An interdepartmental program in Comparative Literature and Culture

Last updated: June 13, 2018 at 4:22 p.m.

The program in Comparative Literature and Culture engages the study of literatures and cultures within and across national boundaries. It comprises the comparative analysis of literary and cultural texts not only in relation to genres, forms, and movements, but within the larger context of social discourse and cultural practices. Because cultural practices are not static but continually changing, the comparative approach is sensitive not only to historical context, but also to how cultural forms adapt to new conditions. Analysis of cultural differences, diversities, and similarities will promote a greater knowledge of the rapidly changing globe we inhabit, and also deepen students' critical understanding of their own cultures.

Comparative study explores literature and other art forms beyond and across the boundaries of single nations, languages and cultures, often in conjunction with the historical, political and social realities that lend life and variety to any art form. It represents a way of approaching creative works, rather than a specific body of knowledge about them. Because the comparative approach takes a global perspective, embracing all of world literature and culture in all periods of history, no one person could possibly embody the field. As a result, the comparative field is a highly dynamic, interdisciplinary and collaborative endeavor, which is reflected in the diverse interests of our students and faculty.

The Comparative Literature and Culture core course, COML 100a, Introduction to Global Literature, introduces students to the diversity of approaches to comparing literatures and cultures possible within the field and serves as a jumping-off point for students' individualized exploration of literary and other works from across the globe, from a wide variety of perspectives. Beyond the core course, the major also emphasizes the study of literature and culture in languages other than English. Courses are taught by distinguished faculty from across the Humanities at Brandeis.

Comparative studies are inherently multicultural and dynamic. We are constantly shaping our curriculum to fit the interests and needs of the changing student body and encourage student input at all levels of program planning.

Knowledge: Students completing the major in Comparative Literature and Culture will:

1. understand aspects of creative activity that can or must be studied cross-culturally, such as: genre; the movement of aesthetic ideas across boundaries, including translation; diasporic cultures; and movements that span multiple cultures, such as romanticism, modernism and the avant-garde;
2. understand the major questions, concepts, theories and methodologies of the comparative method;
3. achieve solid proficiency in at least one language other than English, to the level needed to work with original texts in at least two linguistically distinct cultural traditions.

Core Skills: Majors will develop the capacity to:

1. perform strong and revealing close analyses of literary and other artistic texts;
2. employ the conceptual tools and insights of theoretical texts to read critically and interpret works in various genres drawn from a variety of traditions and cultures;
3. use various interpretive approaches, considering the benefits and limitations of different strategies;
4. use library resources to find relevant research materials;
5. construct a logical, well-supported argument about a comparative problem by identifying and articulating a compelling and productive comparative question and synthesizing relevant critical literature;
6. present such comparative arguments in clear and engaging academic prose.

Social Justice: Cultural forms and ideas move across borders, now perhaps more than ever; the Comparative Literature and Culture program emphasizes the importance of cultural literacy and sensitivity to cultural difference both within individual societies and in the global context. The curriculum provides graduates with knowledge and perspectives needed to appreciate and respect the diversity of creative expression around the world, as well as the shared human urge toward artistic expression in language, whether oral or written. Majors will be prepared to participate in multicultural and global conversations by asking questions, listening closely and responding productively, in the collaborative spirit of the field.

Upon Graduating: A Brandeis student with a Comparative Literature and Culture major will be prepared to use the knowledge and skills gained from the sustained comparative study of literatures and cultures to pursue professional training and a range of careers that demand a global perspective or a knowledge of and appreciation for diverse cultures, including those in academics, government, non-governmental organizations and non-profits, and international business.

All students are welcome to enroll in any course in the program unless prerequisites are stipulated. Students interested in learning more about the Comparative Literature and Culture major or minor are encouraged to speak with the Undergraduate Advising Head. Keep in mind that two literature or cultural courses must be taken in a language other than English. Students are strongly encouraged to spend at least one semester abroad, preferably in a country whose primary language is not English.

Matthew Fraleigh, Chair and Undergraduate Advising Head
(German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literature)

David Powelstock
(German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literature)

Stephen Dowden
(German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literature)

Michael Randall
(French and Francophone Studies)

Fernando Rosenberg
(Hispanic Studies)

Affiliated Faculty (contributing to the curriculum, advising and administration of the department or program)
Jerónimo Arellano (Romance Studies)
Jonathan Decter (Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)
Stephen Dowden (German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literature)
William Flesch (English)
Matthew Fraleigh (German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literature)
James Mandrell (Romance Studies
Robin Feuer Miller (German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literature)
David Powelstock (German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literature)
Laura Quinney (English)
Michael Randall (Romance Studies)
Fernando Rosenberg (Romance Studies)
David Sherman (English)
Harleen Singh (German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literature)
Pu Wang (German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literature)

The minor in Comparative Literature and Culture requires five courses, distributed as follows:

A. COML 100a, to be taken as early as possible in the student's academic career.

B. One upper-level course taught in a language other than English, involving work with texts and/or films in a language other than English. Normally such courses are numbered 100 and above, exclusive of language skills courses. Coursework in literature and culture focused upon original-language texts can be pursued both at Brandeis and through approved Study Abroad programs.

C. Two upper-level courses COML-designated courses. These courses will bridge more than one national tradition and engage in cross-cultural examination.

D. One additional upper-level elective course in literature or a related field as approved by the Undergraduate Advising Head. Students are encouraged to select a course that takes a comparative approach.

E. No more than two classes taken toward the minor can double count toward any other major or minor.

F. No course with a grade below a C- may count toward the minor nor any course taken pass/fail.

The major in Comparative Literature and Culture requires a minimum of nine courses, distributed as follows:

A. COML 100a, to be taken as early as possible in the student's academic career.

B. Two upper-level courses taught in a language other than English, involving work with texts and/or films. Normally such courses are numbered 100 and above, exclusive of language skills courses. The two courses need not be drawn from a single language tradition. Coursework in literature and culture focused upon original-language texts can be pursued both at Brandeis and through approved Study Abroad programs.

C. Three upper-level COML-designated courses. These courses will bridge more than one national tradition and engage in cross-cultural examination.

D. Three additional upper-level elective courses in literature or a related field as approved by the Undergraduate Advising Head. Students are encouraged to select courses that take a comparative approach. No more than two of these elective courses may be in Film, Television, and Interactive Media to be counted toward the major. No more than one of these elective courses may be counted toward another major.

E. No course with a grade below a C- will count toward the major nor any course taken pass/fail.

Honors
Students who wish to pursue honors must enroll in COML 99d, normally in the senior year, and complete a thesis. One semester of thesis research may substitute for an upper-level comparative course. A senior project is required only of students pursuing honors.

(1-99) Primarily for Undergraduate Students

COML 92a Internship and Analysis in Comparative Literature and Culture
Usually offered every year.
Staff

COML 97a Senior Essay
Offers students an opportunity to produce a senior essay under the direction of an individual instructor. Usually offered every fall.
Staff

COML 98a Independent Study
May be taken only by majors, with the written permission of the advising head and the chair of the department.
Readings and reports under faculty supervision. Offered as needed.
Staff

COML 98b Independent Study
May be taken only by majors, with the written permission of the advising head and the chair of the department.
Reading and reports under faculty supervision. Offered as needed.
Staff

COML 99d Senior Thesis
May be taken only with the permission of the Undergraduate Advising Head.
This is a full-year course that must be taken by all senior majors in Comparative Literature and Culture who wish to undertake honors work. Usually offered every year.
Staff

COML/HUM 21a Renaissance Literary Masterpieces
[ hum ]
Introduces students to some of the greatest works written in Europe during the Renaissance. Readings will include works by Dante, Petrarch, Michelangelo, Luther, Erasmus, Spenser, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Rabelais, and Cervantes. All readings will be in English. Usually taught every third year.
Ramie Targoff

(100-199) For Both Undergraduate and Graduate Students

COML 100a Introduction to Global Literature
[ hum wi ]
Core course for COML major and minor.
What is common and what is different in literatures of different cultures and times? How do literary ideas move from one culture to another? In this course students read theoretical texts, as well as literary works from around the world. Usually offered every year.
Staff

COML 117a Magical Realism and Modern Myth
[ hum ]
An exploration of magical realism, as well as the enduring importance of myth, in twentieth and twenty-first century fiction and film from Columbia, India, Nigeria, the United States, England, and elsewhere. Authors include Ben Okri, Toni Morrison, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Salman Rushdie; films include Pan's Labyrinth and Beasts of the Southern Wild. Usually offered every second year.
David Sherman

COML 120a Disordered Loves and Howling Passion: European Romanticism
[ hum ]
Introduces European Romanticism from a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective. This course integrates literature, painting, music, and philosophy. Works by Beethoven, Hölderlin, Schubert, Delacroix, Wordsworth, Mary Shelly, Verdi, Schlegel, Kant, Claude David and others. Usually offered every second year.
Stephen Dowden

COML 123a Perfect Love?
[ hum ]
The conflict between "perfect” and carnal love has inspired artistic works from the Middle Ages through the present. This course studies how perfect love runs afoul of more human desires in works by authors, composers, and film makers like Chrétien de Troye, Marguerite de Navarre, Hawthorne, Monteverdi, di Sica, and Wong Karwai. Usually offered every second year.
Michael Randall

COML 133b The Novel and the City
[ hum ]
The rise of the novel and the rise of the modern city go hand in hand. In this course, we will inquire into the nature of the relationship between two modern forms of world-making. Special one-time offering, spring 2017.
Jennifer Reed

COML 146b Classical East Asian Poetics
[ hum nw ]
An introduction to the classical poetic forms of China, Japan, and Korea. Special consideration is paid to issues of canonization, classical theories of literature, and the development of multilingual literary traditions. All readings are in English. Usually offered every third year.
Matthew Fraleigh

COML 150b Critique of Erotic Reason
[ hum ]
Explores transformations in erotic sensibilities in the novel from the early nineteenth century to the present. Works by Goethe, Austen, Kierkegaard, Tolstoy, Schopenhauer, Bronte, Chekhov, Garcia-Marquez, Kundera, and Cormac McCarthy. Usually offered every third year.
Stephen Dowden

COML 164b Reading Screenplays: Script Analysis and Development
[ hum ]
How do you read a screenplay? Are screenplays artworks in their own right, independent from the film they were turned into or might become? Why do creative industries value the work of screenplay readers? This course serves as an introduction to the emergent field of screenwriting studies and demonstrates the professional application of screenplay analysis in the contemporary media industry. A professional script reader and development executive will feature as guest speaker. Materials include Hollywood screenplays, foreign language scripts in translation, and unproduced screenplays under consideration with production companies. Usually offered every third year.
Jerónimo Arellano

COML 168a Things Fall Apart: The Novel and Postcolonial Anarchy
[ hum ]
Explores the shared history of British Imperialism and examines the postcolonial novel's response to the breakdown of colonial power and the advent of the postcolonial state. We will read novels from South Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. Usually offered every fourth year.
Harleen Singh

COML 171a Literary Translation in Theory and in Practice
[ hum ]
Prerequisite: Excellent reading knowledge of any language other than English. Students will be asked to demonstrate proficiency before receiving consent to enroll in the course.
Approaching literary translation from several angles at once, this course combines readings in the history and theory of translation with a practical translation workshop. Students will experience first-hand the challenges of literary translation and, with the help of the theoretical readings, reflect on what the process teaches us about linguistic, literary, and cultural difference. Usually offered every second year.
David Powelstock or Staff

COML 185a Dickens and Dostoevsky
[ hum ]
Considers such issues as narrative, literary realism, and the manipulation of the grotesque and the sublime in representative works of Dickens and Dostoevsky. Because Dostoevsky was an avid reader of Dickens, class addresses questions of influence, particularly with regard to their shared thematic interests. Usually offered every second year.
Robin Feuer Miller

COML/ENG 141b Literature and Time
[ hum ]
Explores the human experience of temporality and reflection upon it. Themes covered by this course include: memory, nostalgia, anxiety, ethics, eternity, and time travel. Usually offered every third year.
Laura Quinney

COML/ENG 144a Island Fictions
[ hum ]
Visits an archipelago of texts from drama and travel narrative to poetry and the novel. We will use fictions about islands to explore questions about literature - the enabling constraints of form, literary experimentation, and solitary and social reading. Special one-time offering, fall 2017.
Jennifer Reed

COML/ENG 148a Fiction of the Second World War
[ hum wi ]
Studies novels of the Second World War from Great Britain, France, Germany, the United States, the Soviet Union, and Japan (all readings in English). Usually offered every fourth year.
John Burt

COML/ENG 149a Dante's Hell and Its Legacy
[ hum ]
Studies the Classical underworld and its reworking in English verse. Topics include the descent to the underworld, the ambiguous Satan, the myths of Orpheus and Penelope, and the psychological Hells of the modernists. Usually offered every second year.
Laura Quinney

COML/REC 136a All in the Family: Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and the English Novel
[ hum ]
Selected novels and writings of Austen, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Woolf will be read to trace both the evolution of the novel and the meanings, contexts and depictions of the family. The family novel encompasses such larger questions as how we regard the pain of others and how we define community. Usually offered every second year.
Robin Feuer Miller

Upper-Level Courses in a Language Other than English

ARBC 103a Lower Advanced Arabic
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: ARBC 40b or the equivalent. Four class-hours per week.
Designed to help the student attain advanced proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and understanding. The syllabus includes selections from modern texts representing a variety of styles and genres, advanced composition, and sustained development of oral-aural proficiency in Modern Standard Arabic. A grade of C- or higher in ARBC 103a is required to take ARBC 103b. Usually offered every year.
Carl Sharif El-Tobgui

ARBC 103b Middle Advanced Arabic: Contemporary Arab Media
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: A grade of C- or higher in ARBC 103a or the equivalent. Four class hours per week.
Continuation of ARBC 103a. Intensive honing primarily of oral-aural skills and vocabulary building with concentration on the spoken media of the contemporary Arab world. Review and reinforcement of major grammatical topics as needed. Usually offered every year.
Staff

CHIN 120a Readings in Contemporary Chinese Literature: Advanced Chinese Language
[ fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: CHIN 105a or equivalent.
For advanced students of Chinese, an introduction to contemporary Chinese short stories from the 1990s and later. Focuses on significant expansion of vocabulary and grammar, and on providing students an opportunity to develop and polish both oral and written skills through class discussion, presentations, and writing assignments. Usually offered every fall.
Staff

CHIN 120b Readings in Contemporary Chinese Literature: Advanced Chinese Language II
[ fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: CHIN 120a or equivalent.
Continuation of CHIN 120a. Study of contemporary Chinese short stories from the 1990s and later. These stories not only represent new literary themes and linguistic expressions, but also reflect the modernization, commercialization, and urbanization that is transforming China. The course improves students' knowledge of the language, as well as enhancing their understanding of Chinese society and culture. Usually offered every spring.
Pu Wang

FREN 110a Cultural Representations
[ fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
A foundation course in French and Francophone culture, analyzing texts and other cultural phenomena such as film, painting, music, and politics. Usually offered every year.
Clémentine Fauré-Bellaïche, Hollie Harder, or Michael Randall

FREN 111a The Republic
[ fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
The "Republic" analyzes how the republican ideal of the citizen devoid of religious, ethnic, or gender identity has fared in different Francophone political milieux. Course involves understanding how political institutions such as constitutions, parliaments, and court systems interact with reality of modern societies in which religious, ethnic, and gender identities play important roles. Usually offered every year.
Michael Randall

FREN 133b Visions of Change in Eighteenth-Century French Literature
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
Examines how 18th century French literature generated new frames of thinking and how these visions influenced contemporary values in such areas as religion, politics, society, education, and the family. Readings from Voltaire, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Diderot. Usually offered every fourth year.
Martine Voiret

FREN 142b City and the Book
[ fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
Analyzes the symbolic appearance of the city in French literature and film from the Middle Ages to the present day. The representation of the city in literature and film is contextualized in theoretical writings of urbanists and philosophers. Literary texts include medieval fabliaux, Pantagruel (Rabelais) and Nana (Zola) as well as theoretical texts by Descartes, Ledoux, Le Corbusier, Salvador Dalí, and Paul Virillo. Usually offered every second year.
Michael Randall

GER 181a Franz Kafka's Erzählungen
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisites: GER 105a is recommended.
A detailed exploration of Kafka's works, life, and thought. Emphasis will be given to his place in the larger scheme of literary modernism. Usually offered every third year.
Stephen Dowden

GRK 115b Ancient Greek Drama
[ fl hum ]
The plays of Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Euripides, and Sophocles, in Greek. A different playwright is studied each year. See Schedule of Classes for current topic. Usually offered every fourth year.
Staff

GRK 120b Greek Prose Authors
[ fl hum ]
Selections from Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Demosthenes, and other prose authors, in Greek. See Schedule of Classes for current topic. Usually offered every third year.
Joel Christensen or Staff

HBRW 123a Creative Reading and Writing in Hebrew I
[ fl hum wi ]
Four class hours per week.
An intermediate- to mid/high-level course, which focuses on modern Hebrew prose and poetry stressing major trends. Students are expected to acquire better fluency in reading, writing, and conversation. Usually offered every year.
Staff

HBRW 144a Hebrew through Plays and Drama
[ ca fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: Four semesters of Hebrew or permission of the instructor. Four class hours and two additional weekly hours of lab work are required.
Helps improve Hebrew language skills at the intermediate-high/advanced-level by focusing on various creative aspects such as improvisations, drama, performance, and other acting techniques such as movement, imagination, and other basic skills necessary to act out scenes from various plays in the Hebrew language. Writing assignments and self-critique enhance the students' skills in language acquisition. The course culminates in the writing of one-act plays in Hebrew along with a theatrical performance and production. Usually offered every year in the fall.
Staff

HBRW 146a The Voices of Jerusalem
[ fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: Four semesters of Hebrew or permission of the instructor. Four class hours per week.
Aims to develop students' language proficiency through analysis of selected materials that depict the unique tradition, literature and poetry, history, politics, art, and other features related to Jerusalem. Usually offered every second year in the fall.
Sara Hascal

HBRW 164b Israeli Theater
[ ca fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: Five semesters of Hebrew or permission of the instructor. Four class hours and two lab hours per week.
An advanced course that enhances advanced language skills through reading and analysis of plays. The student's creativity is developed through participation in acting and creative writing lab. In reading plays, students can also participate in Hebrew acting lab. Usually offered every second year in the fall.
Staff

HBRW 170a Take I: Hebrew through Israeli Cinema
[ fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: Five semesters of Hebrew or permission of the instructor. Four class hours per week.
An advanced culture course that focuses on the various aspects of Israeli society as they are portrayed in Israeli films and television. In addition to viewing films, the students will be asked to read Hebrew background materials, to participate in class discussions, and to write in Hebrew about the films. Usually offered every spring.
Staff

HISP 111b Introduction to Latin American Literature and Culture
[ fl hum nw ]
Prerequisite: HISP 106b, or HISP 108a, or permission of the instructor.
Examines key Latin American texts of different genres (poems, short stories and excerpts from novels, chronicles, comics, screenplays, cyberfiction) and from different time periods from the conquest to modernity. This class places emphasis on problems of cultural definition and identity construction as they are elaborated in literary discourse. Identifying major themes (coloniality and emancipation, modernismo and modernity, indigenismo, hybridity and mestizaje, nationalisms, Pan-Americanism, etc.) we will trace continuities and ruptures throughout Latin American intellectual history. Usually offered every semester.
Jerónimo Arellano, Lucía Reyes de Deu, or Fernando Rosenberg

HISP 160a Culture and Social Change in Latin America
[ fl hum nw wi ]
Prerequisite: HISP 109b or HISP 111b, or permission of the instructor.
Examines the relationship between the arts (including literature, film, and fine arts) and society in Latin America during the twentieth century by focusing on three historical conjunctures when this relationship was particularly rich: the political and artistic vanguards of the 1920s (with particular attention to the Mexican Revolution and its aftermath); the 1960s, marked by the historical turning point of the Cuban Revolution; and the decade of the 1990s, characterized by the transition to democracy, the emergence of human rights and other social movements. Usually offered every second year.
Fernando Rosenberg

HISP 164b Studies in Latin American Literature
[ fl hum nw wi ]
Prerequisite: HISP 109b or HISP 111b, or permission of the instructor. Course may be repeated for credit.
A comparative and critical study of main trends, ideas, and cultural formations in Latin America. Topics vary year to year and have included fiction and history in Latin American literature, nation and narration, Latin American autobiography, art and revolution in Latin America, and humor in Latin America. Usually offered every year.
Fernando Rosenberg

ITAL 120b Modern Italian Literature: From Page to the Screen
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: ITAL 105a or 106a or permission of the instructor.
Focuses on the literature of twentieth-century writers such as Sciascia, Lampedusa, and Calvino, as well as contemporary writers, such as Maraini, Baricco, Tamaro, and Ammaniti with emphasis on the theme of historical, individual, and familial identity within the context of traumatic socio-economic upheaval and transformative cultural events in the Italian society. Several films based on these works will also be examined, with emphasis on an analysis of cinematic innovation and interpretation from the examined texts. Usually offered every second year.
Paola Servino

ITAL 128a Mapping Modern Italian Culture: Inherited Conflicts
[ fl hum oc ]
Prerequisite: ITAL 105a or 106a or permission of the instructor. Conducted in Italian with Italian texts.
Covers a broad and significant range of cultural topics that exemplify creative responses to historical events and social dilemmas that have shaped contemporary Italian culture including economic changes, the new face of immigration in Italy, and the social fight against the Mafia and Camorra through literature and cinema. Usually offered every second year.
Paola Servino

JAPN 120b Readings in Modern Japanese Literature
[ fl hum nw wi ]
Prerequisite: JAPN 120a or the equivalent.
Students read, analyze, discuss, and write about Japanese short fiction by a wide range of modern and contemporary authors. Screening of film adaptations and television programs complement class discussion, which is conducted in Japanese. Usually offered every year.
Matthew Fraleigh

LAT 115a Roman Drama
[ fl hum ]
Selected plays of Plautus and Terence, in Latin. Usually offered every fourth year.
Staff

LAT 116b Roman Satire
[ fl hum ]
The satires of Horace and Juvenal, in Latin. Usually offered every fourth year.
Staff

LAT 117a Lucretius, De Rerum Natura
[ fl hum ]
Close reading (in Latin) and discussion of poetic and philosophical dimensions of the poem. Usually offered every fourth year.
Staff

LAT 118a Latin Lyric and Elegiac Poetry
[ fl hum ]
Selections from Catullus, Horace, Propertius, Tibullus, and Ovid, in Latin. Usually offered every third year.
Staff

LAT 118b Roman Historians
[ fl hum ]
Selections from the histories of Julius Caesar, Sallust, Livy, and Tacitus, in Latin. Usually offered every fourth year.
Cheryl Walker

LAT 119b Ovid: Metamorphoses
[ fl hum ]
Selections from Ovid's mythological-poetic history of the universe, in Latin. Usually offered every fourth year.
Staff

LAT 120a Vergil
[ fl hum ]
Selections from Vergil's Eclogues, Georgics, and the Aeneid in Latin. Usually offered every third year.
Staff

RUS 150b Advanced Russian Language through 20th Century Literature
[ fl hum oc ]
Prerequisite (heritage speakers): RUS 29b, or RUS 50b with a grade of C- or higher, or the equivalent as determined by placement examination. Prerequisite (non-heritage speakers): RUS 40b or the equivalent. Taught in Russian. Course may be repeated for credit with instructor's permission.
A seminar for continuing students of Russian who wish to enhance their proficiency and accuracy in speaking, reading and writing. Focusing on the close study of Russian literature in the original Russian and the development of Russian oral and written language skills needed for the close reading and discussion of literature. Usually offered every second year.
Irina Dubinina

RUS 153a Advanced Russian Language through 19th Century Literature
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: RUS 29b, RUS 40b or RUS 50b with a grade of C- or higher, or the equivalent as determined by placement examination. Taught in Russian.
An undergraduate seminar for heritage and advanced students of Russian. Focus on the study of 19th-century Russian literature in the original and development of Russian oral and written skills needed for the close reading and discussion of literature. Usually offered every fourth year.
Irina Dubinina

RUS 160b Russian/Soviet Jews: Dual Identities in Text, Image and Music
[ fl hum oc ]
Prerequisite: Advanced Russian language skills.
An undergraduate seminar introduces heritage and advanced students of Russian to a number of Russian Jewish artists and writers who created in the Russian language and who made significant contributions to 20th-century Soviet and Russian literature, cinema, theater, and music. Through analyses and discussions of texts, images and music created by Russian-speaking Jews, students will explore the role Russian Jews played in shaping the Soviet and modern Russian culture. Usually offered every fourth year.
Irina Dubinina

Courses in Related Fields

These are examples of comparative courses that may be counted toward category (D) of the major and minor requirements if they are approved by the UAH as appropriate to each student’s course of study. Courses with comparative content not listed here may be counted with approval of the UAH. In all cases, students' selection of courses in this category must be discussed with the UAH before they can be counted toward the major or minor requirements.

AAAS 125b Caribbean Women and Globalization: Sexuality, Citizenship, Work
[ ss wi ]
Utilizing perspectives from sociology, anthropology, fiction, and music to examine the relationship between women's sexuality and conceptions of labor, citizenship, and sovereignty. The course considers these alongside conceptions of masculinity, contending feminisms, and the global perspective. Usually offered every second year.
Faith Smith

AAAS 132b Introduction to African Literature
[ hum nw ss wi ]
Examines the cultural production of African writers and filmmakers and their critiques of the postcolonial state. Topics include their exploration of gender, sexuality, language choice, the pressures placed on "authentic" identities by diasporic communities, and the conflicting claims of tradition and modernity. Usually offered every third year.
Faith Smith

AAAS 133b The Literature of the Caribbean
[ hum nw ss wi ]
An exploration of the narrative strategies and themes of writers of the region who grapple with issues of colonialism, class, race, ethnicity, and gender in a context of often-conflicting allegiances to North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Usually offered every second year.
Faith Smith

AAAS 134b Novel and Film of the African Diaspora
[ hum nw ]
Writers and filmmakers, who are usually examined separately under national or regional canonical categories such as "(North) American," "Latin American," "African," "British," or "Caribbean," are brought together here to examine transnational identities and investments in "authentic," "African," or "black" identities. Usually offered every third year.
Faith Smith

CHIN 136b Chinese Modernism in International Context
[ hum nw ]
Taught in English.
Examines the origins, recurrences, and metamorphosis of modernistic styles and movements in twentieth-century Chinese literature, film, fine art, and intellectual discourses. Usually offered every second year.
Pu Wang

CHIN 136bj Chinese Modernism in International Context
[ hum nw ]
Taught in English.
Examines the origins, recurrences, and metamorphosis of modernistic styles and movements in twentieth-century Chinese literature, film, fine art, and intellectual discourses. Offered as part of JBS program.
Pu Wang

CLAS 166a Medieval Literature: A Millennium of God, Sex, and Death
[ hum wi ]
A survey of medieval Latin literature in translation, beginning with the fourth-century church fathers and ending with the early Renaissance. Includes Augustine, Ambrose, Jerome, Egeria, Jordanes, Gregory of Tours, Isidore of Seville, Bede, Alcuin, Einhard, Hroswitha, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Hildegard, Anselm, and others. Usually offered every fourth year.
Cheryl Walker

CLAS 170a Classical Mythology
[ hum ]
An introduction to Greek and Roman mythology. Considers ancient song cultures, and the relationship between myth, drama, and religion. Also explores visual representations of myth. Usually offered every second year.
Joel Christensen

ECS 100a European Cultural Studies Proseminar: Modernism
[ hum wi ]
Explores the interrelationship of literature, music, painting, philosophy, and other arts in the era of high modernism. Works by Artaud, Baudelaire, Benjamin, Mann, Mahler, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Kandinsky, Schiele, Beckett, Brecht, Adorno, Sartre, Heidegger, and others. Usually offered every fall semester.
Stephen Dowden

ECS 100b European Cultural Studies Proseminar: Making of European Modernity
[ hum wi ]
Investigates how the paradigm of what we know as modernity came into being. We will look at the works of writers and philosophers such as Descartes, Aquinas, Dante, Ockham, Petrarch, Ficino, Rabelais, and Montaigne. Artwork from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance will be used to understand better what "the modern" means. Usually offered every spring semester.
Michael Randall

ECS/ENG 110a Thinking about Infinity
[ hum ]
Explores the attempts of the finite human mind to think about infinity. Readings in mathematics, history of science, philosophy, literature, and art, including Euclid, Plato, Cantor, Poincaré, Einstein, Pascal, Kant, Hegel, Wordsworth, Shelley, Joyce, Beckett, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Usually offered every third year.
Mr. Flesch

ENG 107a Women Writing Desire: Caribbean Fiction and Film
[ hum ]
About eight novels of the last two decades (by Cliff, Cruz, Danticat, Garcia, Kempadoo, Kincaid, Mittoo, Nunez, Pineau, Powell, or Rosario), drawn from across the region, and read in dialogue with popular culture, theory, and earlier generations of male and female writers of the region. Usually offered every third year.
Faith Smith

ENG 111b Postcolonial Theory
[ hum ]
Introduces students to key concepts in postcolonial theory. Traces the consequences of European colonialism for politics, culture and literature around the world, situates these within ongoing contemporary debates, and considers the usefulness of postcolonial theory for understanding the world today. Usually offered every third year.
Ulka Anjaria

ENG 115b Fictions of Liberty: Europe in a Revolutionary Age
[ hum ]
The "Age of Enlightenment" fostered new notions of human rights that found their tumultuous proving ground in the French Revolution. Through writings from several genres and nations, this course explores some of the political, economic, religious, racial, and sexual "fictions of liberty" that have shaped our own time. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

ENG 121a Sex and Culture
[ hum ]
An exploration of the virtually unlimited explanatory power attributed to sexuality in the modern world. "Texts" include examples from literature, film, television, pornography, sexology, and theory. Usually offered every second year.
Paul Morrison

ENG 127a The Novel in India
[ hum nw ]
Survey of the novel and short story of the Indian subcontinent, their formal experiments in context of nationalism and postcolonial history. Authors may include Tagore, Anand, Manto, Desani, Narayan, Desai, Devi, Rushdie, Roy, Mistry, and Chaudhuri. Usually offered every second year.
Ulka Anjaria

ENG 127b Migrating Bodies, Migrating Texts
[ hum nw ]
Beginning with the region's representation as a tabula rasa, examines the textual and visual constructions of the Caribbean as colony, homeland, backyard, paradise, and Babylon, and how the region's migrations have prompted ideas about evolution, hedonism, imperialism, nationalism, and diaspora. Usually offered every second year.
Faith Smith

ENG 128a Alternative Worlds: Modern Utopian Texts
[ hum ]
British, European, and American works depicting alternate, often "better" worlds, including More's Utopia, Margaret Cavendish's The Blazing World, Voltaire's Candide, Casanova's Icosameron, selections from Charles Fourier, Alexander Bogdanov's Red Star, Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis: Dawn, Wolfgang Becker's Goodbye Lenin! Usually offered every third year.
Staff

ENG 152b Arthurian Literature
[ hum ]
A survey of (mostly) medieval treatments of the legendary material associated with King Arthur and his court, in several genres: bardic poetry, history, romance, prose narrative. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

ENG 197b Within the Veil: African-American and Muslim Women's Writing
[ hum ]
In twentieth-century United States culture, the veil has become a powerful metaphor, signifying initially the interior of African-American community and the lives of Muslims globally. This course investigates issues of identity, imperialism, cultural loyalty, and spirituality by looking at and linking contemporary writing by African-American and Muslim women. Usually offered every third year.
Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman

FREN 110a Cultural Representations
[ fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
A foundation course in French and Francophone culture, analyzing texts and other cultural phenomena such as film, painting, music, and politics. Usually offered every year.
Clémentine Fauré-Bellaïche, Hollie Harder, or Michael Randall

GECS 130b The Princess and the Golem: Fairy Tales
[ hum wi ]
Conducted in English.
Compares Walt Disney’s films with German and other European fairy tales from the nineteenth and twentieth century, focusing on feminist and psychoanalytic readings. Usually offered every second year.
Sabine von Mering

GECS 167a German Cinema: Vamps and Angels
[ hum wi ]
Open to all students. Conducted in English with readings in English translation.
From silent film to Leni Riefenstahl and Nazi cinema, from postwar cinema in the East and West to new German film after unification, this course traces aesthetic strategies, reflections on history, memory, subjectivity, and political, cultural, and film-historical contexts with an emphasis on gender issues. Usually offered every second year.
Sabine von Mering

HISP 120b Don Quixote
[ hum ]
Taught in English.
Don Quixote is: a) a compendium of prior literary genres; b) the first modern novel; c) a funny book; d) a deep meditation on the human condition; e) the best novel ever written; f) all of the above. Usually offered every second year.
James Mandrell

HISP 160a Culture and Social Change in Latin America
[ fl hum nw wi ]
Prerequisite: HISP 109b or HISP 111b, or permission of the instructor.
Examines the relationship between the arts (including literature, film, and fine arts) and society in Latin America during the twentieth century by focusing on three historical conjunctures when this relationship was particularly rich: the political and artistic vanguards of the 1920s (with particular attention to the Mexican Revolution and its aftermath); the 1960s, marked by the historical turning point of the Cuban Revolution; and the decade of the 1990s, characterized by the transition to democracy, the emergence of human rights and other social movements. Usually offered every second year.
Fernando Rosenberg

HISP 196a Topics in Latina/o Literature and Culture
[ hum wi ]
May be repeated for credit. May be taught in English or Spanish.
Offers students the opportunity for in-depth study of a particular aspect of the diverse literary and cultural production of U.S. latinas and latinos. Topics will vary from year to year but may include autobiography, detective fiction, or historical fiction. Usually offered every third year.
James Mandrell or Lucía Reyes de Deu

HISP 198a Experiential Research Seminar in Literary and Cultural Studies
[ hum wi ]
May be taught in English or Spanish.
A research seminar in which each student has the opportunity to become an “expert” in a Hispanic literary or cultural text/topic that captures her or his imagination, inspired by a study abroad experience; an earlier class in Hispanic Studies; community-engaged learning; etc. Instruction in literary/cultural theory, researching a subject, and analytical skills necessary for developing a scholarly argument. Students present research in progress and write a research paper of significant length. Usually offered every year.
Fernando Rosenberg or Jerónimo Arellano

HOID 102b Knowledge and Power
[ hum ]
What is the relationship between knowledge and power? Using the work of Michel Foucault as a foundation, this course will explore the interweaving effects of power and knowledge in institutions and their systems of thought. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

HUM 10a The Western Canon
[ hum ]
May not be taken by students who have taken FYS 18a in prior years.
Foundational texts of the Western canon: the Bible, Homer, Vergil, and Dante. Thematic emphases and supplementary texts vary from year to year.
Staff

HUM/UWS 1a Tragedy: Love and Death in the Creative Imagination
[ hum uws ]
Enrollment limited to Humanities Fellows.
How do you turn catastrophe into art - and why? This first-year seminar in the humanities addresses such elemental questions, especially those centering on love and death. How does literature catch hold of catastrophic experiences and make them intelligible or even beautiful? Should misery even be beautiful? By exploring the tragic tradition in literature across many eras, cultures, genres, and languages, this course looks for basic patterns. Usually offered every year.
John Burt and Stephen Dowden

HUM/UWS 2a Crime and Punishment: Justice and Criminality from Plato to Serial
[ hum uws ]
Enrollment limited to Humanities Fellows. Formerly offered as COML/HOI 103a.
Examines concepts of criminality, justice, and punishment in Western humanist traditions. We will trace conversations about jurisprudence in literature, philosophy, political theory, and legal studies. Topics include democracy and the origins of justice, narrating criminality, and the aesthetic force mobilized by criminal trials. This course also involves observing local courtroom proceedings and doing research in historical archives about significant criminal prosecutions. Usually offered every year.
Eugene Sheppard and David Sherman

JAPN 130a The Literature of Multicultural Japan
[ hum nw ]
"Multicultural" may not be an adjective that many associate with Japan, but as we will find in this class, Japan's modern literary and cinematic tradition is rich with works by and about resident Koreans, Ainu, Okinawans, outcasts, and sexual and other marginalized minorities. Why then does the image of a monocultural Japan remain so resilient? Usually offered every third year.
Matthew Fraleigh

JAPN 135a Screening National Images: Japanese Film and Anime in Global Context
[ hum nw ]
All films and readings are in English.
An introduction to some major directors and works of postwar Japanese film and anime with special attention to such issues as genre, medium, adaptation, narrative, and the circulation of national images in the global setting. Usually offered every third year.
Matthew Fraleigh

NEJS 140b Early Modern Jewish History
[ hum ]
Examines Jewish history and culture in early modern Europe: mass conversions on the Iberian peninsula, migrations, reconversions back to Judaism, the printing revolution, the Reformation and Counter Reformation, ghettos, gender, family, everyday life, material culture, communal structure, rabbinical culture, mysticism, magic, science, messianic movements, Hasidism, mercantilism, and early modern challenges to Judaism.
ChaeRan Freeze or Eugene Sheppard

NEJS 177a The Holocaust in Israeli and Jewish Literature
[ hum ]
Taught in English.
A broad survey of Holocaust writings in Modern Jewish literature. Examines the psychological, social, moral, and aesthetic challenges involved in representing the Holocaust in Israeli, American, and European context through literary texts, theoretical research, works of art, and film. Usually offered every third year.
Ilana Szobel

NEJS 181a Jews on Screen: From "Cohen’s Fire Sale" to the Coen Brothers
[ hum ]
Open to all students.
Survey course focusing on moving images of Jews and Jewish life in fiction and factual films. Includes early Russian and American silents, home movies of European Jews, Yiddish feature films, Israeli cinema, independent films, and Hollywood classics. Usually offered every second year.
Sharon Rivo

NEJS 183b Global Jewish Literature
[ hum wi ]
May not be taken for credit by students who took NEJS 171a in prior years.
Introduces important works of modern Jewish literature, graphic fiction, and film. Taking a comparative approach, it addresses major themes in contemporary Jewish culture, interrogates the "Jewishness" of the works and considers issues of language, poetics, and culture significant to Jewish identity. Usually offered every second year.
Ellen Kellman

RECS 161b Slavic Folklore and Myth: Epic Heroes, Lucky Fools, Iron-Toothed Witches and the Undead
[ hum ]
Explores the magical and mysterious world of Russian and Slavic folklore, including folk mythology and demonology, seasonal rituals and folk magic, proverbs and riddles, folk tales and oral epic poetry. Coursework will consist of readings, discussions, papers, and projects. Usually offered every year.
Curt Woolhiser

SAS 140a We Who Are at Home Everywhere: Narratives from the South Asian Diaspora
[ hum ]
Looks at narratives from various locations of the South Asian Diaspora, while paying close attention to the emergence of an immigrant South Asian public culture. Examines novels, poetry, short stories, film, and music in order to further an understanding of South Asian immigrant culture. Usually offered every third year.
Harleen Singh

THA 115b The Avant-Gardes in Performance
[ ca hum ]
Explores the avant-garde movements including symbolism, decadence, futurism, constructivism, Dada, surrealism, expressionism, existentialism, pop art and happenings, performance art, minimalism, and postmodernism as alternative forms of expression that challenge mainstream art. Attention is paid to the interactions among theater, painting, dance, music, and film. Usually offered every second year.
Dmitry Troyanovsky

THA 133b Acting the Classics
[ ca ]
Prerequisites: THA 11a, THA 11b and THA 21b or permission of the instructor. Four class hours per week.
Explores specific approaches to rehearsing and performing in the heightened world of classical texts, including William Shakespeare. The course is designed to release the actor’s creative energies by stimulating an appetite for size, power and extravagant physical/vocal communication, to deepen the actor’s analytical skills and free the actor for greater intellectual and emotional engagement. You will develop a respect for and understanding of form while gaining ease and joy in the fully realized expression of heightened language texts. Usually offered every second year.
Marya Lowry

THA 185b Advanced Playwriting and Dramatic Structure
[ ca ]
Prerequisites: THA 11a, THA 11b and THA 71a or permission of the instructor.
Students write plays inspired by the dramatic structures of scripts from the Greeks to the present. Texts analyzed include works by Euripides, Seneca, Hegel, Aristotle, Racine, Sarah Kane, Lope de Vega, Shakespeare, Harold Pinter, Richard Greenberg, Caryl Churchill, Arthur Schnitzler, David Hare, Sergi Belbel, and Kuan Han-ch’ing. Usually offered every second year.
Ryan McKittrick