2017-2018 Literature Courses

CRWR Code:

Literary Genre: LG

Literature (Theory): LT

Literature (Before 20th-C): LC

All courses listed here are approved to count towards the Creative Writing major as literature courses. Course codes indicate approval specific distribution requirements. Students may register for eligible courses under any course number.

These courses are offered by departments, not the Program in Creative Writing. If you have questions about course content, structure, and schedule, please contact the department offering the course. The course descriptions below are to the best of our knowledge the most recent available.

Please note that we have included only those courses with an undergraduate course number or that otherwise marked as open to undergraduates. 

Courses taken prior to 2017-18 or otherwise not on this list must be approved by the DUS. Contact Vu Tran (vtran@uchicago.edu) and Jessi Haley (jmhaley@uchicago.edu) about approval.

ENGL | CMLT | SCTH | EALC | SLAV | GRMN | NELC | RLLT | FNDL | CLAS | SALC

ENGLISH LANGUAGE & LITERATURE

Includes courses cross-listed from other departments. If you have questions about course content, structure, and schedule, please contact the department offering the course.

Introduction to Poetry / ENGL 10400 / Rachel Galvin

In her poem “Poetry,” Marianne Moore writes, “I, too, dislike it. / Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers in it, after all, a place for the genuine.” This 3-line poem is a condensed version of an earlier, 30-line poem. Why did Moore compress it so much? Surely she must be joking about disliking poetry? This course will introduce you to a wide range of poetry and poetics, emphasizing how literature develops in concert with social, historical, and technological changes. We’ll begin by discussing irony and other poetic and rhetorical tools, such as diction, imagery, rhyme, meter, and enjambment. In the second unit, we’ll continue to develop strategies for analyzing poetry while we investigate the links between poetry and history (trauma, war, social activism). The third unit emphasizes representation and identity in U.S. poetry, with a focus on African American poetry, Latinx poetry, Asian American poetry, and Native American poetry. We’ll conclude by looking at some very recent experiments in new media and digital poetry. By the end of the quarter, you will have the vocabulary to “talk shop” about poetic technique, and will have developed close reading and argumentation skills that you can apply across your intellectual work. You may also have the chance to try your hand at crafting lines ranging from iambic pentameter to haiku, as a way of learning how poems work from the inside out. (LG - Poetry)

20th-Century American Short Fiction / ENGL 10703 / William Veeder

This course presents America's major writers of short fiction in the 20th century. We will begin with Willa Cather's "Paul's Case" in 1905 and proceed to the masters of High Modernism, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Porter, Welty, Ellison, Nabokov, on through the next generation, o'Connor, Pynchon, Roth, Mukherjee, Coover, Carver, and end with more recent work by Danticat, Tan and the microfictionists. Our initial effort with each text will be close reading, from which we will move out to consider questions of ethnicity, gender and psychology. Writing is also an important concern of the course. There will be two papers and an individual tutorial with each student. (LG - Fiction)

Shakespeare I: Histories and Comedies / ENGL 16500 / Ellen MacKay

This course is part of the College Course Cluster program, The Renaissance. This course will explore a selection of 7 or 8 plays representing Shakespeare’s youthful genres of Comedy and History. We will consider how each play fits, or doesn’t fit, within organizing dichotomies like playhouse versus print, popular versus elite, and early versus late. We will also consider how terms that structure our encounter with Shakespeare both form and deform his work, leaving us to ask, can we do better? (LC)

London Program: Institution and Revolution in Romantic Arts / ENGL 20144 / Timothy Campbell

In the first part of the course, focusing on William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s monumental poetic work Lyrical Ballads (1798), we will consider the implications of revolutions abroad and of institutionalizations of arts and culture at home for the rise of modern literary culture in Romantic-era Britain. Wordsworth famously envisioned a new role for the poet as that of a “man speaking to men” who could make “incidents and situations from common life” the proper matter of literature. As he did so, Wordsworth was confronting both the disappointed hope of the “blissful dawn” of the French Revolution and a cultural milieu reshaped by the emergence of institutions like the British Museum (1753), the Royal Academy of Art (1768), and the National Gallery (1824)—all of which continue to define British national culture. In the second part of the course, we will consider analogous developments of the present moment, including the institutionalization of new arts like fashion, to consider where (in what scenes, and in what forms of writing and media) we might look for Lyrical Ballads of our own time. (LC)

London Program: BLAST: Avant-Garde London, 1912-1920 / ENGL 20145 / Bill Brown

BLAST (1914-15) sought to distinguish London as a new center of radical innovation in the literary and visual arts. Edited by Wyndham Lewis—the controversial painter, novelist, and polemicist—the magazine introduced Vorticism as a movement that sought to galvanize a cultural revolution. (“Curse with expletive of whirlwind the Britannic aesthete cream of the snobbish earth.”) This course will concentrate on the two issues of the magazine itself, attending to its literary and graphic experiments in the context of other modernist magazines. We will also engage related work by the artists and writers who contributed to the journal (Ezra Pound, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Jacob Epstein, Jessica Dismoor, Helen Saunders, El Lissitsky, Rebecca West, Ford Madox Ford, Dorothy Shakespeare); and we will situate Vorticism in relation to the modernist contexts against which it emerged (including Cubism, Imagism, Futurism, and the Bloomsbury Group). Moreover, we will examine the brief history of Blast against the backdrop of the Great War. In London we will take particular advantage of the collections at the Tate.

London Program: Money, Migration and the Metropole / ENGL 20146 / Kenneth Warren

By focusing on a set of novels—one from the late 19th century, and several from the early 21st century—this course will explore how movement within and between great cities, particularly but not exclusively, London, challenges our capacity to imagine social value, social change, and literary form. The novels we read will include, Henry James, The Princess Casamassima, Mohsin Hamid, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, Colm Tóibín, The Master, John Lanchester, Capital, Caryl Phillips, The Atlantic Sound & Higher Ground, Rachel Cusk, Outline & Transit. (LT)

London Program: Rambles and Revolutions / ENGL 20147 / Caroline Heller

To ramble can mean to walk without any definite route as well as a plant’s ability to put out shoots over walls; in other words, it can mean an exploration that traverses new territories while transcending borders and limits. Combined with a common phrase from a Jane Austen novel, to take a turn about a room or lawn, rambling can also be linked to the circular movement of revolution, of the turns in thinking both on a small and large scale. The aim of this course is to aid you on your rambles and scholastic turns as you develop an independent research project based on an aspect of London’s history, ecology, geography, institutions, society, or culture. Course readings and discussion will be focused on ecologies of place and of reading, and will help you contextualize your object of research. It will also include archival research and fieldwork or excursions to various sites in the city. (LT)

The Gothic Novel / ENGL 20550 / Heather Keenleyside

Gothic novels are obsessed with what gets left out of rational accounts of experience: fantastic or inexplicable events, feelings of terror, horror, and haunting, scenarios of vulnerability, violence, or pathological desire. In this course, we will ask: when or in what ways does the gothic provide an escape from everyday life? And, when and in what ways does it mirror crucial aspects of psychological, political, or social reality? We will explore these questions by focusing on classic gothic novels from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century (by Walpole, Radcliffe, Lewis, Shelley, and Bronte); we will likely conclude with a contemporary take on the genre. (LC)

People, Places, Things: Victorian Novel Survey / ENGL 21926 / Elaine Hadley

Quarter Systems and the Victorian novel do not mix well, which is only to say that this course cannot aspire to a comprehensive accounting of the Victorian novel, or the myriad forms of the novel that emerged during Victoria’s reign (1837-1901). What it does seek to do, however, is give you some little sense of the Victorian novel’s formal and thematic range in a few of the uncharacteristically shorter novels of the period, and—in the bargain—give you a few critical tools and concepts to better figure out what these novels are and what they might be doing. Critical approaches to the Victorian novel are as varied as the novels themselves, perhaps, but I’ve tried to give you access to some of the more recent interventions that centrally query character and characterization (people), things and the circulation of things, and location and spatialization (places). Jane Eyre, Hard Times, Lady Audley’s Secret, The Warden, Jude the Obscure, The Hound of the Baskervilles. (LC)

Hawthorne and Melville / ENGL 25406 / Janice Knight

In the two year period between 1850-1852 Hawthorne and Melville produced five remarkable books: The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables, The Blithedale Romance, Moby-Dick, and Pierre. During this same time they lived within six miles of each other in Berkshires, a circumstance that initiated a strong literary friendship and that prompted a number of shared literary, aesthetic, and political preoccupations. This course will focus on four texts: Hawthorne’s Mosses from and Old Manse and The Scarlet Letter, and Melville’s “Hawthorne and his Mosses” and Moby Dick. Monomania--in its psychological, sexual, aesthetic, religious, epistemological, and political manifestations--will focus much of our inquiry into these texts and into the body of critical discourse surrounding them. (LC)

Letters from America / ENGL 25423 / Andrew Inchiosa

What new stories about American literature and political thought can we find in letters written between the seventeenth century and now? We’ll read the letters of Jonathan Edwards, Phillis Wheatley, and William Wells Brown, along with the epistolary poems, novels, and essays of Emily Dickinson, Marilynne Robinson, and James Baldwin. (LC, LG - Nonfiction)

Narrating Appetite in the Nineteenth Century / ENGL 26310 / Matt Boulette

What aesthetic responses emerged alongside such conditions as “dyspepsia,” “anorexia,” and “addiction” toward the end of the nineteenth century? Narratives by Constance Fenimore Woolson, Thomas de Quincey, Edgar Allan Poe, Elizabeth Stoddard, Oscar Wilde, and Edith Wharton make up this course’s primary materials for answering this question. (LT)

Anglophone Modernisms / ENGL 26780 / Sophia Sherry

This course is designed as a survey of global fiction in the twentieth century. More specifically, it is a survey of Anglophone modernisms, or modern/modernist English literatures which are written in English even as they rely on non-English speaking contexts and figures. Through a primary, though certainly not unassailable, logic of historical development, the course engages the fictional-historical worlds of these modern novels and poems (Conrad, James, Yeats, Achebe, Naipaul, Gordimer, Ishiguro) in chronological order, and considers especially the literature’s relationship to the historical contexts it reconstructs. Film intertexts are also part of the course: Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1976) and James Ivory’s The Remains of the Day (1993). Major themes to be explored include, but are not limited to: media, travel, and cultural exchange; psychoanalysis; global, world war; the dissolution of empire, chiefly British and French; and new colonial frontiers of subaltern labor.

Network Television: The Aesthetics of Totality / ENGL 28708 / Steven Maye

How can we represent the structure of society in the wake of globalization, when the scale of our interconnectedness so vastly exceeds human perception? This course considers some answers to that question posed by recent televisual and theoretical texts: The X-Files, Law & Order, The Wire, House of Cards, and writings by Raymond Williams, Fredric Jameson, and Bruno Latour. (LT)

The Literature of Masculinity-in-Crisis / ENGL 28730 / Peter Lido

This course will survey the literary history of male crisis in America. In addition to examining the ongoing problem of defining masculinity itself, we will address narratives of male crisis that involve situations like revolution, mutiny, segregation, alienation, and trauma, and historical events like Reconstruction, the Vietnam War, the AIDS Crisis, etc. (LT)

The Contemporary Novel / ENGL 29500 / Michael Dango

This course is a survey of fiction in English from 2001 to the present. We will approach this fiction through three different lenses: history, form, and media. Historically, how does literature respond to and register emerging social anxieties around issues including cultural diversity, terrorism, and climate change? Formally, how have novels developed new strategies of representation in the way characters are developed, plots are narrated, and sentences are written? And in terms of media, how do novels remain novel when digital and social media increasingly take up some of the traditional functions and platforms of the novelistic enterprise? We will explore these questions through works by authors including Zadie Smith, Tom McCarthy, Tao Lin, Marie Calloway, David Mitchell, Colson Whitehead, Barbara Browning, Nell Zink, and Chris Ware. Our primary goals are two: to develop close reading skills that can pick out emerging patterns in novel form; and to develop knowledge about our contemporary social and cultural landscape in order to relate these patterns to history and other media. (LG - Fiction)

Ethics, Politics and Aesthetics in Medieval Literature / ENGL 15700 / Mark Miller

This course will explore the experimental poetics of Chaucer, Gower, and Langland, with a focus on the relations between aesthetic form and ethical and political forms. (LC)

Shakespeare II: Tragedies and Romances / ENGL 16600 / Ellen MacKay

This course is part of the College Course Cluster program, The Renaissance. This course will explore a selection of 7 or 8 plays representing Shakespeare’s mature genres of Tragedy and Romance (the latter a posthumous designation). Like Shakespeare I, this course will examine Shakespeare’s plays as well as the history and limitations of their conceptualization. We will give special attention to the biographical, formal, theatrical, historical, and cultural implications that ensue from the sequencing of Shakespeare’s corpus, before trying out alternatives to the rise and fall paradigm. (LC)

The American Revolution: Culture and Politics / ENGL 17960 / Eric Slauter

This course invites you to immerse yourself in the cultural, intellectual, literary, legal, social, and political worlds of Revolutionary Americans. We explore the causes and consequences of the American Revolution; the meaning of the conflict to ordinary people and extraordinary politicians; the relation of liberty to slavery; the influence evangelical religion as well as the Enlightenment; the creation of a new legal and political order; and the legacy of the Revolution for later generations—especially our own. (LC)

Illusions of Reality: 19th and 20th Century Literary Realism / ENGL 21220 / Amanda Shubert

This course explores the literary style called realism. How should we understand the relationship between literary representation and the world that it represents? What kinds of aesthetic forms and effects produce an illusion of realness? We will wrestle with these questions through readings that span the nineteenth and twentieth century, including writers such as Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, William Wordsworth, Rebecca West and James Joyce.

Literature and Technology / ENGL 21277 (many cross-lists) / Ana Ilievska

Machines, Humans, and the European Novel from Frankenstein to the Futurists. In his Scienza Nuova (New Science), Giambattista Vico writes that "the Egyptians reduced all preceding world time to three ages; namely, the age of gods, the age of heroes, and the age of men." What the Egyptians and Vico could not have predicted was that history had yet another age in store: the age of the machine. Carlyle baptized, Marx outlined it, Heidegger warned against it; Deleuze and Guattari proclaimed that "everything is a machine"; and Ted Kaczynski even went as far as to kill in order to free human beings from the "technological slavery" the machine age had purportedly brought about. And yet, as Heidegger wrote, "everywhere we remain unfree and chained to technology, whether we passionately affirm or deny it." So what is technology? What impact did it have on human beings and on the writing of literature as the Industrial Revolution exploded onto the European continent? In this course we will pose anew the question concerning technology within the one field that Heidegger deemed akin to the essence of technology: art, and by deduction, literature. Together, we will trace the ecological, economical, and emotional footprints of various machines and technological devices (automata, trains, phonographs, cameras). We will delve into the topic with Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, continue with a reflection on the human being as a machine (Frankenstein and Pinocchio), transition to accounts on cities, progress, and machines (Dickens, Zola, Eça de Queirós), and end with the Futurists' technological extravaganzas that will include a visit to Chicago's Art Institute. Other readings include texts by Marx, Raymond Williams, Heidegger, Leo Marx, Deleuze & Guattari, etc. This course will be taught in English. All materials are available in English, but reading in the original languages is encouraged. (LT)

Imagining the Modern City / ENGL 22904 / Lawrence Rothfield

The rise of the modern city makes possible new modes of experience, new kinds of people, and new kinds of stories. To appreciate these novelties, we will start by looking at sociologist Georg Simmel’s “The Metropolis and Mental Life.” Then we will explore how writers and filmmakers have tried to capture this experience of city life in different genres (the detective story, romantic comedy, modernist poetry, realism), and from different social perspectives. Texts and films may include Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; The Big Sleep; Do the Right Thing; Manhattan; “The Waste Land;” “Sonny’s Blues;” Blade Runner, and Lost in Translation.

South African Fictions and Factions / ENGL 24813 / 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 nonfictional 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.

The Problem of Fictional Character / ENGL 25640 / Jessica Hurley

Our encounters with representations of people are often preceded by a familiar disclaimer: “All names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.” But what kinds of people are literary characters? And what can we learn about a culture’s conception of personhood by analyzing how it imagines fictional subjects? In this class, we will combine a theoretical study of fictional character with a historical study of how conceptions of personhood have changed in the United States from the late 19th century to the present. Readings will include theoretical texts in psychology, affect studies, law, and literary theory as well as novels and films by Theodore Dreiser, Ralph Ellison, and Kathy Acker, among others. (LT)

Always Already New - Printed Books and Electronic Texts / ENGL 25990 / Michelle Skinner

In this class, students will learn about the fields of book history and new media in various ways – from visiting UChicago Special Collection to geochaching across Chicago – in an attempt to understand why the book keeps changing shape. The course will guide students in creating their own self-directed final project. (LT)

Movement in Modernist Poetry / ENGL 26715 / Rachel Kyne

This course examines the relationship between mobility, spatial politics, and poetic form in modernism. From vers libre to Surrealist dérives, modernist literature draws strongly on the political, ethical, and imaginative significance of movement, fundamentally connecting mobility to notions of freedom, progress, and change. Moreover, the explosion of modernist art and literature in France and Britain in the late 19th and early 20th centuries took place in a social context of radical changes in forms of individual and collective movement. Technologies like the subway, the automobile, the plane, and the bicycle altered notions of space and time, while women exercised new forms of autonomy of movement and transgressed gendered notions of public space. In the same decades, two World Wars reshaped Europe’s borders, passports were introduced, and waves of refugees fleeing religious persecution and war heightened xenophobic desires for closed borders and regulation—desires reaching their height in the trains, ghettos, and death camps of the Holocaust. In readings extending from the flâneur poems of Charles Baudelaire to the Pisan Cantos of Ezra Pound, we will investigate the spatial poetics—and politics—of writers like Stéphane Mallarmé, Hope Mirrlees, T. S. Eliot, and the Surrealists, and consider the connections between the poetic line and spatial movement, along with concepts like transport, crossing, passage, progress, flight, etc. French readings will be provided in English. (LT)

Wealth, Democracy and the American Novel / ENGL 27250 / Kenneth Warren

Numerous commentators have remarked on similarities between late 19th-century Gilded Age America and turn-of-the 21st-century neoliberal America. By focusing on several American novels, beginning with the late 19th- and early 20th-century decades, we will explore the way that US novelists sought to understand the political, social, and imaginative challenges presented by the concentration of great wealth in fewer and fewer hands. The novels we take up will include Henry Adams, Democracy. Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner, The Gilded Age, Henry James, The American, William Dean Howells, The Rise of Silas Lapham, Edith Wharton, The Custom of the Country, W.E.B. Du Bois, Dark Princess, F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, and Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man.

The Black Voice: 1880-Present / ENGL 27450 / Lauren Jackson

Can race be heard? What makes a “black voice”? This course will examine how the black voice develops and is structured as something audible in American culture. From Justin Timberlake to Iggy Azalea, contemporary controversies over cultural appropriation have made us question the ethics of white artists capitalizing upon a proprietary “black” voice. But what does it mean to call a voice black, or say Obama “sounds white”? In this course, students will wade through several key historical moments including the post-Reconstruction rise of local color, dialect debates during the Harlem Renaissance, hipsters in the 1950s, and sonic absurdities in the contemporary. The aim of the course is to learn how sound collaborates with or at-times belies knowledge and assumptions on race derived from a language of sight and skin color. Students will read, watch, and discuss material from a variety of genres and mediums including poetry, sketch comedy, cartoons, stand-up, essays, sociology, and the novel. Key figures include Mark Twain, Paul Dunbar, Charles Chesnutt, Joel Chandler Harris, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Norman Mailer, Gwendolyn Brooks, Paul Beatty, Steve Harvey, Dave Chappelle, and Aaron McGruder. Key criticism and theory includes John Edgar Wideman, Franz Fanon, Houston A. Baker, Geneva Smitherman, Kenneth Warren, and Jennifer Lynn Stoever. (LT)

Lyric and Modern Criticism / ENGL 28570 / Michael Hansen

Historicist scholars have recently argued that lyric as we know it was invented by twentieth-century criticism. They suggest that the familiar approach of interpreting poems by relation to a "speaker" makes it difficult to appreciate poetry's historical variety. This class tests this claim by comparing major twentieth-century critical approaches: how is lyric defined? what is its significance among other poetic and non-poetic genres? how should it be read and interpreted? Beginning with a small number of influential nineteenth-century readings, we will consider twentieth-century examples from Russian Formalism, Practical Criticism, New Criticism, phenomenology, Structuralism and Post-Structuralism, Deconstruction, New Historicism, gender and sexuality criticism, Marxist ideology critique, and Historical Poetics. (LT)

Practicing Theory / ENGL 28720 / Michael Dango

This experimental, writing-intensive course provides students with both an introduction to key texts in critical literary theory and a workshop environment in which to practice this theory with select works of contemporary literature. Students in the course will form small teams organized by a chosen novel, which will be their common object to think through the theory we read as a class. We will then alternate “reading” weeks, which will be organized by schools of critical thought, with “writing” weeks, in which students apply these schools of thought to their chosen novel and teams meet to workshop each other’s essays. In this way, students are asked to try on a range of different theoretical idioms and approaches, with an emphasis on writing as a way of metabolizing them. Given the time constraints of the quarter, the course will prioritize theoretical texts from a feminist and queer tradition, informed by Marxism and psychoanalysis. (LT, LG - Nonfiction)

The Long 1980s / ENGL 29250 / Rowan Bayne

This course pursues a cultural history of America in the 1980s, exploring key debates and transformations of this historical moment while assessing its relative contemporaneity with our own. Students will become conversant with signal periodizing terms (e.g., postmodernism, neoliberalism, posthumanism) while reconstructing a range of contexts in fiction and popular culture, such as Wall Street finance, hip-hop, Valley Girls, AIDS, and the personal computer. (LT)

Introduction to Fiction / ENGL 10706 / Josephine McDonagh

This Gateway course introduces students to the study of narrative by examining fictional texts from different time periods, genres and media. We will analyse elements of form and style (including narrative voice, nalyzingzation and plot) and consider some important questions to do with the ethics of storytelling: why tell a story? Why listen? Can stories be ‘fake’? During the course we will read examples of works from the major genres of fiction in English, and study some of the terms and concepts from narrative theory that will provide the tools for nalyzing them. Texts are likely to include tales from the Arabian Nights, Coleridge’s ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and texts by Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James, Zora Neale Hurston and Zadie Smith. (LG - Fiction)

Science and Fiction: From Milton to the Moon Landing / ENGL  17525 / David Simon

This course is part of the College Course Cluster program, The Renaissance. When and why do literary writers draw upon the experimental practices and observational habits of the sciences in order to construct their narratives? This course explores a “documentary impulse” in a wide variety of literary and cinematic genres, including the most fantastical. Readings/screenings are likely to include some of the following: Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale; Godwin, The Man in the Moone; Milton, excerpts from Paradise Lost; Fontenelle, Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds; Shelley, Frankenstein; Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth; Levi, The Periodic Table and “Observed from a Distance”; Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness; Ascher, Room 237; Jemisin, The Obelisk Gate.

Seventeenth Century Literary Culture and the Woman Writer / ENGL 17700 / Katia Fowler

This course explores the literary culture of early modern England (and Europe, to a lesser degree) by way of writing by women. We will examine the cultural changes that enabled women to write and survey women’s writing across a diverse range of genres including poetry, prose, letters, and drama. (LC)

Pickpockets, Slaves, and Housewives / ENGL 17850 / Sam Rowe

This course will address literature in the picaresque tradition, from the first picaresque novel—the anonymous Lazarillo de Tormes—through William Wordsworth’s poetry. Picaresque novels are known for their roguish heroes, off-color humor, and episodic structure. They also, however, tell the stories of some of the period’s most vulnerable people: the poor, women, children, and slaves. We will think about the picaresque both historically—as a response to early European capitalism—and formally—as a literary form attuned to the lives of precarious populations. Readings will include Lazarillo de Tormes, Cervantes, Nashe, Defoe, Voltaire, Equiano, Wollstonecraft, Wordsworth, and Marx. (LC)

Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley / ENGL 19500 / Alexis Chema

This course examines the writing—novels, political treatises, letters, travel essays—of two of Romanticism’s most influential women writers. In the concerns that animated their thought, spanning political revolution, sexual freedom, critiques of patriarchy, cosmopolitanism, scientific ethics, monstrosity and apocalypse, Wollstonecraft and Shelley are at once exemplary of the “spirit of the age” and fringe figures marginalized from a society whose mores they transgressed. We will study their major works, attending to historical, intellectual, and cultural contexts, as well as matters of literary concern, such as their pioneering development of modes like gothic and science/speculative fiction, Wollstonecraft’s stylistic theories, and Shelley’s scenes of imaginative sympathy. Course texts will also include several films (Rowing With the Wind, Frankenstein) and selections of the writing of contemporaries: Edmund Burke, Ann Radcliffe, William Godwin, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. (LC)

William Blake: Poet, Painter, and Prophet / ENGL 20228 / W.J.T. Mitchell

William Blake is arguably the most unusual figure in the history of English poetry and visual art. Recognized now as an essential part of the canon of Romantic poetry, he was almost completely unknown in his own time. His paintings, poems, and illuminated books were objects of fascination for a small group of admirers, but it was not until the late 19th century that his work began to be collected by William Butler Yeats, and not until the 1960s that he was recognized as a major figure in the history of art and literature. Dismissed as insane in his own time, his prophetic and visionary works are now seen as anticipating some of the most radical strands of modern thought, including Freud, Marx, and Nietzsche. We will study Blake’s work from a variety of perspectives, placing his poetry in relation to the prophetic ambitions of Milton and his visual images in the European iconographic tradition of Michelangelo and Durer. The course will emphasize close readings of his lyric poems, and attempt to open up the mythic cosmology of his allegorical, epic, and prophetic books. (LC, LT)

Junior Seminar: Passions, Emotions, Moods / ENGL 20650 / Sianne Ngai

Feelings are historical phenomena that lie at the formation of aesthetic and moral values. For centuries, western philosophy and literature has sorted changing repertoires of feeling into genres defined by a variety of principles. Some feelings are noted to increase the subject’s capacity for action; others as decreasing it. Some feelings trouble the autonomy of the self; others affirm and reinforce the will. Some feelings are powerful and intense (passions); others as ambient or objectless (moods). In this course we will think historically as well as conceptually about the role of literature in not just representing, but interpreting, enacting, and even creating passions, emotions, and moods. Reading broadly across five centuries and also across a diverse group of printed genres (essays, elegies, popular periodicals, novels), we will track changes in the theory and representation of one cluster of feelings, in particular, which has played an arguably central role in western capitalist society: envy, jealousy, and competitiveness. Readings include: Bacon, Montaigne, Donne, Shakespeare, Addison and Steele, Adam Smith, Austen, Nietzsche, Robbe-Grillet, and Highsmith. (LT)

Extinction, Disaster and Dystopias / ENGL 22434 / Joya John

This course aims to provide students interested in South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka) an overview of key environmental and ecological issues in the subcontinent. We will investigate the ways the environment, ecology and culture of this region have interacted with pre-colonial, colonial and national histories to shape the peculiar nature of environmental issues. Students will be introduced to these issues via the narrative and disciplinary resources that South Asian studies more broadly provide. Given the time constraint of 10 weeks we will consider three major concepts—“extinction”, “disaster” and “dystopia” to see how they can be used to frame issues of environmental and ecological concern. We will approach each concept as a framing device for issues such as conservation and preservation of wildlife, erasure of adivasi (indigenous) ways of life, environmental justice, water scarcity and climate change. The course will aim to develop students’ ability to assess the specificity of these concepts in different disciplines. For example: What methods and sources will an environmental historian use to write about wildlife? How does this differ from the approach an ecologist or literary writer might take? Students will analyze various textual forms: both literary and visual, such as autobiographies of shikaris (hunters), graphic novels, photographs, documentary films, ethnographic accounts and, histories. (LT)

Theater About Theater / ENGL 24412 / John Muse

This course is a transhistorical study of changing ideas about representation, explored through the lens of early modern and twentieth-century plays that foreground theatrical form. Every play frames time and space and in the process singles out a portion of life for consideration. The plays we will consider this term call conspicuous attention to the frame itself, to the materials and capacities of theater. What happens when plays comment on their own activity? Why might they do so? Why has theatrical self-consciousness emerged more strongly in particular historical periods? What might such plays teach us about the nature of art, and about the nature of life? To what extent can we distinguish between art and life? We’ll explore these and other questions through plays by Marlowe, Kyd, Shakespeare, Maeterlinck, Pirandello, Brecht, Beckett, Genet, Peter Weiss, Handke, Levine, and Baker; and through theoretical work by Abel, Puchner, Hornby, Sofer, Fuchs, and others. (LT)

American Nativism / ENGL 25425 / Kevin Kimura

In 2016, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States after a campaign that some commentators identified as nativist. This course surveys American literary articulations of nativism from the 1850s to the present in prose and film. We will ask such questions as: What is nativism? How is American cultural identity constituted? What political possibilities does the idea of culture produce? What are the continuities and discontinuities in the story of American nativism across the past two centuries? What can the history of American nativism teach us about contemporary American identity? Planned texts for the course include work by Edgar Allen Poe, Frank Norris, Jack London, Willa Cather, and others. We will also study political speeches, writing, and commentary from the 2016 campaign and Trump's presidency.

Technorelations: Intimacy, Bodies, Machines / ENGL 25980 / Bill Hutchison

Sociologist Sherry Turkle has recently claimed that “technology proposes itself as the architect of our intimacies.” In this class, we’ll test Turkle’s theory by examining the ways in which human relationships arise with and through machines. From eighteenth-century automata and the industrial revolution to robots and artificial intelligence, we’ll track the co-evolution of technology and social intimacies—our technorelations. (LT)

Secret Histories, Inside Jobs: Paranoia and Conspiracy in USA / ENGL 25999 / Nell Pach

American fascination with conspiracies – real and imagined – runs through the country’s history from eighteenth-century Illuminati paranoia to the latest intimations of Russian election hacking. Examining a range of fiction from around 1800 to the present, we will explore conspiracy narratives from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Thomas Pynchon. Why does the notion of one’s own manipulation in the hands of shadowy puppet-masters hold such enduring appeal and sway in the American imagination? 

Speaking Pictures: Ekphrasis in American Poetry / ENGL 26220 / Chris Kempf

This course tracks the relationship between visual and literary art in 20th-century American poetry, examining in particular the idea of ekphrasis—the production of a work of art in response to another work of art. We will look at poems in response to film, video games, TV, painting, and music. (LT)

Modernism and War / ENGL 26760 / Rachel Kyne

This course considers the centrality of war—and three specific wars—to Anglophone modernism. We will examine literary representations of three conflicts that dramatically shaped European society and cultural production in the first half of the 20th century: the First World War, the Spanish Civil War, and the Second World War. Moving from the combative violence of the pre-World War I avant-gardes to the emergence of fascism in the 1920s and the aerial bombing of urban centers, our course will investigate the blurred line between literature and history in years of profound crisis. We will read works by both combatants and non-combatants, and encounter a fundamental dilemma that split modernist writers and artists throughout the period: should art reflect social and historical conditions or exist “for its own sake”? Readings will include the British war poets, Rebecca West’s Return of the Soldier, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises (1926), George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia (1938), and Elizabeth Bowen’s The Heat of the Day (1948), along with essays by Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, T. S. Eliot, W. B. Yeats, and W. G. Sebald. (LT)

Race and Ethnicity in American Comics / ENGL 26940 / Oscar Chavez

This course examines the representation and discourse of race and ethnicity in an array of American comics, including early newspaper strips, underground and alternative comics, and autobiographical graphic narratives. Along with works that emphasize an intersectional approach to race, we will discuss the history of racist caricature and recent controversies such as the depiction of Mohammed in Danish and French cartoons. We will also study how the mechanics of the visual-textual medium engender unique modes of representing race in literature. Some of the cartoonists we will observe include Art Spiegelman, Marjane Satrapi, Marjorie Liu, and Los Bros Hernandez.

Death Writing / ENGL 28745 / Vinh Cam

The course introduces students to the major forms of mourning and memorialization across media, including, but not limited to, the epitaph, obituary, memoir, photograph, documentary, and monument. Will explore the numerous representational strategies employed by a wide range of writers, artists, and filmmakers to mourn and memorialize the dead including William Wordsworth, W.E.B. Du Bois, Joan Didion, Maggie Nelson, Mark Morrisroe, and Stan Brakhage. We will read this archive alongside works by literary and media theorists who have been drawn to death writing as a paradigmatic site to think through questions of voice, figuration, absence, and difference. As this archive suggests, death is also an interdisciplinary object of study. We will therefore spend the latter part of the course reading works by feminist, queer, postcolonial and critical race theorists and artists who have grappled with the necrologies and necrologics of contemporary political and social systems. These thinkers alert us to death’s genres, whether this is understood at the level of the event or apprehended through its gendered, sexualized and racialized modalities. (LT, LG - Nonfiction)

Romantic Fiction and the Historical Novel / ENGL 24202 / 30805 / Timothy Campbell

In this course we will examine the emergence of the historical novel in Romantic Britain and situate this genre within a wider expansion of the code of realism that attends to social-historical phenomena and processes in new and enduring ways. We will organize the course around the particularly influential authorship of Walter Scott and Maria Edgeworth, in part by addressing the competing practices of several oppositional contemporaries. We will also draw upon a mix of foundational and recent criticism to consider a series of sites where Romantic fiction conceptualizes history with special energy: the subject, the imperial Celtic periphery, the romance, commercial modernity, and the everyday. (LC)

Prosody and Poetic Form: An Introduction to Comparative Metrics / ENGL 22310 / 32303  / Boris Maslov

This class offers (i) an overview of major European systems of versification, with particular attention to their historical development, and (ii) an introduction to the theory of meter. In addition to analyzing the formal properties of verse, we will inquire into their relevance for the articulation of poetic genres and, more broadly, the history of literary (and sub-literary) systems. There will be some emphasis on Graeco-Roman quantitative metrics, its afterlife, and the evolution of Germanic and Slavic syllabo-tonic verse. No prerequisites, but a working knowledge of one European language besides English is strongly recommended. (LT)

King Arthur in Legend and History / ENGL 15302 / 35302 / Christina von Nolcken

We will consider the historical origins of the Arthurian Legend and some of the ways in which it has subsequently been reshaped and used in great Britain. We will concern ourselves first with how the legend was treated in the Middle Ages, most importantly by Geoffery of Monmouth in the twelfth century and Thomas Malory in the fifteenth. Then we will turn to the extraordinary revival of interest in the legend that started with the Victorians and which has continued almost unabated to the present. In our discussions we will consider such matters as the various political uses that have been made of the legend as well as some of the reasons for its enduring popularity. We will end with a viewing of the 1975 Film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. (LC)

Psychoanalytic Theory: Freud and Lacan / ENGL 25509 / 35509 / Francois Meltzer

For this course, we will read major texts by Freud and Lacan. Freud readings will include “Beyond the Pleasure Principle,” “Note on a Mystic Writing Pad,” “The Uncanny,” “Jensen’s Gradiva,” the Dora case, and a selection of texts from other works. Lacan readings: “Seminar on the Purloined Letter,” Poe’s “The Purloined Letter,” “God and the Jouissance of the Woman: A love letter,” and parts of the Ecrits. We will also read excerpts from a variety of texts that use the writings of Freud and Lacan for theoretical purposes: Derrida, Sarah Kristeva, Irigaray, Zizek and others. (LT)

Richer and Poorer: Income Inequality / ENGL 26250 / 36250 / Elaine Hadley

Current political and recent academic debate has centered on income or wealth inequality. Data suggests a rapidly growing divergence between those earners at the bottom and those at the top. This course seeks to place that current concern in conversation with a range of moments in nineteenth and twentieth century history when literature and economics converged on questions of economic inequality. In keeping with recent political economic scholarship by Thomas Piketty, we will be adopting a long historic view and a somewhat wide geographic scale as we explore how economic inequality is represented, measured, assessed and addressed. Readings will include some of the following literature, Hard Times, Le Pere Goriot, The Jungle, The Time Machine, Native Son, Landscape for a Good Woman, White Tiger, and some of the following economic and political texts Principles of Political Economy, The Acquisitive Society, The Theory of the Leisure Class, Capital (Marx and Piketty), The Price of Inequality and Inequality Re-examined. (LC, LT)

Shakespeare and the Ancient Classical World / ENGL 16560 / 36560 / David Bevington

This course is part of the College Course Cluster program, The Renaissance. This course will look closely at the plays written by Shakespeare on the ancient classical world: Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, Troilus and Cressida, Antony and Cleopatra, Timon of Athens, and Coriolanus, with an emphasis on the second, third, and fourth titles in this list. Why did Shakespeare turn to the ancient classical world for dramatic material, and what did he find there that was not available to him in the Christian world he knew at first hand? What philosophical ideas, experiments in forms of governance, and understanding of the human condition did he discover? In way ways is Shakespeare a different writer and dramatist as a result of his imaginative journey to the world of ancient Greece and Rome? Undergrad (LC)

Dickinson’s Poetry / ENGL 25650 / 38650 / Richard Strier

This course will try to give some sense of the range and power of Emily Dickinson's achievement as a poet. We will wrestle with the major issues that the poetry presents, along with its inherent difficulty: its religious content, its erotic content, its treatment of emotions and psychological states. We will reckon with questions of textual instability, but they will not be the focus of the course. A short paper and a longer paper will be required. (LC)

Before and After Beckett: Theater and Theory / ENGL 24408 / 44408 / Loren Kruger

Beckett is conventionally typed as the playwright of minimalist scenes of unremitting bleaksness but his experiments with theatre and film echo the irreverent play of popular culture (vaudeville on stage and screen eg Chaplin and Keaton) as well as experimental Theatre and modern philosophy, even when there are no direct lines of influence. This course will juxtapose these points of reference with Beckett’s plays and those of his contemporaries (Ionesco, Genet and others in French, Pinter in English. It will then explore more recent plays that suggest the influence of Beckett by Pinter, Caryl Churchill and Sarah Kane in English, Albert Jarry and Michel Vinaver in French, as well as the relevance of theorists and philosophers include Barthes, Wittgenstein, and critics writing on specific plays. (LT)

The Matter of Black Lives: Hurston and Wright / ENGL 27010 / 47310 / Adrienne Brown

Despite being best known as adversaries—with Richard Wright notoriously accusing Zora Neale Hurston’s writing of being “cloaked in facile sensuality” and Hurston scorning Wright for his “tone deaf” and “grim” stories of “race hatred”—these two writers shared more commonalities than their feud suggests. This class will approach Hurston and Wright not as antagonists but as coworkers experimenting with how to represent something like collective black experience through different literary genres (both turning to autobiography, folklore, novels, short stories, op-eds, literary criticism, screenplays) and in response to social science methodologies (Wright’s faith in sociology vs. Hurston’s career as an anthropologist). In reframing their relationship to one another, this class will also trace a story of the development of African American literature in the early 20th century as refracted through Hurston and Wright’s varying commitments to representing black life as both a unifying and restrictive categorization.

The Slaves’ Narratives / ENGL 17920 / 47920 / Chris Taylor

As rare first-person accounts of an institution that claimed the lives of millions, slave narratives occupy an important, almost sacred position in the history of American letters. In part, this course will offer a literary history of this genre of writing. We will consider the relationship of the slave narrative to other available genres of life writing: spiritual autobiography, captivity narratives, gallows narratives, and so on. We will consider a host of political problems that the slave narrative raises, such as: What levels of autonomy or agency could black writers hope to achieve in relation to white editors, sponsors, and abolitionist organizations? What is the evidentiary value of these narratives? How do the generic conventions of the slave narrative conscript black subjects into just giving “the facts” to white “philosophers,” as Frederick Douglass would critique, instead of enabling black subjects to theorize slavery and freedom in their own names? At the same time, we will explore print media not typically considered under the rubric of the “slave narrative” to thicken our understanding of black life-making in the shadow of slavery: legal petitions, court testimony, letters, and early novels. (LC, LT, LG - Nonfiction)

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COMPARATIVE LITERATURE

Includes courses cross-listed from other departments. If you have questions about course content, structure, and schedule, please contact the department offering the course.

Southern African Fictions and Factions / CMLT [course # missing from web] / 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. 

Comparative Methods in the Humanities / CMLT 20109 / Olga Solovieva

This course introduces the models of comparative analysis across national literatures, genres, and media. The texts to be discussed include Orson Welles’s “Citizen Kane” and Coleridge’s poem “Kubla Khan”; Benjamin’s “The Storyteller,” Kafka’s “Josephine the Mouse Singer,” Deleuze and Guattari, Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, and Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Storyteller; Victor Segalen’s Stèles; Fenollosa and Pound’s “The Chinese Character as a Medium of Poetry” and Eliot Weinberger’s Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei; Mérimée, “Carmen,” Bizet, Carmen, and the film adaptation U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha (South Africa, 2005); Gorky’s and Kurosawa’s “Lower Depths;” Molière, Tartuffe, Dostoevsky, The Village Stepanchikovo and its Inhabitants, and Bakhtin, “Discourse in the Novel”; Gogol, The Overcoat, and Boris Eikhenbaum, “How Gogol’s Overcoat Is Made.” (LT)

Literature and Technology: Machines, Humans, and the Novel / CMLT 21200 PORT 28818, ITAL 28818Ana Ilievska

In his Scienza Nuova (New Science), Giambattista Vico writes that "the Egyptians reduced all preceding world time to three ages; namely, the age of gods, the age of heroes, and the age of men." What the Egyptians and Vico could not have predicted was that history had yet another age in store: the age of the machine. Carlyle baptized, Marx outlined it, Heidegger warned against it; Deleuze and Guattari proclaimed that "everything is a machine"; and Ted Kaczynski even went as far as to kill in order to free human beings from the "technological slavery" the machine age had purportedly brought about. And yet, as Heidegger wrote, "everywhere we remain unfree and chained to technology, whether we passionately affirm or deny it." So what is technology? What impact did it have on human beings and on the writing of literature as the Industrial Revolution exploded onto the European continent? In this course we will pose anew the question concerning technology within the one field that Heidegger deemed akin to the essence of technology: art, and by deduction, literature. Together, we will trace the ecological, economical, and emotional footprints of various machines and technological devices (automata, trains, phonographs, cameras). We will delve into the topic with Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, continue with a reflection on the human being as a machine (Frankenstein and Pinocchio), transition to accounts on cities, progress, and machines (Dickens, Zola, Eça de Queirós), and end with the Futurists' technological extravaganzas that will include a visit to Chicago's Art Institute. Other readings include texts by Marx, Raymond Williams, Heidegger, Leo Marx, Deleuze & Guattari, etc. (LT)

Nature in/as Literature / CMLT 22380 / David Orsbon

It seems self-evident that the world we live in influence our literatures and languages. The question is, How? On the other hand, nature itself is a kind of literature, and in more ways than one. From one point of view, nature writes itself when coastlines shift and mountains erode. But there are at least two other ways in which nature is a kind of literature. One of these stories is written by scientists and environmental historians, who take data acquired and use it to reconstruct narratives of environmental change. At the same time, there is another (and some would say, an especially urgent) story of nature, which is being etched into the natural world by bulldozers, bridges, and dynamite. Just like more traditional forms of nature writing, these other narratives of the environment are as much a form of literature as any other, and since humans have a role, not only in shaping the natural world, but also in telling its story, humans are the coauthors of the story of our planet in more than one sense.

This course is an introduction to the history of the concept of nature, ecocriticism, and environmental history. We will discuss issues and topics such as: relationships between nature and literature, ecofeminism, literary/textual ecosystems, environmental ethics, narratives of rise/collapse, animal studies, urban studies, ecolinguistics, and human-environment interactions. (LT)

Trans Performativity / CMLT 23112 GNSE 23112 ENGL 23112 / Wolfson

In this course we will explore how these dialogues and conflicts between gender studies, queer theory, and trans studies have developed and transformed our understandings of categories like “gender,” “sex” and “trans.” Some guiding questions will be: how do we, and should we, conceive the materiality of the body? How do assumptions about ‘nature’ and the ‘natural’ determine how we view categories of identity, and what are the political ramifications of these determinations? Why, within certain discourses, has the fluidity of gender been promoted, while the fluidity of race remains controversial and generally unsupported? How do we account for these different receptions, and what kind of opportunities do they make available for politically engaged communities? How can we simultaneously value performative theories of gender, while also maintaining a certain stability of identity as developed within trans criticism, even when these two discourses seem in direct conflict? (LT)

Directors and Directing: Theory, Stage, Text / CMLT 23305 / Michal Peles-Almagor

Theatre has always needed the concept of directing when staging a play. However, the role of the director as we know it has emerged only with the beginning of modern drama. This course will investigate the role of the director as an intersection between text, theory, and performance. The course explores the impact of the director in shaping modern drama, as well as critical approaches of literary and theatrical theory. We will deal not only with the historical development of the director’s role and textual interpretation, but also with the dynamics between theory and practice, and the changes in the concepts of space, acting, and performing. We will focus on approaches and writings by André Antoine, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Yevgeny Vakhtangov, Konstantin Stanislavski, Gordon Craig, Max Reinhardt, Jacques Copeau, Leopold Jessner, Erwin Piscator, Bertolt Brecht, and Samuel Beckett. We will examine these approaches in relation to literary theories of performativity (John Austin, John Searle, Judith Butler, Mikhail Bakhtin). We will also be interested in testing whether these theories match the practice, and discuss the potential of constructing a theory of acting, performing, and directing today.   (LT)

Psychoanalytic Theory: Freud and Lacan / CMLT 25500  FREN 2555 1 ENGL 25509Françoise Meltzer

For this course, we will read major texts by Freud and Lacan. Freud readings will include "Beyond the Pleasure Principle," "Note on a Mystic Writing Pad," "The Uncanny," "Jensen's Gradiva," the Dora case, and a selection of texts from other works. Lacan reading: "Seminar on the Purloined Letter," Poe's "The Purloined Letter," "God and the Jouissance of the Woman: A love letter," and parts of the Ecrits. We will also read excerpts from a variety of texts that use the writings of Freud and Lacan for theoretical purposes: Derrida, Sarah Kristeva, Irigaray, Zizek and others. (LT)

Before and After Beckett / CMLT 20801 ENGL 24408 TAPS 28424 / Loren Kruger

Beckett is conventionally typed as the playwright of minimalist scenes of unremitting bleakness, but his experiments with theatre and film echo the irreverent play of popular culture (vaudeville on stage and screen, e.g. Chaplin and Keaton) as well as experimental theatre and modern philosophy, even when there are no direct lines of influence. This course will juxtapose these points of reference with Beckett's plays and those of his contemporaries (Ionesco, Genet and others in French, Pinter in English). It will then explore more recent plays that suggest the influence of Beckett by Pinter, Carul Churchill and Sarah Kane in English; Albert Jarry and Michel Vinaver in French, as well as the relevance of theorists and philosophers including Barthes, Wittgenstein, and critics writing on specific plays. Prerequisites: HUM CORE and at least one college level course in drama or TAPS. French is helpful but not required.  (LT)

Prosody and Poetic Form: An Introduction to Comparative Metrics / CMLT 22303 CLCV 21313 SLAV 22303 GRMN 22314 ENGL 22310 / Boris Maslov

This class offers (i) an overview of major European systems of versification, with particular attention to their historical development, and (ii) an introduction to the theory of meter. In addition to analyzing the formal properties of verse, we will inquire into their relevance for the articulation of poetic genres and, more broadly, the history of literary (and sub-literary) systems. There will be some emphasis on Graeco-Roman quantitative metrics, its afterlife, and the evolution of Germanic and Slavic syllabo-tonic verse. No prerequisites, but a working knowledge of one European language besides English is strongly recommended. (LT)

Fate and Duty: European Tragedy from Aeschylus to Brecht / CMLT 22402 GRMN 22402, CLCV 22117, CLAS 32117, REES 22402 / Boris Maslov

This class will explore the development of European drama from Attic tragedy and comedy and their reception in Ancient Rome and French Neoclassicism to the transformation of dramatic form in 18-20th c. European literatures. The focus will be on the evolution of plot, characterization, time-and-space of dramatic action, ethical notions (free will, guilt, conscience), as well as on representations of affect. All readings in English. No prerequisites.

Language is Migrant: Yiddish Poetics of the Border / CMLT 29402 / Anna Elena Torres

This course examines Ashkenazi Jewish literary narratives about geopolitical borders and border-crossing though travel and migration, engaged with questions about the linguistic borders of Yiddish itself. As a diasporic language, Yiddish has long been constructed as subversively internationalist or cosmopolitan, raising questions about the relationships between language and nation, vernacularity and statelessness.

This course explores the questions: How do the diasporic elements of the language produce literary possibilities? How do the “borders” of Yiddish shape its poetics? How do Yiddish poets and novelists thematize their historical experiences of immigration and deportation? And how has Yiddish literature informed the development of other world literatures through contact and translation?

Literary and primary texts will include the work of Anna Margolin, Alexander Harkavy, Peretz Markish, Dovid Bergelson, Yankev Glatshteyn, Yosef Luden, S. An-sky, and others. Theoretical texts will include writing by Wendy Brown, Dilar Dirik, Gloria Anzaldúa, Wendy Trevino, Agamben, Arendt, Weinreich, and others. The course will incorporate Yiddish journalism and essays, in addition to poetry and prose. All material will be in English. (LT)

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SOCIAL THOUGHT

Includes courses cross-listed from other departments. If you have questions about course content, structure, and schedule, please contact the department offering the course. Please note that this list includes only those SCTH courses for which an undergraduate number is provided.

Poe’s Tales of the Grotesque and the Arabesque / SCTH 35005 FNDL 21001 / Andrei Pop

A Fundamentals gateway course, limited to FNDL declared majors in their first year, & CST grads.

Though Poe wasn’t the first famous writer of short stories, his tales of horror, mystery, and ratiocination made the short prose form a modern medium, inspiring artists ranging from Baudelaire and Manet to Arthur Conan Doyle and the inventors of science-fiction. Their unreliable narrators, copious displays of learning, and contrary effects of shock and verisimilitude have shaped modern fiction. At the same time, the “book” wherein Poe collected his tales on his lifetime grew in fits and bounds, absorbing both his theoretical speculations and his poems as extended means of “telling tales”. Their chief concerns, subjectivity and reason in their compatibility and conflict, are still – or should – our own. (LC)

Poetic Autonomy and Anglo-Catholic Modernism / SCTH 20604 FNDL 20604 / Joseph SImmons      

Modernism is often said to reject traditional sources of value in favor of poetic autonomy. Yet the leading British modernist poets of three successive generations, T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, and Geoffrey Hill, wound up, as Eliot put it, “anglo-catholic in religion.” Perhaps surprisingly, their religious commitments did not lead them to reject poetry’s claim to self-governance; rather, each sought to re-imagine autonomy in theological terms. This course will seek to understand why and how these writers arrived at their ideas of poetry, proceeding through close reading of their poetry and prose. It will also look at adjacent writers, including Hopkins, Wilde, Yeats, Joyce, Charles Williams, and David Jones, who shared their poetic concerns but their religious commitments.
  
Sophocles, Ajax  / SCTH 31613 CLAS 31717 CLCV 21717 / Glenn Most
            
A close literary and philological analysis of one of the most remarkable and perplexing of all Greek tragedies. We will consider the play’s portrayal of the nature and limits of one form of male heroism against the background of earlier poetry and contemporary history; and we will attempt constantly for elate philological and literary approaches to one another in order to understand better not only Sophocles’ play but also the strengths and limitations of the ways in which scholars try to come closer to it.
PQ: Either an adequate knowledge of ancient Greek or the consent of the instructor is required; students should have refreshed their familiarity with the Iliad and Odyssey. Open to undergrads. (LC)

Baudelaire  / SCTH 36001 FREN 27701 FNDL 27701 / Rosanna Warren

Taught in French
Une étude approfondie de l’oeuvre de Baudelaire. Nous lirons Les Fleurs du mal, Les Petits poèmes en prose, et morceaux choisis de sa critique d’art, essayant d’établir une perspective sur ce grand poète à la fois classique et romantique, un artiste tranditionnel et révolutionnaire qui a aide à créer la modernité.
An in-depth study of Baudelaire’s works. We will read Les Fleurs du mal, Les Petits poèmes en prose, and selections from his art criticism, in order to develop a perspective on this great poet, who was at once classical and romantic, a traditional and a revolutionary artist who helped create modernism. (LC)

Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell/ SCTH 36002 ENGL 36222 / Rosanna Warren

Grad and undergrad
An intensive study of these two poets, whose work differs radically, but whose friendship nourished some of the most enduring and original poetry of the American 20th century. Close attention to the poems, in the light of recent biographical work and new editions.

Victor Hugo:  Les Miserables  / SCTH  38230 FREN 26103 / Robert Morrissey 

No description provided. (LC)
 

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EAST ASIAN LANGUAGES & CIVILIZATION

Includes courses cross-listed from other departments. If you have questions about course content, structure, and schedule, please contact the department offering the course.

Fictions of Selfhood in Modern Japanese Literature / EALC 24950 / M. Bourdaghs

As Japanese leaders in the mid 19th century faced the threat of colonization at the hands of the Western powers, they launched a project to achieve “Civilization and Enlightenment,” quickly transforming Japan into a global power that possessed its own empire. In the process fiction became a site for both political engagement and retreat. A civilized country, it was argued, was supposed to boast “literature” as one of its Fine Arts. This literature was charged with representing the inner life of its characters, doing so in a modern national language that was supposed to be a transparent medium of communication. Between the 1880s and the early 1900s, a new language, new literary techniques, and a new set of ideologies were constructed to produce the “self” in novels and short stories. As soon as these new practices were developed, however, they became the objects of parody and ironic deconstruction. Reading key literary texts from the 1880s through the 1930s, as well as recent scholarship, this course will re-trace this historical and literary unfolding, paying special attention to the relationship between language and subjectivity. All readings will be in English.

Inventing the Chinese Short Story / EALC 25301 FNDL 25305 / A. Fox

This class will trace the emergence of the vernacular short story as a new genre in the late Ming and early Qing. We will focus on the seveteenth-century story collections of Feng Menglong, Ling Mengchu, Aina Jushi, and Li Yu, whose stories map the social whole of late imperial China—from merchant schemes to courtesan romances, from the friendships of students to the follies of emperors. Alongside close readings of selected stories, we will examine the structure, sources, and publication histories of these collections and locate them in a broader discussion of the meanings and functions of vernacular literature. All readings in English, though students with Chinese reading ability will be encouraged to read the original texts.

Modern Chinese Literature: Communities, Media & Selves / EALC 28400 / P. Iovene

In this in-depth introduction to modern Chinese literature we will combine close readings of texts with a survey of the ideas, media, and institutions that shaped literary practices from the 1900s to the 1930s. We will discuss authors, literary circles and associations, journals and publishers, as well as notions of self, language, and community. In doing so, we will pursue the following questions: What is a modern Chinese literary text, and what are its relevant contexts? How to connect literary writing—per se a highly individualized and largely solitary activity—with the forms of sociality and the collaborative practices in which it is embedded? How did various communities and institutions affect, and how were they affected by, the writing and reading of literature? Our focus will be on the ways in which authors and groups redefined the function of literature in times of upheaval, the transformations in language and media that shaped their efforts, and the ways in which they conceived of and sought to reach out to readers. Our explorations will be both historical and historiographical, and will touch on the main debates in modern Chinese literary studies today.

Topics in EALC: Past, Present, & Future of the Novel / EALC 10602 / H. Long

This is an introductory course to the study of fiction in modern East Asia. In particular, it examines the evolution of the novel in Japan, China, and Korea as a form of imaginative writing. We will examine major canonical works from each country: three from the early 20th century; three from mid-century; and three from the early 21st century. How did the novel form develop in East Asia relative to creative writing elsewhere around the world? How did it respond to East Asia's shifting political and economic position? What is the cultural role of the novel in contemporary East Asian society? These are just a few of the questions that will animate our exploration of these texts. All works will be read in their English translation.  

Henri Bergson in Japan / EALC 22615 / M. Bourdaghs

This seminar will explore the relationship between philosopher Henri Bergson (1859-1941) and a variety of Japanese thinkers and writers from across the twentieth century. We will look at instances of Japanese literature that respond to Bergson (including the fiction of Natsume Soseki), the work of Japanese philosophers who engaged in dialogue with him (for example, Kuki Shuzo), and the way Bergson's translators productively engaged with his ideas as they produced Japanese-language versions of his major works. Advanced Japanese language ability is required. (LT)

Literature of the Fantastic and Operatic Adaptation / EALC 26515 / J. Zeitlin

This co-taught interdisciplinary course, offered through the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, explores literature of the fantastic (here including ghost stories and fairy tales) and the adaptation of such materials into opera, primary “Western-style” opera but also including some examples from Chinese opera. We will read some theoretical essays on adaptation, trans- or re-mediality, and the uncanny, but our focus will be on concrete examples and the historical arc of their transformation (which often entailed at least one intermediary step from story to play on the way to opera). This history, as in the famous case of Turandot, often involves an interesting chain of East-West crossings, misappropriations, and reappropriations; Chinoiserie has been a potent force in the history of Western opera and in a new form, is currently in vogue again (at least judging from the recent proliferation of Chinese-themed Western style or fusion operas being created and staged). We will select several specific operas or excerpts from opera as cases, reading their libretti, studying their music, and watching select productions on recorded media.

Equivalent Courses: TAPS 26515/36515, MUSIC 24618/34618

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SLAVIC LANGUAGES AND LITERATURE

Includes courses cross-listed from other departments. If you have questions about course content, structure, and schedule, please contact the department offering the course.

Gogol / REES 20011/ Esther Peters

One of the most enigmatic authors in Russian literature, Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852) was hailed in his own lifetime as the leading prose writer of his generation, a brilliant comic writer, and the innovator of the new school of Russian Naturalism/Realism. Since his death, Gogol has been the subject of ever-greater critical controversy. Reading representative works from each period of Gogol's career, including his Petersburg Tales and Dead Souls, we will trace the author's creative development and consider it in relation to his biography and early 19th-century Russian literary and social history. We will work together to identify the characteristic features of Gogol's narrative technique as well as the challenges to interpretation his texts pose. No knowledge of Russian required. (LC)

Advanced BCS: Language through Fiction / BCSN 21101 REES 21101/ Nada Petkovic

Advanced BCS course encompass both 3rd and 4th years of language study, with the focus changed from language structure and grammar to issues in interdisciplinary content.  The courses are not in sequence.  Language through Fiction is designed to help students and instructors over one of the most difficult hurdles in language training-the transition from working through lessons in a textbook to reading unedited texts.  Literature represents the greater development of the expressive possibilities of a language and reveals the bounds within which language operates.  The texts will immerse motivated language students in a complete language experience, as the passages and related exercises present the language's structure on every page.  Students will learn how to engage the natural, organic language of a literary text across a variety of styles and themes.  The course assumes that students are familiar with basic grammar and vocabulary, as well as both the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets.  It is particularly appealing to students who are interested in the literature, history, and anthropology of the region. 

Lolita / REES 23900 / Malynne Sternstein

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul, Lolita: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate, to tap at three on the teeth.” Popular as Nabokov’s “all-American” novel is, it is rarely discussed beyond its psychosexual profile. This intensive text-centered and discussion-based course attempts to supersede the univocal obsession with the novel’s pedophiliac plot as such by concerning itself above all with the novel’s language: language as failure, as mania, and as conjuration.

Narratives of Suspense in European/Russian Lit/Film / REES 23137 CMLT 22100 CMST 25102 CMST 35102 ENGL 26901 ENGL 46901/ Esther Peters

This course examines the nature and creation of suspense in literature and film as an introduction to narrative theory. We will question how and why stories are created, as well as what motivates us to continue reading, watching, and listening to stories. We will explore how particular genres (such as detective stories and thrillers) and the mediums of literature and film influence our understanding of suspense and narrative more broadly. Close readings of primary sources will be supplemented with critical and theoretical readings. Literary readings will include work by John Buchan, Arthur Conan Doyle, Feodor Dostoevsky, Graham Green, Bohumil Hrabal, and J.M. Coetzee. We will also explore Alfred Hitchcock's take on 39 Steps and the Czech New Wave manifesto film, Pearls of the Deep. With theoretical readings by: Roland Barthes, Viktor Shklovsky, Erich Auerbach, Paul Ricoeur, and others. (LT)

Imaginary Worlds: Fantastic & Magic Realism in Russia & Southeastern Europe / REES 29018 CMLT 27701 / Angelina Ilieva

Prerequisites: Readings in English. Background in Russia and the Balkans will make the course easier, but is not required.

In this course, we will ask what constitutes the fantastic and magic realism as literary genres while reading some of the most interesting writings to have come out of Russia and Southeastern Europe. While considering the stylistic and narrative specificities of this narrative mode, we also think about its political functions —from subversive to escapist, to supportive of a nationalist imaginary—in different contexts and at different historic moments in the two regions.

The Shadows of Living Things: the Writings of Mikhail Bulgakov / REES 29020 FNDL 29020 / Angelina Ilieva

“What would your good do if evil did not exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared? After all, shadows are cast by things and people…. Do you want to strip the earth of all the trees and living things just because of your fantasy of enjoying naked light?” asks the Devil. Mikhail Bulgakov worked on his novel The Master and Margarita throughout most of his writing career, in Stalin’s Moscow. Bulgakov destroyed his manuscript, re-created it from memory, and reworked it feverishly even as his body was failing him in his battle with death. The result is an intense contemplation on the nature of good and evil, on the role of art and the ethical duty of the artist, but also a dazzling world of magic, witches, and romantic love, and an irresistible seduction into the comedic. Laughter, as shadow and light, as subversive weapon but also as power’s whip, grounds human relation to both good and evil. Brief excursions to other texts that help us better understand Master and Margarita.

Jewish Writers in the Russian Tradition / REES 26027 JWSC 20234 / William Nickell

Considers the experience of Jewish national subjectivity under conditions of Russian and Soviet empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While attentive to practices of physical marginalization and assimilation (the Pale of Settlement, Birobidzhan), we will focus mainly on the literary record in works by Dostoevsky, Solovyov, Kovner, Babel, An-sky, Bagritsky, Grossman, Ehrenburg, and Brodsky. The syllabus also includes works in theatre, painting and film, as well as important critical texts on subjectivity and post-colonial theory. (LT)

Science Fiction in Eastern Europe and Russia / REES 26075 / Esther Peters

In this course we will examine the cultural, historical, and political contexts of some of the great works of science fiction from Eastern Europe and Russia through literature like (but not limited to) Karel Čapek’s R.U.R. (origin of the robot), Evgenii Zamiatin’s dystopian novel We (the inspiration for George Orwell’s 1984), and Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris (the inspiration for several film versions including Andrei Tarkovsky’s in 1972). Our primary objective will be to examine how these writers used science fiction to interpret, comment upon, or critique their historical moment. How did these works propose alternate realities? Or how did they engage with the new and changing realities of the 20th century? All readings in English.

Balkan Folklore / REES 29009 ANTH 25908 CMLT 23301 NEHC 20568 / 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 Burden of History: The Nation and Its Lost Paradise / REES 29013 CMLT 23401 NEHC 20573 HIST 24005 / Angelina Ilieva

The Other Within the Self: Identity in Balkan Literature and Film. This two-course sequence examines discursive practices in a number of literary and cinematic works from the South East corner of Europe through which identities in the region become defined by two distinct others: the “barbaric, demonic” Ottoman and the “civilized” Western European. This course begins by defining the nation both historically and conceptually, with attention to Romantic nationalism and its flourishing in Southeastern Europe. We then look at the narrative of original wholeness, loss, and redemption through which Balkan countries retell their Ottoman past. With the help of Freud's analysis of masochistic desire and Žižek's theory of the subject as constituted by trauma, we contemplate the national fixation on the trauma of loss and the dynamic between victimhood and sublimity. The figure of the Janissary highlights the significance of the other in the definition of the self. Some possible texts are Petar Njegoš's Mountain Wreath; Ismail Kadare's The Castle; and Anton Donchev's Time of Parting. (LT)


Fate and Duty: European Tragedy from Aeschylus to Brecht / REES 22402 CMLT 22402 / Boris Maslov

This class will explore the development of European drama from Attic tragedy and comedy and their reception in Ancient Rome and French Neoclassicism to the transformation of dramatic form in 18-20th c. European literatures. The focus will be on the evolution of plot, characterization, time-and-space of dramatic action, ethical notions (free will, guilt, conscience), as well as on representations of affect. All readings in English. No prerequisites.

States of Surveillance / REES 29024 CMLT 29024 / Angelina Ilieva

What does it feel to be watched and listened to all the time? Literary and cinematic works give us a glimpse into the experience of living under surveillance and explore the human effects of surveillance – the fraying of intimacy, fracturing sense of self, testing the limits of what it means to be human. Works from the former Soviet Union (Solzhenitsyn, Abram Tertz, Andrey Zvyagintsev), former Yugoslavia (Ivo Andrić, Danilo Kiš, Dušan Kovačević), Romania (Norman Manea, Cristian Mungiu), Bulgaria (Valeri Petrov), and Albania (Ismail Kadare).


Narratives of Assimilation / REES 27003 ISHU 29405 FNDL 26903 / Bozena Shallcross

This course offers a survey into the manifold strategies of representing the Jewish community in East Central Europe beginning from the nineteenth century to the Holocaust. Engaging the concept of liminality—of a society at the threshold of radical transformation—it will analyze Jewry facing uncertainties and challenges of the modern era and its radical changes. Students will be acquainted with problems of cultural and linguistic isolation, hybrid identity, assimilation, and cultural transmission through a wide array of genres—novel, short story, epic poem, memoir, painting, illustration, film. The course draws on both Jewish and Polish-Jewish sources; all texts are read in English translation.


Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent: (In)action, Surveillance, Terrorism / REES 21006 FNDL 21006 / Bozena Shallcross

This course centers on a close reading of Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale (1907). Contemporary critics often consider this novel to be the archetypal fictional work about terrorism, as it is based on the bomb attack that occurred on the Royal Observatory in Greenwich in 1888. The Secret Agent demonstrates, however, much more than its prophetic significance rediscovered after 9/11. Therefore, the course seeks how the novel’s relevance stems in equal measure from Conrad’s interest in a wider political process and his distrust of state power; in particular, the course explores how these forces determine the individual caught in a confining situation. We read The Secret Agent as a political novel, which in its struggle for solutions defies chaos as well as an imposition of a single ideology or one authorial point of view. The novel’s ambiguities and political antinomies reveal its polyphonic structure allowing for interdisciplinary readings (Marxist, contextual, proto-existentialist, post-Lacanian) that also present an opportunity to critically overview the established approaches to main Conradian themes; for example, in order to destabilize the standard view of the writer as a conservative anti-revolutionary of Polish ilk, we consider the biographical connection, such as his family members’ radical (“Red”) social agenda of the abolishment of serfdom. In analyzing the formation of the narrative’s ideology we analyze Conrad’s historical pessimism that demonstrates with sustained irony how capitalism breeds social injustice that, in turn, breeds anarchism. The class also focuses on just how the novel exposes duplicity in staging surveillance, terrorism, as well as adjacent forms of violence or sacrifice. The critical texts include several but influential readings of the novel’s political and social dimension, as well as the most recent pronouncements of its complexity. All texts are in English.

The Underground: Alienation, Mobilization, Resistance / REES 26068 / Robert Bird

The ancient and multivalent image of the underground has crystallized over the last two centuries to denote sites of disaffection from—and strategies of resistance to—dominant social, political and cultural systems. We will trace the development of this metaphor from the Underground Railroad in the mid-1800s and the French Resistance during World War II to the Weather Underground in the 1960s-1970s, while also considering it as a literary and artistic concept, from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground and Ellison’s Invisible Man to Chris Marker’s film La Jetée and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker. Alongside with such literary and cinematic tales, drawing theoretical guidance from refuseniks from Henry David Thoreau to Guy Debord, this course investigates how countercultural spaces become—or fail to become—sites of political resistance, and also how dissenting ideologies give rise to countercultural spaces. We ask about the relation between social deviance (the failure to meet social norms, whether willingly or unwittingly) and political resistance, especially in the conditions of late capitalism and neo-colonialism, when countercultural literature, film and music (rock, punk, hip-hop, DIY aesthetics etc.) get absorbed into—and coopted by—the hegemonic socio-economic system. In closing we will also consider contemporary forms of dissidence—from Pussy Riot to Black Lives Matter—that rely both on the vulnerability of individual bodies and global communication networks. (LT)

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GERMANIC STUDIES

Includes courses cross-listed from other departments. If you have questions about course content, structure, and schedule, please contact the department offering the course.

Creaturely Modernism: Freud, Kafka, Benjamin, Beckett / GRMN 23305 / Eric Santner, Mladen Dolar

The course will be dedicated to close readings of texts by all four writers in the hopes that the encounter between them will generate new interpretations of each. We will focus on texts that attend to the “creaturely” aspect of human life: Kafka’s animal stories along with The Castle; Freud’s “animal” case studies (Wolfman, Ratman, Little Hans); Benjamin’s Berlin Childhood along with selected essays; Beckett’s novel, The Unnameable.
 

Literature of the Actual / GRMN 23605 / Florian Klinger

An inquiry into the ways in which poetic language stages its being actual – ways that involve different senses of actuality: (1) Poetic language showcases the fact of its own happening; (2) it produces the effect of a heightened or intensified presence; (3) it marks itself as of a particular historical present; (4) it marks itself as of the particular historical present that is ours. Materials include experimental prose by Alexander Kluge, Hubert Fichte, Werner Herzog, Rainald Goetz, Judith Hermann, Thomas Meinecke, Helene Hegemann, Wolfgang Herrndorf.
Readings and discussion in German.
 

Music in the German Imagination / GRMN 23613 / Colin Benert

What does music mean? This question grew urgent in the late 18th-century, as a range of German-speaking writers came to celebrate music as a “language beyond language” – an art-form that ostensibly contained “deeper” or “higher” meanings than verbal language. In this course we examine through close reading a range of music narratives that plumb the depths of music, while also situating each narrative in the context of German social and political history. We explore how perspectives on music’s significance shifted together with the seismic changes that took place in German society between the French Revolution and WWI. Readings include works of fiction by E. T. A. Hoffmann, Heinrich von Kleist, Franz Grillparzer, Eduard Mörike, Richard Wagner, Thomas Mann, and Franz Kafka, as well as brief excerpts of critical works by A. B. Marx, Richard Wagner, and Theodor Adorno.
 

Scandinavian Women’s Literature. / GRMN 24700NORW 24700 / Kimberly Kenny

This is a survey course of literature by Scandinavian women writers.  We will read and analyze works from Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden, beginning with a novel from the 1850’s, when women were struggling to make their voices heard, to the near present, when women hold substantial political power in Scandinavia. We will examine how feminist issues and themes in the texts of these Scandinavian women reflect the changes of the past 160+ years.
 

Grimm’s Fairy Tales and the Construction of Childhood / GRMN 25413 / Christopher Wild

This course will study fairy tales within the broader context of the history of childhood and practices of education and socialization.  Therefore, we will address issues such as the varying historical conceptions of the child, and the role of adults – parents and pedagogues – in the shaping of fairy tales for the instruction of children.  In addition to our main focus on the socializing forces directed at children we will explore different interpretive approaches, including those that place fairy tales against the backdrop of folklore, of literary history, of psychoanalysis, of the history of gender roles. While we will consider fairy tales drawn from a number of different national traditions and historical periods, we will concentrate on the German context and in particular on Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm’s contribution to this genre.  In order to reflect on the specific mediality of fairy tales, we will examine the evolution of specific tale types and trace their history from oral traditions through print to film.  Last but not least, we will have to consider the potential strategies for reinterpreting and rewriting a genre that continues to shape the cultural imaginary today. Readings and discussions in English (German texts will be available in the original).
 

Rilke’s Modernity / GRMN 25410 / Eric Santner

The course will read a selection of Rainer Maria Rilke’s poetry (including the Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus) along with his novel, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. We will accompany the readings with texts about urban modernity by Walter Benjamin, Sigfried Kracauer, and Georg Simmel.
 

Kafka and Performance / GRMN 23110 / David Levin, Seth Bockley


This laboratory seminar is devoted to exploring the texts of Franz Kafka through the lens of performance.  In addition to weekly scenic experiments and extensive critical readings (on Kafka as well as performance theory) we will explore the rich history of adapting Kafka in film, theater, puppetry, opera, and performance.

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NEAR EASTERN LANGUAGES & CIVILIZATIONS

Includes courses cross-listed from other departments. If you have questions about course content, structure, and schedule, please contact the department offering the course.

Balkan Folklore / NEHC 20568 / A. 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.”

Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 25908,ANTH 35908,CMLT 23301,CMLT 33301,NEHC 30568,REES 39009,REES 29009

Islamic Thought and Literature I / NEHC 20601 / Staff

This course covers the period from ca. 600 to 950, concentrating on the career of the Prophet Muhammad; Qur‘an and Hadith; the Caliphate; the development of Islamic legal, theological, philosophical, and mystical discourses; sectarian movements; and Arabic literature. (LC)

Equivalent Course(s): NEHC 30601,RLST 20401,SOSC 22000,HIST 25610,HIST 35610,ISLM 30601

Islamic Thought and Literature II / NEHC 20602 / F. Lewis     

This course covers the period from ca. 950 to 1700, surveying works of literature, theology, philosophy, sufism, politics, history, etc., written in Arabic, Persian and Turkish, as well as the art, architecture and music of the Islamicate traditions. Through primary texts, secondary sources and lectures, we will trace the cultural, social, religious, political and institutional evolution through the period of the Fatimids, the Crusades, the Mongol invasions, and the "gunpowder empires" (Ottomans, Safavids, Mughals).  (LC)

Note(s): Taking these courses in sequence is recommended but not required. This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies.
Equivalent Course(s): NEHC 30602,RLST 20402,SOSC 22100,ISLM 30602,CMES 30602

Islamic Thought and Literature III / NEHC 20603 / A. El Shamsy   

This course covers the period from ca. 1700 to the present, exploring works of Arab intellectuals who interpreted various aspects of Islamic philosophy, political theory, and law in the modern age. We look at diverse interpretations concerning the role of religion in a modern society, at secularized and historicized approaches to religion, and at the critique of both religious establishments and nation-states as articulated by Arab intellectuals. Generally, we discuss secondary literature first and the primary sources later. (LC)

Equivalent Course(s): NEHC 30603,RLST 20403,SOSC 22200

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ROMANCE LANGUAGES & LITERATURES

Includes courses cross-listed from other departments. If you have questions about course content, structure, and schedule, please contact the department offering the course.

Anthropologie, littérature et société : perspectives françaises et francophones / FREN 22217 / Bastien Craipain

Du naturalisme de Zola (France) à la littérature-monde de Mabanckou (Congo), en passant par l’exotisme de Segalen (France) ou la négritude de Senghor (Sénégal), la littérature de langue française est pleine de ces œuvres inspirées, voire imprégnées, de savoirs anthropologiques. Mais l’inverse est aussi vrai puisque, dès la fin du XIXe siècle, il n’est pas rare de voir les anthropologues s’intéresser à l’écriture littéraire comme moyen d’exploration, de découverte et d’exposition de problématiques propres aux sciences sociales. Ce cours d’introduction se propose d’aborder, à travers un nombre réduit de textes fondateurs (Rousseau, Gobineau, Firmin, Césaire, Lévi-Strauss, etc.), certaines des grandes questions sociopolitiques et culturelles (race, culture, nation, religion, etc.) qui ont poussé les écrivains et savants, aux XIXe et XXe siècles, à dépasser les barrières institutionnelles de leurs disciplines respectives. Il s’agira grâce à cette approche interdisciplinaire de comprendre comment la pensée des uns a pu permettre de réinventer la pratique des autres, et vice versa. Taught in French. PQ: FREN 20500. (LT)

Baudelaire / FREN 27701 FNDL 27701/ Rosanna Warren

An in-depth study of Baudelaire’s works. We will read (in English translation) Les Fleurs du mal, Les Petits poèmes en prose, and selections from his art criticism, in order to develop a perspective on this great poet who was both classical and romantic, both a traditional and a revolutionary artist who helped create modernism. Taught in English. Students taking the course for French credit will do readings in French and participate in a weekly French discussion section. (LC)

Blinding Enlightenment / FREN 21820 / Robert Morrissey

The French Enlightenment marks a blinding explosion of moral, philosophical and artistic creativity. The dynamics of self and other are explored as vehicles for critical thought as well as a playful, even ironic understanding of a modern self that is being defined and constructed in and through many of the works that we will read for this course. The dialectics of passion and reason are examined in this unfurling of a newly self-conscious modernity. This introductory-level course will examine some of the great works of the French Enlightenment in their specific relation to the world we have become. Works by Voltaire, Montesquieu, Diderot and Rousseau as well as Marivaux and Beaumarchais; genres: theatre, novels, philosophical dialogues and tales. Discussion and readings and writing in French. PQ: FREN 20500. (LC)

Cervantes in the Americas / SPAN 28017, LACS 28017 / Medardo Rosario

Miguel de Cervantes continues to be a literary referent for some of the most important authors in the Americas. Jorge Luis Borges, Mario Vargas Llosa, Carlos Fuentes, Roberto Bolaño and Jorge Volpi are among those who have reflected on Cervantes’ literary works. In this course we will examine some of the most representative examples of the transatlantic dialog that emerged from the appropriation of Cervantes’ Don Quixote as inspiration for the production of literary texts in the Americas. Each text will be paired with a section of Don Quixote in order to establish a transatlantic dialog that aims to explore how certain cultural materials are re-appropriated and re-contextualized to produce new manifestations of art. Taught in Spanish. (LC)

Challenges of Translation: Italian Poetry and Prose / ITAL 23217 / Silvia Guslandi

The course focuses on the analysis and production of translations of Italian literary texts. We will compare different English translations of classics of Italian literature, such as Dante’s Inferno, Boccaccio’s Decameron and Petrarch’s Canzoniere. We will analyze translations of modern poetry and prose, by authors such as Montale, Calvino and Pasolini and discuss the effectiveness of Ann Goldstein’s recent translations of Elena Ferrante’s tetralogy and their role in securing the author’s success abroad. Students will also be faced with the challenges of allegedly untranslatable texts, such as those produced by Futurism. The course will shed light on the ways in which translations shape our reading of the Italian literary tradition and on the strategies involved in transporting literary artifacts across cultures. Students will be encouraged to produce their own translations and provide feedback on each other’s texts in a workshop setting. PQ: Only a very basic knowledge of Italian is required.

Introducción a las literaturas hispánicas: textos españoles clásicos / SPAN 21703 / Frederick de Armas

En este curso estudiamos algunas de las obras más importantes de las tres primeras épocas de la literatura española: época medieval, Renacimiento y Siglo de Oro (modernidad temprana). Analizamos también diferentes géneros literarios como el cuento, la novela corta, la poesía y el teatro. Nos dedicamos al estudio de la narrativa comenzando con ejemplos de don Juan Manuel, y continuando con las Novelas ejemplares de Cervantes. Nos dedicamos a analizar la poesía de Fray Luis de León y sonetos de otros grandes poetas. También estudiamos el teatro, incluyendo una comedia de Lope de Vega. Entre los tópicos más importantes del curso se encuentran: la realidad y la imaginación; las ventajas y desventajas de la imaginación; la importancia de la magia y la astrología; el gobierno de un reino; los buenos y malos consejeros; la guerra y la salvación; los ideales renacentistas; el tema del desengaño, el contraste entre el estilo llano y el culteranismo y conceptismo; el sentido de la ejemplaridad; y el papel de la mujer en la sociedad. Veremos además cómo en España vivían conjuntamente cristianos, judíos y moros, y cómo convivían. Taught in Spanish. PQ: SPAN 20300 or consent of instructor. (LC)

Introducción a las literaturas hispánicas: textos españoles contemporáneos / SPAN 21803 / Miguel Martínez

Este curso ofrecerá un amplio panorama de las literaturas españolas de los siglos XIX y XX. Buena parte de la historia cultural de España ha estado marcada por la ansiedad respecto al supuesto atraso cultural, político, social y económico del país. La modernidad se convierte así en objeto de deseo y de disputa cultural para los intelectuales españoles que luchan por definir en qué consiste y cómo alcanzarla. Este es el tema que nos guiará, de manera flexible, por las obras de autores como Mariano José de Larra, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, Rosalía de Castro, Emilia Pardo Bazán, Leopoldo Alas Clarín, Antonio Machado, Federico García Lorca, Ana María Matute, Max Aub y Manuel Rivas, entre otros, complementadas por algunas películas. En relación con este tema principal, se explorarán también el lugar del campo y la ciudad en la imaginación moderna, la cuestión nacional, las luchas por la emancipación de la mujer, las tensión creativa entre tradición y vanguardia artística, o los debates sobre la historia y la memoria del pasado reciente de España. Taught in Spanish. PQ: SPAN 20300 or consent of instructor.

Introducción a las literaturas hispánicas: textos hispanoamericanos del modernismo al presente / SPAN 22003 LACS 22003

This course offers an introduction to modern Spanish American literature, from the late nineteenth century through the present moment. Drawing from essays, fiction, poetry, and film, the course focuses on the complex relations between literary production, aesthetics, and sociopolitical transformations. Among other topics, we will discuss how to approach literary texts and how to interpret them. How does literature signify? How does it work? What does it say about history, politics, and society in Spanish America? How do literary fictions relate to other cultural forms such as photography and film? Taught in Spanish. PQ: SPAN 20300 or consent of instructor.

Introducción a las literaturas hispánicas: textos hispanoamericanos desde la colonia a la independencia / SPAN 21903 / Jorge Lefevre

This course examines an array of representative texts written in Spanish America from the colonial period to the late nineteenth century, underscoring not only their aesthetic qualities but also the historical conditions that made their production possible. Among authors studied are Christopher Columbus, Hernán Cortés, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Simón Bolívar, and José Martí. PQ: SPAN 20300 or consent of instructor. Taught in Spanish. (LC)

Introducción al análisis literario / SPAN 21500 / Mario Santana

Through a variety of representative works of Hispanic literature, this course focuses on the discussion and practical application of different approaches to the critical reading of literary texts. We also study basic concepts and problems of literary theory, as well as strategies for research and academic writing in Spanish. Taught in Spanish. PQ: SPAN 20300 or consent of instructor. (LT)

Introduction à la littérature française III: Littérature du 19e / FREN 21903 / Daniel Desormeaux

An introduction to some major nineteenth-century French literary works, this course emphasizes the main cultural debates of the period through some close readings and discussions. We study various literary genres from early Romanticism to the rise of Symbolism. Authors include Chateaubriand, Mme de Staël, Benjamin Constant, Balzac, George Sand, Hugo, Musset, Zola, Lamartine, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine, and Mallarmé. Taught in French. PQ: FREN 20500 or consent of instructor. (LC)

Literature and Technology: Machines, Humans, and the European Novel from Frankenstein to the Futurists / ITAL 28818 / Ana Ilievska

In his Scienza Nuova (New Science), Giambattista Vico writes that "the Egyptians reduced all preceding world time to three ages; namely, the age of gods, the age of heroes, and the age of men." What the Egyptians and Vico could not have predicted was that history had yet another age in store: the age of the machine. Carlyle baptized, Marx outlined it, Heidegger warned against it; Deleuze and Guattari proclaimed that "everything is a machine"; and Ted Kaczynski even went as far as to kill in order to free human beings from the "technological slavery" the machine age had purportedly brought about. And yet, as Heidegger wrote, "everywhere we remain unfree and chained to technology, whether we passionately affirm or deny it." So what is technology? What impact did it have on human beings and on the writing of literature as the Industrial Revolution exploded onto the European continent? In this course we will pose anew the question concerning technology within the one field that Heidegger deemed akin to the essence of technology: art, and by deduction, literature. Together, we will trace the ecological, economical, and emotional footprints of various machines and technological devices (automata, trains, phonographs, cameras). We will delve into the topic with Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, continue with a reflection on the human being as a machine (Frankenstein and Pinocchio), transition to accounts on cities, progress, and machines (Dickens, Zola, Eça de Queirós), and end with the Futurists' technological extravaganzas that will include a visit to Chicago's Art Institute. Other readings include texts by Marx, Raymond Williams, Heidegger, Leo Marx, Deleuze & Guattari, etc. This course will be taught in English. All materials are available in English, but reading in the original languages is encouraged. (LT)

Reading and Practice of the Short Story / ITAL 23410 / Maria Anna Mariani

What are the specific features of the short story? How does this literary form organize different visions of time and space? Informed by these fundamental theoretical questions, this course explores the logic of the short–story and investigates its position among literary genres. We will read together a selection of Contemporary Italian short-stories (privileging the production of Italo Calvino, Beppe Fenoglio, and Elsa Morante, but also including less visible authors, such as Goffredo Parise, Dino Buzzati, and Silvio D’Arzo). The moments of close reading and theoretical reflection will be alternated with creative writing activities, in which students will have the opportunity to enter in a deeper resonance with the encountered texts. This course is especially designed to help students improve their written Italian and literary interpretive skills. Taught in Italian.

Viaggio in Italia / ITAL 25217 / Federica Caneparo

An ideal journey to Italy: we will travel to Firenze, Venezia, Ferrara, Urbino, Roma, and Palermo through literature and art. Visits to the Rare Books Special Collection and the Smart Museum will allow us to investigate material aspects of selected works. Among others, Giotto, Ariosto, Michelangelo, Casanova, and Tomasi di Lampedusa will travel with us.

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FUNDAMENTALS

Includes courses cross-listed from other departments. If you have questions about course content, structure, and schedule, please contact the department offering the course.

Poe: Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque / FNDL 21001 / Pop

Though Poe wasn't the first famous writer of short stories, his tales of horror, mystery, and ratiocination made the short prose form a modern medium, inspiring artists ranging from Baudelaire and Manet to Arthur Conan Doyle and the inventors of science-fiction. Their unreliable narrators, copious displays of learning, and contrary effects of shock and verisimilitude have shaped modern fiction. At the same time, the "book" wherein Poe collected his tales on his lifetime grew in fits and bounds, absorbing both his theoretical speculations and his poems as extended means of "telling tales". Their chief concerns, subjectivity and reason in their compatibility and conflict, are still--or should be--our own. We approach Poe's short works in as close to the order of composition as we can achieve, and we read them carefully. (LC)

Flaubert & Marx / FNDL 23610 / Desan

Our approach to Flaubert will be sociological. Three novels will be studied (Madame Bovary, Un cœur simple, and L’Education sentimentale) in direct relation with texts from Marx, Althusser, and other critics on alienation, merchandise, value theory, and the revolution of 1848 (Capital, Manuscripts of 1844, The German Ideology, and 18 Brumaire de Louis Napoleon). (LC, LT)

Greek Comedy: Aristophanes / FNDL 22405 / Austin

We will read in Greek Aristophanes' Frogs, a play widely admired as an early instance of clever literary criticism and creative metatheatricality that brings its audience into the underworld and suggests several fantasies of salvation, a play whose production marks the end of the great century of Greek drama. Reading will include translation as well as secondary readings. (LC)

Inventing the Chinese Short Story / EALC 25301  FNDL 25305 / Fox

This class will trace the emergence of the vernacular short story as a new genre in the late Ming and early Qing. We will focus on the seveteenth-century story collections of Feng Menglong, Ling Mengchu, Aina Jushi, and Li Yu, whose stories map the social whole of late imperial China—from merchant schemes to courtesan romances, from the friendships of students to the follies of emperors. Alongside close readings of selected stories, we will examine the structure, sources, and publication histories of these collections and locate them in a broader discussion of the meanings and functions of vernacular literature. All readings in English, though students with Chinese reading ability will be encouraged to read the original texts. (LC)

Hawthorne and Melville / FNDL 25406 ENGL 25406 / Knight

In the two year period between 1850-1852 Hawthorne and Melville produced five remarkable books: The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables, The Blithedale Romance, Moby-Dick, and Pierre. During this same time they lived within six miles of each other in Berkshires, a circumstance that initiated a strong literary friendship and that prompted a number of shared literary, aesthetic, and political preoccupations. This course will focus on four texts: Hawthorne’s Mosses from and Old Manse and The Scarlet Letter, and Melville’s “Hawthorne and his Mosses” and Moby Dick. Monomania--in its psychological, sexual, aesthetic, religious, epistemological, and political manifestations--will focus much of our inquiry into these texts and into the body of critical discourse surrounding them. (LC)

Torquato Tasso / FNDL 26401 / Maggi

This course investigates the entire corpus of Torquato Tasso, the major Italian poet of the second half of the sixteenth century. We read in detail the Gerusalemme Liberata and Aminta, his two most famous works, in the context of their specific literary genre. We then spend some time examining the intricacies of his vast collection of lyric poetry, including passages from his poem "Il mondo creato." We also consider some of his dialogues in prose that address essential issues of Renaissance culture, such as the theories of love, emblematic expression, and the meaning of friendship. (LC)

Shakespeare and the Ancient Classical World / FNDL 26560 ENGL 16560 / Bevington

This course is part of the College Course Cluster program, The Renaissance. This course will look closely at the plays written by Shakespeare on the ancient classical world: Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, Troilus and Cressida, Antony and Cleopatra, Timon of Athens, and Coriolanus, with an emphasis on the second, third, and fourth titles in this list. Why did Shakespeare turn to the ancient classical world for dramatic material, and what did he find there that was not available to him in the Christian world he knew at first hand? What philosophical ideas, experiments in forms of governance, and understanding of the human condition did he discover? In way ways is Shakespeare a different writer and dramatist as a result of his imaginative journey to the world of ancient Greece and Rome? Undergrad (LC)

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CLASSICS

Includes courses cross-listed from other departments. If you have questions about course content, structure, and schedule, please contact the department offering the course.

Ancient Greek Aesthetics / CLCV 26517 PHIL 29911 CLAS 36517 SCTH /G. Lear

The ancient Greek philosophical tradition contains an enormously rich and influential body of reflection on the practice of poetry.  We will focus our attention on Plato and Aristotle, but will also spend some time with Longinus and Plotinus. Topics will include: the analysis of poetry in terms of mimesis and image; poetry-making as an exercise of craft, divine inspiration, or some other sort of knowledge; the emotional effect on the audience; the role of poetry in forming moral character and, more broadly, its place in society; the relation between poetry, rhetoric, and philosophy; aesthetic values of beauty, wonder, truth, and grace. (LC)

Intermediate Greek II: Tragedy / GREK 20200 / Dik

PQ: GREK 10300 or equivalent. We will focus on translation of the Greek text and close reading of syntax and metrical analysis. We will also discuss Sophoclean language, dramatic technique, and tragedy in fifth-century Athens. (LC)

Intermediate Greek III: Homer / GREK 20300 / Austin

PQ: GREK 10300 or equivalent. Close reading of two books of the Iliad, with an emphasis on the language along with elements of Greek historical linguistics.  (LC)

Hellenistic/Imperial Literature / GREK 22300 / Wray

PQ: GREK 20300 or equivalent. This class features selections from the poetry and/or prose of the Hellenistic and Imperial periods. This year we will read selections from Hellenistic poetry, with a particular focus on the Hymns of Callimachus. (LC)

Greek Comedy: Menander / GREK 22400 / E. Austin

PQ: GREK 20600 or equivalent. We will read in Greek Menander’s Dyskolos, with an eye to understanding “New Comedy” and its robust afterlife in Renaissance Europe and modern sitcoms. We will also devote some time to reading and assessing fragments from Menander’s contemporaries. Coursework will include translation as well as secondary readings. (LC)

Ovid / LATN 20200 / M. Allen

PQ: LATN 20100 or equivalent. This course is a reading of selections from Ovid with emphasis on his language, versification, and literary art. (LC)

Vergil / LATN 20300

PQ: LATN 20200 or equivalent. This course is a reading of selections from the first six books of the Aeneid, with emphasis on Vergil’s language, versification, and literary art. Students also are required to read [Description incomplete – contact Classics Dept.] (LC)

Roman Satire / LATN 21500 / S. Bartsch-Zimmer

 PQ: LATN 20200 or equivalent. The object of this course is to study the emergence of satire as a Roman literary genre with a recognized subject matter and style. Readings include Horace Satires 1.1, 4, 6, 10 and 2.1, 5 and 7; Persius 1 and 5; and Juvenal 1 and 3. (LC)

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SOUTH ASIAN LANGUAGES & CIVILIZATIONS

Includes courses cross-listed from other departments. If you have questions about course content, structure, and schedule, please contact the department offering the course.

2017-2018 Courses Unavailable on salc.uchicago.edu. This list is based on the 2017-18 College Catalog.

Intro to Premodern South Asian Lit: Courts, Poets, Power / SALC 22603 / T. D'Hubert

The Indian subcontinent and the surrounding areas were home to some of the most vibrant literary traditions in world history. The aim of this course is to introduce students to the main trends in the premodern (pre-nineteenth century) literatures of South Asia through a selection of texts translated from a variety of languages (Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Persian, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, etc.). We will discuss issues of literary historiography, the relations between orality and writing, the basic principles of Dravidian, Sanskrit, and Perso-Arabic poetics, the formation of vernacular literary traditions, multilingual literacy, and the role of literature in social interactions and community building in premodern South Asia. Each reading will thus be framed by the systematic exploration of those poetic systems and a close reading of representative texts. Attention will also be given to the original languages in which those texts were composed. The course offers a comprehensive and critical introduction to major non-western knowledge systems and aesthetic theories. (LC)


How to Do Things with South Asian Texts? Literary Theories / SALC 23700 / Sascha Ebeling

This course provides an overview of different methods, approaches and themes currently prevalent in the study of South Asian texts from various periods. Topics covered will include translation (theory and practice), book history, literary history, textual criticism, genre theory (the novel in South Asia), literature and colonialism, cultural mobility studies (Greenblatt) and comparative literature/new philologies (Spivak, Ette). Readings will include work by George Steiner, Sheldon Pollock, Meenakshi Mukherjee, Terry Eagleton, Stephen Greenblatt, Gayatri Spivak, Ottmar Ette, and others. We will discuss these different approaches with particular reference to the texts with which participating students are working for their various projects. Students interested in both pre-modern and modern/contemporary texts are welcome. While the course is organized primarily from a literary studies perspective, it will also be of interest to students of history, anthropology and other disciplines dealing with “texts”. The course is open to both undergraduate and graduate students (no prior knowledge of literary theory or South Asian writing is assumed). (LC)

Wives, Widows, Prostitutes: Indian Lit & the Women's Question / SALC 27904 GNSE 27902 / U. Stark

From the early 19th century onward, the debate on the status of Indian women was an integral part of the discourse on the state of civilization, Hindu tradition, and social reform in colonial India. This course will explore how Indian authors of the late 19th and early 20th centuries engaged with the so-called “women’s question.” Caught between middle-class conservatism and the urge for social reform, Hindi and Urdu writers addressed controversial issues such as female education, child marriage, widow remarriage, and prostitution in their fictional and discursive writings. We will explore the tensions of a literary and social agenda that advocated the ‘uplift’ of women as a necessary precondition for the progress of the nation, while also expressing patriarchal fears about women’s rights and freedom. The course is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Basic knowledge of Hindi and/or Urdu is preferable, but not required. We will read works by Nazir Ahmad, Premcand, Jainendra Kumar, Mirza Hadi Ruswa, and Mahadevi Varma in English translation, and also look at texts used in Indian female education at the time.