Feit Interdisciplinary Seminars Fall 2014

IDC 4050H CMWH                                                                                                          Mondays/Wednesdays 11:10-12:25                                                                                Soundtracks:  History and its Music in Modern America                                              Carol Berkin, Department of History                                                                                                     Liz Wollman, Department of Fine and Performing Arts (Music)

This course examines the development of American popular music through the prism of history. It focuses on both stylistic developments and the historical context in which music such as the blues, folk, soul, rock, disco, punk, alternative rock and rap evolved in the second half of the 20th century. The connection between popular styles and the changing notions of race, gender and social class as well as the impact music has had on American social and political history will be explored.

IDC4050H CTRH                                                                                                                  Tuesdays/Thursdays 11:10-12:25                                                                                      Remembering the Great War, 1914-2014                                                                            Vince Digirolamo, Department of History                                                                             Katherine Pence, Department of  History

This class takes the hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of World War I as an opportunity to explore the geopolitical forces that pitched dozens of nations across the globe into a four-year maelstrom of death and destruction, shaking the very foundations of western civilization. It will explore the causes, conduct, and consequences of the war, including its social and psychological impact on ordinary citizens, both soldiers and civilians, and its cultural influence on artists, writers, poets, composers, and filmmakers. The course will pay close attention to commemorative events and works newly produced by publishers, orchestras, and museums, and periodicals. Our aim is to gain a deeper understanding of war, peace, imperialism, propaganda, modernity, and memory.

IDC4050H NRH                                                                                                                                         Thursdays, 2:30-5:25                                                                                                    Utopias/Dystopias                                                                                                                             David Hoffman, School of Public Affairs (Communications)                                                      Douglas Muzzio, School of Public Affairs (Political Science)

As H.G. Wells said in a 1939 radio address, “Throughout the ages…Utopias reflect the anxieties and discontents amidst which they are produced.”  To study the history of utopian and dystopian thought is to study the hopes and fears that have driven revolution, reform, and social and political innovation for millennia.  Through the study of utopian literature and practice, this course will explore issues in governance, economics, human rights, and sustainability, as well as examine fundamental questions about human nature and happiness.  We will explore these issues in utopian and dystopian literary works, such as Plato’s Republic, Gilman’s Herland, Zamyatin’s We, Callenbach’s Ecotopia, and LeGuin’s The Dispossessed.  We will also study utopian and dystopian themes in film and music, as well as actual attempts to create utopian societies, especially on the small scale.  Students will be encouraged to see works of literature and experiments in the utopian tradition as taking part in an ongoing conversation about how to organize a fulfilling and sustainable life.


The City University of New York