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Undergraduate Courses
Fall 2016




 



 

COML 001.401 Poetry Out Loud
Communication within the Curriculum
TR 3-4:30 Dasbach
Cross listed with ENGL 001

Come read, listen, write, and recite poetry! Have you ever wondered: How is the spoken word different from the written? How do we find music in language or even make it ourselves? This course will explore the performative and sonic aspects of writing and reading poetry—its orality, sounds, and rhythms. We will begin with the oral origins of poetry and quickly jump forward in time to focus mainly on poetry of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries (both Anglophone and in translation), with a strong emphasis on later works. This trajectory will take us from traditional genres and forms such as pastoral, elegy, ode, and ballad, through to more recent work such as beat, slam, and sound poetry. This course's assignments encourage creative composition in addition to literary and craft-based analysis. Poetry Out Loud will challenge you to speak and to listen, to think creatively and critically, and most of all, to discover how poetry on the page sings out loud.

COML 013.401 Introduction to Modern South Asian Lit
MWF 10-11 Staff
Cross listed with SAST 007 

This course provides an introduction to the literatures of South Asia - chiefly India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh- between 1500 and the present. We will read translated excerpts from literary texts in several languages - Braj, Persian, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Marathi, Malayalam, and Tamil - and explore the relationship between these literary texts and their historical contexts. No prior knowledge of South Asia is required.

 

 

COML 014.401  Women, Gender and Empire in the Middle Ages

MW 2:00-3:30  Raffi

Cross listed with NELC 008

Communication Within the Curriculum

 

American discourse, especially since September 11th, has often depicted Islam as an oppressive
force from which Muslims, particularly women and gender/sexual minorities, must be saved,
while presenting it as a looming threat to non-Muslims. In this CWiC critical speaking seminar,
we will investigate how oral and written narratives—such as political rhetoric, apologetics, and
historical sources—purport to establish unassailable “facts” about Islam, Muslims, and the
Middle East. We will also investigate how the notion of empire—both in its traditionally
understood form in Islamic and European history, as well as in its iterations as US military and
soft power—privileges certain voices over others, and how we can reclaim the voices of the
marginalized in both contemporary discourse as well as historical oral traditions.
This course is a Critical Speaking Seminar offered through the Communication within the
Curriculum (CWiC) program of the School of Arts and Sciences.

 

 

COML 023.401 In Praise of the Small
Freshman Seminar; All Readings and Lectures in English
TR 10:30-12 Weissberg
Cross listed with GRMN 023

We can memorize aphorisms and jokes, carry miniature portraits with us, and feel playful in handling small objects. This seminar will ask us to pay attention to smaller texts, art works, and objects that may easily be overlooked. In addition to reading brief texts and looking at images and objects, we will also read texts on the history and theory of short genres and the small.

 

 

COML 032.401 Hipster Philosophy from Marx to Zizek
Freshman Seminar; All Readings and Lectures in English
T 1:30-4:30 Fleischman
Cross listed with GRMN 031

From Wes Anderson to Williamsburg, hipster culture is everywhere. And yet the very notion of the hipster remains notoriously difficult to define--whether we perceive this cultural phenomenon as the waste product of the postmodern, as a new form of consumerism, as a peculiar attitude toward irony and authenticity, as scenester posturing or as just plain cool. This course addresses such tensions through an examination of the intellectual history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Each week pairs philosophical and theoretical readings with an artifact of hipster culture: reading Instagram beside Walter Benjamin, ironic facial hair with Friedrich Nietzsche, Facebook through the lens of Georg Lukacs and indie music alongside Theodor Adorno. No previous knowledge of skinny jeans required.

 

 

COML 057.401 Great Book of Judaism
Arts & Letters
R 6-9 Bergmann
Cross listed with JWST 151, NLC 156, RELS 027

The Babylonian Talmud (Bavli), a product reflecting the collaborative effort

of generations of sages, is the foundational legal and ethical document of

rabbinic Judaism.  Both the methods of interpreting this text --and their

theoretical frameworks-have varied dramatically, evolving creatively

throughout the generations.  In the past century, theories of how to read the

Talmud and hypotheses about its formation and redaction have opened up new

avenues for understanding what the text says and, more importantly, how it

works.  Through in-depth examination of demonstrative legal passages, this

course will contrast the insights generated by the major critical schools of

the past century and with the interpretations of selected medieval scholars,

the Rishonim.  English translations will be provided alongside the original

texts.  Previous study of Talmud is helpful.

 

 

COML 070.401 Introduction to Latina/o Literature and CuLture: Literature, Art, and Theatre Across the Latina/o U.S.
Cultural Diversity in the U.S.
TR 3-4:30 Sternad Ponce
Cross listed with ARTH 070, ENGL 070, GSWS 060, LALS 060

This course offers a broad introduction to U.S. Latina/o literature, visual art, and theater. We will read poetry, short stories, novels, plays, and essays and we will examine visual art from across a wide range of mediums and traditions, including poster art, performance and video art, murals, graffiti, conceptual art, and guerrilla urban interventions. In each instance, we will study this work within its historical context and with close attention to the ways it illuminates class formation, racialization, and ideologies of gender and sexuality as they shape Latino/as’ experience in the U.S. Topics addressed in the course will include revolutionary nationalism and its critique, anti-imperialist thought, Latina feminisms, immigration, queer latinidades, ideology and racialization, and the study of literature and art within social movements. While we will address key texts, historical events, and intellectual currents from the late 19th century and early 20th century, the course will focus primarily on literature and art from the 1960s to the present. All texts will be in English.

 

COML 090.401 Women’s Life Writing, 1100-1700
MW 2-3:30 Wallace
Cross listed with ENGL 090, GSWS 090

Premodern women, like all women, wondered what would remain of them in the future. How, if at all, would they be remembered? Could a woman’s life, historical and biological, become a life, a written record to survive the passage of time? And, if so, in what literary genre would their life be told? Most women found that their best hope of being remembered lay in behaving badly: that is, in ways that would provoke someone to write. They also found that the rise of universities, a great leap forward for men, brought a corresponding decrease in women’s educational opportunities; Virginia Woolf still finds herself being yelled at on the college lawns of Oxbridge in the 1920s. Women could receive a convent education-- but was restriction of movement worth exchanging for “freedom” of expression? Convents did at least offer the possibility of an all-female, female-governed society; what alternatives could be imagined once they had been banished from English by King Henry VIII?
Our course, covering a period from c. 1100-1700, unfolds through four phases. We begin with Hildegard of Bingen, a musician, scientist, biologist, sexologist, dramatist, jewellery designer, preacher and politician who achieved a range of things that no woman has since equalled. We then consider Christine of Markyate, a runaway bride, Marie de France, genius romancer and fabulist, and Heloise, the most famous lover of the Middle Ages and the author of great letters. Phase II begins with Julian of Norwich, a woman who had a near death experience that she then contemplated for the rest of her life. She once famously met with Margery Kempe, a housewife who had fourteen children before persuading her husband to give up sex, becoming a Euro-traveller, and composing the first autobiography in English. Phase III considers what becomes of women at times of extreme violence and political upheaval, in this instance the Reformation that saw England shifting, gradually, from Catholic to Protestant religion. Elizabeth Carey grows up Protestant, writes The Tragedy of Mariam, the first closet-play, but then disgracefully converts to Catholicism. Mary Sidney’s Englishing of the psalms is fiercely Calvinist (super-Protestant) and, as poetry, amazingly innovative. Mary Ward leaves England to become an enclosed Catholic nun, but returns to develop an illegal apostolate of the streets for poor Catholic people. Aemilia Lanyer lives, for a while, in an idyllic all-female society, in a large country house, but this (as so often) is broken up by the demands of the marriage market.
The final phase of the course brings us through the English civil war, which saw King Charles I beheaded in 1649, to the Restoration of 1660 and the coronation of Charles II, son of Charles I and Henrietta Maria of France. Convents are now a thing of the past in England, but nostalgia for all-female society lives on in plays such as The Convent of Pleasure and, more seriously, The Female Academy, both by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle. Cavendish eagerly keeps up with contemporary science, authors a feminist sci-fi utopia called Blazing World, and strategically exploits the resources of her own beauty. There will be opportunities for class reports, for library visits, and for developing a friendly, collaborative atmosphere.
The first assignment will ask you to write your own life story in the third person as a saint’s life, an exercise in literary genre as well as self-expression (and a pass/fail writing tune up). The second and third assignments will be short essays and the fourth a longer one, with some research component; there will be no midterm or final.

 

COML 094.401 Introduction to Literary Theory
TR 12-1:30 Kaul
Cross listed with ENGL 094


This course is designed to allow students who wish to study Literature at an advanced level (as majors in English, for instance) to understand better important literary-critical methods and vocabularies. We will do so by examining closely different theoretical concepts that have been crucial to the development of such academic study. We will thus concern ourselves with the historical origins of literary and cultural studies, as well as debates which have proved important to the specialized study of literature. By the end of this course, students should understand the philosophical assumptions that define different critical approaches to the study of cultural phenomena, including those of New Criticism, Feminism, Cultural Materialism, New Historicism, Minority Discourse Studies, Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, Disability Studies and Cultural Studies. Students should also be able to identify their own critical interests, and thus to produce criticism that is self-conscious about its own assumptions and vocabulary.

COML 099.401 Television & New Media
MW 2-3:30 Mukherjee
Cross listed with ARTH 107, CINE 103, ENGL 078


How and when do media become digital? What does digitization afford and what is lost as television and cinema become digitized? As lots of things around us turn digital, have we started telling stories, sharing experiences, and replaying memories differently? What has happened to television and life after “New Media”? How have television audiences been transformed by algorithmic cultures of Netflix and Hulu?
This is an introductory survey course and we discuss a wide variety of media technologies and phenomena that include: cloud computing, Internet of Things, trolls, distribution platforms, optical fiber cables, surveillance tactics, social media, and race in cyberspace. We also examine emerging mobile phone cultures in the Global South and the environmental impact of digitization. Course activities include Tumblr blog posts and Instagram curations. The final project could take the form of either a critical essay (of 2000 words) or a media project.

 

COML 107.401 From Paper to Screen: Cinematic Adaptations
Freshman Seminar
MWF 1-2 Mirra
Cross listed with CINE 014, ITAL 100

The course will be taught in English. It will lead students on an exploration of cinematic adaptations of literary works from Dante's Divine Comedy (Francesco Bertolini, Giuseppe De Liguoro and Adolfo Padovan 1911; Peter Greenway, 1987), to Tomasi di Lampedusa' The Leopard (Luchino Visconti 1971), Primo Levi's The Truce (Francesco Rosi, 1997), Nicolò Ammaniti's I'm not Scared (Gabriele Salvatores 2003), and other. Students will acquire the necessary critical tools to analyze bot verbal and visual texts within the historical and cultural context of their production as well as in relation to one another and theories of translation and remediation.

 

 

COML 109.601 Literature about Music from Beethoven to Kanye

T 5:30-8:30  Sessions

Cross listed with ENGL 254

 

This course will survey the different ways we have written about music from the Romantic era in the early nineteenth century to the social media of the present day.  Though we will read concert and album reviews, criticism from journals and periodicals, memoirs, manifestos, philosophical treatises, and tweets, the course will focus on writing that is somehow literary: taking writing as an art which identifies something desirable in music as a fellow art. Starting with Arthur Schopenhauer and E.T.A Hoffman’s veneration of music as the most powerful emotional experience we can know, the course will proceed through symbolist poetry by Stephane Mallarmé, the aggressive nonsense art of the Dadaists, musical counterpoint in Bach and James Joyce, jazz in the works of the Harlem Renaissance, the wild experimentation of John Cage and Black Mountain College’s musical “happenings,” the effortless aesthetic of the Velvet Underground and the New York School poets in the 60s, the implications of punk rock as a literary movement, and the emergence of hip hop in the late 2000s as a conceptual art form and high-cultural phenomenon. Above all, we will discover the astounding breadth of what the terms   “literature” and “music” can mean, and how neither can ever hope to separate itself, completely, from the other.

 

 

 

COML 118.401 Poetics of Screenwriting: The Art of Plotting
Cross Cultural Analysis; All Readings and Lectures in English
MW 3:30-5 Todorov
Cross listed with CINE 111, RUSS 111

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 123.401 World Film History to 1945
Arts & Letters
TR 12-1:30 Mazaj
Cross listed with ARTH 108, CINE 101, ENGL 091


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 124.401 World Film History ’45-Present
Arts & Letters
TR 9-10:30 Corrigan
Cross listed with ARTH 109, CINE 102, ENGL 092


Focusing on movies made after 1945, this course allows students to learn and to sharpen methods, terminologies, and tools needed for the critical analysis of film. Beginning with the cinematic revolution signaled by the Italian Neo-Realism (of Rossellini and De Sica), we will follow the evolution of postwar cinema through the French New Wave (of Godard, Resnais, and Varda), American movies of the 1950s and 1960s (including the New Hollywood cinema of Coppola and Scorsese), and the various other new wave movements of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s (such as the New German Cinema). We will then selectively examine some of the most important films of the last two decades, including those of U.S. independent film movement and movies from Iran, China, and elsewhere in an expanding global cinema culture. There will be precise attention paid to formal and stylistic techniques in editing, mise-en-scene, and sound, as well as to the narrative, non-narrative, and generic organizations of film. At the same time, those formal features will be closely linked to historical and cultural distinctions and changes, ranging from the Paramount Decision of 1948 to the digital convergences that are defining screen culture today. There are no perquisites. Requirements will include readings in film history and film analysis, an analytical essay, a research paper, weekly Canvas postings, and active participation in class discussion. Fulfills the Arts and Letters Sector requirement.

 

COML 125.401 Narrative Across Cultures
Cross Cultural Analysis; Arts & Letters
W 2-5 Allen
Cross listed with ENGL 103, FOLK 125, NELC 180, SAST 124

 

The purpose of this course is to present a variety of narrative genres and to discuss and illustrate the modes whereby they can be analysed. We will be looking at some shorter types of narrative: short story, the novella, and the fable, but also some extracts from longer works such as autobiography. While some the works will be from the Anglo-American tradition, a large number of others will be from European and non-Western cultural traditions and from earlier time-periods. The course will thus offer ample opportunity for the exploration of the translation of cultural values in a comparative perspective.

 

 

COML 133.401 Writing Toward Diaspora
W 2-5 Resnikoff
Cross listed with ENGL 127

Wandering creates the desert. —Edmond Jabès

 

What is the relationship between writing and diaspora? This trans-genre workshop will move through a series of key diasporic texts, from ancient times to the present, asking students to respond to these works in their own language—with an emphasis on reading and writing across genre—through poem, essay, story and translation. Together, as a writing community, we will constellate a number of difficult, pressing questions around our collective work, including: what is our relationship as writers to urgent issues of diasporic statelessness in the contemporary moment? What are the implications of diaspora in art? The stakes of diaspora in art? Who gets to speak and who gets spoken for? How and where does language serve as a boundary/border defying medium? How and where are boundaries/borders reinforced and reified in language? Class sessions will incorporate a mixture of open communal discussion and paired learning, and will engage with the intersubjectivities of the texts we read, write and translate by interpreting and workshopping them alongside one another. No prior literary writing experience required.


COML 141.401 Scandalous Arts
Humanities & Social Science
MW 3:30-5 Rosen
Cross listed with CLST 140

What do the ancient Greek comedian Aristophanes, the Roman satirist Juvenal, have in common with Snoop Dogg and Jon Stewart? Many things, in fact, but perhaps the most fundamental is their delight in pushing back against social norms, whether through obscenity, violence, or political incorrectness. This course will examine our conceptions of the arts (including literary, visual and musical media) deemed by certain communities to

transgress the boundaries of taste and convention. It juxtaposes modern notions of artistic transgression, and the criteria used to evaluate such material, with the production of and discourse about transgressive art in classical antiquity. Students will consider, among other things, why communities feel compelled to repudiate some forms of art, while others into classics.


COML 148.401 Slavery and Serfdom: Slavery, Serfdom, and Cultures of Bondage in the U.S. and Russia
Freshman Seminar; All Readings and Lectures in English
TR 4:30-6 Wilson
Cross listed with AFRC 148, RUSS 149

During the Cold War, the United States and Russia were locked in an ideological battle, as capitalist and communist superpowers, over the question of private property. So how did these two countries approach the most important question regarding property that ever faced human civilization: how could governments justify the treatment of its subjects, people, as property? In 1862, Russia abolished serfdom, a form of human bondage that had existed in its territories since the 11th century. Just a year later, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. What forces, both domestic and international, both political and cultural, influenced these near simultaneous liberations? Though primarily literary in nature, this course will also take into account historical, journalistic, scientific, and cinematic sources in an attempt to illuminate the cultures of and against bondage that dominated Russia and the U.S. in the 19th century. 

 

 

COML 150.601 War and Representation in Russia, Euruope, and the U.S.

Humanities and Social Science Sector

T 5:30-8:30   Chang

Cross listed with ENGL 105, RUSS 193

 

Representations of war have been created for as many reasons as wars are fought: to legitimate conflict, to celebrate military prowess, to critique brutality, to mobilize popular support, to vilify an enemy, and to generate national pride.  In this course we will examine literary and cinematic representations of war, produced in Russia, Europe, and the United States.  Over the course of the semester we will reflect on the tension between the need for memorialization and the limits of representation: How is war represented in literature and film? How do those mediums both enable and thwart us in our attempt to capture wartime experiences?  What is the relationship between perspective, politics, and representation?  And finally, how is the experience of being in a war refracted through gender, race, class, and sexuality?  Authors we will read in this class might include Leo Tolstoy, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Stephen Crane, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus, John Okada, Virginia Woolf, Kurt Vonnegut, Rabih Alameddine, and Toni Morrison.

 

COML 151.401 Water Worlds
Arts & Letters; All Readings and Lectures in English
MWF 11-12 Richter
Cross listed with ENVS 150, GRMN 150

As a result of climate change, the world that will take shape in the course of this century will be decidedly more inundated with water than we're accustomed to. The polar ice caps are melting, glaciers are retreating, ocean levels are rising, polar bear habitat is disappearing, countries are jockeying for control over a new Arctic passage, while low-lying cities and small island nations are confronting the possibility of their own demise. Catastrophic flooding events are increasing in frequency, as are extreme droughts. Hurricane-related storm surges,tsunamis, and raging rivers have devastated regions on a local and global scale. In this seminar we will turn to the narratives and images that the human imagination has produced in response to the experience of overwhelming watery invasion, from Noah to New Orleans. Objects of analysis will include mythology, ancient and early modern diluvialism, literature, art, film, and commemorative practice. The basic question we'll be asking is: What can we learn from the humanities that will be helpful for confronting the problems and challenges caused by climate change and sea level rise?

 

 

COML 152.401 Central and Eastern Europe: Cultures, Histories, Societies
All Readings and Lectures in English
W 2-5 Steiner, P.
Cross listed with EEUR 151, RUSS 151

CANCELLED

 

The reappearance of the concept of Central Europe is one of the most fascinating results of the collapse of the Soviet empire. The course will provide an introduction into the study of this region based on the commonalties and differences between Austria, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. The topics will include the history of arts and literature, as well as broader cultural and historical patterns characteristic of this part of Europe.


COML 206.401 Italian History on Screen
Cross Cultural Analysis; Arts & Letters
MW 2-3:30 Locatelli
Cross listed with CINE 206, ITAL 204

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 multifacted as the country itself. Group work, 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 Dostoevsky
Benjamin Franklin Seminar; All Readings and Lectures in English
TR 1:30-3 Staff
Cross listed with RUSS 201

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 213.401 Saints and Devils in Russian Lit
Freshman Seminar; Cross Cultural Analysis; All Readings and Lectures in English
MW 12-1:30 Verkholantsev
Cross listed with RELS 218, RUSS 213

This course is about Russian literature, which is populated with saints and devils, believers and religious rebels, holy men and sinners. In Russia, where people’s frame of mind had been formed by a mix of Eastern Orthodox Christianity and earlier folk beliefs, the quest for faith, spirituality and the meaning of life has invariably been connected with religious matters. How can one find the right path in life? Is humility the way to salvation? Should one live for God or for the people? Does God even exist?

In “Saints and Devils,” we will examine Russian literature concerning the holy and the demonic as representations of good and evil, and we will learn about the historic trends that have filled Russia’s national character with religious and supernatural spirit. In the course of this semester we will talk about ancient cultural traditions, remarkable works of art and the great artists who created them. All readings and films are in English. Our primary focus will be on works by Pushkin, Gogol, Lermontov, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Tolstoy, and Bulgakov.

 

 

COML 216.405 CU in India: Living Traditions of Indian Literature
Cross Cultural Analysis; Permission of Instructor; This is a 2-CU year-long course
MW 10-11 Patel
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 classroom 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 http://sites.sas.upenn.edu/cuinindia.  This is a 2-CU yearlong course DEADLINE TO REGISTER IS MARCH 31st

 

COML 218.401 Perspectives in French Literature
Cross Cultural Analysis; Literatures of the World; Arts & Letters
TR 9-10:30 Goulet
Cross listed with COLL 221, FREN 231

This basic course in literature provides an overview of French literature and acquaints students with major literary trends through the study of representative works from each period. Students are expected to take an active part in class discussion in French. French 231 has as its theme the presentation of love and passion in French literature.

 

 

COML 218.402 Perspectives in French Literature
Cross Cultural Analysis; Literatures of the World; Arts & Letters
TR 10:30-12 Francis
Cross listed with COLL 221, FREN 231

This basic course in literature provides an overview of French literature and acquaints students with major literary trends through the study of representative works from each period. Students are expected to take an active part in class discussion in French. French 231 has as its theme the presentation of love and passion in French literature.

 

 

COML 218.403 Perspectives in French Literature
Cross Cultural Analysis; Literatures of the World; Arts & Letters
TR 1:30-3 Dougherty
Cross listed with COLL 221, FREN 231

This basic course in literature provides an overview of French literature and acquaints students with major literary trends through the study of representative works from each period. Students are expected to take an active part in class discussion in French. French 231 has as its theme the presentation of love and passion in French literature.

 

 

COML 218.404 Perspectives in French Literature
Cross Cultural Analysis; Literatures of the World; Arts & Letters
MWF 11-12 Prince
Cross listed with COLL 221, FREN 231

This basic course in literature provides an overview of French literature and acquaints students with major literary trends through the study of representative works from each period. Students are expected to take an active part in class discussion in French. French 231 has as its theme the presentation of love and passion in French literature.

 

 

COML 220.401 Russia and the West
Cross Cultural Analysis; Humanities & Social Science
TR 3-4:30 Peeney
Cross listed with HIST 220, RUSS 220

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.

 

COML 248.403 Dangerous Pleasures: Reading Novels in 19th C. Europe

M 3:30-6:30  Della Zazzera

Cross listed with HIST 230

 

At the turn of the nineteenth century many Europeans grew increasingly worried about a disturbing and pernicious trend – novel reading. Novels, they thought, led to sentimentality, flights of fancy, and spread immoral and immodest notions. These impacts were considered all the more disturbing because many novel readers were women, and, increasingly over the nineteenth century, members of the lower classes. But despite their imagined dangers, novels were extremely popular and only became more so. What was it about novels that made them both so popular and so feared? By looking at several popular nineteenth century novels, including Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, Balzac’s Old Goriot, Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons, and  Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey, this course will explore how these novels were received, the controversies surrounding them, and ask what they tell us about the time in which they were written. Over the course of the semester students will work toward producing a research project on a novel of their choice and its place in the history of nineteenth century Europe. All course assignments will build toward the production of that research project, including an annotated bibliography, a primary sources analysis and a draft outline/introduction. Course readings will consist of novels, reviews, theoretical writings, and historical scholarship.

 

COML 245.401 From the Uncanny to the Horror: Literature, Film and
Psychoanalysis
Arts & Letter
TR 9-10:30 Rabate
Cross listed with CINE 112, ENGL 102

This class will introduce students to links between psychoanalysis, literature and film by tackling one major theme in Freud’s essays on the arts and literature: the concept of the Uncanny. We will then follow its more recent developments in Horror stories and Horror films. Studying a number of films and literary works, we will test, verify or question psychoanalytical concepts such as the Uncanny, the Thing, Abjection, Enjoyment and Fantasy. Why do we enjoy being startled or afraid when watching horror movies? What is unsettling but also endlessly fascinating and captivating in Gothic tales of madness and haunting? Why do we imagine that the dead might return? A psychoanalytic approach to this paradoxical enjoyment of fear in literary works and films provides original and dynamic methods of interpretation. As theoretical material, we will use three main texts: Freud’s collection of essays The Uncanny, Slavoj Zizek’s Looking Awry, and Julia Kristeva’s Powers of Horror.
Bibliography: Sigmund Freud, The Uncanny, Penguin, 2003.
Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on abjection, Columbia, 1982.
Slavoj Zizek’s Looking Awry, MIT, 1991.
Jean-Michel Rabaté, Introduction to Literature and Psychoanalysis, Cambridge, 2014.
Requirements: 10 film journals (2-3 pages each), one short paper (8 pages) and one research paper (12 pages).

 

COML 245.402 Literatures of Psychoanalysis
Arts & Letters
MW 5-6:30 Cavitch
Cross listed with ENGL 102, GSWS 102

Psychoanalysis is one of the modern world’s most important and diverse theories of human behavior, motivation (both psychic and cultural), and the nature of the subject. As the so-called “talking cure,” language and narrative are fundamental to both its theory and practice. It is, among other things, a mode of interpretation, and thus it shares a great deal with the methods of literary analysis, to which this course will introduce you. Psychoanalysis has generated a vast body of writing—clinical, theoretical, and literary—of extremely high quality and compelling interest to students not only of literature but also of all fields in the humanities, social sciences, and medicine. No previous study of psychology or psychoanalysis is expected.
Along with its introduction to literary analysis, this course will provide an introduction to major psychoanalytic concepts (e.g. dreamwork, trauma, repression, the unconscious, the sexual and death drives, transference, the ego, dissociation, and fantasy) through the writings of a wide variety of its practitioners and commentators, from Sigmund Freud to the present day. In addition to Freud’s foundational writings, we’ll read key selections from later psychoanalytic works that further explore psychoanalytic ideas and movements, as well as: feminist, LGBT, and other social and political uses and critiques of psychoanalysis; the genre of the case study; and the expansion of psychoanalysis beyond the U.S. and Europe. Literary works in genres such as the novel, the graphic novel, poetry, and the memoir will include Marie Cardinal’s The Words to Say It; Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother?; short stories by Edgar Allan Poe; and poems by W. H. Auden and Anne Sexton. Coursework will include numerous very short assignments—both in-class and take-home—and two short essays.

 

COML 254.401 Metropolis: Culture of the City
Registration Required for LEC and REC (sections 402, F 11-12; 403, F 12-1)
Arts & Letters; All Readings and Lectures in English
LEC MW 10-11 MacLeod
Cross listed with CINE 244, GRMN 244, URBS 244

Psychoanalysis is one of the modern world’s most important and diverse theories of human behavior, motivation (both psychic and cultural), and the nature of the subject.  As the so-called “talking cure,” language and narrative are fundamental to both its theory and practice.  It is, among other things, a mode of interpretation, and thus it shares a great deal with the methods of literary analysis, to which this course will introduce you.  Psychoanalysis has generated a vast body of writing—clinical, theoretical, and literary—of extremely high quality and compelling interest to students not only of literature but also of all fields in the humanities, social sciences, and medicine.  No previous study of psychology or psychoanalysis is expected.

Along with its introduction to literary analysis, this course will provide an introduction to major psychoanalytic concepts (e.g. dreamwork, trauma, repression, the unconscious, the sexual and death drives, transference, the ego, dissociation, and fantasy) through the writings of a wide variety of its practitioners and commentators, from Sigmund Freud to the present day.  In addition to Freud’s foundational writings, we’ll read key selections from later psychoanalytic works that further explore psychoanalytic ideas and movements, as well as: feminist, LGBT, and other social and political uses and critiques of psychoanalysis; the genre of the case study; and the expansion of psychoanalysis beyond the U.S. and Europe.  Literary works in genres such as the novel, the graphic novel, poetry, and the memoir will include Marie Cardinal’s The Words to Say It; Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother?; short stories by Edgar Allan Poe; and poems by W. H. Auden and Anne Sexton.  Coursework will include numerous very short assignments—both in-class and take-home—and two short essays.

 

 

COML 266.401 Introduction to Modern Hebrew Lit: First Israelis: Amichai, Oz
Arts & Letters
TR 10:3-12 Gold
Cross listed with COLL 227, HEBR 259, HEBR 559, JWST 259

 

We will discuss literary works that reflect Israelis? struggle with their *national* identity. For the patriotic 1948 generation, self and country were one and the same while contemporary writers ask *what it means to be Israeli*. Yehuda Amichai's 1955 poem "I want to die in my bed" was a manifesto for individualism, yet the seemingly interminable Arab-Israeli
conflict forced writers to return to the national, social, and political arenas starting in the 1980s, although in entirely different ways. Readings include works by the contemporary Orly Kastel Bloom, Etgar Keret and Sayed Kashua as well as by the early writers Natan Alterman, Amir Gilboa, Dahlia Ravikovitch, A.B. Yehoshua, and David Grossman.

The class is conducted in Hebrew and all texts are read in the original. The amount of material we cover depends on the pace of the class. The packet contains significantly more material than will be studied in class to compensate for the difficulty of obtaining Hebrew texts in America.

 

COML 268.401 Nietzsche’s Modernity
All Readings and Lectures in English
MW 2-3:30 Fleishman
Cross listed with GRMN 248

"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 282.401 Modern Hebrew Lit and Culture in Translation: Holocaust in
Literature and Film
Arts and Letters
TR 1:30-3 Gold
Cross listed with CINE 159, ENGL 079, JWST 154, NELC 159

 

In the first decade of the new millennium, the so called "Second Generation", children of Holocaust survivors reached maturity. Only in their,40s and 50s they finally began confronting and reconstructing their parents'experiences, as well as their own nightmarish childhoods. These include striking narratives Our Holocaust by Amir Gutfreund and Corner People by Esty G. Hayim as well as films like Walk on Water. The third generation is also returning to the forbidden story with prize winning films like "The apartment." The quintessential Holocaust narrative The Diary of Anne Frank appeared in 1947, one year prior to the establishment of the Jewish State. Nevertheless, Israeli culture "waited" until the public trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961 to hesitantly face the momentous catastrophe. The Zionist wish to forge a "New Jew" motivated this suppression, at least in part. Aharon Appelfeld's stories were the first Holocaust-related works to enter the modernist literary scene in the 1960s, followed by the cryptic verse of Dan Pagis, a fellow child survivor. It was not until 1988 that this practice of concealing the past was broken, when two Israeli-born pop singers, children of survivors, released the watershed documentary "Because of That War."

 

This course will follow and analyze the transformation of Israeli literature and cinema from instruments of suppression into a means of processing this national trauma. While Israeli works constitute much of the course's material, European and American film and fiction play comparative roles.

 

COML 283.401 Jewish Folklore
Cross Cultural Analysis; Cultural Diversity in the U.S.
TR 10:30-12 Ben-Amos, D.
Cross listed with FOLK 280, JWST 260, NELC 258

 

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.

 

COML 287.401 Ethnic Humor
TR 1:30-3 Ben-Amos, D.
Cross listed with FOLK 202, NELC 287

 

Humor in ethnic societies has two dimensions: internal and external.  The

inside humor of an ethnic group is accessible to its members; it draws upon

their respective social structures, historical and social experiences,

languages, cultural symbols, and social and economic circumstances and

aspirations.  The external humor of an ethnic group targets members of other

ethnic groups, and draws upon their stereotypes, and attributed

characteristics by other ethnic groups.  The external ethnic humor flourishes

in immigrant and ethnically heterogenic societies.  In both cases jokes and

humor are an integral part of social interaction, and in their performance

relate to the social, economic, and political dynamics of traditional and

modern societies.

 

 

COML 292.401 Historical Films
TR 3-4:30 Mazaj
Cross listed with ARTH 289, CINE 202, ENGL 292

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 296.401 The Epic Tradition: Classical Epic and Medieval Romance
MW 3:30-5 Copeland
Cross listed with CLST 160, ENGL 229

This course looks at a number of strands in the broad epic tradition: narratives of warfare, quest narratives (both geographical and spiritual), and the combination of the two in narratives of chivalry and love. We will start with the Homeric poems, reading Iliad and Odyssey, and then we will see how Homeric themes are reprised in Virgil's narrative of travel, conquest, and empire, the Aeneid. From there we will move to one medieval epic of warfare, Beowulf. In the last part of the course we will read some Arthurian romances, which take up certain themes familiar from epic, but place them in a new context: the medieval institution of chivalry, where the ancient warrior is replaced by the medieval knight, where the collective battle is replaced by the individual quest, and where the psychology of sexual desire is now foregrounded as a motivation for heroic self-realization.


 

COML 297.401 Global Feminism
M 2-5 Loomba
Cross listed with ENGL 296, GSWS 297

COML 343.401 19th C. European Intellectual History
TR 10:30-12 Breckman
Cross listed with HIST 343

Starting with the dual challenges of Enlightenment and Revolution at the close of the eighteenth century, this course examines the emergence of modern European thought and culture in the century from Kant to Nietzsche. Themes to be considered include Romanticism, Utopian Socialism, early Feminism, Marxism, Liberalism, and Aestheticism. Readings include Kant, Hegel, Burke, Marx, Mill, Wollstonecraft, Darwin, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche.

 

 

COML 380.401 Bible in Translation: Kings
TR 12-1:30 Cranz
Cross listed with JWST 255, NELC 250, NELC 550

Careful textual study of a book of the Hebrew Bible ("Old Testament") as a literary and religious work in the light of modern scholarship, ancient Near Eastern documents, and comparative literature and religion.

 

 

COML 385.401 Japanese Theatre
Cross Cultural Analysis
T 1:30-4:30 Kano
Cross listed with EALC 255, FOLK 485, THAR 485

Japan has one of the richest and most varied theatrical traditions in the

world.  In this course, we will examine Japanese theatre in historical and

comparative contexts.  The readings and discussions will cover all areas of

the theatrical experience (script, acting, stage, design, costumes, music,

audience).  Audio-visual material will be used whenever appropriate and

possible.  Requirements include short writing assignments, presentations, and

one research paper.  Reading knowledge of Japanese and/or previous course-work

in literature/theatre will be helpful, but not required.  The class will be

conducted in English, with all English materials.

 

 

COML 391.401 Cinema and Politics
Benjamin Franklin Seminar
TR 3-4:30 Barnard
Cross listed with CINE 392, ENGL 392


This seminar has a bold aim: it seeks to understand better what has happened in our world since the era of decolonization, by considering the term “politics” in its very broadest and most dramatic connotations: as the dream of social change and its failures. Another way of describing its subject matter is to say that it is about revolution and counterrevolution since the Bandung Conference. Together we will investigate the way in which major historical events, including the struggle for Algerian independence, the military coup in Indonesia, the Cuban Revolution, the assassination of Patrice Lumumba in Congo, the Vietnam War, Latin American dictatorships, the Israeli Palestinian conflict, the fall of the Soviet Union, the end of apartheid in South Africa, and 9/11, the Iraq War, and its aftermath, have been represented in some of the most innovative and moving films of our time. Attention will therefore be paid to a variety of genres: including cinema verité, documentary, the thriller, the biopic, animation, the global conspiracy film, hyperlink cinema, science fiction and dystopia. The ongoing and fraught question of race in America, as well as the American fixation on elections (which sometimes seems the be all and end all of politics here) may also come under scrutiny; but the idea is to have a more global reach. Films will include: The Battle of Algiers, The Year of Living Dangerously, Memories of Underdevelopment, Lumumba and Lumumba: La Mort d’un Prophète, The Fog of War, The Lives of Others, Y Tu Mama Tambien,Even the Rain, The Constant Gardener, Syriana, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Waltz with Bashir, Caché, Children of Men, and, if we have time, The Possibility of Hope andHow To Start a Revolution. An archive of secondary readings will be provided. Writing requirements: a mid-term and a final paper of around 8-10 pages each.

 

 

COML 391.402 Hollywood 1939
M 2-5 Polan
Cross listed with ARTH 389, CINE 392, ENGL 392

For critics and fans, 1939 is a year that crystallized the cultural and even artistic potential of the Hollywood studio system: This, after all, was the year of such revered works as Gone With the Wind, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Wuthering Heights, Stagecoach, The Wizard of Oz, among others. Intending to avoid any notion of special genius or historical accident or such-like, this course sets out to account for Hollywood achievement in concrete material, industrial, and social terms: What was the Hollywood system and what sorts of films did it produce and how and to what effect? We will look at studio structure and its operations, institutional support and pressure (for example, the role of censorship and regulation), the role of critics, audience taste, and so on. While we will draw on important secondary studies, some readings will be drawn from texts of the time in order to garner as immediate and vivid a picture of the functioning of the Hollywood system at a moment often assumed to represent its pinnacles of achievement.

 

COML 419.401 17th C. Intellectual History
MW 2-3:30 Cheely
Cross listed with HIST 415

A survey based soley on primary sources of the main currents of seventeenth-century European thought: the criticism of inherited systems and of the authority of the past; skepticism, rationalism; empiricism; and the rise of the new natural philosophy. We will study deep conceptual change as an historical phenomenon, examining works that were both profoundly influential in the seventeenth-century and that are of enduring historical significance. There are no prerequisites, and one of the goals of the course is to make seventeenth-century thought accessible in its context to the twenty-first century student.