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Southern African Fictions and Factions

Submitted by ldzoells on
ENGL / CRES
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
Loren Kruger
 

This course examines the intersection of narrative in print and film (fiction and documentary) in Southern Africa since mid-20th Century decolonization. We begin with Cry, the Beloved Country, a best seller written by South African Alan Paton while in the US, and the original film version by a Hungarian-born British-based director (Zoltan Korda), and an American screenwriter (John Howard Lawson), which together show both the international impact of South African stories and the important elements missed by overseas audiences. We will continue with fictional and non-fictional narrative responses to apartheid and decolonization in film and in print, and examine the power and the limits of what critic Louise Bethlehem has called the "rhetoric of urgency" on local and international audiences. We will conclude with writing and film that grapples with the complexities of the post-apartheid world, whose challenges, from crime and corruption to AIDS and the particular problems faced by women and gender minorities, elude the heroic formulas of the anti-apartheid struggle era. Prerequisites: second-year or higher status, HUM Core, plus either Intro to Film or Intro to Novel.

Balkan Folklore

Submitted by isagor on
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
Angelina Ilieva

Vampires, fire-breathing dragons, vengeful mountain nymphs. 7/8 and other uneven dance beats, heart-rending laments, and a living epic tradition. This course is an overview of Balkan folklore from historical, political, and anthropological perspectives. We seek to understand folk tradition as a dynamic process and consider the function of different folklore genres in the imagining and maintenance of community and the socialization of the individual. We also experience this living tradition firsthand through visits of a Chicago-based folk dance ensemble, “Balkan Dance.”

Exploratory Translation

Submitted by isagor on
42918
CDIN 42918, ENGL 42918, RLLT 42918, SCTH 42918
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
Haun Saussy, Jennifer Scappettone

Focusing on the theory, history and practice of poetic translation, this seminar includes sessions with invited theorists and practitioners from North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Taking translation to be an art of making sense that is transmitted together with a craft of shapes and sequences, we aim to account for social and intellectual pressures influencing translation projects. We deliberately foreground other frameworks beyond “foreign to English” and “olden epochs to modern”—and other methods than the “equivalence of meaning”—in order to aim at a truly general history and theory of translation that might both guide comparative cultural history and enlarge the imaginative resources of translators and readers of translation. In addition to reading and analysis of outside texts spanning such topics as semantic and grammatical interference, gain and loss, bilingualism, self-translation, pidgin, code-switching, translationese, and foreignization vs. nativization, students will be invited to try their hands at a range of tactics, aiming toward a final portfolio of annotated translations.

Phaedras Compared: Adaptation, Gender, Tragic Form

Submitted by isagor on
48017
CDIN 48017, CLAS 48017, FREN 48017, TAPS 48017, GNSE 48017
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
Larry Norman & David Wray

This seminar places Racine’s French neoclassical tragedy Phaedra within a wide-ranging series of adaptations of the ancient myth, from its Greek and Latin sources (Euripides, Seneca, Ovid) to twentieth-century and contemporary translations and stage adaptations (Ted Hughes, Sarah Kane), read along with a series of theoretical and critical texts. Particular attention will be paid to critical paradigms and approaches in the evolving fields of classical reception studies, theater and performance studies, and gender studies. Reading knowledge of French strongly preferred.

Note: Reading competency in French preferred.

Contemporary Critical Theory

Submitted by ldzoells on
50201
DVPR 50201
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
Françoise Meltzer

This course will examine some of the salient texts of postmodernism. Part of the question of the course will be the status and meaning of “post”-modern, post-structuralist. The course requires active and informed participation.

Before and After Beckett

Submitted by ldzoells on
20801
40801
ENGL 24408/44508; TAPS 28424
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
Loren Kruger
 

Beckett is conventionally typed as the playwright of minimalist scenes of unremitting bleakness, but his experiments with theatre and film echo the irreverent play of popular culture (vaudeville on stage and screen, e.g. Chaplin and Keaton) as well as experimental theatre and modern philosophy, even when there are no direct lines of influence. This course will juxtapose these points of reference with Beckett's plays and those of his contemporaries (Ionesco, Genet and others in French, Pinter in English). It will then explore more recent plays that suggest the influence of Beckett by Pinter, Carul Churchill and Sarah Kane in English; Albert Jarry and Michel Vinaver in French, as well as the relevance of theorists and philosophers including Barthes, Wittgenstein, and critics writing on specific plays. Prerequisites: HUM CORE and at least one college level course in drama or TAPS. French is helpful but not required.

Literature and Technology: Machines, Humans, and the Novel

Submitted by ldzoells on
21200
PORT 28818, ITAL 28818
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
Ana Ilievska

In his Scienza Nuova (New Science), Giambattista Vico writes that "the Egyptians reduced all preceding world time to three ages; namely, the age of gods, the age of heroes, and the age of men." What the Egyptians and Vico could not have predicted was that history had yet another age in store: the age of the machine. Carlyle baptized, Marx outlined it, Heidegger warned against it; Deleuze and Guattari proclaimed that "everything is a machine"; and Ted Kaczynski even went as far as to kill in order to free human beings from the "technological slavery" the machine age had purportedly brought about. And yet, as Heidegger wrote, "everywhere we remain unfree and chained to technology, whether we passionately affirm or deny it." So what is technology? What impact did it have on human beings and on the writing of literature as the Industrial Revolution exploded onto the European continent? In this course we will pose anew the question concerning technology within the one field that Heidegger deemed akin to the essence of technology: art, and by deduction, literature. Together, we will trace the ecological, economical, and emotional footprints of various machines and technological devices (automata, trains, phonographs, cameras). We will delve into the topic with Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, continue with a reflection on the human being as a machine (Frankenstein and Pinocchio), transition to accounts on cities, progress, and machines (Dickens, Zola, Eça de Queirós), and end with the Futurists' technological extravaganzas that will include a visit to Chicago's Art Institute. Other readings include texts by Marx, Raymond Williams, Heidegger, Leo Marx, Deleuze & Guattari, etc.

The Burden of History: The Nation and Its Lost Paradise

Submitted by isagor on
23401
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
Angelina Ilieva

How and why do national identities provoke the deep emotional attachments that they do? In this course we try to understand these emotional attachments by examining the narrative of loss and redemption through which most nations in the Balkans retell their Ottoman past. We begin by considering the mythic temporality of the Romantic national narrative while focusing on specific national literary texts where the national past is retold through the formula of original wholeness, foreign invasion, Passion, and Salvation. We then proceed to unpack the structural role of the different elements of that narrative. With the help of Žižek’s theory of the subject as constituted by trauma, we think about the national fixation on the trauma of loss, and the role of trauma in the formation of national consciousness. Specific theme inquiries involve the figure of the Janissary as self and other, brotherhood and fratricide, and the writing of the national trauma on the individual physical body. Special attention is given to the general aesthetic of victimhood, the casting of the victimized national self as the object of the “other’s perverse desire.” With the help of Freud, Žižek, and Kant we consider the transformation of national victimhood into the sublimity of the national self. The main primary texts include Petar Njegoš’ Mountain Wreath (Serbia and Montenegro), Ismail Kadare’s The Castle (Albania), Anton Donchev’s Time of Parting (Bulgaria).

Psychoanalytic Theory: Freud and Lacan

Submitted by ldzoells on
25500
SIGN 26033, FREN 25551, FREN 35551, ENGL 25509, ENGL 35509
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
Françoise Meltzer
This course is an introduction to psychoanalytic theory, from the works of the two most influential figures in the field. We’ll read seminal texts by both Freud and Lacan, and look as well at how those works have influenced the Humanities and philosophy— specifically, we’ll consider brief passages by  Derrida, Kristeva, Kofman and Zizek.  Starting with Freud, the idea is to make students feel “at home” in the fascinating world of psychoanalysis and its assumptions. Major texts by Freud will include “Beyond the Pleasure Principle,” “Note on a Mystic Writing Pad,” “The Uncanny,” “Jensen’s Gradiva,” the Dora case, and a selection of texts from other works. Lacan readings: “Seminar on the Purloined Letter,” Poe’s “The Purloined Letter,” “God and the Jouissance of the Woman: A love letter,” and parts of the Ecrits. We will also read excerpts from a variety of texts that use the writings of Freud and Lacan for theoretical purposes: Derrida, Sarah Kristeva, Irigaray, Zizek, and others.

Marsilio Ficino's On Love

Submitted by isagor on
26701
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
Armando Maggi

This course is first of all a close reading of Marsilio Ficino’s seminal book On Love (first Latin edition De amore 1484; Ficino’s own Italian translation 1544). Ficino’s philosophical masterpiece is the foundation of the Renaissance view of love from a Neo-Platonic perspective. It is impossible to overemphasize its influence on European culture. On Love is not just a radically new interpretation of Plato’s Symposium. It is the book through which sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe read the love experience. Our course will analyze its multiple classical sources and its spiritual connotations. During our close reading of Ficino’s text, we will show how European writers and philosophers appropriated specific parts of this Renaissance masterpiece. In particular, we will read extensive excerpts from some important love treatises, such as Castiglione’s The Courtier (Il cortigiano), Leone Ebreo’s Dialogues on Love, Tullia d’Aragona’s On the Infinity of Love, but also selections from a variety of European poets, such as Michelangelo’s canzoniere, Maurice Scève’s Délie, and Fray Luis de León’s Poesía.

Health Care & the Limits of State Action

Submitted by isagor on
28900
BPRO 28600, CMLT 28900, HMRT 28602, KNOW 27006
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
Haun Saussy & Mindy Schwartz, MD

In a time of great human mobility and weakening state frontiers, epidemic disease is able to travel fast and far, mutate in response to treatment, and defy the institutions invented to keep it under control: quarantine, the cordon sanitaire, immunization, and the management of populations. Public health services in many countries find themselves at a loss in dealing with these outbreaks of disease, a deficiency to which NGOs emerge as a response (an imperfect one to be sure). 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.

Return Health Care and the Limits of State Action

Submitted by isagor on
28900
BIOS 29232; BPRO 28600; HMRT 28602; KNOW 27006
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
Haun Saussy & Mindy Schwartz, MD

In a time of great human mobility and weakening state frontiers, epidemic disease is able to travel fast and far, mutate in response to treatment, and defy the institutions invented to keep it under control: quarantine, the cordon sanitaire, immunization, and the management of populations. Public health services in many countries find themselves at a loss in dealing with these outbreaks of disease, a deficiency to which NGOs emerge as a response (an imperfect one to be sure). 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.

B.A. Project & Workshop: Comparative Literature

Submitted by isagor on
29801
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
Trevor Tucker

This workshop begins in Autumn Quarter and continues through the middle of Spring Quarter. While the BA workshop meets in all three quarters, it counts as a one-quarter course credit. Students may register for the course in any of the three quarters of their fourth year. A grade for the course is assigned in the Spring Quarter, based partly on participation in the workshop and partly on the quality of the BA paper. Attendance at each class section required.