Fall 2015

  • Everyday Stories

    "How was your day?" "Tell me about yourself." Such commonplace prompts draw out "everyday stories" of real, unremarkable life. But what counts as real life or unremarkable life, and what happens when it gets into literature, too? What parts of reality do everyday stories suppress or show up? Drawing on writers from Homer to Jane Austen to Woolf to Christopher Isherwood, this course looks at novels, stories, diaries, and essays that present versions or theories of everyday life.

  • Junior Seminar: Introduction to Comparative Literature

    The junior seminar will investigate the literal and figurative meanings of the phrase "the place of literature." How relevant is geography to different types of literature? How well, far, and fast do literary texts travel? How much can we rely on analogies with markets or with ecological systems to explain the wide circulation or long-term survival of particular texts? What does an individual text disclose about its place of origin and its potential destinations? We will address these and related questions through both literary and theoretical texts.

  • The Modern European Novel

    Description; This course is designed for those 1) wanting to read landmark fictions in the modern European literary tradition; 2) intrigued by the question of "world literature" as it is posed in and by the European novel.

  • Classical Japanese Theater

    In this course we study four major forms of pre-modern Japanese drama: Noh, Kyogen, Kabuki and Bunraku. These dramatic forms have close relation to other aspects of Japanese culture, especially literature and music, and give voice to a wide range of human experience within the context of an intricately articulated body of conventions, with surprises. No knowledge of Japanese is expected. We will devote a significant portion of our time to studying performances on DVD and/or VHS.

  • Stolen Years: Youth under the Nazis in World War II

    This course examines the gendered experiences of childhood & adolescence under the Nazis in World War II as witnessed, remembered, and represented in texts and images through a variety of genres and different nationalities. We include historical studies, diaries, testimonies, memoirs, fiction (semi-autobiographical or otherwise), photos, and film (documentary & feature) of 1st and 2d generations. While we focus on the fate of Jewish youth, who were deliberate targets of genocidal policy, not just unintended victims, we will also attend to others in the occupied countries.

  • Reading the Greek Crisis

    This course will offer a comparative approach to the cultural production of contemporary Greece, investigating the "Greek crisis" through literature and film of the past decade, as well as writings drawn from history, anthropology, political science, and economics, contemporary news sources, political and cultural blogs, and even the fast-changing landscape of Athenian graffiti.

  • Love and Death on the Japanese Stage

    Love and death are staples of Japanese stage, as in many dramatic traditions. In traditional Japan, they take on a particular coloring, in response to specific cultural conditions and because of long-established and sophisticated conventions of performance. In this course we study how those conventions of performance depict and articulate these fundamental experiences of life. We study the ways gender and religion influence ideas about love and death, and how political change is reflected in dramatic performance.

  • Seminar. Types of Ideology and Literary Form: Pornography, Gender and the Rise of the Novel in Europe

    Open to graduate and undergraduate students interested in understanding the origins of the modern novel, this seminar examines the profound historical, theoretical and formal connections between the development of pornography as a distinct category of representation and the development of the novel as a literary genre during the Enlightenment. We will also explore the continuing resonances of those connections today. Readings in current criticism, history and theory of the novel and pornography will accompany primary readings.

  • Radical Poetics, Radical Translation

    This course invites students to consider not just what poems mean but how they mean¿and how that ¿how¿ complicates, challenges, obscures, enlivens, or collides with the task of translation. We will look at forms of poetry that challenge the limits of the translatable, as well as radical translation methods that expand our notion of what translation is. Examples include poems written in made-up languages; unstable texts; homophonic and visual translation; erasure poetics; and multilingual poems.


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