Graduate

  • 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.
  • Cultures at Play: The History, Aesthetics, and Theory of Games

    This class explores games and the culture of play through a variety of angles, ranging from the aesthetic to the ideological, from the historical to the technological. By doing so, we familiarize ourselves with the increasingly prolific literature on (video) games as well as the longer history of game theory.
  • Early 17th Century: Polyglot Poetics: Transnational Early Modern Literature

    Early modern vernacular writers did not simply imitate classical antiquity, or, if northern Europeans, imitate Italian or French verse as if it were ancient, but traded verse horizontally and multilaterally. Languages faded into one another through proximity, trade and war. We explore this cross-lingual, transnational literary field through the literature of travelers in the period: the poetry of diplomats, colonists, itinerant prophets and pharmacists, and the work of traveling theater companies.
  • Seminar in 19th- and 20th-Century French Literature: Writing the People in 19thC France

    What is the people? Much of nineteenth-century literature is an effort to confront this urgent political question after the Revolution, and to give shape and voice to this amorphous new sovereign. At once ubiquitous and intangible, the people is an unsettling power that modern writing seeks to name, express, silence, or shape. This course examines some landmark novels (by Hugo, les Goncourt, Sand, and Zola) and social analysis (by reformers, hygienists, and intellectuals) at the crossroads between politics and aesthetics. Critical texts by Marx, Chevalier, Rancière, Foucault, T.J.
  • The Contemporary

    What does it mean to be contemporary? How does one truly inhabit the present? Through theoretical texts and examples in literature and film, this course explores the ways in which thinkers, writers, and filmmakers have crafted themselves as agents of actualité.
  • Middle High German Literature II: Gender, Sanctity, and Popular Piety in the Middle Ages

    Seminar explores constructions of sanctity in texts and objects from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries. Beginning with saintly Queens, working through mystic writings, and ending with popular material culture surrounding vernacular legends and cults, we ask what constitutes holiness in these situations, as well as the relationship of these ideals to medieval understandings of gender: the multivalence of virginity; the gendering of male clergy; the different valuation of ascetic practices in male versus female holy women; the significance of female cross-dressing in proving female sanctity.
  • Interpretation: The Problem of Context

    The need to think "contextually" is a basic premise shared by many scholarly practices of interpretation, including cross-cultural comparison and translation in anthropology, comparative literature, and beyond. But what exactly does context mean in these practices, how does it work, and where does it end? How does context help us frame particularity and generality, periphery and center, past and present? How does it support normative positions of relativism or universalism?

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