Fall 2015 Course Offerings

SHUM 4500 Collecting Copies

Fall.  4 credits.  
Limited to 15 students.  
A. Alexandridis
T: 10:10-12:05

This seminar takes Cornell’s sesquicentennial anniversary as an opportunity to investigate some of the university’s old and often neglected teaching collections. Focus is on those collections that consist of replicas (e.g. musical instruments, Rau plow collection, plaster cast collection, Blaschka glass models of invertebrates). We will explore the collection’s and their object’s multiple temporalities, materiality, and correspondent multi-disciplinarity.

Made at some point in time for one field they now might have become attractive for another and for different reasons. The seminar will draw on Reinhart Koselleck’s concept of time layers (Zeitschichten) to capture both homogenous sequential as well as disruptive ways of reception. In a first historiographical step we want to understand, what purpose these copies serve(d) within a given discipline (e.g. the plow models for agricultural sciences) and how they eventually shaped it. Here the focus is on what the copies represent. In a second step we will look at these replicas and their materiality in their own right to analyze their transformative potential: how are they made to translate the original or prototype? How did/does this “translation” affect the way the very originals or prototypes were understood by different disciplines? –  The seminar hopes to make these collections relevant again to students and the university alike.

Annetta Alexandridis is Associate Professor in the Departments of History of Art and Classics at Cornell, a member of the Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies (CIAMS), co-curator of Cornell’s Plaster Cast Collection and field member of the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/Turkey. She holds a PhD in Classical Archaeology from Munich. Before joining Cornell faculty she worked at the Staatliche Antikensammlungen, Berlin and taught at Rostock University.

Informed by gender and animal studies, her work centers on various manifestations of the body in Graeco-Roman antiquity, including Roman portraits and funeral sculpture or depictions of Greek mythological figures. Annetta is also interested in archaeology and its media (photography, plaster casts). She is the author of Die Frauen des römischen Kaiserhauses (Mainz 2004), Archäologie der Photographie (with Wolf-Dieter Heilmeyer; Mainz 2004) and co-editor of Mensch und Tier in der Antike (with Markus Wild and Lorenz Winkler-Horacek, Wiesbaden 2008). Currently, she is revising a book manuscript on Ζ?α. Images of the Body Between Man, Woman and Animal in Ancient Greece


SHUM 4501 Lessons in the Anthropocene

(also ANTHR)
Fall.  4 credits.  
Limited to 15 students.  
C. Campbell
R: 2:30-4:25

The “Lessons in the Anthropocene” seminar examines the idea of the “end of time” with particular attention given to the peoples and culture groups of the circumpolar subarctic and arctic. We begin with key ethnographies in thinking about northern worlds: Robin Ridington’s Little Bit Know Something: Stories in a Language of Anthropology and Piers Vitebski’s Reindeer People: Living with Animals and Spirits in Siberia. By examining ethnographies of peoples who have been depicted as being out-of-time or culturally anachronistic with a modern world the seminar seeks to de-center histories and historical methodologies privileging temporal constructs emergent in Euro-American intellectual, spiritual, and popular traditions. This approach is carefully designed to help gaze beyond the common and conventional discursive frames to develop flexible techniques for looking at life as well as responsive modes of expression to describe it. The idea of time and particularly the end of time will be run against central themes that include human and non-human personhood, cosmological and ecological models of belief, spirit worlds (animism, shamanism), and complexities of culture change under the conditions of colonialism, industrialism, and capitalism/communism.

Each of our circumpolar readings are set against current theory and critique, putting ethnography and history into a critical and challenging conversation with concepts from critical and cultural theory like the event, the end of history, the posthuman, and the anthropocene. The social philosopher Arthur Kroker writes on technologies of acceleration, drift, and crash. Drift in particular, is conceptualized in his work as a kind of post-planning global experience. It is undoubtedly a powerful metaphor. The arctic in peril and the arctic adrift are caught up in the kind of energopolitics described by the anthropologist Dominic Boyer—a concept that helps to frame this moment of increasingly dramatic climate change in the Arctic. Nassim Taleb’s temporal intervention, “The Black Swan,” will be used to examine indeterminacy and probability as factors in predictive temporal modeling – randomness and accident. This directs attention to concepts like deep-time, unearthly agency, and the cosmological event. Selections from Tim Ingold’s Evolution and Social Life will bring us back to a more nuanced exploration of human experience framed against industrialism and extractive economies in the North. This seminar is thus designed to counter pose work of ethnography and cultural history against continental philosophy and critical theory. Thus while reading about Evenki concepts of demonic curses we’re also looking into Brian Massumi’s theory of the Event, the perverse futurity of Lauren Berlant’s ‘cruel optimism,’ or the unabashed threat of Kroeker’s technological drift.

Craig Campbell is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas, Austin.  He received his PhD in Sociology (Cultural Theory) from the University of Alberta in 2009.  Craig is a founding member of the Ethnographic Terminalia curatorial collective (www.ethnographicterminalia.org).  His research is concerned with modes of description with a special focus on ethnographic and documentary images. In particular he has been exploring the possibility for ignored, overlooked, failed, defaced, degraded, manipulated, and damaged images to activate interpretive fields typically unacknowledged in conventional ethnographies and histories. 

Craig Campbell’s ethnographic, historical, and regional interests include:  Siberia, Central Siberia, Indigenous Siberians, Evenki, Evenkiia, Reindeer hunting and herding, Travel and mobility, Socialist colonialism, early forms of Sovietization, and the circumpolar North.  He publishes widely in journals including Space and Culture, Geographical Review, Sibirica, and Visual Anthropology Review.  His second book Agitating Images: Photography Against History in Indigenous Siberia was published by University of Minnesota Press in the fall of 2014.

His website is: www.metafactory.ca


SHUM 4504 Temporalities of the City: Asia

Fall.  4 credits.  
Limited to 15 students.  
A. Fuhrmann
R: 12:20 – 2:15

This course investigates the socio-spatial problematics and new kinds of subjectivity engendered by recent trans-Asia economic shifts. It examines what happens when old and new forms of labor, capital, and governance create new forms of everyday and aesthetic practice in urban environments in Asia. The theme of temporality structures the course to encapsulate these transformations. The cinemas and literatures of the region furnish its primary sites of inquiry. In order to develop tools that help unpack the spatial, and cultural forms of density and the layered histories that define the urban fabric of cities such as Hanoi, Bangkok, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, the course combines readings from the humanities and interpretive social sciences with the study of cinematic and literary cultures. Temporalities of the City thus pairs primary cinematic and literary texts with writing on temporality and cities from anthropology, film studies, queer theory, religious studies, literary theory, and Asian studies. We will view films by directors such as Wong Kar Wai, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Yau Ching, Huang Weikai, and Garin Nugroho and read the work of authors such as Bliss Cua Lim, Elizabeth Povinelli, Saskia Sassen, Ackbar Abbas, Brian McGrath, and Valerie Rohy.

Arnika Fuhrmann is an interdisciplinary scholar of Southeast Asia, working at the intersections of the region’s aesthetic and political modernities. Her book manuscript Ghostly Desires examines how Buddhist-coded anachronisms of haunting figure struggles over sexuality, personhood, and notions of collectivity in contemporary Thai cinema. In a new research project, Fuhrmann focuses on new media and how the study of the digital allows for a perspective on the political public sphere that transcends commonplace distinctions of liberalism and illiberalism. This project intersects with her interests in the transformation of cities in contemporary South/east Asia. Fuhrmann’s recent writing has appeared in Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and CultureOriens Extremus, and positions: asia critique. Complementing her academic work, she also engages in cultural programming and works in the curatorial team of the Asian Film Festival Berlin (www.asianfilmfestivalberlin.de).


SHUM 4505 Civil Rights Temporalities

also AMST, ASRC)  
Fall.  4 credits.  
Limited to 15 students.  
R. Wanzo 
M: 10:10 – 12:05

In Graham v. Connor (1989), the Supreme Court constructed a standard of “reasonable. . . split-second” responses of police, a decision that ignores the research indicating that split-second affective responses to black people are often shaped by racism.  But this is just one of many legal decisions crafting a fiction about identity and time, a fiction that has serious implications for the rights we have a U.S. citizens. From the recent Shelby County (2013) decision rolling back the Voting Rights Act to the language and legislation involving abortion, a number of social issues are being shaped civil rights temporalities—narratives that make amorphous conceptions of  “how long,” “time enough,” progress, and speculations about futurity central to discussions of rights held by identity groups. These stories linking time, identity, and rights are not only told by jurists and legislators, but by news pundits, activists, and creators of popular cultural productions.  In this class we will look at Supreme Court decisions, theorists of temporality, film, fiction, and a variety of other texts to explore the kinds of fictions told about identity, time, and rights in the United States.

Rebecca Wanzo is Associate Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Associate Director of the Center for the Humanities at Washington University in St Louis.  She received her Ph.D. in English from Duke University. Her first book, The Suffering Will Not Be Televised: African American Women and Sentimental Political Storytelling was published by SUNY in 2009.  Her primary research areas are affect theory, African American literature and culture, feminist theory, and popular culture (particularly graphic storytelling and representations of African Americans in popular culture). She has published essays on topics such as African American literature and comics, race and child abduction, black women film and television performers, discourses about African American women and romantic love, “post-race” politics, and the role of feelings in police brutality discourse.

SHUM 6409 Postcolonial Remix: Museal Urbanism & Artistic Networks

(also ARCH, ARTH, COML)  
Fall.  4 credits.  
Limited to fellowship recipients.  
T. Murray 
M: 7:00 – 9:30 PM

How has museal culture responded to the postcolonial challenges of urbanism? The course will consider the impact of postcolonial conditions of urbanism on artistic networks and museum architectonics. Of concern will be the paradox of the architectural return of the monumental museum within the context of the appropriation and contestation of colonial legacies of collecting and designing, as well as the influence of “the network” of digital and medial design on global artistic flow and push back. From recycled art and architecture to networked hubs and urban pop-ups, the context of a postcolonial remix demands attentiveness to networks of artistic practice, architectural adaptability, and conceptual response.

We will capitalize on recent architectural and artistic happenings in New York, Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo, and Taipei to establish a dialogue between East/West articulations of the global art market and its postcolonial remix. In addition to labs on digital design and new media art, we will begin by profiting from materials in the Johnson Museum and Cornell Library on three prominent architects of Cornell cultural buildings to reflect on the paradigms of their recent monuments of museum design in Asia: I. M. Pei (Johnson Museum), James Sterling (Schwartz Center), Rem Koolhaas (Milstein Hall). This will provide a cultural context for remixing these models within the museal explosion of urban artistic networks, from recycled colonial spaces, gallery pop-ups, and online archives to performative and networked collaborations with the artistic residue of transnational flow, from economy and ecology to migration and occupation. Theoretical readings will range from Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Michel de Certeau, Douglas Crimp, Rosalind Krauss and Andreas Huyssen to Rey Chow, Manuel Castells, Gayatri Chavravorty Spivak, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Paul Miller (DJ Spooky), and Naoki Sakai.

Timothy Murray is Professor of Comparative Literature and English and Curator of the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art. He is the Cornell Principal Investigator of the Central Humanities Corridor, generously supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and he sits on the International Advisory Board of the Consortium of the Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI) and the Steering Committee of the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC). He is Co-Moderator of the -empyre-new media listserv and the author of Digital Baroque: New Media Art and Cinematic Folds (Minnesota 2008); Zonas de Contacto: el arte en CD-ROM (Centro de la imagen, 1999); Drama Trauma: Specters of Race and Sexuality in Performance, Video, Art (Routledge, 1997); Like a Film: Ideological Fantasy on Screen, Camera, and Canvas(Routledge, 1993); Theatrical Legitimation: Allegories of Genius in XVIIth-Century England and France (Oxford, 1987). He is editor of Mimesis, Masochism & Mime: The Politics of Theatricality in Contemporary French Thought (Michigan, 1997) and, with Alan Smith, Repossessions: Psychoanalysis and the Phantasms of Early-Modern Culture (Minnesota, 1997). His curatorial projects include CTHEORY MULTIMEDIA and Contact Zones: The Art of the CD-Rom.