Feit Interdisciplinary Seminars Fall 2017

War and the Arc of Human Experience
Tuesday 6:05-9:05
Glenn Petersen, Anthropology
Glenn Albright, Psychology

 In this seminar we aim to examine some of the social, psychological, and cultural forces that predispose young men and woman to join the military and seek out combat and other forms of military service; the nature of war and its effects on those caught up in it (including both warriors, noncombatants and their families); and the impacts war has on the later lives of those who survive it. Much of Glenn Albright’s current work as a psychologist is on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and war trauma and he is deeply involved in developing support services for veterans at Baruch. Glenn Petersen is a Vietnam vet, has recently been writing on war-related issues, and teaches on the anthropology of peace and war. We will draw on materials from our respective fields as well as on literature and the other humanities and social sciences. We are eager to have some of Baruch’s veterans participate in this seminar.

Money: The Culture, History, and Philosophy of Currency
Tuesday/Thursday 4:10-5:25 PM
Laura Kolb, English
Matt Eatough, English / Global Studies

For something that we use every day, money can be notoriously tricky to define.  What is money made of? Where does its value come from? When did human beings invent it? And how have different cultures, in different eras, understood it?

Over the course of the semester, we will examine some of the most important writings on money.  We will read selections from seminal works in economic theory (Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, Karl Marx’s Capital, and J. M. Keynes’s General Theory), as well as philosophical texts that discuss the nature of money and exchange (Marcel Mauss, The Gift; Ian Baucom, Specters of the Atlantic).  We will also study literary and historical texts to see what insight they can give into the cultural practices that support money, credit, and other forms of investment.  Such texts will include Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and Martin Amis’s Money. Assignments will consist of a midterm, leading class discussion, and a final research project.

American Politics and the Broadway Musical, from Little Johnny Jones to Hamilton
Monday/ Wednesday 12:50-2:05
Liz Wollman, Fine and Performing Arts
Vince Digirolamo, History

Like all mass entertainments, Broadway musicals reflect their time, place, and the ethos of the people who consume them. In this course, we will examine Broadway musicals that comment on important developments in American social and political history, moving as we do from the mid- to late-19th century when the commercial theater industry was first established, to Broadway in the present day. Assigned readings, which will include scripts or librettos when possible, will touch on the relationship between individual shows' production and reception histories and the sociopolitical mood of the nation. Students will be expected to visit the Theater on Film and Tape Archive at Lincoln Center on occasion; if funds permit, trips to see contemporary Broadway musicals will also be required. 


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