Undergraduate

  • Thinking Translation: Language Transfer and Cultural Communication

    What is translation? What is a language? So essential and widespread is translation today that it has become a central analytic term for the contact of cultures, and a paradigm for studying many different aspects of our multilingual world. This course will consider translation as it appeared in the past, but especially as it constructs everyday life in the contemporary world. It will look at issues of anthropology, artificial intelligence, diplomacy, film, law and literature that involve interlingual and intercultural communication.
  • Hope: A History

    This interdisciplinary course combines literary, philosophical and theological analysis to investigate hope and how its formulations in the West have evolved over time, from Greco-Roman antiquity to the present. When is hope a virtue or positive aspect of agency, and when is it an illusion or vice? What are the relations of personal to national, political, and religious hopes?
  • Corruption, Conversion, Change: Philosophies and Fictions of Transformation

    In the age of self-help books and memoirs, one wonders, can we really change? Can writing offer us the hope of transformation? Of conversion? How do you publish the "self"? Can literary genres serve as models for how to live one's life? We will confront such questions through the fictions and philosophies of the past; through historical figures such as Socrates and St. Augustine and the fictive characters of drama and the novel.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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