• Politics and Society in the Arabic Novel and Film

    This course examines how Arabic fiction and film has addressed major social and political issues such as the aftermath of colonialism, labor migration, war, social repression, women's rights, and dictatorship. The course covers novels from Egypt, the Sudan, Lebanon, Palestine, Morocco, and Iraq. Topics covered include the Lebanese Civil War, the Palestinian struggle, Islamic fundamentalism, Iraq under the Baathist regime, and the Arab Spring. The course will also look more broadly at experiences of the postcolonial world as reflected in modern Arabic writing.

  • Romanticism and Realism

    In our seminar we will read seminal romantic and realist works, exploring the intersections and interactions between them that have proven formative to their internal development and that of their main genres, poetry and prose. Key critical, theoretical, and philosophical considerations of the textual and conceptual issues they raise will also be discussed, with a view to understanding the textual dimensions of the literary history that precedes them and that they continue to produce. Works by Milton, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, Hawthorne, Whitman, Melville, Faulkner, among others.

  • Seminar. Types of Ideology and Literary Form: Pornography, Gender and the Rise of the Novel in Europe

    Open to graduate and undergraduate students interested in understanding the origins of the modern novel, this seminar examines the profound historical, theoretical and formal connections between the development of pornography as a distinct category of representation and the development of the novel as a literary genre during the Enlightenment. We will also explore the continuing resonances of those connections today. Readings in current criticism, history and theory of the novel and pornography will accompany primary readings.

  • Bakhtin, the Russian Formalists, and Cultural Semiotics

    The seminar surveys (in English) three influential schools of 20th-century Russian textual and cultural criticism: the Russian Formalists (1920s); Mikhail Bakhtin (1920s-70s), and the cultural semiotics of Yury Lotman and the Tartu School (1960s-80s). Readings will include both primary and secondary texts; major essays will be read in conjunction with literature that illustrates and tests the critical approach.

  • Descartes, Kant, Hegel

    In this seminar we will read major works by the three philosophers whose formulations of thinking and experience continue to provide the basis for modern critical and theoretical thought. We will elucidate these works both individually and in their historical and conceptual relationship to each other considering their extension to the major disciplines whose bases they transformed (epistemology, aesthetic theory, moral philosophy, political and economic theory, and historiography, among others) and the basis of their own conception in specific discursive and, thus, literary forms.


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