Reading and Composition (R&C)

R1A.002: CL R1A.02: Telling Ghost Stories

MWF 11am-12pm
105 Dwinelle
CCN: 17206
Johnathan Vaknin

O what is it in me that makes me tremble so at voices?
Walt Whitman, “Voices”

This is a course about absent presences, or entities that refuse to remain hidden in the shadows of history; straddling the porous border between here and there, past and present, death and life, the phantasms that populate our readings force us to rethink the linear unfolding of time. Some of the ghosts that we’ll encounter this semester carry with them remnants of historical trauma and violence—the vestiges, reverberations, and reincarnations of slavery, for instance, in Toni Morrison’s Beloved. » read more »

Course Catalog Number:

R1A.005: Family Dramas

Tu/Th 11:00-12:30 35 Evans Instructor: Tyleen Kelly

Tu/Th 11am-12:30pm
35 Evans
CCN: 17214
Tyleen Kelly

In Anna Karenina Tolstoy’s speaker humorously initiates with: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Perhaps the most riddling element is what sorts of bonds keep unhappy families in close proximity, and how might we create a taxonomy of their conflicts? This course will examine family stories written in narrative and dramatic form, and will uncover the distinct challenges (or particular suitability) each of these forms experiences on the page as it tries to give voice to a complex network of family members.

Course Catalog Number: 17214

R1A.006: Fantasy Literature

Tu/Th 09:30-11:00 123 Dwinelle Instructor: Jeffrey Weiner

Tues/Thurs, 9:30-11am
123 Dwinelle
CCN: 17458
Jeffrey Weiner

A survey of “fantasy literature” and some of the literary, philosophical, and psychological issues attached to it. Beginning with Near Eastern and Hellenistic creation myths, we will then move on to the Byzantine and Roman novels. The course will cover fairy tales, medieval allegory and chivalric tales, Renaissance romance, and culminate in more recent syntheses of these traditions. We will consider how these tales comment on morality, the family, cultural history, and ideology. How do these tales tap into a “collective unconsciousness,” urge reform, provide escape, and encourage cultural creativity? The course is writing and reading intensive, and students will be expected to develop research and writing skills.

Texts:

Bible, Selections from the Book of Genesis.
Selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
Selection from The Ethiopian Tale.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Apuleius, “Cupid and Psyche.”
Selection from The Arabian Nights.
Selection from Eric and Enide.
Selection from Romance of the Rose.
Selection from Amadis of Gaul.
Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Collodi, The Adventures of Pinocchio.
C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.
J.R.R. Tolkien, Selection from The Two Towers.
Victor Fleming, The Wizard of Oz (1939).
Berger, Snow White (2013).

Course Catalog Number: 17458

R1B.001: Health, Illness and Debility in Literature

Tu/Th 05:00-6:30 204 Dwinelle Instructor: Current Graduate Students

Tu/Th 5-6:30pm
204 Dwinelle
CCN: 17203
Nina Estreich

In this class, we will be thinking about representations of health and illness in a variety of texts. What are some of the ways in which the premise of an opposition between health and illness fundamentally shapes both social experience and literary imaginings? » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17203

R1B.001: Bad Debts: Loan Sharks, Liberalism and Literature

Tu/Th 08:00-09:30 79 Dwinelle Instructor: Current Graduate Students

TuTh 8-9:30am
79 Dwinelle
CCN: 17215
Philip Gerard

“The power of debt is described as if it were exercised neither through repression nor through ideology. The debtor is “free,” but his actions, his behavior, are confined to the limits defined by the debt he has entered into.”

– Maurizio Lazzarato, The Making of Indebted Man

Debt is a way of life. In California, 50% of college seniors who graduated from non-profit institutions last year left school with some form of student debt. From this pool, the average obligation comes out to $20,250. As any 19th century novelist could tell you, this is an auspicious way to begin a story.

In this Reading and Composition course we will pursue the topic of debt beyond the bounds of economics. From social obligations to moral duty, from financial lending to literary borrowing, we will examine the meaning(s) and genesis of debt as a concept and a metaphor. As we go over our own set of books, drawing on a series of artistic, anthropological and philosophical treatments of debt from a range of historical periods, we will refine our critical reading skills and study the art of making and defending an argument.

As we explore the sorts of obligations that bind us, we will also be studying the craft of writing and revising an analytical paper. Students can expect to write and revise two papers, give an in-class presentation, and complete several smaller assignments.

Books

William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
Honoré de Balzac, The Wild Ass’s Skin
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals
Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story

Course Catalog Number: 17215

R1B.002: Love and Death: What’s the Point?

M/W/F 11:00-12:00 105 Dwinelle Instructor: Current Graduate Students

MWF 11am-12pm
105 Dwinelle
CCN: 17206
Kirsten Schwartz

In this class we will explore themes of Love and sometimes Love connected with Death; we’ll also try to find “the point” of each text we read.  We begin with a very early love poem by the ancient Greek woman Sappho, move into Plato (Platonic love:  more lusty than people think), through Roman love lyric, into later (19th century) English love poetry until we finally come into the twentieth century and read three short novels.  » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17206

R1B.002: Book Learning: What Can Literature Teach Us?

Tu/Th 08:00-09:30 233 Dwinelle Instructor: Laura Wagner

T/Th 8:00-9:30
233 Dwinelle
CCN: 17218
Laura Wagner

Can a work of the imagination teach us anything about real life? Can literature make us better people or thinkers, and if so, how does it convey its moral or intellectual lessons? Or does it instead provide dangerous temptations and immoral models, leading readers astray? » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17218

R1B.003: The Relatability of the Tale

M/W/F 01:00-02:00 204 Dwinelle Instructor: Ashley Brock

MWF 1-2pm
204 Dwinelle
CCN: 17209
Ashley Brock

When is the last time you heard a classmate or reviewer celebrate the “relatability” of a work of literature or film? This term has become so prevalent that New Yorker writer Rebecca Mead has recently decried the “scourge of relatability” that has come to afflict contemporary culture. But what does it mean to be “relatable”? Why is this something we look for in a work of art? What, if anything, is wrong with expecting or seeking out “relatability”? Is this a new phenomenon or an age-old one?

In this class we will examine texts from a range of time periods and cultural traditions in attempts to elucidate how the contemporary use of “relatable,” meaning inviting identification, might relate to the word’s original meaning, which was closer to “tellable,” or capable of being related in narrative. Does a text that bars us from identifying with it through difficult form or unlikeable characters necessarily jeopardize its ability to tell a tale? Why might some tales resist being relatable in either sense? How might a text’s refusal of “relatability” help us to recognize and respect cultural difference, to question our right to know another’s story, or to appreciate indirect or non-narrative ways in which deeply personal or traumatic experiences might be transmitted?

In fulfillment of the Reading and Composition requirement, this class aims to improve the students’ abilities to think rigorously and write clearly about subjects of intellectual complexity in order to prepare them for the demands of college-level coursework. Significant class time will be devoted to the skills required to close read a literary text, articulate an interpretive argument, and write a clear and compelling analytical paper.

Required Texts:

William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of King Lear
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!
Clarice Lispector, The Passion According to G.H.
Salvador Plascencia, The People of Paper

Other readings (provided in the required course reader) may include the work of: Ovid, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Juan José Saer, Toni Morrison, Julio Cortázar, Tillie Olsen, and Sherman Alexie.

 

Course Catalog Number: 17209

R1B.003: Fact and Fiction

Tu/Th 09:30-11:00 210 Dwinelle Instructor: Current Graduate Students

TuTh 9:30-11am
210 Dwinelle
CCN: 17221
Margarita Gordon

We tend to view fact and fiction as polar opposites, opposites that shape our concept of knowledge, truth, and morality. Yet when we speak of “actual fact” in contrast to “mere fiction,” we often take for granted or simply ignore the basis for differentiating them from one another. In this course, we will endeavor to define the precepts—cultural, philosophical, and psychological—that govern this distinction. More radically, we will ask to what extent the distinction holds up. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17221

R1B.004: Made from Scrap: Practices of Salvage in the Americas

Tu/Th 09:30-11:00 204 Dwinelle Instructor: Karina Palau

TuTh 9:30-11am
204 Dwinelle
CCN: 17224
Karina Palau

Found poems, quilts, and sculptures made out of trash. Narratives preoccupied with how to recover and retell a lost story.  Museum installations that assemble and remake remnants of a past. Anthropologists obsessed with documenting threatened cultures before they presumably disappear. What do these imply about questions of rescue, recovery, and reuse? What happens when we ‘salvage’ something—an object, a history, a culture—and what does this practice imply? » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17224

R1B.004: Moving Totalities

Tu/Th 02:00-03:30 115 Kroeber Instructor: Current Graduate Students

Tu/Th 2-3:30pm
115 Kroeber
CCN: 17212
Brian Clancy

The purpose of this course is to improve your ability to write clearly, effectively, and accurately about literary subjects. The course works under the assumption that critical writing–and the kinds of thinking that lead to such writing–are a necessity for college students. The ability to write critically also represents a very significant step in one’s intellectual development more generally. The focus of this class will be on practicing the fundamental skills of writing and reading, both in class and out of class. Our topic as we do so will be totality.

Totalities (whether literary, social, or political) are rarely fixed entities. Totality entails both thinking about the world according to a wider scope, but also placing particular phenomena in relation to this broader whole. Our aim in this course is to consider the diverse ways in which totalities arise, with a special focus on literature. Thinking about totality enhances our understanding of how literary works present their readers with encompassing structures and relations. It shows us how the mind collects groups of phenomena and attempts to contain them through varying degrees of closure or more elastic rubrics. Totalities often group things through resemblance to other systems of consolidation.When the concept of totality appears in literature, it signifies images of the whole, as well as new relations between the whole and its parts. Here totalities are literary constructions and they are fabricated or delimited for different purposes. Totalities rarely exist in isolation, instead, they overlap, as is so often the case with competing notions of social totality.

Totality is a fecund concept. It can explain a language system. It can be a way to conceive of a human body and the trajectories of movement it makes. Totality even arises in everyday contexts through spatial movements which take place when urban dwellers engage in leisurely walks. Instead of thinking about totality as unlimited or ambiguous, we will examine it in terms of specific themes: movement and mobility, time, perception, and fluctuation. That said, we will primarily focus on this concept in terms of literary genre, the set of criteria which helps us to define different types of literary expression.

Writing literary works (and academic essays) involves rules which apply to the whole. The dynamic notion of literary totality will help us to explain developments and fluctuations in the rules for a genre like the novel. At the course’s inception, we will see how in Aristotle’s Poetics, totality involves a theory of genre for the forms of literature called tragedy and epic, while also stressing the value of a coherent plot with proper magnitude. We will then see how notions of totality are at the heart of Miguel de Cervantes’ novel Don Quixote. In Cervantes’ we will consider the emergence of the novel genre, seeing how overlapping and emergent notions of totality shed light on the question of literary world-formation.Later, focusing on a period in the early 20th-century known as modernism, we will see how through diverse literary experiments the rules of the novel can be rewritten. For example, we will look at how in Ulysses, James Joyce reconceived of the novel as a new type of literary whole. Totality also involves questions of time. Here we will see how modernist works like those of Joyce and Virginia Woolf approach the concept of totality through a literary interpretation of the idea of infinity.

Our notion of totality also extends beyond genre and time. Joyce’s Dublin and Woolf’s London, respectively, re-imagine urban space. We can thus create mental shapes of totalities through a complex “cognitive mapping” (Fredric Jameson’s term) that reconstructs urban space in terms of part and whole. Here we will turn to the French philosopher Michel de Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life and his notionof “the itinerary.” For de Certeau, walking in the city creates different modes of an idea called “synecdoche” (the replacement of part for whole). Buttressed by brief selections from the work of the 18th-century British Empiricist David Hume, we will examine how the mind forms an idea of spatial totality on the basis of the impressions of objects. We wish to see how our impressions and ideas of space cohere (or fail to cohere) into stable images of totality or reliable narratives.

In examining these pressing issues, we will perform a significant amount of detailed analysis of various literary texts as well as analytic writing. We will learn how to perform sophisticated close-readings of passages from the assigned texts. Special focus will be placed on identifying and examining different literary techniques that authors employ as well as the effects of these literary techniques. We then plan to develop these dynamic interpretative skills in conjunction with learning how to formulate arguments and write well-structured papers. Ultimately the goal of the course is to learn how to write a superb academic essay, and to think in more clear, specific, and effective ways about literature and the arts in general.

Texts:

Aristotle, The Poetics
Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (Please note: this text will be read in selections)
David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature (read in selections)
James Joyce, Ulysses (read in selections)
Virginia Woolf, Moments of Being (read in selections), Mrs. Dalloway
Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life (read in selections)

Course Catalog Number: 17212

R1B.005: The Ethics of Narrative Authority

Tu/Th 09:30-11:00 205 Dwinelle Instructor: Celine Piser Adeline Tran

TuTh 9:30-11am
205 Dwinelle
CCN: 17227
Celine Piser & Adeline Tran

 

In this course, we will investigate the question of narrative reliability and whether an objective, “reliable” representation of reality is really possible. We will look at the complexities of narration in fiction and film by first asking how we define the nature of truth and reality. Is truth an objective viewpoint on our world or a set of subjective interpretations?  » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17227

R1B.006: Cash Rules Everything Around Me

Tu/Th 11:00-12:30 202 Wheeler Instructor: Current Graduate Students

TuTh 11-12:30
202 Wheeler
CCN: 17230
Caitlin Scholl

Cash rules everything around me
CREAM
Get the money
Dollar, dollar bill y’all
—Wu-Tang Clan, “C.R.E.A.M.” (1993)

In this course we will examine narratives (plays, life writing, novels, films) that grapple with the idea that cash rules everything. While all of the texts that we will read and view express some degree of anxiety over this idea—whether explicitly (through themes of usury, corruption, the commodification of humans) or implicitly (a monster from the deep, devilish magic)—they are not necessarily working against capitalism. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17230

R1B.007: “Going Places(?)”: Utopias and Travel Literature

Tu/Th 11:00-12:30 79 Dwinelle Instructor: Keith Ford Paul De Morais

TuTh 11am-12:30pm
79 Dwinelle
CCN: 17233
Keith Ford Paul De Morais

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.
You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet,
there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
—Bilbo Baggins

Before we even set out on a journey, the places we go are invested with meaning and, often, idealized goals. Inevitably, there is a dissonance between destination and dream. Perhaps accounting for this, in literature, many travelers are bound to entirely fictitious destinations. And yet, the fiction is as revealing as any fact when considering why we are driven to travel. What values and expectations does the traveler carry with him, perhaps unwittingly? How are indigenous populations represented? What are the social and political motivations for both travel texts and utopian texts? In order to investigate these and other questions, this course will engage with texts both factual and fictional such as Plato’s Timaeus and selections from Republic, Lucian’s Trips to the Moon, Virgil’s Eclogues, Thomas More’s Utopia, de Bergerac’s Voyage to the Moon, selections from Thevet’s Singularities of Antarctic France and Lery’s True Voyage to Brazil and from Montaigne’s Essays, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Aimé Césaire’s “A Tempest,” selections from Gulliver’s Travels (the Liliputians and the Houyhnhnms), Bernardin de Saint Pierre’s Paul & Virginia, John Clare’s poem “The Lamentations of Round-Oak Waters”, Alexander Pope’s “A Discourse on Pastoral Poetry,” Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” Addison, Spectator #11 & 414, and selections from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

This is a reading and writing intensive course with several essay assignments which will build upon the skills acquired in R1A. We will approach academic writing as a process, and students will articulate clear and interesting arguments about the texts we are studying while entering the world of literary criticism and learning to integrate and interrogate criticism in their own writing.

Course Catalog Number: 17233

R1B.008: The Six Senses of Literature

Tu/Th 12:30-02:00 234 Dwinelle Instructor: Current Graduate Students Carli Cutchin

TuTh 12:30-2pm
234 Dwinelle
CCN: 17236
Kathryn Crim & Carli Cutchin

A glimpse, a whiff, a graze, a chill. This course explores how literature, and its critics, both approach and retreat from an account of sense experience. When and how does description invoke the body? Why do certain senses—sight and sound—so often mediate representations of the other, “lower” senses—smell, touch, and taste? » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17236

R1B.009: Ways of Seeing

Tu/Th 12:30-02:00 210 Dwinelle Instructor: Karina Palau

TuTh 12:30-2pm
210 Dwinelle
CCN: 17239
Karina Palau

What does it mean to see? What is implied when we talk about seeing something differently, seeing for the first time, or making an experience, a person, or a place visible? » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17239

R1B.010: Religious Heretics, Sexual Deviants: Writing against the Grain in the Muslim World

Tu/Th 12:30-02:00 211 Dwinelle Instructor: Gretchen Head

TuTh 12:30-2
211 Dwinelle
CCN: 17242
Professor Gretchen Head

This course will begin with the textual foundations of the Islamic tradition to understand why some books are read as dangerously subversive in particular historical moments. With a focus on contestations of both religious orthodoxy and reigning paradigms of normative gender and sexuality, we will look at examples of poetry and prose that have offered discursive challenges to the norms upheld by their respective societies. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17242

R1B.011: Human(e): Literature, the Human, and Human Rights

Tu/Th 12:30-02:00 140 Barrows Instructor: Irina Popescu Ma’ayan Sela

TuTh 12:30-2pm
140 Barrows
CCN: 17245
Irina Popescu and Ma’ayan Sela

This class will explore how many literary and artistic genres create versions of the human, from Ancient Greece to today. As such the texts we will be exploring serve as instances of humanitarian/humane literature and art, which seek to shed light on burgeoning “human” rights ideas throughout the centuries. What are human rights? » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17245

R1B.012: Adventure Narrative in Film and Fiction

Tu/Th 02:00-03:30 222 Wheeler Instructor: Jessica Crewe

TuTh 2-3:30pm
222 Wheeler (effective 1/29)
CCN: 17248
Jessica Crewe

Tales of travelers questing across the globe have been a cornerstone of popular culture from Homer’s Odyssey to Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. Yet, while these adventure narratives continue to seduce large audiences, we must also consider the political and social ramifications of such texts. What ethical problems might authors face in trying to represent foreignness and “the exotic”? » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17248

R1B.013: Religious Heretics, Sexual Deviants: Writing against the Grain in the Muslim World

Tu/Th 03:30-05:00 108 Wheeler Instructor: Gretchen Head

TuTh 3:30-5pm
108 Wheeler
CCN: 17251
Professor Gretchen Head

This course will begin with the textual foundations of the Islamic tradition to understand why some books are read as dangerously subversive in particular historical moments. With a focus on contestations of both religious orthodoxy and reigning paradigms of normative gender and sexuality, we will look at examples of poetry and prose that have offered discursive challenges to the norms upheld by their respective societies. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17251

R1B.014: Perfectly Normal Stories about Completely Ordinary People

Tu/Th 05:00-06:30 79 Dwinelle Instructor: Current Graduate Students Bristin Jones

TuTh 5-6:30pm
79 Dwinelle
CCN: 17254
Oya Erez and Bristin Scalzo Jones

 

“This is a normal book about a normal life.”

– Karl Ove Knausgaard on My Struggle

Literary texts seem obsessed with the extraordinary: epic poems about heroes and monsters, tragedies about kings and star-crossed lovers, novels about citizens entangled in sweeping historical changes, films about celebrities and outcasts. But what about the normal, the average, and the ordinary? » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17257

R1B.015: Mind over Matter, Matters of Mind

M/W/F 09:00-10:00 79 Dwinelle Instructor: Howard Fisher

MWF 9-10 am
79 Dwinelle
CCN: 17257
Howard Fisher

21b99n4

 

Suppose I asked you to tell me what your friend Stephanie knows about what Jorge thinks about Alan’s opinion about Margaret. How would you structure your response to account not only for the relations between each person, but also for each person’s thoughts? » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17257

R1B.016: Where You’re At

M/W/F 09:00-10:00 204 Dwinelle Instructor: Current Graduate Students

MWF 9-10am
204 Dwinelle
CCN: 17260
Emily Laskin

Does it matter where you live? Can the imagination offer an escape from real life circumstances? How do our physical surroundings change our mental lives? And, conversely, how do our mental lives shape our physical surroundings? » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17260

R1B.016: The Wide World of Genre

Instructor: Danny Luzon Howard Fisher

Comparative Literature R1B.16

CCN:  17275

Tuesdays/Thursdays: 12:30-2:00, Dwinelle 209

Spring 2015

Howard Fisher

howard.fisher@berkeley.edu

4319 Dwinelle  Office Hours:  TBA

Danny Luzon

dannyluzon@berkeley.edu

4321 Dwinelle Office Hours:  TBA

The Wide World of Genre

If one accepts that all language is conventional, how do authors continually manage to produce literary works that have the power to charm and surprise us? This course approaches the question by addressing one conventional dimension of literary works: genre. Rather than tracing a single literary genre through its formation, development, and dissolution, this course considers several genres (the family tragedy, the gothic novel, the noir film) side by side to get at whether one can distinguish how they are generic. Is it the case that works of the same genre are necessarily concerned with the same subject matter? Do they share a typical structure? A certain look? A set of techniques for making meaning? Convey a special feeling?

By juxtaposing canonical works of a genre with particular permutations of it, we will explore how texts produce meaning not only semantically (through a series of grammatical statements), but also indexically by evocatively pointing to other works. Juxtaposing works of different genres also gives students the opportunity to question how genres overlap, drawing on and responding to not only works of the same genre, but also a broader archive of texts. The opportunity to think about genres in relation to each other leads into thinking about them in relation to literary modes such as realism. Ultimately students will have to decide for themselves what status to give the term genre: Is it constitutive of texts – part of how works conceive of themselves and produce meaning? Is it a product of the juxtapositions that we as readers construct – by, for instance, putting works together on a syllabus)? Is it an effect of markets – the fact that readers’ expectations influence authors’ writing and that texts are marketed in ways that readers will recognize? If so, what gives some works the power to define a genre?

Focusing on literature, film, and criticism, this course will explore these questions as a way to develop students’ critical reading, thinking, and writing skills. With these goals in mind, members of this course will be asked to illustrate the development of their thinking on course topics through regular expository writing assignments, re-writes, frequent free-writing exercises, periodic posts to a bcourses forum, and consistent in-class participation.

Required texts:

Henry James, The Turn of the Screw
William Shakespeare, King Lear
Sophocles, Oedipus the King
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Required Screening:
John Huston, The Maltese Falcon
Rian Johnson, Brick

Course Catalog Number: 17275

R1B.017: Improbable Cities—Venice, Saint Petersburg, Los Angeles

M/W/F 10:00-11:00 204 Dwinelle Instructor: Marianne Kaletzky

MWF 10-11am
204 Dwinelle
CCN: 17263
Marianne Kaletzky

All large cities are, in a sense, improbable: accommodating millions of people in a confined space requires vast resources and careful planning. But this course will focus on three cities more unlikely than most: Venice, afloat on wooden piles and perpetually in danger of sinking; St. Petersburg, constructed atop the swampy soils of the Neva River; and Los Angeles, subsisting at the edge of a desert through artificial irrigation. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17263

R1B.018: Point of View: Critical Thinking through Fiction

M/W/F 11:00-12:00 104 Dwinelle Instructor: Current Graduate Students

MWF 11am-12:00pm
104 Dwinelle
CCN: 17266
Maya Kronfeld

The concept of point of view seems familiar enough — after all, everyone seems to have one. But as a key technique of literary experimentation and innovation, point of view becomes something radically unfamiliar. In this course we will engage a variety of literary traditions in order to study — and develop our own arguments about — how authors structure point of view differently. What kinds of possibilities and limitations are associated with the first-person point of view, or the third-person point of view? » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17266

R1B.020: Dreams Deferred: Literature and Disappointment

M/W 04:00-05:30 105 Dwinelle Instructor: Jordan Greenwald

MW 4-5:30
105 Dwinelle
CCN: 17272
Jordan Greenwald

In this course, we will analyze drama, films, poems and novels that offer us entry points for thinking about the (all too) familiar yet surprisingly complex feeling of disappointment. Unlike the more sensational category of despair or the clinical category of depression, disappointment presents itself as something we can deal with because of its status as a frequent, even everyday occurrence. And yet disappointment can be great or minor, chronic or acute, existential or forgettable. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17272

R1B.022: Literature in the Age of Ritalin

Tu/Th 11:00-12:30 102 Latimer Instructor: Taylor Johnston Current Graduate Students

Tu/Th 11:00am-12:30pm
CCN: 17278
102 Latimer
Taylor Johnston & Yael Segalovitz

When do you most often feel bored or distracted? In class? Reading dense theoretical texts? Scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed? Or when you’re alone and reflective? Both literature and popular culture have lamented these affective states as a result of our fragmented, media-saturated realities, in which political consciousness is withering and the stimulant market is thriving. This class would like to simply ask: are boredom and distraction always bad? » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17278

R1B.023: Translations

Tu/Th 11:00-12:30 235 Dwinelle Instructor: Diana Thow

Tu/Th 11am-12:30pm
235 Dwinelle
CCN: 17281
Diana Thow

Translation is everywhere.  But what is it, exactly?  The term is often used to indicate anything transferred, adapted, communicated, displaced or interpreted. What does it mean to be “lost in translation”?  What is the difference between a translator and an author?  » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17281

Undergraduate

100: Intro to Comparative Literature

Children’s Literature in Theory, Context, and Practice

Tu/Th 09:30-11:00 24 Wheeler Instructor: Anne Nesbet

“Children’s Literature in Theory, Context, and Practice”

TuTh 9:30-11am
24 Wheeler
CCN: 17290
Professor Anne Nesbet

In this class we will take a close and multi-faceted look at books written primarily for children, a category of literature that remains rather under-examined, despite its popularity, persistence, and influence. We will read examples of stories for children written in a number of different times (from the 18th places (Europe, Britain, North America), and our readings will make use of many different kinds of literary analysis: historical contextualization, analyses that draw on particular literary theories, psychoanalytical approaches, and close readings. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17290

112B: Modern Greek Language and Composition

M/W/F 12:00-01:00 225 Dwinelle Instructor: Maria Kotzamanidou

CL 112B
MWF 12-1:00
225 Dwinelle
CCN 17293
Maria Kotzamanidou

This course examines forms of Modern Greek writing (prose, poetry, drama) and the reading of literary texts as auxiliary to the acquisition of compositional skills.

Prerequisites: Consent of the instructor.

A reader for the course is prepared by the instructor.

Course Catalog Number: 17293

152: German Literature of the Middle Ages

Tu/Th 09:30-11:00 282 Dwinelle Instructor: Niklaus Largier

Tues/Thurs 9:30-11am
282 Dwinelle
CCN: 17295
Professor Niklaus Largier

This course will examine the culture of medieval Germany in a European context through representative examples of its most important literary genres, romance and poetry. The courtly romance and poetry emerged in the last third of the twelfth century in France. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17295

156: Fiction and Culture of the Americas

South

Tu/Th 12:30-02:00 175 Dwinelle Instructor: Francine Masiello

Tues/Thur, 12:30-2pm
175 Dwinelle
CCN: 17299
Professor Francine Masiello
Office hours: Thursday, 2:15-3:30 and by appt., 5223 Dwinelle

This course is devoted to a study of the concept of Global South, first as a theoretical question belonging to geopolitics and, second, as a project sustained first by colonizers, explorers, and later by creative writers.   » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17299

165: Myth and Literature

Comparative Mythology: Celtic, Norse, and Greek

Tu/Th 11:00-12:30 2070 VLSB Instructor: Annalee Rejhon

TuTh 11am-12:30pm
2070 Valley LSB
CCN: 17302
Annalee Rejhon

A study of Indo-European mythology as it is preserved in some of the earliest myth texts in Celtic, Norse, and Greek literatures. The meaning of myth will be examined and compared from culture to culture to see how this meaning may shed light on the ethos of each society as it is reflected in its literary works.   » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17302

166: Literature of War and Peace

One Hundred Years Ago: Italy and the "Great War"

M/W/F 10:00-11:00 221 Wheeler

MWF 10-11am
221 Wheeler
CCN: 17304
Dr Giuliana Perco

In 1914, the outbreak of the “Great War” marked the beginning of a bloody conflict that transformed the Western World. At the end of the war, empires had disappeared, brand new countries had been created, while after-war political and economic instability allowed for the development of future extremist ideologies. In Italy, the end of WWI resulted in expanded territorial borders, an impoverished economy and an unstable society. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17304

170: Special Topics in Comparative Literature

Performing Violence: Aspects of Scandinavian and European Drama

Tu/Th 12:30-02:00 24 Wheeler

TuTh 12:30-2pm
24 Wheeler
CCN: 17305
Professor Ulf Olsson

Violence, understood as both verbal, psychological and physical acts, has always been a central part of theatre, and forms a strong current in European theatre also in the last hundred years. Reaching from verbal insults to systematic terror and torture, theatrical violence can also be directed towards the audience. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17305

171: Topics in Modern Greek Literature

Daughters: Liminal Characters, Transcending Voices in Modern Greek Fiction

F 02:00-05:00 211 Dwinelle Instructor: Maria Kotzamanidou

Friday, 2:00-5:00pm
211 Dwinelle
Maria Kotzamanidou

This course examines a selection of novels (19th to 21st cent.), placed in different historical and social contexts, each novel focused on the character of a young woman. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17311

190: Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature

Episodes from Modern Poetry: The New York School in International Dialogue

W 02:00-05:00 187 Dwinelle Instructor: Robert Kaufman

Wed, 2-5pm
187 Dwinelle
CCN: 17314
Professor Robert Kaufman

[Note: Students enrolling in this senior seminar will be assumed to have had experience with close reading and with analyzing poetic form, content, and context.  Though not a requirement, it would also be helpful if students were at least somewhat familiar with the main lines or moments in American poetry’s 19th-20th C. development, from Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, through the modernism of  Eliot, Pound, Stevens, Moore, Hughes, Brooks, et al, the postmodernism of Plath, Lowell, Sexton, the Beats, Black Mountain, San Francisco Renaissance, etc.] » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17314

190: Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature

Narrate or Describe?

M 02:00-05:00 211 Dwinelle Instructor: Dora Zhang

Monday, 2-5pm
211 Dwinelle
CCN: 17317
Professor Dora Zhang

In Georg Lukács’s seminal 1936 essay “Narrate or Describe?” he identified narration and description as distinctive modes of the novel, each appropriate to a different form of society under a different period of capitalism. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17317

Graduate

212: Studies in Medieval Literature

Entangled Subjects. A Genealogy of Medieval (Latin) Literature on Desire

Th 03:00-06:00 225 Dwinelle Instructor: Frank Bezner

Thurs, 3-6pm
225 Dwinelle
CCN: 17332
Professor Frank Bezner

This course is meant as a comparative exploration of (mostly) Latin Medieval texts that deal with the topic of love and desire – a poorly studied genre that is still in search of valuable conceptual models able to address its complex aesthetics; negotiation of related discourses (such as medicine and philosophy); and relation to the institutional, social, and political constellations from which it emerged. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17332

C 221: Aesthetics as Critique

Adorno’s "Aesthetic Theory"

Tu 02:00-05:00 4104 Dwinelle Instructor: Robert Kaufman

Tues 2-5pm
4104 Dwinelle
CCN: 17334
Professor Robert Kaufman

This seminar (which is cross-listed as Rhetoric 221 and Critical Theory 205) is not an introduction to Theodor W. Adorno’s work; rather, it will involve sustained reading and discussion of Adorno’s last major text, which he was still finishing at the time of his 1969 death: Aesthetic Theory (1970). » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17334

225/Slavic 280: Studies in Symbolist and Modern Literature

Close and Distant Readings: Literature and its Contexts

W 02:00-05:00 6115 Dwinelle Instructor: Eric Naiman

Wed 2-5
6115 Dwinelle
CCN: 17335
(Also listed as Slavic 280)
Irina Paperno and Eric Naiman

In this seminar, we will read several major 19th and 20th century novels written in French, Russian and English. Central to our discussions will be the methodological question of the link (or gap) between close reading and cultural context, and we will combine attention to narrative and rhetoric with consideration of the novel’s involvement with epistemological, psychological and social issues (such as subjectivity, or consciousness, temporality, sexuality, body, family, crime) that fall into the domain of specialized disciplines and institution (such as psychology, or psychoanalysis, philosophy, law, religion, medicine).   » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17335

240: Studies in the Relations Between Literature and the Other Arts

About Time: Literary-Philosophical Investigations

W 03:00-06:00 4104 Dwinelle

Wed 3-6pm
4104 Dwinelle
CCN: 17449
Professor Naomi Seidman

The modern era saw an explosion of philosophical (as well as scientific) attempts to understand time as well as poetic and novelistic experimentations with what could be called “literary time.” Literary theorists, working at the intersection of these fields, incorporated both literary and philosophical notions of time in their approaches to literary transmission, plot as a means of organizing time, and varieties of literary temporalities. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17449

253: Studies in Literary Criticism

Benjamin’s "A Critique of Violence"

Tu 02:00-05:00 308B Doe Library Instructor: Judith Butler

Tues, 2-5pm
308B Doe Library
Professor Judith Butler

Enrollment is via instructor-approval only:

Please provide Professor Butler with a one-page application explaining your background and departmental affiliation, why you are interested in taking the course, whether you need the course for your DE in Critical Theory, and whether you are able to work closely in German. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17452

254: Studies in East-West Literary Relations

World Literature

F 03:00-06:00 89 Dwinelle Instructor: Harsha Ram

Friday 3-6 pm
Dwinelle 89
CCN: 17341
Professor Harsha Ram

 

The concept of world literature has existed in the West for approximately two centuries, although it owes its resurgence in popularity to the current post-Cold War era of globalization, as well as to a still ongoing restructuring of the field of Comparative Literature, after the “linguistic turn” in the humanities appeared exhausted. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17341

258: Studies in Philosophy and Literature

Mysticism and Modernity

Tu 03:00 - 06:00 282 Dwinelle Instructor: Niklaus Largier

Tues, 3-6pm
282 Dwinelle
CCN: 17343
Professor Niklaus Largier

So-called ‘mystical’ forms of thought and experience have played a major role in the history of modern philosophy and literature from Hegel to Georg Lukàcs, Martin Heidegger, Georges Bataille, and Jacques Derrida, and from Novalis to Robert Musil, Paul Celan, Ingeborg Bachmann, Pierre Klossowski, and John Cage (to name just a few). » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17343

260: Problems in Literary Translation

Workshop in Literary Translation

Th 02:00-05:00 107 Mulford Instructor: Robert Alter

Thur, 2-5pm
107 Mulford
CCN: 17344
Professor Robert Alter

The course will be run as an advanced workshop in literary translation.   Each student will have a translation project that he or she will work on throughout the semester.  There are no restrictions as to language, literary genre, or historical period.  Each week, two students will circulate specimens of their translations via email, and the class will then be devoted to detailed discussion of their work.   Though in the past some participants have aspired to be translators (and three published volumes of translation have so far issued from these seminars), the basic premise of the course is that translation is a deeply instructive process about the workings of any literary text and that all students of literature can benefit from applying themselves for a time to translation.

Course Catalog Number: 17344

298: Townsend Seminar

NEITHER LOCKE NOR DIDEROT: SINCERITY, TOLERATION, AND A THEORY OF ACTING

W 10:00-01:00 220 Stephens Hall

NEITHER LOCKE NOR DIDEROT: SINCERITY, TOLERATION, AND A THEORY OF ACTING

Wednesdays,  April 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29
10:00am to 1:00pm
CCN 17353
Townsend Center for the Humanities (220 Stephens Hall)
1 unit
Professor Jane Taylor

Jane Taylor holds the Wole Soyinka Chair of Drama and Theatre Studies at Leeds University. A South African, she has worked extensively both in the creative arts and in literary and cultural criticism. With both creative and scholarly interest in puppetry, Taylor has written plays for Handspring Puppet Company, such as Ubu and the Truth Commission, and has edited a critical study of the performance troupe. Taylor is currently working on a large-scale study of the performance of sincerity, examining the impact of the Reformation on modes of self-presentation. » read more »

Course Catalog Number: 17353