• A Gendered History of the Avant-Garde: Bodies, Objects, Emotions, Ideas

    An investigation on modern and post-modern experimentalism focused on gender issues and gendered perspectives. The main object of analysis will be Italy, from futurism to the current revivals of vanguardism, but a variety of trans-national and international voices will substantiate the historical landscape.

  • Granada and the Fall of Spanish Islam, AD 1212-1492/1614

    Thirteenth-century Christian "Reconquista" of almost all of Spain after 1212 - with the significant exception of the sultanate of Granada - subjected huge minorities of Muslims and Jews to Christian overlords and challenged the rising kingdoms of Castile, Aragon and Portugal to cope with religious diversity.

  • Marvels and Wonder in Classical Arabic Literature

    This course explores a variety of medieval Arabic texts through the lens of wonder. It is through marveling at the foreign and inexplicable that we position ourselves in the world and separate the Self from the Other. Yet, wonder is also what prompts our curiosity for discovery and provokes our search for explanations. Where was the line drawn between the familiar and the strange in medieval Arabic culture? How was wonder defined? What role did it play? The course is taught in English in its entirety. No prerequisites.

  • Vladimir Nabokov

    In 1919, at the age of twenty, Vladimir Nabokov fled "the bloated octopus of state" of his native Russia and embarked on a dazzling bilingual literary career in emigration. This course focuses on Nabokov's masterly writing, which reflects a modernist preoccupation with narrative, temporality, and memory. The Russian and American novels are at the center of our attention, but readings include also a sampling of his shorter fiction, poetry, essays on literature, and the memoir [Speak, Memory].

  • Dreams and Nightmares in Hispanic Fiction and Film

    From Artemidorus in antiquity to Freud in modern times, dreams and nightmares have been a perennial human concern. This course will explore political, philosophical, medical and psycho-sexual representations of dreams and nightmares by such authors as Cervantes, Zayas, Calderón, Cela, Martín Gaite, Muñoz Molina, Bolaño, Piglia and Vargas Llosa.

  • Obsession and Addiction in Early Modern Spain

    Early Modern Spain exhibits a variety of fascinating obsessions and addictions resulting from extreme and rapid political, social, and economic changes. Addiction to sex crimes, to transgendering and tobacco offer some of the most spectacular accounts of the period. The advent of mass culture produced by print technology, tabloid journalism, and public theaters leads to the rise of the "vulgo" which the elite seek to control and condemn.

  • What is Vernacular Filmmaking?

    We will study films that address global audiences while rooted in particular, local,vernacular sources of artistic creation. In order to understand this aesthetic phenomenon of World Cinema, we will examine theories of World Literature. Especially, we will focus on Auerbach's famous book, Mimesis and his work on the formation of vernacular audiences.

  • Masterworks of European Literature

    In this course we will examine the major forms and themes of Western Literature since the Renaissance: the drama, essay, lyric and novel. We shall read major works by British, Spanish, French, German, Russian and American authors, considering the unique contributions of specific nations and languages and the transformations of themes and genres over a span of five hundred years.

  • Topics in Comparative Literature: Performing the Planet

    An examination of how literature and the performing arts represent and interrogate climate change. The relationship between the human body and the earth, as seen in Classical Drama, early depictions of the New World, texts by early naturalists. The emergence of technologies of seeing and their effects on theater and dance. The relationship between conceptions of the internal body and the body of the earth (geology, landscape, maternity, the microbiome, the Sublime). Environmental theater, eco theater and dance.

  • The Gothic Tradition

    The purpose of this course is to analyze and understand the cultural meanings of the Gothic mode through a study of its characteristic elements, its historical, aesthetic, and political origins in eighteenth-century English and German culture and thought, its development across Western national traditions, and its persistence in contemporary culture, including film, electronic media, clothing, social behavior, and belief systems, as well as literature. Films, artifacts, web sites and electronic publications will supplement readings.


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