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        General Admission Contact
        The New School for Social Research
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        79 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor
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        212.229.5600 or 800.523.5411

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        Samuel Yelton

        Committee on Liberal Studies
        6 East 16th Street, room 711A
        New York, NY 10003
        Tel: 212.229.2747 x3026
        Fax: 212.229.5473 

        Mailing Address
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        New York, NY 10003

        Paul Kottman

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        Jeff Feld

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        Nick Travaglini

        Liberal Studies Student Handbook


    • Courses in the Department of Liberal Studies survey modern society through groundbreaking thinkers and significant developments in the arts, social history, cultural theory, politics, and philosophy. Students will enhance their own ideas through nonfiction writing and criticism, improving the clarity of their thinking and analytical construction.

      Please consult the New School Course Catalog for a full list of courses. Fall 2021 courses include:

      • Objectivity in the Humanities, GLIB 5022
        Paul Kottman, Professor of Comparative Literature and Chair of Liberal Studies

        This seminar will revisit our paradigms concerning objectivity in the humanities. To many, it seems as if the humanities provide us at best with less-than-objective knowledge claims. Arguably, there are at least two overall reasons for this. On the one hand, there is a tendency to associate objectivity with the kind of knowledge-acquisition, explanation, and justification characteristic of the natural sciences. On the other hand, the humanities themselves have contributed to the impression that they might be less relevant than the natural sciences to epistemic progress, due to internal discussions about the very concept(s) of knowledge, reality and objectivity. In order to reshape our account of the human being as the source and object of knowledge claims, our seminar will test the following thesis against a variety of objections: we cannot eliminate from our account of reality as such the standpoint from which humans grasp both human and non-human reality.

      • Women's Intellectual History, GLIB 5145
        Gina Walker, Professor of Women's Studies

        Women’s Intellectual History complements and corrects the traditional narrative of Western thought by and about mainly men. We ask, what are the historical assumptions about the connections between women’s sexuality and their learning, beginning with the Ancients? What role did religion and “Natural Philosophy” play in facilitating or limiting women’s access to education? How did continuing debate over whether the mind “has sex” influence the cultural roles for which women should be educated? Was there a causal relation between la querelle des femmes and the diffusion of l’égalité des sexes, first proposed by Cartisian Poullain de la Barre? We examine the texts, contexts, and new information about earlier “learned ladies” that feminist scholarship has recovered over the past forty years: Enheduanna, Sappho, Diotima, Aspasia, Hypatia, early Christian martyr Vibia Perpetua, Hildegard of Bingen and her 12th century contemporary, Heloise, the erotic trobaritz, and Christine de Pizan’s political visions of a “City of Ladies.” We ask, did women have the same “Renaissance” as men? We read Tullia d’Aragona, Veronica Franco, and Gaspara Stampa, female humanists, “honorable courtesans,” and poets in 16th-century Venice who develop Neo-Platonist ideas of their own. We consider Elizabeth I of England as an Early Modern humanist “prince,” one of “the monstrous regiment of women rulers" in Europe, and a beacon of clusters of Early Modern women thinkers. We scrutinize new critical perspectives, for example, an enlightened “republic of women,” to elucidate disputes in current theory and historiography about a lineage of earlier “feminists” and what we have inherited from them.

      • Trans Theory as Gender Theory, GLIB 5150
        McKenzie Wark, Professor of Culture and Media

        Trans people have a unique relation to gender in that they have experienced being two (or more) genders, whereas most cis people have only ever been one. So what if we took the accounts and theories about gender created by trans people as central to thinking the concept of gender in general, rather than as as a subtopic to feminist or queer theory that referred only to a special case? We will build on some pioneering work in trans studies (Susan Stryker, Sandy Stone, Leslie Feinberg) as well as recent contributions (Paul Preciado, C Riley Snorton) as ways of constructing alternate pathways into the research on gender and sexuality of some more standard accounts (Eve Sedgewick, Judith Bulter). It may turn out that some aspects of transsexual experience and thought do not fit neatly in accepted conceptual frameworks. Besides theoretical texts, we will look at selected examples of trans literature, art and media that might exceed some existing theoretical categories and call for novel concepts.

      • The Personal and the Political, GLIB 5176
        Melissa Monroe, Part-time Assistant Professor

        How does a writer shape his or her personal experience into work that speaks to issues of general political and social importance? In this course, we examine short pieces and excerpts from books by a wide range of writers who have used the first person to report on current events, engage with public figures, and reflect on social or cultural phenomena. Authors covered include, among others, James Agee, Nicholson Baker, James Baldwin, Max Beerbohm, Jenny Diski, Susan Faludi, Henry James, Margo Jefferson, Alfred Kazin, Janet Malcolm, Jan Morris, Maggie Nelson, E.B. White, Colson Whitehead and Virginia Woolf. We focus particularly on the construction of narrative voice and perspective, and on the ethical and psychological questions that arise when the author serves as a character in his or her own work. The course has a strong workshop component; students write three brief essays and one longer one, and we spend part of almost every meeting discussing effective examples of student work.

      • The Making of the Modern World, GLIB 5542
        Paul Kottman, Professor of Comparative Literature and Chair of Liberal Studies

        The course presents an interpretation and an evaluation of the fate of modernity, as understood by some of the most influential thinkers of the past 250 years -- and involving different currents in the arts, social history, cultural theory, politics and philosophy. 'Modernity' is understood here to entail such things as the emergence of the nation-state; ambitious claims for the authority of reason in human affairs; the increasing authority of the natural sciences; the advent of a discourse of natural or human rights; aesthetic modernism; capitalism and the free market; globalization and social movements that take up new demands of mutuality, from feminism to the labor movement. Each of these issues will be addressed, through readings of works by Descartes, Hobbes, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Darwin, Nietzsche, de Beauvoir, Arendt and others -- alongside consideration of a range of cultural products and social practices.

      • Cultures of Capitalism, GLIB 6324
        Benjamin Lee, Professor of Anthropology and Philosophy

        This course provides an introduction to the cultural dimensions of capitalism seen through Marxism (Marx, David Harvey, and Moishe Postone), neoliberal theories of subjectivity (John Rawls and Robert Nozick), and affect theory (Bergson, Deleuze, Lauren Berlant, and Sian Ngai). The immediate backdrop is the election of Donald Trump in 2016, which infused contemporary politics with feelings of risk, uncertainty, and volatility. This complicated history goes back to the early seventies when changes in the global economy provided the backdrop for the development of derivative finance, postmodernism, and the rise of neoliberalism. We will trace how these changes interact with the rise of the internet and digital media, which have their technical roots in the exploration of randomness and information, leading to our present "culture and politics of volatility."

      • Money, Sex & Power, GLIB 6612
        Kathi Weeks, Visiting Professor at NSSR, Associate Professor of Women's Studies at Duke University

        This course is organized around the theme of work. In the first part of the course we consider a variety of theoretical orientations towards work, from early liberal feminist prescriptions of waged work for women to Marxist feminist and postwork critiques of work under capitalism. In the second part of the course we turn our attention to recent developments in the organization of work, focusing on particular forms and modes of feminized labor including waged domestic work, aspirational labor, sex work, emotional labor, gestational labor, care work, and precarious work.

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