Academics

2019–20 Stuart Tave Fellowship Courses

The Stuart Tave Teaching Fellowships are so named to honor Professor Emeritus Stuart Tave and his influence as an educator. The fellowships were established to provide exceptional graduate students with the opportunity to teach a course of their own design related to their research and appealing to undergraduates across the College.

We are pleased to announce the 2019-20 Stuart Tave Teaching Fellowship courses:

  • MUSI 22620/GNSE 22620. Queer Singing | Queer Spaces
    • Devon Borowski, Spring 2020, T/Th 12:30–1:50 p.m., LC 703
  • FREN 23320/CRES 23320/CLAS 23320. Short Stories of the Black Atlantic: A Francophone Perspective
    • Bastien Craipain, Winter 2020, T/Th 9:30–10:50 a.m.
  • SPAN 21619. From Lorca to Lin-Manuel Miranda: Staging Latinidad
    • Isaias Fanlo Gonzalez, Autumn 2019, T/Th 11:00-12:20 p.m.
  • NEHC 20222. Masculinities in Pre-Modern Middle Eastern Literature
    • Alexandra Hoffmann, Spring 2020, M/W 3:30–4:50 p.m.
  • MUSI 28620. Critical Improvisation Studies in Music
    • Andrew White, Winter 2020, M/W 1:30–2:50 p.m. LC 901

Course Descriptions

Queer practice and identity have long been expressed through/as song. According to Ovid, it was the great singer Orpheus who first introduced same-sex relationships to the people of Thrace; in early modern Europe, men performing the role of Orpheus on the operatic stage were often eunuchs with non-normative bodies singing in a vocal range traditionally associated with the feminine. Beyond fabled musicians, though, carnal technologies of the voice have continually been implicated in historically and geographically situated paradigms of queerness. Likewise, many of the spaces in which queer peoples have found community or refuge have been associated with music or singing. What might it suggest that in the twentieth century, generations of queer communities formed around listening to and ventriloquizing the voices of Judy Garland, Maria Callas, and Madonna? How might exclusively queer spaces, like the hijra communities of the Indian subcontinent, effect the production of voice and performance of music for its inhabitants and outside observers? For which audiences are young trans* people on YouTube documenting their vocal progressions over the course of their transitions? Why have both European and Chinese operatic traditions abounded with cross-dressing for most of their histories? In this course we will investigate the broad relationship between practices of the voice and the body and consider why so many of our cultural understandings of queerness are accompanied by singing.

Since the late-eighteenth century, French writers have relied on the brevity and evocative powers of the short story to inform, shock, and impassion their readers with the realities of slavery, colonialism, and racial violence in the Atlantic World. From Germaine de Staël to Claire de Duras to Prosper Mérimée, the experiences of Africans and people of African descent on both sides of the Atlantic—enslaved or free—have served to shape the contours of a literary genre rooted in a set of romantic sentiments, exotic expectations, and sensationalistic ends. Soon enough, however, the subjects of these lived experiences took the pen to write their own (short) stories, thus cannibalizing the genre in order to fit the necessities of their own cultural settings and political agendas. In this course, we will trace the evolution of the short story as it traveled along the shores, around the themes, and across the traditions of the Francophone Black Atlantic. We will explore the ways in which writers from France, the Caribbean, and West Africa have dialogued with one another to further hybridize a literary genre often defined by its very indefinability. Along with canonical texts by Staël, Duras, and Mérimée, we will read nineteenth- and twentieth-century short stories by Victor Séjour (Louisiana), Frédéric Marcelin (Haiti), Paul Morand (France), Ousmane Sembène (Senegal), and Maryse Condé (Guadeloupe)—among others. Class discussions will be in English. All texts will be available in both French and English. PQ: FREN 20500 or 20503 for French majors/minors.

In this course, we will delve into ten significant theatre plays written in the last century by Spanish, Latin American and Latinx playwrights. We will examine how latinidad, with its multiple definitions and contradictions, emerges in these plays; and also, which questions these works pose regarding the different historic and cultural contexts in which they were written. As a discipline that aims to explore and embody social practices and identities, theatre has become a place where these questions articulate themselves in a critical manner. A physical space where bodies and languages explore, sometimes through its mere unfolding on the page and the stage, unforeseen limits of class, identity, and ethnicity. Each week, we will discuss one play and one or two significant critical essays, and the discussion will be conducted through a set of questions and crossed references. To which extent does the domestic exploration and the all-women cast of Lorca’s La casa de Bernarda Alba resonate in Fornés’ Fefu And Her Friends? How does the experience of immigration affect the characters of Marqués’ La carreta, and how do Chiara Alegría Hudes and Lin-Manuel Miranda echo this foundational fiction in In the Heights? How was the success of plays such as Valdez’s Zoot Suit or Cruz’s Anna in The Tropics received within the Latino community, and how did it affect the general reception of Latino plays? PQ: Taught in English. Readings in both English and Spanish.

Have you ever wondered what men looked like, how they lived and loved in the pre-modern Middle East? In this class, we will encounter cuckolded husbands, muscular heroes, angry kings, mad lovers, and chivalrous bandits – all fictional. We will analyze how masculinities are constructed in selected passages of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish literature in translation, and evaluate normative expectations, caricatures, and anxieties about masculinities in the cultural consciousness of the pre-modern Middle East. In this course, you will become familiar with theoretical principles of the study of masculinities as well as acquire tools for literary analysis and close reading. Case studies will be drawn from a variety of literary sources, such as the Thousand and One Nights (Alf Layla wa-layla), the Persian Book of Kings (Shāhnāmeh), the love story of Laylā and Majnūn, as well as other texts.

Improvisation: when we hear this term, we think of real-time performance. We think of skill, inspiration, passion. With a little more reflection, we think of the hours of preparation that lie behind every action of the improviser, the licks, tropes, and patterns. If improvisation is determined by a larger aesthetic system, how is it any different from other species of performative actions? Is improvisation only improvisation by virtue of not (yet) being on paper? The term can become so broad that it becomes unwieldy. We can name very few intrinsic characteristics of improvisation, but we know it when we see it—in other words, it is controlled by the vast network of social and cultural signs present in its performance context.

Improvisation is a Western term that has been associated in the 20th century with Black musical forms. Because of this, the term improvisation undergoes a process of racialization— representing the body as opposed to the mind, the irrational as opposed to the supposed rationality of composition. We can now easily see the presence of improvisation in other performance cultures, including European art-music. Keeping this in mind, all attempts to theorize the improvisatory should nevertheless be sensitive to its history. Can musical improvisation give us a model for newer, more egalitarian social structures? Or does the very word improvisation represent a modernist myopia, a failure to see the organizational structures that ungird musical activity?