2017-2018 Curriculum

Current students can find syllabi for each quarter at Stanford Syllabus. Syllabi are posted as soon as they are received from faculty.

MLA 101A: Foundations I
Required of first-year MLA students
Wednesdays, 7:00-9:30pm
Axess #: 1101
Lecturer in CSP and MLA

The first quarter of the Foundations sequence will range from the early second millennium BCE to the early first millennium CE. Among the major topics covered will be the Classical Ideal of Greece and Rome as illustrated in the art, literature, and philosophy of the period, and the central tenets of the world's most influential ethical and metaphysical traditions: Hinduism, Judaism, Confucianism, Christianity, and Islam.

MLA 102: Introduction to Interdisciplinary Graduate Study
Required of 2nd-year MLA students
Wednesdays, 7:00-9:30pm
Axess #: 1100
Associate Dean and Director, MLA Program

Co-taught with Paul Robinson, Richard W. Lyman Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus.

Thematically, this course will focus on the historical, literary, artistic, and philosophical issues raised during The Long Nineteenth Century (1789-1914). Practically, it will concentrate on the skills and the information students will need to pursue MLA graduate work at Stanford: writing a critical, argumentative graduate paper; conducting library research; presenting a concise oral summary of work accomplished; actively participating in a seminar. Readings and assignments will include Austen, Mozart, Burke, Schubert, Mary Shelley, Mill, Marx, Dickens, Darwin, Freud, and Woolf, as well as selected poetry and critical writings. The course will culminate in a research paper and a presentation of each students' findings.

MLA 334: The Material Book: Ancient and Modern
Mondays. 7:00-9:30pm
Axess #: 31012

From buildings constructed to resemble books, to collectibles and memorials shaped as open pages, to the language and effect of the Web and Kindle, The Book seems as culturally present as any object could be. This course seeks to investigate this thing—The Book—to see what it means, what it represents, and how it is itself represented. We shall examine medieval and modern books; books about books; artists’ books; and objects that are books, even if they don’t look like books (and vice versa). We’ll also spend time considering the book as Monument, as Relic, as Fetish, as Thing, and as Immaterial.

MLA 335: A Tale of Three Rivers
Natural Science or Social Science
Tuesdays, 7:00-9:30pm
Axess #: 31717
Robert E. Paradise Professor of Natural Resources Law, and Perry L. McCarty Director & Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment

Rivers are of exceptional importance to society.  Rivers drain 75 percent of the Earth’s surface.  Before railroads, trucks, and airplanes, they were the major arteries of transportation and commerce – and they still retain important commercial importance.  They furnish us with one of the cleanest sources of energy.  They provide us with fresh water for domestic, irrigation, industrial, and commercial use.  They serve as “natural” borders between states and nations.  They afford critical habitat for fish, birds, and many mammals.  And they offer boundless recreational opportunities, from fly fishing to white water rafting.  In the last century, these multiple uses have often clashed, leading to fierce political battles.  Not surprisingly, rivers are also intimately bound up in the history of the region through which they flow.  In this course, we will study three western rivers – the Colorado River, which is the water lifeblood of the American Southwest; the Columbia River, which produces almost half of the nation’s hydroelectric power; and the Los Angeles River, which was channelized in the middle of the 20th century but today is making a potential comeback.  Each student will write a paper on the history, cultural significance, or current controversies of a river of his or her choice.

MLA 398: Thesis in Progress
Fridays, 5:30-7:30pm
Axess #: 1098
Associate Dean and Director, MLA Program

Students who have an approved prospectus should enroll in MLA 398: Thesis-in-Progress. Students who are working on their theses are part of this class and meet regularly to provide peer critiques, motivation, and advice under the direction of the Associate Dean.

MLA 336: Love as a Force for Social Justice
Wednesdays, 7:00-9:30pm
Axess #: TBA
Consulting Professor, Human Biology
MLA 337: Science and Law in History
Thursdays, 7:00-9:30pm
Axess #: TBA
Professor of History

This course considers how the intertwined modern fields of sci