Jorge Luis Borges: Mysticism and Politics

at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research - Morningside Heights

Course Details
Start Date:

This class isn't on the schedule at the moment, but save it to your Wish List to find out when it comes back!
If you're enrolled in an upcoming date, this simply means that date has now sold out.

Morningside Heights, Manhattan
612 W 116th St
Btwn Riverrside Dr & Broadway
New York, New York 10027
Purchase Options
Save to WishList

8 people saved this class

Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 21 and older
Average Class Size: 12
Teacher: Yitzhak Lewis

What you'll learn in this literature class:

This class centers upon one of Latin America’s most prolific and influential literary figures, Jorge Luis Borges. It will introduce students to Borges’ most canonical works, including the two short story collections Fictions and The Aleph, as well as the essay collection Other Inquisitions. 

Students with previous knowledge of Borges’ work will certainly be familiar with some texts from these collections, such as the stories “The Garden of Forking Paths,” “Emma Zunz,” or “The Library of Babel,” and with the essay “Kafka and his Precursors.” However, the course will provide an overview of literary themes and social concerns across the most formative decade of Borges’ work, so prior knowledge is neither necessary nor required. 

The 1940s, during which nearly all these texts were written, was a tumultuous moment in world history. For the first half of the decade, World War II was raging; during the second, decolonization was reorganizing global power. 

Borges saw fiction as a particularly well-suited medium in which to engage with social questions. Nazis, Jews, German soldiers in Prague and Chinese spies in England are just part of the carnival of political allusions that populate his narratives. One crucial way in which Borges was able to bind political questions to fictional writing was through the use of mysticism as a set of literary tropes. As such, we will look closely at the theme of mysticism—particularly Cabala, or Jewish mysticism—in Borges’ writing, in order to investigate Borges’ literary weaving of an intimate relation between speculative metaphysics and political realities. Stories and essays will be supplemented with relevant secondary literature.


There *is* no physical Brooklyn Institute. We hold our classes all over (thus far) Brooklyn and Manhattan, in alternative spaces ranging from the back rooms of bars to bookstores to spaces in cultural centers, including the Center for Jewish History, the Goethe-Institut, and the Barnard Center for Research on Women. We can (and do) turn any space into a classroom. You will be notified of the exact location when you register for a class.

Instructors will contact students approximately one week prior to the first class with reading assignments and details about the course location.

Still have questions? Ask the community.

Refund Policy
Upon request, we will refund the entire cost of a class up until 1 week before its start date. Students who withdraw after that point but before the first class are entitled to a 75% refund. After the first class: 50%. After the second: 25%. No refunds will be given after the third class.


Google Map

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

All classes at this location

Start Dates (0)

This class isn't on the schedule at the moment, but save it to your Wish List to find out when it comes back!

Similar Classes

Benefits of Booking Through CourseHorse

Booking is safe. When you book with us your details are protected by a secure connection.
Lowest price guaranteed. Classes on CourseHorse are never marked up.
This class will earn you 3150 points. Points give you money off your next class!
Questions about this class?
Get help now from a knowledge expert!
Questions & Answers (0)

Get quick answers from CourseHorse and past students.

Reviews of Classes at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research (15)

(15 Reviews)
Jorge Luis Borges: Mysticism and Politics
Reviewed by Anonymous on 7/31/2018
Teacher was knowledgeable, good readings, active participants.

School: Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research was established in 2011 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Its mission is to extend liberal arts education and research far beyond the borders of the traditional university, supporting community education needs and opening up new possibilities for scholarship in the...

Read more about Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

CourseHorse Approved

This school has been carefully vetted by CourseHorse and is a verified NYC educator.

Want to take this class?

Save to Wish List
Taking this class for work? Get exclusive perks & discounts for free.