We will take a transatlantic and hemispheric approach to examining the political, epistemological, and aesthetic dimensions of the concept of the Baroque, by reading European and Latin American theory and poetry from three centuries (17th, 20th, 21st). The course is purposefully designed to put modern and early modern texts in constant dialogue. The literary essays of 20th-c. Latin American writers such as Lezama Lima and Alfonso Reyes, for instance, will illuminate the 17th-c. poems of Góngora and Sor Juana, while these will be read in conjunction with those of José Kozer, Luis Felipe Fabre, and Tamara Kamenszain. The remarkable persistence of the Baroque across centuries, geographies, and cultures raises a number of questions. Why has the Baroque not gone out of fashion, but rather, been reborn again and again? How does this apparently recondite mode manage to remain politically relevant and articulate urgent ideas in its moment? How does the Baroque provide poets with a prism through which to explore questions of subjectivity, originality, and capital? How does the Baroque contribute to or complicate notions of intertextuality? How does a Baroque aesthetic theorize accumulation and waste in developing capitalist and late capitalist societies? How does the connection between the neo-Baroque and antropofagia, the Brazilian notion of cultural cannibalism, play out in poems not only written in Brazil, but also throughout Latin America and in the U.S.? Although the course will be conducted in English, most of the materials will also be available in Spanish.
The Literary Life of Things in China
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. Students will select a case study to work on throughut 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.
Literary Theory: Pre-Modern, Non-Western, Not Exclusively Literary
Readings in theories of literature and related arts from cultures other than those of the post-1900 industrialized regions. What motivated reflection on verbal art in Greece, Rome, early China, early South Asia, and elsewhere? Rhetoric, hermeneutics, commentary, allegory, and other modes of textual analysis will be approached through source texts, using both originals and translations. Authors to be considered include Confucius, Plato, Aristotle, Zhuangzi, Sima Qian, Augustine, Liu Xie, Abhinavagupta, Dante, Li Zhi, Rousseau, Lessing, Schlegel, and Saussure. This course fulfulls the Autumn core requirement for first-year Ph.D. students in Comparative Literature.
Comparative Methods in the Humanities
This course introduces the models of comparative analysis across national literatures, genres, and media. The texts to be discussed include Orson Welles’s “Citizen Kane” and Coleridge’s poem “Kubla Khan”; Benjamin’s “The Storyteller,” Kafka’s “Josephine the Mouse Singer,” Deleuze and Guattari, Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, and Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Storyteller; Victor Segalen’s Stèles; Fenollosa and Pound’s “The Chinese Character as a Medium of Poetry” and Eliot Weinberger’s Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei; Mérimée, “Carmen,” Bizet, Carmen, and the film adaptation U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha (South Africa, 2005); Gorky’s and Kurosawa’s “Lower Depths;” Molière, Tartuffe, Dostoevsky, The Village Stepanchikovo and its Inhabitants, and Bakhtin, “Discourse in the Novel”; Gogol, The Overcoat, and Boris Eikhenbaum, “How Gogol’s Overcoat Is Made.”
Prosody and Poetic Form: An Introduction to Comparative Metrics
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.
This course introduces what was singular about the art and craft of silent film. Its general outline is chronological. We also discuss main national schools and international trends of film making. Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 28500,ARTH 38500,ARTV 26500,ARTV 36500,CMLT 22400,CMLT 32400,CMST 48500,ENGL 29300,ENGL 48700,MAPH 36000
Fate and Duty: European Tragedy from Aeschylus to Brecht
GRMN 22402, CLCV 22117, CLAS 32117, REES 22402
This class will explore the development of European drama from Attic tragedy and comedy and their reception in Ancient Rome and French Neoclassicism to the transformation of dramatic form in 18-20th c. European literatures. The focus will be on the evolution of plot, characterization, time-and-space of dramatic action, ethical notions (free will, guilt, conscience), as well as on representations of affect. All readings in English. No prerequisites.
GNSE 23112, ENGL 23112
In this course we will explore how these dialogues and conflicts between gender studies, queer theory, and trans studies have developed and transformed our understandings of categories like “gender,” “sex” and “trans.” Some guiding questions will be: how do we, and should we, conceive the materiality of the body? How do assumptions about ‘nature’ and the ‘natural’ determine how we view categories of identity, and what are the political ramifications of these determinations? Why, within certain discourses, has the fluidity of gender been promoted, while the fluidity of race remains controversial and generally unsupported? How do we account for these different receptions, and what kind of opportunities do they make available for politically engaged communities? How can we simultaneously value performative theories of gender, while also maintaining a certain stability of identity as developed within trans criticism, even when these two discourses seem in direct conflict?
Returning the Gaze: the West and the Rest
REES 2/39012, NEHC 2/30885
Aware of being observed. And judged. Inferior... Abject… Angry... Proud… This course provides insight into identity dynamics between the “West,” as the center of economic power and self-proclaimed normative humanity, and the “Rest,” as the poor, backward, volatile periphery. We investigate the relationship between South East European, Russian, Turkish self-representations and the imagined Western gaze. Inherent in the act of looking at oneself through the eyes of another is the privileging of that other’s standard. We will contemplate the responses to this existential position of identifying symbolically with a normative site outside of oneself -- self-consciousness, defiance, arrogance, self-exoticization -- and consider how these responses have been incorporated in the texture of the national, gender, and social identities in the region. Orhan Pamuk, Ivo Andrić, Nikos Kazantzakis, Aleko Konstantinov, Emir Kusturica, Milcho Manchevski, Alexander Herzen, Fyodor Dostoevsky
Foucault: History Of Sexuality
PHIL 24800, FNDL 22001, GNSE 23100, HIPS 24300, KNOW 27002
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.
States of Surveillance
REES 29024, REES 39024, CMLT 39024
What does it feel to be watched and listened to all the time? Literary and cinematic works give us a glimpse into the experience of living under surveillance and explore the human effects of surveillance – the fraying of intimacy, fracturing sense of self, testing the limits of what it means to be human. Works from the former Soviet Union (Solzhenitsyn, Abram Tertz, Andrey Zvyagintsev), former Yugoslavia (Ivo Andrić, Danilo Kiš, Dušan Kovačević), Romania (Norman Manea, Cristian Mungiu), Bulgaria (Valeri Petrov), and Albania (Ismail Kadare).
B.A. Project & Workshop: Comparative Literature
This workshop begins in Autumn Quarter and continues through the middle of Spring Quarter. While the BA workshop meets in all three quarters, it counts as a one-quarter course credit. Students may register for the course in any of the three quarters of their fourth year. A grade for the course is assigned in the Spring Quarter, based partly on participation in the workshop and partly on the quality of the BA paper. Attendance at each class section required.