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Comparative Methods in the Humanities

Submitted by michalpa on
20109
ENGL 28918
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2018-2019
Joshua Scodel

This course introduces models of comparative analysis across national literatures, genres, and media by focusing on poetry in different languages and cultures and in relation to other discursive and artistic forms.  We will examine a wide variety of poetic and critical texts in order to explore such topics as the specificity of poetry and of poetic kinds; orality and folk, art, and popular song; poetry’s relation to prose (from philosophy to autobiography to journalism); transnational imitation and translation; poetry and globalization; ekphrasis and poetry’s relations to visual arts; and poetry and film.  Readings will likely include poems by Sappho, Horace, Dante, Li Bai, Du Fu, Ronsard, Shakespeare, Milton, Basho, Goethe, Wordsworth, Robert Browning, and Dylan; and critical writings by Longinus, Plutarch, Montaigne, Li Zhi, Wordsworth, Auerbach, Jakobson, Adorno, Pasolini, Zumthor, Culler, and Damrosch.

Introduction To Drama

Submitted by michalpa on
20601
TAPS 19300, ENGL 10600
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
John Muse

This course explores the unique challenges of experiencing performance through the page. Students will read plays and performances closely, taking into account not only form, character, plot, and genre, but also theatrical considerations like staging, acting, spectatorship, and historical conventions. We will also consider how various agents—playwrights, readers, directors, actors, and audiences—generate plays and give them meaning. While the course is not intended as a survey of dramatic literature or theater history, students will be introduced to a variety of essential plays from across the dramatic tradition. The course culminates in a scene project assignment that allows students put their skills of interpretation and adaptation into practice. No experience with theater is expected. (Gateway, Drama)

Brecht and Beyond

Submitted by michalpa on
20800
ENGL 24400, CMST 26200, TAPS 28435
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2018-2019
Loren Kruger

Brecht is indisputably the most influential playwright in the 20th century, but his influence on film theory and practice and on cultural theory generally is also considerable. 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 and film esp Kühle Wampe) to the classical parable plays, as well as the work of his heirs in German theatre (Heiner Müller, Peter Weiss) and film (RW Fassbinder, Alexander Kluge), in French film (Jean-Luc Godard) and cultural theory (the Situationists and May 68), film and theatre in Britain (such as Caryl Churchill or Mike Leigh), theatre and film in Africa, from South Africa to Senegal, and if possible a film or play from the US that engages with Brechtian theory and/or practice. (Drama)
Prerequisites
TAPS and/or Hum Core required; no first years.

Comparative Fairy Tales

Submitted by michalpa on
21600
GRMN 28500, HUMA 28400, NORW 28500
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2018-2019
Kim Kenny

How do we account for the allure of fairy tales? For some, fairy tales count as sacred tales meant to enchant rather than edify. For others, they are cautionary tales, replete with obvious moral lessons. For the purposes of the course, we will assume that these critics are correct in their contention that fairy tales contain essential underlying meanings. We will conduct our own readings of fairy tales from the German Brothers Grimm, the Norwegians, Asbjørnsen and Moe and the Dane, Hans Christian Andersen, relying on our own critical skills as well as selected secondary readings.

Trans Performativity

Submitted by michalpa on
23112
GNSE 23112, ENGL 23112
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
STAFF

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?

Spanish Cinema-Basque Cinema

Submitted by michalpa on
23810
BASQ 24710, SPAN 24716
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2018-2019
Diana Palenzuela Rodrigo

This course explores Basque cinema from its beginnings to our days while also reviewing Spanish cinema from a Basque point of view. Among other topics, the course will explore the nationalist imaginary and its influence in film, the centrality of gender (and motherly) representations in Basque cinema, Basque films' recent tendency to become Spanish blockbusters outselling Hollywood, and allusions to the Basque Country in Spanish cinema.

Unveiling Chivalry: Chivalric literature in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (1100-1600)

Submitted by isagor on
24218
CMLT 24218, ITAL 24218
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
Filippo Petricca

The myth of chivalry has been fostered and reshaped from the Middle Ages to the present with damsels-in-distress, knights' self-sacrifice, adventures and courtly love. But how was chivalry in the 11th or the 16th century literature different from today's perception? What changed between historical chivalry and its fictional representation? This course aims to challenge the narrative of chivalry as one conventionally characterized by rise and fall, or a movement from virtue to parody, or spirituality to skepticism. We will see instead how each literary text provides multiple layers of interpretation and how chivalry is redefined across time and space. Exploring the notion of chivalry will also allow us to focus on the so-called "spirituality" of the Middle Ages and the relationship between the Renaissance and the past. We will study chivalric literature from the Chanson de Roland to Cervantes's Don Quijote. A strong emphasis will be given to Italian literature, including Dante's Commedia, Boccaccio's Decameron and Ariosto's Orlando furioso. Readings will also include Chrétien de Troyes's Lancelot and Perceval, with a final session devoted to T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land. Taught in English.

Unveiling Chivalry: Chivalric literature in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (1100-1600)

Submitted by isagor on
24218
ITAL 24218
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
Filippo Petricca

The myth of chivalry has been fostered and reshaped from the Middle Ages to the present with damsels-in-distress, knights' self-sacrifice, adventures and courtly love. But how was chivalry in the 11th or the 16th century literature different from today's perception? What changed between historical chivalry and its fictional representation? This course aims to challenge the narrative of chivalry as one conventionally characterized by rise and fall, or a movement from virtue to parody, or spirituality to skepticism. We will see instead how each literary text provides multiple layers of interpretation and how chivalry is redefined across time and space. Exploring the notion of chivalry will also allow us to focus on the so-called "spirituality" of the Middle Ages and the relationship between the Renaissance and the past. We will study chivalric literature from the Chanson de Roland to Cervantes's Don Quijote. A strong emphasis will be given to Italian literature, including Dante's Commedia, Boccaccio's Decameron and Ariosto's Orlando furioso. Readings will also include Chrétien de Troyes's Lancelot and Perceval, with a final session devoted to T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land. Taught in English.

Uncanny Encounters in Global Medieval Literature

Submitted by michalpa on
24610
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
Sam Lasman

Meetings with ghosts, dragons, elves, and jinn – violent or erotic, compassionate or unsettling – animate many key texts of the Middle Ages. Unlike in our stereotypes of a past when people blamed their daily problems on witches or demons, medieval literature depicts strange beings, dangerous monsters, and otherworld realms as anything but quotidian. Rather, medieval protagonists regularly find their lives changed by experiences with the strange.
In this course, we will interrogate the literary and cultural meanings of these uncanny encounters through close readings of primary texts in translation from across medieval Eurasia – including Norse sagas, Persian epics, Celtic legends, Tibetan hagiographies, and Japanese drama. We will draw on comparative methods in responding analytically and creatively to these underappreciated works.

Foucault And The History Of Sexuality

Submitted by michalpa on
25001
PHIL 24800, FNDL 22001, GNSE 23100, HIPS 24300, KNOW 27002
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
Arnold Ira Davidson

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.
Prerequisites
One prior philosophy course is strongly recommended.

Reading Nonhuman Animals: A Challenge to Anthropocentrism

Submitted by isagor on
25218
ITAL 25218
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2018-2019
Elizabeth Tavella

How can we "read" a literary nonhuman animal? In what ways does literature deal with ethical and political issues concerning nonhuman animals? What does it mean to live in a multicultural and multispecies world? What does it mean to be "human"? In this course we will ask these and other related questions as they are presented and represented in Italian 20th-century literary texts, read alongside philosophical writings, scholarly essays, and visual materials. While maintaining a focus on Italian literature, a comparative approach involving literary works of non-Italian authors will be key in understanding the pervasiveness of the problems that have caused our detachment from nature and our broken relationship with nonhuman animals. We will closely analyze and critically evaluate the works of several authors, including those by Italo Calvino, Primo Levi, Anna Maria Ortese, Elsa Morante, Italo Svevo, Alice Walker, and Franz Kafka, giving particular attention to techniques of close reading. A thematic approach will enable us to explore a large number of critical discourses, from the moral status of nonhuman animals to the long-held assumptions regarding the anthropocentric set of values that have defined (Western) culture. We will also take into consideration different theoretical frameworks such as posthumanist theory and gender studies in order to discuss and evaluate the selected texts from different perspectives and entry points.

Commentary and Authority

Submitted by michalpa on
25315
EALC 25315
  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019
Alia Breitwieser

Commentary--whether published formally or distributed through social media--is essential to our understanding of past and current events, books, and films. But what is at stake in each act of commentary? How does commentary work upon its base text and readers? Traditional Chinese commentary provides unparalleled material for thinking through these questions. This course delves into several influential and controversial works of traditional Chinese commentary, ranging from the *Zuo Tradition* (c. 4th century BCE) to 17th-century fiction commentary. Combining close reading with carefully guided writing exercises, the sessions are intended to show the critical role commentary played in the development of pre-modern Chinese reading practices and assist students in honing their ability to negotiate and wield commentary in work and daily life.

The Literature of Disgust, Rabelais to Nausea

Submitted by michalpa on
26301
ENGL 26300
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2018-2019
Zachary Samalin

This course will survey a range of literary works which take the disgusting as their principle aesthetic focus, while also providing students with an introduction to core issues and concepts in the history of aesthetic theory, such as the beautiful and the sublime, disinterested judgment and purposive purposelessness, taste and distaste. At the same time, our readings will allow us to explore the ways in which the disgusting has historically been utilized as a way of producing socially critical literature, by representing that which a culture categorically attempts to marginalize, exclude and expel. Readings will engage with the variety of aesthetic functions that the disgusting has been afforded throughout modern literary history, including the
carnivalesque and grotesque in Rabelais and the bawdy and satirical in Swift; Zola’s gruesome naturalism, Sartre’s existential nausea and Clarice Lispector’s narrative of spiritual abjection; as well as Thomas Bernhard’s experiments with contempt and Dennis Cooper’s pseudo‐pornographic genre explorations. We will read widely in literary and cultural theories of disgust, as well as in the psychological and biological
literature of the emotion. Prerequisite: Strong stomach. (Pre-1650, 1650-1830, 1830-1940, Fiction, Theory)

Woman/Native

Submitted by michalpa on
27003
ENGL 27003, CRES 27013, GNSE 27013
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2018-2019
Sonali Thakkar

This course reads works of postcolonial literature and theory in order to consider the entanglements of the figures of “women” and “natives” in colonial as well as postcolonial discourse. We will discuss topics such as the persistent feminization of the profane, degraded, and contagious bodies of colonized natives; representations of women as both the keepers and the victims of “authentic” native culture; the status (symbolic and otherwise) of women in anti-colonial resistance and insurgency; and the psychic pathologies (particularly nervous conditions of anxiety, hysteria, and madness) that appear repeatedly in these works as states to which women and/as natives are especially susceptible.

Authors may include Ama Ata Aidoo, Hélène Cixous J.M Coetzee, Maryse Condé, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Mahasweta Devi, Assia Djebar, Frantz Fanon, Sigmund Freud, Silvia Federici, Nuruddin Farah, Bessie Head, V.S. Naipaul, Jean Rhys, Tayeb Salih, Ousmane Sembène, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak.
(Fiction, Theory)

Renaissance Demonology

Submitted by michalpa on
27602
HIST 22110, ITAL 26500, RLST 26501
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2018-2019
Armando Maggi

In this course we analyze the complex concept of demonology according to early modern European culture from a theological, historical, philosophical, and literary point of view. The term 'demon' in the Renaissance encompasses a vast variety of meanings. Demons are hybrids. They are both the Christian devils, but also synonyms for classical deities, and Neo-platonic spiritual beings. As far as Christian theology is concerned, we read selections from Augustine's and Thomas Aquinas's treatises, some complex exorcisms written in Italy, and a recent translation of the infamous Malleus maleficarum, the most important treatise on witch-hunt. We pay close attention to the historical evolution of the so-called witch-craze in Europe through a selection of the best secondary literature on this subject, with special emphasis on Michel de Certeau's The Possession at Loudun. We also study how major Italian and Spanish women mystics, such as Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi and Teresa of Avila, approach the issue of demonic temptation and possession. As far as Renaissance Neoplatonic philosophy is concerned, we read selections from Marsilio Ficino's Platonic Theology and Girolamo Cardano's mesmerizing autobiography. We also investigate the connection between demonology and melancholy through a close reading of the initial section of Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy and Cervantes's short story The Glass Graduate (El licenciado Vidriera).