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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: Catharsis & Other Aesthetic Responses

Submitted by vickylim on
50200
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Loren Kruger

Consent of instructor. Fulfills the core course requirement for CompLit students. Students who wish to take this course but have already taken a Comparative Literature core course may take this course with permission of the instructor. For other humanities PhDs: ACTIVE working knowledge of at least one of the following: French, German, (classical) Greek or Spanish. This PhD seminar examines the ramifications of catharsis 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), judgment (Kant, Bourdieu) and boredom (Spacks). We will conclude with a test case, exploring the potential and limitations of catharsis as an appropriate response to the literary and cinematic representation of trauma in and after the Argentine 'dirty war.' An essential part of the discussion will be the problem of translating key terms, not only from one language to another but also from one theoretical discourse and/or medium to another.

Seminar: Catharsis and other Aesthetic Responses

Submitted by Anonymous on
50200
=ENGL 59304, CMST 50200
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2009-2010
Loren Kruger

PQ: Consent of instructor, outside students will be accepted, with the class size limited to 15 students, as long as the majority of the students are CompLit Grad students and PhD students in English Language and Literature and Cinema and Media Studies. Fulfills the core course requirement for CompLit students. Students who wish to take this course but have already taken a Comparative Literature core course may take this course with permission of the instructor. For other humanities PhDs: ACTIVE working knowledge of at least one of the following: French, German, (classical) Greek or Spanish. This PhD seminar examines the ramifications of catharsis 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), judgment (Kant, Bourdieu) and boredom (Spacks). We will conclude with a test case, exploring the potential and limitations of catharsis as an appropriate response to the literary and cinematic representation of trauma in and after the Argentine 'dirty war.' An essential part of the discussion will be the problem of translating key terms, not only from one language to another but also from one theoretical discourse and/or medium to another.

Contemporary Critical Theory

Submitted by ldzoells on
50201
DVPR 50201
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
Françoise Meltzer

This course will examine some of the salient texts of postmodernism. Part of the question of the course will be the status and meaning of “post”-modern, post-structuralist. The course requires active and informed participation.

Contemporary Critical Theory

Submitted by jenniequ on
50201
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2016-2017
Françoise Meltzer

This course will examine some of the salient texts of postmodernism. Part of the question of the course will be the status and meaning of “post”-modern, post-structuralist. The course requires active and informed participation.

This course fulfills the winter core requirement for first-year Ph.D. students in Comparative Literature.

Seminar: Contemporary Critical Theory

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

Seminar: Contemporary Critical Theory

Submitted by vickylim on
50201
DVPR 50201
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2013-2014
Françoise Meltzer

This course will examine some of the salient texts of postmodernism. Part of the question of the course will be the status and meaning of “post”-modern, post-structuralist. The course requires active and informed participation.

Seminar: Contemporary Critical Theory

Submitted by Anonymous on
50201
=DVPR 50201
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2010-2011
Françoise Meltzer

PQ: Consent of instructor. Outside students will be accepted, with the class size limited to 15 students, as long as the majority of the students are CompLit Grad students and PhD students in the Divinity Scbool (Philosophy of Religion). Fulfills the core course requirement for CompLit students. Students who wish to take this course but have already taken a Comparative Literature core course may take this course with permission of the instructor. This course will examine some of the salient texts of postmodernism. Part of the question of the course will be the status and meaning of post-modern, post-structuralist. The course requires active and informed participation.

Seminar: Historicism and the Comparative Method

Submitted by vickylim on
50202
SLAV 50202, GRMN 40213
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2012-2013
Boris Maslov

This seminar will explore historicism as a theoretical problem in the study of literature. Our particular foci will be the development of historicism as a distinctly modern hermeneutic mode from the 18th c. to the 20th c.; its relation to organicism, aestheticism, and evolutionism; the rise of comparative literature alongside other "comparative disciplines" on a historicist-empiricist basis in the second half of the 19th century; literary methodologies that profess a version of historicism (Historical Poetics, (Neo)-Marxism, New Historicism). Critics discussed will include Johann von Herder, Alexander Veselovsky, Georg Lukács, Mikhail Bakhtin, Erich Auerbach, Leo Spitzer, Fredric Jameson, Reinhart Koselleck, and Carlo Ginzburg. 

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.

Destruction of Images, Books and Artifacts in Europe and South Asia

Submitted by ldzoells on
50204
CDIN 50204; SALC 50204; SCTH 50204; RLVC 50204; HREL 50204; ARTH 40204
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2017-2018
Olga Solovieva and Tyler Williams

The course offers a comparative perspective on European and South Asian iconoclasm. In the European tradition, iconoclasm was predominantly aimed at images, whereas in South Asian traditions it was also enacted upon books and buildings. The combination of these traditions will allow us to extend the usual understanding of iconoclasm as the destruction of images to a broader phenomenon of destruction of cultural artifacts and help question the theories of image as they have been independently developed in Europe and South Asia, and occasionally in conversation with one another. We will ask how and why, in the context of particular political imaginaries and material cultures, were certain objects singled out for iconoclasm? Also, who was considered to be entitled or authorized to commit their destruction? Through a choice of concrete examples of iconoclasm, we will query how religious and political motivations are defined, redefined, and intertwined in each particular case. We will approach the iconoclastic events in Europe and South Asia through the lenses of philology, history, and material culture. Class discussions will incorporate not only textual materials, but also the close collaborative study of images, objects, and film. Case studies will make use of objects in the Art Institute of Chicago and Special Collections at the University Library.

The Politics of Taste

Submitted by Anonymous on
50500
=ENGL 42403, PPHA 37501
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2007-2008
Larry Rothfield

Taste has long been a concern of public policy. This course examines the history of efforts to define, monitor, control, and shape public tastes. Among the questions to be considered are: what constitutes a taste? What do tastes consist of? How can tastes be measured? What is hip, and how does fashion or faddishness affect tastes? What is the difference between good taste, distastefulness, and bad taste? How do these distinctions manifest themselves, and what ideological work do they do? What norms, principles, and interests underlie the distinction between good and bad taste, high-brow/middle-brow/lowbrow, the excellent and the merely popular? What tools are available for shaping tastes? We will discuss a few classic discussions of taste (Hume, Veblen, Adorno); more recent work on the subject by cultural critics, sociologists, and economists (Pierre Bourdieu, Michel Foucault, Raymond Williams, Paul Dimaggio, Pierre Bourdieu, Richard Peterson, Gary Becker); and recent policy research and governmental initiatives designed to affect public tastes. We will also be looking at some cases where works of literature, art, dance, film, and antiquities-collecting generated conflicts about taste.

Foucault: Self, Government, and Regimes of Truth

Submitted by vickylim on
50511
PHIL 50211, DVPR 50211
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2012-2013
Arnold Davidson

A close reading of Michel Foucault’s 1979-80 course at the Collège de France, Du gouvernement des vivants.  Foucault’s most extensive course on early Christianity, these lectures examine the relations between the government of the self and regimes of truth through a detailed analysis of Christian penitential practices, with special attention to the practices of exomologēsis and exagoreusis.  We will read this course both taking into account Foucault’s sustained interest in ancient thought and with a focus on the more general historical and theoretical conclusions that can be drawn from his analyses.  Reading knowledge of French required.

French Philosophy

Submitted by Anonymous on
50600
=PHIL 58500
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2007-2008
Arnold Davidson

Open to grad students. Prerequisites: Reading knowledge of French required. A close reading in French of Emmanuel Lvinas's Totalit et Infini. Some supplementary texts will be considered, but primarily as a way of situating Totalit et Infini within the corpus of Lvinas's work and within the history of 20th century European philosophy.

South Africa in the Global Imaginary: Textual and Visual Culture

Submitted by Anonymous on
50700
=ENGL 59302
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2007-2008
Loren Kruger

PQ: This seminar is for graduate students (MA and PhD) who have taken courses in either African/ post colonial literature or in film studies. Those uncertain of their qualifications should consult the instructor at the end of *autumn* quarter. This course will address the theoretical and methodological problems posed by the thoroughly Northern metropolitan category of the 'postcolonial' and its imposition of supposedly global categories on to distinctly local cultural forms and contents in South Africa. In addition to building knowledge of South African materials, seminar participants will thus develop tools for critiquing northern especially North American assumptions about 'postcolonial' generalities in form and content, which can be profitably used in other contexts that make up the global South. We will begin by interrogating the persistent power of Alan Paton's Cry Thy Beloved Country (novel and film) in the American imagination, from its initial publication in New York (1947) to it adoption in Oprah's Book Club (2001), as against local tastes in the same period from Nadine Gordimer's fiction to films like Come Back Africa and continue to examine local responses and challenges to metropolitan norms of literary form, especially in fiction and drama, as well as film. We will consider the impact of apartheid and anti apartheid writing (1960s to 1980s) on metropolitan as well as local audiences and also examine post apartheid local/global configurations that run south/south rather than south/north, including emergent writing by 'Indian' and other 'minority' South Africans.

Textual Knowledge and Authority: Biblical and Chinese Literature

Submitted by jenniequ on
50805
BIBL 50805/KNOW 40401
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2016-2017
Haun Saussy / Simeon Chavel

Ancient writers and their patrons exploited the textual medium, the virtual reality it can evoke and the prestige it can command to promote certain categories of knowledge and types of knowers. This course will survey two ancient bodies of literature, Hebrew and Chinese, for the figures they advance, the perspectives they configure, the genres they present, and the practices that developed around them, all in a dynamic interplay of text and counter-text. Excerpts from Hebrew literature include (a) royal wisdom in Proverbs & Ecclesiastes; (b) divine law in Exodus 19–24, Deuteronomy, the Temple Scroll, and Pesharim. Readings from Chinese literature include (c) speeches from the Shang shu (Book of Documents), (d) odes from the Shi jing (Book of Songs), and (e) commentaries from Han to Qing periods that elucidate, often in contradictory terms, the law-giving properties of these texts.

Space, Place, and Landscape

Submitted by Anonymous on
50900
=ARTH 48900, CMST 69200, ENGL 60301
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2006-2007
WJT Mitchell

This seminar will analyze the concepts of space, place, and landscape across the media (painting, photography, cinema, sculpture, architecture, and garden design, as well as poetic and literary renderings of setting, and virtual media-scapes). Key theoretical readings from a variety of disciplines, including geography, art history, literature, and philosophy will be included: Foucault's Of Other Spaces, Michel de Certeau's concept of heterotopia; Heidegger's Art and Space; Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space; Henri Lefebvre's Production of Space; David Harvey's Geography of Difference; Raymond Williams's The Country and the City; Mitchell, Landscape and Power. Topics for discussion will include the concept of the picturesque and the rise of landscape painting in Europe; the landscape garden; place, memory, and identity; sacred sites and holy lands; regional, global, and national landscapes; embodiment and the gendering of space; the genius of place; literary and textual space. Course requirements: 2 oral presentations: one on a place (or representation of a place); the other on a critical or theoretical text. Final paper. Consent of Instructor Required: Submit a statement of your proposed seminar project to wjtm@uchicago.edu by 9/22/06 indicating what specific aspect of space, place, and landscape you would like to explore, and what particular theoretical resources and archives you intend to develop. Statements should be one page single-spaced, and be accompanied by a short list of the texts you regard as most crucial to your research. Indicate what department and what level you are in.

Translating Theory

Submitted by Anonymous on
51200
=CDIN 51200, ENGL 59303, SLAV 40200, GRMN 51200
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2008-2009
Robert Bird, Loren Kruger

This seminar uses the theory and practice of translating texts of theory, criticism, philosophy and other genres of disciplinary inquiry to explore the boundaries between disciplines. Authors may include: T.W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Umberto Eco, Jos Ortega y Gasset, Roman Jakobson, Friedrich Schleiermacher and Viktor Shklovsky, and current theorists whose work raises questions of translation directly or indirectly such as Franz Fanon, Nestor Garca Canclini, and Philip Lewis. Topics include the translation of sacred and quasi sacred texts (including Marx) as well as contemporary theory. Open to all humanities *PhDs* including philosophy, visual art, and all language departments, as well as the divinity school and the committee on social thought. Cultural social sciences (eg anthropology or history) by application. PQ ACTIVE working knowledge of at least one source language: French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish; possibly Dutch. Admission to seminar based on a short in-class translation. Requirements: formal presentation on an existing translation and final translation of an as yet untranslated text of theory, philosophy or criticism.

Montage: History, Theory, Practice

Submitted by Anonymous on
51400
=CMST 67201
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2008-2009
Yuri Tsivian

This seminar will look at the history of editing from early attempts at multi-shot sequencing to self-conscious experiments in intellectual montage; at editing techniques ranging from cross-cutting to CGI sequences; and at the variety of montage theories from Eisenstein and Pudovkin to Bazin. We will test Eisenstein's hypothesis about biological foundations of temporality in art; connect dynamic patterns of film editing to Daniel Stern's study The Present Moment; link temporal contours of cutting to theories of gendered narratology.

Race, Media, and Visual Culture

Submitted by Anonymous on
51500
=CDIN 51300, ENGL 51300, ARTH 49309, CMST 51300, ARTV 55500
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2009-2010
Darby English, WJT Mitchell

This seminar will explore the question of race, racism, and racial identity across a variety of media and social practices, including photography and cinema, visual art and literature, and the iconology of everyday life. The seminar will provide a twin introduction to the fundamentals of visual cultural theory and media studies, on the one hand, and racial theory on the other. The study of racial theory will converge with issues of visuality, mediation, and iconology, particularly the question of stereotype and caricature, the role of fantasy and the imaginary in racist perception, and its reproduction and critique in various form of visual art and media. Sponsored by the Center for Disciplinary Innovation (CDI), the seminar will combine methodologies from art history, literary criticism, visual and media studies, as well as anthropology.

Seeing Madness: Mental Illness and Visual Culture

Submitted by Anonymous on
51700
=ARTH 48911, CDIN 51700, CMST 57000, ENGL 51305
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2010-2011
Françoise Meltzer, Tom Mitchell

This course will ask how the experience of insanity is conveyed and represented. What are the face and look of madness? How does madness make itself visible? How has it been treated as exhibition and spectacle? These questions will be approached while keeping two considerations at the forefront: first, how madness is understood to manifest itself; second, how it is in turn displayed and represented in a number of different (western) cultures. The first of these two considerations engages the history of the concept—the place of madness in medicine and the political-cultural framing of the insane as a legal, social, and clinical category. This includes as well what the conventions of madness are and how they change with the history of medicine as well as of cultural givens. The aim here is not to undertake such a historical account fully. Rather, students will be looking at moments in the history of madness when the idea is redefined or at issue. The second of the considerations for the seminar is the theater of madness—that is, how madness is represented graphically, from drawings to the modern media of photography, painting, cinema, architecture, and literature. Theoretical readings will include Freud, Foucault and Lacan, among other theorists and practitioners. In literature, students will be reading passages from texts such as Don Quixote , Breton's Nadja , Marat/Sade , late Nietzsche, and Hölderlin. Students will explore a number of films (e.g A Beautiful Mind , Vertigo and David and Lisa ), early photographs, drawings and paintings, and blue prints from various eras for the housing of the insane.

Improvisation as a Way of Life

Submitted by Anonymous on
51800
=CDIN 50910, MUSI 45511, PHIL 50910
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2010-2011
Arnold Davidson, George Lewis

This seminar will be organized around the idea that the practice of improvisation is not at all limited to the artistic domain, but is a ubiquitous practice of everyday life, a primary method of exchange in any interaction. Improvisation is, in effect, a certain kind of orientation or attitude towards oneself, others, and the world. Combining philosophical, ethnographic, musicological, and technological modes of analysis and creation, this seminar aims at the presentation of new models of intelligibility, agency, expression, and social responsibility that can inform the theory and practice of real-time musical analysis, leading to new and more effective interactive technologies as well.

Post-Classical Goethe

Submitted by Anonymous on
53600
=GRMN 53611
  • Graduate
  • Autumn
  • 2011-2012
D Wellbery

This seminar will consider Goethe's work after 1805 with the aim of delineating the characteristics of Goethe's post-classical style and thought. One could also say: Goethe's modernity. It has become a commonplace in the study of Goethe to refer to the allegorical nature of his late works. We shall contest this reading. 1805, the year of Schiller's death, is taken as the starting point of a reassessment of the nature of artistic activity that finds expression in Goethe's poetic works as well as in his theoretical and critical writings. Among the texts to be discussed: the Winckelmann essay, Pandora, Wahlverwandtschaften, Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre, essays from Kunst und Altertum, selected scientific writings.

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.

Performance Theory: Action, Affect, Archive

Submitted by jenniequ on
59306
TAPS 59306 / CMST 62202 / ENGL 59306
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2016-2017
Loren A. Kruger

This PhD seminar offers a critical introduction to performance theory and its applications not only to theatre but also to performance on film and, more controversially, to ‘performativity’ to fictional and other texts that have nothing directly to do with performance.  The seminar will be organized around three key conceptual clusters:

a) action, acting, and other forms of production or play, in theories from the classical (Aristotle) through the modern (Hegel, Brecht, Artaud), to the contemporary (Richard Schechner, Philip Zarilli, and others)

b) affect, and its intersections with emotion and feeling: in addition to the impact of contemporary theories of affect and emotion (Massumi, Sedgwick) on performance theory (Erin Hurley), we will read earlier modern texts that anticipate recent debates (Diderot, Freud) and their current interpreters (Joseph Roach, Tim Murray and others), as well as those writing about the absence of affect and the performance of failure (Sara Bailes and others)

c) archives and related institutions, practices and theories of recording performance, including the formation of audiences (Susan Bennett and with evaluating print and other media yielding evidence of ephemeral acts, including the work of theorists of memory (Pierre Nora) and remains (Rebecca Schneider), theatre historians (Rose Bank, Jody Enders,  Tracy Davis and others) as well as current theorists on the tensions between the archive and the repertoire (Diana Taylor) or between excavation and performance (Michael Shanks/ Mike Pearson)

Requirements: one or two oral presentations of assigned texts and final paper. To prepare PhDs for professional writing, final paper will take the form of a review article (ca 5000 words) examining key concepts in the field and the controversies they may engender, by way of two recent books that tackle these concepts

Fact and Fiction: Hoaxes and Misunderstandings

Submitted by isagor on
24017
34017
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2016-2017
Françoise Lavocat

This course will focus on fictional texts that readers have misrecognized as factual accounts, as well as the less frequent case of factual texts misidentified as fictional. Students will study the rhetorical strategies or historical and cultural circumstances responsible for these “errors of pragmatic framing” (O. Caïra) by investigating the contexts governing the production or reception of works such as Apuleius’ The Golden AssLes Lettres d’une religieuse portugaise, Denis Diderot’s La Religieuse, Wolfgang Hildesheimer’s Marbot: A Biographyand Orson Welles’ adaptation of The War of the Worlds, among others.

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