Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

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Fall 2014 Course Listings


September 15 to December 8

Europe’s Past: The Kings and Queens of the Tudor Era
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Cira Vernazza | CRN #25290
Using John Guy’s masterpiece, Tudor England, we will study the kings and queens of the Tudor dynasty—Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I—and the major changes that occurred in England during the 16th century, including the revolution in government, the English Reformation, social and economic patterns, and the flowering of the English Renaissance.

Cultural Studies in American History: A History of American Transportation
1:30 – 3:30 p.m. | Philip Suchma | CRN # 25291
The United States is a vast landscape stretching between two oceans and making up almost 44 percent of the North American continent. The settling, expansion, and maintenance of such a vast nation have led to continual challenges. This course examines the influence of transportation upon the history of the United States, from colonial times to the present. Starting with the early waterways across the Atlantic used by the first European settlers, we will address how American transportation on land, on water, and in the air through such means as wagon trails, subways, canals, blimps, and, of course, the beloved automobile, have transformed a vast landscape into a space where the American Dream can be pursued.

Studies in Social Science: Close Encounters with Nature
1:30 – 3:30 p.m. | Robert Spiegelman | CRN # 25292
This course probes the West’s fateful encounter with nature, drawing on philosophy and literature, cartography and science, Romantic music and modern painting, environmentalism and engineering, and the vivid interplay of cinema and cosmos. Highlights include the arrivals of Columbus and Hudson; imperial dreams, from DeWitt’s map and Cole’s Empire series to Monet’s Houses of Parliament; samplings of robust soundscapes from Beethoven and Schumann to the fragile web of Krause’s Great Animal Orchestra; the debate over which Dust Bowl matters, Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath, or Ford’s film version; a hidden Americana where Iroquois Thanksgiving meets Gilded Age follies (Spiegelman’s Then & Now); Manhattan Project vs. Mannahatta Project; a choice of Teddy Roosevelts, divided icon; Katrina’s landfall via eyewitness film, (Spike Lee & Behn Zeitlin); modern “pyramids,” from the Erie Canal and Container Ship to the Keystone Pipeline and Hadron (“God Particle”) Collider; searing photo-visions from Ansel Adams, Allan Sekula, and Ed Burtynsky; and the tea party for the ages with Sartre (Nausea), Marcuse (One Dimensional Man), Feyerabend (Against Method), Stiegeler (Technics and Ister), Baudrillard (Illusion of the End), Jensen (The Culture of Make Believe),and Wright (A Short History of Progress).


September 16 to December 9

Theater History: Social Revolutionaries
10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | John Erman | CRN # 25293
This course will explore the different sensibilities of some major plays of the 1960s and 1970s, whose Broadway plays confronted many issues during a time of social turmoil and cultural change. Works will include Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Joe Orton’s Entertaining Mr. Sloane, Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming, and John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger.

Studies in Comparative Literature: Milestones in Modern Drama
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Laura Greeney | CRN # 25294
This course will examine the revolutionary developments in Western drama from the late 19th century into the first half of the 20th century. We will examine the circumstances that led to the reawakening of drama after a period of semihibernation, while considering the following questions: What circumstances in each playwright’s life and society led to the creation of enduring dramatic work? In what ways did these works depart from and subvert the established principles of drama? How did each playwright capture a distinct time and place and yet remain relevant to future generations of readers and theatre attendees? Playwrights to be studied include August Strindberg, Henrik Ibsen, Oscar Wilde, Anton Chekhov, Eugene Ionesco, Sophie Treadwell, and Eugene O’Neill.

Creative Writing: Memory and Invention
1:30 – 3:30 p.m. | Nina Goss | CRN # 25295
As writers, we compose expressive memoirs, moving reflections, and engaging fiction by creating new languages that marry experience and imagination. In this course, we will explore the construction of our own creative and expressive language through heightened attention to this pairing of memory and invention across a variety of genres. We will develop a greater appreciation for the writing process in the genre that each student finds most seductive.

Studies in Philosophy: Philosophical Aesthetics
1:30 – 3:30 p.m. | Babette Babich | CRN # 25296
Beyond the philosophy of art and beauty, the tradition of philosophical aesthetics includes questions of taste (David Hume) and judgment (Immanuel Kant). We will consider Schiller’s famous letters on aesthetic education and Hegel’s early 19th-century thesis of the end of art, in addition to 20th-century thinkers including Arthur Danto and Alexander Nehamas. If time and interest permit, we will review questions of contemporary philosophy of art, including the question of the meaning of “art” and the role of the museum and gallery in the so-called “art world.”


September 17 to December 10

Classical Studies: A Look at Ancient Comedy and Satire—What Made Them Laugh?
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | George Shea | CRN # 25297
Laughter serves many purposes. So it is not surprising that the authors of ancient comedy and satire had to strike a balance between entertainment, critical comment and ridicule, and instruction. Greek and Roman authors gave different weight to each of those objectives, with their choices determining the trajectory of comedy and satire in their worlds. We will examine the evolution of those two genres, from Aristophanes to Juvenal, studying the approaches and techniques of the most important authors and noting what in their societies and cultures provoked and guided their works. And we’ll laugh and learn a bit about ourselves along the way.

Religion and Culture: The Torah and Prophets of Ancient Israel
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Byron Shafer | CRN # 25298
A study of two of the three sections of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament): the Torah (the books of Genesis through Deuteronomy, with their accounts of creation, the patriarchs and matriarchs, the exodus from Egypt, the giving of the Commandments, and the 40-year wilderness wandering); and the books of the Prophets (Joshua through 2 Kings, excluding Ruth, and Isaiah through Malachi, with their testimony to the controversies between kings and prophets as Israel and Judah sought to live in accordance with God’s will, and to the reconstitution of the Jewish people following the fall of monarchy and the nation-state).

Topics in History: The Age of Revolution—Europe
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Howard Krukofsky | CRN # 25299
The great revolutionary period of 1688-1789 convulsed the Western world and confronted the major ideological and social issues that would transform society. The English and French revolutions forged the foundations of the modern democratic state, and yet, paradoxically helped shape the modern totalitarian state. An analysis of the Enlightenment era’s English and French revolutions will seek to delineate the anatomy of revolution.

Studies in Music History: Understanding Opera
1:30 – 3:30 p.m. | Kathryn John | CRN # 25300
This course will study the development of opera through works in the current Metropolitan Opera performance schedule. Operas will include Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Le Nozze di Figaro; Il Barbiere di Siviglia by Rossini; Verdi’s La Traviata and Aida; Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg by Wagner; Bizet’s Carmen; and Puccini’s La Bohème, among others.


September 18 to December 18

America’s Past: A View of the History of the U.S. through a Study of 23 Presidents and First Ladies
10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. | Juliana Gilheany | CRN # 25301

From George Washington to Barack Obama, this course examines the personalities, policies, successes, and failures of 23 of the nation’s chief executives and provides insights into the political, economic and social issues of their times. We will also remember the ladies, 23 of them, from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama, and their widely varying roles as confidantes, hostesses, and, at times, the powers behind the thrones. Controversial, often entertaining, and little-known episodes in their public and personal lives will be woven into the lectures and discussions.

Issues in Psychology: The Wisdom of the Dream
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Marie Sheehan | CRN # 25302

This course will focus on the inner experiences of individuals as expressed in their dream life. The goal of the course is to open ourselves to the meanings of our dreams and the intriguing adventure of exploring and interpreting the complexities and depths of one’s own mind.

Studies in Art History: A World History of Ceramics
1:30 – 3:30 p.m. | Sharon Suchma | CRN # 25303

This course will explore the history of pottery making—one of the most widespread of human activities, most ancient of industries, and most versatile of human art forms. Once humans discovered that clay could be dug up, mixed with water, shaped and fired, ceramics have been cherished for both their aesthetic beauty and their practical use. Civilizations all over the world, both past and present, have used ceramics in their lives, and examples come from Neolithic, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Pre-Columbian, Asian, and European societies. Changes in styles, technology, concepts of art, and utilitarian demands reveal much about these cultures and moments in history, making pottery a significant document of human life.

Studies in Philosophy: The World after Marx, Darwin, and Freud
1:30 – 3:30 p.m. | Robert O’Brien | CRN # 25304

Three radical theories, born in the 19th century, had a dramatic effect on 20th century culture, insofar as each claimed to liberate people from traditional beliefs which were judged to be no longer adequate or relevant socioeconomic (Marx), scientific (Darwin), psychological (Freud), and especially, religious beliefs. Each generated a fervent following, as well as fierce opposition from those who saw these views as a reduction of humans to the level of other animals or material beings with no transcendent aspects. This course will examine some important questions : Is this conflict still as strong today? Can a deeper insight into these theories reveal valuable insights that can coexist?

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