This course seeks to develop a nuanced understanding of the scope of cultural and literary expression in the late 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries. It attends to broad socio-historical happenings, from the birth of modernism in the late 19th century to the post-modern moment. In addition to literary modernism, the course will also take a brief look at the cultural production of modernism in art, music, architecture, cinema, philosophy, and drama. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to: Define the terms modernism and modernity and explain the similarities and differences between these terms using specific works to illustrate comparison and contrast; List and explain the importance of a variety of social, cultural, and historical developments leading up to and occurring during the modern period; Cite and analyze the meaning of primary works of literature, poetry, art, music, architecture, cinema, philosophy and drama to illustrate the principle characteristics of modernism; Compare and contrast the literatures of both France and England from the start of the modern era (i.e., the turn of the twentieth century); Explain the impact of the Great War upon the development and expression of a variety of literary and artistic forms and especially on poetry in a number of genres; Describe the aftermath of World War I and its variety of effects upon literature and art and especially upon the poetry of T.S. Eliot and the novels of Virginia Woolf and Ernest Hemingway; Define High Modernism and give examples of the tenets, ideals, and even the contradictions and self-contradictions of this movement in history and literature (and especially in both its Irish and British contexts); Define the terms postmodernism and deconstruction as well as the phrase Magical Realism and identify the most important characteristics of the movements, fields, theories, and texts associated with these terms; Explain the premises of postcolonial literature and literary theory and identify, describe, compare, and contrast postcolonial texts from range of national origins. (English Literature 204)
This course examines how medicine is practiced cross-culturally, with particular emphasis on Western biomedicine. Students analyze medical practice as a cultural system, focusing on the human, as opposed to the biological, side of things. Also considered is how people in different cultures think of disease, health, body, and mind.
Examines traditional forms of East Asian culture (including literature, art, performance, food, and religion) as well as contemporary forms of popular culture (film, pop music, karaoke, and manga). Covers China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, with an emphasis on China. Attention given to women's culture. The influence and presence of Asian cultural expressions in the US are also considered. Use made of resources in the Boston area, including the MFA, the Children's Museum, and the Sackler collection at Harvard. Taught in English.
This course covers the role of physics and physicists during the 20th century, focusing on Einstein, Oppenheimer, and Feynman. Beyond just covering the scientific developments, institutional, cultural, and political contexts will also be examined.
Survey of the social, cultural, and political development of western Europe between 500 and 1300. Topics include: the Germanic conquest of the ancient Mediterranean world; the Carolingian Renaissance; feudalism and the breakdown of political order; the crusades; the quality of religious life; the experience of women; and the emergence of a revitalized economy and culture in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
This course introduces the history of the Middle East and Southwest Asia from the pre-Islamic period to the end of World War I. Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to: discuss the history of East Asia from the pre-Islamic period through the beginning of the 20th century; analyze the interactions between ancient civilizations of the Middle East and Southwest Asia in the pre-Islamic period; identify the origins of Islam, and assess the political and cultural impact of the Muslim faith on the peoples of the Middle East and the Mediterranean Basin; identify the origins of the Umayyad and Abbasid Empires, and assess how these dynasties reshaped political and economic life throughout the Middle East and Southwest Asia; describe and assess the social and cultural impact of Islam on the peoples of the Middle East and the Mediterranean Basin; identify external threats to the Muslim world during the Middle Ages, and analyze how Muslim leaders responded to these threats; identify the origins of the Ottoman Empire, and assess how the Ottomans established political and economic control over the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East; analyze the political, economic, and military interactions between the Ottoman Empire and the nations of Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries; explain how European imperialism destabilized the Middle East and Southwest Asia in the 19th and early 20th centuries and allowed European nations to establish political control over many Middle Eastern nations; analyze the political impact of World War I on the peoples and nations of the Middle East; analyze and interpret primary source documents from the pre-Islamic period through the beginning of the 20th century using historical research methods. This free course may be completed online at any time. (History 231)
A brief history of conflicting ideas about mankind's relation to the natural environment as exemplified in works of poetry, fiction, and discursive argument from ancient times to the present. What is the overall character of the natural world? Is mankind's relation to it one of stewardship and care, or of hostility and exploitation? Readings include Aristotle, The Book of Genesis, Shakespeare, Descartes, Robinson Crusoe, Swift, Rousseau, Wordsworth, Darwin, Thoreau, Faulkner, and Lovelock's Gaia. This subject offers a broad survey of texts (both literary and philosophical) drawn from the Western tradition and selected to trace the growth of ideas about nature and the natural environment of mankind. The term nature in this context has to do with the varying ways in which the physical world has been conceived as the habitation of mankind, a source of imperatives for the collective organization and conduct of human life. In this sense, nature is less the object of complex scientific investigation than the object of individual experience and direct observation. Using the term "nature" in this sense, we can say that modern reference to "the environment" owes much to three ideas about the relation of mankind to nature. In the first of these, which harks back to ancient medical theories and notions about weather, geographical nature was seen as a neutral agency affecting or transforming agent of mankind's character and institutions. In the second, which derives from religious and classical sources in the Western tradition, the earth was designed as a fit environment for mankind or, at the least, as adequately suited for its abode, and civic or political life was taken to be consonant with the natural world. In the third, which also makes its appearance in the ancient world but becomes important only much later, nature and mankind are regarded as antagonists, and one must conquer the other or be subjugated by it.
A survey of how America has become the world's largest consumer of energy. Explores American history from the perspective of energy and its relationship to politics, diplomacy, the economy, science and technology, labor, culture, and the environment. Topics include muscle and water power in early America, coal and the Industrial Revolution, electrification, energy consumption in the home, oil and US foreign policy, automobiles and suburbanization, nuclear power, OPEC and the 70's energy crisis, global warming, and possible paths for the future.
This class explores the interrelationship between humans and natural environments. It does so by focusing on conflict over access to and use of the environment as well as ideas about "nature" in various parts of the world.
From pineapples grown in Hawai'i to English-speaking call centers outsourced to India, the legacy of the "Age of Imperialism" appears everywhere in our modern world. This class explores the history of European imperialism in its political, economic, and cultural dimensions from the 1840s through the 1960s.
" As we read broadly from throughout the vast chronological period that is "Homer to Dante," we will pepper our readings of individual ancient and medieval texts with broader questions like: what images, themes, and philosophical questions recur through the period; are there distinctly "classical" or "medieval" ways of depicting or addressing them; and what do terms like "Antiquity" or "the Middle Ages" even mean? (What are the Middle Ages in the "middle" of, for example?) Our texts will include adventure tales of travel and self-discovery (Homer's Odyssey and Dante's Inferno); courtroom dramas of vengeance and reconciliation (Aeschylus's Oresteia and the Icelandic NjĚÁls saga); short poems of love and transformation (Ovid's Metamorphoses and the Lais of Marie de France); and epics of war, nation-construction, and empire (Homer's Iliad, Virgil's Aeneid, and the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf)."
This subject offers a broad survey of texts (both literary and philosophical) drawn from the Western tradition and selected to trace the growth of ideas about the nature of mankind's ethical and political life in the West since the renaissance It will deal with the change in perspective imposed by scientific ideas, the general loss of a supernatural or religious perspective upon human events, and the effects for good or ill of the increasing authority of an intelligence uninformed by religion as a guide to life. The readings are roughly complementary to the readings in 21L001, and classroom discussion will stress appreciation and analysis of texts that came to represent the cultural heritage of the modern world.
This course comprises a broad survey of texts, literary and philosophical, which trace the development of the modern world from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century. Intrinsic to this development is the growth of individualism in a world no longer understood to be at the center of the universe. The texts chosen for study exemplify the emergence of a new humanism, at once troubled and dynamic in comparison to the old. The leading theme of this course is thus the question of the difference between the ancient and the modern world. Students who have taken Foundations of Western Culture I will obviously have an advantage in dealing with this question. Classroom discussion approaches this question mainly through consideration of action and characters, voice and form.
This class continues our study of the foundational texts of human culture, focusing on early modernity until the recent past. In many ways, this includes several questions such as: Why did these works achieve the fame and influence they achieved? How do they present what it means to be a human being? How do they describe the role of a member of a family, community, tradition, social class, gender? How do they distinguish between proper and improper behavior? How do they characterize the members of other groups? However, in several ways, these texts are also iconoclastic, breaking with centuries of established tradition to shed light on previously unexplored subjects, such as the status of women in society or the legacy of the colonial expansion of European countries. They also question well-established social beliefs like religion, monarchical rule and human nature in general.
This course aims to introduce students to the rich diversity of human culture from antiquity to the early 17th century. In this course, we will explore human culture in its myriad expressions, focusing on the study of literary, religious and philosophical texts as ways of narrating, symbolizing, and commenting on all aspects of human social and material life. We will work comparatively, reading texts from various cultures: Mesopotamian, Greek, Judeo-Christian, Chinese, Indian, and Muslim. Throughout the semester, we will be asking questions like: How have different cultures imagined themselves? What are the rules that they draw up for human behavior? How do they represent the role of the individual in society? How do they imagine 'universal' concepts like love, family, duty? How have their writers and artists dealt with encounters with other cultures and other civilizations?
This course covers French politics, culture, and society from Louis XIV to Napoleon Bonaparte. Attention is given to the growth of the central state, the beginnings of a modern consumer society, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, including its origins, and the rise and fall of Napoleon.
In this course, you will learn the basics of French, including reading, writing, listening, and speaking. At the end of the quarter you will know how to introduce yourself and volunteer basic information, and how to ask questions of others. You will also have some knowledge of French and Francophone cultures and protocols. This class is divided into four modules, which follow the chapters in the textbook. In each module you will be asked to read, write, speak, and listen in French. The class also includes a quarter-long cultural immersion project, in which you will be asked to conduct research on specific aspects of a non-European Francophone country and report your findings to the rest of the class.
As in French I, in this course, you will learn the basics of French, including reading, writing, listening, and speaking. At the end of the quarter you will know how to introduce yourself and volunteer basic information, and how to ask questions of others. You will also have some knowledge of French and Francophone cultures and protocols. This class is divided into four modules, which follow the chapters in the textbook. In each module you will be asked to read, write, speak, and listen in French. You will have daily homework assignments to complete. The class also includes a quarter-long cultural immersion project, in which you will be asked to conduct research on specific aspects of a non-European Francophone country and report your findings to the rest of the class.
As in French I and II, in this course, you will learn the basics of French, including reading, writing, listening, and speaking. At the end of the quarter you will know how to introduce yourself and volunteer basic information, and how to ask questions of others. You will also have some knowledge of French and Francophone cultures and protocols. This class is divided into four modules, which follow the chapters in the textbook. In each module you will be asked to read, write, speak, and listen in French. You will have daily homework assignments to complete. The class also includes a quarter-long cultural immersion project, in which you will be asked to conduct research on specific aspects of a non-European Francophone country and report your findings to the rest of the class.
This course examines relationships between identity and participation in Japanese popular culture as a way of understanding the changing character of media, capitalism, fan communities, and culture. It emphasizes contemporary popular culture and theories of gender, sexuality, race, and the workings of power and value in global culture industries. Topics include manga (comic books), hip-hop and other popular music, anime and feature films, video games, contemporary literature, and online communication. Students present analyses and develop a final project based on a particular aspect of gender and popular culture.