In this course, students will discuss and analyze the American children’s animated TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender (ATLA) as a literary and artistic work. The show centers on a 12-year-old boy who is both the reincarnation of a global peacekeeper called the “Avatar” and the sole survivor of the genocide of his people.

Modern Greek Literature

What is historical trauma? How does it shape communities and individual lives, including those born generations after a traumatic event? How does trauma reconfigure notions of time, history, and narrative? Considering that trauma undermines memory, how have writers and filmmakers created aesthetic forms that grapple with knowledge in the wake of a traumatic event? At the same time, how have states instrumentalized and standardized trauma narratives with the aim of creating a coherent national identity?

Topics in the Literature of American Cultures

"Physically, New York and Los Angeles spread across the map and encompass multiple neighborhoods and communities, seemingly facilitating our ability to explore, access, and find new connections within the concrete jungle of the metropolis. Socially and economically, both cities have been figured as distinctly “American” dreamscapes—places of refuge and freedom, success, and self-invention—that hinge on the promise that the American city works like an open circuit, enabling unrestricted movement and mobility to and for everyone who visits or decides to make it home.

Literary Cultures

"In this course, we will analyze and compare a series of plays, novels, and films titled after objects: Plautus’s Pot of Gold and Rope, Goldoni’s The Fan, Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan, Henry James' The Golden Bowl, Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie (1944), Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope (1948), Yukio Mishima’s The Magic Pillow (1950), Eugene Ionesco’s Les chaises (1952), Jean Genet’s The Screens (1962) Melvonna Ballenger’s Rain (1978), and Raul Castillo’s Knives and Other Sharp Objects (2009). What is the relationship between language and objects? How does literature become material?

Intro to Comparative Literature

This class inquiries into how notions of time and subjectivity figure in different writing genres, literary traditions, and historical periods. In reading a diverse body of pre-modern and modern texts, we explore how time is constructed and articulated and how it is structured by narrative form and psychological content. We examine how diverse and competing temporalities underlie religious and secular worldviews and how they impact imaginaries of self and of society.

Senior Seminar

In this seminar we will engage in close and repeated reading of Tolstoy's novel, paying attention to its treatment in criticism and to its refraction in later work by Chekhov and Nabokov. Students should expect to read Anna Karenina at least twice as well as scholarly articles and fiction by other authors (including Nabokov's Laughter in the Dark). Members of the seminar will lead at least one discussion and write three to four five to eight page papers. No exams. Active participation in discussion is essential.

Senior Seminar

This course takes its title from a book by Edward Said, a critic and comparativist. In this study, Said acknowledges Sigmund Freud’s Eurocentrism but lays stress on “his work’s power to instigate new thought, as well as to illuminate new situations that he himself might never have dreamed of.” We’ll follow Said’s lead as we work to understand Freud’s engagements with the world beyond Europe and as we see how this world has taken up and transformed psychoanalysis.

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