Thursday, December 31, 2020

New Spring 2021 MALAS Seminar Course Description --> HUM 580 / MALAS 600a: Open Worlds: Exploring the Unknown in Antiquity with Dr. David A. Wallace-Hare

HUM 580 / MALAS 600a:

Open WorldsExploring the Unknown in Antiquity 

Instructor: David A. Wallace-Hare
Virtual Meetings (via Zoom): Wed.16:00 – 18:40 pm
Course Delivery: SYNCHRONOUS
Office Hours: Mondays 12:00-13:00 and by appt.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Thursday, April 16, 2020

A Public Lecture by the Director of the MALAS Program at SDSU, The Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences: Professor William Nericcio (with Professor Roy Whitaker, Religious Studies, SDSU)

Roy Whitaker, Bill Nericcio: Things We Do Not Talk About (TWDNTA) When Thinking About Daniel Olivas's TWDNT from Mextasy on Vimeo.
"Things We Do Not Talk About When Thinking About Daniel Olivas's THINGS WE DO NOT TALK ABOUT: Latinx Spirituality in the Age of Hate." A public lecture on April 14, 2020 at SDSU with Professors Roy Whitaker and Bill Nericcio. You can consult high resolution versions of the Zoom graphic slides here:

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

New Seminar Course Description! MALAS 601 Fall 2020 An Introduction to Cultural Studies with Professor Pam Fox-Kuhlken

click to enlarge
Fall 2020: MALAS 601 
An Introduction to Cultural Studies/Interdisciplinary Studies 
The Life-or-Death Value of Cultural Studies During Crisis 
Dr. Pam Fox-Kuhlken
Thursdays, 4-6:40

Culture is alive—growing and changing. It is past-, present-, and future-oriented. Emancipatory, cultural theory fuses hierarchies of high and low cultures and seeks new knowledge as we ford the new rivers Heraclitus’ spoke of in ancient days. Cultural Studies draws upon the Humanities (arts, cultural studies, history, languages, literature, philosophy, religion) along with Natural and Social Sciences, so your particular area of interest will be front and center at some point! 

Stuart Hall and Cultural Studies
Cultural Studies--rooted in Karl Marx’s revolutionary dialectical materialism envisioning a communist utopia and Michel Foucault’s new historicism that critiques how power happens through discourses and strips hegemonies’ Oz-like illusions, and feminists like Susan Sontag, Simone de Beauvoir, and Julia Kristeva with remedies to phallocentricism—offers new ways of thinking, knowing, and communicating, equipping us to face CRISIS head-on.

We are an echo-chamber if we lose relevance. In this age of STEM headlines and investments, Humanities are slighted, facing drastic cuts in universities and now with a global pandemic, the Liberal Studies’ use value is eclipsed as masses turn to immunologists for daily guidance.

Ultimately, what matters, life-or-death, about cultural studies? This is a collaborative class and everyone will contribute to our culture: writing, discussing, co-hosting class, recommending texts for our syllabus.

Pierre Bourdieu
We’ll begin with an OVERVIEW of cultural/interdisciplinary criticism; then explore PANDEMIC with Slavoj Žižek and Jacques Lacan; MUSIC of crisis with composer John Cage, pianist Ludovico Einaudi’s “Elegy for the Arctic,” ethnomusicologists in The Journal of Interdisciplinary Music Studies (JIMS), and interrogate silence (Thomas Merton); SAVING THE WORLD with billionaires (Elon Musk and Bill Gates) and brilliance (TED talks, Nobel Laureates, MacArthur geniuses); SOCIAL MEDIA (Sartre’s existential project of being; Martin Heidegger’s shared world; Pierre Bourdieu’s cultural capital; Mark Zuckerberg); then we’ll work our cultural/interdisciplinary magic on topics you choose (i.e. you nominate, we vote upon, and schedule by the second or third week)! And as your champion and advocate, I’ll make all the readings available for you.


Dr. Pam is in her 13th lucky year at SDSU, teaching English & Comp Lit, Religious Studies, and Classics & Humanities. She's wanted to teach since kindergarten so this is Plan A, and she thrives with a syllabus in hand, but prefers to make classes collaborative so we'll create MALAS 601 together. Writing poetry, watching Criterion films, researching literary topics, and reading theory and philosophy is keeping her busy in quarantine, punctuated with yoga. And she's celebrating her daughter's scholarship to MIT starting this Fall. Pam has numerous publications and three advanced degrees (PhD in Comparative Literature, MA in Poetics, MA in Theology) and is ready for our Thursday afternoon symposium this Fall, joining fellow Epicureans in the garden of Plato's academy!


Monday, April 13, 2020

NEW FALL 2020 MALAS SEMINAR! The Environmental Humanities with Professor Diana Leong (Also English 626)

ENGL 626 
The Environmental Humanities
Method, Meaning, and Matter 
Dr. Diana Leong | Wednesdays | 4 to 6:40pm |  EBA-445 

As an analytical framework and an area for interdisciplinary research, the environmental humanities engage a diverse set of concerns pertaining to the representation and theorization of nature. While environmental considerations have long been of interest to humanities scholars, this interest did not coalesce into a coherent field until the early 2000’s. During this period, developments in science and technology, combined with an expansion of environmental precarity, forcefully revealed the limitations of our previous concepts of nature. The challenges of analyzing the increasingly unpredictable behavior of non-human objects (e.g., weather patterns or pesticides), while attending to the uneven distribution of environmental risks and resources, called for new reading and writing practices. This course will follow recent developments in the environmental humanities as they respond to the ecological challenges of our current moment. We will begin by examining some of the foundational texts of the environmental humanities (i.e., method), before tracking their embrace of the postcolonial and anti-racist approaches central to environmental justice (i.e., meaning). We will conclude with an investigation of the field’s turn towards posthumanism, animal studies, and the new materialisms (i.e., matter). By reflecting on some of the major influences on ecocritical thought, we will aim for more nuanced understandings of how human activity both relates to and creates the natural world. 

Diana Leong is an Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature. Her research interests include environmental justice, Black literature and culture, and the environmental humanities (e.g. posthumanism, science and technology studies, animal studies, new materialisms). She is currently completing a monograph, Against Wind and Tide: Toward a Slave Ship Ecology, that theorizes the slave ship as a site for the material and imaginative convergence of environmental justice and abolitionism. Her work has also appeared in ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and EnvironmentCatalyst: Feminism, Theory, TechnoscienceElectronic Book Review, and the Palgrave Handbook of Animals and Literature.  

Sunday, January 19, 2020

MALAS 600C.01/HIST 527 HOLOCAUST FEATURE FILMS Prof. Yale Strom Mondays, 7pm to 9:40

MALAS 600C.01/HIST 527
Prof. Yale Strom
Mondays, 7pm to 9:40

Holocaust in Feature Films (History 527/MALAS 600D) will examine the medium of film and how it has been used as a creative tool to confront and help the audience imagine the most unimaginable in terms of facts and figures. The Holocaust has become a metaphor for suffering, a template for the worst horrors ever visited upon mankind in modern times. Films about the Holocaust provide images of smoke, barbed wire, sealed train cars, skeletal bodies, torture, etc. These films help to make clearer why and what happened to millions of people to university students four generations removed from this catastrophe and to understand why genocide still happens in our world today. The class will be taught in three sections: 1. Hitler, Germany and The Final Solution, 2. Jewish and Gentile Responses to the Holocaust, and 3. The Lingering Impact of the Holocaust.



Sched #

Course Title







Seats Open












Footnotes: 11 , ZL , ZM

New MALAS Seminar, Spring 2020: Linguistics 526 / MALAS 600D Discourse Analysis with Professor Betty Samraj

click to enlarge

Linguistics 526 / MALAS 600D
Discourse Analysis
Professor Betty Samraj, Chair, Department of Linguistics

Course Description
Theories of discourse structure. Text and context. Different frameworks for analyzing written and spoken discourses such as genre analysis, conversation analysis, critical discourse anlaysis, discourse and grammar, speech act theory, and corpus linguistics. Applications of discourse analysis such as cross-cultural misunderstanding and identity construction.  

Prerequisite: LING 420 or 501

Student Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to:
-- discuss concepts such as the relationship between text and context;
-- identify and describe significant patterns in talk and text organization;
-- read critically the literature in discourse analysis;
-- formulate relevant research questions in discourse analysis and collect appropriate data to explore such questions;
-- analyze instances of spoken and written discourse using appropriate methodologies;
-- report in an academic paper analyses of discourse using appropriate conceptual frameworks and
-- demonstrate understanding of the various ways in which the methods and findings of discourse analysis can be used to address real life problems.

New MALAS Seminar with Professor Bosco, Geography: GEOG 760 Space, Place, and the Politics of Memory

Spring 2020
Professor Fernando J. Bosco Mondays 3:30 to 6:10 pm 

This seminar will explore the connections between space, place and the politics of memory and remembering. People remember, interpret, and construct the past in different ways, sometimes attempting to legitimize their own version of history or to challenge hegemonic versions of it. This is often done by creating places of memory (e.g., memorials and monuments, museums, historic neighborhoods, heritage sites) or by performing spatialized acts of remembering (e.g., commemorative ceremonies, parades, temporary and make-shift memorials, art, media and exhibitions, food festivals). But the representation of memory in place and through spatialized acts is often riddled with different types of politics. For example, conflicts often occur when less powerful or marginalized groups confront and/or challenge more powerful actors’ attempts to create places of memory that reflect official or institutionalized views of the past. Often, conflicts about place-based representations of the past are not really about the past, but rather about the present and, quite often, about the future.
In this seminar we will explore questions such as:

  • How do places contribute to the construction of collective memory?
  • How does collective memory influence the trajectories of place?
  • How do social movements and activists spatialize the politics of memory?
  • What are the relations between globalization and discourses and practices of memory?
  • What is the relation between memory and the city?
  • How is cultural and collective memory performed?
  • How do we theorize memory and remembering geographically?
    The goal of the seminar is also to encourage graduate students to think about memory, remembering, nostalgia, and the connections between past, present and future in relation to their own research interests in human geography. To that end, participants in the seminar will play an active role in shaping the seminar’s content and discussion

MALAS Seminar in Conjunction With SDSU Women's Studies: Professor Esther Rothblum's METHODS OF INQUIRY IN WOMEN'S STUDIES

WMNST 602 & MALAS 600C
Methods of Inquiry 
in Women’s Studies
click to enlarge
                                                            Professor Esther Rothblum
                                                            Office Hours: Wed 9:30-11:30 a.m.

This course will familiarize students with a variety of research methods for giving voice to women's experience and making visible the frequently invisible and undercounted aspects of women's lives. Students will become acquainted with current discussions of feminist epistemology, including feminist critiques of traditional research methods.  We will focus on ways of incorporating and analyzing literary works, historical archives, film, ethnography, quantitative surveys, media discourse, and feminist participatory research. We will also discuss issues such as: How and by whom is knowledge produced and validated? Do distinctively feminist methods exist? What is the relationship of the researcher to the researched? How does the social location (race, class, sexual identity, etc.) of the researcher impact on research? What are the issues (ethical, political, epistemological, methodological) that arise in studying "others"? How is feminist theory related to research? How can research relate to efforts for social change?

The course will provide students with hands-on experience about some of the joys and dilemmas of doing research, and students will conceptualize and design their own research project and write a research proposal. The assignments are aimed at familiarizing students with a number of methods that they can apply to their own thesis project.  The course ends with students completing their own thesis proposal, but the course is also applicable for students who have already proposed their thesis and are working on the thesis itself.

Several professors will visit the class with expertise on particular topics. Classes will also be interactive with open discussions on all readings, as well as discussion on the development of individual research proposals.


Sharlene Hesse-Biber (2014) (2nd Ed.).  Feminist Research Practice: A Primer.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Articles on electronic reserve on under Course Documents

Learning Objectives

 At the end of this course, students should be able to:
  1. Understand the differences between feminist and traditional epistemologies and methodologies.
  2. Use quantitative and qualitative research, archival research, participatory research, literary and film analysis, and discourse analysis in their own thesis.
  3. Become careful and critical consumers of research presented in the media and in academic texts.
  4. Complete the SDSU Institutional Review Board criteria for research.
  5. Design research projects.
  6. Use the internet and electronic databases for research.
  7. Interpret and write up research results.

New MALAS Seminar: PHIL 506/MALAS 600A: 20th Century Continental Philosophy Professor Marie Draz, Assistant Professor, Philosophy

PHIL 506/MALAS 600A: 20th Century Continental Philosophy
Professor Marie Draz, Assistant Professor, Philosophy

The label “Continental philosophy” is often applied to 19th and 20th century European philosophy. As an umbrella term for a disparate set of ideas and texts, Continental philosophy is associated with philosophical movements such as phenomenology, existentialism, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, and critical theory. In this course, we will begin with one of the major 19th century touchstones for later Continental philosophy: Friedrich Nietzsche. We will take up Nietzsche’s influential account of truth and lies as well as his attention to how philosophy is historically and culturally situated.
Click to enlarge
We will then move into the 20th century through an examination of selected texts by Michel Foucault, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Simone de Beauvoir on issues ranging from genealogy and power to recognition and identity formation. These texts will be put into conversation with short contemporary readings (Ann Stoler, Lisa Guenther, Lewis Gordon, Ralph Ellison, Kathryn Gines) that raise critical questions about history and power. Finally, we will explore how Continental philosophy has traveled beyond Europe by reading two of the thinkers most associated with 20th century continental philosophy: Frantz Fanon and Judith Butler. Their work both draws on and critiques the figures and traditions of continental philosophy through questions about race, colonialism, gender, violence, and the concept of the human. 

New Spring 2020 MALAS Seminar! ENGL 624 / MALAS 600A GOTHIC BODIES With Professor P. Serrato

SPRING 2020 
In this seminar we will delve into some historically diverse works of gothic fiction, concerning ourselves in particular with the significance of different types of bodies that feature in this fiction. To be sure, many of the bodies that we will encounter will be anthropomorphic. Some of these bodies will be human but some will not...or they may be but it is not clear whether they are or are not. In some texts the body will be a social one, or it will be a manufactured one, or it will be an architectural one. Whatever the case, we will have much to discuss vis-à-vis race, gender, sexuality, class, history, and politics.

Primary texts will likely include: 

Eliza Parsons, The Castle of Wolfenbach (ISBN 0977784169) Richard Marsh, The Beetle (1934555495)
William Henry Ireland, The Abbess: A Romance
Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera (0451531876) Patrick McGrath, Dr. Haggard’s Disease (9780679752615) Rudolfo Anaya, Tortuga (0826336248)

James Purdy, In a Shallow Grave (1948405245) The Nightmare Before Christmas
Stephanie Meyer, Twilight (0316015849)
Heather Kassner, The Bone Garden (1250250536)

For our first class meeting (January 27), please have read all of Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris (ISBN 9780140443530). For a finalized reading list and schedule, feel welcome to email me at 

New MALAS Spring 2020 Course Description! Lesbian Lives with Professor Jess Whatcott

Lesbian Lives and Cultures

Jess Whatcott, Assistant Professor, Department of Women's Studies, SDSU

Lesbian Lives and Cultures explores the identities, politics, and communities that women and gender non-conforming people have developed in relation to deviant sexuality. What was the political and cultural significance of identifying as a lesbian in the 20th century United States? What were the specific contributions of black, working class, disabled, and trans women in creating lesbian identity and community? How did both supportive experiences within lesbian community, and experiences of exclusion from lesbianism, inform other political and cultural identities, including queer and trans? In preparation for the Women's Studies department 50th Anniversary, this class will also work on a project to imagine the future of feminist approaches to queer studies.

Spring 2020 MALAS Course Description: IMAGINING HELL with Professor Andrew McClellan

MALAS 600A: Imagining Hell  
Dr. Andrew M. McClellan (Ph.D., University of British Columbia) 

Humanity has always been obsessed with the idea of the afterlife. Nowhere is this more powerfully – and frighteningly – articulated than in artistic conceptions of “Hell,” a dark, infernal place reserved for those deemed, at best, morally insufficient, and at worst, willfully malevolent. Though Hell for modern audiences carries unavoidable Christian overtones, the basic theoretical and conceptual outlines of a gloomy umbratic netherworld have existed across cultures for many millennia. This course investigates different representations of Hell in a variety of artistic “texts” from antiquity to the present. By studying closely the concept of Hell, students will explore artistic influences, compare different genres, and examine a range of cultural value systems. Some of the texts we will discuss this semester include The Epic of Gilgamesh, Homer’s Odyssey, Aristophanes’ Frogs, Plato’s Republic, Virgil’s Aeneid, Dante’s Inferno, Milton’s Paradise Lost, Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, Gabriel Squailia’s Dead Boys, and the film Event Horizon.


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Apply Now and Join the Incoming Fall 2020 Cohort of Graduate Students in MALAS, the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences Program at SDSU