Please consult the New School Course Catalog for a full list of courses. Fall 2023 courses include:
Labor and Dignity, GLIB 5134
Inessa Medzhibovskaya, Professor of Liberal Studies and Literary Studies
The aim of this course is to provide a humanistic and philosophical guide to thinking about the idea of work with dignity (migrant and undocumented labor, wage discrepancy, the minimum requirements established in societies for the provision of livelihood and its protection, unionization contracts, labor agreements, etc.). Our approach will be to consider this theme through the lens of the historical and theoretical dimensions of a larger and older discourse that has been around for millennia: labor and dignity. We will examine texts that illuminate the strengths and frailties of the concept and consider how it has struggled to maintain itself through history. Our workload each week will consist of individual case studies where the problem of labor and dignity is represented in scriptures, myths, literature, film, philosophy, theater, records of community life, media, and politics.
Women's Intellectual History, GLIB 5145
Gina Walker, Professor of Women's Studies
Women’s Intellectual History complements and corrects the traditional narrative of Western thought by and about mainly men. We ask, what are the historical assumptions about the connections between women’s sexuality and their learning, beginning with the Ancients? What role did religion and “Natural Philosophy” play in facilitating or limiting women’s access to education? How did continuing debate over whether the mind “has sex” influence the cultural roles for which women should be educated? Was there a causal relation between la querelle des femmes and the diffusion of l’égalité des sexes, first proposed by Cartisian Poullain de la Barre? We examine the texts, contexts, and new information about earlier “learned ladies” that feminist scholarship has recovered over the past forty years: Enheduanna, Sappho, Diotima, Aspasia, Hypatia, early Christian martyr Vibia Perpetua, Hildegard of Bingen and her 12th century contemporary, Heloise, the erotic trobaritz, and Christine de Pizan’s political visions of a “City of Ladies.” We ask, did women have the same “Renaissance” as men? We read Tullia d’Aragona, Veronica Franco, and Gaspara Stampa, female humanists, “honorable courtesans,” and poets in 16th-century Venice who develop Neo-Platonist ideas of their own. We consider Elizabeth I of England as an Early Modern humanist “prince,” one of “the monstrous regiment of women rulers" in Europe, and a beacon of clusters of Early Modern women thinkers. We scrutinize new critical perspectives, for example, an enlightened “republic of women,” to elucidate disputes in current theory and historiography about a lineage of earlier “feminists” and what we have inherited from them.
The Personal and The Political in Creative Nonfiction, GLIB 5176
Melissa Monroe, Part-time Assistant Professor
How does a writer shape his or her personal experience into work that speaks to issues of general political and social importance? In this course, we examine short pieces and excerpts from books by a wide range of writers who have used the first person to report on current events, engage with public figures, and reflect on social or cultural phenomena. Authors covered include, among others, James Agee, Nicholson Baker, James Baldwin, Max Beerbohm, Jenny Diski, Susan Faludi, Henry James, Margo Jefferson, Alfred Kazin, Janet Malcolm, Jan Morris, Maggie Nelson, E.B. White, Colson Whitehead and Virginia Woolf. We focus particularly on the construction of narrative voice and perspective, and on the ethical and psychological questions that arise when the author serves as a character in his or her own work. The course has a strong workshop component; students write three brief essays and one longer one, and we spend part of almost every meeting discussing effective examples of student work.
Autotheory, GLIB 5209
McKenzie Wark, Professor, Culture and Media; Program Director, Gender Studies
What is the role of first-person narration in writing whose aim is the creation of concepts? What is the affinity between the inclusion of subjective experience in the text and writing from the point of view of a minoritized subject? Those are the two questions animating this course, in which we will look closely at some classic and recent examples of writing that might fit under the heading of autotheory. Our study will include Gloria Anzaldúa, Paul Preciado, Frank Wilderson III and Saidiya Hartman. We will also do a series of exercises together aimed at developing our ability to describe situations in prose, while moving from perception, reflection on that perception, awareness of the affective dimension, and at the same time the production and presentation of concepts.
The Making of the Modern World, GLIB 5542
Paul Kottman, Professor of Comparative Literature and Chair of Liberal Studies
The course presents an interpretation and an evaluation of the fate of modernity, as understood by some of the most influential thinkers of the past 250 years -- and involving different currents in the arts, social history, cultural theory, politics and philosophy. 'Modernity' is understood here to entail such things as the emergence of the nation-state; ambitious claims for the authority of reason in human affairs; the increasing authority of the natural sciences; the advent of a discourse of natural or human rights; aesthetic modernism; capitalism and the free market; globalization and social movements that take up new demands of mutuality, from feminism to the labor movement. Each of these issues will be addressed, through readings of works by Hobbes, Rousseau, de Beauvoir, du Bois and others -- alongside consideration of a range of cultural products and social practices. (Required core-course for Liberal Studies MA students)