Comparative literature courses explore a range of times, places and media. But they usually focus on one central issue: the ways poems mean, what sides have been taken in the debate over women, what makes a text anti-Semitic, how settled peoples imagine and depict foreigners, how travelers see new worlds.
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FYS 140 Literature & Medicine
Sabina Knight, T Th 10:30 AM-11:50 AM
How do stories heal? What can we learn about medicine from stories, novels, poems, plays and case studies? Comparing narratives fromdifferent cultures, students will also compose their own stories. Thecourse also introduces broader issues in the medical humanities, such as medical ethics, healthcare disparities, and cross-cultural communication.Works (available in translation) from China, Taiwan,France, Russia, and North and Latin America. Enrollment limited to 16 first-year students.
FYS 155 Celtic Worlds
Craig R. Davis, T Th 10:30 AM-11:50 AM
A reading in translation of classical authors on the ancient Celts, as well as the imaginative literature of medieval Wales and Ireland. We will explore the unique religion of this archaic people, their conceptions of this and the Otherworld; their cult of the Great Mother andother divinities; their celebration of beauty, art, music, sexuality, and violence; the role of druids and sovereignty goddesses” in the education of charismatic chieftains and their “warriors with horses”; the lives of Celtic saints, like Patrick, their miracles and devotion;and the beginnings of Arthurian romance in the Breton lais of Marie de France.This course counts toward the English major. Enrollment limited to 16 first-year students.
FYS 165 Childhood in African Literature
Katwiwa Mule, T Th 10:30 AM-11:50 AM
A study of childhood as an experience in the present and a transition into adulthood,and of the ways in which it is intimately tied to social, political and cultural histories,and to questions of self and national identity. How does the violence of colonialism and decolonization reframe our understanding of childhood innocence? How do African childhood narratives represent such crises as cultural alienation, loss of language, exile, and memory? How do competing national and cultural ideologies shape narratives of childhood?Texts include Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions, Zoe Wicomb’s You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town, Ngugi wa Thiongo’s Weep Not Child, and Tahar Ben Jelloun’s The Sand Child. Enrollment limited to 16 first-year students.
FYS 186 Israel: Texts and Contexts
Miri Talmon (Visiting Scholar, Jewish Studies)
M W 2:40 PM-4:00 PM
Explores the relationship between Zionism as the political movement that established the State of Israel and Zionism as an aesthetic and cultural revolution that sought to reinvent the modern Jew.What were the roles of literary and visual culture in the construction of Israel’s founding myths and interpretations of its present realities? Focuses on efforts to negotiate the relationship between sacred and secular space; exile and homeland; the revival of Hebrew as a living language; Jews and Arabs; and Israel’s founding ideals as a democratic and Jewish state. Includes consideration of prose, poetry, graphic novel, art, and film. Intended for students interested in Middle East Studies, Comparative Literature, or in the relationship between literature and politics.Enrollment limited to 16 first-year students.
CLT 202/ENG 202 Western Classics in Translation, from Homer to Dante
Texts include the Iliad; tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides; Plato's Symposium; Virgil's Aeneid; Dante's Divine Comedy
Robert Hosmer: MW 9:00 AM-10:20 AM
Scott Bradbury: T Th 9:00 AM-10:20 AM
William Oram: M W F 11:00 AM-12:10 PM
CLT 202/ENG 202, like CLT 203/ENG 203, is among the four courses from which Comparative Literature majors choose two as the basis of the major. Students interested in Comparative Literature and/or the foundations of Western literature and wanting a writing-intensive course should take 202 or 203, or both.
Some classes are open to students at all levels. Others are open to first-year students by permission of the instructor.
CLT 204 Writings and Rewritings
Writings and Rewritings: Don Quixote
Reyes Lazaro T Th 10:30-11:50
This course is entirely devoted to reading the two volumes of the first modern novel,Don Quijote de la Mancha (1605-1615),as well as commentaries on it by a wide variety of world writers, critics and filmmakers. This insanely humorous novel poses fundamental questions about the nature of life and fiction that millions of writers and readers across the world find essential to this day. Any writer or lover of literature needs to read Don Quixote. Any person who wants a superb friend for life cannot pass the opportunity to get duly acquainted with it. In English (4 credits), with an optional 1-credit Special Studies section in Spanish for those who want to perfect their linguistic skills by reading, translating and commenting selected sections of Miguel deCervantes’ masterpiece in the original.
CLT 205 Twentieth-Century Literatures of Africa
Katwiwa Mule T Th 1:00 PM-2:50 PM
A study of the major writers of contemporary Africa. Focuses on several key questions: Is the term African literature a useful category? How do African writers challenge Western representations of Africa as they confront over a century of European colonialism on the continent? How do they represent the postcolonial experience on the continent? Is there a correlation in their writing between life and expression and between oral cultures and written literature? Texts will include Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s The River Between,Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions, David Mulwa’s We Come in Peace, Ndebele Njabulo’s The Cry of Winnie Mandela, and Ama Ata Aidoo’s Our Sister Killjoy. We will also watch films such as Red Rubber, White King,Black Death, Totsi, and Nairobi Half Life.
CLT 220 Colloquium: Imagining Language
Margaret Bruzelius M W 2:40 PM-4:00 PM
This course explores the ways in which philosophers and artists have imagined the links between language and the world. We will read mostly pre-twentieth century theories of language—Plato’s Cratylus, St. Augustine's On the Teacher, Locke on language from the Essay, Herder and Rousseau on The Origin of Language, Freud on jokes—and link them to novels, poems and other artwork by (mostly) twentieth-century artists such as Louis Zukofsky, May Swenson, Lewis Carroll, Richard Powers, Xu Bing, Russell Hoban and others who focus on the materiality of language, on words as things. Readings are accompanied by weekly exercises such as rebuses, invented etymologies, alphabet poems, portmanteau words, emoticons, etc.
CLT 239 Contemporary Chinese Women's Fiction
Sabina Knight M W 1:10 PM-2:30 PM
Theme for 2013: Intimacy. How do stories about love, romance, and desire (including extramarital affairs, serial relationships and love between women) challenge our assumptions about identity? How do pursuits, successes, and failures of intimacy lead to personal and social change? An exploration of major themes through close readings of contemporary fiction by women from China,Taiwan, Tibet, and Chinese diasporas. Readings are in English translation and no background in China or Chinese is required.
CLT 253 Literary Ecology
Ann Leone M W F 11:00 AM-12:10 PM
Literary ecology focuses on bio-social themes in literature—how human beings construct their relationship to their environment through literature
and landscape art. We will read works by “nature writers,” from the Romantic poets to early ecologists like John Muir and John Burroughs, and by contemporary writers such as John McPhee and Annie Dillard. We will also examine issues of contemporary eco-criticism and consider an expansion of the current range of canonical texts to include a broader range of viewpoints.
ENG 241 The Empire Writes Back: Postcolonial Literature
Ambreen Hai M W 1:10 PM-2:30 PM
An introduction to Anglophone fiction, poetry, drama and film from Africa, the Caribbean and South Asia in the aftermath of the British empire. Concerns include: the cultural work of writers as they respond to histories of colonial dominance; their ambivalence towards English linguistic, literary and cultural legacies; the ways literature can (re)construct national identities and histories, and explore assumptions of race, gender, class and sexuality; the distinctiveness of women writers and their modes of contesting cultural and colonial ideologies; global diasporas, migration and U.S. imperialism. Probable writers: Achebe, Soyinka, Ngugi, Aidoo, Dangarembga, Naipaul, Walcott, Cliff, Rushdie, Kureishi, Arundhati Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri, Meera Syal, and some theoretical essays.
GER 241 Jews in German Culture
Jocelyne Kolb M W 1:10 PM-2:30 PM
A survey of the Jewish-German dialogue from the 18th century to contemporary Germany: the importance of the Jewish presence in German culture;representations of the Jew in German literature,film,and opera; the role of antisemitism in German history from the Middle Ages to the present. Texts and films by, for example, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, the Grimm Brothers, Heinrich Heine, Richard Wagner, Thomas Mann, Nelly Sachs,
Paul Celan, Ruth Klüger, Katja Behrens; Ernst Lubitsch, Charlie Chaplin, Veit Harlan, Dani Levy,and Arnon Goldfinger.
Pre-requisite: A 200-level course in literature or permission of the instructor.
CLT 305 Studies in the Novel Topics Course
Topic: The Philosophical Novel
Maria Banerjee T Th 9:00 AM-10:20 AM
This course charts the evolution of the theme of reason and its limits in the European novel of the modern era. Beginning with an examination of humanist assumptions about the value of reason in Rabelais, the course will focus on the Central European novel of the 20th Century, the age of "terminal paradoxes."Texts will include Dostoevsky's Notes from the Underground, Kafka's The Trial, Musil's Man without Qualities, and Kundera's The Joke, The Farewell Party, and The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
ENG 309 Black Prison Intellectuals
Andrea Stone Th 3:00 PM-4:50 PM
Interrogating theories of intellectualism—among them Antonio Gramsci’s notion of traditional and organic intellectuals—and distinctions between categories of criminal and enemy, this course will trace the role of black prisonwritings in the development of American political and legal theory. From 18th– century black captivity narratives and gallows literature through to the work of 20th– and 21st– century thinkers like Malcolm X, Eldridge Cleaver,and Angela Davis,this course asks how the incarcerated black intellectual has informed and challenged ideas about nationalism and self-and community formation from the early republic to the present.
ENG 334 Seminar: Servants in Literature and Film
Ambreen Hai Th 1:00 PM-2:50 PM
Often invisible but crucial, servants in English literature have served as comic relief, go-betweens, storytellers, sexual targets and sometimes central protagonists. But what roles do they play in contemporary literature and film? What can we learn from them about modernity, class, power relations, sexuality, gender, marriage or family? What new responses do they evoke from us? This seminar will consider how writers from various cultures and times call on the figure of the domestic servant for differentpurposes, and how a view from (or of) the margins can change how and what we see. Writers include Shakespeare, Samuel Richardson, Emily Brontë, Wilkie Collins, Kazuo Ishiguro, Nadine Gordimer,and Aravind Adiga. Films include “Remains of the Day,” “Gosford Park,” “The Maid,” and “Earth.” Admission by permission of the instructor. Enrollment limited to 12.
Critical Theory & Method
CLT 300 Foundations of Contemporary Literary Theory
Anna Botta T Th 3:00 PM-4:50 PM
The interpretation of literary and other cultural texts by psychoanalytic, Marxist, structuralist and post-structuralist critics. Emphasis on the theory as well as the practice of these methods: their assumptions about writing and reading and about literature as a cultural formation. Readings include Freud, Lacan, Barthes, Derrida and Foucault. Enrollment limited to 25.