Graduate Courses
Spring 2017



                                      MW 10-11        Patel

                                       Permission Needed From Instructor

                                       Cross listed with SAST 217, SAST 517


C.U. in India is a hybrid, domestic/overseas course series which provides students with the opportunity to have an applied learning and cultural experience in India or South East Asia where students participate in 1) 28 classrom hours in the Fall term 2) a 12-day trip to India or South East Asia with the instructor during the winter break visiting key sites and conducting original research (sites vary) 3) 21 classroom hours at Penn in the Spring term and 4) a research paper, due at the end of the Spring term. Course enrollment is limited to students admitted to the program. For more information and the program application go to




                                       R 3-6                   Richter

                                       Undergrads Need Permission

                                        All Readings and Lectures in English

                                        Cross listed with GRMN 525


Although the starting point for the Anthropocne is still under discussion, there is broad agreement that the industrial revolution and the turn of fossil fuels mark an intensification of humanity's impact on the Earth. It may not be a coincidence that Kant's proclamation of the Copernican revolution in philosophy, according to which human reason replaces the natural light of traditional metaphysics.





                                          W 4:30-7:30                   Hilton

                                          Undergrads Need Permission

                                          Cross listed with CIMS 505, ENGL 573


This interdisciplinary seminar will examine the cultural fascination with “wild” and “feral” children that first took hold of the European imagination in the early nineteenth century, and that has continued to reverberate in transnational literature, film, and popular culture ever since. In response to the Penn Humanities Forum 2016/17 theme, “Translation,” we will especially focus on the figure of the Wild Child as a test case for investigating the origins of human language. We will consider how attempts to educate and “civilize” so-called feral children can be understood as particularly fraught “translational” projects, reflecting broader historical, philosophical, and scientific contestations over the boundaries of the human and the limits of communication. We will also explore how recent work in disability studies, animal studies, ecological criticism, and postcolonial theory might complicate and augment our understanding of categories like “the feral” and “the wild.” For instance, how were discussions of cases such as Kaspar Hauser and Victor, the “Wild Boy of Aveyron,” shaped by the wider ideological context of European colonialism? How did the concept of the feral child play into emerging scientific discourses about racial difference that emerged in tandem with imperial ventures across the globe? Finally, we will ask how the specter of the Wild Child continues to shape debates about human language, childhood development, and the representation of disability and human difference.


Primary texts will include the nineteenth century physician J.M. Itard’s diaries recording his work with Victor of Aveyron and contemporaneous writings about wild children by Rousseau, Wordsworth, and Kipling; films such as François Truffaut’s L’enfant sauvage (The Wild Child) (1969) and Werner Herzog’s Kaspar Hauser (1974); and more recent contributions to the Wild Child genre, such as Kathy Acker’s Blood and Guts in High School, T. C. Boyle’s Wild Child and Other Stories, Bhanu Kapil’s Humanimal, and the 2015 documentary The Wolfpack. We will also draw on critical writing by Giorgio Agamben, James Berger, Mel Y. Chen, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Donna Haraway, Julia Kristeva, David Michell and Sharon Snyder, and Cary Wolfe, among others.




COML 589.401            FANTASTIC LIT/19th - 20th:  STUDIES IN FANTASTIC LIT

                                       W 4-6                  Met

                                        Cross listed with FREN 582


This course will explore fantasy and the fantastic in short tales of 19th- and 20th-century French literature. A variety of approaches -- thematic, psychoanalytic, cultural, narratological -- will be used in an attempt to test their viability and define the subversive force of a literary mode that contributes to shedding light on the dark side of the human psyche by interrogating the "real," making visible the unseen and articulating the unsaid. Such broad categories as distortions of space and time, reason and madness, order and disorder, sexual transgressions, self and other will be considered. Readings will include "recits fantastiques" by Merimee, Gautier, Nerval, Maupassant, Breton, Pieyre de Mandiargues, Jean Ray and others.




                                       OF THE CLASSICAL PERIOD

                                       T 1:30-4:30                   Rosen

                                       For Ph.D. Students Only

                                       Cross listed with ENGL 705, GREK 602


This graduate seminar will explore the rich and varied intellectual debates of the Classical period, using early Hippocratic texts to introduce some of the major questions that occupied contemporary thinkers. Such topics include, among others, the nature of matter and the body, the interaction of humans and environment, ‘anthropology’, empiricism, inference from signs, health and disease. We will focus on selections from the Greek texts of the Hippocratic 'Airs Waters Places', 'Nature of Man', 'Sacred Disease', 'On Ancient Medicine', and ‘Epidemics’ in their relation to other contemporary authors, such as Herodotus, Thucydides, assorted Presocratics and Sophists, and Plato.




                                      R 2-4                   Richman

                                       Cross listed with FREN 609


The purpose of this course is to examine the various modalities of interaction between anthropology and literature in modern French culture. Our guiding thesis is that the turn toward other cultures has functioned as a revitalizing element in the production of cultural artifacts while providing an alternative vantage point from which to examine the development of French culture and society in the contemporary period. The extraordinary innovations of "ethnosurrealism" in the twenties and thirties by such key figures of the avant-garde as Breton, Artaud, Bataille, Caillois, and Leiris, have become acknowledged models for the postwar critical thought of Barthes, Derrida, and Foucault, as well as inspiring a renewal of "anthropology as cultural critique in the United States." Besides the authors just indicated, key texts by Durkheim, Mauss and Levi-Strauss will be considered both on their own terms and in relation to their obvious influence. The institutional fate of these intellectual crossovers and their correlative disciplinary conflicts will provide the overarching historical frame for the course, from the turn of the century to the most recent debates.



COML 609.401            MAPPING THE WORLD

                                       F 2-6                   Mazzota

                                        Cross listed with ITAL 601


For today's scholars and students, the great Italian philosopher of history Giambattista Vico (1668-1744) can be startlingly relevant to the social and educational divisiveness we confront at the beginning of the new millenium. The course will show how much Vico can bring to an understanding of contemporary social and cultural problems. Mapping the World will explore in particular Vico's new way of conceiving authority, his belief in the power of poetry, and his awareness of the tragic limits of politics itself.                                  





                                      T 2-4                   Weissberg

                                      All readings and lectures in English

                                      Cross listed with ARTH 782, ENGL 584, GRMN 614, LARP 770,      

                                      URBS 614


This new course is designed for students of literature, landscape architecture and urban planning, and cultural history in general. It will explore the ideas of, and attitudes towards, landscape in selected works by Johann Wolfgang Goethe, and consider his own considerable practical involvement in reshaping the town and gardens of Weimar. The course will provide the larger context of German literature, aesthetics and landscape taste, and politics of the later 18th and early 19th centuries. We will consider the development of new gardens and parks in a "new" style (e.g. Woerlitz); they were regarded to be less formal and more "natural" than their French predecessors. We will study the English models for this movement, and offer a particular attention to the major German theorist, C.C.L. Hirschfeld, who would soon become famous outside Germany as well. Students will be expected (but not required) to read in German. Translations of key works by Goethe, as well as of commentaries on German gardening history, are available to ensure that non-German speakers can readily follow the course. In final papers there will be the freedom to select topics that focus upon literary or landscape architecture, though it is anticipated that a comparativist perspective will be adopted in either approach.




                                        PARIS AND PHILADELPHIA: LANDSCAPE AND LITERATURE

                                        OF THE 19TH CENTURY

                                        M 2-5                  Goulet/Wunsch

                                        Undergrads Need Permission

                                        Cross listed with FREN 620/HSPV 620


This course explores the literal and literary landscapes of 19th-century Paris and Philadelphia, paying particular attention to the ways in which the built environment is shaped by and shapes shifting ideologies in the modern age. Although today the luxury and excesses of the “City of Light” may seem worlds apart from the Quaker simplicity of the “City of Brotherly Love”, Paris and Philadelphia saw themselves as partners and mutual referents during the 1800s in many areas, from urban planning to politics, prisons to paleontology. This interdisciplinary seminar will include readings from the realms of literature, historical geography, architectural history, and cultural studies as well as site visits to Philadelphia landmarks, with a view to uncovering overlaps and resonances among different ways of reading the City. We will facilitate in-depth research by students on topics relating to both French and American architectural history, literature, and cultural thought.





                                       F 2-5                   Marrone Puglia

                                       Undergrads Need Permission

                                       Cross listed with CIMS 682, GSWS 682, ITAL 682


This course will provide the theoretical feminist background essential to the understanding of evolution of women’s cinema in Europe; in addition, particular attention will be paid to questions of sexual difference, and to the field of queer theory and what challenges it poses to a politics of identity in film. Its focus will be precisely the European tradition of filmmaking by and about women from World War II to the new Millennium. Innovative and influential directors like Agnès Varda, Margarethe von Trotta, Agnieszka Holland, Sally Potter, Liliana Cavani, Jane Campion, Lina Wertmüller, Chantal Akerman, Alice Rorhwacher, or Gurinder Chadha have made films devoted to exploring the female image, but have also addressed important social meanings such as diversity or homophobia.



COML 730.401            EARLY MODERN NATURES

                                      M 12-3              Bushnell

                                       Cross listed with ENGL 730


This course will consider the conflicting discourses of nature and natural history circulating in England from approximately 1550 to 1700 in the broader context of recent developments in ecocriticism and ecotheory. Critical and theoretical readings will cover a range of topics, from Raymond Williams’ The Country and the City to recent writings on ecofeminist theory, animal studies, and “thing theory.” The texts to be covered will include: the eclogue and the georgic (Virgil and Spenser); the nature of the New World (Hariot, Raleigh, and Shakespeare's The Tempest); garden poems (Marvell, Lanyer, and Jonson) and horticultural  manuals (Tusser, Lawson, and Markham);  technical works on manipulating nature, especially "secrets" and recipe books;  and philosophical works (Browne's Pseudodoxia Epidemica, and Bacon'sAdvancement of Learning). Everyone in the course will undertake an independent research project to be presented as a conference paper in a "mini-conference" at the course's end and as a formal paper.  Additional bibliographic exercises will be assigned in the course of the semester.



COML 736.401            MATERIAL TEXTS

                                       W 9-12              Stallybrass

                                       Cross listed with ENGL 736



COML 786.401            FUTURISM

                                       W 2-5                  Poggi

                                        Cross listed with ARTH 786, ITAL 685








Last modified October 27, 2016
Program in Comparative Literature
School of Arts & Sciences
University of Pennsylvania