• Cinematic Translation, Generic Adaptation: Melodrama, Horror, Action

    This course centers on a set on cinematic genres-melodrama, horror, and action-that have proven to be particularly suitable to global adaptation and appropriation. Their mobility may stem from the physical responses (tears, fright, violence) they represent or elicit. We will examine films from Hollywood, European, and East Asian cinemas to interrogate the question of cultural translatability, while at the same time reconsidering the social and cultural effects of genre itself.
  • From Black Bile to Digital Depression: Melancholy in Theory, Art, and Media

    The seminar explores concepts and representations of melancholy in ancient and pre-modern medicine, medieval theology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis, European art since the Romantic era (painting, literature, and film), critical theory, social media, and ethnography. Course material has been chosen both for contextualization of melancholic (or depressive) condition in the history of European culture and for variety of interpretive approaches. Among major issues to be considered are the human experience of loss and the situation of the person in society.
  • Modern Drama I

    A study of major plays by Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekov, Pirandello, Brecht, Beckett and others. Artists who revolutionized the stage by transforming it into a venue for avant-garde social, political, psychological, artistic and metaphysical thought, creating the theatre we know today.
  • Bollywood Cinema

    Bollywood generates more films each year than other global film industries, circulating films across Africa, Asia, and beyond. What are the dominant trends and genres of popular South Asian cinema since independence? We will assume a capacious meaning of "Bollywood" as a global phenomenon. Course topics include the recent resurgence of Pakistani film industry as well as "Third Cinema," against which the popular is often defined in studies of postcolonial cinema. Course topics include melodrama, the popular, translation, diaspora, migration, nationalism and affect.
  • The Bible as Literature

    This course will study what it means to read the Bible in a literary way: what literary devices does it contain, and how has it influenced the way we read literature today? What new patterns and meanings emerge?
  • Topics in Literature and Ethics: Modern Evil

    This is a course on the problem of evil in the modern world as it is represented in works of literature and film. What is the nature of evil and how is it imagined? How can the noble ideas that define the modern world--justice and human rights, for example--be reconciled with the terrible events of the twentieth century: genocide, racial violence, and war? Why do good people do terrible things to others? What can reading books on evil in distant places teach us about ourselves?
  • East Asian Humanities I: The Classical Foundations

    An introduction to the literature, art, religion and philosophy of China, Japan and Korea from antiquity to ca. 1400. Readings focus on primary texts in translation, complemented by museum visits and supplementary materials on the course website. The course aims to allow students to explore the unique aspects of East Asian civilizations and the connections between them through an interactive web-based platform, in which assignments are integrated with the texts and media on the website. No prior knowledge of working with digital media is required.
  • Nietzsche

    An examination of Nietzsche's central views, including the role of tragedy, the place of science, the eternal recurrence, the will to power, and the primacy of the individual. We will also examine Nietzsche's ambiguous attitude toward philosophy and his influence on literature and criticism.
  • Migration, Religion, and Literature: From Genesis to Toni Morrison

    Problems of mass migration are among the most pressing of our times. What does it mean to be a stranger in a strange land? What do we owe foreigners and what might foreigners owe their host nations? This course focuses on biblical depictions of strangers and migration, with particular attention to the story of Joseph, the Exodus from Egypt, and the Book of Ruth. The course explores the use of these biblical texts in modern literature, art, film, theology and political theory, with particular attention to debates about exile, acculturation, race, and gender.
  • Popular Trends in South Asian Literature

    This course introduces students to the richness and diversity of South Asian literature produced in vernacular languages and in English. Texts represent major themes and popular trends in the 20th and 21st century; and we discuss them in historical and literary contexts. Topics include cultural renaissance and nationalism; progressive- Marxist literary movement; modernist and experimental literature; feminist, dalit (oppressed castes), and diaspora literature; and various postmodern and contemporary literary trends.


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