Culture and Politics in Turkey and the Middle East

Examination of cultural identity and politics in Turkey and modern Middle East. Using Istanbul as a classroom, considers how representations of the Middle East are contested and gendered, analyzing such icons as “veiled women” and “terrorist men” and political implications of such representations. Topics include emergence of new social movements and paradoxes of secularism, Islamism, globalization, and neoliberalism in various settings. Offered only in the Duke in Turkey program. One course.

Trauma and Nostalgia: East European Film in the 21st Century

Examines the major thematic focus of East European filmmakers in the 21st century: their efforts to reconstruct and reassess the experience of the Cold War (1945-1989) and the Yugoslav wars (1991-1995). These films from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Croatia, and Serbia include ironic/sentimental tales of Cold War childhood, thrillers about sleeping with the enemy (political informers), and psychological dramas centering on political trauma, resistance, and compromise. All films shown with English subtitles. No prerequisites. One course. 

Around the Bloc: Cold War Culture in the USSR and Eastern Europe

Drawing on oral and written history, memoirs, film, fiction, and essays in anthropology and sociology, we’ll resist the black/white readings imposed by the Iron Curtain and explore the dreams, fears, ethical concerns, cultural trends, and lifestyles of Cold War baby boomers in the USSR, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Romania. Highlighted topics include: the privileges and discontents of postwar youth, the atomic age and its mutations, adventures in socialist consumer culture, gender politics and real life, making art about the socialist state of the absurd.

Language and the Law

Ways in which law regulates language and speech, with particular emphasis on offensive speech. Theory and practice of freedom of speech and its limitations; how the legal system treats obscenity, profanity and “indecent” speech, defamation, and hate speech. Emphasis on why these forms of speech are considered offensive, with reference to sociological, anthropological, and political explanations for restrictions on offensive speech. Studies language as property in form of copyright, trademark, and trade secrets law.