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    212.229.5600 or 800.523.5411
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    Samuel Yelton

    Committee on Liberal Studies
    6 East 16th Street, room 711A
    New York, NY 10003
    Tel: 212.229.2747 x3026
    Fax: 212.229.5473 

    Mailing Address
    79 Fifth Avenue, room 711A
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    Dominic Pettman

    Senior Secretary
    Aaron Neber

    Student Advisor
    Alessandro Vitelli

    Liberal Studies Student Handbook

  • Admission

  • Courses in the Department of Liberal Studies survey modern society through groundbreaking thinkers and significant developments in the arts, social history, cultural theory, politics, and philosophy. Students will enhance their own ideas through nonfiction writing and criticism, improving the clarity of their thinking and analytical construction.

  • Please consult the New School Course Catalog for a full list of courses. Fall 2024 courses include:

    The Making of the Modern World, GLIB5542
    Dominic Pettman
    , University Professor of Media and New Humanities

    This course will introduce students to some of the most significant and influential critical contributions to common understandings of love and desire, from classical times to the present. Through readings from a range of disciplines, we will investigate how changing conceptions of Eros, broadly conceived, have shaped key social, psychological, political, philosophical, aesthetic, and economic formulations about history and culture in the West. These readings will form the basis of class discussions designed to help students think through major critical paradigms and a variety of methodologies associated with Liberal Studies at the New School: an intrinsically interdisciplinary approach to intellectual history and critical thought. Tracing the long arc of significant statements on love and sexuality will serve to highlight certain continuities and ruptures in our own self-portraits concerning human nature and culture. Specific themes, topics, and key terms will include mythopoetic origin stories of love, courtly love, strategies of love, seduction, auto-affection, Eros/Thanatos, melancholia, ars erotica/scientia sexualis, libidinal economies, fetishism, the repressive hypothesis, gendered dialectics, jouissance, queer love, liquid love, mediated desire, and desiring machines. Readings will likely include Plato, Ovid, the Marquis de Sade, Søren Kierkegaard, Sigmund Freud, Marcel Mauss, Georges Bataille, Wilhelm Reich, Michel Foucault, Susan Sontag, Simone de Beauvoir, Lauren Berlant, Luce Irigaray, Zygmunt Bauman, and others.

    Time and Subjectivity: Affect Theory, GLIB5105
    Benjamin Lee
    , Professor of Anthropology and Philosophy

    Cultural Criticism, GLIB5112
    Melissa Monroe
    , Part-time Assistant Professor

    This course focuses on the elements that constitute a strong writing style and on how writers concerned with political and cultural issues use various structural and rhetorical techniques to entertain and outrage, provoke and inspire. We will look closely at texts by a variety of cultural critics, including Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cathy Park Hong, Joseph Mitchell, George Orwell, Zadie Smith, Susan Sontag, and Virginia Woolf, focusing especially on the relation between form and content, analyzing why authors make the stylistic choices they do, and how these choices help determine readers' responses. We will also focus on putting these lessons into practice; students will write several essays, and we will often look at samples of student writing in class

    Enlightened Exchanges, GLIB5829
    Gina Walker
    , Professor of Women’s Studies

    This course reads published, private, and inter-textual conversations between select male and female thinkers to recover and assess more accurately women’s participation in the project of Enlightenment. While most of these exchanges and conversations will have been between contemporaneous figures, we will also consider some that have gone on across centuries, like the conversations Italian Renaissance humanists conducted with their antique predecessors. Machiavelli returned home in the evening, changed his clothes, and conversed with ancient authors by reading their books.[1] We ask whether there were any texts by women on his list? Why is female epistemological authority always contested so that accounts of the past are either ignorant or dismissive of named women’s contributions? We consider female thinkers’ ideas in the context of traditional Intellectual History and their interactions with their male contemporaries and each other. We draw on new research about “Revolutionary Women” Phillis Wheatley (1753–1784), learned enslaved poet, and Suzanne Sanité Belair (1781–1802), a young free woman of color who became a lieutenant in Haitian revolutionary leader Toussaint Louverture’s army, to interrogate women’s resistance to canonical knowledge-ordering systems and their proposals for alternative structures and actions. We examine the conflicts and convergences between women and men’s theological, epistemological, political, and affective understanding; women’s networks and misalliances; the new knowledge that femmes philosophes produced; and, consequently, the volatile public reception to Poullain de la Barre’s Cartesian argument that “the mind has no sex” and his promotion of “the equality of the sexes.” We interrogate individual men’s and women’s responses to the ongoing Slave Trade and the concept of Enslavement. We map the female texts that consider gender and race as inextricably interweaved, and men’s resistance to or acceptance of this premise and practice. We speculate about how sixty years of feminist historical recovery has or has not made done more than just “add women into conventional historical narratives and stir.” In our discussions and presentations, we model what Enlightened Exchanges could look like. Finally, we ask what might a knowledge-ordering system that includes a female dimension look like? We ask whether and how the inclusion of previously eclipsed women thinkers or people of various races and nationalities in a reconceived canon transform the nature and history of Western thought. The set of “enlightened exchanges” we will investigate can be understood as part of a project of redressing epistemic injustice, defined by the philosopher Miranda Fricker as “a wrong done specifically to someone in their capacity as a knowerOne of the two types of epistemic injustice Fricker analyses, testimonial injustice, occurs where a speaker’s report is taken less seriously by its hearer because of a dimension of that speaker’s identity such as gender, race or class. The women thinkers in these enlightened exchanges have largely been victims of the testimonial injustice Fricker thematizes. Beyond this dimension, however, we believe that Western thought and society have been epistemically injured by the testimonial injustice shown to these thinkers: the canon and its contents have been distorted and impoverished through the systematic exclusion of women’s voices. We hope in this course to begin to correct some of the damage.

    The Later Heidegger, GLIB6128
    Simon Critchley
    , Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy

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