Past Courses – (TEST)
Critic James Wood has cast doubt on the accomplishment of those contemporary novelists who have tried to carry what Wood calls the “Dickensian” ambition of 19th-century realism to the higher geographical scale of today’s globalized society. This seminar will try to assess both their ambition and their success. Readings by Kazuo Ishiguro, Roberto Bolaño, Elena Ferrante, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and Chimimanda Ngozi Adicihie. This seminar proposes to read 5 works of important recent world fiction that are so long, so ambitious, and in some cases so forbidding that they are difficult to work into an ordinary syllabus. The seminar will give each one 2-3 weeks, thereby permitting students the time both to read them with care and to discuss them in detail.
Critic James Wood has cast doubt on the accomplishment of those contemporary novelists who have tried to carry what Wood calls the “Dickensian” ambition of 19th-century realism to the higher geographical scale of today’s globalized society. This seminar will try to assess both their ambition and their success. Readings by Kazuo Ishiguro, Roberto Bolaño, Elena Ferrante, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and Chimimanda Ngozi Adicihie.
This seminar proposes to read 5 works of important recent world fiction that are so long, so ambitious, and in some cases so forbidding that they are difficult to work into an ordinary syllabus. The seminar will give each one 2-3 weeks, thereby permitting students the time both to read them with care and to discuss them in detail.
This class offers an introduction to the history of documentary cinema and to the theoretical and philosophical questions opened up by the use of moving images to bear witness, persuade, archive the past, or inspire us to change the future.
How are documentaries different than fiction films? What is the role of aesthetics in relation to facts and evidence in different documentary traditions? How do documentaries negotiate appeals to emotions with rational argument? From the origins of cinema to our current “post-truth” digital age, we will look at the history of how cinema has attempted to shape our understanding of reality.
ALSO FILM W2311
This team-taught course explores parallel literary, architectural, and theoretical explorations of the “Gothic” from the mid-18th century to the present, focusing on the “darker” psychological undercurrents of the Gothic and their relationship to modern conceptions of the self. Among the writers, architects, and theorists that the class will examine are: Edmund Burke, Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe,and Etienne-Louis Boullée in the eighteenth century; Jane Austen, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Victor Hugo, and John Ruskin in the nineteenth century; and Sigmund Freud, Franz Kafka, Wilhelm Worringer, Hans Poelzig, Julia Kristeva, Daniel Libeskind, Peter Eisenman, and W.G. Sebald in the twentieth century.
A seminar on the theory and practice of translation from the perspective of comparative diaspora studies, drawing on the key scholarship on diaspora that has emerged over the past two decades focusing on the central issue of language in relation to migration, uprooting, and imagined community. Rather than foregrounding a single case study, the syllabus is organized around the proposition that any consideration of diaspora requires a consideration of comparative and overlapping diasporas, and as a consequence a confrontation with multilingualism, creolization and the problem of translation. The final weeks of the course will be devoted to a practicum, in which we will conduct an intensive workshop around the translation projects of the student participants.
This graduate seminar will explore different angles of criticism of the various ideas and doctrines that have accumulated over the last three centuries under the omnibus label ‘liberalism’. Its approach will be part intellectual history and part analytical. One question that will inform our inquiry is whether these criticisms should be seen as dissenting positions within the political Enlightenment, wrestling with a dominant ‘liberal’ tradition within it, or whether their logic leads to a more radical refusal of the entire framework of Enlightenment modernity. Though most of the readings are works of theory, a serious attempt will be made to situate theoretical themes in the political and cultural contexts of particular parts of the world, both in the past and the present.
Sometime around the publication of Garcia Marquez’s classic novel One Hundred Years of Solitude in 1967, novelists who wanted to make a claim to ethical and historical seriousness began to include a scene of extreme violence that, like the banana worker massacre in Garcia Marquez, seemed to offer a definitive guide to the moral landscape of the modern world. This course will explore both the modern literature that was inspired by Garcia Marquez’s example and the literature that led up to this extraordinary moment—for example, the literature dealing with the Holocaust, with the dropping of the atomic bomb, with the Japanese invasion of China in the 1930s, and with the Allied bombing of the German cities. It will also ask how extraordinary this moment in fact was, looked at from the perspective of literature as a whole, by inspecting earlier examples of atrocities committed in classical antiquity, in the Crusades, against Native Americans and (in Tolstoy) against the indigenous inhabitants of the Caucasus. Before the concept of the non-combatant had been defined, could there be a concept of the atrocity? Could a culture accuse itself of misconduct toward the members of some other culture? In posing these and related questions, the course offers itself as a major but untold chapter both in world literature and in the moral history of humankind.
Almost a century after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the Ottoman past lives on in contemporary Greece, often in unexpected sites. In the built environment it appears as mosques, baths, covered markets, and fountains adorned with Arabic inscriptions. It also manifests itself in music, food, and language. Yet Ottoman legacies also shape the European present in less obvious ways and generate vehement debates about identity, nation-building, human rights, and interstate relations. In this course, we will be drawing on history, politics, anthropology, and comparative literature as well as a broad range of primary materials to view the Ottoman past through the lens of the Greek present. What understandings of nation-building emerge as more Ottoman archives became accessible to scholars? How does Islamic Family Law—still in effect in Greece—confront the European legal system? How are Ottoman administrative structures re-assessed in the context of acute socio-economic crisis and migration?