Fall 2016

  • Readings in Kiswahili Literature and East African Culture

    This advanced Kiswahili course will help students gain a higher level of language proficiency by applying grammatical skills learned in Elementary and Intermediate Kiswahili to topics addressing the language and culture of the Swahili speakers in East Africa. Coursework will focus on readings, writings, and oral performance activities on selected issues related to the history, geography, politics, language, literature, and cultural practices of the people of Kenya, Tanzania, and other Swahili speaking regions of Eastern Africa.
  • Early 17th Century: Polyglot Poetics: Transnationalism, Gender and Literature

    On the interaction of different vernacular literatures in early modern Europe in times of turbulent state formation, confessional difference and transcontinental imperial expansion. Through the careers of diplomats, exiles, actors, conquistadors and other travelers, we uncover the deep mutual interest of authors in their neighbors' writings, a story obscured by emphasis upon classical antiquity's continuing hold on learning.

  • Le Monde par la bande

    This course explores representations of the World and History in major bandes dessinées (or graphic novels) published in French from the 1930s to the present, and produced by authors of various backgrounds (French, Belgian, Italian, Jewish, Iranian). Informed by theoretical readings, discussions will address key aesthetical, political, and ethical issues, including Exoticism, Orientalism, (Post)colonialism, national and individual identity, as well as the theory of reception, to critically assess the fluctuations of these visions between fantasy and testimony.

  • Radical African Thought and Revolutionary Youth Culture

    African thought continues to be marginalized, even though radical black intellectuals have shaped a number of social movements and global intellectual history. African youths are innovating new models that are revolutionizing the sciences, law, social and visual media, fashion, etc. In this class, we read classics of African thought and study contemporary African youth culture together to theorize what is happening in Africa today. This includes reading such African theorists as Frantz Fanon, V. Y.

  • Michelangelo

    A broadly based view of the artist's career, principally as seen through the writings of his first and most articulate fan, Giorgio Vasari, whose Lives of the Artists remains the founding classic of Art History. We will consider a wide range of works ranging within the complete Michelangelo corpus, including sculpture, painting, and architecture. Along the way, we will read Vasari carefully and compare what we see with what he saw; we will also have occasion to talk about what it means to read words about pictures.

  • Clues, Evidence, Detection: Law Stories

    The seminar will look at stories in the law and about the law: court cases that turn on competing versions of a story, and how narrative "conviction" comes about, as well as fictional and non-fiction accounts of mystery, crime, investigation, and detection in literature and film. The course will introduce students to some issues in criminal law and procedure as well as to the analysis of narrative.

  • Introduction to Jewish Cultures

    This introductory course focuses on the cultural syncretism and the global diversity of Jewish experience. It provides a comparative understanding of Jewish culture from antiquity to the present, examining how Jewish culture has emerged through the interaction of Jews and non-Jews, engaging a wide spectrum of cultures throughout the Jewish world, and following representations of key issues such as sexuality or the existence of God in different eras.

  • The Classical Roots of Western Literature

    A reading of some of the greatest works of literature in the European tradition from Homer to Shakespeare. The course is also designed as an introduction to Comparative Literature--that is, a reading of literary works across the boundaries of time, geography, and language. All works taught in English.

  • 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 literature? How do we distinguish between imagination, invention, and falsehood when considering a literary setting? How well, far, and fast do texts travel? How do contemporary texts convey the particulars of transient populations and non-native speakers? What does an individual text disclose about its origins and potential destinations? What does it mean to map a text?

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