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  • Current Courses

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        General Admission Contact
        The New School for Social Research
        Office of Admission
        79 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor
        New York, NY 10003
        212.229.5600 or 800.523.5411

        Admission Liaison
        Samuel Yelton

        Committee on Liberal Studies
        6 East 16th Street, room 711A
        New York, NY 10003
        Tel: 212.229.2747 x3026
        Fax: 212.229.5473 

        Mailing Address
        79 Fifth Avenue, room 711A
        New York, NY 10003

        Paul Kottman


        Student Advisor
        Nick Travaglini

        Liberal Studies Student Handbook


    • Courses in the Department of Liberal Studies survey modern society through groundbreaking thinkers and significant developments in the arts, social history, cultural theory, politics, and philosophy. Students will enhance their own ideas through nonfiction writing and criticism, improving the clarity of their thinking and analytical construction.

      Please consult the New School Course Catalog for a full list of courses. Spring 2022 courses include:

      • Women in the Avant-Garde, GLIB 5146
        Terri Gordon, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature

        This course examines the pivotal role of women in the European avant-garde movements of the 20th century. Women are often seen as the models and muses of their male contemporaries in the groundbreaking movements of the 20th century. Yet they were also creators and pioneers in their own right. In this course, we study the multiple ways in which women contributed to the 20th-century vanguard, the personal and political stakes involved in forging new territory in art and culture, the pain and suffering that often attended their revolutionary efforts, and the artistic legacies they have left. Themes include the nexus of art and politics, sexuality and gender violence, war and madness, and suffering and creativity. We study Italian futurism, German expressionism, Dada, surrealism, and other movements at the vanguard of European culture, politics, and art. The course covers the literary genres of poetry, prose and drama and the artistic genres of painting, photography, collage and photomontage. We also read "founding" documents, such as manifestoes and political tracts. Writers and artists include Leonora Carrington, Mina Loy, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Claude Cahun, Hannah Hoch, Frida Kahlo, and Unica Zurn. Theoretical texts by Andre Breton, F.T. Marinetti, Tristan Tzara, and Walter Benjamin.

      • Sad Planets, GLIB 5152
        Dominic Pettman, University Professor of Media and New Humanities, and Eugene Thacker, Professor of Media Studies

        In this course, we will explore the relationship between environment, estrangement, and pathos in philosophical, cultural, and aesthetic terms. Starting with questions of cosmic scale – what Friedrich Nietzsche once termed “humanity’s place in the universe” – we will turn to novels, poems, and films that respond to existential alienation, entropic decline, imminent catastrophe, and the sense of a general melancholia pervading the natural world. We will touch upon a wide range of traditions, from the wilderness poetry of ancient China to contemporary “cli-fi,” from the desert hermits of ancient Egypt to fin-de-siècle decadence, from Romanticism’s poetics of nature to modern “weird fiction.” Along the way we will address topics such as the threat of extinction, “ecological grief,” “collapsology,” and other affects associated with the Anthropocene. Readings will likely include fiction by Kōbō Abe, J.G. Ballard, Aase Berg, Algernon Blackwood, Rachel Carson, Liu Cixin, Camille Flammerion, Anna Kavan, Izumi Kyōka, Stanislaw Lem, Ursula Le Guin, Octavia Butler, Kim Stanley Robinson, Vladimir Sorokin, and others.

      • The Life of the Mind, GLIB 5208
        Inessa Medzhibovskaya, Associate Professor of Liberal Studies and Literary Studies

        This course seeks to meet the needs of those who are interested in thinking about thinking as a trans-disciplinary intellectual task and a methodological approach of choice. We begin with the ancient Greek notion of nous and move on to investigate key concepts developed in the historical course of study of reasoning, apprehending, and rationality (e.g. “productive imagination”), considering the divisions imposed on the topic by professional disciplines examined side by side with contemporary studies about the mind of artificial reality (e.g., the “liquid” mind and the “absent” mind). The course will involve a critical rereading of selections from premodern and modern thinkers, including Kant, Hegel, Husserl, Wittgenstein, Sartre, Adorno, Horkheimer, Arendt, Merleau-Ponty, Deleuze, Kristeva, and Dennett, among others, along with discussion of provocative examples from fiction (e.g. Nabokov), film (e.g., Terrence Malick), theater (e.g., Beckett), and visual and acoustic media—to consider the pros and cons of thinking for oneself, of making judgments in disconnection and isolation vis-à-vis thinking conventionally and algorithmically while living as we are in an age of total distraction and conceptual disempowerment. Priority to enroll is given to Liberal Studies majors at the NSSR and in the BAMA program, but graduate students from all disciplines at the NSSR and The New School are also encouraged. A small quota of seats may be available to qualified seniors at Lang and those in the BAFA program, but the instructor’s permission is required.

      • Gender and Its Discontents, GLIB 5406
        Chiara Bottici, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Gender and Sexuality Studies Graduate Certificate

        This is the required core course for the university-wide graduate certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies and it is open to all the graduate students who are interested in sexuality and gender studies. Our starting point is the acknowledgement that sex- and gender-based modes of social organization are pervasive and, further, that their prominence and persistence are reflected in sex- and gender-conscious research across the humanities, the arts, the social sciences, design, and studies dedicated to social policies and innovative strategies for social intervention. We will expand on this starting point through both an in-depth survey of influential theoretical approaches to sex and gender such as Marxist feminism, theories of sexual difference, queer studies, and postcolonial and decolonial feminism, and by paying attention to the significance of different approaches. Topics to be explored include, but are not limited to: equality and rights, exploitation and division of labor, the construction of gender, performativity, gender images, narrative and identity.

      • Sin and Evil in Western Literature, GLIB 5529
        Melissa Monroe, Part-Time Assistant Professor

        The problem of evil is central to any examination of the human situation. Philosophers and social scientists have taken various stances on this problem, as have different religious traditions. Some hold that people are essentially good, succumbing to evil only as a result of temptation or social pressure. Others maintain that we are fallen creatures who must constantly struggle to overcome our base impulses. Still others view human nature as essentially divided, a battleground between good and evil. Many recent thinkers would argue that all these viewpoints are meaningless, that the terms good and evil have no objective validity, referring only to socially constructed beliefs which vary enormously over time and space. In this course, we read texts from the Western tradition which approach evil from various perspectives, both religious and secular. Some major themes include Satan and other personifications of evil, knowledge as temptation, transgression as heroic rebellion, the figure of the Doppelgänger and the allure of decadence. Our main focus will be on how these themes are addressed in works of literature, but we also read selections from nonliterary authors whose views will inform our discussion of the literary texts. Among the authors we read are Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, Goethe, Milton, Hawthorne, James Hogg, Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche, Baudelaire, Flannery O’Connor, Mikhail Bulgakov, Hannah Arendt, Stanley Milgram, Philip Zimbardo, Kazuo Ishiguro and José Saramago.

      • Master's Seminar in Critical and Creative Writing, GLIB 6301
        Melissa Monroe, Part-Time Assistant Professor

        An intensive workshop for students working on major writing projects such as an M.A. thesis, a piece of long-form journalism, or an integrated writing portfolio for professional use. The course is organized as an ongoing process of peer review supervised by the faculty. The aim is to create a collective setting that can help students improve their own writing and hone their critical skills though constructive engagement with others’ work.

      • Hamlet and Philosophy, GLIB 6669
        Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy

        The objective of this seminar is deceptively simple: to read Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. Yet how are we to approach Shakespeare's longest, densest and most philosophically self-conscious drama? In addition to reading the play together slowly, collectively and line by line, we will look at the play in the company of a number of readers, notably Carl Schmitt, Walter Benjamin, Hegel, Schelling, Nietzsche, Freud, Lacan and Heiner Mueller. A number of problematics will be encountered: the political stakes of Hamlet, the nature of male and female sexuality in the play, the problem of nihilism, the theological background of Hamlet and the way in which it characterizes our so-called 'modernity', tragedy and the production of shame. It is hoped that our reading will add up to a kind of hamlet doctrine that might tell us something about why this play continues to fascinate us and to shape what we think of as our present. Open to: university graduate students; those outside of the major should seek permission from their program and the department of the course.

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