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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.

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.

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.

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"

Submitted by vickylim on
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

Submitted by vickylim on
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. 

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

Submitted by vickylim on
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.