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Marxism and Modern Culture

Submitted by Anonymous on
31600
=ENGL 32300
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2010-2011
Loren Kruger

This course covers the classics in the field of marxist social theory (Marx, Engels, Lenin, Gramsci, Reich, Lukacs, Fanon) as well as key figures in the development of Marxist aesthetics (Adorno, Benjamin, Brecht, Marcuse, Williams) and recent developments in Marxist critiques of new media, post-colonial theory and other contemporary topics. It is suitable for graduate students in literature departments, art history and possibly history. It is not suitable for students in the social sciences.

Balkan Folklore

Submitted by Anonymous on
33301
=NEHC 20568/30568, SOSL 26800/36800
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2010-2011
Angelina Ilieva

This course is an overview of Balkan folklore from ethnographic, anthropological, historical/political, and performative perspectives. We become acquainted with folk tales, lyric and epic songs, music, and dance. The work of Milman Parry and Albert Lord, who developed their theory of oral composition through work among epic singers in the Balkans, help us understand folk tradition as a dynamic process. We also 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 first hand through our visit to the classes and rehearsals of the Chicago-based ensemble Balkanske igre.

Poets in Their Context

Submitted by Anonymous on
34700
=SCTH 34360
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2010-2011
Adam Zagajewski

PQ: Open to undergrads with consent of instructor. The idea of this class consists in reading European and US poets – including one of the major modernist Russian poets, Osip Mandelstam, Spanish giant Antonio Machado, Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz and our contemporary, Seamus Heaney from Ireland – in the context of their historic situation. We'll be looking both at the political and cultural context of their writing and try to combine interest in what's absolutely specific for each single writer with the concern for conditions underlying his/her creative endeavor. Students will be asked to actively participate in the class discussions and to write a final paper addressing the issues relevant to the course content. Books: Inger Christensen: Alphabet ; Seamus Heaney: Poems Essays ; August Kleinzahler: Green Sees Things in Waves ; Osip Mandelstam: Poems Essays ; Czeslaw Milosz: Poems The Witness of Poetry ; Don Paterson: The Eyes [Versions of Antonio Machado] ; Tadeusz Rozewicz: New Poems .

Mysticism and Modernist Writing. Philosophy, Aesthetics, Politics

Submitted by Anonymous on
34800
=GRMN 34811, FREN 34811
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2010-2011
Sandra Janssen

This seminar will explore the question of why so many European writers in the 1930s and 1940s (e.g., Robert Musil, Georges Bataille) were fascinated by mysticism. Although they were intensely interested in authors from the mystical tradition (e,g,. Meister Eckhart), they nevertheless did not seek a new kind of spirituality, but a secular form of mysticism, that is, a special kind of 'inner experience'. In this seminar, we will investigate the theory of subjectivity that this kind of experience aims at and will ask how it relates to concepts of society. For not only Bataille devises, in his activities for the Collège de Sociologie, the notion of a sociologie sacre, but also Henri Bergson links mysticism to a renewal of society ( Les deux sources de la morale et de la religion , 1932). We will also consider the more problematic implications of this conjunction, since exponents of Nazi ideology such as Alfred Rosenberg, or writers (temporarily) seduced by it such as Gottfried Benn, refer to mysticism as a form of collective participation.

Money and Literature

Submitted by Anonymous on
34902
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2010-2011
Tamara Chin

This seminar examines a set of imaginative and economic writings about money, drawn from western and non-western traditions. Topics will include the market and aesthetic values, counterfeiting and realism, coinage and ideology, and the historical emergence of economic genres. Readings will include Aristotle, Smith, Marx, Kurke, Poovey, Goux, Derrida, Sima Qian, Guanzi, Arrighi.

Judgment and Distinction (Urteilen und Unterscheiden)

Submitted by Anonymous on
35600
=GRMN 35911
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2010-2011
Susanne Luedemann

Modernity has often been interpreted as a 'crisis of distinction' (Krise des Unterscheidens), that is: as a loss of confidence in the ontological validity of human judgement and linguistic distinctions. On the one hand, this crisis resulted in doctrines of decisionism (Carl Schmitt, Heidegger) and constructivist approaches (George Spencer Brown, Niklas Luhmann); on the other hand, theories of undecidability have been flourishing during the last few decades (most prominent: Jacques Derrida, Giorgio Agamben). Between these extreme positions, a new concept of judgment (Urteilskraft) seems to emerge which combines certain elements of Kant's aesthetic judgment with a rethinking of the political space (Jean-François Lyotard, Hannah Arendt). This course will therefore consider judging and distinguishing as elementary forms not only of logical thinking, but also of aesthetic practice and political reasoning. It addresses students of literary studies as well as students of political sciences, and philosophy. Readings will include texts by Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Hölderlin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Giorgio Agamben, Niklas Luhmann, and others. Readings in German or English or French, discussion in English.

The History of Feeling: On Naïve and Sentimental Poetry

Submitted by Anonymous on
37200
=GRMN 36111
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2010-2011
David Wellbery

This seminar is an attempt to understand Schiller's treatise Über naïve und sentimentalische Dichtung (1796). We will endeavor to reconstruct the literary, philosophical, and biographical context within which the thoughts of that treatise formed themselves and to which they responded. In addition to texts by Schiller, we will study writings by Diderot, Mendelssohn, and Kant on the concept of naiveté; literary works by Geßner, Goethe ( Die Leiden des jungen Werthers ; Hermann und Dorothea ), Voss (Homer translation, Luise ); correspondence of Goethe, Schiller, Körner, W. von Humboldt, and others. Key contributions to the interpretation of Schiller's treatise (e.g., Brinkmann, Jauss, Szondi) will be consulted along with contemporary theories of the emotions.

Aesthetic Modernity: Philosophy and Criticism

Submitted by Anonymous on
37300
=GRMN 38111, PHIL 50010, SCTH 38111
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2010-2011
Robert Pippin, David Wellbery

This seminar will discuss and evaluate efforts to conceptualize modernism in the arts from the eighteenth century to the present. Modernism is widely thought to challenge traditional notions of aesthetic success (theories of perfection, the beautiful, harmony, etc.) and by doing so to raise large philosophical questions about perception, experience, language and the modern condition itself. Who first understood this massive change in aesthetic practices? Who best understood why it occurred? Is there such a thing as modernist philosophy? Did modernism end? Of what significance is that fact? Readings will include a range of philosophical and critical texts by, among others, Fr. Schlegel, Hegel, Baudelaire, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Cavell, Clark, and Fried.

Cervantes's Enigmatic Feasts: The Exemplary Novels and Don Quixote, Part II

Submitted by Anonymous on
38102
=REMS 34301, SPAN 24311/34311
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2010-2011
Frederick de Armas

This course focuses on The Exemplary Novels (1613) and Don Quijote, Part II (1615) from the point of view of calendared feasts. To the recently instituted Gregorian calendar, the novel superimposes at least three other time maps. First, the Julian calendar with its many feasts as depicted in Ovid's Fasti ; second, the celestial movement through the twelve signs of the zodiac as represented by Hercules' twelve labors; and third, the Egyptian lunar calendar that leads to the knight's defeat. This meandering through calendars creates an instability and sense of unease that recalls the changes in mapping that are taking place with the discovery of America and the change to a heliocentric cosmos. The Novelas show an inordinate interest in feasts while, as Don Quixote proceeds, a kind of dilatio takes place, as Don Quixote diverts his route over and over again from his destination (Zaragoza and the feast of St. George). Time then becomes a subjective phenomenon that affects both the reader and the characters. We examine Cervantes's novel through the lenses of Ovid's Fasti and Apuleius' Golden Ass . Maps and paintings of the period are also examined. Classes taught in English. Students in Spanish and REMS read the text in the original language and write their papers in Spanish.

Identity, Democracy, and Autobiography: A Comparative Perspective

Submitted by Anonymous on
38501
=RUSS 36800
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2010-2011
Lina Steiner

Drawing on the European, Russian and North American writings from the end of the eighteenth to the middle of twentieth centuries, this graduate seminar will examine the emergence of the modern conception of identity and its literary representation through the genre of fictionalized autobiography. We will explore the influences of social mobility, political exile or immigration, and democratic education on the transformation of personal identity in the works by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Stendhal, Alexander Herzen, Vladimir Nabokov, W.E.B. Du Bois and Ralph Ellison. The readings will also include philosophical works by John Locke, Rousseau, Benjamin Constant, Alexis de Tocqueville, Charles Taylor and Jean-Luc Nancy, which will help us understand the relationship between identity and subjectivity and account for the growing intellectual prestige of identity in the contemporary democratic public sphere. All readings will be available in English. Those who know French and Russian are encouraged to read all works in their original languages. The course is open to advanced undergraduates only by the instructor's permission.

Urban Zones of Modernism and Modernity 1700-1950

Submitted by Anonymous on
41500
=ENGL 48105
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2010-2011
Jennifer Scappettone

This geographical history of modernism will track intertwining and clashing forces defining the 20th-century avant-garde through their topographical touchstones. We will examine literary representations of delimited zones summoned in documentary or preservative modes as well as utopian projections and schemes for the metropolis writ large. Occupying the objectives of outsiders and insiders in tandem, we will consider texts not only as representations of urban space, but as inventors of it. We will try to detect the reciprocal interference of public and private interests, work and leisure, fortune and emiseration within the several precincts of our concentration as we ask what new languages and forms were enabled by an urban compression of variegated ethnic and linguistic traditions. Our primary sites of focus will be Paris, Venice, and New York, but we will necessarily (and according to class interests) digress elsewhere. Major readings will be drawn from Georg Simmel, Walter Benjamin, Henri Lefebvre, Raymond Williams, Elias Canetti, and T.J. Clark—and from Baudelaire, Apollinaire, Henry James, Gertrude Stein, Mina Loy, F.T. Marinetti, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, John Dos Passos, and Louis Zukofsky; we will also consider pertinent visual and architectural projects. Readings will be given in English, but students with experience in other languages are encouraged to read primary texts in the original. Two papers and a presentation to the seminar will be required.

Tales of the Future in Contemporary Chinese Narratives

Submitted by Anonymous on
41900
=EALC 48701
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2010-2011
Paola Iovene

The imagination of how life will or might be is central to many definitions of literature that consider it as a form of social practice. In this course we will discuss how diverse dimensions of the future—as hope, anxiety, plan, as possibility or fear of transformation—shape the literary imagination. Our focus will be on Chinese fictional narratives and theories of literature of the 20th century, with particular attention to the periods of transition to and away from socialism, but we will also look at concepts of timeliness and untimeliness in critical and narrative theory elsewhere. Overall, our aim will be to explore how the function and fate of literature has been imagined in relation to other cultural, political, and social practices, an issue that inevitably emerges every time one tries to pin down the problem of Chinese literary modernity itself. In the second part of the course students will be asked to work on their own projects on texts, films, or other media of their choice. Readings may include Liang Qichao, Lu Xun, Mao Zedong, Zhou Yang, Li Tuo, Ge Fei, Mo Yan, E. Bloch, J. Derrida, G. Morson, F. Jameson, M. Bakhtin.

Recovering Bakhtin

Submitted by Anonymous on
42201
=RUSS 42201
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2010-2011
Boris (Rodin) Maslov

Since the 1970s, Mikhail Bakhtin's work has had an enthusiastic reception in the Western academe. In spite of – or, arguably, as a result of – its wide dissemination, it has also suffered much from reductionist readings. In this seminar, we will read Bakhtin's major works, seeking to restore them to the intellectual context of the Russian school of historical poetics. In addition, we will discuss primary texts that provided the impetus for Bakhtin's theories (Petronius, Plutarch, Dostoyevsky). All readings in English.

Seminar: Ekphrasis on Stage: Images of Power, Piety and Desire in the Early Modern Period

Submitted by Anonymous on
50101
=SPAN 34302, REMS 34302
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2010-2011
Frederick de Armas

PQ: Consent of instructor. Outside students will be accepted, with the class size limited to 15 students, as long as the majority of the students are CompLit Grad students and PhD students in Spanish. Fulfills the core course requirement for CompLit students. Students who wish to take this course but have already taken a Comparative Literature core course may take this course with permission of the instructor. During the early modern age, writing had a strong visual component. Poets and playwrights utilized the sense of sight since it was the highest of the Platonic senses and a mnemonic key to lead spectators to remember vividly what they had read or heard, long before spectacle plays were in fashion. One important technique for visualization was ekphrasis, the description of an art work within a text. For this purpose, playwrights often turned to the mythological canvases of the Italian Renaissance along with the portraits of great rulers and images of battle. The seminar will examine the uses of art onstage: mnemonic, mimetic, political, religious comic, tragic, lyric and licentious. It will also delve into different forms of ekphrasis from the notional to the dramatic and from the fragmented to the reversed. Although the course will focus on Spanish plays of the early modern period, it will also include dramas by Terence and Tacone; Euripides and Racine. Numerous Italian Renaissance and Spanish Baroque paintings will be discussed.

Seminar: Contemporary Critical Theory

Submitted by Anonymous on
50201
=DVPR 50201
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2010-2011
Françoise Meltzer

PQ: Consent of instructor. Outside students will be accepted, with the class size limited to 15 students, as long as the majority of the students are CompLit Grad students and PhD students in the Divinity Scbool (Philosophy of Religion). Fulfills the core course requirement for CompLit students. Students who wish to take this course but have already taken a Comparative Literature core course may take this course with permission of the instructor. 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.

Seeing Madness: Mental Illness and Visual Culture

Submitted by Anonymous on
51700
=ARTH 48911, CDIN 51700, CMST 57000, ENGL 51305
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2010-2011
Françoise Meltzer, Tom Mitchell

This course will ask how the experience of insanity is conveyed and represented. What are the face and look of madness? How does madness make itself visible? How has it been treated as exhibition and spectacle? These questions will be approached while keeping two considerations at the forefront: first, how madness is understood to manifest itself; second, how it is in turn displayed and represented in a number of different (western) cultures. The first of these two considerations engages the history of the concept—the place of madness in medicine and the political-cultural framing of the insane as a legal, social, and clinical category. This includes as well what the conventions of madness are and how they change with the history of medicine as well as of cultural givens. The aim here is not to undertake such a historical account fully. Rather, students will be looking at moments in the history of madness when the idea is redefined or at issue. The second of the considerations for the seminar is the theater of madness—that is, how madness is represented graphically, from drawings to the modern media of photography, painting, cinema, architecture, and literature. Theoretical readings will include Freud, Foucault and Lacan, among other theorists and practitioners. In literature, students will be reading passages from texts such as Don Quixote , Breton's Nadja , Marat/Sade , late Nietzsche, and Hölderlin. Students will explore a number of films (e.g A Beautiful Mind , Vertigo and David and Lisa ), early photographs, drawings and paintings, and blue prints from various eras for the housing of the insane.

Improvisation as a Way of Life

Submitted by Anonymous on
51800
=CDIN 50910, MUSI 45511, PHIL 50910
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2010-2011
Arnold Davidson, George Lewis

This seminar will be organized around the idea that the practice of improvisation is not at all limited to the artistic domain, but is a ubiquitous practice of everyday life, a primary method of exchange in any interaction. Improvisation is, in effect, a certain kind of orientation or attitude towards oneself, others, and the world. Combining philosophical, ethnographic, musicological, and technological modes of analysis and creation, this seminar aims at the presentation of new models of intelligibility, agency, expression, and social responsibility that can inform the theory and practice of real-time musical analysis, leading to new and more effective interactive technologies as well.