Comparative Literature

  • 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.
  • Ocean Media: Islanding, Space, Modernity

    This seminar explores the oceanic imaginary of space and the spatial technologies of islanding in the modern world-including the emergence of mega-ports, artificial islands, and the creation of political and economic zones of exception and military bases, with an emphasis on East and Southeast Asia. Posing islanding in the verb form, the readings deconstruct "island" as a natural geographic setting and probe its role in mediating the relations between individual and totality, insularity and world, mainland and periphery, land and sea, etc.
  • Topics in Medieval Literature: Reading the Roman de la Rose

    Arguably the single most influential vernacular work of the European Middle Ages, the Roman de la Rose presents itself as both an "art of love" and a "mirror of lovers," a prism that reflects the forms of medieval knowledge in unexpected ways. This seminar focuses on the two-part literary work in its literary, philosophical and theological contexts, as well as on its reception, with attention to the "quarrel of the Rose" to which it gave rise in fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
  • The Novel and Romance

    Don Quixote is often called the first novel, for its parodic contrast of chivalric romance with a more "realistic" mode. How curious that most of Quixote's successors have been heroines, as such disqualified from tilting, whether at windmills or giants. After dipping into Cervantes and a few other precursors, we spend time with some of the many "Female Quixotes." What is at stake in their quests? What do they learn as readers, and what can their readers learn? What disciplines of reading and representation are involved in these narratives?
  • Introduction to Jewish Cultures

    This course explores the relationship between culture, history, religion, and ethics in global Jewish experience from the Bible to the present. Following representations of themes such as sexuality, suffering, and mysticism, we'll debate the boundaries between religion and culture and see how ethical questions play out in cultural forms. How does Jewish law, ritual, and custom inform Jewish culture, and how does culture sometimes push back against religious norms?
  • Theory and Methods of Comparative Literature: Critical and Literary Theory

    A course in the foundational texts of contemporary critical theory. The relationships among literature, philosophy, aesthetics, and linguistics will be investigated as they come to the fore in the intellectual development of the following, among others: modern philology, New Criticism, hermeneutics, structuralism, speech act theory, Marxist and cultural criticism, historical-epistemological aesthetics, rhetorical criticism, and poststructuralism.
  • Who Owns This Sentence? Copyright Culture from the Romantic Era to the Age of the Internet

    Literature, art, computer code, social media, news, music and video games--copyright underpins almost everything we read or hear. But it is not an old idea. Why was it invented? For whose benefit? What is a "work" or an "author"? Is copyright still relevant, or is a new framework needed? From Balzac and Dickens to Facebook, from Bizet to Broadway musicals, this new course invites students to think about the philosophical and cultural issues raised by copyright in the past and present--and for the future.
  • Archive Writing

    Contemporary changes in modes of creating, presenting, and preserving knowledge have also fostered a scholarly and artistic fascination with old media, book history, archives, manuscripts, etc. This course explores the practical and ethical issues involved in archival work, and how modern and contemporary poets have used archival research to fuel historically- and politically-minded interventions.
  • Contemporary Latin America in Literature and Visual Arts

    This course is an introduction to contemporary Latin American and Caribbean literature and visual arts. Placing special emphasis on the changing relationships between aesthetics and politics, it analyzes different genres and artistic styles that emerge with new forms of imagining the relations between culture and politics, from the 1960s to the present.
  • 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.

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