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Comparative Methods in the Humanities

Submitted by jenniequ on
20109
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2016-2017
Olga Solovieva

This course introduces the models of comparative analysis across national literatures, genres, and media. The texts to be discussed include Orson Welles’s “Citizen Kane” and Coleridge’s poem “Kubla Khan”; Benjamin’s “The Storyteller,” Kafka’s “Josephine the Mouse Singer,” Deleuze and Guattari, Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, and Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Storyteller; Victor Segalen’s Stèles; Fenollosa and Pound’s “The Chinese Character as a Medium of Poetry” and Eliot Weinberger’s Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei; Mérimée, “Carmen,” Bizet, Carmen, and the film adaptation U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha (South Africa, 2005); Gorky’s and Kurosawa’s “Lower Depths;” Molière, Tartuffe, Dostoevsky, The Village Stepanchikovo and its Inhabitants, and Bakhtin, “Discourse in the Novel”; Gogol, The Overcoat, and Boris Eikhenbaum, “How Gogol’s Overcoat Is Made.”

Monstrosity and the Monstrous

Submitted by jenniequ on
20505
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Pablo Maurette

This course centers on the relationship between literature and science by focusing on the figure of the monster. The human imagination can produce the most outlandish forms: we will call this the monstrous. Natural philosophy and science, on the other hand, have to deal with the deformed, the organically distorted, the preternatural: we will call this monstrosity. Both concepts can spark thrilling debates on identity and difference, divine providence and chance, fear and lust, gender, race, and more. In a journey that takes us from antiquity to the 21st century, we will be looking at ancient history and literature, Medieval bestiaries, Renaissance scientific treatises, plays, nineteen and twentieth-century novels, evolutionary biology, theory, philosophy, and film.

Translation and Translation Theory

Submitted by jenniequ on
20510
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Haun Saussy

Translation is one of the central mechanisms of literary creativity. This course will consider translation both concretely and theoretically. Topics to be discussed will include semantic and grammatical interference, loss and gain, the production of difference, pidgin, translationese, bilingualism, self-translation, code-switching, translation as metaphor, foreignization vs. nativization, and distinct histories of translation.

Thomas Mann’s Novel, Joseph and His Brothers

Submitted by jenniequ on
25103
FNDL 25100, GRMN 25117, RLST 28215
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Olga Solovieva

Thomas Mann’s novel Joseph and His Brothers, a modern rewriting of the biblical story, was written over sixteen years (1926 - 1943) that shook German and European history through the assumption of power by the National Socialist party and the Second World War. Mann began the novel under the Weimar Republic and continued working on the novel in exile. The writer himself saw his novel as an act of resistance to his country’s anti-Semitic policies. In this course, we will closely read the novel, explore its relation to its biblical and other sources, learn about the history of its writing and publication and contextualize its genesis in Mann’s complicated involvement with German and world politics.

Fashion and Modernity

Submitted by ldzoells on
25302
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Barbara Vinken
 

The relationship between fashion and modernity has always been taken for granted. Indeed, it is guaranteed in the very etymology of the French and German words “mode” and “modernité”. Yet, on closer inspection, there is a blind spot in this relation in that fashion seems rather to be the Other of modernity than modernity itself, an Oriental colony in the heart of the West.

The modern discourse of fashion testifies to the ambivalences and paradoxes in this relationship. From the beginning of the modern world until now, it is strangely split: there is fashion and fashion. Properly speaking, men’s fashion is not really fashionable. The perfectly functional suit without superfluous adornment is, in its world-wide constancy through the centuries, almost invariably classical. Its staggering universal success is due to the fact that it is the ideal modern dress: beautiful, because functional. Women’s fashion, on the contrary, is a remnant of the old, effeminate aristocracy – a frivolous frill, an all-in-all dysfunctional ornament, badly in need of thorough modernization. The „new woman“ is born in agonizing pain and perpetual fallbacks: while Chanel almost lead us toward a functional feminine form, Dior’s new look was, from this perspective, a setback: it brought back the unhealthy, restrictive corset and offered a slap in the face to the modern aesthetic dogma of „form follows function“. Fashion therefore seems to be the locus of a strange intimation of the political set against the common politics of modernity.

By reading texts form Friedrich Nietzsche to Adolf Loos and Thorstein Veblen, Rousseau to Baudelaire, from Gautier, Zola and Apollinaire to Simone de Beauvoir and Pierre Bourdieu,  the course will center around this blind spot between fashion and modernity and the new gendering of fashion in the bourgeois, post-feudal era.

Machiavelli and Machiavellism

Submitted by Anonymous on
25801
=FNDL 21603, ITAL 23000, REMS 33001
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Rocco Rubini

This course is a comprehensive introduction to Machiavelli's The Prince in light of his vast and varied literary corpus and European reception. The course includes discussion of Machiavelli as playwright ( The Mandrake ); fiction writer ( Belfagor , The Golden Ass ); and historian ( Discourses , Florentine Histories ). We also closely investigate the emergence of myths surrounding Machiavelli (Machiavellism and anti-Machiavellism) in Italy (Guicciardini, Botero, Boccalini); France (Bodin and Gentillet); Spain (Ribadeneyra); and Northern Europe (Hobbes, Grotius, Spinoza) during the Counter Reformation and beyond. Classes conducted in English. Students who are majoring or minoring in Italian do all work in Italian.