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Graduate Program

Course Offerings

Courses currently being offered:

Fall >
Spring >

Check the course schedules/descriptions available via the Registrar's Office for the official schedules for the widest range of terms for which such information is available.


Course Descriptions

Below you will find a list of all courses that have recently been offered.
NOTE: Not all of these courses are offered in any given year.

Core Theory Courses

AH 440 ANDY WARHOL: TOPICS IN CONT

As the most famous artist of the second half of the twenthieth century, Warhol has been the subject of a growing literature that expands upon art history and criticism to encompass queer theory and cultural studies. But the most important shift in Warhols reception has been brought about by the restoration and return to circulation of his prolific film output from the years 1963-69. The films will be the main focus of this course, but we will also consider Warhols early work as a fashion illustrator, his entrepreneurship at the Factory, his voracious collecting, and, of course, his paintings. We will read Warhols writings, including A a Novel. The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, and Popism; and we will examine new approaches to Warhol and ask how they illuminate not only the art but also such issues as consumption, publicity, visibility, celebrity, sexuality, identity, and selfhood.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

AH 441 AESTHETICS

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

AH 507 RHETORIC OF THE FRAME

The task of any discussion of frames and framing in the visual arts whether in painting, sculpture, film, performance, architecture, graphic novels and cartoon strips, or digital media - is first and foremost to counter the tendency of framing devices to invisibility with respect to the artwork they supposedly contain. We see the work, but we do not see the frame. It is against this tendency to ignore the frame that this seminar is directed. At first glance the frame may seem to be as unproblematic. Starting from a consideration of the foundational texts of frame theory in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, we will examine the discursive limits of the material and non-material border in the writings of, among others, Mayer Schapiro, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Claude Lebensztejn, Louis Marin, Craig Owens, and Jacques Derrida.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

AH 526 NEW HIST OF POSTWAR ART II

This is an intensive reading seminar that examines new texts by the emerging generation of art historians. We read books published in the last few years in three discrete historical area dada, Soviet constructivism, and postwar American art but focus most of our interest in their hybrid methodologies, combining psychoanalytic and Marxist theory with the work of other 20th century thinkers, from Bataille to Deleuze. Secondary readings accompany each primary text, and grades are based on class participation, reading presentations prepared jointly with other class members; and a short paper expanding the student's presentation.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

AH 540 THE ART OF INDUSTRY

Where do technological rationalism and aesthetic beauty converge? The course will address this question through an examination of things and places produced from the advent of the Industrial Revolution to the present, with a specific emphasis on the built environment as well as global contexts of industrial production. Theoretical and primary texts, including works by Marx, Benjamin, Loos, Le Corbusier, Kracauer, Banham and Appadurai, will contextualize a series of thematic concerns including the rise of an industrial vernacular, the “machine aesthetic”, the interrelationship of form and function, international transmutations of technology, Taylorism and Fordism, mass production and the industrial ruin. Subjects considered will include factories and plants, mass housing systems, objects of industrial design as well as artistic representations thereof. The course will be rooted in discussion but may be supplemented by formal presentations as appropriate.

Prerequisites: Field trips in the Rochester area will be a critical aspect of the class. Students will be encouraged to develop a digital component to a term research project in consultation with the instructor.
Last Offered: Spring 2018

AH 561 CLASSICAL FILM THEORY

This course examines the philosophical, aesthetic, and social issues that are central to classical film theory. It traces the historical development of film theory from 1900 to the 1950s. We will begin with on thinkers in the period of early cinema, including Germaine Dulac, Jean and Marie Epstein, and then we will examine the development of film theory in the work of later theorists, such as Jean Mitry, Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, Andre Bazin and Christian Metz. Weekly screenings of historically contemporary films will allow us to examine the ongoing dialogue between the evolving medium and the developing theoretical discussion.

Prerequisites: FMS 132 - Intro to Art of Film OR FMS 131 - Intro to Media Studies
Last Offered: Fall 2017

AH 583 VISUAL & CULTURAL STUDIES

The Colloquium introduces students in the Visual and Cultural Studies Program to aspects of the histories, theories, and methodologies of our field of study. We proceed in three ways: First, we read and discuss together a series of texts on and in visual and cultural studies. Second, various faculty members in the program conduct sessions in their areas of expertise based on readings that they select for us. And third, each student presents his or her own work to the colloquium. For this final part, it is important that students engage with visual and cultural studies models and provide relevant readings to other members of the colloquium.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

ENG 440 LITERARY CRITICISM AND THEORY

Study of the methods and conceptual backgrounds of the theoretical study of literature and literary analysis.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ENG 442 TOPICS IN LITERATURE

Readings vary according to subject.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

ENG 442M AUTHORS, EDITORS & LIT MARKT

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2017

ENG 551 CRITICISM

This seminar studies the developments in literary theory over the past eighty years. Early in the twentieth century criticism and theory followed the success of science, trying to bring order and method to the subject.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

ENG 555 ISSSUES IN FILM HISTORY & THEORY

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017


Core Visual Studies Courses

AH 433 THINKING THROUGH THE COPY

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

AH 434 ART AND ENVIRONMENT

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

AH 454 FILM HISTORY: 1959-1989

This course will explore developments in world cinema—industrial, social, and political—from 1959 to 1989. It will explore film aesthetics, technologies, and circulation questions, considering questions like the following: What’s new about the French New Wave? What do we mean by Third Cinema? How do different national cinemas influence each other? In what ways have various national cinemas responded critically to Hollywood’s commercial dominance and to its conventions? How do popular and “art” cinemas speak to each other. How does cinema respond to the pressures and provocations of other media at the inception of the digital age? Weekly screenings and film journals required. FMS 132, “Introduction to the Art of Film,” typically a prerequisite.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

AH 484 MODERN ARCH & URBANISM

The architecture of Los Angeles will serve two different purposes in this seminar. On the one hand, we will study the whole range of modern architecture--from mission style (Gill), arts and crafts (Greene and Greene), and the early modernists (Wright, Schindler), to high modernism (Neutra, the Case Study houses), and postmodernism (Gehry)--as a singular regional, but nevertheless representative development of modern architecture. On the other hand, using architecture as a starting point, we will look at the strange utopia/dystopia of Los Angeles as an example of a new kind of urbanism and style of living. Our texts will include not only studies of architecture, but also Hollywood films (Chinatown, Bladerunner), detective novels (Raymond Chandler), new journalism (Joan Didion), and urban theory (Reyner Bahnam, Mike Davis).

Prerequisites: Introduction to VCS or Introduction to Art History
Last Offered: Spring 2017

AH 485 HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY II

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

AH 511 DANCE, ART, AND FILM

This course explores relations among dance, art,and film at significant moments in the 20th & 21st centuries. We will study instances in which the forms are closely aligned, including the famous productions by artists Gontcharova, Picasso, & Matisse, for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes; Martha Graham’s partnership with Isamu Noguchi; & Merce Cunningham’s work with Robert Rauschenberg. We will look simply at how dance is filmed or how dance uses film. The course will concentrate on two figures of the postwar American avant-garde: Merce Cunningham & Yvonne Rainer. Cunningham’s dances choreographed for film in collaboration with film & video makers & Rainer’s move from choreography to filmmaking & eventually to hybrids of the two will constitute the core of the course. Other major figures will be explored: choreographers George Balanchine, Doris Humphrey, Trisha Brown, William Forsythe, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker; & filmmakers Maya Deren, Ed Emshwiller; Babette Mangolte, Dominique Delouche, Thierry de May, etc.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

AH 514 ITINERANT THINGS

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

AH 517 STREET PHOTOGRAPHY

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2017

AH 523 MATERIALITY IN ARCHITECTURE

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

AH 528 SLOW CINEMA:VARDA, AKERMAN

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

AH 585 VISUAL CULTURE OF HERITAGE

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

ENG 458 FILM ANALYSIS

not taught anymore.

Last Offered: Spring 2018


Electives

AH 408 EARLY MODERN CHINESE PNTG

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2017

AH 414 BEYOND THE BOUNDARIES: FOLK AND OUTSIDER ART

Road-side signs, weathervanes, quilts, nut crackers in the shape of a woman's body--what do vernacular and popular objects from the 19th century to the present tell us about American culture? These problematized classes of objects are sometimes called craft, folk art, outsider art, or vernacular art. We will chart the history of thought about theses rubrics, from late 19th century European writings on craft and ornament to early 20th century American writings on folk art, to the contemporary fascination with "outsider" art. In some semesters, this course may focus on specialized topics, such as "folk erotica" or vernacular environments. May be taken more than once for credit with permission of instructor.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

AH 419 21ST CENTURY ART MUSEUM

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

AH 489 COMIC BOOKS

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

AH 517 STREET PHOTOGRAPHY

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2017

AH 561 CLASSICAL FILM THEORY

This course examines the philosophical, aesthetic, and social issues that are central to classical film theory. It traces the historical development of film theory from 1900 to the 1950s. We will begin with on thinkers in the period of early cinema, including Germaine Dulac, Jean and Marie Epstein, and then we will examine the development of film theory in the work of later theorists, such as Jean Mitry, Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, Andre Bazin and Christian Metz. Weekly screenings of historically contemporary films will allow us to examine the ongoing dialogue between the evolving medium and the developing theoretical discussion.

Prerequisites: FMS 132 - Intro to Art of Film OR FMS 131 - Intro to Media Studies
Last Offered: Fall 2017

AH 591 INDEPENDENT STUDY

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

AH 594 PHD RESEARCH INTERNSHIP

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

AH 595 PHD RES/VIS&CULTRL STUDIES

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

AH 595A PHD RESEARCH IN ABSENTIA

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

AH 595B PHD RSRCH IN ABSENTIA ABROAD

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ANT 285 Res. Coll.: Morgan Bicent.

This colloquium will facilitate research into the life, works and legacies of Lewis Henry Morgan (1818-1881).

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ANT 308 ADVANCED TOPIC SEMINAR:ANTHROPOLOGY OF LAND & ENERGY

Energy production is tied to land: whether coal, natural gas, oil, biofuel, wind, water, or solar. This seminar focuses on the cultural politics of land use associated with changing forms of energy production and consumption in the world today.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ANT 422 MATERIALITY AND MEANING

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ANT 457 CHINESE SOCIETY AFTER MAO

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

ANT 466 ANTHROPOLOGY OF GLOBALIZATN

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2017

ANT 468 SCIENCE, CULTURE & EXPERTISE

In this course, we will investigate how people develop knowledge about the natural and social worlds. Through these case studies, we will explore the ways in which personal relations, cultural values, and power struggles are essential to scientific production rather than peripheral to it.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

CLT 412M HOLLYWOOD BEHIND THE WALL: An Introduction to East German Cinema

This course will explore major developments in the East German cinema, including issues such as coming to terms with the fascist past, popular filmmaking and art cinema, cinema as a pedagogical tool, artistic dissent and state censorship, socialist ideologies of gender, and the politics of documentary. Each film will be explored in relation to its socio-historical context, providing students with an overview of East German film and culture.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

CLT 421 MUTILATED BODIES

'Transnational sisterhood' or cultural imperialism? Legitimate ritualized practice or outdated violent ritual? Genital cutting, female circumcision, female genital surgery? The controversy over this practice already begins with the act of its naming. If there seems to be a consensus about the physical violence imposed on the female body, why is it that western feminist discourse is suspected of perpetuating the mutilation African voices? This course seeks to provide an understanding of the context in which a fragmented 'transnational sisterhood' allows for a proliferation of mutilated discourses on mutilated postcolonial bodies. Readings and Films include Alice Walker (Warrior Marks), Florence Ayissi Fauziya Kassindja (Do They Hear You When You Cry), Maryse Conde and more critical and theoretical readings from African, French and North American authors. In English.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

CLT 422C GENDER LOVE & FAMILIES

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2017

CLT 423 AND NOW... DEEP THOUGHTS WITH GERMAN-JEWISH THINKERS!

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2017

CLT 427 BODY POLITICS

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

CLT 454C JAPANESE SCIENCE FICTION

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

CLT 464B MODERN JPN LIT

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

CLT 482C FREUD AND PSYCHOANALYSIS

Freud is one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century. His ground-breaking work on dreams, the Oedipus Complex, and psychoanalytic method have profoundly changed our understanding of the psyche and social interaction. This course provides a basic survey of Freud’s most important and often controversial writings/discoveries within their historcial context and with regards to significant criticisms of his work. “Freud: An Introduction” is part of a cluster which includes courses of Marx and Nietzsche (these courses need not be taken in any particular order) Additionally majors and minors can sign up for GER 211 where significant texts will be read and discussed in German.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

CLT 482D STRANGERS

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

ENG 242 TOPICS IN LITERATURE

Readings vary according to subject.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ENG 245 STUDIES IN LITERARY MODE

Readings vary according to subject.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ENG 267 TOPICS IN MEDIA STUDIES

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ENG 400 HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANG

The development of the English language from the Anglo Saxon period on up, focusing on texts from representative periods.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

ENG 404 CHAUCER

The principal works of Chaucer, in their historical and intellectual context. Readings in Middle English.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ENG 406 STUDIES IN MEDIEVAL LITERATURE

Varying topics relating to the literature and culture of the Middle Ages.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ENG 408 RENAISSANCE DRAMA

English Renaissance drama through 1642, exclusive of Shakespeare.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ENG 410 SHAKESPEARE

Readings of a selection of Shakespeare's plays.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

ENG 420 ROMANTIC LITERATURE: THE GOTHIC SPIRIT

British romanticism (1780-1830) came to life in the midst of extreme stress and change: revolutionary politics, science, religion, technology, and commerce. Artistically, writers of astounding talents experimented with radical forms of creativity—often at the dangerous edge where dreams and fantasy meet reality. One important form of this fusion is the “gothic”—which uses the medieval, the terrifying, the violent, and the creepy to explore the extremes of intense human experience. We shall focus on the most fascinating and gripping works to emerge from these efforts, such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ENG 421 VICTORIAN LITERATURE

The major intellectual, cultural, and artistic developments of the Victorian period, in prose, drama, verse, and related arts.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

ENG 423 STUDIES IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY LITERATURE

Varying topics relating to the literature and culture of England in the nineteenth century.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

ENG 425 AMERICAN RENAISSANCE

From 1830 to 1865, including Emerson and the transcendental movement, abolitionist writing and slave narrative, representative fiction, and poetry by Poe, Whitman, Melville, Stowe, and others.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

ENG 428 AFRICAN-AMERICAN DRAMA

Study of dramatic works by African-American playwrights during the twentieth and twenty-first century.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ENG 438 STUDIES IN MODERN & CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE

Varying topics relating to the literature – prose, poetry, and drama – of the later twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ENG 440M ANDY WARHOL:TOPICS IN CONT

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ENG 442 TOPICS IN LITERATURE

Readings vary according to subject.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

ENG 443 STUDIES IN A MAJOR AUTHOR

Intensive study of the writings of a single author or small group of authors from British or American literary traditions.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ENG 445 STUDIES IN LITERARY MODE

Readings vary according to subject.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

ENG 447 SCIENCE FICTION

Examines a range of science fiction texts and issues, including works by Mary Shelley, H. G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Samuel R. Delany, and more.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

ENG 448 STUDY IN WOMEN'S LITERATURE

Writings by women – both literary and non-literary – from a variety of periods and cultures.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ENG 449 GENDER, WRITING, AND REPRESENTATION

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ENG 451 STUDIES IN POPULAR LITERATURE

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

ENG 453 THE LITERATURE OF THE BIBLE

Narrative and poetic art of selected biblical texts.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

ENG 458 FILM ANALYSIS

not taught anymore.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ENG 468 THE MATTER WITH MEN FILM/SOC

Same as FMS 254.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ENG 476 ADV CREATIVE WRITING: POETRY

After reading a wide variety of poems in different forms, students will write metered poems, rhymed poems, free-verse poems, and several more elaborately patterned poems (sestinas, villanelles, pantoums). They will also be asked to revise these poems substantially. The goal of the course is simply to become a better writer by recognizing that the beauty and power of all linguistic utterance is driven by its form.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ENG 483 MEDIA ABC

Provides a historical and critical introduction to the idea of medium and media, including books, paint, electronic files, music, photography, etc.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

ENG 508 MEDIEVAL LITERARY MODES

Readings vary according to subject.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

ENG 509 RENAISSANCE & 17TH C LYRIC

Expore the full range of Shakespeare's theater, including history plays, comedy, tragedy, and romance.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

ENG 524 RESTORATION & EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY LITERATURE

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2017

ENG 549 WWI & THE CULTURE OF MEMORY

The novel from 1900 to the present, emphasizing such novelists as Conrad, Joyce, Woolf, and Lawrence.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

ENG 554 CULTURAL STUDIES

In recent decades, many scholars of literature and other humanists have refocused their attention on a set of connections once consigned to the past: the historical and theoretical links between religion, science, and literary representation. This course introduces several important contexts and critical conversations stemming from these intersections. Areas of focus will include the history of ideas, political theology, post-colonial theory, and science and literature. We will read a number of primary sources, including key texts by Hobbes, Leibniz, Locke, and Spinoza, as well as important recent work by Talal Asad, Saba Mahmood, Charles Taylor, and others.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

ENG 557 SPECIAL LITERARY PROBLEMS

“The lyric” has always been an elusive quarry, as is the question of what kinds of critical tools we need to listen to, analyze, and animate lyric poems. The seminar will combine the intense study of the work of particular lyric poets with the close reading of texts by important critics and theorists of the lyric. Among the other questions we’ll consider are the nature (and fiction) of voice in lyric, the fate of the lyric “I,” the importance of formal elements (meter and rhyme, the organization of sound and syntax), the nature of linguistic play and “difficulty” in lyric poetry, the work of metaphor, the shape of poetic memory. The poems taken up will include Shakespeare’s sonnets, the lyrics of John Donne, and poems by John Keats, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Hardy, and Wallace Stevens. We’ll also be devoting time to crucial critical texts by William Empson, John Hollander, R. P. Blackmur, Christopher Ricks, Sharon Cameron, Anne Carson, and Jonathan Culler among others.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

FR 427 LAUGHING MATTERS

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

FR 468 JEAN RENOIR AND CINEMA

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2017

HIS 400 The History of Nature

This course explores the history of the idea and condition of nature from ancient times to the present. Drawing on contemporary historical scholarship as well as a range of thinkers and writers from Petrarch to Thoreau and beyond, we will study the many ways in which humans have thought about and treated the natural world around them and how the natural world has shaped human history in turn. Some background in history is recommended.

Last Offered: Spring 2018

HIS 425 Microhistory

No description

Last Offered: Fall 2017

HIS 427 REAL EXISTING SOCIALISM

This course examines the diverse history of socialist ideology as lived-experience across Europe. It beings with the first theorists of socialism and places their ideas in the context of a rapidly industrializing Europe in Germany, France, and Great Britain. From the Paris Commune to the Iron Curtain, the course explores the surprising varieties of socialist socieites that emerged in the 19th and 20th centuries. This course asks students to consider: how were these societies ruled and why did they fail? To what extent were they influenced by the political philosophies of the 19th century? To what extent were they a product of geo-political conflicts and the failures of capitalism in the 20th? How did socialist leaders and citizens imagine the future of socialist development? What was the every-day lived experience of secret police and state force, but also of food, fashion, music, literature, and film?

Last Offered: Spring 2018

HIS 430 War, Money, and Ordinary People

This course covers topics such as the changing nature of warfare, the lives of ordinary people, how the state attempted to control their private lives. It also looks at the global world which had emerged along with the growth of national feeling.

Last Offered: Fall 2017

HIS 483 Disease and Society from Antiquity to the Present

What is the relationship between disease and the society in which it strikes? How do societies define disease, and how does culture affect the treatment of the sick? How have scholars written the history of disease? In this research seminar, students will explore such questions by examining interactions between disease and society in western cultures from antiquity through the present, at the same time pondering what this insight can tell us as we face the frightening prospect of new killers like Ebola and resistant strains of old diseases like tuberculosis. Throughout, the course will insist that the experience of disease is not simply a biological fact, but is conditioned by the culture in which we live.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

HIS 486 N/A

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2017

JPN 412 HELLO KITTY MUST DIE: JAPANESE POPULAR CULTURE IN GLOBAL CONTEXTS

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

JPN 419A TOURIST JAPAN

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

JPN 473 FICTIONS OF FEMININITY

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018

JPN 493 LIFE & ANIME

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2018