2018-19 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. For the 2017-18 course list, click here.

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

ENGLISH LANGUAGE & LITERATURE

Theories of Gender and Sexuality

Autumn 2018-2019

10310

Lauren Berlant; Kristen Schlit

This is a new one-quarter, seminar-style introductory course for undergraduates. Its aim is triple: to engage scenes and concepts central to the interdisciplinary study of gender and sexuality; to provide familiarity with key theoretical anchors for that study; and to provide skills for deriving the theoretical bases of any kind of method. Students will produce descriptive, argumentative, and experimental engagements with theory and its scenes as the quarter progresses. Prior course experience in gender/sexuality studies (by way of the general education civilization studies courses or other course work) is strongly advised. (LT)

Introduction to Drama

Autumn 2018-2019

10600

John Muse

This course explores the unique challenges of experiencing performance through the page. Students will read plays and performances closely, taking into account not only form, character, plot, and genre, but also theatrical considerations like staging, acting, spectatorship, and historical conventions. We will also consider how various agents—playwrights, readers, directors, actors, and audiences—generate plays and give them meaning. While the course is not intended as a survey of dramatic literature or theater history, students will be introduced to a variety of essential plays from across the dramatic tradition. The course culminates in a scene project assignment that allows students put their skills of interpretation and adaptation into practice. No experience with theater is expected.

20th-Century American Short Fiction

Autumn 2018-2019

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. (LC, LG - Fiction)

History of the Novel

Autumn 2018-2019

11004

Maud Ellmann

We will read one or more novels and novellas from each of the last four centuries and also study movie adaptations of these works. Likely novelists to be studied include Miguel de Cervantes, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Choderlos de Laclos, Jane Austen, Gustave Flaubert, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Henry James, Vladimir Nabokov, Franz Kafka, Tom McCarthy, and Zadie Smith. Film screenings will be scheduled on alternate Friday afternoons and will also be available for watching in the library. (LC, LG - Fiction)

Critical Videogame Studies

Autumn 2018-2019

12320

Patrick Jagoda

Since the 1960s, games have arguably blossomed into the world’s most profitable and experimental medium. This course attends specifically to video games, including popular arcade and console games, experimental art games, and educational serious games. Students will analyze both the formal properties and sociopolitical dynamics of video games. Readings by theorists including Ian Bogost, Roger Caillois, Nick Dyer‐Witheford, Mary Flanagan, Jane McGonigal, Lisa Nakamura, and Katie Salen will help us think about the growing field of video game studies. This is a 2018-19 Signature Course in the College. (LT)

Climate Change in Literature, Art, and Film

Autumn 2018-2019

12520

Benjamin Morgan

If meteorological data and models show us that climate change is real, art and literature explore what it means for our collective human life. This is the premise of many recent films, novels, and artworks that ask how a changing climate will affect human society. In this course, we will examine the aesthetics of climate change across media, in order to understand how narrative, image, and even sound help us witness a planetary disaster that is often imperceptible. Our approach will be comparative: what kind of story about climate change can a science fiction novel about a dystopian future tell, and how is this story different than, say, that of an art installation made of melting blocks of Arctic ice? Do different media tend to emphasize different aspects of ecological crisis? Readings and discussions will introduce students to some of the ways that humanities scholarship is contributing to climate change research. The syllabus may include Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation (2014); Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake (2003); John Luther Adams, Become Ocean (2014); George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road (2015); and Amitav Ghosh, The Great Derangement (2016). (LT)

Multilingual Literatures of Early Medieval Britain

Autumn 2018-2019

15806

Christina von Nolcken

We will read (in modern English translation) works composed in the several languages of early medieval Britain. Texts will include: from Old English, Beowulf and The Battle of Maldon; from Old Norse, Egil’s Saga and King Harald’s Saga; from Anglo-Norman French, The Song of Roland; from Old Irish, selections from The Táin Bó Cuailnge; from medieval Welsh, Y Gododdin, and “Culhwch and Olwen”; and from Latin, selections from Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain. (LC)

Poetry in the Age of Revolution

Autumn 2018-2019

18275

Sam Rowe

The late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries saw tumultuous changes in both literature and politics. This course will be a survey of British Romantic poetry, focusing on the poetic innovations that accompanied such social developments as republican revolutions, abolitionism, the reform movement, and early feminism. We will study the diversity of poetic expression in the period, which saw the rebirth of the sonnet, a new emphasis on lyric, new uses of vernacular language in verse, and a re-evaluation of the social role of the poet. This focus on poetics will be supplemented with attention to political context. Our readings will include poetry by both traditional canonical figures--Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats--and poets who have returned to prominence only recently--Phillis Wheatley, Robert Burns, William Cowper, Charlotte Smith, Anna Barbauld, Mary Robinson, and John Clare. (LC)

American Horrors

Autumn 2018-2019

18500

Michael Dango

This course is a survey of horror in American literature and film, with a special focus on the genre’s relation to racial and sexual violence. How does horror reflect, contribute to, or intervene into structures of racism, sexism, xenophobia, and queerphobia? How do fictional texts represent or transform non-fictional horrors, from lynching to rape to police brutality? And what is the status of horror as an emotion that structures relations of power and privilege in the United States? Together, we will gain a historical perspective on the genre, for instance tracking the figure of the zombie from its birth in Haitian folklore as a projection of the horrors of slavery, through 20th century works like George Romero’s film Night of the Living Dead, and into present day works including Colson Whitehead’s novel Zone One. We will pay special attention to the present moment, interrogating a renaissance of horror tropes in, for instance, feminist fiction (Karen Russell and Carmen Maria Machado), television (American Horror Story and Stranger Things), and cinema (It and Get Out).

The Unincorporated: Modernism, Geography, and Race

Autumn 2018-2019

19800

Rachel Kyne

This course investigates the centrality of notions of exclusion and exclusivity to the development of modernist literature on both sides of the Atlantic. The period of literary modernism stretching from the late-19th century to roughly the Second World War coincides with the high point of European imperial claims as well as the sedimentation of Jim Crow. We will trace the articulation of forms of belonging - and non-belonging - along the interrelated axes of space and race in modernist figures and writings ranging from Joseph Conrad, George Orwell, James Joyce, and Jean Rhys to Djuna Barnes, Aimé Césaire, Albert Camus, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Richard Wright. Our quarter will conclude with Kamal Daoud’s The Meursault Investigation, a defiant recasting of Camus’s 1942 The Stranger. (LT)

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Making Sex and Race on the Renaissance Stage

Autumn 2018-2019

20036

Ellen MacKay

This course examines some of the greatest hits of the non-Shakespearean repertoire to discuss the central role of the raced and sexed body on the Renaissance stage. We will put under special scrutiny the tendency of playwrights to dramatize for display virginity, pregnancy, and venereal disease as they intersect with a wide spectrum racial difference. Social, medical, and ecclesiastical history will be important to our discussions, but the aim of the course is to investigate the theatrical implications of this raced and sexed dramaturgy; in particular, we will consider how the plays of the Tudor-Stuart era that hinge on biological ‘facts’ call for exhibitions of anatomical proof that they would seem to be entirely incapable of mustering. Students should expect extensive (but lively) weekly reading assignments, preparation for which includes participation in a calendar of class responses; a presentation to the class of a self-selected primary text; and a culminating research essay. (LC)

Frankenstein at 200: Hideous Progeny

Autumn 2018-2019

20072

Alexis Chema

2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, arguably the most famous horror story ever written. Frankenstein is also a mythopoetic tour de force whose searching moral and ethical questions—at what cost should we pursue scientific advances, or seek knowledge more generally? What are the effects of social marginalization? Where is the boundary between the drive to create and the desire for power?—command more attention today than ever. In this seminar we will examine the novel both as it engaged earlier cultural works (Plutarch’s Lives, Milton’s Paradise Lost, Godwin’s Political Justice, Wollstonecraft’sVindication of the Rights of Woman, Goethe’s Sorrows of Young Werther), and as it morphed over the course of two centuries into a full-blown modern myth. Indeed, its adaptations, scholarly editions, imitations, and parodies are legion, spanning nineteenth-century melodramas, popular songs, numerous blockbuster films (including the prequel to Ridley Scott’s Aliens saga), comic books, a new Netflix miniseries, and even, rather amazingly, at least one children’s book series. We will have the unique opportunity of attending the world premier of the newest stage interpretation of Shelley’s novel at the Court Theatre and discussing the projects of adaptation and remediation with its director and cast. Students will have the option of producing their own creative adaptation as their culminating project for the course. (LC)

LP: English Renaissance Verse and the Poetics of Place

Autumn 2018-2019

20148

Joshua Scodel

This course will explore sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English poetry by focusing on the poetic treatments of diverse places, including commercial, legal, and theatrical London venues, courtly palaces, aristocratic country houses and rural estates, churches, prisons, and imaginary landscapes. Poets might include Wyatt, Spenser, Sidney, Shakespeare, Donne, Jonson, Herbert, Herrick, Lovelace, Milton, Marvell, Philips, and Cowley. Genres might include sonnet, epithalamion, satire, pastoral, georgic, epistle, epigram, country-house poem, and ode. Trips within and close to London might include the Tower of London, the Whitehall Banqueting House, the Globe Theater, Hampton Court, and Penshurst Place. (LC)

LP: Literature and the Environment in 18th-Century Britain

Autumn 2018-2019

20149

Heather Keenleyside

This course will focus on eighteenth-century literature that engages us with the nonhuman environment—with the plants, animals, and elements, the landscapes and the climates that surround and shape human life. We will range widely in genres from nature poetry and travel writing to natural history and the novel, reflecting throughout on the ways in which nature may be cultivated, improved, or imported from elsewhere – not something opposed to human culture but wholly tied up with it. Together, we will ask: how do ideas of nature look different in the city, the country, or the colonies? And crucially, what might eighteenth century understandings of the relationship between human beings and the natural world have to tell us our own moment of ecological entanglement and crisis? The course will draw on the resources of London and its environs, likely to include Kew Gardens, the Natural History Museum, the Sloane House, and Tate Britain. (LC)

London Program: Pagan London

Autumn 2018-2019

20150

Edgar Garcia

This course is a study of literary modernism by way of its debt to Scottish anthropologist J.G. Frazer’s The Golden Bough, a foundational work in the anthropology of magic, religion, purity, pollution, sacrifice, fertility, and the death and reincarnation of gods. Reading Frazer’s work alongside works by William Butler Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, H.D., Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Robert Graves, Sigmund Freud, and Jane Harrison, we will examine the widespread impact of Frazer’s tome, its resonance in the tumultuous war years, and the ways in which it participated in the creation of pagan, heretical, outsider, country, rural, and ethnic values in modernist London. Inasmuch as Frazer’s work possessed a literary life, we will examine how its anthropology possessed by literature lives on in the works of such anthropologists as Mary Douglas and Michael Taussig. Course fieldtrips are likely to include the newly reconstructed London Mithraeum, Greenwich, and the Stonehenge monument. (LC, LT)

London Program: London from the Outside-In

Autumn 2018-2019

20151

Tim DeMay

In discussing Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, Edward Said writes of the Bertram estate’s colonial holdings in Antigua, and the few references in the novel itself to these plantations, claiming that the novel demonstrates “the avowedly complete subordination of colony to metropolis.” In this course, we will explore and expand upon this idea, seeking to understand the ways in which London’s cosmopolitan and prominent history depend upon England’s imperial endeavors. This pursuit will also involve representations of the city “from the outside,” such as Samuel Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners and Tayeb Salih’sSeason of Migration. Readings will be diverse in genre, style, and period, attempting to open as many related discourses as possible, as this course is aimed at developing an independent research project. Class time will be equally devoted to the readings, research techniques, and workshopping your ideas. (LT)

Romantic Natures

Autumn 2018-2019

20212

Timothy Campbell

This survey of British Romantic literary culture will combine canonical texts (with an emphasis on the major poetry) with consideration of the practices and institutions underwriting Romantic engagement with the natural world. We will address foundational and recent critical approaches to the many “natures” of Romanticism. Our contextual materials will engage the art of landscape, an influx of exotic flora, practices of collection and display, the emergent localism and naturalism of Gilbert White, the emergence of geological “deep time,” the (literal) fruits of empire, vegetarianism, and the place of pets. (LC)

Excrement and Ecstasy: The Devotional Body in Early Modern Lit

Autumn 2018-2019

22110

Beatrice Bradley

This course asks why writers in the seventeenth century turn to bodily metaphor and erotic language to describe their interactions with the divine. We will investigate the materiality of the body in early modern poetry—where it is frequently depicted as in orgasmic frenzy, failing, and even producing excrement—and its involvement with religious devotional practice. Authors of focus will likely include William Shakespeare, John Donne, George Herbert, John Milton, and Margaret Cavendish. (LC)

The Beast Fable from Aesop to Zootopia

Autumn 2018-2019

23170

Jo Nixon

In this course, we will read collections of medieval beast fables to theorize what Geoffrey Chaucer, John Lydgate, Robert Henryson, and others found compelling about animals in various states of personification. In addition, we will look to contemporary forms of the genre to consider how this mode of storytelling continues to provoke analysis and evade interpretation. Previous work in Middle English is not required. (LC)

Melodrama and Film

Autumn 2018-2019

24150

Joseph Bitney

This course examines the central role melodrama has played in understandings of film and vice versa. Working carefully through select films like Bigger than Life, Letter from an Unknown Woman, and Vertigo, we’ll develop an account of key cinematic concepts like camera movement and mise-en-scène. We’ll also interrogate various conceptualizations of melodrama (as mode, genre, style, affect, etc.) and consider melodrama’s longstanding, global appeal. (LT)

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

The Arts of Civil War

Autumn 2018-2019

24170

Brandon Truett

What aesthetic strategies do art and literature employ to represent civil war in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries? In order to propose some answers, this comparative course traverses a wide range of cultural and historical contexts, moving chronologically through civil wars and revolutions in the United States, Russia, Spain, Ireland, Vietnam, Lebanon, and Syria. In doing so, we will query current debates around the relation between aesthetics and politics in critical theory, as well as pressing questions of human rights, citizenship, exile, refugee crisis, national sovereignty, and international humanitarianism. In addition to encountering artists and writers who work in a variety of different media (poetry, novels, visual art, film, etc.), we will read recent work by political theorists, philosophers, art historians, and literary critics. We will examine artists and writers such as Walt Whitman, El Lissitzky, Pablo Picasso, Etel Adnan, Lan Cao, Colm Toíbín, Claudia Rankine, Mounira Al Solh, and Ghayath Almadhoun, as well as the theoretical writings of Hannah Arendt, Michel Foucault, Susan Sontag, and Giorgio Agamben. Our primary task will be to investigate the dynamic ways in which art theorizes civil war. (LT)

Forms of Autobiography in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Autumn 2018-2019

24526

Christine Fouirnaies

This course examines the innovative, creative forms autobiography has taken in the last one hundred years in literature. We will study closely works written between 1933 and 2013 that are exceptional for the way they challenge, subvert and invigorate the autobiographical genre. From unpublished sketches to magazine essays and full-length books, we will see autobiography take many forms and engage with multiple genres and media. These include biography, memoir, fiction, literary criticism, travel literature, the graphic novel and photography. Producing various mutations of the autobiographical genre, these works address some of the same concerns: the self, truth, memory, authenticity, agency and testimony. We will complement discussions of these universal issues with material and historical considerations, examining how the works first appeared and were received. Autobiography will prove a privileged site for probing constructions of family narratives, identity politics and public personas. The main authors studied are Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, James Baldwin, Vladimir Nabokov, Roland Barthes, Paul Auster, Doris Lessing, Marjane Satrapi and W.G. Sebald. (LG - Nonfiction)

Ethnic Minority Poetry in the US

Autumn 2018-2019

25130

Geronimo Sarmiento Cruz

This course is designed as a survey of the various minority traditions excluded from canonical understandings of the history of US poetry. Centered around the twentieth century yet bookended by earlier and later poetry, the course is divided into five sections: African American, Native American, Latinx, Asian American, and Jewish American. Among many others, we’ll read poems by Myung Mi Kim, Amiri Baraka, Simon J. Ortiz, and Allen Ginsberg. (LT)

Outsider Writing

Autumn 2018-2019

28650

John Wilkinson

A kinship between poetry and mental illness is a commonplace in myth, received opinion, and literary history, whether formulated as divine inspiration or bipolar disorder. Similarly the pejorative ascription of insanity to poets has been a commonplace of literary review and criticism. ‘My vocabulary did this to me’ are the reputed dying words of the poet Jack Spicer who claimed to respond to dictation as though himself a radio tuning to messages. Language’s dictation, however experienced, unites mental disorder and the literary arts – the pressure of language that might become unhinged. What of the reader? Aesthetic response also is both formally contained and threatens to become unhinged. This class will read 20th and 21st century works of Outsider poetry and fiction in English, and consider how best to respond. Outsider writing will be related to Outsider visual art, and to the emergent field of Outsider theory. (LT)

Introduction to Victorian Literature: Men and Women

Winter 2018-2019

10640

Josephine McDonagh

This course will introduce the major genres of fiction and poetry produced in Victorian Britain. I have chosen texts that highlight the period’s central preoccupations: gender and sexuality. A time during which the so-called Woman Question vexed politicians, commentators and activists, when marriage and motherhood were under review, and styles of masculinity contested, literature of the period presented dynamic discussions about the roles of men and women, how they might interact, and what they can do. These texts are also some of the most formally innovative of the period. Texts are likely to include Robert Browning’s Men and Women (which gives us our title), Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh, M E Braddon, Lady Audley’s Secret, Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, and short stories by the New Woman writer, George Egerton, and Oscar Wilde. (LC)

Introduction to Fiction

Winter 2018-2019

10706

Kenneth Warren

This course explores the various strategies and techniques that authors have used to tell stories that claim in one way or another to be realistic. As we take up how storytellers "make it real" we will address key elements of narrative, including point of view, characterization, voice, tone, diction, syntax, setting, symbolism, pacing, modes of mediation, intertextuality, motifs, and figuration. We will focus primarily on novels and short stories, with a nod to the graphic novel at the conclusion of the course. (LG - Fiction)

Introduction to Modernism

Winter 2018-2019

10860

Maud Ellmann

This course focuses on the major figures of British and Anglo-American modernism, including T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Katherine Mansfield, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Beckett. We will also be discussing modernist developments in music and the visual arts. A guided tour of the Art Institute will be included, along with screenings of some of Beckett’s plays. Requirements: one paper of 3-4 pages, one paper of 5-6 pages, regular postings to online blog, and class presentations.

Poetry and Being

Winter 2018-2019

12300

Lisa Ruddick

This course involves close analysis of poems from a variety of periods, exposure to various critics' perspectives on literary form, and a series of theoretical readings on creativity, play, and emotion, which we will place in dialogue with our interpretations of individual poems. Theoretical areas to be explored include psychoanalysis and cognitive psychology. (LT, LG - Poetry)

Some Versions of Apocalypse

Winter 2018-2019

15107

Mark Miller

The end of the world is one of the most durable of mankind's obsessions, from prophetic texts of antiquity to today's fascination with zombie plagues, environmental disaster, and nuclear winter. In this course we will explore what is both fearful and alluring about catastrophe on an unimaginable scale, as we read and view some paradigmatic apocalyptic works across a wide historical range. The course will focus on close attention to the aesthetics of individual works, locating those works in their historical contexts, and the conceptual analysis of the texts' motivating concerns. We will especially attend to the relationship between aesthetic form and the political, economic, and subjective forms that mediate catastrophe--as well as the ways that the end of things asks us to think beyond mediation. Texts include the biblical Book of Revelation, William Langland's medieval allegory Piers Plowman, Daniel Defoe's early modern chronicle of the black death A Journal of the Plague Year, Cormac McCarthy's postapocalyptic novel The Road, and both the novel and film versions of World War Z. This is a 2018-19 Signature Course in the College.

Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales

Winter 2018-2019

15500

Mark Miller

Close reading of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, with particular attention to the intersection of literary form with problems in ethics, politics, and sexuality. (LC)

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Shakespeare II: Tragedies and Romances

Winter 2018-2019

16600

Ellen MacKay

This course explores mainly major plays representing the genres of tragedy and romance; most (but not all) date from the latter half of Shakespeare's career. After having examined how Shakespeare develops and deepens the conventions of tragedy in Titus Andronicus, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, and Antony and Cleopatra, we will turn our attention to how he complicates and even subverts these conventions in The Winter's Tale and The Tempest. Throughout, we will treat the plays as literary texts, performance prompts, and historical documents. Section attendance is required. This course is part of the College Course Cluster, The Renaissance. (LC)

The Declaration of Independence

Winter 2018-2019

17950

Eric Slauter

This course explores important intellectual, political, philosophical, legal, economic, social, and religious contexts for the Declaration of Independence. We begin with a consideration of the English Revolution, investigating the texts of the Declaration of Rights of 1689 and Locke's Second Treatise and their meanings to American revolutionaries. We then consider imperial debates over taxation in the 1760s and 1770s, returning Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography to its original context. Reading Paine's Common Sense and the letters of Abigail Adams and John Adams we look at the multiple meanings of independence. We study Jefferson's drafting process, read the Declaration over the shoulders of people on both sides of the Atlantic, and consider clues to contemporary meanings beyond the intentions of Congress. Finally, we briefly engage the post-revolutionary history of the place and meaning of the Declaration in American life. This is a 2018–19 College Signature Course. (LC)

Political Economy and the Novel

Winter 2018-2019

18575

Sam Rowe

The artform we now call the novel and the discipline we now call the economics both have their roots, to some degree, in eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century Britain. In this interdisciplinary course, we will study novels alongside early works of political economy in order to put the disciplines of literary studies and economics in conversation. The course will be organized around three themes--production, consumption, distribution--and three corresponding novels--Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Maria Edgeworth's Ennui, and Charles Dickens' Hard Times. We will consider important works of political economy (by Bernard Mandeville, Adam Smith, and John Stuart Mill), radical responses to political economy (by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, Robert Owen, and Karl Marx), and relevant contemporary readings (including Sylvia Federici, Gary Becker, David Graeber, and Thomas Piketty). The course will begin with a selection of classical works from the Vedic, Judaic, and Greek traditions establishing the deep roots of humanistic economics. (LC)

Sexual Violence in America: Theory, Literature, and Activism

Winter 2018-2019

18700

Michael Dango

This course will consider how a spectrum of sexual violence has been represented, politicized, and theorized in the United States from the 1970s to the present. To get a handle on this vast topic, our archive will be wide-ranging, including legal statutes and court opinions on sexual harassment and pornography; fiction, poetry, and graphic novels that explore the limits of representing sexual trauma; activist discourses in pamphlets and editorials from Take Back the Night to #MeToo; and groundbreaking essays by feminist and queer theorists, especially from critical women of color. How does the meaning of sex and of power shift with different kinds of representation, theory, and activism? How have people developed a language to share experiences of violation and disrupt existing power structures? And how do people begin to imagine and build a different world whether through fiction, law, or institutions? (LT)

Image, Text, Archive

Winter 2018-2019

19700

Rachel Kyne

This course examines hybrid image-texts of the last 150 years to investigate what happens to narrative and genre when visual images become integral parts of textual composition, and what kinds of claims such texts make about memory, veracity, or objectivity. We will examine the early history of photography and image reproduction, learn to formally read images, and interrogate the relationship of photography to documentary. Our readings will include Louis Aragon’s Paris Peasant (1925), André Breton’s Nadja (1928), James Agee and Walker Evans’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), Vladimir Nabokov’s Speak, Memory (1966), Michael Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid (1970), W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn (1995) and Austerlitz (2001), and Anne Carson’s Nox (2009); critical readings will include texts by Roland Barthes, Margaret Iverson, Timothy Dow Adams, and Linda Hutcheon. (LT)

Caribbean Literary and Visual Cultures: Work and “Wuk”

Winter 2018-2019

20045

Kaneesha Parsard

While tourist boards and hotel companies promote the Caribbean as a paradise of “sun, sex, and gold,” what lies beyond this imaginary? This seminar explores literature and visual arts in the English-speaking Caribbean through the lenses of labor and gender and sexuality. In “Work and ‘Wuk’,” we will begin by examining narratives written by enslaved African women in the Caribbean such as The History of Mary Prince (1831). Then, we will turn to short stories, mixed-media works, and other literary and visual works by Caribbean women and gender and sexual minorities that represent major historical events: labor migration from Asia to the Caribbean, working-class movements, decolonization, and migration of Caribbean peoples to North America and Great Britain. Throughout, we will gain an understanding of how Caribbean writers and artists have developed homegrown ways of seeing the region. Readings include works by Patricia Powell, Michelle Cliff, Jamaica Kincaid, Jean Rhys, and Ramabai Espinet, and criticism by Sylvia Wynter, Saidiya Hartman, and Selma James. (LT)

Freedom and Fate in the Renaissance

Winter 2018-2019

20562

Sarah Kunjummen

In this course, we will study theories of will and of action that held sway in the Renaissance. Is human choice governed by reason, or are our wills overruled by our own passions—or by divine grace? Can self-determination genuinely arise in political or physical systems determined by history? What does it mean to depict free choice? Questions like these shaped crucial Renaissance debates in parliaments and churches, in laboratories and in the arts. We’ll examine them through both literary and philosophical texts by writers including William Shakespeare, John Donne, Thomas Hobbes, John Milton, Margaret Cavendish, and Isaac Newton. (LC)

The Literary Hebrew Bible: An Introduction

Winter 2018-2019

21855

Chloe Blackshear

What does it mean for a biblical character to be "fraught with background," in Erich Auerbach's evocative phrase? How can we approach the Bible's dense, terse, paratactic prose as literary interpreters? What are the conventions and restrictions of biblical poetry, and how does the text move within these rules? In this course, students will read key narrative and poetic texts from the Hebrew Bible, de-familiarize traditional stories, acquire tools of literary analysis particular to biblical poetics, and ask questions about the literary legacy of this complicated, messy collection. Along the way, we will treat important comparative literary issues the Hebrew Bible highlights, including distinctions between history and fiction, literary genre, biblical translation, and notions of canon and tradition. Though our primary focus will be on the biblical text itself, our reading will be aided by foundational texts on biblical poetics (including works by Auerbach, Alter, Sternberg and Kawashima) and more recent examples of feminist, queer-theoretical, postmodern and postcolonial biblical criticism. (LC, LT)

Making Scents: A Literary History of Smell

Winter 2018-2019

22130

Jennifer Pan

While the visual has long been the privileged sense in literary studies, recent work has begun to explore other senses. From massive medieval farts to modern perfumes, we will consider what a focus on scent can contribute to our understanding of literature. Drawing from fiction, poetry, objects, history, and science, this course integrates an interdisciplinary approach. Primary literary texts will likely include H.D., Huysmans, Baudelaire, Burney, Shakespeare, and Chaucer. We will probably also think with perfumes, Luca Turin’s The Secret of Scent, Alexandra Horowitz’s Being a Dog, and Tom Tykwer’s 2006 film adaptation of Patrick Süskind’s Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. (LT)

Virginia Woolf

Winter 2018-2019

23400

Lisa Ruddick

Along with a number of Woolf’s major works, students read theoretical and critical texts that give a sense of the range of contemporary approaches to Woolf. (LT)

Sonnets from Wyatt to Yeats and Beyond

Winter 2018-2019

23808

Richard Strier

This course will trace the history and persistence of the sonnet in English poetry, but it will start with the founder of the tradition, the early Renaissance Italian poet, Francesco Petrarch, who made the form popular, and remained its model practitioner. Since the form flourished in the Renaissance (in England as in all over Europe) and was revived in the 19th century, the course will mainly be devoted to poets from those periods. Poets to be studied will include: Wyatt, Sidney, Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Keats, Hopkins, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and D. G. Rossetti. There will be a midterm and a final paper. (LG – Poetry, LC)

The Idiot as Hero

Winter 2018-2019

24102

Lawrence Rothfield

What strains are put on the apparatus of representation and storytelling when the protagonist is assumed to be cognitively challenged, foolish, stupid, or even idiotic? How do we make sense of idiocy? How do we interpret and evaluate what an idiot's idiocy means? What other codes -- ethical, political, ideological, sexual, etc. -- come into play when we respond aesthetically to a story about an idiot? How, and to what degree, is it possible for us to identify with the experience of being stupid? What means do writers and filmmakers do to exploit the aesthetic possibilities of idiocy (that is, the pleasures that can be derived by representing or evoking idiocy in particular ways)? Readings may include Sterne, Tristram Shandy; Wordsworth, "The Idiot Boy"; Flaubert, Madame Bovary. Films may include Forrest Gump; Born Yesterday; Nights of Cabiria. (LC)

Alternate Reality Games: Theory and Production

Winter 2018-2019

25970

Patrick Jagoda; Heidi Coleman

Games are one of the most prominent and influential media of our time. This experimental course explores the emerging genre of "alternate reality" or "transmedia" gaming. Throughout the quarter, we will approach new media theory through the history, aesthetics, and design of transmedia games. These games build on the narrative strategies of novels, the performative role-playing of theater, the branching techniques of electronic literature, the procedural qualities of video games, and the team dynamics of sports. Beyond the subject matter, students will design modules of an Alternate Reality Game in small groups. Students need not have a background in media or technology, but a wide-ranging imagination, interest in new media culture, or arts practice will make for a more exciting quarter. (LT)

New Narrative Fiction/Criticism/Autobiography/Theory

Winter 2018-2019

29303

Lauren Berlant

This course asks what happens to concepts of narrative, causality, the textual event and the shape of affect when aesthetic separations between fictional and documentary realism are forced to break down from the sheer force of a narrative voice. What’s the relationship between a performative voice and the aesthetic leap inside/outside the historical present? What happens to the archive of the evidence of the encounter? A workshop class too: we will make work. Authors include: Georges Perec, Harry Matthews, Barbara Browning, Renee Gladman, Shiela Heit, Tan Lin, Sarah Mancuso, Chris Krauss, Sam Pink, Leanne Shapton. is a Makers Seminar intended for English majors, but is open to all students. (LT, LG - Nonfiction)

Joan Didion: Reporter, Novelist, Essayist, Memoirist

Winter 2018-2019

29505

Deborah L. Nelson

This seminar is a reading and writing-intensive course designed to provide advanced English majors with the tools and resources necessary to propose and conduct their own literary research projects. Reading for the course will include one of Didion’s novels as well as works of non-fiction in its various forms. Because the course requires historical research and considerable engagement with criticism as well as with the literature itself, it is ideally suited for students interested in developing the skills necessary to write a B.A. Honors paper or considering graduate work in English. The course will culminate in a substantial critical paper of your own design. This is Seminar in Research and Criticism intended for English majors. (LG - Nonfiction)

Introduction to Poetry

Spring 2018-2019

10400

Lisa Ruddick

This course involves intensive readings in both contemporary and traditional poetry. Early on, the course emphasizes various aspects of poetic craft and technique, setting terminology and providing extensive experience in verbal analysis. Later, emphasis is on contextual issues: referentiality, philosophical and ideological assumptions, and historical considerations. (LG - Poetry)

Inventing Consciousness: Literature, Philosophy, Psychology

Spring 2018-2019

12720

Tim Harrison

Consciousness is an historical achievement. As a phenomenon, consciousness probably came into being somewhere deep in evolutionary time. Yet as a concept consciousness is relatively new: the European notion of consciousness emerges only in the late seventeenth century. This course draws on the resources of literature, history, philosophy, and psychology to examine how the concept of consciousness came to possess the explanatory dominance it currently holds. We will begin by acquiring a sense of what consciousness currently means in philosophy and psychology, paying particular attention to how the Western concept differs from similar ideas in such traditions as Buddhism. After examining the pre-history of consciousness by reading such authors as William Shakespeare, we will then turn to two historical moments that were central to the concept’s development. First, we will train our attention on the interplay between philosophy and literature in the late seventeenth century, reading texts by René Descartes, John Milton, Thomas Traherne, and John Locke. Second, we will focus on how, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the psychology of William James contributed to the development of “stream of consciousness” techniques in the novels of Henry James and Virginia Woolf. In this course, we will stress the historical contingency of this concept—consciousness has a birthdate—in order to determine the nature of a consequence that follows from this fact: the extent to which current uses of this concept are still shaped and constrained by the historical circumstances that conditioned its appearance and development. (LC)

Thinking with Race in Medieval England

Spring 2018-2019

13720

Julie Orlemanski

The medieval period is often thought of as the era just before the idea of race emerged – before the Atlantic slave trade, before European colonialism, before scientific racism. At the same time, the Middle Ages have been crucial to modern phenomena of racialized nationalism and ideologies of whiteness. In recent years, medievalists have studied and debated race’s significance. Acknowledging the complex and urgent status of medieval race today, this course examines some of the stories, images, ideas, and institutions of medieval England. We will test how race helps us think about the articulation and operationalization of human difference between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, especially with respect to Jews, Saracens (a term created by Christians to refer to Arabs and Muslims of varying ethnicities), and the so called “monstrous races” who were thought to populate the far reaches of the world. We’ll ask – How did geography, religion, and history come to be corporealized, or understood as legible on the body? How did the essentialization of differences between groups act to satisfy desires, or seemingly to solve intellectual and ideological difficulties? How does “thinking with race” in medieval England throw new light on race and racism today? Readings will be both in Middle English and modern English translation. No previous experience with medieval literature is expected. This is a 2018-19 College Signature Course. (LC)

Romantic Literature and the World

Spring 2018-2019

19203

Alexis Chema

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s most important essay, A Defence of Poetry(1821), ends with an audacious claim: “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” By this he affirms that poetry and the imagination impact (“legislate”) social conditions, even though poets rarely receive the credit. But what about that last term, “the world”? Shelley is also commenting on the central topic we’ll examine in this course: the Romantic idea that imaginative literature makes it possible to think of the world as a whole. This seminar presents major works, figures, and literary forms of Romanticism as a set of engagements with early globalization. We begin with Scottish Enlightenment ideas about cosmopolitanism and “world citizenship,” and trace the development, continuance, and resistance to these ideas in writing about the Atlantic slave trade, domestic and overseas colonial relations, the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars, travel and tourism, and the Ottoman Empire. (LC)

Gender, Violence, and Biblical Fiction

Spring 2018-2019

21112

Chloe Blackshear

To many, Bathsheba is simply the nude who seduced David. The connotations of being a Jezebel are strong enough that a popular feminist website re-appropriates the insult. Yet the biblical texts themselves make it difficult to imagine female characters as types, or the violence with which they are often associated as comprehensible. Furthermore, Hebrew Bible figures have often been taken up as sites to explore contemporary questions relating to gender and violence. Did Dinah 'ask for it'? Does Ruth's story celebrate the refugee and mother or justify a colonial politics of assimilation? In this course, students will examine literary works that reuse difficult portions of biblical narrative and challenge readers to reassess biblical violence and its legacies. By engaging with both more popular extended rewritings like The Red Tent and world-literary political works like A Grain of Wheat, this course will reconsider biblical women and the variety of problematic and productive ways they may be appropriated in fiction and in popular culture.

Black in Colonial America: Three Women

Spring 2018-2019

21785

Sarah Johnson

Through a survey of texts by and about Sally Hemings, Phillis Wheatley and Tituba, “the Indian,” we will consider the lives of three black women in colonial America. In this period of expansion and contraction of the concepts of race and bondage, what kind of “tellings” were possible for these women? By reading texts written as early as 1692 and as late as 2008, we will also consider how representations of these women have changed over time. Simplified by history as a witch, a poet and a mistress, the details of the lives of Tituba, Phillis and Sally resists these epithets. This course will ask why and how they remain present in the written record today, and what this teaches us about the formation of literary and historical canons. (LC)

Luxury and Global Modernism

Spring 2018-2019

22150

Jacob Harris

The desire for and consumption of luxury is central to the world-building enterprise of capitalist modernity as we understand it, from the elaboration of colonial trade routes to the emergence of the era-defining aesthetic mode known as glamor. As both the object of the primitivizing imaginary of colonial social science and the motor of excitement for the new in the modern Western city, luxury infused some of the complexities of global interconnectedness into the imagination and the arts of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. With readings across the literary, but also the material-cultural and social-scientific archives of Western and non-Western modernisms, this course asks how luxury might open new avenues for the study of modernism’s inherently global character. Course texts will include literary works by Henry James, Djuna Barnes, Mina Loy, and MP Shiel; social scientific works by Marcel Mauss and Georges Bataille; visual works by Raghubir Singh, Coco Chanel, and Josephine Baker; theoretical readings from the fields of postcolonial, queer, and fashion studies. (LT)

The Politics of Life Itself

Spring 2018-2019

23121

Vinh Cam

This is an introductory course on biopolitics. The class will approach this Foucauldian category as both a “style of thought” and as a mode of governmentality. Key questions we will return to throughout the quarter include: What forms of knowledge-power are mobilized to conceive of life statistically and/or at the level of population? How might biopolitics transform our understanding of sexuality, race, and class, as well as their disciplinary systems? And, finally, what does it mean to politicize “life itself”? In order to get a better handle on Michel Foucault’s foundational formulation of biopolitics in the final chapter of The History of Sexuality, we will spend the first two weeks tracing the concept’s prehistory in the work of Charles Darwin and the life philosophers of the Nineteenth Century before turning to contemporary theorizations of biopolitics by feminist, critical race, disability, and queer scholars. These recent interventions alert us to the different instantiations or modalities of biopolitics in relation to one’s geo-political location and/or subject-position. For some, biopolitics has the potential to foster new forms of life and capacities; for others, this politics of life is more likely to be encountered as a necropolitics. We will therefore spend the final few weeks of the quarter thinking about the relation between life and death under biopolitics. How might the biopolitical revision of life alter our understanding of death itself? (LT)

Climates and Ecologies of Eighteenth-Century Literature

Spring 2018-2019

23150

Caroline Heller

Given our present-day concerns about political climates and ecological consciousness, this course returns to the eighteenth century to analyze how writers interpreted climate and ecology back then. In the context of agricultural, industrial, and political revolutions, this class will explore how writers like Mary Wollstonecraft, Charlotte Smith, William Wordsworth, John Clare understood both political and ecological climates like colonialism, women’s rights, class revolutions, and natural history. (LC, LT)

Eco-consciousness: Climates and Ecologies of 18th-C Literature

Spring 2018-2019

23190

Caroline Heller

Given our present-day concerns about political climates and ecological consciousness, this course returns to the eighteenth century to analyze how writers interpreted climate and ecology back then. In the context of agricultural, industrial, and political revolutions, this class will explore how writers like Mary Wollstonecraft, Charlotte Smith, William Wordsworth, John Clare understood both political and ecological climates like colonialism, women’s rights, class revolutions, and natural history. (LC, LT)

Brecht and Beyond

Spring 2018-2019

24400

Loren Kruger

Brecht is indisputably the most influential playwright in the 20th century, but his influence on film theory and practice and on cultural theory generally is also considerable. In this course we will explore the range and variety of Brecht's own theatre, from the anarchic plays of the 1920's to the agitprop Lehrstück and film esp Kühle Wampe) to the classical parable plays, as well as the work of his heirs in German theatre (Heiner Müller, Peter Weiss) and film (RW Fassbinder, Alexander Kluge), in French film (Jean-Luc Godard) and cultural theory (the Situationists and May 68), film and theatre in Britain (such as Caryl Churchill or Mike Leigh), theatre and film in Africa, from South Africa to Senegal, and if possible a film or play from the US that engages with Brechtian theory and/or practice. (LT)

Pop Psychology

Spring 2018-2019

25150

Shirl Yang

This course takes for its premise that our understanding of psychological study is as fundamentally shaped by popular culture as it is by science. Using a constellation of literary, filmic and televisual, and other popular texts, we will consider how modes of psychological study, manipulation, and repair figure in the American popular imagination. Our eclectic archive will include pamphlets on psychological warfare, psychological thrillers, sitcoms, reality tv, studies on personality tests, and self-help tracts. Students will be encouraged to bring in their own examples as well. We will ask: what conception of human motivation and susceptibility, unconscious phenomena, collective feeling, or the form of “the therapeutic” do these texts carry? What aesthetic, formal, medial conventions or innovations can we track across our transmedial archive? (LT)

Signs of the Americas

Spring 2018-2019

25804

Edgar Garcia

It is a common misconception that literature can happen only in the alphabet or that such non-alphabetical literatures have long ago ceased to be made. This course corrects such misconceptions by exploring modern and contemporary literatures that have been written with, or in response to, such sign-systems as pictographs, hieroglyphs, totem poles, wampum, and khipu. Focusing especially on the sign-systems of the native Americas, this class gives students a basic introduction to the mechanics of these signs, in order to discuss how these mechanics might be at play in the works of such poets, writers, and artists as Anni Albers, Simon Ortiz, Gerald Vizenor, Louise Erdrich, John Borrows, Charles Olson, Bill Reid, Robert Bringhurst, Fred Wah, Clayton Eshleman, Cy Twombly, Joaquín Torres-Garcia, Cecilia Vicuña, and others. Key questions to be asked include: how are these signs an interface for contemporary histories of nation and capital? And: how do those material histories and their identifications in race, gender, kinship, and ecology change when cast in the mechanics, tropes, and figures of these signs? As a “Makers Seminar,” this course will include creative alternatives to the standard analytical college paper. (LT)

The Making of the English Working Class

Spring 2018-2019

26170

Carrie Taylor

Examining the environmental and social forces in the period between 1780-1867, this course highlights the literary establishment’s complex and often troubled relationship with the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the working class from a matrix of underground networks. The course features a diverse cadre of writers and theorists such as Jane Austen, Karl Marx, and E.J. Blandford, and provides a nuanced understanding of laborers’ lived, material conditions through class visits to the Coal Mine at the Museum of Science and Industry, the Special Collections archive, and interactive discussions with the People’s History Museum and the Labor and Working-Class History Association. (LC, LT)

The Literature of Disgust, Rabelais to Nausea

Spring 2018-2019

26300

Zach Samalin

This course will survey a range of literary works which take the disgusting as their principle aesthetic focus, while also providing students with an introduction to core issues and concepts in the history of aesthetic theory, such as the beautiful and the sublime, disinterested judgment and purposive purposelessness, taste and distaste. At the same time, our readings will allow us to explore the ways in which the disgusting has historically been utilized as a way of producing socially critical literature, by representing that which a culture categorically attempts to marginalize, exclude and expel. Readings will engage with the variety of aesthetic functions that the disgusting has been afforded throughout modern literary history, including the carnivalesque and grotesque in Rabelais and the bawdy and satirical in Swift; Zola’s gruesome naturalism, Sartre’s existential nausea and Clarice Lispector’s narrative of spiritual abjection; as well as Thomas Bernhard’s experiments with contempt and Dennis Cooper’s pseudo‐pornographic genre explorations. We will read widely in literary and cultural theories of disgust, as well as in the psychological and biological literature of the emotion. Prerequisite: Strong stomach. (LC, LT)

Woman/Native

Spring 2018-2019

27003

Sonali Thakkar

This course reads works of postcolonial literature and theory in order to consider the entanglements of the figures of “women” and “natives” in colonial as well as postcolonial discourse. We will discuss topics such as the persistent feminization of the profane, degraded, and contagious bodies of colonized natives; representations of women as both the keepers and the victims of “authentic” native culture; the status (symbolic and otherwise) of women in anti-colonial resistance and insurgency; and the psychic pathologies (particularly nervous conditions of anxiety, hysteria, and madness) that appear repeatedly in these works as states to which women and/as natives are especially susceptible. Authors may include Ama Ata Aidoo, Hélène Cixous J.M Coetzee, Maryse Condé, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Mahasweta Devi, Assia Djebar, Frantz Fanon, Sigmund Freud, Silvia Federici, Nuruddin Farah, Bessie Head, V.S. Naipaul, Jean Rhys, Tayeb Salih, Ousmane Sembène, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. (LT)

History That Never Was: The Counterfactual Novel

Spring 2018-2019

27330

Lauren Schachter

In this course, we will consider counterfactuality in fiction from the 19th century to the 21st. Following critic Catherine Gallagher, we will ask, what if things had happened otherwise? and wonder, along with a range of authors, about the literary, historical, and ethical stakes of our answers. Readings will focus on counterfactual episodes in novels by Austen, Dickens, Conrad, and Murakami, as well as on alternate history fictions by Philip K. Dick, Kate Atkinson, Michael Chabon, L. Sprague de Camp, Kinglsey Amis, and Hilary Mantel, among others.

Making News: Literature and Journalism

Spring 2018-2019

27590

Sophie Withers

This course considers the relationship between fictional narratives and what John McPhee calls “the literature of fact.” We will sketch the development of modern journalism and explore the influence of news on the novel and on other art forms in the 20th century. How do fiction and journalism understand the distinction between public and private life? What forms of virtual or communal experience are promoted by reading about current events? We will look at texts that use the methods of journalism or feature plots "ripped from the headlines," and at others which represent journalism as a defining aspect of modern life. The syllabus will include Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Truman Capote, and Lynn Nottage, and separate units on the role of journalism in narrative film and television. (LG – Nonfiction)

Narrating Migration

Spring 2018-2019

28200

Josephine McDonagh; Vu Tran

Human migration is one of the most pressing global problems of our time, though it is not a new phenomenon. It has shaped societies throughout time, and the degree to which it is perceived as a "problem" or an "opportunity" changes radically according to circumstances and ideologies. In this course, we will analyze the different ways in which migration has been perceived, understood, and experienced. We will focus on two intense episodes in the global history of migration: migration from early nineteenth-century Britain; and migration to late 20th and 21st-century America. Our emphasis throughout will be on the ways in which migration is narrated: the stories that societies tell about the migration of themselves and others. We will cover a wide range of migration narratives, including those of creative writers and artists, and will consider them through the lenses of literary criticism, history, theory, and also artistic practice itself. (LT)

Comparative Methods in the Humanities

Spring 2018-2019

28918

Joshua Scodel

This course introduces models of comparative analysis across national literatures, genres, and media by focusing on poetry in different languages and cultures and in relation to other discursive and artistic forms. We will examine a wide variety of poetic and critical texts in order to explore such topics as the specificity of poetry and of poetic kinds; orality and folk, art, and popular song; poetry's relation to prose (from philosophy to autobiography to journalism); transnational imitation and translation; poetry and globalization; ekphrasis and poetry's relations to visual arts; and poetry and film. Readings will likely include poems by Sappho, Horace, Dante, Li Bai, Du Fu, Ronsard, Shakespeare, Milton, Basho, Goethe, Wordsworth, Robert Browning, and Dylan; and critical writings by Longinus, Plutarch, Montaigne, Li Zhi, Wordsworth, Auerbach, Jakobson, Adorno, Pasolini, Zumthor, Culler, and Damrosch. (LT)

Incarcerated Life

Spring 2018-2019

29705

Chris Taylor

The United States today is in the midst of an incarceration crisis, one in which millions of Americans are currently warehoused within, or have passed through, carceral institutions. Many scholars locate the emergence of this punitive turn in the 1970s, and with good reason: the landscape of penality and confinement looks much different in earlier historical periods. Turning to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this course will explore literary, philosophical, and pragmatic engagements with the prison across the British Empire and in the postcolonial United States. By tracing the particular fears and fantasies that grouped around institutions of confinement, we will explore the logic by which an institution once marginal to social life has become so central to society that incarceration is now a conventional form of life. This course will involve a robust research component, culminating in a final paper; while this course is rooted in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, students will be welcome to pursue research on contemporary regimes of incarceration. Our theoretical readings will include Michel Foucault, Angela Davis, and Ruth Wilson Gilmore. Our archive of literary, philosophical, and practical texts will include the Newgate Calendar, Cesare Beccaria, Oliver Goldsmith, John Gay, Jeremy Bentham, James Williams, Harriet Jacobs, and Austin Reed. This is Seminar in Research and Criticism intended for English majors. (LT)

Marxism and Modern Culture

Winter 2018-2019

32300

Loren Kruger

Designed for graduate students in the humanities, this course begins with fundamental texts on ideology and the critique of capitalist culture by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Gramsci, Althusser, Wilhelm Reich and Raymond Williams, before moving to Marxist aesthetics, from the orthodox Lukács to the Frankfurt School (Adorno, Benjamin) to the heterodox (Brecht), and concludes with contemporary debates around Marxism and imperialism (Lenin, Fanon, and others), and Marxism and media, including the internet. This course will have a particular focus on guiding students through the conventions of academic writing in the Humanities.

Virtual Theaters

Autumn 2018-2019

32312

John Muse

This course probes the nature and limits of theater by exploring a range of theatrical texts whose relation to performance is either partially or fully virtual. Like the works we will read, the course transgresses disciplinary, generic, and temporal boundaries, bringing together from various centuries philosophical dialogues (Plato), closet dramas, novel chapters in dramatic form (Melville's Moby-Dick, Joyce's Ulysses), radio drama, impossible drama, and new media forms that test conventional definitions of theatrical performance: social media theater, digital theater, algorithmic theater, and trans-media games.

Digital Media Theory

Autumn 2018-2019

32313

Patrick Jagoda

This course introduces students to the critical study of digital media and participatory cultures, focusing on the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Sub-fields and topics may include history of technology, software studies, platform studies, video-game studies, electronic literature, social media, mobile media, network aesthetics, hacktivism, and digital public. We will also discuss ways that digital media theory intersects with and complicates work coming from critical theory, especially feminist, Marxist, queer, and transnational theories. Readings may include work by theorists such as Ian Bogost, Wendy Chun, Mary Flanagan, Alexander Galloway, Mark Hansen, Katherine Hayles, Friedrich Kittler, Alan Liu, Lev Manovich, Franco Moretti, Lisa Nakamura, Rita Raley, and McKenzie Wark. Through a study of contemporary media theory, we will also think carefully about emerging methods of inquiry that accompany this area of study, including multimodal and practice-based research. Students need not be technologically gifted or savvy, but a wide-ranging imagination and interest in new media culture will make for a more exciting quarter. (LT)

Moby Dick, or The Whale

Autumn 2018-2019

22514 / 32514

Janice Knight

This course will focus on Moby Dick. Monomania--in its psychological, sexual, aesthetic, religious, epistemological, and political manifestations--will focus much of our inquiry into our texts and into the body of critical discourse surrounding them. (LC)

Theories of Media

Winter 2018-2019

12800 / 32800

W.J.T. Mitchell

This course will explore the concept of media and mediation in very broad terms, looking not only at modern technical media and mass media, but at the very idea of a medium as a means of communication, a set of institutional practices, and a habitat in which images proliferate and take on a "life of their own." The course will deal as much with ancient as with modern media, with writing, sculpture, and painting as well as television and virtual reality. Readings will include classic texts such as Plato's Allegory of the Cave and Cratylus, Aristotle's Poetics, and modern texts such as Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media, Regis Debray's Mediology, and Friedrich Kittler's Gramophone, Film, Typewriter. We will explore questions such as the following: What is a medium? What is the relation of technology to media? How do media affect, simulate, and stimulate sensory experiences? What sense can we make of concepts such as the "unmediated" or "immediate"? How do media become intelligible and concrete in the form of "metapictures" or exemplary instances, as when a medium reflects on itself (films about films, paintings about painting)? Is there a system of media? How do we tell one medium from another, and how do they become "mixed" in hybrid, intermedial formations? We will also look at recent films such as The Matrix and Existenz that project fantasies of a world of total mediation and hyperreality. (LT)

MAPH Poetics Seminar

Autumn 2018-2019

34800

John Wilkinson

In this course, we will study poetry in the abstract and in particular. In addition to reading individual poems (and books of poetry), we will study various efforts on the part of philosophers, literary critics, and poets themselves to formulate theories of poetic discourse. We will examine a range of historical attempts to conceptualize poetry as a particular kind of linguistic and historical practice, from Plato to Poststructuralism and beyond. But we will also question the very enterprise of thinking about "poetics" as opposed to "poetry" or "poems." Is it possible to theorize the art form without doing violence to the particularity-and peculiarity-of literary works themselves? Are all attempts to construct a poetics necessarily polemical? Or does every poem arise from an implicit poetics, even when its author would disavow such theoretical ambitions? Contemporary debates between historical and philosophical poetics will be used as an entryway to our seminar debates, together with a small archive of poems. (LG – Poetry)

The Rise of the Global New Right

Winter 2018-2019

26660 / 36660

Leah Feldman

This course traces the intellectual genealogies of the rise of a Global New Right in relation to the contexts of late capitalist neoliberalism, the fall of the Soviet Union, as well as the rise of social media. The course will explore the intertwining political and intellectual histories of the Russian Eurasianist movement, Hungarian Jobbik, the American Traditional Workers Party, the French GRECE, Greek Golden Dawn, and others through their published essays, blogs, vlogs and social media. Perhaps most importantly, the course asks: can we use f-word (fascism) to describe this problem? In order to pose this question we will explore the aesthetic concerns of the New Right in relation to postmodern theory, and the affective politics of nationalism. This course thus frames the rise of a global new right interdisciplinary and comparatively as a historical, geopolitical and aesthetic problem. (LT)

Stateless Imaginations: Global Anarchist Literature

Spring 2018-2019

27451 / 37451

Anna Torres

This course examines the literature, aesthetics, and theory of global anarchist movements, from nineteenth-century Russian anarcho-syndicalism to Kurdish stateless democratic movements of today. We will also study the literature of “proto-anarchist” writers, such as William Blake, and stateless movements with anarchist resonances, such as Maroon communities in the Caribbean. Theorists and historians will include Dilar Dirik, Nina Gurianova, Paul Avrich, Luisa Capetillo, Emma Goldman, and Maia Ramnath. Particular attention will be given to decolonial thought, religious anarchism, fugitivity and migration, and gender and race in anarchist literature.

Emily Dickinson

Autumn 2018-2019

27514 / 37514

Janice Knight

In this course we will read and reflect on the lyrics and the letters of Emily Dickinson, within and against a number of critical contexts. For the first few weeks we will acquaint ourselves with her corpus, reading deeply and widely her poetry and prose. We will then work to contextualize Dickinson’s writing within the culture, history, and politics of the mid- l9th century, focusing particularly on issues of gender, professional authorship, and the culture of domesticity. Finally, we will consider the heated critical debates surrounding editorial practices, debates about editions, and the fetishizing of manuscripts and the “electronic” Dickinson archive. (LC)

Introduction to Old English

Winter 2018-2019

28404 / 38404

Benjamin Saltzman

“Moððe word fræt.” These are the first words of a riddle that students will learn how to read in this course. As the first part of the Medieval Research Series, this course introduces students to the Old English language, the literary history of early medieval England, and current research tools and scholarship in the field of Old English. In studying the language, we will explore its diverse and exciting body of literature, including poems of heroic violence and lament, laws, medical recipes, and humorously obscene riddles. Successful completion of the course will give students a rich sense not only of the earliest period of English literary culture, but also of the structure of the English language as it is written and spoken today. This course is the first in a two quarter Medieval Research sequence. No prior experience with Old or Middle English is required. The second course in the Medieval Research sequence (Beowulf) will be offered in the Spring Quarter. (LC)

Beowulf

Spring 2018-2019

28505 / 38505

Benjamin Saltzman

In this course, we will read and translate Beowulf from Old English, attending closely to language, paleography, and textual cruxes. We also will examine the history of scholarship on the poem and a variety of approaches to its interpretation, guided by student interest. Over the course of the term, each student will produce a piece original scholarly research that engages with the poem and its critical tradition. This course is the second in a two quarter Medieval Research sequence. (LC)

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CLASSICS

CLCV 15000. Myth & its Critics. (HIST 17000, SIGN 26037). C. Ando. Spring.

Myth is essential to how humans make sense of the world: our foundational stories explain the nature of the world; they justify and explore social and sexual difference; they teach and test the limits of human agency. The course will survey contexts and uses of myth-making in the ancient Mediterranean world. We will also explore the many traditions of critique and anxiety about myth-making, among philosophers, literary critics and religious authorities. (LC)

CLCV 21500. The Medieval Book: History, Typology, Function. (CLAS 31500). M. Allen. Spring.

The course will survey the cultural setting of books and book-learning from the end of Antiquity to the Age of Print. We shall consider the new and varied historical impulses that shaped medieval techniques of writing, reading, and ordering of knowledge, and also the details of physical construction, textual presentation, and decoration, which often survived the transition from script to print culture. To illustrate our discussions, we shall make use of holdings in Regenstein Special Collections and also take a special trip to the Newberry Library. (LC)

CLCV 22518. Humor in Antiquity. A. Horne. Autumn.

Satire, spoof, social comedy—much of what we think of as funny today was also funny to the Greeks and Romans. In this course we will look at highlights of Greco-Roman humorous writing, with a special focus on dramatic comedy (Aristophanes, Menander, Plautus, Terence) and on satire (Horace, Persius, Juvenal). We will also look at some more recondite gems, including Lucian’s comic essays and the cheeky biographies of the Roman emperors. Topics include the way that comedy comments on power and society, and the way that comic tropes persist or differ across time and genre. (LC)

CLCV 24918. Early Traveling Writing: Pausanias in Roman Greece. (CLAS 34918, FNDL 24918). C. Kearns. Spring.

Through a close reading of Pausanias, who wrote a Description of Greece during the Roman imperial period, this course explores ancient forms of travel writing and associated interests in the places, peoples, myths, ruins, and material objects of the Mediterranean world. Moving from the apparent ethnographic lens of earlier Greek literature to Roman imperialist expeditions, readings and discussions will examine the sociopolitical contexts out of which Pausanias emerged as a literary author, and his legacies in and relationship to the wide array of genres of modern travel writing, from Lewis and Clark to John Steinbeck. Key topics will include: movement through space, tourism, nature, landscape, town and country, sites and spectacles, myth, ritual, and acts of remembering and forgetting. (LC)

CLCV 26518. Introduction to Women and Gender in the Ancient World. (=HIST 17001) M. Andrews, Winter. Th. 9.30-10.50.

This course provides an introduction to aspects of women's lives in the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean: primarily Greece and Rome, but drawing occasionally on examples also from the Near East and Egypt. We will examine not only what women actually did and did not do in these societies, but also how they were perceived by their male contemporaries and what value to society they were believed to have. The course will focus on how women are reflected in the material and visual cultures, but it will also incorporate historical and literary evidence, as well. Through such a comparative and interdisciplinary approach, we will examine the complexities and ambiguities of women's lives in the ancient Mediterranean and begin to understand the roots of modern conceptions and perceptions of women in the Western world today. (LC)

GREK 21700. Lyric and Epinician Poetry. (GREK 31700). M. Payne. Autumn.

PQ: GREK 20300 or equivalent.

This course will examine instances of Greek lyric genres throughout the archaic and classical periods, focusing on the structure, themes and sounds of the poetry and investigating their performative and historical contexts. Readings will include Alcman, Sappho, Alcaeus, Anacreon, Ibycus, Alcaeus, Simonides, Bacchylides, Pindar and Timotheus in Greek. (LC)

GREK 21800. Greek Epic: Homer. (GREK 31800). E. Austin. Winter.

PQ: GREK 20300 or equivalent.

This course is a reading of sections from Homer's Iliad. We will focus on character, emotions, and relationality in the poem, with an eye to evaluating the poem's many perspectives on mortality, relations with the divine, conceptions of the polis, and the nature of excellence. (LC)

GREK 24718. Longinus' On the Sublime. (GREK 34718, FNDL 24718). E. Asmis. Winter.

PQ: Two years of Greek.

Composed around the first or second century C.E., Longinus' On the Sublime marks a new direction in ancient aesthetics and later had a profound influence on the aesthetics of  the Romantic period and afterward. It was a watershed between viewing art as imitation and viewing it as self-expression. Great literature was now seen as producing ecstasy, not instruction; and the hearer was thought to share in the creativity of the author. We will read most of this text in Greek, with a view to understanding what is so innovative about it. (LC)

LATN 21900. Roman Comedy. (LATN 31900). D. Wray. Spring.

Plautus' Pseudolus is read in Latin, along with secondary readings that explain the social context and the theatrical conventions of Roman comedy. Class meetings are devoted less to translation than to study of the language, plot construction, and stage techniques at work in the Pseudolus. (LC)

LATN 36118.  Cicero's "De Oratore."  (LATN 26118). J. Zetzel. Autumn.

De oratore, composed in the mid-50s BCE, was Cicero's first major work of non-oratorical prose. A dialogue responding to Plato's Phaedrus and Gorgias, it offers simultaneously a theory of rhetoric, a claim for the importance of oratory as a form of civic engagement, and an exploration of the role of Greek culture in Roman life. In this course we will read most of the first book of De oratore in Latin and the remainder of the work in English while examining Cicero's arguments in the context of the long-running ancient battle between rhetoric and philosophy. We will also look at the dialogue as a representation of Roman aristocratic culture in the late Republic. (LC)

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COMPARATIVE LITERATURE

Comparative Methods in the Humanities

ENGL 28918

  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2018-2019

Joshua Scodel

This course introduces models of comparative analysis across national literatures, genres, and media by focusing on poetry in different languages and cultures and in relation to other discursive and artistic forms.  We will examine a wide variety of poetic and critical texts in order to explore such topics as the specificity of poetry and of poetic kinds; orality and folk, art, and popular song; poetry’s relation to prose (from philosophy to autobiography to journalism); transnational imitation and translation; poetry and globalization; ekphrasis and poetry’s relations to visual arts; and poetry and film.  Readings will likely include poems by Sappho, Horace, Dante, Li Bai, Du Fu, Ronsard, Shakespeare, Milton, Basho, Goethe, Wordsworth, Robert Browning, and Dylan; and critical writings by Longinus, Plutarch, Montaigne, Li Zhi, Wordsworth, Auerbach, Jakobson, Adorno, Pasolini, Zumthor, Culler, and Damrosch. (LT)

Introduction To Drama

20601

TAPS 19300, ENGL 10600

  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019

John Muse

This course explores the unique challenges of experiencing performance through the page. Students will read plays and performances closely, taking into account not only form, character, plot, and genre, but also theatrical considerations like staging, acting, spectatorship, and historical conventions. We will also consider how various agents—playwrights, readers, directors, actors, and audiences—generate plays and give them meaning. While the course is not intended as a survey of dramatic literature or theater history, students will be introduced to a variety of essential plays from across the dramatic tradition. The course culminates in a scene project assignment that allows students put their skills of interpretation and adaptation into practice. No experience with theater is expected.

Brecht and Beyond

20800

ENGL 24400, CMST 26200, TAPS 28435

  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2018-2019

Loren Kruger

Brecht is indisputably the most influential playwright in the 20th century, but his influence on film theory and practice and on cultural theory generally is also considerable. In this course we will explore the range and variety of Brecht's own theatre, from the anarchic plays of the 1920's to the agitprop Lehrstück and film esp Kühle Wampe) to the classical parable plays, as well as the work of his heirs in German theatre (Heiner Müller, Peter Weiss) and film (RW Fassbinder, Alexander Kluge), in French film (Jean-Luc Godard) and cultural theory (the Situationists and May 68), film and theatre in Britain (such as Caryl Churchill or Mike Leigh), theatre and film in Africa, from South Africa to Senegal, and if possible a film or play from the US that engages with Brechtian theory and/or practice.
Prerequisites
TAPS and/or Hum Core required; no first years. (LT)

Comparative Fairy Tales

21600

GRMN 28500, HUMA 28400, NORW 28500

  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2018-2019

Kim Kenny

How do we account for the allure of fairy tales? For some, fairy tales count as sacred tales meant to enchant rather than edify. For others, they are cautionary tales, replete with obvious moral lessons. For the purposes of the course, we will assume that these critics are correct in their contention that fairy tales contain essential underlying meanings. We will conduct our own readings of fairy tales from the German Brothers Grimm, the Norwegians, Asbjørnsen and Moe and the Dane, Hans Christian Andersen, relying on our own critical skills as well as selected secondary readings. (LC)

Trans Performativity

23112

GNSE 23112, ENGL 23112

  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019

STAFF

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)

Unveiling Chivalry: Chivalric literature in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (1100-1600)

24218

CMLT 24218, ITAL 24218

  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019

Filippo Petricca

The myth of chivalry has been fostered and reshaped from the Middle Ages to the present with damsels-in-distress, knights' self-sacrifice, adventures and courtly love. But how was chivalry in the 11th or the 16th century literature different from today's perception? What changed between historical chivalry and its fictional representation? This course aims to challenge the narrative of chivalry as one conventionally characterized by rise and fall, or a movement from virtue to parody, or spirituality to skepticism. We will see instead how each literary text provides multiple layers of interpretation and how chivalry is redefined across time and space. Exploring the notion of chivalry will also allow us to focus on the so-called "spirituality" of the Middle Ages and the relationship between the Renaissance and the past. We will study chivalric literature from the Chanson de Roland to Cervantes's Don Quijote. A strong emphasis will be given to Italian literature, including Dante's Commedia, Boccaccio's Decameron and Ariosto's Orlando furioso. Readings will also include Chrétien de Troyes's Lancelot and Perceval, with a final session devoted to T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land. Taught in English. (LC)

Uncanny Encounters in Global Medieval Literature

24610

  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019

Sam Lasman

Meetings with ghosts, dragons, elves, and jinn – violent or erotic, compassionate or unsettling – animate many key texts of the Middle Ages. Unlike in our stereotypes of a past when people blamed their daily problems on witches or demons, medieval literature depicts strange beings, dangerous monsters, and otherworld realms as anything but quotidian. Rather, medieval protagonists regularly find their lives changed by experiences with the strange.
In this course, we will interrogate the literary and cultural meanings of these uncanny encounters through close readings of primary texts in translation from across medieval Eurasia – including Norse sagas, Persian epics, Celtic legends, Tibetan hagiographies, and Japanese drama. We will draw on comparative methods in responding analytically and creatively to these underappreciated works. (LC)

Foucault And The History Of Sexuality

25001

PHIL 24800, FNDL 22001, GNSE 23100, HIPS 24300, KNOW 27002

  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019

Arnold Ira Davidson

This course centers on a close reading of the first volume of Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, with some attention to his writings on the history of ancient conceptualizations of sex. How should a history of sexuality take into account scientific theories, social relations of power, and different experiences of the self? We discuss the contrasting descriptions and conceptions of sexual behavior before and after the emergence of a science of sexuality. Other writers influenced by and critical of Foucault are also discussed.
Prerequisites
One prior philosophy course is strongly recommended. (LT)

Reading Nonhuman Animals: A Challenge to Anthropocentrism

25218

ITAL 25218

  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2018-2019

Elizabeth Tavella

How can we "read" a literary nonhuman animal? In what ways does literature deal with ethical and political issues concerning nonhuman animals? What does it mean to live in a multicultural and multispecies world? What does it mean to be "human"? In this course we will ask these and other related questions as they are presented and represented in Italian 20th-century literary texts, read alongside philosophical writings, scholarly essays, and visual materials. While maintaining a focus on Italian literature, a comparative approach involving literary works of non-Italian authors will be key in understanding the pervasiveness of the problems that have caused our detachment from nature and our broken relationship with nonhuman animals. We will closely analyze and critically evaluate the works of several authors, including those by Italo Calvino, Primo Levi, Anna Maria Ortese, Elsa Morante, Italo Svevo, Alice Walker, and Franz Kafka, giving particular attention to techniques of close reading. A thematic approach will enable us to explore a large number of critical discourses, from the moral status of nonhuman animals to the long-held assumptions regarding the anthropocentric set of values that have defined (Western) culture. We will also take into consideration different theoretical frameworks such as posthumanist theory and gender studies in order to discuss and evaluate the selected texts from different perspectives and entry points. (LT)

Commentary and Authority

25315

EALC 25315

  • Undergraduate
  • Autumn
  • 2018-2019

Alia Breitwieser

Commentary--whether published formally or distributed through social media--is essential to our understanding of past and current events, books, and films. But what is at stake in each act of commentary? How does commentary work upon its base text and readers? Traditional Chinese commentary provides unparalleled material for thinking through these questions. This course delves into several influential and controversial works of traditional Chinese commentary, ranging from the *Zuo Tradition* (c. 4th century BCE) to 17th-century fiction commentary. Combining close reading with carefully guided writing exercises, the sessions are intended to show the critical role commentary played in the development of pre-modern Chinese reading practices and assist students in honing their ability to negotiate and wield commentary in work and daily life. (LC)

The Literature of Disgust, Rabelais to Nausea

26301

ENGL 26300

  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2018-2019

Zachary Samalin

This course will survey a range of literary works which take the disgusting as their principle aesthetic focus, while also providing students with an introduction to core issues and concepts in the history of aesthetic theory, such as the beautiful and the sublime, disinterested judgment and purposive purposelessness, taste and distaste. At the same time, our readings will allow us to explore the ways in which the disgusting has historically been utilized as a way of producing socially critical literature, by representing that which a culture categorically attempts to marginalize, exclude and expel. Readings will engage with the variety of aesthetic functions that the disgusting has been afforded throughout modern literary history, including the
carnivalesque and grotesque in Rabelais and the bawdy and satirical in Swift; Zola’s gruesome naturalism, Sartre’s existential nausea and Clarice Lispector’s narrative of spiritual abjection; as well as Thomas Bernhard’s experiments with contempt and Dennis Cooper’s pseudo‐pornographic genre explorations. We will read widely in literary and cultural theories of disgust, as well as in the psychological and biological
literature of the emotion. Prerequisite: Strong stomach. (LC, LT)

Woman/Native

27003

ENGL 27003, CRES 27013, GNSE 27013

  • Undergraduate
  • Spring
  • 2018-2019

Sonali Thakkar

This course reads works of postcolonial literature and theory in order to consider the entanglements of the figures of “women” and “natives” in colonial as well as postcolonial discourse. We will discuss topics such as the persistent feminization of the profane, degraded, and contagious bodies of colonized natives; representations of women as both the keepers and the victims of “authentic” native culture; the status (symbolic and otherwise) of women in anti-colonial resistance and insurgency; and the psychic pathologies (particularly nervous conditions of anxiety, hysteria, and madness) that appear repeatedly in these works as states to which women and/as natives are especially susceptible.

Authors may include Ama Ata Aidoo, Hélène Cixous J.M Coetzee, Maryse Condé, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Mahasweta Devi, Assia Djebar, Frantz Fanon, Sigmund Freud, Silvia Federici, Nuruddin Farah, Bessie Head, V.S. Naipaul, Jean Rhys, Tayeb Salih, Ousmane Sembène, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. (LT)
 

Renaissance Demonology

27602

HIST 22110, ITAL 26500, RLST 26501

  • Undergraduate
  • Winter
  • 2018-2019

Armando Maggi

In this course we analyze the complex concept of demonology according to early modern European culture from a theological, historical, philosophical, and literary point of view. The term 'demon' in the Renaissance encompasses a vast variety of meanings. Demons are hybrids. They are both the Christian devils, but also synonyms for classical deities, and Neo-platonic spiritual beings. As far as Christian theology is concerned, we read selections from Augustine's and Thomas Aquinas's treatises, some complex exorcisms written in Italy, and a recent translation of the infamous Malleus maleficarum, the most important treatise on witch-hunt. We pay close attention to the historical evolution of the so-called witch-craze in Europe through a selection of the best secondary literature on this subject, with special emphasis on Michel de Certeau's The Possession at Loudun. We also study how major Italian and Spanish women mystics, such as Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi and Teresa of Avila, approach the issue of demonic temptation and possession. As far as Renaissance Neoplatonic philosophy is concerned, we read selections from Marsilio Ficino's Platonic Theology and Girolamo Cardano's mesmerizing autobiography. We also investigate the connection between demonology and melancholy through a close reading of the initial section of Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy and Cervantes's short story The Glass Graduate (El licenciado Vidriera). (LC)

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EAST ASIAN LANGUAGES & CIVILIZATIONS

EALC 10600 Topics in EALC: Ghosts and the Fantastic in Literature & Film

J. Zeitlin

Autumn

What is a ghost? How and why are ghosts represented in particular forms in a particular culture at particular historical moments and how do these change as stories travel between cultures? How and why is traditional ghost lore reconfigured in the contemporary world? This course will explore the complex meanings, both literal and figurative, of ghosts and the fantastic in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean tales, plays, and films. Issues to be explored include: 1) the relationship between the supernatural, gender, and sexuality; 2) the confrontation of death and mortality; 3) collective anxieties over the loss of the historical past; 4) and the visualization of the invisible through art, theater, and cinema.

Equivalent courses:  SIGN 26006, CMST 24603

EALC 10704 Topics in EALC: The Modern Short Story in East Asia

P. Iovene

Autumn

Why does the short story emerge as a major literary form across East Asia in the early 20th century? Which institutional, social, and political factors contributed to its diffusion? What are the main characteristics of the short story, how does it organize time and space, and how does it differ from earlier forms of short fiction? What do various authors hope to achieve by writing short stories? Has their writing changed with the rise of new media? Informed by these questions, this course explores the variety of forms that the short story takes in modern East Asia. We will read a selection of influential Chinese, Japanese, and Korean works from the early 20th century to the present, including those by Lu Xun, Shiga Naoya, Hwang Sun-wŏn, Miyamoto Yuriko, Xiao Hong, Na Hye-sŏk, Akutagawa Ryūnosuke, Hoshi Shin’ichi, Lin Bai, Han Shaogong, Yu Hua, and Murakami Haruki, along with theoretical and critical essays. Discussions will be organized around themes that allow for transregional comparisons. All readings in English translation.

EALC 25010/35010 Premodern Japanese Literature and East Asia

M. Burge

Autumn

This course will explore the relationship of premodern Japanese literature to East Asia. How did elites in premodern Japan understand their place within the larger East Asian world? How did they construct their identities in relation to their continental neighbors? We will consider the complexities surrounding Japan’s adaptation of Sinographic (Chinese) script, the production of vernacular literature vis-à-vis kanbun texts, and moments in premodern Japanese literary works that highlight actors, objects, themes, and genres from the greater East Asian world. (LC)

EALC 26800/ 36800 Korean Literature, Foreign Criticism

K. Choi

Autumn

Ever since the introduction of the ‘modern’ concept of “literature,” the production, consumption, and reproduction of literature, both vernacular and translated in Korea and other parts of East Asia have gone hand in hand with the reception of and response to the trends of “criticism” and “theory” developed in the West. This course deals with a series of critical works published in and outside of Korea and analyzes the premises, points of departures, and chosen approaches taken by each critic or scholar as situated in diverse contexts.  While pursuing a geo-institutional understanding of the academic, critical, and commercial sites in which the knowledge of “Korean literature” is produced and promoted, the course probes into the historical changes that have taken place in the reception “Korean literature” and its readership outside of Korea.  No knowledge of Korean is required.  

Equivalent Course: EALC 36800

EALC 44612 Inequality in Chinese Literature and Media

P. Iovene

Autumn

In this class we will explore how the various forms and dimensions of inequality that characterize contemporary China are reflected in literature, cinema, and internet. We will engage with concepts of subalternity, peasant worker, and new working class, and investigate emerging spaces of self-representation. Readings in Chinese and English. Ample time will be devoted to students' research projects.  

EALC 51420 The Literary and Visual Worlds of Xixiang ji

J. Zeitlin

Autumn

This course examines the most influential Chinese drama of all times, the Xixiang ji (Romance of the Western Chamber) in light of its multiple literary and visual traditions. Over 100 different woodblock editions, many of them illustrated, were published during the Ming and Qing dynasties alone. The focus of the class will be on close readings of primary texts in classical and early modern vernacular Chinese. We will concentrate on the earliest extant edition of 1498 and Jin Shengtan’s annotated and abridged edition of 1656, along with important sets of illustrations in woodblock prints.

Prereq: Good reading skills in both classical and vernacular Chinese. (LC)

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FUNDAMENTALS

FNDL 20200 Dostoyevsky's Brothers Karamazov

S. Meredith

We will read and interpret The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky. Among major themes are the relation to God and religion to the larger society and state; the problem of evil; and the nature of sin and how it enters into religious beliefs; human “freedom,” and what the word might have meant to Dostoevsky; and love. (LC)

FNDL 22001 Foucault: History of Sexuality

A. Davidson

This course centers on a close reading of the first volume of Michel Foucault's The History of Sexuality, with some attention to his writings on the history of ancient conceptualizations of sex. How should a history of sexuality take into account scientific theories, social relations of power, and different experiences of the self? We discuss the contrasting descriptions and conceptions of sexual behavior before and after the emergence of a science of sexuality. Other writers influenced by and critical of Foucault are also discussed. One prior philosophy course is strongly recommended. (LT)

FNDL 22514 Moby-Dick, or The Whale

Janice Knight

This course will focus on Moby Dick. Monomania--in its psychological, sexual, aesthetic, religious, epistemological, and political manifestations--will focus much of our inquiry into our texts and into the body of critical discourse surrounding them. (LC)

FNDL 22629 Nahi al-balagha: Virtue and Piety in the Teachings of Ali         

Through a close reading and analysis of the orations, epistles and words of wisdom attributed to Ali ibn Abi Talib in the Nahj al-balagha, this course will explore an early stage of the development of these three important prose genres of classical Arabic literature, and Ali’s key themes and stylistic features. A main focus of the class will be on themes of virtue and piety. (LC)

FNDL 23660 Baudelaire et Flaubert: la vie littéraire en l’an 1857

D. Desormeaux

Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) and Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880): two young men from wealthy families, two opponents of bourgeois education, two aborted social callings, two terminal illnesses, two resounding failures before literary institutions, two adventures in love, two satanic fascinations, two notorious literary trials, two conceptions of the craft of writing, two approaches to realism, two criticisms of romantic art, two models of poetic inspiration, two aesthetics of language, two cults of Beauty, all for one and a unique literature. This seminar will be devoted to the literary life of two writers whose canon for more than a century has occupied a central place of importance in contemporary literary criticism. It will be our task to place their work in perspective within the context of the rise of modernism, which is to say, the new status of literature as of the year 1857. We shall endeavor, thus, to discern the authenticity of the creative relationship of each artist with himself and subsequently with others. The point will be to foreground three fundamental principles that will aid in grasping the evolution of the literary world under the Second Empire and under the Third Republic: literary history, writing and the elevation of the writer (Bénichou). Our work will be based on three or four texts by Baudelaire and Flaubert, it being understood that additional works of criticism will illuminate the discussion of these texts.
PQ: FREN 20500 or 20503
Taught in French. Discussions in both French and English. (LC)
 

FNDL 21211 Don Quixote

T. Pavel & F. De Armas

The course will provide a close reading of Cervantes' Don Quixote and discuss its links with Renaissance art and Early Modern narrative genres. On the one hand, Don Quixote can be viewed in terms of prose fiction, from the ancient Greek romances to the medieval books of knights errant and the Renaissance pastoral novels. On the other hand, Don Quixote exhibits a desire for Italy through the utilization of Renaissance art. Beneath the dusty roads of La Mancha and within Don Quixote’s chivalric fantasies, the careful reader will come to appreciate glimpses of images with Italian designs. Taught in English. Spanish majors will read the text in the original and use Spanish for the course assignments. The course format would be alternating lectures by the two faculty members on Mondays and Wednesdays. Fridays are devoted to discussion of the materials presented on Mondays and Wednesdays. (LC)

FNDL 21404 Shakespeare II: Tragedies and Comedies

Ellen MacKay

This course explores mainly major plays representing the genres of tragedy and romance; most (but not all) date from the latter half of Shakespeare's career. After having examined how Shakespeare develops and deepens the conventions of tragedy in Titus Andronicus, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, and Antony and Cleopatra, we will turn our attention to how he complicates and even subverts these conventions in The Winter's Tale and The Tempest. Throughout, we will treat the plays as literary texts, performance prompts, and historical documents. Section attendance is required. This course is part of the College Course Cluster, The Renaissance. (LC)

FNDL 24718 Longinus' On the Sublime.  E. Asmis

PQ: Two years of Greek.

Composed around the first or second century C.E., Longinus' On the Sublime marks a new direction in ancient aesthetics and later had a profound influence on the aesthetics of  the Romantic period and afterward. It was a watershed between viewing art as imitation and viewing it as self-expression. Great literature was now seen as producing ecstasy, not instruction; and the hearer was thought to share in the creativity of the author. We will read most of this text in Greek, with a view to understanding what is so innovative about it. (LC)

FNDL 25001 Molière

L. Norman

Molière crafted a new form of satirical comedy that revolutionized European theater, though it encountered strong opposition from powerful institutions. We will read the plays in the context of the literary and dramatic traditions that Molière reworked (farce, commedia dell'arte, Latin comedy, Spanish Golden Age theater, satiric  poetry, the novel), while considering the relationship of laughter to social norms, as well as the performance practices and life of theater in Molière's day. Note: Taught in French
PQ: FREN 20500 or 20503 (LC)

FNDL 25700 Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales

Mark Miller

This course is an examination of Chaucer's art as revealed in selections from The Canterbury Tales. Our primary emphasis is on a close reading of individual tales, with particular attention to the intersection of literary form with problems in ethics, politics, gender and sexuality. (LC)

FNDL 27103 War and Peace

W. Nickell

Written in the wake of the Crimean War (1856) and the emancipation of the serfs (1861), Tolstoy's War and Peace represents Russia's most important national narrative. Tolstoy chooses to set his tale during the Napoleonic wars, the epoch commonly regarded as the moment of national awakening, which gave rise to major social and political transformations within the Russian society that were still underway at the time when Tolstoy wrote and published his epic. Reading War and Peace we not only learn a lot about Russian history and culture, but  also have a rare chance to visit the writer's workshop and witness the creation of a completely original, organic work of art. It is a telling fact that Tolstoy's novel-epic-a unique hybrid of several different genres deliberately designed as a riposte to the typical West European novel - was never finalized, because after publishing this work in a serial form in a leading "thick journal" Tolstoy continued to return to War and Peace throughout the rest of his life. This course will focus on both the artistic and intellectual facets of War and Peace. This course is recommended for students interested in Russian and European literature, history and political science as well as those who are building a Fundamentals major. The course is open to all undergraduates and some graduate students (by consent). Reading, discussion and papers will be in English. (LC)

FNDL 28401 Pasolini

A. Maggi

This course examines each aspect of Pasolini's artistic production according to the most recent literary and cultural theories, including Gender Studies. We shall analyze his poetry (in particular "Le Ceneri di Gramsci" and "Poesie informa di rosa"), some of his novels ("Ragazzi di vita," "Una vita violenta," "Teorema," "Petrolio"), and his numerous essays on the relationship between standard Italian and dialects, semiotics and cinema, and the role of intellectuals in contemporary Western culture. We shall also discuss the following films: "Accattone," "La ricotta," "Edipo Re," "Teorema," and "Salo."

FNDL 29601 H.P. Lovecraft & Cosmic Horror

M. Payne

This class will analyze the recent spike in critical attention to the work of H.P. Lovecraft. We will read a representative selection of Lovecraft's fiction, focusing on the works of cosmic horror, along with Lovecraft's own theoretical writings. In addition, we will read a range of contemporary critical engagements with this work - ecological, ontological, and social-theoretical. (LT)

FNDL 21201 Milton

J. Scodel

A study of Milton's major writings in lyric, epic, tragedy, and political prose, with emphasis upon his evolving sense of his poetic vocation and career in relation to his vision of literary, political, and cosmic history. Graduate students will be expected to do additional secondary reading. (LC)

FNDL 21215 Hamlet: Adventures of a Text

J. Redfield

After a lifetime with Hamlet, I've become increasingly interested by the fluidity of the text: not only is there much too much of it, but there are also significant differences between the 2nd Quarto and the Folio—to say nothing of the 1st quarto. Nevertheless, there is (in my mind at least) no question that we have Hamlet! I intend with this class to explore the play in quest (as it were) of the essential Hamlet, reflecting on its contradictions, shifting perspectives, puzzles. For instance: why doesn't Hamlet go back to Wittenburg—is it his ambition, his mother, his sense that he has to deal with his uncle, or is it something else? Is Hamlet mad or feigning or something in between? Is he changed by his adventure with the pirates? Etc.

We will use both volumes of the Arden 3rd edition. First, we'll spend some weeks going through the Folio text scene by scene, then we'll tackle the 1st Quarto, inquiring into Shakespeare's creative process and his relation to actual production. Some attention will be given also to the history of the reception of Hamlet. Instruction by discussion; final paper preceded by required submission of a project and opportunity to submit a draft for comments. (LC)

FNDL 21300 Ulysses

S. Meredith

This course considers themes that include the problems of exile, homelessness, and nationality; the mysteries of paternity and maternity; the meaning of the Return; Joyce's epistemology and his use of dream, fantasy, and hallucinations; and Joyce's experimentation with and use of language.

FNDL 23910 Memory & Identity in French Literature: From Proust to the Present

A. James

How does a book about the search for the past continue to resonate in the present? How is a classic work of literature reinterpreted and re-created in the light of contemporary concerns? Marcel Proust’s monumental novel In Search of Lost Time (1913–1927) can be read historically as a product and portrait of fin-de-siècle upper-class French society, but it is also subject to infinite variations and re-readings that have given it a central place in contemporary culture. Proust’s masterpiece is not only a model for other authors; it has provided a test case for narrative theory and queer theory, and serves as a privileged object for interdisciplinary inquiry into the value and uses of literature. This course offers an introduction to Proust by reading key excerpts alongside recent work that takes up Proust’s legacy via reinterpretation, re-creation, and appropriation. In particular, we will examine film adaptations, Proustian echoes in contemporary literature’s treatment of memory, neuroscience research on the phenomenon of “Proustian memory,” queer and feminist readings, and philosophical interpretations of Proust’s novel. Finally, we will consider Proust’s presence as both a cliché and a mobile signifier in popular culture—from his appearance in self-help guides to allusions in films, cartoons and even recipes—in the light of Proust’s own reflections on the relationship between art and life. The course may be counted toward the French major or minor: students taking the course for French credit will do appropriate readings in French and participate in a weekly French discussion

FNDL 24405 Brecht & Beyond

L. Kruger

Brecht is indisputably the most influential playwright in the 20th century, but his influence on film theory and practice and on cultural theory generally is also considerable. In this course we will explore the range and variety of Brecht's own theatre, from the anarchic plays of the 1920's to the agitprop Lehrstück and film esp Kühle Wampe) to the classical parable plays, as well as the work of his heirs in German theatre (Heiner Müller, Peter Weiss) and film (RW Fassbinder, Alexander Kluge), in French film (Jean-Luc Godard) and cultural theory (the Situationists and May 68), film and theatre in Britain (such as Caryl Churchill or Mike Leigh), theatre and film in Africa, from South Africa to Senegal, and if possible a film or play from the US that engages with Brechtian theory and/or practice.  (LT)

FNDL 24918 Early Traveling Writing: Pausanias in Roman Greece

C. Kearns


Through a close reading of Pausanias, who wrote a Description of Greece during the Roman imperial period, this course explores ancient forms of travel writing and associated interests in the places, peoples, myths, ruins, and material objects of the Mediterranean world. Moving from the apparent ethnographic lens of earlier Greek literature to Roman imperialist expeditions, readings and discussions will examine the sociopolitical contexts out of which Pausanias emerged as a literary author, and his legacies on and relationship to the wide array of genres of modern travel writing, from Lewis and Clark to John Steinbeck. Key topics will include: movement through space, tourism, nature, landscape, town and country, sites and spectacles, myth, ritual, and acts of remembering and forgetting.  (LC)

FNDL  25220 Pour une sociologie de Rabelais

P. Desan

Nous aborderons l’œuvre de Rabelais à partir d’une lecture contextuelle de Gargantua et Pantagruel (les deux romans que nous lirons dans ce sours). Le but de ce cours est de présenter le contexte social, politique, économique et religieux de la première moitié du XVIe siècle en reliant les thèmes choisis (guerre, genre, utopie, éducation, amitié, écocomie, etc.), à des problèmes plus modernes. Car Rabelais nous permet aussi d’adresser les grands thèmes de la société française et occidentale contemporaine. Nous étudierons ainsi l’écriture du corps, l’organisation sociale de l’Ancien régime, les premières théories économiques, la découverte du Nouveau Monde et l’exploration de l’altérité. Nous lirons deux romans de Rabelais: Gargantua et Pantagruel. (LC)

FNDL 25331 Simone de Beauvoir: Second Sex

K. Culp


In 1949, Simone de Beauvoir’s Le Deuxième Sexe took up the old question of sexual difference; it was never the same question again. This course will engage a close reading of The Second Sex in English translation and with reference to the original French text. Her attention to the situation and “situatedness” of women resulted in new ways of thinking about freedom, reciprocity, desire, and subjectivity; it brought literature, autobiography, and cultural studies into philosophical reflection; and it contributed significantly to the transformation of women's social, political, and cultural situations. We will give special attention to her discussion of narcissism and mysticism.

FNDL 28006 Philosophical Fiction: Proust’s in Search of Lost Time

R. Pippin & J. Landy

We will discuss all seven volumes of Proust’s magisterial novel, In Search of Lost Time (1913-1927). In order to be able to do so in a ten week quarter, students must announce their intention to register for the course before the end of the Spring quarter of 2018, and pledge to have read the entire novel before the March, 2019 beginning of the seminar. (They can do so by emailing Robert Pippin atrbp1@uchicago.edu.)
The novel is well known for its treatment of a large number of philosophical issues: including self-identity over time, the nature of memory, social competition and snobbery, the nature of love, both romantic and familial, the role of fantasy in human life, the nature and prevalence of jealousy, the nature and value of art, the chief characteristics of bourgeois society, and the nature of lived temporality. Our interest will be not only in these issues but also in what could be meant by the notion of a novelistic “treatment” of the issues, and how such a treatment might bear on philosophy as traditionally understood.
We shall use the Modern Library boxed set of seven volumes for the English translation, and for those students with French, we will use the Folio Collection paperbacks of the seven volumes.

FNDL 28505 Beowulf

B. Saltzman

In this course, we will read and translate Beowulf from Old English, attending closely to language, paleography, and textual cruxes. We also will examine the history of scholarship on the poem and a variety of approaches to its interpretation, guided by student interest. Over the course of the term, each student will produce a piece original scholarly research that engages with the poem and its critical tradition. (Pre-1650, Poetry); (Med/Ren) This course is the second in a two quarter Medieval Research sequence. (LC)

FNDL 29020 The Shadows of Living Things: The Writings of Mikhail Bulgakov


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.

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GERMANIC STUDIES

The Letter in and as Literature

GRMN 25019
This course investigates the role of the letter (Brief) in German literature. Although we will begin with an epistolary novel (Werther), the primary focus of the course will be on the function of letter after the decline of this genre. What does it mean when a letter appears in a drama on stage, or in a novella, or when a poem is written in the form of an address? Are letters true reflections of the soul, reliable evidence, or tools of manipulation? We will theorize the letter as a form as well as the forms in which letters appear. In addition to investigating letters in poetry, drama, and prose, we will examine a historical Briefwechsel and explore the function of the letter in the digital age. Authors include Goethe, Kleist, Hofmannsthal, Benjamin, Kafka, K. Mann, Benn, Celan, Jelinek, and Meinecke. (LC)
NOTE: This course will be taught in German.
Sophie Salvo

Berlin in Fragments
GRMN 23715
Berlin at the turn of the 19th century was the epicenter of Germany’s rapid urbanization and industrialization, and as such it became a privileged site for observing the effects of modernity on the human condition. One of the most prominent features of life in the modern metropolis, as noted by contemporaries, was its fragmentary character, both in social terms—the atomization of society as a whole—and in mental terms—the psychic instability of the atomized individual. This course explores a variety of critical and artistic responses to fragmentation: critical attempts to render the fragmented urban landscape legible, and creative explorations of the potentialities of fragmentation through formal innovation. We will examine a range of works from the early twentieth century, with our main focus being the Weimar period. Works include poetry, fiction, criticism, Feuilleton, drama and film. Authors include early Expressionist poets (Georg Heym, Jacob von Hoddis, Alfred Lichtenstein, Gottfried Benn), Raoul Hausmann, Simon Friedländer, Alfred Döblin, Irmgard Keun, Walter Benjamin, Siegfried Kracauer, Joseph Roth, and Bertolt Brecht. Films by Joe May, Walther Ruttman, Fritz Lang.
NOTE: This course will be taught in German.
Colin Benert

Comparative Fairy Tales
GRMN 28500, CMLT 21600, HUMA 28400, NORW 28500
How do we account for the allure of fairy tales?  For some, fairy tales count as sacred tales meant to enchant rather than edify.  For others, they are cautionary tales, replete with obvious moral lessons. For the purposes of the course, we will assume that these critics are correct in their contention that fairy tales contain essential underlying meanings.  We will conduct our own readings of fairy tales from the German Brothers Grimm, the Norwegians, Asbjørnsen and Moe and the Dane, Hans Christian Andersen, relying on our own critical skills as well as selected secondary readings. (LC)
Kim Kenny

Gender and Language
GRMN 25519/35519
The idea that men and women use language differently is a common trope today, yet this was not always understood to be the case. In this course, we will investigate the origins of modern assumptions about the relationship between sex, gender, and language by tracing their conceptualization in a wide range of literary, theoretical, and scientific discourses. In particular, the course will focus on two topics as case studies: the notion of a separate “women’s language” (or Weibersprache) and theories of the origin of grammatical gender. What political, theoretical, and aesthetic programs do claims about “gendered language” serve, and what anxieties do they reveal? Readings include texts from seventeenth-century ethnography, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century philosophy and philology, and twentieth-century literature, linguistics, and feminist theory. (LT)
Sophie Salvo

The Pleasure of Literature: The Novella
GRMN 25005/35005
According to Ian McEwan, the novella is "the perfect form of prose fiction. It is the beautiful daughter of a rambling, bloated, ill-shaven giant" (i.e., the novel.) This course introduces students to the short prose form of the German novella from Romanticism to the present. We will use the genre of the novella to explore the many pleasures of reading literature, among which storytelling features prominently. What kind of storytelling happens in a novella? Where does the pleasure of reading stem from? How can we think the relationship between pleasure and literature? How do developments in new media and new modes of reading affect our pleasure? How can we compare our literary gratification to other types of readerly gratification such as those coming from news articles, blog entries, and other short forms (aphorisms, magazine articles) - or, for that matter, the "reading" of images? Might the pleasure of literature also point to its utility? Readings include: Boccaccio, Goethe, Hoffmann, Kleist, Keller, Büchner, Schnitzler, M. Walser, and others, alongside some scientific articles (e.g., cognitive neuroscience) and theoretical texts. (LT)
NOTE: This course will be taught in German.
Margareta Ingrid Christian

Scandinavian Women’s Literature.
NORW 24700, GRMN 24700
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. (LC)
Kimberly Kenny, Winter.

Yiddish Literature in America
YDDH 22000/32000 
This course examines a wide range of Yiddish literary production in America.  We will read poetry and prose from authors such as Sholem Aleichem, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Yenta Serdatsky, Morris Rosenfeld, I. J. Schwartz, Moyshe Leyb Halpern, Celia Dropkin, Lamed Shapiro, Joseph Opatoshu, Fradl Shtok, Jacob Glatstein, and Blume Lempel.  We will explore themes of displacement, intergenerational conflict, race, and gender.  Readings are in English translation.
Winter

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NEAR EASTERN LANGUAGES & CIVILIZATIONS

ARAB 30381 Introduction to Arabic Poetry

(ISLM 30381)

This course is an introduction to the texts, contexts, functions and rhythms of Arabic poetry. Students read, translate, and analyze the most eloquent verse of the Arabic poetic canon, with a view to understanding its themes, metaphors, and forms. Among the genres studied are brigand poetry, love lyrics, court panegyrics, satires, and mystical poetry. In addition, students study the prosody and rhetoric that underpins these texts in order to acquire a feel for its music and aesthetics. Focus is on the classical material, but modern poetry is also introduced. Excerpts from poetry texts are read in the original Arabic, and full poems in translation.

Prerequisites: Two years of Arabic

Tahera Qutbuddin

2018-2019 Winter (LC)

NEHC 20004 Ancient Near Eastern Thought & Literature-1: Mesopotamia

(NEHC 30004)

This course gives an overview over the richness of Mesopotamian Literature (modern Iraq) written in the 3rd-1st millennium BC. We will read myths and epics written on clay tablets in Sumerian and Akkadian language in English translation and discuss content and style, but also the religious, cultural and historic implications. Special focus will be on the development of stories over time, historical context of the literature and mythological figures.
The texts treated cover not only the famous Epic of Gilgamesh, but also various legends of Sumerian and Akkadian kings, stories about Creation and World Order, and destruction. The topics covered range from the quest for immortality, epic heros and monsters, sexuality and love.

Susanne Paulus

2018-2019 Winter (LC)

NEHC 20005 Ancient Near Eastern Thought & Literature-2: Anatolian Lit

(NEHC 30005)

This course will provide an overview of Anatolian/Hittite literature, as “defined” by the Hittites themselves, in the wider historical-cultural context of the Ancient Near East. In the course of discussions, we will try to answer some important questions about Hittite inscriptions, such as: why were they written down, why were they kept, for whom were they intended, and what do the answers to these questions (apart from the primary content of the texts themselves) tell us about Hittite society?

Theo van den Hout

2018-2019 Spring (LC)

NEHC 20006 Ancient Near Eastern Thought and Literature 3 : Egyptian Lit

(EGPT 30006, NEHC 30006)

This course employs English translations of ancient Egyptian literary texts to explore the genres, conventions and techniques of ancient Egyptian literature. Discussions of texts examine how the ancient Egyptians conceptualized and constructed their equivalent of literature, as well as the fuzzy boundaries and subtle interplay between autobiography, history, myth and fiction.

Brian Muhs

2018-2019 Autumn (LC)

NEHC 20601 Islamic Thought & Literature-1

(NEHC 30601-01, SOSC 22000-01, RLST 20401-01, ISLM 30601-01, CMES 30601-01)

This sequence explores the thought and literature of the Islamic world from the coming of Islam in the seventh century C.E. through the development and spread of its civilization in the medieval period and into the modern world. Including historical framework to establish chronology and geography, the course focuses on key aspects of Islamic intellectual history: scripture, law, theology, philosophy, literature, mysticism, political thought, historical writing, and archaeology. In addition to lectures and secondary background readings, students read and discuss samples of key primary texts, with a view to exploring Islamic civilization in the direct voices of the people who participated in creating it. All readings are in English translation. No prior background in the subject is required. This course sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies.

Students can meet the general education requirement in civilization studies by taking NEHC 20601 and either 20602 or 20603.

Tahera Qutbuddin

2018-2019 Autumn (LC)

NEHC 20602 Islamic Thought & Literature-2

(SOSC, RLST, ISLM)

This course covers the period from ca. 950 to 1700. We survey works of literature, theology, philosophy, Sufism, politics, and history that were written in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. We also consider the art, architecture, and music of the Islamicate traditions. Through primary texts, secondary sources, and lectures, we 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).

This sequence explores the thought and literature of the Islamic world from the coming of Islam in the seventh century C.E. through the development and spread of its civilization in the medieval period and into the modern world. Including historical framework to establish chronology and geography, the course focuses on key aspects of Islamic intellectual history: scripture, law, theology, philosophy, literature, mysticism, political thought, historical writing, and archaeology. In addition to lectures and secondary background readings, students read and discuss samples of key primary texts, with a view to exploring Islamic civilization in the direct voices of the people who participated in creating it. All readings are in English translation. No prior background in the subject is required. This course sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies.

NEHC 20601 (Islamic Thought and Lit–1) or NEHC 20501 (Islamic Hist and Soc–1). Partially fulfills Civilizational Studies requirement of the College.

Ahmed El Shamsy

2018-2019 Winter (LC)

NEHC 20603 Islamic Thought and Literature-3

(SOSC, RLST, ISLM)

This course covers the period from ca. 1700 to the present. It explores Muslim intellectuals' engagement with tradition and modernity in the realms of religion, politics, literature, and law. We discuss debates concerning the role of religion in a modern society, perceptions of Europe and European influence, the challenges of maintain religious and cultural authenticity, and Muslim views of nation-states and nationalism in the Middle East. We also give consideration to the modern developments of transnational jihadism and the Arab Spring.

This sequence explores the thought and literature of the Islamic world from the coming of Islam in the seventh century C.E. through the development and spread of its civilization in the medieval period and into the modern world. Including historical framework to establish chronology and geography, the course focuses on key aspects of Islamic intellectual history: scripture, law, theology, philosophy, literature, mysticism, political thought, historical writing, and archaeology. In addition to lectures and secondary background readings, students read and discuss samples of key primary texts, with a view to exploring Islamic civilization in the direct voices of the people who participated in creating it. All readings are in English translation. No prior background in the subject is required. This course sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies.

This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. Taking these courses in sequence is recommended but not required.

Ahmed El Shamsy

2018-2019 Spring (LC)

NEHC 20615 Drawn Together: Comics Culture in the Middle East

(NEHC 30615)

This is a course about the rise of the graphic novel and comics culture in the Middle East. We will apply key theoretical materials from the field of comics studies to help us understand the influences, motivations and interventions of these graphic narratives in their cultural contexts. While we will primarily focus on the Arabic-speaking regions of the Middle East, the course will also include texts from Iran, Turkey, and the US and Europe.

In English. No prerequisites.

Ghenwa Hayek

2018-2019 Spring

ARAB 40629 Nahj al-balagha: Virtue and Piety in the Teachings of Ali

(ISLM 40629, FNDL 22629)

Through a close reading and analysis of the orations, epistles and words of wisdom attributed to Ali ibn Abi Talib in the Nahj al-balagha, this course will explore an early stage of the development of these three important prose genres of classical Arabic literature, and Ali's key themes and stylistic features. A main focus of the class will be on themes of virtue and piety.

Prerequisites: Three years of Arabic. Open to qualified undergraduates with Instructor's permission.

Tahera Qutbuddin

2018-2019 Autumn (LC)

ARAB 40630 Balagha Seminar: Jurjani’s Asrar al-Balagha & Dala’il al-I’jaz

(ISLM 40631, FNDL 22630)

This course on classical Arabic literary theory will focus on close reading of sections from the seminal works of Abd al-Qahir al-Jurjani: Asrar al-balagha and Dala'il al-Ijaz.

Prerequisites: Three years of Arabic. Open to qualified undergraduates with instructor's permission.

Tahera Qutbuddin (LC)

2018-2019 Winter

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ROMANCE LANGUAGES & LITERATURE

Baudelaire et Flaubert: la vie littéraire en l’an 1857

Daniel Desormeaux

Level: Both 
Autumn 
2018-19 
French Literature 
FREN 23660/33660 
FNDL 23660

Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) and Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880): two young men from wealthy families, two opponents of bourgeois education, two aborted social callings, two terminal illnesses, two resounding failures before literary institutions, two adventures in love, two satanic fascinations, two notorious literary trials, two conceptions of the craft of writing, two approaches to realism, two criticisms of romantic art, two models of poetic inspiration, two aesthetics of language, two cults of Beauty, all for one and a unique literature. This seminar will be devoted to the literary life of two writers whose canon for more than a century has occupied a central place of importance in contemporary literary criticism. It will be our task to place their work in perspective within the context of the rise of modernism, which is to say, the new status of literature as of the year 1857. We shall endeavor, thus, to discern the authenticity of the creative relationship of each artist with himself and subsequently with others. The point will be to foreground three fundamental principles that will aid in grasping the evolution of the literary world under the Second Empire and under the Third Republic: literary history, writing and the elevation of the writer (Bénichou). Our work will be based on three or four texts by Baudelaire and Flaubert, it being understood that additional works of criticism will illuminate the discussion of these texts. PQ: FREN 20500 or 20503. Taught in French. Discussions in both French and English (LC)

Caribbean Fiction: Self-understanding and Exoticism

Daniel Desormeaux

Level: Both 
Winter 
2018-19 
French Literature 
FREN 23500/33500 
CMLT 21801/31801, LACS 23500/33500, CRES 23500/33500

The Caribbean is often described as enigmatic, uncommon, and supernatural. While foreigners assume that the Caribbean is exotic, this course will explore this assumption from a Caribbean perspective. We will examine the links between Caribbean and Old World imagination, the relationship between exoticism and Caribbean notions of superstition, and the way in which the Caribbean fictional universe derives from a variety of cultural myths. PQ: FREN 20500 or 20503. Taught in English. A weekly session in French will be held for majors/minors and graduate students in French and Comparative Literature.

Contemporary Catalan Literature

Staff

Level: Both 
Winter 
2018-19 
Spanish, Catalan Literature 
CATA 21900/31900 
SPAN 21910/31910

This course provides a survey of major authors, works, and trends in Catalan literature from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present. We study works representing various literary genres (novel, poetry, short story) and analyze the most important cultural debates of the period.

Dante's Divine Comedy 3: Paradiso

Justin Steinberg

Level: Both 
Winter 
2018-19 
Italian Literature 
ITAL 22101/32101 
FNDL 21804, REMS 32101

An in-depth study of the third cantica of Dante's masterpiece, considered the most difficult but in many ways also the most innovative. Read alongside his scientific treatise the Convivio and his political manifesto the Monarchia. Completion of the previous courses in the sequence not required, but students should familiarize themselves with the Inferno and the Purgatorio before the first day of class. Taught in English. PQ: Completion of the previous courses in the sequence not required, but students should familiarize themselves with the Inferno and the Purgatorio before the first day of class. (LC)

Don Quixote

Frederick de Armas, Thomas Pavel

Level: Both 
Winter 
2018-19 
Spanish Literature 
SPAN 24202/34202 
CMLT 28101/38101, SCTH 38250, REMS 34202

The course will provide a close reading of Cervantes' Don Quixote and discuss its links with Renaissance art and Early Modern narrative genres. On the one hand, Don Quixote can be viewed in terms of prose fiction, from the ancient Greek romances to the medieval books of knights errant and the Renaissance pastoral novels. On the other hand, Don Quixote exhibits a desire for Italy through the utilization of Renaissance art. Beneath the dusty roads of La Mancha and within Don Quixote’s chivalric fantasies, the careful reader will come to appreciate glimpses of images with Italian designs. Taught in English. Spanish majors will read the text in the original and use Spanish for the course assignments. The course format would be alternating lectures by the two faculty members and separate discussion sections conducted in English and Spanish. (LC)

Early Italian Lyric: Dante and his Rivals

Justin Steinberg

Level: Both 
Autumn 
2018-19 
Italian Literature 
ITAL 23101/33101 

This course examines Dante’s complicated relationship with other contemporary and near-contemporary lyric poets. In particular, we examine Dante’s texts as part of a dense web of contending vernacular discourses instead of as the final word or telos of our studies. For this reason, special emphasis is given to the sonnet form as a ritualized genre in which poetic communities are formed and contending philosophical, political, and sociological visions of society are constructed and deconstructed. The role of books and manuscript culture is especially important as we try to understand the material production and reception of the emergent vernacular literature, and its role and function in late medieval urban Italy. The first hour will be dedicated to close reading of poem/s in Italian. Auditors without knowledge of Italian are welcome to arrive for the discussion after that. Interested undergraduates, please contact instructor before the first day of class. (LC)

Figures du poète au XXème siècle (1900-1950)

Chiara Nifosi

Level: Undergrad 
Autumn 
2018-19 
French Literature 
FREN 22818 

En quoi consiste la crise du moi poétique théorisée par Mallarmé à la fin du XIXe siècle ? Quelles sont les formes du lyrisme « neuf et humaniste à la fois » envisagé par Apollinaire au début du XXe ? Est-ce qu’il est encore possible de dire « je » en poésie ? Face à ces changements, le poète doit reconfigurer son rapport à une histoire à la fois bouleversée et bouleversante, et retrouver sa place au milieu d’un renouvèlement littéraire désormais nécessaire. Ce cours analysera la façon dont la recherche poétique, dans son contenu comme dans sa forme, fait front au défi de la modernité sans renoncer à sa nature d’expérience de « vie intégrale » (Saint-John Perse). Par le moyen d’une variété expressive extraordinaire, le poète devient une figure souple, en mesure d’adapter son langage et son rôle aux sollicitations de la réalité. Les textes du corpus (Breton, Aragon, Char, Cocteau, Claudel, Éluard, Ponge, etc.) seront accompagnés de références critiques qui serviront de guide pour l’étudiant. À travers ces lectures on essaiera d’examiner comment le poète rend compte des expériences qui l’entourent à l’aube du XXe siècle : la guerre, le cosmopolitisme, l’appel à un engagement politique et culturel, la confluence des arts – autrement dit, tous les champs d’application d’une nouvelle forme de lyrisme. Ainsi le poète se fait-il soldat, voyageur, peintre, musicien, artiste engagé, dans un processus de métamorphose incessante et pourtant indispensable. PQ: FREN 20500 or 20503. Taught in French

Histoire, Superstitions et Croyances dans le roman francophone des XXe et XXIe siècles

Michele Kenfack

Level: Undergrad 
Spring 
2018-19 
French Literature 
FREN 21719 

L’Afrique et les Antilles sont généralement présentées comme des régions hautement superstitieuses, figées dans les croyances et les traditions. La littérature apparaît comme le lieu privilégié où se reflètent ces éléments culturels. Les écrivains africains et antillais (plus précisément d’Haïti, de Martinique, de Guadeloupe et de la Guyane française) analysent, questionnent, reformulent des récits, mythes et légendes tirés d’une tradition avant tout orale. A leur suite, nous essayerons de remonter aux origines de ces croyances et superstitions. Nous naviguerons entre essais théoriques et récits linéaires pour mener une réflexion critique, et formuler des réponses à un certain nombre de questions, notamment : Croyances et superstitions sont-elles uniquement les vestiges d’un héritage oral ? Comment se rattachent-elles à l’histoire de ces peuples ? Quelle perception [sociale] suscitent-elles ? En tant qu’éléments du récit, quels effets provoquent-elles chez le lecteur ? Soulignent-elles des objectifs spécifiques d’écriture ? Nous examinerons également les rapports entre ces deux notions et celles d’identité et d’altérité.

Les auteurs plus particulièrement étudiés seront Mariama Bâ, René Depestre, Jean-Roger Essomba, Véronique Lordinot, André Paradis, Gisèle Pineau, Jacques Roumain, Simone Schwarz-Bart et Véronique Tadjo. PQ: FREN 20500 or 20503. Taught in French.

Introducción a las literaturas hispánicas: textos españoles clásicos

Frederick de Armas

Level: Undergrad 
Autumn, Winter 
2018-19 
Spanish Literature 
SPAN 21703 

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. PQ: SPAN 20300 or consent of instructor. Taught in Spanish. (LC)

Introducción a las literaturas hispánicas: textos españoles contemporáneos

Mario Santana

Level: Undergrad 
Spring 
2018-19 
Spanish Literature 
SPAN 21803 

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. PQ: SPAN 20300 or consent. Taught in Spanish.

Introducción a las literaturas hispánicas: textos hispanoamericanos del modernismo al presente

Danielle Roper (winter); staff (spring)

Level: Undergrad 
Winter, Spring 
2018-19 
Spanish Literature 
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? PQ: SPAN 20300 or consent. Taught in Spanish.

Introducción a las literaturas hispánicas: textos hispanoamericanos desde la colonia a la independencia

Larissa Brewer-García

Level: Undergrad 
Autumn 
2018-19 
Spanish Literature 
SPAN 21903 
LACS 21903, CRES 21903

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)

Introduction à la Littérature Française III: Littérature à l'Age des Révolutions

Daniel Desormeaux

Level: Undergrad 
Autumn 
2018-19 
French Literature 
FREN 21903 

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. PQ: FREN 20500, 20503 or consent of instructor. Taught in French. (LC)

Italian Renaissance: Dante, Machiavelli, and the Wars of Popes and Kings

Ada Palmer

Level: Undergrad 
Spring 
2018-19 
Italian Literature 
ITAL 16000 
HIST 16000, RLST 22203, CLCV 22216, SIGN 26034, KNOW 12203

This course will consider Florence, Rome, and the Italian city-states in the age of plagues and cathedrals, Dante and Machiavelli, Medici and Borgia (1250-1600), with a focus on literature, philosophy, primary sources, the revival of antiquity, and the papacy's entanglement with pan-European politics. We will examine humanism, patronage, politics, corruption, assassination, feuds, art, music, magic, censorship, education, science, heresy, and the roots of the Reformation. Writing assignments focus on higher-level writing skills, with a creative writing component linked to our in-class live-action-role-played (LARP) reenactment of a Renaissance papal election. This is a Department of History gateway course. Graduate students by consent only; register for the course as HIST 90000 (sect 53) Reading and Research: History. (LC)

Medieval Beasts

Daisy Delogu

Level: Both 
Autumn 
2018-19 
French Literature 
FREN 22910/32910 

From fables to bestiaries, in the margins of medieval manuscripts and at the center of animal narratives, animals abound in medieval literature. Transformations from human to animal form (or vice versa), friendships between animals and humans, the anthropomorphization of animals, invite us to interrogate the relationship between animals and humans, and to put into question the boundary (if indeed one can be defined) between the two.

In this course we will read a variety of medieval texts as well as modern critical theory in order to gain a better understanding of the textual, narrative, hermeneutic, and ethical roles that animals play in medieval literature, and in our contemporary critical posture vis à vis the natural world. PQ: Reading knowledge of French (for all); FREN 20500 or 20503 for those seeking credit for the French major/minor. Taught in English with required discussion section in French for those seeking French credit. (LC)

Memory and Identity in French Literature: Proust to the Present

Alison James

Level: Undergrad 
Spring 
2018-19 
French Literature 
FREN 23810 
FNDL 23810, SIGN 26047

This introductory-level course takes as its point of departure Marcel Proust’s conceptualization of memory as the foundation both for the self and for literature. For Proust, literary style conveys the singularity of an individual vision while rescuing experience from the contingencies of time. Literature, identity, and memory are inseparable. Later writers will follow Proust’s lead in defining literature as an art of memory; but they develop this art in different ways, whether by inventing new forms of life-writing or attempting to revive, via fiction, a lived connection to history. How does memory serve as the foundation of individual or collective identities? How does fiction imagine and give form to memory, and how does literature serve as a medium for cultural memory? How do literary works register the intermittence of memory, its failings and distortions, its fragility as well as its attachment to bodies and places? We will tackle these questions through close analysis of a range of texts. In addition to Proust, authors studied may include Yourcenar, Perec, Modiano, Roubaud, and Ernaux. PQ: French reading knowledge desirable but not required. Taught in English. The course may be counted toward the French major or minor; students taking the course for French credit will do appropriate readings in French and participate in a weekly French discussion section.

Molière

Larry Norman

Level: Both 
Winter 
2018-19 
French Literature 
FREN 25000/35000 
FNDL 25001, TAPS 28470, REMS 35000

Molière crafted a new form of satirical comedy that revolutionized European theater, though it encountered strong opposition from powerful institutions. We will read the plays in the context of the literary and dramatic traditions that Molière reworked (farce, commedia dell'arte, Latin comedy, Spanish Golden Age theater, satiric poetry, the novel), while considering the relationship of laughter to social norms, as well as the performance practices and life of theater in Molière's day. PQ: FREN 20500 or 20503, and one introductory-level literature course taught in French. Taught in French. (LC)

Negative Empathy, Catharsis, Fear: An Intermedial Approach to Tragedy and Its Transformations

Massimo Fusillo

Level: Undergrad 
Spring 
2018-19 
Italian Literature 
ITAL 28219 

Literature on empathy has enormously increased in recent decades, especially from the point of view of neuroscience and neuro-aesthetics. Scholars, however, have been focusing on the ethical dimension of empathy: on the identification with the victims, which is also highlighted by the political use of this concept. The course focuses instead on the (more or less latent) empathy with negative characters, which can have a strong cathartic and social function, as a discharge of destructive and self-destructive drives, and is often linked to the representation of fear and other strong emotions. The preliminary step is a theoretical introduction to the category of empathy, from its first eighteenth-century conceptions to new aesthetic and psychoanalytic elaborations at the beginning of twentieth century (especially Theodor Lipp), up to recent developments coming from the neurosciences. Other parallel issues to be introduced are catharsis, identification, and discharge. Greek tragedy, Shakespeare, Giuseppe Verdi and Pier Paolo Pasolini will be studied, as well as the TV series "Breaking Bad," which brilliantly exemplifies what negative empathy means today (LC, LT)

Pasolini

Armando Maggi

Level: Both 
Winter 
2018-19 
Italian Literature 
ITAL 28400/38400 
CMST 23500/33500, GNSE 28600, FNDL 28401

This course examines each aspect of Pasolini's artistic production according to the most recent literary and cultural theories, including Gender Studies. We shall analyze his poetry (in particular "Le Ceneri di Gramsci" and "Poesie informa di rosa"), some of his novels ("Ragazzi di vita," "Una vita violenta," "Teorema," "Petrolio"), and his numerous essays on the relationship between standard Italian and dialects, semiotics and cinema, and the role of intellectuals in contemporary Western culture. We shall also discuss the following films: "Accattone," "La ricotta," "Edipo Re," "Teorema," and "Salo."

Reading Nonhuman Animals: A Challenge to Anthropocentrism

Elizabeth Tavella

Level: Undergrad 
Winter 
2018-19 
Italian Literature 
ITAL 25218 
CMLT 25218

How can we “read” a literary nonhuman animal? In what ways does literature deal with ethical and political issues concerning nonhuman animals? What does it mean to live in a multicultural and multispecies world? What does it mean to be “human”? In this course we will ask these and other related questions as they are presented and represented in Italian 20th-century literary texts, read alongside philosophical writings, scholarly essays, and visual materials. While maintaining a focus on Italian literature, a comparative approach involving literary works of non-Italian authors will be key in understanding the pervasiveness of the problems that have caused our detachment from nature and our broken relationship with nonhuman animals. We will closely analyze and critically evaluate the works of several authors, including those by Italo Calvino, Primo Levi, Anna Maria Ortese, Elsa Morante, Italo Svevo, Alice Walker, and Franz Kafka, giving particular attention to techniques of close reading. A thematic approach will enable us to explore a large number of critical discourses, from the moral status of nonhuman animals to the long-held assumptions regarding the anthropocentric set of values that have defined (Western) culture. We will also take into consideration different theoretical frameworks such as posthumanist theory and gender studies in order to discuss and evaluate the selected texts from different perspectives and entry points. Taught in English. No prior knowledge of Italian is required. (LT)

Renaissance and Baroque Fairytales and Their Modern Rewritings

Armando Maggi

Level: Both 
Autumn 
2018-19 
Italian Literature 
ITAL 26200/36200 
CMLT 26700/36700, REMS 36200

We study the distinctions between myth and fairy tale, and then focus on collections of modern Western European fairy tales, including those by Straparola, Basile, and Perrault, in light of their contemporary rewritings of classics (Angela Carter, Calvino, Anne Sexton). We analyze this genre from diverse critical standpoints (e.g., historical, structuralist, psychoanalytic, feminist) through the works of Croce, Propp, Bettelheim, and Marie-Louise Von Franz. Class conducted in English. (LC, LT)

Signs of the Americas

Edgar Garcia

Level: Undergrad 
Spring 
2018-19 
Spanish Literature 
SPAN 25818 
ENGL 25804

It is a common misconception that literature can happen only in the alphabet or that such non-alphabetical literatures have long ago ceased to be made. This course corrects such misconceptions by exploring modern and contemporary literatures that have been written with, or in response to, such sign-systems as pictographs, hieroglyphs, totem poles, wampum, and khipu. Focusing especially on the sign-systems of the native Americas, this class gives students a basic introduction to the mechanics of these signs, in order to discuss how these mechanics might be at play in the works of such poets, writers, and artists as Anni Albers, Simon Ortiz, Gerald Vizenor, Louise Erdrich, John Borrows, Charles Olson, Bill Reid, Robert Bringhurst, Fred Wah, Clayton Eshleman, Cy Twombly, Joaquín Torres-Garcia, Cecilia Vicuña, and others. Key questions to be asked include: how are these signs an interface for contemporary histories of nation and capital? And: how do those material histories and their identifications in race, gender, kinship, and ecology change when cast in the mechanics, tropes, and figures of these signs? As a “Makers Seminar,” this course will include creative alternatives to the standard analytical college paper. (LT)

The (Auto)Biography of a Nation: Francesco De Sanctis and Benedetto Croce

Rocco Rubini

Level: Both 
Spring 
2018-19 
Italian Literature 
ITAL 27700/37700 
CMLT 28800/38800, KNOW 27700/37700

At its core, this course examines the making and legacy of Francesco De Sanctis’s History of Italian Literature (1870-71), a work that distinguished literary critic René Wellek defined as “the finest history of any literature ever written” and “an active instrument of aesthetic evolution.” We will read the History in the larger context of De Sanctis’s corpus, including his vast epistolary exchanges, autobiographical writings, and so-called Critical Essays in order to detail his reform of Hegelian aesthetics, his redefinition of the intellectual’s task after the perceived exhaustion of the Renaissance, Enlightenment, and Romantic moments, and his campaign against the bent toward erudition, philology, and antiquarianism in 19th-century European scholarship. We will compare De Sanctis’s methodology to that of his scholarly models in France (Alphonse de Lamartine, Alfred Mézières) and Germany (Georg Gottfried Gervinus, Georg Voigt) to explore De Sanctis’s claim that literary criticisms – not just literary cultures – are “national.” In the second part of the course, we assess Benedetto Croce’s appropriation of De Sanctis in his Aesthetics (1902), arguably the last, vastly influential work in its genre and we conclude with Antonio Gramsci’s use of De Sanctis for the regeneration of a literary savvy Marxism or philosophy of praxis. In the current age of “world literature,” characterized by a wariness toward national literary canons, we may find that reading De Sanctis, one of the uncontested founders of modern literary critcism, proves therapeutic and usefully introspective in critically revaluating and clarifying our current values and beliefs as women and men of letters. (LC, LT)

The Medieval Mediterranean

Jacqueline Victor

Level: Undergrad 
Winter 
2018-19 
French Literature 
FREN 23219 

In this course we will be looking at the medieval Mediterranean world from the perspective of French literature of the 12th and 13th centuries. In direct contrast to an understanding of the Middle Ages as a time of cultural isolation and homogeneity, we will be considering some of the many points of contact between medieval France and other Mediterranean geographies, cultures, and peoples. Our readings will take us to such places as Greece and Rome, Constantinople, Cairo, Syria, Jerusalem, and Spain. The emphasis will be on texts that present these trans-Mediterranean relationships in complex and varied ways. Texts will be selected from a variety of genres, including poetry, epic, and romance, and we will also look at medieval art and art objects. PQ: FREN 20500 or 20503. Course is taught in French. All of the Old French texts will be available in modern French translations. (LC)

The Translation Zone: Languages in Catalan-Speaking Territories

Helena Buffery

Level: Both 
Spring 
2018-19 
Spanish, Catalan Literature 
CATA 24019/35019 
SPAN 24019/35019

This course will be focusing on Catalan culture and translation in order to address different aspects of translation history, ethics and practice in relation to minority and minoritized languages, identities and communities. The classes would seek to explore and analyze what happens to Catalan literature, film, theatre and performance in translation into other languages (in particular in the Anglophone world), as well as reflect on changing approaches to and affordances of translation within, between and beyond the Catalan-speaking territories in diverse situations of language contact and intercultural encounter involving Catalan-speaking individuals and communities. The course will be structured in four parts: Catalonia in-translation; invisible landscapes; traumatic translations; and cartographies of desire.

Unveiling Chivalry: Chivalric literature in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (1100-1600)

Filippo Petricca

Level: Undergrad 
Autumn 
2018-19 
Italian Literature 
ITAL 24218 
CMLT 24218, MDVL 24218

When we think of chivalry today we imagine damsels in distress, knights’ self-sacrifice, adventures and courtly love. But how was chivalry in 11th- or 17th-century literature different from today’s perception? What changed between historical chivalry and its fictional representation? This course aims to challenge the mainstream narrative of chivalry as conventionally characterized by its progressive decadence, from the superstitious Middle Ages to scientific modernity, from the virtuous Roland to the ironic Don Quixote. We will see instead how chivalry is constantly redefined across time and space, and how each literary text provides multiple layers of interpretation that contradict this stereotypical narrative. Exploring the notion of chivalry will allow us to question the so-called “spirituality” of the Middle Ages and the relationship between Early Modernity and the past. We will study chivalric literature from the Chanson de Roland to Cervantes’s Don Quijote. A strong emphasis will be given to Italian literature, including Dante’s Commedia, Boccaccio’s Decameron and Ariosto’s Orlando furioso. Readings will also include Chrétien de Troyes’s Lancelot and Perceval, with a final session devoted to T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. Taught in English. (LC)

Vico's New Science

Rocco Rubini

Level: Both 
Winter 
2018-19 
Italian Literature 
ITAL 22900/32900 
FNDL 21408, CMLT 22501/32501

This course offers a close reading of Giambattista Vico’s masterpiece, New Science (1744)—a work that sets out to refute “all opinions hitherto held about the principles of humanity.” Vico, who is acknowledged as the most resolute scourge of any form of rationalism, breathed new life into rhetoric, imagination, poetry, metaphor, history, and philology in order to promote in his readers that originary “wonder” and “pathos” which sets human beings on the search for truth. However, Vico argues, the truths that are most available and interesting to us are the ones humanity “authored” by means of its culture and history-creating activities. For this reason the study of myth and folklore as well as archeology, anthropology, and ethnology must all play a role in the rediscovery of man. The New Science builds an “alternative philosophy” for a new age and reads like a “novel of formation” recounting the (hi)story of the entire human race and our divine ancestors. In Vico, a prophetic spirit, one recognizes the fulfillment of the Renaissance, the spokesperson of a particular Enlightenment, the precursor of the Kantian revolution, and the forefather of the philosophy of history (Herder, Hegel, and Marx). The New Science remained a strong source of inspiration in the twentieth century (Cassirer, Gadamer, Berlin, Joyce, Beckett, etc.) and may prove relevant in disclosing our own responsibilities in postmodernity. Taught in English. (LC)

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SOUTH ASIAN LANGUAGES & CIVILIZATIONS

“A Poem in Every House”: An Introduction to Premodern South Asian Literatures (1 and 2)

SALC 22603, SALC 22604. Tue Thu. 2:00-3:20pm. gehe gehe kalau kāvya … In the Kali age, there is a poem in every house … (Vidyāpati [ca. 1370-1460, Mithila], Kīrtilatā). The Indian subcontinent was 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 poetic and theoretical texts translated from a variety of languages. We will discuss issues of literary historiography, the relations between orality and writing, literary and visual representations, poetry and music. Over two quarters, we will review the basic principles of Sanskrit, Dravidian, and Perso-Arabic poetics through a selection of representative theoretical treatises and poems. We will also explore the linguistic ecology of the Subcontinent, the formation of vernacular literary traditions, multilingual literacy, and the role of literature in social interactions and community building in premodern South Asia. Every week the first class will be devoted to the historical context and conceptual background of the texts we will read in the following class. Attention will be given to the original languages in which those texts were composed as well as the modes of performance of the poems and songs we will read together. One session titled “Poetry Carved in Stones” will bring us to the Art Institute to study the relation between poetic and visual representations of gods and episodes drawn from the rich narrative tradition of South Asia. The first part of this sequence is devoted to Sanskrit, Middle Indic (Prakrit, Apabhramsha), and Dravidian (Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam) literary traditions. Perso-Arabic (Persian, Dakani, Urdu) and northern vernacular literary traditions (Hindi, Panjabi, Maithili, Bengali) will be discussed in the Autumn Quarter of the following year. Students may take the courses in any order. No prior knowledge of South Asian languages is required.
The course is the perfect complement to the Introduction to South Asian Civilizations sequence (SALC 20100-20200). Beyond its focus on South Asia, students interested in classics, poetics, rhetoric, musicology, theater studies, and comparative literature will find plenty of food for thought in the readings, lectures, and class discussions. For students interested in languages, it is an ideal way to have a lively introduction to the linguistic variety of South Asia. Thibaut d’Hubert (dhubert@uchicago.edu), Autumn. Autumn 2017: Sanskrit and Dravidian poetry and poetics (SALC 22603); Autumn 2018: Perso-Arabic and northern vernacular traditions (SALC 22604). (LC)

Theoretical Approaches to Literature and Colonialism

SALC TBD European imperialism and colonialism have shaped the modern world as we know it today. During the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, literary critics, theorists, historians and philosophers have examined the interdependence of imperialism/colonialism and literature from a variety of perspectives, most notably in a body of thought generally referred to as postcolonial theory, but also from several other vantage points. The present course provides a basic introduction to theoretical thought on the question of colonialism(s) and literary works, to its key thinkers, concepts and methods.

         We will explore key terms, such as “otherness”, “hybridity”, “agency”, “modernity”, “nationalism” as well as larger themes, such as empire and gender and sexuality or colonial knowledge formation. We will attempt to strike a balance between examining the arguments of different theorists and developing our own critical vocabulary in a systematic way. Thinkers will include Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, Roland Barthes, Aimé Césaire, Édouard Glissant, Gayatri Spivak, Homi Bhabha, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Patrick Colm Hogan, and others. The course is open to both undergraduate and graduate students (no prior knowledge of the topic is assumed). Sascha Ebeling, Spring 2018. (LT)

Wives, Widows, Prostitutes: North Indian Literature and the “Women’s Question”

SALC 27904/43800 (=GNSE 27902/47900) 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. Ulrike Stark, Spring 2018. (LC)

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COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL THOUGHT

(Autumn 2018 only available – check socialthought.uchicago.edu for updates and inquire about distribution requirements as needed)

26002.  Literature and Hunger                                                        WARREN, Rosanna            9:30-10:50a     F 305   xENGL 26002/RLST 26002

                                                                                                                                                T,R                              Seminar  - Open to grads

This course pursues themes of hunger, the consumption of food, the formation of community, and relation to the sacred, through a sequence of readings in the Western tradition. By reading classic works (The Odyssey, selections from The Hebrew Bible and Christian Scriptures, selections from The Divine Comedy, the Letters of St. Catherine of Siena, Paradise Lost), and modern works by Kafka, Simone Weil, and Louise Glück, we will examine how different philosophies have imagined the acceptance or rejection of love, life, and the sacred in terms of the symbolism of food. Class work will involve close analysis of literary works, even those in translation; intensive critical writing; and secondary readings in literary criticism, anthropology, theology, and psychology. (LC)