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Southern African Fictions and Factions

Submitted by ldzoells on
ENGL / CRES
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
Loren Kruger
 

This course examines the intersection of narrative in print and film (fiction and documentary) in Southern Africa since mid-20th Century decolonization. We begin with Cry, the Beloved Country, a best seller written by South African Alan Paton while in the US, and the original film version by a Hungarian-born British-based director (Zoltan Korda), and an American screenwriter (John Howard Lawson), which together show both the international impact of South African stories and the important elements missed by overseas audiences. We will continue with fictional and non-fictional narrative responses to apartheid and decolonization in film and in print, and examine the power and the limits of what critic Louise Bethlehem has called the "rhetoric of urgency" on local and international audiences. We will conclude with writing and film that grapples with the complexities of the post-apartheid world, whose challenges, from crime and corruption to AIDS and the particular problems faced by women and gender minorities, elude the heroic formulas of the anti-apartheid struggle era. Prerequisites: second-year or higher status, HUM Core, plus either Intro to Film or Intro to Novel.

Balkan Folklore

Submitted by isagor on
  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
Angelina Ilieva

Vampires, fire-breathing dragons, vengeful mountain nymphs. 7/8 and other uneven dance beats, heart-rending laments, and a living epic tradition. This course is an overview of Balkan folklore from historical, political, and anthropological perspectives. We seek to understand folk tradition as a dynamic process and consider the function of different folklore genres in the imagining and maintenance of community and the socialization of the individual. We also experience this living tradition firsthand through visits of a Chicago-based folk dance ensemble, “Balkan Dance.”

The Task of the Self Translator

Submitted by isagor on
NEHC 30659
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2016-2017
Na'ama Rokem

We usually think of the translator as a mediator, the figure who allows authors and texts to speak to audiences beyond their original language. Consequently, the questions we tend to ask about translation revolve around the central issue of fidelity. Is the translation adequate to the original? Has it remained faithful? In this model, the origin and the target are both assumed to be monolingual and the translator is the bilingual go-between. But there are very few, if any, truly monolingual cultures, and translations usually circulate in a far more complex manner. In this seminar, we will turn to the self-translator as a figure who challenges conventional models of translation and cross-cultural circulation. Can the author betray herself in the act of translation? To approach this issue, we will read classical texts in translation theory as well as more recent work that thematizes self translation, and we will look at literary texts written by bilingual authors and constituted by self-translation.

Seminar: Theories of the Novel

Submitted by Anonymous on
30201
=ENGL 57102
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2006-2007
Larry Rothfield

PQ: Consent of instructor, outside students will be accepted, with the class size limited to 15 students, as long as the majority of students are ComLit Grad students and PhD students in English Language and Literature. Fulfills the core course requirement for CompLit students. This course introduces graduate students to some of the fundamental conceptual issues raised by novels: how are novels formally unified (if they are)? What are the ideological presuppositions inherent in a novelistic view? What ethical practices do novels encourage? Readings include Sterne, Tristram Shandy; Austen, Emma; Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Yong Man; critics covered include Lukacs, Bakhtin, Watt, Jameson, and others.

Mimesis

Submitted by vickylim on
30202
CLAS 39200, EALC 30100
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2012-2013
Tamara Chin

This course will examine one of the central concepts of comparative literature: mimesis (imitation). We will investigate traditional theoretical and historical debates concerning literary and visual mimesis as well as more recent discussions of its relation to non-western and colonial contexts. Readings will include Aristotle, Auerbach, Butler, Spivak, and Taussig. Students are encouraged to write final papers on their own research topics while engaging with issues discussed through the course.

Seminar: Mimesis

Submitted by Anonymous on
30202
=CLAS 39200, EALC 30100
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2007-2008
Tamara Chin

Consent of instructor, outside students will be accepted, with the class size limited to 15 students, as long as the majority of students are CompLit Grad students and PhD students in East Asian Language and Civilization and Classics. Fulfills the core course requirement for CompLit students. This course will introduce the concept of mimesis, from early formulations by Plato and Aristotle through reformulations in recent literary theory, especially in relation to non-western aesthetic traditions. Other readings will include Auerbach, Derrida, Saussy, and Taussig. Students are encouraged to write final papers on their own research projects while engaging with issues discussed through the course.

Seminar: Poet-Critics

Submitted by Anonymous on
30203
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2008-2009
Robert von Hallberg

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 ComLit Grad students and PhD students in English Language and Literature. Fulfills the core course requirement for CompLit students. A course on the methods and procedures of a few poet-critics of the 19th and 20th centuries: Matthew Arnold, R. W. Emerson, Paul Valery, T. S. Eliot, William Empson, Charles Bernstein. To what extent is the history of criticism a record of the work of poet-critics? Are these writers models for contemporary critics? Insofar as they are, how? Insofar as they are not, why not? This course will focus to some extent on the essay form and on prose style.

Writing the Jewish State

Submitted by vickylim on
30452
NEHC 30452
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
Na'ama Rokem

This seminar examines the role of literature in the Zionist movement. We will read utopian descriptions of the Jewish State, poems about its foundation and short stories that criticize its actions. Particular attention will be paid to the literature of war and to questions of genre. How are generic choices motivated by the author's political positions and how do these choices define the impact of a work? If there is student interest, a section will be created for reading sources in Hebrew. Knowledge of Hebrew is not a prerequisite.

Oedipus Tyrannus: Thinking in and with Tragedy

Submitted by vickylim on
31222
SCTH 31222, GREK 24714, GREK 34714
  • Graduate/Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
Laura Slatkin

Oedipus: exemplary sovereign or outlier? Savior of the city or its destroyer? Epistemophile or –phobe? Upholder or suspender of the law (including the laws of kinship)? Sophocles’ Oedipus tyrannos has been good to think with since its first production in the fifth century BCE. As a meditation on kingship as well as kinship, the play offers a complex Oedipus, if not, perhaps, an Oedipus complex. Sophocles’ meditation on the polis, law, family, knowledge, the structure of mind, desire, and the disease in and of state has proved especially rich for philosophers, psychoanalysts, and theater artists; the play also famously provides the core example for Aristotle’s meditation on tragedy in the Poetics. We will explore the OT as tragedy, as resource, as example and exception. Although no knowledge of Greek is required for this course, there will be assignment options for those who wish to do reading in Greek. Note: This course will be taught twice a week for the first five weeks of Winter 2015 on Tuesdays/Thursdays, 1:30-4:20pm in F 305.

Marxism and Modern Culture

Submitted by vickylim on
31600
ENGL 32300
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
Loren Kruger

This course covers the classics in the field of marxist social theory (Marx, Engels, Lenin, Gramsci, Reich, Lukacs, Fanon) as well as key figures in the development of Marxist aesthetics (Adorno, Benjamin, Brecht, Marcuse, Williams) and recent developments in Marxist critiques of new media, post-colonial theory and other contemporary topics. It is suitable for graduate students in literature depts. and art history. It is not suitable for students in the social sciences. TuTh 1:30-2:50 for all students; If ten or more MAPH students enroll, they will also attend a tutorial session on Friday 8:30-10:20.

Marxism and Modern Culture

Submitted by vickylim on
31600
ENGL 32300
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2012-2013
Loren Kruger

This course covers the classics in the field of marxist social theory (Marx, Engels, Lenin, Gramsci, Reich, Lukacs, Fanon) as well as key figures in the development of Marxist aesthetics (Adorno, Benjamin, Brecht, Marcuse, Williams) and recent developments in Marxist critiques of new media, post-colonial theory and other contemporary topics. It is suitable for graduate students in literature depts. and art history. It is not suitable for students in the social sciences.

Marxism and Modern Culture

Submitted by Anonymous on
31600
=ENGL 32300
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2010-2011
Loren Kruger

This course covers the classics in the field of marxist social theory (Marx, Engels, Lenin, Gramsci, Reich, Lukacs, Fanon) as well as key figures in the development of Marxist aesthetics (Adorno, Benjamin, Brecht, Marcuse, Williams) and recent developments in Marxist critiques of new media, post-colonial theory and other contemporary topics. It is suitable for graduate students in literature departments, art history and possibly history. It is not suitable for students in the social sciences.

Marxism and Modern Culture

Submitted by Anonymous on
31600
=ENGL 32300
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2008-2009
Loren Kruger

This course covers the classics in the field of marxist social theory (Marx, Engels, Lenin, Gramsci, Reich, Lukacs, Fanon) as well as key figures in the development of Marxist aesthetics (Adorno, Benjamin, Brecht, Marcuse, Williams) and recent developments in Marxist critiques of new media, post-colonial theory and other contemporary topics. It is suitable for graduate students in literature depts., art history and possibly history. It is not suitable for students in the social sciences.

Balkan Folklore

Submitted by Anonymous on
33301
=NEHC 20568/30568, SOSL 26800/36800
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2010-2011
Angelina Ilieva

This course is an overview of Balkan folklore from ethnographic, anthropological, historical/political, and performative perspectives. We become acquainted with folk tales, lyric and epic songs, music, and dance. The work of Milman Parry and Albert Lord, who developed their theory of oral composition through work among epic singers in the Balkans, help us understand folk tradition as a dynamic process. We also consider the function of different folklore genres in the imagining and maintenance of community and the socialization of the individual. We also experience this living tradition first hand through our visit to the classes and rehearsals of the Chicago-based ensemble Balkanske igre.

Balkan Folklore

Submitted by Anonymous on
33301
=SOSL 26800/36800
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2009-2010
Angelina Ilieva

This course will give an overview of Balkan folklore from ethnographic, anthropological, historical/political, and performative perspectives. We will become acquainted with folk tales, lyric and epic songs, music, and dance. The work of Milman Parry and Albert Lord, who developed their theory of oral composition through work among epic singers in the Balkans, will help us understand folk tradition as a dynamic process. We will also consider the function of different folklore genres in the imagining and maintenance of community and the socialization of the individual. The historical/political part will survey the emergence of folklore studies as a discipline as well as the ways it has served in the formation and propagation of the nation in the Balkans. The class will also experience this living tradition first hand through our visit to the classes and rehearsals of the Chicago based ensemble Balkanske igre.

The Mirror and the Maze: Scenes and Sentences in Flaubert’s Sentimental Education and Moore and Campbell's From Hell— Two Cities of the Mind

Submitted by vickylim on
33602
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Samuel Delany

The Mirror and the Maze is a month-long seminar taught by Professor Samuel Delany, during January of 2014. The format of the seminar is a series of informal lectures and discussions. Attendance is required at all eight sessions and class participation is expected. 

Kurosawa and his Sources

Submitted by vickylim on
34410
CMST 34410, EALC 34410, SCTH 34012
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Olga Solovieva

This interdisciplinary graduate course focuses on ten films of Akira Kurosawa which were based on literary sources, raging from Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Georges Simenon, and Shakespeare to Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Gorky, and Arseniev. The course will not only introduce to some theoretical and intermedial problems of adaptation of literature to film but also address cultural and political implications of Kurosawa’s adaptation of classic and foreign sources. We will study how Kurosawa’s turn to literary adaptation provided a vehicle for circumventing social taboos of his time and offered a screen for addressing politically sensitive and sometimes censored topics of Japan’s militarist past, war crimes, defeat in the Second World War, and ideological conflicts of reconstruction. The course will combine film analysis with close reading of relevant literary sources, contextualized by current work of political, economic, and cultural historians of postwar Japan. The course is meant to provide a hands-on training in the interdisciplinary methodology of Comparative Literature. Undergraduate students can be admitted only with the permission of the instructor. Prerequisites: Intro to Film or Close Analysis of Film class. Course limited to 10 participants.

Syllabus available here.

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.

Russian Poetry from Blok to Pasternak

Submitted by vickylim on
34505
RUSS 34505
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Robert Bird; Boris Maslov

We will survey the selected poetry of major Russian modernists from 1900 to 1935, including lyrical and narrative genres. Poets covered include: Aleksandr Blok, Andrei Belyi, Viacheslav Ivanov, Nikolai Gumilev, Osip Mandel’shtam, Anna Akhmatova, Velimir Khlebnikov, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Marina Tsvetaeva, Boris Pasternak. In addition to tracing the development of poetic doctrines (from symbolism through acmeism and futurism), we will investigate the close correlations between formal innovation and the changing semantics of Russian poetry. Attention will also be paid to contemporary developments in Western European poetry. Knowledge of Russian required.

Money and Literature

Submitted by Anonymous on
34902
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2010-2011
Tamara Chin

This seminar examines a set of imaginative and economic writings about money, drawn from western and non-western traditions. Topics will include the market and aesthetic values, counterfeiting and realism, coinage and ideology, and the historical emergence of economic genres. Readings will include Aristotle, Smith, Marx, Kurke, Poovey, Goux, Derrida, Sima Qian, Guanzi, Arrighi.

Phaedra and Hippolytus: Euripides, Seneca, Racine

Submitted by Anonymous on
35200
=FREN 35960, SCTH 35960.
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2006-2007
Glenn Most

PQ: Knowledge of ancient Greek, Latin, or French, or permission of the instructor. French students work must be in French, including the final paper, for French credit. A close comparative reading of Euripides' Hippolytus, Seneca's Phaedra, and Racine's Phedre. There will be one seminar meeting each week for the whole class and one additional session to discuss the texts in the original language with those students who can read it. This course is a two-quarter course and will meet for the first five weeks of the winter term and the last five weeks of the spring term. There will be one grade report at the end of spring quarter. Students are mandated to register for both quarters.

Virgil, The Aeneid

Submitted by vickylim on
35902
SCTH 35902
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2012-2013
Glenn Most

A close literary analysis of one of the most celebrated works of European literature. While the text, in its many dimensions, will offer more than adequate material for classroom analysis and discussion, attention will also be directed to the extraordinary reception of this epic, from Virgil's times to ours.
PQ: Latin helpful

Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus

Submitted by vickylim on
35903
SCTH 35901, GREK 40112
  • Winter
  • 2012-2013
Glenn Most

A close literary and philological analysis of one of the most extraordinary of all Greek tragedies. While this play, in its many dimensions, will offer more than adequate material for classroom analysis and discussion, some attention will also be directed to its reception.
PQ: Greek or consent.

Euripides, Bacchae

Submitted by vickylim on
35912
SCTH 35912
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2011-2012
Glenn Most

Euripides' Bacchae was probably the last play Euripides finished and is certainly one of the latest plays of the three great 5th century Athenian tragedians. Unusually among Greek tragedies, it takes as its subject a myth about the god of tragedy himself, Dionysus; and explores the relations between city and cult, rationality and religious fervor, man and woman, among other issues; it has always played a central role in interpretations of Euripides and of Greek tragedy in general. The seminar will work through the text closely, examining its philological problems and the history of scholarship but also considering its literary, religious, political, anthropological, and other dimensions. Some attention will also be given to the reception of the play in art and literature and to modern stagings and films. While knowledge of ancient Greek is not indispensable, students planning to take the course who do not know Greek should get in touch with the professor beforehand.

Walter Benjamin

Submitted by vickylim on
35913
SCTH 35913
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2011-2012
Glenn Most

Walter Benjamin is not recognized as one of the most  seminal thinkers of the 20th century and has proved very influential in a number of disciplines. The seminar will provide a survey across his whole career and through the variety of fields in which he wrote, placing the emphasis on his literary criticism but also including discussion of his writings in philosophy, political thought, religion, autobiography, and other areas. Knowledge of German is not indispensable but would be welcome. Open to ug by consent.

Renaissance Romance

Submitted by Anonymous on
36500
=ENGL 36302, RLIT 52100
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2007-2008
Michael Murrin

Selections from the following trio of texts are studied: Ovid's Metamorphoses (as the recognized classical model), Boiardo's Orlando innamorato (which set the norms for Renaissance romance), and Spenser's Faerie Queene .

Theories of Narrative

Submitted by Anonymous on
38300
=CLAS 37009, SLAV 37100
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2009-2010
Boris (Rodin) Maslov

This seminar will focus on critical approaches to narrative, story-telling, and discourse analysis. While the emphasis will be on the formalist/structuralist tradition (Shklovsky, Benveniste, Barthes, Genette), we will also discuss works by Plato, Aristotle, Bakhtin, Benjamin, Auerbach, Banfield, Silverstein, and others. Notably, most of these approaches were inspired by the analysis of modern European novel, and part of our task will be to test them against shorter narratives produced in different genres and historical periods (possible authors include Pindar, Cicero, Virgil, Pushkin, and Leskov).

Identity, Democracy, and Autobiography: A Comparative Perspective

Submitted by Anonymous on
38501
=RUSS 36800
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2010-2011
Lina Steiner

Drawing on the European, Russian and North American writings from the end of the eighteenth to the middle of twentieth centuries, this graduate seminar will examine the emergence of the modern conception of identity and its literary representation through the genre of fictionalized autobiography. We will explore the influences of social mobility, political exile or immigration, and democratic education on the transformation of personal identity in the works by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Stendhal, Alexander Herzen, Vladimir Nabokov, W.E.B. Du Bois and Ralph Ellison. The readings will also include philosophical works by John Locke, Rousseau, Benjamin Constant, Alexis de Tocqueville, Charles Taylor and Jean-Luc Nancy, which will help us understand the relationship between identity and subjectivity and account for the growing intellectual prestige of identity in the contemporary democratic public sphere. All readings will be available in English. Those who know French and Russian are encouraged to read all works in their original languages. The course is open to advanced undergraduates only by the instructor's permission.

The Literature of the Fantastic

Submitted by Anonymous on
39600
=ENGL 28903/48904, ISHU 29301, RUSS 26702/36702
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2006-2007
Renate Lachmann

PQ: Open to graduates and undergraduates. This course will include texts by Russian and English authors, including Pushkin, Gogol, Bulgakov, Nabokov, Poe, H.G. Wells, and Oscar Wilde. Theoretical positions will be examined based on texts by Tzevtan Todorov, Jackson, Traill, Lachmann. All text will be in English.

Historiography, Literature, Archaeology

Submitted by vickylim on
39601
EALC 37460
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2012-2013
Tamara Chin

This course examines the relation between historicity and the literary, using Sima Qian’s Shiji (Records of the Grand Historian) as the primary example.  The Shiji is arguably the most influential Chinese work of historiography, and we will also explore its interdisciplinary and international afterlife.  Particular attention will be paid to notions of the immaterial (the unreal, the fictional, the spiritual, the theoretical), the exotic (the non-Chinese, the foreign), and the universal, in traditional Chinese historiography and poetics, in modern archaeology, and in critical theory.  Students without classical Chinese reading knowledge are welcome to join and to write their final papers on comparative topics.

Brechtian Representations: Theatre, Theory, Cinema

Submitted by vickylim on
40500
ENGL 44500
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
Loren Kruger

This course will examine the contribution of Brecht, the most influential playwright of the twentieth century and its principal theatre theorist, to the practice and theory of theatre and cinema. We will pay particular attention to the relationships between theory and practice in Brecht's own work so as to clarify the significance of terms that are both concepts and techniques--epic theatre, Verfremdung, gest, historicizing, refunctioning the apparatus, and the formation of the critical audience--and go on to consider the influence (and refunctioning) of Brechtian theory and practice in more recent work of playwrights (Heiner Müller, Peter Weiss,RW Fassbinder, Caryl Churchill, Athol Fugard, Lynn Nottage...), film-makers (Jean-Luc Godard, Alexander Kluge, Fassbinder ...), and theorists (Barthes, Adorno)

'Other-speech' and 'Visible words': Allegory, the allegorical, and allegoresis before modernity

Submitted by Anonymous on
41100
=CDIN 41100, ARTH 48933, FREN 41112
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2011-2012
D Delogu, A Kumler

Many key readings will be in French. This seminar will bring two disciplinary lenses to bear on the problem of allegory before modernity: literary history and art history. We will consider a range of visual and textual practices in order to explore the limits, even failures, of certain disciplinary accounts of allegory and allegoresis. Our focus will be on visual and textual evidence before modernity, but the questions and problems examined in the seminar will bear on allegory and allegoresis more broadly. By attending to the specific modes of analysis and insights developed within each discipline, the seminar will permit us to develop a more critical and productive understanding of how different disciplinary habits of thought have shaped our perception of allegory and allegoresis as practices. Seminar meetings will put into dialogue visual and textual historical works, as well as landmark critical accounts of allegory and allegoresis. PQ: Many key readings will be in French.

Decolonizing Literature and Film in Southern Africa

Submitted by Anonymous on
41200
=ENGL 44507
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2009-2010
Loren Kruger

Required texts in English or translation but those working with Portuguese, Afrikaans, Zulu etc will be accommodated. 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.

The Literary Life of Things in China

Submitted by vickylim on
41410
EALC 41400
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
Judith Zeitlin

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. Ideally, students will select a case study to work on throughout 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.  

Whose Culture Is This, Anyway?

Submitted by Anonymous on
41600
=ENGL 42407
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2009-2010
Lawrence Rothfield

The past few decades have seen an explosion of debates over the question of who should own cultural goods. The particular goods in question -- the Elgin marbles, artworks looted by the Nazis, the skeletal remains of Kennewick Man, shared files – are as various as the stakeholders (individual victims, nation-states, museums, musicians, etc.). This course explores the philosophical bases for claims to own artifacts, sounds, words, and ideas, and the policy conundrums posed by these claims (restitution, cultural rights, assertions of national control over cultural patrimony, copyright). We will also look at the ways in which some of these issues have entered the popular imaginary via fiction and film.

Poetics of Disclocation

Submitted by Anonymous on
41701
=ENGL 25922/43706
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2009-2010
Jennifer Scappettone

This course explores crises of placelessness and displacement as modern and contemporary verse has attempted to map them: from modernist cosmopolitan collage to poetry of exile, migration, and diaspora, the work we will study, lodged between tongues, gives traction to discourse surrounding the abstraction of space in globalizing contexts. We will examine the formal and social prompts and repercussions of experiments in polylingualism, dialect, creole, barbarism, and thwarted translation; we will delve ultimately into some examples of poetic reckoning with the transformation of the site of reading, in the form of new media, installation and otherwise ambient poetics. Poets to include William Carlos Williams, Charles Olson, John Ashbery, Amelia Rosselli, Andrea Zanzotto, Paul Celan, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Pamela Lu, Etel Adnan, M. Nourbese Philip, C.S. Giscombe, Édouard Glissant, Kamau Brathwaite, Caroline Bergvall. Readings in geography, aesthetics, translation by David Harvey, James Clifford, Marc Auge, Rem Koolhaas, Timothy Morton, Toni Morrison, Lucy Lippard, Juliana Spahr, others.

Theories of the Novel

Submitted by vickylim on
42418
ENGL 42418
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2012-2013
Lawrence Rothfield

This course introduces undergraduates to some of the fundamental conceptual issues raised by novels: how are novels formally unified (if they are)? What are the ideological presuppositions inherent in a novelistic view? What ethical practices do novels encourage? What makes a character in a novel distinct from character in other fictive systems? Readings include Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Dickens, Great Expectations; Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway. Critics covered include Lukacs, Bakhtin,  Watt, Jameson, McKeon, D.A. Miller, Woloch, Moretti, and others.

Exploratory Translation

Submitted by isagor on
42918
CDIN 42918, ENGL 42918, RLLT 42918, SCTH 42918
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
Haun Saussy, Jennifer Scappettone

Focusing on the theory, history and practice of poetic translation, this seminar includes sessions with invited theorists and practitioners from North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Taking translation to be an art of making sense that is transmitted together with a craft of shapes and sequences, we aim to account for social and intellectual pressures influencing translation projects. We deliberately foreground other frameworks beyond “foreign to English” and “olden epochs to modern”—and other methods than the “equivalence of meaning”—in order to aim at a truly general history and theory of translation that might both guide comparative cultural history and enlarge the imaginative resources of translators and readers of translation. In addition to reading and analysis of outside texts spanning such topics as semantic and grammatical interference, gain and loss, bilingualism, self-translation, pidgin, code-switching, translationese, and foreignization vs. nativization, students will be invited to try their hands at a range of tactics, aiming toward a final portfolio of annotated translations.

Baudelaire

Submitted by Anonymous on
43300
=FREN 43300, RLIT 43500
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2009-2010
Françoise Meltzer

PQ: All French works will be read in the original. Requirements for the course are one oral presentation, and one seminar paper. This course will look at Baudelaire and his surroundings, from the revolution of 1848 and its historians (Tocqueville in particular); to the artists that fascinated Baudelaire (Daumier, Delacroix, Guys, Wagner) and what the poet wrote about them; to the changes in Paris thanks to the Baron Haussmann; to the writers and political thinkers who most influenced the poet (Poe, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Hugo, de Quincey, Maistre, Proudhon); to Baudelaire's obsession with original sin; to, of course, Baudelaire's own works and development. We will also consider some of the major works of critical theory that concern the poet (including Benjamin, Burton, Chambers, Derrida, T.J.Clark, Blanchot, DeMan, and Poulet, to name a few).

Lacan and Religion

Submitted by vickylim on
43350
DVPR 49904
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
Françoise Meltzer

Whereas Freud believed with the Enlightenment that science would increasingly demonstrate religion to be an illusion, Lacan saw religion as that which would save us from the increasingly loud discourse of science. From Lacan’s early (Freudian) notion of the Nom-du-Père, to his later conflation of Freud and Christ (as rescuing the father), and finally to his Barromean knots and the sinthome, Lacan considers religion a “garbage can, for it has not the slightest homogeneity.” This course, then, will consider Lacan’s concept of religion. We will begin with readings from Freud’s texts on religion: “Obsessive Actions and Religious Practices,” “The Future of an Illusion,” “Totem and Taboo,” “Civilization and its Discontents,” “Moses and Monotheism.” We will then read the texts on religion from Lacan, considering how his views change on the subject, and what the stakes are in his efforts to separate psychoanalysis from science and religion.

Requirements: reading knowledge of French, basic familiarity with Lacan. 

Nation Building

Submitted by Anonymous on
43600
=ENGL 42402
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2007-2008
Larry Rothfield

This course explores the literature of nation-building. Readings include the Aeneid; Kipling's White Man's Burden and The Man Who Would Be King ; Conrad's Lord Jim ; T.E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom ; and various contemporary writings on Iraq.

Spectacle and Surveillance

Submitted by vickylim on
44624
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2014-2015
W.J.T. Mitchell & Bernard Harcourt

Note: MA students require consent of instructor.

Spectacle and surveillance have been central tactics in the production of political power since at least the early modern era, when the pageants of the Sun King, Louis XIV of France, were accompanied by the spies of Cardinal Richelieu, who kept careful watch for potential rebellion in the provinces. The British empire’s musterings of uniforms, ribbons, and banners in mass formations of loyal subjects were probably as important to the maintenance of imperial power as the actual mustering of armed conflict. At the same time, Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon envisioned a world of incarcerated subjects, all exposed to the gaze of power at all times.  How does it stand with the relation of spectacle and surveillance today, the age of total information storage, retrieval, and big data?  The overall purpose of this seminar will be to reflect on the dialectical pairing of spectacle and surveillance as modes of image power—that is, power over subjects in the case of spectacle, over objects in the case of surveillance—and as modes of governing in our contemporary age of Big Data. While we are interested in the history of this pairing in theoretical discourses on visual culture, politics, law, media, and iconology, our major emphasis will be on contextualizing and analyzing the present state of the surveillance/spectacle dynamic, as well as exploring all the forms of resistance.

Readings will include Michel Foucault, Guy Debord, George Orwell, Glenn Greenwald and selected films dealing with surveillance and spectacle.

Goethe’s Faust I

Submitted by vickylim on
46114
GRMN 46114, SCTH 44912
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2013-2014
David Wellbery


This is the first part of a two-quarter seminar devoted to Goethe’s Faust tragedy, with each segment devoted to one of the work’s two parts. Since three substantial new editions (plus commentary) have been published within the past two decades, scholarship now finds itself in an excellent position to develop theoretically informed readings of what is arguably the most significant work in the German canon. The main task of the first-quarter seminar will be to examine Faust I. However, we will also consider the Faust tradition, including the 1587 Volksbuch (so-called), Lessing’s Faust fragment, and some other contemporary and subsequent renditions of Faust. This segment will also provide an opportunity to survey Goethe’s poetic and intellectual development from 1770 to 1808, when Faust I was first published in its complete form. Of particular interest in our investigation of Faust I will be: a) the theological background; b) structural principles; c) linguistic figuration. Prominent interpretations of the play by Goethe’s contemporaries (e.g., Schelling, Hegel) will be considered. We shall also examine two sequences of Faust illustrations by Peter Cornelius and Eugène Delacroix as well as two performances of the drama (from dvd). This seminar may be taken alone, or in combination with the seminar on Faust II.  Students taking both seminars are encouraged to write a single substantial research paper.

Seminar: Greek Tragedy in Africa

Submitted by Anonymous on
46500
=GREK 46509
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2009-2010
Sarah Nooter

This course will trace the progress of two bursts of dramatic creativity: tragedy in fifth century Athens and adaptations of tragedy in twentieth century Africa (including South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt). We will read and discuss genre, thematic concerns, and interpretative problems in plays by Euripides and Sophocles. In alternating weeks, we will discuss these topics and issues of cultural and postcolonial identity as they relate to adaptations written by Wole Soyinka, Athol Fugard, Ola Rotimi and others in the 1960s and 70s. All plays will be read in their original language, but students without knowledge of Greek may enroll with instructor's consent.

Cavell on Literature

Submitted by Anonymous on
47200
=GRMN 47211, PHIL 47211
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2011-2012
J Conant, D Wellbery

This course is a successor course to the seiminar on Cavell's The Claim of Reason offered in Fall Quarter 2011-2012 by Prof. James Conant (Philosophy). Students may participate in this seminar, however, without having taken the Fall seminar. The aim of this seminar is to delineate and assess Cavell's contributions to literary studies. In particular, we shall consider: 1) Cavell's theory of interpretation and criticism (mainly in terms of the essays in Must We Mean What We Say); 2) his theory of genre (Pursuits of Happiness; Contesting Tears); his theory of tragedy (essay on King Lear in Must We Mean What We Say) and, more generally, his reading of Shakespeare (Disowining Knowledge); his interpretation of Romanticism, esp. of Emerson and Thoreau.

Heinrich von Kleist: Skepticism, Contingency, Intensity

Submitted by Anonymous on
47400
=GRMN 47300
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2007-2008
David Wellbery

In this seminar we will interpret Kleist's writing (letters, essays, stories, plays, journalism) from three distinct but complimentary points of view: as an elaboration of the skeptical imaginary (including skepticism about knowledge, meaning and other minds); as a play with contingency (metaphysical, narratological, semiotic); as an experiment in modes of intensity (energetic, affective, aesthetic). A major task of the seminar will be to elaborate a unified conception of Kleist's literary project that accounts for its historical and structural specificity. Students will be expected to engage critically with major contributions to the secondary literature. (Graduate students only. Readings and discussion in German).

Intertextuality and Memory Aspect

Submitted by Anonymous on
47900
=RUSS 47800
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2006-2007
Renate Lachmann

PQ: Open to graduate students only. This course will include works by Andrei Bely, Osip Mandelstam, Anna Akhmatova, and Nabokov. Theoretical sources on intertextuality will include Mikhail Bakhtin, Julia Kristeva, Riffaterre, and Lotman.

Phaedras Compared: Adaptation, Gender, Tragic Form

Submitted by isagor on
48017
CDIN 48017, CLAS 48017, FREN 48017, TAPS 48017, GNSE 48017
  • Graduate
  • Winter
  • 2017-2018
Larry Norman & David Wray

This seminar places Racine’s French neoclassical tragedy Phaedra within a wide-ranging series of adaptations of the ancient myth, from its Greek and Latin sources (Euripides, Seneca, Ovid) to twentieth-century and contemporary translations and stage adaptations (Ted Hughes, Sarah Kane), read along with a series of theoretical and critical texts. Particular attention will be paid to critical paradigms and approaches in the evolving fields of classical reception studies, theater and performance studies, and gender studies. Reading knowledge of French strongly preferred.

Note: Reading competency in French preferred.

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.

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