The Rutgers Institute for High School Teachers is pleased to offer the seminars listed below for the 2017-2018 academic year. All seminars will run from 9am--2:30pm.
Fall Semester 2017
The Contemporary Relevance of Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt, a political philosopher, is best known for her classic work, The Origins of Totalitarianism, and her controversial book, Eichmann in Jerusalem. This seminar will explore key theories, not only from these works, but also The Human Condition and her essays “On Violence” and “On Revolution.” Recognizing the recent rediscovery of The Origins of Totalitarianism, there will be an intersectional approach to such concepts as plurality, conscious pariah, and statelessness alongside her embodied interrogation of Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Question. Using her political theory of amor mundi, love of the world, as a means to transgress ordinary boundaries, we will wrestle with the following questions: To what extent is her principle of coexistence (amor mundi) relevant to contemporary discussions of intersectionality or queer politics in an international setting?; Does Arendt’s vision serve as an alternative to more limited notions of political tolerance, one more directly attuned to question justice?; Is her concept of plurality an important companion to theories of intersectionality and sexual politics?
Famous Trials of the Jazz Age: Sacco and Vanzetti, Leopold and Loeb, and Scopes
Friday, October 27, 2017, 9am-2:30pm
Paul G.E. Clemens, Professor, Department of History, Rutgers
In one of the most brilliant journalist accounts of an era, Frederick Lewis Allen, writing in 1931 and looking back during the early years of the Great Depression, produced, Only Yesterday, An Informal History of the 1920s. His buoyant account of the Jazz Age – Babe Ruth, the Harlem Renaissance, The Great Gatsby, Josephine Baker, and on and on – has subsequently been balanced by historians' accounts of the other, darker side of the 1920s. After a brief overview of the 1920s, we'll look at three famous trials, and sample some of the primary sources from each, that capture both the sensationalism of popular culture in the 1920s, and the bleaker side of life during that era. Sacco and Vanzetti were tried for a murderous robbery and convicted primarily because they were immigrant Italian anarchists. Leopold and Loeb were Chicago youths who attempted to commit the "perfect crime" by kidnapping and murdering a neighbor's young son. They were defended by Clarence Darrow, the most famous defense attorney of the era, who put the death penalty itself on trial. Darrow also headed the defense in the famous Scopes "monkey trial," where he defended free speech but just as furiously attacked fundamentalist religion. We'll look as well at the modern implications of each trial and view a couple of film clips that have produced popular but fictionalized accounts of the cases.
Travels with Chaucer: Teaching The Canterbury Tales, from Gender to Anti-Judaism
This seminar will provide a range of tools for teaching late medieval literature to high school students in a manner that strives to balance historical responsibility with modern relevance. We will focus mainly on The Canterbury Tales, one of the most exciting and yet enigmatic of Middle English poems. After an introduction to Middle English, the vernacular language written and spoken in England from approximately 1100-1500 AD, we will turn to the poem’s historical, literary, and material contexts, paying close attention to how the various female figures, narrative voices, domestic arrangements, religious rituals, and sexual relations featured within the poem might have resonated with medieval audiences. Our seminar will conclude by considering how seemingly alien (and at times painful) cultural attitudes from a distant past might be made meaningful to modern readers.
American Cultures of Adolescence
Although the first use of the word “adolescence” appeared in the 15th century and came from the Latin word “adolescere,” which meant “to grow up or to grow into maturity,” it was not until 1904 that the first president of the American Psychological Association, G. Stanley Hall, was credited with discovering adolescence as a distinctive stage of life worthy of scholarly study. This seminar will examine why adolescence emerged as a distinctive stage of life in the early twentieth century and the subsequent impact of its emergence on such issues as education, child labor, and juvenile delinquency. We will trace how adolescence had been understood through the interpretation of literary texts such as J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye (1951) and Julia Alvarez’s memoir Once Upon a Quinceanera: Coming of Age in the USA (2007); films such as Frederick Wiseman’s documentary film High School (1969) and feature films such as Blackboard Jungle (1955), Rebel without a Cause (1955), and Mean Girls (2004); and, via such works on neuroscience and parenting as Frances E. Jenson and Amy Ellis Nutt’s The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults (2016).
From the Cold War to “the New Cold War”: Understanding American-Russian Relations
David Foglesong,Professor, Department of History, Rutgers
A quarter of a century ago, U.S. leaders declared that “the Cold War” was over and prominent scholars proclaimed that a decisive Western victory had settled fundamental issues for all time. Yet in the last ten years many politicians, journalists, and scholars have warned or lamented that “a new Cold War” has erupted, with the West confronting a resurgent Russia from the Baltic states and Ukraine to Syria and beyond. Understanding these complex and controversial developments requires careful consideration of key questions about the nature, ending, and alleged resumption of “the Cold War.” Was the Cold War a bipolar geopolitical confrontation between two nuclear-armed superpowers that began after 1945 or a global ideological rivalry between capitalism and socialism that originated with the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917? Did the Cold War end when Western politics supposedly caused the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 or did it end in the late 1980s through the diplomatic engagement of U.S. leaders with Soviet reformer Mikhail Gorbachev? Has the drastic deterioration of U.S.-Russian relations in the twenty-first century been caused primarily by aggressive policies of former KGB officer Vladimir Putin or by U.S. politics of expanding NATO and promoting regime changes in the former Soviet Union? In this seminar, we will grapple with four fundamental questions: What was the Cold War?; When did the Cold War begin?; How did the Cold War end?; and, How did a “new Cold War” develop? To prepare for the seminar, teachers will read stimulating essays on the Cold War and a new Cold War by leading scholars. During the seminar, teachers will examine a variety of images (including propaganda posters, political cartoons, and magazine covers) that they can use to engage their students in future discussions of the Cold War and new Cold War.
Please Note: This seminar strongly overlaps with the seminar on the Cold War that was offered in October 2016. Teachers who attended last year's seminar should not enroll.