Comparative Literature and Literary Theory Graduate Courses


Graduate Courses

501. (ENGL571 and FREN512) Basic Issues in the History of Literary Theory. (A) Staff. An exploration of crucial issues of literary criticism centering on a few concepts--tradition, textuality, interpretation, ideology, authority--in order to problematize and historicize the ways in which we read literature.

502. (COML405, ENGL490, WSTD405) Unpublished Histories: Women's Lives in Search of an Author. (M) Shawcross. This course is designed to introduce students to original research in and analysis of the documentation of women's lives. It will begin with an overview of theoretical and methodological issues related to the genres of biography and autobiography and continue with the evaluation of a feminist perspective of these genres in relation to the lives of women. It is hoped that class sessions will eventually function more as colloquia rather than as traditional lectures or seminars. Students will be required to select a research topic based on archival resources.

503. (PHIL480) 18th Century Aesthetics. (M) A&S Distribution Requirement Distribution III: Arts & Letters. Guyer. This course will focus on the origination and development of aesthetics as a distinct discipline of philosophy in Britain and Germany in the 18th century. The primary issues to be considered will be the problem of the autonomy of the aesthetic, that is, the question of how to explain the human attachment to the aesthetic in terms of a general theory of value while also accounting for the uniqueness of aesthetic experience, and the problem of taste, that is, the problem of explaining a rational expectation of intersubjective agreement in the apparently highly subjective realm of feelings. Methodologically, the primary emphasis will be on the analysis of philosophical positions and criticism, but some consideration will also be given to the historical question of why aesthetics so suddenly flourished in the 18th century. Authors to be discussed will include Addison, Shaftsbury, Hutcheson,, Hume, Burke, Kanes, Baumgarten, Mendelssohn, Kant, and Schiller.

505. (AMES434, COML353) Arabic Literature and Literary Theory. (A) A&S Distribution Requirement Distribution III: Arts & Letters. Allen. This course takes a number of different areas of Literary Theory and, on the basis of research completed and in progress in both Arabic and Western languages, applies some of the ideas to texts from the Arabic literary tradition. Among these areas are: Evaluation and Interpretation, Structuralism, Metrics, Genre Theory, Narratology, and Orality.

506. (FREN594) Sociocriticism: Fiction and Society. (M) staff. This course will survey the basic theories of sociocriticism from Plato to Marx to Sartre to Jameson, present the instructor's method, and illustrate the relationship between fiction and society through the analysis of half a dozen novels drawn from the French and Anglo-American literatures.

507. (FREN590, WSTD507) Feminist Theory. (M) Frappier-Mazur. The course has four foci: I. the French intellectual background of the 1960's and how feminist theory in Europe and America has appropriated, criticized and reinterpreted the prevailing trends of the period. II. The contention that each gender possesses psychological characteristics traditionally considered as the prerogative of the opposite gender. III. The emphasis on a female specificity. IV. The emphasis on cultural determinism, an endeavor which usually involves a criticism of III, whose various manifestations are sometimes hastily lumped together under the term "neo-essentialism".

508. (ITAL562) World Views in Collision: The Counter-Reformation and Scientific Revolution. (M) Kirkham. The exploration of the radical conflicts that developed in 16th and 17th century Europe when Protestant reformers and scientific discoveries challenged the authority of the Catholic Church. Freedom of thought, heresy, censorship, and Utopian ideals will be discussed with reference to such figures as Machiavelli, Luther, Rabelais, More, Copernicus, and Galileo, who will be studied through their own writings, those of their contemporaries (both enemies and advocates), and in recreations by 20th century playwrights.

509. (RELS438) Kierkegaard. (C) Dunning. Critical examination of selected texts by Kierkegaard. Discussion of such issues as the pseudonymous writings and indirect communication, the theory of stages of religious development, the attack upon establishment religion, the psychological dimension of Kierkegaard's thought, and his relations to predecessors, particularly Hegel.

510. (FOLK460) Native American Folklore. (M) A&S Distribution Requirement Distribution II: History & Tradition. staff. This course is designed to be an introductory survey of the folklore of Native American peoples north of Mexico. The focus will be on contemporary images of Native Americans, as exhibited through material culture, music and verbal art. Attention will be paid to religion, ritual and modern technology as they pertain to these cultural configurations. Selected examples of Native American literature, and literature and films about Native Americans will be examined in regard to history, tradition and the world view that influences their response to contemporary American society. Each student will select one tribe and study it in depth. The knowledge gained through this concentration will be shared through class discussion and oral reports.

512. (FOLK512) Formula in Folklore and Literature. (M) Mills. This course surveys the development, applications and subsequent criticism of the Parry-Lord theory of oral composition, and its special definition of the "formula," its form and function.

513. (FOLK513) Folklore and Literature. (M) A&S Distribution Requirement Distribution III: Arts & Letters. Roberts. This course will examine folklore in its various literary relationships and the influence of folklore on the written tradition in literature. The primary emphasis will be on the interpretation of folklore within literary texts and the interpretations of literature from the perspective of "folk tradition."

531. (ITAL530, ITAL531) Medieval Italian Literature. (M) Brownlee. The course will explore the development of a new authorial subject in 13th- and 14th century European literature, culminating in Petrarch's CANZONIERE. Related problems will be "confessional" and "conversionary" narrative modes, and the poetics of the collection. Texts will include Heloise and Abelard (HISTORIA CALAMITATUM), Brunetto Latini (LIVRE DOU TRESOR and TESORETTO), LE ROMAN DE LA ROSE/IL FIORE, and Dante's VITA NUOVA. Taught in English.

532. (ITAL532) Dante:Divine Comedy II. (M) Brownlee. Second part of a detailed two-semester study.

533. (ITAL531) Dante's Divine Comedy I. (M) Brownlee. A close reading of the first two parts of Dante's masterpiece, the INFERNO and the PURGATORIE, which focuses on a series of interrelated problems raised by the poem: authority, representation, history and language. Particular attention will be given to the COMMEDIA'S use of Classical and Christian model texts: Virgil's AENEID, Ovid's METAMORPHOSES, and the Bible.

534. (ITAL534) Female Reader: From Provencal Poetess to Renaissance Prostitute. (M) Kirkham. Conducted in English; undergradutes need permission. This course will explore female presence, gender types and stereotypes, idolatry of women, and misogyny in poetry and fiction by Italian authors from the 13th to the 16th centuries: St. Francis of Assisi, Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, La Compiuta Donzella Fiorentina, Gaspara Stampa, Veronica Franco, and Vittoria Colonna.

535. (RELS535) Varieties of Christianity before Iraenaeus. (K) A&S Distribution Requirement Distribution II: History & Tradition. Kraft. A survey of the types of Christianity which developed during the first 150 years of the Church's existence, with special attention to the literature of the period (canonical and non-canonical, early patristic, "heretical," etc.).

536. (ITAL537) Boccaccio. (M) Kirkham. THE DECAMERON as well as some of Boccaccio's minor works written in Italian. Focus on the current polemics of interpretation (is it prurient, didactic, realistic, symbolic, metaliterary?) and Boccaccio's contribution to the development of the Italian novella.

537. (ENGL537) Renaissance Epic. (M) Quilligan. Focussing centrally on Spenser and Milton, the course will also take up continental Renaissance epics and epic theory: Ariosto, Tasso, Tonsard, D'Aubigny. The main emphasis of the course discussion will be on the process of canon-formation, using the privileged status of epic to investigate the interconnections between the social and literary procedures by which an elite list of texts gets constructed.

539. (ITAL539) Cracking the Code: Numerology, Astrology, Iconography in Medieval Literature. (M) Kirkham. A range of European texts from Augustine to Petrarch exemplifying the medieval art poetic of "veiled" truth will be read with reference to the structuring patterns and symbolic clues that permit decipherment of their hidden Christian meaning.

540. (ITAL540, WSTD540) Studies in the Italian Renaissance. (M)

542. (COMM542) Introduction to Cultural Studies and Mass Media. (M) Pearson. This course is intended to introduce students to a cultural studies approach to the study of communication and the mass media. The course will deal with the nature of signification, textual signifying practices, the production of texts, the conception of audiences, and issues of social power and domination.

545. (FOLK545) Festive Drama. (K) A&S Distribution Requirement Distribution II: History & Tradition. Abrahams. This course is a survey of the literature on masked and costumed performances in a number of selected spots in the world: Great Britain; the West Indies; Romania, Iran and Afghanistan; India; China; Indonesia including Bali; perhaps Japan. Included will be not only dance-dramas but cart-theater, puppetry and marionettes, and perhaps story-boards as well.

546. (ENGL546) 18th C. Literature and Culture, 1660-1725. (M) Korshin. A survey of the significant subgenres of English prose fiction from the late Renaissance to Defoe. We will study such manifestations of prose fiction as the picaresque (with a glance at the tradition in Spain, Germany, and France), the romance (from Sidney to Lyly to Congreve and Behn, with consideration of French influence in the later 17th c.), the fictions of travel (Hakluyt, Defoe, Swift), religious fiction (Bunyan and his successors), and the achievement of England's first major novelist, Defoe.

551. (ENGL551) Topics in Romanticism: The First Generation. (M) Curran. This course seeks to reconceive the literary contours of the last generation of the 18th century in England, with particular emphasis on its phenomenal last decade. When the label "Pre-Romanticism" was discarded, most of its literature went with it. What didn't ended up in the "Age of Johnson," which is not as age, as I see it, which most contemporary writers may be said to have lived. The result of these appropriations and losses has been said to leave the literary history of this crucial period manifestly distorted.

556. (AMES456) Ancient Interpretation of the Bible and Contemporary Literary Theory. (C) A&S Distribution Requirement Distribution III: Arts & Letters. Stern. The purpose of this course is two-fold: first, to study some of the more important ways in which the Bible was read and interpreted before the modern period; second, to consider the uses to which some contemporary literary theorists have put these ancient modes of interpretation as models and precursors for their own writing. The major portion of the course will be devoted to intensive readings of major ancient exegetes, Jewish and Christian with a view to considering their exegetical approaches historically as well as from the perspective of contemporary critical and hermeneutical theory. Readings of primary sources will be accompanied by secondary readings that will be both historically oriented as well as theoretical, with the latter including Hartman, Kermode, Todorov, and Bloom.

558. (ITAL559) Renaissance Images of Poetry. (M) Kirkham. This course will look at Renaissance images of the Author, both in the visual arts (portrayals in manuscripts, cycles of famous men, statuary, medals) and in the literary tradition, especially lives of the poets and defenses of poetry. Focussing on Homer, Virgil, and Ovid; Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio it will reconstruct the Author as ideal figure, the inspired sage and prophet privileged by the title poeta. Readings in English, reading knowledge of Italian or Latin desirable.

559. (EDUC559, FOLK536) Play and Games. (B) A&S Distribution Requirement Distribution II: History & Tradition. Sutton-Smith. A cultural, psychological, and historical examination of play and games, focusing on development aesthetics and performance.

560. (FOLK531) Prose Narrative. (A) A&S Distribution Requirement Distribution III: Arts & Letters. Ben-Amos. The topics of discussion in the course are the following: the nature of narrative, narrative taxonomy and terminology, performance in storytelling events, the transformation of historical experience into narrative, the construction of symbolic reality, the psycho-social interpretation of folktales, the search for the minimal units, the historic-geographic method in folktale studies, the folktale in history and the history of folktale research.

561. (ANTH560) Complex Societies: Social and Cultural Approaches. (M) Barnes. Comparative studies of contemporary urban society in many parts of the world with emphasis on the organization of cultural/social diversity. Individual research projects are required.

564. (ENGL564) Modern British Literature. (M) English. Beginning with G.E. Moore's PRINCIPIA ETHICA and the art theory of Roger Fry and Clive Bell, this course will then move on to concentrate on the writing of E.M. Forster, Lytton Strachey, Virginia Woolf, and T.S. Eliot, some of whom were at the heart of Bloomsbury, some on the periphery, to see what sort of intellectual cohesiveness we can find in the group as a whole.

565. (ITAL565) Revolutions in Science and Literature. (M) Staff. This course investigates the ways in which the Copernican revolution was complemented by parallel developments in literature. Lectures focus on specific astronomical arguments developed by Galileo Galilei and show both the influence of Dante and Ariosto on him and the importance of his scientific discoveries for 17th century poetry. The course is taught in English and all texts are read in English translation.

566. (FOLK546) Folklore of Public Events. (J) A&S Distribution Requirement Distribution I: Society. Abrahams. This course will survey the ways in which traditions of multifocussed and historically-layered events have been studied. It will begin with a discussion of rituals and other sacred intensive activities and look at the forces that bring about the separation between secular and religious modes of display. Special attention will be paid to calendar customs. Many American events, like traditional parades, parties, fairs, conventions, meets, and shows will be covered.

569. (ENGL569) Caribbean Literature. (M) Staff. This course is designed to introduce students to the literature of the Caribbean region. The major emphasis will be on the literature of the English-speaking Caribbean (West Indian). We will explore themes and topics linking several authors, comparisons and contrasts in literary technique, and approaches to language. We will also explore West Indian writing in the broader regional context provided by writers like Cesaire, Carpentier, Guillen and Roumain. This ought to provide students with additional insight into the issues surrounding critical approaches to the literature of the region. Beyond introducing students to the literature of the region, this course will acquaint students with general approaches to the literature and explore the regional preoccupation with a Caribbean aesthetic distinct from any premise of European hegemony.

570. (ENGL527, GRMN570) Emblem in Early Literature. (M) A&S Distribution Requirement Distribution III: Arts & Letters. Staff.

571. (EDUC534, FOLK534, LING534) The Ethnography of Speaking. (C) A&S Distribution Requirement Distribution II: History & Tradition. Staff. The social and cultural organization of traditional means of speech in communities emphasizing analysis of styles, genres, and performances from a linguistic standpoint.

572. (COMM544) Aesthetic Communications. (B) Gross. Instructor's permission. Applications of communicational, social, and psychological principles to the study of the creation and appreciation of aesthetic objects and events. Artistic processes and products viewed in terms of cultural and historical definitions of the nature of art and the role of the artist.

573. (AFAM570, ENGL570) Afro-American Literature. (M) Staff. This is a topics course. The topics may be "Afro-American Literature," "Afro-American Women Writers," or "Three Afro-American Writers: Ellison, Gaines and McPherson."

574. (ENGL571) History on Film. (M) Saper. This course will focus on the implications of newspapers, photography, film, and video on writing history. We will read media theories, cultural histories, and historiographies. In approaching the question of how to write history in an age inundated with spectacles and images, we will read historiographies from many scholars, including the following: Benjamin and Adorno; Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, and Benedict Anderson; Christian Metz and Constance Penley. We will read histories by Schivelbusch, Ronell,Kittler, Gunning, and selections from "New" and Postmodern Histories. In addition to these readings, we will have regular screenings of film including selections from THE CIVIL WAR, SHOAH, SHERMAN'S MARCH, NATION, and MY TWENTIETH CENTURY.

579. (AMES579, WSTD579) The Feminine in Japanese Literature: Potential and Paradox. (M) A&S Distribution Requirement Distribution III: Arts & Letters. Chance. In traditional Japan, writing in the native Japanese language (as opposed to Chinese, the language of the bureaucracy) was considered the province of the female. Hence the greatest works of prose literature, such as THE TALE OF GENJI, were written by women during the classical age, while male poets frequently adopted women's voices. In this course we will explore the Japanese link between the literary and the feminine. Topics include the feminine character of the native aesthetic; the contradictory reality of women's social status; the impact of women's preeminence in literature; and the persistence of separate male and female idioms. We will also consider comparative and theoretical issues pertaining to the women's voice. The course will be taught in English with readings in translation, and will touch on all periods of Japanese literature.

580. (RELS525) Judaism in the Hellenistic Era. (H) A&S Distribution Requirement Distribution II: History & Tradition. Kraft. An examination of the varieties of Jewish thought current from ca. 300 BCE to ca. 200 CE and of the ways in which the early Christians adapted and/or reacted to this Jewish heritage. The focus is on the relevant literature from that period.

581. (RELS508) Hermeneutics. (M) Dunning. A seminar on such problems as subjectivity vs. objectivity in interpretation. Other topics include the nature of a "text," the role of the author's intention, and the relations between interpretation and both history and language. Focus upon the hermeneutical theories of such thinkers as Gadamer, Hirsch, Ricoeur, Habermans, and Steiner. Topics for Spring 1993: Gadamer's TRUTH AND METHOD.

582. (ITAL580) Migrating Texts: Black Italian Literature. (A) Staff. If the topic is "Migrating Texts: Black Italian Literature," the following description applies: In the past ten years Italy has been transformed from a country of emigration into a country of immigration. In the past five years, immigrants have published texts in Italian that depict their experience as "black others" within Italian society. This course will focus on contemporary Italophone narrative by immigrants from Tunisia, Morocco, and Senegal and consequently, on the problematic definition of an "Italophone" space within Italian literature.

585. (ITAL585) Pirandello and Philosophy of Difference. (M) Staff. The philosophy of difference is understood here not only in the acceptation of Deridian deconstruction, but in the larger context of social, psychological, and aesthetic theory that runs from Kierkegaard and Nietzsche through Max Weber, Alfred BInet, Gerog Simmel and Theodor Adorno, to contemporary hermeneutics and systems analysis. Like Musil, Beckett, and others, Pirandello is conscious of thematizing a condition at the end of modernity generally marked by the dissolution of the subject, by "anomalous" social organization, and by antisysthetic thinking. In this course we will examine what Pirandello's aesthetic contributes to this new tradition.

586. (ARTH586) Twentieth Century Criticism & Theory. (M) Poggi. This seminar will examine the ideas of a number of influential theorists in a variety of disciplines who have contributed to the ways in which we understand and evaluate art. A tentative and flexible list includes: Kant, Denis, Fry, Greenberg, Schapiro, de Bord, Derrida, Lacan, Kristeva, Baudrillard.

590. (ENGL590) Recent Issues in Critical Theory. (M) Staff. English 590 is a topics course. The titles may be "Post-Modern Criticism," "Media and Cultural Theory," or "Writing and Materiality."

591. (RELS436) Life & Letters of Paul. (J) Kraft. An attempt to understand Paul & his writings, although reference will be made to other canonical & non-canonical traditions about Paul.

594. (AFAM595, ENGL595) Post-Colonial Discourse: Literature and Film. (M) Staff.

597. (ENGL597) Modern Drama. (M) Mazer. This is a topics course. If the course title is Sex and Politics in Fin-de-Siecle European Drama, the following description applies. This course will examine the curious interconnections of gender, sexuality, and politics in English and Continental European drama and theatre at the end of the 19th and the first two decades of the 20th centuries: how plays about the "Fallen woman" and the "woman with a past" locate the health of the social and political community in the supposed moral health of the woman's body; how sexual desire, particularly female desire, is figured as dangerous or even murderous; how agendas for political change are negotiated, in the drama, via courtship and marriage; and how the body is represented and perceived in the presence of the actor and actress on the stage. Readings will include plays by Ibsen, Strindberg, and others.

601. (FREN601, HIST612, WSTD601) Theories of Sexuality. (C) DeJean/Smith-Rosenberg. "There is no natural way to experience the human body," anthropologist Mary Douglas tells us. Cold, hunger, pain, even sexual pleasure are socially constructed; all reflect the social relationships of the society in which they are experienced. This course will examine the social and discursive construction of the body and sexuality in France, England, and the United States beginning in the early modern period and continuing to the present. The course will be structured around three themes: MARRIAGE AND GETTING AROUND IT; RACE AND GENDER; DEVIANCE AND PERVERSITY. An interdisciplinary course, it will utilize literary practices to "read" the ways specific texts produce sexuality at the same time as it will examine the relation between discourses and the material and political worlds in which those discourses are spoken. We will examine the role sexuality plays in the languages of Imperialism and in the sexualization of political rhetoric. The course will explore theoretical approaches to sexuality (and its discursive construction) proposed by Freud, Foucault, Sander Gilman, Gayle Rubin, Teresa de Lauretis, Mary Douglas, and examine a broad range of "primary materials" from eighteenth-century novels and pornography to nineteenth- century sexology to current feminist and political debates.

604. (FREN609) Anthropology and Modernism. (M) Richman. The purpose of this course is to examine the formation of an "ethnographic imagination" prior to World War II which drew on notions of the sacred, transgression, collective representations, myth and community derived from the French school of sociology, represented by Durkheim and Mauss. Its central goal is to consider the impact of anthropology on French cultural modernism, in order to assess its consequences for the status of literature in subsequent critical thought.

605. (ANTH605, FOLK605, MUSC605) Anthropology of Music. (C) Roseman. Theories and methods of the ethnomusicological approach to the study of music in culture applied to selected western and non-western performance contexts.

607. (ENGL776) Gender, Violence, and Theatricality. (M) Hart. English 776 is a topics course. If the topic is "Gender, Violence, and Theatricality" the following description applies: The course will investigate representations of violence, primarily murder, with special emphasis on female to male violence particularly as it is represented by women playwrights and filmmakers. Although we will be focusing on dramatic texts, we will consider "theatre" as an open and permeable construct. Participants will be encouraged to expand the boundaries of this genre and move outside of it altogether if they wish for their final papers. We will be pursuing the cultural constructions and mythologies of female violence within and against the discourse of feminism(s). Readings will be interdisciplinary drawing from literary theory, cultural history, anthropology, psychoanalytic theory, and criminology. Our research will interrogate the ideological underpinnings of women killers as they are constructed in histories and staged in theatre. We will compare the findings of empirical studies to theatrical representations as we investigate what function these "lady killers" fulfill for cultural histories. Requirements for the course will include a 20-minute oral presentation, a final paper of 15-20 pages, an annotated bibliography and a group scripted performance piece. Students need not have an prior experience in "playwriting", as this last requirement will not be carried out as a conventional writing assignment.

610. (HIST610, WSTD610) Colloquium in American History. (D) Staff. Readings and discussion on selected topics in American history developed by scholars of race, gender, and colonialism in such fields as anthropology, philosophy, literary theory, black studies and feminist studies. If the course is crosslisted with Women's Studies, the following description applies. The course explores difference and theoretical perspectives on difference as related to gender, race, class and sexuality. We will examine, in addition to the work of historians, historical studies of social diversity in America developed by scholars of race, gender, and colonialism in such fields as Anthropology, Philosophy, Literary Theory, Black Studies and Feminist Studies.

611. (ENGL792) Freud, Psychoanalysis, Criticism. (M) Bernheimer. This course will be organized around an intense reading of a substantial number of Freud's most important texts. We will also read articles by both analysts and critics on Freud, on the social application of Freudian theory, and on literary works. Some of these literary works will be assigned, giving us a common set of touchstone books on which to test our psychoanalytic concepts and methods. In the second part of the semester we will read selections from the English school of object relations, from Lacan, and from the feminist and Marxist critiques of psychoanalysis. The course is intended to be introductory. Interested students from various departments are welcome.

612. (FOLK612) Words in the World. (D) Mills. Within the last ten or fifteen years, there has been a flowering of scholarship revealing the diversity of oral verbal art worldwide. The course surveys a selection of recent book-length studies of specific narrative and other verbal art traditions in their cultural contexts. We will move from North Africa through the Middle East, South Asia, Australia, the western Pacific, and native America, examining particular traditions and texts, the ways they intersect with their societies, and the ways different scholars have found to document and interpret them.

613. (ENGL781, HIST613) Concepts of Nationalism. (C) Smith-Rosenberg. This graduate seminar will explore the construction of the idea of nationhood as it took form, first in the American colonies and later in the American republic, in historical and literary texts.

614. (SOCI531) Gender, Family and Social Change. (C) Smith. SOCI 531 is a topics course. If the topic for the semester is "Gender, Family and Social Change", the following description and crosslisting apply. This course focuses on the intersection between the history of the family in Western societies, the emergence of industrial and the transformation to postindustrial society, and changes in gender roles and relations. By reading historical accounts of family change in relation to social change we will evaluate several sociological issues. What consequences for household structure and family relations did the emergence of industrial capitalism hold for women and men and for children? How have broader changes in the organization of work and labor markets affected hierarchy and power within the family?

615. (HIST615) Colonialism, Culture, and Power. (I) Farriss. Colonialism as symbolization. Explores the relationship between power and our ways of organizing experience or making sense of the world. Emphasis is on language and its uses, under such labels as discourse, interpretation, and narrative.

617. (ANTH617) Contemporary Approach to the Study of Culture & Society. (C) Barnes. A critical examination of recent history & theory in cultural & social anthropology. Topics include structural - functionalism; evolution & ecology; cognitive anthropology; post- structuralism. Emphasis is on major schools & trends in America, Britain & France. We will read Geertz, Marx, Durkheim, Foucault, Levi-Strauss, Turner, Bourdieu.

622. (ENGL774) Postmodernism. (M) Steiner. English 774 is a topics course. If the title is "Postmodernism," the following description applies: This course will consist of a series of genre-illuminating novels and major theories of the novel (by Sklovskij, Lukacs, Booth, Bakhtin, Watts, and Frye). The aim is to experience the variety of the genre and its criticism, and to discover the problems posed for the theorist by this anarchic literary type. The special focus will be on the postmodernist novel. Other topics could be "Literature and Mass Culture," or "Post-modern Poetry."

628. (ENGL772) Mimesis and Metadrama in the Age of Shakespeare. (M) Rackin. We will examine two opposed concepts of literary imitation as they were described in literary theory and expressed in dramatic literature. We will begin with classical theories of imitation (in Plato, Aristotle, and Horace) and then proceed to study Renaissance arguments for icastic (literal) and fantastic imitation. Finally, using this opposition as a conceptual framework, we will study individual plays that exemplify both types of imitation. Most of the semester will be devoted to the study of individual plays (mainly Shakespeare's) considered in the light of this theoretical opposition.

633. (FREN633) Exemplarity and Subjectivity: 14th Century Poetics. (M) Brownlee. The course focuses on two key and inter-related problems in 14th-century poetics: the status of the exemplum and the creation of the subject. The point of departure involves two Latin model texts: Ovid's METAMORPHOSES (for exemplarity) and Boethius's CONSOLATION OF PHILOSOPHY (for subjectivity).

634. (GRMN672) Modernism. (J) Trommler. The course will discuss Modernism and Avant-Garde as concepts in literature, theater, and criticism. It will focus on the crucial movements and aesthetic developments in Europe and includes readings of some representative authors, including Baudelaire, Nietzsche, Joyce, Eliot, Mann, Benjamin, Adorno. The last part will be devoted to the juxtaposition of Modernism and Postmodernism.

635. (FREN635) Late Medieval Literature. (M) Brownlee. A close reading of Dante's masterpiece, the culmination of the DIVINE COMEDY, which focuses on a series of interrelated problems raised by the poem: authority, representations, history and language. Particular attention will be given to the PARADISO's use of Classical and Christian model texts: Ovid's METAMORPHOSES, Virgil's AENEID, The Gospel of St. John, The Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul's Letters, The Apocalypse. Dante's rewritings of model authors will also be studied in the context of Provencal love lyric (Folquet de Marseille) and of medieval Latin hymnody ("theological lyricism"), linked to Biblical criticism (Bernard of Clairvaux). The course will be taught in English.

637. (ENGL735) Shakespeare. (M) Rackin. Shakespeare wrote ten English history plays, all but one of them during the last ten years of the 16th century, when the English history play was the most popular genre on the public stage. We will study those plays, along with representative selections from their historiographic sources and contemporary descriptions of the purpose and nature of history, in order to explore the ways theatrical representations of medieval history participated in early modern reconstructions of personal and national identity. Questions we will address include the tensions between the generic protocols of Renaissance historiography, and how the material conditions of Shakespeare's sources come from a historiographic tradition designed to preserve the names and record the heroic struggles of kings and noblemen and to justify patrilineal hereditary privilege. In Shakespeare's playhouse, which was open to anyone, regardless of sex or status, who could pay the price of admission, these contradictions opened a space where a status system that attempted to stabilize social difference by historiographic mythmaking was contested and reconstructed within a new arena of historiographic representation.

644. (HIST644) Introduction to Cultural Studies. (B) Farriss/Hunt. This course is concerned with the study of culture over--and in--time. How historians, anthropologists, and literary critics, influenced in one way or another by linguistics, explore the shifting meanings the Western academy has assigned to such key concepts as culture and society, discourse and the material, history and myth, meaning, perception and experience. The processes by which these concepts are seen to interact and their patterns of interdependence.

645. (HIST645) History and Culture. (A) Farriss. The aim of this course is to explore and test ways of (re)constructing past cultural practices. The exploration begins with some basic concepts of culture and cultural change and their relationship to social dynamics. Next we will try to identify and apply the most appropriate sources and methods for analyzing cultural "languages" (myth or narrative, symbol, and ritual) and their "texts." We will look especially at tools and insights that can be adapted from literary criticism and sociolinguistics, as well as from ethnography--always within the "discipline of historical context" (E.P. Thompson). Emphasis will be documentary sources, published and unpublished, but visual imagery and the material record in general, as well as oral traditions, will be included. Particular attention will be paid to the interface between written and non-written texts, and the search for echoes of unrecorded voices. The principal interpretive questions will revolve around two clusters of issues. One cluster involves evidence and standards of verification; the other involves the ethics and rhetoric of cultural translation/representation.

650. (SLAV650) Slavic Literary Theory in the 20th-Century. (C) Steiner. Structuralist, formalist, and Marxist theories of literature in East Europe during the twentieth century and their implications for Western literary theory will be examined.

656. (ANTH656) Representations and Social Theory. (M) Keane. A reading of contemporary social theory and some of its forebears in reference to problems of representation (discursive, visual, material) following two intertwined approaches. One concerns the roles that various social theories have suggested representations play in society. The other concerns the ways that we can make use of representations in the study of society. Included in the readings will be Bourdieu, Derrida, Foucault, Habermas, and Williams. This course would be of interest not only to anthropologists but to students of representations in society in such fields as media studies, arts and literature, history, and folklore.

660. (FOLK630) Oral Epic. (M) Ben-Amos. In the past twenty years, there has been an increase in the availability of oral epics and the scholarship about them. The course is devoted to new developments, examining the poetics of epic performance. Each student will work on an epic text of his choice, examining the narrative and the scholarship related to it, in terms of the theoretical issues that will be brought up in class discussions.

661. (FREN660, HIST620) Self and Subject in 18th C. France. (K) Hunt/Dejean. We will read a number of the most influential texts of the Enlightenment. We will discuss texts that can be said to have shaped the social and political consciousness that we think of as characteristic of the Enlightenment--works like Rousseau's CONTRAT SOCIAL and the meditations on freedom of religious expression that Voltaire contributed to "affaires" such as the "affaire Calas." We will also discuss texts that now stand as monuments of the spirit of the age- -its corruption (LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES), its satiric wit (LE NEVEU DE RAMEAU), its libertine excesses of philosophy (LA PHILOSOPHIE DANS LE BOUDOIR). We will try to define the specificity of l8th c. prose (fiction). Throughout, we will be guided by a central question: What was the Enlightenment?

662. (FOLK629, RELS605) Theories of Myth. (M) Ben-Amos. Theories of myth are the center of modern and post-modern, structural and post-structural thought. Myth has served as a vehicle and a metaphor for the formulation of a broad range of modern theories. In this course we will examine the theoretical foundations of these approaches to myth focusing on early thinkers such as Vico, and concluding with modern 20th century scholars in several disciplines that make myth the central idea of their studies.

670. (GRMN670) German Literary Criticism from Lessing to Iser. (M) Daemmrich. Study of the major contributions of such critics as Lessing, Benjamin, Gadamer, Iser to principles of criticism with particular emphasis on such basic concepts as mimesis, illusion, and aesthetic distance.

671. (FREN604, GRMN671) Structuralism and Post-Structuralism. (M) Daemmrich/Richman. An examination of modern Continental literary theories, post- Structuralism, theories of reading, and theories of textuality.

674. (GRMN674) Topics in Aesthetic Theory. (K) Weissberg. Topic will change. The course may discuss, in detail, Benjamin's essays on language and translation, on narrative theory, and on the work of art in modern times. It will also reflect on his definition of allegory and his use of literary theory, as exemplified in his URSPRUNG DES DEUTSCHEN TRAUERSPEILS.

675. (SLAV675) Topics in Prague Structuralism. (M) Steiner. A systematic exploration of the holistic, functional, and semiotic approach to literature and art practiced by the members of the Prague School.

676. (GRMN676, WSTD676) Readings in Feminist Theory. (I) Weissberg. The course will concentrate on a selection of essays offering diverse theories and practices of feminist criticism. Readings of these essays will be supplemented by a discussion of German and other literary works by and/or on women. The anthology FEMINISMS, eds. Warhol and Herndl, will be used.

677. (GRMN677, SOCI531) Literary Sociology. (C) Staff. SOCI 531 is a topics course. If the topic for the semester is "Literary Sociology", the following description and crosslisting apply. Focus is on the sociology and social history of literature. Taking off from a special issue of POETICS (Nov. 14, 1985, "On Writing Histories of Literature"), this seminar will attempt to provide a bridge between substantive philologies (e.g., German) and the social sciences. The distrust by the former against the latter (e.g., regarding premature generalizations) will be explored, as will be their common ground. This course should appeal to students from sociology (sociology of literature, of knowledge, of language), from philologies (e.g., Comparative Literature, German, etc.), and from social history. Some initial familiarity with - or at least curiosity about - social vs. intuitive and introspective hermeneutics (on the part of students of philology) and theories of social structure and social change (by sociology students) would be an asset.

680. (ITAL680) Essayism: Musil, Conrad, Pirandello. (M) Staff. A concept coined by Musil, essayism is at once an ontology, an epistemology, an aesthetic, and an ethic. The essay means literally "attempt," or "trial," as in the ongoing attempts to achieve a goal, and, by extension, a literary genre which uses multiplicity and relativity to engage in this trial. The trial is that of knowledge as well as of existential authenticity, two things that the 20th-century finds particularly problematic, if not altogether unattainable.

681. (PHIL680) History of Aesthetics. (M) Guyer. This course will examine the transformation of aesthetic theory in the post-Kantian period, with particular attention to changes in the concept of the aesthetic itself and in conceptions of the place of the discipline of aesthetics in philosophy as a whole.

686. (GRMN666) History and Literature. (M) Trommler. A seminar-style course on the complex interaction of history and literature and the theories reflecting it. Recent discussion on structuralism, poststructuralism and critical theory have given this interaction new significance. Readings will include Hayden White, Barthes, LaCapra, Habermas, Lukacs, Jauss. Discussions and papers will combine theoretical concerns and literary analysis.

687. (FREN632) Voices in the Text: Troubadour and Trouvere Lyric Poetry. (M) Staff. A study of the troubadour and trouvere lyric stressing the radical orality of medieval poetic performance. We will study medieval lyric as vocalized discourse, taking into account not only the sound of the voice reciting, but also the sound of the voice singing. Using an interartistic approach, we will look at the poetry, music and visual art of the chansonniers (lyric mss.), to see how music, poetry and art may be studied together as manifestations of a new preoccupation with literacy emerging in what was still an overwhelmingly oral context. We shall also consider some of the theories of gender-based discourse, using rare but important examples of women poets. Modern editions will be used with frequent recourse to original manuscripts (no prior experience with paleography necessary).

690. (FREN690) Studies in French Thought. (M) Staff. This course will first examine different tragic representations of Oedipus (from Sophocles, Rotrou, Corneille, Racine, Voltaire to Anouilh) before focusing on the psychoanalytical version by Freud and the contemporary reformulation by Lacan.

701. (FREN619) Narratology. (M) Prince. An investigation of such topics in the theory of narrative as plot, meta-narrative signs, narrative grammars, narrative legibility, the narratee. Topics vary from term to term.

702. (AFAM701, AFST701, ANTH701, FOLK701, HIST701) African Aesthetics. (M) Ben-Amos. Chronic problems and contemporary issues attending the concepts of literary (and, more broadly, aesthetic) value and judgment, and some approaches to their investigation and resolution. Topics include the sources, variables, and constancies of literary/aesthetic value and the multiple forms , functions, and contexts of evaluative behavior.

705. (ENGL705) Literature and Painting. (M) Steiner. This is a seminar on the relations between painting and literature, with special emphasis on the modern period. It will cover the history and theory of the interartistic analogy from Simonides' poem as "speaking picture," through Horace and the humanists' UT PICTURE POESIS, to Lessing's contrast between the spatial and temporal arts, to the thematization of painting in nineteenth-century romance, to the modern technical approach to the analogy. It will also show how artists have imagined this relationship, examining works by Williams, Pound, Stein, the New York School, Abstract Expressionism, Escher, Gorey, the Pre-Raphaelites, Keats, the Concrete poets, Vorticists, Cubists, Dadaists, and Surrealists.

709. (RELS707) Seminar on Nietzsche. (M) Dunning. An exploration of the relation of Nietzsche and Derrida to religious studies (especially to issues in hermeneutics).

712. The Decadent Subject. (C) Bernheimer. This course proposes to demonstrate that major works of European art in the period from 1875 to 1910, be they traditionally defined as naturalist, symbolist, fantastic, or realist, not only share a similar subject matter but construct a similar psychological subject.

715. (ANTH705, FOLK715, MUSC705) Seminar in Enthnomusicology: Music, Language, and Meaning in Performance. (A) Roseman. This is a topics course. If the title for the semester is Music, Language, and Meaning in Performance, the following description applies. This course draws on new work in ethnomusicology, anthropology, folklore, linguistics, and other fields to approach the study of musical performance. Music and speech are compared with respect to their formal patterning, capacity for invoking meanings, relationship to other performance channels (e.g. movement), and their place in social life. Topics include the role of music in healing, ritual, play, politics, and emotion, as well as the construction of identity, power, and gender. Examples will be drawn from non-Western and Western, traditional and popular, rural, and urban genres.

717. (ARCH717) Critical Writing. Rybczynski. Informed criticism is integral to understanding architecture; analytical writing can also be a useful tool for the designer. This course stresses the relationship between buildings, places, and their cultural context, and explores different design intentions and final results. Selected critical essays (Mumford, Summerson, Collins, Jencks) form the basis for weekly discussions.

720. (ARCH820) Interpretation. (C) Rykwert. Architectural theories range from speculations through manifestos and ideologies to systematic explanations of practice. The current debates in architectural theory are examined by questioning invited lecturers who represent the key positions in contemporary theory construction. Each semester, two or three topics are examined (e.g., the critique of the city, craft versus machine production, representation, building as the metaphor of the body, the fabrication and materiality of the building.

721. (ARCH830) Inquiry. (M) Rykwert. Visiting lecture series. See description for Interpretation.

730. (ENGL730) Sixteenth-Century Cultural Relations. When Women Ruled the World: English-French Relations in the Second Half of the Sixteenth Century. (M) Quilligan. The seminar will investigate the various competitions for power over the representations of two specific queens, Elizabeth Tudor of England and Catherine de Medici of France. In an European culture where women were not supposed to rule, their anomalous gynococracies created profound cultural contradictions which it was the business of art to ameliorate in any way art could. We shall trace and compare the various contestations over representation in each culture, understanding that the political interconnections between the two nations ensured that the representation of each queen took place in relation to the other. We shall be dealing with as wide a range of documents and artifacts as we can responsibly handle (including poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture, gardening practices, as well as legal and diplomatic correspondence). A reading knowledge of French will be helpful.

742. (COMM742) Seminar in Cultural Studies and the Mass Media. (M) Pearson. Prerequisite(s): COMM 542 or equivalent or permission of the instructor. Selected topics in cultural studies and the mass media, particularly film and television. Analysis of the theoretical and methodological approaches of the relevant literature will prepare students to design and conduct research topics.

750. Romanticism in Italy. (M) Curran. This seminar will center on the phenomenon of a country that was less a nation than an idea and that as such exerted a powerful hold over the imagination of western European writers during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Our readings will come from four national literatures--English, French, German, and Italian. Among topics we will explore are the relation between ongoing historical events and this emergent idea of Italy, how the idea as mediated on the scene to onlookers from afar spoke to particular needs and traditions of each culture, how it impelled the exile communities within (and, for Italians, outside of) Italy, and , as possible, how the differing sites (geographical, political, cultural) within the country may have affected the Romantic conception of Italy. All readings will be in English, but participants of the seminar are expected to have sufficient command of one of the other languages to bring to discussion an informed sense of the literary and cultural values of its representative texts so as to share that information with other seminar participants.

760. (FOLK606) History of Folklore Studies. (A) Ben-Amos. A survey of the theoretical basis and the historical development of research in international and American folkloristics.

764. (FOLK707) Problems in Orality and Literacy. (M) Mills. A number of distinct currents contribute to folklorists' thinking about the interrelationships of oral and literary expressive traditions, information systems, and social institutions. This course will explore the work of folklorists and medievalists responding to the "oral theory" of Millman Perry and Albert Lord; of the anthropologist Jack Goody and other historically-oriented scholars speculating on the possible effects of emergent literacy of literary scholars such as Walter Ong; and perhaps most pertinently for folklorists, recent ethnographic work such as that of Scribner and Cole for the African Vai and of Scollan and Scollan in native North American communities, regarding the development and social implications of literacy in modern communities. Oral culture and communication processes in industrializing Europe and in predominantly literate post-industrial societies will also be considered.

768. (ENGL768) Ghosts of Modernity. (M) Rabate. This is a topics course. If the title is "Ghosts of Modernity," the following description applies. The graduate seminar would like to explore the archeology of modernity in order to understand how, despite a desire to break up with the past and to launch the radically new, modernity appears as always haunted by specific ghosts. One of the central issues will turn around the question of the rationality of critical discourse when it is confronted with uncanny objects such as ghosts. From Freudian and Derridian theories to the history of postmodernity (Lyotard), we shall revisit a few monuments of modernish mourning. We shall attempt to apprehend how an experience of loss is as crucial for Surrealism as for Joyce, yet organizes different economies of libidinal investment. The very mourning of form as such will provide a concept with which we can start rethinking the dividing line between modernism proper and postmodernism which begins to assert itself with Beckett, Bernhard, and Michael Palmer. The strong link between mourning and modernity will be shown central to all the movements that have attempted an esthetic revolution.

769. (ENGL769, WSTD769) Feminist Theory. (M) Hart. This is a topics course. If the title for the semester is Feminist Theory: Sexual/Textual Dissidence the following description applies. This course is designed as an introduction to theories of subjectivity in post-structuralist analysis and "dissident" sexualities as they have been inscribed in cultural/textual representations from the late 19th century to the present. Feminist critiques of sexual difference, especially as they have been informed by psychoanalysis, will be our primary methodology. We will be especially concerned with the construction of lesbian and gay "identities" and the politics of visibility for subcultural sexual minorities as they intersect historically with class, race, and gender formations.

770. (COMM744) Seminar in Aesthetic Communication. (H) Gross. Prerequisite(s): Either COML 572, COMM 544, COMM 562, or permission of instructor. Analysis of selected theories of aesthetic communications. Emphasis on conceptualization of aesthetic aspects of symbolic behavior in social contexts, and the possibilities of subjecting these models to empirical investigation.

771. (ENGL781) Earliest American Literature. (M) Cheyfitz. Beginning in the 16th c. and continuing until the present moment, this course will explore the historic conflict between Europeans and Indians in the geographical and imaginative space that becomes the United States of America. Specifically we will explore this conflict as a theoretical issue that involves questions about the relationship between political and literary representation. In this context, native American literature begins as an appropriation of Indian oral cultures by European writing, including ethnography, history, and law, as well as what we think of today as imaginative literature. But beginning in the 19th c., Native Americans appropriate this writing as a form of resistance to their dispossession by European culture and society. The appearance of Native American voices in writing, then, constitutes the literature of Euramerican and Native American conflict that this course proposes to define. Readings will include: THE TEMPEST, A TRUE DECLARATION OF THE ESTATE OF THE COLONIE IN VIRGINIA, THE PIONEERS, A SON OF THE FOREST, A CENTURY OF DISHONOR, LIFE AMONG THE PIUTES, RAMONA, THE FIFTH WORLDS OF FORSTER BENNETT, SPIDER WOMAN'S GRANDDAUGHTERS, THE PEOPLE NAMED OF CHIPPEWA, TRIGGER DANCE, and STORYTELLER.

772. (ENGL771) Literary Value and Evaluation: Cultural Theory/Literary Production. (M) Stallybrass. Chronic problems and contemporary issues attending the concepts of literary (and, more broadly, aesthetic) value and judgment, and some approaches to their investigation and resolution. Topics include the sources, variables, and consistencies of literary/aesthetic value and the multiple forms, functions, and contexts of evaluative behavior.

773. (AFAM770, ENGL770) Afro-American Autobiography. (M) Baker. This course will explore critical and theoretical issues surrounding the genre of autobiography. We will pay special attention to variables that affect the "normal practice" of autobiographical criticism and theory.

778. (ENGL778) Twentieth Century Aesthetics. (M) Steiner. This course will examine some of the scandals in the arts that more and more characterize the public perception of aesthetics from ethics and politics in the formalist theories of the early century, and the postmodern critique of this separation as a fetishizing of art analogous to the oppression of women.

781. (MUSC720) Music and the Occult Sciences in the Italian Renaissance. (C) Tomlinson. MUSC 720 is a topics course. If the topic for the semester is "Music and the Occult Science in Italian Renaissance", the following description and crosslisting apply. The seminar will elucidate the prominent role of music in philosophies of astrology, white magic, and demonic magic current in Italy from 1450 to 1650. Associated topics discussed will include: Renaissance explanations of music's effects; 16th-century concepts of linguistic expression and their applications to the poetic theory of the time; the status of ideas of celestial harmony through the Renaissance; the interactions of occult and scientific mentalities in late-Renaissance thought; and modern anthropological theories of the relations between music and trance. Readings will include excerpts from contemporary writers (Ficino, Agrippa, Campanella, Gafurius, Zarlino, etc.) as well as secondary sources. The course will conclude with recent general writings on cultural history and the "history of meanings" in an attempt to replace its own discourse in larger debates concerning relations of history and theory.

790. (ENGL790) Recent Issues in Critical Theory. (M) Staff. This is a topics course. The topics may be "The Frankfurt School," "Jacques Lacan and the Theory of Literature " or "Postcolonial Britain-- Literature, Theory, Contexts."

798. (ENGL799) American Literature in Theory. (M) Staff. This is a topics course. When the topic is "American Literature in Theory," the following description applies: The study of transatlantic exchanges between European theory and recent reconceptualizations of American literary and cultural studies. Readings will include selections from European theorists, especially Marxist, feminist, and poststructuralist theories, with particular attention to the ways these theories/theorists have worked to constitute, complement, or delegitimize recent reconceptualizations of the theory and practice of American literary and cultural studies by a group that has loosely come to be known as "the New Americanists." The topic may also be "Chicano Poetry" or "Border Culture and Difference."

800. (ENGL800) Literature and Society. (A) Steiner. This is a topics course. If the topic is TEACHING OF LITERATURE, the following description applies: This course examines the American novel since 1970, addressing such questions as: what is Postmodernism in literature and the other arts? how do we go about forming a literary canon? what connections exist among current novelistic categories-- women's novels, black novels, experimental novels--that might justify our treating them under the same period rubric? Assigned texts will be by Barth, Pynchon, Naylor, Hawkes, Walker, Robinson, DeLillo, Atwood, Roth, and others. This will be a 1 credit

998. Independent Study and Research. (C) Designed to allow students to pursue a particular research topic under the close supervision of an instructor.

999. Independent Reading and Research. (C) May be taken for multiple course credit to a maximum of two for the M.A. and four for the Ph.D. Designed to allow students to broaden and deepen their knowledge of literary theory, a national literature, and/or an area of special interest.

 

Last modified November 08, 2002
Maintained by Stephen Hock and Mark Sample
Program in Comparative Literature
School of Arts & Sciences
University of Pennsylvania