drawing, and modeling software, while challenging students to question the theoretical and practical implications of these interdisciplinary media processes. This course will combine lectures, reading, discussion, and extensive studio design.
Requisite: ARHA 111. Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 10 students. Spring semester. Professor Long.2023-24: Not offered
Music and Culture I
(Offered as MUSI 221 and EUST 221.) One of three courses in which music is studied in relation to issues of history, theory, culture, and performance, with the focus of the course changing from year to year. This course is an introduction to European music in the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque eras. We will begin by singing Gregorian chant and will go on to cover such topics as the music of the Troubadours, the polyphonic style associated with Notre Dame, the development of musical notation, Renaissance sacred polyphony, madrigals, court dances, and the birth of opera. Throughout the course we will seek to bring the music we study alive by singing and/or playing. We will also host several professional performers of “early music” who will help us understand how this music is likely to have sounded at the time of its creation.
Requisite: MUSI 112 or consent of the instructor. Omitted 2011-12. Valentine Professor Moricz.2023-24: Not offered
Music and Culture II
(Offered as MUSI 222 and EUST 222.) One of three courses in which the development of Western music is studied in its cultural-historical context. As practical, in-class performance and attendance at public concerts in Amherst and elsewhere will be crucial to our work. Composers to be studied include Beethoven, Rossini, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, Wagner, Verdi, Musorgsky, and Brahms. Regular listening assignments will broaden the repertoire we encounter and include a wide sampling of Classical and Romantic music. Periodic writing assignments will provide opportunities to connect detailed musical analysis with historical-cultural interpretation. A variety of readings will include music-historical-aesthetic documents as well as selected critical and analytical studies. Class presentations will contribute to a seminar-style class environment. This course may be elected individually or in conjunction with other Music and Culture courses (MUSI 221 and 223). Two class meetings per week.
Requisite: MUSI 111, 112, or consent of the instructor. Spring semester. Professor Kallick.2023-24: Not offered
Music and Culture III
(Offered as MUSI 223 and EUST 223.) The third of three courses in the Music and Culture series, this course focuses on the experimental and revolutionary musical repertoire of the late nineteenth and twentieth century. Some of the featured repertoire in 2011-12 includes 1) string quartets by Béla Bartók (1881-1945) and Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975); 2) songs by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), Charles Ives (1874-1954), and Bob Dylan (1941-); 3) ballet, film, and music theatre music by Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), Aaron Copland (1900-1990), Bernard Hermann (1911-1975), Leonard Bernstein (1920-1989), John Adams (1947-), Stephen Sondheim (1930-), Michael Giacchino (1967-). Assignments will include close listening, background readings, short essays, midterms, and a culminating presentation. This course may be elected individually or in conjunction with other Music and Culture courses (MUSI 221 and 222). Two class meetings per week.
Requisite: Reading knowledge of music and background in music fundamentals or consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Professor Kallick.Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2023
Seventeenth-Century European Theater
(Offered as SPAN 228 and EUST 228.) Readings of plays by Spanish, English and French playwrights of what has been, in the modern world, the great century of the stage. Works of Lope de Vega, Calderón de la Barca, Shakespeare, Molière, Racine, Webster and Wycherly. Conducted in English. Students will read plays in the original languages whenever possible.
Limited to 40 students. Omitted 2011-12. Professor Maraniss.2023-24: Not offered
The European Enlightenment
(Offered as HIST 229 [EUP] and EUST 229.) This course begins with the political, social, cultural and economic upheavals of late seventeenth-century England, France, and the Netherlands. The second part of the course will look at the Enlightenment as a distinctive philosophical movement, evaluating its relationship to science, to classical antiquity, to organized religion, to new conceptions of justice, and to the changing character of European politics. The final part will look at the Enlightenment as a broad-based cultural movement. Among the topics discussed here will be the role played by Enlightened ideas in the French Revolution, women and non-elites in the Enlightenment, scientific racism, pornography and libertinism, orientalism, and the impact of press censorship. Readings for the course will include works by Descartes, Locke, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, Hume, Adam Smith, Choderlos de Laclos, Kant and others. Two class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Professor Hunt.2023-24: Not offered
The French Revolution
(Offered as HIST 230 [EU] and EUST 230.) Often viewed as one of the defining events in modern history, the French Revolution has been debated and discussed, derided and celebrated by generations of politicians, cultural commentators, and historians. This course enters into this on-going conversation by examining the nature of the revolutionary process as it unfolded in late eighteenth-century France and its empire. Beginning in the “old regime” of kings and commoners, it untangles the social, political, and intellectual roots of the Revolution and investigates the extent to which these factors contributed to the radical overthrow of the French establishment in 1789. It then follows the extension of the Revolution throughout French society and across the seas to the Caribbean, analyzing how popular and colonial upheavals influenced the revolutionary new order of “liberty, equality, and brotherhood” that was taking shape in France. Finally, the course explores the aftermath of the Revolution by tracing the various ways that its history has been interpreted and reinterpreted from the nineteenth century to the present day. Two class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Professor Boucher.Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Fall 2014, Spring 2018
Race and Empire: The British Experience from 1760
(Offered as HIST 231 [EU] and EUST 231.) From the mid-eighteenth century through the 1960s, Britain presided over the most powerful empire in the world. At its height, this small island nation ruled one-quarter of the earth’s surface and more than 450 million of its inhabitants. Not only did British imperialism play a decisive role in shaping world politics, economics, and cultures in its day, it also left a number of profound legacies that continue to affect our lives in the present. This course traces the rise, fall, and lasting influence of the British empire, and pays particular attention to questions of race and ethnicity. Through a series of colonial encounters --such as the first contacts made between explorers and Pacific Islanders in the 18th century, the interactions between missionaries and Africans in the 19th century, or the migration of South Asians to Britain in the 20th century--it examines what “race” meant in different historical contexts. The course thus explores the institutionalization of racism in government, law, and society, and analyzes moments in which racism has been combated and overturned. Readings and course materials will be drawn from secondary and primary sources, including newspapers, novels, photographs, artwork, oral histories, and films. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 30 students. Spring semester. Professor Boucher.2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 234 [EU] and EUST 234.) This course will explore the history of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. It will examine the emergence of Hitler and Nazism in Germany, Nazi ideology and aesthetics, Nazi racial policies, daily life in the Third Reich, women under Nazism, resistance to the Nazis, Nazi foreign policy and World War II, the Holocaust, and the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial. Class participants will also discuss themes that range beyond the Nazi case: How do dictatorships function? What constitutes resistance? How and why do regimes engage in mass murder? Texts will include films, diaries, memoirs, government and other official documents, and classic and recent scholarly accounts of the era. Three class meetings per week.
Limited to 60 students. Omitted 2011-12. Professor Epstein.2023-24: Not offered
An interdisciplinary exploration of the causes behind the social, racial, artistic, and political act—and art—of posing, passing, or pretending to be someone else. Blacks passing for whites, Jews passing for gentiles, and women passing for men, and vice versa, are a central motif. Attention is given to biological and scientific patterns such as memory loss, mental illness, and plastic surgery, and to literary strategies like irony. As a supernatural occurrence, the discussion includes mystical experiences, ghost stories, and séance sessions. The course also covers instances pertaining to institutional religion, from prophesy from the Hebrew and Christian Bibles to the Koran and Mormonism. In technology and communications, analysis concentrates on the invention of the telegraph, the telephone, and the Internet. Entertainment, ventriloquism, puppet shows, voice-overs, children’s cartoon shows, subtitles, and dubbing in movies and TV are topics of analysis. Posers in Greek mythology, the Arabian Nights, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud, Jorge Luis Borges, Philip Roth, Oliver Sacks, and Nella Larsen are examined. Conducted in English.
Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Stavans.2023-24: Not offered
The Bible as Literature
A close reading of significant portions of the Five Books of Moses, done from the perspective of literature: how are the human and divine characters built, what interior life do they display and what philosophical view do they convey? Attention will be given to the 19th-century theories that approach the Bible as a composite book delivering a nationalistic story. Students will also reflect on the impact of the Bible in Western literature, from Dante’s Divine Comedy to R. Crumb’s cartoon retelling of Genesis. Taught in English.
Omitted 2011-12. Professor Stavans.2023-24: Not offered
This interdisciplinary course will reflect on shifting representations of the divine in theology, philosophy, literature and the arts. Students will reflect on the tension between polytheism and monotheism in ancient times, read portions of medieval and Renaissance texts, and treatises and novels from the Enlightenment to the contemporary period. Foundational sources like the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Bible, the Koran, the Vedas, the Popol Vuh, and various others will be featured, along with material by such authors as St. Augustine, Aquinas, al-Ghazali, and Maimonides. Spinoza's geometrical system, the emergence of secularism as a refutation of God's omnipotence, and agnosticism and atheism as modern responses to religious faith will all be covered. The course will include readings from Newton, Berkeley, Dostoevsky, Freud, Unamuno, Einstein, Jung, Kafka, Pirandello, Borges, and Wittgenstein, as well as explorations of music from such composers Johann Sebastian Bach and John Cage to Negro Spirituals. Finally, we will analyze such films as Ingmar Bergman's cinematic meditations, Woody Allen's comedies, and The Matrix.
Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2011-12. Professor Stavans.2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as GERM 366 and EUST 246). This course will explore in detail the art, architecture, history and theory of the influential German art school, the Bauhaus. The subject of recent blockbuster exhibitions in New York and Berlin, this course will make use of many new publications and critical viewpoints. We will begin with the school's origins during WWI and the German Revolution, its spectacular contributions and controversial development during the Weimar Republic, and conclude with the demise of the Bauhaus by the National Socialists. We will trace the forced exile of many Bauhaus artists and architects, as well as analyze Bauhaus legacies (at Black Mountain College, the Ulm School of Design, the New Bauhaus Chicago, Yale, and Harvard, and in the Situationists' New Babylon project). The course will include the work of the architects Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer, Mies van der Rohe and Lilli Reich; the art and design (textiles, metal work, prints, photographs, typography, paintings, sculpture, etc.) of Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Lyonel Feininger, Gunta Stözl, Moholy-Nagy, Herbert Bayer, Joseph Albers, and Oskar Schlemmer; and the writings of important Weimar writers and theorists, such as Erich Maria Remarque, Walter Benjamin, Georg Lukács, and Siegfried Kracauer. Students will be responsible for in-class presentations, a book review, and a final paper. Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of their reading in German.
Fall semester. Visiting Professor Koehler (Hampshire College).2023-24: Not offered
The Monastic Challenge
(Offered as ARHA 250 and EUST 250.) This course aims to be a visually and spatially attentive search for the ‘art’ of the monastic and cathedral masterpieces of medieval France. First, by learning how to recognize, define, and respond to the artistic values embodied in several “romanesque” and “gothic” monuments including the Abbeys of Fontenay, Vézelay and Mont St. Michel and the Cathedrals of Laôn, Paris, Chartres, Amiens and Reims, we will try to engage directly (e.g., architecturally and spatially) the human aspiration these structures embody. Secondly, with the help of two literary masterpieces from the period, The Song of Roland and Tristan and Isolde, we will discover that the heart of the “monastic” challenge to our own era is not the common opposition of the medieval and modern worlds, but rather the recognition of the potential diminishment of ‘art’ by an exclusively ratiocinated view of all reality. The tragic love affair of Eloise and Peter Abelard will dramatize a vital existential dilemma too easily forgotten that always (but especially in our time) threatens ‘art,’ human compassion and spirituality. Our goal is to reclaim the poetic potential of the word “cathedral.” Two class meetings per week.
Requisite: One course in Art and the History of Art or consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Professor Upton.2023-24: Not offered
Dutch and Flemish Painting
(Offered as ARHA 253 and EUST 253.) This course means to ask the question: What would it be like actually to respond to the paintings of Jan van Eyck, Roger van der Weyden, Hugo van der Goes, Hieronymous Bosch, Pieter Bruegel, Jan Vermeer and Rembrandt van Rijn and to reclaim in such a direct encounter the rejuvenating powers of insight and wisdom residing within the work of art itself. In addition to reaffirming the practice of pictorial contemplation for its own sake, “Dutch and Flemish Painting” will provide explicit instruction in the means and attitude of beholding complex works of art. Two class meetings per week.
Omitted 2011-12. Professor Upton.2023-24: Not offered
Women and Art in Early Modern Europe
(Offered as ARHA 284, EUST 284, and WAGS 206.) This course will examine the ways in which prevailing ideas about women and gender-shaped visual imagery, and how these images influenced ideas concerning women from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. It will adopt a comparative perspective, both by identifying regional differences among European nations and tracing changes over time. In addition to considering patronage of art by women and works by women artists, we will look at the depiction of women heroes such as Judith; the portrayal of women rulers, including Elizabeth I and Marie de' Medici; and the imagery of rape. Topics emerging from these categories of art include biological theories about women; humanist defenses of women; the relationship between the exercise of political power and sexuality; differing attitudes toward women in Catholic and Protestant art; and feminine ideals of beauty.
Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Professor Courtright.2023-24: Not offered
Dangerous Reading: The Eighteenth-Century Novel in England and France
(Offered as EUST 302, ENGL 302 [Meets the pre-1800 requirement for English majors.], and FREN 362.) Why was reading novels considered dangerous in the eighteenth century, especially for young girls?
This course will examine the development, during this period, of the genre of the novel in England and France, in relation to the social and moral dangers it posed and portrayed. Along with the troublesome question of reading fiction itself, we will explore such issues as social class and bastardy, sexuality and self-awareness, the competing values of genealogy and character, and the important role of women--as novelists, readers, and characters--in negotiating these questions. We will examine why the novel was itself considered a bastard genre, and engage formal questions by studying various kinds of novels: picaresque, epistolary, gothic, as well as the novel of ideas. Our approach will combine close textual analysis with historical readings about these two intertwined, yet rival, cultures, and we will pair novels in order to foreground how these cultures may have taken on similar social or representational problems in different ways. Possible pairings might include Prévost and Defoe, Laclos and Richardson, Voltaire and Fielding, Sade and Jane Austen. French novels will be read in translation. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Professors Frank and Rosbottom.2023-24: Not offered
This is a workshop in translating poetry into English, preferably from a Germanic, Slavic, or Romance language (including Latin, of course), whose aim is to produce good poems in English. Students will present first and subsequent drafts to the entire class for regular analysis, which will be fed by reference to readings in translation theory and contemporary translations from European languages. Advanced knowledge of the source language is required and experience with creative writing is welcome.
Limited to 12 students. Fall semester. Professor Maraniss.2023-24: Not offered
Isaac Bashevis Singer
Yiddish writer Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-1993), winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, who moved to the United States in 1935, created a complex fictional world of longing and despair. The course studies his oeuvre in chronological order, from his early experiments in mysticism while in his native Poland, such as the novel Satan in Goray, to his numerous stories like “Gimpel the Fool” and “A Wedding in Brownsville,” rendered in English by a cadre of mostly female translators and published in Forverts, The New Yorker, and other periodicals. The focus is on Singer’s immigrant identity and his embrace by American readers as a symbolic bridge between the Old World and the New. Singer’s sexual persona, his philosophical and political investigations on Spinoza, Communism, and God, his reaction to the Holocaust and the creation of the state of Israel, his interest in Golems and Dybbuks, and his thoughts on translation, are part of the discussion. Some of his children stories are also contemplated. Conducted in English.
Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Professor Stavans.2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 310 [c] and EUST 310.) This course addresses the vexing questions of what fascism is, whether it was a global phenomenon, and whether it has been historically banished. The first part of the semester will consider the conceptual issues related to nationalism, modernity, and fascism. Next we will address case studies, noting comparative continuities and regional peculiarities. The countries that will receive the most attention areItaly,France,Argentina,Britain,Brazil,Germany,Spain, andMexico, with additional attention toPortugal,Japan,China,New Guinea,Chile,Turkey,Palestine andAustralia. This will be followed by an examination of gender and fascism, including the role of women as agents of this radical ideology. The course will close with two recent works of scholarship, one on transnational fascism in early twentieth-centuryArgentina and the other on the applicability of the term “fascism” to contemporary movements in theMiddle East. Two meetings per week.
Omitted 2011-12. Professor López.2023-24: Not offered
Birth of the Avant-Garde: Modern Poetry and Culture in France and Russia, 1870-1930
(Offered as EUST 311 and RUSS 311.) Between the mid-nineteenth century and the mid-twentieth century, poetry was revolutionized both in France and in Russia; nowhere else did the avant-garde proliferate more extravagantly. This class will focus on the key period in the emergence of literary modernity that began with Symbolism and culminated with Surrealism and Constructivism.
With the advent of modernism, the poem became a “global phenomenon” that circulated among different languages and different cultures, part of a process of cross-fertilization. An increasingly hybrid genre, avant-garde poetry went beyond its own boundaries by drawing into itself prose literature, philosophy, music, and the visual and performing arts. The relation between the artistic and the literary avant-garde will be an essential concern.
We will be reading Rimbaud; the French Symbolists (Mallarmé, Laforgue, Valéry); the Russian Symbolists (Blok, Bely); Apollinaire, Dada, and the Surrealists (Breton, Eluard, Desnos, Char, Michaux); and the Russian avant-garde poets (Mayakovsky, Pasternak, Khlebnikov, Tsvetaeva).
Our study of the arts will include Symbolism (Moreau, Redon); Fauvism (Matisse, Derain, Vlaminck); Cubism, Dada, and early Surrealism (Duchamp, Ernst, Dali, Artaud); the “World of Art” movement; Primitivism and Constructivism (Goncharova, Malevich, Rodchenko, Eisenstein). Course will be taught in English. Students who read fluently in French and/or Russian will be encouraged to read the material in the original language.
Omitted 2011-12. Professors Ciepiela and L. Katsaros.
The Reformation Era, 1500-1660
(Offered as HIST 325 [EUP] and EUST 325.) The course begins with writings by the great reformers (Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, and Loyola), using them as a basis for examining the relationship between religious ideas, individual temperament, and social, political, and cultural change. It then takes up the connection between Protestantism and the printing press, the role of doctrinal conflict in the evolution of urban institutions, the rise of antisemitism, the significance of the Reformation for urban women, the social impact of the Counter-reformation, contemporaneous developments in Judaism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Islam, and the role of religious millenarianism in the German Peasants’ Revolt of 1525, the English Revolution of 1640, and the Thirty Years’ War. Readings include several classic interpretations of the Reformation as well as recent works in social history, urban history, women’s history, and the history of popular culture. Two class meetings per week.
Omitted 2011-12. Professor Hunt.2023-24: Not offered
Offered as POSC 345 [CP, IR] and EUST 345.) Decline and renewal of Europe. An analysis of Europe’s role in the world order and the European Union (EU). What are Europe’s strengths and weaknesses as an international power? Does Europe meet its responsibilities or is it content to be a free rider on the ambitions and policies of other countries? What is the European Union and what are its successes and failures? What is the relationship between various European countries and the EU, between national sovereignty and European integration? Is more European integration still the future of Europe or is there now “enough Europe”?
Limited to 25 students. Not open to first-year students. Fall semester. Professor Tiersky.2023-24: Not offered
Baroque Art in Italy, France, Spain, and the Spanish Netherlands
(Offered as ARHA 356 and EUST 356.) After the canonization of the notion of artistic genius in the Italian Renaissance and the subsequent imaginative license of artists known as Mannerists, phenomena sponsored throughout Europe by the largesse of merchants, courtiers, aristocrats, princes, and Churchmen alike, a crisis occurred in European society--and art--in the second half of the sixteenth century. Overturned dogmas of faith, accompanied by scientific discoveries and brutal political changes, brought about the reconsideration of fundamental values that had undergirded many facets of life and society in Europe at the beginning of the seventeenth century, the starting point of this course. Unexpectedly, these upheavals led to a renewed proliferation of innovative art. In this century of remarkably varied artistic production, paradoxes abounded. Some artists sought the illusion of reality by imitating unimproved, even base nature through close observation of the human body, of landscape, and of ordinary, humble objects of daily use, as others continued to quest for perfection in a return to the lofty principles implicit in ancient artistic canons of ideality. More than ever before, artists explored the expression of passion through dramatic narratives and sharply revealing portraiture, but, famously, artists also imbued art meant to inspire religious devotion with unbounded eroticism or with the gory details of painful suffering and hideous death. They depicted dominating political leaders as flawed mortals--even satirized them through the new art of caricature--at the same time that they developed a potent and persuasive vocabulary for the expression of the rulers’ absolutist political power.
This class, based on lectures but regularly incorporating discussion, will examine in depth selected works of painting, sculpture, and architecture produced by artists in the countries which remained Catholic after the religious discords of this period-e.g., Caravaggio, Bernini, Poussin, Velázquez, and Rubens in Italy, France, Spain, and the Spanish Netherlands--as well as engaging the cultural, social, and intellectual framework for their accomplishments. Upper level.
Requisite: One other course in art history or consent of the instructor. Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2011-12. Professor Courtright.2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as GERM 360, EUST 360 and FAMS 316.) What is performance? What constitutes an event? How can we address a phenomenon that has disappeared the moment we apprehend it? How does memory operate in our critical perception of an event? How does a body make meaning? These are a few of the questions we will explore in this course, as we discuss critical, theoretical, and compositional approaches in a broad range of multidisciplinary performance phenomena emerging from European--primarily German--culture in the twentieth century. We will focus on issues of performativity, composition, conceptualization, dramaturgy, identity construction, representation, space, gender, and dynamism. Readings of performance theory, performance studies, gender studies, and critical/cultural studies, as well as literary, philosophical, and architectural texts will accompany close examination of performance material. Students will develop performative projects in various media (video, performance, text, online) and deliver a number of critical oral and written presentations on various aspects of the course material and their own projects. Performance material will be experienced live when possible, and in text, video, audio, digital media and online form, drawn from selected works of Dada and Surrealism, Bauhaus, German Expressionism, the Theater of the Absurd, Tanztheater, and Contemporary Theater, Performance, Dance, Opera, New Media, and Performance Art. A number of films, including Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, Oskar Schlemmer’s Das Triadische Ballett, Fernand Léger’s Ballet Mécanique, and Kurt Jooss’ Der Grüne Tisch, will be also screened. Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.
Omitted 2011-2012. Professor Gilpin.2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as GERM 363, EUST 363, and FAMS 370.) How is memory constructed and represented? How is it possible to bear witness, and what exactly is involved? Who is authorized to testify, to whom, when? Whose story is it? Is it possible to tell "the story" of a traumatic event? What are the disorders of testimony, and how and where do they emerge? This course will observe the workings of trauma (the enactment and working-through of collective and individual symptoms of trauma), memory, and witnessing in various modes of everyday life. We will examine notions of catastrophe, disaster, accident, and violence, and explore the possibilities and impossibilities of bearing witness in many forms of cultural production: in fiction, poetry, architecture, critical theory, oral and written testimonies, visual art, monuments, memorials, philosophy, science, cartoons, film, video, theater, television reportage, newspaper documentation, performance, online, and in our public and domestic spaces. We will study various representations of trauma, paying particular attention to events in Germany and Europe from the twentieth century, as well as to 9/11 and other recent international events. Material to be examined will be drawn from the work of Pina Bausch, Joseph Beuys, Christian Boltanski, Cathy Caruth, Paul Celan, Marguerite Duras, Peter Eisenman, Shoshana Felman, Florian Freund, Jochen Gerz, Geoffrey Hartman, Rebecca Horn, Marion Kant, Anselm Kiefer, Ruth Klüger, Dominick LaCapra, Claude Lanzmann, Dori Laub, Daniel Libeskind, W.G. Sebald, Art Spiegelman, Paul Virilio, Peter Weiss, Wim Wenders, Elie Wiesel, Christa Wolf, and others. Conducted in English with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.
Omitted 2011-12. Professor Gilpin.2023-24: Not offered
Architectures of Disappearance
(Offered as GERM 364 and EUST 364.) This course will address a number of developments and transformations in contemporary urban architecture and performance from an international perspective. We will explore issues including, but not limited to, trauma, memory, absence, perception, corporeality, representation, and the senses in our examination of recent work in Germany and elsewhere, and read a number of texts from the fields of philosophy, critical theory, performance studies, and visual and architectural studies, in an attempt to understand how architecture is beginning to develop compositional systems in which to envision dynamic and responsive spaces in specific cultural contexts. We will focus our research on the work of a number of German and international architects, performance, and new media artists, including Jochen Gerz, Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock, Horst Hoheisel, Micha Ullman, Shimon Attie, Daniel Libeskind, Peter Eisenman, Rem Koolhaas, Greg Lynn, Mark Goulthorpe, R & Sie(n), Axel Kilian, Paul Privitera, Hani Rashid and Lise-Ann Couture, Herzog and de Meuron, Archigram, William Forsythe, Jan Fabre, Rachel Whiteread, Rebecca Horn, Sasha Waltz, Richard Siegal, Michael Schumacher, Robert Wilson, the Blix Brothers of Berlin, Pina Bausch, Granular Synthesis, Sponge, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Toni Dove, and many others. Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.
Omitted 2011-12. Professor Gilpin.2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as GERM 365 and EUST 365.) This is a course about what happens to difficult memories: memories that are intensely personal, but made public, memories that belong to communities, but which become ideologically possessed by history, politics, or the media. How are memories processed into memorials? What constitutes a memorial? What gets included or excluded? How is memory performed in cultural objects, spaces, and institutions? What is the relationship between the politics of representation and memory? Who owns memory? Who is authorized to convey it? How does memory function? This course will explore the spaces in which memories are “preserved” and experienced. Our attention will focus on the transformation of private and public memories in works of architecture, performance, literature, and the visual arts primarily in Germany, Europe, and the United States. Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.
Omitted 2011-2012. Professor Gilpin.Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2016, Fall 2021
Culture and Politics in 20th-Century Europe
(Offered as POSC 372 [CP, IR] and EUST 372.) This seminar discusses political ideas, ideologies and political culture in 20th-century Europe. Some themes are Nationalism; Marxism, Socialism and Communism; Fascism; anti-Semitism; Existentialism; the “Century of Total War”; the year 1968; Pope John Paul II; Soccer Hooliganism; “The Idea of Europe,” and the question of whether there is a “European identity.” Throughout the course, ideas are connected to historical context. The syllabus is a mix of books and films.
Preference to Political Science and European Studies majors, and juniors and seniors. Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2011-2012. Professor Tiersky.2023-24: Not offered
Witches, Vampires and Other Monsters
(Offered as ARHA 385, EUST 385, and WAGS 310.) This course will explore the construction of the monstrous, over cultures, centuries and disciplines. With the greatest possible historical and cultural specificity, we will investigate the varied forms of monstrous creatures, their putative powers, and the explanations given for their existence-as we attempt to articulate the kindred qualities they share. Among the artists to be considered are Bosch, Valdés Leal, Velázquez, Goya, Munch, Ensor, Redon, Nolde, Picasso, Dalí, Kiki Smith, and Cindy Sherman. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2011-12. Professor Staller.Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023
Fall and spring semesters.2023-24: Not offered
Mozart and the Classical Style
(Offered as MUSI 420 and EUST 420.) As one of the most popular composers of all time, Wolfgang Mozart (1756-1791) has come to be taken as the paradigm for the creative genius who produces beautiful art with seemingly no effort--a child of nature, to use a popular eighteenth-century trope, unencumbered by the struggles of adulthood. In this seminar we will examine the cultural-historical context that produced Mozart, his music, and, even before his untimely death, the "Mozart myth." The main texts for the class will be scores of Mozart's mature compositions--symphonies, chamber music, concertos, and most important, operas--as well as selected works by his contemporaries and predecessors. We will interpret these works with the help of primary documents relating to Mozart's life, and with the help of analytic methods developed by scholars such as Wye J. Allanbrook, William Caplan, Daniel Heartz, Robert Levin, and Leonard Ratner. Our studies will be integrated into attending performances of Mozart's work in New York or Boston. Fulfills either the departmental seminar requirement or the comprehensive exam requirement for the major.
Requisite: MUSI 241 or consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Professor Schneider.2023-24: Not offered
Topics in European History: The Politics of Memory in Twentieth-Century Europe
(Offered as HIST 438 [EU] and EUST 438.) This course will explore the role of historical memory in the politics of twentieth-century Europe. It will examine how evolving memories of major historical events have been articulated and exploited in the political cultures of England, France, Germany, Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union/Russia. Topics will include the politics of memory surrounding World Wars I and II, Vichy France, the Holocaust, Soviet Stalinism, and Eastern European communism. Seminar participants will also discuss general issues concerning collective memory: why societies remember and forget historical events, how collective memories resurface, the relationship between memory and authenticity, and the pitfalls of politicizing historical memory. Finally, seminar participants will analyze different sites of memory including film, ritual, monuments, legal proceedings, and state-sponsored cults. One class meeting per week.
Not open to first-year students. Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Professor Epstein.2023-24: Not offered
Senior Departmental Honors
A double course.
Spring semester.Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023
(Offered as GERM 368, EUST 368, and FAMS 368.) This research seminar will explore conceptions of space as they have informed and influenced thought and creativity in the fields of cultural studies, literature, architecture, urban studies, performance, and the visual, electronic, and time-based arts. Students will select and pursue a major semester-long research project early in the semester in consultation with the professor, and present their research in its various stages of development throughout the semester, in a variety of media formats (writing, performance, video, electronic art/interactive media, installation, online and networked events, architectural/design drawings/renderings), along with oral presentations of readings and other materials. Readings and visual materials will be drawn from the fields of literature and philosophy; from architectural, art, and film theory and history; from performance studies and performance theory; and from theories of technology and the natural and built environment. Emphasis on developing research, writing, and presentation skills is a core of this seminar.
For spring 2012, we will focus on the river as the generative and dynamic concept that will guide our explorations of space and of different kinds of spaces, in conjunction with the European Union/Five College project on Riverscaping/Alles am Fluss: Rethinking art, environment and community/Kunst--Umwelt--Nachbarschaft neu denken. Students will pursue research projects concerning the visual arts, history, literature, environment, ecology, visibility/interactivity, conditions and movements of the river (specific rivers including the Elbe River in Hamburg, Germany and the Connecticut River here in the Pioneer Valley), and explore the visions, challenges, and possibilities of creating spaces in which art can happen and in which creative processes can transform communities. Students will have the opportunity to present their final research projects at the European Union/Five Colleges Riverscaping conference on Europe Day, May 9, 2012. One three-hour meeting per week.
Preference given to German majors and European Studies majors, as well as to students interested in architecture/design, performance, film/video, interactive installation, and/or the environment. Conducted in English. German majors will select a research project focused on a German Studies context, and will do a substantial portion of the readings in German.
Limited to 15 students. Enrollment requires attendance at the first class meeting. Spring semester. Professor Gilpin.2023-24: Not offered