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Antigone(s)

Submitted by jenniequ on
31221
SCTH 31221, GREK 3/45808
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2015-2016
Laura Slatkin

Antigone: heroine or harridan? Political dissident or family loyalist? Harbinger of the free subject or captive of archaic gender norms? Speaking truth to power or preserving traditional privilege? Sophocles’ Antigone has been good to think with since its first production in the fifth century BCE. From ancient commentators through Hegel to contemporary gender theorists like Judith Butler, readers have grappled with what Butler calls “Antigone’s Claim.” The play’s exploration of gender, kinship, citizenship, law, resistance to authority, family vs. the state, and religion (among other issues) has proved especially compelling for modern thought. We will supplement our reading of the play with modern commentary grounded in literary interpretation and cultural poetics, as well as philosophy and political theory. We will end by considering three modern re-imaginings of Antigone: Jeean Anouilh’s Antigone, Athol Fugard’s The Island, and Ellen McLaughlin’s Kissing the Floor. Although no knowledge of Greek is required for this course, there will be assignment options for those who wish to do reading in Greek. Requirements: weekly readings and posting on Chalk; class presentation; final paper.

This class will be taught twice a week during the first five weeks of the quarter.

The Bakhtin Mystery: Text, Context, and Authorship

Submitted by vickylim on
34505
REES 33147
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2015-2016
Boris Maslov; Robert Bird

The Bakhtin Circle was an informal alliance of several young thinkers, formed amid the tumult of the Russian revolution, swiftly forced into silence after a brief efflorescence in the 1920s, and rediscovered with aplomb in the 1960s. Despite their broad influence in recent decades, basic issues of authorship, originality and coherence continue to dominate scholarship on Bakhtin and his colleagues. We will survey the corpus of texts originating in the Bakhtin Circle, not only those published under the name of Mikhail Bakhtin, but also the explicitly Marxist texts published under the names of Pavel Medvedev and Valentin Voloshinov but frequently attributed to Bakhtin. At issue in the course is not only the historiography and interpretation of the Bakhtin corpus, but also the origins of critical theory, the dynamics of theoretical collaboration, and methods of attribution. We will also be interested in the potential that these writings hold for constructing a viable theory of literary forms today. Our first task will be to establish the sources, contexts and development of Bakhtin's early work, including "Toward a Philosophy of the Act," "Art and Answerability" and Problems of Dostoevsky's Art. We will then examine the works published by Medvedev and Voloshinov, using the mystery of their authorship to frame questions concerning the organization of intellectual activity (including authorship) in a revolutionary situation and the role of the Bakhtin Circle in the development of critical theory in the West (especially via the mediation of Raymond Williams and Fredric Jameson). We will then proceed to an examination of major concepts in Bakhtin's later work, including chronotope and carnival. Students will collaborate on the creation of a web-based glossary of major terms of the Bakhtin Circle, as the germ of a larger project. All texts are available in English translation.

Theories of Narrative

Submitted by vickylim on
38300
CLAS 38315, REES 33158
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2015-2016
Boris Maslov

This class serves as an introduction to critical approaches to narrative, story-telling, and discourse analysis. While the emphasis will be on the Formalist-Structuralist tradition (Shklovsky, Propp, Tomashevsky, Jakobson, Benveniste, Barthes, Genette), we will also discuss works by Plato, Aristotle, Bakhtin, Benjamin, Auerbach, Pavel, Banfield, Silverstein, and others. Part of our task will be to test these approaches against narratives produced in different genres and historical periods (authors will include Pindar, Apuleius, Pushkin, Leskov, and Nabokov). Students will have the option of either writing a research paper or doing a final exam. Required books for this class are: V. Propp, The Morphology of the Folktale (Austin: U. of Texas Press); G. Genette, Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method (Ithaca: Cornell UP); R. Barthes, S/Z (New York: Hill and Wang).

Empire, Slavery, and Salvation: Writing Difference in the Colonial Americas

Submitted by jenniequ on
38810
SPAN 38810, LACS 38810
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2015-2016
Larissa Brewer-García

This course explores portrayals of human difference in literature, travel writing, painting, and autobiography from Iberia, England, and the Americas. Students will become versed in debates surrounding the emergence of human distinctions based on religion, race, and ethnicity in the early modern Atlantic.

Approaches to Teaching Comparative Literature II

Submitted by jenniequ on
41204
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2015-2016
Adhira Mangalagiri, Megan Macklin, Chloe Blackshear

This course explores approaches and curricula related to teaching Comparative Literature in different university and college settings. We will begin with discussing course objectives and how these are related to the missions of institutions, programs of study, student demographics, as well as the specificities of handling literary texts. Next, we will hold a series of genre-specific sessions to familiarize ourselves with the kinds of texts we may be expected to teach, while practicing skills such as leading discussion, designing assignments, and organizing class time. Lastly, we will discuss ways to reflect on and convey our personal teaching methods through teaching statements and portfolios.

We will hold two syllabus workshop sessions. Towards the beginning of the quarter, we will discuss introductory, survey-style syllabi at various institutions. At the end of the quarter, we will each produce and workshop a self-designed syllabus tailored to our own research and pedagogical interests.

The overall goal of the course is to prepare participants to teach in a post-secondary setting by deepening our understanding of what practices constitute effective teaching, and by producing documents related to the teaching of college-level courses.

Note: This course will meet for 20 hours during the quarter in order to count towards the Certificate in University Teaching offered through the Chicago Center for Teaching (CCT). Since part of this course involves critical reflection on teaching, it is only open to those students who have previously taught at the college-level in some capacity, either as a course assistant or standalone instructor

Aeschylus and the Birth of Drama

Submitted by vickylim on
42804
CLAS 42815
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2015-2016
Boris Maslov

In this advanced seminar we will undertake an in-depth study of different aspects of the surviving corpus of Aeschylus (including meter, dialect, narrative, thematics, plot-construction, and ritual context), while placing it in a comparative context of early forms of drama and varieties of choral performance attested across the world. In addition to discussing all of Aeschylus’s surviving works in English translation, we will read at least two of his plays in Greek (most likely, Agamemnon and Seven Against Thebes). We will also read important scholarship on Aeschylus. Advanced knowledge of Greek is a prerequisite.

Poetry and Theory: Mallarmé

Submitted by vickylim on
43351
DVPR 43351, FREN 43351
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2015-2016
Françoise Meltzer and Jean-Luc Marion

This course will undertake a close reading (in French) of seminal texts (essays and translation as well as poems) by Mallarmé. We will also read older critical interpretations (Mauron, Sartre, H. Friedrich, Robert Greer Cohn, Scherer, J-P Richard, Poulet, eg) and more contemporary theorists (Derrida, Blanchot, De Man, Jameson, Johnson, Kristeva, Rancière, bersani, Zizek). Finally, we will read him in conjunction with some other, more or less overtly philosophical texts (Heidegger, Badiou, Nietzsche, Meschonnic, e.g.). Reading knowledge of French is REQUIRED, though the course will be conducted in English.

Literary Criticism from Plato to Burke

Submitted by vickylim on
50105
ENGL 52502
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2015-2016
Joshua Scodel

This seminar will explore Western literary criticism from Plato to the late eighteenth-century conceived of as a prehistory of comparative literature as a discipline.  The course will take as its particular lens the critical treatment of epic in some of the following authors: Plato, Aristotle, Longinus, Horace, Montaigne, Tasso, Giraldi, Sidney, Boileau, Le Bossu, St. Evremond, Dryden, Addison, Voltaire, Fielding, and Burke. The course will also examine both twentieth-century comparative approaches to epic (e.g., Auerbach, Curtius, Frye) and more recent debates within comparative literature with an eye to continuities and discontinuities in critical method and goals. 

Seminar: Catharsis & Other Aesthetic Responses

Submitted by vickylim on
50200
ENGL 59304
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2015-2016
Loren Kruger

This seminar examines the ramifications of catharsis, tedium 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) and tedium (Heidegger and again Barthes). We will conclude with a test case, exploring the potential and limitations of catharsis as an appropriate response to the textual and cinematic representation of trauma and reckoning in post dictatorship Chile, particularly through the critical work of Tomas Moulián and Nelly Richard.  The focus will be on theoretical texts but some reference will be made to literary and cinematic material by Sophocles, Shakespeare, Brecht, Renoir, and Guzmán. Because an essential part of the discussion will be the problem of translating key terms from one language to another as well as from one theoretical discourse and/or medium to another, the seminar is reserved for PhD students with a working knowledge of one or more of the following languages: French, German, Spanish and/or classical Greek.

Seminar: Contemporary Critical Theory

Submitted by vickylim on
50201
DVPR 50201
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2015-2016
Françoise Meltzer

Postcolonial Constellations

Submitted by vickylim on
56702
ENGL 66702
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2015-2016
Sonali Thakkar

This course trains graduate-level students in postcolonial theory and literature, and it contends that we can best understand postcolonial studies neither in terms of a canon of literary works nor in terms of a discrete historical moment but as a set of key questions and debates that have shaped methods of literary and cultural interpretation and intellectual inquiry over the three decades in which postcolonial literary and culture studies have coalesced (and now, perhaps disintegrated) as a field. We will consider topics such as writing and resistance, postcolonial literary revisions, mimicry and hybridity, and gender. We will also consider whether “postcolonial literature” as a category has a future in the discipline of English literary studies, particularly in light of the ongoing sense of crisis theorists in the field have identified and the ascendance of terms such as “planetarity,” “global Anglophone literature,” and “world literature.” What is the status of the global in the postcolonial, and vice-versa? What is gained or lost when we revise or abandon the term postcolonial? What conceptual significance does the nation-state retain when we talk about global literature?

Authors and critics will include Emily Apter, Homi Bhabha, Aimé Césaire, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Michelle Cliff, Frantz Fanon, Leela Gandhi, Édouard Glissant, Mohsin Hamid, Bessie Head, Isabel Hofmeyr, C.L.R. James, Achille Mbembe, Walter Mignolo, V.S. Naipaul, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Michael Ondaatje, Edward Said, David Scott, W.G. Sebald, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, among others.