Undergraduate Courses
Summer 2013

COML 050.910

TR 5:30-8:40 Alpert
Cross listed with CINE 050, ENGL 104

The 21st Century

This course will offer students the opportunity to think about cultural forms being generated today. We will look at contemporary art, literature, film and other digital media that are responding to, and shaping the direction of, the coming century. We will consider how artistic production is changing especially with regard to three major shifts: the rise of new media, the increasing rate of globalization, and the demands of confronting climate change. The course is designed to explore these issues in both critical and creative responses. Through the course, students should have a better idea of the times they live in, and how they can effectively relate to them. Some of the writers, artists and cultural critics we will engage include: W.G. Sebald, Don DeLillo, Caroline Bergvall, Ai Wei Wei, Olafur Eliasson, Swoon, Slavoj Zizek, Lev Manovich, and Judith Butler. We will also consider some of these concerns as they are raised in popular films like The Matrix Trilogy and Avatar.

COML 127.910

Arts and Letters Sector
MW 1-4:10 Aid

Cross listed with CINE 125, GSWS 125, RUSS 125

The Adultery Novel

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

COML 150.920

Humanities and Social Science Sector
TR 5:30-8:40 Staff

Cross listed with RUSS 193

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

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

Last modified April 24, 2013
Maintained by Cliff Mak
Program in Comparative Literature
School of Arts & Sciences
University of Pennsylvania