Graduate Courses

Spring 2023

History (HIS) 202D: Major Issues in Historical Interpretation: India

History of Mughal India

This course will examine approaches to the history of the Mughal Empire of India (sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries), the second greatest economic power, and home to perhaps the greatest court culture of the early modern period. The reading for each week will organized by methodology or theme. Please read each week’s assignment before class and come prepared to present the text and critique it. You are not expected to master the all the information covered in this course. Rather, the goal is to begin to be able to identify the problématique and also to summarize and evaluate arguments and methodologies. There are no pre-requisites. Comparative perspectives are most welcome.

Study of Religion (REL) 230C: Modernity, Science and Secularism

Medicine, Alchemy, Science

This graduate seminar examines the widespread pre-modern science of alchemy in various periods across three major civilizations: Indian, Islamic, and European. Alchemy, currently labeled a pseudo-science or precursor to modern chemistry, involved a range of ideas and practices that went beyond transmuting base metals into gold. We will examine a range of alchemical texts that demonstrate a marked interest in medicine and other medieval sciences and will explore the views of self and the material world present in these readings. Towards the end of the course, we will situate our study within the larger context of the history of science and religion and changing theories of knowledge.

Spanish (SPA) 274: Studies of a Major Writer, Period, or Genre in Latin American Literature

Food in the Early Modern Hispanic World

The gastronomic globalization of the late 20th century, along with the recent boom of the so-called foodie culture, has catapulted the academic interest in food in the past few decades, resulting in the growing field of Food Studies. In the context of Latin American and Iberian studies, food has proved to be a productive and refreshing lens to re-examine historical narratives, national discourses, and the literary canon. In this seminar, we will study Spanish and Latin American cultural artifacts ranging from the 16th to the 18th centuries, focusing on issues of class and social distinction; identity, race, and religion; imperialism and colonization; and sexuality and gender. Students will engage with major theoretical approaches to Food Studies, explore the scholarly literature that has shaped the study of food in Spain and Latin America, and learn about innovative approaches like cooking as a research method. Among the artifacts examined will be natural histories by Bernardino de Sahagún and José de Acosta, Sor Juana’s reflections on kitchen work, baroque theater and poetry, and best-selling 17th-century cookbooks.