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Writing the Jewish State

Submitted by vickylim on
30452
NEHC 30452
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
Na'ama Rokem

This seminar examines the role of literature in the Zionist movement. We will read utopian descriptions of the Jewish State, poems about its foundation and short stories that criticize its actions. Particular attention will be paid to the literature of war and to questions of genre. How are generic choices motivated by the author's political positions and how do these choices define the impact of a work? If there is student interest, a section will be created for reading sources in Hebrew. Knowledge of Hebrew is not a prerequisite.

Oedipus Tyrannus: Thinking in and with Tragedy

Submitted by vickylim on
31222
SCTH 31222, GREK 24714, GREK 34714
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
Laura Slatkin

Oedipus: exemplary sovereign or outlier? Savior of the city or its destroyer? Epistemophile or –phobe? Upholder or suspender of the law (including the laws of kinship)? Sophocles’ Oedipus tyrannos has been good to think with since its first production in the fifth century BCE. As a meditation on kingship as well as kinship, the play offers a complex Oedipus, if not, perhaps, an Oedipus complex. Sophocles’ meditation on the polis, law, family, knowledge, the structure of mind, desire, and the disease in and of state has proved especially rich for philosophers, psychoanalysts, and theater artists; the play also famously provides the core example for Aristotle’s meditation on tragedy in the Poetics. We will explore the OT as tragedy, as resource, as example and exception. Although no knowledge of Greek is required for this course, there will be assignment options for those who wish to do reading in Greek. Note: This course will be taught twice a week for the first five weeks of Winter 2015 on Tuesdays/Thursdays, 1:30-4:20pm in F 305.

Marxism and Modern Culture

Submitted by vickylim on
31600
ENGL 32300
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
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 depts. and art history. It is not suitable for students in the social sciences. TuTh 1:30-2:50 for all students; If ten or more MAPH students enroll, they will also attend a tutorial session on Friday 8:30-10:20.

Aby Warburg and the origins of Kulturwissenschaft

Submitted by vickylim on
33114
GRMN 33114
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2014-2015
Ingrid Christian

This course explores Aby Warburg as a founder of Kulturwissenschaft in the context of other thinkers of the time such as Jacob Burckhardt, Sigmund Freud, and Walter Benjamin.  Trained as an art historian with an expertise in Renaissance art, Warburg morphed into a historian of images (i.e., Bildwissenschaft) and – more broadly – into a historian of culture.  We will trace Warburg’s cultural historical method as it develops primarily from philology, but also art history, anthropology, the comparative study of religions, and evolutionary biology.  How does Warburg read culture? What is his methodological approach for examining a wide variety of cultural artifacts ranging from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Poliziano’s poetry, and Dürer’s etchings to postal stamps and news photographs? How can these artifacts be vehicles for cultural memory? And how does the transmission of cultural memory in artworks manifest itself in different media such as literary texts, religious processions, astrological treatises, photography, and painting? Moreover, how does Warburg’s work help us contextualize and historicize “interdisciplinarity” today?

MAPH Poetics Core Course

Submitted by vickylim on
34810
MAPH 34800, ENGL 34800
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2014-2015
John Wilkinson

This intensive seminar focuses on recurrent tensions in poetics: for instance, voice and text, object and event, semantics and prosody, invention and representation. The historical span will reach from Plato to Prynne, and discussion will advance between constellations of poems and theoretical texts.

19th Century French Poetry in Translation

Submitted by vickylim on
36012
SCTH 36012, ENGL 36012
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2014-2015
Rosanna Warren

A study of modern French lyric poetry at the graduate level: Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Verlaine, Rimbaud, Apollinaire. Texts will be read in English with reference to the French originals. Close reading, references to poetry in English, and focus on problems in translation. Students with French should read the poems I the original. Class discussion to be conducted in English; critical essays to be written in English.

Early-Modern Aesthetics and French Classicism

Submitted by vickylim on
36200
FREN 36200
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2014-2015
Larry Norman

Though “aesthetic” philosophy first developed as an autonomous field in the mid-eighteenth century, it has important roots in earlier seventeenth-century debates concerning literature and the arts. In the wake of Cartesian rationalism, could reasoned method be reconciled with non-rational creativity, or decorous order with the unruly “sublime”?  Just what kind of “truth” was revealed by poetry or painting?  We will consider the relation between literature and other media (including music, opera, and the visual arts) and gauge the impact of French classical criticism on the broader European scene, considering its reception and contestation in Britain, Italy, Spain and Germany.  Among the authors considered will be Descartes, Pascal, Boileau, Molière, Félibien, Du Bos, Addison, Hutcheson, Vico, Montesquieu, Diderot, and Herder.  Course conducted in English, but reading knowledge of French is required;  students  taking course for French credit must do all written work in French.

Brechtian Representations: Theatre, Theory, Cinema

Submitted by vickylim on
40500
ENGL 44500
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
Loren Kruger

This course will examine the contribution of Brecht, the most influential playwright of the twentieth century and its principal theatre theorist, to the practice and theory of theatre and cinema. We will pay particular attention to the relationships between theory and practice in Brecht's own work so as to clarify the significance of terms that are both concepts and techniques--epic theatre, Verfremdung, gest, historicizing, refunctioning the apparatus, and the formation of the critical audience--and go on to consider the influence (and refunctioning) of Brechtian theory and practice in more recent work of playwrights (Heiner Müller, Peter Weiss,RW Fassbinder, Caryl Churchill, Athol Fugard, Lynn Nottage...), film-makers (Jean-Luc Godard, Alexander Kluge, Fassbinder ...), and theorists (Barthes, Adorno)

The Literary Life of Things in China

Submitted by vickylim on
41410
EALC 41400
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
Judith Zeitlin

This course investigates traditional literary strategies in China through which objects are depicted and animated. Our emphasis will be on reading in primary sources, but we’ll also draw on secondary sources from anthropology, the history of material culture, literary theory, and art history, both from within and outside China studies. 

Each week will introduce some basic genre and key literary works while also foregrounding certain conceptual issues. Ideally, students will select a case study to work on throughout the quarter, which will become their final research paper and which will also help orient their shorter class presentations. The choice of subject for the case study is quite open, so that each student can pursue a project that relates to his or her own central interests. It might be a cultural biography of a real object or class of objects; it might be a study of how objects are deployed in a novel or play, encyclopedia or connoisseurship manual, but there are many other possibilities.  

Renaissance Humanism

Submitted by vickylim on
42503
HIST 42503, CLAS 42514
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
Ada Palmer

Humanism in the Renaissance was an ambitious project to repair what idealists saw as a fallen, broken world by reviving the lost arts of antiquity. Their systematic transformation of literature, education, art, religion, architecture, and science dramatically reshaped European culture, mixing ancient and medieval and producing the foundations of modern thought and society. Readings focus on primary sources: Petrarch, Poggio, Ficino, Pico, Castiglione, Machiavelli, and Thomas More, with a historiographical review of major modern treatments of the topic. We will consider such topics as the history of education, the history of science, the cultural and intellectual history, and the history of the book. The course will include hands-on work with manuscripts and early printed books with sessions on note-taking and other library and research skills. Flexible and self-directed writing assignments with a focus on advanced writing skills.

PQ: Upper-level ugrads with consent of instructor. Students w/ Latin, Gk, Italian, French, Spanish, or German will have the opportunity to use them.

Philosophy and Theology of Judaism

Submitted by vickylim on
43357
PHIL 53357, HIJD 53357, DVPR 53357
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2014-2015
Arnold Davidson

PQ: Reading knowledge of French is required. An examination of the works of some of the most significant twentieth-century philosophers of Judaism. In the first part of the seminar we will examine the philosophical, theological, and ethical foundations of Modern Orthodox Judaism. The principal readings will be Joseph B. Soloveitchik's The Emergence of Ethical Man and Aharon Lichtenstein's By His Light. The second part of the seminar will focus on the post World War II emergence of a new philosophy and theology of Judaism in France. Primary readings will come from Emmanuel Lévinas, Léon Askénazi, Alexandre Safran, and Henri Meschonnic. Special attention will be given to the relation between philosophical argument and analysis, and theological conception and method. 

Spectacle and Surveillance

Submitted by vickylim on
44624
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
W.J.T. Mitchell & Bernard Harcourt

Note: MA students require consent of instructor.

Spectacle and surveillance have been central tactics in the production of political power since at least the early modern era, when the pageants of the Sun King, Louis XIV of France, were accompanied by the spies of Cardinal Richelieu, who kept careful watch for potential rebellion in the provinces. The British empire’s musterings of uniforms, ribbons, and banners in mass formations of loyal subjects were probably as important to the maintenance of imperial power as the actual mustering of armed conflict. At the same time, Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon envisioned a world of incarcerated subjects, all exposed to the gaze of power at all times.  How does it stand with the relation of spectacle and surveillance today, the age of total information storage, retrieval, and big data?  The overall purpose of this seminar will be to reflect on the dialectical pairing of spectacle and surveillance as modes of image power—that is, power over subjects in the case of spectacle, over objects in the case of surveillance—and as modes of governing in our contemporary age of Big Data. While we are interested in the history of this pairing in theoretical discourses on visual culture, politics, law, media, and iconology, our major emphasis will be on contextualizing and analyzing the present state of the surveillance/spectacle dynamic, as well as exploring all the forms of resistance.

Readings will include Michel Foucault, Guy Debord, George Orwell, Glenn Greenwald and selected films dealing with surveillance and spectacle.

Blood Libel: Damascus to Riyadh

Submitted by vickylim on
50104
ISLM 41610
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2014-2015
Michael Sells

This course examines the Blood-Libel from the thirteenth-century to the present, with special focus upon the Damascus Affair of 1840 and its repercussions in the modern Middle Eastern and European contexts and in polemics today among Muslims, Christians and Jews. We will review cases and especially upon literary and artistic representations of ritual murder and sacrificial consumption alleged to have been carried out by Waldensians, Fraticelli, witches, and Jews, with special attention to the forms of redemptive, demonic, and symbolic logic that developed over the course of the centuries and culminated in the wake of the Damascus Affair. Each participant will be asked to translate and annotate a sample primary text, ideally one that has not yet been translated into English, and to use that work as well in connection with a final paper.

PQ: Willingness to work on a text from one of the following languages--Latin, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Hungarian, Russian, Arabic, Modern Greek, or Turkish--at whatever level of proficiency one has attained. This course fulfills the autumn core requirement for first year PhDs in Comparative Literature

Comparative Literary History

Submitted by vickylim on
50203
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
Boris Maslov

This seminar pursues a twofold agenda. First, we will survey the history of criticism and theoretical reflection on change, evolution, receptivity, and traditionality in literature. Second, we will debate how the writing of literary histories – whether national or comparative, form- or author-centered, “continuist” or period-based – can be approached today, and how such work may be useful for other kinds of literary scholarship. In addition to literary theorists, we will read pertinent work in cultural history, philosophy of history, and history of art. Texts discussed to include works by Hegel, Burckhardt, Veselovsky, Warburg, Benjamin, Tynianov, Bakhtin, Blumenberg, Jameson. This course fulfills the winter core requirement for first-year Ph.D. students in Comparative Literature.

Introduction to Drama: Adventures in Time and Space

Submitted by vickylim on
20601
ENGL 10600, TAPS 19300
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
John Muse

This course introduces students to key concepts and interpretive tools to read and understand drama both as text and as performance. Students will learn to read and watch plays and performances closely, taking into account form, character, plot and genre, but also conventions of staging, acting, and spectatorship across historical time and geographic space. Through close reading, theater research, and trips to performances, we will consider how various agents—playwrights, directors, actors, and audiences—generate plays and give them meaning. Essential plays from a range of times and places: Sophocles, Shakespeare, Calderon, Strindberg, Ibsen, Wilder, Pirandello, Brecht, Beckett, Parks, McCraney.

The Global South Asian Diaspora in Literature and Film

Submitted by vickylim on
21970
CRES 21907
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
Chandani Patel

The migration of peoples from South Asia (India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan)
abroad is usually divided into two distinct strands: the first is centered on the migration of
indentured laborers in the late 19th century to locales in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the
Caribbean, while the second takes shape around the post-1960s migration of South Asians to the
UK, USA, and Canada. Scholars whose work focuses on the various communities of South
Asians in all of these places use the word “diaspora” as one that links these groups together. The
term itself is of Greek origin, meaning to scatter or disperse, and in its earliest usages referred to
the dispersal of the Jewish community exiled from its homeland. But in its expanded use,
“diaspora” refers to communities of people who share a common national or ethnic origin, and
often, but not always, a common language and religious belief. This course takes up literary and
cinematic representations of the global South Asian diaspora in order to analyze how they create
narratives about diasporic experiences across historical periods and around the globe. How do
these texts represent the experiences of dislocation, marginalization, and acculturation usually
associated with migration? 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? Can we, and should we try to, read these multifaceted voices
of the South Asian diaspora together? To answer these questions, the course will draw on a
variety of perspectives from literature, history, and sociology and evaluate issues, such as gender,
politics, generational conflict, race, class, and transnational encounters as they pertain to the
course material. The texts under consideration will include novels by Kiran Desai, Jhumpa Lahiri,
and Monica Ali and films by Mira Nair and Gurinder Chadha, among others.

War and Peace

Submitted by vickylim on
22301
32301
RUSS 22302, RUSS 32302, HIST 23704, FNDL 27103, ENGL 28912, ENGL 32302
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
William Nickell

A close reading of Tolstoy's great novel, with attention to theoretical approaches to be found in the large critical apparatus devoted to the novel.

Returning the Gaze: The Balkans and Western Europe

Submitted by vickylim on
23201
33201
SOSL 27200/37200, NEHC 20885/30885
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2014-2015
Angelina Ilieva

The Other Within the Self: Identity in Balkan Literature and Film. This two-course sequence examines discursive practices in a number of literary and cinematic works from the South East corner of Europe through which identities in the region become defined by two distinct others: the “barbaric, demonic” Ottoman and the “civilized” Western European.

This course investigates the complex relationship between South East European self-representations and the imagined Western "gaze" for whose benefit the nations stage their quest for identity and their aspirations for recognition. We also think about differing models of masculinity, the figure of the gypsy as a metaphor for the national self in relation to the West, and the myths Balkans tell about themselves. We conclude by considering the role that the imperative to belong to Western Europe played in the Yugoslav wars of succession. Some possible texts/films are Ivo Andric, Bosnian Chronicle; Aleko Konstantinov, Baj Ganyo; Emir Kusturica, Underground; and Milcho Manchevski, Before the Rain.

Balkan Folklore

Submitted by vickylim on
23301
33301
SOSL 26800/36800, NEHC 20568,NEHC 30568,ANTH 25908,ANTH 35908
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
Angelina Ilieva

Immerse yourself in the magic world of vampires and dragons, bagpipes and uneven beats, quick-step circle dance. This course give an introduction to Balkan folklore from 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, helps us understand folk tradition as a dynamic process – how is oral tradition transmitted, preserved, changed, forgotten? how do illiterate singers learn their long narrative poems, how do musicians learn to play? We consider the function of different folklore genres in the imagining and maintenance of community and the socialization of the individual. The historical/political part will survey the emergence of folklore studies as a discipline as well as the ways it has served in the formation and propagation of the nation in the Balkans. The class will also experience this living tradition first hand through our in-class workshop with the Chicago based dance ensemble “Balkanski igri.” The Annual Balkan Folklore Spring Festival will be held in March at the International House.

The Burden of History: The Nation and Its Lost Paradise

Submitted by vickylim on
23401
33401
SOSL 27300 / 37300, NEHC 20573,NEHC 30573,HIST 24005,HIST 34005
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
Angelina Ilieva

The Other Within the Self: Identity in Balkan Literature and Film. This two-course sequence examines discursive practices in a number of literary and cinematic works from the South East corner of Europe through which identities in the region become defined by two distinct others: the “barbaric, demonic” Ottoman and the “civilized” Western European.

This course begins by defining the nation both historically and conceptually, with attention to Romantic nationalism and its flourishing in Southeastern Europe. We then look at the narrative of original wholeness, loss, and redemption through which Balkan countries retell their Ottoman past. With the help of Freud's analysis of masochistic desire and Žižek's theory of the subject as constituted by trauma, we contemplate the national fixation on the trauma of loss and the dynamic between victimhood and sublimity. The figure of the Janissary highlights the significance of the other in the definition of the self. Some possible texts are Petar Njegoš's Mountain Wreath; Ismail Kadare's The Castle; and Anton Donchev's Time of Parting.

Theories of the Novel

Submitted by vickylim on
23415
ENGL 23415
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
Lawrence Rothfield

Theories of the Novel: This course explores some of the fundamental conceptual issues raised by novels: in what way do plot, character, and authorial intention function in the novel, as opposed to other genres? How are novels formally unified (if they are)? What special problems are associated with beginnings and endings of novels? How do such basic features as titles and chapter divisions contribute to novelistic meanings? What are the ideological presuppositions – about gender, race, class, but also about the nature of social reality, of historicity, and of modernity -- inherent in a novelistic view? What ethical practices and structures of affect do novels encourage?

Gender in the Balkans: Sworn Virgins, Wounded Men & Eternal Mothers

Submitted by vickylim on
23902
33902
SOSL 27601 / 37601, GNSE 27607
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2014-2015
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. The course assumes no prior knowledge of the history of Southeastern Europe, literature or gender theory. All readings in English translation.

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.

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)

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.

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.

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.

Seriously Funny: Comedy, Critique and Transformation

Submitted by vickylim on
26014
GRMN 26014
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2014-2015
B. Loschenkohl

“True earnestness itself invents the comic,” according to Søren Kierkegaard. Exploring philosophies of the comic, as well as filmic and literary material, this seminar seeks to investigate what may be called the serious core of comedy. First, some fundamental theories of comedy, humor and laughter will be introduced. These range from perspectives of supremacy, relief, shallowness or negligibility (especially when compared to the tragic), the mechanic, the lowly/corporeal, to theories of incongruity. We will then focus on the critical, transformative and political potentials of the comic / comedy: Ways in which comedy copes with chance and contingencies; with strategies of resistance and inversion in face of disproportionately more powerful opponents; the comic as a mode of inclusion and exclusion; comedy and its relation to freedom and to the sublime; comedy as a means to exceed, undermine and open up boundaries; the comic as an attempt to get to grips with situations and events we cannot (fully) master. We will also discuss limits and complications of any such critical potential. Readings may include texts by S. Freud, I. Kant, G.W.F. Hegel, F. Th. Vischer, Jean Paul, Søren Kierkegaard, Mikhail Bakhtin, Henri Bergson, Judith Butler, Alenka Zupančič and others; films include works by Ernst Lubitsch and Woody Allen.  Some reading knowledge of German is desirable, but not a course requirement.

The Medieval Persian Romance: Gorgani's Vis and Ramin

Submitted by vickylim on
26016
FNDL 26016
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
Cameron Cross

This class is an enquiry into the medieval romance genre through the close and comparative reading of one of its oldest extant representatives, Gorgâni's Vis & Râmin (w. ca. 1054 CE). With roots that go back to Late Antiquity, this romance is a valuable interlocutor between the Greek novel, Arabic love theory and poetics, and well-known European romances like Tristan, Lancelot, and Cligès: a sustained exploration of psychological turmoil and moral indecision, and a vivid dramatization of the many contradictions inherent in erotic theory, most starkly by the lovers' faithful adultery. By reading Vis & Râmin alongside some of its generic neighbors (Kallirrhoe, Leukippe, Tristan, Cligès), as well as the love-theories of writers like Plato, Avicenna, Jâhiz, Ibn Hazm, and Andreas Cappellanus, we will map out the various kinds of literary work the romance is called upon to do, and investigate myriad and shifting conceptions of romantic love as performance, subjectivity, and moral practice. An optional section introducing selections from the original text in Persian will be available if there is sufficient student interest.

Literatures of Russian and African-American Soul

Submitted by vickylim on
26208
RUSS 26208, RUSS 36208, ENGL 28917
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2014-2015
William Nickell

Among the legacies of slavery, serfdom and colonialism is the idea that dominant, Europeanized cultures have lost something essential, which can still be found in the peoples they have oppressed, and is sometimes vaguely designated by the term "soul." We consider this tendency in the Russian and American traditions, reading texts from both sides of the social and economic divide. Material includes Tolstoy, Turgenev, Douglass, Dostoevsky, DuBois,  Hurston, Hughes, Platonov, Baldwin, & Solzhenitsyn—and lots of music.

Oulipo in Context

Submitted by vickylim on
26510
36510
FREN 26510/36510
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
James Alison

This course will examine the history and achievements of the Paris-based literary collective Oulipo, (Workshop for Potential Literature), from its founding as a secret society in 1960 to its expansion into an internationally visible group. We will consider the group's relationship to (and reaction against) earlier and contemporary avant-garde movements, the French new novel, and structuralism, and we will also examine the reception of Oulipian writing outside France. Readings will include collective publications by the group as well as works by Queneau, Perec, Roubaud, Calvino, Mathews, Grangaud, and others. A weekly session in French will be held for French majors and graduate students. Students seeking French credit must do the readings (where applicable) and writing in French.

The Brighter Side of the Balkans: Humor & Satire in Lit & Film

Submitted by vickylim on
26610
NEHC 20884, NEHC 30884,SOSL 26610, SOSL 36610
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
Angelina Ilieva and Victor Friedman

Laughter is universal but its causes are culturally determined. A joke in one culture can be a shaggy dog story in another.  The figure of the trickster occurs in many places and times and under many guises. Stereotypes can be revelatory about those who deploy them. At the same time, humor can be both an outlet and a danger. There is a special word in Russian for those sentenced to prison for telling political jokes.  This course focuses on Balkan humor, which, like the Balkans itself, is located in a space where "Western Europe", "Eastern Europe" "Central Europe" "The Mediterranean", "The Levant", and the "Near/Middle East" intersect in various ways (linguistically and culturally), compete for dominance or resist domination, and ultimately create a unique--albeit fuzzily bounded--subject of study.

In this course, we examine the poetics of laughter in the Balkans. In order to do so, we introduce humor as both cultural and transnational. We unpack the multiple layers of cultural meaning in the logic of “Balkan humor.” We also examine the functions and mechanisms of laughter, both in terms of cultural specificity and general practice and theories of humor. Thus, the study of Balkan humor will help us elucidate the “Balkan” and the “World,” and will provide insight not only into cultural mores and social relations, but into the very notion of “funny.” Our own laughter in class will be the best measure of our success – both cultural and intellectual.

Marsilio Ficino's "On Love"

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26701
36701
ITAL 33900,FNDL 21103,ITAL 23900
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2014-2015
A. Maggi

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

Voices from the Iron House: Lu Xun’s Works

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27014
37014
EALC 27014/37014
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
Paola Iovene

An exploration of the writings of Lu Xun (1881-1936), widely considered as the greatest Chinese writer of the past century. We will read short stories, essays, prose poetry and personal letters against the backdrop of the political and cultural upheavals of early 20th century China and in dialogue with important English-language scholarly works. 

Faust, Myth of the Modern World

Submitted by vickylim on
27114
GRMN 27114
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2014-2015
David Wellbery

In this course, we will consider three renderings of the Faust myth: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust, Part One, Heinrich Heine’s “dance poem” Faust, and Friedrich Murnau’s expressionist film Faust. In addition to these core readings/viewings, we will study the origins of the Faust myth in sixteenth-century Germany and survey its many transformations across art, literature, and music. This course is an excellent introduction to the history of German literature and culture. All readings and class discussions will be in German.

Imaginary Worlds: Fantastic & Magic Realism in Russia & Southeastern Europe

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27701
37701
SOSL 27700 / 37700, RUSS 27300, RUSS 37300
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
Angelina Ilieva

In this course, we will ask what constitutes the fantastic and magic realism as literary genres while reading some of the most interesting writings to have come out of Russia and Southeastern Europe. While considering the stylistic and narrative specificities of this narrative mode, we also think about its political functions —from subversive to escapist, to supportive of a nationalist imaginary—in different contexts and at different historic moments in the two regions.

A Hero and a Fool: Don Quixote and its impact on art and literature

Submitted by vickylim on
28101
38101
SPAN 24202/34202, REMS 34202, SCTH 38250, FNDL 21211
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2014-2015
Fred de Armas, Thomas Pavel

The course will study the most popular novel of Early Modern times, its heroic origins, its comedy, and its humanist message.  The adventures of Don Quixote on the dusty roads of La Mancha challenge the actual world in the name of a dream and mix the highest ideals with the humblest reality.  We will see how Cervantes’s novel dialogues with the narratives of its period and later play a major role in English, French, Russian, and Spanish fiction.  We will also examine and appreciate the silent omnipresence of Italian Renaissance art in this novel.

The course will be taught in English.  Spanish majors will read the text in the original and use Spanish for course assignments. 

Intro to Comparative Lit I: Problems, Methods, Precedents

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29701
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2014-2015
Rana Choi

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.

Intro to Comp Lit II: Comparative Modernisms: China and India in the Modern Literary World

Submitted by vickylim on
29704
SALC 27300, EALC 25009
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
Adhira Mangalagiri

This course takes a comparative approach to the literary term “modernism.” Instead of reading the term as originating in the West and subsequently travelling to the East, we will explore modernism as a plural and globally constituted literary practice. In doing so, we will also challenge the literary and real categories of “East” and “West.” Reading the roles and imaginations of China, North India, and the (differentiated) West in a variety of texts, we will question the aesthetics and politics of representation, of dynamic cultural exchange, and of the global individual in the modern literary world. Through novels, short stories, poetry, and theoretical orientations, we will conduct close readings and develop working definitions of cross-cultural comparative modernisms. Contributing to recent interest in China-India relationships, this course also aims to uncover new dialogues between Chinese and Indian writers during the modern period. Literary readings include E.M. Forster, Franz Kafka, Lu Xun, Yu Dafu, Premchand, Nirmal Verma, among others. We will also consider the theoretical works of Fredric Jameson, Edward Said, and Georg Lukacs, and others. All readings will be in English.