Fall 2016

  • Topics in Literature and Philosophy: Missing Persons

    An exploration of literary, legal, linguistic, philosophical and psychoanalytic works featuring "persons" conceived as temporarily, permanently, and structurally absent. Topics to be considered include missing persons in the law; civil death; the legal status of the unborn and the corpse; ghosts; the Freudian "Id"; the existential "One"; social and linguistic "non-persons"; sexual difference and non-gendered persons.

  • Introduction to Comparative Literature

    This course traces the history of criticism in comparative literature along with recent critical developments such as surface reading, distant reading, affect theory, necropolitics, queer futurity, the new materialism, ecocriticism, world literature, theory from the south, disability studies, critiques of neoliberalism, and so on. The class does not embrace a mastery posture toward theory, but an instrumental one, aiming to assist graduate students in conceptualizing their particular projects within and against current debates.

  • How does History Appear? Critical Aesthetics, Lessing through Benjamin

    Beginning with Lessing's identification of the ambiguity of the "image," this course examines the ways in which materialist aesthetic and literary theory coincide with theories of experience and history. We focus in depth on four authors - Lessing, Diderot, Baudelaire, and Benjamin - whose critical and literary work alike departs from the proposition that aesthetic and historical experience do not transcend or subsume but rather depend upon and preserve encounters with the material.

  • Topics in Critical Theory: Comparative Literature Writing and Dissertation Colloquium

    The Writing and Dissertation Colloquium is a biweekly forum for graduate students in Comparative Literature to share works in progress with other graduate students. The seminar welcomes drafts of your prospectus, article, dissertation chapter, conference paper, exam statement and grant or fellowship proposal. Work is pre-circulated. The 90 minute sessions, done in conjunction with a rotating COM faculty member, are designed to offer written and oral feedback.

  • Advanced Creative Writing (Literary Translation)

    Advanced practice in the translation of literary works from another language into English supplemented by the reading and analysis of standard works. Criticism by professionals and talented peers encourages the student's growth as both creator and reader of literature. Students MUST be fluent in their chosen language.

  • Postwar Japanese Narrative: Modern to Postmodern

    This course examines postwar Japanese experience through major literary, cinematic, and intellectual achievements. The objective is first to analyze a multitude of struggles in the aftermath of the Asia-Pacific War, and then to inquire into the nature of post-industrial prosperity in capitalist consumerism and the emergence of postmodernism. The course will cover representative postwar figures such as, Oe Kenzaburo, Dazai Osamu, Mishima Yukio, as well as contemporary writers such as Murakami Haruki.

  • European Romanticism and the Emergence of Modern War

    Counter to received wisdom, it is in the Romantic period, not the 20th century, that war assumes its modern form as "total war." We will examine how literary, philosophical, and artistic Romanticisms grapple with this new phenomenon. Subtopics include: war, media, technology; landscape, spectatorship, and the sublime; cosmopolitanism, nationalism, and the concept of Europe.

  • Literature and Photography

    Since its advent in the 19th century, photography has been a privileged figure in literature's efforts to reflect upon its own modes of representation. This seminar will trace the history of the rapport between literature and photography by looking closely at a number of literary and theoretical texts that differently address questions central to both literature and photography: questions about the nature of representation, reproduction, memory and forgetting, history, images, perception, and knowledge.

  • World Drama

    This course is a survey of classical and modern drama from Africa, China, India, Japan, and Latin America. Topics will include Noh and Kabuki, Beijing Opera, Sanskrit theater, Nigerian masquerades and a variety of selections from the rich modern Indian and Latin American canons. There may be trips to NYC or locally to see new theater works.

  • The Bible as Literature

    This course will study what it means to read the Bible in a literary way: what literary devices does it contain, and how has it influenced the way we read literature today? What new patterns and meanings emerge?


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