Comparative Literature Courses 2019-20

Fall 2019 

Course poster for CPLT 7120

CPLT 7020 Literary Theory and Criticism from 1800 to the present day

Alan Sikes

MW 1:30 – 3:00

CPLT 7020 will survey the international history of Literary Theory and Criticism from 1800 to the present day. The course will begin with an overview of literary trends during the nineteenth century: from late Neoclassicism, through Romanticism, to the dawning of the Naturalist movement. Then we will study the international avant-garde of the first half of the twentieth century, focusing on movements such as Symbolism, Expressionism, and early Magical Realism. We will review—and reevaluate—the “Turn to Theory” in arts and humanities scholarship during the second half of the twentieth century. Finally, we will examine the impact and influence of Feminist and Queer Theory; Critical Race Theory; and Post-Colonial Theory from a global perspective at our present historical moment.


Course poster for Pallavi Rastogi

CPLT 7120 / ENGL 7221 Postcolonial Plus: Theory for The Twenty-First Century

Pallavi Rastogi

T 12 - 3

This course will examine how postcolonialism has combined (hence the plus) with other theoretical areas to create some wildly eclectic and exciting subfields in postcolonial literary and cultural theory in the twenty-first century. We will read foundational texts from Postcolonialism (Plus) and its intersections with the following fields: Animal Studies and Ecocriticism; Critical Ethnic Studies; Digital Humanities and New Media Studies; Disability Studies; Disaster, Crisis, and Humanitarian Studies; Narrative Medicine; Refugee Studies; and Techno-science. We will begin the course with a quick survey of the canonical texts, theorists, and themes in postcolonial studies. Students will have an understanding of the central assumptions of postcolonial studies before moving to the new sub-fields that are the focus of the class.


 Course poster for Greg Stone's Dante

CPLT 7130  Dante and the Arabic Philosophical Tradition

Greg Stone

TH 12:00 – 3:00

This course provides a close study of Dante’s Comedy (Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso), with special focus on its relation to the Arabic rationalist philosophical tradition and the question concerning the relation between philosophy and religion.  A work of great scope that aims to provide a complete picture of the reality of the cosmos and of human virtues and vices, Dante’s poem is a compendium of the scientific, philosophical, religious, literary, historical, and political issues from the time of Aristotle to the early Renaissance.  Readings in English.


Course poster for Femi Euba

CPLT 7130 / THTR 7920-01  Seminar: Drama of the African Diaspora

Femi Euba

T/TH 10:30 – 12:00

A study of the dramatic and theatrical expressions of the black cultures of the New World (North and South America, and the Caribbean), identifying, where possible, comparable connections with African counterparts. Works include those by August Wilson, Suzan-Lori Parks, Aime Cesaire, Abdias do Nascimento, and Derek Walcott.



 Course poster for liz johnston

CPLT 2201 / ENGL 2201 Intro to World Literary Traditions, Pre-Enlightenment Representation of the Witch

Liz Johnson

T/TH 1:30 – 3

Over the semester we will explore various texts including plays, letters, books, trials, film, folklore, and articles about witches before the 1700s.  With each text, we will explore: the figure of the witch, representations of witches, the messages attached to them, their cultural significance, and the balance between power and powerlessness


Course poster of negar basiri

CPLT 2202 / ENGL 2202  Intro to Modern World Literary Traditions, One Thousand and One Nights and the Modern Global Fiction

Negar Basiri

T/TH  10:30 – 11:50

An unparalleled monument to the ageless art of story-telling, the tales of the One Thousand and One Nights or Arabian Nights have, for many centuries, inspired generations of artists around the globe. As Louis Borges maintains the enduring impact of The Arabian Nights in shaping world literature is undeniable. It is a fantastic legend about a female storyteller who by recounting fabulous stories of magic, takes the cruel king to the infinite labyrinth of her fantasy world. In various forms and genres, it has influenced literature, music, art, and cinema, and continue to do so until our present day. In this course, we will read major modern literary texts that directly or indirectly reflect their reception of this classic text. we take this journey with Shahrazad and read the extraordinary tales and fictions of world literature from Japan to the United States, from Egypt to Argentina and from Italy and France to Iran and Iraq. The underlying preoccupation of this course is to examine narrative transformations of stories across historical and geographical barriers, addressing questions such as how do stories change in their travel from one culture to another, from one era to another and from one medium to the next? Students pay special attention to the global reception of these tales undergoing the cultural, political and artistic transformations.

Class periods will consist of a variety of activities including lectures, discussions, group work, and multimedia presentations.