The Alice Books

Submitted by Anonymous on
24201
34201
=PORT 26801/36801
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2008-2009
Miguel Tamen

We will read Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871). Some topics to be discussed are (alphabetically) animals, children, conversation, intention, justice and fairness, meaning of a word, malapropism, manners, pastoral, pictures, poems. Discussions will sometimes be accompanied by additional texts, which only occasionally count as secondary bibliography. Among these, we may read texts by Austin, Davidson, Empson, Oakeshott, Pitcher, Rawls, Russell, Wittgenstein and others.

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.

Poetry and Translation: Theory and Practice

Submitted by vickylim on
24270
34270
MAPH 34310
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Joshua Adams

This course will introduce students to classic and contemporary texts of translation theory in the West, with an eye to the relevance of these theories for the difficulties and promises of translating poetry. We will read theoretical texts by Jerome, Dryden, Herder, Schleiermacher, Nietzsche, Benjamin, Pound and others, and will test these theories against one another and against various English translations of excerpts taken from Dante's Inferno, as well as translations of individual poems by Charles Baudelaire. Students will have the opportunity to produce their own translations as part of their required work for the course.

PQ: Reading knowledge of one foreign language.

Dialectic and Vernacular Culture in Nineteenth-Century Literature

Submitted by vickylim on
24290
MAPH 34290
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Joel Calahan

The popularity and influence of dialect and regional language in Romantic- and Victorian-era literature may be said to reflect new social and scientific understandings of language as a dual phenomenon, both individual and social. This course will examine the mutual influence of literature and dialectology in the nineteenth century examining important questions about speech and regional oral traditions. We will read popular works by pseudonymic dialect figures like Tim Bobbin and Nathan Hogg, the rural poetry of Clare and Barnes, as well as canonical works by Burns, Mistral, Belli, Twain, Longfellow, Shaw, Hughes, and MacDiarmid. We will also discuss critical issues concerning dialect and vernacular in works by Dante, Herder, von Humboldt, Veselovsky, Bakhtin, Manzoni, Webster, Whitney, Schuchardt, and Bonaparte.

Poems and Essays

Submitted by Anonymous on
24301
34301
=ENGL 26702/46702, SCTH 34320
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2008-2009
Robert von Hallberg, Adam Zagajewski

This course will focus on five poets who also wrote essays: Charles Baudelaire, Wallace Stevens, Gottfried Benn, Joseph Brodsky, and Zbigniew Herbert. We will first read poems by each of these authors, then we will turn to the essays. Our objective is to study both poems and essays as artful writing; we will not be looking to the essays for explanations of the poems, though some of the essays we will read do directly concern the art of poetry. Certain literary critical questions will no doubt arise: to what extent does the art of the essay depend upon brilliant moments, as poems often do? Is continuity a necessary feature of an artful essay? Is the persuasive objective of an essayist altogether different from the objectives of a poet? How far can rhetorical analysis take one in understanding lyric poetry? Each student will give one oral report (of about ten minutes) on one of the writers in the course, and also write a final essay (of ca. 15 pp., on a topic to be approved by one of the instructors) due at the end of the quarter.

Three Generations

Submitted by Anonymous on
24302
34302
=GRMN 24311/34311, SCTH 34311
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2010-2011
David Wellbery, Adam Zagajewski

Gottfried Benn, Elizabeth Bishop, Durs Grünbein, Zbigniew Herbert, C. K. Williams are three generations of Modernism in poetry: Benn as one of the grandfathers, Bishop and Herbert as representatives of the middle generation, and C. K. Williams and Grünbein as grandchildren. The idea of the class is to read poems closely and to discuss them in the class. Discussion section arranged for students who are majoring in German. All work in English.

Beautiful Souls, Adventurers and Rogues: The European 18th Century Novel

Submitted by vickylim on
24401
34401
FREN 25301/35301; SCTH 38240
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2012-2013
Thomas Pavel

The course will examine several major eighteenth-century novels, including Manon Lescaut by Prevost, Pamela and fragments from Clarissa by Richardson, Shamela and fragments from Joseph Andrews by Fielding, Jacques le Fataliste by Diderot, and The Sufferings of Young Werther by Goethe. Taught in English. A weekly session in French will be held for French majors and graduate students. PQ: Not open to first-year undergraduates.  

Beautiful Souls, Adventurers and Rogues. The European 18th-Century Novel

Submitted by Anonymous on
24401
34401
=FREN 25301/35301
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2008-2009
Thomas Pavel

The course will examine several major 18th-century novels, including Manon Lescaut by Prevost, Pamela by Richardson, Shamela by Fielding, La Nouvelle Héloïse by Rousseau, Jacques le Fataliste by Diderot, and The Sufferings of Young Werther by Goethe. The course is taught in English. A weekly session in French will be held for majors and graduate students in French and Comparative Literature.

Early Novels: The Ethiopian Story, Parzifal, Old Arcadia

Submitted by vickylim on
24402
34402
SCTH 35914, RLLT 24402, RLLT 34402
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Thomas Pavel; Glenn Most

The course will introduce the students to the oldest sub-genres of the novel, the idealist story, the chivalric tale and the pastoral.  It will emphasize the originality of these forms and discuss their interaction with the later Spanish, French, and English novel. 

Before and After Beckett: Theater and Theory

Submitted by vickylim on
24408
ENGL 24402
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2012-2013
Loren Kruger

Beckett is conventionally typed as the playwright of minimalist scenes of unremitting bleaksness but his experiments with theatre and film echo the irreverent play of popular culture (vaudeville on stage and screen eg Chaplin and Keaton) as well as the artistic avant garde (Jarry). This course with juxtapose these early 20th c models with Beckett’s plays on stage and screen and those of his contemporaries (Ionesco, Genet, Duras,). Contemporary texts include Vinaver, Minyana, in French, Pinter, Churchill, Kane in English. Theorists include Barthes, Badiou, Bert States and others ComLit students will have the opportunity to read French originals.

Literary Kierkegaard

Submitted by Anonymous on
24500
=FNDL 22700, GRMN 25200
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2006-2007
Chenxi Tang

In this seminar, we read Kierkegaard's novellas, literary criticism, and aesthetic theory. Topics of discussion include irony, repetition, observation, history, and authorship.

Forms of Lyric from Classical Antiquity to Postmodernism

Submitted by vickylim on
24501
CLCV 27109,SLAV 24501
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
Boris Maslov

Moving beyond the modern perception of lyric as an expression of the poet’s subjectivity, this course confronts the remarkable longevity of varieties of lyric that have remained in use over centuries and millennia, such as the hymn, ode, pastoral, elegy, epistle, and epigram. What kept these classical genres alive for so long and, conversely, what made them serviceable to poets working in very different cultural milieus? In an effort to develop a theory and a history of Western lyric genres, we will sample from the work of many poets, including Sappho, Horace, Ovid, Hölderlin, Pushkin, Whitman, Mandel’shtam, Brodsky, and Milosz. All readings in English.

Lyric Genres from Classical Antiquity to Postmodernism

Submitted by Anonymous on
24501
34501
=CLAS 37109, CLCV 27109, SLAV 24501/34501
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2009-2010
Boris (Rodin) Maslov

PQ: Texts in English. Optional discussion sessions offered in the original (i.e., Greek, Latin, German, Russian). Moving beyond the modern perception of lyric as a direct expression of the poet's subjectivity, this course confronts the remarkable longevity of poetic genres that have remained in use over centuries and millennia, such as the hymn, ode, pastoral, elegy, epistle, and epigram. What kept these classical genres alive for so long and, conversely, what made them serviceable to poets working in very different cultural milieus? In an effort to develop a theory and a history of Western lyric genres, we sample such poets as Sappho, Horace, Marvell, Hölderlin, Whitman, Mandel'shtam, Brodsky, and Milosz.

Language of Power: Court Culture in Early Modern Europe and Russia

Submitted by Anonymous on
24502
34502
=RUSS 24501/34501, HIST 23811/33811, GRMN 24511/34511
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2010-2011
Kirill Ospovat

Crossing the disciplinary boundaries between social, political, cultural and literary history, as well as the symbolic divide between Russia and Western Europe, the course will explore early modern royal courts as crucial institutions of European culture. Rulers and the elites relied on symbolic resources of literature, philosophy and the arts to secure their growing political authority and broadcast values underpinning the existing social order. From the Renaissance on royal courts increasingly merged into a single an-European sociocultural paradigm, which over centuries framed the political effort of rulers as remote as Louis XIV, King of France, and Peter the Great, Emperor of Russia, as well as creative work of artists, composers and writers as important as Rubens, Molière, Mozart, Goethe, and Derzhavin.Absolutist social values and the modes of their cultural (re)production at the courts of early modern Europe and Russia will be examined drawing on historical sources as well works of art, philosophy and science, but primarily concentrating on literature. Texts in English.

The Portrait of the President

Submitted by Anonymous on
24601
=ENGL 25916
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2007-2008
Amanda Macdonald

This course enquires into the work of power that is done by the portrait of the powerful. We will interrogate the portraiture of the President of the United States (and of those who would be President) not simply for its systems of meaning, its legibility, nor only in the spirit of diagnostic criticism, but most crucially for the portraiture's efficacy. This last is the most treacherous question of all for image studies, and it is the one we will articulate and pursue: What is it that portraits, in and of themselves, are able to do? What is the power of the portrait of the President? We will thus consider what we mean by power and by representation, and how the portrait tradition effects both. Louis Marin's The Portrait of the King will offer us a bundle of rich theoretical premises and analytical models. Other readings will include portrait theory, literature on US presidential portraiture, and a minor critical tradition linking the portrait of the monarchic bust to the portrait of the political ruler (Foucault on coins and caricatures; Barthes on election posters; Fresnault-Deruelle on French presidential portraiture). We will focus on four contemporary genres of representation of the President and of the presidential: money; election posters; official presidential portraits; and television talking heads. All students will be enrolled in the two hour Monday class, in addition to which they will choose between one of two meeting times on Wednesdays. Students wishing to read in English only will need to attend the 9:30-10:30 session on Wednesdays. Students who are literate in French and who wish to take the course with a French language component will need to attend the 10:30-11:30 session on Wednesdays, where they will read the key set text in the French original (Louis Marin's Le Portrait du roi), along with a selection of other set texts in French (e.g. Barthes, Foucault). The choice of session on Wednesdays is workload neutral.

Sensibility, Sensation, and Sexuality

Submitted by Anonymous on
24701
=ENGL 25307
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2009-2010
Larry Rothfield

This course traces a genealogy of affect by focusing on the representation and incitement of emotions in nineteenth-century fiction. Readings include Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther ; Austen, Sense and Sensibility ; Flaubert, Madame Bovary ; and Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd .

Masterpieces of Scandinavian Literature

Submitted by vickylim on
24712
NORW 24712, GRMN 24712
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2012-2013
Ingeborg Kongslien

This course examines a selection of literary texts from the Nordic countries - novels, plays, short stories, poems - by writers that figure prominently in the respective national canons and are also acclaimed internationally. It starts with the onset of modernism in the late 19th century represented by Henrik Ibsen and the young Knut Hamsun, continues with the great narrators of the 20th century including Karen Blixen, Halldór Laxness, and Vilhelm Moberg, and concludes around the millennium with playwright Jon Fosse, and the new voices of the novelists Linn Ullmann and Jonas Hassem Khemiri, the latter an eminent representative of  multicultural  writings,  so prominent in the international literary canon, now also featured in Scandinavia.  Readings in cultural and literary history as well as literary criticism will supplement the course in order to contextualize the literary works.

When Characters Meet Their Authors: Frontiers of Fiction

Submitted by vickylim on
24713
34713
FREN 24713/34713
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2012-2013
Francoise Lavocat

This course will examine the role and function of both the author and the character by investigating the long exploited narrative device of their encounter within the fictional world. In so doing, we will reflect upon the boundaries of fiction (do they exist ? what is their nature: logical, narratological, ontological ?).  We will read French, Spanish, Italian, and English texts, encompassing a variety of genres and media, from the early modern to contemporary periods.   Authors will include Cervantes, Molière, Fénelon, Bougeant, Pirandello, Caumery, Woody Allen, Paul Auster, and Jonathan Coe.

Note: All readings will be offered English, although students may read French, Italian and Spanish texts in their original language.   Students taking the course for French credit must read all French texts in the original language and do written work in French.  Prerequisites:  For FREN, at least two literature level courses (FREN 21700 or above); for Comp Lit, two literature level courses (200-level and above).

Self-Transformation and Political Resistance: Michel Foucault, Pierre Hadot, Primo Levi, Martin Luther King, Jr

Submitted by Anonymous on
24790
=PHIL 24790
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2011-2012
A Davidson

How should we understand the connections between an ethics of self-transformation and a politics of resistance to established relations of power? How are forms of the self and strategies of power intertwined? We shall examine the philosophical frameworks of Michel Foucault and Pierre Hadot with respect to those questions and then study two particular cases: Primo Levi's account of Auschwitz and Martin Luther King Jr.'s account of the civil rights movement. We will look at the ways in which these two historically specific cases allow us to develop and test the philosophical frameworks we have examined.

Fiction and Freedom

Submitted by Anonymous on
24800
=GRMN 25900
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2007-2008
David Wellbery

This course examines a series of major twentieth-century works of fiction that explore the nature of human freedom. Our concern is not only to delineate the theme of freedom but also to attempt to understand the link between that theme and the fictional form the author chooses. A further concern is the position of the reader as it is figured in the texts examined. Authors considered include Herman Melville, Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, T. S. Eliot, Maurice Blanchot, and Imre Kertsz.

South African Fiction and Film

Submitted by vickylim on
24807
ENGL 24807
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
Loren Kruger

This course examines the intersection of fiction and film 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. (B)

Cosmopolitanisms

Submitted by Anonymous on
24901
34901
=ENGL 24305/34901
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2009-2010
Tamara Chin

This course explores notions of cosmopolitanism in philosophy, historiography, and literature. Topics include ancient world systems, world literature, hospitality, and hybridity. Readings may include Derek Walcott's Omeros, the Hellenistic Life of Aesop, early Chinese prose-poetry, Derrida, Frank, and Spivak.

Mimesis

Submitted by Anonymous on
24902
30400
=CLAS 39200, EALC 30400
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2010-2011
Tamara Chin

This course will introduce the concept of mimesis (imitation, representation), tracing it from Plato and Aristole through some of its reformulations in recent literary and critical theory. Topics to be addressed include desire, postcolonialism, and non-western aesthetic traditions. Readings may include Plato, Aristotle, Euripides's Bacchae , Book of Songs , Lu Ji's Rhapsody on Literature , Auerbach, Butler, Derrida, Girard, Saussy, and Spivak.

Greece/China

Submitted by vickylim on
24903
34903
CLCV 27612, CLAS 37612, EALC 24901, EALC 34901
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2012-2013
Tamara Chin

This class will explore three sets of paired authors from ancient China and Greece: Herodotus/Sima Qian; Plato/Confucius; Homer/Book of Songs.  Topics will include genre, authorship, style, cultural identity, and translation, as well as the historical practice of Greece/China comparative work.

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. 

Foucault: History of Sexuality

Submitted by vickylim on
25001
PHIL 24800 (=GNSE 23100, HIPS 24300, FNDL 22001)
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2012-2013
Arnold Davidson

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.

Foucault and The History of Sexuality

Submitted by Anonymous on
25001
=FNDL 22001, GNDR 23100, HIPS 24300, PHIL 24800
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2009-2010
Arnold Davidson

Open only to college students. PQ: Prior philosophy course or consent of instructor. 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.

Foucault and The History of Sexuality

Submitted by Anonymous on
25001
=GNDR 23100, HIPS 24300, PHIL 24800
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2008-2009
Arnold Davidson

Open only to college students. PQ: Prior philosophy course or consent of instructor. 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.

Foucault and the History of Sexuality

Submitted by Anonymous on
25001
=GNDR 23100, HIPS 24300, PHIL 24800
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2007-2008
Arnold Davidson

Open only to college students. PQ: Prior philosophy course or consent of instructor. 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.

Gender and the Body in Yiddish Literature

Submitted by ldzoells on
25002
35002
YDDH 25002/35002
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Anna Elena Torres

This course examines gender, race, and dis/ability in texts drawn from across the breadth of Yiddish literature. Using critical theory as a lens into the world of Yiddish writing, we will encounter medieval troubadours and healers, spirit possession, feminist performance art, and more. With an emphasis on poetry, the syllabus begins with some of the earliest known Yiddish verse (c. 1382) and concludes with the 20th century avant-garde. Literary authors include Peretz Markish, Meyshe Kulbak, and Dvoyre Fogel. Theoretical and historical studies include the work of Eve Sedgwick, Mel Chen, and Alexis Pauline Gumbs.

No prior knowledge of Yiddish is required for enrollment. All course literature for the seminar will be available in English translation. An additional weekly session will meet to read Yiddish texts in the original.

Sea Fictions: Reading Transnationally

Submitted by vickylim on
25004
ENGL 24311
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2012-2013
Chandani Patel

This course will examine texts like Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, and Melville’s Typee alongside Reinaldo Arenas’s Farewell to the Sea (Cuba), Agualusa’s Creole (Angola), and Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies amongst others as transnational representations of the sea and human relationships to it. We will ask how these stories of oceanic journeys and the transnational affinities they produce generate accounts of language and history, and we will think comparatively about how the dangers these texts associate with the sea –such as shipwreck, cannibalism, death and loss –figure alongside its potentials –as a means of mobility and freedom, as a site of friendship and understanding. Discussing these fictional texts alongside theoretical works by writers such as Paul Gilroy, Mikhail Bakhtin, Isabel Hofmeyr, Emily Apter, and Michel Foucault, we will try to determine what new theoretical concepts and affiliations emerge when we untether these fictions from their national literary traditions. Students will have the opportunity to read originals in French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Specificity/Interdisciplinarity: Myths of Orpheus

Submitted by vickylim on
25005
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2012-2013
David Markus

This course takes a number of variations on the myth of Orpheus as the basis for an exploration of critical problems surrounding medium specificity, interdisciplinary study, and topics arising from cultural studies such as race and gender. We will begin with early representations of the myth in Ovid and Virgil before proceeding to more recent interpretations in the work of Rilke, H.D., Jean Cocteau, Tennessee Williams, Salmon Rushdie, and Neil Gaiman. Creative works will be considered alongside critical texts by Roland Barthes, Maurice Blanchot, André Bazin, Homi Bhabha, Kaja Silverman, Frederic Jameson, and Lauren Berlant. In keeping with the interdisciplinary theme of the course, film showings will be held regularly and music and visual materials will frequently figure as objects of study. 

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.

Comparative Migrations

Submitted by vickylim on
25010
ENGL 25010
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2014-2015
Chandani Patel

"Comparative Migrations" interrogates how literature and film takes up the issue of migration across the globe. How do these texts represent the experiences of dislocation, marginalization, and acculturation usually associated with migration across literary traditions? How do the ideas of home, longing, and belonging shift throughout these texts? How do distinct historical, social, cultural and political parameters impact both the writing and reading of these texts? Texts under consideration will include novels by Samuel Selvon, Calixthe Beyala, Milton Hatoum, and Junot Diaz and films by Gurinder Chadha, Pedro Costa, and Mathieu Kassovitz. Theorists include Stuart Hall, Edward Said, Édouard Glissant, Michel Foucault, and Miguel Vale de Almeida.

Beckett Beyond the 'Absurd'

Submitted by vickylim on
25011
ENGL 24409
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
Brian Berry

As an author that dislikes being pigeonholed, Samuel Beckett nonetheless gets labeled as an Absurdist, even the father of the Theater of the Absurd. It is not as if this label is entirely unmerited, but his philosophical interests reach beyond the species of existentialism that was fashionable at the moment of his literary debut. This course will look at theatrical and prose texts spanning Beckett’s career, in conjunction with a variety of philosophical texts from the Cartesian, continental, and analytic traditions, to see how Beckett re-appropriates and transforms philosophical problems and themes within a literary context. Specifically we will look at how Beckett reorients the relations between philosophical skepticism, the philosophy of language, and the problem of meaning.

Plato on Poets

Submitted by vickylim on
25013
35013
PORT 25013/35013, SCTH 30612
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2012-2013
Miguel Tamen

Writing Towards Freedom: Slave Narratives and Emergent Black Writing

Submitted by vickylim on
25014
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2015-2016
Mollie McFee

In the late 18th and 19th centuries, slave narratives were authored to convince Europeans of the injustices of slavery as an institution and the humanity of enslaved black Africans. However, these texts were more representative of anti-slavery rhetoric and conventional morals than the voices of enslaved men and women. In this course we will investigate many of the central slave narratives of 18th and 19th centuries in order to understand how these texts worked to redefine concepts of the human. We will also examine the ways slave narratives relied upon and bolstered norms of gender, family, and religion. Using comparative methods, this course will investigate why the overwhelming majority of slave narratives come from the Anglophone world. We will compare American and British narratives, and examine the genres used in the francophone and hispanophone worlds to demonstrate the rights of the enslaved, particularly law. Major texts to be examined will include The Interesting Life of Olaudah Equiano; The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave; My Bondage, My Freedom by Frederick Douglass; Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriett Jacobs; and Autobiography of a Slave by Juan Francisco Manzano. Shorter readings would include excerpts from Saidiya Hartman, Michel Rolph Trouillot, The Memoires of Toussaint Louverture, and The Haitian Constitutions of 1801 and 1805.

Allegory in the Western Literary Tradition

Submitted by vickylim on
25015
CLCV 25015
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2015-2016
David Orsbon

What kinds of power can a text have? Is it possible for language and literature to do far more than instruct and entertain? Indeed, might it be possible for a text to give us access to types of knowledge that a human being would otherwise be unable to obtain? In what ways can the study of allegory help us to better understand how (and why) other cultures interpret the world in ways that differ from our own? And how do we, as readers, respond when we reach the apparent limits of our texts?

To ask such questions as these—particularly in the case of allegory—involves much more than asking what a text means. Indeed, although the question of meaning is fundamental to allegory, to view a text as allegorical is to view a text as possessing some kind of power or insight that can transform the way in which we view the world (or, even, the divine) and our relation to it. In fact, for generations of thinkers—from the earliest interpreters of Homer to the Early Modern Period and beyond—allegory represents literature at its most dynamic and powerful. The study of allegory and the history of its interpretation provides us, therefore, with the unique opportunity to examine how generations of authors and interpreters have pushed their respective arts to their limit, as if attempting to communicate with words an idea that, by its very nature, defies verbalization.

Readings for this course will include the following: Plato’s Republic (in particular, the Allegory of the Cave), Virgil’s Aeneid, Chaucer’s dream-vision poetry, Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene, William Blake, and Italo Calvino.

History, Philosophy and the Politics of Psychoanalysis

Submitted by Anonymous on
25101
35101
=PHIL 25401/35401
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2008-2009
Arnold Davidson

A reading of some central texts of Freud (both early and late) in the context of a study of the role of psychoanalysis in contemporary European philosophy. Other authors to be read may include Foucault, Deleuze and Guatteri, Marcuse, and Derrida.

History, Philosophy and the Politics of Psychoanalysis

Submitted by Anonymous on
25101
35101
=PHIL 25401/35401
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2007-2008
Arnold Davidson

A reading of some central texts of Freud (both early and late) in the context of a study of the role of psychoanalysis in contemporary European philosophy. Other authors to be read may include Foucault, Deleuze and Guatteri, Marcuse, and Derrida.

Problems Around Foucault

Submitted by Anonymous on
25102
35102
=DVPR 35100, PHIL 21910/31910
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2010-2011
Arnold Davidson

We will read some of Foucault's most important essays and lectures, from all periods of his work, in an attempt to assess the originality and continued significance of his thought in the context of twentieth century European philosophy. We will also look at the work of other philosophers who influenced or were influenced by Foucault, for example: Georges Canguilhem, Gilles Deleuze, Paul Veyne, Pierre Hadot, Ian Hacking, etc. A final section of the course will consider how we can make use of Foucault today, with respect to questions of epistemology, politics, and ethics.

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.

Contemporary Hebrew Poetry

Submitted by Anonymous on
25201
=JWSC 21800, NEHC 20463
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2007-2008
Neta Stahl

This course examines the works (in the original) of major contemporary Hebrew poets such as Yehuda Amichai, Nathan Zach, David Avidan, Dalia Rabikovitch,Yona Wollach, Maya Bejerano, and Yitzhak Laor. These works will be read against the background of the poetry of previous literary generations of writers such as H.N Bialik, Avraham Shlonsky, Natan Alterman and Shaul Tchernihovsky, in an attempt to uncover changes in style, themes and aesthetic. Through close reading of the poems, the course traces the unique style and aesthetic of each poet, and aims at presenting a wide picture of contemporary Hebrew poetry.

Catching Spies

Submitted by vickylim on
25215
GRMN 25215
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
Tamar Abramov

How do we account for 20th century literature's fascination with spies and spying? How do we explain the emergence of this new literary subject with the inauguration of the new century? This course will examine the place the figure of the spy holds for twentieth-century imagination as reflected in literature, theater and film. It will suggest that the spy becomes a locus of fascination for literature when overlooked by the disciplines charged with regulating his actions. In positing espionage literature and film as a response to the law's impossibility of address we will establish the potential the figure of the spy holds to respond to an array of questions relating to identity and subjectivity through such tropes as homelessness and border crossing, sexual difference, theatricality and masquerade, technology and voyeurism.

The Metaphor of the Insect as a Social Critique: Women in Modern Hebrew Literature

Submitted by Anonymous on
25300
=NEHC 20460
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2006-2007
Neta Stahl

This course is an exploration of twentieth century Hebrew poetry and prose written by women. Through close reading of major works (in translation) by writers such as Dvora Baron, Elisheva, Yocheved Bat-Miriam, Rachel Blubstein, Ester Ra'ab, Lea Goldberg, Amalia Kahana- Carmon, Dalia Rabikovitch, Yona Wallach, and Orli Castel-Bloom, the course traces changes in themes and style and studies the emergence and the development of a woman's voice in modern Hebrew literature. Texts in English.

Sociology of Literature

Submitted by Anonymous on
25301
35301
=ENGL 25306/42404
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2008-2009
Larry Rothfield

This course explores the critical potential and limitations of a few key sociological approaches to literature, working with the London literary scene of the 1890s as our case. We will focus on Bourdieu's theorization of the field of cultural production; Foucault's analytics of power/knowledge and discursive formations; Luhman's influential systems theory; and recent efforts by Moretti and others to import geographic and evolutionary models into literary studies.

Approaching Infinity: A History of Imaginative Attempts

Submitted by vickylim on
25303
HIPS 25303, HIST 25011
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2012-2013
Lily Huang
Does the infinite exist? Where, and by what lights? This course is an undisciplined investigation of multitudinous ways of denying, containing, and expressing the infinite. The sundry aspirations we study range from ancient natural philosophy to Enlightenment metaphysics, from Romantic poetry to fractal geometry. Authors include Aristotle, Lucretius, Shakespeare, Leibniz, Goethe, Coleridge, Keats, Flaubert, James, Bergson, Borges, and Calvino.
 
Full syllabus here: home.uchicago.edu/~lilyx

Love Connections: Stories of Famous Couples in Pre-Modern Indian Literature

Submitted by vickylim on
25310
SALC 25300, GNSE 25310, RLST 26811
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2014-2015
Ilanit Loewy Shacham

Is love a universal theme? What constitutes a good match? To what extent are love and desire culturally constituted? This course aims to answer such questions through the stories of five famous couples in pre-modern Indian literature. These couples—some divine, some human and some mixed—will provide multiple perspectives on central themes in Indian culture such as love, desire, and devotion as well as on the advantages and disadvantages of being human and/or of being divine where love is concerned. Readings in this course will include translations of classical Sanskrit texts their retellings in various regional languages and a few modern adaptations.

Contemporary Israeli Fiction

Submitted by Anonymous on
25400
=NEHC 20461
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2006-2007
Neta Stahl

This course examines the works of three major contemporary Israeli writers: Yehoshua Kenaz, Orly Castel-Bloom and Yoel Hoffmann. We will study the innovative use of style and genres in these works, as well as the new themes and agendas that they offer. Among the topics to be discussed are social and political critiques, minority representations, and relation to Jewish history and tradition. Classes conducted in English, but students with knowledge of Hebrew are encouraged to read texts in the original.

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