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2021 - 2022 Curriculum

Books

Autumn

MLA 101A Foundations I

Edward Steidle

Lecturer in CSP and MLA

Required of first-year MLA students
Wednesdays, 7:00-9:30pm
Axess # 39250

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

Linda Paulson

Associate Dean & Director, MLA Program
Paul RobinsonRichard W. Lyman Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus

Required of second-year MLA students
Wednesdays, 7:00-9:30pm
Axess # 39251

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, Wordsworth, Schubert, Balzac, Kierkegaard, Mann, 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 362: Darwin, Evolution, and Galapagos

Bill H. Durham

Bing Professor in Human Biology, Emeritus

Natural Science or Social Science
Tuesdays, 7:00-9:30pm
Axess # 39247

The tiny, remote islands of Galápagos have played a big, central role in the study of evolution.  Not surprisingly, they have also been important to the study of conservation. The fascinating adaptations of organisms to the isolated ecosystems of the islands have left them particularly vulnerable as the outside world has come crashing in to the archipelago. Drawing on lessons learned from Darwin’s time to the present, this seminar explores evolution, conservation, and their connection among the organisms of this remote Pacific outpost. Using case-study material on finches, iguanas, tortoises, boobies, cacti, Scalesia plants and more, we will explore current theory and debate about adaptation, sexual selection, speciation, adaptive radiation, and other topics in evolution. Similarly, we will explore the special challenges Galápagos poses today for conservation, owing to both its unusual biota and the increasing human impact on the archipelago.

MLA 363: Living on the Edge: Literary Landscapes of the Western Fringes

Elaine Treharne

Roberta Bowman Denning Professor of Humanities

Humanities
Mondays, 6:30-9:00pm
Axess # 39248

What does it feel like to live on the edge, facing an expanse between you and the next place? Who has lived on the Western fringes of Britain and America? Who has named, formed, and been inspired by that land? Whose voices are silenced in the (re)making of a place? Shaping the landscape through the words we use or the features we build and imagine is as old as recorded time. In this course, we’ll investigate how the land is conceived, defined, settled, and delimited through history and literature, with particular reference to Wales and California. We'll focus on specific elements in the landscape—Water, Hill, Tree, Stone, and Border—looking at a sequence of locations through historical, archaeological, placename, literary, and artistic analyses. Students will produce close readings of literary descriptions of landscape, and will read indigenous writers' work alongside those of settlers and colonisers. Among the authors studied will be John Muir, John Steinbeck, Beth Piatote, Linda Noel, Dylan Thomas, R. S. Thomas and Gwyneth Lewis.

MLA 398: Thesis-in-Progress

Linda Paulson

Associate Dean & Director, MLA Program

Fridays, 5:30-7:30pm
Axess # 39256

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.

Winter

MLA 101B Foundations II

Edward Steidle

Lecturer in MLA and CSP
Peter Mann, Lecturer in MLA and CSP

Required of first-year MLA students
Wednesdays, 7:00-9:30pm
Axess # 8980

The second quarter of the Foundations sequence will move from the early Middle Ages to the Enlightenment. Topics to be discussed will range from the origins of the Christian west, the barbarian invasions of the 5th century, the advent of Islam, the flowering of medieval culture from the 12th to the 14th centuries, Renaissance theater and art, the scientific revolutions of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment.

MLA 278: James Joyce's "Ulysses"

William Chace

Professor of English, Emeritus

Humanities
Wednesdays, 7:00-9:30pm
Axess # 34146

This course is designed to provide each MLA participant a close familiarity with James Joyce’s Ulysses. It will focus on those features of the book that give it coherence and will study the technical devices that Joyce employed to open the minds of its three main characters to the attention of the readers of the book.

The seminar will ask each participant to assume, along with the instructor, responsibility for either one of the 18 episodes comprising the book or one of its major aspects.

The instructor assumes no prior study on the part of the students of the book, but it can be helpful if students have read both Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man before the course begins.

Each student will write three essays, one of 1250 words, one of 1750 words, and one of 2500 words. The nature of these essays will gain definition as the course progresses.

MLA 364: A Short History of Security

Stephen J. Stedman

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and Professor, by courtesy, of Political Science

Social Science
Tuesdays, 7:00-9:30pm
Axess # 34147

This course interrogates what people mean when they talk about security. Security justifies inconveniences like passwords that are nearly impossible to memorize, and metal detectors to enter sporting events, political talks, and airports. Security is said to be central to processes leading to war: the pursuit of security by one state may imperil the security of another, leading to a spiral of conflict that international relations scholars call “the security dilemma.” Sometimes we are asked to ignore impolite, nasty, or thoughtless behavior because someone suffers from the absence of security. Yet despite its importance and centrality in social and political life, security suffers from vagueness and imprecision. It can connote freedom from fear, or freedom from threat. Security’s modifiers are abundant and suggest a wealth of objects to be secured; a non-exhaustive list includes human, social, national, international, nuclear, cyber, food, economic, energy, and homeland.  In this course we will investigate how the meanings of security have shifted throughout history. We will ask why security becomes a societal preoccupation at different times in history. We will ask whether our current preoccupation with security will be permanent. 

MLA 398: Thesis-in-Progress

Linda Paulson

Associate Dean & Director, MLA Program

Fridays, 5:30-7:30pm
Axess # 8981

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.

Spring

MLA 101C: Foundations III

Peter Mann

Lecturer in MLA and CSP

Required of first-year MLA students
Wednesdays, 7:00-9:30pm
Axess # TBA

Foundations III explores how men and women attempted to locate themselves in the modern world through different rational, mental, humanistic, artistic, and conceptual ways. The course begins at the moment of the French Revolution and moves through to our contemporary global present. Along the way we will address capitalism and its critiques, liberalism, evolution and anthropology, world wars, the rise and fall of colonialism, struggles for equality, modernism, and the impact of modern science on the human condition.

MLA 353: The Fourth R: Religion, Education, and Schooling in America

Ari Kelman

Associate Professor of Education, and, by courtesy, of Religious Studies

Social Science
Day TBA
Axess # TBA

MLA 365: The Poetry of Animality: Romantic to Contemporary

Denise Gigante

Professor of English

Humanities
Day TBA
Axess # TBA

MLA 398: Thesis-in-Progress

Linda Paulson

Associate Dean & Director, MLA Program

Fridays, 5:30-7:30pm
Axess # TBA

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.

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