English

  • Literary and Cultural Theory: Ecological Poetics of the 19th C. Americas

    This course explores how 19th century (mostly) American authors registered the transformation of natural history into the sciences of life, and how attentiveness to the ecological fashioned their ethics. Most of our authors adopted a vitalist and materialist understanding of life, which led them to understand the boundaries of individual phenomena as porous and environmental.
  • Problems in Literary Study: Black Modernisms

    A foundational moment in the history of European modernism in the twentieth century was the discovery of the world of Black others and the use of Blackness as a mechanism for maintaining and sustaining a new style of art. At about the same time, Black writers and artists adopted modernism as the aesthetic that would represent Black subjectivity in a world defined by racial violence.
  • Topics in 18th-Century Literature: Love Gone Wrong

    Shakespeare wrote, "the course of true love never did run smooth" and Freud wrote of the "vicissitudes" of the passions, yet most readers regard heterosexual love stories as transparent, intelligible, and above all inevitable. We will read classic 18th-century novels from England, France, and Germany that show roads to and through the love plot to be rocky and full of impasses and swerves, with no certain endpoint. Such "vicissitudes" mark the very form of the narratives we will encounter.
  • The Bible as Literature

    This course will study what it means to read the Bible in a literary way: what literary devices does it contain, and how has it influenced the way we read literature today? What new patterns and meanings emerge?
  • Renaissance Drama: Tragedy: Theory and Practice, 1500-1700

    In this course, we trace and analyze the ways in which tragic drama was theorized and written in the 16th and 17th centuries. Our focal points are i) the recovery of Artistotle's theory of tragedy and its integration with broader notions of the tragic; ii) the ways in which different tragic writers lent on, appropriated, ignored, and creatively subverted these theoretical developments.
  • Topics in 18th-Century Literature: Love Gone Wrong

    Shakespeare wrote, "the course of true love never did run smooth" and Freud wrote of the "vicissitudes" of the passions, yet most readers regard heterosexual love stories as transparent, intelligible, and above all inevitable. We will read classic 18th-century novels from England, France, and Germany that show roads to and through the love plot to be rocky and full of impasses and swerves, with no certain endpoint. Such "vicissitudes" mark the very form of the narratives we will encounter.
  • The Bible as Literature

    This course will study what it means to read the Bible in a literary way: what literary devices does it contain, and how has it influenced the way we read literature today? What new patterns and meanings emerge?
  • Renaissance Drama: Tragedy: Theory and Practice, 1500-1700

    In this course, we trace and analyze the ways in which tragic drama was theorized and written in the 16th and 17th centuries. Our focal points are i) the recovery of Artistotle's theory of tragedy and its integration with broader notions of the tragic; ii) the ways in which different tragic writers lent on, appropriated, ignored, and creatively subverted these theoretical developments.
  • World Drama

    This course is a survey of classical and modern drama from Africa, China, India, Japan, and Latin America. Topics will include Noh and Kabuki, Beijing Opera, Sanskrit theater, Nigerian masquerades and a variety of selections from the rich modern Indian and Latin American canons.
  • Introduction to Critical Theory: The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility

    Taking our point of departure from Walter Benjamin's artwork essay, we trace the way in which photographers and artists from the late 1970s to the present have asked us to understand their work as resources for doing political work, as strategies of resistance and activism, as even training manuals on how to engage, rethink, and address some of the most urgent issues of our time.

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