University of California, Riverside

Comparative Literature and Languages



Archive of Graduate Courses


2016 - 2017 Seminars
Fall 2016

CPLT 210 – Architecture, Space & Modernity 

Instructor: Prof. Heidi Brevik-Zender   

Discourses of modernity since the nineteenth century have been concerned with issues of spatiality and questions that include: where does modernity occur?  how does urban space and the built environment define the modern? how do humans and other bodies operate in, through, and outside of these spaces? This seminar will examine architecture and space broadly conceived, from their work as literary metaphors to the representations of physical locations of modernity, their functions, and their symbolic meanings in texts and films. Critical texts by Augé, Bachelard, Certeau, Damsich, Foucault, Habermas, Lefebvre, Spurr, and others will be studied alongside works of fiction and film. 

 

CPLT 215A Contemporary Critical Theory

Instructor: Prof. John N. Kim
The term “critical theory” has expanded considerably in the scope of discourses it designates since it was first used by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer in the late 1930s to name a mode of dialectical thinking in the tradition of Hegel and Marx concerned with social, political and ethical questions, or “practical philosophy.” The term “critical theory” no longer applies solely to the Frankfurt School (or “Critical Theory” with majuscules) but is used broadly today to designate a wide-range of meta-discourses sharing the many of the same core concerns, most notably deconstruction – the focus of this seminar.

Organized around problematics (text, reading, interpretation, modernity, performativity and translation), this seminar is designed as an introduction to the basic issues in what has come to be known generically as “theory.” Whereas the seminar’s first two units, or first four sessions, are designed to provide a grounding in the basic questions posed by hermeneutics and deconstruction, the final three units turn to social, political and ethical questions raised by deconstruction, such as post-coloniality, gender, racialization and sovereignty, among many others. In considering these local questions, the seminar participants are strongly encouraged to bring their own research interests to the readings and discussions.

Previous familiarity with “critical theory” is neither required nor assumed. All readings are in English. Participants are encouraged to read the text in the original but not required to do so. 

CPLT 277 Literature and Human Rights

Instructor: Prof. Yurika Tamura
With incidents such as Ferguson and Clementi shaking up our notions of multicultural coexistence, and with natural disasters such as in Fukushima and Kathmandu reminding us the fragility of life, inquiries of human rights and values of human life have become more urgent than ever. As literature and its world-making power have been a strong source of contemplating questions of freedom, equality, and human coexistence, human rights literature has become a significantly relevant and influential genre in the field of English literature. This course explores the notion of human rights dealt in various theoretical texts as well as fiction and non-fiction. 

Readings include works by Foucault, Agamben, Arendt, Cheah, Puar, and Sontag as well as fictional works by Roy, Ondjaate and Cha. As we engage with these texts, we will critique and re-encounter our own questions about ethics of life: How does one exist in the world with other/different bodies? How does one live and love?

 

WINTER 2017

CPLT 210 Canons of Comparative Literature: Theory of Translation

Instructor: Prof. Yang Ye 

This course provides an overview of the theory of translation and the fundamental aspects of translation as a profession and academic discipline. Through lectures, class discussions, and research projects, it identifies the basic concepts of translation and main features of theoretical approaches to translation, examines important theoretical considerations in the process of translation, defines translation studies as a discipline with its generally accepted ethics, and explores the possibilities of applying theory to practice. Authors whose writings on translation are to be studied and discussed include John Dryden, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Walter Benjamin, Roman Jakobson, Hugo Friedrich, Eugene Nider, and George Steiner, as well as Kwanme Anthony Appiah, David Damrosch, Michael Cronin and other contemporaries.

 CPLT 212 Introduction to Graduate Studies in Comparative Literatures: Techno-Orientalism

Instructor: Prof. Katheryn Page-Lippsmeyer

 This course interrogates the literary and theoretical construction of Orientalism through its engagement with technology in the literary and visual imaginary of science fiction.  Techno-orientalism, a term coined by Morely and Robins, is defined as the Othering of Japan by the West that sees it only as an advanced technological dystopia. More broadly the techo-orientalist mode fetishizes Asia as the exotic future. In this course we consider the critical, material, and historical conditions that gave rise to the exotification of Asians through literary technologies, and how those constructions are, in turn, engaged with by Japanese writers themselves.  Additionally, we will explore the geopolitical logics that emerge from these fictions, including the legacies of globalization and high-tech labor, occupation and imperialism, and the relationship between science fiction and literature.

 CPLT 214 History of Criticism

Instructor: Prof. Johannes Endres

 What is it that we do when we do ‘criticism’? The seminar investigates this question, among others), by tracing back historical and current practices of ‘critique’ to the modern origin of the term and concept in late 18 th-century discourses in Enlightenment and German idealism (Kant). In doing so, we explore crucial aspects of an up-to- date methodology of our field, expanding, at the same time, into interdisciplinary approaches and areas beyond literary  studies, such as visual culture, film, music, cultural studies, and historiography. A permanent concern of our discussions will be the ominous divide between the ‘two cultures,’ humanities and sciences, and its reflection in theories of criticism since the querelle des anciens et des modernes. Our goal is to not only familiarize ourselves with standards of ‘good’ practice from past and contemporary examples of criticism, but to also develop an advanced awareness of what might be called our ‘own’ practice.

SPRING 2017

CPLT 224: Film Theory

Instructor: Prof. Marguerite Waller

In an increasingly mobile, globalized arena, where images and words travel across space with unprecedented speed, cinema and other media not only shape cultural identities, but also engage the emotions of audiences in changing ways.  Beginning with an introduction to classical film theory, with an emphasis on the politics of film language (sometimes referred to as “poetics” or “aesthetics), we will move on to an exploration of forms of visual language that cast questions of identity and difference, the “real,” and the production of space and time into sharp relief. We will ask how the languages of a diverse selection of films contribute to destabilizing notions of nation, race, ethnicity, gender/sexuality, and class, while offering spectators multiple positions from which to grasp the experiences that mark our times.  In spring 2017, the course will focus particularly on films that challenge colonial epistemologies and/or take on the challenge of developing a cinematic “eco-aesthetics.”

CPLT 267 Colonialisms and Postcolonial Criticism

Day/Time: Thursdays, 3.40pm - 6.30pm
Room: HMNSS 1403

This course introduces students to postcolonial literature, that is: literature from formerly colonized nations; and, criticism. We will focus on literatures and criticism from selected African countries that are written originally in English or translated into English. Using different works--short stories, poetry, novels, and plays--from colonial and post-colonial African experiences, the course will examine how theoretical concepts developed in post-colonial studies, and post-colonial literature and criticism inform and challenge the study of African literatures and cultures. Of interest throughout the course are: themes of diaspora, education, gender, home, hybridity, identity, language, nation, neocolonialism, otherness, resistance, space, sexuality, and transnationalism. Although we will pay attention to Africa's geography and histories to enable us to react with intention with intention and awareness to European colonization schemes in the continent, our focus will be on formal literary analysis of African drama, fiction, and poetry.

 CPLT 223 – Topics in East Asian Literature and Film: The Project of Korean Modernity and Its Aftermath

Instructor: Prof. Kelly Jeong

 This seminar will examine Korea’s fraught relationship with modernity as it is reflected in theoretical discussions of modern and contemporary Korean literature and film. Some of the key concepts for our seminar will be colonialism, postcoloniality, Cold War, gender ideology, cultural imperialism, interiority and surface, and violence. Although the seminar will focus on texts that specifically discuss Korean context and material, it may be also helpful for those who are interested in the above mentioned themes, as well as those interested in cinema studies. Film viewing is required for some of the sessions. The seminar and all its readings are in English; no prior knowledge of Korean is necessary.  

 

2015-2016 Seminars

Fall 2015

CPLT 215A – Contemporary Critical Theory: A Critique of Political Theology

Professor Jeffrey Sacks
Thursdays 4:10-7:00pm
Sproul 2344

For we only write to you what you can read and understand.
—Paul, 2 Corinthians

From the Irvine 11 to the Arab Spring and Gezi Park, new forms of political and social struggle emerge. Responding to the urgencies of these struggles, and the responsibilities to which they recall us, in this seminar we’ll read, slowly, texts in critical theory. Putting a break on the compulsive desire to cause language to make sense, and placing in question the older, theological legacies, which continue to inform practices of reading and interpretation, we’ll ask how critical theory might become a critique of political theology. If political theology imparts a theological understanding of politics—where unity, totality, simplicity, and oneness are privileged—we’ll ask together how an extremely slow, painful, agonizingly interrupted reading of texts might stall the imperatives for the production of sense to which we are, without end, subjected. With the pervasive force of the carceral-security state and its counterinsurgent practices threatening to monopolize the political field, setting its terms in advance, we’ll ask how discrepant practices of reading might enable forms of critique. Opening a space for a new politics and new forms of sociality, we’ll refuse, at the same time, the desire to produce or write of something said to be absolutely new—a desire that repeats the theological terms and inheritance with which we’ll be engaged throughout. If we’ll approach a critique of political theology, then, we’ll be attentive to the ways in which theological terms and forms are repeated, how they morph and transform, remaining themselves while becoming something altogether different. Throughout, we’ll remain attentive to language, and the difference language makes, to ask how it might model forms of interruptive practice and sociality, which the theological promises and closes down. 

Readings to include Jacques Derrida, Walter Benjamin, Jacob Taubes, Carl Schmitt, Sigmund Freud, Aristotle, Plato, Paul, Theodor Adorno, Avital Ronell, Judith Butler, and others.

CPLT 200 – Topics in Southeast Asian Studies

Professor Mariam Lam
Mondays, 4:10-7:00pm
HMNSS 1502

An introduction to interdisciplinary research methodologies in area studies with a case in point model of Southeast Asian Studies as a disciplinary formation, and the scholarly discussions about it within the field and region, as well as outside it.  An emphasis on cultural aspects, embedded in their historical contexts, and different approaches to the study of a region, from cultural nationalism to "the Asian Century" (Obama). Materials are in English. Course is repeatable as content changes to a maximum of 12 units. Cross-listed with SEAS 200.
Course Requirements: 1) Disciplinary Literature Review in your own discipline (5-6 pages) with 2) Annotated Bibliography (20 sources), and 3) Class Presentation of your Lit Review. This assignment is intended to help you toward your qualifying exam reading lists and/or specific thematic research projects. All written assignments are due by 5:00pm on Wednesday, December 9, 2015(Finals Week) electronically emailed to mariam.lam@ucr.edu. If you would like written comments, submit a printed copy to my mailbox in the Comparative Literature Department (HMNSS 2401) and I will return them to you at the start of Winter Quarter.

Winter 2016

CPLT 205 - Literatures of Southeast Asia

Professor Hendrik Maier

In this seminar, issues that are explored in the (selected) writings of Deleuze, Benjamin, Jameson , Young, and Foley will be read against manifestations of literary life in Southeast Asia, an all too often ignored field of interest within that ever stranger and more alienating discourse of so-called Comparative Literature.

CPLT 222 – Problems in Pedagogy of Comparative Literature

Professor Yenna Wu

Discusses the theories and praxes in the teaching of literature, including national literature, world literature, and comparative literature. Considers cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, and other pedagogical approaches.

Spring 2016

CPLT 221 - Film and Literature

Professor Michelle Bloom

In this graduate seminar, we will explore the multiple relationships between film and literature, including adaptation, remakes, translation; novelizations; and “literary films” as well as “cinematic literature.” We will study world film and the concepts of “national cinemas” versus the “transnational,” with a likely emphasis on European and Asian works (directors range from Georges Méliès to Tsai Ming-liang and national cinemas from French and Korean to Taiwanese and U.S.). Readings may include fictional works by Mary Shelley, Gustave Flaubert, Emile Zola and others, with emphasis on the concepts of narrative framing, intertextuality and genre.  We will study theoretical and critical works by Elsaesser, Truffaut and Bazin, Dudley Andrew, Song Hwee Lim, Lucy Mazdon and others.  Note: This description will be updated closer to spring quarter and directors and authors may shift, but this should give you a sense of the seminar. Questions? Please contact Professor Michelle Bloom.

CPLT 213 - Rhetoric and Argument in Ancient China and Greece

Professor Lisa Raphals

 

2014-2015 Seminars

Fall 2014

CPLT 210 – French Narratives, Global Connections

Professor Heidi Brevik-Zender
Mondays 4:10-7:00pm
HMNSS 1502

In this seminar we will examine literature by nineteenth-century French authors whose works were widely influential during their lifetimes and whose impact has continued to resonate globally in literature and other artforms of modernism, post-modernism and through to the present.  Major literary currents of nineteenth-century French modernity, including romanticism, realism, naturalism and symbolism, will be examined with an eye to exploring connections with other global literary contexts.  The seminar is particularly suited to Comparative Literature graduate students intending to pursue French as one of their language areas, as well as those working on modern Latin American Studies, Victorian Studies in English, early Science Fiction and the Fantastic, and other European traditions, but graduate students in all areas of research are welcome.  The seminar and readings will be conducted entirely in English; no prior knowledge of French is necessary.

CPLT 301 – Teaching Foreign Language at College Level

Professor Perry Link
Wednesdays, 4:10-7:00pm
HMNSS 1502

CPLT 301 addresses the philosophy, methods, and challenges of second-language teaching. Questions of course design, teaching materials, team-teaching, homework preparation and correction, testing, grading, "heritage" teaching, and other matters will be addressed.  Much of the course will involve class observation and practice teaching. These are questions and skills that any professional in fields of "language and literature" needs to be familiar with, because language teaching is often part of the responsibility of professors in this field. The questions are, moreover, more complicated and difficult than may first appear and are well worth studying in their own right.

 Winter 2015
CPLT 215B Issues in Contemporary Theory: Ethnic Irony

Professor John Kim
Mondays, 4:10-7:00pm
Sproul 2212

In this seminar we shall trace the sense in which the social figure of “ethnicity” can be read as epistemologically indistinguishable from the poetic trope of “irony” as well as the theoretical implications of this possible indistinction.  In so doing, we shall attempt to articulate an idiom for thinking the conjunction of the social and the poetic distinct from the hermeneutic postulates of “identity.” Beginning with the putative “divide” between post-structuralism and post-colonial theory, we shall then turn to attempts to rearticulate this relation in terms of their common critique of referential immediacy in literary, cultural, historical, social and political discourses.

Readings include texts by Leslie Adelson, Hannah Arendt, Claudia Brodsky, Judith Butler, Cathy Caruth, Nahum D. Chandler, Paul de Man, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Akira Lippit, Jean-Luc Nancy, Kevin Newmark, Naoki Sakai, Friedrich Schlegel, and Rei Terada, among others. 

CPLT 275 Science Fiction Authors

Professor Lisa Raphals
Tuesdays, 3:10-6:00pm 
Sproul 2344

 The inaugural version of this course examines the work, antecedents and reception of what can be called the founding text of science fiction: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It is organized in three modules: (1) antecedents. These are arguably not science fiction, but present similar themes of the artificial creation of life. (2) Frankenstein and its immediate context. (3) Reception.

Another goal of the course is to explore continuities between between ancient and modern literary forms, and specifically between science fiction and other areas of literature.

Spring 2015

CPLT 214 History of Criticism

Professor Kelly Jeong
Mondays, 4:10-7:00 PM
Sproul 2344

This is a survey course on criticism.  We will mainly focus on literary criticism, but it will be soon evident as we contextualize it in history that the areas of important criticism cover more than one’s traditional notion of literature.  The goals of the course are: to familiarize ourselves with some of the major trends of criticism from its "beginning" to recent years, understand them in their proper context of intellectual history, and finally, utilize or adapt them for your own research interests, areas, and periods of specialization.

CPLT 267 Colonialisms and Postcolonial Criticisms

Professor Annmaria Shimabuku
Wednesdays, 2:10-5:00 PM
HMNSS 1502

The modifier "post" in "postcolonialism" does not mark the end of colonialism but rather its continuation in a different form. Out of the dilapidated European and Japanese colonial empires arose a new form of global capital backed by a sprawling system of U.S. military bases. This seminar compares these colonial empires with a new postwar formation that some have called "Empire" in terms of theoretical discussions on sovereignty, biopolitics, transnationalism, and neoliberalism. Special attention will be paid to aesthetics, literature, and translation theory. Authors read include Walter Benjamin, Franz Kafka, Nayoung Aimee Kwon, Michel Foucault, Naoki Sakai, Carl Schmitt, and William Shakespeare. Discussions will culminate with a special seminar led by Nayoung Aimee Kwon in conjunction with the Winter Colloquium. 

2013-2014 Seminars

Fall 2013

CPLT 200 – Topics in Southeast Asian Studies

Professor Mariam Lam
Tuesdays 2:10-5:00pm

CPLT 210 – Speculative Fiction

Professor Lisa Raphals
Thursdays, 3:10-6:00pm

This course considers the question of speculative fiction in antiquity and in 20th century science fiction. Readings include selections from the ancient Mediterranean and China. The 20th century readings start with mainstream speculative fiction and then turn to speculative or science fiction  Readings include: Homer's , Odyssey, the Zhuangzi, Chinese "strange tales" ( zhiguai 志怪)Suzette Hadyn Elgin, and Cordwainer Smith

CPLT 215A – Contemporary Critical Theory

Professor John Kim
Tuesdays, 4:10-7:00pm

The term “critical theory” has expanded considerably in the scope of discourses it designates since it was first used by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer in the late 1930s to name a mode of dialectical thinking in the tradition of Hegel and Marx concerned with social, political and ethical questions, or “practical philosophy.” The term “critical theory” no longer applies solely to the Frankfurt School (or “Critical Theory” with majuscules) but is used broadly today to designate a wide-range of meta-discourses sharing the many of the same core concerns, most notably deconstruction – the focus of this seminar.

Organized around five problematics (the sign; poetics and hermeneutics; cultural modernity; performativity; and translation), this seminar is designed as an introduction to the basic conceptual vocabulary and theoretical grammar of deconstruction as well as of the debates arising in critical response to it. Whereas the seminar’s first two units, or first four sessions, are designed to provide a grounding in the basic questions posed by deconstruction, the final three units turn to social, political and ethical questions raised by deconstruction, such as post-coloniality, gender, racialization and sovereignty, among many others. In considering these local questions, the seminar participants are strongly encouraged to bring their own research interests to the readings and discussions.

Previous familiarity with “critical theory” is neither required nor assumed. All readings are in English. Participants are encouraged to read the text in the original but not required to do so. 

CPLT 243 – France and Asia: Orientalism and Beyond

Professor Michelle Bloom
Wednesdays 4:10-7:00pm

After considering Edward Said's Orientalism, we will consider alternative paradigms for exploring the aesthetic and cultural dynamics between France and Asia.  In Fall 2013, we will emphasize interactions (in both directions) between France and the Sinophone world, interrogating Shu-mei Shih's definition of the Sinophone by including the Mainland as well as Taiwan and considering the parallel between the Francophone and the Sinophone. Paying secondary attention to related works from or about Vietnam/Indochina and Japan, we will focus on contemporary and recent texts. Topics will include remakes and adaptations, translation, imitation and métissage (race mixing). Framing our analysis through the study of theoretical and critical works, we will concentrate primarily on film, with secondary emphasis on narrative fiction, the graphic novel and painting. You are invited to share your own areas of interest in this collaborative seminar.

 

Winter 2014

CPLT 212 – Introduction to Graduate Studies in Comparative Literature

Professor Jeff Sacks
Thursdays 5:10-8:00pm

Introduction to Graduate Studies in Comparative Literature

Theme: Comparativism

This seminar offers an introduction to graduate studies in Comparative Literature through an attention to and close reading of the notion of “Comparativism.” We will study several of the major figures who played a role in defining the field (Erich Auerbach, Edward W. Said, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Derrida, Paul de Man, Judith Butler, and others), and turn to a series of questions related to comparativism in fields which are proximate to, and if still not entirely distinct from, Comparative Literature (philology, poetics, political theory, anthropology, translation studies, philosophy). Our task will be collectively to think about comparison at the present political and social moment—during a time of the resurgence of the force of capital and capitalist relations and anti-colonial and anti-capitalist struggle of various forms. Against a backdrop of diversifying modes of contemporary insurgency and rebellion and the increasing and persistingly more (and less) visible security and police state, we will ask together into the task of comparative reading for our time.  

 Readings to include selected work by Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Theodor Adorno, Judith Butler, Frantz Fanon, Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, St. Paul, Erich Auerbach, Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, Werner Hamacher, Immanuel Kant, Talal Asad, Michel Foucault, Natalie Melas, Carl Schmitt, Jacob Taubes, and others.

CPLT 222 – Problems in the Pedagogy of Comparative Literature

Professor Yenna Wu
Mondays 3:10-6:00pm

Examines both the theories and praxes in the teaching of literature, including national literature, regional literature, world literature, and comparative literature. Considers and discusses cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, interliterary, and other pedagogical approaches. 

CPLT 224 – Film Theory

Professor Sabine Doran
Seminar Fridays 2:10-5:00pm
Screening Fridays 5:00-8:00pm

This seminar focuses on concepts of time in cinema. In no other artistic medium does time play a greater role or have a greater aesthetic significance, for the temporal perspective defines both the irreducibility of the film spectator’s experience and the technique of filmmaking itself. We will examine how the two major cinematic schools, those of mise-en-scène, emphasizing the long take (real time); and montage, emphasizing discontinuities (artificial time), reveal how the organization of time on the screen is perhaps cinema’s most fundamental concern. The film theories of Eisenstein, Benjamin, Bazin, Deleuze and others will help us to understand how cinema is not only a special kind of time-form but also how modernity and post-modernity represent new conceptions of temporality that have been in large part influenced by the cinematic medium. Throughout the seminar we will analyze relevant films (from Dziga Vertov to Wong Kar-Wai and Claire Denis) to illustrate the various theories.   

 

Spring 2014

CPLT/SEAS 205 – Literature of Southeast Asia

Professor Hendrik Maier
Wednesdays 4:10-7:00pm
HMNSS 1502

CPLT 210 – Canons in Comparative Literature

Professor Thomas Scanlon
Thursdays 4:10-7:00pm
HMNSS 1502

CLASSICAL GENRES AND MODERN METAMORPHOSES

The seminar will look at the nature and problem of Canonical Greek and Roman Genres and their Modern Receptions.  We will consider close readings of certain ancient narratives, including Homer’s Odyssey, Greek Lyric Poetry, Greek Drama, Greek Historiography, and Roman poetry and historical writing.  Alongside these we will look at ancient and modern visual culture, including vase painting, sculpture, architecture, and cinema.  Interests of the students will be incorporated into the subject matter as much as possible.

CPLT 215B – Issues in Contemporary Theory

Professor Margherita Long
Tuesdays 4:10-7:00pm
HMNSS 1502

Reading the Minor: Affect, Concept, Event

This seminar explores four terms developed by Deleuze and Guattari for thinking the new: “minor” “affect” “concept” and “event.”  We begin with Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature and its reading by Shih and Lionnet in Minor Transnationalism. Then we move to “affect” and the way this term has been developed by Massumi.  We pay particular attention to the affective qualities of music.  We also study the term “affective labor” and its quasi-Deleuzean use by Hardt and Negri.  When we take up “concept” our main Deleuzean thinker is Grosz, who uses it to develop a materialist feminism.  And finally with “event,” our main writers are Stengers, Stengers & Prigogine, Williams, and Colebrook. 

 Throughout, we read excerpts from Deleuze and Guattari’s shorter texts and interviews, such as What is Philosophy? and Essays Critical and Clinical.  As case studies for reading the minor, we take up short literary texts by Tamura, Tanizaki, and Oe.  Students have the option of writing a seminar paper or submitting a portfolio of 12-15 exegeses of our critical texts, such as would be useful in preparation for qualifying exams.

2012-2013 Seminars

Spring 2013

CPLT 205 – Literature of Southeast Asia

Professor Hendrik Maie

CPLT 210 – Canons of Comparative Literature - "Canon and Translation"

Professor Yang Ye

From its very beginning, translation has been closely connected with canon. This seminar provides an overview of the theory of translation, and the fundamental aspects of translation as a profession and academic discipline, with a special focus on its close relation with the formation, development and changes of canons through time in various literary traditions. Through lectures, oral presentations, class discussions, and research projects, it identifies the basic concepts of translation and main features of major theoretical approaches to translation, examines important theoretical considerations in the process of translation, defines translation studies as a discipline with its generally accepted ethics, and explores the possibilities of applying theory to practice. Texts to be studied include those from John Dryden, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Walter Benjamin, Roman Jacobson, and a number of contemporary authors.

Required Text
Lawrence Venuti ed. The Translation Studies Reader. 3rd Edition. Routledge, 2012.

CPLT 219 – Dante and Italian Cinema

Professor Marguerite Waller

This interdisciplinary seminar, follows Pier Paolo Pasolini’s example of "extravagant interdisciplinarity." When the visual art of medieval Christianity, the poetics of Dante’Commedia, and the post-World War II cinematic innovations, beginning with Italian neorealism, are allowed to “contaminate” one another conceptually, their intertextuality (understood as both a property of the works themselves and a product of spectator/reader interaction with them) emerges as a provocative space in which to conduct philosophical, historiographical, and ideological investigations of many kinds.

The three sections of the poem, Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso, present themselves as three different kinds of talking image, tailored to the receptive states of their spectator. We will read sections from each canticle of the Commediaas they are, or can be, productively entangled with their own visual contexts and our own.

Winter 2013

CPLT 215B – Issues in Contemporary Theory
Topic: New Directions in Feminist Thought

Professor Margherita Long

This course is designed to help students in the humanities build qualifying exam lists in feminist theories. We begin with a unit on Sophocles’Antigone to appreciate the respective strengths of 1) cultural constructivism/queer politics, beginning with Judith Butler’Antigone’s Claim, and 2) the “new” materialism, beginning with Luce Irigaray’s Speculum and Sexes and Genealogies. Then we turn to two nature/culture concepts of perennial interest to feminist thought: melancholia and abjection. How compatible are the psychoanalytic and postcolonial definitions of abjection? How have feminists analyzed and critiqued the overdetermination of women’s foreclosure from culture, and the depression that results? In the final weeks of the course we consider parallels between the abjection of women and the abjection of nature and materiality, exploring some recent debates in feminist science studies and eco-feminist criticism.

Written Work: Students may submit a 15-20 page final paper. Alternately, they may submit a portfolio of 15-20 critical exegeses – one-page accounts of course essays or related essays for use in exam preparation. Students preparing exegeses will be encouraged to workshop them in seminar. There will be no formal student presentations.

Authors include: Rosi Braidotti, Judith Butler, Pheng Cheah, Anne Cvetkovitch, Sigmund Freud, Elizabeth Grosz, Hagio Moto, Donna Haraway, Luce Irigaray, Kano Mikiyo, Vicki Kirby, Julia Kristeva, Eve Sedgwick, Vandana Shiva, Gayatri Spivak, Isabelle Stengers, Elizabeth Wilson, Slavoj Zizek

CLA 250 – Seminar in Classics

Professor Lisa Raphals

This course focuses on the problem of divination (mantic practices) in their dual aspect as a set of intellectual orientations and a set of social institutions, and examines some of the many ways in which divination profoundly affected Greek culture. Topics include: mantic practitioners and consultors; oracles, especially Delphi and Dodona; the independent mantis (military and otherwise), divination and gender, rhetorical aspects of divination, and divination, philosophy and systematic thought. Readings will include relevant selections from Homer, Herodotus, and some inscriptional material. Part of each class will be devoted to reading Greek texts.

Course Requirements:

  • Class attendance and participation, including Greek readings 30%
  • Oral presentation 20%
  • Seminar paper (20-30 pp.) 50%
CPLT 267 – Colonialism and Postcolonial Criticism

Professor Sarah Valentine

In this course we review and interrogate the major works for critical theory that comprise the discipline of postcolonialism in literary, media and cultural studies.  We focus on the formation of minoritized subjectivities, transnational identities and migration, and on rethinking the center-periphery dynamic that has dominated the thinking on how art, literary and cultural forms and knowledge are disseminated.  Instead we look to minor-to-minor dynamics, the Global South, and triangulate the traditional First World-Third World axis by adding the post-socialist world back into postcolonial discourse. Theorists/critics considered include Said, Jameson, Achebe, Ngugi Wa'Thiongo, Bhaba, Butler, Spivak, Derrida, Fanon, Morrison and many others.  Students will have the opportunity to choose and present an article for the class to discuss that corresponds with their particular research interests.  Final term paper. 

Fall 2012

CPLT 210 – Canons of Comparative Literature: Spaces of Modernity

Professor Heidi Brevik-Zender

Discourses of modernity since at least the early nineteenth century have been concerned with notions of spatiality and questions that include: where does modernity occur?  how does urban space define the modern? how do humans operate in, through and outside of these spaces?  This seminar will examine notions of space broadly conceived, from space as a literary metaphor to the physical locations themselves of modernity, their functions and their symbolic meanings.  Works of theory by Lefebvre, Foucault, Augé, Bachelard and others will be read alongside works of fiction.

CPLT 212 – Introduction to Graduate Studies in Comparative Literature
Theme: Sovereignty, Comparativism, Critique

Professor Jeffrey Sacks

During the week of October 18-21, 1966 a conference entitled “The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man” was held at the Johns Hopkins University. This conference heralded a shift in work in the humanities in the American University, advancing an institutional frame for literature studies in relation to what was to become literary theory, postcolonial studies, critical race studies, and more. But what are the terms of criticism, in the wake of this event, thought in the broadest possible sense, today? In the fallout of 9/11, the American occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, the global financial crisis, and the attendant resurgence of Cold War and Area Studies models of scholarship, and with the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement, and diverse forms of resistance and collective protest world-wide, our seminar will ask: What are the stakes of comparative writing and scholarship—and Comparative Literature—in the humanities in the university institution today?

Our seminar will address these questions—we will seek to translate, reword, rework, and reinvent them—through a series of readings around comparativism. In doing so we will ask: What are the historical, linguistic, and institutional legacies of comparison? What is its relation to philology, Orientalism, the Higher Criticism, Jena Romanticism, Enlightenment, and colonialism? What are the relations between colonialism and the massively unequal power relations it implies and proliferates, on the one hand, and acts of comparison—literary and others? How does a reflection on comparison in this sense imply a reflection on sovereignty in relation to scholarship and academic writing? What is the relation between sovereignty, on the one hand,  and mourning, loss, history, and time? If the present places comparison in crisis—if the terms of comparison have been lost, and if everywhere the task at hand seems to be to gain or regain them, in a context of massive social strife and asymmetrically imposed unfreedom—how may comparison be thought anew? If comparison no longer relies upon a set of terms, if it must be something like a practice or even a mode of being—something that does not designate an object it presupposes in advance, but that articulates itself through its relation to that “object” and its persisting loss, each time anew—how may one speak, and in what language, of what we wish to solicit in this seminar: futures of comparison? 

Readings to include selected work by Erich Auerbach, Edward W. Said, Jacques Derrida, Paul de Man, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Judith Butler, Avital Ronell, Wendy Brown, Werner Hamacher, Marc Redfield, Kevin Newmark, Immanuel Kant, Theodor Adorno, Rey Chow, Harry Harootunian, Masao Miyoshi, Talal Asad, Mark C. Taylor, Gil Anidjar, Johannes Fabian, Reinhart Koselleck, David Scott, Emily Apter, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Michel Foucault, Djelal Kadir, Natalie Melas, Elizabeth Povinelli, Robyn Wiegman, Timothy Mitchell, Kathleen Davis, David L. Eng, David Kazanjian, Marc Nichanian, David Lloyd, Heather Love, and Elissa Marder.  

CPLT 214 – History of Criticism

Professor Kelly Jeong

A survey course on criticism. The goals of the course are: to familiarize ourselves with some of the major trends of criticism from its ‘beginning’ to recent years, understand them in their proper context of intellectual history, and finally, utilize and adapt them for your own research interests, areas, and periods of specialization.

Fall 2011

CPLT 210 – Canons of Comparative Literature

Professor Michelle Bloom

From the course catalogue: "Studies the concept of the canon and literary texts included in it and excluded from it. Considers the distinction between "mainstream" and "marginal" works. Examines how the canon of texts changes over time.

This seminar will focus on Scandal and Censorship. Concepts studied will include sexuality (homosexuality, lesbianism, incest and prostitution), death (art and death) and politics (government censorship). Nineteenth-century European literature, with an emphasis on France (eg. Flaubert, Baudelaire, Manet), as well as secondary attention to the U.K. (Wilde) and fin-de-siècle Vienna (TBD), will provide one constellation of focus; recent and contemporary Sinophone cinemas (directed by mainland and Taiwanese auteurs such as Zero Chou, Dai Sijie, Jia Zhangke, Tsai Ming-liang, Wang Xiaoshuai) will offer another main area of study; recent French novels written by Chinese writers in exile (Dai and Gao Xingjian) will offer a third area of emphasis. Critical and theoretical works (TBA) will be studied in conjunction with these works of fiction.

CPLT 215A – Contemporary Critical Theory

Professor John Kim

This seminar offers an introduction to poststructural theory and theoretical developments following from it. Beginning with texts by Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault and Paul de Man, this seminar traces the theoretical discussions issuing from Ferdinand de Saussure's basic proposition on the arbitrary nature of the sign, such as post-colonial theory, theories of translation, gender theory as well as border studies. This seminar thus places particular emphasis on the analysis of tropological and performative language in contradistinction to hermeneutic approaches, which presuppose the stability of language as a means of "communication." Prior knowledge of "poststructuralist theory" is neither assumed nor required, just the desire to learn how to read.

CPLT 224 – Film Theory

Professor Sabine Doran 

This seminar focuses on concepts of time in cinema. In no other artistic medium does time play a greater role or have a greater aesthetic significance, for the temporal perspective defines both the irreducibility of the film spectator's experience and the technique of filmmaking itself. We will examine how the two major cinematic schools, those of mis-en-scène, emphasizing the long take (real time); and montage, emphasizing discontinuities (artificial time), reveal how the organization of time on the screen is perhaps cinema's most fundamental concern. The film theories of Eisenstein, Bazin, Deleuze, Doane and others will help us to understand how cinema is not only a special kind of time-form but also how modernity and post-modernity represent new conceptions of temporality that have been in large part influenced by the cinematic medium. Throughout the seminar we will analyze relevant films to illustrate the various theories.

Winter 2012

CPLT 210 – Canons of Comparative Literature

Professor Yenna Wu

The seminar will focus on narrative studies from a Sino-Western comparative perspective. We will examine a selection of Chinese and Western fictional works, as well as relevant criticism and theoretical works. Issues to be addressed may also include gender dynamics, modernity (to be examined from comparative perspectives), memory, and narration of trauma. All readings, discussions, and writings will be in English.

CPLT 215B – Issues in Contemporary Theory

Professor Mariam Lam

This seminar will cover Postcolonial Criticism and Theory, from its beginnings in the Subaltern Studies cohort writings to its present manifestations in interdisciplinary scholarship from literature and area studies to American studies and film studies. We will spend the first half of the quarter reading the formative postcolonial critics and the second half exploring what postcolonial approaches and methodologies look like today.

CPLT 301 – Teaching Foreign Language at the College Level

Professor Kelle Truby 

CPLT 301 will provide the practical and theorectical background essential to effective language teaching. Through reading, discussion, observation and applied learning, the student will become well versed in the linguistic and pedagogical theory that informs current approaches to language instruction.

Spring 2012

CPLT 205 – Literature of Southeast Asia

Professor Hendrik Maier

This seminar will focus on the question of how to read literary life in Southeast Asia. Particular (comparative) attention will be given to texts and authors that have been made ' 'canonical' if not 'classical' in the various nations-states separately as well as to the dynamics (and challenges) of canonization (and marginalization).

Central issues: reading, language policy, marginalization, memory, literary field; central authors: Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Prapanca/Mpu Tantular, Rizal, Shahnon Ahmad.

CPLT 222 – Problems in Pedagogy of Comparative Literature

Professor Stephanie Hammer 

Comp Lit 222 is a workshop/seminar where you will read, write, talk to each other, and experiment with how to present "material" in what the late Bill Readings has called the "ruined university."  You will read -- on the average a book -- a week, write a meditation of about 4-5 pages each week, and do some kind of hands-on "teaching" every week as well.  There is no "research paper" per se; the meditations and the practices will hopefully generate some ideas that you can use for scholarship (or not), further writing, and further teaching.  Students from creative departments such as Creative Writing, Dance, Theater and Art are very welcome as are any grad students in the Humanities concerned with contemporary issues of "andragogy" -- the teaching of adults.  Some of the texts that we'll be working with are:  Neil Postman, TEACHING AS A SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITY,  David Damrosch WHAT IS WORLD LITERATURE, bell hooks PEDAGOGY OF HOPE, and my de rigueur  twin- "bibles" Bill Readings, THE UNIVERSITY IN RUINS and Stanley Aronowitz, AGAINST SCHOOLING.

 

2010-2011 Academic Year

Spring 2011

CPLT 210 – Canons of Comparative Literature

Professor Hendrik Maier

CPLT 215B – Insurgencies

Professor Jeff Sacks

The present is a time of insurgency and it is a time that will not end soon (“The struggle against violent extremism will not be finished quickly,” Barack Obama explains). We shall seek in this seminar to ask what may remain today of the word insurgency and the legacies in which it shares. But what is an insurgent event, action, behavior, performance, practice or mode of being? May insurgency be thought according to the authority which the verb “to be” is said to carry in European languages? What is the relation between insurgency and the institutions which that verb subtends—and perhaps most decisively that of the proposition (Satz)? And, finally, what is the relation between insurgency and the plural: does insurgency not always already point to insurgencies? In addressing these questions we shall consider insurgency in relation to a set of distinct and shared problems: reading and writing (including our own), language and inheritance, Enlightenment and secularization, theology and politics, the institution of the university and the formation of disciplinary objects of study, practices of colonial violence and racialist and masculinist exclusion, and the insurgent return of insurgency—in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. To do so we shall engage in extensive and close readings of four figures—Maimonides, Spinoza, Marx, and Adorno—as we attempt to grapple with the interruptive and surprising force of this insurgent writing.

CPLT 220 – German Aesthetic Theory

Professor Johannes Endres

Class wants to give a survey of roughly 200 years of aesthetical thought in Germany. It will be dealing with authors like Lessing, Kant, Schiller, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Freud, Heidegger, Benjamin, and Gadamer. Discussions in class will have to start from a close reading of selected texts and excerpts, followed by additional information which allows to embed these authors and their writings into a history of aesthetical ideas, regarding literature, theatre, visual arts, and music. Class wants to provide students with a distinct knowledge of core concepts of aesthetical reflection in the era of modernity, on topics such as the sublime, the tragic, the beautiful, irony, the Apollonian and Dionysian, the unconscious, the “thing”, the aura and the vestige, terms and concepts relevant also for a sound understanding of central artworks from this historical period.

Winter 2011

CPLT/SEAS 200 – Topics in Southeast Asian Studies

Professor Mariam Lam

This seminar is an introduction to the world of Southeast Asia and the scholarly discussions about it, with an emphasis on cultural aspects, embedded in their historical contexts. Each of the sessions will be led by our different SEATRiP faculty members, who will discuss their current research and are eager not only to share their knowledge and insights but also to hear your ideas and opinions.

CLPT 214 – History of Criticism

Professor Kelly Jeong

A survey of critical theories through reading, presentations and group discussion. Emphasis is on significant theoretical issues found in the history of literary criticism.

CPLT 277 – Paris, Capital of the 19th Century

Professor Heidi Brevik-Zender

Taking as its point of departure Walter Benjamin’s well-known formulation of Paris as the capital of the 19th century, this course will focus on the complex literary construction of French modernity in the nineteenth century read both through and against Benjamin’s modernist construction of the period. Topics explored include post-Romanticism aesthetics, industrialization and Haussmannization, fashion, the expansion of mass culture, the flâneur, decadence, symbolism and the emergence of modernism. Primary texts by authors such as Balzac, Baudelaire, Gautier, Zola, Rachilde, Maupassant, Mallarmé, and Benjamin.

Fall 2010

CPLT 210 – Canons of Comparative Literature

Professor Margherita Long

With the publication of The Anime Machine (Minnesota 2009), Thomas Lamarre changes how we think not only about Japan’s most influential cultural export but also about the distinction between high and low culture, Japanese and non-Japanese narratives of technology. This seminar moves back and forth between Lamarre’s book and its central texts. We read manga and anime works by Miyazaki Hayao, CLAMP, GAINAX, and Nakazawa Keiji. Simultaneously, we explore theoretical topics such as Guattari’s “machine” versus film theory’s “apparatus,” Heidegger’s role in shaping Japanese discourses of modernity, Lacan’s model of human vision, Azuma Hiroki’s account of “superflat” perspective, and Saitō Tamaki’s account of otaku “perversion.”

CPLT 215A – Contemporary Critical Theory: Introduction to the Critique of Aesthetic Humanism

Professor Sarah Valentine

This course offers an introduction to central works in literary theory or, more precisely, literary deconstruction centered upon the critique of “aesthetic humanism.” “Aesthetic Humanism” can be defined as an “aesthetic ideology” premised upon a theology of “man” (anthropocentrism or, more precisely, androcentrism) emerging at the point of transition from early modern to modern Europe circa 1755 with the earthquake in Lisbon, which is often hailed as the day that “God” died and Leibniz declared “wrong.” This transition from a theocentric to an anthropocentric worldview was made possible by the emergence of the discourse on “aesthetics” around 1790 with the publication of Immanuel Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment. Whereas “aesthetics” previously designated a science (scientia; Wissenschaft; 學術) of “perception,” it came to designate the science of judgments of “taste,” first pertaining to anthropological difference and only later to works of “art.” In other words, aesthetic humanism is the ideology that has driven almost two centuries of global stupidity—colonialism, chattel slavery, capitalism, etc.—which the advent of deconstruction, following Martin Heidegger’s critique of “humanism,” sought to contravene beginning circa 1968. This intellectual project continues today.

Topics raised in this course include the contemporary relation between hermeneutics and poetics; the constative and the performative; translation and subjectivity; “ethnic abjection” and autobiography as de-facement; West and the Rest; slavery and social death; spectral figures of gender and ethnicity; the continuity and discontinuities of post-coloniality and the colonial core; as well as the disjunct simultaneity of life and death, of being born and dying, of presence and absence or, more simply, post-humanism. These topics will prove central in answering one question around which this course is organized: What is reading?

Readings will be drawn from the work of the following scholars: Leslie ADELSON, Theodor ADORNO, Louis ALTHUSSER, J.L. AUSTIN, Étienne BALIBAR, Roland BARTHES, Walter BENJAMIN, Walter BENJAMIN, Anil BHATTI, Homi BHABHA, Wendy BROWN, Victor BURGIN, Judith BUTLER, Richard CALICHMAN, Cynthia CHASE, Rey CHOW (周 蕾), Ainsworth CLARKE, Jonathan CULLER, Paul DE MAN, Jacques DERRIDA, Enrique DUSSEL, EHARA Yumiko (江原 由美子), Deborah ESCH, Michel FOUCAULT, Hans-Georg GADAMER, Paul GILROY, Wernder HAMACHER, William HAVER, Martin HEIDEGGER, Max HORKHEIMER, Carol JACOBS, Hans-Robert JAUß, Barbara JOHNSON, KANG Sangjung (姜 尚中), KARATANI Kôjin (柄谷 行人), Sarah KOFMAN, Andreas LANGENOHL, Thomas LAMARRE, Akira Mizuta LIPPIT (ピット 水田 編), Christine MARRRAN, MARUYAMA Masao (丸山 眞男), Sandro MEZZADRA, Timothy MITCHELL, Alberto MOREIRAS, Frédéric NEYRAT, Orlando PATTERSON, Avital RONELL, Naoki SAKAI (直樹 酒井), Shu-Mei SHIH (史 書美), SOPHOCLES, Gayatri Chakravorty SPIVAK, TAKEUCHI Yoshimi (竹内 好), Charles TAYLOR, Klaus THEWELEIT, UENO Chizuko (上野 千鶴子), UKAI Satoshi (鵜飼 哲), WANG Hui (汪 晖), Cornel WEST, and Slavoj ŽIŽEK, among others.

CPLT 222 – Problems in Pedagogy of Comparative Literature

Professor Yenna Wu

Examines both the theories and praxes in the teaching of literature -- e.g., national literature, world literature, comparative literature, etc. Considers and discusses cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, interliterary, and other pedagogical approaches.

 



2009-2010 Academic Year

Spring 2010

CPLT 210 – Canons in Comparative Literature: “Western Cities”

Professor Heidi Brevik-Zender

In this course we will examine the literary and theoretical constructions of three capital cities of the West: Paris, London and Chicago. Fictional and non-fictional readings from the Renaissance through the twentieth century, along with visual artifacts and film will inform our discussions of the following questions: What is a city? What are the relationships between urban space and modernity? Who can chronicle the city and how does genre inform an author’s portrayal of life in the metropolis? How do authors and artists both reinforce and question the urban/rural dichotomy? Works by Baudelaire, Benjamin, Zola, Pepys, Orwell, Dreiser, Sandburg, Thoreau, More, Lang.

CPLT 224 – Film Theory

Professor Sabine Doran

This seminar focuses on concepts of time in cinema. In no other artistic medium does time play a greater role or have a greater aesthetic significance, for the temporal perspective defines both the irreducibility of the film spectator’s experience and the technique of filmmaking itself. We will examine how the two major cinematic schools, those of mis-en-scene, emphasizing the long take (real time); and montage, emphasizing discontinuities (artificial time), reveal how the organization of time on the screen is perhaps cinema’s most fundamental concern. Film theories of Eisenstein, Bazin, Deleuze, Doane, Manovich and others will help us to understand how cinema is not only a time-form but also how modernity and post-modernity represent new conceptions of temporality that have been in large part influenced by the cinematic medium. Throughout the seminar we will analyze relevant films to illustrate the various theories.

CPLT 267 – Colonialisms And Post-Colonial Criticisms

Professor Annmaria Shimabuku

This seminar contextualizes current debates on Empire within a US-East Asia framework. Particular emphasis will be placed on Japan as one of the most sophisticated intellectual contributions to colonizing thought in the prewar/wartime period. While it is often assumed that Japanese colonialism ended with the war, we will instead trace its reconfiguration in a postwar global network of Empire which manipulates nation-state borders as it transcends them. Readings of Japan's postcolonial literatures will be complemented by theoretical texts from authors such as Foucault, Nietzsche, Esposito, Hardt/Negri, Naoki Sakai, Chalmers Johnson and Leo Ching. We will explore issues of sovereignty, subjectivity, imperial nationalism, biopower, total war, militarism, and assimilation while focusing on the problem of resistance. All readings and discussions will be in English.

CPLT 276 – Science Fiction

Professor Robert Latham

This class surveys “New Wave” science fiction of the 1960s and 1970s, a period of substantial literary and ideological renovation within the genre. Reacting against the formal and political conservativism of classic “hard” SF, New Wave writers evolved a more progressive ethical-political agenda and a more sophisticated aesthetic approach than had prevailed during the pulp era. Aligned with counter-cultural lifestyles and 1960s liberation movements, New Wave writers began to question the core values of “technocratic” society and the genre’s own role in relation to them. At the same time, they pushed the limits of experimental form by fusing SF with contemporary avant-garde fiction and theory. The result was to force the genre to a new self-awareness of its social “mission” in relation to technological culture.

Winter 2010

CPLT 210 – Canons In Comparative Literature

Professor Perry Link

This course will consider Chinese theories of literature and entertain the possibility of using them to understand literary texts that originate not only in China but in any culture, including cultures of the West. In addition to shedding light on a variety texts in new ways, one goal will be to undo the postcolonial situation whereby "theory" is invented only in the West and applied to subaltern cultures elsewhere.

CPLT 215A - Contemporary Critical Theory

Professor Johannes Endres

The course is going to focus on some of the main drifts in literary theory since the 19th century and the establishment of the so called New Hermeneutics. Concepts and methods that will be observed are as follows: Hermeneutics, Structuralism, Poststructuralism, Discourse Analysis, Feminist Criticism and Gender Studies, Psychoanalytic Criticism, Semiotics, Reception Theory, System Theory. We will read and discuss core texts of these theories, available in The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, and contextualize them with previous poetological and critical concepts from Plato up to Kant, and others.

CPLT 215B – Global Cultural Studies

Professor Mariam Lam

This course will introduce and trace the evolution of cultural studies from the Frankfurt school, British cultural studies and the Birmingham school, American cultural studies and the Chicago school, and through to the present manifestations of contemporary cultural studies more engaged with globalization, area studies developments, ethnic studies, and postcolonial critique. Intersections around Marxism, discourses of transnationalism and cosmopolitanism, neoliberalism and popular culture, and global feminisms, etc. will become embedded into your current research projects on specific national literatures/cultures.

Fall 2009

CPLT 210 – Canons In Comparative Literature: Expanding the Canons: A Sino-Western Comparative Perspective

Professor Yenna Wu

This seminar examines a range of dynamics in the construction of literary canons from a Sino-Western or global comparative perspective. We will focus on a selection of canonic Chinese and non-Chinese fictional works, as well as relevant criticism and theoretical works. Issues to be addressed include how writers, readers, and critics engage with canons. All readings and discussion will be in English.

CPLT 214 – History Of Criticism: Irony, Understanding And The Critique Of The Aesthetic

Professor John Kim

This course examines fundamental problems in literary criticism issuing out of the opposition between “irony” and “understanding.” Literary criticism has long aimed to open texts toward an “understanding” of their “aesthetic” unity as works of literature. However, the aim of understanding remains constantly thwarted by textual “irony,” or the separation between “meaning” and performative act introduced at the level of the letter. What a text says, is never in identity with what it does. In examining this tension between irony and understanding, this course simultaneously offers a close reading of texts that have become central to the “critique of the aesthetic” informing many contemporary approaches to literary studies, most notably deconstruction. Readings will be drawn from Plato, Aristotle, Longinus, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Kant, F. Schlegel, Schiller, Schleiermacher, Fichte, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Saussure, Benjamin, Arendt, Watsuji, and Heidegger among others.

CPLT 243 – France And Asia Orientialism & Beyond

Professor Michelle Bloom

We will begin by looking at Orientalism and then consider alternative and potentially more fruitful paradigms for exploring the aesthetic and cultural dynamics between France and Asia (parts of East Asia and Southeast Asia for the purposes of this course; specifically, China, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam/Indochina) beyond Orientalism, focusing on the last decades of the twentieth century to the present. We will focus on film, with a secondary emphasis on literature, and some attention to architecture; time permitting, we will also consider fusion cuisine and fashion. We will study the following authors/filmmakers/critics: Barthes, Said, Sheldon Lu, Shih Shu-mei; we will consider literary works and films by some of the following authors and filmmakers (this list is tentative but should give you an idea): Olivier Assayas, Alain Resnais/Marguerite Duras, Dai Sijie, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Emily Tang Xiaobai, Tsai Ming-liang, Regis Wargnier,

You are invited to bring to the table (in your presentation, paper and class discussion) “Eastern” or “Western” national traditions not represented above, as per your areas of interest (eg Germany, Korea, etc etc). Students in fields outside of CPLT are encouraged to participate in this seminar.

CPLT 200 - Topics In Southeast Asian Studies

Professor Henk Maier

CPLT 301 – Teaching Of Foreign Language At College Level

Lecturer Kelle Truby

Provides the practical and theoretical background essential to effective language teaching. Through reading, discussion, observation and applied learning, the student will become well versed in the linguistic and pedagogical theory that informs current approaches to language instruction.

 

2008-2009 Academic Year

Spring 2009

CPLT 210 - Canons In Comparative Literature

Professor Mariam Lam

This course will be taught as both an independent course and a complement to Professor Hendrik Maier’s Fall CPLT 210 course around the theme of national literary canon formation. Issues addressed will include nationalism and national literatures, globalization, national language forms, translation politics, censorship and propaganda, tradition and modernity, close reading and interdisciplinarity. I will use Vietnam and the Philippines as my case studies of reference, but students are welcome to examine any national literary or cultural canon formation in their own projects.

CPLT 215B - Issues in Contemporary Theory: Subjectivity, Aggression, Guilt

Professor Margherita Long

This seminar considers the problem of the inevitability of war from a psychoanalytic perspective, reading Freud’s major essays on aggression and guilt together with 20th century Japanese fiction, philosophy and criticism. In Freud and Einstein’s 1932 (“Why War?”) correspondence, Freud proposes that the process of civilization is commensurate with the process of “psychical modifications” by which men learn to channel the death instinct inward as guilt. Irigaray has an interesting feminist critique of this hydraulic logic (“aggress the other or suffer as a masochist!”), and we will read her in our seminar. We will also consider the debate around subjectivity in wartime Japan, and the way it heated up in the immediate post-war era to ask whether the lack of a Japanese consciousness regarding war responsibility was proof of Japan’s failure to establish a modern ego. What do we make of this idea that Japan completely lacked a psychoanalytic “subject” until deep into the post-war period? If it did, to what did the word “subjectivity” [shutaisei] correspond? We will end by considering debates around Japan’s hotly contested post-war “Peace Constitution” which outlaws the use of aggression, but was written by Americans during the Occupation. Primary texts by Yokomitsu, Tanizaki, Takeda, Watsuji, Ruth Benedict and Freud. Critical readings by Sakai, Harootunian, Ukai, Koschmann, Maruyama and Irigaray. Documentary by Junkerman.

CPLT 212 - Introduction to Graduate Studies in Comparative Literature (Science Fiction)

Professor Robert Latham

This course offers an introduction to the history and theory of science fiction literature. The class will be organized as a historical survey, linking major works of science fiction from H.G. Wells to the present with important examinations of the genre from various critical perspectives. The primary texts we will cover center on two key themes: the alien and the artificial person--themes we will track through a series of literary, cultural, and techno-scientific contexts. Other issues we will explore include the relationship of science fiction to "mainstream" literature, and crossovers between science fiction and other popular genres (e.g., fantasy and horror).

Winter 2009

CPLT 210 – Canons In Comparative Literature 

Professor Lisa Raphals

This course considers the question of speculative fiction in antiquity and in twentieth century science fiction. Readings will include selections from the ancient Mediterranean (the Odyssey, reference to Gilgamesh) and China (Zhuangzi, the genre of zhiguai 志怪). Twentieth century readings begin with "mainstream" writers of speculative fiction (Jorge Luis Borges, Doris Lessing), and then turn to "speculative fiction" or "science fiction." Readings will include speculative works involving language (Suzette Hadyn Elgin, Native Tongue), reframing literature (Best of Cordwainer Smith), and selections of student interest.

CPLT 215A - Contemporary Critical Theory 

Professor Johannes Endres

The course will focus on some of the main drifts in literary theory since the 19th century and the establishment of the so called New Hermeneutics. Concepts and methods that will be observed are the following (at least): Structuralism, Poststructuralism, Discourse Analysis, Feminist Criticism and Gender Studies, Psychoanalytic Criticism, Semiotics, Reception Theory, System Theory. We will read and discuss core texts of these theories, available in The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, and contextualize them with previous poetological and critical concepts from Plato to Kant.

CPLT 222 - Problems In Pedagogy Of Comparative Literature

Professor Stephanie Hammer

Pedagogy of Comparative Literature. How do we practice and teach engagement in higher learning within the troubled space of what comp lit professor Bill Readings has called the ruined university and what sociologist Stanley Aronowitz has called the knowledge factory?" I don’t know, but we will explore the issues, pedagogical theories (some of them), and perform some practical strategies around these topics. Students write a meditation a week, and in general do some kind of presentation connected to the books every week as well. There is no long research paper, but hopefully these short exercises will provide the seeds for your own research projects and beyond.

CPLT 277 - Seminar In Comparative Literature: Loss

Professor Jeff Sacks

In this graduate seminar we shall consider the modes in which loss inscribes writing, by tracing the relations among loss and prayer (St. Augustine), reading (al-Ghazali, Spinoza), mourning (Levinas, Freud), and autobiography (Adorno, Said). Rather than seeking to delimit loss or its effects we shall attempt to grapple with the ways in which reading imparts a reflection on loss, unsettling categories and habits of thought which are taken to secure in advance those limits which come to bind and separate literature, philosophy, and psychoanalysis

Fall 2008

CPLT 219 —Dante and Italian Cinema

Professor Marguerite Waller

Dante’s Commedia has provided the fundamental screenplay and handbook of visual literacy for many of Italy’s best-known and most influential filmmakers, including Roberto Rossellini, Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Sergio Leone, Liliana Cavani, Lina Wertmuller, and Maurizio Nichetti. It has also provided Italian- American filmmakers (Capra, Coppola, Scorsese, for example) with an influential guide to the workings of different kinds of audio-visual image. The three sections of the poem, Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, present themselves as three different kinds of talking image, tailored to the receptive state of their spectators. In this seminar, we will read sections from Inferno and Purgatorio (in Robert Durling's bilingual edition) in relation to canonical and noncanonical Italian and Italian American films. Theory, film, and literature will be inter-related as they function as media of subjectivity, history, and ideology.

CPLT 210—Canons in Comparative Literature: Expanding the Canons

Professor Henk Maier

Seminar around the work of some prominent (colonial and post-colonial) authors in Southeast Asia (Shahnon Ahmad, Rizal, Pramoedya, Kukrit Pramoj, Nguyen Huy Thiep, Couperus, Orwell), addressing theoretical issues such as canon, literary life, “world literature,” translation, and most of all: close reading and interpretation.

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