Graduate Diversity Pilot Program

This new one-unit course for graduate students is meant to serve a number of purposes. It will support the formation of graduate communities across cohorts; create a forum for the exchange of intellectual work and enable students to improve their writing in a collaborative setting; seek to connect students with the professional development resources and support they might need; and offer an opportunity to address questions of what we do and could do in Comparative Literature today.

Special Studies through the Townsend Center

Beauty: a topic both ubiquitous and perplexing. This Townsend Center Collaborative Research Seminar approaches beauty from multiple disciplines and through a wide variety of materials: literature, the visual and performative arts, aesthetic theory, philosophy, and religion. Our aim is to investigate the value and function that has been assigned to beauty in different humanist contexts, to explore possible bases of commonality and influence, and to consider whether beauty has or should be a key critical term for contemporary scholarship.

Genre: The Novel

This course focuses on contemporary novels written by Indigenous authors of New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific Islands, the United States, and Canada (with supplemental poems, short stories, and films) with an emphasis on how Indigenous aesthetics and epistemologies influence the novel form. Each of the texts in this course draws upon Indigenous literary canons, languages, and practices, while addressing problems related to colonization, such as ecological destruction, militarization, displacement, and genocide.

Berkeley Connect Mentoring course

Berkeley Connect Mentoring course

Philosophy and Literature

This course will explore the history and theory of tragedy in antiquity and the early modern period, with special attention to affect theory. Our main theoretical text with be Walter Benjamin’s Trauerspiel book, but we will also read works by Aristotle, Descartes, Mendelssohn, Lessing, and Hume; and tragedies by Euripides, Lohenstein, Shakespeare, Calderon, Corneille, Racine, and Milton. Secondary reading in Vernant, Vidal Naquet, Lacoue-Labarthe, Szondi and others.

Craft of Critical Writing

This seminar is intended for literature students at all stages of the dissertation writing process, from developing a prospectus to completing the dissertation and preparing a chapter for publication as a scholarly article.

Studies in Contemporary Literature

In her landmark study, Reading in Detail, Naomi Schor argues that the detail has traditionally been devalued in Western aesthetics, gendered feminine through an association with the everyday, the domestic, or the ornamental.

Senior Seminar

This senior seminar will offer students an introductory overview of, as well as in-depth engagement with, the work in aesthetics, literary theory, and criticism developed by the Frankfurt School. The emphasis will be on Frankfurt School texts of philosophy, critical-theory, aesthetics, and criticism; but we’ll also read a fair number of literary artworks (or excerpts from literary artworks), putting them into dialogue with the seminar's assigned critical-theoretical or philosophical texts.

Topics in Modern Greek Literature

In this course we will address the interaction between history and literature on the level of trauma. The course will present fiction written in response to, or contextualized by, traumatic historical events, over a period ranging from the end of the nineteenth to the middle of the twentieth century, events that affected deeply the state and society of Greece.