Contacts | Program Requirements | Summary of Requirements | Grading | Honors | Advising | Courses

Department Website: http://complit.uchicago.edu

The major in Comparative Literature leads to a BA degree. This program is designed to attract students who wish to pursue an interdisciplinary plan of course work focused on the study of literature as written in various languages and in various parts of the world.

Such a student might come to the University with a strong background in languages other than English and want to work in two or more literatures (one of which can be English). Another student might have a strong interest in literary study and wish to address general, generic, and/or transnational questions that go beyond the boundaries of national literature offered by English and other literature departments. Or, a student might wish to pursue an in-depth study of the interrelationship of literature and culture, as well as issues that transcend the traditional demarcations of national literary history and area studies.

These descriptions of academic interest are not mutually exclusive. Each student will design a plan of course work that will suit his or her individual goals and that will take advantage of the rich offerings of this university.

Program Requirements

The requirements outlined below are in effect as of Autumn Quarter 2017. Students in the Classes of 2018 and 2019 will follow the previous Comparative Literature requirements. If the updated program makes sense with their interests and fits within their graduation plans, they may request to switch to the new requirements. Those in the Class of 2020 and beyond will follow the requirements below.

Students interested in applying to the major in Comparative Literature should review the following guidelines and consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Comparative Literature. These guidelines are to assist students in developing a balanced and cohesive interdisciplinary plan of study.

The major is comprised of seven literature courses selected in consultation with the department, two foundational courses in comparative literary theory and history, and two courses in comparative literature methods and topics, with a BA project workshop serving as a capstone to the major.

  1. Prospective majors in Comparative Literature must complete the second-year sequence in a language other than English (for example: Persian, Kirgiz, Latin, Italian, etc.) or demonstrate language ability at an equivalent level through accreditation by the time they apply to the Comparative Literature program, typically by the end of the second year. Exceptions may be granted by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
  2. Four courses in a primary field, or in closely-linked subject areas in more than one field. The primary field must focus on literature in a language other than English.
  3. Three courses in a secondary field, or in closely-linked subject areas in more than one field. The secondary field may be literature in another language (including English), or else a discipline or area of intellectual interest (e.g., mathematics, performance studies, etc.) or literary theory, and must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
  4. Two foundational courses in comparative literary theory and methods: CMLT 29701 Introduction to Comparative Literature I: Problems, Methods, Precedents and CMLT 20109 Comparative Methods in the Humanities. These can be taken in any order, but students are encouraged to take them fairly early in their studies.
  5. Two 20000-level special topics, methods, or theory courses in Comparative Literature.
  6. CMLT 29801 BA Project and Workshop: Comparative Literature is a capstone project completed in the student's last year of study. See BA Project for details.

Summary of Requirements

4 courses in a primary literature400
3 courses in a secondary field or literature300
CMLT 29701Introduction to Comparative Literature I: Problems, Methods, Precedents100
CMLT 20109Comparative Methods in the Humanities100
2 methods or theory courses in Comparative Literature (20000-level)200
CMLT 29801BA Project and Workshop: Comparative Literature100
Total Units1200

The department encourages students to pursue further language study by taking courses in a second or third language. NOTE: Those language courses will be approved for use in the major only if they are at an intermediate or advanced level; elementary-level courses cannot be counted toward the total number of courses needed to complete the major.

A student wishing to work in two literatures (one of which can be English) might choose two literatures as the primary and secondary fields. A student interested in literary study across national boundaries with a focus on generic and transnational questions might create a primary field along generic lines (e.g., film, the epic, the novel, poetry, drama, opera); the secondary field might be a particular national literature or a portion of such a literature. A student interested in literary and cultural theory might choose theory as either a primary or secondary field, paired with another field designed along generic lines or those of one or more national literatures.

Courses in the various literature departments and in Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities are obviously germane to the building of any individual program. A student is likely to find courses in the Humanities Collegiate Division and in the Department of History that extend beyond the usual definitions of literature (e.g., film, art, music, history) to be appropriate to her or his individual program of study. Study abroad offers an attractive means of fulfilling various aims of this program as well. More than half of the major requirements must be satisfied by courses bearing University of Chicago numbers.

Participation in the Program

Students should express their interest in the major as soon as possible, typically before the end of their second year. The first step is to meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to consult about a program of study. Thereafter, students are required to submit a written proposal of about one thousand words in length that consists of two parts:

  1. a statement explaining how the proposed plan of study will take advantage of existing College offerings and meet departmental requirements
  2. a list of proposed courses (as well as alternates) and indications of how they will fulfill the department's requirements

Applicants must also submit a list of completed courses and a list of courses in which they are currently registered. Special mention should be made of language courses or other language training that affirms a student's level of language proficiency. Each proposal will be evaluated on the basis of the interest of the student and his or her achievement in the languages needed to meet the goals of the intended course of study. Students will be notified by email of their acceptance to the program. Students will need to formalize their declaration through my.uchicago.edu with the assistance of the College adviser.

Comparative Literature majors should demonstrate proficiency in a literary language (other than English) that is relevant to their proposed course of study (as indicated in requirement number one above). This requirement must be met at the time of application or shortly thereafter. Such proficiency is measured by the completion of a second-year sequence in the language, or by demonstration of an equivalent skill. Language ability is essential to work in comparative literature of whatever sort. The Department of Comparative Literature takes language preparation into consideration when evaluating applications, but it will also help students achieve their individual goals by suggesting programs of study that will add to their language expertise as appropriate.

BA Project

The project should be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies and is supervised by a faculty member of the student's choice in Comparative Literature. It may be co-advised by a faculty member from another department. Students must complete their formal application to the major by spring of third year and should identify a faculty advisor at that time.

One obvious choice for a BA project is a substantial essay in comparative literary study. This option should not, however, rule out other possibilities. Two examples might be a translation from a foreign literature with accompanying commentary, or a written project based on research done abroad in another language and culture relating to comparative interests. Students are urged to base their project on comparative concepts, and to make use of the language proficiency that they will develop as they meet the program's requirements. Visit complit.uchicago.edu/undergraduate for details on the BA project.

This program may accept a BA paper or project used to satisfy the same requirement in another major if certain conditions are met and with the consent of the other program chair. Approval from both program chairs is required. Students should consult with the chairs by the earliest BA proposal deadline (or by the end of third year, when neither program publishes a deadline). A consent form, to be signed by both chairs, is available from the College adviser. It must be completed and returned to the College adviser by the end of Autumn Quarter of the student's year of graduation.

Grading

All courses to be used in the major, except for CMLT 29801 BA Project and Workshop: Comparative Literature, must be taken for a grade of B- or higher. CMLT 29801 is graded on a Pass/Fail basis.

Honors

To be eligible for honors in Comparative Literature, students must earn an overall cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher, and a GPA of 3.5 or higher in the major. They must also complete a BA essay or project that is judged exceptional in intellectual and/or creative merit by the first and second readers.

Advising

Students must consult on an ongoing basis with the Director of Undergraduate Studies for selection and approval of course work for the major. Students will need to regularly provide documentation of any approvals for the major to their College adviser for the necessary processing. Further advice and counseling will be available from the preceptor for the program and from the faculty member who supervises the student's BA project. 

Comparative Literature Courses

CMLT 20109. Comparative Methods in the Humanities. 100 Units.

This course introduces the models of comparative analysis across national literatures, genres, and media. The texts to be discussed include Orson Welles’s “Citizen Kane” and Coleridge’s poem “Kubla Khan”; Benjamin’s “The Storyteller,” Kafka’s “Josephine the Mouse Singer,” Deleuze and Guattari, Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, and Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Storyteller; Victor Segalen’s Stèles; Fenollosa and Pound’s “The Chinese Character as a Medium of Poetry” and Eliot Weinberger’s Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei; Mérimée, “Carmen,” Bizet, Carmen, and the film adaptation U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha (South Africa, 2005); Gorky’s and Kurosawa’s “Lower Depths;” Molière, Tartuffe, Dostoevsky, The Village Stepanchikovo and its Inhabitants, and Bakhtin, “Discourse in the Novel”; Gogol, The Overcoat, and Boris Eikhenbaum, “How Gogol’s Overcoat Is Made.”

Instructor(s): Olga Solovieva     Terms Offered: Winter

CMLT 20505. Monstrosity and the Monstrous. 100 Units.

This course centers on the relationship between literature and science by focusing on the figure of the monster. The human imagination can produce the most outlandish forms: we will call this the monstrous. Natural philosophy and science, on the other hand, have to deal with the deformed, the organically distorted, the preternatural: we will call this monstrosity. Both concepts can spark thrilling debates on identity and difference, divine providence and chance, fear and lust, gender, race, and more. In a journey that takes us from antiquity to the 21st century, we will be looking at ancient history and literature, Medieval bestiaries, Renaissance scientific treatises, plays, nineteen and twentieth-century novels, evolutionary biology, theory, philosophy, and film.

Instructor(s): Pablo Maurette     Terms Offered: Spring

CMLT 20510. Translation and Translation Theory. 100 Units.

Translation is one of the central mechanisms of literary creativity. This course will consider translation both concretely and theoretically. Topics to be discussed will include semantic and grammatical interference, loss and gain, the production of difference, pidgin, translationese, bilingualism, self-translation, code-switching, translation as metaphor, foreignization vs. nativization, and distinct histories of translation.

Instructor(s): Haun Saussy     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): For advanced undergraduates and graduate students. 20 student cap. Instructor consent not required.

CMLT 21101. Roman Elegy. 100 Units.

This course examines the development of the Latin elegy from Catullus to Ovid. Our major themes are the use of motifs and topics and their relationship to the problem of poetic persona.

Instructor(s): David Wray     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 31101,LATN 31100,LATN 21100

CMLT 21200. Literature and Technology: Machines, Humans, and the Novel. 100 Units.

In his Scienza Nuova (New Science), Giambattista Vico writes that "the Egyptians reduced all preceding world time to three ages; namely, the age of gods, the age of heroes, and the age of men." What the Egyptians and Vico could not have predicted was that history had yet another age in store: the age of the machine. Carlyle baptized, Marx outlined it, Heidegger warned against it; Deleuze and Guattari proclaimed that "everything is a machine"; and Ted Kaczynski even went as far as to kill in order to free human beings from the "technological slavery" the machine age had purportedly brought about. And yet, as Heidegger wrote, "everywhere we remain unfree and chained to technology, whether we passionately affirm or deny it." So what is technology? What impact did it have on human beings and on the writing of literature as the Industrial Revolution exploded onto the European continent? In this course we will pose anew the question concerning technology within the one field that Heidegger deemed akin to the essence of technology: art, and by deduction, literature. Together, we will trace the ecological, economical, and emotional footprints of various machines and technological devices (automata, trains, phonographs, cameras). We will delve into the topic with Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, continue with a reflection on the human being as a machine (Frankenstein and Pinocchio), transition to accounts on cities, prog

Instructor(s): Ana Ilievska     Terms Offered: Winter

CMLT 21815. Zhuangzi: Literature, Philosophy, or Something Else. 100 Units.

The early Chinese book attributed to Master Zhuang seems to be a patchwork of fables, polemical discussions, arguments, examples, riddles, and lyrical utterances. Although it has been central to the development of both religious Daoism and Buddhism, the book is alien to both traditions. This course offers a careful reading of the work with some of its early commentaries.

Instructor(s): Haun Saussy     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Classical Chinese.
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 22309

CMLT 21851-31851. Zhuangzi: Lit, Phil, or Something Else.

CMLT 21851. Zhuangzi: Lit, Phil, or Something Else Entirely. 100 Units.

The early Chinese book attributed to Master Zhuang seems to be a patchwork of fables, polemical discussions, arguments, examples, riddles, and lyrical utterances. Although it has been central to the development of both religious Daoism and Buddhism, the book is alien to both traditions. This course offers a careful reading of the work with some of its early commentaries. Requirement: classical Chinese.

Instructor(s): H. Saussy     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Requirement: classical Chinese
Equivalent Course(s): EALC 31851,FNDL 22306,CMLT 31851

CMLT 31851. Zhuangzi: Lit, Phil, or Something Else Entirely. 100 Units.

The early Chinese book attributed to Master Zhuang seems to be a patchwork of fables, polemical discussions, arguments, examples, riddles, and lyrical utterances. Although it has been central to the development of both religious Daoism and Buddhism, the book is alien to both traditions. This course offers a careful reading of the work with some of its early commentaries. Requirement: classical Chinese.

Instructor(s): H. Saussy     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Requirement: classical Chinese
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 21851,EALC 31851,FNDL 22306

CMLT 22100. Narrative Suspense in European/Russian Lit/Film. 100 Units.

This course examines the nature and creation of suspense in literature and film as an introduction to narrative theory. We will question how and why stories are created, as well as what motivates us to continue reading, watching, and listening to stories. We will explore how particular genres (such as detective stories and thrillers) and the mediums of literature and film influence our understanding of suspense and narrative more broadly. Close readings of primary sources will be supplemented with critical and theoretical readings. Literary readings will include work by John Buchan, Arthur Conan Doyle, Feodor Dostoevsky, Graham Greene, Bohumil Hrabal, and J.M. Coetzee. We will also explore Alfred Hitchcock’s take on 39 Steps and the Czech New Wave manifesto film Pearls of the Deep. With theoretical readings by Roland Barthes, Viktor Shklovsky, Erich Auerbach, Paul Ricoeur, and others.

Instructor(s): Esther Peters     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): HUMA 26901,CMST 35102,ENGL 26901,REES 33137,ENGL 46901,CMST 25102,REES 23137

CMLT 22202. Dangerous Games. 100 Units.

In this course, we will investigate the intersection of game playing and cognition in world literature. From the earliest shatranj puzzles of the sixth-century to the chess schools of the Soviet Union, societies across the world have turned to the game for intellectual challenge and to sharpen mental acuity. As the quintessential activity of human reasoning, chess soon became a favorite subject for cognitive science research, yielding insights into search methods, memory, judgment, and problem-solving strategies. In this course, we will read select chess narratives in tandem with supplementary readings on cognition to understand the role of game playing in cultural imagination beyond metaphor. These supplementary readings will explore evaluative judgments, memory processes, and human perception, among other topics. We will examine various works of troubled genius, beginning with Vladimir Nabokov’s 1930 tale of chess and obsession, The Defense. Stefan Zweig’s own contribution in his 1941 Chess Story will round out our exploration of monomania and the tenuous boundaries of reason. Other authors of interest include Edgar Allan Poe, Samuel Beckett, Viktor Shklovskii, Johan Huizinga, Michel Foucault, H. Simon & W. Chase, et al.

Instructor(s): Monica Felix     Terms Offered: Spring

CMLT 22300. Nature in/as Literature. 100 Units.

It seems self-evident that the world we live in should influence our literatures and languages. The question is, How? How do the plants, animals, weather, rivers, mountains—how, that is, do all the things we tend to think of when we use the word ‘nature’ influence the way we think and write about the natural world and about ourselves? To study the relationship between literature and nature is, therefore, to study a two-way relationship: how does nature construct us, and how do we in turn (re/de)construct nature. 

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On the other hand, nature itself is a kind of literature, and in more ways than one. From one point of view, nature writes itself when coastlines shift and mountains erode. But there are two other, less obvious ways in which nature is a kind of literature. One of these stories is written by scientists and environmental historians, who take data acquired in the field and use it to reconstruct pictures of past environments and narratives of environmental change. At the same time, there is another (and some would say, an especially urgent) story of nature, which is being etched into the natural world by bulldozers, bridges, and dynamite. Just like more traditional forms of nature writing, these other narratives of the environment are as much a form of literature as any other, and since humans have a role, not only in affecting the natural world, but also in telling its story, humans are the coauthors of the story of our planet in more than one sense.

Instructor(s): David Orsbon     Terms Offered: Spring

CMLT 22303. Prosody and Poetic Form: An Introduction to Comparative Metrics. 100 Units.

This class offers (i) an overview of major European systems of versification, with particular attention to their historical development, and (ii) an introduction to the theory of meter. In addition to analyzing the formal properties of verse, we will inquire into their relevance for the articulation of poetic genres and, more broadly, the history of literary (and sub-literary) systems. There will be some emphasis on Graeco-Roman quantitative metrics, its afterlife, and the evolution of Germanic and Slavic syllabo-tonic verse. No prerequisites, but a working knowledge of one European language besides English is strongly recommended.

Instructor(s): Boris Maslov     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 32303,CLCV 21313,CLAS 31313,SLAV 22303,SLAV 32303,ENGL 22310,ENGL 32303,GRMN 22314,GRMN 32314

CMLT 22330. Nature in/as Literature. 100 Units.

It seems self-evident that the world we live in influence our literatures and languages. The question is, How? On the other hand, nature itself is a kind of literature, and in more ways than one. From one point of view, nature writes itself when coastlines shift and mountains erode. But there are at least two other ways in which nature is a kind of literature. One of these stories is written by scientists and environmental historians, who take data acquired and use it to reconstruct narratives of environmental change. At the same time, there is another (and some would say, an especially urgent) story of nature, which is being etched into the natural world by bulldozers, bridges, and dynamite. Just like more traditional forms of nature writing, these other narratives of the environment are as much a form of literature as any other, and since humans have a role, not only in shaping the natural world, but also in telling its story, humans are the coauthors of the story of our planet in more than one sense. This course is an introduction to the history of the concept of nature, ecocriticism, and environmental history. We will discuss issues and topics such as: relationships between nature and literature, ecofeminism, literary/textual ecosystems, environmental ethics, narratives of rise/collapse, animal studies, urban studies, ecolinguistics, and human-environment interactions.

Instructor(s): David Orsbon     Terms Offered: Spring

CMLT 22400-22500. History of International Cinema I-II.

This sequence is required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies. Taking these courses in sequence is strongly recommended but not required.

CMLT 22400. History of International Cinema I: Silent Era. 100 Units.

This course introduces what was singular about the art and craft of silent film. Its general outline is chronological. We also discuss main national schools and international trends of filmmaking.

Instructor(s): J. Lastra     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 required. Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): This is the first part of a two-quarter course.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 28500,ARTH 38500,CMLT 32400,CMST 48500,ENGL 29300,ENGL 48700,MAPH 36000,ARTV 20002,CMST 28500

CMLT 22500. History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960. 100 Units.

The center of this course is film style, from the classical scene breakdown to the introduction of deep focus, stylistic experimentation, and technical innovation (sound, wide screen, location shooting). The development of a film culture is also discussed. Texts include Thompson and Bordwell's Film History: An Introduction; and works by Bazin, Belton, Sitney, and Godard. Screenings include films by Hitchcock, Welles, Rossellini, Bresson, Ozu, Antonioni, and Renoir.

Instructor(s): Y. Tsivian     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 required. Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): CMST 28500/48500 strongly recommended
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 28600,ARTH 38600,CMLT 32500,CMST 48600,ENGL 29600,ENGL 48900,MAPH 33700,ARTV 20003,CMST 28600

CMLT 22402. Fate and Duty: European Tragedy from Aeschylus to Brecht. 100 Units.

This class will explore the development of European drama from Attic tragedy and comedy and their reception in Ancient Rome and French Neoclassicism to the transformation of dramatic form in 18-20th c. European literatures. The focus will be on the evolution of plot, characterization, time-and-space of dramatic action, ethical notions (free will, guilt, conscience), as well as on representations of affect. All readings in English. No prerequisites.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 32402,GRMN 22402,CLCV 22117,CLAS 32117,REES 22402

CMLT 23201. Returning the Gaze: The Balkans and Western Europe. 100 Units.

Aware of being observed. And judged. Inferior... Abject… Angry... Proud… This course provides insight into identity dynamics between the “West,” as the center of economic power and self-proclaimed normative humanity, and the “Rest,” as the poor, backward, volatile periphery. We investigate the relationship between South East European self-representations and the imagined Western gaze. Inherent in the act of looking at oneself through the eyes of another is the privileging of that other’s standard. We will contemplate the responses to this existential position of identifying symbolically with a normative site outside of oneself—self-consciousness, defiance, arrogance, self-exoticization—and consider how these responses have been incorporated in the texture of the national, gender, and social identities in the region. Orhan Pamuk, Ivo Andrić, Nikos Kazantzakis, Aleko Konstantinov, Emir Kusturica, Milcho Manchevski.

Instructor(s): Angelina Ilieva     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): REES 39012,CMLT 33201,NEHC 20885,NEHC 30885,REES 29012

CMLT 23301. Balkan Folklore. 100 Units.

Vampires, fire-breathing dragons, vengeful mountain nymphs. 7/8 and other uneven dance beats, heart-rending laments, and a living epic tradition. This course is an overview of Balkan folklore from historical, political, and anthropological perspectives. We seek to understand folk tradition as a dynamic process and consider the function of different folklore genres in the imagining and maintenance of community and the socialization of the individual. We also experience this living tradition firsthand through visits of a Chicago-based folk dance ensemble, “Balkan Dance.”

Instructor(s): A. Ilieva     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 25908,ANTH 35908,CMLT 33301,NEHC 20568,NEHC 30568,REES 39009,REES 29009

CMLT 23302. Kurosawa and His Literary Sources. 100 Units.

This interdisciplinary graduate and advanced undergraduate course focuses on ten films of Akira Kurosawa which were based on literary sources ranging from Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Georges Simenon, and Shakespeare to Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Gorky, and Arseniev. The course not only introduces some theoretical and intermedial problems of adaptation of literature to film but also address cultural and political implications of Kurosawa’s adaptation of classic and foreign sources. We will study how Kurosawa’s turn to literary adaptation provided a vehicle for circumventing social taboos of his time and offered a screen for addressing politically sensitive and sometimes censored topics of Japan’s militarist past, war crimes, defeat in the Second World War, and ideological conflicts of reconstruction. The course combines film analysis with close reading of relevant literary sources, contextualized by current work of political, economic, and cultural historians of postwar Japan. The course is meant to provide hands-on training in the interdisciplinary methodology of Comparative Literature.

Instructor(s): Olga Solovieva     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 33302,EALC 23312,REES 29814,REES 39814,SCTH 34012,CMST 24922,CMST 34922,EALC 33312

CMLT 23305. Directors and Directing: Theory, Stage, Text. 100 Units.

Theatre has always needed the concept of directing when staging a play. However, the role of the director as we know it has emerged only with the beginning of modern drama. This course will investigate the role of the director as an intersection between text, theory, and performance. The course explores the impact of the director in shaping modern drama, as well as critical approaches of literary and theatrical theory. We will deal not only with the historical development of the director’s role and textual interpretation, but also with the dynamics between theory and practice, and the changes in the concepts of space, acting, and performing. We will focus on approaches and writings by André Antoine, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Yevgeny Vakhtangov, Konstantin Stanislavski, Gordon Craig, Max Reinhardt, Jacques Copeau, Leopold Jessner, Erwin Piscator, Bertolt Brecht, and Samuel Beckett. We will examine these approaches in relation to literary theories of performativity (John Austin, John Searle, Judith Butler, Mikhail Bakhtin). We will also be interested in testing whether these theories match the practice, and discuss the potential of constructing a theory of acting, performing, and directing today.     

Instructor(s): Michal Peles-Almagor     Terms Offered: Spring

CMLT 24408. Before and After Beckett: Theater and Theory. 100 Units.

Beckett is conventionally typed as the playwright of minimalist scenes of unremitting bleakness, but his experiments with theatre and film echo the irreverent play of popular culture (vaudeville on stage and screen, e.g., Chaplin and Keaton) as well as experimental theatre and modern philosophy, even when there are no direct lines of influence. This course will juxtapose these points of reference with Beckett’s plays and those of his contemporaries (Ionesco, Genet, and others in French; Pinter in English). It will then explore more recent plays that suggest the influence of Beckett by Pinter, Caryl Churchill, and Sarah Kane in English; Albert Jarry and Michel Vinaver in French; as well as the relevance of theorists and philosophers include Barthes, Wittgenstein, and critics writing on specific plays. (D, G)

Instructor(s): L. Kruger     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): PQ: one course in the HUM Core
Equivalent Course(s): TAPS 28438,ENGL 44408,ENGL 24408

CMLT 24813. South African Fictions and Factions. 100 Units.

This course examines the intersection of narrative in print and film (fiction and documentary) in Southern Africa since mid-20th-century decolonization. We begin with Cry, the Beloved Country, a best seller written by South African Alan Paton while in the US, and the original film version by a Hungarian-born, British-based director (Zoltan Korda) and an American screenwriter (John Howard Lawson), which together show both the international impact of South African stories and the important elements missed by overseas audiences. We will continue with fictional and nonfictional narrative responses to apartheid and decolonization in film and in print, and examine the power and the limits of what critic Louise Bethlehem has called the “rhetoric of urgency” on local and international audiences. We will conclude with writing and film that grapples with the complexities of the post-apartheid world, whose challenges, from crime and corruption to AIDS and the particular problems faced by women and gender minorities, elude the heroic formulas of the anti-apartheid struggle era. (B)

Instructor(s): L. Kruger     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): PQ: one course in the HUM Core
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 24813,ENGL 24813

CMLT 25001. Foucault and The History of Sexuality. 100 Units.

This course centers on a close reading of the first volume of Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, with some attention to his writings on the history of ancient conceptualizations of sex. How should a history of sexuality take into account scientific theories, social relations of power, and different experiences of the self? We discuss the contrasting descriptions and conceptions of sexual behavior before and after the emergence of a science of sexuality. Other writers influenced by and critical of Foucault are also discussed.

Instructor(s): A. Davidson     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): One prior philosophy course is strongly recommended.
Note(s): Students should register via discussion section.
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 22001,GNSE 23100,HIPS 24300,KNOW 27002,PHIL 24800

CMLT 25002. Gender and the Body in Yiddish Literature. 100 Units.

Using critical theory as a lens into the world of Yiddish writing, we will encounter medieval troubadours and healers, spirit possession, feminist performance art, and more. With an emphasis on poetry, the syllabus begins with some of the earliest known Yiddish verse (c. 1382) and concludes with the 20th-century avant-garde. Literary authors include Peretz Markish, Meyshe Kulbak, and Dvoyre Fogel. Theoretical and historical studies include the work of Eve Sedgwick, Mel Chen, and Alexis Pauline Gumbs. No prior knowledge of Yiddish is required for enrollment. All course literature for the seminar will be available in English translation. An additional weekly session will meet to read Yiddish texts in the original.

Instructor(s): Anna Elena Torres     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 35002

CMLT 25017. Islams and Modernities. 100 Units.

This course explores the topic of political Islam in Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia with an eye on the emergence of similar discourses globally through historical, anthropological, and literary works produced both by contemporary scholars of Islam (Fazlur Rahman, Olivier Roy, Talal Asad) scholars of Islam in the Russian empire (Adeeb Khaled, Alexandre Benningsen, Ayse-Azade Rorlich) as well as nineteenth and twentieth century thinkers (Ismail Gasprinsky, Sultan Galiev) alongside literary and artistic works (the satirical journal Molla Nasreddin, Umm El-Banine Assadoulaeff, Chingiz Aitmatov, Hamid Ismailov). The course focuses on the ways in which these works problematize the relationship between the representation of ethno-linguistic discourses of Muslim identity (including Pan-Turkism, Pan-Islamism, Jadidism) to national and supranational discourses of modernity and women's rights formulated both during the formation of the Soviet Union and the post-Soviet national republics. Reading knowledge of Russian, French or Azeri Turkic is encouraged but not required.

Instructor(s): Leah Feldman     Terms Offered: Winter

CMLT 25302. Fashion and Modernity. 100 Units.

The relationship between fashion and modernity has always been taken for granted. Indeed, it is guaranteed in the very etymology of the French and German words “mode” and “modernité”. Yet, on closer inspection, there is a blind spot in this relation in that fashion seems rather to be the Other of modernity than modernity itself, an Oriental colony in the heart of the West. The course will center around this blind spot between fashion and modernity and the new gendering of fashion in the bourgeois, post-feudal era. 

Instructor(s): Barbara Vinken     Terms Offered: Spring

CMLT 25500. Psychoanalytic Theory: Freud and Lacan. 100 Units.

For this course, we will read major texts by Freud and Lacan. Freud readings will include “Beyond the Pleasure Principle,” “Note on a Mystic Writing Pad,” “The Uncanny,” “Jensen’s Gradiva,” the Dora case, and a selection of texts from other works. Lacan readings: “Seminar on the Purloined Letter,” Poe’s “The Purloined Letter,” “God and the Jouissance of the Woman: A love letter,” and parts of the Ecrits. We will also read excerpts from a variety of texts that use the writings of Freud and Lacan for theoretical purposes: Derrida, Sarah Kristeva, Irigaray, Zizek, and others.

Instructor(s): Françoise Meltzer     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): FREN 25551,FREN 35551,CMLT 35500

CMLT 25551. Psychoanalytic Theory: Freud and Lacan. 100 Units.

For this course, we will read major texts by Freud and Lacan. Freud readings will include “Beyond the Pleasure Principle,” “Note on a Mystic Writing Pad,” “The Uncanny,” “Jensen’s Gradiva,” the Dora case, and a selection of texts from other works. Lacan readings: “Seminar on the Purloined Letter,” Poe’s “The Purloined Letter,” “God and the Jouissance of the Woman: A love letter,” and parts of the Ecrits. We will also read excerpts from a variety of texts that use the writings of Freud and Lacan for theoretical purposes: Derrida, Sarah Kristeva, Irigaray, Zizek, and others.

Instructor(s): Françoise Meltzer     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 25509,ENGL 35509

CMLT 25801. Machiavelli and Machiavellism. 100 Units.

This course is a comprehensive introduction to Machiavelli’s The Prince in light of his vast and varied literary corpus and European reception. The course includes discussion of Machiavelli as playwright (The Mandrake), fiction writer (Belfagor, The Golden Ass), and historian (Discourses, Florentine Histories). We will also closely investigate the emergence of myths surrounding Machiavelli (Machiavellism and anti-Machiavellism) in Italy (Guicciardini, Botero, Boccalini), France (Bodin and Gentillet), Spain (Ribadeneyra), and Northern Europe (Hobbes, Grotius, Spinoza) during the Counter Reformation and beyond.

Instructor(s): R. Rubini     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Course conducted in English. Those seeking Italian credit will do all work in Italian.
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 21603,LLSO 21603,ITAL 23000

CMLT 26106. The Medieval Persian Romance: Gorgani's Vis and Ramin. 100 Units.

This class is an inquiry into the medieval romance genre through the close and comparative reading of one of its oldest extant representatives, Gorgâni’s Vis & Râmin (c. 1050). With roots that go back to Late Antiquity, this romance is a valuable interlocutor between the Greek novel and the Ovidian erotic tradition, Arabic love theory and poetics, and well-known European romances like Tristan, Lancelot, and Cligès: a sustained exploration of psychological turmoil and moral indecision, and a vivid dramatization of the many contradictions inherent in erotic theory, most starkly by the lovers' faithful adultery. By reading Vis & Râmin alongside some of its generic neighbors (Kallirrhoe, Leukippe, Tristan, Cligès), as well as the love-theories of writers like Plato, Ovid, Avicenna, Jâhiz, Ibn Hazm, and Andreas Cappellanus, we will map out the various kinds of literary work the romance is called upon to do, and investigate the myriad and shifting conceptions of romantic love as performance, subjectivity, and moral practice. An optional section introducing selections from the original text in Persian will be available if there is sufficient student interest.

Instructor(s): C. Cross     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 26106,NEHC 26016,RLLT 26106,FNDL 26106

CMLT 26305. Civil War and Literature. 100 Units.

The topic of civil war has massively resurfaced in literature after the Second World War. Interestingly, it comes back in the Roman disguise that had dominated already the 19th, and a fortiori the 20th and 21th centuries. How can one narrate the total dis-integration of society that is civil war? We will look at Claude Simon’s novel Georgiques and Michel Houellebecq’s novel Soumission. But we will also go back ad fontes with Vergil’s poem Georgiques and the last book of the Aeneid. To understand the principle of this translatio Romae, we will take a look into Karl Marx’s The 18th Brumaire of Napoléon Bonaparte.

Instructor(s): Barbara Vinken     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 36305

CMLT 26600. Ren/Lit Imagination. 100 Units.

No description available.

Terms Offered: TBD

CMLT 26701. Marsilio Ficino's "On Love" 100 Units.

This course is first of all a close reading of Marsilio Ficino’s seminal book On Love (first Latin edition De amore 1484; Ficino’s own Italian translation 1544). Ficino’s philosophical masterpiece is the foundation of the Renaissance view of love from a Neo-Platonic perspective. It is impossible to overemphasize its influence on European culture. On Love is not just a radically new interpretation of Plato’s Symposium. It is the book through which sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe read the love experience. Our course will analyze its multiple classical sources and its spiritual connotations. During our close reading of Ficino’s text, we will show how European writers and philosophers appropriated specific parts of this Renaissance masterpiece. In particular, we will read extensive excerpts from some important love treatises, such as Castiglione’s The Courtier (Il cortigiano), Leone Ebreo’s Dialogues on Love, Tullia d’Aragona’s On the Infinity of Love, but also selections from a variety of European poets, such as Michelangelo’s canzoniere, Maurice Scève’s Délie, and Fray Luis de León’s Poesía.

Instructor(s): A. Maggi     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Taught in English.
Equivalent Course(s): ITAL 33900,CMLT 36701,FNDL 21103,ITAL 23900

CMLT 26902. Strangers to Ourselves: Émigré Lit from Russia and SE Europe. 100 Units.

“Being alienated from myself, as painful as that may be, provides me with that exquisite distance within which perverse pleasure begins, as well as the possibility of my imagining and thinking,” writes Julia Kristeva in "Strangers to Ourselves," the book from which this course takes its title. The authors whose works we are going to examine often alternate between nostalgia and the exhilaration of being set free into the breathless possibilities of new lives. Leaving home does not simply mean movement in space. Separated from the sensory boundaries that defined their old selves, immigrants inhabit a warped, fragmentary, disjointed time. Immigrant writers struggle for breath—speech, language, voice, the very stuff of their craft resounds somewhere else. Join us as we explore the pain, the struggle, the failure, and the triumph of emigration and exile. Vladimir Nabokov, Joseph Brodsky, Marina Tsvetaeva, Nina Berberova, Julia Kristeva, Alexander Hemon, Dubravka Ugrešić, Norman Manea, Miroslav Penkov, Ilija Trojanow, Tea Obreht.

Instructor(s): Angelina Ilieva     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): REES 39010,CMLT 36902,REES 29010

CMLT 27402. Contemporary Chinese Writers and the Literary Field. 100 Units.

No description available.

Terms Offered: TBD

CMLT 27517. Metaphysics, Morbidity, & Modernity: Mann’s The Magic Mountain. 100 Units.

Our main task in this course is to explore in detail one of the most significant novels of the twentieth century, Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. But this novel is also a window onto the entirety of modern European thought, and it provides, at the same time, a telling perspective of the crisis of European culture prior to and following on World War I. It is, in Thomas Mann’s formulation, a time-novel: a novel about its time, but also a novel about human being in time. For anyone interested in the configuration of European intellectual life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Mann’s great (and challenging) novel is indispensible reading. Lectures will relate Mann’s novel to its great European counterparts (e.g., Proust, Joyce, Musil), to the traditions of European thought from Voltaire to Georg Lukacs, from Schopenhauer to Heidegger, from Marx to Max Weber.

Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): This is a LECTURE course with discussion sections. All readings in English.
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 27517,GRMN 27517

CMLT 28240. Beautiful Souls, Adventurers, and Rogues. 100 Units.

Full title: Beautiful Souls, Adventurers, and Rogues. The European 18th Century Novel. The course will examine several major 18th-century novels, including Manon Lescaut by Prevost, Pamela and fragments from Clarissa by Richardson, Shamela and fragments from Joseph Andrews by Fielding, Jacques le Fataliste by Diderot, and The Sufferings of Young Werther by Goethe. The course is taught in English. A biweekly session in French will be held for majors and graduate students in French and Comparative Literature.

Instructor(s): T. Pavel     Terms Offered: Winter 28240/38240

CMLT 28900. Health Care and the Limits of State Action. 100 Units.

In a time of great human mobility and weakening state frontiers, epidemic disease is able to travel fast and far, mutate in response to treatment, and defy the institutions invented to keep it under control: quarantine, the cordon sanitaire, immunization, and the management of populations. Public health services in many countries find themselves at a loss in dealing with these outbreaks of disease, a deficiency to which NGOs emerge as a response (an imperfect one to be sure). Through a series of readings in anthropology, sociology, ethics, medicine, and political science, we will attempt to reach an understanding of this crisis of both epidemiological technique and state legitimacy, and to sketch out options.

Instructor(s): E. Lyon, H. Saussy     Terms Offered: Spring. May be offered in 2017-2018
Prerequisite(s): Third- or fourth-year standing. This course does not meet requirements for the biological sciences major.
Equivalent Course(s): BPRO 28600,HMRT 28602,BIOS 29323

CMLT 29402. Language is Migrant: Yiddish Poetics of the Border. 100 Units.


,This course examines Ashkenazi Jewish literary narratives about geopolitical borders and border-crossing though travel and migration, engaged with questions about the linguistic borders of Yiddish itself. As a diasporic language, Yiddish has long been constructed as subversively internationalist or cosmopolitan, raising questions about the relationships between language and nation, vernacularity and statelessness.

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This course explores the questions: How do the diasporic elements of the language produce literary possibilities? How do the “borders” of Yiddish shape its poetics? How do Yiddish poets and novelists thematize their historical experiences of immigration and deportation? And how has Yiddish literature informed the development of other world literatures through contact and translation?

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Literary and primary texts will include the work of Anna Margolin, Alexander Harkavy, Peretz Markish, Dovid Bergelson, Yankev Glatshteyn, Yosef Luden, S. An-sky, and others. Theoretical texts will include writing by Wendy Brown, Dilar Dirik, Gloria Anzaldúa, Wendy Trevino, Agamben, Arendt, Weinreich, and others. The course will incorporate Yiddish journalism and essays, in addition to poetry and prose. All material will be in English translation, and there are no prerequisites.

Instructor(s): Anna Elena Torres     Terms Offered: Spring

CMLT 29700. Reading Course. 100 Units.

No description available.

Terms Offered: Autumn, Winter, Spring
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor and Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Note(s): Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. Must be taken for a quality grade. This course does not satisfy distribution requirements for students who are majoring in CMLT unless an exception is made by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

CMLT 29701. Introduction to Comparative Literature I: Problems, Methods, Precedents. 100 Units.

As the study of relations among the world's literary and other expressive traditions, comparative literature confronts a host of questions. What do works from different times and places have in common? How can we meaningfully assess their differences? How do we account for systematic and extra-systemic features of literature? Is translation ever adequate? This course offers consideration of these and related issues through influential critical examples. This course is the first of a two-quarter sequence required for all majors in Comparative Literature.

Terms Offered: Autumn

CMLT 29801. BA Project and Workshop: Comparative Literature. 100 Units.

This workshop begins in Autumn Quarter and continues through the middle of Spring Quarter. While the BA workshop meets in all three quarters, it counts as a one-quarter course credit. Students may register for the course in any of the three quarters of their fourth year. A grade for the course is assigned in the Spring Quarter, based partly on participation in the workshop and partly on the quality of the BA paper. Attendance at each class section required.

Terms Offered: Autumn, Winter, Spring
Note(s): Required of fourth-year students who are majoring in CMLT.


Contacts

Undergraduate Primary Contact

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Olga Solovieva

773.834.3980
Email

Administrative Contact

Department Administrator
Ingrid Sagor

773.702.8486
Email