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  • Intersectionality, a term coined by Kimberle Crenshaw, forcefully challenges the idea that gender is the primary factor organizing women’s lives. Drawing on black feminist and critical legal theory, Crenshaw maintains that the experience of being a woman must be understood through the interrelation of race and gender. We will ask: How does intersectionality highlight whose experience is “centered” and whose is “marginalized”? How does it relate to issues of class and Marxist-feminist conceptions of social reproduction? What strands of feminism was it developed in response to? And, what follows, theoretically and politically, from intersectional critique?
  • With the rise of a dizzying array of far-right figures worldwide, understanding fascism appears more crucial than ever. Yet, questions of psychology and ideology tend to dominate much of the conversation without reference to institutions, civil society, economics, and policy. Is fascism synonymous with authoritarianism? Or, does fascism have a specific form, style, and economic basis? What role did civic institutions play in the fascist state? Does the “totalitarian” model adequately describe fascist societies? What, in short, is fascism?
  • Capitalism is fundamentally unstable. No one understood this better than John Maynard Keynes, whose seminal General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, written in reaction to the Great Depression, single-handedly invented the field of macroeconomics. In discarding Keynesianism for neoliberalism, policy makers ignored, consciously or not, Keynes’ key insights into the limits of individual rationality and the role played by radical uncertainty in destabilizing financial markets and the capitalist system as a whole. How can Keynes help us make sense of today’s new era of economic policy, what The Economist has recently dubbed “the world economy’s strange new rules?”
  • What are the basic structures of western music? What rules and norms—of harmony, melody, and rhythm—unite works as remote from each other in time and style as Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper? What are the acoustic, perceptual, and historical roots of this musical grammar, and does understanding them shape the way we hear and respond to music? These are some of the questions we will address in Introduction to Music Theory, which aims to equip students with foundational skills for studying, making, and thinking about music.

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