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Program Overview

Interdisciplinary Studies

Interdisciplinary Studies

Students enrolled in the Interdisciplinary Studies certificate have the greatest flexibility in their course selection. They may take a range of courses offered through the Liberal Studies certificates of advanced graduate study curriculum in the areas of History, American Studies, Chicago Studies, and Religious and Ethical Studies. They may also choose to focus on a more individualized course of study in consultation with the Student Adviser for Liberal Studies.

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About the Interdisciplinary Studies program

Interdisciplinary Studies Course Schedule

The Interdisciplinary Studies Course Schedule page provides you with detailed information on the program's offerings.

Interdisciplinary Studies Faculty

You can find a full listing of our instructors in this certificate program on the Interdisciplinary Studies Faculty page.

Admission for the Interdisciplinary Studies program

Applicants to this certificate program must hold a graduate degree from an accredited U.S. college, university or its foreign equivalent. A competitive graduate record that indicates strong academic ability is required. Work, internship, or research experience is highly desirable, but not a requirement. A list of admission requirements can be found on our Interdisciplinary Studies Admission page.

Interdisciplinary Studies Tuition

Tuition costs can vary for each of our programs. For the most up-to-date information on financial obligations, please visit our Interdisciplinary Studies Tuition page.

Interdisciplinary Studies Registration Information

Our Interdisciplinary Studies Registration Information page outlines important dates and deadlines as well as the process for adding and dropping courses.

Gainful Employment in Interdisciplinary Studies

Common questions and answers related to cost, financing and success in this certificate program are found on our Gainful Employment in Interdisciplinary Studies page.

Additional Information

The post-graduate certificate in interdisciplinary studies may be especially beneficial to educators, students who are thinking of going on to a PhD program, or anyone who wants to combine interdisciplinary methods within a broad range of subject areas. The coursework will:

  • Expose students to Northwestern University’s distinguished and world class instructors.
  • Provide students with countless opportunities to engage with others who are passionate to learn more about vitally important social and cultural issues through history, religion, philosophy, art, literature and film.
  • Prepare students for the intellectual demands of professional life by enriching students’ understanding of a broad array of social and cultural issues while improving their ability to analyze, write and complete research.
  • Sharpen analytical and writing abilities, which can help prepare students for application to PhD programs.

Applicants must possess a graduate degree in order to be considered for this program.

Find out more about Northwestern's Interdisciplinary Studies program

Interdisciplinary Studies Course Options

To complete this certificate, students may take any four courses available in their chosen topic area (which may include courses available through The Graduate School). To satisfy the four units of credit required for the certificate, students also have the option to register for one or both of the following:

  • An independent study, which is a customized course of study undertaken by a single student under the guidance of an instructor. Denoted by the course number, 499, independent studies are comparable in their demands to other graduate-level courses.
  • A capstone project, which is an essay of 45 to 75 double-spaced pages written under the supervision of an approved faculty member. The project presents an opportunity to research and explore a topic thoroughly. Students often elect to expand a seminar paper from a previous course. Students who wish to pursue a capstone project must do so as their fourth and final course in the certificate program.

Students who did not previously study the humanities at the graduate level are strongly encouraged to take IPLS 410: Introduction to Cultural Analysis. This course introduces students to interdisciplinary cultural analysis through an intellectual history of critical theorists and thinkers. Through close reading, seminar discussion and presentations, students develop their critical analysis skills.

Please note that courses completed in the certificate program cannot be transferred to the corresponding graduate degree.

Core Courses:Course Detail
Tolerance: A Global History <> IPLS 401-0

The current election cycle seems be bringing into stark relief some fundamental questions surrounding difference in contemporary society. One of the hallmarks of modern society is its attempt to produce a truly diverse populace through the elevation of tolerance—of neighbors who lead culturally different lives—to a primary value. As noble as the idea of tolerance may seem, it has faced and continues to face resistance in our contemporary world for a variety of reasons. This course begins with the premise that tolerance is not a simple concept, that it has a complicated origin story in the Reformation/Counter-Reformation and that, ironically, it was global Christianity in its missionizing that laid the groundwork for the proliferation of ideologies of tolerance and diversity in modernity. The course will begin its focus on missionaries, a group of people rarely identified with tolerance. We will read primary texts associated with the conquest of the New World that attempt to characterize and cultivate native populations, whose own religious patrimonies represented not only a barrier to conversion but a genuine threat to global Christian ways of understanding phenomena in the world. In this context we will examine as case studies the writings of religious scholars who encountered different religious cultures in North America and South Asia. We will see how these missionary scholars employed religious categories like “idolatry” and “superstition” to think about the different societies they encountered and to process elements of these societies that could be tolerated as "cultural" difference. This material will prepare us for a transition to Enlightenment philosophical writings about tolerance. We will closely examine Voltaire's Treatise on Tolerance and John Locke's A Letter Concerning Toleration and consider these in light of the emerging philosophical tradition and in contrast with the missionary texts that, we will see, pave the way for some of the ideas contained within these works. Finally, we will reflect on contemporary society’s tolerance challenges and consider what scholarly works from early modernity and the Enlightenment could teach us today. (This course may count towards the History, Religious and Ethical Studies, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the liberal studies graduate and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


There is no available section.
From Hamilton to “Hamilton” <> IPLS 401-0

This course will explore how Lin Manuel Miranda has repurposed early American history to resonate with present-day concerns such as immigration, citizenship, and upward mobility. His musical "Hamilton" has become a national sensation, and its popularity affords us an opportunity to learn not only about our nation's founding, but also about the evolution of hip hop and the meaning of the country's demographic transformation. We will examine primary texts from Alexander Hamilton’s time, in addition to more recent musical recordings, narratives of Latina/o History, and documents related to the career of Miranda himself, including excerpts from his first musical, “In the Heights.” (This course may count towards the History, American Studies, and Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the liberal studies graduate and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


View IPLS 401-0 Sections
Introduction to Graduate Studies <> IPLS 410-0

This course, required of all MALIT and MALS students (but open to any interested graduate student), introduces graduate work in literary and cultural studies. The course draws from two centuries of critical writing, and will discuss critical texts by major figures, though it is not intended to be a survey of literary and cultural theory. Rather we will inquire into what kinds of knowledge literary and cultural production provides as a way to isolate the object of study itself. Related questions ensure: how is a cultural product isolated from or understood in relation to its social and historical context? What is the relationship between geopolitics and literature? How does the history of technologies of reading (and looking) relate to the texts themselves? What is the status of literature in the digital age? Readings are drawn from literary theory, philosophy, film and media studies, and the humanistic social sciences in order to derive a reading practice that allows us to see how literary texts (and other sorts of texts) offer evidence toward larger questions regarding knowledge, history, and society. The goal is to develop a sensitivity to the relationship between the text and the social as it has been variously conceived that will allow students to approach and conceive their future work in literary studies with a sense of what it can and cannot offer; where and how the object of literary study itself has been located by important thinkers; and how and when other disciplinary approaches may be useful to literary studies. As such, we will read many pinnacles of writing from literary studies and the humanistic social sciences. We will discuss a number of major theorists along the way (e.g., Marx, Freud, Mauss, Foucault, Derrida, Geertz, Said, Spivak, Moretti, Butler, Rancière) and students will develop an appreciation for the major theories of some crucial scholars, with the opportunity to dig deeper into the work of any of them. Assignments will focus on the weekly readings themselves, with paper assignments intended to allow students to think through the topics of the course, and to develop skills in some of the genres of the profession of literary studies itself. Thus we will at times interrupt our larger argument within the course by attending to questions about how the profession of literature is currently organized, and discussing some of its nuts and bolts.


View IPLS 410-0 Sections
Introduction to Digital Studies <> IPLS 420-0

How do we better understand the conjuncture of digital technologies and the humanities? What kinds of thinking, research, teaching, politics, and cultural analysis can the digital enhance? How, in turn, do the fields that constitute the humanities (history, literary and language studies, philosophy, art history, musicology, cultural anthropology, media studies, etc.) offer guidance and grounding in today's wireless world? This course introduces students to the emerging field of critical digital studies, which looks at the intersection of digital technology and the humanities. Through a blending of weekly online engagements and three, Saturday afternoon face-to-face seminars, we address topics such as: what is the history of both the humanities and digital approaches to it as an interdisciplinary project? How can we address humanities questions today through new tactics of computational study found in informatics, statistical analysis, data visualization, and "big data" approaches? What new modes of publishing and scholarly communication do digital technologies make possible (multimedia presentation, podcasts, video, visualization, etc.)? How do we understand the ethics and politics of the digital world (surveillance, open source, net neutrality, sustainability, power)? Each week, students conduct readings and viewings, explore case studies, and complete online experiments. We pursue vigorous online discussion and convene in person for a seminar three times over the course of the quarter. Students pursue a final digital project in consultation with the instructor and in relation to individual interests and pursuits (graduate work, professional interests, digital humanities methodologies). Weekly topics include: digital annotation and database construction for close reading; "distant reading" tactics; digital mapping and timeline building; data and archives; network analysis; glitching and deformance for hermeneutic interpretation; and platforms and social media for humanities inquiry. (This course may count towards the American Studies, Chicago Studies, Digital Studies, History, Religious and Ethical Studies, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the American Literature, British Literature, Comparative and World Literature, Film, Literature and Visual Culture, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course is required of MALS and COAGS students, specializing in Digital Studies. But any interested graduate student may take the course as an elective. Please note, this course is a hybrid which will meet in person on January 13, February 10, and March 17.)


View IPLS 420-0 Sections
Scope and Theory of Public Policy <> MPPA 407-0

This course is an introduction to the public policy process in the United States. It focuses on developing an understanding of what "political" and "public policy" mean and how public policy is made. The course considers agenda setting, decision making theory and methods of analyzing policy outcomes. Course materials will provide students with the analytical framework to explore why some problems reach the public agenda, why some solutions are adopted and others rejected, and why some policies appear to succeed while others appear to fail. It will examine policy making primarily at the national level but will also look at examples at the state and local level.

 


View MPPA 407-0 Sections
Scope and Theory of Public Policy <> MPPA 407-DL

This course is an introduction to the public policy process in the United States. It focuses on developing an understanding of what "political" and "public policy" mean and how public policy is made. The course considers agenda setting, decision making theory and methods of analyzing policy outcomes. Course materials will provide students with the analytical framework to explore why some problems reach the public agenda, why some solutions are adopted and others rejected, and why some policies appear to succeed while others appear to fail. It will examine policy making primarily at the national level but will also look at examples at the state and local level.


View MPPA 407-DL Sections
Visual Communication <> MS_IDS 413-DL

Digital media rely on imagery and layout to communicate important and complex messages to its users. In this course, students will learn how cognitive science, cartography, human-computer interactions, design, and typography affect the ways that we perceive and interpret visual messages. Students will also learn techniques for identifying good visual design.


View MS_IDS 413-DL Sections
Courses:Course Detail
Cinema, History, Const. of Rel <> IPLS 401-0

Since the early years after their introduction in the closing decade of the nineteenth century, motion pictures have constituted the most popular and pervasive form of entertainment for the US general public. Even under the competitive assault of television, movies still hold the preeminent position, inasmuch as a major portion of the content of television programming, whether via the commercial networks or the plethora of cable providers, is comprised of movies - either those produced for the theater venue or specially made-for-TV/cable. From the outset, the claim has been made in various quarters that cinematic productions have significant formative influence - positive or negative - on their audiences. This course is offered on the premise that movies do, in fact, have significant influence on the formation of social and religious values, the formation of the narrative of who we are as a nation, and in informing the mode of our interaction with the public sphere. (This course may count towards the American Studies, Religious and Ethical Studies, History, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Film, Literature, and Visual Culture or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


There is no available section.
Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad <> IPLS 401-0

The Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad were among the most influential spiritual teachers in history and were the founders of three of the world’s major religions. This course examines and compares the lives, the traditions and the legacies of these three distinctive figures. We will focus on both the sacred literature of each tradition and the interpretations of these teachers in literature generally, past and present, Western and Eastern. Questions to be considered include the search for the historical identities of these teachers, the nature of their teachings and religions, the similarities, differences and possible influences among them, and the ways that these figures have been interpreted and compared in art and literature.  (This course may count towards the American Studies, Religious and Ethical Studies, History, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the liberal studies graduate and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Comparative and World Literature and Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master's in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


There is no available section.
History of Marriage in U.S. <> IPLS 401-0

Marriage is in the news. We hear that it is a fundamental human right, or that it is the foundation of civilization, the bulwark of social order, ordained by God, valid between a man and a woman, for reproduction and property transmission. The current controversy over gay marriage is only one in a series of moments in United States history when marriage has been the subject of criticism and debate. Feminists of the 1970s and 80s – as well as feminists of the 1840s and 50s – saw marriage as an instrument of women’s oppression. States across the nation outlawed interracial marriage to preserve “racial purity.” Social commentators in the 1910s and 20s worried that the nation would be ruined by a divorce epidemic. Marriage, in short, has been the object of controversy and the source of anxiety, positioned both as the source and solution to the nation’s problems. This course will examine not only the controversies over marriage but also the history of marriage in the United States. What kind of institution is marriage – political, religious, social, or economic? What purpose and functions does it serve? Why does the state have an interest in marriage? How has marriage changed over time, and why? (This course may count towards the American Studies, History, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the liberal studies graduate and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


There is no available section.
Religion, Existentialism, and Film <> IPLS 401-0

In the aftermath of the World War I, many artists and filmmakers asked new questions about the relationship between realism and religion. Could one reconcile concrete reality (or realism) with faith in the other-worldly? Many of the artists under discussion in the course drew upon themes that had already been raised by Kierkegaard in the 19th century. What is the relationship between religion and modernity, faith and ethics, reality and the supernatural, observable phenomena and invisible causes? How does one make sense of death in a meaningless universe? Is the universe meaningless? Can meaning be found in realism itself? This course asks students to grapple simultaneously with philosophy and film. We will dig into the language of existential philosophy and compare it to the language of film. We will read Kierkegaard and Sartre and watch films made by Robert Bresson, Luis Buñuel, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Ingmar Bergman, and Woody Allen. In so doing, we will study how mid-to-late 20th century filmmakers sought to understand and portray life's many meanings, presenting protagonists who actively take up religious life, or who consider themselves inhabiting a godless and meaningless universe. In both genres, we will think about the problem of “experience” and how to narrate it. We will discuss the relationship between realism, atheism, Christianity and modernity, as well as the role of Christian symbolism in existentialist literature and film. (This course may count towards the American Studies, History, Religious and Ethical Studies, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may count towards the Film, Literature and Visual Culture, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


View IPLS 401-0 Sections
Imagining the Internet: Fiction, Film and Theory <> IPLS 401-0

Much recent fiction, film, and theory are concerned with representing the internet and online environments. Sometimes cyberspace is depicted as a continuation of previous media such as television, cinema, or telephone, but often it is envisioned as a new frontier. This course will examine the ways in which digital interfaces appear in cultural discourses. We consider how technological objects and tools participate in shaping elements of our culture that may appear natural, logical, or timeless. Our guiding questions will include the following: In what ways are these narratives shaping collective perceptions of the internet? How have virtual technologies challenged experiences of language, gender, sex, race, ethnicity, and location? We will focus on literary and filmic representations of social networking, gaming, news delivery, and artificial intelligence. Following a Cultural Studies model for inquiry, this course will be text-based with require that you develop close reading strategies, as well as revise your work. (This course may count towards the American Studies, Digital Studies, History, Religious and Ethical Studies, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Film, Literature and Visual Culture, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. But any interested graduate student may take the course as an elective. Please note, this course is a hybrid which will meet in person on January 13, February 10, and March 17.)


View IPLS 401-0 Sections
Asian Religions in Lit & Film <> IPLS 402-0

Since the age when the maritime explorers searched for a passage to India and a shorter route to the East, Asia has held a fascination for the West and the religions and cultures of Asia have influenced Western literature, philosophy and religion. This course explores some of the classic literature of the Asian religions, Hinduism, Buddhism and Daoism, and also considers some of the ways that this literature has been interpreted in the modern period in both Asian and Western film and literature. Among our readings will be two of the great epics of Hinduism, the Bhagavad Gita and the Ramayana, as well as key writings from the Buddhist tradition, and the Chinese Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing). We shall also view examples of Asian and Western film and read modern works by authors such as Thoreau, Forster and Kerouac in order to inquire how this Asian literature and its religious themes have been interpreted and re-imagined in the modern period. (This course may count toward the American, World and Comparative literature, or Literature, film, and visual culture specializations in MALit. It may count toward the American studies, History, and Religion and ethical studies specializations in MALS. It may also count toward any of these specialization certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or elective in the creative writing program.)


View IPLS 402-0 Sections
Chicago Improv: Roots & Prac. <> IPLS 405-0

Chicago is home to a vibrant and nationally-recognized improv comedy scene, veterans of which can be seen all across the television and movie landscape. But what are the roots of that community and what explains the importance of Chicago to its past and present success? In this course, we will trace those roots back to Roman times and the theater of Comedia dell’arte. From there, we will skip forward to the particular influence of Chicago on improv, most importantly in the figures of Neva Boyd and her protege Viola Spolin. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to participate in various improv exercises, from the most basic to the more complex. As we will find, there is no reason to limit improv to the stage, so we will also examine how improv skills and techniques might be applied to various creative endeavors, including writing and filmmaking, and also such fields as business communications and education. The course will require, as noted, participation in a number of improv exercises, along with the completion of a mid-term paper and a final creative project. (This course may count towards the American Studies, Chicago Studies, or History specializations in the liberal studies graduate and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


There is no available section.
Millennial Masculinities <> IPLS 492-0

The “crisis of contemporary masculinity” is routinely discussed in both popular media and academic circles. Due to changing geopolitical and socioeconomic conditions, constructions of American manhood have been reconfigured in the past twenty years. Or have they? This course will examine American manhood and masculinity in the millennial age. Drawing heavily from examples of popular culture such as motion pictures, reality television, men’s magazines, literature and sports, issues that be considered will include body image, race and masculinity, fatherhood, labor, education, the anti-hero in popular culture, sexual fluidity and metrosexuality. Students will read contemporary gender theory and interrogate cinematic, televisual and online representations of masculinity. (This course may count toward the American literature or Literature, film, and visual culture specializations in MALit. It may count toward the American studies specialization in MALS. It may also count toward any of these specialization certificate programs.)


There is no available section.
Loving the Child <> IPLS 492-0

One comes to this course with a willingness to question the relationships between parents and children, beginning with Georgian England and continuing to those of contemporary times, in literature, art and film. While these relationships can be loving, they also can be deeply disturbing, even abusive; in Dame Iris Murdoch's work, for example, the young are often sacrificial lambs for the older generation, sacrificed even to death. Causes of discord between the generations are often more numerous than causes for agreement and harmony. To unpack these relationships and explore these themes, we will read novels, view films and works of art and photography. Some of the work we will examine point out areas of disagreement between parents and children that come with one generation's shock when a child's homosexuality is revealed, as in Nadine Gordimer's The House Gun; political disagreement between generations can be equally difficult in Turgenev's Fathers and Sons; looking at Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, while viewing the photographs he took of the young child he used as the model for Alice can give us another view of adults and children in Victorian England, for example. Our list will be wide-ranging. (This course may count towards the History or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count towards the British Literature, Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


There is no available section.
New Documentary Film <> IPLS 492-0

Documentary film has been one of the most acclaimed genres of film since 2000. Numerous documentary films have made valuable political or social statements (Fahrenheit 9/11) while others have simply entertained us (March of the Penguins). What all documentary films do is constrict a vision of reality – whether it is the perspective of a president, the crimes of a serial killer, the lives of a group of penguins or the courage of cancer survivors. We will examine the impact of reality television on the genre. Through the screening of documentaries both within and outside of class, we will consider documentaries as performative acts. Their very fluidity and instability will allow us to examine the differing spectatorial reactions to these films. (This course may count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count towards the Film, Literature, and Visual Culture or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


There is no available section.
Queer Theory <> IPLS 492-0

This course will introduce you to Queer Theory and theories of sexuality, emphasizing the practice of reading theory from a variety of textual sources as well as conceiving of sexualities within both local and transnatinoal contexts. We will trace the development of both the term queer and the history of queer theory, beginning with foundational texts about sexuality and its regulation by Foucault and seminal essays about queer theory by Eve Sedgwick, Judith Butler, Michael Warner and Lauren Berlant. We will then read canonical essays by a variety of queer theorists which will serve the basis for analyzing several books and films including Lawrence Chua's Gold by the Inch, Jules Rosskam’s Transparent, and the British television series, Metrosexuality. Discussions will query how queer theory formulates racial, class and national identities in relation to sexuality, and how it might offer politics beyond those based on identity. In the duration of the course, we will discuss "gay" versus "queer"; processes for conducting a “queer critique”; the historical emergence of the concept of sexuality; the emergence and trajectory of Queer Theory as a disciplinary category; techniques of normalization; the authority of experience; politics beyond identity politics; the aesthetics of self-formation, self-care, self-replication, and selfdissolution; polymorphous perversity; intersectionality and its relationship to Queer Theory; race and class as key interventions into the Queer Theory canon; trans theory as it intersects with and contributes to with Queer Theory; intergenerational sex; transnational queer theories and concerns; how queer theory formulates racial, class and national identities in relation to sexuality. Reading list to include: Michel Foucault History of Sexuality Vol 1 Laurence Chua Gold by the Inch Ed. Hall and Jagose Routlege Queer Studies Reader (2013). (This course may count towards the History and Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the liberal studies graduate and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or elective in the creative writing program.)


There is no available section.
France at a Time of Crisis, 1930-1950 <> IPLS 492-0

The period 1930-1950 is considered one of the most unstable, terrifying and debated periods in French cultural history. Over the past 65 years, historians, sociologists and the French Establishment have consciously or unconsciously chosen to emphasize, de-emphasize and neglect certain aspects of this traumatic period. This course, rooted in history and textual analysis, will evaluate how key events of this era such as the Great Depression, the Popular Front, the threat of fascism, World War II, Resistance and Collaboration, and the revival of parliamentary government are “remembered” by the French people. Students will complete an in-depth topical investigation in this course that will contribute to both their knowledge and their research skills. (This course may count towards the History and Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the liberal studies graduate and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


View IPLS 492-0 Sections
Technology and Revolution in the Middle East <> IPLS 492-0

From the building of railroads in the late Ottoman Empire, to the so-called “Facebook revolutions” of 2009-2011, the transformation of the Middle East in the last two centuries has often been linked with new technologies. This course will explore how Middle Eastern people have used such technologies to change their experience of travel, communication, fashion, prayer, childbearing, entertainment, and more. What is the relationship between technological development and cultural and political change? How have Middle Eastern societies and movements adapted modern technologies to their own purposes? This course aims to help students advance their understanding of the formation of the modern Middle East and to think critically about the role of technology in history. (This course may count towards the History, Religious and Ethical Studies, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the liberal studies graduate and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


View IPLS 492-0 Sections
What is the Truth? <> IPLS 492-0

“Fake news” has become one of the most discussed contemporary issues in American culture since the 2016 presidential election. But a firm description of exactly what is “fake news” is lacking. This course will examine this phenomenon. We will begin with an examination of the cultural and political polarization of the United States in the second decade of the 21st century. We will then attempt to define “fake news” in its various incarnations and examine how it is both a national and a global phenomenon. We will investigate how “fake news” is not a new construct and we will look at historical examples of it. We will discuss YouTube as it relates to news and cultural production, its political purposes and the rationales for downloading videos on the file sharing service and its relationship to the production of documentary films. The lines between archival material, YouTube and documentary filmmaking has become muddled in the past decade, particularly as it relates to the manipulation of original footage for reasons of political intent. Students will complete the course by analyzing a full-length documentary and determine its objectivity, realism, use of archival sources, biases, purposes, and whether if extrapolates “fake news” in its construction. (This course may count towards the American Studies, Digital Studies, History, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies and Advanced Graduate Study Certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Film, Literature and Visual Culture, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the Master of Arts in Literature and Advanced Graduate Study Certificate programs. This course may also count as an elective in the Master of Arts and Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. Please note, this course is a hybrid which will meet in person on three Saturdays throughout the term: June 30, August 4, and September 1.)


View IPLS 492-0 Sections
Defining Chicago <> IPLS 492-0

In this course, we will examine two parallel, though often intersecting, discourses which attempt to define Chicago: formal urban planning documents and literary representations of the city. From Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett’s 1909 Plan of Chicago onwards, Chicago powers-that-be have tried to transform the chaotic city into the City Beautiful (and/or the City Profitable) with formal planning documents, some aspects of which (when enacted by law) transform the cityscape itself. These documents demonstrate deep and complicated relationships between economic forces, political power, and human agency and identity. Meanwhile, Chicago’s poets and fiction writers shape our understanding of American identity in that same dynamic cityscape. In this course, we will examine planners as poets, and poets as planners to explore the evolution of Chicago from the early 20th Century to today. (This course may count towards the American Studies, Chicago Studies, History, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the American Literature or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or elective in the creative writing program.)


View IPLS 492-0 Sections
Topics: 1890s British Lit <> LIT 405-0

The label of “decadence” was deployed by both detractors and champions of British literature in the final decade of the nineteenth century. Social critics of decadence associated it with degeneracy and decline. Those writers and artists who identified with the movement claimed it as a badge of distinction, and its flagship literary magazine, The Yellow Book, set the tone with its devotion to transgressive behavior. Some influence can be traced to the work of the French symbolist poets as well as Joris-Karl Huysmans, whose novel A rebours (“Against the Grain”), was dubbed the “breviary” of decadence. Looking further back, the mid-Victorian visual art and poetry of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood must also be considered formative. Much of the period's writing still has the power to shock. Thomas Hardy, the last of the great Victorian novelists, and a writer who never self-identified as decadent, nevertheless ceased writing novels after critics lambasted both Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1892) and Jude the Obscure (1895) as sexually immoral. One critic called the latter "Jude the Obscene.” William Butler Yeats began his career in the company of the Rhymers' Club, a group of aesthetes more remembered for their drug habits than their poetic output. Bram Stoker wrote his influential masterpiece, Dracula, in 1897, and to this day his delicious tale of pansexual vampires has been endlessly generative in popular culture, as well as influential in rethinking the terms of feminism and sexuality more generally. The New Woman was a principal theme. George Gissing's The Odd Women and George Bernard Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession both appeared in 1893. Still, it was Oscar Wilde, playwright and author of The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), who most vividly dominates the decade. Put on trial, found guilty, and imprisoned on charges of "gross indecency," Wilde ushered in a new age when he referred to "the love that dare not speak its name." (This course may count towards the British Literature and Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master's in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or elective in the creative writing program. Please note, this course is a hybrid which will meet in person on April 28, May 19, and June 9.)


View LIT 405-0 Sections
20th C Lit: Joyce and Woolf <> LIT 405-0

In this seminar we will study two landmark novelists whose works still reverberate around the globe: the Irish expatriate James Joyce and the English writer and critic Virginia Woolf (each 1882-1941). Living and writing in a period of accelerating scientific, technological, social, political, and economic change as well as civil and world war, each created radically new narrative forms to register modern time and modern times from the antithetical vantage points, respectively, of colonial Dublin and the imperial London metropolis. Through a selection of each author’s major works, we’ll explore their creative interventions in literary genres (e.g., short story, autobiographical fiction, epic, elegy, the novel) in light of a host of influences; among others, theories of the unconscious and “the psychopathology of everyday life”; scapegoat dynamics in theory and everyday practice; relations among bodies, desire, gender, representational strategies; performance (studied and unconscious) and theatricality; loss and elegy; the power of love; the scalpel of wit; the social life of comedy and humor; the socio-economic sex/gender system, including marriage and prostitution, as keys to political authority; the powers and pleasures of language in their modernist medleys of voices and styles: interior monologue, dialogue, poetry, news, advertising, jokes, parody, obfuscation, song, music, play script, letters, catechism, allusion, citation, non-English words, silence. We will approach these challenging, exhilarating, deeply rewarding books in ways playful and critical, jocoserious and analytic, each of us seeking singular revelations with serious purpose and imaginative freedom.

Requirements: Active, informed participation; short weekly analytic and interpretive exercises; oral presentation; proposal and seminar project.

(This course may count towards the British Literature, Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, Comparative and World Literature, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


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Can You Have Good Without God? <> LIT 405-0

British author and philosopher Dame Iris Murdoch explores this intriguing question in much of her fiction, introducing it, in part in her mid-career novel, A Fairly Honourable Defeat, an allegorical tale of the perennial struggle between good and evil. Having begun life as a practicing Anglican, and ending it (before the onset of Alzheimer's disease) as an agnostic, Dame Iris touches upon this subject in much of her fiction, in particular posing the age-old human question, who or what is responsible for evil and suffering in the universe if there is no God? If there is no God, can you have Good? It is important to remember that she began life as a philosopher.

Many of Murdoch's characters are caught in this dilemma; some seem to be "evil", using the term rather loosely, and some too good to be true. The young are often sacrificial lambs for the older generation. This course will examine Murdoch's universal themes and her very topical writing for today's world. She is a writer who needs to be remembered and respected.

Texts will include A Fairly Honourable Defeat, The Sovereignty of Good, A Severed Head, The Sea, The Sea, The Black Prince and The Book and The Brotherhood, among possible others. Course will feature some lecture, active discussion and short papers as well as one final longer paper.

(This course may count toward the British literature specialization. It may also count toward the Religion and ethical studies specialization in MALS. It may also count toward any of these specialization certificate programs.)


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Reading Romantic Poems <> LIT 405-0

Great poets, according to Coleridge, have to create the taste by which they are enjoyed; they make new readers as well as original poems. During an age of revolutions, Romantic poets tried to transform not only the world of poetry but also the world outside it. This course will explore the projects of Romantic poetry by reading poems that challenge the reader to reimagine literature and life. Through a variety of critical approaches, we will try to enter the moment when each poet sought to answer radical, personal questions: what has been done in poetry? what has been left for me to do? Those poets will include such major figures as Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats, as well as many less well known, such as Charlotte Smith and John Clare. The course will begin by looking at responses of Romantic poems to earlier poetry, and it will end by looking at the presence of Romantic poems in later poetry. (This course may count toward the British literature specialization. It may also count toward the British literature specialization certificate program.)


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Representing the Psyche <> LIT 405-0

This course considers the distinct and complementary ways in which literature and psychoanalysis have inquired into the structure and constitution of the human mind. Historically, literature and psychoanalysis have a long-standing, intimate, and sometimes fraught relationship. Beginning with its founding father Sigmund Freud, psychoanalysis has founded its theories based on the observation of not only of real-life patients but also literary characters. And literary critics have drawn on the work of Freud and later psychoanalysts to afford insight into the structure, imagery, language, and characterizations of literary texts. This course will consider how literature and psychoanalysis offer alternative ways of representing the human psyche—sometimes complementarily, sometimes contradictorily. Texts will include foundational works of psychoanalytic theory by Freud, Jacques Lacan, Melanie Klein, and Julia Kristeva; and literary texts that have been influential for, and/or influentially interpreted by, psychoanalysis. Students will gain fluency in the discourse of psychoanalysis; competency in using psychoanalytic concepts to interpret literary texts; and an appreciation for both the possibilities and the limits of such interpretative strategies.  (This course may count towards the British Literature and Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master's in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


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Victorian Travel & Crime <> LIT 405-0

This seminar will explore Victorian travel and crime fiction, looking at the interpenetration of popular and serious literature during the rise of the British Empire and the expansion of the United States. We will examine several important literary narratives that develop the concept of travel—as a form of escape, as a search for knowledge, as a source of adventure, and as an instrument in empire-building—in order to address its role in forming the identity of both individuals and nations. We will also discuss the growing importance of sensational (mystery and crime) fiction, examining its cultural and historical contexts, as well as its influence on serious writers such as Dickens, Conrad, and James. (This course may count towards the British Literature and Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master's in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or elective in the creative writing program.)


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Anglo-American Mysteries <> LIT 405-0

Why is mystery fiction (aka detective or crime fiction) such a popular genre, read across social strata and generating material for film and TV? What are the ways in which mysteries have influenced serious literary fiction? To address these questions we will explore the development of Anglo-American crime fiction from its mid-nineteenth-century origins to its global expansion today. We will examine the historical and social conditions for the emergence and development of the popular genre (urbanization of Europe and America; rise of the British Empire; importance of the inter-war period; Cold War, etc.). This will allow us to discuss the structure and evolution of formula fiction and its role in popular and high culture, its reflection of the preoccupations of Western societies, and the ways in which canonical writers have used elements of mystery fiction in their own literature. Readings will include works by representative mystery writers (Poe, Conan Doyle, Christie, Chandler), as well as literary fiction by Pynchon, O’Brien and Atkinson. (This course may count towards the British Literature and Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the liberal studies graduate and advanced graduate study certificate programs. )


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The Seven Deadly Sins <> LIT 405-0

This course will consider representations of the seven deadly sins in Renaissance thought, art, and literature of the western European tradition, with a particular focus on the English canon. Texts will include both visual and textual artifacts, including paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Hieronymus Bosch; narrative poetry by John Skelton and Edmund Spenser; lyric poetry by Ben Jonson and Andrew Marvell; and prose sermons and essays by John Donne and Michel de Montaigne. (All texts will be provided in translation.) To complement the Renaissance texts, we will read contemporary essays about the conception and practice of the seven deadly sins in contemporary secular culture. By comparing early modern and contemporary conceptions of the sins, we will foster a larger conversation about the cultural history of western ethics and morality. (This course may count towards the British Literature, Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Religious and Ethical Studies or Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or elective in the creative writing program.)


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Conceptions of the Body in Midieval Literature <> LIT 405-0

Forthcoming.


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Jane Austen and The Rise of The Novel <> LIT 405-05

This course will trace the development of the English novel from travel narrative, Gothic and sentimental fiction to the realism of Jane Austen. We will read selections from Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719), usually considered the first English novel, and from 18th-C. Gothic and sentimental fiction to compare these to Austen’s realistic comedies of manners. The course will focus on Austen’s novels, from her parody of Gothic and sentimental romances in Northanger Abbey to her satire of British society in Persuasion. We will also look at the enduring popularity and afterlife of Jane Austen’s oeuvre and current “Austenmania” with its plethora of film adaptations, sequels, and parodies, including a more serious treatment of Austen’s fictional world in Jo Baker’s 2013 novel Longbourn, the story of Pride and Prejudice told from the perspective of the servants. (This course may count towards the British Literature, Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or elective in the creative writing program.)


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Comp Lit: Fictions of the City <> LIT 480-0

This course will examine the central role played by the city in inventing the forms for representing modern life, beginning with Paris (sometimes called the "capital of the 19th century" because of its central place in the elaboration of the new narrative and cultural forms of industrial civilization) and then focusing on New York and Los Angeles as privileged spaces where a "culture industry" then becomes both the producer and the subject matter of literature and film. Students examine the tensions between realist and mythic representations of the modern city in such writers as Balzac and Baudelaire, as well as the city as a site for the invention of "modern myths" expressing the utopian and dystopian aspects of modern life in the work of surrealists such as Aragon. Students will also explore how these approaches are taken up by classic Hollywood cinema in the 1930s (notably in such popular genres as the musical and the gangster film) and how these same problems are ultimately reinvented, in the second half of the 20th century, in a postmodern culture dominated by media images and global cultural flows, which will give rise to new social spaces and new utopias but will consequently also give rise to new forms of mythic and realist narrative. Authors read will include such writers as Honoré de Balzac, Charles Baudelaire, Louis Aragon, Thomas Pynchon, Toni Morrison, and Don DeLillo. We will also discuss films by such directors as Raoul Walsh, Lloyd Bacon, Busby Berkeley, Jean-Luc Godard, Ridley Scott, Jim Jarmusch, and Michael Haneke. Counts toward the American Literature and the Comparative & World Literature specializations. (This course may count towards the Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, American Literature, Comparative and World Literature, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the Master of Arts in Literature and Advanced Graduate Study Certificate programs. It may also count towards the American Studies, Digital Studies, or Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies and Advanced Graduate Study Certificate programs. This course may also count as an elective in the Master of Arts and Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. Please note, this course is a hybrid which will meet in person on three Saturdays throughout the term: June 30, July 28, and September 1.)


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Postmodern Film <> LIT 480-0

This course will explore the place of film in postmodern culture. We will examine how the aesthetic and narrative forms of film have been reinvented by postmodern film makers, as well as the ways in which the most important of these recent films have (from a variety of ideological and aesthetic perspectives) contested the dominant culture of postmodernity. The course will begin by providing the conceptual and historical background for an understanding of postmodernism, through an analysis of a number of key films of the ’60s and ‘70s. Some of the interrelated themes of these films (including works by such directors as Jean-Luc Godard, Robert Altman, Jacques Tati, Ridley Scott, and Chris Marker) are the new experiences of urban space characteristic of postmodern culture; the new cultural forms associated with the triumph of consumerism; and the emergence of a new global culture of the image. We will then explore a number of problems central to current debates about the nature and limits of postmodernism—such as the place of dystopian and utopian fantasy in postmodernity; the possibilities of and alternatives to realist representation of postmodern experience; the representation of new forms of sexual and ethnic identity and the intertwining individual and collective histories in an age of globalization—through discussions of cinematic works by directors from Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia, including such film makers as Alain Resnais, Gianni Amelio, Patricio Guzmàn, Quentin Tarantino, Stanley Kubrick, David Cronenberg, Jim Jarmusch, Abderrahmane Sissako, Agnès Varda, Todd Haynes, Djibril Diop Mambéty, Quentin Tarantino, Raoul Ruiz and Tsai Ming-Liang. (This course may count towards the Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, Comparative and World Literature, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


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An Exploration of German Film <> LIT 480-0

What beckons people to the metropolis? What draws crowds to the cinema? Why should we think "cinema" in tandem with "the city"? Departing from these questions, we will analyze relations between cinema and the city, using Germany as our geopolitical launching pad. Drawing on a range of classic and lesser-known (but mesmerizing) films from the Weimar period onward, we will visit the real and imagined cities of Germany, evaluating how space and social relationships are imagined in the German metropolis and, in some cases, between a German and an “extra-territorial” city. Our travels will take us to the cities of Hamburg and Istanbul, Frankfurt and Jakarta, and Berlin and New York, among other locations. Critical questions steering our cosmopolitan navigations include: how does urban space influence how we think about forms of national, gendered, ethnic, sexual, and class identity? How does the historical network of social relationships in the urban setting--and in cinematic form--organize our view of political and social networks we now inhabit? How should we analyze urban economies in the context of cinema? Approaches to these questions will include: formal and aesthetic analysis of film and the historical background and cultural context of the films under consideration (including, Walter Ruttmann's Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis (1927); Fritz Lang's M (1931); Eduard von Borsody's Wunschkonzert (1940), Rainer Werner Fassbinder's The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979), Fatih Akin's Head-On (2004), and Christoph Hochhäusler's The City Below (2010). These films will be considered in tandem with a selection of classical texts on modernity, mass society, and theories of space. (This course may count towards the Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, Comparative and World Literature, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


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Latin Amer. & Latina/o Sci-Fi <> LIT 480-0

While science fiction has often been thought of as an English-language genre, in fact Latin America has its own rich history of science fiction writing. This course offers an introduction to science fiction literature and film in Latin America. Beginning with a critical definition of the genre (and the ways in which it differs from “magical realism” and the fantastic), we will examine some early examples of science fiction in Spanish language literature by writers such as Eduardo Holmberg and Eduardo Urzaiz. We will then read some now-classic texts that can be considered science fiction, such as Adolfo Bioy Casares’ The Invention of Morel, Jorge Luis Borges’ “Tlön, Urqbar, Orbis Tertius,” and the absurdist short stories of Mexican writer Juan José Arreola. Finally, we will trace the regional shift from science fiction to cyberpunk through texts like Cuban writer Yoss’s Planet for Rent and films such as Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer, looking at the ways in which recent Latin American and Latina/o writers and directors have expanded on and experimented with this sub-genre. As we read, we will seek to understand how science fiction navigates the divide between "popular" and "elite" literature, its function as a form of social criticism, and the ways in which writers and filmmakers have used science fiction to interrogate social categories such as race, class, and gender. We will also ask what might make science fiction from this region different from science fiction produced elsewhere. (This course may count towards the Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, Comparative and World Literature, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


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Slum Cinema <> LIT 480-0

This seminar is about slums, as much about their socio-cultural dynamics as about their cinematic representations. Slums are proliferating across the globe at an extraordinarily rapid rate. Today more than one billion people live in slums and that number is expected to double by 2030. By 2050, two thirds of the world’s population will be living in cities and a vast majority of them in slums or slum-like-conditions. We do, in fact, as Mike Davis puts it, live on a planet of slums. Life in the slums as described and analyzed both in scholarly studies and in popular media is one of the most dynamic points of intersection of the good, the bad, and the ugly. The material conditions of life, especially sanitary conditions that severely compromise public health, are palpably “ugly.” The “bad” is pervasive in slums: crime and corruption, violence and intimidation, sheer poverty, inequality and injustice point to the general abuse of human beings by the members of the same species. On the other hand, there is also much that is “good” in slums: resilience in the face of adversity, community spirit, creative and economic use of scarce resources etc. Without celebrating the slums, there is much to learn from slums for the society at large. This seminar is not just about films about slums. Slum Cinema is also not a film course as such. We will be using the cinematic representations of all sorts (feature films, documentaries, TV mini-series etc.) to examine the slum as a space of life and work of billions of people across the globe. This seminar will focus on the fact that a significant part of creative cultural production (films, TV series, music, novels, comics etc) takes place against backdrop of slums or slum life. Films to include: City of God (Brazil, 2002), Slumdog Millionaire (India, 2008), District 9 (South Africa location, 2009), Ali Zaoua (Morocco, 2000), Tsotsi (South Africa 2005), Gangs of New York (USA, 2002) and La Haine (France, 1995). The seminar has a very explicit global focus as it seeks to juxtapose cinematic representations from varied national/cultural terrains, from both from the advanced countries and from the developing countries of the global south. (This course may count towards the Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, Comparative and World Literature, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or elective in the creative writing program.)


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French & Francophone Women’s Writing <> LIT 480-0

The course is devoted to the exciting efflorescence of women’s writing in French that began in the postwar period with a veritable bursting forth of novels by women--existentialist novels, working class novels, novels of interethnic love and loss, novels responding to psychoanalytic and materialist feminist theories, including novels exploring (or questing) a feminine relation to desire and sexuality, writings of/on the body, writings of revolution, and literary engagements with the linguistic, racial, and sexual complexities of living or writing in diaspora. Our work will span the period from Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, her groundbreaking 1949 attempt to understand what it means to be(come) a woman, to the second wave feminisms of the late 1960s and ‘70s, to our contemporary era. We will read short theoretical pieces by psychoanalytic feminists and by lesbian materialists to develop an understanding of the intellectual context in which creative writers worked, but the vast majority of our readings will be literary. These will include works by some the most talented and critically esteemed women writing in French, such as Marguerite Duras, Assia Djebar, Linda Lê, Anne Garréta, Marie Darrieussecq, Nina Bourouai, and Chloê Delaume. We will complete our work with a films by female filmmakers working in the last half century. (This course may count towards the Comparative and World Literature or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or elective in the creative writing program.)


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Topics in Lit: The Jazz Age <> LIT 492-0

In this course, students will read a selection of poetry, criticism, comics, film and fiction dealing with a central concern for American writers of the 1920s: the nature of art. The focusing lens will be depictions of parallels between artistic creation and romantic love/sexual procreation (as the term "jazz" refers to both, the musical art form and sex), and how these depictions grapple with the sense of cultural crisis that informs so much of modernism. Our texts will include Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises and several short stories; Kay Boyle's short fiction; Dos Passos', Manhattan Transfer; poetry by Pound, Cummings, Stein, Eliot, and others; as well as pop-culture texts like Harriman's Krazy Kat and Disney's Mickey Mouse. We will pay special attention to how various sorts of subject position (including, but not limited to, race, class, and gender) influence how writers portray their own creative projects.  (This course may count towards the American Literature or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the American Studies or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


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Topics: Proust <> LIT 492-0

This course will be devoted to an intense engagement with one of the major figures in the history of literature, Marcel Proust, and to his In Search of Lost Time, which remains a crucial text in the development of modern thought. The focus will be on four volumes of the Search: Swann's Way, Within a Budding Grove, Sodom and Gomorrah, and Time Regained. We will explore Proust's reinvention of the novel as a form in relation to a number of Proustian problems and themes: his analyses of desire, perversion and sexuality; his reflections on the nature of time and memory; and his exploration of the relationship of art to life. We will also consider Proust's powers as a satirist and critic of ideology, who mercilessly dismantled the individual and collective illusions of his contemporaries. (This course may count towards the Comparative and World Literature or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or elective in the creative writing program.)


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In the Heart of the City <> LIT 492-0

Throughout the twentieth century, the terms "urban" and "black America" became so intimately connected that they are often used as synonyms. By tracing different representations of urban life, this course examines the signification of the metropolis in African American cultural production. Although our focus will primarily center on cultural texts, we will address a number of the "push and pull" factors that prompted the Great Migration and the social forces that have subsequently kept many African Americans in the city. In focusing on a set of cultural texts, we will consider the ways in which African Americans have imagined both the allure and dangers of life in the city. Literature may include work by Nella Larsen, Ralph Ellison, and LeRoi Jones; visual artists may include the photographers Wayne Miller and Camilo José Vergara as well as the painter Jacob Lawrence; film media may include Coolie High and Good Times; music will include hip hop artists by a range of performers from Public Enemy to Common. Critics may include W.E.B. DuBois, St. Clair Drake, Raymond Williams, Mike Davis, and Mary Patillo. (This course may count toward the American literature specialization in MALit and the American studies specialization in MALS.)


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Poetics of African Amer. Lit. <> LIT 492-0

From the very outset of the nation with Phillis Wheatley to the contemporary moment with figures like Elizabeth Alexander, African American writers have been fascinated with the play and sound of words. This course seeks to explore the significance of poetics as it resonates in African American letters as well as culture more broadly. While we read poetry, we will be principally engaged with how poetry comes to bear upon, if not shape and reshape, oral forms (such as sermons, speeches, and hip hop, among others) and written forms (such as short stories and novels, for example). Works under consideration may include Gwendolyn Brooks's Maud Martha, W.E.B. DuBois's The Souls of Black Folk, Langston Hughes's Selected Poems, Douglas Kearney's The Black Automaton, and Jean Toomer's Cane; speeches by Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, and Barack Obama; and music by hip hop, jazz, and R&B artists. (This course may count toward the American literature specialization in MALit and the American studies specialization in MALS.)


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Race, Space & Place in Chicago <> LIT 492-0

Chicago is still the most segregated big city in America, and it has a long history of writers who represented its racial and ethnic conflicts. In this course, we will read and discuss the canon of Chicago’s African-American literary tradition, along with other writers who represent how American identity is shaped by the Chicago, by issues of access to space, and the freedom (or lack thereof) to move through the urban landscape.

Our texts will include: Gwendolyn Brooks, Selected Poems; Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun; Richard Wright, Native Son; James T. Farrell, Chicago Stories; Bill Granger, Time for Frankie Coolin; and Bruce Norris, Clybourne Park.

(This course may count towards the American Literature and Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the American Studies, Chicago Studies, History, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the liberal studies graduate and advanced graduate study certificate programs. )


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Contemporary Adaptation <> LIT 492-0

Courses in literature-to-film adaptation often emphasize canonical and historically distant works by such authors as Shakespeare, Austen, or the Victorians. This course instead centers on contemporary novels and short stories as well as their film adaptations, mostly but not exclusively produced in Hollywood. Beyond simply comparing these texts in terms of story or style, we will ask how literary fiction has itself changed in a 21st-century media environment where film rights are often sold before novels get finished, and where financing, production, media circulation, and creative processes constantly change. We will read American stories that have been adapted differently by U.S. and international filmmakers, and we will contemplate the politics that appear to motivate which texts get adapted -- and which themes are considered "literary," "prestigious," or globally marketable in an era when comic books, video games, and prior movies inspire more adaptations than do recent novels or plays. Along the way, we will master key skills of formal analysis and thematic argument regarding both literature and film. Key texts are likely to include "Brokeback Mountain" (Proulx), Children of Men (James), No Country for Old Men (McCarthy), "So Much Water So Close to Home" (Carver), Oil! (Sinclair), Atonement (McEwan), "Lust, Caution" (Zhang), The Reader (Schlink), and Persepolis (Satrapi), as well as the movies derived from these texts.  (This course may count towards the American literature, British Literature, Comparative and World Literature, Film, Literature, and Visual Culture or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)


There is no available section.
Lit of Amer. Century & After <> LIT 492-0

This course looks at the way in which U.S. writers imagined both the domestic scene and the greater world in the wake of the rising status of the United States as a global power. In the post-WWII period, writers rethought many of the presumptions about America’s place in the world and revised earlier narratives about Americans abroad and internationalism. In the twenty-first century, those presumptions changed again, both because of the changing geopolitical status of the U.S. and the impact of the digital age. This course will take a look at two extended moments: the early cold war of the late 1940s and 1950s; and the first decade of the 21st century. Authors will include writers such as: Ralph Ellison, Norman Mailer, Sylvia Plath, Paul Bowles, Gwendolyn Brooks, Dave Eggers, Claire Messud, Junot Díaz, Craig Thompson, Jennifer Egan. (This course may count towards the American Literature and Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the American Studies or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the liberal studies graduate and advanced graduate study certificate programs. )


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Literature and Wartime <> LIT 492-0

From the Civil War to the Lost Generation, and from the Vietnam conflict to the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, there has long been an intimate relationship between war and American literature. In the past decade, a number of returning US veterans have published novels and short stories set in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of them ambitious and sophisticated. Works set in and around war have frequently been places where questions about national identity and the changing status of the United States in the world have been played out in rich ways. In the past century, new technologies of warfare and the ever changing media used to report war has had a profound impact on the way these conflicts have been experienced and translated to a distant public. This course explores the relationship between literature (and some film) representing war, the historical understanding of the opposing side (the enemy), and narrative techniques developed to make sense of what is an inherently confusing situation. We will focus especially on World War II, Vietnam, and the 21st century conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, with comparative attention to representations of the war from the “other side.” Close readings of literature will be enhanced with some theoretical writings on cinema frontier narratives, war and postmodernism, empire and imperialism, and postcolonial studies; we will attend to questions of gender, race, disability, nation, subalternity. Texts: Works by writers such as Gertrude Stein, John Hersey, Miné Okubo, Hisaye Yamamoto, Norman Mailer, Gwendolyn Brooks, Joseph Heller, Ralph Ellison, Tim O’Brien, Michael Herr, Siobhan Fallon, Ben Fountain, Phil Klay, Michael Pitre, Elliott Ackerman, Hassan Blassim, Sinan Antoon, and Viet Thanh Nguyen. Theoretical and critical writings by authors including Paul Virilio, Friedrich Kittler, Richard Slotkin Jean Baudrillard, Gayatri Spivak, and Edward Said. (This course may count towards the American Literature, Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the American Studies or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or elective in the creative writing program.)


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Bad Mothers <> LIT 492-0

We hear about bad mothers on the news, read about them online and in news print, see them in movies, and perhaps complain about them with our friends. But what, exactly, is a Bad Mother? How do we know? Where does she come from? In this course we will read novels and watch films that help to constitute, perpetuate, and challenge normative scripts of what constitutes good mothering. This seminar will likewise provoke students to critically analyze the varied factors that shape and define contemporary motherhood as an embodied ideology. Our seminar’s key themes include the institutionalization of motherhood, motherhood as subjectivity, agency and performance, technologies of reproduction, narratives of adoption, and the politicization of motherhood. Texts and authors will include Nella Larsen, Adrienne Rich, Philip Roth, Alice Walker, Buchi Emecheta, Edwidge Danticat, Margaret Atwood, Tillie Olsen, Mommie Dearest, Rosemary’s Baby, The Manchurian Candidate, Kramer v. Kramer, Juno, The Good Wife, and The Blind Side, along with a unit on global media and iconic mothers including Angelina Jolie, Lady Di, Mother Theresa, Mother Goose, Margaret Sanger, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, MADD, Whistler’s mother, and Kate Gosselin. (This course may count towards the Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, American Literature, Comparative and World Literature, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the American Studies, History, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or elective in the creative writing program.)


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Chicago Transformed <> LIT 492-0

The only constant in Chicago history, and literature, is change. In this course, we will read and discuss more than a century's worth of textual explorations of fundamental shifts in Chicago's built environment, racial and ethnic identities, and literaary expressions. Who lives where? Who has power and who takes it? Who expresses the most important aspects of these transformations, and how do writers across generations agree and disagree? Our readings will include canonical and more obscure writers, from Carl Sandburg, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Nelson Algren to Bill Granger, Stuart Dybek, and Dan Sinker. (This course may count towards the  American Literature, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the American Studies, Chicago Studies, History, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or elective in the creative writing program.)


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The US-Mexico Border in Literature and Film <> LIT 492-0

The US-Mexico border has been the site of intense cultural conflict since the mid-nineteenth century. It marks both the connection and the division between two nations, and many of our most fraught conversations concern whether the border should be a bridge or a wall. As an entry point into these conversations, this course will survey literature and film centering on the US-Mexico border. Students will become familiar with the history of the border, beginning with the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848 and extending through NAFTA and up to the current political climate. Together we will consider how the border has become such a potent site for contemporary mythmaking, a flashpoint for anxieties about race, labor, gender, and sexuality. Literary texts will include Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands / La Frontera (1987), Sandra Cisneros’s Woman Hollering Creek (1991), Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing (1994), Carlos Fuentes’s La frontera de cristal (1995), Juan Felipe Herrera’s 187 Reasons Mexicans Can’t Cross the Border: Undocuments (1995), and Carmen Boullosa’s Tejas (2014). (Texts originally written in Spanish will be taught in English translation.) Films will include The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982), Selena (1997), The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005), and Sin Nombre (2009). (This course may count towards the American Literature, Comparative and World Literature, Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may count towards the American Studies, History or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or an elective in the creative writing program.)


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Feminism in Trumplandia <> LIT 492-0

When Donald J. Trump became the 45th president of the United States, many felt that a new era of precarity for women had begun. The defunding of Planned Parenthood, the Muslim ban, assault on pro-choice legislation, rescinding of protections for transgender students, the President’s own history of sexual assault—to name only a few—all seemed to present an unprecedented dystopia for women across the political spectrum. Indeed, this course begins by asking, how we can talk about feminism in a Trump era? Taking an historical approach to feminism this course asks how many of the issues facing American women today are familiar ones; and what might a Trump administration mean for feminism, both broadly speaking in its global iterations and on more local, micro levels of quotidian experience? How has the conception, performance, politics, embodiment and circulation of feminism been reconceived? As a research course, this class will require students to conduct original research, taking from feminism’s archive over the last thirty years an animating idea, concept, historical moment, material object, or study around which each student will frame a question in relation to Trump feminism. From this question they will devise an original argument, compose a bibliography of primary and secondary sources, outline, and then write a 10-15 page paper. Readings/texts will include but not be limited to those by Betty Friedan, Shulamith Firestone, Robin Morgan, Adrienne Rich, Angela Davis, Andrea Dworkin, Susan Faludi, Patricia Williams, Hortense Spillers, Margaret Atwood, Rebecca Traister, Barbara Ehrenreich, Beyonce, Jessa Crispin, Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, Victoria Lomasko, and Lena Dunham. (This course may count towards the American Literature, Comparative and World Literature, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may count towards the American Studies, History or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or an elective in the creative writing program.)


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Behavioral Economics <> MPPA 430-0

Why do people not recycle, even when offered monetary incentives? Why has the 'War on Drugs' failed? Why don't people enroll in 401(k) savings plans? Why is the market for knock-off brand-name goods and pirated DVDs/software so large? This class will use behavioral economics to investigate questions related to policy formulation, implementation, framing and failure. With readings from current experts in the field including Ariely, Thaler, Kahneman and Frank, this class will discuss both behavioral economic theory and its application in policy areas such as immigration, the environment, health care, international relations and (of course) the national economy. Counts toward all specializations.


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Behavioral Economics <> MPPA 430-DL

Why do people not recycle, even when offered monetary incentives? Why has the 'War on Drugs' failed? Why don't people enroll in 401(k) savings plans? Why is the market for knock-off brand-name goods and pirated DVDs/software so large? This class will use behavioral economics to investigate questions related to policy formulation, implementation, framing and failure. With readings from current experts in the field including Ariely, Thaler, Kahneman and Frank, this class will discuss both behavioral economic theory and its application in policy areas such as immigration, the environment, health care, international relations and (of course) the national economy. Counts toward all specializations.


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International Institutions <> MPPA 440-0

This class examines several prominent international organizations, including the United Nations, NATO, the European Union, and the World Trade Organization. The course will focus on both policy controversies and broader theoretical analysis. Students will address why each organization was created, its institutional structure, and current problems confronting each organization. The effects of international organizations on world politics will also be examined. Some of the key questions that will be addressed are: How do IOs foster interstate cooperation and state compliance? How do IOs shape state interests and identities? Why do IOs often fail? How should we think about the pathologies of IOs as global bureaucracies? How do IOs influence NGOs and their strategies? Particular emphasis will be placed on students' ability to think critically, both about the nature of problems that face states as well as development of global governance mechanisms.

Counts toward the Global Policy specialization for students admitted fall 2012 and after. Online students admitted prior to fall 2012 may take this elective in lieu of 411, 419, or 452. All on-campus students admitted prior to fall 2012 may take this elective.


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International Institutions <> MPPA 440-DL

This class examines several prominent international organizations, including the United Nations, NATO, the European Union, and the World Trade Organization. The course will focus on both policy controversies and broader theoretical analysis. Students will address why each organization was created, its institutional structure, and current problems confronting each organization. The effects of international organizations on world politics will also be examined. Some of the key questions that will be addressed are: How do IOs foster interstate cooperation and state compliance? How do IOs shape state interests and identities? Why do IOs often fail? How should we think about the pathologies of IOs as global bureaucracies? How do IOs influence NGOs and their strategies? Particular emphasis will be placed on students' ability to think critically, both about the nature of problems that face states as well as development of global governance mechanisms.

Counts toward the Global Policy specialization for students admitted fall 2012 and after. Online students admitted prior to fall 2012 may take this elective in lieu of 411, 419, or 452. All on-campus students admitted prior to fall 2012 may take this elective.


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Global Economic Policy <> MPPA 450-0

The goal of this course is to give students the knowledge, tools, and confidence to understand, craft, and advocate for incentives and economic policies. Students will be able to apply macroeconomic principles, draw conclusions about the relevance of economic incentives, and explain in substantial detail the current debates covering such topics as economic systems, international trade, monetary policy, global resource allocation, and development economics. While a working understanding of undergraduate-level microeconomics is helpful, and it is recommended students take 404 Microeconomics first, the content of this course will cover these areas in sufficient detail for students without any background. Counts toward the Global Policy specialization. Previously titled International Macroeconomic Policy

The Fall 2017 section starts at 6:30pm and runs until 9:30. The class will not meet Oct. 5 and Oct. 12.


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Global Economic Policy <> MPPA 450-DL

The goal of this course is to give students the knowledge, tools, and confidence to understand, craft, and advocate for incentives and economic policies. Students will be able to apply macroeconomic principles, draw conclusions about the relevance of economic incentives, and explain in substantial detail the current debates covering such topics as economic systems, international trade, monetary policy, global resource allocation, and development economics. While a working understanding of undergraduate-level microeconomics is helpful, and it is recommended students take 404 Microeconomics first, the content of this course will cover these areas in sufficient detail for students without any background. Counts toward the Global Policy specialization. Previously titled International Macroeconomic Policy

The Fall 2017 section starts at 6:30pm and runs until 9:30. The class will not meet Oct. 5 and Oct. 12.


There is no available section.
The Global City <> MPPA 452-0

Why do cities persist? The last decade has seen a resurgence in the economies of some major cities -- especially the global cities of this course's title -- while other post-industrial cities continue a long decline. Cities are now being transformed by the information revolution much as cities were transformed by the industrial revolution two centuries ago. In this course, students will develop an understanding of urbanization, including how city form differs depending on when a city experiences its greatest growth, and how globalization produces increasing disparity (in many ways) between rich and poor. The course will cover concepts in economic geography, transportation, environment, governance, development, poverty and inequality, and limits to growth. Readings will include recent studies on the effect of globalization on cities, including Saskia Sassen's Cities in a World Economy.

Elective for on-campus students. Core course for the MPPA distance learning program for students admitted before fall 2012. Elective course for students admitted fall 2012 and after.


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The Global City <> MPPA 452-DL

Why do cities persist? The last decade has seen a resurgence in the economies of some major cities -- especially the global cities of this course's title -- while other post-industrial cities continue a long decline. Cities are now being transformed by the information revolution much as cities were transformed by the industrial revolution two centuries ago. In this course, students will develop an understanding of urbanization, including how city form differs depending on when a city experiences its greatest growth, and how globalization produces increasing disparity (in many ways) between rich and poor. The course will cover concepts in economic geography, transportation, environment, governance, development, poverty and inequality, and limits to growth. Readings will include recent studies on the effect of globalization on cities, including Saskia Sassen's Cities in a World Economy.

Core course for the MPPA distance learning program for students admitted before fall 2012. Elective course for students admitted fall 2012 and after.


There is no available section.
Intro to Learning Theory <> MS_IDS 422-DL

Effective instructional design begins with an understanding of the learning process. In this course, students will learn behaviorist, cognitive, constructivist, and social learning theories, and their relationship to instructional practices and course design. Factors that influence learning, such as learning styles, motivation, and engagement, are also explored.


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Instructional Design <> MS_IDS 423-DL

Students learn the foundational principles and elements of instructional systems, from analysis through evaluation. They will explore commonly-used instructional design models and learn how to apply them in an education or training environment. Students will practice incorporating sound instructional strategies into the design and development of prototypes in real-world instructional settings.


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Learning Environment Design MS_IDS 425-DL

This course is an introduction to the ideas, principles, and techniques used in educational media or systems, focusing on both the theoretical and practical aspects of design. The process of design will be guided by various design frameworks, and informed by current research on the design and study of learning environments. Students will learn how to assess interactive learning models and solutions. They will also learn how various technologies can affect the behavioral, cognitive, and social dimensions of learning.


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