Spring 2013 CCE Course Offerings
The Social Construction of Family Life
Instructor: Shahnaz Rouse
Monday, 1pm-3pm in the Wrexham Dining Room
January 28 – May 13, 2013
Many of us take for granted the dichotomy between public and private life. The former is frequently understood as abstract, distant, and a key site of power, the latter as the site of warmth, intimacy and emotional sustenance. In this seminar, we will critically examine the assumptions underlying such idealized distinctions between public and private domains. Through such re-visioning, it is hoped we will better understand the public and private dimensions of families, their complexity and historical variability. In particular, our analysis will enable us to critically examine notions that posit the inevitability of the nuclear, heterosexual family as a universal and ‘natural’ institution.
Through historical, cross cultural materials, and memoirs, we will look at the myriad ways in which personal and social reproduction occur; how family forms have emerged in diverse settings, in response to different systems of social organization and social movements; how gender and sexual relations are expressed in these familial forms; be attentive to shifting boundaries between private, family life and public institutions and practices. The ‘private’ domain of the family will be problematized as a site for the construction of identity and caring, and simultaneously as a location that engenders compulsion and violence. In this latter context, we will examine how relations of domination and subordination are produced through the institution of the ‘family’ and resistance is generated to such dominant relations and constructions. The course will conclude with an examination of family forms in contemporary societies (single-parent, same sex, fictive-kin based), and of public struggles over these various forms.
Brother Can You Spare a Dime? Unemployment and Poverty in the Current Crisis in a Historical Context
Instructor: Jamee Moudud
Thursday, 6pm-8pm in the Wrexham Dining Room
January 31 – May 16, 2013
The social consequences of the current economic crisis in the United States are staggering. Whether it is food insecurity and hunger, unemployment, or lack of health insurance the crisis has reached deep into American society affecting even “middle class” families that had ostensibly lead secure lives before the crisis exploded.
In this interdisciplinary course we will investigate these socio-economic issues in economic, political, and historical contexts. Beginning with a showing of the movie American Casino, which documents the sub-prime mortgage lending scandal and its effects on ordinary Americans, we will delve into deeper questions about poverty, gender, race, and the so-called “underclass” in American society as well as the nature of the State and the evolution of the US welfare state. Some of the questions that we will pose are as follows. What is a “desirable” society that maximizes human freedoms: is it one in which free market forces rule or one in which there is an adequate social safety net? What is behind the public healthcare debate and why does the US lack a single-payer healthcare system as in other industrialized countries? How do we understand the nature of the Affordable Healthcare Act (“Obamacare”)? What are the roots and socio-economic consequences of the current crisis? Is the state in a democratic political order neutral so that it acts in the interests of all citizens, or is it institutionally and structurally regulated by the interests of the dominant social classes? Finally, given the high rate of unemployment, how do we evaluate the Obama administration’s job creation strategy and how does it compare with similar initiatives put in place during the Great Depression of the 1930s? What kinds of challenges will the Obama administration face in the next four years? Open to all interested students.
Critical Perspectives on Dance and Culture
Instructor: Peggy Gould
Thursday, 10am-12pm in the Wrexham Library
January 31 – May 16, 2013
When we look at dancing, what are we seeing, experiencing and understanding? How does dance, in present day U.S., perpetuate or disrupt assumptions about personal and social identity? Embedded notions of gender, economic class and race are threaded through our daily lives. Art and popular culture sometimes reinforce dominant cultural ideas, but can also serve to propose alternatives to those ideas. In this seminar, we will see a variety of dance forms on film, in live performance, television programs and commercials. These viewings, along with selected texts from the fields of dance and performance, literary criticism, feminist theory, queer theory and cultural studies, will form the basis of class discussions, exercises, readings, research and writing. The ultimate objective of this course is to cultivate a richly informed conversation among engaged spectators, using rigorous academic work and life experience to illuminate and advance our appreciation of dance as an elemental art form.
Stories from Life
Instructor: Carolyn Ferrell
January 28 – March 4, 2013
How do we, as writers, take our lived experiences and transform them in to fiction? As author Robin Hemley once wrote, it’s not the material, it’s how you write it. In this six week workshop, we will read selections from memoir and fiction as a way to begin writing our own stories (which we will also do in weekly assignments). Attention will be paid to story craft, such as setting, characterization, voice and plot as we read and write and discuss work from authors such as Tobias Wolff, Edward P. Jones, Jamaica Kincaid and Jo Ann Beard. We will also work on developing our constructive criticism, which (when developed over time and in a supportive atmosphere) should help us better understand the workings of our creative process.
Carolyn Ferrell (BA, Sarah Lawrence College. MA, City College of New York) has taught at Sarah Lawrence since 1996. She is the author of the short story collection Don’t Erase Me. She was awarded the Art Seidenbaum Award of The Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the John C. Zachiris Award given by Ploughshares, and the Quality Paperback Book Prize for First Fiction. Her stories are anthologized in The Best American Short Stories of the Century; Giant Steps: The New Generation of African American Writers; The Blue Light Corner: Black Women Writing on Passion, Sex, and Romantic Love; and Children of the Night: The Best Short Stories by Black Writers, 1967 to the Present. She is the recipient of grants from the Fulbright Association, the German Academic Exchange (D.A.A.D.), the City University of New York MAGNET Program, and the National Endowment for the Arts (Literature fellow for 2004).
Peggy Gould (B.F.A., M.F.A., New York University Tisch School of the Arts) is a dancer, choreographer, collaborator and movement educator. A professor at Sarah Lawrence since 1999, she is one of a small number of functional anatomists trained by world renowned dance educator, Irene Dowd. Long time collaborations with choreographer Patricia Hoffbauer and writer George Emilio Sanchez have driven ongoing research into identity in performance. Current performance projects include Hoffbauer’s Para-Dice: Stages 1 & 2, with residencies and performances slated for 2013-14, and a new mixed media performance collaboration with choreographer/director Cathy Weis and collaborator Joyce S. Lim. She was commissioned by Proctor’s Theater in Schenectady, NY to create a work for their Dangerous Music Series in 2009, and is a recipient of grants from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Harkness Center for Dance. Her paper, Dancing Toward Inclusion: Embedded Assumptions and Innovations in Functional Anatomy, was published last spring in the premier issue of Choros International Dance Journal.
Jamee K. Moudud (BS, MEng, Cornell University. MA, PhD (Honors), The New School for Social Research) has taught at Sarah Lawrence since 2000. (Faculty webpage: http://www.slc.edu/faculty/moudud-jamee-k..html). His current interests include the study of industrial competition, the political economy of business-labor-state relations, the determinants of business taxes, and the study of Schumpeter’s analysis of the tax state. He has published articles on the state, competition, development, and growth in the International Journal of Political Economy, Research on Money and Finance, Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, African and Asian Studies, International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Challenge, and Encyclopedia of International Political Economy. His book, Strategic Competition, Dynamics, and the Role of the State: a New Perspective, was published in 2010 by Edward Elgar as part of its New Directions in Economics series. His new book Alternative Theories of Competition: Challenges to the Orthodoxy (with co-editors C. Bina and P. Mason), was published by Routledge in 2012. Finally, he is co-editing (with C. Bina) International Economics: An Encyclopedia of Global Trade, Capital, Labor, Technology, and Innovation, which will be published by Greenwood Press in 2014.
Shahnaz Rouse (BA, Kinnaird College, Pakistan. MA, Punjab University, Pakistan. MS, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Special student, American University of Beirut, Lebanon) has taught at Sarah Lawrence since 1987. She has also been a Visiting faculty member, University of Hawaii at Manoa and the American University in Cairo. Her academic specialization is in historical sociology, with emphasis on the mass media, gender, and political economy. She is the author of Shifting Body Politics: Gender/Nation/State; co-editor, Situating Globalization: Views from Egypt; and a contributor to books and journals on South Asia and the Middle East. She is a Member of the Editorial Advisory Board, Contributions to Indian Sociology, and past member of the Editorial Committee, Middle East Research and Information Project. She also she served as a consultant to the Middle East and North Africa Program of the Social Science Research Council, as well as the Population Council West Asia and North Africa Office (Cairo). She is a recipient of grants from the Fulbright-Hays Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the American Institute of Pakistan Studies, and the Council on American Overseas Research Centers.