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Undergraduate Courses
Spring 2018




The following course fulfills the COML non-Western or postcolonial studies elective requirement for majors:

      282

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



COML 002.401 CLIMATE/ FICTION/CATASTROPHE AND CULTURAL PRODUCTION
COMMUNICATION WITHIN THE CURRICULUM
TR 10:30-12:00 PREMOLI
CROSS LISTED: ENGL 002

This course thinks of ways the novel and other forms of cultural production (such as films, poems, activist work, and sculpture) may be read as climate models for understanding and bearing witness to the ecological devastation affecting the planet and our lives. As climate models, these artistic forms dramatize our entanglement with an increasingly warming world: they help us see the ways in which human action and imagination construct the climate, while also granting insight into the ways climate shapes our own ways of navigating the world. Our animating questions will be: how can the extreme spatial and temporal scales of climate change be rendered visible in narrative form? how do colonialism and race intersect with Anthropocene discourse? what solutions does art offer for survival, healing, and even potentially reaching a more just future? Open to students with no previous experience of literary study or film and multi-disciplinary discussion is encouraged!

A sample of course materials: Margaret Atwood, Year of the Flood; Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony; Jeff VanderMeer, Borne; Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behavior; Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower; Children of Men (dir. Alfonso Cuarón); The Road (dir. Jon Hillcoat, written by Cormac McCarthy ), Snowpiercer (dir. Bong Joon-ho); Beasts of the Southern Wild (dir. Benh Zeitlin).

Course requirements include: oral presentations, a final paper, and a creative project.

COML 002.402 AFRO-ENCOUNTERS: DIASPORA AND BLACK
IMAGINATION
COMMUNICATION WITHIN THE CURRICULUM
MW 2:00-3:30 IRELE
CROSS LISTED: AFRC 003

What does it mean to be African? What, in particular, does it mean to be “of Africa”, for people who may have never been to the continent? How does diasporic African identity relate to the identity of Africans living in the continent? In this course we will explore how Black American and Caribbean writers and filmmakers from both sides of the diaspora have used travel and immigrant narratives to call attention to affinities and differences in identification and experience. We will grapple with a series of questions about African diasporic identity. How do African authors regard members of the Diaspora through their work? How has identification with the Diaspora transformed through literature and film over time? This course engages with music, film, and literature to explore the role that Africa has played in the diasporic imaginary. Students will interact with work from Langston Hughes, Aimé Césaire, Lorraine Hansberry, Jamaica Kincaid, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie along with films and contemporary music. Grading will be based primarily on oral presentations. The course is open to all students including those with no previous experience of literature.


COML 009.401 INTRO TO DIGITAL HUMANITIES
MW 2:00-3:30 ENDERLE
CROSS LISTED: ENGL 009, HIST-009

The "Digital Humanities" are an emerging field in which computers are employed to help with the interpretive work that humanists do. This class will introduce humanities-oriented students to basic computer programming and to and to some of the interpretive research that this skill can enable. No previous experience is necessary.


COML 010.401 CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE: CULTURES,
HISTORIES, SOCIETIES
W 2:00-5:00 STEINER, P
ALL READINGS AND LECTURES IN ENGLISH
CROSS LISTED: EEUR 010, RUSS 009

The reappearance of the concept of Central and Eastern 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 - its cultures, histories, and societies - from the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire to the enlargement of the European Union. Students are encouraged to delve deeper into particular countries, disciplines, and sub-regions, such as Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans, through an individual research paper and class presentations.

COML 012.401 INDIA'S LITERATURE: LOVE, WAR, WISDOM, AND
HUMOR
REGISTRATION REQUIRED FOR LEC, REC (sections 402 and 403)
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
ARTS AND LETTERS SECTOR
LEC MW 10:00-11:00 GOULDING
CROSS LISTED: SAST 004

This course introduces students to the extraordinary quality of literary production during the past four millennia of South Asian civilization. We will read texts in translation from all parts of South Asia up to the sixteenth century. We will read selections from hymns, lyric poems, epics, wisdom literature, plays, political works, and religious texts.

 

COML 061.401 THIS IS MODERNISM
TR 10:30-12:00 SAINT-AMOUR
CROSS LISTED: ENGL 061

This course introduces students to a broad range of literary modernisms, from well-known early-twentieth-century figures such as T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and Virginia Woolf to lesser-known writers and other times. Among our central questions: What do people mean by “modernity” in different contexts and moments? In what ways do the writers we associate with modernism experience, portray, embrace, critique, or reject modernity? What’s the current state of the debate about modernity and modernism? Is anyone still modernist? Have we ever been anything but? Some English-language works, some in translation. We’ll also touch, though more briefly, on modernist cinema, painting, and music.


COML 070.401 Introduction to Latinx Literature and Culture: Literature, Art and Theatre Across the Latina/o/x U,S,
CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN US
MW 3:30-5:00 STERNAD PONCE DE LEON
CROSS LISTED: ARTH 070, ENGL 070, GSWS 060, LALS 060


This course offers a broad introduction to U.S. Latina/o/x 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. Topics addressed in the course will include the historical formation of different Latina/o/x identities, revolutionary nationalism and its critique, anti-imperialist thought, 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 073.401 RADICAL ARTS: LITERATURE, VISUAL ARTS, THEATER
AND CINEMA IN THE AMERICAS
CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN US
MW 2:00-3:30 STERNAD PONCE DE LEON
CROSS LISTED: ARTH 299, CIMS 073, ENGL 073, THAR 073


This course examines intersections of artistic production and radical politics in the 20th and 21st centuries. It addresses art from across a wide array of media: street art, film, theater, poetry, performance art, fiction, graphic arts, digital media, and urban interventions. We will examine artistic movements and artists from across the Americas, including revolutionary Latin American theater, film, and literature; the art of Black Liberation in the U.S.; the Chicano art movement and its queer dissidents; street performance and protest produced in the context of dictatorship; anticolonial performance art and alternative reality gaming; and activist art, political theater, and cinema from the 21st century. Through its focus on the relationship between art and politics, this course also introduces students to foundational concepts related to the relationship between culture and power more broadly.

 

COML 094.401 INTRO TO LITERARY THEORY: IDEOLOGY
TR 3:00-4:30 ENG
CROSS LISTED: ENGL 094

This class will provide an introduction to literary theory by focusing on ideology. We will explore how ideology becomes a name for investigating various social, political, and economic processes underwriting cultural production. Throughout the semester we will read texts that help to establish a genealogy of ideology. At the same time we will examine a number of critical theories—including (post)structuralism, deconstruction, Marxism, psychoanalysis, feminism, critical race theory, postcolonial studies, and environmental studies—that offer frameworks for analyzing the complex relationships among language, representation, and power in literature, popular culture, and public speech. Finally, we will place these theories in dialogue with a number of contemporary political debates, including feminist challenges to pornography, legal disputes over hate speech, state rhetoric regarding the “war on terror,” and arguments about climate change.


COML 095.401 UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE: FROM THE TOWER OF BABEL
TO ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
MW 3:30-5:00 VERKHOLANTSEV
ALL READINGS AND LECTURES IN ENGLISH
CROSS LISTED: ENGL 219, RUSS 095


This is a course in European intellectual history. It explores the historical trajectory, from antiquity to the present day, of the idea that there once was, and again could be, a universal and perfect language among the human race. If recovered, it can explain the origins and meaning of human experience, and can enable universal understanding and world peace.

The tantalizing question of the possibility of a universal language have been vital and thought-provoking throughout the history of humanity. The idea that the language spoken by Adam and Eve was a language which perfectly expressed the nature of all earthly objects and concepts has occupied the minds of intellectuals for almost two millennia. In defiance of the Christian biblical myth of the confusion of languages and nations at the Tower of Babel, they have over and over tried to overcome divine punishment and discover the path back to harmonious existence. By recovering or recreating a universal language, theologians hoped to be able to experience the divine; philosophers believed that it would enable apprehension of the laws of nature, while mystic cabbalists saw in it direct access to hidden knowledge. In reconstructing a proto-language, 19th-century Indo-Europeanist philologists saw the means to study the early stages of human development. Even in the 20th century, romantic idealists, such as the inventor of Esperanto Ludwik Zamenhof, strived to construct languages to enable understanding among estranged nations. For writers and poets of all times, from Cyrano de Bergerac to Velimir Khlebnikov, the idea of a universal and perfect language has been an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Today, this idea echoes in theories of universal and generative grammars, in approaching English as a global tongue, and in various attempts to create artificial languages, even a language for cosmic communication.

Each week we address a particular period and set of theories to learn about universal language projects, but above all, the course examines fundamental questions of what language is and how it functions in human society.

 

 

COML100.401 GLOBAL NOVEL
ARTS and LETTERS SECTOR
MW 5:00-6:30 BARNARD
CROSS LISTED: ENGL 100


This course has three broad aims: first, it will introduce students to a selection of compelling contemporary narratives; second, it will provide prospective students of literature and film, as well as interested students headed for other majors, with fundamental skills in literary, visual, and cultural analysis; and, third, it will encourage a collective meditation on the function of literature and culture in our world, where commodities, people, and ideas are constantly in motion. Questions for discussion will therefore include: the meaning of terms like “globalization,” “translation,” and “world literature”; the transnational reach and circulation of texts; migration and engagement with “others”; violence, trauma, and memory; terrorism and the state; and the ethic of cosmopolitanism. Our collective endeavor will be to think about narrative forms as modes of mediating and engaging with the vast and complex world we inhabit today.

In the course of the semester we will study about eight works of fiction and three films, as well as a selection of pertinent critical essays that will provide the terminology and theoretical framework for our conversations. The following works of fiction are likely to be included: Salman Rushdie, East, West; Ivan Vladislavic, selected stories and The Restless Supermarket; Dinaw Mengesthu, The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears, Michael Ondaatje, Anil’s Ghost; Junot Diaz, The Short Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Juan Gabriel Vasquez, The Sound of Things Falling; Moshin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist; Aminatta Forna, The Hired Man, David Mitchell, Ghostwritten. Films: Babel, Even the Rain, and Syriana. Written requirements: a 7-9 page mid-term and an 8-10 page final paper (topics will be provided). Note that this course will count as one of the core requirements for the Comparative Literature major.


COML 101.401 INTRO TO FOLKLORE
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
HUMANITIES & SOCIAL SCIENCE SECTOR
TR 1:30-3:00 BEN-AMOS
CROSS LISTED: FOLK 101, NELC 181, RELS 108

 

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


COML 107.401 FROM PAPER TO SCREEN: ADAPTATIONS
FRESHMAN SEMINAR
MWF 2:00-3:00 MIRRA
CROSS LISTED: CIMS 014, ITAL 100

 

How many of your favorite films are actually literary adaptations? Literature and Film are two different worlds, with their own language and very specific features. These two worlds, though, often intertwine, and numerous films are inspired by literary works or popular narrative fiction – films that do not simply adapt the text to the visual medium, but give birth to a different work of art. What happens in this passage from the text to the screen? What gets lost, what is added, and how are things translated between two very different art forms? What are the theoretical implications of such a “translation”? The course will explore cinematic adaptations of famous literary works made by renowned Italian filmmakers. Case studies include, but are not limited to, Dante’s Comedy (Bertolini, 1911 and Cote-Lapoint, 2014); Boccaccio’s Decameron (Pasolini, 1971 and Taviani 2015); Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (Taviani, 2012); The Gospel according to St. Mattew (Pasolini, 1964); Boito’s Senso (Visconti, 1954); Moravia, The Comformist (Bertolucci, 1970); Tomasi de Lampedusa’s The Leopard (Visconti, 1963). The course will provide students with the necessary critical tools to analyze both verbal and visual texts within the historical and cultural context of their production, as well as an overview of theoretical approaches in adaptation studies.


COML 108.401 GREEK & ROMAN MYTHOLOGY
REGISTRATION REQUIRED FOR LEC, REC (SECTIONS 402-413)
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
ARTS & LETTERS SECTOR
MW 11:00-12:00 STRUCK
CROSS LISTED: CLST 100

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 blinders that all of us wear, though we do not realize it? Investigate these questions through a variety of topics creation of the universe between gods and mortals, religion and family, sex, love, madness, and death. 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 blinders that all of us wear, though we do not realize it? Investigate these questions through a variety of topics creation of the universe between gods and mortals, religion and family, sex, love, madness, and death.

COML 114.401 LITERATURE OF THE SOUTH ASIAN CITY:
SPACE, CULTURE, POLITICS
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
MW 2:00-3:30 GOULDING
CROSS LISTED: SAST 120, URBS 120

The South Asian city as a way of organizing space and social relations, as a symbol, as a memories the subject of this course. Through primarily, though by no means exclusively, readings of literature in translation, we will gain a sense for the history of the city and the ways in which it is a setting for protest and nostalgia, social transformation and solitary fl¿neurie. We will see reflections of the city in poetry recited in its homes, detective novels sold in its train stations, stories scribbled in its cafes, plays staged in its theaters, and films produced in its backlots. Readings will attempt to address urban spaces across South Asia, and will include works by writers such as Mirza Ghalib, Rabindranath Tagore, Saadat Hasan Manto, and Vijay Tendulkar. We will examine these works in the context of secondary readings, including histories and ethnological works that take up life in the modern city. Students will finish this course prepared to pursue projects dealing with the urban from multiple disciplinary perspectives. This course is suitable for anyone interested in the culture, society, or literature of South Asia, and assumes no background in South Asian languages.


COML 120.401 IRANIAN CINEMA: GENDER/POLITICS/RELIGION
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
TR 3:00-4:30 ENTEZARI
CROSS LISTED: NELC 118

This seminar explores Iranian culture, society, history and politics through the medium of film. We will examine a variety of cinematic works that represent the social, political, economic and cultural circumstances of contemporary Iran, as well as the diaspora. Along the way, we will discuss issues pertaining to gender, religion, nationalism, ethnicity, and the role of cinema in Iranian society and beyond. Discussions topics will also include the place of the Iranian diaspora in cinema, as well as the transnational production, distribution, and consumption of Iranian cinema. Films will include those by internationally acclaimed filmmakers, such as Rakhshan
Bani-Etemad, Asghar Farhadi, Bahman Ghobadi, Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsel Makhmalbaf, Dariush Mehrjui, Tahmineh Milani, Jafar Panahi, Marjane Satrapi and others. All films will be subtitled in English. No prior knowledge is required.

COML 123.401 WORLD FILM HISTORY TO 1945
ARTS AND LETTERS SECTOR
TR 3:00-4:30 MAZAJ
CROSS LISTED: 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 1945 TO PRESENT
ARTS & LETTERS SECTOR
TR 12:00-1:30 CORRIGAN
CROSS LISTED: 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 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 three 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 125.402 TRAGEDY
ARTS & LETTERS SECTOR
MWF 2:00-3:00 BUSHNELL
CROSS LISTED: ENGL 103, THAR 105


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

 

 

COML 126.401 FANTASTIC AND UNCANNY IN LIT: GHOSTS, SPIRITS AND MACHINES
REGISTRATION REQUIRED FOR LEC, REC (SECTIONS 402, 403)
ARTS & LETTERS SECTOR
TR 10:30-12:00 WEISSBERG
ALL READINGS AND LECTURES IN ENGLISH
CROSS LISTED: GRMN 242, GSWS 243

Do we still believe in spirits and ghosts? Do they have any place in an age of science of technology? Can they perhaps help us to define what a human being is and what it can do? We will venture on a journey through literary texts from the late eighteenth century to the present to explore the uncanny and fantastic in literature and Our discussions will be based on a reading of Sigmund Freud's essay on the uncanny, and extraordinary Romantic narratives by Ludwig Tieck, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Prosper Mérimée, Villiers de Isle-Adam, and others.

COML 131.401 PORTRAITS OF OLD RUSSIA: MYTH, ICON, CHRONICLE
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
HISTORY AND TRADITION SECTOR
MW 2:00-3:30 VERKHOLANTSEV
ALL READINGS AND LECTURES IN ENGLISH
CROSS LISTED: RUSS 113

This course covers eight centuries of Russia’s cultural, political, and social history, from its origins through the eighteenth century, a period which laid the foundation for the Russian Empire. Each week-long unit is organized around a set of texts (literary text, historical document, image, film) which examine prominent historical and legendary figures as they represent chapters in Russias history. Historical figures under examination include, among others, the Baptizer of Rus, Prince Vladimir; the nation-builder, Prince Alexander Nevsky; the first Russian Tsar, Ivan the Terrible; the first Emperor and Westernizer, Peter the Great; the renowned icon painter Andrei Rublev; the epic hero Ilya Muromets; and the founder of Muscovite monasticism, St. Sergius of Radonezh. Three modern-day nation-states Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus share and dispute the cultural heritage of Old Rus, and their political relationships even today revolve around interpretations of the past. This constructed past has a continuing influence in modern Russia and is keenly referenced, sometimes manipulatively, in contemporary social and political discourse. (Recently, for example, President Putin has justified the annexation of Crimea to Russia by referring to it as the holy site of Prince Vladimirs baptism, from which Russian Christianity ostensibly originates.) The study of pre-modern cultural and political history explains many aspects of modern Russian society, as well as certain political aspirations of its leaders.


COML 140.401 MODERNISM AND THE THEORY FASHION
TR 9:00-10:30 RABATE
CROSS LISTED: ARTH 385, ENGL 259, FREN259, GRMN 249


In this class we will study international modernism from 1860 to 1940 by focusing on the emergence of a concept of the "new" that was also understood as a "new fashion." What was the “fashion of the new,” how was it linked with “fashion” itself? The rise of modernism was accompanied by a series of self-conscious discourses on fashion, the first of which were elaborated by Baudelaire and Mallarmé. We will follow the social uses of the "new" in the context of the fashion industry so as to map a cultural history of "fashion" as it was developed by Walter Benjamin and Georg Simmel. We will read through Baudelaire and Mallarmé’s prose and poetry, then engage with Aragon's Surrealist novel Paris Peasant, after which we will survey selected sections of Benjamin's Arcades Project. All the while, the Fashion Theory: A Reader will serve as our theoretical guide.

COML 144.401 FOUNDATIONS OF MODERN THOUGHT
TR 3:00-4:30 BRECKMAN
CROSS LISTED: HIST 144

CANCELLED     CANCELLED    CANCELLED

 

“God is dead,” declared Friedrich Nietzsche, “and we have killed him.” Nietzsche’s words came as a climax of a longer history of criticism of, and dissent toward, the religious foundations of European society and politics. The critique of religion had vast implications for the meaning of human life, the nature of the person, and the conception of political and social existence. The course will explore the intensifying debate over religion in the intellectual history of Europe, reaching from the Renaissance, through the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, to the twentieth century. Figures we will read may include Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, Pascal, Locke, Rousseau, Voltaire, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. These thinkers allow us to trace the varieties of irreligious experience that have emerged in modern European thought and their implications for both historical and philosophical understanding. Rather than drawing a straight line from belief to non-belief, however, we will also consider whether religion lingers even in secular thought and culture.

COML 150.601 WAR AND REPRESENTATION
W 5:30-8:30 Fischler
Humanities and Social Science Sector
Cross listed with ENGL 085


This class will explore complications of representing war in the 20th and 21st centuries. War poses problems of perception, knowledge, and language. The notional "fog of war" describes a disturbing discrepancy between agents and actions of war; the extreme nature of the violence of warfare tests the limits of cognition, emotion, and memory; war's traditional dependence on declaration is often warped by language games--"police action," "military intervention," "nation-building," or palpably unnamed and unacknowledged state violence.

Faced with the radical uncertainty that forms of war bring, modern and contemporary authors have experimented in historically, geographically, experientially and artistically particular ways, forcing us to reconsider even seemingly basic definitions of what a war story can be. Where does a war narrative happen? On the battlefield, in the internment camp, in the suburbs, in the ocean, in the ruins of cities, in the bloodstream? Who narrates war? Soldiers, refugees, gossips, economists, witnesses, bureaucrats, survivors, children, journalists, descendants and inheritors of trauma, historians, those who were never there?

How does literature respond to the rise of terrorist or ideology war, the philosophical and material consequences of biological and cyber wars, the role of the nuclear state? How does the problem of war and representation disturb the difference between fiction and non-fiction? How do utilitarian practices of representation--propaganda, nationalist messaging, memorialization, xenophobic depiction--affect the approaches we use to study art? Finally, is it possible to read a narrative barely touched or merely contextualized by war and attend to the question of war's shaping influence? The class will concentrate on literary objects--short stories, and graphic novels--as well as film and television. Students of every level and major are welcome in and encouraged to join this class, regardless of literary experience.
Instructor: Devorah Fischler, fischler@sas.upenn.edu


COML 191.401 WORLD LITERATURE
MW 3:30-5:00 KNUDSON/RAMU
CROSS LISTED: CLST 191, ENGL 277

How do we think ‘the world’ as such? Globalizing economic paradigms encourage one model that, while it connects distant regions with the ease of a finger-tap, also homogenizes the world, manufacturing patterns of sameness behind simulations of diversity. Our current world-political situation encourages another model, in which fundamental differences are held to warrant the consolidation of borders between Us and Them, “our world” and “theirs”. This course begins with the proposal that there are other ways to encounter the world, that are politically compelling, ethically important, and personally enriching — and that the study of literature can help tease out these new paths. 

Through the idea of World Literature, this course introduces students to the appreciation and critical analysis of literary texts, with the aim of navigating calls for universality or particularity (and perhaps both) in fiction and film. “World literature” here refers not merely to the usual definition of “books written in places other than the US and Europe,” but any form of cultural production that explores and pushes at the limits of a particular world, that steps between and beyond worlds, or that heralds the coming of new worlds still within us, waiting to be born. And though, as we read and discuss our texts, we will glide about in space and time from the inner landscape of a private mind to the reaches of the farthest galaxies, knowledge of languages other than English will not be required, and neither will any prior familiarity with the literary humanities. 

In the company of drunken kings, botanical witches, ambisexual alien lifeforms, and storytellers who’ve lost their voice, we will reflect on, and collectively navigate, our encounters with the faraway and the familiar — and thus train to think through the challenges of concepts such as translation, narrative, and ideology. Texts include Kazuo Ishiguro, Ursula K. LeGuin, Salman Rushdie, Werner Herzog, Jamaica Kincaid, Russell Hoban, Hiroshi Teshigahara, Arundhathi Roy, and Abbas Kiarostami.

COML 197.401 MADNESS AND MADMEN
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCE SECTOR
TR 3:004:30 PEENEY
CROSS LISTED: RUSS 197

Is "insanity" today the same thing as "madness" of old? Who gets to define what it means to be "sane," and why? Are the causes of madness biological or social? In this course, we will grapple with these and similar questions while exploring Russia's fascinating history of madness as a means to maintain, critique, or subvert the status quo. We will consider the concept of madness in Russian culture beginning with its earliest folkloric roots and trace its depiction and function in the figure of the Russian "holy fool," in classical literature, and in contemporary film. Readings will include works by many Russian greats, such as Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Bulgakov and Nabokov.

COML 197.402 MADNESS AND MADMEN
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCE SECTOR
MW 3:30-5:00 PEENEY
CROSS LISTED: RUSS 197

Is "insanity" today the same thing as "madness" of old? Who gets to define what it means to be "sane," and why? Are the causes of madness biological or social? In this course, we will grapple with these and similar questions while exploring Russia's fascinating history of madness as a means to maintain, critique, or subvert the status quo. We will consider the concept of madness in Russian culture beginning with its earliest folkloric roots and trace its depiction and function in the figure of the Russian "holy fool," in classical literature, and in contemporary film. Readings will include works by many Russian greats, such as Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Bulgakov and Nabokov.

COML 203.401 MASTERPIECES OF ITALIAN LITERATURE
LITERATURES OF THE WORLD
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
TR 10:30-12:00 STAFF
PRIOR LANGUAGE EXPERIENCE REQUIRED
CROSS LISTED: ITAL 203

This course surveys the history of Italian literature through its major masterpieces. Beginning with Dante's Divine Comedy, Petrarca's love poems, and Boccaccio's Decameron, we will follow the development of Italian literary tradition through the Renaissance (Machiavelli's political theory and Ariosto's epic poem), and then through Romanticism (Leopardi's lyric poetry and Manzoni's historical novel), up to the 20th century (from D'annunzio's sensual poetry to Calvino's post-modern short stories). The course will provide students with the tools needed for analyzing the texts in terms of both form and content, and for framing them in their historical, cultural, and socio-political context. Classes and readings will be in Italian.

COML 204.401 TOLSTOY
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN SEMINARS
MW 3:30-5:00 TODOROV
ALL READINGS AND LECTURES IN ENGLISH
CROSS LISTED: RUSS 202

Few authors have ever been able to combine their moral and artistic visions as closely as Tolstoy. Over the course of the semester, we will plot how Tolstoy's ethical concerns changed over the course of his life and how this was reflected in works, which include some of the greatest prose ever written. We will begin by surveying the majestic and far-reaching world of his novels and end with some of Tolstoy's short later works that correspond with the ascent of "Tolstoyism" as virtually its own religion.


COML 205.401 THE RELIGIOUS OTHER
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
TR 10:30-12:00 FISHMAN
CROSS LISTED: JWST 213, NELC 383, RELS 203

Course explores attitudes toward monotheists of other faiths, and claims made about these "religious Others" in real and imagined encounters between Jews, Christians and Muslims from antiquity to the present. Strategies of "othering" will be analyzed through an exploration of claims about the Other's body, habits and beliefs, as found in works of scripture, law, theology,
polemics, art, literature and reportage. Attention will be paid to myths about the other, inter group violence, converts, cases of cross-cultural influence, notions of toleration, and perceptions of Others in contemporary life. Primary sources will be provided in English.

COML 212.401 MODERN MIDDLE EASTERN LIT IN TRANSLATION
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
ARTS & LETTERS SECTOR
MW 5:00-6:30 GOLD
CROSS LISTED: NELC 201

The Middle East boasts a rich tapestry of cultures that have developed a vibrant body of modern literature that is often overlooked in media coverage of the region. While each of the modern literary traditions that will be surveyed in this introductory course-Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish-will be analyzed with an appreciation of the cultural context unique to each body
of literature, this course will also attempt to bridge these diverse traditions by analyzing common themes-such as modernity, social values, the individual and national identity-as reflected in the genres of poetry, the novel and the short story. This course is in seminar format to encourage
lively discussion and is team-taught by four professors whose expertise in modern Middle Eastern literature serves to create a deeper understanding and aesthetic appreciation of each literary tradition. In addition to honing students' literary analysis skills, the course will enable students to become more adept at discussing the social and political forces that are reflected in
Middle Eastern literature, explore important themes and actively engage in reading new Middle Eastern works on their own in translation. All readings are in English.

COML 219.401 FRENCH LITERATURE: THE INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY
ARTS AND LETTERS SECTOR
TR 10:30-12:00 STAFF
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
CROSS LISTED: FREN 232

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. Special emphasis is placed on close reading of texts in order to familiarize students with major authors and their characteristics and with methods of interpretation. Students are expected to take an active part in class discussion in French.

COML 219.402 FRENCH LITERATURE: THE INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY
ARTS AND LETTERS SECTOR
TR 10:30-12:00 STAFF
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
CROSS LISTED: FREN 232

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. Special emphasis is placed on close reading of texts in order to familiarize students with major authors and their characteristics and with methods of interpretation. Students are expected to take an active part in class discussion in French.


COML 219.403 FRENCH LITERATURE: THE INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY

MWF 11:00-12 STAFF
ARTS AND LETTERS SECTOR
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
CROSS LISTED: FREN 232

 

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. Special emphasis is placed on close reading of texts in order to familiarize students with major authors and their characteristics and with methods of interpretation. Students are expected to take an active part in class discussion in French.


COML 230.401 WORDS ARE WEAPONS: PROTEST AND POLITICAL
ACTIVISM IN SOUTH ASIAN LITERATURE
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
TR 1:30-3:00 MOHAMMAD
CROSS LISTED: COML 534, SAST 223, SAST 523

This course focuses on the key themes of protest and resistance in contemporary South Asian literarure. Most South Asian countries have been witnessing an endless wave of protests and resistance from various sections of public life for the last three decades. In India, for example, protest literature emerges not only from traditionally marginalized groups (the poor, religious and ethnic minorities, depressed castes and tribal communities), but also from upper-caste groups, whose protest literature expresses concerns over economic oppression, violence and the denial of fundamental rights. Literature is becoming an immediate tool to articualte acts of resistance and anger, as many writers and poets are also taking on new roles as poitical activists. In this class, we will read various contemporary works of short fiction, poetry and memoirs to comprehend shifts in public life toward political and social activism in South Asia. We will also watch two or three documentaries that focus on public protests and resistance. No pre-requisites or South Asian language requirements. All literary works will be read in English translations.

COML 241.401 GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITIES
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN SEMINARS
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
TR 3:00-4:30 RICHTER
ALL READINGS AND LECTURES IN ENGLISH
PERMISSION NEEDED FROM INSTRUCTOR
CROSS LISTED: GRMN 240

CANCELLED    CANCELLED    CANCELLED

This research-oriented seminar focuses on the ways in which "sustainability" and "sustainable development" are linguistically and culturally translated into the world's languages. We may take the terms for granted, but they have only really been on the global stage since they were widely introduced in the 1987 United Nations report, Our Common Future. Seminar participants will first become acquainted with the cultural and conceptual history of the terms and the UN framework within which sustainability efforts directly or indirectly operate. Having established the significance of cultural and linguistic difference in conceiving and implementing sustainability, participants will collaboratively develop a research methodology in order to begin collecting and analyzing data. We will draw heavily on Penn's diverse language communities and international units. Seminar members will work together and individually to build an increasingly comprehensive website that provides information about the world's languages of sustainability.

COML 245.401 INTRO TO PSYCHOANALYSIS: HISTORY, THEORY,
PRACTICE
ARTS & LETTERS SECTOR
MW 5:00-6:30 CAVITCH/ADELMAN
CROSS LISTED: ENGL 102


Psychoanalysis offers powerful and influential ways of understanding how all of us think, feel, and behave—both as individuals and in relation to other people and larger communities. The theory and practice of psychoanalysis, from Sigmund Freud to the present day, is based fundamentally on the importance of unconscious processes and the complex ways in which those processes affect our lived experience: in childhood development and family relationships; in our wishes, dreams, and fantasies; in our experiences of work, play, love, sex, trauma, and loss; and in our creative, spiritual, and political strivings. Because the course aims to link the academic and the clinical, it will be team-taught by a faculty member and a psychoanalyst. The course will introduce students to the broad and still-expanding spectrum of psychoanalytic ideas and techniques through reading and discussion of major works by some of its most influential figures, such as Freud, Sándor Ferenczi, Carl Jung, Melanie Klein, Heinz Kohut, Erik Erikson, D. W. Winnicott, Jacques Lacan, Wilfred Bion, John Bowlby, Stephen Mitchell, Jessica Benjamin, Nancy Chodorow, and Christopher Bollas. We will also read a number of literary, historical, philosophical, and anthropological works that have special relevance to the psychoanalytic exploration of the human condition. Indeed, the course will demonstrate how effective psychoanalytic ideas are in bridging a wide variety of disciplines in the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences—including recent developments in neuropsychoanalysis. No prior knowledge of psychoanalysis is required, and interested students from all disciplines are warmly welcomed. The reading assignment for the second class meeting will be Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel, Are You My Mother?, if you want to get a head-start over Winter Break.


COML 247.401 MARX
HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCE SECTOR
TR 3:00-4:30 HAHMANN
ALL READINGS AND LECTURES IN ENGLISH
CROSS LISTED: GRMN 247, PHIL 247

 

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


COML 256.401 CONTEMPORARY FICTION AND FILM IN JAPAN
ARTS AND LETTERS SECTOR
TR 10:30-12:00 KANO
CROSS LISTED: CIMS 151, EALC 151, GSWS 257


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


COML 259.401 JEWISH HUMOR
ARTS AND LETTERS SECTOR
TR 10:30-12:00 BEN-AMOS
CROSS LISTED: FOLK 296, NELC 254

 

This course examines Jewish humor in the context of folklore research and the studies of ethnic humor. We will explore the particular circumstances surrounding the development of the concept of Jewish humor in scholarly literature and popular writings, and bring into the discussion general theories of humor as formulated in folklore, philosophy, psychology and anthropology. Course requirements: A field-based term paper and mid-term and final examinations.

 

COML 262.401 THE POLITICS OF THE GIFT
W 2:00-5:00 LEVY
CROSS LISTED: ENGL 263


Lewis Hyde once wrote that a work of art exists in two economies - a gift and a market economy. This course will survey the complex relationship between giving and reciprocity as well as the representation of altruism and charity in art, literature, and public culture. We will begin with "Counterfeit Money," a prose poem from 1869 by Charles Baudelaire in which the narrator scrutinizes his friend's charitable inclinations in giving a counterfeit coin to a poor man on the street. We will also build upon the work of Marcel Mauss, Émile Benveniste, David Graeber, bell hooks and other scholars, artists and filmmakers as we imagine alternative conceptions of generosity, including the exchange of time, knowledge, friendship, and even love. We will consider questions such as: Is there an ethics to giving and receiving? When is philanthropy not a gift? Can we reimagine giving as a political act?

 

 

COML 269.401 FASCIST CINEMAS
REGISTRATION REQUIRED FOR LEC, REC (SECTIONS 402-405)
ARTS AND LETTERS SECTOR
MW 11:00-12:00 MACLEOD
ALL READINGS AND LECTURES IN ENGLISH
CROSS LISTED: CIMS 257, GRMN 257, ITAL 257

Cinema played a crucial role in the cultural life of Nazi Germany and other fascist states. As cinema enthusiasts, Goebbels and Hitler were among the first to realize the important ideological potential of film as a mass medium and saw to it that Germany remained a cinema powerhouse producing more than 1000 films during the Nazi era. In Italy, Mussolini, too, declared cinema “the strongest weapon.” This course explores the world of “fascist” cinemas ranging from infamous propaganda pieces such as The Triumph of the Will to popular entertainments such as musicals and melodramas. It examines the strange and mutually defining kinship between fascism more broadly and film. We will consider what elements mobilize and connect the film industries of the Axis Powers: style, genre, the aestheticization of politics, the creation of racialized others. More than seventy years later, fascist cinemas challenge us to grapple with issues of more subtle ideological insinuation than we might think. Weekly screenings with subtitles.

COML 281.402 REVOLUTION OF THE WORD: MODERNIST AMERICAN
POETRY AND POETICS (1900-1945)
TR 1:30-3:00 BERNSTEIN
CROSS LISTED: ENGL 269


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 New Anthology of American Poetry: Modernisms 1900-1950, Vol. 2, from Rutgers. Sound recordings of many of the poets will be played via PennSound. 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 occasional visits by contemporary 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, and syllabus, at http://www.writing.upenn.edu/bernstein/syllabi/269_intro.html

 

 

COML 282.401 MODERN HEBREEW LITERATURE AND CULTURE IN TRANSLATION: THE FOUNDERS OF ISRAELI LIT: YEHOSHUA, OZ, AMICHAI
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
ARTS & LETTERS SECTOR
IN ENGLISH; TEXTS IN TRANSLATION
MW 2:00-3:30 GOLD
CROSS LISTED: CIMS-159 ENGL 079, JWST 154, NELC-159

"I Want to Die in My Bed", a young Yehuda Amichai's anti-war poem, epitomizes the rebellion of Israeli authors in the 1950s. He and fellow poets like Natan Zach and David Avidan rejected their predecessors’ glorification of nationalism and sacrifice, and felt disillusioned by the post-war reality of statehood. Fiction writers like A.B. Yehoshua, Aharon Appelfeld and Amos Oz followed soon after with short stories that undermined both the status of the kibbutz and collectivist ideology. Scholars would later call them "The Generation of the State" because they were the first to publish in the newly-established State of Israel and they forged the future of Hebrew literature. It was not until 1979, however, that The Wooden Gun, the subversive film, would echo this sentiment. This course examines the various paths of these artistic revolutions in Israel, juxtaposing
Zionist works like the poetry of the 1948 war or the film Exodus with the avant-garde that disrupted them.

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 288.401 POSTWAR AMERICAN POETRY
TR 3:00-4:30 BERNSTEIN
CROSS LISTED: ENGL 288

This course is in an introduction to postwar American poetry (1945-1975) – the Beats, San Francisco Renaissance, Black Mountain, Confessional, Black Arts, Chance, Talk, Performance, & New York School: poetry on and off the page, near and at the edge. Extensive use will be made of sound files of the poets readings their poems. Several sessions will be devoted to class discussion with visiting poets. English 288 is a discussion-based course, with much supplemental material available on our website. The course requirements consist of a weekly journal response to the readings and a creative/interactive experiment on one or more of the assigned poems (such as imitating, rewriting, performing, or reordering the poem). No previous experience with poetry required. Permission of the instructor is required: email with a brief note about why you are interested in the course.
This "reading 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.

The syllabus details assigned readings for each session, focused in a way that makes the overall reading manageable. If multiple poets are assigned for a single meeting, the syllabus will suggests that you focus on one or two poems for each of the poets. Note , though, that much of the syllabus provides extensive information for further, entirely optional, readings and research. Finally the syllabus provides a set of questions for each set of readings: keep in mind these are only suggestions for your responses, not questions you are required to answer.

The readings for this workshop are extensive and cannot all be discussed in class. The concept is for you to saturate yourself in 20th-century American poetry.
The syllabus remains in formation throughout the period of the class, in response to changing conditions.. Please be sure to check here for updates and changes.
More information, and syllabus, at http://www.writing.upenn.edu/bernstein/syllabi/288-intro.html


COML 291.401 GLOBAL FEMINISMS
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
MW 2:00-3:30 LOOMBA
CROSS LISTED: ENGL 294, GSWS 296


Feminism has both united women and also generated debates between women of different races, locations and sexual orientations, not just across the world but also within the US. How should we, located in a prestigious US university, locate our own ideas about gender and sexuality in a global framework?


This is an interdisciplinary class that will include literary, cinematic, anthropological and sociological texts, as well as reportage. Through these we will understand how histories of slavery, race, and colonialism have structured differences between women that led to very different conceptions of feminism, gender, women, and sexuality around the world. We will consider key writings about the family, the body, labor, pleasure and agency, often grounding them in controversies around reproductive justice, global trafficking, the environmental crisis, female labor, circumcision, and the veil.

 

 

COML 295.401 PARALLEL HISTORIES: PSYCHOANALYSIS AND FILM
TR 12:00-1:30 RABATE
CROSS LISTED: CIMS 295, ENGL 295


This class will introduce students to the links between psychoanalysis and film. Psychoanalysis and film were developed at the same time, and the cross-references are numerous. We will take Sigmund Freud’s works on the arts as a point of departure, studying Freud’s dynamic reading of works of art as a type of filmic interpretation. Films will offer crucial examples with which one can test, verify or question the points of insertion of psychoanalytical concepts such as hysteria, transference, paranoia and the Oedipus complex. Using films across different genres, from comedy to horror via documentaries, we will consider the function of deferred action, fantasy, sublimation, the uncanny, trauma, and perversion. In spite of recent controversies, psychoanalytic approaches to film provide exciting and dynamic methods of interpretation. We will use the PEPWEB to read Freud’s texts. The films will be available in the library. We will also use two novels, Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 and Martel’s Life of Pi.

COML 299.401 GLOBAL FILM THEORY
REGISTRATION REQUIRED FOR LEC AND REC (sections 402 and 403)
TR 10:30-11:30 REDROBE/MAZAJ
CROSS LISTED: ARTH 295, CIMS 305, ENGL 305, GSWS 295

Cinema played a crucial role in the cultural life of Nazi Germany and other fascist states. As cinema enthusiasts, Goebbels and Hitler were among the first to realize the important ideological potential of film as a mass medium and saw to it that Germany remained a cinema powerhouse producing more than 1000 films during the Nazi era. In Italy, Mussolini, too, declared cinema “the strongest weapon.” This course explores the world of “fascist” cinemas ranging from infamous propaganda pieces such as The Triumph of the Will to popular entertainments such as musicals and melodramas. It examines the strange and mutually defining kinship between fascism more broadly and film. We will consider what elements mobilize and connect the film industries of the Axis Powers: style, genre, the aestheticization of politics, the creation of racialized others. More than seventy years later, fascist cinemas challenge us to grapple with issues of more subtle ideological insinuation than we might think. Weekly screenings with subtitles.

COML 322.401 SEXUALTY, TERRORISM AND HUMAN RIGHTS
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
W 2:00-5:00 RAJAN
CROSS LISTED: GSWS 322

COML 333.401 DANTE'S DIVINE COMEDY
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
TR 1:30-3:00 BROWNLEE
CROSS LISTED: 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 Comedia 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. There will be an important electronic component to the course, focusing on the Comedia’s consistent use of maps as shown in the computer project of Andrea Gazzoni, 2017 DVMA Digital Project Prize Winner. See his https://omnia.sas.upenn.edu/story/mapping-divine-comedy All readings and written work will be in English.

COML 340.401 DESCENT TO UNDERWORLD
MW 2:00-3:30 FOLEY
CROSS LISTED: CLST 339, NELC 339

From antiquity to the present the hero's journey to the underworld, or the land of the dead, has offered poets and philosophers a metaphor to express our search for life's meaning. In antiquity that meaning was to be found by an extraordinary individual in a heroic quest beyond the grave. In this course we will consider various interpretations what of this katabasis means within the context of our everyday struggle to find meaning.

COML 341.401 BOYS WILL BE BOYS
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
TR 1:30-3:00 FRANCIS
CROSS LISTED: FREN 341, GSWS 343

Why was a portrait depicting the Renaissance king Francois I 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 343.401  19th Century European Intellectual History
TR 3:00-4:30  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 359.401 SEMINAR IN MODERN HEBREW LIT: MANY VOICES OF ISRAEL
ARTS AND LETTERS SECTOR; CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS
LITERATURES OF THE WORLD
M 3:30-6:30 GOLD
PRIOR LANGUAGE EXPERIENCE REQUIRED
CROSS LISTED: HEBR 359, JWST 359, COLL 220

This course will listen and respond to Israeli artistic expressions of “others,” such as new immigrants, Arabs, gays, orthodox Jews, women, Holocaust survivors, “settlers,” and those of Middle Eastern descent. Their varied voices only began to be heard toward the end of the 20th century, with the pluralistic climate inspired by Postmodernism. The Zionist super-narrative had dominated Israeli culture at its inception. Authors were predominantly Israeli-born or educated, Ashkenazi (of European descent) men. Now that the lines between “periphery” and “center” have become so blurred, a cacophony of voices and a kaleidoscope of images are available. We will analyze this phenomenon through the different languages of prose and poetry and even film, examining how artists use symbol and metaphor, color and light, close-up and flashback to capture an outsider’s experience.
The class is conducted in Hebrew and the texts are read in the original. The content of this course changes from year to year, so students may take it for credit more than once.

 

COML 392.401 THE LITERATURE AND HISTORIOGRAPHY OF
NATIONAL TRAUMA: PARTITION AND SOUTH ASIA BENJAMIN FRANKLIN SEMINARS
W 2:00-5:00 KAUL
CROSS LISTED: ENGL 393, SAST 323


This course will examine the ways in which imaginative literature and film have addressed the difficult socio-political issues leading up to, and following from, the independence and partition of British India. Pakistan and India came into being as nation-states in moments of great national trauma: historians have long argued over the process that led up to Partition, and we will study some of these debates, but for the most part we will examine novels, short stories, poetry, and some films to think about the impact of Partition and Independence on communities and individuals in South Asia. In doing so, we will recognize the continuing role played by these events and experiences in shaping the cultural, social, and political realities of contemporary South Asia. We will also learn about the crucial role played by literary and creative texts in making available to us the full dimensions of human tragedy, especially those precipitated when the imperatives of nation-formation redefine the lives of individuals or of sub-national communities.



COML 411.401 INTRODUCTION TO PRINT CULTURE
M 2:00-5:00 CHARTIER/STALLYBRASS
CROSS LISTED: ENGL 234, HIST 411

 

We will focus on the printing, reprinting, and reception of selected canonical Early Modern texts, including books by Shakespeare, Richardson, Montaigne, Cervantes, and Castiglione (the latter three available in early English translations). The topics that we will consider will include: the nature of authorship; the uses of sources and commonplace books; licensing and censorship; and the remaking of texts in the reprinting of them. We will draw wherever possible on the exceptional collections in Penn’s Special Collections and in other Philadelphia Libraries.


COML 418.401 EUROPE INTELLECTUAL HISTORY SINCE 1945
W 2:00-5:00 BRECKMAN
CROSS LISTED: HIST 418

This course concentrates on French intellectual history after 1945, with some excursions into Germany. We will explore changing conceptions of the intellectual, from Sartre's concenpt of the 'engagement' to Foucault's idea of the 'specific intellectual'; the rise and fall of existentialism; structuralism and poststructuralism; and the debate over 'postmodernity.'

Last modified October 27, 2017
Program in Comparative Literature
School of Arts & Sciences
University of Pennsylvania