LCST 222 HEADLEY MINI-COURSE (April 13-24, 2009)

Walter G. Andrews

Course Title:  Ottoman Love and Today’s World


Course Description:  This first-time-ever course will combine an intimate glimpse into the cultural and literary history of the last great Muslim empire and its modern descendant with an introduction to the basic problem that some thoughtful scientists consider the greatest danger faced by human beings in today’s world.   We will examine a grab-bag of seemingly unrelated notions beginning with “the basic problem” and extending to the “big gap”, “killing the cats”, Ottoman love (sex, and eroticism), terrorism, fundamentalism, suicide bombing, politics, Islam, Sufism, religion, “why science alone can’t save the world”, the role of the humanities (and the sciences) in a new millennium and a new century, “what needs to be done”...  In the end, I hope (and expect) that we will see why and how all of these notions (and, for example, and sports) belong together; that we will go from being simply scared (which often means being frightened into denial and indifference) to being wary and alert but also hopeful, engaged, and ready to confront “the basic problem” and the dangers that confront us with “humility and exuberance”.  We will need to examine a few, short, provocative readings, sit still for a little bit of lecturing, and do a lot of thinking and talking about how what we read and hear and discuss in the class relates to what we are doing in the rest of our studies and the rest of our lives.  This is a class that invites participation by students in any discipline (not just humanities and cultural studies) and will, in fact, be interesting in direct proportion to the number of different perspectives represented in the class.  It requires no prior knowledge of Ottomans, Turks, or the Middle East.


Walter's Essays and Articles

Essay: "Killing the Cats".

Essay: "More Cats".

An article by Walter entitled “Suppressed Renaissance” from Other Renaissances: A New Approach to World Literature, Schildgen, Zhou, and Gilman, eds., Palgrave.

An Article by Walter on Orhan Pamuk's Black Book.

Related Essays and Articles

[Read Chaloupka #1 and #2 first, then Atran and Ginges and any Atran, then Hyde, The Gift, chapter 5.]

Vladimir Chaloupka:


1)      Art of Fugue: Variations on Science, Music and Society

[An outline and draft of the first chapter of a book in progress and a good introduction to Prof. Chaloupka.]


2)      What Is To Be Done

[An invited paper at a conference in Bristol (UK, 2008) and the resulting Research Proposal.]


3)      A Brief Tour through the potent mix of modern and ancient worlds.

[Some selected readings related to the Basic Problem.]


Some interesting pieces by Prof. C. on Physics and teaching Physics.


4)      Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing: A View from Physics.


5)      A comprehensive report on the course “Science and Society”:

 Orhan Pamuk:

Chapter 11 from Orhan Pamuk's Black Book: "We Lost our Memories at the Movies"

Chapter 35 from Orhan Pamuk's Black Book: "The Story of the Crown Prince"

Scott Atran:



“Reframing Sacred Values”

“Genesis of Suicide Bombing”

“Band of Brothers”


Jeremy Ginges [and Atran]:



How Words Could End a War”


Humiliation and the Inertia Effect”


Lewis Hyde:

Chapter 5 of Lewis Hyde's THE GIFT


Assorted articles and readings;.


On Holy War and Martyrdom:

Ayatollah Taleqani, Jihad and Shahadat.

On "Gene Hacking":

AP Article: Amateur Genetics.

Counter Argument [Stanley Fish]

Some internet resources


[Doug Lenat and “knowledge engineering”]


[Bill Joy: “The Basic Problem”]


[The Scientific Study of Religion]


[wordnet vocabulary database]