New Course: Obscure Enigma of Desire


FIST232/MDST232  Obscure Enigma of Desire
Jeff Rider
MW 10:50AM-12:10PM; FISK210

This course is an introduction to the study of the ways we create meanings when we read texts. It will focus on several deliberately obscure literary texts from twelfth-century France and will examine them in the light of the classical and medieval concepts of enigma, the marvelous (wonderful), fabula, and allegory as well as some modern theoretical works about how we understand narratives. We will seek to understand why deliberate obscurity is an important part of literature and how medieval authors created narratives that seem particularly meaningful precisely because they are obscure. We will consider why we feel these texts have meaning and the ways in which we make them meaningful to us.

This course will be co-taught in parallel with a course (in English) on the same subject offered at the Charles University in Prague by Professor Lucie Dolezalova. About half of the classes will be conducted together with the class in Prague through teleconferencing and Professor Dolezalova will teach one week of the course at Wesleyan and meet with students while she is here.

Readings:

  • Marie de France, Lais
  • Chrétien de Troyes, The Knight of the Cart (Lancelot) and The Story of the Grail
  • The Quest for the Holy Grail
  • Aristotle, Poetics (excerpts)
  • Cicero, On the Orator and On Invention (excerpts)
  • Rhetorica ad Herennium (excerpts)
  • Quintillian, The Oratorical Education (excerpts)
  • Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights (excerpts)
  • Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, On the Trinity, Questions Concerning the Heptateuch, and Expositions of the Psalms (excerpts)
  • Isidore of Seville, Etymologies (excerpts)
  • Aldhelm of Malmesbury, Enigmas (excerpts)
  • Abelard, Christian Theology (excerpts)
  • William of Conches, Commentaries on Boethius’s “Consolation of Philosophy” (excerpts)
  • Hugh of Saint-Victor, On the Three Days, On Meditation, and Didascalicon (excerpts)
  • Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles  and Summa Theologica (excerpts)
  • Eleanor Cook, Enigmas and Riddles in Literature (excerpts)
  • Rita Copeland and Stephen Melville, “Allegory and Allegoresis, Rhetoric and Hermeneutics”
  • Joseph Dane, “Integumentum as Interpretation”
  • Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics (excerpts)
  • Peter Dronke, Fabula: Explorations into the Uses of Myth in Medieval Platonism (excerpts)
  • Louis Mink, “History and Fiction as Modes of Comprehension”
  • Karl F. Morrison, “Hermeneutics and Enigma: Bernard of Clairvaux’s De consideratione
  • Paul Ricoeur, “Metaphor and Hermeneutics,” “The Hermeneutical Function of Distanciation,” “What is a Text?” and “Appropriation”
  • Winthrop Wetherbee, Platonism and Poetry in the Twelfth Century (excerpts)
  • Jan Ziolkowski, “Theories of Obscurity in the Latin Tradition”

Call for Submissions of Art/Performance on Disruption/Disaster

The College of the Environment Think Tank is inviting proposals for creative work on the theme of “Disaster” and the ways in which humans confront or survive disasters, to be shared with the public on Friday, March 2, 2018 in the Memorial Chapel as part of an event hosted by the COE Think Tank.

Below is the description of the themes we are working with.  Proposals can be submitted for the creation of new work, or for existing work.

We are able to offer $200 honoraria. In addition to sharing the work at the March 2 event, we will ask you to talk about your project in 8-10 minute presentation with time for audience to respond and ask questions.

Proposals are due by Thursday, February 1, midnight.

Submit to: Katja Kolcio – Kkolcio@wesleyan.edu

Selection will be determined by Tuesday, February 6. Work must be completed by Monday, February 26 and the event will take place Friday, March 2, afternoon-evening.

Please include:

Your full name
Wesleyan University Email Address
Your Wesleyan University P.O Box # (for payment purposes only)
Your Wesleyan University ID # (for payment purposes only)
Your class year and major(s) if you have declared.
Are you an international student? (for payment purposes only)
A 300 word (maximum) description of the work. A sample of the work or other relevant work if such exists.
A description of the format and technical requirements (Performance? Exhibit? Video? Music? Etc?)

THEME: FROM DISRUPTIONS TO DISASTERS: A LENS ON THE HUMAN-ENVIRONMENT RELATIONSHIP

Since its inception, the Earth has had a violent history of disruption and disasters.  Volcanic eruptions, transformations of the atmosphere, meteoritic collisions, mass extinctions, moving glaciers, plagues, disease, wars, politics and belief systems are but some of the perturbations, natural and otherwise, that disrupt the dynamic processes of the earth and all life that has lived on it. Natural and anthropogenic perturbations across a range of scales set the Earth, ecosystems and human communities onto different courses.  While disruptions and disasters have been an integral part of the history and evolution of the planet, the relationship between humans and their environment continues to evolve as perturbations shift in frequency, magnitude and type.  These perturbations arise from both non-anthropogenic  and anthropogenic  sources.  But there is also a growing human-environment interaction that leads to disruptions and disasters at a variety of scales.  While some of the anthropogenic factors depend upon technological advances (e.g., nuclear radiation) other factors are ancient (e.g., the use of fire to clear large areas for agricultural purposes, such as in Ukraine, Indonesia or South America).

Our current world offers a series of profound challenges to humanity.  We are pushing our world towards a tipping point of climate change by our changes to the carbon cycle and use of fossil fuels. The social-political-ethnic-religious theater of rivalries and conflict intensifies as the environmental stage rotates. The biochemical machinery of humans and the biological world is now constantly challenged by exposure to a bewildering array of microbes, chemical, and other disturbance agents—to which, humans and other Earth inhabitants must continually adapt. In all of this, the human-environment relationship is cyclical. Both parts of the relationship manifest change in the other setting up an ever changing dynamic.

The 2017-2018 College of the Environment Think Tank will focus upon how humanity will confront and take measure of the human-environment relationship from diverse perspectives of biochemistry, ecology, socio-political-religious, somatics, art, and embodiment.

Thank you,

2017-18 Think Tank Members

Katja Kolcio, Chair and Professor of Dance
Ishita Mukerji, Professor of Integrative Science and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Marguerite Nguyen, Assistant Professor of English and East Asian Studies
Eiko Otake, Menakka and Essel Bailey ’66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment
Helen Poulos, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Environment Studies

Panel Discussion on the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis 11/28

The Allbritton Center’s Right Now Series, the Fries Center for Global Studies, and Wesleyan World Wednesdays present:

Development Officer at Urban Refugees (NY) Jeffrey Stein ’10, and Tun Khin, Rohingya human rights activist and voice for Rohingya people around the world (London) discuss how we got here and what the crisis looks like on the ground.

Please join us on Tuesday, Nov. 28 at noon in the Fries Center for Global Studies (Fisk201).

Course Withdrawal Deadline 12/1 at 5pm

The last day to withdraw from full-semester and second-quarter classes for the Fall 2017 semester is Friday, December 1.  Completed forms are due in the Registrar’s Office by 5:00 p.m. and must include the following signatures: instructor, faculty advisor, and class dean.

If you are thinking about withdrawing from a course:

  • Do use this time to talk to your professors, your advisors, and me about your concerns. If you can’t make my drop-ins, please email me at dphillips@wesleyan.edu or call me at x2757 to schedule an appointment.
  • Do make sure you are taking advantage of all the resources available to you.
  • Do get the signatures of your instructor and advisor on your drop/add form. I cannot sign for either without his or her permission, so please save yourself the trouble of waiting to see me during drop-ins just for me to tell you that.
  • Do not wait until Friday at 4:00 p.m. to see me or you may find yourself waiting in a very long line!

Drop-in Hours: M 2-3, Tu 3-4, W 4-6, Th 11-12, F 2-4

Two New COL/PHIL Courses for the Spring

Reason and its Limits
COL 292 / PHIL 291
MW 2:50-4:10

This course offers a close study of Immanuel Kant’s magnum opus, the Critique of Pure Reason, supplemented by related writings by Kant and some secondary literature. Kant observes that the history of philosophy is rife with disagreements, even though philosophers purport to traffic in necessary truths disclosed by reason alone. This scandalous fractiousness calls into question reason’s ability to offer substantive insights into necessary truths. Kant’s “critique” aims to vindicate reason by distinguishing, in a principled manner, the sorts of things we can know with certainty from those that lie beyond the limits of human understanding. His central thesis, “transcendental idealism,” holds that “reason has insight only into what it produces after its own plan” (Bxiii). In other words, we can indeed be certain of key structural features of reality such as its spatiotemporality and causal interconnectedness–but only because those features are, in some crucial sense, mind-dependent. This class will explore in detail the arguments for these claims as well as prominent interpretations of their philosophical upshot.

Modern Aesthetic Theory
COL 269/PHIL 269
MW  10:50AM-12:10PM

As a philosophical discipline, aesthetic theory initially coalesced around a cluster of related issues concerning the nature of beauty and the norms governing its production, appreciation, and authoritative assessment. Beginning in the nineteenth century, however, both art and aesthetics undergo a conspicuous yet enigmatic shift, signaled by (among other things) Hegel’s declaration that “art, in its highest vocation, is and remains for us a thing of the past.” Rather suddenly, classical accounts of beauty, genius, aesthetic experience, and critical taste are beset by anxieties about the autonomy and significance of aesthetic praxis in human life and, subsequently, by a series of challenges to the tenebility of traditional aesthetic categories–author, text, tradition, meaning and interpretation, disinterested pleasure, originality, etc. Our aim in this course is to track these conceptual shifts and to interrogate the rationale behind them. (This course complements, but does not presuppose COL 266: History and Limits of Aesthetic Theory.)

Winter Session Registration

Winter Session registration is open, and courses have started to fill. Please don’t wait to register; enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis. Housing and Dining requests for Winter Session, Winter on Wyllys, and Teacher Generation will close at noon on Thursday, November 30. Review the information published on the Winter Session website (http://www.wesleyan.edu/wintersession), particularly the deadlines for registration, withdrawal, housing, dining, and more, and register as soon as possible to secure your seat.

How to Register for Winter Session Courses:

  • Navigate to Portal.
  • Go to the “Courses” Bucket and click on “Winter Session.”
  • Download and print the registration form.
  • Complete the registration form and have your advisor sign it.
  • Bring the signed, completed form to 74 Wyllys Avenue with full payment for tuition.
    • Students should bring their tuition payment in the form of a check or pre-payment on their student account so that the credit on their account is $3260 when they come to the Winter Session Office. Students awarded aid should bring a print-out of their aid letter and the balance of the tuition.
    • The office will not accept incomplete forms or forms that are not accompanied by full payment.
  • Students who are not currently on campus due to study abroad or leave should use the “Registration Information – Students not on Campus” link in the Winter Session bucket.

 How to Request Housing:

  • Navigate to Portal.
  • Go to the “Courses” Bucket and click on “Winter Session.”
  • Click on the clink “Housing Request.”
  • Complete the online form.
  • Contact Residential Life (reslife@wesleyan.edu) with questions.

 How to Request Dining:

  • Navigate to Portal.
  • Go to the “Courses” Bucket and click on “Winter Session.”
  • Click on the clink “Meal Plan Request.”
  • Complete the online form.

 If you are interested in the Winter programs provided by the Career Center, please visit:
http://www.wesleyan.edu/careercenter/programs-and-events/winteronwyllys.html.

 If you have any questions about Winter Session, please contact the Winter Session office at winter@wesleyan.edu or 860-685-2005.

Winter Outerwear Available

A Winter Wear drive is underway for winter outerwear and other warm clothing—coats, hats, scarves, mittens, boots, etc.  The collection will be available on Friday, November 17 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Usdan Café.  If you feel unprepared for the winter weather or are able to donate, please stop by! 

An Introduction to Study Abroad and Fellowships for First Years and Sophomores

Please join us for an event tomorrow celebrating International Education Week! This is part of a rich agenda of week-long activities.

An Introduction to Study Abroad and Fellowships for First Years and Sophomores

This event is specifically aimed at First Year and Sophomore students. Are you thinking about studying abroad during the 2018-2019 school year? Come along and find out what study abroad is all about! Study abroad staff will be happy to answer all your questions!

This event takes place on Wednesday, November 15th at 12:15 pm in the Fries Center for Global Studies Commons. Lunch will be provided

Hosted by Class Deans and Fries Center for Global Studies | Fries Center for Global Studies Commons