Past Courses – (TEST)
Instructor: D. Ugresic
This course will address a wide range of contemporary issues – politics, nationalism, gender politics, cultural industries, fashions, and obsessions, publishing and the state of “corporate literature,” modernity and digital culture, global and local – while always seeking to stay rooted in the literary texts.
This course will read Jacques Derrida’s Of Grammatology and Rogues, the last book published during Derrida’s lifetime. The course will be taught with a special focus on problems in translation. We will finish reading Of Grammatology by April 1. The rest of the semester will be given over to Rogues. Students will be expected to read Grammatology with special reference to Rousseau, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Husserl, Saussure, Plato, and Descartes. The 62 secondary texts mentioned in the book will be on reserve in the original and in English translation. Students are expected to consult them carefully as they relate to the class reading. The sessions on Rogues will follow the same pattern, the general textual reference being Kant. The students will have a choice of the secondary authors to discuss. In each class a student will present a 20-minute paper discussing Derrida’s readings of a secondary text with reference to the chapters in succession. This course is cross-listed between the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society and the Department of English. ICLS students will be expected to demonstrate that they are reading the texts in the original languages. The instructor will interview students before establishing the class roster. Each student will write a 13-page (footnotes additional) Times New Roman 12-point, 1-inch margin final paper, the topic of which will be discussed with the instructor before Spring Break. Class participation will be considered in the final grading. The instructor will herself deal with the “Exergue” and Chapter 1 of Grammatology with reference to Hegel at the first class meeting. Details will be disclosed to the members of the class at the end of the first week in January, when the final roster is established.
A study of the 20th-century Polish novel during its most invigorated, innovative inter-war period. A close study of the major works of Kuncewiczowa, Choromanski, Wittlin, Unilowski, Kurek, Iwaszkiewicz, Gombrowicz, and Schulz. The development of the Polish novel will be examined against the background of new trends in European literature, with emphasis on the usage of various narrative devices. Reading knowledge of Polish desirable but not required. Parallel reading lists are available in the original and in translation.
Instructor: Y. Shevchuk
The course will discuss how filmmaking has been used as an instrument of power and imperial domination in the Soviet Union as well as on post-Soviet space since 1991. A body of selected films by Soviet and post-Soviet directors which exemplify the function of filmmaking as a tool of appropriation of the colonized, their cultural and political subordination by the Soviet center will be examined in terms of postcolonial theories. The course will focus both on Russian cinema and often overlooked work of Ukrainian, Georgian, Belarusian, Armenian, etc. national film schools and how they participated in the communist project of fostering a «new historic community of the Soviet people» as well as resisted it by generating, in hidden and, since 1991, overt and increasingly assertive ways their own counter-narratives. Close attention will be paid to the new Russian film as it re-invents itself within the post-Soviet imperial momentum projected on the former Soviet colonies.
Instructor: A. Tutter
Long applied to literary and visual works of art, psychoanalytic theory has only more recently been used to interrogate and illuminate non-figurative art-most notably, architectural design. In this course, selections from foundational psychoanalytic texts will be read in parallel with contemporary efforts that utilize psychoanalytic theory to explore architecture. Primary psychoanalytic sources will include Bion, Freud, Klein, Kristeva, Loewald, Mahler, and Winnicott. Three distinguished architects and scholars will also the class to discuss their recent work. Requirements will include one twenty-page paper to be presented to the class.
Instructor: D. Vardoulakis
Spinoza Theological-Political Treatise shocked its readers when it was first published because it was seen as an attack on established religious dogmas and practices. In the religious reaction provoked by the text, and subsequently renewed in various iterations, another, even much more profound gesture has often been overlooked. Namely, Spinoza argues that democracy is the basis of every other constitutional formation. This primacy of democracy has been subsequently adopted by a number of radical thinkers, such as Marx (in his notes on Hegel’s Philosophy of Right), Negri and Balibar. In addition, the primacy of democracy can be understood as the basic tenet of the idea of radical democracy. In this subject, we will return to Spinoza’s fundamental text to examine the arguments which allow Spinoza to arrive at the idea of radical democracy. In order to do so, we will search for resonance between Spinoza’s ideas and contemporary political concerns, such as the idea of biopolitics, conceptions about laws and rights, as well as theories of meaning and interpretation.
Instructor: B. Calabresi
Prerequisites: the instructor’s permission.
This course examines literary and artistic works by and about women from the 16th and 17th centuries alongside recent historical and theoretical criticism on gender and sexuality in the Renaissance. We will cover a range of literary genres that reflect and produce early modern notions of sex and gender in England, France, Italy and Spain, as well as medical guides, self-portraits, conduct manuals, and scurrilous tracts on females behavior. Topics include Queens (rulers) and Queens (prostitutes); cross-dressing and biological difference; the status of work and school; separatist communities and same-sex eroticism; kinship, patronage and domesticity; the gender and economics of authorship; the sexuality of racial and national identity. Readings in the original language provided and strongly encouraged. Secondary readings or films will be provided each week.
Instructor: Edward Tyerman
This course explores the formation of Russian national and imperial identity through ideologies of geography, focusing on a series of historical engagements with the concept of “Asia.” How has the Mongol conquest shaped a sense of Russian identity as something destinct from Europe? How has Russian culture participated in Orientalist portrayals of conquered Asian lands, while simultaneously being Orientalized by Europe and, indeed, Orientalizing itself? How do concepts of Eurasianism and socialist internationalism, both arising in the ealry 20th century, seek to redraw the geography of Russia’s relations with East and West? We will explore these questions through a range of materials, including: literary texts by Russian and non-Russian writers (Pushkin, Lermontov, Tolstoy, Solovyov, Bely, Blok, Pilnyak, Khlebnikov, Planotov, Xiao Hong, Kurban Said, Aitimatov, Iskander, Bordsky); films (Eisenstein, Tarkovsky, Kalatozov, Paradjanov, Mikhalkov); music and dance (the Ballets Russes); visual art (Vereshchagin, Roerich); and theoretical and secondary readings by Chaadaev, Said, Bassin, Trubetskoy, Leontievm, Lenin, and others.