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What Is Art?

Submitted by vickylim on
32001
RLLT 32000, SCTH XXXXX
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Miguel Tamen

The course will address contemporary arguments and claims in aesthetics and the philosophy of art via a detailed discussion of a small number of major texts: Oscar Wilde’s “The Decay of Lying” and “The Critic as Artist” (1891), Leo Tolstoy’s What Is Art (1898), and Martin Heidegger’s The Origin of the Work of Art (1935-7; published 1950). The extravagant claims of these texts are presumed to be of help in describing the ubiquitous attention to art in contemporary affluent societies. A number of more recent essays on aesthetics will also be discussed.

The Mirror and the Maze: Scenes and Sentences in Flaubert’s Sentimental Education and Moore and Campbell's From Hell— Two Cities of the Mind

Submitted by vickylim on
33602
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Samuel Delany

The Mirror and the Maze is a month-long seminar taught by Professor Samuel Delany, during January of 2014. The format of the seminar is a series of informal lectures and discussions. Attendance is required at all eight sessions and class participation is expected. 

Kurosawa and his Sources

Submitted by vickylim on
34410
CMST 34410, EALC 34410, SCTH 34012
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Olga Solovieva

This interdisciplinary graduate course focuses on ten films of Akira Kurosawa which were based on literary sources, raging from Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Georges Simenon, and Shakespeare to Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Gorky, and Arseniev. The course will not only introduce to some theoretical and intermedial problems of adaptation of literature to film but also address cultural and political implications of Kurosawa’s adaptation of classic and foreign sources. We will study how Kurosawa’s turn to literary adaptation provided a vehicle for circumventing social taboos of his time and offered a screen for addressing politically sensitive and sometimes censored topics of Japan’s militarist past, war crimes, defeat in the Second World War, and ideological conflicts of reconstruction. The course will combine film analysis with close reading of relevant literary sources, contextualized by current work of political, economic, and cultural historians of postwar Japan. The course is meant to provide a hands-on training in the interdisciplinary methodology of Comparative Literature. Undergraduate students can be admitted only with the permission of the instructor. Prerequisites: Intro to Film or Close Analysis of Film class. Course limited to 10 participants.

Syllabus available here.

Russian Poetry from Blok to Pasternak

Submitted by vickylim on
34505
RUSS 34505
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Robert Bird; Boris Maslov

We will survey the selected poetry of major Russian modernists from 1900 to 1935, including lyrical and narrative genres. Poets covered include: Aleksandr Blok, Andrei Belyi, Viacheslav Ivanov, Nikolai Gumilev, Osip Mandel’shtam, Anna Akhmatova, Velimir Khlebnikov, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Marina Tsvetaeva, Boris Pasternak. In addition to tracing the development of poetic doctrines (from symbolism through acmeism and futurism), we will investigate the close correlations between formal innovation and the changing semantics of Russian poetry. Attention will also be paid to contemporary developments in Western European poetry. Knowledge of Russian required.

Hölderlin and the Greeks

Submitted by vickylim on
35614
GRMN 35614, CLAS 45613
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Christopher Wild and M. 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 spoken discourse. All texts will be read in English translation, but a reading knowledge of German and/or Greek would be desirable. (Cross-listed with: Classics and Comparative Literature. Graduate).

Avarice, After All

Submitted by vickylim on
35713
CDIN 35713, GRMN 35713
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
Eric Santner and Mladen Dolar

With the help of Freud, Marx, Lacan, Foucault, Agamben (among others) along with some highpoints of the European literary canon, we propose to develop a “critique of avarice,” a project to be sharply distinguished from the moralistic indignation at greed. Our historical and theoretical reflections on avarice open out on to a number of domains and modes of inquiry: from literary criticism to psychoanalysis, from the study of political economy to theories of biopolitics, and finally to the “Jewish question” in relation to all of this. The core text and touchstone of the seminar will be Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, in which the tensions, ambiguities, disavowals, hatreds, projections, and repressions associated with the “avarice complex” are magisterially staged and played out. Attention will also be given to the subsequent history of the figure of Shylock as well as to the capacities for mercy and forgiveness that were posited as the ideal opposites of avarice and usury. One of the goals of the seminar is to interrogate this very opposition.

Note: Consent of instructor required.

How to think about literature: the main notions

Submitted by vickylim on
36001
RLLT 36000, SCTH XXXXX (coming soon)
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Thomas Pavel

In literary studies new trends and theories rarely supersede older ones.  While in physics and biology Aristotle has long been obsolete, literary scholars still find his Poetics to be a source of important insights.  And yet literary studies are not resistant to change.  Over time, they have experienced a genuine historical growth in thinking. Perhaps one can best describe the discipline of literature as a stable field of recurring issues that generate innovative thinking. 

How to think about literature will introduce graduate students to the main notion of the field.  The aim of the course is to identify an object of study that is integral, yet flexible enough to allow for comparisons between its manifestations in various national traditions.

Decolonizing Literature and Film in Southern Africa

Submitted by vickylim on
41200
ENGL 44507
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Loren Kruger

While ‘postcolonialism’ may turn a complex and contradictory history into a tidy theory, decolonizing highlights the uneven and unfinished processes of writing and filming national, transnational and anti-national narratives, from the cultural nationalism of the 1940s and 1950s to the possibly post-national present. We will explore the links as well as the differences among the textual and cinematic cultures of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola and Mozambique and examine the potential and pitfalls of applying postcolonial and other theories to these cultures. Authors may include Nadine Gordimer, Athol Fugard, Zakes Mda, Shimmer Chinodya, Yvonne Vera, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Bessie Head, Luandino Vieira, and/or Mia Couto; theory and political analysis may include anticolonial writing by Fanon, Mandela, Neto, and Cabral and contemporary critics: Ann McClintock, Njabulo Ndebele, Kwame Appiah, Robert Mshengu Kavanagh and others.

Approaches to Teaching Comparative Literature

Submitted by vickylim on
41203
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
Chandani Patel and Stephen Parkin

This course will explore distinct approaches and curricula related to teaching comparative literature in university and college settings. During the course, we will review what constitutes introductory and advanced courses in Comparative Literature and how to incorporate various topics, languages, and media within such courses. We will begin with a discussion about setting course objectives and how these are related to the missions of institutions, programs of study, and student demographics. Following this review, we will investigate how to align student learning goals with teaching strategies by assessing which classroom activities and assignments best enable students to meet learning objectives, keeping the particular challenges of teaching comparative literature in mind.  The overall goal of the course is to prepare graduate students to teach in a post-secondary setting by deepening their comprehension of what practices constitute effective teaching, and by producing documents related to the teaching of college-level courses.

Concepts, Metaphors, Genealogies: Historical Semantics and Literature

Submitted by vickylim on
42802
CLAS 42813, SLAV 42802, GRMN 42814
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Boris Maslov

In this seminar, we will approach conceptual history (a.k.a. Begriffsgeschichte) as a resource for philologically-informed study of cultural interaction, continuity, and change. We will begin by developing a theoretical background in historical semantics, conceptual history, Metaphorologie, and history of ideas (focusing on the work of Nietzsche, Spitzer, Koselleck, Blumenberg, and Hadot); the second part of the quarter will be dedicated to historical and theoretical problems in the study of concepts in literary texts and across cultures. Reading knowledge of two (or more) foreign languages is a strong desideratum. As a final project, seminar participants will be expected to choose a particular concept and trace its history and uses in literary texts, ideally in more than one language. 

Lacan and Religion

Submitted by vickylim on
43350
DVPR 49904
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Françoise Meltzer

Whereas Freud believed with the Enlightenment that science would increasingly demonstrate religion to be an illusion, Lacan saw religion as that which would save us from the increasingly loud discourse of science. From Lacan’s early (Freudian) notion of the Nom-du-Père, to his later conflation of Freud and Christ (as rescuing the father), and finally to his Barromean knots and the sinthome, Lacan considers religion a “garbage can, for it has not the slightest homogeneity.” This course, then, will consider Lacan’s concept of religion. We will begin with readings from Freud’s texts on religion: “Obsessive Actions and Religious Practices,” “The Future of an Illusion,” “Totem and Taboo,” “Civilization and its Discontents,” “Moses and Monotheism.” We will then read the texts on religion from Lacan, considering how his views change on the subject, and what the stakes are in his efforts to separate psychoanalysis from science and religion.

Requirements: reading knowledge of French, basic familiarity with Lacan. 

Technologies of Visualization: Florence Then and Now

Submitted by vickylim on
44621
CDIN 44621, ENGL 67107, ARTH 41600, ITAL 44621
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
Lawrence Rothfield; Niall Atkinson

This course explores the uses of technologies of visualization for the production of humanistic knowledge with Renaissance Florence as both subject (the origin of literary and artistic “picturing” techniques that enabled new modes of representing individuals as well as geographies, and stimulated new ways of relating the visible to the invisible) and as object of representation (in stories, novels, films, images, as well as more abstractly in social network mapping, virtual imaging, and even videogame construction). We will be looking at technological phenomena including the Renaissance-era invention of perspective, the telescope, cartographical and chorographical innovations, and improved mirrors, and their impact on conceptualizations of the self, knowledge, and power in Machiavelli and others. But we also will be considering Florentine technologies of representation as the prehistory of the contemporary transformation of the real into digitally-mediated forms via geospatial mapping, network analysis, cinematography, and even videogame production. We will be asking if the Florentines have any lessons to share about the possibilities, dangers, and pleasures of technologized representation.

Network Analysis, Literary Criticism, and the Digital Humanities

Submitted by vickylim on
44622
CDIN 44321, ENGL 44321, EALC 40451, MAPH 41500 SALC 44500, NEHC 44321
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Richard Jean So; Hoyt Long

This course will introduce students to the digital humanities by focusing on the acquisition of a single quantitative method (social network analysis) and its application to a single historical context (literary modernism). The course familiarizes students with ongoing debates surrounding the digital humanities and the use of computational methods for literary critique, but will also move past meta-discussion by providing an opportunity to explore these methods through collaborative projects. Readings will be focused on theories of literary modernism and sociological approaches to the study of culture. Students will learn how to build network datasets, manipulate visualization software, run simple analytics, and think critically about the potential uses of social-scientific methods. No prerequisites required.

Goethe’s Faust I

Submitted by vickylim on
46114
GRMN 46114, SCTH 44912
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
David Wellbery


This is the first part of a two-quarter seminar devoted to Goethe’s Faust tragedy, with each segment devoted to one of the work’s two parts. Since three substantial new editions (plus commentary) have been published within the past two decades, scholarship now finds itself in an excellent position to develop theoretically informed readings of what is arguably the most significant work in the German canon. The main task of the first-quarter seminar will be to examine Faust I. However, we will also consider the Faust tradition, including the 1587 Volksbuch (so-called), Lessing’s Faust fragment, and some other contemporary and subsequent renditions of Faust. This segment will also provide an opportunity to survey Goethe’s poetic and intellectual development from 1770 to 1808, when Faust I was first published in its complete form. Of particular interest in our investigation of Faust I will be: a) the theological background; b) structural principles; c) linguistic figuration. Prominent interpretations of the play by Goethe’s contemporaries (e.g., Schelling, Hegel) will be considered. We shall also examine two sequences of Faust illustrations by Peter Cornelius and Eugène Delacroix as well as two performances of the drama (from dvd). This seminar may be taken alone, or in combination with the seminar on Faust II.  Students taking both seminars are encouraged to write a single substantial research paper.

Goethe’s Faust II

Submitted by vickylim on
46214
GRMN 46214, SCTH 44913
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
David Wellbery

Continuing the sequence begun in Winter Quarter, this seminar will examine Goethe’s Faust II. Due to the intricacies of this work, we shall devote two sessions to each of its five acts. In addition to the close study of the text, we will consider major issues in the scholarship: a) the question of allegory and its theoretical grounding in Marx and Benjamin; b) the question of the modern (Faust as tragedy of modern consciousness); c) the dialectic of the Classic and the Romantic; d) Goethe’s scientific and aesthetic views as embodied in the play; e) the theological frame, especially in connection with the play’s conclusion. In addition to the commentaries, certain critical works will also be discussed, including contributions by Kommerell, Emrich, Adorno, Schlaffer, Schmidt, and Anderegg. The world-literary background of Goethe’s play will likewise be an important theme of the seminar. This seminar may be taken alone, or in combination with the seminar on Faust I. Students taking both seminars are encouraged to write a single substantial research paper.

Poetics and Rhetoric of Cinema

Submitted by vickylim on
47210
CMST 67210
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Noa Steimatsky

How do rhetorical figures – metaphor, metonymy, synechdoche, allegory, among other tropes so extensively studied in the verbal arts – mediate our perception? how do they inform stylistic and even theoretical conceptions of the moving image?  Do they just mimic, or translate literary devices? Do they function merely as ornaments or puns, offering occasional poetic maneuvers in ambitious films? In this seminar we shall explore ways in which tropes can be seen to deeply inform the cinema's means of articulation and the dynamic workings of the image -- the coalescing and mutation of signs, the relation of visual and narrative or expository forms, the differentiation of styles, the very consciousness of the medium with respect to traditions and conventions. Readings will include some influential texts in poetics (eg. Dante, Coleridge, Auerbach, Fletcher, Benjamin, Jakobson, De Man) as well as writings devoted to questions of cinematic figuration (Munsterberg, Eisenstein, Kracauer, Perez, Williams, Rodowick). We shall discuss these in view of films by Eisenstein, Bunuel, Bresson, Franju, Pasolini, Snow, Burnett, Ruiz, and others.

Michel Foucault: Self, Government, and Regimes of Truth

Submitted by vickylim on
50008
PHIL 50008, DVPR 50008, FREN 40008
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
Arnold Davidson

PQ: Limited enrollment; Students interested in taking for credit should attend first seminar before registering. Reading knowledge of French required. Consent Only. A close reading of Michel Foucault’s 1979-80 course at the Collège de France, Du gouvernement des vivants.  Foucault’s most extensive course on early Christianity, these lectures examine the relations between the government of the self and regimes of truth through a detailed analysis of Christian penitential practices, with special attention to the practices of exomologēsis and exagoreusis.  We will read this course both taking into account Foucault’s sustained interest in ancient thought and with a focus on the more general historical and theoretical conclusions that can be drawn from his analyses. (I)

Seminar: Catharsis & Other Aesthetic Responses

Submitted by vickylim on
50200
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Loren Kruger

Consent of instructor. 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. For other humanities PhDs: ACTIVE working knowledge of at least one of the following: French, German, (classical) Greek or Spanish. This PhD seminar examines the ramifications of catharsis and other responses to texts and images, in other words it investigates the relationship between effect and affect. Beginning with Aristotle and present day responses to catharsis, we will investigate the kinds of aesthetic response invoked by tragic drama and theory (esp Hegel), realism (Lukacs, Bazin and Brecht), as well as theories of pleasure (Barthes, Derrida), judgment (Kant, Bourdieu) and boredom (Spacks). We will conclude with a test case, exploring the potential and limitations of catharsis as an appropriate response to the literary and cinematic representation of trauma in and after the Argentine 'dirty war.' An essential part of the discussion will be the problem of translating key terms, not only from one language to another but also from one theoretical discourse and/or medium to another.

Seminar: Contemporary Critical Theory

Submitted by vickylim on
50201
DVPR 50201
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
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.

Brecht and Beyond

Submitted by vickylim on
20800
ENGL 24400, CMST 26200, TAPS 28435
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Loren Kruger

Brecht is indisputably the most influential playwright in the twentieth century. In this course we will explore the range and variety of Brecht’s own theatre, from the anarchic plays of the 1920’s to the agitprop Lehrstück to the classical parable plays, as well as the works of his heirs in Germany (Heiner Müller, Franz Xaver Kroetz, Peter Weiss), Britain (John Arden, Edward Bond, Caryl Churchill), and sub-Saharan Africa (Soyinka, Ngugi, and various South African theatre practitioners). We will also consider the impact of Brechtian theory on film, from Brecht’s own Kuhle Wampe to Jean-Luc Godard. Undergrad; no first years: PQ Hum and either a theatre or a film course.

Zhuangzi: Literature, Philosophy, or Something Else

Submitted by vickylim on
21851
31851
FNDL 22306, EALC 31851
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Haun Saussy

The early Chinese book attributed to Master Zhuang seems to be a patchwork of fables, polemical discussions, arguments, examples, riddles, and lyrical utterances. Although it has been central to the development of both religious Daoism and Buddhism, the book is alien to both traditions. This course offers a careful reading of the work with some of its early commentaries. Requirement: classical Chinese. 

Literatures of the Christian East: Late antiquity, Byzantium, and Medieval Russia

Submitted by vickylim on
22302
32302
CLAS 31113, CLCV 21113, SLAV 22302/32302, HCHR 34604, RLIT 34604
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Boris Maslov

After the fall of Rome in 476 CE, literatures of the Latin West and – predominantly Greek-speaking – Eastern provinces of the Roman empire followed two very different paths. Covering both religious and secular genres, we will survey some of the most interesting texts written in the Christian East in the period from 330 CE (foundation of Constantinople) to the late 17th c. (Westernization of Russia). Our focus throughout will be on continuities within particular styles and types of discourse (court entertainment, rhetoric, historiography, hagiography) and their functions within East Christian cultures. Readings will include Digenes Akritas and Song of Igor’s Campaign, as well as texts by Emperor Julian the Apostate, Gregory of Nazianzus, Emphraim the Syrian, Anna Comnena, Psellos, Ivan the Terrible, and Archbishop Avvakum. No prerequisites. All readings in English.

Prosody and Poetic Form: An Introduction to Comparative Metrics

Submitted by vickylim on
22303
32303
CLCV 21313, CLAS 31313, SLAV 22303/32303, GRMN 22314/32314
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Boris Maslov

This class offers (i) an overview of major European systems of versification, with particular attention to their historical development, and (ii) an introduction to the theory of meter. In addition to analyzing the formal properties of verse, we will inquire into their relevance for the articulation of poetic genres and, more broadly, the history of literary (and sub-literary) systems. There will be some emphasis on Graeco-Roman quantitative metrics, its afterlife, and the evolution of Germanic and Slavic syllabo-tonic verse. No prerequisites, but a working knowledge of one European language besides English is strongly recommended.

Poetics of Gender in the Balkans: Wounded Men, Sworn Virgins and Eternal Mothers

Submitted by vickylim on
23902
33902
SOSL 27601/37601, GNSE XXXXX (coming soon)
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
Angelina Ilieva

Through some of the best literary and cinematic works from Southeastern Europe, we will consider the questions of socialization into gendered modes of being – the demands, comforts, pleasures and frustrations that individuals experience while trying to embody and negotiate social categories. We will examine how masculinity and femininity are constituted in the traditional family model, the socialist paradigm, and during post-socialist transitions. We will also contemplate how gender categories are experienced through other forms of identity–the national and socialist especially–as well as how gender is used to symbolize and animate these other identities.

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

Hamlet and Critical Methods

Submitted by vickylim on
26601
ENGL 16711, FNDL 22205
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Joshua Scodel

Shakespeare's Hamlet has probably inspired the most criticism of any play in world literature, and it has certainly inspired some of the greatest criticism. This course explores the goals, presuppositions, strengths, and limitations of different kinds of scholarship and criticism by focusing upon the variety of approaches that have been (or in some cases, could be) applied to Shakespeare's play. The course will focus on modern editorial theory and practice; classical and neoclassical discussions of mimesis, plot, and theatrical affect; Romantic, psychoanalytic, and postmodern discussions of Hamlet as character; recent literary historical discussions of sources and genre; new critical, new historicist, and feminist analyses of the play's imagined world; as well as performances and literary adaptations of Hamlet conceived of as interpretations of the play. Students will write several short response papers to the assigned readings as well as a longer paper analyzing and/or applying different critical approaches to Hamlet.

Anagnorisis and the Cognitive Work of Theater

Submitted by vickylim on
26913
36913
GRMN 26913, GRMN 36913, CLAS 25513, CLAS 35513, TAPS XXXXX
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
Christopher Wild

In the Poetics Aristotle conceives anagnorisis or recognition as one of the three constitutive parts of the dramatic plot and defines it as the “a change from ignorance (agnoia) to knowledge (gnosis).” Implying the rediscovery of something previously known anagnorisis refers to the emplotment and staging of a certain kind of cognitive work characteristic of theater (as a locus of theoria or theory). For recognition is not only required of the dramatis personae on stage but also of the spectators who need to cognize or recognize a character whenever s/he enters. Just as the characters’ anagnorisis isn’t restricted to the filiation, i.e. identity, of other characters the audience’s cognition concerns the understanding the plot as a whole. In short, by focusing on anagnorisis we can gain insight in the specific cognitive work of theater (and drama). Naturally we will begin in antiquity and examine the instantiation of recognition in Homer’s Odyssey and several Greek tragedies as well as its first theorization in Aristotle’s Poetics. Then we will jump to the modernes, specifically Enlightenment theater’s obsession with anagnorisis and the cognitive work it performs, and investigate dramas by Diderot and Lessing. Kleist’s dramatic deconstructions of German bourgeois and classical theater test the Enlightenment’s claim to reason and reform of human cognition. Our last stop will be Brecht’s theater of “Entfremdung” that makes the alienation at the heart of anagnorisis into the centerpiece of his aesthetic and political project. If we have time, we will also take a look at comical recognition as self-reflection of its tragic counterpart. Readings and discussions in English.

Realisms

Submitted by vickylim on
27204
37204
CMST 27204/37204
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Noa Steimatsky

The course will examine key genealogies, theoretical debates, and critical accounts of realism in the cinema. Questions of realism have been carried over from the “traditional” arts and literature, but had undergone a sea-change with the particular ontological and epistemological claims of the cinematic medium, across fiction and documentary, mainstream and experimental forms. While the concept seemed bracketed (or buried) with the advent of structuralism and post-modernism, reality effects—traversing types, genres, and ideologies of representation—still haunt the cinematic imagination. The claim to “presence” carried by photographic indexicality, the historical conventions of mimesis and illusionism, the shifting values of document, witness, testimony, of the material and the referential, of the authentic and the composed—all ensured the continued fascination with realism and its productive transfigurations through our time. We will explore examples from different cinemas and cultural moments, and consider debates on the political implications of realism and its capacity for transformation and revival.

Interpolation: Towards a Poetics of Philology in Early-Modern Europe

Submitted by vickylim on
27414
37414
FREN 27414/37414
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Sophie Rabau

This course will examine the philological notion of interpolation - the insertion of new material into a text perceived to be faulty or lacking - not only as an operation of textual reparation or editorial alteration, but more importantly as constituting in and of itself a form of literary writing or authorship, whose poetics we will explore.  What is, we will ask, the relation between literary scholarship and literary creation?  We will concentrate primarily, but not exclusively, on early-modern writings, employing a comparative perspective which will allow the examination of other artistic practices beyond the literary, including music and sculpture.  Among the authors to be considered will be Euripides, Pascal, Mme de Sévigné, Mme Dacier, Furetière, Milton, Swift and Baudelaire.  In addition, theoretic readings will be discussed to examine problems such as the coherence and identity of literary texts, the role of the author, and the status of philology and literary criticism.  The course will be in English, but students registering under the French course number will read French texts in their original language and conduct all written work in French.

Health Care and Limits of State Action

Submitted by vickylim on
28900
BPRO 28600, BIOS 29323, HMRT 28602
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Haun Saussy; Evan Lyon

Epidemic disease is a challenge on many levels, and increasingly characteristic of our interlinked, post-statist, unequal world. 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.

Pascal and Simone Weil on the Human Condition

Submitted by vickylim on
29101
39101
FREN 29100, FREN 39100
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Thomas Pavel

Pascal in the seventeenth century and Simone Weil in the twentieth formulated a compelling vision of the human condition, torn between greatness and misery. They showed how human imperfection coexists with the noblest callings, how attention struggles with diversion and how individuals can be rescued from their usual reliance on public opinion and customary beliefs. Both thinkers point to the religious dimension of human experience and suggest unorthodox ways of approaching it. The course will be taught in English. For French undergraduates and graduates, we will hold a by-weekly one-hour meeting to study the original French texts. Undergrads must be in their third or fourth year.

Le Règne des passions au 17e siècle

Submitted by vickylim on
29500
39500
FREN 24301/34301, REMS 34301
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Thomas Pavel

This course is a study of the Early Modern vision of human passions, as reflected in literature. We read plays by Shakespeare, Corneille and Racine, narratives by Cervantes, d’Urfé, Saint-Réal, and Mme de La Fayette and maxims by La Rochefoucauld and Pascal. The course is in French and most required texts are in French. Undergrads must be in their third or fourth year.

Introduction to Comparative Literature I: Problems, Methods, Precedents

Submitted by vickylim on
29701
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
Haun Saussy

As the study of relations among the world's literary and other expressive,traditions, comparative literature confronts a host of questions. What do,works from different times and places have in common? How can we meaningfully assess their differences? How do we account for systematic and extra-systemic features of literature? Is translation ever adequate? This course offers consideration of these and related issues through influential critical examples. This course is the first of a two-quarter sequence required for all majors in Comparative Literature.

Introduction to Comparative Literature II: Aesthetics and Politics in Southeast Asian Fictions

Submitted by vickylim on
29703
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Nicholas Yoke Hin Wong

Southeast Asia’s cultural production and the discursive legacies of colonialism are often neglected in geopolitically-focused studies of the region. Focusing on Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, the course will examine representations of Southeast Asia in European travel narratives, contrasting these with colonial-period and postcolonial fiction by local authors. Of special concern are: the role of geography, especially the frontier and the tropics (mangroves, swamps, forests), in the representation of self and Other; historical memory and violence; nation and the novel; the (ab)-uses of language and fiction in imagining a utopian or dystopian postcolonial future; canons and questions of value in world literature. Texts/viewings will include Joseph Conrad, Anthony Burgess, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Jose Rizal, Zhang Guixing, Preeta Samarasan and Joshua Oppenheimer. This course is the second of a two-quarter sequence required for all majors in Comparative Literature.