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Spring 2022 Class Schedule

Note: Course information may change throughout the year; always check CAESAR  before finalizing your plans!

Spring 2022 class Schedule

Course Title Instructor Day/Time
HUM 220-0-20 Health, Biomedicine, Culture and Society Steve Epstein TTh 9:30 - 10:50 am
HUM 325-6-21 Ancient Rome in Chicago Francesca Tataranni M 3 - 4:50 pm +
W 3 - 4:20 pm
HUM 370-3-21 Archiving the Barrio: The Politics of Memory in Puerto Rican Chicago Michael Rodríguez-Muñiz TTh 11 am - 12:20 pm
HUM 370-5-20 Race/Gender/Sex and Science Steve Epstein TTh 3:30 - 4:50 pm
HUM 370-5-22 Integrity and the Politics of Corruption Shmuel Nili MW 2 - 3:20 pm
HUM 370-5-30 Staging the Bible Chelsea Taylor TTh 11 am - 12:20 pm
HUM 370-6-10 Who is an Object? Ancestors, Gods, and Intermediaries in the Museum Risa Puleo W 2 - 4:50 pm
HUM 370-6-20 Subversive Forms: Satire Helen Thompson MW 11 am - 12:20 pm
HUM 370-6-40 (Im)material Layers in Archives: Affect, Landscapes, and Photographic Agency at the Arab Image Foundation (AIF) Vartan Avakian (Spring 2022 Artist in Residence) with Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh and Kristine Khouri W 2 - 4:50 pm
HUM 370-6-50 Digital Performances in the Era of Virality Marcela Fuentes F 2 - 4:50 pm


Spring 2022 course descriptions

HUM 220-0-20: Health, Biomedicine, Culture and Society

Co-listed with SOCIOLOGY 220-0-20
Fulfills Distro III or V: Social and Behavioral Sciences or Ethics and Values

Present-day medicine and health care are flashpoints for a wide array of controversies—many of them exacerbated by the global Covid-19 pandemic. Whose interests should the health care system serve? How do we manage health risks in an uncertain world? How can health care be made affordable? Is it possible to share the benefits of good health equitably across lines of social class, race, gender, and nation? This course will provide a broad introduction to the domain of health and medicine to take up such controversies as a matter of concern to all.

HUM 325-6-21: Ancient Rome in Chicago

Co-listed with CLASSICS 380-0-1
Fulfills Distro VI: Literature and Fine Arts

Ancient Rome is visible in Chicago—walk the city and learn to “read” the streets, buildings, and monuments that showcase Chicago’s engagement with the classical past! You’ll gain digital mapping and video editing skills as you collaborate on a virtual walking tour mapping Chicago’s ongoing dialogue with antiquity. With a combination of experiential learning and rigorous research methodologies, you’ll explore architecture, history, visual arts, and urban topography in this quintessential modern American city.

HUM 370-3-21: Archiving the Barrio: The Politics of Memory in Puerto Rican Chicago

Co-listed with LATINO 392-0-6
Fulfills Distro III: Social and Behavioral Sciences

Confronted with gentrification and displacement, urban communities of color—including Latinx communities—in the U.S. have not only struggled to ensure their futures but also to preserve their pasts. Against this backdrop, this course grapples with the politics of memory, history, and community. Through close readings of scholarly and popular works, students will explore the formation of community and “counter” archives, interrogate the sources and stakes of remembering (and forgetting), and gain first-hand experience in archival and oral history methods. The course will use Puerto Rican Chicago and the Puerto Rican Chicago Archive project as a case study. At least once in the term, the class will travel to Humboldt Park to participate in a memory tour and visit the archive.

HUM 370-5-20: Race/Gender/Sex and Science

Co-listed with SOCIOLOGY 376-0-20 and GENDER STUDIES 332-0-24
Fulfills Distro III or V: Social and Behavioral Sciences or Ethics and Values

How do developments in the life sciences affect our understandings of who we are, how we differ, and how social inequalities are created, perpetuated, and challenged? This seminar explores how scientific claims and technological developments help transform cultural meanings of race, gender, and sexuality. Conversely, we will consider how cultural beliefs about race, gender, and sexuality influence scientific knowledge and medical practice. By studying controversies, we will explore the dynamic interplay between expert findings, social identities, and political arguments.

HUM 370-5-22: Integrity and the Politics of Corruption

Co-listed with POLITICAL SCIENCE 390-0-20
Fulfills Distro V: Ethics and Values

If seasoned politicians in a fragile democracy are implicated in wide-scale corruption, but the country faces an acute economic crisis requiring experience at the helm, what should be done about the corrupt, and who should decide? What compromises, if any, are morally appropriate when dealing with dictators who threaten to unleash violence unless they are guaranteed amnesty by the democratic forces trying to replace them? We’ll delve into such fraught problems of corruption and abuse of political power, examining in detail two ideas related to “the people:” the sovereign people as the owner of public property (often stolen by corrupt politicians) and the people as an agent with its own moral integrity (one that might bear on policy dilemmas surrounding the proper response to corruption). Students will acquire familiarity with prominent philosophical treatments of integrity, property, and public policy.

HUM 370-5-30: Staging the Bible

Co-listed with RELIGION 379-0-24 and THEATRE 340-0-20
Fulfills Distro V: Ethics and Values

Can religious make believe actually make belief? How is theatre used as both a method of evangelizing and as a platform to critique religious metanarratives? Staging the Bible will explore theatrical projects that aim to “bring the Bible to life” through adaptation. We will study biblical performances as objects of analysis and performance as a critical paradigm for understanding religious expression in the contemporary United States of America. The course will explore theatre productions that dramatize the Bible, ranging from traditional passion plays to Broadway musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar and postmodern adaptations like Terrence McNally’s Corpus Christi. We will investigate Evangelical projects that use theatrical apparatuses to proselytize across various sites, like Megachurches, Christian theme parks, and Creation Museums. This course mixes lectures, discussions, in-class exercises, and co-curricular experiences beyond the classroom to survey multiple intersections of contemporary American Christianity and theatrical adaptation of scripture.

HUM 370-6-10: Who is an Object: Ancestors, Gods, and Intermediaries in the Museum

Co-listed with ART HISTORY 390-0-3
Fulfills Distro VI: Literature and Fine Arts

Formerly called primitive art and also known as the Arts of Africa, Oceania and The Americas, Non-Western art is a geographically-expansive category connected by the histories of imperialism that brought the art and artifacts from colonized people across the world into Western museums. In fact, many of the objects that comprise this canon are oftentimes not “objects” at all. Taking a decolonial approach to study the canon of Non-Western art, this course addresses the animacies and ontologies of different categories of “objects” in museum collections, including materially-embodied deities such as Katsina dolls (Hopi) and Orishas (Yoruba diaspora); ancestors that take form as seeds (Pueblo) and ceramics (Mimbres), and materials such as feathers (Aztec, Tupinamba, Hawaiian) and pipestone (Lakota, Dakota and Yankton Sioux) that mediate different realms of existence. The class will also consider the remains of humans, plants, and animals housed in anthropology and natural history museums. The question of objecthood also applies to people conceptualized as property, sold as commodities, and displayed within ethnographic and World’s Fair contexts as well as the land upon which museums are built. We will learn about some of the ways that these “objects” entered into museums as we compare the Western epistemologies by which they are organized there to the indigenous ontologies they occupy within their cultures of origin.

HUM 370-6-20: Subversive Forms: Satire

Co-listed with ENGLISH 310-0-20
Fulfills Distro VI: Literature and Fine Arts

What do Jonathan Swift's pamphlet A Modest Proposal (1729) and Jordan Peele's horror film Get Out (2017) have in common? Swift proposes that English landowners in Ireland consider eating the infants of impoverished Irish natives; Peele represents an upper-crust white Connecticut family that steals the brains of Black people. This class will examine the literary genre that Swift and Peele exploit to devastating critical effect: satire. We'll devote special attention to satire's key paradox: for those who get it (or think they do), satire signifies by not signifying what it literally says. We will explore high points in the history of satire, beginning with classical authors (Horace, Juvenal) to ponder how satire frames deep ethical concerns about social and political life. Then we'll read satires from the British eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, grouped into units on sexuality, sex work, marriage, and family; social class and criminality; and empire and race. The class ends with twentieth- and twenty-first-century film and TV to consider how satire continues to confront crises of our present historical moment.

HUM 370-6-40: (Im)material Layers in Archives: Affect, Landscapes, and Photographic Agency at the Arab Image Foundation

Co-listed with MENA 390-6-21
Fulfills Distro VI: Literature and Fine Arts

This seminar will investigate the ways in which archives can function as a space for renegotiating the agency of photographs and their (im)material layers, and how these processes can allow for rethinking archival practices in complex political, economic, and social contexts today. Considering the Arab Image Foundation’s (AIF) efforts to critically engage with its research and preservation practices, including documentation, technological solutions, and questions around custodianship, rights, and access, a particular focus will address diverse methodologies of generating layers of documentation through encountering and witnessing archival material in specific settings. We will explore specific pirate or subversive digital projects, traditional/local knowledge archives, and their related contracts’ use of radical descriptions and language, which may offer new ways to reclaim and reassert control over certain narratives. This, in turn, will allow us to understand how reframing the same archival items can shift how people search and read records. For example, in the collections from Burj al-Shamali camp, Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh has over many years tried to give disembodied layers the same status as the material layers of photographs in order to address the emotional dimensions of trauma, silence, refusal, resistance, and other affects unleashed by these photographs. Looking at the AIF’s Armenian collections will enable an investigation into how dispossession and perpetual migration have defined the presence and absence of Armenians in Ottoman landscapes and how varied methods of documentation might intervene in these historic and contemporary landscapes. Participants will learn, explore, and generate new knowledge by working on collections from the Arab Image Foundation and related projects.

HUM 370-6-50: Digital Performances in the Era of Virality

Co-listed with PERFORMANCE STUDIES 330-0-29
Fulfills Distro VI: Literature and Fine Arts

Acting as “historians of the present,” in this project-based course we will investigate the relationship between performance and digital technology as we track how creators, scholars, and activists have been intervening in contemporary scenes of social unrest. What emerging performance genres—from vaxxies to mental health TikTok videos and from Zoom performances to Instagram livestreams—have taken off during the last two years of social isolation and polarization? What digital aesthetic strategies link personal experience to collective crisis and action? How have artists and activists drawn attention to issues such as anti-Blackness, gender violence, and authoritarianism and their imbrication in the current public health crisis? To address these questions, students will read scholarship on performance and new media, examine digital performances of their choosing, and produce critical essays and/or practice-based research projects that incorporate digital tools. By the end of the course, students will have gained skills to analyze digital performances, to think critically about liveness, embodiment, and mediated performance, and to share their research using a critical digital humanities approach.

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