Murphy teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in both English and Spanish on topics ranging across culture, politics, human rights, atrocity prevention, borders and immigration, memory, performance studies, visual culture, affect, public thought, and hemispheric and transnational American studies.
Recent Graduate Courses:
SCCT 510: Politics and the Senses: Problems in Social, Cultural and Critical Theory
Co-taught with Dr. John Melillo, Department of English, Spring 2018
From #blacklivesmatter to the Dreamers and Standing Rock, to the rise of Trumpism and the re-emergence of white supremacy movements, our current political moment is being shaped by diverse affective, embodied, and performative forms of protest, intervention, community-building, and identity-making. This graduate seminar seeks to make sense of this vitalizing and virulent moment by exploring the relationship between the sensorial, the embodied, and the political. Drawing from a range of methods and analytic approaches, including performance, visual, media, and sound studies, we will investigate how the senses shape and are shaped by our cultural and political milieu. In this seminar we will ask: How do the senses shape our relationship to the world and to each other? How do they produce networks of temporal, spatial, affective, and physical relationships that link individual bodies to others, producing publics, peoples, and masses? In dialogue with important historical and contemporary theorists, public intellectuals, and practitioners, we will collaboratively think through the relationship between politics and the senses.
SPAN 541: Visual Culture, Performance, and Political Life in the Americas
Taught Fall 2016
This course explores the relationship between artistic practice and social transformation in the Americas. It is loosely framed around a series of five overlapping units: (1) Artistic Practice and Politics; (2) Rights, Bodies, and Resistance; (3) Scopic Regimes and the Performance of Control and Security; (4) Mourning, Memory, and Forensics; and (5) Art, Migration, and Human Rights. The course is designed to provide an overview of visual and performance theory and to introduce students to a range of contemporary artists, academics, and activists working in the Americas. Topics we will cover include affect, artistic practice, forensics, human rights, memory, migration, performance, power, protest, race, gender and sexuality, space and place, temporality, violence, and visual culture.
SPAN 561: Introduction to Memory Studies
Taught Spring 2015
In the aftermath of the atrocities of the twentieth century in countries across Latin America, the question of how to reconcile with past trauma and move toward a more peaceful future has often focused on memory events and sites, including truth commissions, memorial parks, and monuments. In countries where the transitions from dictatorship to democracy are now several decades old, debates about memory and justice, and the quest to find the bodies of those disappeared by the State during the years of violence, are gradually being transformed by the erosive sands of time. Terms like “postmemory” (Hirsch 2012), “prosthetic memory” (Landsberg 2004), and “multidirectional memory” (Rothberg 2009), to name a few, are now being offered up as means by which we might understand how people are called upon to remember as traumatic events slide ever further into history. Other influential scholarly texts explore nostalgia, trauma, affect, haunting, reenactments, material memory, memory tourism, and memory spheres as ways to grapple with theories and practices of individual, collective, and cultural memory. This graduate seminar is designed to provide an overview of the key scholarship and debates in the interdisciplinary field of memory studies. Questions driving this course include: What is Memory Studies? How and when should theories about memory “travel” between Europe and the Americas? Why does memory matter? Of primary interest is for students to develop a wider understanding of the historical, theoretical, cultural, and visual turns within academic discourses, thus expanding the possibilities of the field of memory and the subfield of visual culture within Latin American Cultural Studies. Thus, we will begin with a selection of foundational texts on memory and make our way toward the influential scholars working to shape the field today. Our discussions on memory will be anchored by close analyses of visual culture, including film, photography, and other diverse memory objects, events, practices, and sites in Latin America.
Recent Undergraduate Courses:
Human Rights and Documentary Film in Latin America
Mapping Belonging: Cultural Memory, Visuality, and the Politics of Place in the Americas
Documenting the Americas: Theory, Practice, and Public Life
Art, Human Rights, and Resistance in the Americas
Art and Politics in Latin America