Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Spring 2010

Attention Comparative Literature Majors:

Courses Satisying "Postcolonial/Nonwestern Requirement:"

  • COML 005.401 India’s Literature: Love, War, Wisdom, Humor
  • COML 053.401 African Contemporary Music: North, South, East, and West
  • COML 114.401 Persian Mystical Thought: Rumi
  • COML 197.401 Madness and Madmen
  • COML 212.401 Modern Middle Eastern Literature
  • COML 282.401 The City in Israeli Literature and Film
  • COML 359.401 The Holocaust in Israeli Lit and Film
  • COML 378.401 Postapartheid Literature

Courses Satisfying "Theory Requirement:"

  • COML 253.401 Freud: The Invention of Psychoanalysis
  • COML 254.401 Metropolis: Culture of the City

COML 005.401 India’s Literature: Love, War, Wisdom, Humor
TR 3-4:30 Patel
Cross Cultural Analysis, Arts & Letters Sector
All readings in English
Cross listed with SAST 004

This course introduces students to the extraordinary quality of literary production during the past four millenia of South Asian civilization. Selecting for discussion only a few representative works in translation from pre-modern India {ranging from the earliest Sanskrit and Tamil texts, through to the medieval literatures of South Asia's regional Languages -Kannade, Gujarati, Bengali, Marathi, Telegum Panajbi, Malayalam, Oriya, etc-and up to the Hindavi romance traditions of the 16th century), the course will also broadly investigate the processes of masterpiece -making in South Asia, both through the lens of indegenous aesthetic formulations as well as from diverse contemporary perspectives of literary analysis. In doing so, the goal will be to come to some understanding of the immensely rich and complicated networks of language, literary form and the cultural life that have historically informed and continues to inform the production of literature of South Asia. Our semester covers seminal genres that also serve as the organizing principles for the course: the humn, the lyric, the epic, the gnomic, the dramatic, the political, the prosaic, the tragic and the comedic. No background in South Asia studies or South Asian languages is required for this course.

COML 053.401 African Contemporary Music: North, South, East, and West
TR 12-1:30 Muller
Cross listed with MUSC 053

Come to know contemporary Africa through the sounds of it music: from South African kwela, jazz, marabi, and kwaito to Zimbabwean chimurenga; Central African soukous and pygmy pop; West African fuji, and North African rai and hop hop. Through reading and listening to live performance, audio and video recordings, we will examine the music of Africa and its intersections with politics, history, gender, and religion in the colonial and post-colonial era.

COML 094.401 Introduction to Literary Theory
MWF 12-1 Gaedtke
Cross listed with ENGL 094

This course will examine the major theoretical and methodological approaches to literary and cultural studies that have evolved over the last few decades. Our readings will include some of the foundational texts of Russian formalism, structuralism, deconstruction, new historicism, psychoanalysis, feminism, queer theory, minority discourse theory, post-colonial studies, and new media theory. While we consider how these theoretical approaches have reconfigured the goals and methods of literary studies, and we will also critically assess their ideological agendas and practical implications. Finally, we will determine how best to “use” and engage theory in our own research and writing. Assignments will include several short essays, and an annotated bibliography/research paper.

COML 104.401 The Twentieth Century
TR 9-10:30 Conn
Arts & Letters Sector
Cross listed with ENGL 104

This course will provide an introduction to important writing across the twentieth century, chosen to offer a broad sampling of prose and poetry on both sides of the Atlantic. Along with careful readings of each work, the lectures will situate the literary texts in some of their relevant contexts. The list of required readings will include, among others: T. S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," and The Waste Land; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot; Philip Larkin, selected poems; Allen Ginsberg, "Howl" and selected poems; and Ian McEwan, Atonement. I will occasionally introduce major paintings, as appropriate, and excerpts from a number of significant films will also be introduced, including Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, Orson Welles's Citizen Kane, and Carol Reed's The Third Man. Finally, a set of supplementary readings will be posted on the course website.

Requirements. (1) Attendance is mandatory. (2) There will be mid-term and final exams. (3) Each student will complete two 8-page papers, the first due in mid-October, the second in early December. (4) Quizzes may occur at any time.

COML 114.401 Persian Mystical Thought: Rumi
T 1:30-3:30 Minuchehr
Cross listed with NELC 115

This course examines the works and ideas of the thirteen century sufi, and founder of the Mevlevi order, Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi. Although Rumi composed his mystical poetry in Persian, numerous translations in a multitude of languages have made this poet an international personality. In this course, we will examine Rumi’s original mystical vocabulary and allegorical style in English translations. We will also look at Rumi’s reception in different parts of the world, especially in America, where he has been on the best-seller lists for over a decade.

COML 115.401 Experimental Writing Seminar
TR 3-4:30 Bernstein
Permission Needed from Instructor
Writing Samples Required
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, 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 visits from 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. Permission of the instructor is required. Send a brief email stating why you wish to attend the workshop (writing samples not required) to Charles Bernstein.

COML 125.401 Narrative Across Cultures
TR 10:30-12 Allen
Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
Cross listed with ENGL 103, FOLK 125, NELC 180

The purpose of this course is to present a variety of narrative genres and to discuss and illustrate the modes whereby they can be analyzed. We will be looking at some shorter types of narrative: short story, novella, and fable, but also 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. Among (familiar) authors to be read: Aesop, Borges, Chopin, Conde, Douglass, Gogol, Joseph's story (Bible and Qur'an), Joyce, Kafka, Marquez, Solzenitszyn, Twain, and Vonnegut, but there will also be many other writers from non-Western cultures. Once you have registered for the course, you can find a lot more detail about the course and its readings on the BLACKBOARD website.

COML 197.401 Madness and Madmen
MW 2-3:30 Vinitsky
Humanities & social Science Sector
All readings and lectures in English
Cross listed with RUSS 197

This course will explore the representations of madness in Russian literature and arts from the medieval period through the October Revolution of 1917. The discussion will include formative masterpieces by Russian writers (Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Bulgakov), painters (Repin, Vrubel’, Filonov), composers (Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, and Stravinsky), and directors of films (Protazanov, Eisenstein), as well as non-fictional documents, such as Russian medical, judicial, political, and philosophical treatises and essays on madness.

COML 200.401 Greek and Roman Mythology
MW 11-12 Farrell
Registration required for LEC and REC
Arts & Letters Sector
REC 402 through 413 (check times)
Cross listed with CLST 200

Myths are traditional stories that have endured many years. Some of them have to do with events of great importance, such as the founding of a nation. Others tell the stories of great heroes and heroines and their exploits and courage in the face of adversity. Still others are simple tales about otherwise unremarkable people who get into trouble or do some great deed. What are we to make of all these tales, and why do people seem to like to hear them? This course will focus on the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, as well as a few contemporary American ones, as a way of exploring the nature of myth and the function it plays for individuals, societies, and nations. We will also pay some attention to the way the Greeks and Romans themselves understood their own myths. Are myths subtle codes that contain some universal truth? Are they a window on the deep recesses of a particular culture? Are they entertaining stories that people like to tell over and over? Are they a set of cultural blinders that all of us wear, though we do not realize it? We will investigate these questions through a variety of topics including: the creation of the universe and the structure of the cosmos, relations between gods and mortals, religion and divination, justice, society, family, sex, love, madness, and death.

COML 203.401 World Literature: Italian Literatures of the World
TR 10:30-12 Benini
Arts & Letters Sector
Readings and Discussions in Italian
Cross listed with COLL 228, ITAL 203

Ital 203 is an introductory course aimed to offer students the opportunity to discover Italian Literature and Civilization through readings and reflections upon significant texts of the Italian literary and artistic tradition. From the underworld of Dante to the love poetry of Petrarch, from the political vision of Macchiavelli to the scientific revolution of Galileo, from the modernist fragmentation of Pirandello to the postmodern creations of Calvino, up to the latest trends in Italian cinema, the course explores a wide range of literary genres, themes and cultural debates by analyzing texts within their socio-political context.

The course will help students to expand their vocabulary, to improve their skills in critical interpretation and to reinforce their written and oral competences in Italian through a variety of activities such as class discussions, presentations, short papers and research projects.

All readings and class discussion will be in Italian. The prerequisite for this course is Italian 202 or an equivalent course taken abroad. This course is a requirement for all majors and minors in Italian Literature. It may be taken any time in the curriculum after 202, and by permission, concurrently with 202.

COML 212.401 Modern Middle Eastern Literature
MW 5-6:30 Allen/Gold
Cross Cultural Analysis
Arts & Letters Sector
Cross listed with NELC 201

This course serves as an introduction to the modern literary traditions of the Middle East through the examination of texts translated from Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish. It is team-taught, involving four specialists in Middle Eastern literature. The genres to be studies are: the novel, the poem, and the short story. The sessions devoted to readings of the translated text will be preceded by four sessions in which the genres themselves and the four literary traditions will be surveyed. All readings, both literary texts and background materials, are in English.

COML 216.401 Introduction to German Literature
TR 1:30-3 Schwarzkopf
Literatures of the World
Cross Cultural Analysis
Arts & Letters Sector
Prior language experience required
Cross listed with COLL 225, GRMN 216

Why a course on German literature for the student learning language? Literature is where language is at its most versatile, inventive, and entertaining. Literature knows no shame in putting the fantasies, hopes, fears, and desires of a culture on display. This is a course for students intent on further developing their abilities in language and their knowledge of German culture. Ranging widely across the literary genres—from the fable, the aphorism and the joke to poems, songs, stories, and plays—students will discover what language and literature can do. Focus on speaking and writing.

COML 227.401 World War I and After: Depictions of a New Society in French, German and Flemish Literature
TR 12-1:30 Staff
All readings and lectures in English
Cross listed with DTCH 231, GRMN 251

The First World War marks the end of the so-called ‘long nineteenth century’ and the beginning of the short and extremely violent twentieth century. The Great War also rejuvenated an apocalyptic logic that prophesized that the world had to be destroyed before a new world could emerge. The literature of that era reflects both the devastation that was brought along by the war, and the opportunities it provided. A lot of writers expressed their believes and ideas for future societies in their literary works. What were those ideas? Were they different on both sides of the former front? And what went on in ‘Flanders’ Fields’? This course will explore a selection of French, German and Flemish novels and poems, focusing on their political and ideological contents.

COML 251.401 Holocaust in (Post)Modern Fiction
TR 9-10:30 Staff
All readings and lectures in English
Cross listed with DTCH 251, GRMN 251, JWST 247

An exploration of the Holocaust as a theme in (post)modern novels. More than sixty years after the armistice, the Second World War is still a prominent theme in fiction. Even writers who never witnessed the Holocaust turn to this tragic event in their novels. But do they treat this delicate subject in the same way, or has the Holocaust become ‘just another story’? Why do some writers seem to be trying to understand the murderers? And is it still a universal theme, or do the Flemish, French and Americans tell different stories? This course will address these questions through novels by Paul Verhaeghen, Jonathan Littell and Jonathan Safran Foer.

COML 253.401 Freud: The Invention of Psychoanalysis
LEC TR 10:30-12 Weissberg
Humanities and Social Science Sector
Registration for LEC and REC required
REC 402 through 405 (check times)
Cross listed ENGL 261, GRMN 253, GSOC 252, HSOC 253, STSC 253

Probably no other person of the twentieth century has influenced scientific thought, humanistic scholarship, medical therapy, and popular culture as much as Sigmund Freud. This seminar will try to study his work, its cultural background, and its impact on us today. In the first part of the course, we will learn about Freud's life and the Viennese culture of his time. We will then move to a discussion of seminal texts, such as excerpts from his Interpretation of Dreams, case studies, as well as essays on psychoanalytic practice, human development, neuroses, and culture in general. In the final part of the course, we will discuss the impact of Freud's work. Guest lecturers from the medical field, history of science, psychology, and the humanities will offer insights into the reception of Freud's work, and its consequences for various fields of study and therapy.

COML 254.401 Metropolis: Culture of the City
LEC MW 12-1 Macleod
Arts & Letters Sector
Registration required for LEC and REC
REC 402 through 405 (check times)
All readings and lectures in English
Cross listed with GRMN 244, URBS 244

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

COML 282.401 The City in Israeli Literature and Film
TR 1:30-3 Gold
Cross Cultural Analysis
Arts & Letters Sector
Cross listed with JWST 102, NELC 159

This course focuses on the artistic ways in which the Israeli city, be it Jerusalem, Haifa or Tiberias, is represented in Israeli literature and film. The emotional and physical connection between the writer and his/her place of dwelling is transformed in the literary or cinematic work. The artistic depiction of the city reflects the inner world as well as ideological and political conflicts and highlights questions of belonging. The "city" may become a locus for national expression, of gender identification, or even of pure aesthetic enchantment. We will analyze how, through her portrayals of the Carmel Mountain and the Haifa bay, Yehudit Katzir expresses the complex bond with her mother; how Tel Aviv's streets enable Dahlia Ravikovitch to examine questions of loyalty; how the "Jerusalems" of A.B. Yehoshua and Yehuda Amichai reflect their loves and hatreds and how the film director Shemi Zarhin sings a love song to the Sea of Galilee through shooting his film in his native Tiberias. There will be five film screenings; the films will also be placed on reserve at the library for those students unable to attend the screenings. The content of this course changes from year to year, and therefore, students may take it for credit more than once.

COML 288.401 Revolution of the Word: Modernist American Poetry and Poetics (1900-1945)
TR 1:30-3 Bernstein
Cross listed with ENGL 288

This "reading workshop" is an introduction to the unprecedented range of different types of poetry that emerged in the early decades of the last century in the U.S. as well as to contemporary North American poetry, with attention also to related developments in Europe and, to a lesser extent, in the visual arts. We'll read the best known "canonical" poets of the modernist period, such as Eliot, Frost, Pound, Williams, and Stevens; the more formally radical and experimental poets, such as Stein, H.D, and the Objectivists; African American poetry (James Weldon Johnson, Claude McKay); the more conventional or popular poets (Sandburg, Amy Lowell); as well as the political poetry of the time, "high" academic poetry; and also explore other, harder to classify, directions. Textbook will be the recent anthology of 20th Century American Poetry from the Library of America (volume one). Sound recordings of many of the poets will be played There will also be a listserv class discussion and the use of supplemental resources on the web.

Works will be presented from well-known poets but there will be equally attention to a range of lesser known poets as well as on younger poets now actively working to delight, inform, redress, lament, extol, oppose, renew, rhapsodize, imagine, foment...

This is a good course for those who know a lot about modern poetry but also for those who want a lively introduction.

This "creative reading workshop" combines aspects of a literature class with some of the formats of an experimental creative writing class. The workshop is less concerned with analysis or explanation of individual poems than with finding ways to intensify the experience of poetry, of the poetic, through a consideration of how the different styles and structures and forms of contemporary poetry can affect the way we see and understand the world. No previous experience with poetry is necessary. More important is a willingness to consider the implausible, to try out alternative ways of thinking, to listen to the way language sounds before trying to figure out what it means, to lose yourself in a flurry of syllables and regain your bearings in dimensions otherwise imagined as out-of-reach.

More information on this class can be found here. If you look at the syllabus for my version of English 88 here--up to session #19 only -- you will get a definite idea of the course of study. Admission to English 288 by permit only. If you would like to take the course, send me a brief email stating your interest and that you have reviewed the basic course structure. Email here

COML 300.401 Food and Culture of Italy
T 1:30-4:30 Finotti
Cross listed with ITAL 300

Food is culture. Food is language. The course will explore the anthropology of food and the cultural aspects of gastronomy in Italian History. We will focus on the communication through food not only in social life but also in different textual genres: narrative, poetry, cinema, visual arts, advertising. The class will be taught in English. The reading material and the bibliographical references will be provided in a course reader. Further material will be presented in class. Requirements include class attendance, preparation and participation, a series of oral responses, and a final oral presentation.

COML 310.401 The Medieval Reader
TR 12-1:30 Kirkham
Benjamin Franklin Seminar
Cross listed with ITAL 310, GSOC 310

Through a range of authors including Augustine, Dante, Petrarch, Galileo, and Umberto Eco, this course will explore the world of the book in the manuscript era. We shall consider 1) readers in fiction-male and female, good and bad; 2) books as material objects produced in monasteries and their subsequent role in the rise of the universities; 3) medieval women readers and writers; 4) medieval ideas of the book as a symbol (e.g., the notion of the world as God's book; 5) changes in book culture brought about by printing and electronic media. Lectures with discussion in English, to be supplemented by slide presentations and a visit to the Rare Book Room in Van Pelt Library. No prerequisites.

COML329.401 Literature and Political Culture among the Ancients
MW 2-3:30 Hall
Benjamin Franklin Seminar
Cross listed with CLST 329, ENGL 329

This course is the counterpart to “Poetry and Politics in Ancient Greece,” which I have taught at Penn for several semesters. In this course we will concentrate on “the city” and will discuss works for which there was not time in the other course. As Plato’s Republic was the heart of the other course, the heart of this one is Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics and the Politics, although it is good to remember that the composer Berlioz thought the most important influence on him was Virgil’s Aeneid.

Modern artists hold that literature inhabits a realm unto itself for the sake of imaginative exploration of private visions. Classical writers held that literature is an imitation of humanity, how humanity is and how humanity might be. Therefore, classical art is closely connected to political culture. Literature has a music that shapes the soul, and how souls are shaped is crucial to the goals of the city.

In this course we will read great authors who thought long and deeply about the relationships among arts, politics, and ethics. In the course of our discussions, we will be touching on questions central to a liberal education: what is the definition of a human being? What is his role as a citizen? Wherein does happiness lie? What is the connection between individual happiness and the success of a city?

Reading: Gilgamesh, Sophocles’ Oedipus trilogy (Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone--and also Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy) Herodotus’ History of the Persian Wars, several dialogues of Plato (Euthyphro, Ion, Symposium, Lysis, Laches, Phaedo), Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Politics, parts of Livy’s History of the Roman Republic, and Virgil’s Aeneid.

COML 333.401 Dante’s Divine Comedy
TR 1:30-3 Brownlee
Benjamin Franklin Seminar
Cross listed with ENGL 323, ITAL 333

In this course we will read the Inferno, the Purgatorio and the >Paradiso, focusing on a series of interrelated problems raised by the poem: authority, fiction, history, politics and language. Particular attention will be given to how the Commedia presents itself as Dante's autobiography, and to how the autobiographical narrative serves as a unifying thread for this supremely rich literary text. Supplementary readings will include Virgil's Aeneid and selections from Ovid's Metamorphoses. All readings and written work will be in English. Italian or Italian Studies credit will require reading Italian texts in their original language and doing the written assignments in Italian.

COML 359.401 The Holocaust in Israeli Lit and Film
TR 10:30-12 Gold
Literatures of the World
Cross Cultural Analysis
Arts & Letters Sector
Cross listed with COLL 227, HEBR 359, HEBR 659, JWST 359, JWST 556

Israeli literature "waited" until the 1961 public indictment of a Nazi war-criminal to hesitantly begin to face the Holocaust. The Zionist wish to forge a "New Jew" was in part responsible for this suppression. Aharon Appelfeld's understated short stories were the first to enter the modernist literary scene in the 1960s, followed in 1970 by the cryptic verse of Dan Pagis, a fellow child survivor. Only in 1988 two Israeli-born pop singers -- haunted children of survivors -- broke the continuous practice of concealing the past and its emotional aftermath in the watershed documentary Because of That War. The process of breaking the silence intensified in the last two decades; the "Second Generation" burst forth artistically with writers like Etgar Keret, Amir Gutfreund and Savyon Liebrect who told what their parents were unable to utter.

This course will analyze the transformation of Israeli literature and cinema from instruments of suppression into means for dealing with the national trauma. The class is conducted in Hebrew and the texts are read in the original. The content of this course changes from year to year; therefore students may take it for credit more than once.

COML 372.401 Horror Cinema
LEC TR 1:30-3 Met
Registration required for LEC and REC
REC sections 402, 403 (check times)
Cross listed with FREN 382, CINE 382

This version of the course will explore European Horror Cinema from the 1970s to the present time, focusing on a number of cult films that have helped rejuvenate and redefine the genre in a radically modern sense by pushing the envelope in terms of subversive representation of gore, violence and sex. We will look at various national cinemas (primarily Western Europe – Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands – with the occasional foray into Eastern Europe and Scandinavia) and at a range of subgenres (giallo, mondo, slasher, survival, snuff, …) or iconic figures (ghosts, vampires, cannibals, serial killers, …).

Issues of ethics, ideology, gender, sexuality, violence, spectatorship will be discussed through a variety of critical lenses (psychoanalysis, socio-historical and cultural context, aesthetics, politics…). The class will be conducted entirely in English.

Be prepared for provocative, graphic, transgressive film viewing experiences. Not for the faint of heart!

COML 378.401 Postapartheid Literature
TR 3-4:30 Barnard
Cross listed with ENGL 293

The struggle to establish a non-racial democracy in South Africa was not the bloodiest anticolonial struggle of the twentieth century, but it was the one that captured the global imagination most powerfully. Upon his release from prison, Nelson Mandela emerged as one of the world’s most revered political figures. The process of negotiation that led to the transition was seen, all over the world, as a hopeful sign that protracted conflicts could be peacefully resolved. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s inquiry into the human rights abuses of the apartheid era became a model for truth commissions in several other countries. South African writers like Fugard, Gordimer, Coetzee and Mda earned international renown for their literary response to this compelling historical transformation. But what is the future of South Africa and South African literature? Has the new democracy lived up to its promise? Has it generated new forms of cultural expression? These are the questions that animate this seminar.

We will start out by considering a few films and plays about the last years of the antiapartheid struggle (including a documentary about Mandela), before turning to three novels (Nadine Gordimer’s None To Accompany Me, Zakes Mda’s Ways of Dying, and Ivan Vladislavic’s The Exploded View), which capture the broad social transformation from a racist to a democratic state in terms of its impact on urban space. Next, we will look at the hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and sample some of the films, poems, novels, and memoirs it inspired. The key texts here will be Antjie Krog’s County of My Skull, and the films Forgivenness and Long Night’s Journey into Day. We will then read two excellent novels that respond in a more generalized way to the TRC’s work of excavating the past: Zoë Wicomb’s Playing in the Dark (which deals with the repressed legacy of racial passing) and Mark Behr’s The Smell of Apples (which deals with the dark secrets of the apartheid regime in the domain of the white family). We will then attend to a number of persistent issues that plague South Africa, as well as other postcolonial nations. These issues include the AIDS pandemic; land reform; poverty and crime; and, finally, migration and xenophobia. Our focal texts here will be J. M. Coetzee’s famous and controversial novel Disgrace, Jonny Steinberg’s fascinating investigation into a real crime in Midlands, Deon Meyer’s creepy crime novel, Devil’s Peak, the academy award-winning gangster film Tsotsi, and the moving AIDS film Yesterday (the first internationally successful feature film to be made in isiZulu). We will end with recent science fiction: the popular film District 9 and Lauren Beukes’s cult novel Moxyland. These texts will enable us to speculate about the future of South Africa and other postcolonial democracies.

Requirements for this course include two mid-length papers (roughly 7-10 pp.) and a brief presentation in our closing “biographies project,” which will feature students’ research on the life stories of transformative individuals. Please note that seminar participants are not expected to have any expert knowledge of South Africa, only a lively interest in the relationship between contemporary culture and politics.

COML 380.401 Bible in Translation: Genesis
TR 4:30-6:30 Tigay
Benjamin Franklin Seminar
Cross Cultural Analysis
Cross listed with JWST 255, NELC 250, NELC 550, RELS 224

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. The book varies from year to year.


COML 192.601 Classics of the Western World II
LPS course
M 6:30-9:30 Hunter

This course is an introduction to selected major works of Western literature from the Renaissance to the present. Topics examined in the course will include the development of modern literary genres, such as the novel, as well as transformations in drama and poetry. We will also examine the rise of important literary movements, such as Romanticism, realism, modernism, and postmodernism. Texts may include works by Shakespeare, Cervantes, Goethe, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Eliot, Woolf, and Borges. In addition to primary texts, we will also read selected criticism to aid our interpretations. The course is primarily designed to foster an understanding of the texts that are considered important to modern Western literature and society. At the same time, however, we will examine issues related to their status as classics: Why are they considered classics, and what function do they perform in today’s world?

Last modified November 3, 2009
Maintained by Daniel DeWispelare
Program in Comparative Literature
School of Arts & Sciences
University of Pennsylvania