• Literary and Cultural Theory: Ecological Poetics of the 19th C. Americas

    This course explores how 19th century (mostly) American authors registered the transformation of natural history into the sciences of life, and how attentiveness to the ecological fashioned their ethics. Most of our authors adopted a vitalist and materialist understanding of life, which led them to understand the boundaries of individual phenomena as porous and environmental.
  • Classical Arabic Poetry

    Introduces students to the major Arabic poets and poems from pre-Islamic times to the Mamluks. Goals: Increase the ease with which students read classical Arabic poetry, learn how to scan Arabic meters, and expand knowledge of styles, genres and development. Students prepare assigned poems and put together brief biographical sketch of poets. Advanced knowledge of Arabic required.
  • Problems in Literary Study: Black Modernisms

    A foundational moment in the history of European modernism in the twentieth century was the discovery of the world of Black others and the use of Blackness as a mechanism for maintaining and sustaining a new style of art. At about the same time, Black writers and artists adopted modernism as the aesthetic that would represent Black subjectivity in a world defined by racial violence.
  • Greek Tragedy: Oedipus: Tragedy, Philosophy, Psychoanalysis

    Close reading of Sophocles' Oedipus the King and sections of Oedipus at Colonus in dialogue with the history of thought on Greek tragedy. Authors may include Aristotle, Hegel, Hölderlin, Schelling, Nietzsche, Freud, Lacan, Arendt, Lévi-Strauss, Fanon, Vernant, Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari,Butler, Honig.
  • Comparative Literature Graduate Pedagogy Seminar: Radical Pedagogies

    The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning now offers ample practical training and resources for improving classroom performance and building credentials for teaching jobs. This seminar instead explores the politics of pedagogical practice, through discussions of readings from various perspectives and time periods, as well as by sharing our own pedagogical experiences at Princeton and elsewhere. The reading list suggested here is a starting point; in an effort to de-hierarchize our own classroom, we develop a full reading list collaboratively.
  • Introduction to Comparative Literature

    An introduction to poetics, its history and some of its fundamental works and terms, from antiquity to the medieval, modern and contemporary periods. Our readings are drawn from philosophy and linguistics as well as literature. Subjects to be discussed include the senses of poiesis; performance; mimesis; the definition of verse; the poetics of prose; represented speech and thought; the concept of the vernacular; poetics and rhetoric; the grammar of poetry; poetry and the inhuman.
  • Contemporary Critical Theories: Marx's Capital: Reading Volume 2

    Capital, vol. 2 -- the least well-known volume of Marx's opus -- may paradoxically now be the most pertinent in global contemporaneity. In terse and highly formalized terms, it theorizes the total subsumption of society under interlocking yet clashing circuits of capital. It also gives a powerful account of how the system reproduces itself in and through the negotiation of its inherent crises. We read vol. 2 intensively and supplement it with important works that sustain or develop its theses (inter alia: Marx's unpublished chapter on subsumption, Rosa
  • Ocean Media: Islanding, Space, Modernity

    This seminar explores the oceanic imaginary of space and the spatial technologies of islanding in the modern world-including the emergence of mega-ports, artificial islands, and the creation of political and economic zones of exception and military bases, with an emphasis on East and Southeast Asia. Posing islanding in the verb form, the readings deconstruct "island" as a natural geographic setting and probe its role in mediating the relations between individual and totality, insularity and world, mainland and periphery, land and sea, etc.
  • The Renaissance: The Early Modern 'I'

    Terms like "self" and "subjectivity" and the question of their historical or transhistorical meaning remain at the heart of literary study in the pre-modern period. With those issues in mind, this seminar focuses on the early modern first person, the "I." We begin with some classical and medieval precursors, and with critical and theoretical writing on our subject matter. Then we turn to the heart of the matter: Petrarch, Montaigne, Shakespeare, the first two being the great European masters of the first person, the last said to have buried the first person in the voices of his characters.


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