Comparative Literature

  • Script, Screen, and Sexuality in East Asia

    This course focuses on representations of gender and sexuality in East Asia, including theatrical traditions and their cinematic adaptations, documentary films, short fiction, graphic novels, animation, and music videos. It will introduce students to fundamental texts in sexuality and gender studies, to the contours of East Asian culture, and to the challenges of orientalist perspectives. Sexuality and performance will be examined within the context of cultural, political, and economic exchange.

  • 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.

  • Comparative Literature Graduate Pedagogy Seminar

    Teaching practicum required of departmental PhD students and open only to those concurrently teaching in their first course at Princeton. A wide range of topics is discussed, based primarily upon the needs and experience of participants. These typically include: facilitating discussions, delivering lectures, grading papers, designing course syllabi, teaching with translations, using technology in the classroom, developing a statement of teaching philosophy, and preparing a teaching portfolio. Course leads to partial fulfillment of the McGraw Teaching Transcript.

  • Topics in Literature and Philosophy: Missing Persons

    An exploration of literary, legal, linguistic, philosophical and psychoanalytic works featuring "persons" conceived as temporarily, permanently, and structurally absent. Topics to be considered include missing persons in the law; civil death; the legal status of the unborn and the corpse; ghosts; the Freudian "Id"; the existential "One"; social and linguistic "non-persons"; sexual difference and non-gendered persons.

  • Introduction to Comparative Literature

    This course traces the history of criticism in comparative literature along with recent critical developments such as surface reading, distant reading, affect theory, necropolitics, queer futurity, the new materialism, ecocriticism, world literature, theory from the south, disability studies, critiques of neoliberalism, and so on. The class does not embrace a mastery posture toward theory, but an instrumental one, aiming to assist graduate students in conceptualizing their particular projects within and against current debates.

  • How does History Appear? Critical Aesthetics, Lessing through Benjamin

    Beginning with Lessing's identification of the ambiguity of the "image," this course examines the ways in which materialist aesthetic and literary theory coincide with theories of experience and history. We focus in depth on four authors - Lessing, Diderot, Baudelaire, and Benjamin - whose critical and literary work alike departs from the proposition that aesthetic and historical experience do not transcend or subsume but rather depend upon and preserve encounters with the material.

  • Topics in Critical Theory: Comparative Literature Writing and Dissertation Colloquium

    The Writing and Dissertation Colloquium is a biweekly forum for graduate students in Comparative Literature to share works in progress with other graduate students. The seminar welcomes drafts of your prospectus, article, dissertation chapter, conference paper, exam statement and grant or fellowship proposal. Work is pre-circulated. The 90 minute sessions, done in conjunction with a rotating COM faculty member, are designed to offer written and oral feedback.

  • Afterlives of the Iliad

    What possible relevance could Homer's Iliad have today? Yet for nearly three millennia the epic has inspired countless rewritings, from ancient and early modern drama, to modern translations and continuations, to Hollywood blockbusters and contemporary avant-garde theater. This course traces the influence of the epic across languages, media, and time.

  • Topics in Non-Western and General Literature: Ideographs

    Weekly three-hour seminar. Conceptions of the ideograph, based on misunderstandings about the way writing works in systems that are not predominantly phonetic, have had a rich and productive role in Western literature, art and film. This course starts from such creative misprision, then turns to a consideration of how the scripts of "ideographic" languages, such as Chinese, Japanese, ancient Egyptian and ancient Mayan, actually work, in order to explore the possibilities for a more accurately grounded understanding of the ideograph.


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