English

  • Topics in Literature and Ethics: Imagining Human Rights

    This course is an invitation for us to think about literature as an ethical and political project, one that raises enduring questions about the uniqueness of the human being, the relation of the self to the other, and the possibility of human understanding across cultural, ethnic, racial and national boundaries.
  • The Bible as Literature

    The Bible will be read closely in its own right and as an enduring resource for literature and commentary. The course will cover its forms and genres, including historical narrative, uncanny tales, prophecy, lyric, lament, commandment, sacred biography, and apocalypse; its pageant of weird and extraordinary characters; and its brooding intertextuality. Students will become familiar with a wide variety of biblical interpretations, from the Rabbis to Augustine to Kafka and Kierkegaard. Cinematic commentary will be included--Bible films, from the campy to the sublime.
  • The Bible as Literature

    The Bible will be read closely in its own right and as an enduring resource for literature and commentary. The course will cover its forms and genres, including historical narrative, uncanny tales, prophecy, lyric, lament, commandment, sacred biography, and apocalypse; its pageant of weird and extraordinary characters; and its brooding intertextuality. Students will become familiar with a wide variety of biblical interpretations, from the Rabbis to Augustine to Kafka and Kierkegaard. Cinematic commentary will be included--Bible films, from the campy to the sublime.
  • New Diasporas: Black British Literature

    This is a course on the dynamic body of works produced by migrants and descendants of migrants from Africa and the Caribbean in Britain since the 1950s. How has the migrant experience transformed the British cultural landscape after the end of an empire? What does it mean to be British and Black? How have migrant writers created new aesthetic forms to respond to the meaning of postcolonial Britishness? How does writing function as a mode of imagining alternative spaces of belonging?
  • Early Modern Amsterdam: Tolerant Eminence and the Arts

    Inter-disciplinary class on early modern Amsterdam (1550-1720) when the city was at the center of the global economy and leading cultural center; home of Rembrandt and Spinoza (Descartes was nearby) and original figures like playwrights Bredero and Vondel, the ethicist engraver Coornhert, the political economist de la Court brothers and English traveling theater. We go from art to poetry, drama, philosophy and medicine. Spring Break is in Amsterdam with museum visits, guest talks and participation in recreation of traveling theater from the period.
  • Early 17th Century: Polyglot Poetics: Transnational Early Modern Literature

    Early modern vernacular writers did not simply imitate classical antiquity, or, if northern Europeans, imitate Italian or French verse as if it were ancient, but traded verse horizontally and multilaterally. Languages faded into one another through proximity, trade and war. We explore this cross-lingual, transnational literary field through the literature of travelers in the period: the poetry of diplomats, colonists, itinerant prophets and pharmacists, and the work of traveling theater companies.

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