Undergraduate Courses
Summer 2015

The following courses fulfill the COML *theory* elective requirement for majors:

      094; 123; 126; 247; 391; 419

The following courses fulfill the COML *non-Western or postcolonial studies* elective requirement for majors:

      065; 205; 215; 235; 266; 282; 283; 294; 364; 391; 392

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

COML 074.910

Arts and Letters
MWF 5-6:45 Devenot

Cross listed with ENGL 075

Science and Literature

This course examines the roots of science fiction in the nineteenth century, decades before "SF" emerged as a distinct genre with recognizable conventions. During a century that witnessed increasing formalization of scientific specialties, literary fiction navigated the tensions between the orthodox and heterodox, empirical and esoteric, concrete and speculative. In this class, we will consider the manifold ways in which early texts of sciencefiction simultaneously portrayed and actively contributed to the ongoing scientific debates of their time. What is the impact of fiction on cultural knowledge about science and popular attitudes towards it? Can fiction anticipate the future by thinking through the implications of new and imagined inventions and technologies? How do fictional ideas influence real scientific breakthroughs and developments? In what ways do scientific methodologies inform literary techniques? Through careful consideration of these and other questions, we will deliberate on the impact of our own writing practices.

COML 127.920

MW 5:30-9:20 Chang
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 150.910

TR 5:30-8:40 Chahine
Cross listed with RUSS 193

War and Representation in Europe, Russia and 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 January 18, 2015
Maintained by Cliff Mak
Program in Comparative Literature
School of Arts & Sciences
University of Pennsylvania