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Recently Taught Graduate Courses

The following sample of recently taught graduate courses reflects the intellectual interests of faculty and graduate students.

Courses taught in literature and literary theory:

MODERNISMS

Professor Brinker-Gabler

Course Description: An exploration of some experiences and experiments of 20th century literature, art and theory, with focus on movements like Cubism, expressionism, dadaism and surrealism, some shorter works of different genres: essays, short stories, novellas, lyrical dramas, letters, art criticism, manifests. There will be specific discussions e.g. on the relationship of women and modernism(s), the relations between visual and verbal modernism(s), and the (dis)juncture of modernism/postmodernism. In this first course of a sequence of two the focus is on the turn of the 19th/20th century and the early 20th century. The second course, following in spring, discusses movements and works after WWI.

JOYCE WOOLF ELIOT

Professor Gaddis Rose

Course Description: James Joyce's Ulysses (1922) has survived controversy, censorship, even translation. Virginia Woolf thought it should not have been published; T.S. Eliot thought it changed the English-language novel forever. This seminar will study Ulysses in juxtaposition with Woolf’s To the Lighthouse (1927) and Eliot's "The Waste Land" (1922), all as early monuments of Modernism.

BORGES, COLONIALISM, DECONSTRUCTION

Professor Levinson

Course Description: Via the works of Jorge Luis Borges, course examines three intersections: between literature and philosophy, between Western and peripheral cultures, and between post-colonial studies and deconstruction. Also addresses the direction of Latin American literature/studies. Many texts are taken from the comparative literature MA and PhD reading lists, but one need not be a graduate student nor a student in comparative literature to take the class. For majors and non-majors.

LITERATURE AND HISTORY: MACHADO DE ASSIS, BRAZIL, AND THE 19TH CENTURY

Professor Moreira

Course Description: This seminar addresses literary, historical, and theoretical problems raised by the novels of Machado de Assis (Brazil, 1839-1908). Harold Bloom admires Machado as a literary genius; Woody Allen also counts among his enthusiastic readers. Clearly, this novelist deserves a closer look. In Brazil, Machado's novels have been scrutinized since they were first published. This scholarship offers a helpful approach to concerns central to the Brazil's intellectual life. While Roberto Schwarz's classical interpretation of his novels assumes that Brazil is a space defined by dependent capitalism (an argument developed by social scientists), historian Sidney Chaloub relies (indirectly) on Foucault to read in his dialogues strategies of resistance against paternalistic power. Taken together, Schwarz and Chaloub indicate the theoretical complexity of the issues we will explore.

IRONY

Professor Pavlovskis-Petit

Course Description: Manifestations of irony in works from different literary periods, as well as some discussion of irony in visual arts. Tragic and comic irony; irony of fate; irony as a philosophical tool; as a didactic device; classical and romantic irony; soluble and insoluble irony; open and closed, overt and covert irony. Sarcasm, humility, ridicule. Allegory and irony, parody and irony. Irony and religion; irony and ethics. Epistemology of irony.

KAFKA AND HIS READERS

Professor Pages

Course Description: Seminar explores the works of Franz Kafka and the discourses surrounding his life, writing, and reception. We will examine both Kafka's major works and the manner in which criticism has pursued Kafka as figure and influence. How has 'Kafka' infiltrated historiography, literary criticism, theories of fiction and narrativity, cinema, psychoanalysis, and popular culture? Readings include works by Kafka as well as a selection of texts by Kundera, Derrida, Freud, Brod, Blanchot, Sebald, Benjamin, Deleuze and Guattari.

VIRGINIA WOOLF, BLOOMSBURY, AND POST-IMPRESSIONISM

Professor Gaddis Rose

Course Description: The works of Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), isolated and lonely, sometimes psychotic, albeit a part of a close-knit support group, can be read both in isolation or in counterpointing her heady environment. This seminar will use Woolf's novels and essays as a focal points of the Bloomsbury luminaries in the intellectual and artistic life from 1914 to 1941, especially in England but also in the U.S. and on the continent. Familiarity with Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse is the assumed.

MYTH CRITICISM

Professor Pavlovskis-Petit

Course Description: This course will deal with various kinds of modern myth interpretation. The authors studied will be: Bachofen, Harrison, Malinowski, Freud, Jung, Frye, Rank, Cassirer, Eliade, Levi-Strauss, Girard, and Ricoeur. The main frame of reference will be classical Greek, but members of the class are encouraged to make use of other mythologies. Before enrolling, a student should have read Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Aeschylus' Oresteia, Sophocles' Oedipus the King, and Euripides' Bacchae Copies of the critical texts will be ordered for purchase or placed on reserve. Format: Oral reports; discussion; some informal lecturing. One term paper, based on oral report.

DIGITAL LITERATURE

Professor Gerrits

Course description: This graduate student seminar offers a critical exploration of digital and electronic literature. As we work our way through works ranging from interactive hypertexts by pioneers such as Michael Joyce and Stuart Moulthrop or the audio-visual E-poetry of Young-Hae Chang to the 3D texts surrounding us in Virtual Reality CAVE's, we shall engage such questions as: what does temporal modeling do to our experience of texts? Do we engage differently with "immaterial" readings? Does interactivity satisfy our sense of free choice while clicking through a text? How can a networked poetic environment obtain a sufficient level of consistency? Can we still speak of a text when it becomes a differential spectacle to be looked at? While dealing with these questions, we shall also inquire into the political implications of digital literature and seek to determine its place within the contemporary literary landscape at large.

 

Courses taught in Trans/National Literature and Translation:

WRITING EXILE and MIGRATION: TRANSLATING CULTURE

Professor Brinker-Gabler

Course Description: In the last decade increased attention has been directed toward cultural practice that crosses and re-crosses cultural borderlands. Interest in such writing derives in part from the current climate of geographical mobility and instability. But it also derives from debates around identity politics and the privileging of 'authentic' voices. Tales of exile and migration offer the opportunity to think differently about culture, memory, language, and nation. They cultivate an appreciation for the translatability of languages and cultures as well as for the untranslatability of certain forms of cultural specificity. They also imagine forms of communities not bound by conventional commonalities, those of territory, history, language and religion. The class takes its departure from the literal meaning of translatio, "change from one place, position or condition to another." It examines contemporary art and literature that crosses cultures with focus on the representation of the complex dynamics of cross-cultural exchanges and interactions, of language and communication, and culture and human rights. What kind of translation takes place under the specific conditions of exile and migration ? What forms of immersion, conversion or other possibilities emerge? How does the reader of cross-cultural creative production experience 'culture'? How does crosscultural work resist normative reading ideologies?

NATIONALISM: THEORY AND PRACTICES

Professor Moreira

Course Description: Nationalism, nations, nationality – this cluster of words evokes a range of problems that has increasingly engaged literary scholars. At the same time as these issues are explored in diverse literary traditions, the interest in nationalism cuts across several disciplines. Social scientists and historians seem to join literary scholars in emphasizing the creative power of the imagination: “imagined communities” or “invented traditions” would seem to have much in common with “foundational fictions.” This apparent convergence provides the starting point for this seminar. We will explore the rich theoretical literature on nationalism and seek to bring to light the assumptions of scholars working in different disciplines. Our main concern will be to examine the ways in which these assumptions help formulate the problems before the researcher and affect the construction of their arguments. Students working with issues of nation and representation in different areas of the world are encouraged to participate.

THE TRANSLATORS AS OBJECTS OFF STUDY AND THE INTERESTS OF THE DISCIPLINE

Professor Arrojo

Course Description: The seminar will discuss the main contemporary trends in translation training and attempt to address questions such as these: What kind of relationships do such trends establish between theory and practice, between the specialist and the translator, and, also, between the original and the translation? Which (implicit or explicit) representations of translation and of the translator do they work with?

AUSTRIAN LITERATURE: NATION, MEMORY, IDENTITY

Professor Pages

Course Description: Explores Austrian literature (in English translation) and culture through themes of nation, identity and memory that emerged in major works of the 20th century. The history of Austria -- marked by the violent transformation of the unwieldy Habsburg Empire to the Alpine Republic to Austrofascism, followed then by the 1938 annexation to the Third Reich that ended with the founding of a post-World War II democratic and neutral state -- offers an opportunity examine the relationships between literary texts and historical, social and intellectual contexts. Students registered for GER 380B who wish to count this course toward a German major or minor will also meet outside of class to read and discuss some of the texts in the original German.

TRANSLATION AND POWER

Professor Arrojo

Course Description: Focuses on the asymmetrical power relations that have always determined the practice of translation at the same time that they have underestimated the translator's role in the formation of cultures and the constitution of identities. Special attention devoted to the interfaces between translation and colonialism, as well as translation and gender issues.

 

Courses taught in Philosophy and Interdisciplinary areas: 

A THOUSAND PLATEAUS

Professor Haver

Course Description: Patient reading of A THOUSAND PLATEAUS by Deleuze and Guattari. Reading is governed by three questions: 1) What, in "control societies," can thinking do?; 2) Is there an experience of thinking that exceeds the concept of thinking, an experience that would be something other than reflection?; and 3) Are we thinking yet? Although sessions concentrate almost entirely on this book, students are encouraged to read widely in collateral texts -- by Deleuze and Guattari, of course, but also Stengers, Negri, De Acosta, Massumi, Nietzsche, De Landa, Lucretius, Read, Spinoza, etc.

TECHNE-CYBERSPACE-MAGIC REALISM

Professor Levinson

Course Description: This course will explore the relation of cyberspace, as it emerges out of the history of technology or techne (Greek for "art" or "handicraft"), and literature: Is virtual reality another unfolding of the thing formerly known as "fiction" and, if so, has technology, particularly domains such as the Internet, replaced literature (as cast by modernism) as potential carrier of capitalism's limit or outside? Is magical realism a form that may permit us to test these ideas? Texts to be read include: Steigler, Techniques and Time; Kittler, Grammaphone...; Freud, "Dreams and Telepathy"; Derrida, "Telepathy"; Virilio, Speed and Politics, Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology; Baudrillard, Simulations; fiction by Borges, Cortazar, Garcia Marquez, Fuentes, Piglia, Garro, Carpentier.

FILM AND PHILOSOPHY

Professor Gerrits

Course description: While the medium of film is undergoing significant transformation in the digital age and "film studies" is consequently trying to reinvent itself, the cinema has become object of an increasing philosophical interest. So much so that the field of film theory, according to some, has been replaced by a "philosophy of film" over the past decade. While this tendency was primarily instigated by a desire for a more "analytic" approach to film, this course will take a cross-Atlantic point of view, paying special attention to the work on cinema by the philosophers Stanley Cavell and Gilles Deleuze. Their reflections on the seventh art will be discussed in the context of classical film theory (Arnheim, Bazin) and popular films (Aliens; The Matrix), in dialogue with other philosophical traditions (Frankfurt School, cognitivism), and with a view to current developments in new media.

MODERN MONSTERS

Professor Haver

Course Description: The monster is the figure of that which necessarily and essentially exceeds the intelligible, the figure of unintelligibility itself. Course investigates seven of modernity's monsters: the criminal monster of the law (Genet), humanism's monster of perversity (de Sade), the lesbian monster of psychoanalysis (Freud's Dora), philosophy's monstrous sublime (Burke and Kant) and two monsters of political modernity: the "naked and monstrous state" and the "terrorist," the figure of a violence that exceeds rational instrumentality.

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Last Updated: 8/21/14