Comparative Literature Courses 2020-21
CPLT 7010 History and Theory of Criticism
Instructor: Gundela Hachmann
Time: Wed, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
In this course, we explore some of the major works in literary theory from the classical through the modern period. We’ll start our journey with Aristotle and Plato, then move to Roman antiquity with Horace and Longinus. The classical theorists will set the stage for our subsequent lines of inquiry, such as: How do we define literary genres? In what ways and for what purpose is literature mimetic or realistic? How do allegory and irony complicate the relation between art and reality, or the relation between text and reader? How do aesthetic ideals like the beautiful and the sublime inform the perception and understanding of art? How can poetry and drama intersect with the political, and to what end? Thomas Aquinas and Dante Alighieri will introduce us to Medieval hermeneutics. Immanuel Kant, Edmund Burke, Friedrich Schiller, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Mdme de Stael will be our guides to understanding the paradigm of the Enlightenment in which (male dominated) idealism is thriving, but also challenged by prominent female intellectuals. We’ll conclude our explorations with powerful voices from the Romantic period, such as William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge, Percy B. Shelley, and Friedrich Schlegel, theorists who continue exert their influence on contemporary notions of literature and art. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism will serve as primary course material and we will supplement as needed for additional details or contexts.
CPLT 7120 / ENGL 7030 Arthurian Literature
Instructor: Rick Godden
Time: Tue, 12:00-2:50 p.m.
Love, betrayal, war, giants, fairy queens, Christmas games, the search for the magical and for the divine. These are only some of the elements that make up the rich and varied tapestry of Arthur, his queen Guinevere, the sorcerer Merlin, and knights like Lancelot, Gawain, Galahad, and Percival. Arguably the most popular story in the Middle Ages (and beyond), the exploits of Arthur not only entertained and captivated many, but also served as a narrative canvas for exploring the relationship to the past, the problems of the present, and the hopes for the future. We will explore the Celtic roots of the Arthur myth, and we will read widely in the both the French and English traditions of what can be called The Matter of Britain. We will consider the historical underpinnings of chivalry and the social and cultural contexts which produced chivalric literature, and we will also explore how Arthurian literature provides an intriguing opportunity to interrogate diverse theoretical and critical questions such as the construction of the subject, the relation to the nonhuman world, embodied difference, and much more.
Throughout our semester together, each seminar participant will develop a set of portable academic skills, including leading discussion, presenting academic papers, teaching undergraduates, developing a theoretical vocabulary, conducting research and writing for an academic audience.
CPLT 7130-01 THTR7926.0 Seminar in Drama of Africa
Instructor: Femi Euba
Time: Tues/Thurs: 10.30-11.50 a.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, Athol Fugard et al, Tewfik al-Hakim, etc.
CPLT 7140 The Promised Land: On Queer Bodies and Nations
Instructor Elena Castro
Time: Tue, 3:00-5:50 p.m.
This course sets in conversation two of the most important threads in the humanities today: gender and sexuality studies and transnational studies and their shared investments in interrogating the fundamental constructs of social relations, and their field-shaping effects on the practice of literary studies. Doing so, we will explore how the fluidity of gender and sexuality creates within cultural texts a model for understanding, what I am calling a “queer nation”. We will bring together the thinking and writing of intellectuals and artists from both the English-speaking and non English-speaking world, offering a trans-national way of thinking about how sexual minorities and gender-non-conforming persons are enfranchised and protected by the state.
This class will be taught in English and all materials for the course, from primary text to secondary sources, will be in English or in English translation (all films with be with English subtitles).
CPLT/ENGL 2201: Intro to World Literature
Instructor: Negar Basiri
Time: Tuesday/Thursday 12:00-1:20 p.m.
This course is designed to introduce you to world literature masterpieces from the antiquity to the seventeenth century. You will gain an understanding of some of the major literary pieces from a global perspective. An important goal of the class is to promote an understanding of the works in their cultural/historical contexts and of the enduring human values which unite the different literary traditions. We will also discover the place of difference in cross-cultural Literacy. We will be reading the major texts from India to Spain and from Persia to France and Italy.
CPLT 2202/ ENGL 2202 World Literature II
Instructor: Ikea Johnson
Time: Mon/Wed/Fri 11:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m.
This is a survey course on representative works of world literature from the post-Renaissance till now. This course immerses students in ideas about memory and mobility. Students will engage with diverse perspectives in literature, history, philosophy, religion, and language. Examining authors and graphic novelists such as Chang-Rae Lee, Ralph Ellison, Joann Sfar, Joseph Conrad, and Octavia Butler, we will ask what can these texts tell us about their respective societies? What can we gain from reading them? How can they help us to arrive at an informed position regarding ourselves?