Spring 2016

  • 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.

  • Afterlives of the Iliad

    What possible relevance could Homer's Iliad have today? Yet for nearly three millennia the epic has inspired countless rewritings, from ancient and early modern drama, to modern translations and continuations, to Hollywood blockbusters and contemporary avant-garde theater. This course traces the influence of the epic across languages, media, and time.

  • Luso-Brazilian Seminar: Cities and Nature

    Brazilian society has become one of the most urbanized in the world. At the same time, many of the more widely circulating images of the country pertain to natural landscapes. In this course we study how ideas of city and nature have been constructed in opposition and complementarity, focusing on the 18th and 19th centuries.

  • Object and Text in Premodern Japan

    This seminar examines the dynamic interrelationship between objects and texts in premodern Japan, from the seventh through the seventeenth centuries. The series of meetings will introduce topics in a sequence that exemplifies the gradual layering of meaning and complication that comes from a culture with a strong classical awareness.

  • Topics in Non-Western and General Literature: Ideographs

    Weekly three-hour seminar. Conceptions of the ideograph, based on misunderstandings about the way writing works in systems that are not predominantly phonetic, have had a rich and productive role in Western literature, art and film. This course starts from such creative misprision, then turns to a consideration of how the scripts of "ideographic" languages, such as Chinese, Japanese, ancient Egyptian and ancient Mayan, actually work, in order to explore the possibilities for a more accurately grounded understanding of the ideograph.

  • Advanced Creative Writing (Literary Translation)

    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.

  • Dangerous Bodies: Cross-Dressing, Asia, Transgression

    This course examines "dangerous bodies" - bodies that transgress existing gender and racial norms in Chinese and Sinophone cultures. Situated at the intersection of literary, film, performance, gender and ethnic studies, this course provides an introduction to the shifting social meanings of the body in relation to historical masculinity, femininity, and Chineseness.

  • Afterlives of the Artists

    We will examine the ways in which Giorgio Vasari's <i>Lives of the Artists<\i> have morphed into modern and postmodern literature, focusing on the novelistic and lyric subversions of the original model. Adjustments to the standard narrative include biographies of wretched artists, artsy dealers, and aesthetically inclined criminals; texts set within the imagined world of a painting; tales privileging the instrument or materials over the artist; and dramatically rewritten or unwritten lives of the usual suspects.

  • Crises of European Subjectivity, 1945-1961

    This course examines the crisis of European subjectivity in the wake of WWII and the Holocaust. Such a crisis implicates not merely the concepts of Europe and the subject, but the very concept of the concept and thus entails a transformation of thought itself. Topics include crises of the subject and the human; the question of technology; the Franco-German relation; the Cold War; decolonization; exile and emigration; essay, aphorism, and lecture as anti-systematic modes.


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