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The Task of the Self Translator

Submitted by isagor on
NEHC 30659
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2016-2017
Na'ama Rokem

We usually think of the translator as a mediator, the figure who allows authors and texts to speak to audiences beyond their original language. Consequently, the questions we tend to ask about translation revolve around the central issue of fidelity. Is the translation adequate to the original? Has it remained faithful? In this model, the origin and the target are both assumed to be monolingual and the translator is the bilingual go-between. But there are very few, if any, truly monolingual cultures, and translations usually circulate in a far more complex manner. In this seminar, we will turn to the self-translator as a figure who challenges conventional models of translation and cross-cultural circulation. Can the author betray herself in the act of translation? To approach this issue, we will read classical texts in translation theory as well as more recent work that thematizes self translation, and we will look at literary texts written by bilingual authors and constituted by self-translation.

Theories of Autobiography

Submitted by isagor on
35210
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
Maria Anna Mariani

Ambiguous and elusive by definition, the autobiographical genre has attracted generations of critics determined to identify its specificity and define its boundaries. Throughout the course we will examine the main theories relevant to the study of autobiography, reflecting at the same time on various problematic aspects of the genre that literary theorists have long discussed: the pitfalls of personal identity, the presumption of pronouncing one’s final words when one’s life is not yet over, the untruthful mediation of writing, and the paradoxes of memory. We will focus our inquiries to the English, French and Italian contexts, analyzing in particular the theories developed by Gusdorf, Starobinski, Lejeune, Ricœur, De Man, Olney, Battistini, D’Intino. Part of our task will be to test these approaches against narratives produced in different historical periods.

The New Criticism

Submitted by jenniequ on
36015
SCTH 36015 / ENGL
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Thomas Pavel, Rosanna Warren
 
 
 

An examination of primary works of The New Criticism, British and American. We will consider the theoretical variety and different critical practices of these loosely allied critics, who were often not allies at all. Authors to be studied: I.A. Richards, T.S. Eliot, F.R. Leavis, Kenneth Burke, John Crowe Ransom, Cleanth Brooks, Robert Penn Warren, W.K. Wimsatt, Yvor Winters, R. P. Blackmur, William Empson.

Ruins

Submitted by jenniequ on
40010
CDIN 40010, ARTH 40010, RLIT 40010
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Jas’ Elsner, Françoise Meltzer

“Ruins” will cover texts and images, from Thucydides to WWII, via the Reformation. We will include films (e.g. Rossellini’s “Germany Year Zero”), art (e.g. H. Robert, Piranesi) archaeology, the museum (Soane).  On ruins writing, we will read Thucydides, Pausanias from within antiquity, the Enlightenment responses to the destruction and archaeological rediscovery of Pompeii, Diderot, Simmel, Freud on the mind as levels of ruins (Rome) and the analysis as reconstructive archaeologist as well as on the novel Gradiva and the Acropolis, the Romantic obsession with ruins, and the firebombing in WWII. We will also consider the photographing of ruins, and passages from the best-known works on photography (Benjamin, Sontag, Ritchen, Fried, Azoulay). The goal is to see how ruin gazing, and its depictions (textual, imagistic, photographic, etc.) change from the ancients (Greek and Roman), to the Romantic use of ruins as a source of (pleasurable) melancholy, to the technological “advances” in targeting and decimating civilian populations that describe the Second Word War.

The Debt Drive: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, Neoliberalism

Submitted by jenniequ on
42416
GRMN 42416
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
Aaron Schuster, Eric Santner

Debt has become a paramount topic of discussion and controversy in recent times, fuelled by the financial crisis of 2008 and the different episodes of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, above all involving Greece. This has produced a great deal of commentaries, economic analyses, and journalistic polemics from all sides of the political spectrum. Yet despite this profusion of discourse, it still proves difficult to seize the exact contours of the problem. Debt affects both the most isolated individuals and the most powerful states, it is equally a matter of “cold” economic rationality and the “hottest” emotions and moral judgments, it appears at once as the most empirical thing with the hardest material consequences and as a mysterious, ethereal, abstract, and purely speculative entity (the unreal product of financial “speculation”). The concept of indebtedness not only characterizes an increasingly universal economic predicament, but also defines a form of subjectivity central to our present condition. This seminar will examine the problem of debt by first looking at how different approaches to it—economic, anthropological, and psychodynamic—were formed by Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, and then reading more contemporary authors on the theme, including Deleuze and Guattari, Foucault, Graeber, and Lazzarato. 

Hölderlin and the Greeks

Submitted by jenniequ on
48616
GRMN 48616, CLAS 48616
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
Christopher Wild, Mark Payne

The German poet Friedrich Hölderlin submitted to the paradoxical double-bind of Johann Joachim Winckelmann’s injunction that “the only way for us [Germans] to become great or — if this is possible — inimitable, is to imitate the ancients.” As he wrote in his short essay “The standpoint from which we should consider antiquity,” Hölderlin feared being crushed by the originary brilliance of his Greek models (as the Greeks themselves had been), and yet foresaw that modern European self-formation must endure the ordeal of its encounter with the Greek Other. The faculty of the imagination was instrumental to the mediated self-formation of this Bildung project, for imagination alone was capable of making Greece a living, vitalizing, presence on the page. Our seminar will therefore trace the work of poetic imagination in Hölderlin’s texts: the spatiality and mediality of the written and printed page, and their relation to the temporal rhythms of lived experience. All texts will be read in English translation, but a reading knowledge of German and/or Greek would be desirable. C. Wild and M. Payne.

Literary Theory: Pre-Modern, Non-Western, Not Exclusively Literary

Submitted by jenniequ on
50106
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
Haun Saussy

Readings in theories of literature and related arts from cultures other than those of the post-1900 industrialized regions. What motivated reflection on verbal art in Greece, Rome, early China, early South Asia, and elsewhere? Rhetoric, hermeneutics, commentary, allegory, and other modes of textual analysis will be approached through source texts, using both originals and translations. Authors to be considered include Confucius, Plato, Aristotle, Zhuangzi, Sima Qian, Augustine, Liu Xie, Abhinavagupta, Dante, Li Zhi, Rousseau, Lessing, Schlegel, and Saussure. Open to students from any department. Enrollment max 25.

This course fulfills the Autumn core requirement for first-year Ph.D. students in Comparative Literature

Literary Theory: Pre-Modern, Non-Western, Not Exclusively Literary

Submitted by jenniequ on
50106
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
Haun Saussy

Readings in theories of literature and related arts from cultures other than those of the post-1900 industrialized regions. What motivated reflection on verbal art in Greece, Rome, early China, early South Asia, and elsewhere? Rhetoric, hermeneutics, commentary, allegory, and other modes of textual analysis will be approached through source texts, using both originals and translations. Authors to be considered include Confucius, Plato, Aristotle, Zhuangzi, Sima Qian, Augustine, Liu Xie, Abhinavagupta, Dante, Li Zhi, Rousseau, Lessing, Schlegel, and Saussure. 

Contemporary Critical Theory

Submitted by jenniequ on
50201
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2016-2017
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.

This course fulfills the winter core requirement for first-year Ph.D. students in Comparative Literature.

Textual Knowledge and Authority: Biblical and Chinese Literature

Submitted by jenniequ on
50805
BIBL 50805/KNOW 40401
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
Haun Saussy / Simeon Chavel

Ancient writers and their patrons exploited the textual medium, the virtual reality it can evoke and the prestige it can command to promote certain categories of knowledge and types of knowers. This course will survey two ancient bodies of literature, Hebrew and Chinese, for the figures they advance, the perspectives they configure, the genres they present, and the practices that developed around them, all in a dynamic interplay of text and counter-text. Excerpts from Hebrew literature include (a) royal wisdom in Proverbs & Ecclesiastes; (b) divine law in Exodus 19–24, Deuteronomy, the Temple Scroll, and Pesharim. Readings from Chinese literature include (c) speeches from the Shang shu (Book of Documents), (d) odes from the Shi jing (Book of Songs), and (e) commentaries from Han to Qing periods that elucidate, often in contradictory terms, the law-giving properties of these texts.

Performance Theory: Action, Affect, Archive

Submitted by jenniequ on
59306
TAPS 59306 / CMST 62202 / ENGL 59306
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2016-2017
Loren A. Kruger

This PhD seminar offers a critical introduction to performance theory and its applications not only to theatre but also to performance on film and, more controversially, to ‘performativity’ to fictional and other texts that have nothing directly to do with performance.  The seminar will be organized around three key conceptual clusters:

a) action, acting, and other forms of production or play, in theories from the classical (Aristotle) through the modern (Hegel, Brecht, Artaud), to the contemporary (Richard Schechner, Philip Zarilli, and others)

b) affect, and its intersections with emotion and feeling: in addition to the impact of contemporary theories of affect and emotion (Massumi, Sedgwick) on performance theory (Erin Hurley), we will read earlier modern texts that anticipate recent debates (Diderot, Freud) and their current interpreters (Joseph Roach, Tim Murray and others), as well as those writing about the absence of affect and the performance of failure (Sara Bailes and others)

c) archives and related institutions, practices and theories of recording performance, including the formation of audiences (Susan Bennett and with evaluating print and other media yielding evidence of ephemeral acts, including the work of theorists of memory (Pierre Nora) and remains (Rebecca Schneider), theatre historians (Rose Bank, Jody Enders,  Tracy Davis and others) as well as current theorists on the tensions between the archive and the repertoire (Diana Taylor) or between excavation and performance (Michael Shanks/ Mike Pearson)

Requirements: one or two oral presentations of assigned texts and final paper. To prepare PhDs for professional writing, final paper will take the form of a review article (ca 5000 words) examining key concepts in the field and the controversies they may engender, by way of two recent books that tackle these concepts

Fact and Fiction: Hoaxes and Misunderstandings

Submitted by isagor on
24017
34017
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Françoise Lavocat

This course will focus on fictional texts that readers have misrecognized as factual accounts, as well as the less frequent case of factual texts misidentified as fictional. Students will study the rhetorical strategies or historical and cultural circumstances responsible for these “errors of pragmatic framing” (O. Caïra) by investigating the contexts governing the production or reception of works such as Apuleius’ The Golden AssLes Lettres d’une religieuse portugaise, Denis Diderot’s La Religieuse, Wolfgang Hildesheimer’s Marbot: A Biographyand Orson Welles’ adaptation of The War of the Worlds, among others.