2023 - 2024
Spring 2019 Seminars
Soccer is played on neighborhood streets, recreational fields & in large stadiums. It is often referred to as a “universal language”, where people who are different can collaborate in a common purpose. This course will examine soccer as a cultural practice & as a portal for exploring the political, gender, & racial issues that shape the global game. There is a semester-long playing and training component (lab) to this class, and a committed engagement with playing soccer is a required, regular part of this course. Formal soccer playing experience is not required, but is recommended. Players are required to have proper footwear and safety equipment. There will be a trip to Costa Rica during Spring Break, where students will train, play matches, attend formal seminars on the social dynamics of soccer, as well engage in a service project.
People have moved to cities in search of economic and cultural opportunities, but at the same time, urban growth has often been associated with contestation over space, including cultural and economic segregation, informal and precarious living conditions. The spectacular rise of what Saskia Sassen calls “global cities” has prompted broad interdisciplinary inquiry into the cultural and political dynamism and socioeconomic challenges of cities across the world. This course, co-taught by two East Asian Studies faculty members, a sociocultural anthropologist specialized in transnational migration and social movements and a historian of art and urban landscape, investigates intersections of art, architecture and place-making in Hong Kong, a paradigmatic high-density global city in East Asia that stands at the cross-roads of histories of empire, colonization, migration and globalization. This course engages interdisciplinary (ethnographic and visual studies) methods and theories to interrogate some of the promises and dilemmas various social groups face in global cities, and ask how they intersect with and confront each other in the shared or ‘public’ spaces of Hong Kong’s urban environment. To explore these issues, the students will study and critically assess a representative selection of materials that address the creation and contestation of urban space through the lenses of colonial and post-colonial governance, globalization, migration, cultural and ethnic identity and economic inequality, art, architecture and cultural heritage, and community and environment activism. The course seeks to establish Global Course Connection with Dr. Iam-Chong Ip of the Department of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. By partnering with Dr. Ip, who has expertise in urban politics, representation, and media activism, the course will benefit from his disciplinary expertise and knowledge about urban issues in Hong Kong, and from shared course assignments between his course at Lingnan and this seminar. Through GCC, the students will develop collaborative research projects on a site of choice. The course will culminate in mid-May 2019 with the group field trip to Hong Kong for 7 days, where we will meet with social and environmental activists (e.g., community advocates, immigrant rights advocates), local communities, scholars, artists, visit local art centers and museums, and apply Fine Arts and ethnographic methods to explore key urban landscapes.
Yoga has become increasingly mainstream in North America and Europe in the past several decades. It seems, however, to mean many things to many people, raising the question: What is yoga in its contemporary global setting? Is it a form of physical exercise aimed at bodily and mental health and reduction of stress? An ancient Hindu mental and bodily discipline aimed at spiritual liberation? An Indian philosophy with a distinct ontology, epistemology, and worldview? An experiential set of bodily and mental exercises providing new insights into the workings of the mind and body at the neurological level? A growing new area of commodity capitalism? Is it a form of spiritual practice devoid of inherent content that can be incorporated into other religious traditions, such as Christian Yoga? Is it a cultural practice misappropriated by the West? Examining the multifaceted phenomenon of yoga also allows us to investigate a number of philosophical questions including what the nature of practice is; how a tradition is constituted; how we should understand consciousness, the mind-body relationship, and embodiment; and how to conceptualize cultures. We will approach the question “What is yoga?” from a deeply interdisciplinary perspective. Answering it involves areas of inquiry as varied as neuroscience and therapeutic counseling, philosophy of mind, religious studies, performance studies, globalization theory, political economy and post-colonial studies. In addition to a theoretical and text-based approach, this course will include an applied component in the form of a weekly “yoga lab,” giving students the opportunity to experience and explore yoga from their own embodied perspective. No prior experience in yoga is required.
This course will examine different manifestations of creativity and its interpretations and possible effects in the Hispanic world. The seminar will focus on three themes: a) art and its relation to the subject, b) art as a social force and c) art as utopia and healing. Students will practice articulating their own space in the world through the creation of literary and artistic pieces in dialogue with the models provided in this course. Students will also develop the ability to formulate critical discourses to analyze and evaluate creativity in the visual arts and literature.
Class TRAVEL: Students will experience firsthand the importance of creativity in the Hispanic world by traveling to La Habana, Cuba during Spring break. There, students will interview artists, writers and specialists studied in class.