Guangchen Chen

  • Topics in Comparative Literature: On Collecting: Anatomy of an Obsession

    Why do people collect objects? What desires motivate this obsession across cultures? How does a collection reflect and shape our relationship with objects? It is no accident that many writers are fascinated by the collector: Balzac, Eco, James, Pamuk and Proust all devoted significant creative energy to this figure. In this course, we will consider collecting as a serious mode of thinking. Analysis of key literary works will be combined with hands-on study of museum collections in Princeton and beyond.
  • Topics in Comparative Literature: On Collecting: Anatomy of an Obsession

    Why do people collect objects? What desires motivate this obsession across cultures? How does a collection reflect and shape our relationship with objects? It is no accident that many writers are fascinated by the collector: Balzac, Eco, James, Pamuk and Proust all devoted significant creative energy to this figure. In this course, we will consider collecting as a serious mode of thinking. Analysis of key literary works will be combined with hands-on study of museum collections in Princeton and beyond.
  • Imagining Sounds of China: Encounters and Fantasies

    Chinese culture and history contain an abundance of sounds with distinctive timbres. They have been experienced, imagined and theorized locally and in cross-cultural dialogues. People from different times and cultures often experience them in mediated forms such as literary and graphic descriptions. This course offers an introduction to these sonic phenomena. Comparative and transmedia approaches are used to tackle their multicultural repercussions while giving equal attention to their socio-historic contexts.
  • Imagining Sounds of China: Encounters and Fantasies

    Chinese culture and history contain an abundance of sounds with distinctive timbres. They have been experienced, imagined and theorized locally and in cross-cultural dialogues. People from different times and cultures often experience them in mediated forms such as literary and graphic descriptions. This course offers an introduction to these sonic phenomena. Comparative and transmedia approaches are used to tackle their multicultural repercussions while giving equal attention to their socio-historic contexts.
  • A Cultural History of Nineteenth Century Europe through Wagner's Ring

    Wagner's 15-hour opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen is a unique masterpiece that transformed opera as a genre. With enormous emotional and intellectual power, it provides insight into key social and political issues that were particularly troubling in 19th-century Europe. It is also the magnum opus of a controversial composer whose overt anti-Semitism resonates well into the present.
  • A Cultural History of Nineteenth Century Europe through Wagner's Ring

    Wagner's 15-hour opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen is a unique masterpiece that transformed opera as a genre. With enormous emotional and intellectual power, it provides insight into key social and political issues that were particularly troubling in 19th-century Europe. It is also the magnum opus of a controversial composer whose overt anti-Semitism resonates well into the present.
  • Love and Violence through Words: Modern Chinese Literature in the Age of Revolution

    This course will introduce you to important works in modern Chinese literature from late 19th century to the present, which have served as tools of propaganda, national defense, cultural revolution, self-fashioning, gender-conscious communication, or complete depoliticization. Therefore, the multiple literary genres of novel, folklore tale, theater and poetry will be analyzed against related forms of film, opera, music-drama and painting.
  • Love and Violence through Words: Modern Chinese Literature in the Age of Revolution

    This course will introduce you to important works in modern Chinese literature from late 19th century to the present, which have served as tools of propaganda, national defense, cultural revolution, self-fashioning, gender-conscious communication, or complete depoliticization. Therefore, the multiple literary genres of novel, folklore tale, theater and poetry will be analyzed against related forms of film, opera, music-drama and painting.
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