Classes

    Making Memories (Gen Ed 1060)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2021

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with textHistories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Stephanie Sandler

    How we make, keep, and lose memories throughout our life is one of our great skills as human beings, and also something of a mystery. Is what we think of as memory ours individually, or is it based on shared experiences – national, communal, familial, and with peers? Also far from decided is how much memories are made and put at risk by biological processes in the brain, and how much by the verbal, visual, and experiential inputs that we call daily life. These questions have broad cultural impact as well as their personal presence in each individual’s life.... Read more about Making Memories (Gen Ed 1060)

    Harvard Gets Medieval (Gen Ed 1160)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2021

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Daniel Lord Smail

    Starting in the late nineteenth century, Harvard got medieval. Through direct purchase and through the collecting activity of numerous alumnae/i, we began collecting all sorts of texts and artifacts generated by the medieval world of Arabic, Greek, and Latin civilizations. The things that arrived in Harvard’s collections came in many forms, ranging from great architectural monuments and motifs to little stuff such as belt buckles, pilgrims’ flasks, and fragments of pottery.... Read more about Harvard Gets Medieval (Gen Ed 1160)

    Tragedy Today (Gen Ed 1168)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Naomi Weiss

    “It’s a sad tale, it’s a tragedy / It’s a sad song…. We’re gonna sing it anyway.” So sings Hermes at the start of Hadestown, the hit broadway show that deals with capitalism, demagoguery, borders, and climate change. Based on the ancient artform of tragedy, this musical provokes its audiences to reflect on very modern concerns; it also, as the show’s creator Anaïs Mitchell says, “lets us cry.”... Read more about Tragedy Today (Gen Ed 1168)

    Mental Health and Mental Illness through Literature and the Arts (Gen Ed 1144)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Karen Thornber

    Mental health experts believe that globally, more than 1 billion people have a mental illness.  And yet the biases and misperceptions surrounding mental illness, not to mention the dehumanization and abuse in many communities of individuals with a mental illness, remains acute.  This course uses literature and the arts to help students learn about more about some of the prevalent biases/misperceptions/myths/stigmas against individuals with mental illness and how these biases can be (or in the past have been) ameliorated.... Read more about Mental Health and Mental Illness through Literature and the Arts (Gen Ed 1144)

    The Future of Cultural Space (Gen Ed 1141)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Jerold S. Kayden and Robin Kelsey

    Museums, concert halls, theatres, art galleries, libraries, opera houses, cinemas, performing arts complexes, clubs, bookstores, restaurants, public spaces, universities, retail stores, and other bricks-and-mortar venues have accommodated and shaped cultural ambitions for centuries. Today, many existing cultural facilities, anchored to particular histories, face accelerating threats from shifting user preferences and technologically driven substitutes that put their physical form, if not their very existence, in play. What is a library or bookstore when books are downloadable or available with same day delivery?... Read more about The Future of Cultural Space (Gen Ed 1141)

    Adam & Eve (Gen Ed 1075)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with textEthics & Civics icon with text

    Joseph Koerner and Stephen Greenblatt

    For most of history, humans expressed ethical ideas in the form of stories, and of all these the story of Adam and Eve has been perhaps the most powerful and enduring.  For almost three thousand years, in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim worlds, people practiced ethical reasoning through the seedpod of this—even to early audiences—unreasonable tale: the first man, formed by God at the culmination of the world’s creation and followed soon by the first woman, disobeys his creator by eating a forbidden fruit, is punished by sickness, hardship, and death, and passes his curse to the entire future human species.... Read more about Adam & Eve (Gen Ed 1075)

    The Urban Imagination in Global Arts and Media (Gen Ed 1077)

    Semester: 

    N/A

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Julie Buckler

    Cities are one of humankind's most richly complex inventions and can best be understood through both creative and critical thinking. Offered in connection with a Mellon-funded initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities, this course invites you to join an interdisciplinary investigation of the urban form and fabric, socio-cultural life, and artistic representation of five iconic cities: Boston, Berlin, Moscow, Istanbul, and Mumbai, as well as the special case study of Łódź, Poland.... Read more about The Urban Imagination in Global Arts and Media (Gen Ed 1077)

    Vision and Justice: The Art of Race and American Citizenship (Gen Ed 1022)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2021

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with textHistories, Societies, Individuals icon with text

    Sarah Lewis

    How has visual representation—from videos and photographs to sculptures and memorials—both limited and liberated our definition of American citizenship and belonging? Art is often considered a respite from life or a reflection of the times, but this class examines how art actually has created the times in which we live.... Read more about Vision and Justice: The Art of Race and American Citizenship (Gen Ed 1022)

    Black Radicalism (Gen Ed 1016)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Robert Reid-Pharr

    “Black Radicalism” is a course designed to introduce students to the main currents of black radical thought in the period stretching from the close of World War II until roughly 1980 and the advent of the Reagan Era.  The course will be divided into three sections: Anti-Colonialism; Black Nationalism; and Black Feminism and will focus on key works of fiction, theory, and criticism by especially prominent black intellectuals including Frantz Fanon (The Wretched of the Earth); Richard Wright (White Man Listen!); George Jackson (Soledad Brother); Huey Newton (Revolutionary Suicide); Angela Davis (If They Come for Me in the Morning); and the members of the Combahee River Collective (The Combahee River Statement).... Read more about Black Radicalism (Gen Ed 1016)

    Faith and Authenticity: Religion, Existentialism and the Human Condition (Gen Ed 1069)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Courtney Bickel Lamberth, David Lamberth, and Cornel West

    This course engages some of the most fundamental questions of human existence through the philosophical, theological and literary works of 19th and 20th century authors many of whom are associated with the movement called “existentialism.” What is an authentic individual life?... Read more about Faith and Authenticity: Religion, Existentialism and the Human Condition (Gen Ed 1069)

    Permanent Impermanence: Why Buddhists Build Monuments (Gen Ed 1083)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Jinah Kim, Yukio Lippit, and Eugene Wang (on leave Fall 2019)

    Banner of Buddhism images

    Everything changes. This is, in its simplest and most fundamental formulation, one of the essential teachings of Buddhism. Buddhist communities throughout history have preached, practiced, and written about the ephemerality and illusoriness of our everyday lives and experiences.... Read more about Permanent Impermanence: Why Buddhists Build Monuments (Gen Ed 1083)

    Multisensory Religion: Rethinking Islam Through the Arts (Gen Ed 1087)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Ali S. Asani

    One need only walk into a church, a mosque, a temple, a synagogue or any place of worship to experience the complexity, beauty and aesthetic power of religion through the senses. For millions of believers the world over, their experience of religion is not only—or even primarily—dictated by ideological teachings; it is forged through personal and private experiences, very often sensory in nature and embedded in the arts broadly defined.... Read more about Multisensory Religion: Rethinking Islam Through the Arts (Gen Ed 1087)

    American Dreams Made in Hollywood (Gen Ed 1043)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Eric Rentschler

    Is the so-called American dream dead? The notion once essentialized the grand promise of a better, fuller, and richer life. At the present moment, however, it seems to have lost its evocative power as a collective myth. In a time of national crisis and political emergency, this General Education course has a pressing mission. It aims to further a dynamic understanding of American dreams (for there are many and not just one), to apprehend their complexities and contradictions, to appreciate their diverse manifestations and historical shapes, and above all to take measure of their meanings for the world we inhabit.... Read more about American Dreams Made in Hollywood (Gen Ed 1043)

    Interracial Encounters in American Literature and Culture (Gen Ed 1135)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2020

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Ju Yon Kim

    From depictions of exchanges in the early colonial Americas to efforts to envision alternate and imminent futures, this class will examine representations of interracial encounters in U.S. American culture. We will explore how various texts and performances have conceived, embodied, and reimagined the relationships not only among differently racialized groups, but also between race and nation, individual and community, and art and politics.... Read more about Interracial Encounters in American Literature and Culture (Gen Ed 1135)

    East Asian Cinema (Gen Ed 1049)

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2020

    Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

    Jie Li

    This course introduces major works, genres, and waves of East Asian cinema from the silent era to the present, including films from Mainland China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. We will discuss issues ranging from formal aesthetics to historical representation, from local film industries to transnational audience reception.... Read more about East Asian Cinema (Gen Ed 1049)

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