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Undergraduate Courses
Fall 2017




 



COML 001.401 THE END IS COMING: APOCALYPSE IN FILM AND LIT
COMMUNICATION WITHIN THE CURRICULUM
TR 10:30-12    Elliott/Knudson
Cross listed with ENGL 001


From global pandemics to great floods, from nuclear wars to days of judgment, from climate collapse to universal heat death, our world has never freed itself from the threat of impending apocalypse. This perennial premonition, “THE END IS COMING,” is at once religious, political, rhetorical, environmental, historical, aesthetic, and personal—and so, against the backdrop of our perceived current crisis, this course returns to endings that have gripped the cultural imaginary from the Book of Revelation to Wall-E. It investigates the past, present, and future of the notion that we have no future, in an attempt to zero in on several significant questions. What drives our fascination with, our fear of, and even our desire for destruction? Does the sense of an ending condition our experience of the world, of art, of narrative, and of thought? And is it really the end of the world, or just the end of our world that obsesses us? To attempt answers, we will probe the definitions of such terms as “world,” “end,” “coming,” “desire,” and “our,” and will examine how literature and film ground the universal catastrophes they predict in specific places and times. Every generation has believed it was the last; our own is no exception. Some dare to build the struts and rafters of a Jerusalem to come, some turn their heads away from the writing on the wall, and some dance as the palaces burn. We mean to investigate each, and to articulate our own responses to the end that comes again and again.
No prior knowledge of literature and film history or theory will be necessary for tracing these apocalyptic threads. As well as smaller, week-to-week exercises in analyzing and discussing the aesthetic, political, and rhetorical forms that endings have taken, students will be required to give either an oral presentation on something we study, or a speech to convince or dissuade people of an incoming apocalypse. The last class will culminate in a model-conference for which each student will present a short paper, orally, on a chosen research topic related to the course. Although no artist, author, or prophet that we study was able to shake their sense of the final, the course itself will not have one. But it will address those figures in depth. They include: Margaret Atwood, Stanley Kubrick, Sigmund Freud, John of Patmos, William Blake, Ovid, Lars Von Trier, Octavia Butler, William Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett, Boccaccio, Mary Shelley, Karl Marx, Mohammed, Donna Haraway, Frank Kermode, Cormac McCarthy and Norman O. Brown.

 

COML 013.401 INTRO MODERN SOUTH ASIAN LIT: NEW LITERATURES OF
RESISTANCE AND REPRESENTATIONS
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
MWF 10-11    Mohammad
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 090.401 WRITING WOMEN 1680-1800: Women as authors and as Subject (Domestic, LIterary, Political) during the long eighteenth century

TR 1:30-3    Bowers
Cross listed with ENGL 090/GSWS 090

 

In this course on ancient and medieval epic we will track the literary compulsion to return to the Trojan War.  The “matter of Troy” provided ancient and medieval writers with a rich resource for reflections on war and violence, on the power and vulnerability of states, on personal and communal suffering, and on how history is written.  We will begin with the Homeric Iliad along with other ancient Greek uses of the Trojan myth; we will read Virgil’s refashioning of the Trojan story as the new beginnings of a triumphant Roman history; and then we will consider how medieval writers, including Geoffrey of Monmouth, Boccaccio, Chaucer, the Gawain-Poet, and Robert Henryson, shaped and contended with the myth of Troy.  In the hands of late medieval writers, Troy becomes a literary site for the transformation of epic into the genre of romance.

The course requirements will be:  one ten-minute oral presentation on a research topic of your choice related to the reading, together with a short write-up of your research; one very short critical paper; and one longer research paper (which can develop the subject of your oral presentation).  

 

 

COML 094.401 INTRO TO LITERARY THEORY: NEW CONCEPTS OF LITERARY
AND CULTURAL THEORY FOR BEGINNERS
TR 12-1:30    Rabate
Cross listed with ENGL 094

 

Theory has reemerged as a vital force in the humanities after having undergone a momentary eclipse. It is to new concepts and new approaches that this class will introduce students who will not need previous exposure to the languages of philosophy or rhetoric. Theory will be understood as literary and cultural theory, and we will constantly move from earlier formulations about politics, sexuality, aesthetics and hermeneutics with Plato, Aristotle, Hegel and Marx to contemporary approaches with Derrida, Lacan, Butler, Badiou, Zizek and others. This will allow us to get a deeper understanding of key concepts like form, structure, the unconscious, materialism, dialectics, post-colonialism, gender, and race. We will combine two collections, the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (2010) and the Bloomsbury Anthology of Aesthetics (2012).

 

 

COML 107.401 POLITICS: RHETORIC AND POWER IN ITALIAN CULTURE
AND BEYOND
FRESHMAN SEMINAR
MWF 1-2    Mirra
Cross listed with ITAL 100

 

Italian political thought is tightly interlaced with literature, poetry and fiction. Many renowned writers, such as Dante and Machiavelli, were primarily considered political authors rather than literary icons, and their writings influenced and shaped political discourse in Italy and across Western culture. Their work is still of great interest for the Humanities, the Social and Political sciences, History, and Philosophy. In this course, we will examine the work of these authors, focusing on different genres (from poetry to political treatises, satire, and theater) and paying special attention to the language they employed to convey their innovative political views. We will frame these works within their historical and literary context, but also in relation to today's politics. At the center of those works, there are many themes of great current interest, such as the division of Church and State, the relationship between the State and its citizens, the separation of powers into three branches, the death penalty, and the rhetorical strategies employed by politicians running for power and by their opponents. Readings will include, among others, works by Dante, Machiavelli, Vico, Beccaria, Leopardi, D’Annunzio, Pasolini, Gentile and Gramsci.

 

 

COML 115.401 EXPERIMENTAL POETRY
M 6-9   Bernstein
Cross listed with  ENGL 111

 

This is a nontraditional "poetry immersion" workshop. The workshop will be useful for those wanting to explore new possibilities for writing and art, whether or not they have a commitment to writing poetry. The workshop will be structured around a series of writing experiments, collaborations, intensive readings, art gallery visits, and the production of individual chapbooks or web sites for each participant, and performance of participants' works. There will also be some visiting poets. The emphasis in the workshop will be on new and innovative approaches to composition and form, including digital, sound, and performance, rather than on works emphasizing narrative or story telling. Each week, participants will discuss the writing they have done as well as the assigned reading. Before enrolling, please review the syllabus at http://writing.upenn.edu/bernstein/syllabi/111-intro.html.

 

 

 

COML 121.401. WORKING WITH TRANSLATION: THE TRANSLATION OF
POETRY/THE POETRY OF TRANSLATION
TR 3-4:30   Silverman, T.
Cross listed with ENGL 120

 

No problem is as consubstantial with literature and its modest mystery as the one posed by translation.”—Jorge Luis Borges

In this class we will study and translate some of the major figures in 19th and 20th century poetry, including Gabriela Mistral, Wislawa Szymborska, Mahmoud Darwish, Anna Akhmatova, Rainer Maria Rilke, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Arthur Rimbaud, and Shu Ting. While the curriculum will be tailored to the interests and linguistic backgrounds of the students who enroll, all those curious about world poetry and the formidable, irresistible act of translation are welcome. Those wishing to take the translation course should have, at least, an intermediate knowledge of another language. We will study multiple translations of major poems and render our own versions in response. Students with knowledge of other languages will have the additional opportunity to work directly from the original. A portion of the course will be set up as a creative writing workshop in which to examine the overall effect of each others’ translations so that first drafts can become successful revisions. While class discussions will explore the contexts and particularity of poetry writen in Urdu, Italian, Arabic, French, Bulgarian, and Polish, they might ultimately reveal how notions of national literature have radically shifted in recent years to more polyglottic and globally textured forms. Through famous poems, essays on translation theory, and our own ongoing experiments, this course will celebrate the ways in which great poetry underscores the fact that language itself is a translation. In addition to the creative work, assignments will include an oral presentation, informal response papers, and a short final essay. This course is cross-listed with Comparative Literature.

 

 

COML 123.401 WORLD FILM HISTORY TO 1945
ARTS & LETTERS SECTOR
TR 3-4:30  Kauffmann
Cross listed with ARTH 108/CIMS 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 to PRESENT
ARTS & LETTERS SECTOR
TR 9-10:30    Corrigan
Cross listed with ARTH 109/CIMS 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 from the 1950s through the present day (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.

 

 

COML 125.401 NARRATIVE ACROSS CULTURES
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
ARTS & LETTERS SECTOR
TR 3-4:30    Loomba
Cross listed with ENGL 103/FOLK 125/NELC 180/SAST 124

 

In this course we will read several types of narratives written in different periods and in different parts of the world, ranging from ancient Greek and Sanskrit drama to modern African, Latin American and South Asian fiction. We will discuss the different techniques of storytelling, 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. Texts will likely include work by Sophocles, Kalidasa, Shakespeare, David Henry Hwang, Tayib Salih, Alejo Carpentier, Arundhati Roy, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Shyam Selvadurai and Amara Lakhou

Requirements: consistent class participation, bi-weekly posts (1-2 pages), one short (3 page paper) and a final examination.

 

 

COML 127.601 THE ADULTERY NOVEL
R 5:30-8:30  Fischler
ARTS & LETTERS SECTOR
Cross listed with CIMS 125/GSWS 125/RUSS 125

 

 

The object of this course is to analyze narratives of adultery from Shakespeare to the present and to develop a vocabulary for thinking critically about the literary conventions and social values that inform them. Many of the themes (of desire, transgression, suspicion, discovery) at the heart of these stories also lie at the core of many modern narratives. Is there anything special, we will ask, about the case of adultery--once called "a crime which contains within itself all others"? What might these stories teach us about the way we read in general? By supplementing classic literary accounts by Shakespeare, Pushkin, Flaubert, Chekhov, and Proust with films and with critical analyses, we will analyze the possibilities and limitations of the different genres and forms under discussion, including novels, films, short stories, and theatre. What can these forms show us (or not show us) about desire, gender, family and social obligation? Through supplementary readings and class discussions, we will apply a range of critical approaches to place these narratives of adultery in a social and literary context, including formal analyses of narrative and style, feminist criticism, Marxist and sociological analyses of the family, and psychoanalytic understandings of desire and family life.

 

 

COML 140.401 1922, YR. MOD MASTERPIECE: AN OVERVIEW OF MODERNIST MASTERPIECES PRODUCED IN 1922
TR 9-10:30   Rabate
Cross listed with ENGL 259

 

Why did the year 1922 see the birth of so many modernist masterpieces by Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, May Sinclair, Rainer Maria Rilke, Katherine Mansfield, E.E. Cummings, Gertrude Stein and T. S. Eliot? In order to answer to this question, we will study that year as a slice of global cultural history including developments in music, painting, film, architecture, politics, philosophy, sciences and technology. If 1922 ushered in the production of the radically new, that moment also saw the emergence of a “modern classicism.” The mixture of the new and of tradition that we tend to call “modernism” became stabilized at that time and has since become our classicism. To understand it better, we will study sections from In Search of Lost Time, Ulysses and The Castle and will read complete texts of The Enormous Room, The Duino Elegies, Geography and Plays, Jacob’s Room, The Garden Party, Life and Death of Harriet Frean, and The Waste Land. We will watch and discuss a few films produced in 1922. Most of the texts are available online. The collection 1922: Literature, Culture, Politics, ed. J-M Rabaté, Cambridge University Press (2105) will serve as a guide.

 

 

 

COML 143.401 FOUNDATIONS OF EUROPEAN THOUGHT: FROM ROME TO
THE RENAISSANCE
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
TR 10:30-12    Moyer
Cross listed with HIST 143

 

This course offers an introduction to the world of thought and learning at the heart of European culture, from the Romans through the Renaissance. We begin with the ancient Mediterranean and the formation of Christianity and trace its transformation into European society. Along the way we will examine the rise of universities and institutions for learning, and follow the humanist movement in rediscovering and redefining the ancients in the modern world.

 

 

COML 151.401 WATER WORLDS
ARTS & LETTERS SECTOR
ALL READINGS AND LECTURES IN ENGLISH
MWF 10-11   Richter
Cross listed with ENVS 150/GRMN 150

 

The Vikings were the terror of Europe from the late eight to the eleventh century. Norwegians, Danes and Swedes left their homeland of trade, raid and pillage, leaving survivors praying "Oh Lord, deliver us from the fury of the Norsemen!" While commonly associated with violent barbarism, the Norse were also farmers, craftsmen, and merchants.

 

 

COML 191.401 WORLD LITERATURE
MW 3:30-5 Premoli/Irele
Cross listed with ENGL 277/CLST 191

 

This course will introduce students to a wide array of literary works from across the world.  It operates on the assumption that cultures have never been isolated from each other and that literature has always been in motion across national boundaries; it has been translated, adapted, and circulated.  We will explore the genres, forms, and thematic preoccupations of major works that strive to imagine a wider world, while also studying the critical debates around the concept of world literature, from its origins with Goethe’s essay on Weltliteratur to contemporary arguments about cosmopolitanism and globalization.


COML 200.401 FANTASTIC VOYAGE FROM HOMER TO SCIENCE FICTION FRESHMAN SEMINAR
TR 1:30-3    Francis
Cross listed with FREN 200

Tales of voyages to strange lands with strange inhabitants and even stranger customs have been a part of the Western literary tradition from its inception. What connects these tales is that their voyages are not only voyages of discovery, but voyages of self-discovery. By describing the effects these voyages have on the characters who undertake them, and by hinting at comparisons between the lands described in the story and their own society, authors use fantastic voyages as vehicles for incisive commentary on literary, social, political, and scientific issues. In this course, we will explore the tradition of the fantastic voyage from Homer’s Odyssey, one of the earliest examples of this type of narrative and a model for countless subsequent voyage narratives, to science fiction, which appropriates this narrative for its own ends. We will determine what the common stylistic elements of voyage narratives are, such as the frame narrative, or story-within-a-story, and what purpose they serve in conveying the tale’s messages. We will see how voyagers attempt to understand and interact with the lands and peoples they encounter, and what these attempts tell us about both the voyagers and their newly-discovered counterparts. Finally, we will ask ourselves what real-world issues are commented upon by these narratives, what lessons the narratives have to teach about them, and how they impart these lessons to the reader. Readings for this course, all of which are in English or English translation, range from classics like the Odyssey and Gulliver’s Travels to predecessors of modern science fiction like Jules Verne and H. G. Wells to seminal works of modern science fiction like Pierre Boulle’s Planet of the Apes, Karel Čapek’s War with the Newts, and Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris. Though this course is primarily dedicated to literature, we will also look at how films like the 1968 adaptation of Planet of the Apes and television shows like Star Trek and Futurama draw upon literary or cinematic models for their own purposes. This course is meant not only for SF fans who would like to become better acquainted with the precursors and classics of the genre, but for all those who wish to learn how great works of fiction, far from being intended solely for entertainment and escapism, attempt to improve upon the real world through the effect they have on the reader.

 

 

COML 201.401 TRANSNATIONAL CINEMA
TR 12-1:30    Mazaj
Cross listed with CIMS 201/ENGL 291

This is a course in contemporary transnational film cultures and world cinema. The course will examine the idea of world cinema and set up a model of how it can be explored by studying contemporary film in various countries. We will explore ways in which cinemas from around the globe have attempted to come to terms with Hollywood, and look at forces that lead many filmmakers to define themselves in opposition to Hollywood norms. But we will also look at the phenomenon of world cinema in independent terms, as “waves” that peak in different places and times, and coordinate various forces. Finally, through the close case study of significant films and cinemas that have dominated the international festival circuit (Chinese, Korean, Iranian, Indian, etc.) we will engage with the questions of which films/cinemas get labeled as “world cinema,” what determines entry into the sphere of world cinema, and examine the importance of film festivals in creating world cinema.

 

 

 

COML 206.401 ITALIAN HISTORY ON SCREEN
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
ARTS & LETTERS SECTOR
MW 2-3:30   Locatelli
Cross listed with CIMS 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
BEN FRANKLIM SEMINAR
ALL READINGS AND LECTURES IN ENGLISH
W 2-5    Steiner
Cross listed with RUSS 201

This course examines Dostoevsky's literary legacy considered in the context of its three major sources: Western philosophy, Orthodox Christianity, and Russian novelistic tradition. What is gained and what is lost by presenting philosophical ideas in works of fiction rather than in discursive prose? We will read Dostoevsky's major works with a view to showing how the problems they address (social, psychological, political, as well as artistic and philosophical) are inseparable not only from his time but from the distinctive novelistic form he created.

 

 

COML 218.401 FRENCH LITERATURE: LOVE AND PASSION
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
LITERATURES OF THE WORLD
TR 10:30-12    Goulet
CROSS LISTED WITH 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. This course was previously offered as French 221.

 

 

COML 218.402 FRENCH LITERATURE: LOVE AND PASSION
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
LITERATURES OF THE WORLD
TR 12-1:30    Moudileno
CROSS LISTED WITH 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. This course was previously offered as French 221.

 

COML 218.403 FRENCH LITERATURE: LOVE AND PASSION
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
LITERATURES OF THE WORLD
MW 2-3:30    Prince
CROSS LISTED WITH 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. This course was previously offered as French 221.

 

 

COML 220.401 RUSSIA AND THE WEST
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCE SECTOR
TR 3-4:30   Peeney
Cross listed with HIST 220/RUSS 200

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 NAPOLEONIC ERA AND TOLSTOY
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
MW 2-3:30   Holquist
Cross listed with HIST 333/RUSS 240

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 Era of the French Revolutions and the Napoleonic Wars (1789-1815). We will study both the novel and the Napoleonic era: the military campaigns of Napoleon and his opponents, the grand strategies of the age, political intrigues and diplomatic betrayals, the ideologies and beliefs, the human dramas, and 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? Because we will read War and Peace over the course of the entire semester, readings will be manageable (circa 100 pages of the epic and 50 pages of additional reading per week) – and very enjoyable

 

 

 

COML 237.401 BERLIN: HISTORY, POLITICS, CULTURE
REGISTRATION REQUIRED FOR LECTURE AND RECITATION HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCE SECTOR
ALL READINGS AND LECTURES IN ENGLISH
RECITATION SECTIONS: 402 (F 10-11), 403 (F 11-12),
404 (12-1), 405 (F 1-2)
LECTURE TR 10:30-12   Weissberg
Cross listed with GRMN 237

 

What do you know about Berlin’s history, architecture, culture, and political life? The present course will offer a survey of the history of Prussia, beginning with the seventeenth century, and the unification of the small towns of Berlin and Koelln to establish a new capital for this country. It will tell the story of Berlin’s rising political prominence in the eighteenth century, and its position as a center of the German and Jewish Enlightenment. It will follow Berlin's transformation into an industrial city in the late nineteenth century, its rise to metropolis in the early twentieth century, its history during the Third Reich, and the post-war cold war period. The course will conclude its historical survey with a consideration of Berlin’s position as a capital in reunified Germany. The historical survey will be supplemented by a study of Berlin’s urban structure, its significant architecture from the eighteenth century (i.e. Schinkel) to the nineteenth (new worker’s housing, garden suburbs) and twentieth centuries (Bauhaus, Speer designs, postwar rebuilding, GDR housing projects, post-unification building boom). In addition, we will read literary texts about the city, and consider the visual art and music created in and about Berlin, and focus on Berlin's Jewish history. The course will be interdisciplinary with the fields of German Studies, history, history of art, urban studies, and German-Jewish studies. It is also designed as a preparation for undergraduate students who are considering spending a junior semester with the Penn Abroad Program in Berlin.

 

 

COML 246.401  MODERN ARABIC LITERATURE

TBA   STAFF

Cross listed with NELC 231

 

This course is a study of modern Arabic literary forms such as the free verse
poem, the prose-poem, drama, the novel, and the short story. The class
examines issues related to Arabic culture and identity in the modern and post-
modern era through the study of Arabic literature. The aim of the course is
to introduce students to key samples of modern Arabic literature which trace
major social and political developments in Arab society. All readings will be
in English translations. The class will also address the role of translation
in shaping modern Arabic literary forms and creating the image of Arabic
literature in other languages.

 

 

COML 248.401 THE CITY OF ROME: FROM CONSTANTINE TO THE BORGIAS
TR 1:30-4:30   Moyer
Cross listed with HIST 230

 

The great city of Rome outlived its empire and its emperors. What happened to the Eternal City after “the fall of the Roman Empire in the West?” In this course, we will follow the story of this great city, its people, its buildings old and new, and its legacy across Italy, Europe, and beyond. Rome rebuilt and reshaped itself through the Middle Ages: home for popes, destination for pilgrims, power broker for Italy. It became a great Renaissance and early modern city, a center of art and architecture, of religion, and of politics. We will be reading a mix of primary sources and modern scholarship. All required texts are in English, though students who take this course for Italian Studies credit may choose to read some works in Italian.

 

 

COML 248.402 MACHIAVELLI AND MODERN POLITICAL THOUGHT
W 2-5    Breckman
Cross listed with HIST 230

 

Niccolò Machiavelli, the Renaissance author best known for The Prince, is frequently regarded as a consummate cynic. Yet he has been not only a provocation but an inspiration throughout the subsequent history of political thought. This was true for the entire twentieth century, which witnessed an ever-growing interest in the Florentine thinker among historians and philosophers alike. One of the most surprising dimensions of this modern engagement with Machiavelli is surely his recurring presence as figure and motif within left-wing philosophical discourse. In light of the failure of the twentieth-century’s revolutionary experiments, as well as its own entanglements with those experiments, how could radical theory understand its past and imagine its future? What vision could supplant the dimming of utopia? Such questions have frequently led recent theorists into melancholic resignation, but they have also provoked innovative and rigorous attempts to rethink the project of radical politics as radical democracy. How is it that Machiavelli, a thinker indelibly associated with the cynical and amoral manipulation of politics, could become an inspiration for theorists of a robust democratic life? This course will examine this curious history of influence and transformation. Starting with an examination of key texts by Machiavelli himself, we will then trace his reception in European intellectual history, focusing upon the twentieth century. Among authors we will consider will be Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Hannah Arendt, Leo Strauss, John Pocock, Quentin Skinner, Antonio Gramsci, Louis Althusser, John McCormick, and Antonio Negri.

 

 

COML 266.401 THE HEBREW SHORT STORY
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
ARTS & LETTERS SECTOR
T 4:30-7:30    Gold
Cross listed with HEBR 259/HEBR 559/JWST 259

The objective of this course is to develop an artistic appreciation for literature through in-depth class discussions and text analysis. Readings comprised of Israeli poetry and short stories. Students examine how literary language expresses psychological and cultural realms. The covers topics such as: the image of the Israeli city, the conflict between individual dreams and national/Zionist goals, etc. Because the content of this course changes from year to year, students may take it for credit more than once.

 

 

COML 277.402 JEWISH AMERICAN LIT
ARTS & LETTERS SECTOR
ALL READINGS AND LECTURES IN ENGLISH
TR 3-4:30 Hellerstein
Cross listed with GRMN 263/JWST 261

 

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 280.401   ITALIAN ART CINEMA

MW 3:30-5  Trentin

Cross listed with CIMS 340

 

This course will introduce students to major figures in Italian cinema from neorealist film-makers of the 1940s and 50s such as De Sica and Rosselini to 1960s and 70s auteurs like Pasolini, Fellini, Antonioni and Bertolucci. We will explore the formal techniques, technological inventions, and historical shifts that allowed for the emergence of Italian “Art Cinema,” tracing the rise to fame of Italian directors and actors in the international film scene. Through iconic films such as De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves, Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and 8 ½, Antonioni’s The Eclipse and Blow Up, Bertolucci’s The Conformist, students will learn how to read and write about film, including how to perform shot analysis and cultural critique. Some of the topics that will guide our discussions are: the relation between form and space, stardom and fashion, the construction of gender, time and narrative. We will also consider the transnational influence of Italian cinema for movements such as the French New Wave, the Brazilian Cine Novo, and contemporary Iranian cinema. No prior knowledge of the subject is required or presumed.

 

COML 282.401 MODERN HEBREW LIT AND CULTURE IN TRANSLATION:
IMAGE OF HAIFA AND OTHER CITIES
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
ARTS & LETTERS SECTOR
TR 1:30-3 Gold
Cross listed with CIMS 159/ENGL 079/JWST 154/NELC 159

 

Like James Joyce’s Dublin, Italo Calvino’s Venice, Carl Sandburg’s Chicago, or even Woody Allen’s Paris, cities have long been the object of yearning and the subject of art. While focusing on the city of Haifa and the various works devoted to it, this course will examine the ways in which a city is forged in cinema, literature and scholarship. It highlights the depictions of other Israeli cities, like Amos Oz’s and Natalie Portman’s Jerusalem, and compares those to the ways in which American and European cities are portrayed in prose, poetry and film created in English and other languages. The emotional and physical connection between the writer or director and his/her present or past place of dwelling is transformed in the artistic work. A city, its streets and landmarks, may reflect the inner world, an interpersonal bond, or social, political and national conflicts.

There will be 5-6 film screenings.  The content of this course changes from year to year and therefore students may take it for credit more than once.

 

 

 

COML 291.401 TOPICS LITERARY THEORY
TBA    Staff
Cross listed with ENGL 294

CANCELLED

 

 

COML 296.401 TROY STORIES: CLASSICAL EPIC AND MEDIEVAL ROMANCE
MW 3:30-5    Copeland
Cross listed with CLST 360/ENGL 229

 

In this course on ancient and medieval epic we will track the literary compulsion to return to the Trojan War.  The “matter of Troy” provided ancient and medieval writers with a rich resource for reflections on war and violence, on the power and vulnerability of states, on personal and communal suffering, and on how history is written.  We will begin with the Homeric Iliad along with other ancient Greek uses of the Trojan myth; we will read Virgil’s refashioning of the Trojan story as the new beginnings of a triumphant Roman history; and then we will consider how medieval writers, including Geoffrey of Monmouth, Boccaccio, Chaucer, the Gawain-Poet, and Robert Henryson, shaped and contended with the myth of Troy.  In the hands of late medieval writers, Troy becomes a literary site for the transformation of epic into the genre of romance.

 

The course requirements will be:  one ten-minute oral presentation on a research topic of your choice related to the reading, together with a short write-up of your research; one very short critical paper; and one longer research paper (which can develop the subject of your oral presentation).  

 

 

 

COML 300.401 HUMANISM AND RENAISSANCE
TR 1:30-3    Del Soldato
Cross listed with ENGL 231/ITAL 300

The Renaissance and Humanism have traditionally been regarded as a dramatic departure from the dark Middle Ages. The first to suggest this interpretation were Renaissance men themselves, and though today that image has been mitigated and corrected, it is undeniable that Renaissance was actually a period of profound change in values and ways of understanding. The rediscovery of the texts and cultural heritage of the ancient world forced Renaissance thinkers to reconsider many of their most traditional assets, while old authorities crumbled before the scrutiny of new methods of analyzing texts. This course will investigate Italian Renaissance and Humanism in a wider European context, focusing on authors such as Petrarch, Machiavelli, Leonardo, Erasmus, More, and Luther. The goal of the course is to give students a basic understanding of Italian Renaissance culture and literature, through exposure to a variety of texts, oral discussions, and written assignments. Material from the Rare Books Library will be used throughout the course. The course will be taught in English, though readings will also be available in Italian upon request.

 

 

COML 303.401  QUEER CINEMA, IN THEORY

MW 2-3:30    Trentin

Cross listed with CIMS 303/GSWS 302

 

This course will explore the role of cinema in shaping the history of gender and sexuality, at the same time introducing students to some of the most relevant texts in the field of queer and gender studies. While the last decades have been characterized by increasing acceptance of gays and lesbians into mainstream society, this process has no doubt reproduced new inequalities and asymmetries – in terms of race, class, and gender presentation. Does “queer” still pose a threat to the mainstream or is it now part of the “normal”? Should one welcome the progressive acceptance or queer lives within the mainstream or should one reject it in the name of an indissoluble difference? These are some of the questions this course will engage, addressing themes such as the notion of the closet in classical Hollywood cinema; the queer aesthetics of art cinema directors such as Pier Paolo Pasolini, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Pedro Almodovar; the AIDS crisis and the intersection between race and sex in 1990s “new queer films” such as Greg Araki’s The Living End and Cheryl Dunye’s Watermelon Woman. Readings may include Butler, Foucault, Freud, Sedgwick, Wilderson, Bersani, and Edelman, among others.

 

 

COML 341.401 BOYS WILL BE BOYS: MASCULINITY IN FRENCH LITERATURE
TR 3-4:30    Francis
Cross listed with FREN 341/GSWS 343

Why was a portrait depicting the Renaissance king François Ier as half-man, half-woman made with royal approval, and moreover intended to represent the king as the perfect embodiment of the ideal qualities of a male sovereign? And why, in what is now regarded as the official portrait of Louis XIV, does the king prominently display his silk stockings and high heels with diamond-encrusted buckles? These are just two examples of the questions that lead us to the point of departure for this course: the idea that masculinity is not a fixed essence that has existed since time immemorial, but rather a flexible concept that changes across and even within historical periods. We will examine how masculinity has evolved from the Middle Ages and the chivalric ideal to the present day, how it has been defined, and its implications for gender relations, politics, and religion in different eras. In addition to literary works, we will study how masculinity is represented across a range of media, including visual arts, music, and film. Discussions will be in English, and assignments will be available in translation, but students who wish to receive credit in French will be able to do coursework in French.

 

 

COML 344.401 20th CENTURY EUROPEAN INTELLECTUAL HISTORY
TR 12-1:30    Breckman
Cross listed with HIST 344

This course will explore the intellectual and cultural history of Europe between 1870 and 1962. We will take a socio-cultural approach to this history, using primary and secondary readings to examine how European intellectuals, artists, writers, and other cultural actors contributed and responded to major developments of the early 20th century. Among the historical themes for consideration are psychology and the self; feminism, gender and sexuality; the mass politics of socialism, fascism, and totalitarianism; race, empire and decolonization. Possible readings include Darwin, Freud, Woolf, Sartre, and Fanon.

 

 

 

COML 357.401 MYTH IN SOCIETY
TR 10:30-12    Ben-Amos
Cross listed with FOLK 229/NELC 249

In this course we will explore the mythologies of selected peoples in the
Ancient Near East, Africa, Asia, and Native North and South America and
examinehow the gods function in the life and belief of each society. The
study of mythological texts will be accompanied, as much as possible, by
illustrative slides that will show the images of these deities in art and
ritual.