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2019 - 2020 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 #: 1201

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 and Director, MLA Program
Paul Robinson, Richard W. Lyman Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus

Required of second-year MLA students
Wednesdays, 7:00-9:30pm
Axess #: 1200

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 350: From Literature to Opera

Heather Hadlock

Associate Professor of Music

Humanities
Tuesdays, 7:00-9:30pm
Axess #: 32114
This seminar will examine three literary works from or about the 18th century, and operas based on them. Through Manon LescautThe Marriage of Figaro, and Billy Budd, we will explore how, even in the “Age of Reason,” beauty, vanity, greed, and malice could undermine reason and justice. We will study the processes of adaptation from novel and play into opera, including the handling of narration, temporal structures, setting, morality, tone, and character. In the cases of Manon Lescaut and Billy Budd, we will discuss how a modern author (Melville) and modern composers (Benjamin Britten, Giacomo Puccini) used 18th-century texts or subjects as vehicles for contemporary concerns. We will study the operas from audio/video recordings, with opportunities to see live performances at San Francisco Opera and in a Metropolitan Opera “Live in HD” simulcast.

MLA 351: The Civil Rights Movement in History and Memory

James T. Campbell

Edgar E. Robinson Professor in United States History

Humanities or Social Science
Wednesdays, 7:00-9:30pm
Axess #: 32115
This course examines the origins, course, and complex legacy of the Civil Rights Movement.  Topics examined include:  repression and resistance in the Jim Crow South; the NAACP legal campaign against segregation; the Montgomery bus boycott; the sit-in movement and the birth of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee; the Freedom Rides; the Mississippi Summer Project of 1964; the origins of Black Power; the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party; and images of the movement in American popular culture and memory.

To complete the course successfully, students are expected to attend class faithfully, to keep up with assigned readings (typically a book a week), to contribute actively to class discussions, and to complete substantial research papers or projects on topics of their own choosing.

MLA 398: Thesis-in-Progress

Linda Paulson

Associate Dean and Director, MLA Program

Fridays, 5:30-7:30pm
Axess #: 1198

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 CSP and MLA
Peter MannLecturer in SLE and in MLA

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

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 295: The American Enlightenment

Caroline Winterer

Professor of History and, by courtesy, of Classics 

Humanities
Day TBA
Axess #: TBA

Eighteenth-century America was like a laboratory for exciting new political, religious, scientific, and artistic theories that we collectively call "the Enlightenment." But to what extent were the major ideas and questions of the Enlightenment shaped by the specific conditions of North America?  Was the new world of America fundamentally different or the same as Europe, and did animals, plants, and peoples improve or worsen there?  Could a perfect new society and government, uncorrupted by European problems, be created in America?  To what extent did the American Enlightenment lay the groundwork for modern American society and its ideal of continual improvement and progress? We will attempt to answer these questions in this class through short lectures, readings in original documents from the era, and in discussions together.

 

MLA 322: Coffee, Sugar, and Chocolate: Commodities and Consumption in World History, 1200-1800

Paula Findlen

Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of History and Professor, by courtesy, of French and Italian

Humanities
Day TBA
Axess #: TBA

When you take your daily coffee or tea, possibly adding a spoonful of sugar, do you stop to think why and how this ordinary habit was formed for millions of people throughout the world?  
Many of the basic commodities that we consider staples of everyday life became part of an increasingly interconnected world of trade, goods, and consumption between 1200 and 1800. This seminar offers an introduction to the material culture of the late medieval and early modern world, with an emphasis on the role of European trade and empires in these developments. We will examine recent work on the circulation, use, and consumption of things, starting with the age of the medieval merchant, and followed by the era of the Columbian exchange in the Americas that was also the world of the Renaissance collector, the Ottoman patron, and the Ming connoisseur.  This seminar will explore the material horizons of an increasingly interconnected world, the era of the Dutch East India Company and other trading societies, and the rise of the Atlantic economy.  It concludes by exploring classic debates about the “birth” of consumer society in the eighteenth century.  How did the meaning of things and people’s relationships to them change over these centuries?  Which commodities matter and why?  What can we learn about the past by studying things?

MLA 352: Virus in the News

Robert Siegel

Professor (Teaching) of Microbiology and Immunology

Natural Science
Day TBA
Axess #: TBA

Description will be announced soon.

MLA 398: Thesis-in-Progress

Linda Paulson

Associate Dean and Director, MLA Program

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

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

Jeremy Sabol

Lecturer in Stanford's Program in Structured Liberal Education (SLE), and Lecturer in MLA

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

Description will be announced soon.

MLA 354: Intimations of Mortality

James Lock

Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Natural Science or Humanities
Day TBA
Axess #: TBA

This course will use materials from science, medicine, philosophy, arts, and literature to explore different ways of conceptualizing and understanding our mortality. The texts and related materials are likely to include the some of the following: Tolstoy (The Death of Ivan Ilyich), Flannery O’Connor (A Stroke of Good Fortune), Thomas Mann (Death in Venice), Oliver Sacks (Becoming a Patient), Paul Kalanthi (When Breath Becomes Air), Atul Gawande (Being Mortal), Winslow Homer (painting: Intimations of Mortality), Plato (Phaedo), Freud (Beyond the Pleasure Principle), Pieter Bruegel (painting: The Triumph of Death), Mozart (Requiem).

MLA 355: Dante and the Romantics

Denise Gigante

Professor of English

Humanities
Day TBA
Axess #: TBA

Description will be announced soon.

MLA 398: Thesis-in-Progress

Linda Paulson

Associate Dean and 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.

Summer

MLA 342: The Human Story in the Archives

Elaine Treharne

Roberta Bowman Denning Professor of Humanities

Humanities
Day TBA
Axess #: TBA

This immersive course will examine how Archives reveal the stories of people from the past. We shall examine Archive theory and practice, learning what an Archive is; how knowledge and the historical record is constructed; and how we can access textual objects through Archival and Online information tools. We’ll work in Stanford Archives, and with small collections of ephemera to uncover individuals’ stories, and to reveal the larger social, literary and cultural significance of traces of those who’ve come before us.

MLA 356: Film Course (title TBA)

Pavle Levi

Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies

Humanities
Day TBA
Axess #: TBA

Description will be announced soon.

MLA 398: Thesis-in-Progress

Linda Paulson

Associate Dean and 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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