Fall 2017

  • Popular Trends in South Asian Literature

    This course introduces students to the richness and diversity of South Asian literature produced in vernacular languages and in English. Texts represent major themes and popular trends in the 20th and 21st century; and we discuss them in historical and literary contexts. Topics include cultural renaissance and nationalism; progressive- Marxist literary movement; modernist and experimental literature; feminist, dalit (oppressed castes), and diaspora literature; and various postmodern and contemporary literary trends.
  • Photographic Modernisms: Russia and the West

    This course traces the history of the photographic medium from the introduction of the daguerreotype in 1839 to socially engaged documentary photography of the 1930s and beyond, questioning the notion of photography as a modernist artistic and documentary medium in Russia and the West. Central issues in the course are the role of authorship in photography and in the hybrid photo-textual spaces of print media, photography's politicization and instrumentation, and photography as a reflection of a shifting modernist vision.
  • History of Emotions: Russia and the West

    Do feelings have history? How do they influence history? Do "natural" emotions exist? How do political regimes control the emotional sincerity of their subjects? What is the role of literature in cultivating certain emotional modes? How do people interpret and express their emotions in different periods? In this course, we apply these and similar questions to the emotional history of Russian culture considered within western contexts and theoretical frameworks offered by scholars of emotions.
  • Thinking Translation: Language Transfer and Cultural Communication

    What is translation? What is a language? So essential and widespread is translation today that it has become a central analytic term for the contact of cultures, and a paradigm for studying many different aspects of our multilingual world. This course will consider translation as it appeared in the past, but especially as it constructs everyday life in the contemporary world. It will look at issues of anthropology, artificial intelligence, diplomacy, film, law and literature that involve interlingual and intercultural communication.
  • Senior Seminar in Translation and Intercultural Communication

    A required course for students taking the certificate in Translation and Intercultural Communication but open to all who are interested in translation or any of its aspects, that is in movements between languages of any sort. Readings will focus on recent contributions to the emerging disciplines of translation studies across a wide spectrum of thematic fields (science, law, anthropology, literature, etc.). The seminar will incorporate the individual experiences of the students in their contact with different disciplines and idioms and, where relevant, in developing their senior theses.
  • 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.

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