Fall 2023 Cultural Studies Courses
CULS-C 601: Introduction to Cultural Studies
Reading Literature and Critical Theory/Intro to Cultural Studies
- Registration Information: CULS-C601-0001 (#13998)
- Meeting Information: M 5:15-7:45PM in BH133
- *Please note that the course HAS BEEN rescheduled to Monday evenings to accommodate our Culture Nights lecture series.
- Joint Listed with: ENG-L657
- Instructor: Ranu Samantrai
- Course Description: Survey of main issues, theories, and methods in cultural studies. Topics may include communications and mass culture; gender, race, and the social construction of identity; historiographic and ethnographic approaches to modern cultures and societies.
CULS-C 701: Special Topics in Cultural Studies
Gender, Race, and Media
- Registration Information: CULS-C701-0001 (#32405)
- Meeting Information: Tu 11-1:30 in LH201H
- Joint Listed with: GNDR-G714
- Instructor: Brenda Weber
- Course Description: Examines representations of race, class, gender, and sexual identity in the media. Considers issues of authorship, spectatorship, (audience) and the ways in which various media content (film, television, print journalism, advertising) enables, facilitates, and challenges these social constructions in society.
Intro in American Studies
- Registration Information: CULS-C701-0002 (#32406)
- Meeting Information: W 9:30-12:00 in FF 310
- Joint Listed with: AMST-G 603
- Instructor: Karen Inouye
- Course Description: Representative readings in interdisciplinary scholarship; the origins and the development of American Studies and current trends.
The Rhetorical Figure
- Registration Information: CULS-C701-0003 (#32623)
- Meeting Information: W 9:45-12:45 in BH219
- Joint Listed with: ENG-R770
- Instructor: John Arthos
- Course Description: Ever since Kant described the mind’s schematic judgment as “a skill so deeply hidden in the human soul that we shall hardly guess the secret trick” that engenders it, its close rhetorical cousin, the rhetorical figure, has mounted from a stylistic device of ornamental eloquence to something like the underlying structure of human thought itself. Continental linguists and literary theorists (Barthes, Jakobson, Genette, Irigaray, Derrida), Anglophone philosophers of science and philosophers of history (Black, Hesse, Toulmin, White), psychoanalytic thinkers (Freud, Lacan, Kristeva, Guattari), and now cognitive linguists and neuroscientists (Lakoff, Johnson, Kövecses, Casasanto) deploy figural logic to destabilize and undermine the rationalist dream of universal concepts and categorial systems of classification. Endlessly inventoried, defined, and hierarchized, the classical treasure house of tropes (metaphor, metonymy, chiasm, catachresis, etc.) and schemas (ellipsis, prolepsis, analepsis, antithesis, etc.) have provided an inexhaustible grammar of anti-essentialist thinking, even as they now give way to even more radical new pensées figuratives (rhizome, hymen, foldure, etc.). Our seminar will read primary theory texts as well as global case studies (Higonnet, Räsänen, Indurkhya, Ojha, Spillers), and write toward the vital future of this burgeoning interdisciplinary study of tropology.
London is the Place for Me
- Registration Information: CULS-C701-0004 (#32979)
- Meeting Information: : TuTh 3:00-4:15 BH123
- Joint Listed with: ENG-L629
- Instructor: Ivan Kreilkamp
- Course Description: This course considers a long sweep of fictional and non-fictional representations of immigration to, and arrival and survival in, London, from the late 18th to the late 20th century. We'll ponder such questions as: Who is granted the rights of belonging, to lay claim to Englishness as a Londoner? What were the experiences of journeys from peripheries (both international, e.g. from the Caribbean and West Indies, and national, from rural provinces of England) to metropolitan center? How did the tacit whiteness of Englishness transform and mutate, and how did Black Britishness manifest itself and lay claim to national belonging? How were norms of language, art, form and meaning energized and revolutionized by new immigrants to and arrivals in London and England? How have literature and art defined and explained geographies and spaces of London?
We'll begin (caveat: all decisions about readings are not yet final) with three texts that examine or emerge out of Caribbean immigration to England before and following the "Windrush" generation of 1947: Trinidadian Marxist historian C.L.R. James' 1930s essays in Letters from London; Barbadian novelist George Lamming's post-colonial essays the Pleasures of Exile (1960); and historian Hazel V. Carby's recent Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands, which tells a personal story of her Jamaican ancestors' immigration to and life in England. Next, for the rest of the semester, we will shift to a more chronological survey of some classic depictions of arrival in and life in London, beginning with a cluster of 18th- and 19th-century fiction: Fanny Burney's Evelina, or the History of a Young Lady's Entrance into the World (1778); excerpts (the "arrival in London" sections) from Charles Dickens' Great Expectations & David Copperfield; Henry James's “the Pupil” (1891). Texts from the early and mid-20th century may include poetry by Claude McKay ("Old England") and Louise Bennett ("Colonization in Reverse" and "Jamaica Language"); the London sections of Mahatma Gandhi's autobiography; Jean Rhys’ Voyage in the Dark (1934) and "Let them call it jazz" (1962); Sam Selvon's The Lonely Londoners (1956); and calypso music by Lord Kitchener (including his famous "London is the Place for Me," which he sang on the gangplank of the HMS Windrush in 1947 on its arrival in London). Finally we'll conclude with more recent, mostly late 20th-century, writing: Doris Lessing’s memoir In Pursuit of the English (1993), set in a working-class boardinghouse around 1950; Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses (1988); dub poetry by Linton Kwesi Johnson (e.g. “Inglan is a bitch”). We will also read assorted additional criticism and scholarship related to our primary texts, by (probably) the likes of Alexander Welsh, Julie Park, Talal Asad, Edward Said, Paul Gilroy, Jahan Ramazani, Elizabeth Evans, and others.
Assignments will include a number of short, informal response papers; one or two class presentations; and a longer analytical/ interpretive final paper of 12-15 pp. (I am also open to the possibility of a hybrid creative/critical final paper, especially on the part of any MFA students.)
Around 1991: Readings in Gender and Sexuality Studies
- Registration Information: CULS-C701-0005 (#32980)
- Meeting Information: TuTh 9:45-11:00 in BH106
- Joint Listed with: ENG-L663
- Instructor: Rebekah Sheldon
- Course Description: : Intersectionality, the social construction of nature, heteronormativity, strategic essentialism, performativity – so many of the keywords of sex and gender studies emerged out of a cluster of publications dating around 1991. This class takes this date as an opportunity in mapping what will solidify as literary theory. In the 70s and 80s, the civil rights movements moved into higher education. Departments of Black Studies and Women’s Studies opened for the first time just as the English translations of French post-structuralist writings became ubiquitous in American philosophy, literature, and comparative literature departments. Judith Butler, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Donna J. Haraway, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Hortense Spillers and others emerged out of this heady mix. We will see how the concepts they created continue to influence conversations in sex and gender studies today. This class will also include several novelists from the period whose works represent their own contributions to theoretical inquiry: Leslie Marmon Silko, Toni Morrison, Samuel Delany, Karen Tei Yamashita, or Kathy Acker may appear on the schedule.
In this course, we will deep dive into this period and the movements that gave rise to it. We will spend some time at the start of the semester becoming familiar with the period before 1991 to better understand the interventions our 90s writers are making and to see how these interventions changed what it meant to fight social domination. We will end with a brief unit “After 1991” that will show how these ideas are taken up and shifted as they are used in the years following their publications. Students do not need to have any background in the formal study of theory as a significant part of our work together will be to notice the conceptual moves common across these fields. Assessment will be based on an informal reading journal, leading class discussions twice during the semester, and a final conference-length essay.
Wounded Heroes: Thinking Affect, Ethics, and Aesthetics through German-Language Theatre
- Registration Information: CULS-C701-0006 (#34614)
- Meeting Information: Th 4:45-7:00 in PY113
- Joint Listed with: GER-G625
- Instructor: Teresa Kovacs
- Course Description: “The Wound Is Healed Only by the Spear That Smote You,” so the famous line from Richard Wagner’s last opera Parsifal. Wagner’s opera is only one example of a theatrical piece obsessed with the wound. Wounded heroes populate German-laguage theatre and theatre theory; think, for example, about the self-castration in Lenz’s The Tutor, the all-destroying madman in Büchner’s Woyzeck, or, more currently, the stinking wound in Müller’s Philoctetes, and the lung cancer in Schlingensief’s A Church of Fear for the Stranger in Me. Poetological texts span from Lessing’s Laokoon, Herder’s Kritische Wälder, to Kleist’s essay on Caspar David Friedrich, Müller’s The Wound Woyzeck, and Einar Schleef’s Drug Faust Parsifal. This class will work through essential plays and poetological texts and read them with and against current theories on wounds, injuries, and the post-traumatic subject including Elaine Scarry, Catherine Malabou, Sarah Ahmed, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, and Slavoj Žižek to discuss what the wounded and injured subject might reveal about affect, ethics and aesthetics.
Additionally, you will have the opportunity to become part of a stage production of Lenz’s The Tutor as we will have Berlin-based director Jürgen Kuttner as a guest at IU Bloomington in Fall 2023 to create a play based on Bertolt Brecht’s adaption of Lenz’s The Tutor.
Liminal Spaces: Landscape and Disintegration in Contemporary Literature and Film
- Registration Information: CULS-C701-0007 (#34832)
- Meeting Information: MW 1:15-2:30 in WH 002
- Joint Listed with: CMLT-C670
- Instructor: Carlos Colmenares
- Course Description: This class will be an exploration of Space as a philosophical concept and as an aesthetic object. Specifically, we will study how space(s) turn into landscapes and anti-landscapes, how they turn into bodies and psyches, and how thinkers and creators from different parts of the world have tried to articulate or disarticulate such spaces. We will read the literature of Juan Rulfo, Wilson Harris, and Octavia Butler, among others; watch the films of Tsai Ming-Liang, Julie Ducournau, Margot Benacerraf; and read the ideas of thinkers such as Donna Haraway, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Jens Andermann.
Iberian Modernities: Reason, Emotion, Realities
- Registration Information: CULS-C701-0008 (#34843)
- Meeting Information: M 4:45-7:15 in BH123
- Joint Listed with: HISP-S538
- Instructor: Rhi Johnson
- Course Description: Focusing on a variety of genres of Iberian literatures, this course explores Modernity and its shifting methods for conceptualizing the world: rationality and order’ emotion, the individual, and the quest for an unattainable ideal; and positivism and determinism. We will interrogate the trajectory of early liberal projects in Spain and chart the roots of the 20th century’s political landscape, as well as entering into such cultural constructs as authorship, gender and sexuality, social class and Metropolitanism, and religious and state power. This class supports students in developing a grounding in Iberian Enlightenment, Romanticism, Realism and Naturalism, and offers the opportunity to bask in the beauty of texts and ideas that speak to the foundations of what it means to live in a modernized or postmodern world. Students from other disciplines are welcome; a reading knowledge of Spanish is required.
Introduction to Native American & Indigenous Studies
- Registration Information: CULS-C701-0009 (#35577)
- Meeting Information: T 3:00-5:30 in BH603
- Joint Listed with: AMST-G605
- Instructor: David Nichols
- Course Description:This is a one semester introduction to the dynamic field of Native American and Indigenous Studies. Through essay assignments, intensive weekly discussions, and readings in a number of allied disciplines, including cultural studies, anthropology, and history, we will explore many of the principal themes engaging NAIS scholars today. These include Indigenous identity, views of land and sovereignty, settler colonialism and capitalism, and resistance and power.