Discovering Music: Listening Through History
(Offered as MUSI 101 and EUST 101) This course teaches the close reading of music through guided listening in a variety of traditions and historical periods. The topic may change from year to year. In 2016-17, we focused on aural analysis of musical texture and form through an historical survey of musical drama with an emphasis on opera. Beginning with the Renaissance musical experiments that led to the creation of opera at the beginning of the 17th century, we will trace the changing conventions of the art form through the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries covering such composers as Handel, Mozart, Rossini, Donezetti, Verdi, Wagner, Puccini, Berg, Stravinsky, Glass, and Adams. We will also cover the changing conventions of the Overture, and examine lighter musical dramatic forms such as operetta and musical. In addition to weekly listening and reading assignments, coursework includes attending concerts and screenings. No musical background or knowledge of music is required. Two 80-minute lectures and one 50-minute section plus screenings/concerts per week.
Omitted 2017-18. Professor Schneider.2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as ENGL 117 and EUST 117) [before 1800] Knights, monsters, quests, and true love: these are the things we associate with King Arthur and tales of his court. Why has Arthurian literature proved so enchanting to centuries of poets, novelists, and recently, filmmakers? In this introductory English course, we will read and watch Arthurian legends from Chaucer to Monty Python, examining the ways in which they have been represented in different eras. Beginning with the historical foundations of the King Arthur legend, we will examine how it blossomed and took form in later eras. Our focus will be on close literary and visual analysis of British, American, and French (in translation) versions of these legends. We will also discuss what cultural forces lie behind the popularity of Arthurian legend in certain eras: later medieval England and France; the Victorian era; and twentieth-century England and America. There will be frequent writing assignments and presentations, as well as a final creative project.
Open to first-year students and sophomores. Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Nelson.
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2020, Spring 2022
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. Three class hours per week. Required of European Studies majors.
Open to European Studies majors and to any student interested in the intellectual and literary development of the West, from antiquity through the Middle Ages. 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
(Offered as EUST-122 and HIST-122[EU]) This course offers a critical examination of the concept of European civilization from the seventeenth century through the present day. What did it mean to be “European” in the modern era? To what extent was “European” civilization forged by Europe’s connections to the wider world, and by ideas, art, literature, and politics that originated outside the geographical boundaries of Europe? How was the idea of a coherent European culture and character used as a tool of conquest within the European empires? And how did various people – in Europe, in the empires, and beyond – forge new social, cultural, and political solidarities through their critiques of the idea of European civilization? Does the concept of European civilization remain valuable in our modern, globalized era? The course will combine a study of canonical works of European art, literature, and politics with less well-known texts and works of art created by “non-European” people. Required of European Studies majors.
Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Professor Boucher.Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021
Europe in the Middle Ages
(Offered as HIST 123 [EUP] and EUST 123) This course provides an introduction to the remarkable history that still conditions our current lives. The course explores how the mingling of people at the far western end of the Eurasian continent led to the rise of a European civilization that would later seek to mold the world in its own image. It examines how a distinct "Europe" arose from the effort of "barbarians" to "restore" the Roman Empire and their failure to do so. It considers how fragmented communities under a universal religion sought to reconstruct their lives by rebuilding their material bases, reimagining their faith, and reconstituting their polities. It canvasses how this process was tied to the constant encounter and conflict with others and how this would serve as a template for later expansion. Through the voices and visions of the past and the writings of modern authorities, the course will provide an overview of how, in the course of the Middle Ages, a Europe arose, developed and changed, and set the basis for the making of our modern world. Two course meetings per week.
Fall semester. Professor Cho.
2023-24: Not offered
Europe in Transition, 1350-1750
(Offered as HIST 124 [EUP] and EUST 124.) Europe in Transition provides an introduction to the momentous transformations that Europe underwent during the early modern period. From the post-Black Death turmoil in the fourteenth century to the impending crisis of the Old Order in the eighteenth, Europe experienced multiple upheavals that continue to shape our modern lives. The course visits the experience of contemporaries recorded in memoirs, diaries and letters, their visions and dreams presented in treatises, essays and novels, and the modern debates and syntheses of historians to discern these changes. It examines how conscious revivals of imagined ancient traditions gave way to assertions of contemporary greatness. It considers how an urge to purify and reform religious life brought about an irreversible schism, fraternal strife, and tolerance. It probes how the resulting social disruptions required innovative forms of consent, control and governance. It canvasses how these processes were tied to expanding horizons and new commercial practices that intensified exchange and exploitation with the wider world. It reveals how new discoveries required new modes of inquiry and knowledge-making. The course asks how these changes together led Europeans to gain a striking self-confidence in their own ideas of man, society, and history, whereby Europe would seek to mold the world in its own image. Two class meetings per week.
Omitted 2017-18. Professor Cho.
2023-24: Not offered
World War I
(Offered as HIST 130 [EU] and EUST 130) The image of the First World War is so iconic that it can be evoked through a handful of tropes: trenches, machine guns, mud, “going over the top,” crossing “no man’s land.” Yet in many ways this is a partial vision, one that focuses myopically on the experiences of European soldiers who occupied a few hundred miles of trenches in northern France. Why is it that a conflict as unprecedented in its size and complexity as “the Great War” has been reduced in our minds to this very limited scale? In conjunction with the war’s 100th anniversary, this course both explores the role of World War I in our cultural imagination and aims to create a broader, messier, and more complicated portrait of the history. It will examine the conflict on multiple fronts, study the perspectives of both Western and non-Western soldiers and civilians, and analyze the war’s role in shaping the twentieth century. Three class meetings per week.
Limited to 40 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Boucher.2023-24: Not offered
Europe in the Twentieth Century
(Offered as HIST 132 [EU] and EUST 133) At the turn of the century, Mark Twain described Europe as a paradise of “tranquil contentment,” prosperity and genuine freedom. Labelled as the “Age of Extremes,” however, Europe’s twentieth century was marked by fierce ideological and political conflict, war and genocide and the beginning of the end of a domination over world affairs that the European nations had exercised for centuries. By 2012, the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and lauded once again as a beacon of relative stability and peace. This course will explore the major events, development and trends of European history in the twentieth century: the two world wars; the confrontation between liberalism, fascism, and communism; decolonization; the Cold War; the socio-cultural revolution of the 1960s; the Balkan Wars in the 1990s and the apparent triumph of democracy in European politics. Course materials will focus on changing notions of race, class, and gender during the course of the century and draw on primary documents, including novels and historical fiction, memoirs, films, political manifestos, government documents and interviews. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 30 students. Omitted 2017-18. Visiting Professor Trask.
2023-24: Not offered
Art and Architecture of Europe from 1400 to 1800
(Offered as ARHA 135, ARCH 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. Omitted 2017-18. 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, EUST 145, and SWAG 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 50 students. Spring semester. Professor Staller.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 Erich Remarque, Albert Camus, Irène Némirovsky, W. G. Sebald, Primo Levi, and Tony Judt. Films might include selections from Rossellini’s Roma città aperta, Holland’s Europa, Europa, Reed’s The Third Man, and Malle’s Au revoir les enfants.
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.
Students will be expected to participate in discussion, give oral reports, and write a research paper.
Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Rosbottom.2023-24: Not offered
Cityscapes: Imagining the European City
(Offered as ARCH 203 and EUST 203.) 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 eighteenth 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.
Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor Rosbottom.2023-24: Not offered
Creativity and Revolution
(Offered as RUSS 216 and EUST 216) The three decades from 1890 through 1920 marked a time when Russia’s future was being radically reimagined, politically and culturally. We will study creative revolution in the arts--in literature, painting, theater and dance, and the new medium of cinema--as participating in shaping a national vision, even as Russian artists absorbed and engaged with international models. We also will study reverberations of this period in later Soviet culture, such as absurdist theater, underground art and the poetic revival of the 60s and 70s. This course is taught in English and no familiarity with Russian language and culture is assumed.
Omitted 2017-18. Professor Ciepiela.2023-24: Not offered
Art, Politics, and Propaganda in Modern Europe
(Offered as HIST 220 [E] and EUST 220) In an interview shortly before her death, Leni Riefenstahl, renowned director of the Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will, claimed that art was apolitical and that she was blameless in the crimes of the Nazi state. “I didn’t drop any atom bombs. I didn’t denounce anyone. So where does my guilt lie?” she questioned. This course explores the specific relationship between visual artifacts such as Triumph of the Will and politics and society in modern Europe. Focusing on primary artifacts and scholarly interpretations of Europe’s cultural history, students will examine how the politics and the practices of visual artifacts reflected and/or shaped Europeans’ experiences of historical change in the twentieth century. First, we will examine the terms and concepts central to the study of propaganda and persuasion, the historical contexts of propaganda in war (World War I, World War II, and the Cold War) and revolution, and major contemporary theoretical approaches to understanding propaganda. In case-studies of Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union, the course will explore the role of visual aesthetics in ethical questions of consent and coercion in everyday life under authoritarian regimes and in wartime conditions. Second, the course will explore the changing relationship between art and politics, and the efforts made by artists to not simply reflect, but shape political, cultural, and social change beyond the confines of state-sponsored propaganda. Students will develop skills in analyzing primary artifacts including visual art and film within the context of historical transformations and artistic movements.
Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2017-18. Visiting Professor Trask.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. In 2016-17, this course was 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. Assignments include listening to musical works, reading about historical developments, and preparing several pieces for in-class performance.
Requisite: MUSI 112 or consent of the instructor. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Schneider.
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. Occasionally we will attend concerts in Amherst and elsewhere. Composers to be studied include Beethoven, Rossini, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, Wagner, Verdi, Mussorgsky, 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 the music with historical-cultural interpretation. Readings will focus on Gibbs/Taruskin Oxford History of Western Music with additional historical documents and selected critical and analytical studies. 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. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Moricz.2023-24: Not offered
Music and Culture III
(Offered as MUSI 223 and EUST 223) MUSI 223 is the third semester of the Music Department's Music and Culture series. It surveys twentieth-century music starting from Gustav Mahler at the turn of the century Vienna and concluding with Kaija Saariaho's 2000 opera L'amour de loin. Political turmoil, artistic movements, cultural shifts all left their marks on the music of the twentieth century and we will follow history's course through the lens of composers such as Debussy, Strauss, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Bartók, Ives, Gershwin, Shostakovich, to name only a few of the twentieth-century most significant composers. Assignments will include regular listening, periodic short papers, and a culminating project. 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: MUSI 111 or 112, or consent of the instructor. Spring semester. Professor Moricz.Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2023
The Century of Sex: Gender and Sexual Politics in Modern Europe
(Offered as EUST 224, HIST 224 [E], and SWAG 224) In the 1920s and 30s, authoritarian and fascist states across Europe declared that sexuality was not private. Sexual choices in the bedroom, they claimed, shaped national identities and the direction of social and cultural development. Through a variety of programs, propaganda and legal codes, states such as Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy sought to regulate sexual behavior and promote specific gender roles and identities. The intervention of the state in the intimate lives of citizens in the twentieth century, however, was rooted in the transformations of state, culture and economy that took place long before the speeches of great dictators. This course explores the cultural debates surrounding sexual practices, medical theories of gender and sexuality, and the relationship between sexuality and state that shaped European societies in the twentieth century. In case studies from across the continent, the course explores a range of topics, including but not limited to the history of sex reform, prostitution, homosexuality, venereal disease, contraception, abortion, the “New Woman” and sexual emancipation movements, sexual revolutions and reactionary movements and reproductive politics, among others. Students will explore how seemingly self-evident and unchanging categories – feminine and masculine, straight and gay, “normal” and “deviant”– have taken shape and changed over time, and how historical processes (modernization, imperialism, urbanization) and actors (social movements, sex reformers, nationalist groups and states) sought to define and regulate these boundaries in the so-called “century of sex.” Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Trask.2023-24: Not offered
The Age of Chivalry, 1000-1500
(Offered as HIST 225 [EUP] and EUST 225) Medieval Europe is often remembered and imagined as a chivalric civilization – a time when men were courageous and courteous, ladies were fair and respected, and the clash of arms was also an embodiment of Christian piety. This course seeks to uncover the myths and realities of medieval chivalry and thereby provide a window into the material, social, and cultural life of the Middle Ages. The course will track the beginnings of chivalry as a form of warfare centered on the horseback soldier, to its transformation as a code of conduct and ethos of a ruling class, and its later formalization into rituals and ceremonies to be performed and enacted as a means of social distinction. By examining documentary, fictional and pictorial sources, the course will review how competing ideals of chivalry were depicted and prescribed; how Christian ideals, aristocratic values and commercial realities aligned together; and how a mode of fighting became a way of life that defined an era. Two class meetings per week.
Fall semester. Professor Cho.
2023-24: Not offered
Women and War in European History, 1558-1918
(Offered as HIST 226 [EUp]. ARHA 226, and EUST 226) Although overlooked in military histories until recently, women have long been actively involved in warfare: as combatants, as victims, as workers, and as symbols. This course examines both the changing role of women, and the shifting constructions of “womanhood,” in four major European conflicts: the wars of Elizabeth I in sixteenth-century England, the wars and peace of Marie de Médicis in seventeenth-century France, the French Revolution, and the First World War. Using methodologies drawn from Art History and History, the course seeks to understand the gendered nature of warfare. Why are images of women and the family central to the iconography of war, and how have representations of womanhood shifted according to the aims of particular conflicts? To what extent do women’s experiences of warfare differ from men’s, and can war be considered a source of women’s liberation or oppression? Students will analyze a range of historical images in conjunction with primary source texts from these conflicts and will also develop an original research project related to the course’s themes. Two class meetings per week.
Recommended requisite: A course in Art History or History. Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professors Boucher and Courtright.
2023-24: Not offered
The French Revolution
(Offered as HIST 230 [EU/P] 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. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Boucher.2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as SPAN 384 and EUST 233.) This panoramic, interdisciplinary course will explore the concept of love as it changes epoch to epoch and culture to culture. Poetry, novels, paintings, sculptures, movies, TV, and music will be featured. Starting with the Song of Songs, it will include discussions of Plato, Aristotle, Catullus, and other Greek classics, move on to Dante and Petrarch, contemplate Chinese, Arabic, African, and Mesoamerican literatures, devote a central unit to Shakespeare, continue with the Metaphysical poets, and move on to American literature. Special attention will be paid to the difference between love, eroticism, and pornography. Multilingual students will be encouraged to delve into various linguistic traditions, in tongues like French, Russian, German, Yiddish, and Spanish. Conducted in English.
Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Stavans.2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 234 [EU] and EUST 234) In the 1920s, Germany was celebrated throughout Europe and North America as a model of democratic political reform, artistic experimentation, economic prosperity, and cultural diversity. Yet by 1933, millions of Germans gave their political support and allegiance to a movement that called for the destruction of democracy, an attack on Jews, Communists, gay men, and lesbians, and deemed "asocial" anyone who did not conform to narrowly prescribed social, political, and sexual standards. This course will explore the rocky transition from the Germany of the Imperial period to the authoritarian Third Reich through the way station of the democratic Weimar Republic. It will examine the promise and excitement, the sense of possibility and openness of the 1920s, and the utopian vision of a "racial state" that succeeded it in the 1930s. This course explores the emergence of Hitler and Nazism in Germany, the culture wars in the 1920s and 1930s, Nazi ideology and aesthetics, Nazi racial policies, daily life in the Third Reich, the march toward World War and the “war against the Jews” - the Holocaust. Class participants will discuss specific case-studies as well as broader themes surrounding the nature of political consent and coercion in German society. Texts will include films, diaries, historical fiction, memoirs, government and policy texts and scholarly accounts of the era. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 40 students. Fall semester. Professor Trask.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
Soviet Union During the Cold War
(Offered as HIST 236 [EU] and EUST 238) The Cold War indelibly shaped the second half of the twentieth century. Spies seemed ubiquitous; nuclear annihilation imminent. Films such as Red October and the James Bond series forged a Western image of the Soviet Union. But how were these decades experienced behind the Iron Curtain? This class explores Soviet history between the end of World War II and the collapse of the USSR. We will study the roots of the Cold War; the politics of de-Stalinization in the USSR; the unfolding of Soviet influence in Eastern Europe; and Soviet relations with the West, China, and the developing world. We will also explore the internal dynamics of Soviet society: the rise of the Soviet middle class, consumerism, tourism, the entertainment industry, demographic trends, education, and public health. Two class meetings per week.
Omitted 2017-18. Five College Professor Glebov.2023-24: Not offered
The Last Russian Revolution: State and Society from the Late Soviet Period to the Present
(Offered as HIST 240 [EU], EUST 240, and RUSS 345) This course explores the tumultuous and unprecedented transition from the late Soviet Communism to contemporary Russian Federation. We will discuss the state of the Soviet Union on the eve of dissolution and politics of nationalism; emergence of the post-Soviet states and divergence in their historical development; transition to capitalism and privatization; challenges of federalism and regionalism in post-Soviet Russia; relations between the Russian Federation and “Near Abroad,” NATO and China, and the social and cultural developments from the late Soviet period to the early twenty-first century. The class will also explore the historical evolution of the phenomenon of Putinism as rooted in long-term transformation of the former Soviet space. Two class meetings per week.
Omitted 2017-18. Five College Professor Glebov.2023-24: Not offered
Stalin and Stalinism
(Offered as HIST 235 [EU], EUST 245, and RUSS 235) Joseph Stalin, the infamous Soviet dictator, created a particular type of society in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution. Stalinism became a phenomenon that influenced the development of the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, and North Korea. The course will begin with the exploration of Stalin’s own life, and then focus on what historical forces enabled the emergence of Stalinism. The course will cover the period on the eve of and during the Russian Revolution, Stalinist transformation of the USSR in the 1930s, WWII, and the onset of the Cold War. Among issues to be explored are the extent of popular support for Stalinist-type regimes, the mechanisms of large-scale political terror, the longevity of Stalinist regimes, and historical memory about Stalinism. Three class meetings per week.
Omitted 2017-18. Five College Professor Glebov.Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Fall 2016, Spring 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023
Revolutions in Theater
(Offered as RUSS 242, EUST 246, and THDA 243) Each bold innovation in twentieth-century theater sought to redefine in its own way the very idea of theatricality, and so to reshape the relationship between text and performance, experience and interpretation, social reality and cultural tradition. The conviction that a director can, as Peter Brook put it, “take any empty space and call it a bare stage” led the great reformers whose theoretical writings and theatrical practices are examined in this course to conflicting visions of theater’s role in the esthetic, cultural and social revolutions of their times. We explore the experimental esthetics of Konstantin Stanislavsky, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Bertolt Brecht, Antonin Artaud, Jerzy Grotowski, Tadeusz Kantor, Heiner Müller, and Robert Wilson--and each director’s radical reinventions of theater as naturalistic, realistic, symbolist, constructivist, expressionist, epic, cruel, poor, deathlike, painterly, and holy.
Fall semester. Professor Wolfson.2023-24: Not offered
1917-2017: One Hundred Years in the Story of Labor
Shakespeare in Prison
Taught at the Hampshire County Jail, the course is devoted to close readings and staging of parts of Shakespeare’s plays while exploring in depth his historical context, dramatic and stylistic style, and world view. The topics of bondage, revenge, injustice, and forgiveness will serve as leitmotifs. On this iteration, four plays will be the focus: As You Like It, Macbeth, Hamlet, and The Tempest. Conducted in English.
Spring semester. Professor Stavans.
2023-24: Not offered
Women and Art in Early Modern Europe
(Offered as ARHA 284, EUST 284, and SWAG 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. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Courtright.2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as BLST 294 [D] and EUST 294) This research-based seminar considers the enduring presence of people of African descent in Europe from the nineteenth century to the contemporary moment, a fact that both confounds and extends canonical theories of African diaspora and black internationalism. Focusing particularly on the histories of black people in Britain, Germany, and France, this course will take an interdisciplinary approach in its study of the African diaspora in Europe. We will examine literature, history, film, art and ephemera, as well as newly available pre-1927 audio recordings from Bear Family Records (http://www.black-europe.com/) in effort to better comprehend the materiality of the black European experience. These inquiries will enable us to comment upon the influence black people continue to have upon Europe today. Reading the central texts in the emerging field of Black European Studies—including African American expatriate memoirs, Afro-German feminist poetry, and black British cultural theory—student work will culminate in an annotated bibliography and a multimedia research project.
Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Polk.2023-24: Not offered
Literature as Translation
(Offered as EUST 303 and ENGL 320) Acts of translation underwrite many kinds of cultural production, often invisibly. Writers of the Harlem Renaissance, for instance, engaged with black internationalism through bilingualism and translation, as Brent Edwards has reminded us. In this course we will study literary translation as a creative practice involved in the making of subjects and cultures. We will read key statements about translation by theorists and translators, such as Walter Benjamin, Roman Jakobson, Lawrence Venuti, Peter Cole and Gayatri Spivak. We also will directly engage in translation work: each student will regularly present translations in a workshop format to produce a portfolio as a final project. The class will be “polyglot,” meaning that students are welcome to translate from any language of which they have knowledge; when they share translations, they will be asked also to provide interlinear, or “literal,” translations for those who may not understand the language they are working in.
Requisite: two years of college-level study of the chosen language. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Ciepiela.2023-24: Not offered
War, Occupation, and Genocide: The Experience of World War II in Europe
(Offered as HIST 325 [EU] and EUST 325) Seventy years on, World War II remains a point of rupture, an “hour zero,” in histories of Europe, Germany and the modern world. Rather than fading into the memories of our past, the Second World War has grown in the public imagination, spurring a deluge of films and books on the experiences of combat, loss and survival. Considered the most total conflict of world history, World War II wrought unparalleled destruction upon both soldiers and civilians across three continents. The Nazi regime turned the conflict into the most horrific war in European history, resorting to genocidal methods in their “war of annihilation” against European Jews. States harnessed levels of social mobilization and personal commitment to an extent not seen before or after. Through scholarly texts and original artifacts, this seminar explores the relationship between the destructive capacity of war and the effects on those who produce, are subject to, and must come to terms with its experience. The course focuses on the diverse experiences of the people who were involved in the war: soldiers on the battlefields; women mobilized into new roles at home and on the frontlines; children whose lives were shaped by new strategies of survival and/or given purpose by the war effort; colonial troops who both fought for Europe’s empires and against colonialism; European Jews who faced “impossible” choices in the path to genocide; and individuals for whom the war provided new opportunities to transgress boundaries of community surveillance, state and sexuality. The course will focus on topics including: the social, economic, ideological and sexual complexities of wartime occupation; population movement and displacement; domestic mobilization; and the Holocaust. Two course meetings per week.
Limited to 18 students. Not open to first-year students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Trask.2023-24: Not offered
A Price for Everything: Making of a Market Society
(Offered as HIST 339 [EU/p] and EUST 329) This seminar reviews the various socio-cultural configurations of economic relations from the high medieval to the early modern era. Drawing on works from a range of disciplines, we focus on the intersection of market and culture, on how people have struggled to arrange and institutionalize market exchange, and how they have sought to make sense of those changing relations. The course is built around a basic question that is also a current debate: What can we and what can we not buy and sell? And why? To answer these questions, we first consider the foundational works that still govern our basic notions about the market society we live in. We then review several fields of our social lives that have been transformed through market exchange: What makes one good a gift and another a commodity? How can we set a price on the work we do? How did money make the world go around? Why am I often the sum of what I own? And what do these questions tell us about our relationship with each other and our things? We will consider both critical essays and historical case-studies. The goal of the course is to gain a historical and critical perspective on the making of a market society, provide approaches for applied research, and allow us to be conscious participants in the contemporary transformation of our own society. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Cho.2023-24: Not offered
German Conservative Revolution and the Roots of the Third Reich
(Offered as HIST 330 [EU] and EUST 330) This course will explore the thought and historical context of Germany’s radical rightwing intellectuals, who played a fateful role in the ideological formation of National Socialism in the wake of the Great War. These thinkers identified themselves with the oxymoronic and elusive title of a German “Conservative Revolution.” Defying traditional divisions between Left and Right, they opposed parliamentary democracy and royalist reactionary Wilhelminian conservatism, as well as Liberalism and Marxism. Beyond offering an important case study into the role, responsibility, and accountability of public intellectuals, this course will focus on the content and context of this group's radical conservative thought. Our discussion will highlight five fields of knowledge that they attempted to reshape: theology, legal thought, race biology, geography, and political philosophy. Once the National Socialist party took power, its relations with Conservative Revolutionaries was anything but simple: some Conservative Revolutionaries joined the Nazi party or collaborated with the Nazi state. Many others, however, dissented, and claimed that Nazism distorted their ideas. The posthumous legacy of these thinkers was equally ambivalent and unpredictable, while many sank into oblivion, some inspire and challenge not only contemporary rightwing movements and intellectuals, but also contemporary left. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 18 students. Not open to first-year students. Admission with consent of the instructor. Spring semester. Professor A. Gordon.2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as EUST 331 and SPAN 377) Is there a difference between a traveler and a tourist? Does travel always involve movement in time? What is the relationship between travel and technology? In what sense is the self always changing? How to describe a fake experience? And are immigrants travelers? This course explores questions of travel across history, from the Bible to the age of social media. It will contemplate literature, cinema, music, and photography. Theories articulated by Joseph Campbell on myth and Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking on time will be discussed. Authors include Dante, Samuel Johnson, Alexis de Tocqueville, Charles Darwin, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, H.G. Wells, Isak Dinesen, Franz Kafka, Elizabeth Bishop, Ryszard Kapuściński, and Gabriel García Márquez. Conducted in English.
Omitted 2017-18. Professor Stavans.
2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 335 [EU] and EUST 335) By tracing the journeys of people into, across, and out of Europe during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this course explores the role of migration in forging modern national, regional, and global identities. On one level, it analyzes the factors that have impelled groups of people to cross borders. On another, it examines how these migrations have changed the social landscape of Europe, serving both to forge and to challenge the divides of culture, religion, and nationhood. Topics will include: mass emigration and the rise of European imperialism; debates over “belonging” in the era of nation-building; the development of passports, visa restrictions, and quotas; the emergence of the categories of “refugee” and “asylum seeker”; forced migration and human trafficking; colonial and postcolonial immigration into Europe; and contestations over multiculturalism. Readings will relate to a variety of geographical locations, but with special emphasis on migration into and out of Britain, France, Germany, and their empires. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 35 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Boucher.2023-24: Not offered
Defining the Modern: Russia Between Tsars and Communists
(Offered as HIST 439 [EU] and EUST 339) The course will explore a most intense and fascinating period in Russian history: the years 1890-1910. This period witnessed rapid urbanization and industrialization; the rise of professional and mass politics; first instances of modern terrorism and an intensification of nationalist struggles; imperialist ventures in Central Asia, Manchuria, and Korea; several revolutions and wars; and, above all, an unprecedented efflorescence of modernist culture in the late Russian Empire which was readily exported to and consumed in Europe. We will analyze these developments through a range of sources, including resources found at the Mead Art Museum. In addition to acquainting students with major developments in turn-of-the-century Russian Empire, the class will address contemporary scholarly debates that focus on concepts such as “modernity,” “self,” “discipline,” “knowledge,” “civil society,” and “nationalism.” Students will be required to complete an independent research paper. One class meetings per week.
Omitted 2017-18. Five College Professor Glebov.2023-24: Not offered
Renaissance Illusions: Art, Matter, Spirit
(Offered as ARHA 354, ARCH 355, and EUST 355) Artists such as Donatello, Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Leonardo, Raphael, Bramante, Michelangelo, Cellini and Titian, but also unknown artisans, constructed illusions imitating nature or offering profound spiritual connectedness, be it through the spatial grandeur of perspectival narratives on painted walls, in sculpture and the built environment, or through the expert crafting of precious materials for domestic and ritual objects. Art, artifacts, and architecture created for merchants, monks, princes and pontiffs in the urban centers of Florence, Rome, Venice, and Paris from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries range from the gravely restrained and intentionally simple and devout to the monumental, fantastically complex or blindingly splendid. Emphasis will be upon the way the form, materiality, and content of each type of art conveyed ideas concerning creativity, originality, and individuality, but also expressed ideals of devotion and civic virtue; how artists dealt with the revived legacy of antiquity to develop an original visual language; how art revealed attitudes toward the body and the spirit, expressed the relationship between nature, the imagination and art, and developed the rhetoric of genius; and how art and attitudes towards it changed over time.
Rather than taking the form of a survey, this course, based on lectures but regularly incorporating discussion, will examine selected works in depth and will analyze contemporary attitudes toward art of this period through study of the art and the primary sources concerning it.
Requisite: One course in ARHA, FAMS, or ARCH, or with permission of the instructor. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Courtright.2023-24: Not offered
Baroque Art in Italy, France, Spain, and the Spanish Netherlands
(Offered as ARHA 356, ARCH 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 2017-18. Professor Courtright.2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as GERM 360, ARCH 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 also be screened. Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.
Limited to 18 students. Fall semester. Professor Gilpin.2023-24: Not offered
Architectures of Disappearance
(Offered as GERM 364, ARCH 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.
Limited to 15 students. Enrollment requires attendance at first class meeting. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Gilpin.2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as GERM 365, ARCH 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. Preference given to German majors and European Studies majors, as well as to students interested in architecture/design, performance, the visual arts, interactive installation and/or the environment. Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.
Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Gilpin.Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2016, Fall 2021
(Offered as ARCH 369 and EUST 369) This research seminar will explore conceptions of time as they have informed and influenced thought and creativity in the fields of cultural studies, literature, architecture, urban studies, philosophy, neuroscience, 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/sonic materials will be drawn from the fields of European literature, philosophy and critical theory; from architectural, art, music, neuroscience and film theory and history; from performance studies and performance theory; and from theories of technology and the natural and built environment. We will sustain a focus on issues of perception, cognition, duration, movement, attention, imagination, memory, and narrative throughout. Emphasis on developing research, writing, and presentation skills is central to this seminar. Conducted in English.
Preference given to Architectural Studies and European Studies majors, as well as to students interested in architecture/design, performance, film/video, interactive installation, and/or the environment. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Gilpin.
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017, Fall 2019, Fall 2023
Medieval and Renaissance Lyric
(Offered as ENGL 441 and EUST 374) [before 1800] In this course, we read a selection of English and other European lyrics (in translation) from the twelfth through the seventeenth centuries. An exciting, fertile era in poetic innovation, these centuries see the dawn of the first romantic love poetry in these languages, the invention of new forms like the sonnet, and the invention of the lyric “anthology.” Reading the lyrics of the French troubadour poets, Chaucer, Petrarch, Wyatt, Donne, Shakespeare, and the many brilliant anonymous poets of medieval England, we will examine both the text and contexts of these short poems. Close readings will be put in dialogue with cultural contexts (such as the volatile court of Henry VIII, in which Thomas Wyatt wrote), and the material contexts of the lyrics (the medieval and early modern manuscripts and books in which they first appeared). We will further think about how the term “lyric” emerges as a privileged poetic category, by reading contemporary “defenses” of poetry and thinking about why the word “lyric” only appears in the sixteenth century. Does the “lyric” poem change once it is defined? How do later works speak to the earlier tradition?
Open to juniors and seniors. Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Nelson.Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2016, Spring 2020, Spring 2022
Witches, Vampires and Other Monsters
(Offered as ARHA 385, EUST 385, and SWAG 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 Valdés Leal, Velázquez, Goya, Munch, Ensor, Redon, Nolde, Picasso, Dalí, Kiki Smith, and Cindy Sherman. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. 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
(Offered as ENGL 412 and EUST 412) [before 1800] This course introduces students to the hands-on study of medieval manuscripts. Students will examine materials in the Frost Library archives, as well as print and digital facsimiles of medieval manuscripts, to learn about how medieval literature was copied and read in its own time. Students will learn the skills of paleography (reading old handwriting) and codicology (analyzing the materials and assembly of old books) in order to conduct original research on these materials. They will also learn about medieval and early modern book culture. The course includes a field trip to the Rare Books library at Harvard University.
Open to juniors and seniors. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Nelson.
2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as ENGL 417 and EUST 417) This course explores creative responses to the destruction of European Jewry, differentiating between literature written in extremis in ghettos, concentration/extermination camps, or in hiding, and the vast post-war literature about the Holocaust. How to balance competing claims of individual and collective experience, the rights of the imagination and the pressures for historical accuracy? How does the Holocaust in American culture differ from the Holocaust narrated in Jewish or European languages? Readings from a variety of literary genres are complemented by consideration of Holocaust memorials, museums, film, and critical theories of representation.
Recommended requisite: A prior college-level course in literature and/or twentieth-century European history. Students not majoring in English or European Studies are welcome. Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2017-18.2023-24: Not offered
The Earthly Paradise
(Offered as ARHA 452, EUST 452, and SWAG 452) Shortly after the Franco-Prussian War--when there were more bloody corpses in the streets of Paris than at the height of the French Revolution--Monet and some others invented Impressionism. Rather than grab horror by the throat, as Goya and Picasso did in Spain, they created an earthly paradise. To this end, some ecstatically immersed themselves in nature; others tapped the gas-lit pleasures of the demi-monde.
We will revel in the different visions of Monet, Degas, Renoir, as well as of Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse--the Symbolist and Fauvist artists who followed. We will feast on the artists’ images, originals whenever possible (including Monet’s Matinée sur la Seine at the Mead). We will study their words--Van Gogh’s letters, Gauguin’s Noa Noa, Matisse’s “Notes of a Painter”--and analyze the ways in which they transformed their experiences into art.
There will be at least one required field trip, on a Friday. This is a research seminar: each student will choose an artist, whose paradise she will study in depth, and share as a class presentation and substantial paper.
We will consider the centrality of beauty and joy in the creation of art and life.
Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Professor Staller.Other years: Offered in Spring 2017, Spring 2018
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, ARCH 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.
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. Part of the Global Classroom Project. The Global Classroom Project uses videoconferencing technology to connect Amherst classes with courses/students outside the United States.
Limited to 15 students. Enrollment requires attendance at the first class meeting. Spring semester. Professor Gilpin.2023-24: Not offered
Violence, Art, and Memory of the Spanish Civil War
[RC] (Offered as SPAN 340 and EUST 340) The Spanish Civil War lasted only three years, from 1936 to 1939, yet the conflict cast a long shadow over Spain's twentieth-century history, culture and identity. Indeed, the war's effects were felt worldwide, and it became the inspiration for works of art and literature as varied as Pablo Picasso's Guernica, Pablo Neruda's España en el corazón, Guillermo del Toro's El laberinto del fauno and Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls. This course will provide an introduction to the discord and violence of the war as well as to the anguish and catharsis of the stories, poems and films it inspired. Through primary sources and historical accounts, we will understand the causes of this fraternal war. By studying texts and films that track the reverberations of the Spanish Civil War in the United States, Latin America and Continental Europe, we will seek to understand how and why this historical moment has captivated artists and writers. In addition, we will grapple with the diverse ways that lingering memories of the war have affected modern-day Spanish politics and culture. Although readings will be in English and Spanish, this course will be conducted in Spanish.
Requisite: SPAN 211 or consent of the instructor. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Brenneis.
(Offered as SPAN 364 [RC] and EUST 264) A patient, careful reading of Cervantes' masterpiece (published in 1605 and 1615), taking into consideration the biographical, historical, social, religious, and literary context from which it emerged during the Renaissance. The discussion will center on the novel's structure, style, and durability as a classic and its impact on our understanding of ideas and emotions connected with the Enlightenment and its aftermath. Authors discussed in connection to the material include Erasmus of Rotterdam, Montaigne, Emerson, Tobias Smollett, Flaubert, Dostoyevsky, Unamuno, Nabokov, Borges, García Márquez, and Rushdie. Conducted in Spanish.
Requisite: SPAN 211 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Stavans.2023-24: Not offered