Past Courses – (TEST)
This is a course on 20th- and 21st-century world poetry—poetry in dialogue with literature from other cultures, or poetry that reflects on experiences of coming into contact with other cultures. Our main focus will be long poems and poem cycles written in the wake of imperial incursions and diasporic resettlements. Some of these poems have engrossing plots and rounded characters, such as a novel in verse about yuppies in San Francisco. Others complicate narrative development in favor of more cyclical or disjunctive effects, such as a postcolonial epic inspired by the Odyssey, or a poem cycle that fractures and transforms legal language on the Zong, an 18th-century slave ship whose captain tried to maximize his company’s profits by throwing 150 Africans overboard to their deaths. We will examine the rich array of lyric, narrative, and dramatic forms that poets have developed over the last century to evoke the many kinds of crossings—cultural and textual, personal and communal, voluntary and forced—peculiar to our globalizing age. We will read long poems by Aimé Césaire, Kamau Brathwaite, Derek Walcott, Michael Ondaatje, M. NourbeSe Philip, and Vikram Seth, with additional short poems, essays, and excerpts by St.-John Perse, T. S. Eliot, Elizabeth Bishop, Édouard Glissant, Louise Glück, Patrick Chamoiseau, Khal Torabully, and Immanuel Mifsud.
This course investigates the complex relationship between aesthetics and ideology in Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav cinema. It examines the variety of ways in which race, ethnicity, gender inequality and national identity are approached, constructed, promoted, or critically dissected in film texts from the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) and its successor states (Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia,FYR Macedonia). The course has four thematic units and is organized chronologically. Unit I providesa historical perspective on the former Yugoslavia during and after World War II. Unit II examines women’s lives under Yugoslav state socialism, with particular emphasis on the relationship between sex and politics. Unit III explores Yugoslavia’s wars of the 1990s. Unit IV focuses on the Romaminority in Yugoslavia. Films by Zafranović, Makavejev, Žilnik, Kusturica, Manchevski, Dragojević,Žbanać. All readings and discussions will be in English.
The European novel in the era of its cultural dominance. Key concerns: the modern metropolis (London, Paris, St. Petersburg); the figures of bourgeois narrative (parvenus, adulterers, adolescents, consumers) and bourgeois consciousness (nostalgia, ressentiment, sentimentalism, ennui); the impact of journalism, science, economics. Authors to be drawn from: Goethe, Stendhal, Balzac, Dickens, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Flaubert, Turgenev, Zola.
The 19th Century European Novel in the field of the emotions and in the cultural context of the major thinkers and the major historical events of the era.We will examine feelings, emotions, and passions in the novels from the perspectives of affective neuroscience, psychoanalysis, and philosophy in order to lay bare more clearly what is known and believed versus what is unknown, ignored or latent about human emotional reality at this time. Reading: Austen, Kleist (novella), Emily Bronte, Dickens, Dostoevsky, Hardy, D.H. Lawrence. No reading outside of the novels will be required on your part. , Further, my aim is to expand our cultural knowledge of the era by including the conceptual contributions and formative ideas of major 19th century thinkers in my lectures on the novels. Optional Reading of short selections from: Kant, Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, Darwin, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Freud. Those who wish to read and write in a comparative way or on any of the optional writers will be able to do so in lieu of one or, possibly, two novels.
Behind this project is a conviction that, for each of the important figures of what is now generally called “French Theory” (a label imported from U.S. Universities), the “May 68 events” in Paris (and elsewhere) represented a surprise and created an interruption in the course of their speculations and researches. This can be identified in some cases in the form of a “self-criticism”, in others as new collaborations and a shift in intellectual “alliances”, but above all in the form of a discovery of new objects and an invention of new terminologies. At stake would be, no doubt, a more direct way of interweaving the “conceptual” and the “political” in philosophy, but more profoundly the very notion of the political (whose traditional definitions, institutional or revolutionary, found themselves devalued in the course of the events), the representation of the “intellectual”, and what Deleuze later would call the “image of thought”. It is this change that we want to address in the seminar, by focusing on a selection of essays that can be read as a “reaction” to the event in the field of theory. They will be presented in the frame of dialogic confrontations around three themes: 1) “Discourse” (Foucault and Lacan); 2) “Desire” (Deleuze-Guattari, Irigaray and “Mouvement de Libération des Femmes”); 3) “Reproduction” (Althusser and Bourdieu-Passeron). This is a limited choice indeed, which nevertheless we hope may help elucidate how philosophers at the time wrote in the conjuncture.
Prerequisites: Knowledge of Italian desirable but not necessary
This interdisciplinary seminar will study Romanticism as a literary trend, as much as a historical phenomenon and a life attitude. Romanticism is viewed here as the sum of the different answers to the sense of insecurity, social alienation and loneliness, provoked by the changing and frail world of the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century. We will investigate the Romantic ideology in relation to the trans-Adriatic world of Italy and Greece, an area that entered modernity with the particular lure and burden of antiquity, as well as through revolutionary upheaval. Students will be invited to read authors like Vittorio Alfieri, Ugo Foscolo, Silvio Pellico, Giacomo Leopardi, Alessandro Manzoni, Massimo d’Azeglio, and to reflect on themes such as Nostalgia and Nationalism, the Discovery of the Middle Ages, the Historical Novel, the Invention of Popular Tradition, the Fragmented Self, Autobiographical and Travel Writing, the Brigand Cult, Hellenism, Philhellenism, Orientalism and Balkanism, and others.
Prerequisites: CPLT BC 3110 – Introduction to Translation Studies is a recommended prerequisite. A deep immersion in the theory and practice of translation with a focus on translating into English. The first half of the course is devoted to discussing readings in the history of translation theory while translating brief practical exercises; in the second half, translation projects are submitted to the class for critical discussion. The foreign texts for these projects, chosen in consultation with the instructor, will be humanistic, not only literature as conventionally defined (prose fiction and poetry, memoir and travel writing), but also the gamut of text types in the human sciences, including philosophy, history, and ethnography. The aim is not just to translate, but to think deeply about translating, to develop writing practices by drawing on the resources of theory, past and present, and by examining translations written by professionals. In the spring of 2016, the workshop will be offered in two sections by Professor Peter Connor and Professor Emily Sun. The sections will share most of the common readings in the history of translation theory, but Professor Sun’s section will emphasize issues specific to translating East Asia. Enrollment in each workshop is limited to 12 students. Admission into the class is by permission of the instructor. CPLT BC 3011 “Introduction to Translation Studies” is a recommended prerequisite, plus, normally, two advanced courses beyond the language requirement in the language from which you intend to translate. Preference will be given to seniors and to comparative literature majors. Please Email email@example.com by 1 December 2015 with the following information: Name, year of graduation, major, college (BC, CU, etc.); a list of courses you have taken in the language from which you intend to translate; any other pertinent courses you have taken; a brief (max 300 word) statement explaining why you wish to take the workshop (this statement is not required if you have taken or are taking CPLT BC3110 Intro to Translation Studies).
This course draws a map of Arab thought and culture in its multiple engagements with other cultures. It works globally along two lines: a theoretical one that accommodates conceptualizations of self-narrative in relation to shifting categories of center and margin; and a thematic one that selects a number of Arabic autobiographical texts with strong thematic concerns that cut across multiple cultures. Although Europe sounds at times more conspicuous in early 20th century autobiography, the Afro-Asian and Latin American topographical and historical itinerary and context are no less so, especially in writings we associate with societal and cultural transformations. More than historical accounts, these intellectual itineraries speak for the successes and failures of the secular ideology of the Arab nation-state. They convey the struggle of intellectuals– as self-styled leaders, for an ideal state on the ruins of the past. The course studies a number of autobiographical works; memoirs and reminiscences that are meant to rationalize and reproduce a writer’s experience. Probably self-censored, these serve nevertheless as trajectories for a secular journey rather than one from denial to affirmation. Staunchly established in modernity and its nahdah paradigms, most of these writings are secular itineraries that rarely end in a search for faith. They are the journeys of a generation of Arab intellectuals who are facing many crises, but not the crisis of faith. They provide another look at the making of the Arab intelligentsia- and probably the Afro-Asian and Latin American one, since the early 20th century, and help us discern not only achievements on the level of education and public service , but also the mounting discontent with failures that have been wrapping the formation of the nation state.No prior knowledge of Arabic language is required.
In modern times, the names and figures “Arab” and “Jew” have had a history of resemblance (19th century philologists and biblical scholars have often related to both “Semites” and discussed them interchangeably), followed by a history of setting the two figures apart in radical opposition. This spilt solidified in 1948, when Israel was established as a Jewish state on the ruins of Palestine, with close to 800,000 Palestinian refugees exiled from their homes. Within this context “Jew” and “Arab” became radically opposed political and cultural figures. While this remains the case for several decades within Israel, resulting in an active suppression of “Mizrahi” (Jews from the Levant and the Maghreb) culture, memory, and affiliations, the past two decades have been characterized by a boom in the production of Mizrahi art, music, and literature as well as a great development of a political and epistemological position that refuses to set “Jew” and “Arab” apart.
In this course we will engage a broad theoretical spectrum of texts dealing with questions of memory, representation, hegemonic (state) power and the ability of counter-hegemonic cultural forces to de-colonialize structures of power. We will accompany these general theoretical readings with historical, political and literary texts by and about “Arabs,” and “Jews” that is by and about the relationship between these two figures, which in many cases, as we shall see, is not really two figures, but one.
Finally we will explore the cultural and political meaning behind these literary productions and other projects. Are they mainly about the reconstructing the past? Reviving otherwise lost memories? Or should they be read as futuristic texts, invested in recovering the past bonds between “Jew” and “Arab” (often within the self) for the sake of creating an alternative future?
Instructor: John Rajchman
In this Seminar, we will explore the question of ‘globalization’ in the arts, and the new debates to which it has given rise, since 1989, or the dawn of the 21st century. It is open to qualified students in any discipline concerned with such questions. While it is focused on visual arts and arts institutions, it involves other ‘media’ — film, photography, public art, literature. In conjunction with exhibitions at the Guggenheim and the Met Breuer opening this Spring, we will pay special attention to contemporary art in China and Brazil, but the Seminar welcomes students with interests in other areas or geographies as well. It is intended as a kind of open laboratory and forum about the role that critical theory has played and may yet play in this field, still in the making. Thus the challenges to ‘Euro-centrism’ and the associated problem of ‘critical translation’ will be discussed in terms of the overriding question: what is ‘transnational citizenship’ today, what role might art and critical thought play in it?