19178

LIT 142

 The Canterbury Tales

Marisa Libbon

M  W      1:30-2:50 pm

ASP 302

LA

ELIT

Cross-listed: Medieval Studies  What in the world can storytelling accomplish? This question drives Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and will likewise guide our semester-long exploration of it. An instant classic after Chaucer’s death in 1400, The Canterbury Tales inspired “fan fiction” almost immediately and has since been enshrined as an essential work within the English literary canon, counting writers from Shakespeare to T.S. Eliot among its later readers and admirers. At odds with (or perhaps partly responsible for) its current “insider” and canonical status, though, is the fact that The Canterbury Tales remains one of the most radically experimental works written in English. By turns beautiful and dirty, politically risky and calculatedly evasive, poetry and prose, the Tales tests, negotiates, and worries over the ways in which language—written, spoken, read, overheard—constructs reality. It challenges gender and class norms; queries and queers the relationship between tale and teller; and calls into question institutional authority and social hierarchy. Following Chaucer’s lead, we’ll grapple with how literature does (and sometimes does not) influence social change; that is, what’s the point of telling stories? This is a pre-1800 Literature course offering. Class size: 22

 

19186

LIT 2026

introduction to Children’S and Young Adult Literature

Maria Cecire

M  W      3:10-4:30 pm

ASP 302

LA

D+J

ELIT

What is children’s literature? Who is it for? In this course you will be encouraged to think about how notions of childhood and teenagerdom are constructed and reproduced in Anglophone literature for young people, and to interrogate the social and literary structures that guide these representations. Our goal will be to gain familiarity with the history of children’s literature in English and some of its major genres, while constantly challenging our own conceptions of childhood and literariness. How can we, as adults and critics, read a book that has been classed as “children’s literature”? How do we theorize texts that are written for children by adults? What makes a work of children’s literature a classic? Can we say that children’s literature “colonizes” the child? Given their importance to contemporary ideas of the child, we will give special attention to questions of gender and sexuality throughout the semester. Course texts include literature by J.M. Barrie, C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, Diana Wynne Jones, Toni Morrison, and M.T. Anderson, as well as a selection of picture books.  Class size: 22

 

19175

LIT 2117

 Russian Laughter

Marina Kostalevsky

 T  Th    3:10-4:30 pm

OLIN 310

LA

ELIT

Cross-listed: Russian Studies A study of laughter and its manifestation in Russian literary tradition.  Issues to be discussed relate to such concepts and genres as romantic irony, social and political satire, literary parody, carnival, and the absurd.  We will examine how authors as distinct as Dostoevsky and Bulgakov create comic effects and utilize laughter for various artistic purposes.  We will also examine some of the major theories of laughter developed by Hobbs, Bergson, Freud, Bakhtin and others. Required readings  include the works of major Russian writers starting with the late-eighteenth-century satirical play by Denis Fonvisin and ending with Venedict Erofeev's underground cult masterpiece:  a contemplation on the life of a perpetually drunk philosopher in the former Soviet Union. Conducted in English.  Class size: 18

 

19185

LIT 218

 Free Speech

Thomas Keenan

M  W      11:50-1:10 pm

RKC 102

MBV

D+J

HUM

DIFF

Cross-listed: Human Rights  An introduction to debates about freedom of expression. What is 'freedom of speech'? Is there a right to say anything? Why? We will investigate who has had this right, where it has come from, and what it has had to do in particular with literature and the arts. What powers does speech have, who has the power to speak, and for what? Debates about censorship, hate speech, the First Amendment and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will be obvious starting points, but we will also explore some less obvious questions: about faith and the secular, confession and torture, surveillance, the emergence of political agency. In asking about the status of the speaking human subject, we will look at the ways in which the subject of rights, and indeed the thought of human rights itself, derives from a 'literary' experience. These questions will be examined, if not answered, across a variety of literary, philosophical, legal and political texts, with a heavy dose of case studies (many of them happening right now) and readings in contemporary critical and legal theory.  This course will be taught as a network course with parallel classes at Bard Berlin, Smolny, Al-Quds Bard, EHU, and AUCA.  Class size: 22

 

19170

LIT 221

 AraBic LitERATURE, World LitERATURE, AND THE UntranslaTABLE

Ziad Dallal

M  W      3:10-4:30 pm

OLIN 309

FL

FLLC

Cross-listed: Middle Eastern Studies  World Literature retains a central but debatable prestige in contemporary literary studies. Some view World Literature as an inevitable consequence of a more-connected world in the wake of the global marketplace; others view it as a term which conceals asymmetrical linguistic power relations and furthers the power of English as a literary language. Certainly, Arabic literature has been globally received through the category of World Literature. This course assesses different understandings of “World Literature” and in turn complicates our contemporary reception of Arabic Literature. We will read Arabic literary texts and pair them with a diverse selection of theoretical material, examining the problematics and politics of translation. This course will read Arabic authors from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century, such as Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq, Tayyib Salih, Naguib Mahfouz, and Mohamed el-Bisatie. Theoretical readings will include essays by Emily Apter, Gayatri Spivak, Pascal Casanova, David Damrosch.  This course is part of the World Literature offering. Class size: 20

 

19193

LIT 2241

 Life in the Medieval Church

Karen Sullivan

 T  Th    10:10-11:30 am

OLIN 308

LA

ELIT

Cross-listed:  Medieval Studies Throughout the Middle Ages, Christians interpreted and reinterpreted the accounts of the lives of Jesus Christ, the Apostles, and the martyrs of the early Church and strove to imitate these lives in their own daily existence. In the course of this ever-renewed return to the sources, Christians struggled to adapt these early models of sanctity to a world radically different from that of their predecessors. Should one remove oneself from the corruption if the world or remain within it and attempt to reform it? Should one attach oneself to the wretched of the earth, sharing in their poverty and misery, or seek power in order to bring society into conformity with God's will? Should one study classical literature and philosophy, in the hope that they will strengthen one's faith, or avoid these fields, in the fear that they will weaken it? What should the role of women be in the spiritual, intellectual, and institutional fabric of Christianity? The history of the Church in the Middle Ages is largely the history of changing answers to these questions, as late antique models of sanctity give way to monasticism; as challenges to the Church arise both from within, in the form of the Gregorian and other reforms, and from without, in the form of heretical sects; as the mendicant orders, with their scholastic training, gain intellectual and, ultimately, political power within ecclesiastical institutions; and, finally, as practitioners of the anti-scholastic “modern devotion” (devotio moderna) come to prominence on the eve of the Renaissance. Readings will be drawn from biblical, patristic, Benedictine, Cistercian, Dominican, Franciscan, and other sources.  This is a pre-1800 Literature course offering. Class size: 18

 

19171

LIT 231

 Art, Aesthetics, and Modernism in the  Arab World

Dina Ramadan

M  W      1:30-2:50 pm

OLIN 202

FL

D+J

FLLC

Cross-listed: Art History; Human Rights; Middle Eastern Studies  Spanning the first seven decades of the 20th century, and drawing on artistic movements from Marrakesh to Ramallah, from Khartoum to Baghdad, this course traces the debates and discourses that shaped the development of modern art in the Arab world. Drawing from an understudied archive of primary documents that includes art criticism, manifestos, artists’ correspondence, diary entries, and guest-book comments, students will consider Arab artists’ and critics’ varied engagements with a global modernism. Against the backdrop of rapidly changing geopolitical realities—the dissolution of empires, the redrawing of boundaries, the promises of nationalist movements, the birth of refugee and diasporic communities—artists, poets, philosophers, as well as religious and political figures participated in heated exchanges regarding the nature of art education, the revival of aesthetic traditions, the significance of figurative and abstract art, the role of art in political resistance, and the possibilities of regional or international artistic alliances. Students will also be exposed to a growing body of scholarship to situate the primary texts within a theoretical and historical framework. Over the course of the semester students will work towards producing a short museum-catalogue essay on an artist or movement. All readings will be in English; students with Arabic (or French) proficiency will have the opportunity to work with documents in the original language.

Class size: 22

 

19187

LIT 2318

 toward the condition of music: Poetry and Aesthetics in Victorian EnglAND

Stephen Graham

 T  Th    11:50-1:10 pm

OLINLC 210

LA

ELIT

Cross-listed: Victorian  Studies John Ruskin announced in Modern Painters (1843) that the greatest art must contain “the greatest number of the greatest ideas.” Fifty years later, Oscar Wilde declared with equal assurance the “All art is quite useless.” What happened in that intervening half-century? Reading major Victorian poets including Tennyson, Browning, Christina Rossetti, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thomas Hardy and William Butler Yeats, as well as criticism by Ruskin, Matthew Arnold, Walter Pater, and Wilde—among the finest prose stylists of the century—this course follows the evolution of poetry and poetic theory, and the accompanying Victorian debate about the status of art and of the artist in relation to society. This latter narrative begins with Alfred Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate and cultural institution, and concludes with Oscar Wilde, social pariah and convicted felon, as Victorian poets gradually withdraw from their position in the center of the culture to a stance of defiance, transgression, and martyrdom.  Class size: 15

 

19172

LIT 238

 Revolutionary Thought & Poetry

Jason Kavett

 T  Th    3:10-4:30 pm

OLINLC 118

FL

FLLC

Cross-listed: German  Studies; Jewish Studies  This course is concerned with revolutionary writings in European contexts and literary texts in dialogue with them. Texts by Gustav Landauer, Rosa Luxemburg, and Peter Kropotkin, as well as works by Bertolt Brecht, René Char, and Paul Celan will animate our conversations. We will pay particular attention to the horizons of Jewish culture and anti-Semitism, reflections on poetic language and experience, and the stakes of literary resistance. In addition, recent historical accounts and documentaries will give us further context for considering how literature's relations with revolutionary thought shift between the end of the 19th century and the period after the great catastrophes of the 20th century.  Class size: 22

 

19188

LIT 2404

 Fantastic Journeys in the Modern World

Jonathan Brent

    F        3:00-5:20 pm

OLIN 201

LA

ELIT

Cross-listed: Jewish Studies; Russian Studies  We will  explore the literature of the Fantastic of Eastern Europe and Russia from the early 20th century to the 1960s in writers such as Ansky, Kharms, Kafka, Capek, Schultz, Mayakovsky, Erofeyev, Olesha and others.  Fantastic literature, as Calvino has noted, takes as its subject the problem of "reality." In this class, we will discuss questions of identity, meaning, consciousness, as well as understanding of the relationship between the individual and society in these writers. This course is part of the World Literature offering. Class size: 22

 

 

19173

LIT 241

 Sex, Lies and the Renaissance

Joseph Luzzi

M  W      11:50-1:10 pm

OLIN 201

FL

FLLC

Cross-listed: Italian Studies  This new course will study how the Renaissance changed the world we live in today, as we learn how the period was a time of ongoing cultural experimentation and radical change that was only understood hundreds of years after it appeared. With topics ranging from Machiavelli's masterpiece on the relation between deceit and power in the Prince to the new paradigms for gender and sexuality in leading woman writers and artists including Vittoria Colonna and Artemisia Gentileschi, we will reconstruct the Renaissance in all its complexity and groundbreaking influence. Other topics will include the birth of the modern “artist” through the work of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Botticelli, and their pioneering biographer Vasari, and the emergence of new international institutions like the Medici banking empire and a highly political—and often sinister—papacy. We will also unpack the idea of “the Renaissance,” or age of “rebirth,” in the brilliant 19th-century historians, ranging from Burckhardt and Michelet to Pater and Ruskin. Overall, we will see how the Renaissance was much more than a mere moment in cultural history; it was and remains a mindset that continues to shape the way we make art and literature. This is a pre-1800 Literature course offering. All course work in English. Class size: 22

 

19602

SPAN 241

 20TH CENTURY SPANISH AMERICAN SHORT STORY

John Burns

M W       11:50-1:10 pm

OLIN 301

FL

FLLC

Cross-list: Latin American and Iberian Studies; Literature    The 20th Century Spanish American short story embodies cultural traditions and literary currents unique to the American continent and encapsulates important philosophical discussions that resonate in contexts far beyond the region. This course explores the major themes and styles of short stories by key Spanish American writers in English translation.These authors include Jorge Luis Borges, María Luisa Bombal, Juan Rulfo, Elena Garro, Gabriel García Márquez, Luisa Valenzuela and Roberto Bolaño, among others. We will examine detective fiction, fantastic literature and examples of magical realism, as well as writing that explores politics, the effects of colonial history on the present and representations of desire and gender relationships. Conducted in English. Class size: 18

 

19174

LIT 242

 Race, Class, and Gender in modern  Japan

Wakako Suzuki

M  W      1:30-2:50 pm

OLINLC 208

FL

D+J

FLLC

In this class, we examine the social construction of minority groups and its intersections with race, class, gender, and sexuality through the prism of films, literature and visual media. We explore how Japanese cultural productions have represented race, class and gender. This course is based on the premise that film and literature are never simply a diversion or a form of entertainment. Instead, they provide us with stories, images and scripts that enable us to better understand social identities, cultural ideologies, community formations and institutional arrangements. By looking at both old genres and new media, we aim to gain insights into how these representations consequently shape and influence our understanding of “people” in the real world. Includes work by Ōe Kenzaburō, Kirino Natsuo, Ri Kaisei, Hirabayashi Taiko, Hayashi Fumiko, Imamura Shōhei, and many others.  Class size: 22

 

19184

LIT 245

 Palestinian Literature in Translation

Elizabeth Holt

  W  F     10:10-11:30 am

OLINLC 206

LA

ELIT

Cross-listed: Human Rights; Middle Eastern Studies   This course is a survey of Palestinian literature, from the early Arabic press in Palestine to contemporary Palestinian fiction.  We will read short stories, poetry and novels by authors including Ghassan Kanafani, Emile Habiby, Samira 'Azzam, Anton Shammas, Mahmoud Darwish, Sahar Khalifeh, Fedwa Tuqan, and Elias Khoury.  All literary texts will be read in translation.  Class size: 20

 

19189

LIT 2501

 Shakespeare

Joseph Mansky

M  W      10:10-11:30 am

OLIN 303

LA

ELIT

Before Shakespeare was ever an icon, an industry, or required reading in high schools throughout the world, he was merely one of dozens of poets and playwrights working in London around the turn of the seventeenth century. This course attempts to recover an unfiltered view of Shakespeare’s works by performing close readings grounded in an attention to their historical conditions. We will learn how Shakespeare’s writings are embedded in theatrical and literary traditions, and how they fit into a context undergoing tremendous social, political, artistic, and intellectual upheaval. Through careful investigations of Shakespeare’s techniques, we will also discover how his writings engage philosophical and social issues relating to politics, sexuality, gender, and race that remain pressing today. While our primary aim will be to cultivate our close-reading skills, we will also draw on philosophical texts, theater history, film, and performance work. In addition to the sonnets, we will read representative plays that span Shakespeare’s career, including Richard III, Love's Labour's Lost, Henry IV pt. 1, Macbeth, As You Like It, Othello, and Cymbeline. Open to all students. This course counts as pre-1800 offering. Class size: 18

 

19190

LIT 2607

 Introduction  to Literary Theory

Elizabeth Holt

  W  F     1:30-2:50 pm

OLIN 304

LA

ELIT

DIFF

This course focuses on key theoretical works from the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries. If literary theory rigorously questions things we take to be common sense -- what precisely do we mean when we talk about “authors” and “texts,” for instance? -- it also provides a space for the critical, creative linking of the literary to the social. How has colonialism shaped our ideas of the novel? What is the relationship between theories of intention and the performance of gender? And how do questions of racial difference intersect with models of narrative voice? We will read works that tackle these issues (and more) by theorists including Walter Benjamin, John Crowe Ransom, Judith Butler, Edward Said, Roland Barthes, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Gayatri Spivak, Aamir Mufti, and Raymond Williams.  Class size: 18

 

19191

LIT 270

 Asian American Literature

Nathan Shockey

 T  Th    11:50-1:10 pm

OLIN 309

LA

D+J

ELIT

DIFF

Cross-listed: American Studies; Asian Studies  This course explores a range of fiction associated with the category “Asian American,” a name which ties together a wide variety of communities and cultures. We will read different forms of narrative as we explore the internal complexity of this contested category of “Asian American” along axes of class, ethnic identity, gender, immigration status, and language. In addition, we will consider the ways in which Asian American literature is inseparable from its historical context, such as the experience of exclusion, internment, war, (post)colonialism, and political activism. Authors include Mine Okubo, Carlos Bulosan, John Okada, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Elaine Castillo, Kao Kalia Yang, Thi Bui, Akhil Sharma, Krys Lee, Chang-Rae Lee, Frank Chin, and more. The core of the course’s reading materials will be novels, but we will also read and discuss works of film, comics, theater, and graphic art. Class size: 18

 

19192

LIT 274

 REPRESENTING AMBITION: SOCIAL (IM)MOBILITY IN THE 19th Century French Novel

Marina van Zuylen

 T  Th    1:30-2:50 pm

OLIN 101

LA

ELIT

Cross-listed: French Studies  Marrying for money, killing for fame, renouncing love for social status, are only a few of the dilemmas encountered in the great age of the French novel. Framed by Sara Ahmed’s “performativity of disgust and shame,” Pierre Bourdieu’s “social capital,” Lauren Berlant’s “Cruel Optimism,” and Alexandre Kojève’s Hegelian theories of “recognition,” we will examine the ways in which these new self-made protagonists have internalized notions of prestige, humiliation, and recognition to the point of ruining their lives and the lives of others. Readings include: Balzac, Lost Illusions, Stendhal, The Red and the Black, Flaubert, Madame Bovary,  Maupassant, Bel Ami. All readings in translation. French speakers will read the novels in the original language with an extra hour of discussion in French.  Prerequisite: Students will have read Balzac’s Lost Illusion before the first class (Katherine Rains’s translation, ISBN-10: 0375757902). Class size: 18