Fall 2024 Course Offerings

SHUM 4693/6693 Silent No More: Deaf and Disability History in the United States

(also HIST 4693/6693)

Fall. 3 Credits.
Jenifer Barclay
R 11:15am-1:45pm
A.D. White House

Disabilities, broadly defined, are not exclusively clinical phenomena that belong to the realm of healthcare professionals and rehabilitation specialists. Instead, disability is a lived human experience that is always already embedded in a set of socially constructed ideas that change over time, across cultures, and in relation to race, gender, class and sexuality. Disability is embodied but also discursively constituted, shaped by social injustice and the built environment, and often rendered paradoxically visible and invisible in an ableist and audist world. This seminar explores these complex dynamics and the ways that disability – as an experience and a category of analysis – illuminates new interpretations of major themes and developments in American history like labor, citizenship, immigration, medicine, and activism.


SHUM 4694/6694 Political Violence in Contemporary Fiction: Silence as Compassion or Complicity

(also ENGL 4696/6694)
Fall. 3 credits.
Cassandra Falke
T 11:15am-1:45pm
A.D. White House

This course examines contemporary works of fiction that depict episodes of political violence between WWII and today. During this period, there have been 344 conflicts that have killed 500 or more people, but the public attention they receive varies tremendously. New novels and stories disclose and challenge silences surrounding events neglected in global public memory. What role can these works play in altering the kinds of stories heard within and beyond the university? Which voices do they portray as empowered or neglected? How can silence around violence be both compassionate and complicit? What are the ethics of storytelling related to different forms of silence, and what does it mean to read in a way that is compassionate or complicitly silent?


SHUM 4695/6695 Queer Archives and Archiving Queerness

(also AMST 4695/6695; PMA 4695/6695; LGBT 4695; FGSS 4695)
Fall. 3 credits.
Sara Warner
R 2-4:30pm
A.D. White House

This course contemplates challenges associated with researching and representing LGBTQ+ pasts. We approach this topic from several angles: 1) by asking what constitutes "queer" and "trans" in different historical contexts and different geographical locations, when sexuality and gender are by their nature fluid; 2) by training in LGBTQ+ archival methods; and 3) by engagement with queer and trans artivists who make archives central to their praxis. We will visit Cornell's Human Sexuality collection, explore online repositories and academic databases (e.g., ONE and Cengage), and consider archive-based artistic projects (e.g., Killjoy's Castle and MOTHA).


SHUM 4697 Is Nature Silent?

Fall. 3 credits.
Julia Mueller
T 11:15am-1:45pm
A.D. White House

Thoreau, in 1841: “Nature is always silent and unpretending as at the break of day.” He had just contrasted the robin’s song with “the bustle and impatience of man.” Why could silence contain birdsong but not human noise? This course explores the idea and representation of nature’s silence—as a positive ideal; as soundlessness; as wordlessness; and as extinction. Heeding the environmental criticism that interrogates the contrast between silent “Nature” and noisy humanity, we will remain curious about what compels us in accounts of nature’s multivalent silence. Concurrently, we will examine writings that attend to natural sound. Investigating silence, we will also strive to better understand what we mean, and what could be meant, by nature.