Fall 2017

  • Kiswahili Novel

    Although the novel is the youngest genre in the Swahili critical tradition, it has experienced some of the most revolutionary and innovative experimentations since it gained mainstream prominence in Swahili literature, mainly during the post-colonial/independence literary revolution. This course is a reading of the Kiswahili novel with a critical analysis of the socio-political and critical trends in the literary world that have influenced the writings of contemporary Swahili novelists.
  • Risorgimento, Opera, Film

    This course will explore the ways in which national identity was imagined and implemented within Italian literature, culture, and cinema before, during, and after the period of Italian unification in the mid-XIX century. Examples are drawn from a wide range of literary, artistic and cultural media.
  • Yiddish in America

    This course examines the place of Yiddish in America from the late 19th century to the present and considers the dynamics of the language's significance in modern American Jewish life. Topics include immigrant Yiddish culture, press, political activism, theater, music, and literature at the turn of the 20th century; hybrid Yiddish-English cultural works of the interwar years, American Yiddish responses to the Holocaust; Yiddish in postwar Hasidic and yeshiva communities; and contemporary engagements with Yiddish by performing artists, queer activists, and postmodern intellectuals.
  • Topics in 19th-Century Italian Literature: Risorgimento, Opera, Film

    This course will explore the ways in which national identity was imagined and implemented within Italian literature, culture, and cinema before, during, and after the period of Italian unification in the mid-XIX century. Examples are drawn from a wide range of literary, artistic and cultural media.
  • Language, Identity, Power

    Language determines our expressive capacities, represents our identities, and connects us with each other across various platforms and cultures.This course introduces classical and contemporary approaches to studying language, focusing on three main areas: 1) language as a system of rules and regulations ("structure"), 2) language as a symbolic mechanism through which individuals and groups mark their presence ("identity") and 3) language as a means of communication ("sign").
  • Crime and Punishment (Ethics of Reading VII)

    The seminar studies important legal cases in the field of criminal justice and penology, alongside some works of literature that address analogous issues. Focus on reading legal opinions, especially concerning: guilt, search and seizure, interrogation and confession, trial, appeal, and punishment. Attention also to the analysis of narrative and rhetoric in both law and literature. Visiting faculty join the seminar every other week.
  • Introduction to Jewish Cultures

    This introductory course focuses on the global diversity and the cultural syncretism of Jewish experience from the Bible to the present. It examines 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, suffering, or mystical experience in different contexts and eras. Topics include Bible and Talmud, kabbalah, Zionism, Jewish cinema, music, food, modern literature, and comics. All readings and films are in English.
  • Passion

    Passion is a common word with a long, complicated history; the diverse meanings we associate with it engage our experience on the most ethereal and abstract as well as the most visceral and profane levels. In this course we will study a range of films from the past eight decades with the aim of understanding how the films situate their subjects, how they narrate and illustrate passion, and how they engage personal, social, and political issues in particular aesthetic contexts.
  • The Classical Roots of Western Literature

    A reading of some of the greatest works of literature in the Western tradition from Homer to the Renaissance. 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.
  • Urban Horror Cinema: Asian Cities Crisis

    This course examines "urban horror" and "capitalism" as the cinematic motifs in contemporary East and Southeast Asian films. From Beijing to Hong Kong, and Singapore to Inner Mongolia, Asian cities are harboring urban imaginations that challenge existing human comprehension.

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