Undergraduate

  • World Drama

    This course is a survey of classical and modern drama from Africa, China, India, Japan, and Latin America. Topics will include Noh and Kabuki, Beijing Opera, Sanskrit theater, Nigerian masquerades and a variety of selections from the rich modern Indian and Latin American canons. There may be trips to NYC or locally to see new theater works.

  • 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?

  • New Diasporas: Black British Literature

    This is a course on the dynamic body of works produced by migrants and descendants of migrants from Africa and the Caribbean in Britain since the 1950s. How has the migrant experience transformed the British cultural landscape after the end of an empire? What does it mean to be British and Black? How have migrant writers created new aesthetic forms to respond to the meaning of postcolonial Britishness? How does writing function as a mode of imagining alternative spaces of belonging?

  • The Literature of Environmental Disaster

    In the Anthropocene, humanity has become, for the first time, a geological agent transforming the conditions of life on earth, but this power itself gives rise to unprecedented challenges, from air pollution and floods to nuclear fallout and plagues, from agribusiness to petro-imperialism. Literature sheds a unique light on this global crisis, highlighting in each case the lived human experience, the distinct visions of nature, and the complex social conflicts involved.

  • 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.

  • Cybernetics, Literary Ghosts and the Italian Way

    "Will we have a machine capable of replacing the poet and the author?" asked Italo Calvino in 1967, hopeful that computers would write "the literature." In 1962 poet Nanni Balestrini instructed a computer to write a poem eager to hear "the voice of the machine." Rough novels and 200,000 non-fiction books have already been written through algorithms and a literary novel is expected soon. Can we instruct a computer to write a novel? Should we use an algorithm or machine learning?

  • Introduction to Classical Arabic Literature

    An introduction to Classical Arabic Literature from pre-Islamic Arabian poetry to 17th century burlesque tales from Cairo, this course familiarizes you with the authors and texts that shaped the classical Arabic literary heritage. Poetry, tales, and fables will acquaint you with genres such as the qasida, ghazal, and the maqamat, providing a sense of literature at a time when Arabic was the language of writing from Spain to India. Keeping in mind our positionality in relation to the material, we will address questions of genre, periodization, translation, and aesthetic judgment.

  • 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.

  • East European Literature and Politics

    The seminar will analyze the way totalitarian oppression was represented and resisted in literature of the second part of East-Central European 20th century. We will look through the lens of literature at the main political and historical issues that afflicted Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and other countries of the region. We will study texts (essays, memoirs, novels, short stories, plays, and poems) which offered various ways to resist moral and political oppression.

  • The Human Comedy of Anton Chekhov Off and On Stage (In English Translation)

    The Three Sisters first run left critics lukewarm but greatly excited the public. "The story of the three sisters," a contemporary writer exclaimed, "is not a fiction, not a fantasy, but a fact, an event, something every bit as real as the stock options at the Savings Bank." This course is designed to enter into the worlds that Chekhov's drama opens to readers, directors, actors, and spectators. We look first at the text and its cultural context. We then follow The Three Sisters to other times and places and into film.

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