Offered as HIST 111 [EU/TR/TS] and EUST 111.This course is a detailed examination of the history of the Holocaust. The Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jews of Europe was an event of global proportions and significance, which still shapes the world in which we live. In this introductory course we will interrogate the origins and preconditions of the Nazi genocide, and analyze the transition of Nazi policy from exclusion and persecution of the Jews to systematic murder. We will closely study the perpetrators and try to understand how “ordinary men” became mass murderers. We will reflect on the historical significance of the "bystanders." Throughout the semester we will pay special attention to Jewish dilemmas and conduct during the Holocaust, in response to persecution and mass murder. The Holocaust raises some of the most formidable challenges for historians. Students in this course will identify the major debates and controversies among historians, and will gain a deep understanding of the nature and significance of these dilemmas of historical interpretation. Two class meetings per week.
Maximum enrollment of 60 students.Fall semester. Professor Gordon and Professor Cammy.Other years: Offered in Fall 2022, Fall 2023
Russian Empire in Eurasia
(Offered as HIST 112 [AS/EU/C/P], ASLC 112, EUST 112 and RUSS 130) In the course of five hundred years, the Russian empire in Eurasia evolved as the largest territorial polity in the world. In this course, we will explore the medieval foundations of the imperial state and look at its predecessors and models (Kievan Rus’ and the empire of the Mongols), discuss ways in which cooperation and resistance shaped the imperial state and society, and study cultural and political entanglements among different ethnic, linguistic and confessional groups in Eurasia. Chronologically, we will cover the period from the tenth century to the crisis of the empire in the early twentieth century. Thematically, we will focus on structures of imperial state and society (the imperial house, peasantry, nobility, confessions, intelligentsia, revolutionary movement) and most important regions of the Russian Empire (Ukraine, the Caucasus, the Baltics, Siberia, Central Asia). Two class meetings per week.
Not offered in 2022-23. Professor Glebov.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 2022-23. 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. Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2021-22.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? This 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 18 students. Omitted 2122. Professor A. Gordon.Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021
The Italian Renaissance: Politics, Culture, and Society
(Offered as HIST 125 [EU/TC/P], EUST 125)
Given the misrepresentations of Renaissance Florentine politics in popular media (Netflix series Medici) and the attacks on Renaissance European culture from theorists of decolonization, one might ask: what is the relevance of the Renaissance today? In this course, we will discuss the extent to which the Florentine republic’s struggle for survival in the midst of wars and despotic/oligarchic/feudal usurpations might, again, be of interest to us, and engage with question of race, colonialism, and the representation of Africa and the New World. We will critically examine Renaissance cultural productions (humanist history writing, portraiture, perspective, mapping, erotic art) while appreciating the politics of beauty in architecture, urban planning, and figurative art. Other topics include: the gendered politics of charity; patriarchal families; women writers; domestic slavery; Jewish communities; interactions with Islamic culture. Two meetings weekly.
Spring semester. Professor Sperling.2023-24: Not offered
European Intellectual History and Its Discontents
Offered as HIST-205 [EU/TC/TS] and EUST-129. Intellectual history concerns itself with the study of social and political ideas. These ideas are known by big words, such as Conservatism, Liberalism, Socialism. As George Orwell once remarked: “The worst thing one can do with words is to surrender to them.” This course will help students to create a distance needed to analyze the big ideas and the meaning beneath them and help acquire skills for exploration of the origin of key social and political concepts, their development and impact. The readings for this class will take students on a journey through the battle of ideas in Europe at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth century when tensions and paradoxes of modernity surfaced in the form of political and social divisions. This journey will continue through the “Age of Extremes” and the confrontation between Communism, Fascism, and renewed Liberalism, observing the legacy of this defining for the twentieth century history moment. Two meetings per week.
Spring semester. Professor Semyonov.Other years: Offered in Spring 2023
World War I
(Offered as HIST 130 [EU/TE] 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? 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, studying the perspectives of both European and non-European soldiers and civilians, and analyze the war’s role in shaping the twentieth century. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 40 students. Fall semester. Professor Boucher.2023-24: Not offered
History and Theory of Architecture
(Offered as ARHA 131, ARCH 131 and EUST 131.) Throughout history, buildings have directed human activity, shaping social interactions, symbolizing political power, and influencing multiple kinds of artistic expression. This course is a selected introduction to the history and theory of architecture, from the earliest forms of human habitation to medieval and Renaissance buildings, Enlightenment utopian visions, modern industrial structures and skyscrapers, and contemporary sustainable practices. Interwoven with a sampling of theoretical texts and architectural treatises, the course covers selected moments in the history and theory of Western architecture, from Vitruvius to Alberti and Corbusier to Koolhaas, from primordial shelters to computer generated designs.
Omitted 2022-23. Visiting Professor Koehler.2023-24: Not offered
Renaissance to Revolution: Early Modern European Art and Architecture
(Offered as ARHA 135, ARCH 135, and EUST 135) This course, a gateway class for the study of art history, introduces the ways that artists and architects imaginatively invented visual language to interpret the world for contemporary patrons, viewers, and citizens in early modern Europe. Painters, printmakers, sculptors and architects in Italy, France, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands created new ways of seeing empirical phenomena and interpreting them, by means of both ancient and new principles of art, science and philosophy and through powerful engagement with the senses. They produced godlike illusions of nature, from grand frescoes bursting from the walls of papal residences to spectacular gardens covering noble estates in Baroque France and colonializing England. They fundamentally altered the design of major cities such as Rome and Paris so that the visitor encountered an entirely new urban experience than ever before. Along the way, they learned from one another’s example, but, prizing innovation, sought fiercely to surpass previous generations, and argued at length about values in art. They contributed to fashioning an ideal picture of empire and society and conjured the dazzling wealth and power of those who paid them. But as time passed, some came to ironize the social order mightily, and some elevated beggars, farmers, servants, so-called fools, and bourgeois women leading seemingly mundane domestic lives as much as others praised the prosperous few. Finally, artists actively participated in the overthrow of the monarchy during the French Revolution and yet also passionately critiqued the violence of war it engendered. Throughout, the course will investigate how concepts of progress, civilization, the state, religion, race, gender, and the individual came to be defined through art.
The goals of the course are:• above all, to achieve the skill of close looking to gain visual understanding;• also, to identify artistic innovations that characterize European art and architecture from the Italian Renaissance to the French Revolution;• to understand how images are unique forms of expression that help us to understand historical phenomena;• to situate the works of art historically, by examining the intellectual, political, religious, and social currents that contributed to their creation; • to read texts about the period critically and analytically.No previous experience with art or art history is necessary.
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, 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. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Staller.2023-24: Not offered
Art From the Realm of Dreams
(Offered as ARHA 146, EUST 146, and SWAGS 113.) We will consider the multifarious and resplendent ways dreams have been given form across centuries, cultures, and media. Our paintings, prints, films, and texts will include those by Goya, Jung, Freud, van Gogh, Gauguin, Kahlo, Frankenheimer, Kurosawa and others.
Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Staller.Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2023
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.
January term. Professor Rosbottom.2023-24: Not offered
Voices from a Bygone Time
(Offered as MUSI 221 and EUST 221) Monks living in monastic seclusion, troubadours serving their ladies and fighting wars, mad princes writing complicated polyphonic music, male castrato singers celebrated as the pop-stars of opera houses are just a few of the fascinating characters who participated in music making from the Middle Ages until the middle of the eighteenth century in Europe. The music they produced is frequently called "early music," a falsely unifying label that hides the kaleidoscopic nature of this fantastic repertory, ranging from monophonic chant to opera. In this course we will study how the invention of musical notation affected the development of music, turning an oral tradition of chant into a written tradition of complex polyphonic textures unimaginable without the help of notation. Reading historical documents and listening to selected pieces of music, we'll visit the soundscape of this bygone time that still influences our thinking about music. Assignments include listening, reading, and short papers. Knowledge of musical notation at least at the rudimentary level is recommended.
Requisite: MUSI 211 or consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Professor Móricz.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. 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, 211, or consent of the instructor. Spring semester. Professor Schneider.2023-24: Not offered
The Musical Symptoms of Modernism
(Offered as MUSI 223 and EUST 223) Two World Wars, the Holocaust, the Cold War, and the dropping of the atomic bomb were cataclysmic events that made the twentieth century one of the most traumatizing time periods in human history. And yet music did not fall silent. Composers continued writing music, giving aural expression to symptoms characteristic of the condition of modernism. How did Richard Strauss's opera Salome about a necrophiliac princess lusting for a severed head become one of the most successful operas in Europe? Why did Stalin alternately persecute and reward the Soviet Union's most talented composer, Dmitri Shostakovich? Why did composers insist on writing unlistenable, incomprehensibly complex music after World War II? Listening to a wide variety of music from Mahler to Kaija Saariaho, reading historical documents and other relevant essays, we'll explore symptoms of modernism and how composers and their music interacted with their culture milieu and historical context. Assignments will include regular listening, periodic short papers, and a culminating project.
Requisite: MUSI 111 or 211, or consent of the instructor. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Moricz.Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2023
Law, Sex, and Family in the Wider Mediterranean (1300–1800)
(Offered as HIST 223 [EU/ME/TC/TS/C/P] and SWAG 223)
This course invites students to assume a comparative and intersectional perspective when analyzing differently organized patriarchal societies of the Mediterranean. Our focus will be on women’s access to properties, marriage, divorce, child rearing, and sexuality; our case studies are located in Renaissance Italy, early modern France, Byzantium, the Ottoman Empire, Mamluk Egypt, Islamic Iberia, and Jewish communities in France and Italy. We will attempt to separate the issue of religious denomination from family history and foreground the question of commensurability in matters relating to gender, sex, and kinship. Topics include: marital gift exchange and divorce in Renaissance Italy and Mamluk Cairo; female resistance to arranged marriages in France and Anatolia; women’s access to power in the Ottoman harem; different forms of slavery in the Mediterranean; the fate of female refugees and converts in the Mediterranean; male and female same-sex desire in Renaissance Italy, the Ottoman Empire, and Safavid Iran. Writing assignments will consist of comparative analyses of historical literature. This is a reading- and writing-intensive course. Class discussions and group work.
Not offered in 2022-23. Visiting Professor Sperling.2023-24: Not offered
Race and Empire: The British Experience from 1760
(Offered as HIST 231 [EU/TE/TR/TS] 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 eighteenth century, the interactions between missionaries and Africans in the nineteenth century, or the migration of South Asians to Britain in the twentieth 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.
Not offered in 2022-23. Enrollment limited to 30 students. Professor Boucher.2023-24: Not offered
Representation and Reality in Spanish Cinema
(Offered as SPAN 315, EUST 232, FAMS 328, and SWAG 315) From Pedro Almodóvar to Penélope Cruz, Spanish directors and actors are now international stars. But the origins of Spain’s cinema are rooted in censorship and patriarchy. This course offers an overview of Spanish film from 1950 to the present along with an introduction to film studies. Through weekly streaming films and discussions, students will follow how Spain’s culture, history and society have been imagined onscreen, as well as how Spanish filmmakers interact with the rest of Europe and Latin America. We will pay particular attention to issues surrounding gender and sexuality as well as contemporary social justice movements. No prior experience with film analysis is needed. Conducted in Spanish.
Requisite: SPAN 301 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Fall Semester. Professor Brenneis2023-24: 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 2022-23. Professor Stavans.2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 234 [EU/TE/TR] and EUST 234) The National Socialist regime that governed Germany under Adolf Hitler from 1933-45 raises numerous historical questions that remain pertinent today: How does a political system move from democracy to dictatorship? How can an advanced economy, a diverse society, and a vibrant culture with an artistic avantgarde beget a regime bent on aggressive war, rapacious expansion, and genocide? Why didn't more people resist Nazism? This course will consider the origins of Nazism and examine Nazi Germany through the lenses of political, social, cultural, military, and gender history, addressing Nazi ideology and aesthetics, Nazi racial policies, the role of gender in the regime, and the questions of agency under as well as resistance to the Third Reich, with substantial attention dedicated to both World War II and the Holocaust. Readings and course materials will be drawn from a variety of both recent and classic secondary sources and primary sources that include diaries, memoirs, and government sources. Three class meetings per week.
Limited to 50 students. Not offered in 2022-23.2023-24: 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, will be the central motif, with attention 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, discussion will include mystical experiences, ghost stories, and séance sessions. The course will also cover 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. The class will also analyze entertainment, ventriloquism, puppet shows, voice-overs, children’s cartoon shows, subtitles, and dubbing in movies and TV and examine 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. Conducted in English.
Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2022-23. 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 nineteenth-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 2022-23. Professor Stavans.2023-24: Not offered
This course rotates around the shifting notion of the divine in Western Civilization, focusing on theology, philosophy, literature, and music. Students explore the development of the three major prophetic religions as well as some of the mystical movements they fostered. Discussions rotate around the King James Bible, Augustine’s Confessions, the Koran, Maimonides’ The Guide for the Perplexed, the Zohar, the Popol Vuh, the Ramayana, and Spinoza’s work as a cornerstone to the Enlightenment. We will contemplate secularism in modern culture and analyze the contemporary atheist movement of Dawkins and Hitchens . Music explorations range from Johann Sebastian Bach to John Cage; in science, from Isaac Newton to Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking; and in film, from Ingmar Bergman to Woody Allen. Readings include parts of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, Freud’s Moses and Monotheism, Kafka’s The Castle, Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author, Borges’ “The Secret Miracle” and Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.
Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Stavans.2023-24: Not offered
Soviet Union During the Cold War
(Offered as HIST 236 [EU/AS/TE], EUST 238, and RUSS 237) 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 course 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.
Spring semester. 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/TE], EUST 240, and RUSS 240)
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.
Fall semester. Professor Glebov.2023-24: Not offered
The Age of Michelangelo: Italian Renaissance Art and Architecture
(Offered as ARHA 241, ARCH 241, and EUST 241) Michelangelo, a defining genius of the Italian Renaissance, emerged from a rich cultural environment that forever changed how we think of art. Artists of the Renaissance developed an original visual language from the legacy of the ancient world, while also examining nature, their environment, and encounters with other worlds to the East and West. Their art revealed a profound engagement with philosophical attitudes toward the body and the spirit, as well as with ideals of pious devotion and civic virtue. Those concepts changed radically over the period of the Renaissance, however. Artists developed the rhetoric of genius and artistic struggle by vaunting an artist’s godlike role, owing to his imaginative creation of art and his ability to mimic reality illusionistically, yet they also questioned a human’s place in the cosmos. We will analyze in depth the visual language of painting, sculpture, and architecture created for merchants, monks, princes and popes in the urban centers of Florence, Rome and Venice from the 14th through the 16th centuries, and examine the virtuosic processes artists used to achieve their goals.
Rather than taking the form of a survey, this course, based on lectures but regularly incorporating discussion, will analyze selected works and contemporary attitudes toward the visual through study of the art and its primary sources.
Gain confidence in the art of close looking to gain visual understanding;Achieve an understanding about how art and its culture are intertwined; Develop the critical skills to analyze points of view from a historical period other than our own; Learn collaboratively with classmates; Develop and argue an original thesis about a single work of art in a research paper.
One course in ARHA, FAMS, or ARCH recommended. Spring semester. Professor Courtright.2023-24: Not offered
Stalin and Stalinism
(Offered as HIST 235 [EU/TC/TE/TR/TS], EUST 245 and RUS 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. It 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. Two class meetings per week.
Not offered in 2022-23. Professor Glebov.Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Fall 2016, Spring 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023
(Offered as ARHA 366, ARCH 366, and EUST 246) This course will explore the art, architecture, history and theory of the experimental German art school, the Bauhaus. Beginning with the school's origins during WWI and the German Revolution and its development during the Weimar Republic, this class will go on to study the demise of the Bauhaus during the Nazi regime and the forced exile of many Bauhaus artists and architects. We will study parallel developments at the so-called Russian Bauhaus, the Vkhutemas School in Moscow, and conclude with a look at Bauhaus legacies at Black Mountain College, the Ulm School of Design, the New Bauhaus in Chicago, and in the art of the Situationists. The course will include the work of artists, architects and designers in textiles, metal work, prints, furniture, photographs, typography, paintings, sculpture and architecture, as well as the writings of novelists, poets, and theorists of the period between the wars. Students will be responsible for: short essays; in-class writing; participation and facilitation of discussion; a midterm presentation on an individual artist; and a final research paper on a single object, building, or image. Students are responsible for group and independent work, as well as extensive reading, writing and research.
Spring 2023. Taught by Professor Koehler2023-24: Not offered
"Utopia," in Latin, means there is no such place. The course is a broad exploration, across time, space, cultures, and languages, of the quest for no-such-place, at times understood as a return in time, or to our origins, or an alternate reality (Paradise, Arcadia, Datong, Ketumati, etc.) Sources include the Hebrew Bible, Christianity, medieval Muslim philosophy, Buddhism, the Enlightenment, Capitalist, Communism, millenarianism, Feminism, science and technology, religious fundamentalism, racial purism, and political cults. Class discussions will rotate around the Mayan book Popol Vuh, More’s Utopia, Montaigne, Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, false messiahs, Marx and Engle’s Communist Manifesto, Herzl’s The Jewish State, Soviet propaganda, Huxley’s Brave New World, as well as around Fidel Castro’s Cuba, North Korea, Disneyland, shopping malls, social media, green politics, and SF. Multilingual students will be encouraged to delve into various linguistic traditions, in tongues like French, Russian, German, Yiddish, Esperanto, and Spanish. Students will engage in creative-writing meditations. Conducted in English.
Fall semester. Professor Stavans.2023-24: Not offered
Witches, Saints, and Whores: Representing Gender in Premodern Europe
(Offered as GERM 252, EUST 252 and SWAG 222) “I'm a bitch, I'm a lover/ I'm a child, I'm a mother/ I'm a sinner, I'm a saint.” Centuries before the Billboard hit single, women were called all these things and more. Witches, whores, and holy women abound in the cultural productions of premodern Europe. But how did it all begin? What truths or untruths lie behind the labels? Through these three figures, this course explores the lives of womxn in Europe before circa 1600, as well as emergent discourses on gender and sexual difference during this time. Primary readings draw on a range of sources, including sacred texts, courtly romance, chronicles, trial records, saints’ lives, witchcraft treatises, conduct manuals, erotic and satirical literature. Conducted in English (no knowledge of German required), with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.
Omitted 2022-23. Professor Hunter-Parker.2023-24: Not offered
Art, Things, Spaces, and Places
(Offered as ARHA 258, ARCH 258 and EUST 258) The purpose of this course is to introduce students to research on lived environments from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, the architecture that shaped them, and the art and objects that they contained. The goal of each class, through reading and discussion, is to investigate what a researchable question is in the fields of history, art history, architecture, and material culture in Europe, England, and the Americas. Using multi-disciplinary research strategies, we will examine the power of precious and ordinary objects (including furniture, tapestries, devotional paintings, family portraits, and sculpture), the contemporary connotations of their materiality, and consider what objects in a home might signify about a family’s status, political allegiance, spirituality, and place in the world. Further, we will ask how art, objects and décor shape the beholder’s experience of spaces inside and outside a residence, in private and in public. What does the display of objects in collections, including those from far-away cultures other than the patron’s, signify to the owner and the viewer? Visiting lecturers will present their ideas on various topics such as the anthropology of art, the significance of precious materials, and collecting. We will take field trips to museums and meet curators in order to identify a research topic.
This course will give students tools to conduct their own research into past lived environments and their contents, and identify how we in the 21st century might come to understand them. As the culmination of the course students will collaboratively develop a prospectus for a research project with one or two other classmates. Assignments to meet that goal include adding new content to Wikipedia as a record of students’ findings and a contribution to knowledge for a wider public.
Open to sophomores but also motivated first-years interested in research in a variety of fields. Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Courtright.2023-24: Not offered
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. In Spring 2018, four plays were the focus: As You Like It, Macbeth, Hamlet, and The Tempest. Conducted in English.
Omitted 2022-23. Professor Stavans.
2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 269, ARCH 269, EUST 269) At the beginning of the seventeenth century, religious and social upheavals in Europe led to a renewed proliferation of exciting, innovative art. In this century of remarkably varied artistic production, paradoxes abounded. Artists sought the illusion of reality by imitating unimproved, even base or monstrous nature through close observation of the human body, landscape, and ordinary, humble objects of daily use. They imbued art meant to inspire religious devotion with unbounded eroticism or with the gory details of painful suffering and hideous death. Artists and architects made the visionary appear real and sensual. They adored the past but re-cast it in modern terms. 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. 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 in art, architecture, and gardens for the expression of the rulers’ absolutist political power.
This class will examine issues in Baroque art in depth through selected works of painting, sculpture, and architecture produced by artists in the Catholic countries of the seventeenth century, e.g. Caravaggio, Bernini, Poussin, Velázquez, and Rubens in Italy, France, Spain, the Spanish Netherlands, and parts of the Americas. It also engages the cultural, social, and intellectual framework for their accomplishments.
Intermediate level, one other course in art history preferred but not required. Uncapped. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Courtright.2023-24: Not offered
Women and Art in Early Modern Europe
(Offered as ARHA 284, EUST 284, and SWAG 206) This introductory discussion-based course will examine how prevailing ideas about women and gender shaped visual imagery in Europe from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, and how these images, in turn, presented surprisingly varied pictures of women and their domains. Artists vividly expressed the paradoxical power that women possessed even more than language could. Both admired and feared in their societies, aristocrats, queens, mistresses, saints, witches, heroines, and housewives were all depicted in art in elevated and debased manners, sometimes as eroticized subjects and at other times as powerful, idealized actors—occasionally both at the same time. We will analyze the art and material goods that women paid for and what it communicated about them; women’s homes and the objects they held; the portrayal of women from merchant societies in Italian city-states to aristocratic women in India, of female saints, heroes and rulers, including Elizabeth I of England and Maria de' Medici of France; and the troubling imagery of rape. These different types of art raise questions about biological theories about women; feminine ideals of beauty; what marriage meant in different societies; the relationship between the exercise of political power and gender; women’s expression of transcendent spirituality; and what the portrayal of indigenous and enslaved women in Dutch and Spanish colonies conveyed about race.
GOALS FOR LEARNING
Understand how images are unique forms of expression that help us to understand historical phenomena;Gain an understanding of how historical attitudes about women and by women affect art made about and by women;Develop an analytical ability to examine points of view expressed in texts and art of a historical period other than our own and to distinguish them from another;Learn collaboratively with classmates;Learn how to perform 2 kinds of research:
1) find materials to contribute publicly useful scholarship, by creating or revising Wikipedia entries, which greatly lack material on women;
2) Develop and argue an original thesis in a 10-page research paper.
No prerequisites. Uncapped.
Omitted 2022-2023. Professor Courtright.2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as BLST 294 [D], SWAG 294 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. Sophomore Seminar.2023-24: Not offered
Literature as Translation
(Offered as EUST 303, ENGL 320 and RUSS 310) 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. Professors Bosman and Ciepiela.2023-24: Not offered
A World of Evidence: Architecture, Race, and the Amherst College Archive
(Offered as ARHA 306, ARCH 306, BLST 306, EUST 305) This upper-level seminar will teach students how to conduct research on race and racism in the field of architectural studies. Throughout the semester, we will visit Amherst College Special Collections as well as several local archives to explore the letters, photographs, drawings, and ground plans that relate to the architecture of race, racism, and social change in the region. Then, we will visit the buildings and spaces that these records address. In the process, we will ask several questions: What can the local historical record tell us about the history of architecture and race at Amherst College and in Western Massachusetts at large? What is missing from local archives? Why do these omissions matter and how should we respond to them? Recognizing the sensitivity of these questions, we will think through what it means to conduct research on topics of political, moral, cultural, and interpersonal significance. Readings and course discussions will examine how other architectural historians have tackled controversies of race and racism in their work. Guest lectures will also introduce students to the intellectual and personal journeys of the diverse range of scholars who are working on these issues today. Overall, the goal of this class is for students to gain an understanding of how to conduct architectural research with the aid of historical documents, building remnants, and altered cultural landscapes. At the end of the semester, students will complete a final research paper. This class is subsequently ideal for students in Black Studies, Architectural Studies, Environmental Studies, and History who are planning to complete a senior thesis.
No prerequisites. Juniors and seniors, however, will be given preference. The class will help students strengthen their critical thinking abilities as well as their writing and research skills. This course is limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Professor Dwight Carey.2023-24: Not offered
History of Fascism
(Offered as HIST 310 [EU/TE/TR] and EUST 310) Fascism emerged as a political ideology that was simultaneously revolutionary and reactionary, promising national rebirth in opposition to both liberalism and Marxist socialism. But after the defeat of the Axis Powers in World War II, fascism seemingly ceased to be a factor in global politics. How do we assess fascism a century after the establishment of the first fascist regime in Italy? This course will explore the social, cultural, and intellectual origins of fascism, the rise of fascist movements in Europe in the early to mid-twentieth century, the politics and policies of fascist parties and regimes—including in Germany, Italy, Iberia, the Balkans, and the Baltic States—and transnational fascist links between Europe and the Americas, Asia, and Africa. This course will conclude with a consideration of anti-fascism and the "fascism question" in contemporary politics. Readings and course materials will be drawn from a variety of secondary and primary sources. Two meetings per week.
Not offered in 2022-23.2023-24: Not offered
Angels and Ghosts
(Offered as ARHA 316, ARCH 316, and EUST 316) This seminar is based on a close, comparative reading of the critical theorist Walter Benjamin, the artist Paul Klee, the photographer August Sander, and the filmmaker Wim Wenders. Their treatments of cities, arcades, towers and streets will be used to explore both the sensations of place and the operations of memory, in images, texts, artifacts, and in architecture. Linking history, tragedy, desire and hope to the figures of the angel, the ghost, the puppet, the circus performer, and the automaton, these four artists open up an intertextual examination of materiality, abstraction, representation, the seen and the unseen, the purposeful, the ephemeral, the accidental, the ruined, the heartbreaking and the playful. Students will engage in extensive discussion, compose analytical essays, contribute to creative assignments, and develop a semester-long research project.
Omitted 2022-23. Professor Koehler.
Seminar on Opera and Musical Theatre
(Offered as MUSI 420, EUST 320 and THDA 320) This course examines the two genres of lyric theater (opera and musical) with special attention to composers’ musical characterizations of the women and men who populate them. The first part of the class will focus on case studies of works by Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Rogers & Hammerstein, and Sondheim. Analyzing these works will help us develop an understanding of how composers work with conventions of vocal type and musical gesture to define character. The second part of the class will be devoted to developing independent research projects. Health conditions permitting, some of the works studied will be chosen in coordination with performances we can attend in New York or Boston.
Omitted 2022-23. Professor Schneider.2023-24: Not offered
Fascism, War, and Freedom: Spain and Japan On Screen
(Offered as ASLC 327, EUST 327, and FAMS 327) The relationships among media, the state, and civil society are complex. This course aims to address these relationships by examining cinema—the art form of the twentieth century—in Japan and Spain during different but overlapping eras of tumult: the 1930s to the 1980s. Putting these two national cinemas in a comparative framework will allow us to address issues such as: the interest in film by authoritarian regimes; the way cinema is harnessed to wartime goals by the state; the nature of censorship and self-censorship in war and peace; the potential of image, sound, and narrative to give expression to propaganda and democratic ideals; the cathartic release following the end of an authoritarian regime or occupation. The course, taught in English, does not assume prior knowledge of either country, nor of film studies. All films have English subtitles.
Omitted 2022-23. Professors Brenneis and Van Compernolle.2023-24: Not offered
Trial and Error: An Interdisciplinary Experiment with Montaigne's Essais
(Offered as FREN 328 and EUST 328) "If my mind could gain a firm footing, I would not make essays, I would make decisions; but it is always in apprenticeship and on trial" (III, 2 "Of Repentance"). A Renaissance jurist and thinker, Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) is widely recognized as one of the key figures in the history of self-writing and of the essay as genre. This course, however, situates Montaigne beyond these two frames. In the spirit of Montaigne himself, it proposes to attempt, to sample, to taste—in sum, to essay—the Essais (1580-1595). From confessions of impotence to love affairs with books; from rebuttals of human reason to reflections on solitude and age; from networks of exchange to disease and contagion, the uncategorizable content of the Essais, combined with a dynamic form replete with detours and deviations, is an invitation to err among and try a variety of subjects. Similarly, our objective is not to gain expertise, but to experiment and to experience. Our trials will combine a close reading of a selection of Montaigne’s Essais alongside critical, historical, or theoretical texts from a diverse range of methodologies and fields, such as medicine, sound studies, cultural gerontology and more. In addition to engaging with the writings of Montaigne, this course therefore serves as a more general opportunity to consider the place of literature among and within other disciplines. Conducted in English.
Prerequisites: FREN 207, 208 or the equivalent. Omitted 2022-2023. Professor Nader-Esfahani.2023-24: Not offered
Race and Otherness in the Middle Ages
(Offered as ENGL 330 and EUST 330) [Before 1800] By many accounts, a concept of “race” does not emerge in the West until the colonizing of the New World in the Renaissance. Yet medieval people had many ways of identifying, exoticizing, excluding, and discriminating against “others.” This was often framed in terms of religion (e.g., Christianity vs. Islam), but it also manifests in terms of physiognomic description and ideas of monstrosity in medieval romances and quest narratives. In this course, we will explore how the “othering” of certain medieval peoples creates a racialized language and discourse at once specific to the Middle Ages and its literature and relevant to our current understanding of race. We will read from medieval travel narratives (The Travels of Sir John Mandeville), crusade romances (Richard Coer de Lion), medieval drama, and romances by Chaucer and others alongside critical race theory and historical scholarship to give context to our discussions. We will also explore how the Middle Ages have been racialized in contemporary political and popular discourse. Our course will include visitors working at the vanguard of these debates.
Limited to 25 students. Professor Nelson.2023-24: Not offered
Empires in Global History
Offered as HIST-344 [EU/TE/TR/TS] and EUST-344. Many see today’s world resembling some features of the world in the nineteenth century. Some powers today claim regional hegemony, attempt to pursue the course of supranationalism, and encounter the challenge of diversity. The course will explore the historical experience of the British, French, German, Habsburg, Ottoman, and Russian empires in the nineteenth century by focusing on how those imperial formations met the challenge of modernization and nationalism which included both accommodation of diversity and violent exclusion. Students will acquire the toolkit of comparative historical analysis and will focus on moments of interaction-entanglement of these imperial formations. Two meetings per week.
Spring semester. Professor Semyonov.Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2023, Fall 2023
(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, race, 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 15 students. Enrollment requires attendance at first class meeting. Spring semester. Professor Gilpin.2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as GERM 363, ARCH 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, social media, and 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, the Covid-19 pandemic and inter/national events of 2020. 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 2022-23. 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, Mariam Kamara, R & Sie(n), Axel Kilian, Paul Privitera, Diébédo Francis Kéré, Hani Rashid and Lise-Anne Couture, Ini Archibong, Herzog and de Meuron, Archigram, David Adjaye, William Forsythe, Jan Fabre, Rachel Whiteread, Rebecca Horn, Mario Gooden, Sasha Waltz, Richard Siegal, Michael Schumacher, Mwanzaa Brown, Robert Wilson, the Blix Brothers of Berlin, Maya Lin, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Pina Bausch, Granular Synthesis, Sponge, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Miku Dixit, Toni Dove, Chris Parkinson and Tessa Kelly, and many others. Students will develop projects in various media (video, performance, text, design, online) and deliver a number of critical oral and written presentations on various aspects of the course material and their own projects. Emphasis on developing research, writing, and presentation skills is a core of this seminar. 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. Fall semester. 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 in the twentieth century, including also 9/11, the COVID-19 pandemic, and inter/national events of 2020. 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.
Omitted 2022-23. Professor Gilpin.Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2016, Fall 2021
(Offered as GERM 368, ARCH 368, EUST 368, and FAMS 380) 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; architectural, art, and film theory and history; performance studies and performance theory; and 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.
Enrollment requires attendance at the first class meeting.
Omitted 2022-23. Professor Gilpin.2023-24: Not offered
(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 ARCH and EUST majors, as well as to students interested in architecture/design, performance, film/video, interactive installation, and/or the environment. Limited to 12 students.
Omitted 2022-23. 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 18 students. Omitted 2022-23. 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) Our course will explore how evil was imagined, over cultures, centuries and disciplines. With the greatest possible historical and cultural specificity, we will investigate an array of monstrous creatures and plagues -- their terrifying powers, the explanations for why they came to be, and the strategies for how they could be purged -- as we attempt to articulate the kindred qualities they shared. We will study centuries-old witch burning manuals, and note the striking degree to which dangerous tropes -- about women, about pestilence, about dangerous sexuality, and about differences of all kinds -- have continued to our day. Among the artists to be considered are Velázquez, Goya, Picasso, Dalí, Buñuel, Dreyer, Wilder, Almodóvar, and the community who made the AIDS Quilt.
This course fulfills a requirement for the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice (RHRJ) certificate.Not open to first-year students. Limited to 15 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
Independent reading course.
Fall and spring semesters. The Department.2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as SPAN 426 and EUST 426) Spanish Antifa heroes, saboteurs, and spies have driven the longest anti-fascist resistance in Europe. Spaniards have been at the vanguard of anti-fascism from the time of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, to the fight against Nazi genocide during World War II, to opposition to the populist Trump-inspired Vox party of the twenty-first century. This course will consider the men and women of diverse left-wing political beliefs who risked their lives to put down fascist movements in Spain and throughout Europe. Through an examination of primary sources such as memoirs, photographs, and newspapers as well as contemporary films, graphic novels, television series, and social media, we will explore resistance tactics, international espionage, anti-fascism through the lens of gender, revisionist histories, and the long-lasting legal and social implications of attempts to thwart authoritarian oppression. This course will also consider the legacy of fascism and anti-fascism in Spain, tracking the influence on the present-day international Antifa and contemporary social justice movements. Conducted in Spanish.
Prerequisite Spanish 301 or permission of instructor.Omitted 2022-2023. Professor Brenneis.2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 430 [EU/TC/TR/P], EUST 430 and SWAG 430) This course investigates the ways in which early modern sciences and the figurative arts of the Renaissance converged to represent body-centered visual knowledges ranging from the "secrets of women" to scientific "monstrosities." We will also examine the ways in which Catholicism enhanced body-centered, sensual and visual forms of devotion. Discussions will center on the eroticization of male, female, and queer bodies in a variety of discourses and visual rhetorics. A particular focus is on the representation of black bodies before the onset of modern racism. Case studies will include Eckhout’s "ethnographic" portrayals of African slaves and the native inhabitants of Brazil; Casta paintings in New Spain; Chiara di Montefalco’s miraculous relics; Elena Duglioli’s career as a spontaneously lactating, virginal saint; the cultural history of the dildo; Elena/o de Cespedes’s life as a transman; Sarah Bartmann as fetishized object of desire; male prostitution; and anatomical wax figures. This seminar will be based on class discussions and student presentations. The aim is to produce one substantial research paper based on the investigation of primary (written and visual) materials.
Limited to 18 students. Omit. Professor Sperling.2023-24: Not offered
Senior Departmental Honors
Spring semester. The Department.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
Studies in Medieval Romance Literature and Culture
(Offered as FREN-324 and EUST-324) The study of a major author, literary problem, or question from the medieval period with a particular focus announced each time the course is offered. The topic for Spring 2023 is: "The Grail, the Rose, and Dante." We will study the social, philosophical, poetic and institutional currents that contribute to the emergence of allegorical texts in the period between the twelfth and the late-fourteenth centuries. Readings include the Quest for the Holy Grail and works by Chrétien de Troyes, Guillaume de Lorris, Jean de Meung, Dante Alighieri, and Marie de France. All readings will be done in English translation. Conducted in English.
Spring semester: Professor Rockwell.Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Spring 2017, Spring 2020, Spring 2023
(Offered as SPAN-450 and EUST-450) As a global city with a local identity, Barcelona resides both literally and figuratively at the border between Spain and the rest of the Europe. This interdisciplinary course will explore the in-between space this vibrant city inhabits as a playground for tourists; a mecca for soccer; a terminus for immigrants from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the rest of Spain; and a fortress fiercely safeguarding the Catalan language and culture. You will study architecture, art, sports, literature, cinema, language and politics set amid the urban cityscape of Barcelona, focusing on the city’s role in the exportation of a unique identity beyond Spain’s borders. This course is conducted in Spanish.
Prerequisite: SPAN 301 or consent of the instructor. Spring Semester: Professor Brenneis.2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as SPAN 460 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. Emphasis on race and colonialism. Conducted in Spanish.
Prerequisite: SPAN 301 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 25 students. Fall Semester: Professor Stavans2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as SPAN 465 and EUST 465) A vital question in today’s multicultural societies is how individuals with different identities—religious, racial, ethnic, etc.—can live and prosper together. This course will explore the literature, culture, and history of medieval and early modern Spain, paying special attention to how people with diverse backgrounds coexisted and interacted with each other. Examining the context of Spain during this time period will also serve as a means to help us think through issues of diversity in our world today. First we will look at the situation of medieval Spain where Christians, Muslims, and Jews lived side-by-side for centuries. Then we’ll turn to Spain’s exploration of the New World and how the diverse encounters that took place influenced Spanish culture. Finally, we will consider representations of other cultural minorities, such as gypsies, in Spain during the early modern period. Primary sources will include literary texts, historical accounts, legal documents, and maps and will be supplemented by secondary critical texts. Conducted in Spanish.
Requisite: SPAN 301 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2022-2023. Professor Infante.2023-24: Not offered