Past Courses – (TEST)
Prerequisites: CPLS UN3900 The senior seminar is a capstone course required of all CLS/MLA majors. The seminar provides students the opportunity to discuss selected topics in comparative literature and society and medical humanities in a cross-disciplinary, multilingual, and global perspective. Students undertake individual research projects while participating in directed readings and critical dialogues about theory and research methodologies, which may culminate in the senior thesis. Students review work in progress and share results through weekly oral reports and written reports.
Students who decide to write a senior thesis should enroll in this tutorial. They should also identify, during the fall semester, a member of the faculty in a relevant department who will be willing to supervise their work and who is responsible for assigning the final grade. The thesis is a rigorous research work of approximately 40 pages (including a bibliography formatted in MLA style). It may be written in English or in another language relevant to the student’s scholarly interests. The thesis should be turned in on the announced due date as hard copy to the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Professor Bernard Harcourt will offer his course CPLS GR8867 Series in Contemporary Critical Thought this semester on Wednesdays from 6:00pm – 9:00pm. This is a year-long course that meets only on select dates. Enclosed is this year’s syllabus. The topic is “Critique 13/13.”
The dates this year are:
September 4 (introductory seminar just for enrolled graduate students)
*October 16 (in Paris)
*October 22 (in Rio)
December 18 (in Frankfurt)*
January 15 (in Paris)
This is a year-long course (Y course). Columbia GSAS students will be required to take both Fall and Spring semesters of this course. No grade will be issued for the Fall semester, the credits are broken up across both semesters, 4 credits total, 1 in Fall and 3 in Spring. This course co-convenes with LAW L8866 001.
This seminar will focus, each year, on a different topic central to contemporary critical thought. During the 2015-2016 academic year, for instance, the seminar focused on Michel Foucault’s Collège de France lectures and produced the Foucault 13/13 series. During the 2016-2017 academic year, the seminar focused on critical readings of Friedrich Nietzsche and produced the Nietzsche 13/13 series. During the 2017-2018 academic year, the seminar focused on modalities of uprisings and produced the Uprising 13/13 series. Similar topics will be broached in future years. Please see the CCCCT website for more details on future topics. The graduate student seminar will be structured to frame a series of 13 formal seminars at which two or three guests, from different disciplines, will be invited to discuss the readings and present on the themes of the seminar. Each formal seminar will host specialists from across the disciplines from Columbia University and from outside campus. It will also frame and interrelate with a Paris Reading Group that will run alongside the seminar. The graduate student seminar thus will serve as the vehicle to enrich the formal 13/13 seminars and support the intellectual apparatus that will accompany those formal seminars. It will prepare entries for the blog, host the scholars invited to participate, and prepare questions and comments for the formal seminars. This seminar will function as an advanced graduate research seminar.
As we advance in a 21st century which, even more than the 20th in Eric Hobsbawm’s celebrated formula, will deserve the name “Age of Extremes” (extreme violence, extreme inequalities, extreme climactic changes, extreme population movements), we feel an urgent need to critically and historically assess the categories which made it possible to think the political in collective terms. Among these are, prominently, the twin notions of socialism and communism, with a very different genealogy, but combined in the discourse of anticapitalist policies of the last two centuries. At times almost identified (or thought as successive phases of a single “transition process”), at times sharply opposed to one another (as reform and revolution, state and autonomy, determinism and utopia), they gave rise to a permanent dilemma. The great catastrophe of 20th century “State socialism” – ironically led by “communist parties” – seemed to have bury the disputes for good, together with such issues as economic planning, worker’s democracy, redistributive justice. But the looming crisis of contemporary “absolute” capitalism unexpectedly brings the tension back, albeit rather in the form a strong alternative: “Good bye Mister Socialism!” (in the name of the common), or “welcome back, socialist alternative” to neo-liberal policies. The class will read texts and discuss arguments which make it possible to cartography the landscape.
This seminar is an exploration of the roles of sound and music play in people’s attempts to grapple with death and its many auras. We will read literature from ethnomusicology, anthropology, and sound studies, and listen to musics from many parts of the world, so as to investigate how 1) the processes of aging, decay, and mourning; 2) metaphorical deaths including war and exile; and 3) imaginations of afterlives resound among the living.
A close examination of Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, supplemented by a reading of related texts: novels by Dostoevsky and others, notebooks for the novel, essays, theory of the novel, literary criticism, and works that illuminate the (folk-)religious, aesthetic, philosophical, scientific, psychological, and political dimensions of the novel.
This course studies Sufism as it has emerged, developed, and assumed its presence in Sufi autobiographies and religious and literary writings. The Sufi Path is traced in these writings that include poems like ibn al-Farid’s Poem of the Way. Sufi States and Stations are analyzed to understand this Path that reaches its culmination in an ecstatic sense of Oneness. Sufism is also a social and political phenomenon that unsettles formal theologies and involves Sufis in controversies that often end with their imprisonment and death.
This course introduces and explores key works, traditions, and tendencies in Polish literature and culture from the Middle Ages to the present. Focusing in particular on the monuments of Polish literature, the course embeds them in historical context and places them in dialog with important ideas and trends in both Polish and European culture of their time. The aim is to engender and establish an understanding of Poland’s position on the literary and cultural map of Europe. In addition to literature, works of history, political science, film, and the performing arts will be drawn on for course lecture and discussion. No prerequisites. Readings in English.
This course offers an introduction to 1,000 years of Yiddish culture represented in Yiddish language, literature, history, theater, film, music, food, jokes and more. We will travel Yiddishland, a land without borders spanning across the globe, and study the Yiddish cultural places in comparison with their non-Yiddish counterparts. We will also venture outside the classroom to explore one of the most Yiddish cities in the world – New York – through exciting field trips aimed at mapping Yiddish New York. No knowledge of Yiddish required.
How does the experience of terrorism impact artworks both aesthetically and thematically? And how do artworks that thematize terrorism reveal underlying issues and inner dynamics of contemporary society? In this interdisciplinary course, we will treat novels and films that use the theme of terrorism as a rich resource for understanding the consequences of terroristic violence and the trauma it produces at an individual and social level. To do so, we will compare the cultural reflections on the attack on the Twin Towers in Manhattan on 9/11 to Italy’s years of lead, which was the most disruptive case of domestic terrorism in a Western democracy prior to 2001. We will explore issues such as: the representation of the body of the terrorist and his/her victims; memory and trauma; women’s role in or vis à vis terroristic associations; children’s perspective on terroristic violence; terrorism and its effect on the nuclear family; the perspective of the Other and postcolonialism; martyrdom and sacrifice. As a result of our close analysis of films and novels on terrorism, we will be able to discover the specificity of 9/11 and the Italian years of lead, and the way in which art not only works as a therapeutic device, but also as analytic tool for political change.