Comparative Literature Courses

Fall 2018



CPLT 7010, Dr. Alan Sikes

“History of Literary Theory and Criticism: From Antiquity to Romanticism” 

MW 2 – 3:20 p.m.

This course explores the history of literary theory from Antiquity to Romanticism. Students will be  instructed in methods of research by engaging in specific projects and with scholarship in comparative literature.  This semester’s course will have the advantage of looking at the contributions made by drama and theatre in the creation of literature and thought during these periods of study.


CPLT 7120, Dr. Sharon Weltman

“Global Dickens: Adaptation and Appropriation” 

T 3-5:50 p.m.                        

Filmmakers, playwrights, novelists, and composers worldwide find in the work of the Victorian novelist Charles Dickens an abundance of material to reshape into art of their own. This course examines sources and adaptations/rewritings/appropriations side by side for the reciprocal insights each supplies in understanding the other. Adaptation theory will supply a foundation for our inquiry along with historical and cultural context of Dickens and his adaptors. We will also consider Dickens’s own representations of the world beyond the industrial cities of England and the ways those reimagining him have interpreted those representations. Texts will include not only Dickens’s novels such as Oliver Twist, Martin Chuzzlewith, Great Expectations, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood but also films, plays, novels, and musicals by directors, playwrights, and authors from South Africa, Mexico, India, Australia, France, the United States, etc. Because of this course’s global sweep, the students are likely to find and present on adaptations and appropriations that the professor does not yet know, which will add an extra level of excitement to the class experience.


CPLT 7130 / ENGL 7974, Dr. Sunny Yang

"Geographies of American Literary Studies: From the Hemispheric to the Archipelagic"

W 3:30 – 6:20 p.m.

Over the past decade, the so-called “transnational turn” has remapped American literary studies, highlighting new objects and scales of analysis that exceed the conventional boundaries of the nation-state. Borderlands Studies, Critical Regionalism, and “new” Southern Studies have similarly troubled traditional understandings of the subnational by foregrounding the global processes of slavery, migration, and empire that have shaped the U.S. region. This graduate seminar will explore some of these new spatial approaches to theorizing American literature, history, and culture, covering formations that range from the trans-Pacific and oceanic to the hemispheric and archipelagic. We will discuss the critical interventions of scholars such as Gloria Anzaldúa, Hester Blum, Susan Gillman, Ifeoma C. K. Nwankwo, and Jennifer Rae Greeson alongside writers including Herman Melville, Martin Delany, Americo Paredes, and Jessica Hagedorn.


CPLT 7130 / THTR 7926, Dr. Femi Euba

“Seminar in the Drama of Africa”

T/TH 10:30 - 12 p.m.

A comparative study of the dramatic and theatrical expressions of the black cultures in Africa, identifying, where possible, not only African influences on some of the dramatic works in the diaspora, but also the Western classical influences on African plays. Works include those by Wole Soyinka, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Efua Sutherland, Ama Ata Aidoo, Tewfik al-Hakim, etc.


CPLT 7140 / ANTH 7909, Dr. Helen Regis 

"Comics, Travel, and Para-Ethnography"

M 4 – 7 p.m.

 From Hergé’s Tintin to Goscinny and Uderzo’s Asterix et Cleopatre to Joe Sacco’s Palestine, to Joann Sfar’s The Rabbi’s Cat, the graphic novel genre has long employed tropes of travel and mobility to chronicle a characters adventures and growing knowledge of a larger world as well as their own.  Other graphic novels emphasize personal growth and mobility as in Allison Bechdel’s Fun Home or Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis.  Coming of age stories written by authors who are reckoning with their own biographies but also excavate the societal context in which they grew up and from which they have often sought to extricate themselves. Kindred and the Black Panther, interrogate African Diasporic histories and futures, as one protagonist (in Kindred) return to antebellum plantations from post-industrial california, while another, (in Black Panther), returns the retro-futurist African country of Wakanda, “the most technologically advanced society on the globe”. This class takes a comparative perspective on the graphic novel genre, to consider colonial and postcolonial epistemologies of these comics in historical perspective.  The graphic novel form also invites discussions of the visual and the materiality of the books themselves.  The para-ethnographic lens (Homes and Marcus 2006) considers how many forms of cultural expression and documentation can be produced by various social critics drawing on distinctive forms of social and historical expertise.   


CPLT/ENGL 2201, José F. Rojas

“Transgressors: Challenging the Norm”

MWF 9:30 – 10:20 a.m.

This course will address texts from a variety of cultural sources and traditions in which the transgression or the transgressor have a prominent presence. In this course we will be engaged with the text’s context either historically and/or socio-geographically. The scope of this course will cover Antiquity to Renaissance (1650). By looking at course materials students will be able to understand how different societies dealt with the challengers of normativity, laws, and/or social parameters. This course is designed to satisfy General Education requirements. While reading these texts we will answer questions about transgressors in world literature and cultures. Thus, questions we address include: What is a norm? What is the law? Who makes the law? Who is a transgressor? How can the deviant can be defined? What is a transgression?


CPLT / ENGL 2202, Emily O’Dell

“World Literature and the Short Story”

T/TH 12 – 1:20 p.m.

This course will focus on contemporary short fiction from Western and non-Western traditions. The emphasis of the course will be on reading and writing about short stories from a variety of cultural traditions, which we will discuss in the context of World Literature. This course will begin with an introduction to World Literature and to the evolution of the short story genre before exploring more modern examples that may be read as representative of different cultures and regions.


Screen Arts 3001, Anwita Ray

MWF 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM

The Indian film industry is the largest producer of films in the world and films have been made in India since the earliest decade of the art. Yet, Indian films have not gained adequate attention in the context of global cinema, apart from films by Satyajit Ray. This course will problematize such invisibility and deconstruct stereotypes such as presuming Indian culture to be analogous to Bollywood. We will look at Indian films thematically from its inception (in 1913) to the contemporary times, and some of the major areas of our discussion will relate to Indian silent forms, post-independence developments, realism and its critical extension, the rise of the angry young man in Bollywood, Indian diasporic films and so on. Basic concepts in Indian film aesthetics and culture will be introduced through film screenings and supplementary analysis of scholarly articles.