Upcoming Courses

Graduate Courses for Spring 2019



Mo 1:00PM - 3:55PM
Ronald J. Zboray (with Mary Saracino Zboray)
In the wake of Christine Blasey Ford’s September 2018 U.S. Senate testimony, this course takes as its starting point the #MeToo and related sexual-harassment-awareness movements that have relied upon specific channels of media dissemination to provide platforms and audiences for once-silenced voices of abused women in the U.S and around the world.  Students will investigate the constraints and affordances that specific media forms and genres have provided for these women seeking to tell their often painful personal stories of violence against them in public venues, often at great risk to themselves. Course readings and presentations will contextualize this truth-telling in the broader global history of media’s role in what bell hooks has called women “coming to voice” in public—not only regarding their experiences with sexual harassment but with other forms of gender-based oppression.  Careful attention will be paid to issues of the intersectionality, (dis)ability, and positionality of those seeking to be heard.  During each meeting devoted to one of a range of topics, the class will discuss a key primary source representing a specific medium (internet, television, radio, film, recordings, or print) and a few related secondary sources. The sequence of topics discussed will unfold from the newest—being the #MeToo movement and obvious earlier antecedents like the 1991 Anita Hill testimony, as well as related recent political scandals in the UK and Japan, rape cases in nations like India, and state-sanctioned sexual violence against women in conflict zones—to the oldest: the silencings and voicings of mid-nineteenth-century politicized but disfranchised women and sexual violence in U.S. antebellum slave narratives.  Students will be introduced to various research techniques for engaging mediated “coming-to-voice” practices, including oral history interviewing, archival investigations, and close and “distant” readings. Students will be encouraged to develop their own projects related to their own research interests, write a 10-12 page research paper based on an analysis of selected primary sources in light of the semester’s readings and one or more of the research approaches introduced during the semester, and deliver it before the class in a “mock conference” at the semester’s end.
Counts for Cultural Studies Category C
Counts for Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies


Mo 6:00PM - 9:50PM
Liz Reich
This course will consider the interconnections between black theory, black political practice, and black art through a focus on cinematic time. It is no coincidence that the questions dominating Black Studies now – of how to think about Afrofuturism and Afropessimism; and how to reconcile the two – continue to find their best expression in recent works of time-driven media, because these are indeed quesitons of how to explore and theorize black life in relationship to mainstream conceptions of "progress." Such exploration and theorization are no small matters, given the increasing visibility of black death in our society; the circulation of moving images of violence against black people; and the efforts to mobilize artistic and political practices asserting black life and possibility. In fact, though the project here may seem academic, it is also one where the rubber hits the road and – this course argues – the promise of Afrofuturism and the insistence of Afropessimism are already embedded in any contemporary black political projects.  So: this class will investigate the problem of black time - theoretically, politically, and aesthetically. We will situate our study in classic works on black experience and temporality, many of which now form the canon of Afropessimism, including Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks; Saidiya Hartman’s Scenes of Subjection; Jared Sexton’s “The Case of Blacknes.” We will pair these wide ranging black film and Afrofuturist texts, including: Wanuri Kahiu’s Pumzi; Jordan Peele’s Get Out; Terence Nance’s Random Acts of Flyness; Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, Kibwe Tabares’ Robots of Brixton, Wangechi Mutu’s New Siren, Sun Ra’s Space is the Place; Ngozi Onwura’s Welcome II the Terrordome; and important pieces of theory, including texts by Kwodo Eshun; Alexander Weheliye; Hortense Spillers; Fred Moten; Alondra Nelson; Steven Shaviro; and Adrienne Maree Brown. All of these we will aim to consider alongside study of newer formations of black political projects, from the work of the Black Panther Party to the hashtag efforts of Black Lives Matter.
Counts for Cultural Studies Category A


Tu 1:00PM - 4:50PM
Mark Lynn Anderson
While Jacques Derrida’s oft-cited essay on the archive’s relation to Freud’s psychoanalytic theorization of memory, < Mal d’archive>, has been rightly criticized for not being about anything remotely resembling the archive or the archival, it has the unwitting virtue of tying the storage,
retrieval, and replay functions of the archive to sexuality as a (p)reserve. This seminar explores how critical work—both canonical and contemporary—on the histories of sexualities remains pertinent to the concerns of film and media studies. Readings include works by Richard von Krafft-Ebbing, Havelock Ellis, Sigmund Freud, Michel Foucault, Monique Wittig, John D’Emilio, Lillian Faderman, Jean LaPlanche, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Leo Bersani, Douglas Crimp, Lee Edelman, Jack Halberstam, Ann Cvetkovich, Heather Love, José Esteban Muñoz, Lauren Berlant, Nguyen Tan Hoang, and others.
Counts for Cultural Studies Category B
Counts for Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies


We 6:00PM - 8:30PM
Terry Smith
Our contemporary condition requires us to grapple with the forces of differentiation that are shaping the world today, while at the same time it calls us to imagine constructive connectivity. Visual artists working in a variety of mediums—from painting, sculpture, architecture, graphic arts, film, video, performance, installation and on digital platforms to social practice and infrastructural activism—are responding to this challenge. Curators are doing the same in their making of exhibitions and remaking of museum collections. Arguably, artists and curators have always done these things, in different ways, according to time and place. Now, however, within the vortex created by the on-going implosion of the grand narratives and their reactionary resurgence, all of these times and places, along with many new ones, are present to us, in mixed and often surprising ways. In current art and curating, time has become a subject matter, a material, a medium, and a process. Perhaps this, too, was always the case. If so, some interesting questions arise.  How does time enter, stay, and leave works of visual art, including those that thematize such processes as their subject matter? What is it for different kinds of time, perhaps many distinct kinds of time, to coexist within a work of art? How might we see such coincidence in works of contemporary art, and how might we trace it in works from times past, or from other kinds of time? What are the relationships that constitute such cotemporality? Which other elements, which other relations, exist within these works? How are they adjacent to the temporal components, and how might they bear upon them? Works of art that take the presentation of multiple temporalities as their subject—religious art, for example, or that concerned with spirituality—often intentionally depict a kind of atemporality, a zone not subject to the common range of temporal processes. Might certain more secular artistic enterprises (modernist ones, for counter-example) spin off a different kind of achronicity? How have these multiple, layered, mobile, differentiating temporalities been exhibited in the past, how might they be exhibited now?
Counts for Cultural Studies Category D


MoWe 1:30PM - 2:45PM
Dan Wang
Sometime between Ernst Lubitsch's The Shop Around the Corner (1940) and Nora Ephron’s You’ve Got Mail (1998), romance changed in the United States. Where class and wealth used to be deciding factors, there now emerged the concept of the soulmate, who could be anyone. In this course, we will watch American romantic comedies of the last 100 years, paying particular attention to how the development of the soundtrack has changed what love sounds and feels like. We will analyze both Hollywood blockbusters and representations of queer and otherwise non-mainstream forms of romance. Students will develop skills in closely analyzing sound and image in film, critically interpreting popular culture in relation to broader events in society, and thinking about the relation between music, identity, and politics. In particular, we will together develop answers to the following questions: how did capitalism, social justice movements, the changing nature of work, and other cultural transformations affect what people expected from intimate union? What used to be love, and what is it now? And, looking to the future, what could it still be?
Counts for Cultural Studies Category A
Counts for Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies


MoWe 10:30AM - 11:45AM
Dan Wang
This course explores the small but growing art form of the visual album, from The Beatles’s groundbreaking A Hard Day’s Night (1964) to more recent productions by artists like Beyoncé, Janelle Monáe, and Frank Ocean. We will look at each album in its historical and cultural context, asking: what was the significance of the album for each artist at this point in their career? How did the album comment on and/or transform social issues in its time? And what can a visual album accomplish that music videos and audio records alone cannot?  In this class, we will closely analyze both the musical and visual aspects of each album. In addition, we will read essays that provide insight into the artistic and cultural issues at stake in each artist’s work, covering topics such as gender performance, sexual politics, Afrofuturism, and animation. By the end of the course, students will become practiced in interpreting audiovisual media, describing the links between music and politics, and have a better sense of why and how musical artists have turned to the visual album in the last half century. Screenings include Pink Floyd’s The Wall, The Beatles’s Yellow Submarine, R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet, Beyoncé’s Lemonade, Prince’s Purple Rain, Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer.
Counts for Cultural Studies Category D
Counts for Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies


Meeting dates TBA
Vladimir Padunov
In addition to analyzing Russian films released between 2016 and 2019, the course will have a heavy concentration on the professional training of graduate students.  This will include selecting a week-long schedule of films to be screened, handling arrangements for visa applications and airline tickets, hotel reservations, the writing of program notes, and much more.  By the end of the course, students will be able to handle the logistics of inviting individual speakers to campus, as well as organizing a week-long conference that includes dozens of participants.