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What Is Art?

Submitted by vickylim on
32001
RLLT 32000, SCTH XXXXX
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Miguel Tamen

The course will address contemporary arguments and claims in aesthetics and the philosophy of art via a detailed discussion of a small number of major texts: Oscar Wilde’s “The Decay of Lying” and “The Critic as Artist” (1891), Leo Tolstoy’s What Is Art (1898), and Martin Heidegger’s The Origin of the Work of Art (1935-7; published 1950). The extravagant claims of these texts are presumed to be of help in describing the ubiquitous attention to art in contemporary affluent societies. A number of more recent essays on aesthetics will also be discussed.

Hölderlin and the Greeks

Submitted by vickylim on
35614
GRMN 35614, CLAS 45613
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Christopher Wild and M. Payne

The German poet Friedrich Hölderlin submitted to the paradoxical double-bind of Johann Joachim Winckelmann’s injunction that “the only way for us [Germans] to become great or — if this is possible — inimitable, is to imitate the ancients.” As he wrote in his short essay “The standpoint from which we should consider antiquity,” Hölderlin feared being crushed by the originary brilliance of his Greek models (as the Greeks themselves had been), and yet foresaw that modern European self-formation must endure the ordeal of its encounter with the Greek Other. The faculty of the imagination was instrumental to the mediated self-formation of this Bildung project, for imagination alone was capable of making Greece a living, vitalizing, presence on the page. Our seminar will therefore trace the work of poetic imagination in Hölderlin’s texts: the spatiality and mediality of the written and printed page, and their relation to the temporal rhythms of spoken discourse. All texts will be read in English translation, but a reading knowledge of German and/or Greek would be desirable. (Cross-listed with: Classics and Comparative Literature. Graduate).

How to think about literature: the main notions

Submitted by vickylim on
36001
RLLT 36000, SCTH XXXXX (coming soon)
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Thomas Pavel

In literary studies new trends and theories rarely supersede older ones.  While in physics and biology Aristotle has long been obsolete, literary scholars still find his Poetics to be a source of important insights.  And yet literary studies are not resistant to change.  Over time, they have experienced a genuine historical growth in thinking. Perhaps one can best describe the discipline of literature as a stable field of recurring issues that generate innovative thinking. 

How to think about literature will introduce graduate students to the main notion of the field.  The aim of the course is to identify an object of study that is integral, yet flexible enough to allow for comparisons between its manifestations in various national traditions.

Decolonizing Literature and Film in Southern Africa

Submitted by vickylim on
41200
ENGL 44507
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Loren Kruger

While ‘postcolonialism’ may turn a complex and contradictory history into a tidy theory, decolonizing highlights the uneven and unfinished processes of writing and filming national, transnational and anti-national narratives, from the cultural nationalism of the 1940s and 1950s to the possibly post-national present. We will explore the links as well as the differences among the textual and cinematic cultures of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola and Mozambique and examine the potential and pitfalls of applying postcolonial and other theories to these cultures. Authors may include Nadine Gordimer, Athol Fugard, Zakes Mda, Shimmer Chinodya, Yvonne Vera, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Bessie Head, Luandino Vieira, and/or Mia Couto; theory and political analysis may include anticolonial writing by Fanon, Mandela, Neto, and Cabral and contemporary critics: Ann McClintock, Njabulo Ndebele, Kwame Appiah, Robert Mshengu Kavanagh and others.

Concepts, Metaphors, Genealogies: Historical Semantics and Literature

Submitted by vickylim on
42802
CLAS 42813, SLAV 42802, GRMN 42814
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Boris Maslov

In this seminar, we will approach conceptual history (a.k.a. Begriffsgeschichte) as a resource for philologically-informed study of cultural interaction, continuity, and change. We will begin by developing a theoretical background in historical semantics, conceptual history, Metaphorologie, and history of ideas (focusing on the work of Nietzsche, Spitzer, Koselleck, Blumenberg, and Hadot); the second part of the quarter will be dedicated to historical and theoretical problems in the study of concepts in literary texts and across cultures. Reading knowledge of two (or more) foreign languages is a strong desideratum. As a final project, seminar participants will be expected to choose a particular concept and trace its history and uses in literary texts, ideally in more than one language. 

Network Analysis, Literary Criticism, and the Digital Humanities

Submitted by vickylim on
44622
CDIN 44321, ENGL 44321, EALC 40451, MAPH 41500 SALC 44500, NEHC 44321
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Richard Jean So; Hoyt Long

This course will introduce students to the digital humanities by focusing on the acquisition of a single quantitative method (social network analysis) and its application to a single historical context (literary modernism). The course familiarizes students with ongoing debates surrounding the digital humanities and the use of computational methods for literary critique, but will also move past meta-discussion by providing an opportunity to explore these methods through collaborative projects. Readings will be focused on theories of literary modernism and sociological approaches to the study of culture. Students will learn how to build network datasets, manipulate visualization software, run simple analytics, and think critically about the potential uses of social-scientific methods. No prerequisites required.

Goethe’s Faust II

Submitted by vickylim on
46214
GRMN 46214, SCTH 44913
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
David Wellbery

Continuing the sequence begun in Winter Quarter, this seminar will examine Goethe’s Faust II. Due to the intricacies of this work, we shall devote two sessions to each of its five acts. In addition to the close study of the text, we will consider major issues in the scholarship: a) the question of allegory and its theoretical grounding in Marx and Benjamin; b) the question of the modern (Faust as tragedy of modern consciousness); c) the dialectic of the Classic and the Romantic; d) Goethe’s scientific and aesthetic views as embodied in the play; e) the theological frame, especially in connection with the play’s conclusion. In addition to the commentaries, certain critical works will also be discussed, including contributions by Kommerell, Emrich, Adorno, Schlaffer, Schmidt, and Anderegg. The world-literary background of Goethe’s play will likewise be an important theme of the seminar. This seminar may be taken alone, or in combination with the seminar on Faust I. Students taking both seminars are encouraged to write a single substantial research paper.

Poetics and Rhetoric of Cinema

Submitted by vickylim on
47210
CMST 67210
  • Graduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Noa Steimatsky

How do rhetorical figures – metaphor, metonymy, synechdoche, allegory, among other tropes so extensively studied in the verbal arts – mediate our perception? how do they inform stylistic and even theoretical conceptions of the moving image?  Do they just mimic, or translate literary devices? Do they function merely as ornaments or puns, offering occasional poetic maneuvers in ambitious films? In this seminar we shall explore ways in which tropes can be seen to deeply inform the cinema's means of articulation and the dynamic workings of the image -- the coalescing and mutation of signs, the relation of visual and narrative or expository forms, the differentiation of styles, the very consciousness of the medium with respect to traditions and conventions. Readings will include some influential texts in poetics (eg. Dante, Coleridge, Auerbach, Fletcher, Benjamin, Jakobson, De Man) as well as writings devoted to questions of cinematic figuration (Munsterberg, Eisenstein, Kracauer, Perez, Williams, Rodowick). We shall discuss these in view of films by Eisenstein, Bunuel, Bresson, Franju, Pasolini, Snow, Burnett, Ruiz, and others.

Literatures of the Christian East: Late antiquity, Byzantium, and Medieval Russia

Submitted by vickylim on
22302
32302
CLAS 31113, CLCV 21113, SLAV 22302/32302, HCHR 34604, RLIT 34604
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Boris Maslov

After the fall of Rome in 476 CE, literatures of the Latin West and – predominantly Greek-speaking – Eastern provinces of the Roman empire followed two very different paths. Covering both religious and secular genres, we will survey some of the most interesting texts written in the Christian East in the period from 330 CE (foundation of Constantinople) to the late 17th c. (Westernization of Russia). Our focus throughout will be on continuities within particular styles and types of discourse (court entertainment, rhetoric, historiography, hagiography) and their functions within East Christian cultures. Readings will include Digenes Akritas and Song of Igor’s Campaign, as well as texts by Emperor Julian the Apostate, Gregory of Nazianzus, Emphraim the Syrian, Anna Comnena, Psellos, Ivan the Terrible, and Archbishop Avvakum. No prerequisites. All readings in English.

Crowds in fin de siècle Modernism

Submitted by vickylim on
24250
MAPH 34250
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Daniel Smyth

The increasing urbanization of late 19th and early 20th century Europe witnessed the advent of a comparatively novel social phenomenon and cultural trope: the crowd. Crowds have been represented as alienating, faceless monstrosities and as liberatingly anonymous environments of self-realization, as manipulable and as bullying. The crowd is figured as a hotbed of rumor, irrationality, madness, sedition, and communicable disease, but also as the site of transcendent super-personal experience, invention, historical progress, and the groundspring of political legitimacy. Crowds have a (statistical, social, psychological) life of their own which confronts and contrasts with the life of the individual. They confirm the flâneur in his ironic distance and insulated subjectivity even as the phenomenology of “merging with” or “melting into” the crowd challenges prevailing notions of individual identity and personal responsibility. This class will examine a variety of literary and visual representations of the crowded turn-of-the-century European metropolis in conjunction with contemporaneous psychological, sociological, and philosophical reflections on the significance of modern multitudes. Though our focal texts are historical we will also consider modulations of these themes in our present social environment of viral videos, big data, cyberbullying, targeted advertising, crowd-sourcing, and zombie movies. Texts will include works by Baudelaire, Benjamin, Freud, Kracauer, Fritz Lang, Manet, Musil, Rilke, Seurat, and Simmel.

Poetry and Translation: Theory and Practice

Submitted by vickylim on
24270
34270
MAPH 34310
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Joshua Adams

This course will introduce students to classic and contemporary texts of translation theory in the West, with an eye to the relevance of these theories for the difficulties and promises of translating poetry. We will read theoretical texts by Jerome, Dryden, Herder, Schleiermacher, Nietzsche, Benjamin, Pound and others, and will test these theories against one another and against various English translations of excerpts taken from Dante's Inferno, as well as translations of individual poems by Charles Baudelaire. Students will have the opportunity to produce their own translations as part of their required work for the course.

PQ: Reading knowledge of one foreign language.

The Places of Memory, 1780-1880

Submitted by vickylim on
25007
GRMN 25014, RUSS 25007
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Monica Felix

This course will investigate the affinities between place and memory in literature. In considering works that span a century of literature, we will reflect on memory as a force that emerges as an expression of self – or nation – that is tethered to objects, places, or structures. Course readings will be drawn primarily from German, Russian, and Anglophone literatures (Eichendorff, Tieck, Hoffmann, Fet, Tiutchev, Pushkin, Elliot, Scott, Brontë, others). Supplementary readings drawn from literary criticism, philosophy, historiography, and complementary fields will help us to consider the intersection of literature and history as it relates to questions of a historically constructed subject or nation. Topics include collaborative memory, romanticism, intertextuality, historical representation, historical fiction, and nostalgia.

No prerequisites. All readings in English with optional reading groups to discuss German and Russian works in the original for all interested students.

Hamlet and Critical Methods

Submitted by vickylim on
26601
ENGL 16711, FNDL 22205
  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Joshua Scodel

Shakespeare's Hamlet has probably inspired the most criticism of any play in world literature, and it has certainly inspired some of the greatest criticism. This course explores the goals, presuppositions, strengths, and limitations of different kinds of scholarship and criticism by focusing upon the variety of approaches that have been (or in some cases, could be) applied to Shakespeare's play. The course will focus on modern editorial theory and practice; classical and neoclassical discussions of mimesis, plot, and theatrical affect; Romantic, psychoanalytic, and postmodern discussions of Hamlet as character; recent literary historical discussions of sources and genre; new critical, new historicist, and feminist analyses of the play's imagined world; as well as performances and literary adaptations of Hamlet conceived of as interpretations of the play. Students will write several short response papers to the assigned readings as well as a longer paper analyzing and/or applying different critical approaches to Hamlet.

Pascal and Simone Weil on the Human Condition

Submitted by vickylim on
29101
39101
FREN 29100, FREN 39100
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2013-2014
Thomas Pavel

Pascal in the seventeenth century and Simone Weil in the twentieth formulated a compelling vision of the human condition, torn between greatness and misery. They showed how human imperfection coexists with the noblest callings, how attention struggles with diversion and how individuals can be rescued from their usual reliance on public opinion and customary beliefs. Both thinkers point to the religious dimension of human experience and suggest unorthodox ways of approaching it. The course will be taught in English. For French undergraduates and graduates, we will hold a by-weekly one-hour meeting to study the original French texts. Undergrads must be in their third or fourth year.