Ever thought about ghosts? Are you among those who believe to have been among their presence? Or do you consider such matters complete non-sense? This course is designed for both the die-hard skeptic and the unabashed believer. Situated on the threshold between faith and reason, visual perception and logical disbelief, ghosts offer a privileged vantage point for understanding the relationship between life and death, time and space, and between the magical and the real. In this course we will ask ourselves the following kinds of questions: What accounts for contemporary culture’s ambivalent and yet intense fascination with ghosts? What space have ghosts traditionally occupied in the past and what role do they continue to serve in the present? What challenges do ghosts and notions of the “magical” offer to Cartesian modes of thought? What place, if any, can we ascribe to “culture” in the persistence of a ghostly imagination across space and time? Finally, what relationship does literature (and by extension, art in general) maintain with the spectral and the other-worldy?
Requirements: Four formal papers, two presentations, and regular attendance and participation.
Pedro Paramo, Rulfo
Land of Green Ghosts, Khoo Thwe
Le Colonel Chabert, Balzac
The Communist Manifesto, Marx
El Reino de este Mundo, Carpentier
The Odyssey (selections)
A course reader including texts by Freud, Marx, Derrida, Benjamin, Carpentier, among others.
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