Undergraduate

  • East European Literature and Politics

    This seminar will examine 20th-century Eastern European history through literary works from a number of countries in the region, from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to present-day Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Belarus, and the Balkans. Readings will generally consist of one novel per week, but we will also look at a number of other genres, including the short story, poetry, drama, the journal, and reportage.
  • Topics in Medieval and Early Modern Spanish Culture: Women in Medieval and Early Modern Spain

    An investigation of the literary, medical and philosophical treatment of women in medieval and early modern Spain. We will consider works by both male and female authors, thus enabling us to compare ways in which women saw themselves with the ways in which they were seen by men. The cult of women as well as misandry and misogyny, and debates centering around such crucial matters as childbirth, witchcraft and the evil eye will be explored.
  • 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.
  • Translation, Migration and Culture

    This course will explore the crucial connections between migration, language, and translation. Drawing on texts from a range of genres and disciplines - from memoir and fiction to scholarly work in translation studies, migration studies, political science, anthropology, and sociology - we will focus on how language and translation affect the lives of those who move through and settle in other cultures, and how, in turn, human mobility affects language and modes of belonging.
  • Studies in the Classical Tradition: Odysseys

    In 2019, is "the news in the Odyssey...still news," as poet Ezra Pound claimed? After reading through Homer's Odyssey in a variety of translations (from G. Chapman to E. Wilson), we will trace its modern and contemporary afterlives - from Joyce's Ulysses to Walcott's Omeros to Atwood's Penelopiad. To what uses has this ancient story been put, and do those uses change over time? Can a work as canonical as the Odyssey offer alternative or subversive cultural narratives?
  • Storytelling as Self Defense: Political Novellas

    Modern citizens' struggle for liberty produced a radical literary tool of defense: the novella. Part everyday life, part sudden event, these short forms gave advice to those fighting the Man: How can outcasts question authority? What is a feminist plot? Can resistance be a reader response? We will discuss and read how these stories organize, formulate, and intensify real-world arguments through fictional protagonists in examples from the Americas and Europe, esp. 19th-century Germany.
  • Language, Identity, Power

    Language determines our expressive capacities, represents our identities, and connects us across various platforms and cultures. This course introduces classical and contemporary approaches to studying language, focusing on three main areas: 1) language as a system of rules (structure), 2) language as a symbolic mechanism through which individuals and groups mark their presence (identity) and 3) language as a tool of communication (sign).
  • The Classical Roots of Western Literature

    This course focuses on the classics of the Western literary tradition from Antiquity through the medieval period. We will examine the ways in which poets, playwrights, biographers, and other fabulists addressed questions of public duty and private emotion, domestic and exotic customs, and natural, unnatural, and supernatural events. All works are taught in English.
  • Junior Seminar: Introduction to Comparative Literature

    Thick Reading is the aim of the course, which is to say, "close reading" in the sense of paying heightened attention to the ways in which we read our object of study. Most of those objects will be literary, but we'll make room to interrogate and straddle the borders of the "literary" as well, considering visual arts, music and film. We will also try to thicken the canon, in reading beyond the Euro-American canon even as we acknowledge an interest in aesthetic critique.
  • The Modern European Novel

    Description; This course is designed for those 1) wanting to read landmark fictions in the modern European literary tradition; 2) intrigued by the question of "world literature" as it is posed in and by the European novel.

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