Spring 2019

  • 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.
  • Women and Liberation: Feminist Poetics and Politics in the Americas (1960s to the present)

    This course aims to explore different forms that the question of liberation has taken in writings by women philosophers and poets whose work helped to create cultural and political movements in the U.S. and Latin America. Starting in the 1960s, the course touches upon different philosophical concepts and poetic figures that have shaped the language of women's struggles (intersectionality, black and third world feminism, subalternity and feminist epistemologies, capitalist accumulation and "witch"-hunting, (re)transmission of knowledge).
  • Readings in Modern Arabic Literature

    This advanced reading course surveys the development of modern Arabic prose fiction from the 19th century nahda (Arabic renaissance) to the present. Special attention is devoted to questions of language and style, alongside discussions of major thematic concerns and the interaction of literature and society. All reading assignments are in the original Arabic, though English translations are available as a study aid. Open to qualified undergraduates with instructor's permission.
  • The Eighteenth Century in Europe

    This year's topic is "Reading Characters: Clarissa in Context." The seminar will consider the development of the modern novel during the European Enlightenment as a narrative epistemology of character, through an intensive reading of Richardson's Clarissa.
  • Introduction to Critical Theory: Dialectic and Difference

    Through a comparative focus on the concepts of dialectics and difference, we read some of the formative theoretical, critical and philosophical works which continue to ground interdisciplinary critical theory today. Focal works by Lukacs, Freud, Heidegger, Adorno, Derrida, de Man, Arendt, and Benjamin are included among the texts we read.
  • 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.
  • Advanced Creative Writing (Literary Translation)

    Students will choose, early in the semester, one author to focus on in fiction, poetry, or drama. All work will be translated into English and discussed in a workshop format. We will address the challenges of revising, with the goal of arriving at a 25-30 page sample of the author's work. Weekly readings will focus on the comparison of pre-existing translations and also on some translation theory.
  • Chinese Cinemas

    This course is an introduction to contemporary Chinese cinemas in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. From postwar musicals and pan-Asian blockbusters, to new wave avant-garde films and experimental documentaries, the diversity of Chinese cinemas reflects cinema's relations to global capitalism, Asia's democratization movements, financial crises, and the arrival of (post)socialism. Creating urban nomads, songstresses, daydreamers, travelers, and terrorists, Chinese cinemas put on full display the forces of globalization in shaping the aesthetics and politics of film.
  • Imagining Sounds of China: Encounters and Fantasies

    Chinese culture and history contain an abundance of sounds with distinctive timbres. They have been experienced, imagined and theorized locally and in cross-cultural dialogues. People from different times and cultures often experience them in mediated forms such as literary and graphic descriptions. This course offers an introduction to these sonic phenomena. Comparative and transmedia approaches are used to tackle their multicultural repercussions while giving equal attention to their socio-historic contexts.
  • Cultural Systems: Proust, Freud, Borges

    An overview of three of the most influential writers in the twentieth century, focusing on selected masterpieces. All three were fascinated by similar topics: dreams and memory; sexuality; Judaism. All three lived during traumatic historical periods. Proust during WWI; Freud during WWII; and Borges during Peronismo. Seminar will explore the relationship between literature modernism, politics, and religion.

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