Intro to Comparative Literature

"What do demons want? Why do spirits possess? How do humans and vampires interact? And when do the dead come back to life or remain in a limbo? In this course we will address the appearance of fantastic creatures in literature from across time, place, and language, and explore various theoretical modalities to contend with cultural representations of the supernatural.

Topics in Comparative Literature

In this class, we study diverse genres of writing in the pre-modern and modern Muslim World through the lens of institutionalized texts and their anti-texts. By texts we mean canonized forms of writing which are central in the diverse Islamic knowledge traditions, from literary composition to Islamic philosophy. By anti-texts, we mean texts which convey popular traditions of storytelling and folk religiosity and discourses of the comic, the sexual, the obscene, and the grotesque.

The Renaissance

In this course we will study the rise of Renaissance literature against the backdrop of the travels
by Europeans outside the European world at the dawn of the modern era. We will read major
works by such authors as Shakespeare, More, Rabelais, Montaigne, and Cervantes next to
accounts of travel by such figures as Columbus, Vespucci, and Vasco da Gama, as well as
contemporary documents about the “encounter” by natives in South America and writers from
North Africa. Among the questions we will ask: How can you describe something that has

Modern Greek Language & Composition

This course is the second semester of Modern Greek Language designed for students at the intermediate level. It emphasizes instruction in Modern Greek grammar and the skills of listening, reading, speaking, and writing. Throughout the semester, we will encounter Modern Greek culture through art, film, and literature. Students are required to have completed the first semester of Modern Greek Language at UC Berkeley (CL112A). Interested students who did not take the first semester of Modern Greek should contact the instructor in advance of the course in order to discuss enrollment.

Studies in Symbolist & Modern Literature

"How do humans read? This question has preoccupied literary critics and historians alike, yet rarely do scholars of the two disciplines join in discussing this foundational question. In this seminar we will bring together theoretical and historical analyses and offer various modalities to conceptualize the practice of reading.

Directed Group Study

Intro to Comparative Literature

Infelicitous speech, obscene utterances, and perilous commands give birth to the characters we stumble upon in the archive. Given the conditions in which we find them, the only certainty is that we will lose them again. 
– Saidiya Hartman

Senior Seminar

“Tell me, haven’t you ever thought that the west might lie in the opposite direction”— Diamela Eltit, ""Los vigilantes"" So much of today’s cultural debate invokes “the West” as if we all know what the term means. Is it a place, a concept, an identity? West of where? This course will look at different and often counterintuitive modes of representing the West in reference to both the western United States and the broader geopolitical or even metaphysical idea of the West.