Fall 2017 HUHC SEMINARS
HUHC 20D (H1) BLACK CINEMA
Professor Jennifer Henton, English
This course examines the production, image, and theory of the black presence (and aesthetic) in cinema. Students will be exposed to the historical trajectory of black people in film (Birth of a Nation ) as well as "black film" production (Oscar Micheaux to Dee Rees/Spike Lee) and emergent theories of the black aesthetic. Since thinking, studying, and writing about film studies depends on precise terms and articulation of ways of seeing, a strong theoretical component will accompany this course. Our goal by semester's end is for students to master historical and theoretical knowledge and be able to articulate a deep understanding of the black cinematic tradition in the U.S. Students will communicate their grasp of the area through essays, quizzes, mid-term and final exams, and a final project designed to give students an opportunity to display the insights they have gained.
HUHC 20A (H1) INTRODUCTION TO ARCHITECTURE: CASE STUDIES
Professor Joseph Masheck, Fine Arts and Art History
Architecture may be the most ubiquitous of the fine arts (painting, sculpture, architecture); but except for obvious fashions, most people hardly notice it, even though it shapes their experience almost every day. Also: it is by and large the most expensive fine art, of seemingly durable materials; and yet it is the least preserved and most destroyed. Whenever it survives, however, it shows more physically than anything else the 'frame of mind' of people at a certain time: notions of space (by no means always the same); social hierarchy versus equality; not to mention the art's basis in available materials and techniques—everything from physics (e.g. the principle of the cantilever) to metaphysics (the principle of monumentality). We deal in this course with fundamentals of both theory (including the distinction of architecture from mere building) and historical practice in the classical as well as the modern tradition. Students learn how to analyze buildings in terms of structure, style, and cultural function. Two or three field trips. Readings by architects and art historians; but you will also learn how to read a ground plan!
HUHC 020C (H1) POETRY OF WITNESS
Professor Maria C. Roberts, Department of English
In the dark times, will there also be singing?
Yes, there will be singing.
About the dark times. --Bertolt Brecht
In this workshop we will study "poetry of witness," a genre of poetry described by Carolyn Forche in her anthology Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness written by "significant poets who endured conditions of historical and social extremity during the twentieth century—through exile, state censorship, political persecution, house arrest, torture, imprisonment, military occupation, warfare and assassination." Poems that "bear the trace of extremity within them, and [that] are, as such, evidence of what occurred." We will also study 21st century "poetry of engagement" by both established and emerging poets that deal with the public events, government policies, ecological and political threats, economic uncertainties, and large-scale violence that have defined the century to date.
In addition to working on a new poem every other week, each student will give an oral presentation on a poetry collection chosen from the recommended reading. Each student is responsible for photocopying his/her work, distributing it to the class, and then reading it aloud. Those not presenting work are responsible for contributing to the discussion by offering constructive criticism, praise, suggestions for revisions, etc.
During the course of the semester, two poets will visit our class to talk about poetry of witness. Professor Mario Susko, a survivor and witness of the war in Bosnia and Liv Mammone, a Hofstra alum who writes about disability and bearing witness in her work.
(The chair of the English department has indicated this course may be counted as an English/Creative Writing elective toward the completion of the requirements for majors or minors.)
HUHC 20E (H1) THE ECONOMICS OF INEQUALITY
Professor Massoud Fazeli, Economics
THE ECONOMICS OF INEQUALITY:
What does it mean to say we are all equal? Is this merely a positive expression of facts, stating our inherent equality in basic rights, or is it rather a normative statement promoting equality? What do people mean when they say we want equality in opportunity but not artificially imposed equality in result? Is it not true that inequality in result today will inevitably generate unequal opportunity for the next generation?
Isaiah Berlin, a prominent philosopher, stated that: 'the assumption is that equality needs no reasons, only inequality does so… If I have a cake and there are ten persons among whom I wish to divide it, then if I give exactly one tenth to each, this will not, at any rate automatically, call for justification; whereas if I depart from this principle of equal division I am expected to produce a special reason'. Not all agree with this view. Another philosopher, Harry Frankfurt, maintains that equality has no intrinsic moral value. We must rather strive to improve the conditions of the poor and less privileged: 'inequality in incomes might be decisively eliminated, after all, just by arranging that all incomes be equally below the poverty line'. According to this perspective, equality in poverty and misery has no intrinsic moral advantage and will definitely not promote social welfare.
We are facing very critical and politically volatile issues here. For instance, there is growing populist anger in many countries, including the United States. Did those who voted for president Trump do so to express their frustration with growing inequality or was this vote an attempt by the mostly white nativist working class to recreate the "white privilege" as some have called it?
We will discuss three main topics in this course: egalitarianism and its advocates and foes, growing inequality in the distribution of wealth and income in the U.S. in recent decades, the role of social movements and policy in addressing and alleviating these trends.
(The chair of the Economics department has indicated this course may be counted as an Economics elective toward the completion of the requirements for majors or minors, if the student has not already taken an HUHC seminar for Economics credit previously.)
HUHC 20F (H1) SOUNDSCAPES: MUSIC IN THE 3RD WORLD
Professor John Pulis, Anthropology
This course will introduce students to cultural anthropology and the way indigenous, native, or first peoples in Asia, Oceania, Africa, and the Americas practice and perform music. Our approach will be historical and descriptive. Using the culture-area approach and the idea of a "soundscape," we will listen, watch (film, live performance- Mohegan drummers, Scottish fiddle players, Brazilian capoeira ), and we will explore the role of "sound" among Tuvan pastoralists, Aboriginal hunter-gathers, South American head-hunters, Navajo-Sioux flute players and various groups in modern and post-colonial societies (Calypso, Ska, Mento, High-Life et al.). Along with the above, we will discuss theory, cultural formation (syncretism, and the way various genres (Hip-Hop, Reggae) have been invented and reinvented across and through time.
(The chair of the Anthropology department has indicated this course may be counted as an Anthropology elective toward the completion of the requirements for majors or minors.)
HUHC 20G (H1) PALEOBIOLOGY OF THE DINOSAURS
Professor J. Bret Bennington, Geology, Environment, and Sustainability
Dinosaurs were first unearthed almost 200 years ago and ever since paleontologists have been trying to work out what living dinosaurs were like from their fossil remains. This is particularly challenging because dinosaurs were so enormous and so unusual in their physiology – nothing quite like them exists today. Our ideas about dinosaurs have changed so much over the years that one has to wonder, will we ever really know what living dinosaurs were like? New fossils and new methods of analysis constantly surprise us (who would have guessed twenty years ago that Tyrannosaurus rex had feathers?) yet they do bring us ever closer to seeing these extinct titans as they really were. In this seminar we will explore the methods of analysis paleobiologists have developed for reconstructing the biology of extinct animals and review the latest fossil discoveries and research studies concerning dinosaur physiology, evolution, ecology, behavior, growth, and reproduction. Trips to the American Museum of Natural History and to see dinosaur fossils in the field will be offered. Felt fedoras are optional.
HUHC 20B (H1) VISUALIZING PERCEPTION: DEMO FABRICATION LABORATORIES
Professors Elizabeth Ploran, Psychology and Jackson Snellings, Computer Science
This seminar will be team-taught by a cognitive neuroscientist and an interactive technologist as a hands-on course in teaching science concepts through physical demonstrations. Students will learn the basics of certain sensation and perception concepts (e.g., color perception, how the ear works) while simultaneously considering how to demonstrate those concepts to lay audiences through short physical laboratory exercises using commonly available objects. The focus will be on how to accurately represent science concepts in an accessible, easy-to-learn way that can reproduced across multiple contexts (e.g., classrooms, museums, home schooling). This course will be equal parts traditional content and project development, with heavy emphasis on interdisciplinary discovery and incorporation of artistic skills into the practice of science communication. Students should be prepared to actively discuss the science behind the concepts while also stretching their creative skills and practicing disseminating information to the public.
(The chair of the Psychology department has indicated this course may be counted as a Psychology elective toward the completion of the requirements for majors or minors. This course will also count for credit towards the Neuroscience minor by petition to Dr. Elisabeth Ploran, chair of the minor.)
HUHC 20I (H1) READING AND WRITING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE AND OTHER 'HOT' TOPICS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
Professor Jase Bernhardt, Geology
In an era featuring increasing concern for the environment, but at the same time, an increase in partisanship, how do we consume, interpret, and communicate information about topics such as climate change and sustainability? Throughout this seminar, we will learn how to analyze scientific writing in the mainstream media, academic journals, and governmental reports. Students will have the opportunity to select articles of interest, prepare critiques, and lead group paper discussions. In addition to reading and critiquing the work of others, students will learn how to write about science for both technical and broader audiences. Enhancing these reading and writing assignments will be background lectures demonstrating, at an introductory level, how the various Earth systems operate, how we as humans influence them, and how we can limit our impacts in a just and efficient manner.
(The Director of Sustainability Studies has indicated this course may be counted as a Sustainability elective toward the completion of the requirements for majors or minors.)
HUHC 20J (H1) SURVEY OF POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES
Professor David Green, Political Science
What are political ideologies, and how do you classify them? Is the left-right dimension of ideology adequate for a discussion of politics? Is it possible to construct a more complex classification? How does one treat nationalist ideologies, or environmentalist ideologies, or religious or multicultural ideologies using a left-right formulation – even an elaborated one?
This course begins with a discussion of the function of ideology in societies, from the anthropological, psychological and analytical perspectives. What are some of the problems of categorizing in ideological terms? Next, the course considers some historical background on the idea of ideology itself, and the way in which our formulations have changed over time.
The course finally examines a wide variety of established ideological belief systems, including conservatism, liberalism, socialism, communism and fascism. Also included will be some other ideologies of rising importance today: nationalism, neoliberalism, anarchism, libertarianism, feminism, environmentalism, liberation ideologies, various multiculturalist ideologies and religious fundamentalisms, including case studies.
(The chair of the Political Science department has indicated this course may be counted as a Political Science elective toward the completion of the requirements for majors or minors.)
HUHC 20K (H1) THE PEN AS A BRUSH: HISPANIC POETRY AND PAINTING
Professor Miguel-Angel Zapata, Romance Languages
TR 11:10-12:35 PM
The focus of this course pertains to poets from Spain and Latin America. All of the poets selected have centered some of their key works around certain paintings; these paintings have also influenced their development as poets. A truncated list of the poets and paintings to be studied includes: Jose Angel Valente (Spain: "Picasso-Guernica" and "Lyriker, 1911" by Egon Shiele), Jose Emilio Pacheco (Mexico: "Crist on the Cross" by Bosch), Jose Watanabe (Peru: "The Scream," Edvard Munch), Piedad Bonnett (Colombia: "The Wounded Deer," Frida Khalo), Oscar Hahn (Chile: "Self-Potrait of Van Gogh" and "The Annunciation" by Fra Angelico) and Cristina Peri Rossi (Uruguay: "Hotel Room" by Hopper and "The Sleepers" by Gustave Courbet"). In the poems I have selected, one discovers the transformation of the brush stroke into the written word and an image that reappears as a new work of art. This encounter between poet and painter opens new doors of research into the intrinsic relation between the arts. It is not on a mere whim that so many writers have felt themselves attracted to works of visual art, and at the same time have expressed their interior selves through the contemplation of paintings, and that this exploration has caused them to work their way into the canvas itself, and to reside inside the brilliant house of color.
(The chair of the Spanish department has indicated this course may be counted as an elective toward the completion of the requirements for majors in Spanish, provided the student has not received previous credit for a course in Spanish Literature in Translation, SPLT)