Undergraduate Courses
Fall 2014

The following courses fulfill the COML *theory* elective requirement for majors:

      094; 123; 126; 247; 391; 419

The following courses fulfill the COML *non-Western or postcolonial studies* elective requirement for majors:

      065; 205; 215; 235; 266; 282; 283; 294; 364; 391; 392

Other courses may also be counted toward elective requirements, in consultation with the Undergraduate Chair.

COML 008.401

Communication Within the Curriculum--Critical Speaking
TR 4:30-6 Saba

Cross listed with NELC 008

Piety and Scandal, Advice and Entertainment: Stories from Arabic Literature

Arabic literature is teeming with stories and storytellers. Some storytellers educated and informed kings and princes, while others entertained and engrossed large audiences, trying to gain wealth and fame. By reading advice literature, stories for the court, moral stories, stories of criminals and ne'er-do-wells, and popular stories, this course will explore Arabic literature with an eye on how they impressed their audiences, and what lessons this holds for our own critical speaking. This CWiC Critical Speaking seminar will look at what these stories can teach us today about our own speaking, how to tailor our speaking to our audience, how to effectively deliver your message, and keep your audience entertained.

COML 054.401

Arts and Letters
TR 9-10:30 Jaji/Perelman

Cross listed with AFRC 054, ENGL 054

Sounding Poetry: Music and Literature

Never before has poetry been so inescapable. Hip hop, the soundtrack of our times, has made rhyme, meter, and word-play part of our daily lives. How did this happen? This course begins not on the page, but in the bardic traditions of Homer's Iliad, which encoded many of the values of its time in oral formulas. Poetry was, however, no mere encyclopedia, but also a source of risk, as we will read in Plato's warning against its hypnotic powers, and in the excesses of The Bacchae. We continue through 19th and 20th century attempts to recover these classic traditions (Wordsworth, Longfellow, Pound). Yet Europe was not the only center of poetic production. How does the Homeric tradition relate to living traditions of West African singing poets (griots) and Southern African praise songs? And what traces of these traditions can we hear in the blues? We will listen to early blues recordings and discuss the politics of collecting folklore, and the genius of African American modernists (Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Georgia Douglas Johnson) who brought vernacular speech onto the page. We will read and listen to a number of 20th century poets inspired when page meets stage in jazz poetry, dub poetry, spoken word, and hip hop. Assignments will include 2 papers, 2 small-group performances, memorization exercises, and a creative adaptation of one poem.

COML 057.401

Ben Franklin Seminar
Arts and Letters
TR 10:30-12 Stern

Cross listed with JWST 151, NELC 156, RELS 027

Great Books of Judaism *cancelled*

The study of four paradigmatic classic Jewish texts so as to introduce students to the literature of classic Judaism. Each text will be studied historically--"excavated" for its sources and roots--and holistically, as a canonical document in Jewish tradition. While each text will inevitably raise its own set of issues, we will deal throughout the semester with two basic questions: What makes a "Jewish" text? And how do these texts represent different aspects of Jewish identity? All readings will be in translation.

COML 059.401

MW 3:30-5 Blum
Cross listed with ENGL 059

Modernisms and Modernities: Modernism's Global Legacies

What does D.H. Lawrence's scandalous Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928) mean to young girls coming of age in Rhodesia in the 1960s? Why does James Joyce's character Stephen Dedalus resonate with Jamaican expatriate Claude McKay? This course will trace the global circulation of modernist texts in Zimbabwe, Tehran, the Caribbean, and the United States. After familiarizing ourselves with important theorists of the "transnational turn" in modernist studies, we will read key modernist narratives, which themselves borrowed from different cultures, alongside literary applications of these same works around the world. The course will explore how the meaning of a work changes depending on the political and regional particularities of its reception. Our final research project will consist in a collaborative tracing of the global reception history of one modernist text, with each student focusing on a specific nation's reception of the chosen text. Together, we will use this project to reflect both upon modernism's global constitution and influence, as well as, more broadly, the mechanisms of literary appropriation and subversion. Readings may include: Lady Chatterley's Lover, Nervous Conditions, Lolita, Reading Lolita in Tehran, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Banjo, To the Lighthouse, Are you My Mother.

COML O66.601

M 4:30-7:40 Seguy
Cross listed with ENGL 278

Digital Humanities: Theory and Practice *cancelled*

Among the recent trends in the humanistic disciplines, "Digital Humanities" has without any doubt been at the forefront in the past few years, but the fact remains that, beyond buzz-words such as data, metadata, text-mining or information extraction, few people know what exactly this label encompasses, and even fewer have tried to apply its methods and principles to their work. This course proposes a structured approach to some of the main tools used by digital humanists in real-life textbased projects; students will be introduced to XML and the TEI, to XSLT, to R (through the Stylo package) and to simple Python scripts (through NLTK, the Natural Language Tool Kit). All classes will be divided into two parts: a theoretical introduction and application exercises, and a hands-on section. The corpora we will use together will be mostly literature texts, but students are welcome to bring their own research materials, if they are exploitable with the tools we'll be learning.

COML 094.401

TR 9-10:30 Rabaté
Cross listed with ENGL 094, GRMN 279

Introduction to Literary & Cultural Theory

This course provides an exposure to the main discourses of Theory understood as literary and cultural theory. We will start with earlier formulations of the problem of interpretation with Plato and Aristotle and move on to modern and contemporary approaches. We will survey the main concepts of Formalism, Structuralism, Psychoanalysis, Marxism, Feminism and Deconstruction. Finally we will discuss Post-colonial studies, Cultural Studies and Queer Theory. We will use the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (second ed.. 2010) and the Bloomsbury Anthology of Aesthetics (2012).

Course Policies. The following will determine your final grade:

1) Attendance and participation: 15%,
2) Oral presentation: 15%,
3) Papers: 70%: first paper (8 pages, 30 %) and final paper, (12 pages, 40%).

Paper topics are not assigned but will be discussed in class (an abstract will be provided one week before). Oral presentations should not exceed 20 minutes and should be accompanied by a one-page handout.

COML 101.401

Cross Cultural Analysis
Humanities and Social Science
TR 1:30-3 Ben-Amos

Cross listed with FOLK 101, NELC 181

Introduction to Folklore *cancelled*

The purpose of the course is to introduce you to the subjects of the discipline of Folklore, their occurrence in social life and the scholarly analysis of their use in culture. As a discipline folklore explores the manifestations of expressive forms in both traditional and modern societies, in small-scale groups where people interact with each face-to-face, and in large-scale, often industrial societies, in which the themes, symbols, and forms that permeate traditional life, occupy new positions, or occur in different occasions in everyday life. For some of you the distinction between low and high culture, or artistic and popular art will be helpful in placing folklore forms in modern societies. For others, these distinctions will not be helpful. In traditional societies, and within social groups that define themselves ethnically, professionally, or culturally, within modern heterogeneous societies, and in traditional societies in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia, Folklore plays a more prominent role in society, than it appears to play in literate cultures on the same continents. Consequently the study of folklore and the analysis of its forms are appropriate in traditional as well as modern societies, and any society that is in a transitional phase. Key concepts in the study of folklore are "orality" and "literacy" and they will guide us through our lectures and discussions.

COML 118.401

Cross Cultural Analysis
MW 3:30-5 Todorov

Cross listed with CINE 111, RUSS 111
all readings and lectures in English

Poetics of Screenwriting

This course studies scriptwriting in a historical, theoretical and artistic perspective. We discuss the rules of drama and dialogue, character development, stage vs. screen-writing, adaptation of nondramatic works, remaking of plots, author vs. genre theory of cinema, storytelling in silent and sound films, the evolvement of a script in the production process, script doctoring, as well as screenwriting techniques and tools. Coursework involves both analytical and creative tasks.

COML 119.401

Arts and Letters
LEC MWF 10-11 Bushnell
REC section 403 F 10-11
section 404 F 10-11
section 405 F 10-11
section 406 F 10-11

Registration required for LEC and REC
Cross listed with ENGL 103


What do we mean when we call an event "tragic"? When we do so, often without knowing it, we reach back to a form of theater that began over 2500 years ago, in 5th B.C.E Athens. This is perhaps the most powerful example of how a literary genre – tragedy – can shape our perceptions of our history and experience. We will be focusing in this class on tragedy that is performed, while our focus will range from its beginnings in Greece to right now, in all forms of screen media, from film to TV series to video games. Together we will debate many of the vital questions that tragedy's survival in our time raises. For example, why do human beings feel compelled to stage and watch the imitation of human suffering? What is a tragic hero, and why and how do these heroes matter to people? Do tragic plots imply we have no freedom in determining the shape of our lives? This course will not pretend to cover all the manifestations of tragic drama from the Greeks to the present: texts will likely include plays by Sophocles, Euripides, Shakespeare, Racine, Ibsen, and Beckett, as well as recent films and relevant criticism and philosophy. Assignments will include three short papers and keeping of a record of your reading over the course of the semester.

COML 123.401

Arts and Letters
TR 9-10:30 Decherney

Cross listed with CINE 101, ENGL 091

World Film History to 1945

This course surveys the history of world film from cinema's precursors to 1945. We will develop methods for analyzing film while examining the growth of film as an art, an industry, a technology, and a political instrument. Topics include the emergence of film technology and early film audiences, the rise of narrative film and birth of Hollywood, national film industries and movements, African-American independent film, the emergence of the genre film (the western, film noir, and romantic comedies), ethnographic and documentary film, animated films, censorship, the MPPDA and Hays Code, and the introduction of sound. We will conclude with the transformation of several film industries into propaganda tools during World War II (including the Nazi, Soviet, and US film industries). In addition to contemporary theories that investigate the development of cinema and visual culture during the first half of the 20th century, we will read key texts that contributed to the emergence of film theory. There are no prerequisites. Students are required to attend screenings or watch films on their own.

COML 125.402

Cross Cultural Analysis
Arts and Letters
TR 3-4:30 Loomba

Cross listed with ENGL 103, FOLK 125, NELC 180, SAST 124

Narrative Across Cultures

In this course we will read several types of narratives—drama, frame tales, short stories, histories, and novels---written in different periods and in different parts of the world. We will also watch a few films. Through these we will look at how narratives can travel from one part of the world to another, and how they are changed as they do so, or how uncannily similar narratives can emerge in different parts of the world. We will discuss the different techniques of story-telling as they evolved over these travels in time and space, and what attitudes to love and war, sexuality and power, tradition and rebellion are inscribed in these stories. In this way, we will consider how literature reveals historical connections and conversations, as well as asks large philosophical questions shared across cultures.

Readings will likely include the Sanskrit masterpiece Shakuntala by Kalidasa and Sophocles' classic play, Antigone, selections from the Indian epic The Mahabharata and the Greek epic, The Iliad, and modern writings from around the world including novels by Joseph Conrad, Tayib Salih, Ama Ata Aidoo, Arundhati Roy, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and David Henry Hwang.

COML 140.301

Communication Within the Curriculum--Critical Speaking
W 3-6 Devenot

Drug Wars: The Influence of Psychoactive Rhetoric

Competing views about the dangers and potential benefits of drugs are ubiquitous. As the world transitions its drug laws regarding psychedelic medicines, the legalization of marijuana, and "mandatory minimum" jail sentences, how can we gain insight into the cultural history of drugs in our society? This Critical Speaking Seminar will provide the opportunity for students to directly engage with recent debates over drug legislation by critically reflecting on the evolution of literature about drugs over the past 250 years. In conversation with newspaper articles, scientific research, governmental reports, and literary texts, we will examine the history of drug use and legislation from America's early stages of prohibition through President Nixon's "war on drugs" to contemporary legal challenges. How does the cultural understanding of drugs change with shifts in rhetoric? How can we balance the need to protect society as a whole while still respecting individual freedoms and privacy? What role should the government play in regulating scientific research? How can the latest scientific and sociological research help to guide legislative decisions? We will respectfully explore opposing viewpoints through discussions, individual and group presentations, and in-class debates.

COML 150.601

Humanities and Social Science
T 5:30-8:30 Sessions

Cross listed with RUSS 193

War and Representation in Europe, Russia and U.S.

Representations of war are created for as many reasons as wars are fought: to legitimate armed conflict, to critique brutality, to vilify an enemy, to mobilize popular support, to generate national pride, etc. In this course we will examine a series of representations of war drawn from the literature, film, state propaganda, memoirs, visual art, etc. of Russia, Europe, and the United States. We will pursue an investigation of these images of conflict and bloodshed in the larger context of the history of military technology, social life, and communications media over the last two centuries. Students will be expected to write two papers, take part in a group presentation on an assigned topic, and take a final exam. The goal of the course will be to gain knowledge of literary history in social and historical context, and to acquire critical skills for analysis of rhetoric and visual representations.

COML 201.401

TR 10:30-12 Mazaj
Cross listed with CINE 201, ENGL 291

History in Film

This course is a broad and eclectic introduction into the relationship between cinema and history. It explores a diverse range of films which claim to show that film can narrate and also shape history, and pays special attention to the manner in which films write and rewrite history by articulating and shaping popular memory. The course will be based on a premise that cinema, as a truly popular and global phenomenon, produces both the normative or institutional versions of history, as well as popular resistances to such official history. Because these issues are most prevalent in a genre called "historical films," we will view and analyze several examples of this genre to try to answer the following questions: What is a historical film? What is its relationship to history and historical narratives? What is its role in producing or reshaping our memory of historical events? By extensive analysis of diverse films, both fiction and documentaries, we will thus raise significant questions about the construction of memory, history, and identity.

COML 203.410

Literatures of the World
Arts and Letters
TR 3-4:30 Del Soldato

Cross listed with ITAL 203, COLL 228

Italian Literature

Readings and reflections on significant texts of the Italian literary and artistic tradition exploring a wide range of genres, themes, cultural debates by analyzing texts in sociopolitical contexts. Readings and discussions in Italian.

COML 206.401

Cross Cultural Analysis
MW 2-3:30 Locatelli

Cross listed with CINE 206, ITAL 204

Italian History on Screen

How has our image of Italy arrived to us? Where does the story begin and who has recounted, rewritten, and rearranged it over the centuries? In this course, we will study Italy's rich and complex past and present. We will carefully read literary and historical texts and thoughtfully watch films in order to attain an understanding of Italy that is as varied and multifaceted as the country itself. Discussions and readings will allow us to examine the problems and trends in the political, cultural and social history from ancient Rome to today. We will focus on: the Roman Empire, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Unification, Turn of the Century, Fascist era, World War II, post-war and contemporary Italy.

COML 207.401

Ben Franklin Seminar
TR 1:30-3 Steiner

Cross listed with RUSS 201
All readings and lectures in English


This course explores the ways Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) portrays the "inner world(s)" of his characters. Dostoevsky's psychological method will be considered against the historical, ideological, and literary contexts of middle to late nineteenth-century Russia. The course consists of three parts — External World (the contexts of Dostoevsky), "Inside" Dostoevsky's World (the author's technique and ideas) and The World of Text (close reading of "Crime and Punishment" and "The Brothers Karamazov"). Students will write three essays on various aspects of Dostoevsky's "spiritual realism."

COML 217.401

Freshman Seminar
MW 2-3:30 Aydinyan

All readings and lectures in English
Cross listed with NELC 222, RUSS 222

Imagining Asia: Russia and the East

This course examines the important role of the East in Russian literature and nationalism. Focusing specifically on the Caucasus, Central Asia, Iran, and Turkey, this course will analyze how Russian writers connected the East to Russian identity, and how their approaches implicate different artistic periods (Romanticism, Realism, Socialist Realism, Post-Modernism) and different political atmospheres (Tsarist Russia, Soviet Union, Post-Soviet).

Students will also ascertain how Russian literature on the East has affected and influenced literature and political movements produced in the East. In particular, students will analyze how Soviet Central Asian writers, Iranian Socialists, and contemporary Turkish writers were influenced by Russian literature and Soviet ideology. Ultimately, this course examines the impact of Russia's cultural and political history in 20th century Central Asia and the Middle East. Readings will include works by: Pushkin, Lermontov, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Platonov, Chingiz Aitmatov, Sadek Hedayat, Orhan Pamuk, and others.

COML 218.401

Cross Cultural Analysis
Literatures of the World
Arts and Letters
TR 10:30-12 Richman
Section 402 TR 12-1:30 Moudileno
Section 403 TR 9-10:30 Francis

Cross listed with COLL 221, FREN 221

Perspectives in French Literature

This course is designed to provide students with a knowledge of major aspects of the French literary tradition from the Middle Ages to the present and, at the same time, to unify a broad variety of works under the rubric of textual eroticism and romance. Texts will include prose narratives (Tristan et Iseut, Manon Lescaut, L'Amant), plays (Phèdre, On ne badine pas avec l'amour), and poetry (by Ronsard, Hugo, Baudelaire, Apollinaire). All readings and class discussion in French.

COML 220.401

Cross Cultural Analysis
Humanities and Social Science sector
TR 3-4:30 Staff

All readings and lectures in English
Cross listed with HIST 220, RUSS 220

From the Other Shore: Russia and the West

This course will explore the representations of the West in eighteenth- and nineteenth- century Russian literature and philosophy. We will consider the Russian visions of various events and aspects of Western political and social life — Revolutions, educational system, public executions, resorts, etc. — within the context of Russian intellectual history. We will examine how images of the West reflect Russia's own cultural concerns, anticipations, and biases, as well as aesthetic preoccupations and interests of Russian writers. The discussion will include literary works by Karamzin, Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Leskov, and Tolstoy, as well as non-fictional documents, such as travelers' letters, diaries, and historiosophical treatises of Russian Freemasons, Romantic and Positivist thinkers, and Russian social philosophers of the late Nineteenth century. A basic knowledge of nineteenth-century European history is desirable. The class will consist of lectures, discussion, short writing assignments, and two in-class tests.

COML 236.401

TR 1:30-3 Vinistky/Holquist
Cross listed with HIST 333, RUSS 240

The Napoleonic Era and Tolstoy

In this course we will read what many consider to be the greatest book in world literature. This work, Tolstoy's War and Peace, is devoted to one of the most momentous periods in world history, the Napoleonic Era (1789-1815). We will study both the novel and the era of the Napoleonic Wars: the military campaigns of Napoleon and his opponents, the grand strategies of the age, political intrigues and diplomatic betrayals, the ideologies and human dramas, the relationship between art and history. How does literature help us to understand this era? How does history help us to understand this great novel?

COML 247.401

Humanities and Social Science
TR 3-4:30 Staff

All readings and lectures in English
Cross listed with GRMN 247

MARX *cancelled*

"A spectre is haunting Europe--the spectre of Communism": This, the famous opening line of The Communist Manifesto, will guide this course's exploration of the history, legacy, and potential future of Karl Marx's most important texts and ideas, even long after Communism has been pronounced dead. Contextualizing Marx within a tradition of radical thought regarding politics, religion, and sexuality, we will focus on the philosophical, political, and cultural origins and implications of his ideas. Our work will center on the question of how his writings seek to counter or exploit various tendencies of the time; how they align with the work of Nietzsche, Freud, and other radical thinkers to follow; and how they might continue to haunt us today. We will begin by discussing key works by Marx himself, examining ways in which he is both influenced by and appeals to many of the same fantasies, desires, and anxieties encoded in the literature, arts and intellectual currents of the time. In examining his legacy, we will focus on elaborations or challenges to his ideas, particularly within cultural criticism, postwar protest movements, and the cultural politics of the Cold War. In conclusion, we will turn to the question of Marxism or Pos

COML 254.401

Arts and Letters
TR 10:30-12 Macleod

Cross listed with GRMN 244, URBS 244
All readings and lectures in English

Metropolis: Culture of the City

An exploration of modern discourses on and of the city. Topics include: the city as site of avant-garde experimentation; technology and culture; the city as embodiment of social order and disorder; traffic and speed; ways of seeing the city; the crowd; city figures such as the detective, the criminal, the flaneur, the dandy; film as the new medium of the city. Special emphasis on Berlin. Readings by, among others, Dickens, Poe, Baudelaire, Rilke, Doeblin, Marx, Engels, Benjamin, Kracauer. Films include Fritz Lang's Metropolis and Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run.

COML 256.401

Arts and Letters
TR 10-30-12 Kano

Cross listed with CINE 151, EALC 151, GSWS 257

Contemporary Fiction and Film in Japan

This course will explore fiction and film in contemporary Japan, from 1945 to the present. Topics will include literary and cinematic representation of Japan s war experience and post-war reconstruction, negotiation with Japanese classics, confrontation with the state, and changing ideas of gender and sexuality. We will explore these and other questions by analyzing texts of various genres, including film and film scripts, novels, short stories, manga, and academic essays. Class sessions will combine lectures, discussion, audio-visual materials, and creative as well as analytical writing exercises. The course is taught in English, although Japanese materials will be made available upon request. No prior coursework in Japanese literature, culture, or film is required or expected; additional secondary materials will be available for students taking the course at the 600 level. Writers and film directors examined may include: Kawabata Yasunari, Hayashi Fumiko, Abe Kobo, Mishima Yukio, Oe Kenzaburo, Yoshimoto Banana, Ozu Yasujiro, Naruse Mikio, Kurosawa Akira, Imamura Shohei, Koreeda Hirokazu, and Beat Takeshi.

COML 268.401

MW 3:30-5 Staff
All readings and lectures in English
Cross listed with GRMN 248

Nietzsche's Modernity

"God is dead." This famous, all too famous death sentence, issued by the 19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, also signaled the genesis of a radical challenge to traditional notions of morality, cultural life, and the structure of society as a whole. In this course we will examine both the "modernity" of Nietzsche's thought and the ways in which his ideas have helped to define the very concept of Modernity (and, arguably, Postmodernity) itself. In exploring the origin and evolution of Nietzsche's key concepts, we will trace the ways in which his work has been variously revered or refuted, championed or co-opted, for more than a century. We will survey his broad influence on everything from philosophy and literature to music and art, theater and psychology, history and cultural theory, politics and popular culture. Further, we will ask how his ideas continue to challenge us today, though perhaps in unexpected ways. As we will see, Nietzsche wanted to teach us "how to philosophize with a hammer."

COML 270.401

Arts and Letters
TR 12-1:30 Staff

Cross listed with CINE 258, GRMN 258
All readings and lectures in English

German Cinema

An introduction to the momentous history of German film, from its beginnings before World War One to developments following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and German reunification in 1990. With an eye to film's place in its historical and political context, the course will explore the "Golden Age" of German cinema in the Weimar Republic, when Berlin vied with Hollywood; the complex relationship between Nazi ideology and entertainment during the Third Reich; the fate of German film-makers in exile during the Hitler years; post-war film production in both West and East Germany; the call for an alternative to "Papa's Kino" and the rise of New German Cinema in the 1960s.

COML 271.401

Ben Franklin Seminar
TR 1:30-3 Rabaté

Cross listed with ENGL 361, FNAR 361

The Colors of Literature

We perceive the world in color, yet colors are often considered as mere ornaments. By taking the theme of color as a way of reading literature, we will map contemporary culture differently. Starting with historical accounts of the production, use and symbolic values of the colors by Michel Pastoureau, we will engage with cultural, political, philosophical investigations of color. Reading color entails reconstructing a social and cultural history. Literature and film are uniquely placed to allow us to understand the logics of identity and exclusion, and to show the variety of human emotions condensed by color. The books that will we read will range from mainstream novels and films to more experimental texts. Primary readings: for each color, we will read one book and discuss one or several films. We will read in this order: Patricia Hampl, Blue Arabesque: A Search for the Sublime (2006), Orhan Pamuk, The Black Book (in the 2006 translation), Aubrey Beardsley, The Yellow Book, (1894-1897, online), Iris Murdoch, The Green Knight (1993), Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red (2005), Alice Walker, The Color Purple (1982), Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (1995).

Supplementary reading:

William Gass, On Being Blue
Michel Pastoureau, Blue, the history of a color
Michel Pastoureau, Black, the history of a color
Sabine Doran, The Culture of Yellow.
Bruce R. Smith, The Key of Green.
Films will include: The Blue Angel, Yves Klein Documentary, Blue Valentine, Derek Jarman's Blue, Black Swan, Yellow, Solvent Green, Red Desert, The Color Purple, Orange Clockwork, Orange is the new black.

Course Policies. The following will determine your final grade:

1) Attendance and participation: 15%
2) Oral presentation: 15%
3) Papers: 70%: first paper, a film journal of 8 pages, 30 %, and final paper of 12 pages, 40%.

Paper topics are not assigned but will be discussed in class (an abstract will be provided one week before). Oral presentations should not exceed 20 minutes and should be accompanied by a one-page hand-out.

COML 272.401

Ben Franklin Seminar
W 2-5 DeJean

Cross listed with FREN 250, ENGL 260

The Novel and Marriage

Historians have argued that early novels helped shape public opinion on many controversial issues. And no subject was more often featured in novels than marriage. In the course of the 18th and the 19th centuries, at a time when marriage as an institution was being radically redefined, almost all the best known novels explored happy as well as unhappy unions, individuals who decided not to marry as well as those whose lives were destroyed by the institution. They showcased marriage in other words in ways certain to provoke debate. We will both survey the development of the modern novel from the late 17th to the early 20th century and study the treatment of marriage in some of the greatest novels of all time.

We will begin with novels from the French and English traditions, the national literatures in which the genre first took shape, in particular Laclos' Dangerous Liaisons, Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Brontë's Jane Eyre, Flaubert's Madame Bovary. We will then turn to works from other European traditions such as Goethe's Elective Affinities and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.

We will begin the course by discussing the novel often referred to as the first modern novel, The Princess de Clèves. The Princess de Clèves was also the first novel centered on an exploration of questions central to the debate about marriage for over two centuries – everything from the question of whether one should marry for love or for social position to the question of adultery.

COML 277.401

Arts and Letters
TR 1:30-3 Hellerstein

Cross listed with GRMN 263, JWST 261
All readings and lectures in English

Jewish American Literature

What makes Jewish American literature Jewish? What makes it American? This course will address these questions about ethnic literature through fiction, poetry, drama, and other writings by Jews in America, from their arrival in 1654 to the present. We will discuss how Jewish identity and ethnicity shape literature and will consider how form and language develop as Jewish writers "immigrate" from Yiddish, Hebrew, and other languages to American English. Our readings, from Jewish American Literature: A Norton Anthology, will include a variety of stellar authors, both famous and less-known, including Isaac Mayer Wise, Emma Lazarus, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Celia Dropkin, Abraham Cahan, Anzia Yezierska, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Cynthia Ozick, and Allegra Goodman. Students will come away from this course having explored the ways that Jewish culture intertwines with American culture in literature.

COML 282.401

Arts and Letters
TR 1:30-3 Riklis

Cross listed with CINE 159, ENGL 079, JWST 154, NELC 159

Israeli Cinema

This course is a filmmaker's voyage into the definition of Israeli identity as reflected in Israeli cinema and it's central characters. Israeli films have always searched for the definition of what it is to be an Israeli. We will explore the definition of the new Israeli hero from Paul Newman as Ari Ben Canaan in "Exodus" personifying the new Israeli Jew all the way to the self-doubting, haunted Ari Folman in "Waltz with Bashir". We will look at how the Sephardi Jews from Arab countries are looked down on in the cinema of the Seventies and are searching for their identity today as well as how Israeli cinema has portrayed Arabs from straightforward enemies to possible partners. We will look at the ever-changing role of woman in Israeli films. We will also question the essence of Jewish identity in Israeli cinema and the effect 3,000 years of a complex history have on the modern day hero.

COML 283.401

Cross Cultural Analysis
TR 10:30-12 Ben-Amos

Cross listed with FOLK 280, JWST 260, NELC 258

Jewish Folklore

The Jews are among the few nations and ethnic groups whose oral tradition occurs in literary and religious texts dating back more than two thousand years. This tradition changed and diversified over the years in terms of the migrations of Jews into different countries and the historical, social, and cultural changes that these countries underwent. The course attempts to capture the historical and ethnic diversity of Jewish folklore in a variety of oral literary forms. A basic book of Hasidic legends from the 18th century will serve as a key text to explore problems in Jewish folklore.

COML 292.401

TR 1:30-3 Mazaj
Cross listed with CINE 202, ENGL 292

Romantic Comedy

We may know what it is like to fall in love, but how do movies tell us what it is like? Through an exciting tour of American and World cinema, we will analyze the moods and swings, successes and failures of love in romantic comedy, one of the most popular but generally overlooked and taken for granted genres. We will turn a spotlight on it by examining what elements and iconography constitute the "romcom" genre, what specific qualities inform its sub-groupings such as screwball, sex comedy or radical romantic comedy, how they are related to their historical, cultural and ideological contexts, and what we can learn about their audiences. Watching classic as well contemporary examples of the genre, from City Lights (1931), It Happened One Night (1934) and Roman Holiday (1953), to Harold and Maude (1971), Annie Hall (1977), How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days (2003) and Her (2013), we will problematize this overly-familiar cinema to make it new and strange again, and open it up to creative analysis.

COML 302.401

TR 1:30-3 Murnaghan
Cross listed with CLST 302

Odyssey and Its Afterlife

As an epic account of wandering, survival, and homecoming, Homer's Odyssey has been a constant source of themes and images with which to define and redefine the nature of heroism, the sources of identity, and the challenge of finding a place in the world. This course will begin with a close reading of the Odyssey in translation, with particular attention to Odysseus as a post-Trojan War hero; to the roles of women, especially Odysseus' faithful and brilliant wife Penelope; and to the uses of poetry and story-telling in creating individual and cultural identities. We will then consider how later authors have drawn on these perspectives to construct their own visions, reading works, or parts of works, by such authors as Virgil, Dante, Tennyson, Joyce, Derek Walcott, and Margaret Atwood.

COML 353.401

W 2-5 Allen
Cross listed with COML 505, NELC 434

Arabic Literature and Theory

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.

COML 391.401

Ben Franklin Seminar
TR 3-4:30 Barnard

Cross listed with CINE 392, ENGL 392

Cinema and Globalization

In this course, we will study a number of films (mainly feature films, but also a few documentaries) that deal with a complicated nexus of issues that have come to be discussed under the rubric of "globalization." Among these are the increasingly extensive networks of money and power, the transnational flow of commodities and cultural forms, and the accelerated global movement of people, whether as tourists or migrants. At stake, throughout, will be the ways in which our present geographical, economic, social, and political order can be understood and represented. What new narrative forms have arisen to make sense of contemporary conditions? Films will include: The Year of Living Dangerously, Perfumed Nightmare, Dirty Pretty Things, Monsoon Wedding, Babel, Y Tu Mama Tambien,Maria Full of Grace, In This Word, Darwin's Nightmare, Black Gold, Life and Debt, The Constant Gardener, Syriana, and Children of Men. In addition to studying the assigned films carefully, students will also be expected to read a selection of theoretical works on globalization (including Zygmunt Baumann's Globalization: The Human Consequences) and, where appropriate, the novels on which the assigned films are based. Advance viewing of the films is required. (I find it is best to place films on reserve for students' use, or to ask that students get their own DVDs from Amazon or Netflix, but screenings can certainly be arranged.) Writing requirements: a mid-term and final paper, plus occasional voluntary in-class presentations.

COML 419.401

TR 12-1:30 Kors
Cross listed with HIST 415

17th Century Intellectual History

This course is a survey of the profound changes in European thought during the seventeenth century, and it is based solely on primary sources. It focuses above all on the transition from "scholastic" to diverse "new" ways of thought: skepticism, rationalism, empiricism; and he rise of the new sciences. The course is concerned with deep conceptual change as a historical phenomenon.

Last modified August 29, 2014
Maintained by Cliff Mak
Program in Comparative Literature
School of Arts & Sciences
University of Pennsylvania