Fall 2016

(updated 10 May 2016)



MEDI-GA 2000 Medieval & Renaissance Workshop. Monday, 1:10-2:15pm. GCASL 375.

MEDI-GA 2100: Renaissance Latin. Jonathan Gnoza. Tuesday, 7:00-9:00pm. Silver 402.
The course has two aims: to improve students’ ability to read and translate Renaissance Latin, and to increase students’ understanding and appreciation of Renaissance Latin literature.  Students will read selections from a variety of Latin texts, of which the earliest author is Petrarch and the latest authors are Erasmus and St. Thomas More.  The study of poetic selections will include attention to meter.  Intensive study of these Latin texts will serve as a means to elucidate some of the major intellectual currents that constitute the Renaissance. Secondary readings in English are suggested for greater appreciation of the Latin texts.

MEDI-GA 2200 001 The Art of the Psalms in Medieval European Culture. K. Smith and A. Romig. Thursday, 3:30-6:10pm. (SAME AS FINH-GA 3026.002)
“The Art of the Psalms in Medieval European Culture” is a team-taught graduate seminar designed to introduce students, including doctoral candidates, master’s students, and BA/MA students across a range of departments and programs to the study of the Old Testament Book of Psalms, with particular interest in its collection, dissemination, interpretation, and illustration in medieval Christian manuscripts from roughly the fifth through fifteenth centuries CE.  Taught by Kathryn Smith (Department of Art History) and Andrew Romig (Gallatin School of Individualized Study), the course takes a multi- and inter-disciplinary approach to medieval cultural study.  We will regard the Book of Psalms as a text that was used and reused for multi-layered purposes throughout the European Middle Ages.  We will consider the ways in which the Book of Psalms served as an object of and vehicle for veneration, commemoration, and pictorial innovation.  We will explore how it both facilitated the expression of cultural identity and served as a means of intercultural connection between contemporary communities and their collective pasts.  Finally, we will define “Psalm Art” as broadly as possible, so as to include not only the calligraphic presentation and pictorial illustration of the Psalms, but also the poetics of the Psalms themselves, the arts of translation and exegetical interpretation, and the devotional practices that placed the Psalms at the center of spiritual life for professional and lay Christians alike for more than a millennium.  While the course has its foundations in the fields of literature, history, and art history, as well as the study of medieval manuscripts as material artifacts, readings will invite students to use the Psalms as a case study for a wide range of methodological and theoretical pursuits – the history of emotions, gender studies, literary theory, theology, and philosophy, to name just a few.  Students will have the opportunity to examine manuscripts in local collections (the Morgan Library, the Columbia University Rare Book Room) and to examine works in both digital and paper facsimile.  Course meetings also will be enriched by visits from guest speakers working in a range of disciplines in medieval studies, including musicology, art history, history, or literature.  No interview is required, but interested students should contact Professors Romig (ajr6@nyu.edu) and Smith (kathryn.smith@nyu.edu) indicating their interest and how the course fits their studies.

MEDI-GA 2200 002 History of the Book. P. McDowell. Wednesday, 9:30-12:15pm. 244 Greene Street, 306 (SAME AS ENGL-GA 2970)
This course provides an introduction to the booming interdisciplinary nexus of field(s) now known as “Book History.”  A scholarly discipline that engages researchers across the globe and in many different fields of study (history, literature, media and communications, and librarianship, to name only a few), Book History address far more than just books: it investigates the production, dissemination, and readership of texts of all kinds, from the earliest known pictograms to handwritten letters to modern e-books.  Many book historians (including the instructor of this course) also address other communications media such as voice and gesture or audio and video recordings.  Our course will address a wide range of topics and approaches, encouraging participants to work from specific texts and objects to larger questions of social, cultural, and historical importance. Sample topics to be addressed include orality and writing systems; the introduction and implications of printing technology; historical ideas and practices of authorship, readership, and publishing; debates concerning censorship and intellectual property, and non-book formats (newspapers, magazines, periodicals, ephemera, and so on).  Field trips to the New York Center for Book Arts, the New York Public Library Special Collections, NYU Special Collections, and the NYU Libraries Preservation Department will offer students the unique opportunity to study texts and tools of the trade in situ.  Basic techniques and terminology of bibliographic description will be introduced. You will learn how to set type and operate a press and the difference between a folio and a duodecimo.  But we will also address the larger theoretical and political questions now increasingly addressed by book historians: for instance, the relevance or irrelevance of the theoretical frameworks developed by book historians focusing on post-1500 western Europe for understanding the signifying practices of non-alphabetic, non-typographic, or non-Western cultures.

MEDI-GA 2300 001 Poetics of Epic and Exile. J. Tylus and L. Bolzoni. Tuesday, 12:30-3:15pm. 19 University Place, 229 (SAME AS COLIT-GA 2155; ITAL-GA 2689; ENGL-GA 2155)
This course studies the relation of written texts of the early modern period to their political and historical contexts and their cultural role. A focus on epic (in)hospitalities from Homer through Milton, with special attention to Virgil’s Aeneid, Dante’s Purgatorio and Torquato Tasso’s Jerusalem Liberated. We will also read a number of critical works that re-emerged or were written during the early modern period (Aristotle’s Poetics, Longinus’s treatise on the Sublime, Joachim du Bellay’s La Deffence et illustration de la langue francoyse, texts from the Ariosto-Tasso debate) along with modern theoretical works that will facilitate our grasp of the dynamics of exile and homelessness more generally (Derrida’s Of Hospitality, Agamben’s Homo Sacer, Kant’s Third Critique).

MEDI-GA 2300 002 The Global in the Middle Ages. B. Bedos-Rezak. Wednesday, 9:30-12:15pm. King Juan Carlos Center, 607 (SAME AS HIST-GA 1521)

MEDI-GA 2300 003 Putting the Love Back in Philology. S. Kay. Monday, 9:30-12:00pm. 19 University Place, 225 (SAME AS FREN-GA 2101)


COLIT-GA 2155 Poetics of Epic and Exile. J. Tylus and L. Bolzoni. Tuesday, 12:30-3:15pm. 19 University Place, 229 (SAME AS ITAL-GA 2689; ENGL-GA 2155; MEDI-GA 2300)
Please see listing above for course description.


ENGL-GA 2271 Piers Plowman and the Culture of Reckoning in Late Medieval England. M. Rust. Monday, 12:00-3:15pm. 244 Greene Street, 105
Written in several versions towards the end of the fourteenth century, William Langland’s Piers Plowman is a work to be reckoned with: at once allegory, dream vision, satire, and spiritual quest, it also gives expression to the anxieties and aspirations of a late-medieval English milieu we shall term the culture of reckoning. This culture is driven by two main concerns: a concern with how one is known–categorized, judged, “reckoned”–and a concern with acquiring the knowledge and craft that will assure one’s doing well, both in this world and the next. One of the aims of this seminar is to explore this culture through the lens of Piers Plowman. Another is to immerse ourselves in the poem’s world: its poetics, narrative structure, literary relations and manuscript tradition; its refraction of pressing issues of its time pertaining to class, politics, and religion; and the visual, written, and material cultures that inform its aesthetics.

ENGL-GA 2333 Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama: Theatrical Collaborations. K. Williams. Tuesday, 12:30-3:15. 244 Greene Street, 306.
This course maps Elizabethan and Jacobean drama through the collaborations that mark early modern English theatrical culture. We will begin by considering civic pageants (such as the Lord Mayor’s Show, with examples from Heywood, Middleton, and Munday) and masques and court productions (with particular attention to the work of Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones) in order to think about how such performances understand theatricality as embedded in the corporate, economic, and political structures of early modern London. We will then turn our attention to drama that meditates upon collaboration—not only as a problem of joint authorship but as an index of fiction-making possibility—to explore the social worlds these plays produce. Texts likely include The Shoemaker’s Holiday (Dekker), Mucedorus (unattributed), Westward Ho (Dekker and Webster), Eastward Ho (Chapman, Jonson, and Marston), The Knight of the Burning Pestle(Beaumont), A Chaste Maid in Cheapside (Middleton), The Alchemist (Jonson), The Roaring Girl (Middleton and Dekker), The Two Noble Kinsmen (Fletcher and Shakespeare), and Beggar’s Bush (Beaumont and Fletcher).

ENGL-GA 2970 History of the Book. P. McDowell. Wednesday, 9:30-12:15pm. 244 Greene Street, 306 (SAME AS MEDI-GA 2200 002)
Please see listing above for course description.

ENGL-GA 3324 Jacobean Tragedy: Sacrifice and Bare Life. J. Archer. Thursday, 3:30-6:10. 244 Greene Street, 306
In this doctoral seminar, we will read key philosophical, theoretical, and anthropological texts on violence along with select tragic plays characteristic of the early Stuart period. Established work on Jacobean tragedy (to adopt this labile sub-generic category) has assimilated its remarkable depiction of violence to the Stoic values of Senecan models on the one hand, and the related notion of sacrifice on the other, with references to classical studies and cultural anthropology. The work of René Girard was central here. Recently, in a very different context, the philosopher Giorgio Agamben has disputed the sacrificial paradigm. Agamben draws our attention to what he calls “bare life” within a mode of violence prior to either the religio-sacrificial or ethico-juridical orders. Agamben’s writings take in aesthetic theory, the Holocaust, U.S. detainment policies in our epoch of political violence, Foucault’s “biopolitics,” and the divides, now in question, between animal and human, citizen and noncitizen, life and death. They have made an impact on the study of earlier European literature, partly because of Agamben’s interest in ancient Rome, the medievalism he shares with Georges Bataille, and his challenge to Foucault’s periodization of sovereign power, biopolitics, and their modes of violence. It may be time for reassessment or readjustment. Jacobean tragedy, fascinated as it is with kingship, revenge, captivity, animality, and the how, when, and who of killing, lends itself to such an interim project. For instance, how might early seventeenth-century drama suggest a critique of gender, sexuality, race and other issues some feel the earlier and later theorizations of violence each lack? Or, can the notion of sacrifice be sacrificed itself so easily by cultural theory or by philosophy? In the seminar, we will read Girard and Agamben, and other writers who share their concerns. The theoretical reading-list will likely include Benjamin (“Critique of Violence”), Bataille, Derrida (“Force of Law”), and Arendt, as well as Julia R. Lupton and other recent critics of early-modern drama. Plays will include the pre-Jacobean but influential Spanish Tragedy, the Webster plays, Middleton and Rowley’s The Changeling, and a few other plays linked with Middleton like the well-known Revenger’s Tragedy, as well as one Shakespeare play. My doctoral seminars are usually student-led in part, so come prepared to conduct one or two class sessions and participate as much as possible. A short paper early in the course will invite close reading of a key text; there will also be a 20-25 page final paper requiring serious engagement with texts from both the primary and secondary reading lists, although students may choose to emphasize one type of text over the other.


FINH-GA 2033 The Dutch Golden Age, 1566 – 1672. Mia Mochizuki. Thursday, 10.00 AM – 12.00 PM. IFA (1E78 119), Lecture Hall (119).
No Prerequisites.
What distinguished the major artistic achievements of the Dutch Golden Age, roughly from the outbreak of widespread iconoclasm (“beeldenstorm”) in 1566 to the “disaster year” (“rampjaar”) of 1672 with the onset of the Franco-Dutch war and the resulting economic crisis ? This graduate lecture survey will provide an advanced introduction to a period that laid the foundation for many of the same issues of artistic enterprise (methods of artistic production, modes of interpretation, choice of subject matter, and cultures of collecting) that we continue to wrestle with today. We will study the major masters (Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals), the birth of innovative genre (history painting, portraiture, landscape, marine, architectural painting and still life) and the reception of Dutch realism in the Americas, Africa and Asia via the East and West India Companies. Themes will include canvas painting and connoisseurship, notions of realism, printmaking and personal identity, the theater of everyday life, issues of display, the limits of illusionism, naturalism and nationalism, religious art in a multi-confessional society, the art market and economies of value, the symbiotic relationship between art and science, cartography and the utopian search for other worlds, and the history of taste in Nieuw Amsterdam (New York). Visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art are planned. No previous knowledge required. Evaluation by active class participation, an in-class powerpoint presentation, an on-site oral presentation and a final examination.

FINH-GA 2525 Recent Research on the Funerary Arts of Late Antiquity. Thelma Thomas. Thursday, 10 AM -12 PM. IFA (1E78 199).
Notes: Instructor interview and permission required.

FINH-GA 2540 Advanced Study: We Need to Talk About Epochal Shifts. Alexander Nagel. Monday, 3.00 PM – 5.00 PM. IFA (1E78 119).
Notes: Instructor interview and permission required.

FINH-GA 2543 Methods of Interpretation in Architectural History. Marvin Trachtenberg and Jean-Louis Cohen. Tuesday, 5.30-7.30 PM. IFA (1E78 119).
Notes: Instructor interview and permission required.

FINH-GA 3015 Arts of Islamic Pilgrimage: Amulets, Relics, Shrines and Tokens. Finbarr Flood. Tue 3.00 PM – 5.00 PM. IFA (1E78 119).
Notes: Students interested in registering for the course must submit a 2-paragraph statement of interest electronically during the week of interviews. Contact the Academic Department for more information: ifa.program@nyu.edu

FINH-GA 3026 001 “The Arts of Medieval Jerusalem from Byzantine and Eastern Christian Perspective”. Thelma Thomas. Wednesday, 12.30-2.30 PM. IFA (1E78 119).
Notes: Instructor interview and permission required

FINH-GA 3027 The Walter Cook Archive. Robert Maxwell. Tue 3.00 PM – 5.00 PM. IFA (1E78 119).
Notes: Instructor interview and permission required


FREN-GA 2101 Putting the Love Back in Philology. S. Kay. Monday, 9:30-12:00pm. 19 University Place, 225. (SAME AS MEDI-GA 2300)
Please see listing above for course description.


HBRJD-GA 2210 Apocryphal Literature A. Jassen. Tuesday, 8:00-10:45am. King Juan Carlos Center, 109.

HBRJD-GA 2380 Amoraic Midrash. Rubenstein. Thursday, 11:00-1:45pm. King Juan Carlos Center, 109.
Focuses on the midrashim Genesis Rabbah, the classic exegetical midrash, and Leviticus Rabbah, the classical midrash homiletical. Close textual study is combined with theoretical issues such as defining midrash, intertextuality, form-criticism, hermeneutics, the documentary approach, and the social context of midrash.

HBRJD-GA 2443 Maimonides Mishneh Torah. E. Russ-Fishbane. Wednesday, 9:30-12:15pm. King Juan Carlos Center, Basement.
This course examines Moses Maimonides’ monumental code of Jewish law, known as the Mishneh Torah, the only complete synthesis of Jewish tradition to date and a masterpiece of medieval Hebrew literature. We will investigate questions of composition and classification, law and philosophy, language and scope. The course will additionally expose students to the history of Mishneh Torah commentary and criticism and to a range of divergent approaches adopted by modern scholarship on the Maimonidean code. Ability to read the text in the original Hebrew is required. Note: Students will be enrolled in HBRJD-GA 3791-001 for one point to make this a 3 point course


HIST-GA 1521 The Global in the Middle Ages. B. Bedos-Rezak. Wednesday, 9:30-12:15pm. King Juan Carlos Center, 607. (SAME AS MEDI-GA 2300 002)


ITAL-GA 2192 Dante’s Lyric Poetry and the Medieval Tradition of Lyrical Poetry. M.L. Ardizzone. Tuesday, 3:30-6:10pm (SAME AS ENGL-GA 2270)
The course rereads the lyric poetry of Dante as a sort of diary of the intellectual and creative history of the poet beginning from his early youth to his maturity. We will examine the texts by looking at the relationship and exchanges between Dante and the poets of his circle, together with the poetic, rhetorical, and philosophical problems that such poetry faced. We will read also texts of the Italian lyrical tradition from the poets of the Sicilian school to Petrarch and Boccaccio.


MEIS-GA 2720 Islamic Philosophy & Theology. E. Rowson. Tuesday and Thursday, 2:30-3:45pm. Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, LL2.