(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.
Ten seats reserved for first-year students. Open to first-year students and sophomores. Limited to 18 students. Fall semester. Professor Nelson.2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020
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 2020-21.2020-21: Not offered
(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 36 students. Spring semester: Professor A. Gordon.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
(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.
Omitted 2020-21. Professor Cho.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 127 [EU/P/TC/TE] and EUST 127) This course introduces students to the history of Europe in the age of imperialism and colonization. It analyzes the emergence of "modernity" as a result of conquest and colonization, the globalization of commerce, the Atlantic slave trade, and the genocide of indigenous peoples. We will investigate instances of resistance to European imperialism and carefully examine the society that produced global capitalism. Among the topics we will address are the Italian Renaissance and the invention of perspective; the German Reformation and the emergence of interiority; gender, family, and the rise of domesticity; early modern science; new forms of visuality as methods of knowledge production; the emergence of racism; the French and Haitian Revolutions; religious syncretism; instances of hybridity and resistance in the imperial "contact zone." This course is essential for an understanding of the many contradictions and contestations we still live with. We will analyze primary sources, academic literature, and visual materials. There will be a mix of short lectures, discussions, group work, and in-class assignments.
Not offered 2020-2021. Visiting Professor Sperling.2020-21: Not offered
(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. No requirements.
Unlimited enrollment. Sections uncapped.
Fall 2020-- presence of the instructor:
• Taught in the physical classroom with wall-sized slides as long as possible, so that there is a student community seeing high-quality images in the same shared space at the same time.
• Professor will be virtually present on screen lecturing and leading discussion (synchronous).
• There is also an asynchronous option for remote learning: professor will provide the daily high-quality slide show to upload and will record the classroom experience.
• Class will be repeated for students in different time zones (synchronous).
• In-class mix of lecture and discussion (synchronous).
• Class preparation (asynchronous).
• Smaller weekly discussion groups, divided into different time zones for off-campus students (synchronous).
• Possible trips in small sections to Mead Art Museum and discussion with the professor virtually present (synchronous); comparable experience of art analysis for off-campus or absent students (synchronous).
Professor will hold in-person office hours outdoors for as long as possible.
Fall semester. Professor Courtright.2020-21: Not offered
(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 2020-21. Professor Staller.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
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.
2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020
(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 2018-19, this course served as 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 performing some of it. In December we will host an ensemble of Medieval music, Sequentia, which will perform the program "Monk Singing Pagans," demonstrating a vibrant culture in which Christian monks gave voice to their pagan ancestors. Assignments include listening to musical works, reading historical documents, and writing about aspects of this fascinating time in music history.
Requisite: MUSI 112 or consent of the instructor. Professor Móricz. The course will be offered Hyflex with as much individual/in-person contact as practical.2020-21: Not offered
(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 2020-21. Professor Moricz.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
(Offered as MUSI 223 and EUST 223) This course 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, and 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 most significant composers of the twentieth century. 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. Omitted 2020-21. Professor Moricz.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 224 [EU], EUST 224, 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. Not offered in 2020-21.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 225 [EU/TCP] 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.
Not offered in 2020-21.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 226 [EUP/TC], ARHA 226, EUST 226, and SWAG 225) 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. Not offered in 2020-21. Professor Boucher.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 230 [EUPTC] 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.
Not offered in 2020-21. Professor Boucher.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 231 [EU, TE, 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. Class sessions will combine synchronous and asynchronous instruction and make use of zoom breakout rooms to facilitate small group discussion and peer review.
Spring semester. Enrollment limited to 18 students. Professor Boucher.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as SPAN 315, EUST 232, and FAMS 328) 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 film screenings 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.
For S21, all films will be streamed through Moodle and course materials will be available digitally. Instruction will be in person for those on campus; remote and synchronous for those off campus via Zoom; with some asynchronous class sessions for all students posted to Moodle.
Requisite: SPAN 211, SPAN 301 or consent of the instructor. Spring Semester. Professor Brenneis.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
(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. Omitted 2020-21.2020-21: Not offered
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 2020-21. Professor Stavans.2020-21: 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. Spring semester. Professor Stavans.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
(Offered as HIST 236 [EU], 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.
Not offered in 2020-21. Five College Professor Glebov.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 240 [EU], 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.
Not offered in 2020-21. Five College Professor Glebov.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 235 [EU/TC/TE/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.
Spring semester. Five College Professor Glebov.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
(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 2020-21. Professor Hunter-Parker.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
This course investigates various figures of imposture. Beginning with Nikolai Gogol’s classic figure of Chichikov from Dead Souls and his genre-bending reversal of the theme in The Inspector General, the course will examine how authors have used confidence games and imposture to reveal particular ploys and gambits in literature. The course will also consider the ways that con-men, swindlers, and pretenders reflect and manipulate the cultural, political, and social dilemmas of their respective periods. While we will focus particularly on the case of Russia—and the distinct place the arts of confidence have had there – we will also consider forms of imposture beyond just a hustle for money and beyond the case of Russia. We will examine imposture in terms of race (as in Nella Larsen's Passing), in the realm of politics (as in Alexander Pushkin's “Boris Godunov”), in relation to the Holocaust (as in Stefan Maechler’s definitive report on the memoirist Benjamin Wilkomirskij), and in such expansive novelistic treatments of this theme by Herman Melville and Thomas Mann. All readings in English. No previous knowledge of Russian culture or history expected.
Professor Kunichika. Omitted 2020-212020-21: Not offered
(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 2020-21. Professor Courtright.2020-21: Not offered
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.
2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 284, EUST 284, and SWAG 206) This 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 deeply 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.
Presence of the instructor:
• The students will meet together in a classroom.
• The professor will be virtually present leading discussion (synchronous).
• When students are absent, the professor will provide the daily high-quality slide show to upload and will also record the classroom experience (synchronous or asynchronous).
• Class preparation (asynchronous).
• Smaller weekly discussion groups, divided into different groups, including different time zones for off-campus students, and posting on discussion boards (asynchronous).
• Professor will hold in-person office hours outdoors if possible.
Spring semester. Professor Courtright.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
(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.
Spring semester. Professor Polk.2020-21: Not offered
(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.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as RUSS 315 and EUST 315) “We die. That may be the meaning of life,” writes Toni Morrison. “But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” Russian thinkers, writers, philosophers, and politicians have likewise sought to take measure of their lives and of culture by thinking about the nature of language, and its role in culture, society, and politics. In examining how Russian writers and thinkers have sought to answer the question what is language? — how they did and do language—we will consider a range of sources from intellectual history, linguistics, literary and critical theory, mythology, theology, and philosophy. We will examine the distinctive contributions of Russian thinking about language, while also seeking to situate Russian views on this question within a comparative context. To that end, we will also read intellectual sources that proved seminal for articulating an answer to this question (Vico, Herder, Rousseau, Saussure, and Benveniste, among others). As we consider this broad question, and how it has animated Russian thought and culture, we will also focus upon a range of other questions: What are the origins of language? How does language evolve? What is the relationship of language to national culture? What is the relationship of language to politics? Throughout the course, we will see how views on the nature of language served as an arena in which vying conceptions of culture, politics, and the human have all been contested. All readings in English. No previous knowledge of Russian culture or history expected.
Fall semester. Professor Kunichika.2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020
(Offered as MUSI 420, EUST 320 and THDA 320) This course examines the three main genres of lyric theater (opera, operetta, and musical) with special attention to composers’ musical characterizations of the women and men who populate them. Beginning with case studies from operas by Mozart, Verdi, and Puccini, an operetta by Johann Strauss II, and a musical by Stephen Sondheim, we will work to acquire a critical vocabulary to understand the ways in which composers work with conventions of vocal type and melodic and rhythmic gesture to define character. Some of the works studied will be chosen in coordination with performances we can attend. Students will be required to give a presentation and write a research paper on a topic of their choice.
Requisite: MUSI 241 or consent of the instructor. Omitted 2020-21. Professor Schneider.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 339 [EUP] 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. Not offered in 2020-21.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ENGL 330 and EUST 330) 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 (Christianity vs. Islam), but it also manifests in terms of physiognomic description and ideas of monstrosity in romance 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 relevant to our current understanding of race. We will read from medieval travel narratives (The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, Prester John, The Medieval Romance of Alexander) as well as literature 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 a symposium with speakers working at the vanguard of these debates.
Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Professor Nelson.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
(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.
Each class meeting will take place in the classroom and on zoom with those who are remote. We will use discord and other tools as needed to facilitate ongoing class discussion and presentations, with course materials on moodle as usual.
Limited to 16 students. Fall semester. Professor Gilpin.2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020
(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.
Each class meeting will take place on zoom. We will use discord and other tools as needed to facilitate ongoing class discussion and presentations, with course materials on moodle as usual.
Omitted 2020-21. Professor Gilpin.2020-21: Not offered
(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-Anne 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 2020-21. Professor Gilpin.2020-21: 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 2020-21. Professor Gilpin.2020-21: Not offered
(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 2020-21. Professor Nelson.2020-21: Not offered
(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.
Except for the student visits to the Mead Museum, our class will be online. In addition to vibrant discussions, there will be weekly written assignments to deepen students' understanding of the material, as well as to develop the beauty of their writing, the acuity of their sight, their synthetic and analytical powers. There will be frequent one-on-one meetings with me, and constantly changing mini-groups, as we learn and explore together.
Not open to first-year students.
This course fulfills a requirement for the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice (RHRJ) certificate.
Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Staller.
An in-depth, thorough chronological study of Antisemitism—“the longest hatred”—from Hellenistic and Roman times to early Christian thinkers, the development of Islam, the Middle Ages, especially the Holy Office of the Spanish Inquisition, the Enlightenment, Nazism and other forms of fascism, Communism, to the twenty-first century. Special attention will be placed on geographical varieties and national traditions (France, Germany, Russia, Iran, the United States, Spain, and Argentina), the Dreyfus Affair, the Protocols of the Wise of Zion, Henry Ford, and other focal points. The class will analyze in detail the metastasis of antisemitism into anti-Zionism before and after the creation of the State of Israel. We will also discuss antisemitism in politics, education, culture, and media, and its link to racism, anti-immigration, xenophobia and other hatreds.
Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor Stavans.2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020
(Offered as HIST 425 [EUP] and EUST 425) The history of the pre-modern European economy is usually understood as the singular and exceptional rise of the first modern economy. Yet recent research in economic history and shifts in the world economy have provided new perspectives to reconsider the rise of the European economy. From this long-term and global viewpoint, the story of Europe’s economic take-off becomes the remarkable story of a backwater that became mainstream. How was Europe able to reposition itself from a periphery of the Eurasian economy to a central node of the global economy? What drove Europeans further and further into the East and how did their incursions disrupt or adapt to previous trade networks and practices? How did the exports and imports of Europe change as their relation to the world economy changed? By considering these questions, the course will revisit the familiar histories of the Commercial Revolution, the travels of Marco Polo, the Age of Discovery, the East India Companies, the Atlantic System, and the road to the Industrial Revolution. Using the analysis and synthesis of modern historians, we will situate the economic take-off of Europe in the context of the transformation of the world economy. Utilizing past travel logs, eyewitness reports, business contracts, customs receipts, and other non-narrative sources, students will complete a research paper that tackles one of these histories and casts them in new light. One class meeting per week.
Not open to first-year students. Limited to 18 students. Not offered in 2020-21.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 430 [EUP/TC], EUST 430 and SWAG 430) "Renaissance Bodies" investigates the ways in which early modern sciences and the figurative arts of the Renaissance collaborated to represent body-centered visual knowledges ranging from the "secrets of women" to scientific "monstrosities." The course also examines the ways in which Catholicism enhanced body-centered, sensual and visual forms of devotion. Discussions 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; Chiara di Montefalco’s miraculous relics; Elena Duglioli’s career as a spontaneously lactating 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.
Not offered 2020-21. Visiting Professor Sperling.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 432 [EU/TC/TS] and EUST 432) Victorian Britain was a nation of contrasts. It was at once the world’s foremost economic and imperial power, the richest nation in Europe, and the country where the consequences of industrialization–slums, poverty, disease, alcoholism, sexual violence–took some of their bleakest forms. In an era of revolution, Britain enjoyed one of the most stable political systems in Europe; yet it was also a society plagued by crime and by fears of popular unrest, the place where Marx predicted the worker’s revolt would begin. This seminar explores the complex world of the Victorians through a focus on what contemporaries termed the “social problem”: the underclass of criminals, paupers, and prostitutes who seemed immune to reform. Themes will include political liberalism and the Poor Law, imperialism at home and abroad, industrialization and urbanization, sanitation, hygiene, and disease control initiatives, shifting cultural understandings of gender and class, and Jack the Ripper. Students will be expected to write a research paper on a topic of their choice. One class meeting per week.
Not open to first-year students. Limited to 18 students. Not offered in 2020-21. Professor Boucher.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
Independent reading course.
Fall and spring semesters. The Department.2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2021
A full course.
Fall semester. The Department.2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020