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.
- 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.
- Arguably the single most influential vernacular work of the European Middle Ages, the Roman de la Rose presents itself as both an "art of love" and a "mirror of lovers," a prism that reflects the forms of medieval knowledge in unexpected ways. This seminar focuses on the two-part literary work in its literary, philosophical and theological contexts, as well as on its reception, with attention to the "quarrel of the Rose" to which it gave rise in fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
- Don Quixote is often called the first novel, for its parodic contrast of chivalric romance with a more "realistic" mode. How curious that most of Quixote's successors have been heroines, as such disqualified from tilting, whether at windmills or giants. After dipping into Cervantes and a few other precursors, we spend time with some of the many "Female Quixotes." What is at stake in their quests? What do they learn as readers, and what can their readers learn? What disciplines of reading and representation are involved in these narratives?
- How does the history of literary criticism have an impact on the practice of criticism today? What are the enduring central questions that critics bring to their work and, indeed, what is the essence of that work? Our seminar immerses us in these issues as we survey the critic's task from Aristotle to the New Critics. The course is designed for graduate students who would like to think deeply about their practice as critics and to explore the history of criticism as a resource for new writing.
- With Augustine's Confessions as our starting point, we will consider confessions in a variety of contexts: religious, rhetorical, formal/aesthetic (lyric and narrative), psychoanalytical, racial, and judicial. The spotlight will be on Romantic-era writers who take the confession beyond its institutional functions, trusting it to convey both the quality of consciousness and narratives of selfhood. At the same time, these writers severely test the authenticity and adequacy of confession. We will then turn to the legacy of Romantic ambivalence toward confession in Freud, Foucault, J.W.
- This course explores representations of the World and History in major bandes dessinées (or graphic novels) published in French from the 1930s to the present, and produced by authors of various backgrounds (French, Belgian, Italian, Jewish, Iranian). Informed by theoretical readings, discussions will address key aesthetical, political, and ethical issues, including Exoticism, Orientalism, (Post)colonialism, national and individual identity, as well as the theory of reception, to critically assess the fluctuations of these visions between fantasy and testimony.
- A study of the thought of the great German pessimist, Arthur Schopenhauer.
- A close reading of Nietzsche's "Beyond Good and Evil", with emphasis on his criticism of Philosophy, his perspectivism, his attack on mortality, and his aestheticism. Other texts of his are also consulted.
- Russia in Color investigates the application, evolution, and perception of color in art in (Soviet) Russia and emigration. This Princeton University Art Museum-based course explores the rich holdings of the museum, with a particular focus on Russian and European objects, as selections of artworks are paired with theoretical and cultural readings (media theory, philosophy, literature, science). The course includes a basic introduction to color terminology, guest lectures on the technologies and science of color printing, and a hands-on practicum in color mixing/pigmentation.