Fall 2011 Graduate Courses
MDVL 501D Imitation and Rhetoric from Plato to the Renaissance
W 1:10 PM – 4:10 PM LN 1128
This interdisciplinary seminar will survey major works about literary and artistic representation, with special concentration on the classical, English, and romance traditions. Among the questions to be considered will be the definition, purpose, and value of figurative language and of representation in general. In addition to the operations and utility of rhetoric, at issue here are the theory and practice of imitation, which had implications for both literary and artistic production. Some critics through the ages held imitation to be at several removes from reality – a dim reflection of the truths underlying mere appearance; others viewed it as a means to get at that reality and to convey knowledge of the essential nature of things – from the soul and human activity to the operations of the physical world and the heavens. At times, it was held to be a dangerous seduction; at others, a valuable tool for teaching ethics. The seminar will address a range of critical approaches to imitation and rhetoric across the fields of ancient, medieval, and Renaissance literature, historiography, and artistic production. Topics to be covered include the medieval Christianization of poetic furor and the Renaissance “rhetoricalization” of poetry and the arts. Authors may include Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Horace, St. Augustine, Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, Castelvetro, Sidney, Tasso, Shakespeare, and Vico. This course, which is open to all graduate students, fulfills the MDVL 501 requirement for the CEMERS Graduate Certificate (for certificate requirements, go to cemers.binghamton.edu and click on “Programs,” then “Graduate”). It is recommended for graduate students in English, Romance Languages, History, Art History, Theater, and Music. Also taught as ENG 565W.
MDVL 532 The Bayeux Tapestry
M 1:10 PM – 4:10 PM FA 225
The Bayeux Tapestry. History, Historiography and Ideology in Anglo-Norman England This seminar will examine the Bayeux Tapestry, a uniquely surviving strip of linen embroidered with a narrative of the disputed succession to the English throne and the Norman conquest of 1066, as one among a number of partisan and conflicting accounts of Anglo-Saxon and Norman claims to kingship in England. Historiography, textual and visual sources and their adaptations and transformations, continuous narration and sources in the imagery of conquest, embroidery techniques, patronage, politics, and intended audiences will all be discussed. Format: Weekly readings, presentations and discussions. One conference-length paper, revised. Also taught as ARTH 430, ARTH 532, ENG 450H, ENG 593T, HIST 481Q, HIST 551Q and MDVL 430.
HIST 552C Early Modern Europe Colloquium
W 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM SW 330
MDVL 560C Origins of Romance Languages
T 4:25 pm - 7:25 pm LT 507
After a study of the fundamental phonological and morphological changes that gave rise to the Romance Languages, the course will focus on the reading comprehension and discussion of representative texts in Old and Middle French, Italian and Spanish. PREREQUISITE: Graduate students and upper class undergraduates with reading knowledge of one or two Romance Languages. Also taught as COLI 535R, RPHL 501A and TRIP 580S.
MDVL 560D Age of Louis XIV
T/R 2:40 PM – 4:15 PM FA 348
From 1660 to 1672, friendship with Louis XIV could be as uncomfortable as being subject to the King's animosity or indifference. A primary focus of this course will be the reading of humorous writing (Molière, La Fontaine) that masks subversive views of absolute power. The course will be conducted entirely in French (texts, class discussion, written work). PREREQUISITES: FREN 361 or 362; highly recommended, FREN 351 or a higher-level language course. Also taught as MDVL 481S and FREN 563C.
General Ed: H - Humanities, W - Writing (Harpur Req)
HIST 560L British Empire
M 3:30 PM – 6:30 PM SW 330
British Empire Seminar (Graduate/Undergraduate): This course treats the history of the British Empire from its origins to its dissolution. It will provide students with an understanding of the key themes which have emerged recently in the historiography of the British Empire. The books we will read include a number of recent classics in the field. Topics treated will range from the Britain’s first, Atlantic empire in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries through decolonization in the twentieth century. Note: Other graduate students - permission by instructor. Also taught as HIST 481M.
MDVL 561A Dante’s Divine Comedy
MW 3:30 PM – 4:55 PM LN 1120
A masterpiece of world literature, and the story of one man's journey through the afterlife, Dante's DIVINE COMEDY has fascinated readers for centuries. Travel with him as he makes his way to his beloved Beatrice -- through the depths of Hell, up the steep mountain of Purgatory, and to the heights of Paradise, where he is granted a glimpse of the key to all of life's mysteries. Both those who have studied Dante before and those who have not are welcome. FORMAT: Scheduled class meetings conducted in English, with additional time and assignments arranged for students reading the COMMEDIA in Italian. Requirements include class participation, two exams, several short papers and a bibliography. Students taking the course for graduate credit will write a research paper. Also taught as ITAL 461, ITAL 561A, MDVL 481B and COLI 512A.
ENG 565A The Fall of Troy: History, Literature, Myth
T 4:25 PM – 7:25 PM FA 246
The Fall of Troy casts a long shadow over Western European literature, history and culture. In this course, we will trace the Troy story in medieval, early modern and modern narratives. We will pay particular attention to how the Troy story shaped the historiography of the medieval west. We will also consider the historical structure of late medieval and early modern literary narratives of the Troy story. Readings to include: Homer, Iliad, Boccaccio, Filostrato, Chaucer, Knight’s Tale and Troilus and Criseyde, Lydgate, Troy Book (selections).
ENG 565E Literature & Performance 18th Century England
T/R 11:40 AM – 1:05 PM SW 330
Lit & Performance in 18th C. England. This seminar approaches eighteenth-century English literature in the context of the significance the period attached to performed behavior and performative expression. Reading and discussion will address three aspects of the relationship between literature and performance in the early modern England: 1) the emphasis in drama, fiction, and poetry on spectacle and the theatricalization of culture; 2) the importance of performance in debates over the idea of art as simulation or an illusion of what is not really present and the opposing idea of art as a replica or creation of a model of what is real; 3) constructions in the literature of a “performing self” and, in philosopher Charles Taylor’s phrasing, the Lockean idea of a human being who “remake[s] himself by methodical and disciplined action.” Readings for the seminar will include theoretical studies of performance by Jean-Christophe Agnew, Jonas Barish, Judith Butler, Terry Castle, J. Hillis Miller, and Richard Schechner, together with the following primary texts: Aphra Behn, The Rover; William Congreve, The Way of the World; Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders; Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews and Shamela; John Gay, The Beggar’s Opera; Charlotte Lennox, The Female Quixote; Alexander Pope, Dunciad; Samuel Richardson, Pamela, Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels; William Wycherley, The Country Wife. There will be weekly short critical papers (1-2 pages) on the primary texts. The papers will frame questions on our readings, direct discussions, and provide subjects for two outside essays (about 8-10 pages) on the literature. In addition to the short weekly papers and outside essays, there will be a final essay examination that focuses on the critical and theoretical readings for the seminar and their relationship to the primary texts.
THEA 572D Dramatic Theory and Structure: Early Modern Drama
F 1:10 PM – 4:10 PM FA 225
This course will introduce students to the range of critical discourses surrounding European drama of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the variety of new dramatic forms that emerged out of the Renaissance revival of interest in classical modes and structures and the ideas of ancient Greek and Roman theorists. In weekly seminar sessions, students will read and discuss both contemporary and modern works of dramatic theory and criticism in conjunction with representative primary theatrical texts. The class will explore a variety of genres, ranging from "traditional" dramatic forms (comedy, tragedy, pastoral, and the newly invented opera) to non-dramatic theatrical genres such as pageantry and masque, to the radically improvisational modalities of the commedia dell'arte. Final grades will be based on class participation, class performance project, and individual research papers.
HIST 576E Maritime Asia
M 3:30 PM – 6:30 PM SS 306
An exploration of the interactions of the peoples and cultures of maritime Asia over the past two thousand years. Topics will include the trade patterns of the first millennium CE, the 12th century "world trading system" in which Europe played only a peripheral role, the 15th century expeditions of the Chinese admiral Zheng He (and the question of whether they discovered America), and the Asian maritime world during the eras of European expansion and colonialism. Special attention will be paid to the maritime connections in East Asia, which some have described as an “East Asian Mediterranean”, but we will also consider the profound impact of Europe's Asian expansion as well as the impact of that expansion on Asian cultures, and we will investigate the ways in which the activities of the maritime world influenced multiple cultures (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Southeast Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, and European) and religions (Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity in particular). FORMAT: The seminar will meet once a week for three hours and will be discussion-based. Grades for undergraduates will be based upon an essay of 5-7 pages and a seminar paper of 15-20 pages. Drafts and re-writes will be required for the first assignment and will be strongly recommended for the seminar papers. READINGS: TBA Note: Other graduates - permission by instructor. Also taught as AAAS 484F and HIST 484F.