Spring 2019

  • Topics in the Hellenic Tradition: Hellenisms

    Since the 18th century, intellectuals and poets have turned to Greece in a movement which may be seen as idealizing or decadent, nostalgic or radical. What defines a particular style as Greek or Hellenizing and what motivates its adoption? To what extent is Hellenism also a reflection on a culture's relationship to itself? How is Hellenism articulated in and through the different arts, and is an aesthetic Hellenism always also a political Hellenism?
  • Introduction to Jewish Cultures

    This course explores the relationship between culture, history, religion, and ethics in global Jewish experience from the Bible to the present. Following representations of themes such as sexuality, suffering, and mysticism, we'll debate the boundaries between religion and culture and see how ethical questions play out in cultural forms. How does Jewish law, ritual, and custom inform Jewish culture, and how does culture sometimes push back against religious norms?
  • Theory and Methods of Comparative Literature: Critical and Literary Theory

    A course in the foundational texts of contemporary critical theory. The relationships among literature, philosophy, aesthetics, and linguistics will be investigated as they come to the fore in the intellectual development of the following, among others: modern philology, New Criticism, hermeneutics, structuralism, speech act theory, Marxist and cultural criticism, historical-epistemological aesthetics, rhetorical criticism, and poststructuralism.
  • Who Owns This Sentence? Copyright Culture from the Romantic Era to the Age of the Internet

    Literature, art, computer code, social media, news, music and video games--copyright underpins almost everything we read or hear. But it is not an old idea. Why was it invented? For whose benefit? What is a "work" or an "author"? Is copyright still relevant, or is a new framework needed? From Balzac and Dickens to Facebook, from Bizet to Broadway musicals, this new course invites students to think about the philosophical and cultural issues raised by copyright in the past and present--and for the future.
  • Archive Writing

    Contemporary changes in modes of creating, presenting, and preserving knowledge have also fostered a scholarly and artistic fascination with old media, book history, archives, manuscripts, etc. This course explores the practical and ethical issues involved in archival work, and how modern and contemporary poets have used archival research to fuel historically- and politically-minded interventions.
  • Contemporary Latin America in Literature and Visual Arts

    This course is an introduction to contemporary Latin American and Caribbean literature and visual arts. Placing special emphasis on the changing relationships between aesthetics and politics, it analyzes different genres and artistic styles that emerge with new forms of imagining the relations between culture and politics, from the 1960s to the present.
  • 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.

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