Monday, May 10, 2010

Fall 2010 MALAS Course Descriptions | An Amazing Menu of Courses

Never before has the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences hosted such a broad array of interdisciplinary courses--despite the budget cuts, despite the gloom and doom, MALAS is attempting to emerge, like some bizarre Phoenix, from the ashes, and promises to have on tap for Fall 2010 a veritable smorgasbord of intellectual delights.

Symposium: Party Power
Dr. Joseph Smith, Associate Professor, The Department of Classics and Humanities, SDSU

A deep meditation on the cultural institution of the symposium (> Lat. symposium > Gr. symposion, drinking together, a drinking party). With regard to symposia of the classical world, we’ll concern ourselves with who drank, what they drank, what they did while they were drinking, what they did after they drank all they could drink, and what happened in the cold, grey light of the next day. And then there’s Plato’s Symposium and Socrates to consider. That’s the guy who never seemed to get drunk, despite his intoxicating effect on his fellow symposiasts, and despite his satyr-like appetites. Plato’s Symposium commemorates Socrates (years after he had drunk hemlock), and we’ll consider the hangover that work has had on Western culture ever since. We’ll look for the persisting influence of the symposium and The Symposium (and we’ll find it in various and hugely diverse cultural expressions across Western history: literature and mass media, philosophy and religion, performing arts, and our own vintages). This semester-long dialogue will necessitate some unabashedly frank and profoundly revelatory conversations about the topic on the table within The Symposium–erotic love. So there: a seminar about wine and sex. See you this fall, Tuesday evenings @ 4:00pm. Till then, party on, Garth.

MALAS 600A | Sec 1 | SEM: SYMPOSIA PARTY POWER | 3 units | Sched#21800 | Seminar 4:00pm-6:40pm Tuesdays | SH-150 | DR. J. SMITH

The Rebel
Dr. Chris Frost, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Division, SDSU

Why consider the “Rebel” as a topic or theme worthy of study? I think the answer to that question is rooted in an understanding of rebellion as a response to the human condition (in general), and a reaction to oppressive conditions (in particular). Framed in this initial manner—the Rebel as an individual who challenges the conditions of existence—we derive a theme that transcends cultures and epochs (time and space), and a theme that transcends any specific arena of protest. Thus, we can select from a wide range of sources as we seek characters that rebel against social convention, against socially constructed boundaries defined by gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation, against moral codes that move toward moral sadism, and against unyielding social hierarchies. The principle is nonetheless constant: there exists a subset of individuals (or characters, in literature and film) who perceive the dominant values of a social, cultural, political or religious system as irreconcilable with their own individual values, social roles, moral codes, and mental schemes. On a different level, we encounter the notion of rebellion writ large: a revolt against a universe that gives rise to life and consciousness, but that fails to provide meaning and fails to preserve consciousness. Perhaps the ultimate existential irony is this: it is the emergence of consciousness that allows us to be aware of our own mortality, while failing to provide us any solution to that mortality. In a very real sense, this existential condition confronts us with absurdity at every turn: we are aware of our demise, but helpless to do anything about it; the universe is imbued with no system of meaning, but meaning seems essential. For some, even the quest for meaning is something of a rebellion—a revolt against meaninglessness.

MALAS 600D | SEM: THE REBEL | 3 units | Sched#21801 | Seminar 4:00pm-6:40pm WEDNESDAYS | WAD-223 | DR. C.FROST

Seminar in Interdisciplinary Thinking/Bordered Bodies: Aliens, Women, Cyborgs, and More...
Victoria Gonzalez Rivera, PhD, Assistant Professor, The Department of Chicana/o Studies, SDSU

Our symbiotically fused Chicana/o Studies/MALAS seminar (Seminar in Interdisciplinary Thinking) introduces students from all disciplines to major theories that scholars throughout the world have engaged with over the last forty years: marxism, nationalism, feminism, postmodernism, subaltern studies, cultural studies, and queer theory. The course also highlights contributions by people of color, (particularly Chicana/os) to ongoing, dynamic theoretical debates focused on gender (heteronormativity, masculinities, etc). Each Thursday afternoon class meeting will encourage students to incorporate theory and historical perspectives into their own primary research.

MALAS 601 | SEM: INTRDISCIPL THINKING | 3 units | Sched #21802 | Seminar 4:00pm-6:40pm THURSDAYS | AH-3177 | DR. V. GONZALEZ-RIVERA

nota bene: Dr. Victoria Gonzalez Rivera course appears in the SDSU Fall 2010 Catalogue in two flavors: CCS 605. Borderlands and Feminist Theories (3) Prerequisites: Graduate standing. Major theories pertaining to U.S.-Mexico borderlands and their gendered and sexual discourses: Chicana feminism, transnationalism, cultural studies, ethnography, narrative, cultural, citizenship, and multiculturalism.
MALAS 601. Seminar in Interdisciplinary Thinking (3)
Prerequisites: Graduate standing. Nature of interdisciplinary thinking. Ways of knowing and schools of thought in multiple disciplines. Interdisciplinary methods to analyze social issues. See Class Schedule for specific content.

nota bene: advanced undergraduates from SDSU can also participate and receive credit for MALAS' seminars this class using this form.

NEW! Our supplementary course listings for Fall 2010 have now gone live.