European Cultural Studies

Program Offerings

Offering type
Certificate

The Program in European Cultural Studies (ECS) was established in 1975 on the joint initiative of faculty members in history, comparative literature, romance languages and literatures, politics and architecture, under the leadership of the eminent cultural historian Carl E. Schorske (1915–2015). Its first certificate class graduated in 1979. Now housed on the second floor of Scheide Caldwell House within the Andlinger Center for the Humanities, ECS enjoys the administrative support of the Council of the Humanities. Committed since its founding to encouraging students' engagement at an international level, ECS now also endeavors to situate the study of Europe in broader global contexts.

Since its inception, the Program in European Cultural Studies has maintained two central aims: to deepen students’ understanding of European civilization, and to strengthen their command of cultural interpretation through interdisciplinary investigation. ECS brings together students and faculty from a wide range of departments in a common inquiry. Our focus is, broadly stated, the ways in which European societies, past and present, order reality, make sense of life and communicate meaning across a range of disciplines and in a variety of media. In order to frame these wide-ranging intellectual problems in precise, productive and engaging ways, ECS offers innovative, interdisciplinary seminars on topics in European history, literature, art, architecture, music, cinema, theater, politics and philosophy.

Goals for Student Learning

The Program in European Cultural Studies certificate provides students with curricular and extracurricular interdisciplinary investigations on European civilization. Core ECS seminars and cross-listed courses with other departments in the humanities and the social sciences cover a wide array of time periods, specific national cases, and topics in European history, literature, art, architecture, music, cinema, theater, politics and philosophy.

The key learning goals for an ECS certificate are:

  • To deepen students’ understanding of European civilization.
  • To strengthen students’ command of cultural interpretation through interdisciplinary investigation.
  • To situate the study of Europe in broader global contexts, from early modern colonialism to present-day globalization.
  • To study the ways in which European societies, past and present, order reality, make sense of life and communicate meaning across a range of disciplines and in a wide variety of media.
  • To engage critically with current scholarly work on European culture, encouraged by participation in the Faber lectures and Faber lecture colloquiums.
  • To understand the connection between current cultural production and critical work, encouraged by participation in the Schorske lecture and in junior excursions to cultural events.
  • To develop students’ relationships with cohort classmates across disciplines and to help them optimize their capacities to clearly communicate their research and to participate in scholarly debates, encouraged by their participation in the ECS Senior Thesis Colloquium.

Admission to the Program

Students from a wide variety of majors in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering choose to complete a certificate in European Cultural Studies. ECS courses involve interdisciplinary approaches to the analysis of the products of European culture, from novels, poems, operas, paintings, photographs, films and philosophical treatises, to new media, urban geography and land-use patterns. There are no prerequisites for admission to the ECS certificate program. However, ECS/EPS 301, ECS/EPS 302 and the HUM 216-219 sequence are each recognized as excellent gateway courses that also count toward fulfillment of the ECS certificate program requirements.

Students normally apply to join the program by the fall of their junior year. Early majors, latecomers and students with further questions about the certificate are urged to contact Effie Rentzou, director, for additional information.

Program of Study

All students must complete either HUM 216-219 or ECS/EPS 301 or EPS/ECS 302 to fulfill the ECS core course requirement. In addition, they must complete a total of two more elective courses in ECS; these ECS elective courses may be taken at either the 300- or the 400 level. The majority of ECS courses are cross-listed with other departments in the humanities and social sciences.

Additional Requirements

The program has three final requirements: the ECS Excursion, ECS Faber Lecture and Colloquium, and ECS Senior Thesis Colloquium.

The ECS Excursion requirement and the ECS Faber Lecture and Colloquium requirement are normally completed during junior year. ECS certificate students take part in a full-day ECS excursion to a cultural event or exhibition in New York. Offered in the fall and spring, the ECS excursion typically takes place on a Friday or a Saturday, and always includes a discussion over a group meal. Participation in both parts of the ECS excursion (the cultural event and the mealtime discussion) is required of all ECS certificate students. To complete the ECS Faber Lecture and Colloquium requirement, students attend the ECS Faber lecture, which is given annually by a distinguished visiting scholar. Held in connection with the annual ECS Faber lecture, the ECS Faber Colloquium offers certificate students the opportunity to join in a mealtime discussion with the ECS Faber lecturer. Participation in both parts of the ECS Faber Lecture and Colloquium is required of all ECS certificate students.

In their senior year, ECS students participate in the Senior Thesis Colloquium. Although ECS certificate students complete their theses under the direction of their home departments, over the course of the spring term of senior year, all ECS seniors join the ECS director to meet one day a week, over a meal, for discussion of common challenges of research, conceptualization, organization and writing. Each student shares an excerpt from the senior thesis with the group during one of the colloquium's meetings. Senior thesis excerpts are circulated in advance, and active participation in the weekly senior thesis colloquium discussions is required of all ECS seniors. Though most ECS students address European topics in their theses, this is not a requirement of the program. For the purposes of the senior thesis colloquium, certificate students from the sciences or engineering may circulate a paper written for an ECS course in place of an excerpt from the senior thesis.

Study Abroad

We encourage ECS certificate students to pursue significant international experiences over the summers and for a semester or more of an academic year. Many ECS students study abroad and receive credit toward the ECS certificate for courses taken during their time away from Princeton.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill all the requirements will receive a certificate upon graduation.

Faculty

  • Director

    • Efthymia Rentzou
  • Executive Committee

    • David A. Bell, History
    • Sandra L. Bermann, Comparative Literature
    • Eduardo L. Cadava, English
    • Brigid Doherty, German
    • Rubén Gallo, Spanish & Portuguese
    • Daniel Garber, Philosophy
    • Anthony T. Grafton, History
    • Wendy Heller, Music
    • Joshua I. Kotin, English
    • Jan-Werner Müller, Politics
    • Serguei A. Oushakine, Anthropology
    • Spyros Papapetros, Architecture
    • Efthymia Rentzou, French & Italian
    • Kim Lane Scheppele, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Esther H. Schor, English, ex officio
    • Thomas A. Trezise, French & Italian

For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Courses

ECS 304 - Approaches to European History (also HIS 281) Not offered this year HA

ECS 305 - Topics in Prose Fiction (also DAN 308/GER 303) Fall/Spring LA

ECS 306 - Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz (also PHI 303) Not offered this year EC

ECS 308 - Topics in German Film History and Theory (also ART 383/GER 308/VIS 317) Fall/Spring ECLA

ECS 315 - Language, Identity, Power (also ANT 326/TRA 326) EC

ECS 318 - Topics in Contemporary Italian Civilization (also COM 386/HUM 327/ITA 309) CDLA

ECS 319 - The Modern Period (also COM 318) Not offered this year LA

ECS 320 - Cultural Systems Not offered this year

Symbolic systems and social life in specific historical eras. Topics will vary. Recent courses include, for example, magic, art, and science in Renaissance culture, political discourse and nationalism, culture and inequality, history of technology, and the rhetoric of new media. Staff

ECS 321 - Cultural Systems (also COM 389/SPA 333) Not offered this year LA

Symbolic systems and social life in specific historical eras. Topics will vary. Recent courses include, for example, magic, art, and science in Renaissance culture, political discourse and nationalism, culture and inequality, history of technology, and the rhetoric of new media. R. Gallo

ECS 327 - Revisiting Paris (also COM 258/FRE 217/URB 258) Fall HA

ECS 330 - Communication and the Arts Not offered this year LA

The arts and the media in different cultures. Topics will vary, for example, history of the book, art/architecture and society, opera and nationalism, literature and photography, theater and politics. Staff

ECS 331 - Communication and the Arts (also COM 317) Not offered this year LA

The arts and the media in different cultures. Topics will vary, for example, history of the book, art/architecture and society, opera and nationalism, literature and photography, theater and politics. A. Grafton

ECS 341 - What is Vernacular Filmmaking? - Rhetoric for Cinema Studies (also COM 341/HUM 341/VIS 339) LA

ECS 342 - Literature and Photography (also COM 352/ENG 349) Fall LA

Since its advent in the 19th century, photography has been a privileged figure in literature's efforts to reflect upon its own modes of representation. This seminar will trace the history of the rapport between literature and photography by looking closely at a number of literary and theoretical texts that differently address questions central to both literature and photography: questions about the nature of representation, reproduction, memory and forgetting, history, images, perception, and knowledge. E. Cadava

ECS 349 - Texts and Images of the Holocaust (also COM 349/GER 349/JDS 349) Not offered this year EM

ECS 367 - Topics in 19th- and 20th-Century French Literature and Culture (also FRE 367) LA

ECS 368 - English Literature of the 18th Century (also ENG 330) Not offered this year EMLA

ECS 369 - Beyond Crisis Contemporary Greece in Context (also COM 369/HLS 369/HUM 369) Fall SA

ECS 370 - Weimar Germany: Painting, Photography, Film (also ART 331/GER 370) Not offered this year LA

ECS 382 - The Later Romantics (also ENG 331) Spring LA

ECS 386 - Topics in Comparative Literature (also COM 370/HUM 371) Not offered this year LA

ECS 402 - Architecture and Democracy (also ARC 405/CHV 403/POL 403) Spring EM

ECS 417 - Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace: Writing as Fighting (also COM 415/RES 415/SLA 415) Spring EM

ECS 448 - Seminar. 17th- and 18th-Century Art (also ART 448) Not offered this year LA

ECS 458 - Seminar. Modern Architecture (also ARC 458/ART 458/FRE 458) Not offered this year LA