Liberal Studies Courses 2012-13

SUMMER 2013

THE ART AND SCIENCE OF DEATH AND DYING (LS 780.57)
Professor Deborah T. Gold
Mondays, 6:00 – 9:00 pm, Perkins LINK 2-070
Class begins May 13, ends July 22

The purpose of this course is to better understand the processes of aging and dying from both social science and humanities perspectives. Because both aging and dying are culturally bound, they have a profound influence on the expression of societies’ feelings. We will take a multidisciplinary perspective, combining social and behavioral science information (using a biopsychosocial approach) and the way in which American society has manifested its anxiety over aging and death in its arts as well as sciences.

The course will include an overview of the biomedical aspects of aging and dying, the social and psychological impact of these components of life, as well as the clinical outcomes of aging and dying in an aging society. In addition, film (and possibly literature and poetry) will serve as the lens through which we can see the impact of
aging and dying on the arts.

Requirements include weekly response papers about the readings, a midterm and a final research paper.

Deborah T. Gold is Associate Professor of Medical Sociology in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Sociology, and Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University Medical Center, where she is a Senior Fellow of the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Director of the Postdoctoral Research Training Program in the Aging Center, and Director of both the Duke Undergraduate Program in Human Development. She also directs the undergraduate Leadership in an Aging Society Program. Gold received her B.A. in English and Latin from the University of Illinois, her M.Ed. in Reading from National-Louis University, and her Ph.D. in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University. Her primary research interests are in the psychological and social consequences of chronic disease in the elderly. She has done seminal research on osteoporosis and its impact on quality of life. Most recently, Gold’s research has examined race and ethnic differences in medication choices and patterns of decision-making in women with osteoporosis.


THE CULTURE OF PETS: Intro to Dog Studies (LS 780.75)
Professor Kathy Rudy
Tuesdays, 6:00 – 9:00 pm, GLS Conference Room
Class begins May 28, ends July 30

In the last decade, interest in dogs has reached a new high point, and has come from many different disciplines, viewpoints and special interests. Together, these texts and projects have spawned the new world of “dog studies.” The field is comprised of many different but interlocking questions: how is it that humans and dogs co-evolved so fluidly and efficiently together?  When and why did this happen? How much do dogs really understand, and how much of what we think they understand is actually projection on our part? How do dogs perceive the world, and why does it seem to fit so easily into the human perception? What kinds of senses are strongest in dogs and how do they complement human needs and realities? What kinds of human/dog alliances are being built today, especially in the realm of illness and disability? How is the human body being located, reshaped and transformed by the work of dogs?

Humans and dogs could not be more different:  one animal evolved from grey wolves in the upper most parts of the northern hemisphere, the other from great apes in the center of the southern hemisphere. Yes, over 60% of American households include dogs, and that the majority of those dogs share their owners’ beds; this type of Relationship is unparalleled in the world of mammals. How and why has the dog captured our hearts? What space is he filling in our lives? Why the dog? Why now, at the turn of the 21st century? What is it about this animal that is driving our affections and interests in her direction?

The first half of the course will survey new scientific literature on the dog. Here we will study the various controlled (non-invasive) experiments that researchers have done with dogs to learn what the dogs’ mind and world looks like from a scientific point of view. We’ll watch documentaries of extremely intelligent dogs, and take a hard look at some ways we humans have misinterpreted the reality of dogs. The second half of class will look at specific human/dog connections, namely the work of search and rescue dogs, service and assistance dogs, therapy dogs, and the role of dogs in human psychological and spiritual well-being.

Class Expectations
-Weekly participation – 50%
-One page UNGRADED summary of reading, containing and interpreting two favorite quotes from the book.
-News article about dogs in the news that week (we’ll start each week discussing these)
-Active verbal participation in class
-Final paper – 50% (15-20 page paper on a topic you choose throughout the summer. You will need to consult resources outside class (2 books OR 4-5 articles). We will e-mail you about your topics starting week three. I am open to any kinds of interests or approaches you might want to take, but want to work with you to make sure you are
on a good track.

Kathy Rudy is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies. She is the author of Loving Animals: Toward a New Animal Advocacy (Minnesota, 2011), and several books on abortion and sexuality. She is published widely in the world of animal studies, feminist and queer theory, and bioethics. She holds an MDiv and a PhD in Theological Ethics, both from Duke. She is currently working on a book length project on diabetes and diabetic alert dogs.


THE BLOOMSBURY GROUP (LS 780.43)
Professor Craufurd Goodwin
Wednesdays, 6:00 – 9:00 pm, GLS Conference Room
Class begins May 22, ends July 24

The Bloomsbury Group was an informal collection of friends that included E. M. Forster, Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Vanessa and Clive Bell, Duncan Grant, John Maynard Keynes, Roger Fry, and Lytton Strachey. From just after the turn of the twentieth century through World War II, they met at Cambridge University, their homes in Bloomsbury (a part of London near the University of London), and their homes in the country; they traveled together; they collaborated in such enterprises as the Hogarth Press and Omega Workshops; and they engaged in complex and oft-changing love affairs.

Possessed of enormous intellectual energy, members of Bloomsbury criticized Victorian and Edwardian culture and advocated revolutionary change in the various areas that they represented - art, economics, fiction, ethics, history, political philosophy, psychology, and esthetics. They both attracted an enthusiastic following mainly among the young and were denounced as dangerously subversive by conservatives and traditionalists, especially for the Post Impressionist art exhibitions, their pacifism during World War I, their general irreverence towards their forbears, and their lifestyle. This course seeks to give an understanding of this fascinating group of people, their ideas and artistic creations, and their accomplishments, as well as contribute to deepening your understanding of this important period in human history.

In this seminar we shall read, examine and discuss short writings and works of art by Group members.

Craufurd Goodwin is James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University, where he has taught since 1962. He is the author of many books, including Canadian Economic Thought: The Political Economy of a Developing Nation 1814-1914; Absence of Decision; and Economics and National Security. He has edited the journal History of Political Economy and a series Historical Perspectives on Modern Economics. From 1980-86, he served as Dean of the Graduate School, where he was instrumental in establishing the Duke MALS program. He has written a book on Roger Fry and a dozen articles and book chapters on Fry, Virginia Woolf, J. M. Keynes, David Garnett, E. M. Forster, and various aspects of Bloomsbury as a creative community.


CRIME AND THE CITY (LS 780.88)
Professor Susan Thorne
Thursdays, 6:00 – 9:00 pm, GLS Conference Room
Class begins May 16, ends July 25

The enduring power of Charles Dickens’ representation of urban crime was recently on display in the critical response to The Wire, an HBO television series hailed as the “greatest television series of all time.” Critics on both shores of the Atlantic have described the series, which aired 2002-2007, as “Dickens for the 21st Century.” The series is a graphic representation of the horrendous violence generated by the war on drugs in Baltimore, Maryland, the “murder capital” of the United States. It is difficult to imagine a world further removed from the Victorian nostalgia of the Dickens presented in Masterpiece Theatre much less Hollywood productions of Oliver Twist and Bleak House, the two novels to which the series is most often compared. And yet, again, Dickensian references abound. The New York Times, reviewing the series on its op-ed page no less, even went so far as to claim that “If Charles Dickens were alive today, he would watch The Wire, unless, that is, he was already writing for it.”

This course embraces the comparative invitation in these reviews. It juxtaposes tales about crime in two cities separated by two centuries of time and cultural space:  early Victorian London and present day Baltimore, Maryland. What are the similarities as well as differences in the representation of crime in The Wire’s Baltimore and Dickensian London?  Liberal Studies is the perfect setting for an inquiry that is by necessity interdisciplinary. We will be utilizing the techniques of literary and media studies, comparing the genres as well as the motifs that structure Dickens’ novels and the television series written by Ed Burns and David Simon. We will also be locating these texts in a range of historical and contemporary contexts. These include the Victorian history of crime, policing, and penal philosophies and contemporary criminology; journalism (David Simon, like Charles Dickens, learned about crime on the streets by working as a newspaper reporter); and childhoods on the streets. In addition to these comparisons, we will also try to account for Dickens’ enduring relevance, the longevity of Dickensian ways of seeing crime, childhood, and the city. Why—and how—does Dickens continue to matter?

Requirements
Students will view selected episodes of The Wire while reading selections from Charles Dickens’ journalism and Oliver Twist. In addition to these primary sources, students will survey interdisciplinary scholarship relating to urban history and urban sociology, the history of crime and criminology, newspaper history, history of childhood and education, and, finally, literary criticism and media studies. Students will submit weekly paragraph to page reactions to each week’s reading assignments on discussion board
forums (10%). Students will also write three short papers:  a 3-5 page book review (30%); a 5-7 page historical analysis of a Dickens’ novel (30%); and a group project on The Wire (40%).

Susan Thorne received her Ph.D. in History in 1990 at the University of Michigan and joined the History Department at Duke University in 1991. She is a social historian focusing on Great Britain in the so-called modern period (from the eighteenth century through the present day). Professor Thorne is particularly interested in how ordinary men and women are affected by the operations of power in their everyday lives. Industrialization and imperial expansion figure prominently in her work. Her book Congregational Missions and the Making of an Imperial Culture in 19th Century England (Stanford University Press, 1999) explores the foreign missionary movement's influence on popular perceptions of empire and race in nineteenth-century England. She is now working on the social history of orphaned children in Britain and the empire from the eighteenth through the early twentieth century.


SPRING 2013

For current students: We will be holding a "Courses Preview" for spring courses on Monday, October 22, from 5:30-6:30 pm, at the McClendon Commons (behind Undergraduate Admissions). Professors McShea, Pfau, Rasmussen, and Thorne will provide an overview of their courses. This is a great opportunity to get the information you need to make your spring selections. Please let us know you are coming (dukegls@duke.edu).

 

PHILOSOPHY OF BIOLOGY (LS 760-28) (NEW COURSE!)
Professor Dan McShea
Mondays, 6:15 – 8:45 pm

An introduction to some of the “hot button” conceptual issues in biology, especially evolutionary biology. Topics will include:

1)     Evolution versus religion – What is the controversy about? What should it be about? Who is right?

2)    Progress and evolution – Is evolution going anywhere? And if so, are people the endpoint, the apotheosis, of the process?

3)    What is life? – When we search for life on other planets, exactly what should we be looking for? What are the minimal requirements for being alive? DNA?  Evolution? Metabolism? And what about intelligent life? What is intelligence anyway? Would we know it if we saw it?

4)    Teleology – Much animal behavior seems purposeful, especially in mammals.Where does purpose come from? How does it arise? Are there larger purposes? Does our (or any) species have a purpose?

5)    Genes and the causes of behavior – What, if anything, has modern genomics Revealed about the genetic basis of human action? 

6)    The basis of morality – What is the good?  And where does it come from – God?Nature? Reason? Biology? Culture? The individual?

Readings include papers drawn from the primary literature in biology and philosophy. Grades will be based on quizzes, two term papers, and in-class discussion.

Dan McShea (PhD 1990, University of Chicago) arrived at Duke in 1996 with a primary appointment in Biology, and now holds a secondary appointment in Philosophy. His major papers are in the field of paleobiology, with a focus on large-scale trends in the history of life, especially documenting and investigating the causes of the (putative) trend in the complexity of organisms. A significant part of this work involves operationalizing certain concepts, such as complexity and hierarchy, as well as clarifying conceptual issues related to trends at larger scales. He publishes regularly in the journals, Evolution, Paleobiology, and Biology and Philosophy. He serves on the editorial board of Biology and Philosophy and as a book-review co-editor for the journal Complexity. Professor McShea is a member of Duke’s Center for the Philosophy of Biology.

 

CRIME AND THE CITY (LS 780-88)  **cancelled**
Professor Susan Thorne
Mondays, 6:15 – 8:45 pm

The enduring power of Charles Dickens’ representation of urban crime was recently on display in the critical response to The Wire, an HBO television series hailed as the“greatest television series of all time.” Critics on both shores of the Atlantic have described the series, which aired 2002-2007, as “Dickens for the 21st Century.  The series is a graphic representation of the horrendous violence generated by the war on drugs in Baltimore, MD, the “murder capital” of the United States. It is difficult to imagine a world further removed from the Victorian nostalgia of the Dickens presented in Masterpiece Theatre much less Hollywood productions of Oliver Twist and Bleak House, the two novels to which the series is most often compared. And yet, again, Dickensian references abound. The New York Times, reviewing the series on its op-ed page no less, even went so far as to claim that “If Charles Dickens were alive today, he would watch The Wire, unless, that is, he was already writing for it.”

This course embraces the comparative invitation in these reviews. It juxtaposes tales about crime in two cities separated by two centuries of time and cultural space: early Victorian London and present day Baltimore, MD. What are the similarities as well as differences in the representation of crime in The Wire’s Baltimore and Dickensian London?  Liberal Studies is the perfect setting for an inquiry that is by necessity interdisciplinary. We will be utilizing the techniques of literary and media studies, comparing the genres as well as the motifs that structure Dickens’ novels and the television series written by Ed Burns and David Simon.  We will also be locating these texts in a range of historical and contemporary contexts. These include the Victorian history of crime, policing, and penal philosophies and contemporary criminology; journalism (David Simon, like Charles Dickens, learned about crime on the streets by working as a newspaper reporter); and childhoods on the streets. In addition to these comparisons, we will also try to account for Dickens’ enduring relevance, the longevity of Dickensian ways of seeing crime, childhood, and the city. Why—and how—does Dickens continue to matter? 

Requirements

Students will view selected episodes of The Wire while reading selections from Charles Dickens’ journalism and Oliver Twist. In addition to these primary sources, students will survey interdisciplinary scholarship relating to urban history and urban sociology, the history of crime and criminology, newspaper history, history of childhood and education, and, finally, literary criticism and media studies.

Students will submit weekly paragraph to page reactions to each week’s reading assignments on discussion board forums (10%). Students will also write three short papers: a 3-5 page book review (30%); a 5-7 page historical analysis of a Dickens’ novel (30%); and a group project on The Wire (40%).

Susan Thorne received her PhD in History in 1990 at the University of Michigan and joined the History Department at Duke University in 1991. She is a social historian focusing on Great Britain in the so-called modern period (from the eighteenth century through the present day). Professor Thorne is particularly interested in how ordinary men and women are affected by the operations of power in their everyday lives. Industrialization and imperial expansion figure prominently in her work. Her book Congregational Missions and the Making of an Imperial Culture in 19th Century England (Stanford University Press, 1999) explores the foreign missionary movement's influence on popular perceptions of empire and race in nineteenth-century England. She is now working on the social history of orphaned children in Britain and the empire from the eighteenth through the early twentieth century.

 

THE LEGEND OF KING ARTHUR IN LITERATURE AND FILM (LS 770-76)
Professor Ann Marie Rasmussen
Tuesdays, 6:15 – 8:45 pm

The legend of the “Once and Future King,” Arthur of Camelot, has for centuries fascinated poets, artists, writers, and most recently filmmakers. In this course students view or read a selection of different versions of the Arthur legend, beginning with modern films and working backwards through time, until, in the final week of class, they read the earliest surviving, sixth-century witness to the legend.  In investigating this body of material, students will engage with its re-creation, mutation, and transmission over time. Focusing on the themes of leadership, gender, and love, students explore how each work understands Arthur and his milieu and the implications of each unique vision for the political and cultural worlds in which it originates. Students will approach these questions through discussions of both content and form, considering the ways in which the formal aspects of the works shape meaning. Students will improve their skills in reading and interpretation by grappling with older texts that challenge modern expectations of fiction, acquire a deeper knowledge of the wealth of Arthurian texts from the past; acquire a more nuanced understanding of the medieval world; and gain an appreciation for the modernity of present-day adaptations on the Arthurian legend.

Course requirements include seminar participation, a variety of formal and informal writing assignments, and graded papers that focus on close reading.

Required Texts

Parcival and Titurel by Wolfram von Eschenback (Oxford’s World Classics)

The Romance of Arthur by James J. Wilhelm, new expanded edition (Garland Publishing 1994) (=RA) We read a number of selections from this anthology, whose chapters feature excellent introductions.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Sir Orfeo. Trans. J. R. R. Tolkien (Ballantine)

Idylls of the King by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Ed. By W. J. Rolfe (Dover)

All other reading assignments will be posted to the electronic course site.

All films are on reserve at Perkins Library and can be viewed there. They are generally available for rent at video outlets as well. We will discuss a selection of the following films: Lancelot du Lac; Monty Python and the Holy Grail; Excalibur; The Fisher King; King Arthur.

Ann Marie Rasmussen is a professor of the German Studies at Duke University, where she has taught since 1988.  She received her BA from the University of Oregon and her PhD from Yale University. In the spring semester 2011 she was Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Visiting Professor of Medieval Studies at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR. Dr. Rasmussen’s scholarship and teaching focus on medieval studies and gender studies. She is the author of Mothers and Daughters in Medieval German Literature (1997), co-editor of Medieval Woman’s Song (2002, with A. Klinck) and Visuality and Materiality in the Story of Tristan and Isolde (2012, with J. Eming and K. Starkey), and co-author of Ladies, Whores, and Holy Women: A Sourcebook in Courtly, Religious, and Urban Cultures of Late Medieval Germany, with Introductory Essays (2010, with S. Wesphal-Wihl). She has published over thirty articles and essays on a wide variety of topics, including “Wandering Genitalia: Sexuality and the Body in German Culture between the Late Middle Ages and Early Modernity”(2009), and she is currently researching late medieval cultures of obscenity and writing a book with the provisional title “Sex on Show: Medieval Sexual Badges.”

 

THE MELANCHOLY OF ART (LS 770-65)
Professor Thomas Pfau
Wednesdays, 6:15 – 8:45 pm

A major 20th century thinker (T. Adorno) has observed that the illusory and ephemeral world spun in art, literary or otherwise, often tends to engulf the reader/audience in sadness. Because all art “is bound up with semblance, [it] is endowed with sadness; art grieves all the more, the more completely it suggests meaning.” In responding to the inchoate and antagonistic forces that circumscribe quotidian life, art can only bring all these conflicting perceptions, desires, fears, etc. into fleeting and virtualalignment. Cognizant of its own transience and symbolic, mediated nature, art on Adorno’s account is inextricably entwined with melancholy: “melancholy is the shadow of what in all form is heterogeneous, which its form strives to banish: mere existence. … In the utopia of its form, art bends under the burdensome weight of the empirical world from which, as art, it steps away.” Our seminar will pursue in close study of different kinds of artworks Adorno’s basic contention: viz., that melancholy is not so much a thematic proposition for various kinds of art, but that art and its representation of thought and/or action turns out to be melancholy in its very nature.

Throughout the term we shall explore this possibility by attending to the thematic dimensions of art encountered at the level of plot, imagery, and narrative. Yet melancholy is not a modern invention but has a long pre-history, both in classical Greek thought (Aristotle, Theophrastus) and in Christian theology. Thus we shall begin by taking up a few short selections on the theological pre-history of melancholy, which had gradually merged with the crippling passion of “sorrow” (tristitia) with the sin of “despair” (acedia). From here we will move on to consider some canonical paintings of melancholia by Albrecht Dürer, Hieronymus Bosch, and Lorenzo Lotto, as well as Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and brief selections from Renaissance and Baroque writers (Ficino, Burton) on melancholy. The second half of the term will be devoted to nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, beginning with a selection of poems by Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, and Hopkins. These will be followed by works of fiction, Thomas Mann, Death in Venice (1912); Joseph Roth, Radetzkymarch (1932); Guiseppe di Lampedusa, The Leopard (1958), and W. G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn (1997). We will conclude with a discussion of four major works of cinematic modernism: Ingmar Bergman’s Winter Lights and Lucchino Visconti’s II Gattopardo (both released in 1963), Theo Angelopoulos’ Ulysses’ Gaze (1995), and Lars van Trier’s Melancholia (2011). While there is not time to screen these films in their entirety in class, the DVDs will be placed on reserve and should be viewed at some point during the semester.

Thomas Pfau, Eads Family Professor of English and Professor of Germanic Languages and Literature, began his academic career in 1980 as a student of History and Literature at the University of Constance. In 1982, he came to the U.S. where, at UC-Irvine, he joined the Graduate Program in Comparative Literature and Theory. In 1985, he continued his studies in the Comparative Literature Program at SUNY-Buffalo where he received his PhD in 1989 with a dissertation on self-consciousness in Romantic poetry and theory (Wordsworth, Shelley, et al.). Since then, his main interests have broadened to include a large array of Romantic writers -philosophical, literary, historical- in England and Germany. His published work has explored such questions as paranoia as a mediation of historically induced anxiety (in Blake, Godwin and the 1794 Treason Trials); moral speech as performance (in Hegel and J. L. Austin); problems of historicism in contemporary Romantic Studies and the work of Walter Benjamin; the Romantic conception of textual interpretation (in Schleiermacher). Besides translating and editing two volumes of theoretical writings by Hölderlin and Schelling, he also edited two essay collections on English Romanticism. Following his 1997 book, Wordsworth's Profession (Stanford UP), his most recent study of English and German Romanticism, entitled Romantic Moods: Paranoia, Trauma, and Melancholy, 1794-1840 is forthcoming from Johns Hopkins University Press.

 

HISTORY OF THE MODERN MIDDLE EAST (LS 780-64)
Professor Ylana Miller
Wednesdays, 6:15 – 8:45 pm

This course will cover the modern history of the Middle East by examining the region’s experiences of war and political violence in order to understand how various populations respond, giving meanings to deprivation and loss.

We will begin by looking at World War I and its aftermath which gave rise to the regional state system. We will then consider the impacts of World War II in arousing expectations and eventually creating disillusionments. Following World War II, the region developed in the context on the one hand, of independent states seeking to consolidate political authority and, on the other, of a cold war environment that significantly restrained available choices. We will focus then on major transformative events reflecting the increasingly frequent resort to violence in hopes of changing political and economic relationships. Examples of developments we will study in depth will include but not be limited to: Israel-Palestine conflicts; Revolution in Egypt; War in Algeria; Civil War in Lebanon; Gulf Wars.

In seeking to understand this history we will go beyond the use of documents to read memoirs, oral histories and literature; in addition, we will look at films that can help us
consider their use in conveying the impact of violence on individuals as well as populations.

Requirements:  class participation, two short papers and one research paper.

Required Readings:

W. Cleveland, A History of the Modern Middle East

S. Heydemann, War, Institutions and Social Change

M. Darwish, Memory for Forgetfulness

F. Turki, The Disinherited

U. Makdisi and P. Silverstein, Memory and Violence

E-Reserves

Ylana Miller (PhD, Berkeley) is visiting Associate Professor in the Department of History and a graduate of the Duke-UNC Psychoanalytic Institute. She teaches a range of courses on the history of the modern Middle East, including “Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict” as well as “History of Zionism and the State of Israel.” Dr. Miller has published Government and Society in Rural Palestine – 1920-1948 (University of Texas Press), and her current research project is Constructing a Framework: How US-Israeli Relations Defined the Meaning Given to Victory in 1967.

 

THE SELF IN THE WORLD (LS 750-02) (new student requirement)
Dr. Kent Wicker
Thursdays, 6:15 – 9:15 pm

How do people make sense of themselves, their experience and their place in the world of others? What new insights can we gain on those identities and meanings through the disciplinary methods of history, the sciences, the arts or the humanities? How are those concepts influenced by values and contexts—such as family, region, religion, class, race or gender—that we inherit from our culture?

In this introductory GLS course, we will read an interdisciplinary range of historical and contemporary texts in order to discuss aspects of the modern Western self. This process involves exploring concepts such as autonomy, authenticity, recognition, perspective, subjectivity and objectivity. It also involves thinking seriously about the self in
relation to others, and the ways that we project our notions on selfhood and otherness into the world.

Each year, this course takes a slightly different focus. Past versions of the course have included:

•    Finding One’s Place in the World focuses on the lived experience of place. How do our natural and built environments shape our identities and relationships with others?
How are our ideas of self and other written into the cultural landscape – or rewritten imaginatively?

•    The Embodied Self focuses on how human identity is grounded in our sensory experience of the material world. What is the relationship between body, brain and mind? How do age and ability affect our identities and experiences? What hopes or fears are reflected n our fascination with robotics and alien bodies?

•    To the Ends of the Earth focuses on the Western self in its encounter with others. How do Western notions of identity change during the course of European travel and
expansion? How has globalization affected our understanding of selfhood and otherness?

Future versions might focus on the psyche, racial identity or homo economicus.

Our exploration is informed by the perspectives of various academic disciplines, and includes the participation of guest faculty. Our goal is to explore how scholars think, read and write, with particular attention to: 1) the critical analysis so vital to graduate level work; and 2) the reading and writing skills necessary for interdisciplinary study.

This is a seminar which depends on active, informed discussion. Class work will include readings, short papers, an oral presentation and one long research project.

Kent Wicker, who designs and implements the Graduate Liberal Studies writing program, holds a PhD in English from Duke. His academic interests include place, class, and gender in American and post-colonial literatures, and in the historical development of the novel. His current research focuses on the cultural values and meanings associated with the idea of the gentleman in Twain, Wister, and Chesnutt. Dr. Wicker lives north of Durham, where he hikes, bikes, and tries to keep up with his wife and two college-aged children.



Fall 2012

COMPARATIVE DISASTERS (LS 780.80)
Edward Tiryakian
Mondays, 6:15-8:45 pm

Disasters as severe disruptions in the life of individuals, communities, and nations are an unfortunate recurrent feature of the human condition. What provides variation, besides their magnitude and duration, is how their risk may be anticipated (including in rituals as well as in insurance policies), how they are interpreted once they occur (who or what is responsible), how stricken communities and individuals respond, what are short-term and long-term psychological, social, political and economic consequences, what are common or typical patterns of response in disaster sites, and lastly, what is being done to prevent or mitigate future disasters. We begin by asking What is a Disaster? How is a disaster socially constructed?, proceed to see the evolution of disasters viewed as religious interventions to being treated in terms of “natural” causes, and go on to consider how short-term disasters often generate longer-term secondary disasters.

To get at some of the challenging issues in disaster studies, we will consider comparative and historical materials dealing with small-scale (e.g. flood) and large-scale disasters (nuclear and wars), man-made and nature-made, and the interaction between them. While recent years offers much materials of man-made (9/11, terrorism, Katrina) and nature-made (tsunami) disasters, we will also consider past historical materials (the Great Plague, the Great Influenza, the Great Depression) as well as a potential large-scale future ecological disaster, nature-made and man-made.

Readings will be drawn from a variety of historical and social science materials. Depending upon the backgrounds and interests of class members, teams will be drawn around a central theme (e.g., ecological disasters, financial disasters, terrorism/wars), gender and violence, with team members expected to prepare a report given in class at the end of the semester. The contribution of each to the team report will be an important component of the final grade; other components will include a book report and class participation. Class participation will not only take place at our weekly meetings but also online in the SAKAI course management system. No previous background in sociology is necessary but the instructor will introduce a sociological frame of reference to facilitate comparative aspects of disasters.

Edward A. Tiryakian (Ph.D. Harvard) is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Duke University and remains active professionally. He has over 200 publications in various areas of sociology, such as comparative-historical sociology, sociology of religion, nationalism and national identity, comparative social development, sociological theory. He has done research in East Asia, sub-Sahara Africa, Canada, Western and Eastern Europe. He has taught a wide variety of courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, has served as Chair of the joint department of Sociology and Anthropology, and as Duke’s Director of International Studies. He is past president of the American Society for the Study of Religion.


THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTIONARY CINEMA (LS 770.48)
Martin Miller
Mondays, 6:15-8:45 pm

In this course, students will investigate the pioneering film techniques used by the first generation of Soviet directors in which the cinema was transformed into a revolutionary medium. The course will center on the classics of Sergei Eisenstein, though much attention will also be devoted to the innovative films of a variety of other directors from the 1920's and 1930's, and to the propagandistic and dissident films of the Stalin and post-Stalin years. Comparisons with their Hollywood counterparts will be made. In addition to the screenings of the films, readings will concentrate on the rise and fall of the cinema’s revolutionary experimentalism as a mirror of the transformation of the Soviet Union itself.

Martin Miller received his PhD in Russian history at the University of Chicago and has taught at Stanford University and the New School for Social Research in addition to conducting visiting seminars in Paris, Venice, and Istanbul. He has been a member of the History Department at Duke since 1970. Dr. Miller has conducted archival research in Russia and Western Europe, and has been the recipient of a number of fellowships, including two from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has published four books and numerous articles on the revolutionary movement in Russia, including Freud and the Bolsheviks: Psychoanalysis in Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union (Yale, 1998), which has been translated into French and Spanish. Dr. Miller is currently completing a new book on the foundations of modern political violence.


PHOTOGRAPHY IN CONTEXT:
Photographic Meaning and the Archive of Documentary Arts (LS 770.74)

Margaret Sartor
Tuesdays, 6:15-8:45 pm

This is a research and writing seminar closely connected to the Duke Archive of Documentary Arts. This course will challenge students to think critically about photography and to frame the subject of photographic meaning historically, conceptually and personally. Students will consider how photographic imagery offers insights into subjects such as social change, sexual identity, and regional culture—and how photographs have shaped our collective understanding of these subjects. On a regular basis, photographers whose work is held in the archive will lecture and lead class discussions. Students will write about photographs held in the Duke archive, taking into consideration their own response to the images, the historical moment in which the pictures were made, the personal history and artistic sensibility of the photographer, the tools of the medium, and the ways in which all of these factors come together to create a meaningful depiction of the world.

There will be several short papers and weekly reading assignments. Each student will also write two longer papers devoting more in-depth study to one collection in the archive. The class will meet in Perkins library where we will take advantage of access to the photographic prints housed in the Duke University archive.

Margaret Sartor is a writer, photographer, editor and curator. As a writer and editor, her four books include What Was True: The Photographs and Notebooks of William Gedney, which was chosen as one of the top ten photography books of 1999 by the Village Voice, and a memoir, Miss American Pie: A Diary of Love, Secrets, and Growing Up in the 1970s, which was a New York Times best-seller and a Washington Post Critics Choice Memoir for 2006. Sartor’s own photographs have been published and exhibited widely. Her prints are held in private and permanent collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the North Carolina Museum of Art. She has been a guest curator of photography at the International Center for Photography in New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.


THE DARWINIAN REVOLUTION (LS 760.14)
Jonathan Shaw
Tuesdays, 6:15-8:45 pm

Darwin’s book (1859), On the Origin of Species, shook the world. What really was the “Darwinian Revolution”? Why is Darwinism, or evolution, still so controversial? How do evolutionary ideas affect medicine, agriculture, astronomy, psychology, sociology, even religion? Is evolution and spirituality incompatible?  What IS the evidence for evolution? These are some of the issues we discuss in The Darwinian Revolution.

This course consists of three (very) general and overlapping parts. The first section focuses on the history of evolutionary ideas leading up to publication of The Origin, on Charles Darwin as a person (lest we forget that scientists are people, with opinions, biases, etc.), and on reactions to evolutionary ideas over the subsequent 150 years. As we shall see, the idea of evolution was not new with Darwin. Darwin’s really original contribution was in proposing a naturalistic (as opposed to a supernatural) mechanism for evolution – that is, natural selection. First, of course, we will need to consider what we actually mean by “evolution”, what “natural selection” is, and how scientists study these topics. We will examine the “creationist” alternative to evolution in a variety of contexts from the legal to philosophical, and will consider the meaning of such terms as “fact”, “theory”, and “hypothesis”.

In the second section of the course, we will discuss some of the uses and abuses of evolutionary ideas. These include critically important applications in medicine and agriculture, as well as horrendous misapplications of (pseudo)evolutionary ideas, including eugenics and racism. 

In the last section of the course we will read two books that illustrate “what’s going on” in evolutionary biology today. One describes field studies on “Darwin’s finches”, a group of birds that illustrate many of the processes that Darwin wrote about. Research on those finches is still going strong in the Galapagos Islands and the book we read gives an inside view of both the research and the people who do it. The other book we read in this section describes how recent advances in molecular biology contribute to our understanding of evolution in ways that Darwin couldn’t even dream about. The book is written in a way that is readable to those of us not trained in the technical details of molecular biology.

A couple important points about this course. You need not be a scientist or biologist! We will address these issues in a way that is accessible to all. Who might this course interest?  If you are opposed to the idea of evolution on religious grounds – join us; we need to hear your voice! If you just don’t know what to think in that regard, and want more information – join us!  If you are interested in biology and natural history – join is; evolution is the glue that holds all of biology together! The more diverse our class, the more interesting the course. Several years ago was the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth, and the 150th anniversary of publication of The Origin, so the time is right!

Jonathan Shaw is a Professor in the Department of Biology. He received his Ph.D. in 1983 from the University of Michigan. Dr. Shaw's research is on the systematics, population genetics, and evolution of bryophytes. Some of his research interests have included the taxonomy and classification of particular groups of mosses, developmental anatomy, and genetic relationships among populations of very rare species. A current focus in the lab is the evolution of peatmosses (Sphagnum) and Dr. Shaw's field work tends to be in polar and high altitude environments. He has published some 115 scientific papers and has edited two books, one on the evolution of tolerance in plants to toxic metals in the environment, and one on the biology of bryophytes. Dr. Shaw taught for eight years at a liberal arts college (Ithaca College) before coming to Duke in 1996.


THE GLORY OF THE RENAISSANCE:
Music, Painting, Architecture, Religion and Politics (LS 770.73)

Thomas Brothers
Wednesdays, 6:15-8:45 pm

You can lose yourself in the magnificent Duomo of Florence, completed by the great fifteenth-century architect, Filippo Brunelleschi. You can also lose yourself in a painting by Piero della Francesca, or in Guillaume Dufay’s brilliant music for the Catholic liturgy, pieces like the Missa Se la face ay pale—lose yourself in the sense of tasting a vast and brilliant world that leaves the petty concerns of day-to-day life behind. Fifteenth-century Italy enjoyed a strong tradition of art designed with this in mind. Composers, painters and architects used the full range of intellectual and emotional power available to them to create a transcendent world, and they did so through the patronage of powerful people who expected something in return. That is how the themes of art, spirituality, intellect and politics intersect, and that is how some of the greatest artistic achievements ever known were created. Much of it is still around for us to enjoy and understand today.

Emphasis will be on Florence and then Rome. Fifteenth century Florence provides, in addition to Brunelleschi’s buildings and a motet composed by Dufay for the consecration of the Duomo, the great tradition of painting and drawing that runs from Masaccio to Michelangelo. Our main architectural site in Rome will be the Sistine Chapel, with its splendid paintings and music, the latter including music composed by the great Josquin Desprez. Thinking about the intersection of religion and politics will lead us through a series of popes and secular rulers, and at the end of the century we return to Florence and the anti-papal protests of Savonarola—who also inspired a piece by Josquin, one written far away from the papacy and under the patronage of the sympathetic Duke of Ferrara. Each student is encouraged to select another city in Italy to work on for a term project, with the goal of seeing how themes from Florence and Rome played out there.

Thomas Brothers is Professor of Music at Duke, where he has taught for eighteen years.  He regularly teaches in two areas—late medieval/renaissance and African American music. His publications include Chromatic Beauty in the Late Medieval Chanson, Louis Armstrong’s New Orleans, and Louis Armstrong: In His Own Words.


PROTESTANTISM AND NATIONAL IDENTITY IN AMERICAN LITERATURE AND FILM (LS 780.89)
Amy Laura Hall
Thursdays, 6:15-8:45 pm

In spite of increasing religious and ethnic pluralism over the last century, the default, civil religion in the United States remains a version of mainline Protestantism. The working definitions of national identity in the U.S. arguably go through a central hub of normality defined by the masculine norms of Protestant culture: a Calvinist (Presbyterian) emphasis on worldly productivity is a sign of success; a Wesleyan (Methodist) sense of historic optimism about large, social change wrought over time; and a Baptist emphasis on individualism. In this course we will consider, through literature and film, what historian Peggy Bendroth has termed “the neutral backing to the ethnic crazy quilt of American diversity.” We will consider the assumptions about gender, time, kinship, and identity that count as “normal,” as well as the negotiations non-WASPs must make in relation to what often passes as sheer, common sense. The moral/pedagogical aim of the course is for students to come to a more inquisitive awareness of the implied rules for religious and civic normality today and how they subtly shape political and personal conversations in the U.S. My methodological aim is to quicken the curiosity of students, so that we may explore ways that our parents and grandparents navigated, resisted, and/or perpetuated rules for right living from earlier eras.

Course requirements: Weekly in-class discussion of material and weekly participation online (one-two paragraphs and, bare minimum, one response to another entry), 40%; final paper or presentation, form and content to be approved by week 4 of the course, 60%. Please purchase preferred editions of texts from the Regulator Bookshop on Ninth Street. (Please note: my “close reading” method of teaching requires that we all be on the same page, literally, so please purchase the editions I have ordered.) Films will be on overnight reserve at Lilly Library, and I will be happy to arrange screenings of films on campus as students desire.

Amy Laura Hall is Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at Duke Divinity School.  At Duke University, Professor Hall has served on the Steering Committee of the Genome Ethics, Law, and Policy Center and as a faculty member for the FOCUS program of the Institute on Genome Sciences and Policy. She has served on the Duke Medical Center’s Institutional Review Board and as an Ethics Consultant to the V.A. Center in Durham. She is the author of Kierkegaard and the Treachery of Love (Cambridge University Press, 2002), Conceiving Parenthood: The Protestant Spirit of Biotechnological Reproduction (Eerdmans, 2008), and numerous scholarly articles in theological and biomedical ethics. Hall has recently received a grant from the Virginia Seminar in Lived Theology for her current book project Erecting the Pulpit: Muscular Christianity from Victoria to Viagra.

 

THE SELF IN THE WORLD **new student requirement**
Donna Zapf and Kent Wicker
Wednesdays, 6:00 – 9:00 pm (LS 750.02)
Thursdays, 6:00 – 9:00 pm (LS 750.03)

How have people within Western culture made sense of themselves, their experience, and their place in the world of others? What new insights can we gain on those identities and meanings through disciplinary methodologies of history, the sciences, the arts, or the humanities? How are those concepts influenced by values and contexts – whether of family, region, religion, class, race, or gender – that we inherit from our culture?

In this introductory course for the MALS degree, we will read provocative texts ranging from the seventeenth century to the present, in order to discuss aspects of the modern self and what we take for granted when we think of individual identity, subjectivity, authenticity, and autonomy. Our exploration of human identity and the relationship of self to others will be informed by the perspectives of various academic disciplines. Our goal is to explore how scholars think, read, and write, with particular attention to: 1) the critical analysis so vital to graduate level work, and 2) the reading and writing skills necessary for interdisciplinary study.

Class work will include readings, discussion, short papers, and one long research project.