92020

LIT 129

 Moby Dick Lives

Alexandre Benson

 T  Th    4:40-6:00 pm

OLIN 201

LA

ELIT

Cross-listed: American Studies; Environmental & Urban Studies   Open both to intended Literature students and to others interested in developing skills in close-reading and contextualizing texts, this course focuses on Herman Melville’s radically unconventional 1851 novel, Moby-Dick; or, the Whale. We will read it with slow care, studying its artistry at the level of the sentence while also addressing its most leviathanic themes: authoritarianism, economy, religion, race, disability, sexuality, and ecology. At the same time, we will track its influence across later historical moments and other artistic media, looking at works of poetry, sculpture, theater, science fiction, critical theory, animation, and popular music -- works that engage with Moby-Dick either by adapting it, echoing it, or critiquing it. What is it about this novel, which flopped when first published, that has resonated in such varied aesthetic and social contexts over the last century and a half? And what might Captain Ahab’s whale-hunt mean today? Finding answers to these questions will bring us to Elizabeth Bishop, Ralph Ellison, Donna Haraway, C. L. R. James, Toni Morrison, Frank Stella, Orson Welles, and others.  Class size: 22

 

92303

LIT 131

 WOMEN AND LEADERSHIP

Deirdre d’Albertis

  F      10:00 am–12:00pm

Chapel

D+J

 

2 credits It is 2018. Why aren't there more women in leadership positions? According to a 2014 Pew Research Center report, the majority of American men and women acknowledge the capacity of women to lead. Yet in certain domains--most notably politics and business--women continue to be under-represented at the top.  Recent elections have galvanized the electorate around constructions of gender in particularly dramatic ways.  If we are living in a post-feminist society (as some claim), why do these questions and conflicts continue to arise? Identity is an urgent conversation in 21st-century politics and everyday life, and this includes awareness of how intersectionality shapes gendered experiences. What are the stories that we tell ourselves and each other about equality, representation, privilege, freedom, authority, and success? How do these inflect real-world outcomes for individuals and societies?  In this two-credit course we will explore some of the stories that circulate in our culture around women and power, both from an academic and from a practical, real-world perspective. What does it mean to lead? How do we use a language of empowerment? Why has the United States embraced certain narratives of gender equity and success as opposed to those being created in other countries and cultures? We will focus on learning from women who are committed to making a difference in the world through their personal and professional choices, hearing their stories, and reading texts that have been particularly important to them in their lives and work. So too, we will engage with stories from the past (archival research),  from across disciplines (the military, higher education, STEM, the arts, tech, media) and from a wide range of perspectives.  As an Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences course, this seminar will provide students with the unique opportunity to bring theory and practice together in a very immediate sense: by the end of the term you will have identified a story only you can tell, whether it is based in political activism, community engagement, or work experience. Drawing on the rich resources here in Annandale as well as through Bard's other campuses (Simon's Rock, Holyoke Microcollege) we will reach out to groups and organizations with a shared focus on gender. Network building is something we will explicitly address and we will convene for a Summit late in the semester.  This course is open to all first-year students. Upper College students may also participate if selected to serve as course fellows.  Class size: 20

 

92028

LIT 206

 SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL:

 Goethe's Faust

Franz Kempf

M  W      10:10-11:30 am

OLIN 306

LA

ELIT

Cross-listed: German  Studies An intensive study of Goethe's drama about a man in league with the devil. The dynamics of Faust's striving for knowledge of the world and experience of life and Mephistopheles' advancement and subversion of this striving provides the basis for our analysis of the play's central themes, individuality, knowledge and transcendence, in regard to their meaning in Goethe's time and their relevance for our time. To gain a fuller appreciation of the variety, complexity, and dramatic fascination of Goethe's Faust, we will also consider Faust literature before and after Goethe and explore the integration of Faust in music, theater, and film  (e.g., Marlowe’s tragedy Doctor Faustus, Arrigo Boito's opera Mefistofele, Friedrich W. Murnau's film Faust).  Taught in English. Students with an advanced proficiency in German can sign up for a tutorial in German. 

This is a pre-1800 Literature course offering. Class size: 18

 

92328

LIT 2060

 THE ARABIC NOVEL

Elizabeth Holt

 W   F  10:10 am – 11:30 am

OLINLC 118

FL

D+J

FLLC

DIFF

Cross-listed: Africana Studies,  Middle Eastern Studies  In this course, we read a group of Arabic novels and short stories from Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, and the wider Arab diaspora. Through this sampling of texts – in addition to accompanying critical literature, films, lectures, and discussion – students will gain a broad-based understanding of the history of Arabic literature, including its formal developments, genres, and themes. The selected texts provide an opportunity for the discussion of colonialism and post-colonialism, globalization, occupation and liberation, religion vs. secularization, Orientalism and Neo-Orientalism, Islam and the West, and gender and women issues. A critical stance toward the dominant narratives of Arabic literary history – especially that of the Arabic novel’s origin and development – calls into question the accepted canon of modern Arabic literature and the subjective processes of literary canonization generally speaking. Frequent written assignments and active class participation are required. Taught in English. This course is part of the World Literature offering. Class size: 22

 

92078

LIT 2064

 Other Romanticisms

Cole Heinowitz

 T  Th    1:30-2:50 pm

OLINLC 120

LA

D+J

ELIT

DIFF

It is only in recent decades that studies of Romantic poetry have begun to look beyond the “Big Six”: Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, and Byron. Yet between the 1780s and the 1830s, Britain witnessed an explosion of writing by figures generally excluded from the canon, including women, proletarians, people of color, peasants, and those deemed insane. In this course, we will explore the works of this “other” Romantic tradition while taking into account the ways in which political issues and social mores shape a body of literature and mediate its status in the marketplace. We will also question conventional understandings of British Romanticism itself, challenging assumptions about its historical, aesthetic, political, and philosophical characteristics. Readings to include works by George Crabbe, Robert Burns, Anna Barbauld, Mary Prince, John Clare, Thomas Beddoes, Laetitia Elizabeth Landon, Isaac d’Israeli, and William Hazlitt. Some previous exposure to Romantic literature is required.  Class size: 22

 

92026

LIT 215

 Heroes, Saints & Villains

Francine Prose

    F        1:30-3:50 pm

OLIN 101

LA

ELIT

Cross-listed: Human Rights  In the chaos of our current moral climate, what do these words still mean? In this class, we will read literature in which the characters range from the angelic to the demonic, works by authors including Dostoyevsky, Nabokov, Chekhov, Kleist, Flannery O’Connor, John Cheever, Simone Weil, St. Theresa of Avila, Mavis Gallant, and Edward St. Aubyn. Can literature persuade us to rethink our opinions, to sympathize with the guilty, to reconsider our easy and reflexive moral judgments? When is judgment useful and necessary—and when does it narrow and constrict our range of vision? Students wishing to enroll should email Prof. Prose at prose@bard.edu, explaining their reasons for wanting to take the course. Students from all fields are strongly encouraged to apply, provided they are eager to do massive amounts of reading.  Class size: 15

 

92074

LIT 2191

 Media & Metropolis IN Modern Japan

Nathan Shockey

M  W      1:30-2:50 pm

HEG 102

FL

FLLC

Cross-listed: Asian Studies; Environmental & Urban Studies; Experimental Humanities  Modern Japan has undergone one of the most dramatic urbanizations in history. In just over a hundred years, it has been transformed from a largely rural, agricultural nation to a global symbol of high-tech hyper futurism. In this course, we will explore the myriad ways in which this process and the urban space it has created has been written and represented. We will ask how artists attempt to express and make sense of the shifting field of sensation and information that constitutes city life in modern Japan. We will also examine questions of what is lost in the rural to urban transition and problems of nostalgia and alienation in the countryside and new suburbs. The course explores how the experiences and emotions germane to metropolitan life can be expressed, communicated, and understood through literature, film, photography, music, manga, maps, and more. Includes work by Tanizaki, Kafû, Yokomitsu, Akutagawa, Tatsumi, and Kuroi, and many more. The class also serves to introduce major works of urban theory by Mumford, Lefebvre, Simmel, Harvey, and others.  Class size: 22

 

92055

LIT 220

 Madness

Jason Kavett

 T  Th    3:10-4:30 pm

OLINLC 210

FL

FLLC

Cross-listed: German  Studies What are the stakes of representing madness? Can madness be grasped in a rational manner? In which ways does madness pose a challenge to or offer inspiration to artistic creativity? This course offers an introduction to the rich traditions of poetry and prose written in German (and French) in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the 19th century, a preoccupation with the insight and experience of madness is at the center of literary production in Germany, while in the 20th century the relations between madness and literature are reconsidered with unprecedented intensity. Writers whose work we will consider include Artaud, Blanchot, Breton, Büchner, Celan, Hoffmann, Hölderlin, Kafka, Kleist, Sachs, Sebald, and Zürn, as well as Foucault and Freud. Films by Herzog and Bergman. All assigned readings are in English translation. Class size: 22

 

92079

LIT 2218

 Children's Fantasy Literature

Maria Cecire

M  W      3:10-4:30 pm

OLIN 201

LA

D+J

ELIT

DIFF

Childhood exists in the popular imagination as a separate, even magical, state of being that nonetheless must interact with and prepare the child for the “real world” of adulthood. In this course we will interrogate the special relationship between childhood and the fantastical in Anglo-American culture, discuss the literary origins and cultural impact of medievalist children’s fantasy, and consider how works in this genre can use the physical and temporal distance of imagined otherworlds to engage with real-life social, cultural, and political concerns. We will read novels by authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Ursula Le Guin, J. K. Rowling, Nnedi Okorafor, Junot Díaz, and Lev Grossman, and undergo a focused comparative study between these English-language texts and the children’s films of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. Topics will include modern (dis)enchantment, childhood subjectivity, gender, race, empire, war, environmental destruction, and the commercialization of childhood.  Class size: 22

 

92596

LIT 2319

The art of TRANSLATION

Peter Filkins

   T  Th 3:10 pm – 4:30 pm

HEG 102

LA

ELIT

By comparing multiple translations of literary, religious, and philosophical texts, this course will examine the way in which translation shapes textual meaning and our appreciation of it. We will also read several key theoretical essays that trace differing approaches to translation and what can or cannot be expected from translation. Finally, students will also take on two short translation projects of their own in order to explore firsthand what it means to translate. Brief comparative readings will include multiple translations of Homer, Sappho, Plato, the Bible, Nietzsche, Tolstoy, Baudelaire, Proust, Kafka, Babel, Rilke, Neruda, Borges, Basho, Li Po, and Celan. Essays on translation will include those by Dryden, Schleiermacher, Humboldt, Goethe, Benjamin, Valéry, Paz, and Nossack. Students should contact instructor to get permission.    Class size: 15

 

92030

LIT 235

 Introduction to Media

Maria Cecire

M  W      11:50-1:10 pm

OLIN 201

MBV

HUM

Cross-listed: Experimental Humanities  This course offers an introduction to media history and theory, tracking a series of events and concepts with the aim of understanding media not simply as a scholarly object but as a force in our lives. We will look at old and new media alike, from writing to photography to the contemporary digital landscape, and explore how media have regularly re-shaped our perceptions of time, space, knowledge, and identity. The premise of the course is that the new-ness of new media can only be approached against the background of humanistic experimentation and imagination, even as it transforms our lives and experiences. We will read key media theorists (Walter Benjamin, Donna Haraway, Katherine Hayles, Henry Jenkins, Friedrich Kittler, and Marshall McLuhan), and examine a range of critical, literary, and artistic reflections on our mediated universe. We will also spend some hands-on time working with -- and not just on -- media, in order to assess our own positions not just as as users and consumers but also as producers of media. This is a core course for the Experimental Humanities concentration.  Class size: 22

 

92075

LIT 236

 THE ARK OF MEMORY: Russian Documentary Prose

Olga Voronina

 T  Th    10:10-11:30 am

OLIN 303

FL

FLLC

Cross-listed: Global & International Studies; Human Rights; Russian Studies  Russia’s tragic history precipitated creation of literary works that recorded confrontation between the authoritarian state and its defiant citizens. This course explores the nature of human resistance to cruelty, coercion, deprivation, and political ostracism as documented in 19th – 20th century non-fictional works by Dostoevsky, Herzen, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Mandelstam, Akhmatova, Ginzburg, Shalamov, Solzhenitsyn, Brodsky and Alexievich. Reading their diaries, journals, autobiographies, memoirs, travelogues and essays, we aim to discover connections between one’s remembrance of loss and recovery from trauma or between individual noncompliance and authorial power to repossess and reclaim the past. Such methods as sociological criticism, narratological analysis, and biographical interpretation will be applied. All readings in English.   Class size: 18

 

92027

LIT 237

 Modern Comedy

Matthew Mutter

 T  Th    10:10-11:30 am

OLIN 101

LA

ELIT

Cross-listed: American Studies   According to the poet W.H. Auden, the very malaises of modernity—alienated individuality, the cold grip of impersonal law—also make modernity a fertile ground for the comic imagination. In this course we will explore comedy as both aesthetic form and philosophical anthropology. Does the comic imagination reinforce social hierarchies by marking certain figures as socially and morally inferior, or are its energies more egalitarian, as when it emphasizes our shared condition of embodiment and sympathizes with our finitude and frailty? Is comedy conservative, as when it eviscerates utopian fantasies, or radical in its capacity to expose social mores, taboos, and gender norms as ridiculous or arbitrary? We will engage multiple theorists of the comic, from Charles Baudelaire and Sören Kierkegaard to Susan Sontag and Stanley Cavell, and try to explicate their divergent claims: is comedy “Satanic” or “religious,” nihilistic or affirmative? After a brief look at pre-modern comedy we will explore how twentieth-century (principally Anglophone) writers repurpose comic methods and attitudes. Along the way we will identify different moods, genres and perspectives within comedy, such as satire, irony, grotesque, slapstick, camp and farce. Texts will likely include V.S. Naipaul’s A House for Mr. Biswas, Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Flannery’ O’Connor’s stories, Fran Ross’s Oreo, Samuel Beckett’s Murphy, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King, and the poetry of W.H. Auden, Lorine Niedecker, and others. Class size: 22

 

92080

LIT 2509

 Telling Stories about Rights

Nuruddin Farah

M  W      10:10-11:30 am

OLIN 305

LA

D+J

ELIT

DIFF

Cross-listed: Human Rights core course  What difference can fiction make in struggles for rights and justice? And what can this effort to represent injustice, suffering, or resistance tell us about fiction and literature? This course will focus on a wide range of fictions, from a variety of writers with different backgrounds, that tell unusual stories about the rights of individuals and communities to justice. We will read novels addressing human migration, injustices committed in the name of the state against a minority, and the harsh conditions under which some communities operate as part of their survival strategy, among other topics. We will look at the ways in which literary forms can allow universalizing claims to be made, exploring how racism, disenfranchisement, poverty, and lack of access to education and  health care, for instance, can affect the dignity of all humans.  Readings may include: Chronicles of a Death Foretold by Garcia Marquez; Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson; Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg; Our Nig by Harriet Wilson; Balzac & the Chinese Seamstress by Sijai Dai; Winter is in the Blood by James Welch; The Way to Rainy Mountain by N. Scott Momaday; Wolves of the Crescent Moon by Yousef Al-Mohaimeed, and Bound to Violence by Yambo Ouleguem. We will also watch a number of films based on the novels (including Chronicles, Smilla's Sense, Balzac, Snow Falling), and The First Grader (2001, on the right to education in Kenya).   Class size: 20

 

92015

LIT 253

 Isaac Babel & the aesthetics of Revolution

Jonathan Brent

    F        3:00-5:20 pm

OLIN 201

LA

ELIT

Cross-listed: Human Rights; Jewish Studies; Russian Studies  Isaac Babel (1894-1940) was one of the most perplexing geniuses of twentieth century Russian and European literature.  Babel enlisted as a Jew in the famously anti-Semitic Cossack division of the Red Cavalry in 1920 and soon thereafter became one of the most famous writers in Soviet Russia; he escaped the fury of the Great Terror of 1937-38 only to be arrested in the spring of 1939 and shot as a traitor in 1940.  The sum total of his writings was meager in comparison with that of most of his contemporaries; his political ambiguities are frequently infuriating; his defiant ironies often without clear target; his captivating literary style a puzzle of images and absences. He spoke of himself as “the master of the genre of silence.”  In this class, we will attempt to unravel some of his many paradoxes through close readings of his masterpiece Red Cavalry, the 1920 Diary and The Odessa Stories. Background critical and historical texts, such as writings by Leon Trotsky, A. K. Voronsky, Vladimir Mayakovsky and pronouncements and documents of the Soviet government will provide a framework for understanding Babel’s struggle as both Jew and Russian, as both a writer deeply imbued with the spirit of western humanism and one committed to the triumph of the Bolshevik Revolution, and as both an incessant prankster and reflective spiritual vagabond.  This class will examine his many attempts at finding a literary center that resolves the radical contradictions between his relation to tradition and to the growing nightmare of Soviet reality. This course is part of the World Literature offering.   Class size: 22

 

92323

LIT 261

 LAUGHTER AND VISION: EXPLORATIONS IN THE NOVEL OF IDEAS

Mark Danner

 F Sa 10:10 am-12:30 pm

   *** see note below    

OLIN 101

LA

 

ELIT

 

(2-credits) In this seminar we will tread fiction's "path not taken" -- the tradition of the novel of ideas that, with the triumph of Realism in the nineteenth century of Balzac and Dickens, became mainstream fiction's dark shadow. Our exploration will stretch from Rabelais, in the sixteenth century, to Thomas Mann, Jean-Paul Sartre and Iris Murdoch in the twentieth, with stops in between for Laurence Sterne and Voltaire and Denis Diderot. Throughout we will focus on what this tradition can tell us about what the novel is, what it became -- and what it can be. Workload for this special seminar will consist of reading roughly two books a month and handing in a short paper on each. 

*** The class meets 8 times, two times per month, Fri and Sat 10:10-12:30

Fri, September 14; Sat, September 15

Fri, October 19;  Sat, October 20

Fri, November 16; Sat, November 17

Fri, December 14; Sat, December 15

 

92604

LIT 2812

Henry James and the Art of Fiction

Elizabeth Frank

  W Th   10:10-11:30 am

ASP 302

LA

ELIT

The great American novelist Henry James (1843-1916) marks the seminal transition from nineteenth century realism’s preoccupation with marriage, money, manners and morals to the first fully formed experiments in modernist fiction, with its obsessive interest in the representation of the processes of consciousness as the stuff of experience, conflict and drama. We will examine major works from every phase of James’s singular career, including The American (1877), Daisy Miller (1879), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), and such important late works as The Wings of the Dove (1902) and The Ambassadors (1903), in addition to the novellas The Beast in the Jungle (1903) and The Turn of the Screw (1898).  We will look not only at such essential Jamesian subjects as Americans in Europe, and the dangers of both self-deception and sexuality, but also, through James's prefaces, the way he developed and articulated his theory of the novel as high art.   Class size: 15

 

 

Cross-listed courses:

 

92034

CHI 216

 Travel & Travel Writing:China

Li-Hua Ying

M  W      3:10-4:30 pm

OLINLC 118

FL

FLLC

Cross-listed: Asian Studies; Environmental & Urban Studies; Human Rights; Literature

 

92253

CLAS 236

 The Fall of the Roman Empire

David Ungvary

 T  Th    3:10-4:30 pm

OLIN 203

HA

 

Cross-listed: Historical Studies; Literature