Fall 2021


Listed in: European Studies, as EUST-235

Moodle site: Course


Ilan Stavans (Section 01)


An interdisciplinary exploration of the causes behind the social, racial, artistic, and political act—and art—of posing, passing, or pretending to be someone else. Blacks passing for whites, Jews passing for gentiles, and women passing for men, and vice versa, will be the central motif, with attention given to biological and scientific patterns such as memory loss, mental illness, and plastic surgery, and to literary strategies like irony. As a supernatural occurrence, discussion will  include mystical experiences, ghost stories, and séance sessions. The course will also cover instances pertaining to institutional religion, from prophesy from the Hebrew and Christian Bibles to the Koran and Mormonism. In technology and communications, analysis concentrates on the invention of the telegraph, the telephone, and the Internet. The class will also analyze entertainment, ventriloquism, puppet shows, voice-overs, children’s cartoon shows, subtitles, and dubbing in movies and TV and examine posers in Greek mythology, the Arabian Nights, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud, Jorge Luis Borges, Philip Roth, Oliver Sacks, and Nella Larsen. Conducted in English.

Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Professor Stavans.

If Overenrolled: Priority to juniors and seniors, especially those coming from diverse backgrounds and disciplines


Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing, Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Fall 2014, Spring 2018, Fall 2021