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Brecht and Beyond

Submitted by vickylim on
20800
ENGL 24400, CMST 26200, TAPS 28435
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Loren Kruger

Brecht is indisputably the most influential playwright in the twentieth century. In this course we will explore the range and variety of Brecht’s own theatre, from the anarchic plays of the 1920’s to the agitprop Lehrstück to the classical parable plays, as well as the works of his heirs in Germany (Heiner Müller, Franz Xaver Kroetz, Peter Weiss), Britain (John Arden, Edward Bond, Caryl Churchill), and sub-Saharan Africa (Soyinka, Ngugi, and various South African theatre practitioners). We will also consider the impact of Brechtian theory on film, from Brecht’s own Kuhle Wampe to Jean-Luc Godard. Undergrad; no first years: PQ Hum and either a theatre or a film course.

Crowds in fin de siècle Modernism

Submitted by vickylim on
24250
MAPH 34250
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Daniel Smyth

The increasing urbanization of late 19th and early 20th century Europe witnessed the advent of a comparatively novel social phenomenon and cultural trope: the crowd. Crowds have been represented as alienating, faceless monstrosities and as liberatingly anonymous environments of self-realization, as manipulable and as bullying. The crowd is figured as a hotbed of rumor, irrationality, madness, sedition, and communicable disease, but also as the site of transcendent super-personal experience, invention, historical progress, and the groundspring of political legitimacy. Crowds have a (statistical, social, psychological) life of their own which confronts and contrasts with the life of the individual. They confirm the flâneur in his ironic distance and insulated subjectivity even as the phenomenology of “merging with” or “melting into” the crowd challenges prevailing notions of individual identity and personal responsibility. This class will examine a variety of literary and visual representations of the crowded turn-of-the-century European metropolis in conjunction with contemporaneous psychological, sociological, and philosophical reflections on the significance of modern multitudes. Though our focal texts are historical we will also consider modulations of these themes in our present social environment of viral videos, big data, cyberbullying, targeted advertising, crowd-sourcing, and zombie movies. Texts will include works by Baudelaire, Benjamin, Freud, Kracauer, Fritz Lang, Manet, Musil, Rilke, Seurat, and Simmel.

Foucault: History of Sexuality

Submitted by vickylim on
25001
PHIL 24800, GNSE 23100, HIPS 24300, FNDL 22001
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
Arnold Davidson

PQ: One prior philosophy course is strongly recommended. This course centers on a close reading of the first volume of Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, with some attention to his writings on the history of ancient conceptualizations of sex. How should a history of sexuality take into account scientific theories, social relations of power, and different experiences of the self? We discuss the contrasting descriptions and conceptions of sexual behavior before and after the emergence of a science of sexuality. Other writers influenced by and critical of Foucault are also discussed. 

Private Lives, Public Intellectuals: On the Philosophical Essay in the Western Tradition

Submitted by vickylim on
25006
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Stephen Parkin

This course considers a selection of essays from philosophically informed authors from
across the Western tradition who engage in reflective literary activity in the public
sphere. We will ask questions such as: what is the essay, and what does it mean to call it
philosophical? Is the essay a form, a genre, a method, a perspective, an attitude, or
something else entirely? What are the rhetorical demands and concerns of the
philosophical essay? What issues do philosophically minded essayists contemplate and
what do they aim to achieve? How do authors navigate the tension between private,
intimate reflection and public reading and consumption? The essays read will take up
such topics as nature, God, love, friendship, death, writing, the self, education, and civic
responsibility. We will begin by reading historical antecedents of the philosophical
essay by authors such as St. Paul, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Augustine. We will then
skip to the birth of the essay in the early modern period with readings including
Montaigne, Bacon, Rousseau, Pascal, Paine, and Kant, and will continue through a
variety of essayists including Samuel Johnson, William Hazlett, Thoreau, Emerson,
Nietzsche, and Tolstoy before we conclude with 20th century and contemporary
essayists including Virginia Woolf, Robert Musil, E. B. White, and other essayists
selected by the students. Along the way we will encounter theoretical works on essay
writing, autobiography, and the rhetoric of public intellectuals.

The Places of Memory, 1780-1880

Submitted by vickylim on
25007
GRMN 25014, RUSS 25007
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Monica Felix

This course will investigate the affinities between place and memory in literature. In considering works that span a century of literature, we will reflect on memory as a force that emerges as an expression of self – or nation – that is tethered to objects, places, or structures. Course readings will be drawn primarily from German, Russian, and Anglophone literatures (Eichendorff, Tieck, Hoffmann, Fet, Tiutchev, Pushkin, Elliot, Scott, Brontë, others). Supplementary readings drawn from literary criticism, philosophy, historiography, and complementary fields will help us to consider the intersection of literature and history as it relates to questions of a historically constructed subject or nation. Topics include collaborative memory, romanticism, intertextuality, historical representation, historical fiction, and nostalgia.

No prerequisites. All readings in English with optional reading groups to discuss German and Russian works in the original for all interested students.

Hamlet and Critical Methods

Submitted by vickylim on
26601
ENGL 16711, FNDL 22205
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Joshua Scodel

Shakespeare's Hamlet has probably inspired the most criticism of any play in world literature, and it has certainly inspired some of the greatest criticism. This course explores the goals, presuppositions, strengths, and limitations of different kinds of scholarship and criticism by focusing upon the variety of approaches that have been (or in some cases, could be) applied to Shakespeare's play. The course will focus on modern editorial theory and practice; classical and neoclassical discussions of mimesis, plot, and theatrical affect; Romantic, psychoanalytic, and postmodern discussions of Hamlet as character; recent literary historical discussions of sources and genre; new critical, new historicist, and feminist analyses of the play's imagined world; as well as performances and literary adaptations of Hamlet conceived of as interpretations of the play. Students will write several short response papers to the assigned readings as well as a longer paper analyzing and/or applying different critical approaches to Hamlet.

Health Care and Limits of State Action

Submitted by vickylim on
28900
BPRO 28600, BIOS 29323, HMRT 28602
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Haun Saussy; Evan Lyon

Epidemic disease is a challenge on many levels, and increasingly characteristic of our interlinked, post-statist, unequal world. Through a series of readings in anthropology, sociology, ethics, medicine, and political science, we will attempt to reach an understanding of this crisis of both epidemiological technique and state legitimacy, and to sketch out options.

Introduction to Comparative Literature I: Problems, Methods, Precedents

Submitted by vickylim on
29701
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
Haun Saussy

As the study of relations among the world's literary and other expressive,traditions, comparative literature confronts a host of questions. What do,works from different times and places have in common? How can we meaningfully assess their differences? How do we account for systematic and extra-systemic features of literature? Is translation ever adequate? This course offers consideration of these and related issues through influential critical examples. This course is the first of a two-quarter sequence required for all majors in Comparative Literature.

Introduction to Comparative Literature II: Aesthetics and Politics in Southeast Asian Fictions

Submitted by vickylim on
29703
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Nicholas Yoke Hin Wong

Southeast Asia’s cultural production and the discursive legacies of colonialism are often neglected in geopolitically-focused studies of the region. Focusing on Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, the course will examine representations of Southeast Asia in European travel narratives, contrasting these with colonial-period and postcolonial fiction by local authors. Of special concern are: the role of geography, especially the frontier and the tropics (mangroves, swamps, forests), in the representation of self and Other; historical memory and violence; nation and the novel; the (ab)-uses of language and fiction in imagining a utopian or dystopian postcolonial future; canons and questions of value in world literature. Texts/viewings will include Joseph Conrad, Anthony Burgess, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Jose Rizal, Zhang Guixing, Preeta Samarasan and Joshua Oppenheimer. This course is the second of a two-quarter sequence required for all majors in Comparative Literature.